PhotoPills Mammoth Lakes 1-Day Bootcamp!

PhotoPills Mammoth Lakes 1-Day Bootcamp!


Get ready to learn how to plan, shoot, and edit any photo you imagine with the Sun, the Moon, and the Milky Way.

Joshua Cripps from Pro Photo Tips will give you all you need to nail your shots, from equipment to camera settings and editing. And Rafael (the bard) from the PhotoPills team will teach you how to use the PhotoPills app to plan your photo ideas. So you’re always at the right place at the right time, to capture the scene you want, to tell the story you want.

After the theory class, we’ll get to practice in the field till dawn.


10 – 11am: Milky Way and Star Trails Planning with PhotoPills

11 – 12:30am: Milky Way Photography and Post Processing

Break for Lunch

2 – 3:30pm: Sun and Moon Planning with PhotoPills

3:30 – 5pm: Long Exposure with Filters

5 – 6pm: Examples and Q&A

Break for Dinner

7:30 pm Photo escape near Mammoth lakes (Sunset and Milky Way)

My Best of 2016

Holy crap, what a year! This was my most accomplished year so far as a photographer, in terms of travel, photography, and new projects. It seems like I rarely had a moment’s rest, and indeed, I spent about half of the year on the road. Exhausting and frantic, but incredible fun, and I wouldn’t have changed a thing. So if you’ll indulge me I’d like to share with you the highlights of my 2016.

January 2016

Having moved to the ski town of Mammoth Lakes in late 2015 I decided I was going to learn to love the winter. As part of that effort I took a winter mountaineering skills course in January in order to feel more comfortable in the backcountry in the snow. And while the course itself had nothing to do with photography, it opened up doors to journeys and adventures in the mountains in the future. Can’t wait to see where those skills will take me and my photography.


February 2016

Here’s where the traveling began. My buddy, Scott, is a white water rafting guide and for a few years he spent the North American winters down in Chile, guiding on the Futaleufu River. He had extended an open invitation to me so in February I decided to take the opportunity to visit him and do some rafting, but also to explore the northern reaches of Chilean Patagonia. My sister also came along, which was exciting as it was her first international trip.


Futaleufu River

Patagonia is truly as spectacular as everyone says, and though my limited time meant I couldn’t get to the popular and dramatic south, I was able to spend quality time in the very northern part of Patagonia. My time there was highlighted by a demanding but lovely 4-day trek through the forests and mountains of Cerro Castillo National Reserve. Think glaciers, jagged peaks, azure rivers, and lenticular clouds and you’ll get the idea.

Patagonia Lenticular Clouds

March 2016

In March I found myself back in California, albeit briefly. However, during the few weeks I was home Death Valley’s incredible superbloom occurred. October 2015’s insane rain and flooding set the stage and provided the perfect kind of moisture for millions of wildflowers to bloom once spring rolled around. I was fortunate to visit for a weekend during the peak of the bloom when both the flowers on the ground and the clouds in the sky put on a spectacular show.

April 2016

As spring continued to develop in the north hemisphere it was time for me to travel to the southern to visit one of my favorite places on Earth: New Zealand. Jim Patterson and I were there to lead a 12-day South Island Photography Workshop, and I used the opportunity to create a 6-week photo safari for myself. The workshop kicked things off in gobsmacking style, with some of the best conditions I’ve ever experienced in NZ. Rainbows, reflections, electric sunrises, god rays…you name it, we shot it!

After the workshop ended I was fortunate to meet a wonderful traveling partner in the form of a French ultra runner named Jessica. We spent the next 3.5 weeks traveling the South Island together getting into all kinds of adventures, the highlights being a cruise through Doubtful Sound, and an ill-timed trip to the Mueller Hut in Mt Cook National Park, where we got stuck for three days during a blizzard and ultimately had to be rescued by helicopter. Those three days held some frightful moments, but also some breathtakingly gorgeous ones.

May 2016

In late May I returned from New Zealand and was able to spend a few quiet days at home enjoying the Eastern Sierra, some late spring snowboarding, and a few local photo outings.


