Calla Lilies

Calla Lilies, Robben Island, South Africa
Taken on Robben Island, South Africa, on August 14th, 2008

Robben Island is well known as the political prison which held Nelson Mandela for many years until his release in 1990. Now a tourist spot and protected area, Robben Island is home to many members of nature’s kingdom, including rabbits, deer, penguins, and the Calla lily, a beautiful plant with rich green leaves and striking white and yellow flowers.


Banner Peak over Garnet Lake

Banner Peak over Garnet Lake

The Story Behind This Photograph:

Taken at Garnet Lake beneath Banner Peak in the Ansel Adams Wilderness on July 27th, 2008

Sometimes it’s difficult to imagine how beautiful certain places on the planet can be. Garnet Lake in the high Sierra, with its clear, clean waters, pond-studded granite peninsulas, and spectacular backdrop, is one of those places. While camped there in the summer of 2008, I got up early one morning to find Garnet’s waters glassed-out to a mirror’s smoothness and the sun’s rays diffused warmly over Banner Peak, all of which made for an amazing photo-op.

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Mt. Ritter and Banner Peak on a Summer Morning

Mt. Ritter and Banner Peak, Ansel Adams Wilderness, Eastern Sierra

Behind the scenes of this photo

Taken in the meadows above Ediza Lake overlooking Mt. Ritter and Banner Peak in the Ansel Adams Wilderness on July 26th, 2008

Surrounded by the Minarets, Mt. Ritter, and Banner Peak, Ediza Lake and its environs are surely among the brightest jewels in the high Sierra crown. Above the lake there is an endless series of terraced meadows that are so perfect and manicured they almost look landscaped. Numerous creeks, flush with snowmelt, cascade through the meadows, creating dozens of gurgling waterfalls. And in late July wildflowers of all varieties and colors spring up from the grass, covering the hills with reds, yellows, purples, and whites.

I had scouted this area the afternoon before and knew that come sunrise a view looking up at Mt. Ritter and Banner Peak would be ideal. I picked out a number of spots where the flowers and streams combined in a pleasing aesthetic. Then in the morning it was only a matter of analyzing the alpenglow on the peaks and choosing the spot that looked best to my eye in the moment. And voila, this photo was created.

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Thank God It’s Friday

Lunada Bay sunset, Palos Verdes Peninsula, Los Angeles seascape

Taken at Lunada Bay, Palos Verdes Peninsula, Los Angeles, California on May 23rd, 2008

On the afternoon of Friday the 23rd, I observed that the sky above Los Angeles was unusually full of layer upon layer of differently-textured clouds. Knowing the sunset could be spectacular, I drove to the Palos Verdes peninsula and hugged the roads along the western coast. I managed to find a vacant lot with a steep path down the cliffs to the beach, which was covered with a series of rocky spits reaching out into the ocean. As the sun set, it lit up the layers of clouds in a light show that was nothing short of unforgettable.


Mojave Poppies at Sunrise

Mojave Poppies near Cottonwood Springs, Joshua Tree National Park

Behind the scenes of this photo

Taken in Joshua Tree National Park, California on February 24th, 2008

The winter of 2008 started off as a wet one, which proved fortuitous for the desert wildflowers. On this weekend in February I arrived in Joshua Tree to find carpets of flowers of all colors covering the desert floor. Wanting to be near the action come morning, I hiked about a ways into the park, pitched my tent, and slept surrounded by wildflowers. Early the next morning I woke before the sun and raced up to a slightly higher elevation where the poppies were blooming in full force. Then, once the sun rose above the horizon, illuminating the poppy fields and turning the clouds into bright nuggets of color in the sky, I snapped this photo.

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Rock and Leaf Textures

Taken in the Sierra Tuolumne River Canyon near Tuolumne, California on February 10th, 2008

Wanting to shoot some river scenes, I drove out to the scenic Tuolumne River in Northern California. After a fair bit of hiking around, I was feeling a little befuddled by the utter lack of the grand river vistas I was searching for. I then decided to turn my attention to a smaller scale which is when I noticed the contrasting and vibrant textures of this oak leaf and the lichen-covered granite boulder on which it was resting.

