You can’t deny the power of the Tetons. Mormon Row has always been a destination to see. But when the crowds of sightseers make their way back to their campsites you can really get a unique perspective of this historic site. Things fall into line and I’m transported back to a time when the protection of the Tetons is the difference between a house and a home. I imagined myself coming home from a long journey. I hug my wife and kids and kick off the shoes by a warm fireplace. Then the sun sets, the cold washes over and I realize, it’s many miles to home. Time to hit the road yet again.
Taken in Thailand which seems like a lifetime ago I came across a story on a lillypad. The story of a mother and child blooming in an unforgiving environment. This is dedicated to my youngest baby brother Ross and his relationship with our late mother Amy, who I miss very much.
On our last day in Yosemite my photography partner Derek and I had packed it in and head home with a few decent moments,but nothing spectacular. Then the snow came falling. We stopped the truck, running around this lake like little kids reveling in the snow storm. Playing with this image later I played with the orientation of the image, flipping it upside down, feeling lost in the snow but still at peace. I no longer know which side is up, and that feels pretty good to me.
Lights Over MacDonald
My feet are freezing and the skin has shriveled up into prunes at sunset. I try not to lose my balance on the amazingly colored rocks of McDonald Lake. I know the stars will be out in a few hours. I just need to stay a little while longer. I shuffle from side to side. The camera never moves on the tripod. The mountains glow, the still lake reflects and the tail end of the milky way streaks across the Northern sky. It lights my way back to the car and a good night’s sleep. Just another night for McDonald, a revelation for me.
What Are You Looking At?
One of many stops along the road to Red Lodge, Montana I came across this field of grazing cows. These two were busy gossipping, thoughtless to everything else in the world, when they caught my long lens staring at them. I've intruded on their quiet moment, but they don't seem to mind much. They remind me to slow down and enjoy laying in the field and taking it easy, because what else is there to do really??
Just outside Yosemite is when the colors really started to change in early October. Passing by I saw this dirt road passing through this gate of Aspens as hot yellow blazed over the green. This was my passage into Teton and the gateway to a land of color.
Somewhere deep into 16 Mile Road in deep into rural Montana a house laid abandoned and cold. A flock of birds burst into flapping to escape my presence and I fumble with my camera, narrowly escaping a heart attack. Burned out furniture, rotting walls and no evidence that there was ever running water or electricity. I imagine the family that lived year a lifetime ago or more, and how different we must be from each other. I shook off the thought and headed back to my Jeep with air conditioning and Sirius XM radio.
No Place Like Home
This little whisp of a cloud makes a tiny tornado in the distance. My eyes go black & white and I'm transported back to Kansas. There's no place like home. There's no place like home. There's no place like home.
Leap Of Faith
I've lived a good part of my life in fear. Afraid that my efforts in work or love might be rejected. Afraid that if I didn't work fast enough, long enough that I couldn't get by financially. Afraid to put myself out there to the world and receive judgment. Inspired by moments like this one, imagining taking a header right off this pier I thought, what do I have to lose? There's no going back now.
Observing animals when I'm not noticed, or at least when they've given up noticing me as a possible threat, is one of my favorite things to do as a photographer. This tight knit pack of horses graze and play and as the day winded down to a close, head home as the clouds just begin to threaten a storm. Huddled together the time to play is over and it's time to take shelter.
Splash Of Color
A ray of light flashes through the clouds lighting this patch of Aspens. It makes it's own compsition and splashes a pallette of pinks, oranges, yellows and greens. I was just there to see and caputure this unique and fleeting moment. Quoting Ferris Bueller, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."
Look Behind You
One of my favorite moments as a landscape photographer. I'm all set up at Oxbow Bend along with the other twenty landscape photographers that showed up before sunrise for that perfect moment when the sun just peeks up over the horizon and the alpin glow beams the tip of the Tetons. It felt all wrong in that cluster of photographers, capturing the same shot as the rest of these guys. So I did what I learned as a portrait photographer a long time ago. I turned around. This steaming world of color was just behind me. I reveled in being the one in the pack turned opposite. Either blind or brilliant.
