Check out the video I put together from a recent bout of photo-wandering I did in California with my good buds, Zack and David. Apologies for all dorkiness in advance.
The rain this winter allowed a thin layer of water to pool on the Badwater salt flat in Death Valley National Park. Zack, David and I spent the twilight hour exploring the patterns, reflections and glowing light one evening on our recent road trip. The next day my shoes were completely encased in a crusty rime of salt. For scale, if you look closely you may see another photographer out in the water toward the horizon.
Canon 5DMK4, 22mm, polarizer, 1 second, f/16, ISO 100. The expanded dynamic range of the 5DMK4 allowed me to capture this scene in a single exposure quite easily. The dynamic range wasn't extreme, but too much to get it all in one exposure with good shadow quality on the 5DMK3.
I finally made it out to the Racetrack in Death Valley while road-tripping with the boyz a couple weeks ago. Super clear skies were calling out for a starry night shot. Zack and I spent a chilly hour or two experimenting with different light painting techniques. The one I liked the most was the red "night vision" setting on Zack's headlamp. We selected this particular sailing stone because it had a wonderful S-shaped track. For the land exposure, we set the long exposure timer for 4 minutes, carefully walked the track with the light pointed at the ground, groped our way back to the cameras in complete darkness...and then adjusted our technique and repeated. We had lots of screw ups. For developing I blended one 2-minute natural starlight exposure together with the red, light painted exposure. The starry sky is from a third25-secondd exposure to avoid star-trailing.
If you aren't familiar with the Racetrack or how the famous "Sailing Stones" move around the playa check out THIS VIDEO.
Canon 5D4, Rokinon 14mm lens. Natural light exposure: 2 minutes f/5.6, ISO 6400. Light painted exposure: 4 minutes, f/5.6, ISO 1600. Sky exposure: 25 seconds, f/2.8, SIO 6400.
Working on some images to submit for a book on Costa Rica gave me a chance to revisit photographs that were forgotten in my archives from several years ago. This image of a moody sunset at Playa Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica apparently fell through the cracks the first time around. I remember the sky that night was ominous and mesmerizing. I took advantage of the darkness to take a 25-second exposure and create the velvety surf.
Canon 5D3, 24mm, polarizer, F/18, ISO 100. Two exposures, 2.5 seconds and 25 seconds, blended for dynamic range and water texture.
Yosemite Falls resplendent in frost and glancing morning sun with the valley still shrouded in shadow. I took this while out on road trip with my good buds, David Cobb and Zack Schnepf last week. We shacked up in the Falcon for seven days. More bad jokes, laughing and flatulence than most people could handle.
Canon 5D MK4, 47mm, polarizer, 1/20 second, f/11, ISO 100.
Fires have burned large sections of Torres del Paine NP in the last 20 years, many of them apparently set off accidentally by backpackers. I never like to see beautiful landscapes burn, but fire is part of the ecological process and these burned out trees do create impact and help tell this particular visual story.
Canon 5DsR, 25mm, Polarizer. 1/10 second @ f/18, ISO 100.
It rained ferociously during our Photo Cascadia gathering in Bandon, Oregon the weekend of January 8th, 2017, but we did have a few beautiful moments of light at sunset our first night. It was great to be there on the beach with good friends, enjoying the sights and sounds. Moments like these are the ones that can last a lifetime.
Canon 5DSR, 25mm, polarizer, 1 second, f/22 (for sun star), ISO 100. Two exposures blended for foreground wave motion and reflection color.
As 2014 draws down to it's final day, I'm reminded that it is time to write this once yearly article and share my favorite images from the last 12 months. All credit actually must go to Jim Goldstein, who for the past eight years has curated his now famous and highly anticipated Best Photos project. Every year Jim invites photographers from around the world to look back at their year, reflect on their images and agonizingly select just a few that feel significant. Over 300 photographers contributed last year alone. The 2014 edition will come out the week after New Years and the previous seven editions of The Best Of articles are always available on Jim's blog.
It is a great tradition on many levels. Looking back at one's work over an entire year is a valuable exercise for a photographer. It is a challenge to look through hundreds, or thousands, of images and decide which ones call out for a closer look, remind us of memorable moments, mark milestones or communicate something that will impact others. Being included in Jim's list is also a fun way to participate in the photographic community, contribute to the growing interest in photography as an art form and connect with other like minded people who share a passion for outdoor photography. Furthermore, I look forward to spending a good evening, or three, exploring the photography of others who contribute their year's best. Every year I am introduced to compelling imagery by people I wouldn't otherwise know about and I learn from and get inspired by the creativity and adventurous spirit of others.
Without further rambling, I present my favorite photographs (and some short narration to go with them) from 2014. I hope you enjoy and I wish you many life affirming adventures in 2015! Please share which ones you like best, or anything else for that matter, in the comments below. (You can click on images if you would like to view them larger)
I enjoy the warm, saturated light, the symmetry of the rocks and the dynamic water motion in this scene I found just hours after arriving on the Big Island of Hawaii in February.
I was fascinated by the Seussian character of this forest in the Waipio Valley on Hawaii. Intrigued by the shapes, tones and subtle light, I chose to showcase these features and go without color.
The rugged coastline of Southern Oregon is some of the most dramatic on the planet as far as I'm concerned. One evening in March, after many previous visits to this spot, David Cobb and I were treated to a sunset that helped convey its beauty in a photograph. I particularly like the tree on the headland in the distance.
In 2007 I first photographed a lunar eclipse over Mt. Shasta. Since then my technique and equipment have improved but I had been waiting for a chance to revisit the theme. My opportunity finally came in April, with a total lunar eclipse on a cloudless night.
Lupine may be my favorite flower on the earth so this meadow took my breath away. When I saw the sun sinking through a layer of thin clouds I knew the conditions for photographing the lupine with back light would be optimal. Their slender height makes them very challenging to photograph since the slightest breeze sets them swaying.
My favorite rhododendron in my favorite redwood grove. Myself and others have photographed it many times, but one evening in May all the elements for magic came together: flowers, light fog and soft, warm light from the setting sun.
Slovenia is perhaps the most picturesque small country I have visited, with craggy Alps, lakes, medieval villages, castles, church spires, waterfalls, canyons and enchanted forests. My childhood storybook vision played out in front of my camera one morning at Lake Bled.
Piran is a classic walled village on Slovenia's coast. At night, light, shadow, color, setting and mood all play together. Through my camera I was transported to a past time.
Zack Schnepf and I were constantly on the job in Colorado during the fall this year. Out of all the memorable scenes we photographed on that trip, this sunset storm light in the Gothic Valley near Crested Butte stands out.
Aspen trees, in addition to having brilliant fall color, have a cartoonish, human quality. To me this grove looked like a group of old friends getting together.
Another spectacular light show in the mountains of Colorado. The quality of light combined with the dramatic peaks, dusting of snow and yellow aspen made this one of the best outdoor visual experiences I had all year.
Another wonderful year of traveling, exploring, searching, watching, waiting. These are the photographs I took in 2013 which are my favorites. Which is your favorite? (Each image can be viewed larger by clicking on it.)
The Imnaha River runs through a wild and rugged canyon in Oregon's Hell's Canyon country. I was absolutely taken by it's beauty. Hard to believe such a place is hiding in a corner of Oregon. It's a world apart from the popular Wallowa Lake area just 30 miles away.
5D Mark III, Polarizer, Handheld, 1/40 second @ f/16, ISO 200.