Review: John Batdorff’s Black and White: From Snapshots to Great Shots

One of my long-term goals for this blog is to do more reviews of photography books (and e-books).  Being something of an autodidact, Black and White: From Snapshots to Great Shotsmuch of my photography education has come from the pages of some very good books, so I understand what a powerful tool they can be for a beginning (or intermediate) photographer.  With my primary criteria of high expectations, I’m pleased to kick off a series of reviews by starting with John Batdorff’s excellent new book on black and white photography, Black and White: From Snapshots to Great Shots.

While the basic rules and concepts of digital photography apply (obviously) to black and white work as well as color, if you’re looking to produce quality work in monochrome there are some very specific things you need to know and keep in mind if you want to get great results.  Batdorff’s book–his third under the Peachpit Press imprint–is a great tool for getting you there.

While the focus of the book is black and white photography, Batdorff begins with a primer on basic photography (including the always-helpful inventory of what he shoots with, from lens choices to filters) and then leads you through the concepts specific to shooting in black and white.   In fact, his instruction on general digital photography is so thorough the book could easily work as an all-purpose photography guide.

Beautifully illustrated with Batdorff’s own photos as illustrative guides, he shows as much as he tells you how to tailor your shooting for black and white.  All of the photos are accompanied by EXIF data (or, the exposure specifics including ISO, f stop and aperture).  As he leads you through discussions on contrast, tonality, exposure and lighting, that info is enormously helpful in translating concept to reality.  Looking back at my own photography education, perhaps the greatest learning tool for me has been studying the EXIF info on images I liked, so I’m especially pleased to see that information included with all of the illustrative photos in this book.

Batdorff recognizes the enormous flexibility that digital photography has brought to the craft, and he rightly covers black and white photography from pre-visualization, to how you approach your images in the field, to how to handle images in post-processing.  The advantage of such broad instruction is that it gives the photographer options for how to handle his work for monochrome whether he’s going out with the specific goal of producing black and white work, or wants to convert existing images from color to black and white.  He even briefly covers printing images in the final chapter–so this is about as thorough a book as you’re likely to find on the topic.  Printing your own photos is a whole other world to learn (and I note this as I sit here eyeing my own newly-arrived Epson printer, still in its box), but it’s helpful having this cursory info, and a nice inclusion to round out the book.

He also covers multiple photography genres–while my work focuses almost exclusively on landscapes, I found his sections on portraits and photojournalism to be quite informative.  He even includes a basic lighting guide in the portraits section!

But I found the best part of the book–and the most exhaustive–to be his focus on how to approach black and white images in post.  My own biases may be showing here, but I’m greatly pleased with his strong recommendation of Adobe Lightroom and the Silver Efex Pro plugin as the best tools to use in post-processing.  He praises Lightroom 3 as being so thorough an editing tool that he only uses Adobe’s Photoshop about 5 percent of the time for processing; I find that ratio to match my own just about exactly.  The latest version of Lightroom is such a powerful–and powerfully good–processing program that you can get away with using that almost all the time unless you need to do some of the more complicated tasks better suited to Photoshop.  Coupled with its workflow functions and the outstanding Silver Efex Pro plugin, you’ll have all the tools you’ll ever need to produce stunning black and white images.  And Batdorff’s book leads you through black and white processing in those two programs in great detail.  If you’ve been depending solely on Lightroom presets to convert images to black and white, or just played around with the vibrance and saturation sliders to whittle a shot down to a basic monochrome, Batdorff will open up an entire world of processing possibilities for you–and give you control over finely tuned contrast and tone that you probably weren’t aware were at your disposal until now.

Batdorff’s writing style is as approachable as it is instructive, which makes this kind of book even more valuable.  He includes anecdotes of his own experiences in black and white photography (that accompany the gorgeous photos I’ve already mentioned), and each chapter concludes with four assignments–suggestions to practice all aspects of black and white photography, from the importance of telling a story with your images, to how to use filters in the field, to how to handle all those steps in post-processing that may be new to you.

Whether you’re just setting out to take photos with black and white expressly in mind, or are eyeing existing image files as potential good candidates for conversion to black and white, Black and White: From Snapshots to Great Shots will guide you through the steps necessary to produce great black and white images.  If you’re looking for a black and white photography class between the covers of a book, this is one you’ll want to check out.


I’ll be reviewing a few more books over the coming months, and next up will be Guy Tal’s new e-book, Creative Digital Printing, a timely review as I’m just beginning to learn the ins and outs of digital printing myself.




