Some assembly required

Putting together material for the Grand Canyon Monsoon workshop that Don Smith and I do each August, I came across this image from the  first shoot of our first workshop. With so many pictures in the two weeks we were there (for two workshops), and given the incredible events that followed, it’s amazing to me how well I remember the specifics of this early…

Looking back at 2013, and ahead to 2014

While I’ve been taking a little Holiday break from my blog, I have spent some of my non-family time reviewing my 2013 images. Given the number of trips I take, and images I click, it always amazes me how well I remember every detail of my favorites—who I was with and what the circumstances were, not to mention composition and exposure decisions that are still as…

Shocking truths about lightning

While working on an upcoming “Outdoor Photographer” magazine article on photographing lightning at the Grand Canyon, I’ve been revisiting the images from my August workshop with Don Smith. While I still feel like I’ve only scratched the surface with the trip’s lighting images, it’s clear that at least half of my captures came on that amazing final morning, when we witness two hours of…

We have met the enemy and he is us…

It seemed like such a good idea at the time. The Grand Canyon North Rim, fall color, and maybe even a thunderstorm or two. What could possibly go wrong? Well, let me tell you…. I’ve wanted to do this trip in the fall since my first visit to the North Rim. On my visit in August I polled local experts for the best time…

A star is born

Truth be told, I’m not a huge fan of sunstars (a.k.a. starbursts). Cool as they are, sunstars have become ubiquitous to the point of cliché. So why do I shoot them? Because sometimes there’s little else you can do when the sun intrudes on the scene you came to photograph. In other words, they’re often more of a lemonade-from-lemons kind of thing. Despite their…

The calm above the storm

If you’ve ever taken off in a violent storm, watched the exploding sky just beyond your window, felt the plane buck until you verged on panic, then suddenly broken through the clouds into utter peace, you might appreciate the dichotomy depicted in this scene. *    *    *    * Overwhelmed by the euphoria the Grand Canyon workshop’s final sunrise was this moonlight experience on…

It’s more than a hole with red rocks

Still charged with energy from the Grand Canyon lightning/rainbow Three Strikes morning, I decided to change things up and visit some of the trip’s more intimate, albeit less spectacular, images, scenes that portray the underrated diversity of the Grand Canyon’s beauty. Despite a wealth of options, I knew immediately that I wanted to start with a wildflower discovery the second group made at East…

The reason I do this

August 2013 Nature photographers plan, and plan, and plan some more, but no amount of planning can overcome the fickle whims of Mother Nature. Few things are more disappointing than a long anticipated and perfectly executed shoot washed out by conditions beyond my control. But when all of nature’s variables click into place, the world becomes a happy place indeed. And when nature ups…

Too close for comfort

After wrapping up our first Grand Canyon Monsoon workshop, Don Smith and I stayed a couple of extra nights on the North Rim to check-out potential locations for the second workshop. Saturday morning Don and I left our cabin with every intention of scouting (I swear) some remote, west-facing vista points, but black clouds and rolling thunder in the east (which we already knew quite…

Last Light

It occurred to me while processing this image that, just like the lightning strike image in my previous post, this was my next-to-last image of the day. Which got me thinking about why I like these late-light images, and also about the similarities and differences between the two images. Both images were captured in conditions much darker than the final image indicates. In this…