My Zion Subway photo featured on Nikon’s web site

Posted July 16th, 2014 by
Categories: canyons, National Parks, Newsworthy, Photos, Travel, Utah, Zion National Park

Picture: Left Fork of North Creek at The Subway, Zion National Park, Utah

Image: Left Fork of North Creek at The Subway, Zion National Park, Utah

It’s been a bit of a crazy spring & early summer season for me, but there are a number of things which have been going on regarding my photography which deserve a brief mention. Sometimes being accused of being too humble, I hope you’ll allow me to catch you up on some of these items over the next few blog posts.

So up first: I’m delighted to announce that an image I took last fall during a hike to Zion National Park’s famed “Subway” is now being featured on the NIKON USA web site in their Learn and Explore section. It’s called “One Shot: Are We There Yet? A photo destination well worth the effort.”

I should mention that while I’m thrilled that Nikon found and decided to feature this image, the Subway is one of the most Read the rest of this post »

Photographing the Beaches of Point Reyes July11-13

Posted June 19th, 2014 by
Categories: Bay Area, California, Coast, Fossil Beds, Outdoors, Photo Workshops and Tours, Photographers, Photos, Point Reyes, Sunrise, Travel

Picture: Photographer shooting the sunrise at Drakes Beach, Point Reyes National Seashore, Marin County, California

Image: Photographer shooting the sunrise at Drakes Beach, Point Reyes National Seashore, Marin County, California

For any photographers located in or around the San Francisco Bay Area, or traveling to the area, I’ll be teaching another 3-day photographic workshop at Point Reyes on July 11th through July 13th. The focus of this class will be (wait for it….) “Photographing the Beaches of Point Reyes.” This workshop is being sponsored and run by the excellent folks at The Point Reyes Field Institute, which is part of the non-profit park’s partner organization, The Point Reyes National Seashore Association. For more information about this class, or to register, please visit the PRFI web site. I’m happy to answer any photography related questions before the class, while questions about logistics should be directed to the PFRI.

The cost for this class through the PRFI is an insanely great value, and includes accommodations at the Historic Point Reyes Coast Guard Lifeboat Station.

I’ll hope to see some of you there!



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Gary Crabbe is an award-winning commercial and editorial outdoor travel photographer and author based out of the San Francisco Bay Area, California. He has seven published books on California to his credit, including “Photographing California; v1-North”, which won the prestigious 2013 IBPA Benjamin Franklin Gold Medal award as Best Regional title. His client and publication credits include the National Geographic Society, the New York Times, Forbes Magazine, TIME, The North Face, Subaru, L.L. Bean, Victoria’s Secret, Sunset Magazine, The Nature Conservancy, and many more. Gary is also a photography instructor and consultant, offering both public and private photo workshops. He also works occasionally a professional freelance Photo Editor.

Have you ever broken a law to get a photograph?

Posted June 11th, 2014 by
Categories: Legal, Photographers, Photos

Picture: No trespassing signs and fence along the shore of Lake Tahoe, South Lake Tahoe, California

Image: No trespassing signs and fence along the shore of Lake Tahoe, South Lake Tahoe, California

Have you ever broken a law or ignored a warning to get a photograph?

The things some photographers do leave me raising an eyebrow, rolling my eyes, or worse, feeling like the words, “I’m a photographer,” is becoming more and more a dirty phrase.

Now mind you, I’m not as pure as fresh-fallen virgin snow, but fortunately I can say most of my tainted snowflakes fell during my teenage years, which I thankfully survived. However, this post isn’t about stupid teenager mentalities, but rather us adult photographers and the lengths we’ll go to get a photograph.

A spate of images which I’ve seen over the last few months seems to point out that some photographers don’t mind bending or breaking an occasional rule or law in order to get a photo.