I’m joining PhotoVerse–and why you should get this app

I was recently invited to have my photos and blog included on the PhotoVerse iPhone and iPad app, and will appear on the next upgrade (which the developer tells me will be a major one).  I am delighted to be part of this app, and here’s why:

PhotoVerse is an aggregator for photographers–their work, their blogs and general photography news.  A bargain at 99 cents, this app will collect all the latest news, blog posts and photos into a single stream, eliminating the need for you to maintain scores of bookmarks or favorites.

From the developer’s description:

Introducing Photoverse: an app developed by Photographers for Photographers.Get it at 50% discount for limited times.Ever find that you are constantly juggling websites to find the latest content, reading the most thorough reviews, searching for the best tips and tricks?We were too, and that is why we created Photoverse – to cover the universe of Photography.

Photoverse collects information from multiple sources and blogs related to photography, pools them and presents them to you in an easy to read scrollable list.And you get to choose which of the many useful feeds go on that list. Whether it be a mashup of news websites, or blogs of top photographers or photography knowledge sharing resources – you decide from the ever expanding list that we frequently update.We even highlight featured and upcoming artists and websites which host works from different artists around the world.

And if you want to improve your knowledge, we also list workshops from prominet photographers.  All pages are rendered locally – so you never have to leave the application, unlike other readers out there.And in this view, you can even play videos and other media inline.Find anything interesting? Now, you can save that for later reading, or share it with friends via facebook, twitter or email using the iPhone’s email client.Not only that, the application works in both landscape and portrait mode.And it looks great on the iPad.

And even better, the upcoming upgrade will be a major one, allowing for much more customization by the user.  Blog feeds (which is where you’ll find me on the app) will now be customizable, with users able to hide or delete blogs that don’t interest them, as well as a bookmark feature that makes it easier for users to find blog posts by their favorite photographers.

There will be new content in every section, including a new section for wedding and portrait photographers.  Users will also notice faster download times on multiple feeds, and the developers hint there may even be a new “surprise” feature.  This is a great app to add to your iPhone or iPad whether you’re a working photographer or just someone who enjoys reading about photography.  At just 99 cents, you can’t go wrong.


Redesign done ahead of schedule! (and a review & plug for Photocrati)

Well, last Saturday rolled around and I had a decision to make–head for the eastern sierras for a marathon day of shooting at Owens Lake for my documentary project, or dive in to the upgrades and redesign my site was so desperately in need of.  Since I was still trying to catch up on sleep from my Utah/Arizona trip the previous weekend, I opted to plant myself in front of the computer and get to work and save the marathon shooting trip for a couple of weeks from now.

I use Photocrati’s excellent WordPress-based premium templates for photographers, and had been waiting to upgrade to their newest version.  I considered switching to different software just to change things up–there are several options out there to choose from–and ultimately decided to stick with Photocrati (and am so glad I did).  Here’s why: everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, is completely integrated in the most recent version of the software, and it’s 100 percent WordPress-based (which means it’s easy to manage and customize).  My problem with other software options were that nobody else offered everything–blog, galleries and e-commerce options–integrated in a way that could be completely contained on a single domain.  And many of the other programs also charge an additional monthly fee for use of their e-commerce tools–not Photocrati (a bargain at $79, all in).

The newest version of Photocrati includes dramatically improved and fully integrated galleries; no more plugins to deal with, which invariably brought with them the occasional glitch.  It’s the most headache-free gallery setup I’ve tried to date, and the display options are great, too (and a biggie for me is how well the new galleries handle vertical images).  They’ve also integrated–for free, I might add–an e-commerce option that sets up easily and works beautifully.  Previously, if you wanted to buy any of my prints you had to email me for a price quote, which is more of a hassle than I care to subject potential customers to.  Now you can go to the “Buy” page, choose whatever you want, and pay conveniently through PayPal.

The templates themselves are attractive, cleanly designed, and almost endlessly customizable.  The customization possibilities are characteristic of WordPress templates, and one of the reasons I really like some of the premium themes out there.  Surprisingly, one of the roadblocks I came up against over and over when looking at other software options was the inability to incorporate my blog–a big dealbreaker for me.  With Photocrati, I get all the benefits of a WordPress-based blog and I’m not stuck hosting it at a different domain.  If you’re shopping for software for your photography site, I highly recommend Photocrati.  They also donate a portion of the proceeds from software sales to the Photocrati Fund, which provides grants for photographers working on socially significant documentary projects, so the money you spend with them also helps fund a good cause.

