Friday, October 30, 2009

The zoom test

I recently wrote about minimizing the amount of gear you carry when weight is an issue and you want to challenge yourself to be a better photographer, today I’m going to tell you how to create more opportunities while carrying less gear. First if you happen to own a prime lens, great they are usually sharper then a zoom lens, but to cover a larger viewing range you need to carry more of them. So leaves those at home (remember the weight issue) and bring along a nice zoom lens. If you shoot with a 35mm (film or sensor size) I like to have a 28-70 and a 70-200, if your sensor is smaller I would drop the 28-70 and bring a 17-40 along with the larger zoom. With those two lenses’ you can cover just about everything. Now here is the challenged a scene set up your tripod and camera then use the two zoom lenses and shoot wide work your way in tight. Let me know how it works.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Coastal waterfall

If you haven’t noticed I love water, I love to photograph it, play in it, drink it you name it if it involves water I’m for it. So when I found out a few of my friends had just come back from a little trip up Highway 1 in California and saw this waterfall I knew I had to check it out if time permitted. And time allowed me to. The area surrounding the waterfall was beautiful a bit dangerous if you don’t know what poison oak looks like. Remember leaves of three leave them be! But I have to admit when I got close to the fall my first thought was I have to rappel down this and there has to be more falls up above and below! I’ll share that adventure with everyone as soon as it happens for now the peaceful waterfall.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Coastal relaxation

Last week I drove up California’s Coast on Highway 1 to see what I might find. What I found was hazy over cast conditions and that just wasn’t what I was imagining. To be honest I was hoping for partially cloudy sky to block out the sun. Instead I got diffused light most of time I was there but I did what any smart photographer does and I waited and relaxed and napped along the coast. Then I got bored and found hard to get to places avoided getting soaked by the crashing waves in the attempt to find the perfect shot for another day. I think I may have. But as the sun began to set I had to attempt a few photos and here are two of them.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Storm over Bridgeport

Everybody loves a good sunset, watching the sun cut through the clouds as it sets over the mountains or the ocean. But don’t forget to look away from the sun and see what else is happening. I was just relaxing on a ridge after a day of hiking shooting photos and bit of fly fishing when a storm in the opposite direction of the sunset lit up. That’s Bridgeport in the distances I love this area of the Sierra Nevadas’ it has a little bit of everything.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Cooking in the Dark

A typical photo adventure with me means two meals usually in the dark and one meal in the light. When you are up before the sun to catch the first magic hour it may just be some granola and water but it’s worth it. Which means dinner usually isn’t until the sun is well on its way to the other side of the Earth. A good headlamp helps when the moon and stars don’t give enough light to see if that’s a bug in your food or just pepper, either way its flavor! On this trip I stayed in a campground with picnic tables and the last group left a few rocks on the table, and who am I to move the rocks. They actually work nicely in this selfportrait.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Whats in my camera bag

People always ask what type of camera I have and state that it must be awesome to take pictures like that. My response is the camera is nice but I’m the one that tells the camera what to do and not to do. If I create a great image I used my tools correctly if I don’t create a great image then I failed, not the camera. So are you wondering what I carrying in my camera bag? That has a simple answer, my camera gear. Okay not a fair answer but more important then gear is how you use it. There are so many great tools on the market but if you don’t know how to use them they are useless. Two recommendations for you: first learn how to use everything in your bag well, second learn how to leave it all behind and only take one lens and a camera body. There well be times you don’t want to carry 30 pounds of camera gear into the backcountry. Don’t be afraid to try new tricks either for example try shooting through a fogged up lens you never know what you might end up with.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Vantage Point

Since I post a lot of canyoneering images I thought I would share a canyon scouting photo. Before we enter an unexplored canyon we gather as much info on it as possible. This can mean spending a day or two walking ridge lines to view as much of it as possible. You can never have to much information. This is Epic Canyon in Hawaii.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Location searching

Finding the right location to shoot photos or film a video/movie can be tough but as long as you are out there looking I guarantee you will eventually find something that works. We found this wonderfully dirty area to shot in by doing just that, looking. So get out there look around even if you have nothing in mind, you never know what you might find! In the photo here is Michael Delano filming a car review for Kelly Blue Book.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Nature's Face

Some photos I would rather hear what others see then describe what I saw and why I photographed it. So I reverse the roll and ask you what you see. Feel free to comment.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Don't forget

I remember being at camp just getting ready to start cooking dinner when I noticed some clouds that had rolled in quickly. I grabbed my camera and ran up the mountain side to snap a few pics. What I forgot to do was to raise my food back up into the trees out bear reach. So when I returned back to camp I found my chocolate gone the peanut butter had bite marks in it and the gram crackers were sampled. Naughty bear!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Break the Rules

Brett Holman scouting locations in Anza Borrego.

