Please join me at the Red Butte Garden Annual Holiday Open House, Saturday and Sunday, December 6th and 7th, from 10am till 5pm. Admission to the gardens is free on these two days and you can shop for unique Christmas gifts from a select group of local artists, with 30% of the proceeds going to support Red Butte Garden. I'll be offering a wide range of photographic prints from note cards and small matted prints to large framed photographs and stretched canvases, as well as my unique photo transfers on stone, paper, wood, and metal. I'm excited to show some new work (like the image above) from a July excursion to Lake Tahoe.
Like a wave, a storm cell crashes and breaks with the ebb and flow of an atmospheric tide. Fog hangs on the Sundial like dust in the aftermath of a great battle, while a dusting of snow etches fine details from the scene and suggests that something has changed.
I didn’t set out to go to the Pfeifferhorn. At home in the morning, looking towards Lone Peak and Upper Bells Canyon and seeing low clouds pushing down on the mountains, I knew I wanted to get high in the mountains. So I decided to head for Upper Red Pine Lake. I could just imagine the lake shrouded in fog, edged by ghostly tree silhouettes.
The entire way up through the forest I kept thinking, “I’m going to miss it, by the time I get there the fog is going to be gone, this whole day is going to clear up and there’s going to be nothing left but blue skies and sunshine”. When I got to Red Pine Lake I realized the image in my mind was not a reality, the clouds and fog were only occasionally reaching below the ridgeline, but the peaks were in the clouds.
After an obligatory photo session and a lunch break at Upper Red Pine Lake, I started for the ridge. Again those same thoughts swirled in my mind as I plodded towards the ridge,” I’m going to miss it”, and “the clouds, the fog, the mist are going to completely dissipate by the time I get there”. Well, this time my fears were unfounded and once I reached the ridge I was in the ethereal zone.
The rest of the day became one long photo session as I made my way to the Pfeifferhorn, spent over an hour on the summit, and began to descend the headwall back into Red Pine Canyon after the last red light of the evening danced across the top of White Baldy. It was a long hike in the dark back to the trailhead, all the way from Upper Red Pine Lake. It was worth it.
Even though my feet hurt and I was hungry, I was buoyed by thoughts of how amazing this day had been and how fortunate I was to be able to spend the day photographing an absolutely stunning location in the kind of conditions I dream about as a landscape photographer. I also couldn’t help but think that all days are not created equal.
One truism of landscape photography that I try to live by is, never judge a day by the weather, get out in the landscape anyway. Subjects abound and there’s always some way to make a meaningful photograph, no matter what the weather is doing. Still, that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t trade a day like this for at least a few blue sky days.
I'm honored to be one of 50 photographers chosen to be part of the Wilderness 50 Exhibit which opened September 3rd at the Natural History Museum of Utah on the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. 50 photographs by 50 photographers were chosen from over fourteen hundred photographs submitted by four judges; Tom Till, James Kay, Stephen Trimble, and Rosalie Winard. The show is a commemoration of the signing of the Wilderness Act as well as a celebration of the beauty and diversity of Utah's wildlands, and runs thru December 14th in the Sky Gallery on the museum's top floor.
After six years as a full season Arts and Crafts vendor in the Downtown Salt Lake City Farmers Market, this season I've gone to part time. I'm at the market every other Saturday. Come check out my huge selection of one of a kind, hand made, transfer prints. These are the dates you can find me at the market: August 16, August 30, September 13, September 27, October 11, and October 25.
Big Sur is one of my favorite photography destinations and Pfeiffer Beach is at the top of my list of specific locations. Located two miles off Highway 1 down the winding one lane Sycamore Canyon Road, Pfeiffer Beach is not to be missed. Although this may not be the ideal beach for a picnic due to the near constant wind, the scenic beauty can't be beat. This is a day use only area with a $5 entry fee. I did find it annoying that although this is a National Forest beach it's managed by a private company that collects the fees and therefore the Interagency Federal Lands Pass is not honored, however it's well worth the $5 investment.
Sunset is the prime time to visit. Photographically, November thru February are the best months to visit. At this time of year the sun sets further south and lines up with the arch. The other advantage to visiting at this time of year is that clear skies and sunsets are more likely, during warmer months inland heat draws the fog into the coast. The first time I visited was in September and although it was still incredibly dramatic it was so foggy you couldn't even tell where the sun was in the sky, it just eventually got dark, without any golden light.
If the conditions look promising and you want to try to photograph the arch, with the spray of waves crashing through it lit-up by the setting sun, be sure to arrive a little early. The effect is most distinct from about an hour before sunset to about a half hour before sunset. During that last half hour of the day, when most people seem to arrive, the sun is all ready too low on the horizon to really give the mystical effect seen a little bit earlier.
I know I posted this image recently, but thought I'd post it again now that it's officially an award winning photograph. I entered this photograph in the 21st annual World of the Wild Art Show at Utah's Hogle Zoo. I was thrilled to find out it was juried into the show and even more so when I found out it had won an Award of Merit. The show is hanging now thru March 16th, 2014 at Utah's Hogle Zoo. Be sure to check it out if you're at the zoo sometime in the next month. You can also see the show online here.
Of course, capturing this image was the real thrill. Late or early in the year when the sun sets further south, it lines up with this amazing sea arch, also referred to as Keyhole Arch. On a clear evening, about a half hour before the sun slips below the horizon it lights up the spray of waves crashing through the arch. Pfeiffer Beach is a fantastic place to visit anytime of year or day, but when the conditions are just right it becomes a religious experience.
I’d long been drawn to this tree and photographed it on more than a few occasions before making this image. The shape of this dead tree arrests my eye every time I hike in the vicinity of Lake Blanche. On this night it was like a beacon.
Situated north of Lake Blanche, on the edge of a large block of resistant stone forming the terrace into which lakes Lillian, Florence, and Blanche are carved, among polished ribs of rock, the setting is perfect for capturing this dead tree cleanly against the western sky. On this night, two nights after the new moon, a waxing crescent moon was setting into a clear electric blue twilight and lining up quite nicely with the tree.
I had just left Lake Blanche where I had stayed till sunset’s bitter end, when the landscape could only be photographed in silhouette. I started towards the trailhead and was almost immediately stopped. The scene materializing before me reminded me of an image in my mind of a lone sculpted tree set against a crescent moon.
I dropped my pack, and worked quickly to set up my tripod. I changed lenses, from the wide angle I’d been working with, to a telephoto lens. Next, I dialed in my exposure, knowing that I needed to keep my shutter speed to one second or less in order to avoid blur from celestial movement. I had almost no time to spare as the light in the sky was quickly dying. I made several exposures while fine-tuning my composition by physically moving my camera position.
As I made my way down to the trailhead in the dark, I wondered how many hundreds of years it took this tree to reach such stately proportions. This once mighty tree has left behind a monument with extraordinary character, a visual legacy of its noble life.
This monument is a marker of time somewhat closer to mind than the lives of mountains or moons, and when set against the Earth’s cosmic timepiece, endlessly marking days, a deeper layer of meaning is achieved. The two symbols together move the image toward the iconic, the archetypal.