2015 Grand Canyon Raft Trip: River of Light

Last week I took 27 photographers on a 6-day raft trip through the Grand Canyon. It’s the second year I’ve done this (and I have no plans to stop). This year’s conditions were significantly different from last year’s: colder, wetter (it rained all but our first and last days), and windier. But with the miserable weather came much better photography, as we enjoyed beautiful light…

As far as the eye can see

“As far as the eye can see.” How many times have we heard, and even uttered, those words without really considering their true meaning? Just how far can the eye see? Adults use the expression to convey wide open spaces, and as a kid I remember arguments on the playground about who had seen the farthest, trying to one-up each other with our ocular feats. To me the words “as…

Let’s all take a breath and step away from the ledge

National Forest Service commercial photography policy (it’s not as bad as you think) I’ve received a number of inquiries (some quite panicked) in the last few days asking my opinion about the “new” National Forest Service policy regarding commercial photography. I’ve actually read some media accounts that imply that simply whipping out your iPhone and snapping a mountain lake risks a $1,000 fine. After doing…

Nuts and bolts at the Grand Canyon

The bolts started around 1:15; the nuts showed up about ten minutes later. There were 14 of us. We were stationed on the outside viewing deck of the Grand Canyon Lodge on the North Rim, tripods, cameras, and lightning triggers poised and ready for action. The “action” we were ready for was lightning, and more specifically, the opportunity to photograph it. The storm had started fairly benignly, poking…

The right stuff at the Grand Canyon

I’ve been to the mountaintop  Personal growth should be a lifelong journey. But as a longtime tripod evangelist, I considered many truths carved in stone. Granted, like everyone else, my tripod use (and selection) evolved through my formative photography years. On my path to (perceived) enlightenment, I made the same mistakes most photographers make, mistakes like settling for the tripod I could afford rather than tripod I needed, which…

Roll over Ansel

A few days ago I was thumbing through an old issue of “Outdoor Photographer” magazine and came across an article on Lightroom processing. It started with the words: “Being able to affect one part of the image compared to another, such as balancing the brightness of a photograph so the scene looks more like the way we saw it rather than being restricted by…

The right stuff with the left brain

Left versus right Writing about “The yin and yang of nature photography” a couple of weeks ago, I suggested that most photographers are limited by a tendency to strongly favor the intuitive or logical side of their brain (the so-called right-brain/left-brain bias). Today I want to address those intuitive (right brain) thinkers who feel it’s sufficient to simply trust their compositional instincts and let their camera do the thinking. It was a dark and…

Release the brocken!

So how cool is this? The shadow is me. It’s called a brocken (named for a mountain in Germany), and the rainbow is a solar glory. This extremely rare phenomenon requires the perfect alignment of sunlight, moisture, and observer, and I just happened to find myself at the fortunate convergence of these conditions. Yesterday evening Don Smith and I photographed the vestiges of a summer storm at Lipan Point…

America’s worst idea

Today’s homework assignment is “A Cathedral Under Siege,” from the August 9 edition of the “New York Times.” I really don’t have a lot to add to the thoughts expressed in the article, except that if our National Park system is “America’s best idea,” then what is planned for the Grand Canyon may just be America’s worst idea. I only hope that common sense will prevail…

Inside the Grand Canyon: A gallery of images

I do it all over again in 2015 (May 11-18)—contact me for the experience of a lifetime.