No Way Home
While photographing a nearby stream, wrestling with a tripod that just wouldn't level out, I looked up. Sometimes a scene just hits you. In photography I'm looking for lines and shapes. And this tiny house from the turn of the century seems so 2 dimensional Flat shapes that make up this tiny home dropped in front of the Tetons. The simplicity took me to a simpler time when I thought I would be a kid forever.
The Flame That Burns Twice As Bright (Burns Half As Long)
The title is stolen from Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu but succinctly explains how I felt making this little composition in the blazing aspens of Grand Teton. These colors burn so brightly but it's such a fleeting time. I feverishly captured as much as I could to preserve it. As simple of an image as it is I could stare at this all day long.
I was inspired by "Where's Waldo" (if you're old enough to get that reference) when I saw this flock of sheep going about their lazy fall day somewhere in the Uintas. Once i saw that lone black sheep hidden in the flock, I couldn't unsee him.
I've struggled a long time with the concept of eating meat. I detest factory farming. I Seeing he deplorable ways in which animals suffer through an uncomfortable adn unnatural life to be slaughtered and packaged for casual consumption on a plate where half goes to waste on a plate when thrown out. The concept is horriffic to me on levels. But I was raised on meat, I love to cook, it's a part of everyday life. While I was driving like a maniac through some country road looking for the perfect sunset shot I came head to head with this heifer who stared at me, calm as a hindu cow. Our eyes locked as I grabbed my camera and slowly caputured this moment before she quickly scuttered away. I considered Photoshopping out her green tag to call more attention to her eyes in this engaging moment and I realized how dischonest taht would be. In this silly cow's eyes I saw dignity. I was ashamed of every buying a steak in Safeway.
The "Five Lands" of along the coast of the Italian panhandle is a delicate and beautiful place. These little villages are built right into the mountain cropping in a seemingly haphazard, colorful way. The
Green River is snaking it's way through the Canyonlands at sunset. Dead Horse Point is one of the most otherworldly, if not disorienting views from my time in the Utah desert. Moments like these it's hard to believe there isn't magic in the desert, only if your eyes are open to receive it.
L'Amore É Un Campo Di Battaglia
Or in english, as Pat Benatar once sung, "Love Is a Battlefield." The poppy became a symbol of sleep, peace, and death long before became a remambrance of the fallen of World War I. My girlfriend Jessica and I had seen a long, hard road during our relationship. It was during one of the really good times on a drive through Siena, Italy when we came accross this poppy field. We worked together, carrying a borrowed ladder from the turn of the century into this field at sunset. A veteran of war herself, this image is dedicated to her and the fellow Marines she served with. Hoorah.
Trillium Lake is magical by morning. And each one is different, unique. The clouds obscure Mt. Hood and you wait to see if it will reveal itself. My meditation teacher explains of the 'clear blue sky' veiled by clouds and it's through sitting in silence we can see through to the truth within. These clouds are our thoughts, blurring consciousness within. I may not have cleared the fog yet, but I get a misty peek at the power that lies beyond the clouds, and I will keep trying.
I've photographed many views of Mt. Rainier but Grand Park is a powerful place to view it. It's a long hike to get to this wide open place, the path to the stratovolcano beckoning me to go further. Considering it, the last light opened up these beautiful colors before it quickly faded into dark. Then I thought about bears and thought it best to turn around and get back to camp.
Living in the desert it's not every day that I get to look out into the Pacific Ocean. Standing on the beach, wet toes in the sand, breathing to the rhythm of the waves rolling in and pulled back by the current is always a meditative experience. Standing under Scripps Pier, gazing into the tunnel of symmetry created by the columns, I feel as if I'm pulled into the small doorway open at the end. There's time to imagine what lies beyond that gateway as the camera opens itself for 30 seconds during the push/pull of the waves against the stillness of the bridge. Walking up and down hills with a tripod and camera over my shoulder I have trekked up mountains, into rivers, down waterfalls and through junglers. The gateway beckons to go further. Who knows what excitement waits on the other side??