Now that the redesign is all finished, I’ve been able to add several new images to my galleries from this year’s photo treks.  One of the shots I really like is this one of Delicate Arch in Arches National Park; I like it because it’s a personal reminder that sometimes the most interesting light we get is not necessarily the light we were hoping for when we ventured out to take a particular picture.

I’d long been looking forward to visiting this very famous arch, and hoped to catch it with some spectacular sunset color.  There was an impressive sunset with lots of brilliantly lit clouds–well to the west of the arch, and positioned in such a way that I wasn’t going to be able to include any of that drama in my shot of the arch.  What I did get, however, was an intensely illuminated arch with a dark and stormy sky behind it, creating a level of drama and contrast I had no way of expecting.  These occasions are small object lessons for me as a photographer, reminding me to keep an open mind and always watch for unexpected surprises in the light.

I’ll be off to Yosemite this weekend to check out the dogwood blossoms, raging waterfalls and the green lushness that makes spring in Yosemite Valley such a beautiful thing to behold–and to be ready for whatever surprises the light brings me.



Site redesign coming soon!

As I try to work around several bugs in the current website software I use, I realize it’s time for a complete design overhaul–which is no small task.  It’s been an extraordinarily busy winter and spring with my photography–a very good thing!–so as things settle down after Memorial Day weekend, I’ll finally have the time to devote to a site makeover.

One of the bugs I’ve been dealing with has been the inability to upload my new work to the gallery, and there’s a lot of work I’m excitedly waiting to add.  My most recent couple of trips have been return visits to the Arizona and Utah canyons and deserts, including a beautiful couple of days spent in the Cedar Mesa region in southern Utah.  One place I’d been looking forward to seeing was the “House on Fire” Anasazi ruin in Mule Canyon, pictured below.  While the ruin was the object of my photographic desire–and it did not disappoint–the canyon itself is one of the prettiest places I’ve had the pleasure of hiking.  If you’re ever in the area, Cedar Mesa is a beautiful place to explore with countless hiking trails and many ruins similar to this one.

In the meantime, you can keep up with what and where I’ve been shooting by exploring my Flickr photostream, where I post much of my work–sometimes in rather raw form.  Flickr is a wonderful online community for photographers–so much more than just a photo-sharing site–and I’ll be devoting a blog post to that topic in the coming days.

Until then, thanks for reading, enjoy the photos, and stay tuned for the new, improved site!


A little shameless self-promotion.

I wanted to throw up a quick blog post before heading out for a weekend of Big Sur photography.  It’s been a productive January so far, and I’ve scheduled the next three months with enough photo trips to keep me on the road just about every weekend.  I’ll be up at Yosemite a few times–most especially for the opening reception of the Yosemite Renaissance exhibition, which will feature two of my images; over in my favorite place on earth, the eastern Sierras, a few times; and even off to the Arizona/Utah desert for a return trip to the Wave and several other points of photographic interest that have been on my to-shoot list for a long time.

Last weekend’s trip yielded some nice images from Mono Lake, which I find especially interesting in the winter, as the snow-cloaked mountains make such a beautiful backdrop for that otherworldly landscape.

I also spent a little time in the Alabama Hills, a place I always come away from with the intention of devoting a full weekend to exploring, so rich are the prospects there.  I hope to finally do just that in the next month or two.

But the real purpose of this post is a little shameless self-promotion, so here we go.  I am delighted to be featured this week on photographer Bret Edge’s most excellent blog, as the first in a series of pieces he has planned for emerging female photographers.  You can find his piece, with a Q&A with me, here.  I’m honored Bret chose to include me in this series, and also encourage you to check out his photography, as he’s someone whose work I admire greatly and follow closely.

If you enjoy looking at beautiful photos of the great outdoors, you can see my best shots of 2010, along with approximately 160 other photographers’ ten-best lists, at Jim Goldstein’s blog.  He does this roundup every January, and I’m very happy to be included.  There are some amazing photographers on that list, and you will enjoy every minute you spend browsing their work.


My 10 Best Shots of 2010

In keeping with the tradition begun by Jim Goldstein, who is kind enough to aggregate these lists on his excellent blog, I’ve tried to narrow down what I think are my ten best shots of 2010.  I wrongly assumed this would be easy, but found it difficult to pare the list down below 16 or so.  But, after brutal self-editing, I have my list.  The one thing that jumps out at me about almost every image I’ve included is that the prevailing element from shot to shot is the light–light that I mostly planned to be in place for to capture, but occasionally light that surprised me, sometimes with beautiful results.