June 2016

My summer kicked off with a whirlwind of domestic trips. First was a visit to the Palouse region of Eastern Washington for another workshop. It was my first time in the area and I was completely floored. I typically don’t photograph man-made landscapes but the rolling ag fields of the Palouse are utterly mesmerizing.


After our workshop in the Palouse I headed east and made my first visit to Glacier National Park in Montana. This place is stunning, and that is an understatement. I was invited to the park by Fusion Network to help them produce a short video about climate change and the national parks. Once the shoot was wrapped I met up with my friend Elisabeth and we trekked out on a couple of fun backpacking trips through Glacier’s jaw-dropping scenery. It’s safe to say it’s a park I’ll be visiting again.

July 2016

In early July I was back home for a few weeks and I took advantage of the downtime to head out on a few pack trips into my beloved Sierra backcountry. The first was up Big Pine Creek, to the Sierra’s largest glacier, the Palisade Glacier. It’s one of the few places in the Sierra where the lakes contain glacial milt, and as a consequence their green color has to be seen to be believed.

Temple Crag

A week later my sister and I made the leg- and lung-burning ascent to Sailor Lake in the Sabrina Basin, high above Bishop, California. The mosquitoes were as numerous as I’ve ever experienced in the Sierra, but so were the stars, so everything balanced out.

In the second half of the month I flew to Europe to explore one of my long-time travel dream destinations, the Dolomites in Italy. This section of the Alps is a magnificent array of mountain spires and the scenery is remarkable everywhere you look. In addition, access is incredibly easy in the Dolomites, meaning with a few short walks it was possible to be in breathtaking mountain cathedrals.

August 2016

In August I continued my trip in Europe, but shifted the focus away from photography and towards being social. I was able to meet up with friends in Italy, Croatia, Hungary, Germany, and the Netherlands. And finally I made my way to France to reconnect with Jessica, my traveling partner from New Zealand. Together we journeyed into the Pyrenees and climbed Vignemale, the highest peak in that range.

September 2016

I spent the entire month of September at home in Mammoth Lakes enjoying some down time, working on some projects behind the scenes, and going on local excursions. I was honored to be asked to speak at an Instameet at the beginning of the month, and at the end of month I completed a climbing objective of mine and stood atop Cathedral Peak in Yosemite National Park.

October 2016

We kicked off October with another workshop, this time in the Eastern Sierra, chasing fall color.

Then immediately after the workshop wrapped, I packed my bags and headed for Utah. My friend Julia had planned a SW trip (all the way from Hungary!) and had invited me to go along. It was my first time back to Utah in over five years and I was excited to see all that red rock again. We both wanted to visit areas we hadn’t been to before and consequently ended up doing some technical canyoneering in Zion (replete with freezing cold water), some backpacking in Escalante, and some back road driving in Capitol Reef. The trip was varied, incredibly fun, and sensationally beautiful.

At the end of October I visited Photo Plus Expo for the third time to see old friends and make lots of new ones.

In October I also launched my newest passion project, the Nature Photography Academy. It’s a place where photographers can access the absolute best photography and post processing video courses in order to really gain a deep understanding of what it takes to produce beautiful landscape imagery.

November 2016

In early November I led a small workshop in that most beautiful of parks, Yosemite. Despite the chronically sunny skies we found an incredible abundance of things to photograph, and were treated to at least one nice light show.

Half Dome Olmsted Point

Then in the middle of the month I was able to head back to Utah for a commercial shoot. As a landscape photographer I rarely am hired specifically to shoot, so this was an incredibly exciting opportunity. I can’t share any of the project details yet, but hopefully within the next month or two I’ll be putting up photos and stories about the shoot.

December 2016

And that brings us all the way to the end of the year! Jim and I had one last, fun-filled workshop in Death Valley, a park I grow to love more every time I visit it. And that’s pretty much all she wrote, aside from a few local shoots here and there.


I’m exhausted now just writing about and remembering this year. I can’t believe I actually got to live it as well. I’m endlessly grateful for the wonderful experiences I had this year, for the people I met, the friends and family I spent time with, and for everyone out there who’s supported me as a photographer. I hope your 2016 was amazing, and that your 2017 will be even better.

