On the morning of Sunday, October 18, 2015, Sarah, our two cats, our shiny silver trailer and I were at Area 51.
We were not seeking aliens, or, to our knowledge, being sought by them. Other than our cats throwing up, there was very little evidence of any medical experimentation of any kind.
We honestly had no idea we were on the Extra Terrestrial Highway until we saw the road sign. We were doing what we often are doing, driving, leaving the beautiful Cathedral Gorge State Park in Nevada and heading to Mono Lake in the Eastern Sierra. The ET highway was just the fastest route (though extremely remote, with over 150 miles between gas stations). Read More
On October 24, 2014, we departed on a new adventure and new way of life. That day, we headed to Zion National Park for our first journey as semi-nomads. We purchased a used Airstream trailer so we could travel extensively while still being able to return to a home base. With Ron working a fully remote job and me with flexible sources of income, we wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to spend more time visiting special places, spend more time photographing, and ultimately, feel like we are living our lives more fully. One year in, we feel like we made the right decision to take this leap and plan to continue like this indefinitely. Read More
Most people think of the Hawaiian Islands as a perfect place for a relaxing, tropical vacation but they also provide some excellent opportunities for photography. We recently took a two week trip to the island of Kauai and highly recommend it as a photography destination (for reasons that this post will hopefully make clear!).
Kauai is known as the Garden Isle because of its lushness, with the claim to the “wettest spot on earth” becoming obvious after taking even a passing glance at the waterfalls and lush tropical forests covering much of the island. Kauai also has extensive beaches and strong waves, especially in winter, which together create good opportunities for photographing the ocean. The jagged green cliffs of the Na Pali coast are a frequent stand-in for any movie or TV show that needs a fantasy, dream-like tropical scene. On the drier side of the island, the winding Waimea Canyon offers expansive views of red rock layers dotted with bright green trees and impossibly tall waterfalls.
In this post, we summarize some of our favorite places for photography and share a few travel tips that might be helpful in planning your own trip to Kauai. Our research was aided through some very generous suggestions from our friend Orion some some of the credit for this post goes to him, as well (thanks, Orion!). As a little disclaimer, I will note that this post is meant to be an introduction based on two weeks on the island during the month of January. Conditions at some of these locations will vary quite a bit by season and this mini-guide is not meant to supplement your assessment of on-the-ground conditions. It is also not meant to be comprehensive - just a place to start your own research. If you are looking for local guiding, Aaron Feinberg would be a good place to start. Read More
A few years ago, a typical photography trip for us looked like this… Ron leaves Colorado, driving toward the Canadian Rockies. A few days later, he stops by the Edmonton, Alberta airport to pick up me and our friend Koveh. In a day, we are heading out on a 40-mile, 4-night backpacking trip into the heart of the Canadian Rockies (with Ron and Koveh both recovering from illnesses on the day we depart for the hike). After returning from our backpack, we spend two days driving all around the Canadian Rockies, chasing the light, following the weather, and seeing as many places as we can. Ron and I drop Koveh off at the Calgary Airport and drive to Vermont (yes, Vermont – 2,411 miles away), intent on chasing fall colors and foggy conditions.
We end up spending about a week in Vermont, Maine, and New Hampshire before clear skies come into the forecast. Following the clouds, we end up at Rickett’s Glen in Pennsylvania (383 miles away) for less than 24 hours, hiking along the 6-mile trail featuring 20+ waterfalls twice in one day, and leaving at an absurd time early the next morning so that Ron can drop me off at the Boston Airport for my flight home. Ron drives down to West Virginia and with clear skies in the long-term forecast, heads home as well after about three and a half weeks away.
Chasing the light… Chasing the weather… This is just what landscape photographers do.
Or maybe not. Read More
It is past one o’clock in the morning and we are sitting at a Walgreens waiting on a prescription that an urgent care doctor was supposed to phone in for me more than an hour ago. I am still hoping to get in a few hours of sleep before heading to the airport for our flight to Reykjavík, but it never really happens. I spend the seven-hour flight playing Tetris and Solitaire on my phone, unable to sleep and feeling miserable overall. Once we arrive in Reykjavík, we pick up our campervan, stop to get a few days of groceries, and head out for the five hour drive to the Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon. We stop to take a two hour nap along the way, arriving in time for sunset. We photograph sunset, heat up a dehydrated meal for dinner, and get ready for a long night. We are now approaching a day and a half with almost no sleep and, not surprisingly, all this traveling has only made me feel even worse.