The first two shots, A Dream of Aspens and Precipice and Fog, are the two images of mine that have been chosen for inclusion in the upcoming Yosemite Renaissance exhibition–something I’m honored and excited about.

A Dream of Aspens
Precipice and Fog

Perhaps the most difficult thing of all was not allowing my list to be dominated by fall color images.  Fall is my favorite time of year, I have a near-obsession with aspen trees, and the color this year in the eastern Sierras was unprecedented in its intensity.  I was fortunate to come back with several images I really loved from those few weeks, but I’ll limit myself to one from the eastern Sierras, taken near Surveyor’s Meadow in Bishop Canyon, which embodies everything I love about the place–the soaring granite cliffs, rivers of aspens groves, and crystal clear Bishop Creek.

Fall Color in Bishop Canyon

Although I spend a great deal of time in and around the Sierras, I did manage to get in a longer trip to the desert southwest in Arizona and Utah this spring.  One of my favorite images from that trip is this detail from Upper Antelope Canyon, a stunning and otherworldly slot canyon near Page, Arizona.

Upper Antelope Canyon

On a couple of occasions this year, I was surprised with perfect blue hour conditions after waiting around for colorful sunsets that never quite materialized.  My favorite is this shot of the rock arch at Natural Bridges State Beach near Santa Cruz, where I also captured the rising full moon above the arch.

Arch Rock Moonrise

I’ve tried to capture more minimalist images this past year, because I find them personally interesting.  My favorite of these is this almost abstract shot of grass reflected in a vernal pond near Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite.  I was shooting very early in the morning, and the complete absence of any breeze made the mirror-like reflection possible.

Grass Abstract, Tuolumne Meadows
Grass Abstract, Tuolumne Meadows

One of my outings where sunset did materialize with some nice clouds and color was at Malibu Beach, near the municipal pier.  The light lasted a generously long time, which gave me the opportunity to play with different exposure times and shapes of the receding waves, and I’m especially pleased with this shot–it captured the light but lovely clouds decorating the sky, the beautiful pink color (made possible by the sun reflecting off a large bank of clouds just onshore), and the fanned-out remnants of a receding wave.

Malibu Pier at Sunset

Perhaps the single most productive photo trip I made this year came late in November on a trip to Yosemite.  I’ve long wanted to photograph the valley right after a snowstorm, and finally had my chance when a major winter storm was forecast with snow levels low enough to include the valley (and not just the high country).  I threw the snow chains in the trunk and headed for the park, arriving a few hours before the snowstorm began in earnest.  I woke–much to my immense delight–to well over a foot of snow in the valley, with snow still coming down heavily.  The entire valley was blanketed in pure white, and all the trees appeared sugar-frosted.  I came away with many images I really love, but for this list I’ll include a shot of El Capitan taken from Cathedral Beach, where I was fortunate to catch a very fleeting bit of sunlight as it moved across the face of El Cap.

Winter Light on El Capitan

Filed under “light that took me completely by surprise” is this image of the San Emigdio mountains, which just happen to be the hills on the north side of the Tejon Pass (also known to locals as the “grapevine”), on the west side of Interstate 5.  I travel this road many times a year, whether on trips to Yosemite, trips to visit family, or trips to other points north of Los Angeles.  I’ve often thought about stopping to photograph these hills, but either didn’t have time, or the light wasn’t right.  On a return trip from Yosemite, I drove right into some of the most breathtaking light conditions I’ve seen, so I pulled off the last exit before the ascent to the pass, got out of the car and started shooting.  There was a light dusting of snow at the top of the hills, and light rays were breaking through fast-moving storm clouds.  The hills had greened up nicely thanks to steady fall rainstorms, and I couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful subject.

Stormy Light on the San Emigdio Mountains

My final picture in my 10 best is a shout-out to my home city of Los Angeles.  Much maligned, and not always considered the most photogenic city, I find it a place filled with hidden gems (and do my best to explore those photographically when I can find time).  I took this image, cropped for a panoramic effect, after a weekend of steady rain and winds, which cleared the sky of fog, clouds and–yes, since this is LA–smog.  I had a perfectly clear sky when I captured the skyline from high up at Griffith Observatory, and it’s become one of my personal favorites, even though it’s not my typical natural landscape.

Los Angeles Skyline at Night

That wraps up the list–thanks for reading!


What responsibility does a landscape photographer have to her subject?

Tufa formations at Mono Lake silhouetted in predawn light.