Until next time, be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes!



2014 Retrospective

2014 was a remarkable year for me in many ways. When January 1st, 2014 rolled around I had no idea the twists and turns the next 365 days would have in store for me. In addition to spending a record number of days in my beloved Sierra backcountry I was fortunate to visit some beautiful and exotic places, including Alaska and the remote Cordillera Huayhuash in the Peruvian Andes. I launched an exciting and fun new project, my instructional YouTube channel, Professional Photography Tips, and made some wonderful new friends. From a business standpoint, 2014 was also my most successful year to date: it started strong with my largest prints orders ever, specially created for a series of hospitals in Santa Cruz. Sea to Summit Workshops, which I run along with Jim Patterson, continued to grow, flourish, and attract the best participants I could possibly hope for. And of course, the big, amazing surprise of the year came when Nikon hired me to shoot their world-wide marketing campaign for the Nikon D750 DSLR camera, and later invited me to speak about the experience at PhotoPlus Expo in New York City. For all of this I am extremely grateful and feel incredibly fortunate I get to pursue this kind of life. Naturally the common thread linking all of these experiences is photography. It’s safe to say that without photography I wouldn’t be where I am and I wouldn’t be writing this retrospective. So if you’ll indulge me I’d like to take a look at some of my most memorable photos from 2014.

Coldest Photo: Steamed Hams and Sparkle

Aurora Borealis, Chena Hot Springs, Alaska


Under the AuroraThis one is actually a tie. In an objective sense the coldest photo by far was this shot of the aurora I took in central Alaska on January 1, when the mercury was hovering right around -20 deg F (we actually saw -34 F a few days before, and while I went outside deliberately to pee in the cold to see if something cool would happen -it didn’t- I wasn’t taking pictures). But at those temperatures the air doesn’t hold much moisture, not to mention I was waddling around like a penguin, kitted up with every layer of clothing I owned, so I didn’t actually feel cold. Good morning from Cathedral PeakNay, the award for the coldest-feeling photo definitely goes to Sparkle, which I took on a snow camping trip in Yosemite in May. Although it was a balmy +15 deg F out my feet were wet, I didn’t have nearly as many layers of clothing on, and I had been outside in the cold for hours by the time I took this shot. To say my teeth were chattering while waiting for this 30-minute exposure to complete would be an understatement.

Hottest Photo

Just kidding. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t warm a single moment in 2014. Not sure how it happened but every single one of my good photo adventures seemed to involve freezing temperatures. Even in the Sierra in the middle of July you’d find bits of frost on the ground in the morning. One of these days I’m going to plan a photo trip to the tropics, I swear. Until then, I’m just glad I have a good jacket. Next!

Best “My Mom Thinks I’m Crazy” Photo: Cooling Down

Pioneer Basin sunrise, Sierra Nevada mountains

Whenever my mom asks me where my next photo trip is more often than not I’ll say something like “well, there’s a 100% chance of thunderstorms all week in the Sierra, so I think I’ll go backpacking at 10,000 ft.” To which she gives me a look like I was dropped on my head as a kid. But there is a method to my madness, and when those thunderous storms break up into beautiful sunrises it all makes perfect sense.

Best Family Bonding Photo: A Woolly Suit

Mt Muir, King's Canyon National Park

Up up up!I’m sharing this photo not because I’m truly wild about it but because it brings me back to a great weekend. In early October my sister Jami, her boyfriend, his good friend, and I did an overnight trek to the top of Mt. Whitney, the highest peak in California, and as it turns out, the highest in the US outside of Alaska. It was Jami’s first real experience with backpacking and it was really fun to share the pain, suffering, elation, and beauty of backpacking with her. And as an added bonus we were treated to a nice sunset over Mt Muir.

Best I Love My Backyard Photo: In The Moment


There’s something great to be said for having a go-to photo location that’s close at hand. Whenever the light looks promising you just grab your stuff and go, without all the usual second guessing that comes along with picking the right spot for sunset. For me my go-to location in spring became the oak savanna about 20 minutes from my house. In my explorations there I had found this composition and just kept going back again and again until the conditions finally hit. Nice to have a backyard like this!

