Sunday, August 21, 2016

New Work- "Edge of the Earth"

"The greatest reward is not what we capture, but rather how we seek it. It is immersion in a wild Earth and an experience that goes far beyond photography. It is a pristine wilderness filled with challenges that are far better to explore than describe." That was the opening paragraph of the invitation we received 18 months ago for a hell-in/heli-out backpacking trip this summer in the mountains, glaciers, and ice fields of the Pacific Ranges, a vast untouched wilderness in the southernmost region of the Coast Mountains of British Columbia, spanning over 40,000 square miles.

Just 5 weeks before the trip, I sustained a severe ligament tear in my ankle (just to the point of not needing surgery). I spent 2 of the 5 weeks on crutches, and the remaining 3 with a progressively improving limp. I did everything I could to heal, but knew the hiking would be difficult and painful. Canceling the trip was not an option for me.

After a three day weather delay setting out, we were dropped off on the foot of a glacier at 6000 feet. Setting out with a 79lb pack and ankle brace, I pressed on, but slower than normal. Just the scouting hike on the first day across the slippery meadows almost brought me to tears in pain. But the first sunset of the trip, I limped over to this patch of lupines not far from camp and photographed this amazing scene. I forgot about the pain. I realized why I came here. There were no words.


The wildflowers were at their peak at this elevation... everywhere I stepped there were patches of lupines, astors, paintbrush, and more.

 For the next three days we were on the edge of an extreme weather system, with high pressure and thunderstorms just to the north in Alaska, and clear blue skies extending south towards Vancouver. The clouds and intermittent sun made for some very compelling photographs with a telephoto lens.


On day 4 we hiked down to the valley below, losing about 2000 feet of elevation. The hike was down steep talus fields and through a forest so dense I couldn't see the person just a few feet in front of me. Hiking down meant not taking a step down on the ground, but a step down on a the branch of the next lowest tree. We camped along the river about a mile west of this scene which I returned to several times waiting for good light.

Day 5 took us another few miles east, to a small glacier fed lake with a unique waterfall.

Being at a relatively low elevation in near the meadows and with the storms subsiding and hot sun breaking through, the mosquitos were unbearable, so we made our way about a thousand feet up to the foot of a large glacier which acted as a natural air conditioning and kept the mosquitos to a minimum. Sometimes my favorite photographs are not of colorful sunrises and sunsets, but of scenes with simple lines and contrast. This image below is one of my favorites from the trip, shot from atop a ridge in the late afternoon as lenticular clouds formed over the peaks. Such is the simple beauty of the mountains.

 By the final day, the pain in my ankle was an issue of the past. We packed up and sat at camp for a couple of hours, marveling at the final views of this incredible place while waiting for the helicopter to pick us up.

This trip gave new meaning to the words,"the greatest reward is not what we capture, but rather how we seek it." The photographs I captured on this trip are more meaningful to me than anything else in my portfolio. To me, they represent the beauty of untouched nature, adventure, and perseverance through adversity and injury. I hope you enjoy them.


Sunday, August 7, 2016


    With the forthcoming release of my latest body of work, "Edge of the Earth," I find it nice to share some stories behind some of the photos. The trip into the Pacific Ranges (the southernmost range in the Coast Mountains, spanning over 40,000 square miles!) was supposed to be a 9 day heli-in-backpack-hike-heli-out We finally made it in after a three day rain delay; on the first of those days, the helicopter actually flew us halfway into the range before having to turn around due to fog and low clouds.

   The first three days we spend camped at the foot of a glacier just north of Mt. Jacobsen. The glacier provided natural air conditioning on what, at least initially, were some hot, sunny days. Just down the ridge were lush meadows with innumerable wildflowers all at peak, and a clear view of Mt. Jacobsen and Ape Lake below it. As mountain weather does, we soon found ourselves just below a high pressure system to the north brining severe thunderstorms, and clear blue skies to the south. This brought us some incredible atmospheric conditions with dabbled light, low clouds and fog all changing by the minute. For about thirty minutes one morning, several of us sat atop a ledge with our telephoto lenses, taking near a hundred pictures of these peaks enveloped by low clouds and patchy light. About an hour later when everyone was gone, the show started again. I took one shot zoomed out a bit at 80mm to include both the peak and the glacier below when I noticed the the clouds and fog were enveloping the mountain in a spiral fashion. It was one of those shots that I knew immediately was going to be a good one. No imagination was necessary to visualize a final product. There it was in the LCD of my camera. The final product needed very little retouching. Just some mild contrast adjustments and color treatment: I envisioned a relatively desaturated image with preservation of the cold blue tones so the viewer would not be distracted by color; the atmosphere is all thats needed to tell the story here.

  Five weeks before the trip, I suffered a grade 2 ligament tear in my ankle while playing in the waves off the coast of Maui. The 5 weeks I had planned to train vigorously for this trip were replaced by two weeks on crutches and three weeks of limping around with a brace. Everyone from the doctors to physical therapists, friends, and family told me I would be crazy to go on this trip. My answer: To try and fail is better than not to have tried at all. To cancel the trip and sit at home wondering,"What if?" was NOT an option. I was little slower on the rocks, and having an 80lb pack while navigating uneven terrain was probably a little much for my ankle at that stage in the healing process, but not only did I survive. I conquered. And for that reason, this photo, perhaps my favorite from the trip, is titled, "Unbroken."

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.


slogan, explore, imagine, inspire