It’s All About Relationships

Think about how much our lives revolve around relationships: romance, family, friends, work, pets, and so on. They’re such a big part of human existence that it’s no wonder most of the significant compositional choices photographers make involve relationships between elements in our scenes, either to one another or to their environment. A pretty sunset is nice, but a pretty sunset over the Grand Canyon especially nice….

Yosemite for the First Time—Again

On Wednesday I made a quick trip to Yosemite to meet my (old and new) friends and fellow photography pros Don Smith and Ron Modra, plus Ron’s wife MB. Since I’d never met Ron and MB in person (though from conversations with Don I felt like I already knew them), and Ron had never been to Yosemite, I broke my personal rule to stay clear…

Curing the Blues

Who doesn’t like blue skies? Well…, me. I’ll say it again: I. Don’t. Like. Blue. Skies. At least not for photography. As pleasant as blue sky is for a stroll on the beach or picnic at the park, it’s just plain boring in a picture, and I do everything in my power to avoid an empty sky in my images. Don’t believe me? Check…

Get out of the way (and let the scene speak for itself)

As aggressively as I seek creative ways to express nature with my camera, and as important as I think that is, sometimes a scene is so beautiful that it’s best to just get out of the way and let the scene speak for itself. I had one of those experiences last month at Tunnel View in Yosemite. There’s a reason Tunnel View is one…

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…