1/3 #swipeforpanorama Yosemite Valley View, 2018 Winter snowstorm. This is (part of) December in my 2020 landscape photography panoramic calendar! ... I've always admired the stunning black and white #landscapephotography of #Yosemitenationalpark and the #SierraNevada, and winter storms seem to be the holy trail of rich tones, eye-popping textures, leading lines, ...everything that a landscape photographer loves. I never thought I would experience a moment like this, and to be honest I'm not sure if I ever will again. ... Not because of #climatechange, necessarily, because as this winter proved we'll likely have plenty of heavy snows in the Sierra again. More so because the crowding in the #NationalParkSystem is getting crazy. Even on a dead-of-winter day, you can bet on there being tons of photographers crawling all over the place when the conditions get good. ... I'm OK with that for the most part, I mean it's always g9od to be social and communal at least some of the time, but now I find myself seeking out a little more solitude. I have no idea where thst will take me this winter, but i can't wait to find out! ... My 2020 landscape photography calendar is selling fast! (Thank you everyone!) If you'd like to pre-order your 7x12" panoramic calendar for $24.99, the link is in my bio, or just type in bit.ly/al2020cal
2/3 Yosemite Valley View, 2018 Winter snowstorm. This is (part of) December in my 2020 landscape photography panoramic calendar! ... I've been to this exact spot innumerable times, at all hours of day, night, sunrise, and sunset... But I had never seen it like this before! ... Believe it or not, this was the first time that I ever got to photograph snow actively falling close-up as a dedicated landscape photographer. It was also the first time I had ever seen flocked trees in my life! ... Growing up in Southern California, I did get to "visit the snow" almost every winter, however I never really witnessed a true winter storm, let alone photographed it. ... This adventure changed that; when I raced to #YosemiteNationalPark just before a major storm hit in late 2018. As I endured (sat in my warm car) through about a foot of snow falling, and watched the clearing storm give way to this breathtaking view, I finally experienced the true meaning of "winter wonderland..."
3/3 Yosemite Valley View, 2018 Winter snowstorm. This is (part of) December in my 2020 landscape photography panoramic calendar! ... Believe it or not, this was the first time that I ever got to photograph snow actively falling close-up as a dedicated landscape photographer. It was also the first time I had ever seen flocked trees in my life! ... Growing up in Southern California, I did get to "visit the snow" almost every winter, however I never really witnessed a true winter storm, let alone photographed it. ... This adventure changed that; when I raced to #YosemiteNationalPark just before a major storm hit in late 2018. As I endured (sat in my warm car) through about a foot of snow falling, and watched the clearing storm give way to this breathtaking view, I finally experienced the true meaning of "winter wonderland..."
As an astro-landscape photographer, solitude is a big part of the process. Where do you find emotional connections, when there's often nobody else around? ... Often, the biggest emotional connection you have is with the moment itself, the light, the scene, your memory of the place and how such beautiful sights made you feel. ... And then sometimes you meet other artists who understand you, and that's an amazing connection too... #SonyKandoTrip #BeAlpha @SonyAlpha #astrolandscapes
It's FINALLY here! It took me two years' hiatus, but I've collected enough wilderness adventure photos for a new panoramic landscape photography calendar! ... It will be 7x12", and there will be only 200 calendars printed. Only the first 100 will be signed and numbered! Printing will take place in September and shipping will take place in October. Pre-order yours today via the bio link! #2020calendar
You've already heard how packed our #NationalParks get on weekends in the summer, right? That's old news in 2019. My solution? Allow me to quote the most interesting man in the world: "I don't always visit roadside tourist spots, but when I do, I prefer to do it on a weekday in the dead of winter when a storm is about to roll through." ... Okay maybe that quote wasn't Mr. Dos Equis. But it's my M.O. when I want to not just avoid crowds, but see a place in a far more breathtaking way than a hot sunny day in the summer. ;-) ... I'm sure the #tourists complain about #traffic and #crowds on trails too, but ironically, all I ever seem to hear are the complaints of those who call themselves serious #photographers and/or outdoor enthusiasts. Honestly? If you really do love adventure and the outdoors, find some obscure new spot to go in the summer, explore the actual #wilderness, #leavenotrace!) ...or at the very least, join me in visiting the iconic spots whenever there's a whole lot less people around. ... By the way, despite sketchy snowy road conditions and a 5 AM alarm clock time, yup there were still a couple dozen other people here on the #SouthRim for #sunrise. We all enjoyed this special treat of a snowy light show...