Image: Footprints in the mud on the Racetrack Playa, Death Valley National Park, CaliforniaIt started earlier this year with a brutally wrenching photo posted by the National Park Service of footprints trampled into the mud at the Racetrack Playa in Death Valley. Now this something I personally know to be well-signed at the parking lot. The park service clearly says driving on the playa is prohibited, but it’s unclear if these *idiots* broke an actual law by ignoring a posted request to not walk in the muddy portions of the playa. (Photo: Neal Nurmi / NPS)

I know for the National Parks, many things are posted as advisory warnings, but you won’t necessarily be breaking a law if you ignore them. Examples common in my local park, Yosemite, include things like “Stay back – Waterfall”, “Stay off – slippery rocks”, “Don’t hike in Tenaya Canyon”, “Don’t climb Half Dome if a storm is forecast”, etc.

But those warnings are clearly different from something like where there is a law saying “No Entry” or “Prohibited.” In the above cases, you may have to pay for your rescue if you ignored a warning, but I’m not sure you’d get a fine just for being an idiot who wants to climb Half Dome during a summer thunderstorm.

So what about where there are signs clearly posted for laws prohibiting something?

Before I go further; it’s confession time: my personal infraction level seems to be entirely weighted to sleeping in my truck where it may not have been allowed. (Some cities or entire counties may have ordinances against sleeping in vehicles.) I may have also broken a speed limit on dirt road once or thrice. But I can’t think of any time over the last many years of doing photography where I’ve specifically trespassed or broken any other laws to get a photo. I suppose you could chalk it up to being too scared, too chicken, or too respectful.

However, I’ve recently seen a bunch of photos posted by photographers who clearly seem to think it’s OK to go where they’re not supposed to go, or do something they’re not supposed to do, just to get a photograph. Whether it’s photographing a bridge from a certain location, entering an abandoned building, climbing on tufa at Mono Lake, standing on a branch of a Bristlecone Pine, or shooting a waterfall; I’m curious at what point does the desire for an image cause us to risk bending the rules or breaking a law?

Picture: Teenagers playing in the Sacramento River below Mossbae Falls, near Dunsmuir, Siskiyou County, California

Image: Teenagers playing in the Sacramento River below Mossbrae Falls, near Dunsmuir, Siskiyou County, California
Two of California’s most-scenic waterfalls cannot be reached because of no trespassing or prohibited entry, both of which are posted for safety reasons. Fortunately you can still photograph one of those waterfalls (in Big Sur) from a distance via a popular lookout trail. The other is Mossbrae Falls in Siskiyou County, near Mount Shasta. For over 100 years, people have been walking along the railroad tracks to reach this secluded waterfall. But until the age of digital photography and the internet, this location was not well known, and pretty much ‘off-the-radar’. Access along the tracks was pretty much a given access easement. But as word and the number of photos of this location spread, so did the number of people trying to reach or photograph this beautiful location.
But as I wrote in my book, Photographing California; vol. 1 – North, a few years ago, the crowds causing parking problems in the small town of Dunsmuir, and erosion along the banks of the railroad tracks caused enough of a problem that the town closed the parking area, and the railroad posted clear No Trespassing signs. The local Sheriff office now routinely cites people it catches walking on the tracks. (FYI: My images were shot a number of years before the access along the tracks was ‘officially’ terminated or the start of citations being handed out.)

Unfortunately, there is no access from the opposite side of the river, which crosses private property. This has rendered the falls inaccessible, except by traveling up or down the Sacramento River. Although there is a current plan to put in a public trail, that option doesn’t exist yet. So what’s a photographer to do if they want a photo of this waterfall? Trespass, or wait until the path is built.

Does the urgency or desire to get a photo warrant taking the chance of getting caught trespassing. or perhaps, even worse, risking serious injury or even death if a train should come by at exactly the wrong moment, and you’re stuck in a place with no chance of safe retreat? (In Big Sur, the beach at the base of the falls is closed due to the risk of falling off the steep, fragile, and eroding cliffs.)

Now let’s say you choose to go and take pictures of said waterfall, regardless of the rules or posted signs. You then post your beautiful images of the falls online to the ohhs and ahhs of admiring fans, followers, and fellow photographers. I’m just curious what message you’re sending? Look at this beautiful photo; I broke the law to get it, so you should, too? What about the more contradictory, “It’s OK if I do it, but you shouldn’t”?

