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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.