Category Archives: Location

Cottonwoods

I really enjoy photographing autumn color.  In the mixed hardwoods of the eastern US, the beech/maple/oak forest, the trees present a wash of color, even a painterly effect.  Not so on the high plains and prairies.  Here the autumn color is that of the cottonwood trees, which line every local water source.  In contrast to the mixed reds and oranges of the eastern autumn, cottonwoods show only one color: yellow gold.  But be out photographing when the trees hit peak color, and the intensity is overwhelming.  Here are a couple of shots from two weeks ago in central Montana.  No, I wasn’t intentionally there to photograph the cottonwoods, in fact I was just passing through the region headed elsewhere, but who could resist?

 

 

Elephants

As some of you may know, the trip mentioned in my last blog post was to Botswana.  I’ll say right here, Botswana is a great wildlife photography destination (the very first subject I photographed was a leopard, not a bad way to start!).  Toward the end of the trip I had the opportunity to spend one afternoon in a “bunker blind” at an elephant waterhole.

 

 

 

 

Permafrost.

For Earth Day, 2013.

Permafrost, exposed and melting. Near Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen.

Aurora Borealis

Shortly after the Tucson workshop, I traveled to Fairbanks, Alaska, to photograph the aurora borealis, the northern lights.  The last time I shot the aurora I was using film…digital cameras were still in there infancy.  And what a difference digital makes!  On this trip I used both my Nikon D4 and D800E, at shutter speeds between 6 and 20 seconds with the 14-24mm and 24-70mm lenses wide open at f/2.8, and ISOs of 1600, 2200, and 3200.

The northern lights, the aurora borialis.

 

The northern lights, the aurora borealis.

 

 

TUCSON WORKSHOP

I’ve just returned from teaching Vision workshops in Tucson, Arizona, with Jack Dykinga and Justin Black.  In our second session it snowed…an extrememly rare event for Tucson, and the snow only lasted part of one day…but for a short time the desert was magical.  FYI, I highly recommend the workshops that the three of us teach.  These are very intensive, small group sessions (three instructors, ten clients).  See www.visionarywild.com for information on workshops, tours, and expeditions.

 

Snow covers the desert near Tucson, Arizona.

 

Snow on saguaro and prickly pear cacti, Arizona.

 

Four Wheel Campers

A problem facing landscape photographers in the western US is the vastness of the region.  It’s often a very long distance from a good location to the nearest lodging.  Consequently, most of the nature photographers I know who live here have some sort of self-contained vehicle, so that they can stay on-site.

I just got back from southern Utah, where a group of photography friends got together to spend a week in the remote back country.  This was really just a social gathering, but with some very serious photography tossed into the mix.  What set this gathering apart, though, was another connection.  All of us have four-wheel drive pickup trucks (from Toyota Tacoma to full-sized GMC) with a popup camper mounted in the truck bed.  More specifically, we’ve all bought camper models manufactured by a California company:  Four Wheel Campers.  Yes, this is a plug for their products.  I’ve owned a Four Wheel Camper for a number of years now – and am planning to upgrade to a new model this coming spring – and have nothing but good to say about both the campers themselves, and the company.  The company definitely understands photographers as Tom Hanagan, the owner of Four Wheel Campers, is a Nikon shooter himself.

The truck camper is my base-camp, my home on the road, my office in the wilderness – with all the creature comforts of stove, refrigerator, furnace, 85-watt solar panel, queen bed, and lots of storage room.  The weather can be awful, but I remain dry and warm, able to work on my laptop, cook a meal or make coffee, or read with a glass of wine at hand.  And I can set up camp – or break camp and be on the road – in just a few minutes at most.

For specific details, check out their website:  www.fourwh.com.

Here are a few photos from my trip.

Rock and cracked mudFirst lightAgave and lichened rocksIce crystals over streamLake Powell sunsetSunrise on Burr TrailRocks and cracked mudHoodoos at sunriseTemple of the Moon by moonlightSunset light on ridgeWeathered juniper in sandMorning light on hoodoos

 

Salar de Uyuni

Earlier this year I had the opportunity to photograph a location I had always wanted to visit:  the Salar de Uyuni in southwest Bolivia.  This is the largest salt flat on earth, covering over 4,000 square miles (over 10,000 square kilometers).  The salt is mined by hand, shoveled into pyramids to drain, before being shoveled once again by hand onto trucks.  “Flat” is an apt description of the Salar, as the surface varies by less than one meter over the entire expanse.  I timed my visit to be just after the rains, when the flats are covered by a few inches of water, as I wanted reflections in this giant mirror.

 

Salar de Uyuni

 

Salar de Uyuni

 

Salar de Uyuni

 

Salar de Uyuni