An interesting and impassioned discussion broke out on the photo-blogosphere today over a photographer’s bad (and potentially damaging, and certainly illegal) behavior.  Photographer G Dan Mitchell suggested this may be a teachable moment, and I agree–so here are my two cents.

The debate centers on a photo of a photographer posted on Facebook (you can see the offending photo here).  Taken during a recent photography workshop at Mono Lake in California, the photo shows another photographer standing on one of the fragile tufa formations that make the lake so famous.  This is a protected area, signs on the trail to the lake clearly warn against climbing on or otherwise damaging the tufa, and it is, in fact,  illegal to do so.  Yet, there stood the photographer, proudly balanced on the rare and delicate limestone formations.

Tufa formations at Mono Lake, with the eastern escarpment of the Sierra Nevada in the background.

My first impression when I saw the picture this morning was outrage, laced with a little horror.  A landscape photographer should know better.  Period.  Not only does that picture of him standing on the tufa set a horrible example to photographers and non-photographers alike, not only has he potentially damaged the tufa, but bad behavior like that reflects negatively on all of us who carry tripods, and could ultimately lead to restricted access to fragile areas like the Mono tufa.  None of us want any of that, especially restricted access.

I began seriously photographing the sierras about two years ago–a relative newcomer, to be sure–but it doesn’t take long for this place to make a powerful impression on you.  There’s a reason John Muir, Ansel Adams and Galen Rowell were all so strongly drawn to the area, and it’s the same reason so many of us continue to go there at every opportunity, whether it’s to take pictures or just enjoy being up in the sierra high country.  And like every other wild place, the sierras deserve not just our respect and our emotional attachment, but likewise our stewardship.

As I’ve watched and learned over the last few years to  improve my skills as a photographer, I’ve noticed that almost every photographer I’ve looked to for guidance and inspiration–Dan Mitchell, Guy Tal, Steve Sieren, William Neill, Jim Goldstein (to name just a few among many, many others)–are all overtly conservation-minded, and speak eloquently on the importance of treading lightly in the wilderness we love so much.

As ambassadors for the wilderness, landscape photographers have a greater responsibility to preserve, protect, and speak out.  We should never get so focused on getting a good composition that we forget that responsibility and behave with such disregard for the very subject we’re capturing in images.  The concern for wild places extends beyond simply behaving ourselves when we’re out shooting–there have been several discussions recently on whether it’s a good idea to reveal specific locations lest they be overrun or, worse, damaged and destroyed.  I’m generally inclined to share information with other photographers, because I certainly wouldn’t have progressed to where I am now if others hadn’t shared with me–but when I see pictures like the one I mentioned at the beginning of this piece, I’m far less inclined to do so.  If this is how a photographer–a fellow traveler, a kindred spirit and steward–treats such a uniquely fragile place, should I really be so willing to share locations and potentially invite such trouble?  I’ll surely continue to do so, but with growing reluctance.

I’m off to shoot somewhere in the sierras this weekend–the weather will dictate where I land.  Hope to see some of you out there.  Oh–and please stay off the tufa!


Use your neighborhood as a classroom.

The mountain may have come to Muhammed, but I lack that kind of power–so, when I can’t swing a trip to the mountains or the coast or some other wild place, I try to find other, closer subjects for photography.  These rarely make it into the collection I consider portfolio-worthy, but they’re always a great creative learning tool for me.

The challenge for me is never to let my camera collect dust when I’m between trips.  I find myself getting a little restless when I’m not out snapping something, so I’ve started exploring places closer to home to flex and sharpen my skills and push myself out of my landscape comfort zone.

Some of my recent treks have taken me just down the street in my own Hollywood neighborhood to try a little street photography and night photography–and street photography at night.  Because that’s not what I usually spend my quality photography time on, it forces me to pay closer attention to composition and exposure, and in completely different ways from what I’m accustomed to.

It also gives me a RAW file petri dish, in a way, with a group of photos to play with in post-processing, trying out different fixes and treatments.  The results aren’t always great, but they’re great fun to play with, and I have come up with a few that I like.  This shot of the old Roosevelt Hotel brought to mind “old” Hollywood to me, so I did a cyan-heavy black and white conversion on the long-exposure night shot.

And a confession about this shot–I also made a mistake that I (hopefully) won’t make again: I forgot to remove my circular polarizer from the lens.  A circular polarizer is an absolute must for 99% of landscape photos, but there are times you don’t want it.  It prevents light stars–a beautiful effect–from developing in night shots, and you’ll notice the lights in this pic are mere glowing orbs instead.  I still like the pic, but it’s a goof I’ll write off as a learning experience.

