Getting ahead of the shot

I hate arriving at a photo destination for the first time and having to immediately hit the ground running. Over the years I’ve come to appreciate the value of advance knowledge of landscape and light, and always try to factor in ample scouting time before getting down to serious shooting. On the other hand, a prime reason people sign up for a photo workshop is to shortcut the…

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…

The best time of day

Imagine a world that’s so quiet you can hear nature’s every stirring, a place where each breath holds a pristine bouquet of subtle fragrances, and the sky is a continuously shifting kaleidoscope of indigo, blue, yellow, orange, and red. In case you haven’t figured it out, I’m describing the very world we live in, before the sun’s light and warmth draw out the dirty, noisy, oblivious masses. As a nature photographer,…

Fallen color

When you’re surrounded by beautiful scenery, it’s easy to overlook the small details that make a scene special. But there’s no substitute for the pleasure that comes from spending a little time in a scene, identifying its intricacies, and creating an image that conveys this connection to others. Capturing these intricacies can be the most rewarding aspect of photography, because they’re almost always uniquely reflective your…

Mirrorless and my telephoto renaissance

Going smaller Like most people, my original expectation for my nascent mirrorless world was a significantly lighter backpack, and indeed, I haven’t been disappointed. In my Canon days my primary pack was an F-Stop Tilopa with a medium ICU (F-Stop’s interchangeable internal module for storing and organizing gear), which held my 5D Mark III, Canon 16-35 f/2.8, 24-105 f/4, and 70-200 L lenses, plus a Zeiss 28 f/2…

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…

Staying out of the way

Previously on Eloquent Nature: Road trip! Sometimes when Mother Nature puts on a show, the best thing a photographer can do is just get out of the way. I’d driven to Mono Lake the previous afternoon to do some night photography and photograph the waning crescent moon before sunrise. After spending the night in the back of my Pilot, I woke at 4:30 and hiked down…

Road trip!

Sacramento isn’t exactly known for its scenery, but as someone who makes his living photographing nature’s beauty, I haven’t found any place I’d rather live (okay, so maybe Hawaii is close). Just listen to this list of scenic locations I can drive to from home in four hours or less (clockwise from southwest to southeast): Pinnacles National Park, Big Sur, Monterey/Carmel, San Francisco, Point Reyes, Muir Woods (and countless other…