Most Bittersweet Photo: The Scent of Spring


In August my friend Jeff Swanson passed away from complications due to cancer. It was a tragic end that was all the more shocking in that his treatment seemed to be going well. Many of you in the photo world know Jeff for his endless sense of humor, love for puns and beer, affinity for manly beards, and incredible attitude toward seizing life. Jeff was responsible for creating my favorite photography slogan: f/it and be there. It’s a take-off on the journalistic credo “f/8 and be there,” which Jeff repurposed to mean: “Just go. Lay down all your doubts and hit the road. You don’t know what the future holds, so get off the couch while you can! The beauty is out there waiting to be captured.”

Well back in April the wildflowers were bursting forth all over Table Mountain near Jamestown, California and I put out the invite to any and all who wanted to come photograph them. In true f/it style, Jeff and his good friend Lukas jumped in the car and drove the few hours up to the mountain, where we spent the evening swimming in the heady lupine perfume and shooting the last light of the day, after which we enjoyed beer and burgers before Jeff and Lukas rolled back to the Bay. Little did I know that would be the last time I’d see Jeff, and reflecting on it makes me that much more grateful I got to f/it one last time with him.

You can see Jeff’s work and buy prints (the proceeds go to the Melanoma Research Foundation) here:

Most Unplanned Photo: Still Waters Run Deep

Unicorn Peak and Cathedral Peak reflected in a pool in the Tuolumne River during a stormy sunset

For that aforementioned hike to the top of Mt Whitney I decided it would probably be a good idea if I trained a little bit, considering the trek is 22 miles round trip, with a total elevation change of over 12,000 ft. For one of the training hikes I settled on a quick 11-mile out-and-back jaunt to Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp from Tuolumne Meadows. I always hem and haw about bringing my tripod out on day hikes, but in this case I decided to lash it to my pack because I knew that for much of the hike I’d be alongside the Tuolumne River and I wanted to be able to shoot long exposures of any cascades or waterfalls I happened to come across.

And I did shoot a little bit, but nothing groundbreaking, and as I closed in on the last mile back to the car I was lamenting bringing the tripod as three pounds of extra, unnecessary weight. But as I neared the parking area I made a slight detour to check out a historic cabin in Tuolume Meadows. The cabin was interesting enough but what really caught my eye from its site was a broad, deep, greenish pool of water formed in a bend of the Tuolumne River. I thought I knew Tuolumne Meadows pretty well but I had never seen this spot before and when I came in for a closer look I was overjoyed to find that the pool looked directly out on Unicorn Peak and Cathedral Peak, two of the most aesthetically beautiful mountains in the area. And as luck would have it, the thunderstorms from earlier in the day were breaking up as sunset hit, allowing these complex and subtle tones to form.

Of course at that moment I was ecstatic to have my tripod with me, and as it turns out, if I had had to run back to the car to get it I would’ve missed the best light. That aspect of “found beauty” is one of the things I love most about nature photography: you can go out without any plan to shoot, then find something completely unexpected, and come home with one of your favorite shots of the year. Surprise!

Most “I Hope This Works!” Photo: At the Heart of the Sierra


In my preface I mentioned how Nikon hired me to shoot the nature photos for their D750 campaign. This shooting was all done in Yosemite at the end of May, which is just about when the weather stablizes for the summer. Meaning, yes, I pretty much had only blue skies for the entire shoot. And while there’s nothing wrong with blue skies, for my style of photography they lack the oomph and drama I’ve grown to love.

Backpackers at Thousand Island Lake, Ansel Adams WildernessSo when the shoot wrapped I asked Nikon if I could hold onto the prototype camera for another few weeks, as I had a backpacking trip planned in the Ansel Adams Wilderness. I knew the landscapes would deliver, but what about the light? Would I get anything more dramatic than what I had seen during the Yosemite shoot? I sure hoped so, since my “signature shot” for the whole campaign was banking on it! Thankfully lady luck was in my corner and on the second night of the trip an overcast sky developed into this beautiful light show at Thousand Island Lake.

