Monday, January 11, 2016

New Release: Southern Exposure


"The land of the south is a stark contrast to may other landscapes of this country. But its history, charm, simplicity, and subtle beauty are unmistakeable. Bald cypress trees over a thousand years old, the white powdery beaches, stormy coastlines, and acres of rarely explored swampland come to life with the proper vision. Our latest new release captures the essence of southeast America, with each image showing a glimpse into its rich history, charm, and beauty across the seasons."

My goal with this body of work was to bring a unique perspective to the south and southeastern areas of this country.  I wanted to show how light and vision can transform commonly visited areas into beautiful landscapes.  After months of location research, I traveled extensively in these areas, often visiting locations several times until the light and subject matter came together into a compelling photograph.

It was not without trials, perseverance, and some hardships along the way... many early mornings, late nights, and kayaking through alligator infested swamps of Louisiana and Florida.  In fact, on one of my final days of shooting, and front came through and the bad weather caused my kayak to capsize, losing all my cameras and lenses into the water.

Still, I am very pleased with the results.  The collection is as coherent as it is diverse.  You see many different locations, color palettes, and photographic styles.  From intimate views, wide landscapes, monochrome and color, this new release is a special one for me.  It shows scenes from where I grew up, and where I live; an often visited, but sometimes under appreciated area of the country.

I thank you for taking time not only to look at the photographs, but to see the beauty that exists here.


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Top Ten Photos of 2015

  2015 was an another exceptional year... I released what I consider my most compelling collection to date, a body of images from Patagonia. With majestic mountain peaks rising nearly two miles above turquoise glacial lakes, vibrant fall color, a barren desert, twisted forests, and some of the largest glaciers in the world, it is a place like no other. I also spent the better part of the year shooting for my latest release, Southern Exposure. The full body of work will be released next month, but it was a very fulfilling experience to shoot alone, with my own vision, the beauty and understated charm of the south... in places few photographers venture.
View these images and more, or purchase a print, on my website: Exploring Light Photography

Here is my selection of my Top Ten Photos for 2015:

10. "Atchafalaya Majesty"
  Having grown up in New Orleans, it's about time I finally made it out to photograph the swamplands of the Atchafalaya Basin. The trip was not without hiccups- persistent wind and choppy water made for less than ideal conditions. One day we got caught in a massive thunderstorm that seemed to come from nowhere. There is no shelter on the swamp, and it takes awhile to paddle 3 miles back to shore! Another day my kayak capsized and all my gear (2 camera bodies, 3 lenses and tripod) dumped out of my backpack into the swamp. Thankfully I had insurance and was since able to replace everything. And more important than that, I was able to fish my camera from the bottom of the swamp when my foot happened to snag the strap, and retrieve the memory card. A couple days on rice and I was able to retrieve all my photos, including this one. Just after the sun set, the afterglow gave a beautiful illumination to this patch of fall color on an old bald cypress which is probably well over a thousand years old.

9. "Allure"
  Glaciated waters under the alpenglow of sunrise light on Cerro Torre, puncuated by vibrant fall color.

8. "Enchanted Forest"
  A brief moment of beautiful sunset light shimmers through the maritime forest wilderness of Cumberland Island National Seashore.

7. "Cypress Reflections"
  Vibrant autumn color reflected on the swamp water on a calm morning.

6. "Forbidden Forest"
  The intertwining of oaks brings coherence to an otherwise remote and wild area in the maritime forest of Cumberland Island National Seashore.

5. "Transcendence"
  Beautiful sunet light reflects off a large lenticular cloud, illuminating the valley and river below.

4. "Quiet Cove"
  Beautiful fall color on old cypress trees reflected on the calm water of this small cove in the swamplands of the southern United States.

3. "Eternity"
  Los Cuernos del Paine peeks through low clouds and fog, illuminated by the rising sun. Just moments later, a heavy fog came through as the scene vanished into the light of day.

2. "Oceanus"
  Located on the east coast of South Carolina, the beach of Edisto Island is scattered with driftwood and skeleton trees. Coastal erosion has killed these trees, but some still stand upright, rooted firm in the soil. While this area has been widely photographed before, I traveled here in the summer of 2015 with the intention of creating something unique. I wanted to make a photograph that captured the subtle beauty and raw emotion one feels when looking at these old trees which, although dead, are alive in their own right and seemingly transcend time. I spent several days here, each morning going out to the beach in different conditions. This one particular morning, the weather didn't seem very dramatic, and most of my hopes were dashed. But as the sun began to rise above the horizon, the light illuminated a lone cloud which framed this one tree perfectly... a nice silhouette with the light reflecting off the water below. I knew I would only have seconds to capture this moment, and after finding the perfect shutter speed I knew I had it. The dramatic light and an incoming tide had produced a brief but unforgettable moment at sunrise this summer morning.

1. "And Winter Came"
  The first light of day illuminates Mt. Fitz Roy on a cold, snowy morning.

Good light and happy shooting in 2016!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

A Visit, or an Experience?

   It often bemuses me with record numbers of people visiting our National Parks, how many are really experiencing all they have to offer? Many people take a trip of a lifetime to see the grandeur of a place like the Grand Canyon, but then limit their visits to a few mid-day snapshots on the South Rim. How many wake up early to watch the rising sun illuminate the landscape? How many visitors ride the shuttle through Zion National Park, but fail to experience the golden reflected light off the sandstone monoliths? How many people have watched the milky way rise above the dunes in Death Valley National Park? While wilderness hiking and camping is not for everyone, it is a shame that visitors travel far and wide to see these magical places, but then miss the really magical moments that bring them to life.

   Cumberland Island National Seashore is part of the sea islands of the southeastern US, and was established as a national seashore in 1972. Much of the island is wilderness, with a diverse landscape including beaches, salt marshes, gnarly oak trees, and ferrel horses that were imported earlier in the century. It has become quite popular in recent years, accessible only by ferry, and limited to 300 visitors per day by the park service.

    I visited the island recently while doing a commercial shoot for a widely circulated magazine. I was fortunate enough to secure one of the few overnight permits that are given out daily. The conditions are not ideal: it is very hot and humid this time of year, and the mosquitos are vicious.

    I spent the day exploring the landscape, covering miles of terrain on foot (no vehicles are allowed on the island). Hoards of daytime visitors filled the most popular spots on the south end of the island, snapping photos of the Dungeness Ruins, horses, and beaches.

    When the last ferry of the day departed the island, I found myself alone and did not encounter another person until the next morning. As the sun began to set, I saw a side of Cumberland Island that everyone who visited for the day missed. I felt bad for them. The ocean and sand dunes glowed with the orange light of the setting sun; sunbeams illuminated the mist in the maritime forest, and the harsh light on the gnarly oak trees and palmetto shrubs softened. This was the side of nature I came to see, and it was exhilarating to witness it alone.

    The night was rough- my air mattress had a leak, rain soaked through the vents in my tent I had left open to catch whatever breeze would cool the humid air, and the mosquitos were relentless, seemingly immune to the deep woods repellant I used. But when I look at the photos I captured, I don't think about any of those things. I think about the moments I witnessed where the light transformed this landscape into an amazing show that almost 300 other people missed that day.

    Your clothes will dry after the rain, mosquito bites will heal, and a nice shower will wash away the sweat from the heat and humidity. Next time you visit one of America's great landscapes, ask yourself, did you really experience it? Or just visit for the day?

"Forbidden Forest"

"Enchanted Forest"

"A Walk in the Woods"
slogan, explore, imagine, inspire