Weathered Tree at Sunset

Valley Oak at sunset near Knight's Ferry, California

Taken in the Sierra Nevada Foothills near Knight’s Ferry, California on February 9th, 2008

On my way to visit family in Northern California, I was brought to a halt by a two-mile-long backed-up line of cars. Not knowing when traffic would clear and seeing potential for a nice sunset that evening, I decided to go shoot to pass the time. Noting how the oak trees had not regained their leaves yet, I drove along some back roads, searching for an interesting composition. As I rounded a corner, I saw this solitary, weathered tree standing in a field with the deep reds and oranges of a sunset-almost-over radiating behind it and knew I had found the shot I was looking for.


Lambing Season

Sheep in the Rees / Dart Valley near Glenorchy, New Zealand

Taken in the Rees river valley outside of Glenorchy, New Zealand, on October 22nd, 2007

Driving through New Zealand during their spring, my girlfriend and I saw no shortage of newborn baby lambs frolicking in the sunshine. When we stopped alongside the road so my girlfriend could snap photos of a couple of sheep, I just felt like stretching my legs and didn’t bother to take my camera with me. As I was walking, I saw this ewe and her lamb poised perfectly on the ridge of a small grassy hill. I sprinted back to the car to get my camera, wishing all the while that the young sheep was very hungry. Camera retrieved, I sprinted back down the road and was able to compose and fire off this shot seconds before the lamb finished feeding and both sheep trotted down behind the hill.


Nugget Point

Nugget Point sunset, The Catlins, New Zealand

Behind the scenes of this photo

Taken at Nugget Point in the Catlins, New Zealand, on October 16th, 2007

It almost didn’t sound worth visiting. The guidebook described Nugget Point something like “a few large rocks in the water, and nearby there’s a spot where you have a small chance of seeing some wildlife.” Hardly enticing, I thought, and was ready to pass by altogether. But my travel partner was intrigued by the chance of seeing penguins and albatross and so convinced me we should check the place out.

Driving down the long dirt road to Nugget Point I wasn’t sure what to expect, but once we arrived it was more than clear that we had made the right decision to come. Those “large rocks” the guidebook mentioned were actually a series of gargantuan seastacks stretching out toward the horizon. The sense of depth and space they created was simply breathtaking, and I’ll remember this as one of the most beautiful ocean views I’ve had the pleasure of viewing. Of course, it didn’t hurt that long, textured clouds rolled in in the afternoon, creating one of the top five sunsets I’ve ever experienced.

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Aoraki over Lake Pukaki, New Zealand

Aoraki over Lake Pukaki, Mt. Cook National Park, New Zealand
Taken from a viewpoint near Aoraki National Park, New Zealand on October 12th, 2007

Every photographer searches for special light, and driving away from Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park, I turned around to see a scene that had it in spades. Here I saw something very special as the afternoon light created wondrous textures on the massive and beautiful Aoraki, lit up a potpourri of colors in the trees in the foreground, and tinged the glacial Lake Pukaki a hundred shades of turquoise. All the work was done for me; I just had to click the shutter.

Clear Waters and Golden Sands

Clear Waters and Golden Sands

The Story Behind This Photograph:

Taken in Bark Bay, Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand on October 2nd, 2007.

Beaches in Abel Tasman are, simply, what beaches should be: covered in golden sands and washed by incredibly clear turquoise waters. I wanted to represent this ideal beach in this photo by giving equal weight to the sand and the water, both of which show resplendently pure colors under a deep blue sky.

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Kearsarge Pinnacles, Kings Canyon

Kearsarge Pinnacles, Kings Canyon National Park, High Sierras

Taken at the Kearsarge Pinnacles, Kings Canyon National Park, California, on September 16th, 2007

I had hoped for some Alpenglow or lovely sunrise colors when I woke up to shoot photos in the Kearsarge basin. But rather than finding either of those, I saw a placidly-still lake reflecting the Pinnacles and creating wonderful geometries of light and shadow.