A tale of two moons

*    *    *    * Going through images from earlier this year, I was struck by the difference the rendering of the moon makes in the overall effect of two images taken from different locations in Death Valley, a couple of days apart. In one, the moon is merely a garnish for a scene that’s all about the repeating patterns and harsh desolation of…

Everything’s up from here

:: ::  :: At 282 feet below sea level, Badwater in Death Valley is the lowest point in North America. While that’s impressive by itself, consider that Telescope Peak, the sunlit mountain in center of this picture, is over 11,000 feet above sea level. But wait, there’s more…. Just 85 miles from where I stand here, Mt. Whitney towers 14,500 feet above sea level,…

My essential smartphone apps for photography

I have a few iPhone apps that I use all the time, and am always on the lookout for more (so feel free to share). There are many great apps out there, but given the amount of photography time I spend off the grid, a prime consideration for me is the ability to use an app without cell or wifi coverage, taking many out of…

Send in the clouds

Blue skies and bright sunshine are great for tourists, but they can ruin a photographer’s day. Granted, warm sunrise and sunset light casts dramatic shadows and warms the landscape for a few quiet minutes at the beginning and end of the day. But when the sun is up, the light is harsh and tourists swarm like ants to a picnic. On the other hand,…

The definition of breathtaking

Death Valley is notorious for blue skies–great for tourists, but a scourge for photographers. Clouds add interest to a scene, and filtering harsh sunlight through clouds reduces contrast to a range a camera can capture. To mitigate harsh sky problems, I schedule my annual Death Valley workshop for winter to maximize the chance for clouds. And hedging my bets further, I time each workshop…

The most beautiful thing on Earth right now…

Photographers tend to get so wrapped up in their picture taking that they fail to appreciate what’s unfolding before their eyes. Because this happens to me too, I’ve learned to step away from my camera when the magic is happening and allow myself to appreciate that I may be viewing the most beautiful thing happening on Earth right now. I had several of these “most…