So… where’s your line? Are there absolutes? Are there exceptions, and if so, when and why? Have you seen any photos taken by someone doing something or of someplace they shouldn’t have been? Anyone else feel like confessing? I hear it’s good for the soul, but don’t take my word for it.



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Gary Crabbe is an award-winning commercial and editorial outdoor travel photographer and author based out of the San Francisco Bay Area, California. He has seven published books on California to his credit, including “Photographing California; v1-North”, which won the prestigious 2013 IBPA Benjamin Franklin Gold Medal award as Best Regional title. His client and publication credits include the National Geographic Society, the New York Times, Forbes Magazine, TIME, The North Face, Subaru, L.L. Bean, Victoria’s Secret, Sunset Magazine, The Nature Conservancy, and many more. Gary is also a photography instructor and consultant, offering both public and private photo workshops. He also works occasionally a professional freelance Photo Editor.

Are my images shot on slide film now dead?

Posted May 27th, 2014 by
Categories: Barns Farms and Rural Scenes, California, Photo Business, Photos, Stock Photography

Picture: Crescent Moon in evening light over oak tree on Palassou Ridge, Santa Clara County, California

Image: Crescent Moon in evening light over oak tree on Palassou Ridge, Santa Clara County, California

I have to wonder, from a business perspective, if many of my older images which I shot on professional-grade transparency slide film aren’t, for lack of a better term, ‘dead’?

Earlier this spring I received a call from a client looking for images of rural Santa Clara County. I had images, but it would to take some time for me to get them online for review. You see, these images were all shot on transparency film. They are part of my stock files from back in the day when professional photographers used to send slides to clients, who would then review submissions on a lightbox using a loupe. (I refer to this as the period when photography was tangible.)

Currently a full a decade into the digital-era, sending slides to a client just doesn’t happen anymore. I honestly can’t remember the last time I sent slides to a client; perhaps now akin to listening to my last music cassette tape. To get these images to the client for review required me to edit my collection of transparencies, scan the slides, clean the scans of any dust spots, and finally post low-resolution scans online for the client to review.

Now this client notwithstanding, I have a large number of images in my files which have never been scanned at high resolution. After working through this collection of images, I’m left asking myself a larger business related question; (professionally) is it even worth the time it takes to scan and keyword these images for stock sales or distribution to stock agents? Read the rest of this post »

I’m judging; Got any Mystical or Moody Photos?

Posted May 13th, 2014 by
Categories: Black & White, Photo Contests, Photos, Transportation

Picture: Interior of a antique First-Class passenger railroad car, Railtown State Historic Park, Jamestown, California*

Image: Interior of a antique First-Class passenger railroad car, Railtown State Historic Park, Jamestown, California

Business and life has me a bit backlogged on a few announcements I’ve been meaning to make. First off, I’m delighted to announce that I’ve been asked to judge a photo competition for Chasing the Light. The theme for this contest is Mystical and Moody. Deadline for entry is June 1st, 2014.

Given my years of experience doing photo editing and judging other competitions, I’m always eager to see the types of images people submit. The theme is wide-open on subject matter or content, and I’ll be looking for the most evocative images which represent the theme. So grab your best shots, and lay them on me!

*NOTE: Just because I put a photo of a old B&W train doesn’t mean you should limit yourself to this type of work or subject, or think that this is what I want to see. All I care about is the photo feels mystical or moody.



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Gary Crabbe is an award-winning commercial and editorial outdoor travel photographer and author based out of the San Francisco Bay Area, California. He has seven published books on California to his credit, including “Photographing California; v1-North”, which won the prestigious 2013 IBPA Benjamin Franklin Gold Medal award as Best Regional title. His client and publication credits include the National Geographic Society, the New York Times, Forbes Magazine, TIME, The North Face, Subaru, L.L. Bean, Victoria’s Secret, Sunset Magazine, The Nature Conservancy, and many more. Gary is also a photography instructor and consultant, offering both public and private photo workshops. He also works occasionally a professional freelance Photo Editor.