It is March and we are going to be in Iceland for three weeks. Our primary goal is to see and photograph the aurora borealis (also known as the Northern Lights). Based on advice from some friends who traveled to Norway for the aurora and only saw it once, on the last day of their trip, we decide that we cannot miss an opportunity (opportunity = clear skies+interesting landscape+good aurora forecast+right amount of moonlight). Starting a long trip sick with a growing sleep deficit is a less than brilliant plan, but at about 11:00 pm, we see a faint green glow on the horizon. This is what we had come thousands of miles to see! It all instantly feels worth it. Read More
It was a bad year. A historically bad year.
After arriving in the San Juan Mountains in southwest Colorado to photograph fall colors for 10 days, we agreed with the general consensus of other photographers. Read More
It turns out that January 23, 2012 was a good day to be at Ibex Dunes.
My plans were to photograph that sunset at Badwater, it had been raining off and on all day and I was hoping that there might be some water accumulation on the saltpan. As I drove by, I didn't see any pockets of water glistening from a distance, but I did see a bunch of people and photographers. I had already photographed Badwater on this particular trip, with decent conditions, and didn't want to have to compete with other tripods. So I made an impulse decision to try my luck at Ibex Dunes.
This was a gamble - I had never been to Ibex before and I had no idea what the road conditions were like, nor, perhaps more importantly, what the dunes themselves were like, and I wasn't going to have any time to scout. The weather was overcast with intermittent rain and it didn't look like the sun was going to pop out to light the dunes or clouds. I planned on camping overnight, so even if the conditions were not great at sunset I could do a little scouting prior to sunrise. Read More
The last time I spent much time photographing in Colorado was nearly two years ago during the autumn. It was a spectacular fall, especially in the San Juan Mountains. The aspens seemed especially vibrant, with a rare mix of golds, oranges, and reds in some places. An early storm came at just the right time, leaving the peaks and aspens with a perfect dusting of snow. After so much time exploring so many other places over the last two years, I started to miss Colorado so we added a few trips around here to our list of summer plans.
Spending some time photographing wildflowers in the San Juan Mountains seemed like a good place to start. We planned to start by spending a long weekend in the spectacular American Basin area, located about twenty miles up the Cinnamon Pass road from Lake City. I had a more rugged SUV the last time I visited American Basin but still thought we could make it with Ron’s RAV4. In the last few years, the road has deteriorated quite a bit and we decided to turn around before getting anywhere near the basin. (After hitting a large rock disguised as a sagebrush coming out of Toroweap in the Grand Canyon and getting stuck in the mud out on the Alvord Playa in Oregon, we are trying to make better driving-related choices.) Read More
In visiting Iceland for the first time, I most wanted to see and photograph Jökulsárlón (which translates to glacial lagoon in Icelandic) and the nearby black sand beach. With iconic places, the reality is sometimes terribly disappointing compared to the hype and I assumed that Jökulsárlón might be one of these places. I arrived with measured expectations but was instantly surprised at the size of the lagoon (much, much bigger than I expected) and the overall beauty of the area. The lagoon is surrounded on two sides by impressive mountains and the icebergs - the first I had ever seen - were much more interesting in person than in photos. And, the landscape turned out to be surprisingly dynamic, making for challenging photography. After spending about a week over two separate trips photographing the lagoon and its neighboring beach under all kinds of different conditions, I consider it my favorite place in Iceland and a must-visit in a country that is truly a landscape photographer’s paradise. Read More
For almost the last two years, I have had the great fortune to travel and photograph extensively with no purpose other than my enjoyment. This opportunity did not spring forth from pure luck but instead from some deliberate decisions I made to change how I was living my life. Luck and timing, of course, played a role but so did hard work, taking advantage of the right opportunities, and consciously deciding to leave a lot of the constraining parts of an old life behind to take a chance at a happier future.
After two years of intense (and sometimes exhausting) travel, my pace has slowed down and I am starting to work through all of the photos I took during this time. Because I need some structure to make my way through two years of unprocessed photographs, I have decided to choose a small selection of my favorite images from each place I have visited and then share them in a blog post. Having an enormous backlog of photos is both a blessing and a curse, and if I am to make any headway in reducing my backlog I need to have a structure and process, rather than the ad-hoc processing I have been doing to date. This post is the introduction to how I ended up here, with an epic backlog of photos and almost two years of wonderful experiences to show for it. Read More