In my right mind at the Grand Canyon

Photographing the Grand Canyon isn’t easy (I’ve said this before) The Grand Canyon is a very difficult place to photograph. Or more accurately, the Grand Canyon is a very difficult place to photograph well. More than any place I photograph, the Grand Canyon incites right/left (creative/logical) battles that can kill an image. Despite (and likely because of) the Grand Canyon’s sweeping grandeur, you can’t expect to simply walk…

Reliving the dream: Comet PanSTARRS above the Grand Canyon

*    *    *    * A couple of weeks ago I wrote about fulfilling my Comet PanSTARRS dreams from atop Haleakala (the location of PanSTARRS’ discovery) on Maui. After nearly a year of anticipation, being able to photograph this beautiful comet paired with a new moon had left me sated. And anyway, with the comet fading fast, I had no illusions that I’d be able…

Heaven on Earth

*    *    *    * Let’s see, this day included an eight hour drive, a torrential downpour, lightning, and a rainbow, all sandwiched between breakfast in Barstow and this sunset. Just another day at the office…. Top to bottom landscapes Many people spend a tremendous about of time pursuing beautiful images with little or no regard for the half of the scene….

Riding the celestial carousel

It’s pretty difficult to feel important while reclined beneath an infinite ocean of stars, peering into the depths of the Grand Canyon. Below you unfolds a cross-section of Earth’s last two billion years, chronological layers of landscape sliced by gravity’s inexorable tug on the Colorado River; overhead is a snapshot of the galaxy’s (perceived) pinwheel about the axis of our planet’s rotation. From our…

More Grand Canyon lightning (no photographers were harmed in the making of this image)

*    *    *    * The bolt was so close that I saw its jagged collision in my rearview mirror, its deafening crack shaking the car less than a second later—three hundred yards, max. “Holy crap!” was our simultaneous (eloquent) response. Don Smith and I had just negotiated fifteen minutes of natural pyrotechnics unprecedented in our benign, California-sky lifetimes. Obliterating our windshield,…

The Grand Canyon, lightning, and lots (!) of people

*    *    *    * The thunderheads started blooming at around 11:00 a.m; by noon they were delivering rain and lightning at widely dispersed locations around the rim. It was Grand Canyon day two, the first full day of last week’s monsoon visit with Don Smith. Seeing black clouds to the east, we drove out to Lipan Point, but after an hour or so of…

Striking lightning (before it strikes you)

Let’s start with the given that lightning is dangerous, and the distinct possibility that photographers are stupid. Combining the two is a recipe for disaster. Add a shear, one-mile deep canyon with lots of exposed outcrops and…, well, you get the idea. Okay, seriously, lightning is both dangerous and unpredictable. Before attempting anything that requires you to be outside during an electrical storm, it behooves…

2012 Grand Canyon Monsoon Mayhem tour

*    *    *    * The drive from Northern California to the Grand Canyon’s South Rim is about twelve hours. When Don Smith and I scheduled our (first annual) 2012 Grand Canyon Monsoon Mayhem tour, the plan was to leave dark-and-early Monday morning, which experience told us would get us to the canyon just in time to photograph sunset Monday night. But with the National…

Making lemonade at the Grand Canyon

We’ve all heard Dale Carnegie’s trite maxim, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Of course these pithy statements become popular because they resonate with so many people, photographers included. And it seems that not only are the photographers who adopt this attitude more productive, they’re just plain happier. For example…. Few pursuits are more frustrating than trying to predict Mother Nature’s fickle whims….

Making lemonade in the Grand Canyon

A lot of thought goes into scheduling a photo trip or workshop, with the prime goal being to photograph the desired location in the most photogenic conditions. For example, I try to schedule most of my workshops around the moon, timing them so the group can photograph a rising/setting full or crescent moon and then stay out after dark for moonlight or star trails….