Return to Paradise

I’m still working my way through my Grand Canyon images, but because life goes on, I “had to” spend the last week leading a workshop on my favorite Hawaiian island, Hawaii. (It’s a tough job, but…) Until last year, I’ve spent a week each year since 2010 on Hawaii’s Big Island. And while I’d love to blame COVID for the missed year, it just so…

Grand Canyon: The South Rim Strikes Back

Last week I expressed some pretty strong feelings for why I prefer the North Rim of the Grand Canyon to the South Rim. And while I’m not about to issue a retraction, let me just say that the relative merits of the canyon’s two sides are somewhat more nuanced. You might even say that last week’s post was authored by Gary Hart, Human Being….

Grand Canyon: North vs. South

North vs. South When people decide to cross the Grand Canyon off their bucket list, they usually look at a map and see that the South Rim is an easy one hour detour off Interstate 40, or just a little more than three (mostly interstate) hours from Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix. The North Rim, on the other hand, is nearly five hours from…

(More) Lightning Lessons

This post is all about different aspects photographing lightning—some of the stuff I write about here is covered in much more detail in my Lightning Photo Tips article, so you might want to start there I’ve been photographing lightning at the Grand Canyon (especially) and elsewhere for 10 years, but I’m happy to say that I’m still learning. While going through my images from…

More Monsoon Magic

Greetings from the Grand Canyon. It’s pretty hard to post a blog in the middle of a workshop, and downright near impossible when the Internet is down and your cellular carrier has capped your roaming data at 200 megabytes (which I ripped through in 3 days, with only 12 days to go—thank you very much, T-Mobile). But here I am, a day late, with…

Everyone’s a Photographer Until…

I have a T-shirt that says, “Everyone’s a photographer until…,” above a picture of a camera exposure-mode dial set to Manual. In my mind, this is one of those declarations that’s as true as it is funny (if you don’t see the humor, you’re probably not a photographer anyway). I write this with no very little judgement or condescension. Photography needs to make you happy,…

Ion the Prize

Comets were once harbingers of doom, so it’s likely that in times past the appearance of a bright comet coincident with a worldwide pandemic would have stoked great fear. Instead, (thanks to knowledge gained through centuries of scientific discovery) Comet NEOWISE infused a kernel of joy into an otherwise bleak year. Spurred by the first NEOWISE anniversary earlier this month, over the previous week…

Expect the Unexpected

With so many natural variables beyond our control, and no matter how creatively we visualize, thoroughly we plan, and precisely we execute, landscape photographers go into every shoot uncertain of success. But making consistently successful images depends not only on our ability to visualize, plan, and execute, but also on our ability to recognize and respond to unexpected opportunities. The truth is, your creativity’s…

Shoot for the Star

Cool as they can be, sunstars (AKA, diffraction spikes, sunbursts, or starbursts) border on gimmicky and cliché. So why do I shoot them? Because sometimes it’s the best solution when the sun intrudes on the scene you came to photograph. In other words, as much as I like dramatic clouds, vivid color, of soft light, I’d rather have a sunstar than a blank blue…

You Didn’t Tell Me There Would Be Math

Photography is an art of subtraction. While many photographers seem driven to collect as many objects of visual interest as possible, my favorite pictures usually work as much for what’s not in them than for what is. Unfortunately, it’s usually easier to see things to add to an image than it is to know what to subtract—and how to do it. The good news is,…