Don’t be afraid to break the rules. I know the basic rule of thumb is photograph at the magic hours of the day, early morning and late evening. I also know that silhouettes should have some detail in the shadows. But sometimes you have to break the rules shoot when the sun is harsh and leave out the detail, painters do it all the time why can’t we? What I’m saying is if you are trying to create a certain feeling to your image throw out the rules and go for it, just be aware some people might not like that you broke them!

Note: Check out to see some of Brett's incredible photographs.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Calming Excitement

......Canyons can be very intense and calming at the same time. Since I had captured the images to show the intensity I decided to get up early the next morning (nothing new for us photographer types) and make my way back to that little ledge and create a few images to show the calming experience I have while canyoneering....... this was taken from a story I wrote about Lower Summit Creek last fall.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Behind the falls

...... As I dropped lower the intensity grew. After a good pounding I finally slide behind the main flow where water droplets ignore gravity and dance in front of my eyes. But wait at this point it gets really crazy since I’m behind a curtain of water raging into a bottomless pool (not really bottomless but I sure couldn’t find it) remember I’m still on rappel a few feet above a pool of water with a major under current that wants to pull me down against the rock and keep me there. The only way out is to push off through the wall of water and let go of the rope and send my body far enough to escape the undertow and grab a tag line to safety. We set up the rope to be just long enough so as we enter the pool the rope passes through the prana (rappel device) and you are free. The tag line is in the hands of long time friend Darren and he knows just what to do if something goes wrong. So I send myself flying through the waterfall and splash into the water, smiling big I forget to close my mouth and swallow a big gulp of water. I pull myself out of the pool and spit out a little water and laugh it up with my friends. Since I was the last down I look at them and say, “Lets do it again!” I do it once more then tell them they have to do it for a third time because I spotted a ledge I can shoot from down canyon. I climb up bust out my camera and grab some great images.......

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Epic Canyon

I put together a short documentary a few years back on a first descent of Epic canyon in Maui and although the purpose for being there was to shoot the film I had to carry my still camera as well. I was sharing filming duty so when the video camera wasn't in my hands my other camera was.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Fruity Pebbles

After spending a week or so camping you start to run out of sweet things to eat and sometimes Mother Nature reminds you. I had been up in the Eastern Sierras for just about a week creating photos and exploring when I came across this beautiful scene. I instantly thought of Fruity Pebbles then of Skiddles. On the drive back home I made sure to find a box of Fruity Pebbles to snack on.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Living the life

I’m reminded of a passing conversation I had with a backpacker in the sierras every time I take the first step of an adventure “Aren’t we lucky to be out here doing what we love?” I always respond in my head YES and while I’m out capturing the adventure I make sure to involve myself and not just be a spectator. It’s always a blast trying to capture an image of myself living it.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Water has sparked emotion in me since I was a kid playing Rambo in the rain waters near my house. When I was first introduced to the adventure sport of canyoneering I was excited, when I descended my first canyon with flowing water I was in heaven. Being able to create an image to show the excitement is icy on the cake.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Buttermilks

Another passion of mine is climbing and it is easy to find other people to share that with. All you have to do is go somewhere there is climbing and start talking to people. On this day I was actually climbing and shooting with fellow photographer and adventurer Brett Holman at the Buttermilks near Bishop California. What a great day for climbing and shooting! FYI this boulder is named Get Carter.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Key hole

I love adventure even if the adventure is returning to a familiar spot. On my way to visit my folks in their soon to be finished dream house in Utah I made a pit stop in Zion National park. I had a chance to visit with good friend and adventurer Darren Jeffrey over some food and while revisited Key Hole canyon. What a blast testing my healing Achilles tendon in the super slot canyons of Zion! Key Hole is an easy canyon with three short raps and a few down climbs but it gives you the chance to experience a super slot. Low light and tight walls make for some challenging shooting but how much fun would things be if they were easy?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

It only takes once

Most of us go to Joshua Tree National park to climb or see a Joshua Tree but if you don't remember to look down you may miss the beauty lower to the ground. But if you forget the beauty always finds a way to remind you.