Watch your step

Trouble brewing I have many “favorite” photo locations in Yosemite Valley–some, like Tunnel View, are known to all; others, like this location along the Merced River, aren’t exactly secrets, but they’re far enough off the beaten path to be overlooked by the vacationing masses. While I used to count on being alone here, as often as not lately I share this shoreline with other…

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst

A regrettable reality of my life is that the best conditions for photography are the absolute worst conditions to be outside. Fortunately, I’ve been hardened by a lifetime of Giants games at Candlestick Park, the coldest place on Earth. As a photographer, I continue to embrace my mantra for warmth at the ‘Stick: Too much is always better than not enough. For me it’s all…

(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….

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…

What’s on your hard disk?: A project for a sunny day

One of the risks of making photography your livelihood is the possibility (likelihood?) that the business will preempt the photography. Even though I’ve consciously chosen to continue photographing only what I want to photograph without concern for the marketability of an image, when I return from a trip the demands of the business often leave little time for my captures. A few days ago…

Shoot now, think later

Magic moments in nature are rarely static, and reacting to them as they happen is rarely productive. But taking the time to do you homework helps you anticipate these special moments well enough to consistently put yourself in position before they happen. Understanding the conditions necessary for a rainbow, anticipating a sky favorable for a colorful sunset, and  plotting the moon’s position above an…

The other ninety-nine percent

Thomas Edison said, “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.” (Without claiming genius) I think this applies to photography as well: Many successful images are more the product of being in the right place at the right time than divine inspiration. Of course anyone can stumble upon a lucky convergence of location and conditions and come home with a great photo, but…

Make the world your own

Pretend you’re a musician who wants to make music your career. Let’s say Eric Clapton is your favorite artist, and “Layla” is your favorite song. Do you think your quickest path to fame and fortune would be to record a song that perfectly replicates “Layla”? (Especially given the difficulty you’d have resurrecting Duane Allman.) So why is it that so many nature photographers with…