Best Birthday Moment: 33 Candles


Mitucocha FTW!As sort of a birthday present to myself I spent a month in Peru in August and September. On my actual birthday I was on day 2 of a 10-day trek through the spectacular Cordillera Huayhuah mountain range. And day 2 was chockablock full of spellbinding scenery, from views of the mountains Rondoy and Jirishanca, to the beautiful lake of Mitucocha. But the best moment from the day was when an evening thunderstorm created a dark and moody sunset. And almost immediately after snapping this shot I was bombarded with hail and wind. Now that’s living!

Favorite Photo / Most Unexpected Killer Light / Hardest Earned Photo: Elemental Collision


Ok, this image has a lot of titles. I took it on the last night of that Huayhuash trek I just mentioned, so at this point we’d already walked something like 95 miles at elevations up to 16,500 ft, and my legs and feet were feeling a little tired. So to get this kind of payoff at the end of the long journey was an amazing reward. But what made it really special was that I didn’t expect it in the slightest.

laguna-jahaucocha-cordillera-huayhuash-peruI had taken a nap in camp that afternoon and when I woke up I saw that thick clouds had swept in and were now obscuring the tops of the mountains. Bummer! I thought, but like a good photographer I set out with my camera gear nonetheless, and eventually found a perch above this waterfall. I really thought the clouds were going to snuff out any and all sunset light but man oh man was I glad I was wrong! As the sun sank toward the horizon it slipped under the clouds and lit them and the glaciers up in this furious display of orange light. I was literally hooting and hollering in delight.

So all of that: the effort required to get here, the unexpected brilliance of the light, and the sheer scale of the landscape (20,000 foot peaks, glaciers, waterfalls, lakes, AND a blazing sunset. C’mon! Are you kidding me??) all combine to squeak this one to the top of the pack as my favorite image of the year.

Looking ahead to 2015

So what does 2015 hold in store? Well, I do have a few plans, goals, and predictions, but if 2015 is anything like 2014 I won’t see half of what’s coming before it gets here. Still, I’d like to pretend I have at least some manner of control over my life. I’m stoked to be heading to New Zealand for two months from March till May, and the gears are in motion to return to Peru in September with an adventure trekking photo workshop (let me know if you’re interested in that and I’ll add you to the interest list). I’m also looking to swing another photo excursion to somewhere truly wild like Kamchatka, China, or remote Alaska. I’m going to continue growing Professional Photography Tips to make it the best nature photography resource on YouTube. And at Sea to Summit we’re pumped to be offering a few new workshops (the Palouse and High Sierra Monsoon for starters), with a few more in the works. Of course, I’m sure I will try (and fail) to keep lots of open space in my schedule for those unexpected adventures. In any case, you can be sure I’ll have my camera close at hand to keep photographing and sharing all the wonderful places I’m fortunate enough to see.

What about you all, any big plans for 2015? No matter what it is I wish you all the best. Thanks so much for the support, and here’s to a great year!

Sierra Nevada Foothill Wildflower Alert!

Wildflower alert!! Thanks to a record dry winter many parts of California are experiencing a pitiful wildflower season. Carrizo Plain, a typical wildflower hotspot, has posted on their website that there are zero blooms in the monument. Other usually choice locations around the state aren’t faring any better. However, March’s abundant rainfall has brought true spring conditions and blazing wildflowers to the central Sierra foothills.

The Merced River canyon is in full swing at the moment, the highlight being whole hillsides carpeted with poppies. For more information, check out Michael Frye’s blog. Further north, outstanding displays can be found in some off-the-beaten path locations along highway 108.