Life is complicated. It's busy. It's messy. When I'm on a walkabout with my camera, tripod slung over my shoulder there's lots of principles of design to look for when looking for a good picture. Lines and patterns and shapes and colors. Mostly, whether in a photo or life, what I'm looking for is simplicity. Passing by this short pier on the shore of Lake Tahoe I found a little slice of the uncomlicated and paused for a couple of minutes while the shutter released and the camera silently inhaled the light. I was probably tresspassing... it was worth it.
I hadn't seen snow in years and the Lincoln Highway twisting its way to Tahoe was a winter wonderland. For a change I was driving alone. My photography partner Derek was at the wheel and I had my head stuck out the window like a golden retriever. I called for him to stop to get a shot. This wave of mountain top in the distance, the greens of the trees so bright against the snow. I took a nip of whiskey off my flask and hiked into the snow. It was about to be a good day.
“Only root karate come from Miyagi. Just like bonsai choose own way grow because root strong you choose own way do karate same reason.” Maybe it's a copout to steal a quote from Karate Kid III. Still, you have to wonder about the power of this bonsaii tree growing from a rock in Lake Tahoe, choosing a hard path in life. I picture myself as that tree, fighting for survival, choosing a hard path, just because I can.
Courthouse Butte at night. Just a little light from the town of Sedona in the distance is reflected and the tail end of the MIlky Way seems to waft through. Deep in the night it's hard to see a foot in front of you, but the camera tells a different story, pulling the dreamy colors of the desert into focus.
I've heard many times about the power of the energy vortex of Sedona, Arizona. Forever the skeptic, I climb Bell Rock, doing my best to keep an open mind and open chakras. The clouds part just a little bit to illuminate the skyline with some magic. Did I feel the vortex?? Not really. But I cannot deny the awe of this special place.
Riding 'backpack' on a moped through Genoa, Italy with my host Roberta careening through traffic was a harrowing and exhilirating adventure I will never forget. Once I was able to capture my breath we wandered the streets and settled into a bay where we drank wine and observed the locals lounging the day away. This perfectly Eurpean striped boy was climbing the narrow wall of a long abandoned and graffitied restaurant. I loved the his pose and the message above which I can almost translate: "Only the pure can find salvation from the rubbish."
I've always had a rebellious streak in me. I'm not much of a fan of rules and regulations. Taken right around the corner of my photography partner Derek's property in Livemore, California, this speed limit sign, shot to death, always makes me smile. It's the rebellious spirit of California shining through.
A classic view of the famed Incan ruins and my one and only opportunity to capture it in early morning. It was a hard fought trek to get here, 4 days through the Inca trail. The long days and sore legs made this moment all the more worth the reflection of the natives and explorers past that got to witness it. The friends I made along the way in Cusco, Peru and beyond is what I remember the most on this trip. This image will always take me back there.
A truly collaborative portrait, we can’t claim this iconic view as our own. This one is for Ansel Adams. It was his vision that made Yosemite so iconic. His technical lighting theory that made it so perfect. We just follow in the tradition of his legendary work, hoping for a sunset that’s just a little more special. Oranges, reds and purples highlighting the alpine glow of El Capitan and Half Dome that keep our spirit of adventure alive and well.
Before The Storm
It felt like beginners’ luck. We had photographed a million weddings, a million portraits and a million corporate meetings and head shots. Yosemite and landscape photography was new to us. 3 days later we weren’t sure if we were going to capture anything special. And that’s when the storm clouds came rolling in. The light changed, everything changed. And finally, Yosemite revealed itself. This was the beginning of something special. We could see the forest from the trees and what we knew about our chosen craft would never be the same again.
There are many images of Horseshoe Bend, but this one is mine. Until you see it for yourself on that hike down to the Colorado River from Route 89, you can't feel power of this special place. The light snowfall and the cloudy sky made for a beautiful streak of color in the cold morning. I stood carefully on the slippery rock in awe, if not a little intimidated by this powerful scene.
Antelope Canyon is famed for its slot canyons and has many vitiors to prove it. The echoes of all the voices passing through pass through the endless compositions of desert color.