Another “assignment” I like to give myself on these close-to-home treks is to choose a single lens, and shoot with that lens only for the entire time I’m out and about.  Depending on the lens I choose, that can be a bit of a challenge–but it also opens up a lot of possibilities.  This past weekend I decided to shoot Union Station in downtown Los Angeles, and decided to use only my 10-20mm wide angle lens.  The station is a wealth of arches, sleek art deco lines and long walkways, all of which make terrific subjects for wide angle compositions.

Finally, I headed to Malibu Pier a couple of weeks ago to take advantage of a minus tide that coincided with sunrise.  I was already looking forward to getting under the pier with the low tide to shoot the pilings and play around with long exposures on the water.  The sunrise itself was subdued and colorless, and while I was initially disappointed by that, it turned out to be a very good thing.  There was fog and a heavy marine layer, so while there was no “color” in the sunrise, there was even, subdued light that positively glowed around the pier, reflected off the water’s surface and lit the pilings from every angle.  I lucked into absolutely perfect conditions for shooting the pier, but didn’t realize it right away.

When I finally went to process the pics, I was surprised and happy with the results, and reminded myself that I don’t always have to hike into the high sierras to get a good shot.

Taking advantage of what my neighborhood has to offer keeps my skills sharp, keeps me shooting, and occasionally surprises me.  It’s a self-directed kind of education I highly recommend.


Scouting for locations in the Sierra high country

After an unusually long, cold, and very wet winter and spring, I was beginning to wonder if I’d EVER be able to get up into the Sierra high country this year.  The big thaw usually starts up in late May, but things were much slower this year–the Tioga Pass didn’t open until June 5, and most of the upper elevation backcountry was still heavily snowed in.

But once things do start to thaw, it doesn’t take long for the creeks to swell and lush green meadows to emerge for their beautiful if short-lived season.

I made a trek up to the eastern Sierras this weekend to do some work on my documentary project, and set aside some time to scope out the conditions in the high country for a photo trip next month.  We drove to one of my favorite places–Horseshoe Meadows–which is the southernmost and most easily accessible high elevation trailhead into the Sierra Nevada backcountry, a lucky thing for those of us in southern California.

One of the truly wonderful things about the eastern Sierras is that its unusually steep escarpment makes it almost ridiculously easy to get up into the high country.  Point your car west on almost any of the roads branching off of Highway 395, and in 15 or so miles you’ve ascended to 8,500 feet (or higher!).  For those of us who enjoy hiking and backpacking in the backcountry, this kind of access is a marvel.

The road to Horseshoe Meadows takes you right up to the trailhead at 10,000 feet, making for a relatively easy hike into the Cottonwood Lakes basin, and the Kern Canyon backcountry just beyond that.

The short summer and fall means access into these areas for only four to five months every year, so I’ll do my best to venture into the high country as much as possible this summer.  We’re headed back to Horseshoe Meadows in a few weeks to photograph the Cottonwood Lakes in the Golden Trout Wilderness, and have other trips planned to the Big Pine Lakes basin near the Palisade glacier, as well as the high country lakes near Paiute Pass west of Bishop, California.

These lakes are fed in part by glacial runoff, which contains fine silt that turns the waters at high elevation an almost impossible turquoise blue.  And that’s what I hope to capture this summer, hopefully more than once.  If you have any time at all–even just a weekend–I highly recommend a trip (even just a day hike) into some of these stunning areas.  It’s good for the soul.  The link below will take you to a short video I took at the meadow this weekend.

Horseshoe Meadows in the Golden Grout Wilderness


A new photo site, and a new home for my blog.

Welcome!  Some of you may have found your way here from my old WordPress blog, California and Beyond.  I recently decided to take a big step and set up my own photography site, a necessary step in becoming a professional photographer.  I didn’t want to abandon my blog altogether, so I decided to incorporate it into the new site.

I’ll try to post semi-regularly, and the subjects will range from everything to shooting locations and experiences in the field to my thoughts on the business and photography in general.  We’re reaching the time of year when landscape subjects aren’t at their best–no good sky, no exciting colors (mostly)–so I’ll have a little more time to concentrate on building this site and writing more frequently (I hope) before things get crazy again this fall when the aspens begin to turn.  I’ll probably write with some frequency about my documentary project on the Owens Lake, a subject near and very dear to my heart.

Thanks to all who’ve followed me so far, and I hope you’ll continue with me on my journey.