Hey landscape photographers! Do you feel TRAPPED? Do you feel like you're stuck in your hometown or area, nowhere near any epic iconic landscape photography spots? Do you feel a twinge of jealousy any time another photographer does a "photo dump" of their latest trip to Iceland or Patagonia? ... Well, I was going to jump right into the "you're better than that!" speech, but it felt fake. So first, I must confess: that has been me, a lot. For many years there has been a voice lurking somewhere back there, ready to whisper, "Everybody gets to go on the really epic trips except you!" I'd feel like my portfolio was getting boring compared to others. "You're still too broke to ever go on a truly grand adventure"... . Ok, now the good part- there are three things I've begun telling myself over the past few years: 1.) Everything you see on social media is really fake. It's just a bunch of fleeting moments, the top 1% of people's actual lives. Or just not even really their lives... 2.) There's always beauty to be photographed, even as a landscape photographer in suburbia. You might live near a beach, river, lake, or a small mountain. Or heck, just a few rolling hills, or a historic site. #wigwammotel) Just keep your eye out for beautiful light, and photos will happen. And you know what else? ... 3.) Those local spots probably actually NEED you to photograph them. They might be at risk of being developed, or maybe they're already being abused or destroyed. (Just ask #litterhunter or @insta_wrecked) The truth is, Iceland and Patagonia really don't need you to photograph their same five icons. In fact, the more you do so the more your portfolio will look like it was created by an algorithm, not a human being with a creative eye. ... So, go take some meaningful landscape photos. Look for beautiful light, even if it's a dirtscape or just suburbia... In the long run your portfolio will really mean something to you and to others around you. #epicadventure #Iceland #Patagonia #wanderlust #getoutside #optoutside #roadtrip #suburbia #local
Forget everything you think you know, and go find the truth for yourself. ... California has some #crazybeautiful places. I'll always remember this experience. It reminded me to forget everything I thought I knew about the CA Coast, and just go explore it for myself. ... Whenever I think back to these previous years, (pre-Instagram for me, I was a late adopter) I remember how easy it was to just go galavanting off on a random adventure to a place I had barely heard of, just for the excitement of the remote #outdoors. ... Then, for a few years, I felt compelled to pick locations and projects that were guaranteed to yield #epicshots, those elusive #landscapephotography goldmines that could still be unique in a sea of unoriginal #eyecandy. It was a lot of fun, but my own image portfolio now seems to include its own #repetitiveness that I'm finding less attractive in retrospect. ... So, I'm off to explore again. Nowhere in particular. No geotags or pointless fluff hashtags like #igshotz or #instagood. It's all just a cry for attention, really, and unless you're leveraging some genius business plan that is going to help you pay rent and save for retirement, what good is attention? We dont accept "exposure" as a form of payment for doing a job, and yet we're desperate to pay ourselves in exposure. ... My advice? Make a plan for all the time you "waste" scrolling this feed. If you can't think of a way for the time spent to be productive and help you achieve a meaningful long-term goal, then stop it. Get off your phone and go do anything better than ruining your eyesight. ... Go see the world. Start near your home town, if you can't afford that trip to Iceland or Patagonia just yet. In fact, your local landscapes probably need your help a lot more, to be protected and conserved through beautiful photography that aides in public awareness, much more than Iceland or Patagonia "need" to be photographed by you. ... Thank you for reading. Comment below if you read my whole soapbox and let me know what you think.
Here is a charred #wasteland of a burned #JoshuaTree #forest from a 2016 #wildfire in #SouthernCalifornia. The image doesn't convey the sense of desolation and destruction that I felt when standing here, viewing this #apocalyptic scene. It made me cry a little. ... I'll be totally honest with you: I don't know if we can save the planet from our own self-destrucrive tendencies, and I'm kinda losing hope. 7.5 billion people need to all start living more safely and in harmony with nature. But, conserving the resources they obtain so freely and cheaply (or, sharing the resources with those who can't obtain them so easily) seems like a laughable task for such a crazy number of humans. ... But, it starts with those who have just a little influence, and that is why I also see a glimmer of hope with this whole #socialmedia thing. The masses, if led by the good example of #influencers and others, actually have a chance at reversing the powers of corporate greed and general denial about our predicament as a species that may soon outgrow its home planet. ... All we need is for those with influence to put it to good use, instead of just chasing self-glorification and attention. Although that does seem unlikely, too, which is why I'm still not as hopeful as I probably could be. ... Prove me wrong, 7.5B.
