Moonlight Magic

Rainbows demystified A rainbow forms when sunlight strikes airborne water droplets and is separated into its component spectral colors by characteristics of the water. The separated light is reflected back to our eyes when it strikes the backside of the droplets: Voila—a rainbow! There’s nothing random about a rainbow—despite their seemingly random advent and location in the sky, rainbows follow very specific rules of nature. Draw an imaginary line from…

Yosemite Moonbow

Even though your spellcheck says it doesn’t exist, I promise you that a moonbow is a very real thing indeed (and I have the pictures to prove it). Some argue that “lunar rainbow” is more the technically correct designation, but since that moniker just doesn’t convey the visual magic, I’m sticking with moonbow. This won’t be on the test Because a moonbow is a…

Yosemite’s Rainbows

Despite being one Yosemite Valley’s most dramatic sights, Yosemite Falls can frustrate photographers. Its best light comes on winter mornings, when frigid temperatures in the high Sierra hold most of Yosemite Creek hostage until spring. But by the time the spring thaw has arrived, the sun rises behind Half Dome Yosemite Falls is in shade until midmorning. Adding insult to injury, not only do…

A star in the east

When Sony asked Don Smith and me to try out their new lenses, I immediately knew where I wanted to be in Yosemite with the 12-24 f4 G lens. After great success photographing El Capitan and Half Dome as I’ve never been able to before (okay, well there was that one time last year when I borrowed a friend’s ultra-wide lens), I was ready…

A few of my favorite things

I love being a photographer, but it’s an unfortunate reality that turning your passion into your profession risks sapping the pleasure when earning money takes priority over taking pictures. When I decided to make photography my livelihood, it was only after observing other very good amateur photographers who, lulled by the ease of digital photography, failed to anticipate that running a photography business requires far more than taking good…

Moonbow: Nature’s little secret

  Rainbows demystified A rainbow forms when sunlight strikes airborne water droplets and is separated into its component spectral colors by characteristics of the water. The separated light is reflected back to our eyes when it strikes the backside of the droplets: Voila!—a rainbow. Despite their seemingly random advent and location in the sky, rainbows follow very specific rules of nature—there’s nothing random about a rainbow. Draw an imaginary line…

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…

All I want for Christmas….

I returned late last night (well, early this morning) from my 2013 Yosemite Moonbow and Wildflowers photo workshop will lots of great new images and two fewer teeth. True story. The images I can verify; the teeth you’ll need to take my word for. Read on. Chapter One: In the big inning Twenty years ago I lost my two front teeth in a freak…

Photographic reality: Accumulate light

  “Photography’s gift isn’t the ability to reproduce your reality, it’s the ability to expand it.” (The fourth installment of my series on photographic reality.) Before getting too frustrated with your camera’s limited dynamic range, remember that it can also do things with light that your eyes can’t. While we humans experience the world by serially processing an infinite number of discrete instants in real time, a…

Have you ever seen a moonbow?

I’m fortunate to have a ringside seat for many of Mother Nature’s most exquisite phenomena, but few excite me more than the shimmering arc of Yosemite’s moonbow. A “moonbow”? I thought you’d never ask…. As you may have figured, a moonbow is a rainbow caused by moonlight. (Don’t be fooled by the fact that your spellcheck doesn’t recognize “moonbow”–it’s a very real thing indeed,…