Lights, Camera, Action!

A couple of posts back I wrote about Nature’s gifts, natural phenomena that sometimes augment the ordinary enough to defy belief. In that post I cited reflections, relatively ubiquitous phenomena that improve nearly every scene they touch. Toward the other end of the commonness continuum are auroras, colorful lights that dance randomly in the frigid darkness high above Earth’s extreme latitudes. While everyone has seen reflections, many…

Looking Back at 2022

This is my final blog post of 2022. Going through my images from the past 12 months, I can’t help but celebrate my blessings. What you might (I hope) view as a pretty picture, represents to me a thrilling moment in Nature. And believe me when I say that I remember the experience of witnessing every single image I share here. 2022 was the…

Replacing the Missing Dimension

I’ve said it before: Capturing our three-dimensional world in photography’s two-dimensional medium is impossible. But take heart, all is not lost—it is possible to give your images the illusion of depth. It’s pretty easy to put a camera to your eye and frame up the flat, left/right and up/down aspect of a scene. But translating your own three-dimensional experience into your camera’s two-dimensional reality…

Worth the Sacrifice

Photography should, first and foremost, make you happy. But every once in a while, for some reason (I have to be really bored) I’ll surf over to an online photography forum or Facebook photography group, only to be instantly reminded why it’s been so long since I visited. The litany of online insults, one-upmanship, and destructive criticism makes me wonder whether there are any happy…

Know Your Subjects

One of my personal rules for photography is knowledge of my subjects—I simply get more pleasure from an image when I know something about what I’ve captured. Of the many potential subjects available to a landscape photographer, mountains have always been a particular draw for me. Living my entire life in the shadow of the Sierra Nevada has certainly influenced that connection, as have…

The Sea Was Angry That Day, My Friends

I returned from Iceland with a lot of memories, but none will stay with me longer than the events of this stormy February morning on Diamond Beach. I guess given how much of my life is spent chasing Nature’s most dramatic moments, every once in a while it’s good to be reminded of the suddenness with which Nature can surprise you to impose its uncompromising…

Clicking the Lights Fantastic

I woke in my hotel room this morning to find a 6-inch snow drift (I measured) on the floor beneath my window, and still more snow frosting the curtains and wall. An expanding glacial lake stretched almost to my bed. Honestly, the risk of turning my room into an ice cave is never a consideration when opening the window at bedtime back home—but this…

Blue Hour Photography

If you’re fortunate enough to be outside after the sunset color has subsided, but before the world is enveloped in total darkness, you may find yourself basking in the rarified hues of the “blue hour*.” It’s called the blue hour because, wait for it…, the landscape is indeed bathed in blue. (And also because it just rolls off the tongue better than “the blue…

You Can Only Get So Wet

Vestrahorn, on Iceland’s southeast coast, is one impressive chunk of rock. Turns out it only reaches 1500 feet above sea level, but the way it juts so abruptly from the volcanic sand of Stokksnes Peninsula, Vestrahorn creates an imposing presence that rivals El Capitan in Yosemite. This Vestrahorn shoot came toward the end of the 10-day Iceland workshop Don Smith and I led in…

Border Patrol

A year ago Don Smith and I, with the aid of our Icelandic guide (the legendary Óli Haukur), had a blast sharing Iceland’s winter beauty with a great group of photographers. But our trip wasn’t without its challenges. One of our earliest locations was Kirkjufell, arguably Iceland’s most recognizable mountain. While proponents of Vestrahorn might debate this, no one will deny that everyone who…