One great spot is the Red Hills, a small hiking and offroading area about 15 miles from Sonora. Exploring the Red Hills on Sunday, April 6th I found wonderful displays of multiple kinds of poppies, from large to small and deep orange to bright

The are also profuse lupine displays along the sides of Red Hills road and Sims road. I also saw hillsides covered with goldfields, and small patches of wally baskets here and there. Aside from the flowers the Red Hills also sports some lovely pastoral scenery. If you’re looking for easy access to flowers, the Red Hills is a great place to go right now. Map:

However, the best displays of flowers I’ve personally seen recently are on top of Table Mountain, an ancient lava flow which now juts up above the landscape near Jamestown. I hiked to the top of Table Mountain on Sunday, March 27th, and found the landscape literally carpeted with flowers.table-mountain-wildflowers-01

Unfortunately I only had my iPhone with me, so forgive the quality of these shots, but they still show the incredible abundance of flowers up there. I saw paintbrush and blue dicks here and there, but the real smorgasbord was in the goldfields and the lupine. There were golden fields of goldfields stretching out across the rock, and in a few low spots the lupine ran like streams. I’ll be heading back there personally some time this week, depending on weather conditions.

If you’d like to check out Table Mountain yourself drive to the end of Shell Road in Jamestown (map: You can park there, go through the hiker gate, and follow the trail through an idyllic oak savanna about 30 minutes to another hiker gate. Alternatively you can drive through the car gate about 10 minutes down a dirt road (4WD high clearance recommended) to a second car gate, where the road meets up again with the hiking trail. From there it’s a moderate 15-minute climb to the top of the mountain. Watch out for the poison oak though; while it’s easily avoidable on the trail it covers either side with barely-contained fury.

The flowers appeared to be just about at peak in both locations this past week but I suspect that quality blooms will stick around at least through this weekend. So if you’re a wildflower hunter now is the time to head out to the central Sierra.

Of Hike-a-Thons and Toes

All things considered, the toe is a minor body part. In my day to day dwellings it gets far less attention than my hands, my stomach, or even my beard. Truth be told, I barely ever give a passing thought to the lowly toe. But where the toe takes on the utmost importance is when it’s injured. Two weeks ago I badly sprained my left big toe in a horrific volleyball accident (many lives were lost, I assure you) and since then hardly a moment has gone by that I don’t think about my toe. Every action I undertake is first screened under the “how is this going to affect my toe?” filter. I may be starving but since it hurts my toe too much to walk down to the kitchen to make a sandwich I’ll just lie here and be consumed from the inside out. My life is being run by a toe tyrant.

But where it really hurts is in my inability to hike. I just moved back to the Sierra, and Yosemite beckons on a daily basis. Especially right now as towering cumulus clouds build up above the Sierra crest every afternoon. The weather is perfect, the bugs are gone, and the wildflowers are blooming in the high country. It is an ideal time to hike. But instead I’m stuck at home with a frickin’ damaged toe.

What makes it even worse is that this week (July 22nd – 26th) was meant to be the week of my Yosemite Hike-a-Thon for the Epic Experience Outdoor Adventure Camp for cancer fighters. I’ve been taking donations to raise funds for this camp, which provides life-enriching activities for folks who are battling cancer. My goal is to raise $1000 for the camp, and for every $20 donated I planned to hike a mile through Yosemite this week. Reaching the $1000 means I would be putting 50 miles of Yosemite trails underneath my feet. Alas, my sprained toe has derailed the whole thing.

But what is life without setbacks? And in the grand scheme of what cancer fighters go through a sprained toe pales in comparison. So here is the new plan: I am continuing to take donations for the Epic Adventure camp (in fact, we’ve almost reached the goal!). Then, once my toe is completely healed I’ll be tearing up those Yosemite miles like nobody’s business.

To support my Yosemite Hike-a-Thon and for more information about Epic Experience, please visit:

Josh Cripps' Support for Epic Experience

Adventure4Life Epic Experience Challenge

Josh Cripps' Support for Epic Experience

Those who know me know that I love a good adventure. But I also love encouraging others to explore and have adventures of their own. And I don’t think that anyone should be prevented from enjoying the experience of being in nature, pushing their limits. In fact, I think it’s one of the greatest gifts we have in life to explore the amazing world in which we live, and push ourselves in the process.