The unexpected popularity of an image

Posted May 8th, 2014 by
Categories: Bay Area, California, Photographers, Photos, Sunset

Picture: Sunset over the green east bay hills looking toward Mount Tamalpais in distance, from Briones Regional Park, Contra Costa County, California

Image: Sunset over the green east bay hills looking toward Mount Tamalpais in distance, from Briones Regional Park, Contra Costa County, California

I admit to sometimes being surprised by the reactions to some of my photos. In this case, it started innocently enough; a client licensed an image. The photo was open in Photoshop. I like sharing my photos on a social media and a few photography sites, so I think, “Great, I’ll share this one.”

My over-riding impetus with using these sites is simply to share my work. It’s not a matter of seeking fame or validation, but rather a simple belief that (most*) photos are meant to be seen; not kept hidden away from view in a file cabinet or hard disk drive.

Now I personally don’t like playing numbers games with photos, whether that be in the number of views, votes, favorites, likes, +1, rankings, etc. Photos should either elicit a response, in which case the may be deemed as being ‘successful’, or they fail to elicit a response. But does that latter result make an image a failure?

It’s hard, if not almost impossible to avoid the Read the rest of this post »

It will swallow you whole

Posted April 28th, 2014 by
Categories: Clouds and Sky, Glacier National Park, Montana, Mountains, Photos, Weather

Picture: Storm clouds envelope a mountain peak in Glacier National Park, Montana

Image: Storm clouds envelope a mountain peak in Glacier National Park, Montana

Do you see the giant rock-eating monster? You can almost hear it saying, “Nom, Nom, Nom.”

Have you ever had that feeling like a wave has come upon you and simply swallowed you up whole? Rather than a literal ‘beach’ wave, I’m thinking more about the ethereal, ephemeral waves, be they atmospheric, emotional, motivational, or even more simply put, one of those big ‘Life’ waves.

I feel like I’ve been in one of those waves lately. Like all waves, I experience both crests and troughs. On the crest side of the occasion, I’ve been really busy since January fielding lots of business items. But with each crest comes a trough, including a restriction on the amount of time I’ve had available to do certain other business things which have slipped off the radar. One of these items has been the absence of posting new material to my blog.

There are lots of things I’ve been wanting to share. Some of these things have extended as far back as last summer, including sharing more of pictures directly on my blog. Given that a few of these recent waves started hitting me just around the holidays last year, I feel like I’ve got some making up to do.

Given all that, I thought this would be a good picture to start with. My kids and I were traveling through Glacier National Park last summer when we stopped near Logan Pass just as the clouds from an incoming storm system started moving in from the east. As a photographer, seeing these waves of atmospheric conditions washing over the landscape provides some of my all-time favorite things to shoot. Watching this one clouds move over this isolated peak was like watching the land being devoured. “Nom, Nom, Nom.”

This image was shot with my Nikon D800 and an 80-400mm VR lens.



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Gary Crabbe is an award-winning commercial and editorial outdoor travel photographer and author based out of the San Francisco Bay Area, California. He has seven published books on California to his credit, including “Photographing California; v1-North”, which won the prestigious 2013 IBPA Benjamin Franklin Gold Medal award as Best Regional title. His client and publication credits include the National Geographic Society, the New York Times, Forbes Magazine, TIME, The North Face, Subaru, L.L. Bean, Victoria’s Secret, Sunset Magazine, The Nature Conservancy, and many more. Gary is also a photography instructor and consultant, offering both public and private photo workshops. He also works occasionally a professional freelance Photo Editor.

Point Reyes 1-Day Panorama Class – May 10th, 2014

Posted April 17th, 2014 by
Categories: Bay Area, California, Coast, Photo Workshops and Tours, Photos, Point Reyes, Workshops

Picture: Photographer shooting at Limantour Beach, Point Reyes National Seashore, Marin County, California

Image: Photographer shooting at Limantour Beach, Point Reyes National Seashore, Marin County, California

For photographers living in, or traveling to the San Francisco Bay Area, I” be teaching another of my upcoming Panoramic Point Reyes 1-Day photo workshop which I’ll be leading on Saturday, May 10th, 2014.

