The best laid plans…

The plan was to photograph a full moon rising at the end of the Merced River Canyon, just to the right of Bridalveil Fall, at sunset. It was the final night of last week’s Yosemite Spring: Moonbow and Wildflowers photo workshop, and the moonrise was to be the grand finale. But after a day photographing poppies and waterfalls beneath a sky mixed with sun and…

(More) Tunnel View magic

This post is for everyone who woke up this morning thinking, “Gee, I sure wish there were more pictures from Tunnel View in Yosemite.” Well, you’ve come to the right place. Okay, seriously, the world really doesn’t need any more Tunnel View pictures, but sometimes I just can’t help  myself. Call me biased, but I’ll put this view up against any in the world….

Making sense of nature

I love the iconic captures as much as the next person–scenes like Yosemite’s Horsetail Fall in February, Antelope Canyon’s heavenly beam, or McWay Fall’s tumble into the Pacific, are gorgeous and a thrill to photograph. But standing elbow-to-elbow with tens (or hundreds!) of photographers, each recording identical images that are already duplicates of thousands of prior images, while lots of fun, isn’t enough to stimulate my creative juices….

A landscape photographer’s time

On my run this morning I listened to an NPR “Talk of the Nation” podcast about time, and the arbitrary ways we Earthlings measure it. The guest’s thesis was that the hours, days, and years we measure and monitor so closely are an invention established (with increasing precision) by  science and technology to serve society’s specific needs; the question posed to listeners was, “What…

Let’s get vertical

Whose bright idea was it to lable horizontal images “landscape,” and vertical images to be “portrait”?  To them, let me just say: “Huh?” As a landscape-only photographer, about half of my images use “portrait” orientation. Sometimes I wonder if this unfounded naming bias explains why so many people default to a horizontal orientation for their landscape images, missing some great opportunities to improve their photography in…

Are you insane?: A control freak’s prescription for photographic success*

* This message isn’t for everybody. If your photographic pleasure derives from simply breathing fresh air and admiring the view, or if your camera is just an accessory that helps you share and relive those outdoor experiences later, you’re already a successful photographer. But if you aren’t achieving the results you long for, either in the quality of your images or the attention they…

Are you a photographer or a tourist?

When the weather gets crazy, do you sprint for cover or reach for your camera? Your answer may be a pretty good predictor of your success as a photographer. It’s an unfortunate fact that the light, color, and drama that make memorable landscape photos all come when most sane people would rather be inside: at sunrise, when the rest of the world is asleep; at…

Every picture has a story

Every picture has a story. (And as Rod Stewart reminded us, every picture tells a story as well, but it’s not necessarily the same story and that isn’t really what I want to talk about anyway.) The story of a compelling nature photograph can include every bit of the good stuff that makes for gripping narrative in a book or movie: adventure, peril, suffering, and yes,…