Happy Father’s Day, Dad

This summer it will be 13 years since I lost my dad to Alzheimer’s disease. He would have turned 87 next month, and I have no doubt that his body would still be going strong if the Alzheimer’s hadn’t taken over. Sadly, it’s difficult to fully appreciate a parent’s influence until they’re gone. We’re certainly aware of the love, wisdom, advice, discipline, tears, and…

Some advice for President Obama

President Obama and family visit Yosemite this weekend, and rather than wait by my phone for him to call with questions, I thought I’d just share my suggestions here Dear Mr. President, I just heard that you’re coming to Yosemite this weekend. Bravo! I’m sure by the time you leave you’ll agree that Yosemite is worthy of its reputation as the most beautiful place on Earth….

Yosemite and me

My relationship with Yosemite doesn’t have a beginning or end. Rather, it’s a collection of asynchronous memories that are still forming. In fact, some of my Yosemite experience actually predates my memory. The earliest memories, like following bobbing flashlights to Camp Curry to watch the Firefall spring from Glacier Point, or warm evenings in lawn chairs at the garbage dump, waiting for the bears to come…

Looking back, looking forward

For the final shoot of my final 2014 workshop, I guided my group up the rain-slick granite behind Yosemite’s Tunnel View for a slightly different perspective than they’d seen earlier in the workshop. I warned everyone that slippery rock and the steepness of the slope could make the footing treacherous (and offered a safer alternative), but promised the view would be worth it. Then I crossed my fingers. While…

Revisiting photography’s 3 P’s

Let’s review I often speak and write about “The 3 P’s of nature photography,” sacrifices a nature photographer must make to consistently create successful images. Preparation is your foundation, the research you do that gets you in the right place at the right time, and the vision and mastery of your camera that allows you to wring the most from the moment. Persistence is patience with a dash of stubbornness….

My photography essentials, part 1

A couple of weeks ago the editors at “Outdoor Photographer” magazine asked me (and a few other pros) to contribute to an upcoming article on photography essentials, and it occurs to me that my blog readers might be interested to read my answers. Here’s my answer to the first of their three questions: 1. What are the top three most important pieces of photo…

Favorite: Sunset Palette

Celebrating the reopening of our National Parks, the third installment in my semi-regular Favorites series features one of my favorite Yosemite images *   *   * Usually an image comes together on the spot, an organic blend of location and light unique to the moment. But some images I carry around in my brain for years, fully aware of the elements and how I…

Nature is only as random as our ability to understand it

Louis Pasteur said that chance favors the prepared mind. It was one of Ansel Adams’ favorite quotes. But, as appropriate as the quote is, I’m sure Adams cited Pasteur only after enduring countless “Wow, you were so lucky to be there for that” reactions. To the casual observer, nature’s wonders do indeed feel random. Who doesn’t feel lucky when a full moon pops over…

Encore!

Yesterday I spent an incredible day in Yosemite, guiding a group of photographers from the Sacramento area. When I schedule these trips, I do my best to time them for nice conditions, but of course there’s no guarantee things will work out. Yesterday they worked out. Big time. Not only did we catch Yosemite Valley at its fall color peak (it’s late this year),…

Photographic reality: The missing dimension

“Photography’s gift isn’t the ability to reproduce reality, it’s the ability to expand it.” (The sixth and final installment of my series on photographic reality.) So far I’ve written about focus, dynamic range, confining borders, motion, and time, but I think most obvious (and also I’m afraid most overlooked) difference separating the camera’s vision from our own is the missing dimension: depth. Photography attempts to render a…