Read the rest of this post »

Follow the Light

Posted February 26th, 2014 by
Categories: Mount Rainier, National Parks, Photos, Sunrise, Trees

Picture #1: Sunrise light through trees, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

Image: Sunrise light through trees, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

(First let me say how thankful I am to have my blog back up and running normally after it had been hacked earlier this month. I’d also like to apologize to anyone who came to this site via a link only to find an bunch of Viagra ads. And now back to our regularly scheduled programming.)

*** Please leave a comment below and let me know which is your favorite shot. ***

Last summer, while traveling through some of the Pacific Northwest’s most popular National Parks, I had occasion to experience the exact something I’m always trying to teach my workshop students and clients. One of the lessons I want them to learn most is learning to see and use the light to create compelling photos. Many times I’ve seen photographers get so wrapped up in shooting a particular subject right in front of them that they miss something completely special happening at side or behind them.

On this particular morning, I was at one of those “Me Too” locations; a standard easy-to-get-to postcard locations that everyone likes to get. A friend of mine refers to these as the photographic equivalent of low-hanging fruit. In other words, it just doesn’t take much effort or originality to point your camera at an icon scene and press the button. I was traveling with my family, photography was not on the priority list, and the fact that I hadn’t been here in 20 years made the low-hanging, easy target perfectly acceptable.

Picture #2: Trees and morning mist, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

Image: Sunrise light through trees, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

While not crowded by any means, there were a number of other photographers there on this clear morning. While waiting for the light on the mountain, which obviously wasn’t doing anything special, this is what the shaded scene right in front of me looked like: (Photo # 2)

This was certainly pretty, and enough to occupy my attention since there was nothing overly compelling happening with the ‘postcard’ icon shot.

Then as the sun rose above the distant hills, suddenly the morning mist on the very far side of the lake came alive. (Photo #1, top of post)

While I focused on this special light, creating compositions based on what the light was doing, I happened to look over at Read the rest of this post »

New Photo Tour: California’s Gold Country in Spring

Posted February 19th, 2014 by
Categories: Barns Farms and Rural Scenes, California, Photo Workshops and Tours, Photos

Picture: Sunset in the Sierra Foothills near Chinese Camp, California

Image: Sunset in the Sierra Foothills near Chinese Camp, California

I’m delighted to announce that I’ll be co-leading a photo tour this spring, “Experience California’s Gold Country Photo Tour, which will take place from April 10th – 13th, 2014. Based in the heart of the Mother Lode in Sonora, we’ll explore and experience much of the antique places and flavors which make this area such a wonderful destination. From old hotels to living history, we’ll also visit a railway museum, including shooting some night shots and light painting. Hopefully the rolling and forested hills will be alive with green grass and wildflowers. For complete information, visit the workshop and tour information page: Experience California’s Gold Country. Photographers of all experience levels are welcomed.

If you have any questions about this tour, please let me know. I hope you’ll consider joining us. :)

*PS: In case you’re wondering why you may not have seen any blog posts from me in awhile, several weeks ago my WordPress Weblog site was hacked, which basically turned my site into a huge Viagra ad. Not something I was thrilled about, and in the same vein left me feeling like I’d been contaminated by some nasty STD. Fortunately the site has been fully restored and scrubbed clean, so I can now happily return to our regularly scheduled programming.



If you like this post , I would greatly appreciate it if you’d consider sharing this with your friends using one of the Social Media sharing buttons located at the top of this post. You can also sign up to receive free updates by email when future posts are made to this blog.


 



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Popular Photographic Print Sizes

Traditional Prints feature:
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Click here for Information & Pricing on larger paper, canvas, or metallic prints, incl. matted & framed prints. For complete purchase options, please contact me directly.


Gary Crabbe is an award-winning commercial and editorial outdoor travel photographer and author based out of the San Francisco Bay Area, California. He has seven published books on California to his credit, including “Photographing California; v1-North”, which won the prestigious 2013 IBPA Benjamin Franklin Gold Medal award as Best Regional title. His client and publication credits include the National Geographic Society, the New York Times, Forbes Magazine, TIME, The North Face, Subaru, L.L. Bean, Victoria’s Secret, Sunset Magazine, The Nature Conservancy, and many more. Gary is also a photography instructor and consultant, offering both public and private photo workshops. He also works occasionally a professional freelance Photo Editor.