Moonlight and mist create a magical setting for the first night of summer and this alignment of the #MilkyWay and one of the most famous waterfalls on the California coast. ... I crossed paths with three other photographers, despite the wee hour and the pitch darkness between blue hour and moonrise. Actually though, three is probably a very low numner for this place on a clear summer night! (Have you been here at night too? How was it?) ... I actually had very little hope that this shot would happen, it was already totally overcast where I was driving from. Indeed, fog overtook this scene just a few minutes after I began a timelapse of it. ... I love visiting popular locations when conditions aren't optimal, though. In fact, as long as it's safe, bad weather is often now a green light to me. It's fun to just sit and wait to see what happens. This might not be the over-stimulating, jaw-dropping adventure life that social media would have us believe is the only way for anyone to truly enjoy the outdoors, but it's my happy place.
I'm not a morning person when living in suburbia. But, as soon as I'm out in the #wilderness, all of a sudden I find the willpower to set my alarm for #sunrise, and at least look out the door of my tent. ... Some days, the conditions just don't look very promising in the stereotypical ways that a #landscapephotographer might hope for. But, over the years I've learned that dramatic weather can always reward you with a beautiful sight, even if it doesnt translate to a single exposure very well. ... On this morning, I had already stayed up late photographing this same #meditationcircle, and captured one of my favorite star trail images. (Swipe to see it, and let me know which one you like more! I always am surprised to find out...) ... The sunrise didn't happen, or I should say it was not really memorable. But after sunrise, the misty cloudy conditions got pretty interesting, and I snagged this photo just a short while before we began our 14hr drive home... The lesson today is, "I'm not a morning person" should be a notion that you totally throw out the window whenever you head outdoors. Even if you're also a night owl every night, too! The light is all that matters, and even if you're not into photography, the sights that you get to see with your own eyes are breathtaking and worth it.
Junky old garage sale lens. Beat up old camera on its last leg. Random nowhere that social media never heard of. Alone. JPG image sent straight from camera to IG. Because none of that stuff matters. The solace of solitude matters. Soak it in. Leave no trace. ... This image reminds me of an afternoon I remember far more epically than any of the photos actually turned out. ... I was exploring a totally random river bend just outside of #Canyonlands #Utah, all by myself, in my #SubaruForester. I had no idea how far I would get, and I was fully prepared to turn around a few hundred yards off the pavement if the off-roading got too nasty. To my surprise, I managed to get a good 30-40 miles into the middle of nowhere, and I had an absolute blast exploring on foot once I reached the very end of the road. (It was not your average "I could do this in a rental sedan" road, either.) ... I timelapsed this sunset which was beautiful to watch but not exactly epic on camera, and as dusk fell an intense thunderstorm passed me at a great distance to the north. ... The images I captured are nothing that would win a #landscapephotography contest, but thanks to the thrill of the #adventure and the #solace that can be felt through total isolation, I'll remember this #sunset forever...
2008. This was the very first time I ever broke into a sprint in order to capture a landscape photo. ... Why a sprint? Because right as I captured this (1st) photo, I realized that what I really wanted was an image which had even more serendipitous juxtaposition: I wanted to "place" the moon right on top of Half Dome. ... So, I ran a hundred yards or two down a pathway across a meadow, in order to realign these two key elements. ... Swipe right to see the photo that I envisioned. I used a circular polarizer, plus channel mixing during the B&W conversion, to darken the deep blue sky to a black one. This was captured on a 150mm lens on a DX Nikon DSLR, or the full-frame equivalent of 225mm. ... Indeed, landscape photography seems to be an odd combination of many moments and scenes that seem to pass at a snail's pace, and moments that are gone in an instant, or that may never even happen unless you can put in extra effort at the very last second. ... It is scenes like these, and the memories/stories behind them, that speak to me the most when viewing photographs of an "actual" landscape. (Cue the comments saying, "I like the first pic better!" Well, that's fine, because to me it is the whole sequence of events that I remember, not just one image or the other.) ... I do also have a lot of respect for "fabricated" imagery as art. Indeed I wouldn't love Star Trek/Wars/LOTR etc if I didn't respect such imaginary landscapes and worlds. ... But, as a photographer, my passion is for real moments like this. The exact scale, juxtaposition, and timing of a very special moment in the outdoors, which I can now enjoy forever. ...So, do YOU have some favorite landscape moments that will stick in your memory forever?
Fall, winter, and spring can all feel like a blur in Southern California. This image is from 2004, I think, but I have no idea when it was captured; I'd have to look up the EXIF. It's a telephoto image captured in #IrvineCA and it includes the mountain peak of Mt Baldy or Mt San Antonio, I'm not sure. It was one of the most beautifil sights I've ever witnessed, that's for sure! ... I've toyed with the idea of writing a book on the subject of doing #landscapephotography in #suburbia, for all those photographers who cant afford a trip to #Patagonia or #Iceland... (Or those who are having reservations about the sustainability of this global wanderlust lifestyle that many landscape shooters are embracing...)