Recently I was asked to join a team of 25 inspiring young adventurers, explorers, and athletes who are banding together to raise money for something called Epic Experience. It’s a hugely inspiring group of climbers, runners, paddlers, and artists and I was humbled to join their ranks for Epic Experience. The aim of Epic Experience is to put on all-expenses-paid outdoor adventure camps for cancer fighters and survivors. At the camps, the participants get to kayak, hike, do yoga, horseback ride, build snow caves, and do lots of cool adventurey stuff. I see it as a chance for folks who might not otherwise have the opportunity to be outdoors and reaffirm the beauty of life.

My team, Adventure4Life, has given itself the goal of raising $25,000, which covers the costs of putting on one complete camp, including travel, lodging, and adventures for 12-13 cancer fighters and caregivers. As part of the team of 25, my individual goal is to raise at least $1,000 for the cause. To that end I’ll be hiking 60+ miles through Yosemite for this Epic Experience project, driven on by your support, in order to help cancer fighters experience the incredible wonder, fulfillment, and joy that having outdoor adventures brings.

Here’s how it works: for every $20 donated I’ll hike one mile in the park during the week of July 22nd. In other words, the more donations, the farther I go. Want me to hike a mile in your name? Donate $20. Want me to hoof it five miles for you? Throw down a hundred. Since I’m aiming for $1000 for the Epic Experience camp, if you do the math that means I’ll be doing 50 miles of hiking in the park. But as an extra incentive, if I make it all the way to $1000, I’ll add a bonus 10 miles to my total, bringing it up to 60 miles of hiking in Yosemite.

But am I going to stop there? Nope! If we keep going past $1000, I’ll keep hiking. Can you get me to hike 100 miles in Yosemite? Let’s find out! I’m also going to be asking you all for suggestions of which trails to take during my hiking adventure. And I’ll be taking tons of pictures and videos along the way so if you want to see me on your favorite trail make your voice heard!

Personally I think this will be an awesome challenge and goal, and I’d love for you to help me get there. To donate please visit my fundraising page:

Josh Cripps' Support for Epic Experience

Seeking Photography Assistant

**UPDATE: This internship is currently available to UC Santa Cruz students only due to FLSA, EEO, and liability issues. UCSC students can apply to me directly or through SlugQuest.

I am seeking 1-2 enthusiastic, energetic people to assist in the running of my Santa Cruz-based business. I need help taking care of the day-to-day tasks of running my photography business so that I can focus on bigger-picture projects to expand the business.

Position / Duties

This is an unpaid internship. However, you will receive a real world education in photography and running a photography business. As an intern you will gain an advanced and in-depth knowledge of nature and studio photography, as well as the ins and outs of running a viable photo business. Each week a certain number of hours will be dedicated to teaching the intern about photography and business. This may involve visiting the beach to learn seascape photography, scouting parks for portrait sessions, discussing social media promotion, learning about printing, matting, framing, and sales, and so on. UC students are encouraged to apply for course credit as well.

This internship will consist of a varied and interesting set of duties involved in running a small photography business, such as:
– Assisting at photo shoots and art festivals
– Contacting clients and models via phone and email
– Basic clerical work (e.g. applying for shoot permits)
– Social media promotion
– Bookkeeping
– Making blog posts
– Updating the website
– Matting and shipping prints


– Passionate interest in photography and photography as a business
– Must have access to a camera, preferably a DSLR
– Must live in or near Santa Cruz, California and have reliable transportation
– Enthusiastic, can-do attitude
– Exceptional written, oral, and interpersonal communication skills
– High attention to detail


There’s no experience that’s strictly necessary. That being said, any experience in the following areas would be particularly helpful:
– Excel, Powerpoint, Word, etc.
– QuickBooks
– Web design. Particularly HTML, CSS, PHP, or WordPress
– Sales and marketing
– Customer service


Starting at around 4 hours per week on a scheduled basis, plus hours TBD to assist on photo shoots and at art shows. Additional hours TBD for photography instruction.

If you’re interested please send a resume and cover letter explaining why you would be a good fit and what you hope to get out of an opportunity like this. Email me at [email protected] with the subject “Internship.”


