Waiting for the Stars

The bristlecone pines are among the oldest living organisms on earth. Some of these trees pre-date the Roman Empire by 2000 years—and they look every year of their age. The more harsh a bristlecone’s environment, the longer it lives. As with the giant redwoods, it’s humbling to be among the bristlecone pines. What they lack in bulk they make up for in character, with…

Photograph the Milky Way: Part One

See the Milky Way Look heavenward on a moonless summer night far from city light. The first thing to strike you is the shear volume of stars, but as your eyes adjust, your gaze is drawn to a luminous band spanning the sky. Ranging from magnificently brilliant to barely visible, this is the Milky Way, home to our Sun and nearly a half trillion other stars of varying size, age, and temperature. Size and…

Cool stuff on a cold night

About a month ago I huddled with my Eastern Sierra workshop group on a mountainside in the White Mountains (east of Bishop). We were waiting for the stars to come out, but after driving over an hour on a road that would test anyone’s motion sickness resistance, hiking a steep half mile in the thin air above 10,000 feet, and waiting out a couple of rain showers, it looked like…

Plan B

I usually approach a scene with a plan, a preconceived idea of what I want to capture and how I want to do it. But some of my favorite images are “Plan B” shots that materialized when my original plan went awry due to weather, unexpected conditions (or my own stupidity). In my recent Eastern Sierra workshop, the clouds I always hope for never materialized. Whenever this…

It’s all about relationships

Relationships Think about how much our lives revolve around relationships: romance, family, friends, work, pets, and so on. It occurs to me that this human inclination toward relationships almost certainly influences the photographic choices we make, and the way our images touch others. Whether it’s conscious or not, photographers convey relationships in their images. A pretty sunset is nice, but a pretty sunset over the Grand Canyon or Yosemite is…

If it’s Tuesday, this must be Bishop

I have no one to blame but myself (a significant downside of being self-employed), and know I’m not going to get a lot of sympathy, but I just need to share how crazy my last few weeks have been. I’m in the final third of a stretch of three photo workshops in three time zones in three weeks, separated by a grand total of 20 hours…

Beneath the stars

October 2012 I lead photo workshops in lots of beautiful, exotic places, but I particularly look forward to the Eastern Sierra workshop for the variety we get to photograph. Mt. Whitney and the Alabama Hills, Mono Lake and Yosemite’s Tuolumne Meadows, lots of fall color in the mountains west of Bishop and Lone Pine, and the ancient bristlecones in the White Mountains, east of Bishop. It’s…

From one extreme to another

* * * * In my previous post I wrote about California’s extremes. I used Badwater in Death Valley to illustrate, but of course there are many more examples. Case in point: the bristlecone pines of the White Mountains, just east of Bishop, across the Owens Valley from the Sierra Nevada. The more heralded, heavily traveled Sierra gets most of the rain and snow…