Growing up on Long Island, New York I mostly dreamed of getting out, exploring new and interesting places. It's been a long time since I've been gone and while I've never regretted the decision, I keep finding my way back there for friends, family and the best damn pizza in the world. On my last trip out there I went out to revisit deeper, away from the suburbs. There you will find beautiful farmland, vineyards, lovely people with accents and attitudes and beaches unlike any other in the USA. Looking down at the texture of this simple pier it took me back to a barefoot and carefree time. I remembered a worry free childhood, grateful. Thanks mom and dad.
If you want to capture the magic of a place you go there at sunrise. Snow had fallen over Tahoe and I am knee-deep in it on the lake’s shore. And I was late. Derek woke up before sunrise, despite a wine hangover, and was exploring the lake. I rushed from the motel as the sun rose, looking frantically for a picture, any picture, my head pounding and my feet freezing. Panic breaths as I set my tripod and camera a settings and the fire of sunrise climbed the mountains. I slowed my breath, calmed my rattled mind and found my still moment in the frost of the snow and the glass of Lake Tahoe.
Pigeon Point At Night
The milky way was up there, we knew it was up there. It was hovering just so faintly above the lighthouse. The little trailer that served as shelter from the cold was just in the distance behind us. The whiskey buzz in our heads did not aid our ability to capture the magic. But we did it.
If you’ve ever had some wine with the Eddys at the Purple Orchid you can attest to how difficult it can be to wake before sunrise… all that Livermore valley wine the night before. But when one eye catches that morning fog rolling in over the orchard at dawn, who can resist? The mist is rolling towards me through the rows of manzanilla trees and I’m lifted off the ground, if just for a minute… then it’s time for coffee!
The Pigeon Point lighthouse was the destination on the 101. The stars would be coming out soon. As the sun hit the horizon it bathes the bay in a warm glow. The tide is pulling away revealing everything beneath. The lighthouse in our distance keeps watch. Sometimes when you’re looking for one thing, you find another.
Tucked deep in the middle of nowhere Colorado I came to the tiny town of Phippsburg (population 227). Just passing through and I was struck by a nostalgic feeling of Americana. Like I was revisting a time and place I had never been to before.
When you're traveling through the country with a trailer and no set plans it can be difficult to find a place to camp for the night. When you're photographing in National Parks this poses an even greater challenge. Just outside Grand Teton if you explore Bridger-Teton National Forest you can easily find a campsite like this. This was my view during my mid-day breaks from photographing. The clouds keep moving offering a view of Buffalo Fork as it winds it's way towards Snake River. Interrupting my Kraft macaroni & cheese lunch the light cut through the ominous mid-day clouds long enough for me to snag this delicate, fleeting moment.
Long Way Down
Anyone can visit Tokatee Falls at Umpqua National Forest. And you should, the waterfall is breathtaking. It takes a brave heart to climb the makeshift rope to the bottom while site seers stare in disbelief. What lies below is a green paradise to wander.
In my pursuit of the ‘perfect’ mountain shot I don’t believe I ever have nor can succeed. It’s all been done, the world all mapped out and the paths all beaten. I don’t seek perfection anymore. But damn if mother nature doesn’t provide sometimes. The colors in Grand Teton blossomed and the clouds streaked over a snow capped Mt. Moran just before sunrise. It was the beginning of one of the more amazing autumn color seasons in recent Wyoming history.
Broken Top Reflections
Rain is pouring down over Mt. Broken Top and the day must be a wash to get any images of the Cascades. Cold and wet we sat in the Jeep drinking lukewarm beer overlooking Sparks Lake. The rain stopped, clouds parted and the colors bloomed. Sparks became a mirror to the clouds as the storm gave way to calm.
You can get lost at Lavender Valley. It’s a sea of rows of purple that mesmerize. Mt. Hood stands powerfully in the distance. When the two come together with the sun burning it’s last light, in the west it’s hard to put it into words. All lines reach toward the mountain like a magnetic pull, and for the first time all day we can really see.