Free Adobe Creative Suite 2?

Adobe made waves earlier this week when they apparently offered an older version of their enormously popular Creative Suite software (including Photoshop, Illustrator, Acrobat Pro, Premiere, and more) absolutely FREE. Anyone with an Adobe ID (which is free to get at could log in and download full versions of the software, using the serial codes provided on the download page. As of the writing of this blog, anyone still can get an Adobe ID and download and install the Creative Suite 2 software using the supplied serial codes.

Is it really free? Technically yes. Legally….no. Here’s what happened: Adobe disabled its activation servers for this version of CS, meaning that anyone who tried to reinstall a legal copy of CS2 would run into problems during the software activation phase. To circumvent this issue Adobe decided to provide a downloadable version of the software suite (along with a serial code) that does not require activation. But in the words of Adobe Employee Dov Isaacs:

You are only legally entitled to download and install with that serial number if you have a valid license to the product!

So while this does mean you certainly can create an Adobe ID and download Photoshop, it’s still not quite legal. However, this “Free Creative Suite 2” giveaway has been generating a huge amount of buzz on the internet, and has even been featured on tech blog giants like Gizmodo. Now that Adobe has clarified their position that this is NOT a free giveaway, a number of bloggers have called this a massive PR blunder. I wouldn’t be surprised if Adobe caves to the pressure and does decide to make the downloads fully legal across the board.

So for those of you who have been curious to try Photoshop or other Adobe products, here is a big, fat opportunity. These older versions of Creative Suite don’t pack nearly the punch that the current version do, but they’re still a great way to start dipping your toes in the Photoshop waters. But given Adobe’s legal stance you may want to wait and see if they do release the software for public consumption, or you can always download fully functioning 30-day trials of the latest versions of Creative Suite.

For more information check out these forums on

My Favorite Photos of 2011

For me January represents a time not only of looking forward to the excitement and challenges of the New Year, but also a time to look back upon the great memories, photos, and growth of the past 12 months.  2011 was my best year yet as a photographer, both in terms of business success as well as creating strong images.  I find I often forget to reflect on my existing shots in my never-ending quest for the next great image, so in this post I’d like to take the time to review my 10 strongest and favorite images from 2011.

Starting with #10…

Temple of the Sun, Capitol Reef National Park

Temple of the Sun, Capitol Reef National Park

In May I took a two-week road trip through Utah…  Read more

Back from Tern!

Male and female red-footed boobies luxuriate in the warm sunshine of Tern Island

Male and female red-footed boobies luxuriate in the warm sunshine of Tern Island

Howdy y’all.  Just got back from Tern Island and boy, what an experience!  I have heaps of stories and thoughts and of course, photos, to share with everyone so stayed tuned during the next few weeks as I get them up on the website.

Going to Tern Island!

Woot!  In a sudden turn of events (no pun intended), the powers that be have seen fit to allow me to visit / volunteer at / shoot Tern Island for a whole month, starting NOW!  Tern is in the French Frigate shoals, a series of small coral atolls about half way between Honolulu and Midway.  I’ll be there from March 5th (but I need to be in Honolulu March 3rd for orientation) until March 30th, returning to California on April 6th.

I’m closing down the store until then, but never fear, because I’ll be back and better than ever in April!

The Best Job in the World?

If you folks haven’t heard about this, Tourism Queensland is running a contest whereby the winner gets “The Best Job in the World.” More specifically, the position is caretaker of Hamilton Island, which is part of the Whitsunday Islands in the Great Barrier Reef. The position requires you to snorkel, scuba, spa, trek, and explore the island and the Reef and report back to Queensland (and the world) via weekly video, a photo diary, and a blog. It is a paid position, demanding a salary of $150000AUD (about $100K USD) for a six-month stint on the island.

The contest requires prospective applicants to submit a 1-minute video of themselves explaining why he/she is the best person for the job. A demanding task, not only to describe yourself in 1 minute, but also to do it in a creative and entertaining way that separates you from the thousands of other applicants.

Anywho, a job like this is right up my alley, so I thought I’d apply. Here’s my vid: