Upcoming Photo Workshops at Point Reyes: Oct 2-4 & Nov 6-8

Posted September 24th, 2015 by
Categories: California, Coast, Photo Workshops and Tours, Photos, Point Reyes, Reflections, Travel, Workshops

Picture: Morning light at Drakes Beach, Point Reyes National Seashore, Marin County, California

Image: Morning light at Drakes Beach, Point Reyes National Seashore, Marin County, California

The final two workshops that I’ll be teaching for 2015 at the beautiful Point Reyes National Seashore are fast approaching, with the next one just over a week away. That’s when I’ll be heading out to teach my 3-day photo workshop, “Photographing the Beaches of Point Reyes,” which takes place October 2-4, 2015. The workshop is run by the non-profit Point Reyes Field Institute, which is part of the Point Reyes National Seashore Association (PRNSA). The workshop fee is only $300 for the full weekend if you’re a member of PRNSA, or $320 for non-members, and includes accommodations at the Historic Lifeboat Station at Chimney Rock. These workshops provide one of the few opportunities for visitors to stay overnight inside the park. On Saturday evening, we generally have a big group dinner to add an extra festive note to all the learning and photography that takes place. The workshop conclude on Sunday with a review and critique of student images.

The final workshop I’m scheduled to lead in 2015 is also a 3-day workshop, this time focusing on “The Natural Wonders of Point Reyes,” and which will take place on November 6-8, 2015. This workshop is similarly priced, and also with included accommodations at the Lifeboat Station.

If you’re interested in learning or improving your photographic skills or vision, and want to do it at one of the best places on earth, and for an incredibly great value, come join me for either one of these two great workshops. Click on the above links for additional information, or to register through the Point Reyes Field Institute website.

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Panoramic Point Reyes Photo Workshop – September 12

Posted August 21st, 2015 by
Categories: California, Coast, Photo Workshops and Tours, Point Reyes, Workshops

Picture: Drakes 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’ll be teaching another of my upcoming Panoramic Point Reyes 1-Day photo workshop which I’ll be leading on Saturday, September 12, 2015.

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Two of the best hikes in Yosemite; Part Two: The Summit of Half Dome via the Cables Route

Posted August 12th, 2015 by
Categories: California, Mountains, National Parks, Outdoors, Photos, Travel, Yosemite

Picture: Hikers on the subdome just before the cables section of the route up Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, California
Image: Hikers on the subdome just before the cables section route up Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, California
(Click here to purchase a print or license for use in publications. – vly2-2744)

New Photos added to my Image Archive Library from Yosemite National Park.

I’m happy to announce I’ve added another set of pictures to my searchable, online Image Archive Library which are now available for purchase as wall-decor prints or licensed for use in publications. These photos are a selection from a shoot done a number of years ago while in the production phase of my last book, the award-winning Photographing California; vol.1-North. This particular set of images was shot while on two of the best hikes in Yosemite National Park. The first hike heads out of Tuolumne Meadows, following along the Tuolumne River downstream toward Waterwheel Fall. The second hike is, as the Yosemite National Park website states, “the one hike in the park that you’re most likely to die while doing.”

I’d love to know if you have a favorite image. If you do, please consider leaving a comment to let me know which one(s) you enjoy most. Also, if you have any memories of taking this hike, or you have any pictures from this area that you’d like to share, please feel free to include a link in the comment section.

If you read through this post, you’ll discover which one of the images from this shoot always gets referenced in my slide shows and presentations as a source of sad memories that almost everyone in California knows or has heard about.

Part Two: Hiking the Cables Route to the summit of Half Dome

Picture: Sunset light on Half Dome from Olmsted Point, Yosemite National Park, California
Image: Sunset light on Half Dome from Olmsted Point, Yosemite National Park, California
(Click here to purchase a print or license for use in publications. – tiga-2186)

Half Dome is one of the most well-known landscape icons in California, so it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that despite its difficulty, the hike to the summit of this magnificent monolith is also one of the most popular in all of Yosemite. Did I mention it was difficult? Perhaps it’s the fact this 17-mile round-trip hike climbs approximately 4,000 vertical feet from the valley floor, with the final ascent being a wrenching hand-over-hand, pull-yourself-up a pair of slick metal cables over polished, foot-worn smooth granite. If that’s not enough to get your adrenaline pumping, Yosemite National Park’s website declares this adventurous trek to be the one hike in the park you’re most likely to die while attempting. Sounds like fun, right?

Picture: Looking down over the Cables section from near the top of Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, California
Image: Looking down over the Cables section from near the top of Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, California
(Click here to purchase a print or license for use in publications. – vly2-2779)

The hike up the Cables Route had become so popular that despite the difficulty, overcrowding on the cables became a serious and potentially hazardous situation. On summer weekends when upwards of 3,000 people a day were trying to make the climb, you could get stuck in a veritable traffic jam as some folks were trying to go up while others were going down, all on a pathway only four feet wide. For that reason, the National Park Service instituted a Read the rest of this post »

Two of the best hikes in Yosemite; Part One: Following the Tuolumne River

Posted August 6th, 2015 by
Categories: California, Mountains, Outdoors, Photos, Travel, Waterfall, Yosemite

Picture: Rainbow in LeConte Fall along the Tuolumne River, Yosemite National Park, California
Image: Rainbow in LeConte Fall, along the Tuolumne River, Yosemite National Park, California
(Click here to purchase a print or license for use in publications. – tiga-2133)

New Photos added to my Image Archive Library from Yosemite National Park.

I’m happy to announce I’ve added another set of pictures to my searchable, online Image Archive Library which are now available for purchase as wall-decor prints or licensed for use in publications. These photos are a selection from a shoot done a number of years ago while in the production phase of my last book, the award-winning Photographing California; vol.1-North. This particular set of images was shot while on two of the best hikes in Yosemite National Park. The first hike heads out of Tuolumne Meadows, following along the Tuolumne River downstream toward Waterwheel Fall. The second hike is, as the Yosemite National Park website states, “the one hike in the park that you’re most likely to die while doing.”

I’d love to know if you have a favorite image. If you do, please consider leaving a comment to let me know which one(s) you enjoy most. Also, if you have any memories of taking this hike, or you have any pictures from this area that you’d like to share, please feel free to include a link in the comment section.

And be sure to stay tuned for the next post, where you’ll discover why one of the images from this shoot always gets referenced in my slide shows and presentations as a source of sad memories that almost everyone in California knows or has heard about.

Picture: Clearing clouds over mountain ridges, Yosemite National Park, California
Image: Clearing clouds over mountain ridges, Yosemite National Park, California
(Click here to purchase a print or license for use in publications. – tiga-2084)

Part One: Hiking the Tuolumne River

Picture: Mountains above the flooded Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite National Park, California
Image: Mountains above the flooded Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite National Park, California
(Click here to purchase a print or license for use in publications. – tiga-2156)

Picture: Tuolumne River, Yosemite National Park, California
Image: Tuolumne River, Yosemite National Park, California
(Click here to purchase a print or license for use in publications. – tiga-2088)

The trail that follows the Tuolumne River downstream out of Tuolumne Meadows is one of those great hikes in Yosemite, in that you can make into either a short hike, a (very) long day hike, or an overnight backpacking trip. The primary destination for many is the Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp, where you can spend the night in a tent cabin and dine on some very good, freshly-prepared food. The Glen Aulin camp is approximately five miles downstream from the Tuolumne Meadows trailhead near Lembert Dome. The key part of the word “downstream” to keep in mind is of course, ‘down’–as in once you pass out of the meadows at around 1.5 miles, you’ll be hiking downhill, following the river as it descends toward the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne. This means that for most people, to get back to your vehicle, you’ll be making the return trip hiking back uphill. You can think of it along the same lines as hiking down and back from the rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona, although not as steep.

Picture: Tuolumne Falls, Yosemite National Park, California
Image: Tuolumne Falls, Yosemite National Park, California
(Click here to purchase a print or license for use in publications. – tiga-2090)

For visitors taking a day hike past the meadows, the 5-mile route to Glen Aulin passes several nice waterfalls, including the White Cascade and Tuolumne Falls. For those who choose to make a longer day hike out of Tuolumne Meadows, or for campers staying at the Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp, the ultimate destination is often Waterwheel Fall, located another four miles farther downstream. If you’re not lucky enough to get a backpacking permit or book an overnight stay at the Glen Aulin Camp, the remaining option for visiting Waterwheel Fall is a leg-stretching, 18-mile round-trip hike that descends nearly 3,000 feet of elevation from Tuolumne Meadows. And as previously noted, it will also mean hiking back up the same 3,000 feet on your return trip.

“This isn’t the Waterwheel Fall you were looking for.”

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A Visit to The End of the World

Posted July 13th, 2015 by
Categories: Big Island, Coast, Hawaii, Photos, Travel, Travels With a Camera

Picture: Waves breaking against lava rocks on the coast at The End of the World, North Kona District, Big Island, Hawaii

Image: Waves breaking against lava rocks on the coast at The End of the World, North Kona District, Big Island, Hawaii
(Click here to purchase a print or license for use in publications. – 150526a_HI-0166)

Visiting The End of the World, at a place where the Hawaiian Gods died.

– Travels With a Camera.

Have you ever wondered what you’d see if you traveled to the End of the World? If you find yourself on the Big Island of Hawai’i, you’ll have a chance to find out. The End of the World can be found along the coast of the North Kona District at Maihi Bay. Unfortunately, for approximately 300 native Hawaiians, this place literally was the end of their world. They died in 1819 at the Kuamo’o Battle, which has also become known as “The Place Where the Hawaiian Gods Died.”

Image: Memorial marker at the site of the Kuamo'o Battle (1819), at The End of the World, North Kona District, Big Island, Hawaii Picture: Memorial marker at the site of the Kuamo’o Battle (1819), at The End of the World, North Kona District, Big Island, Hawaii (Click here to purchase a print or license for use in publications. – 150526a_HI-0343)

The historical significance of this site can be described as the Gettysburg of native Hawaiians. It was the final battle between supporters of the long-standing Kapu system of ancient moral and social laws which existed throughout the Hawaiian Islands, and reforms started by Liholiho, son of King Kamehameha I, and the king’s wife, Queen Ka’ahumanu. Within the Kapu system, the penalty for many small and more grievous infractions was death. Following the passing of King Kamehameha I in 1819, the two began the reform of abandoning the old Kapu system by daring to dine together. Prior to this, it was considered ‘kapu’ (forbidden) for men and women to eat together.

In what was literally like a family feud of those who fought on either side of the Mason-Dixon Line during the Civil War, Kamehameha’s nephew and Liholiho’s cousin, Kekuaokalani, and his wife, Manono, (who also happened to be a former wife of Kamehameha), gathered together a group warriors who wanted to maintain the the ancient Kapu sysetm. They came ready to fight against warriors gathered in support of Liholiho’s reforms, who were led into battle by the brother of Kekuaokalani’s wife, Manono. The Kuamo’o Battle, which occurred in December of 1819, was a decisive victory for Liholiho and the supporters of those who wanted to abolish the ancient Kapu ways. The story goes that during the battle, Kekuaokalani was mortally wounded. While his wife, Manono, was holding him, opposing soldiers approached. She looked to her husband, saying something along the lines of “Forever My Love,” and then reached to pick up his weapon, at which time she too was killed. With them died the old Kapu ways, and marked the passing of the Hawaiian gods. Within six months, Christian Missionaries began arriving in the Hawaiian Islands.

The bodies of the 300 warriors who died in the Kuamo’o Battle, including those of Kakuaokalani and Manono, remain at what is now known as the Lekeleke Graveyard. From the walkway at the base of the graveyard, you can see where stone cairn terraces built out of lava rocks lay along the hillside, marking where the bodies of the fallen warriors have been buried.

Pictures: Lekeleke Graveyard, site of the Kuamo’o Battle in 1819, The End of the World, Maihi Bay, North Kona District, Big Island, Hawaii
Image: Lekeleke Graveyard, site of the Kuamo'o Battle in 1819, The End of the World, Maihi Bay, near Keauhou, North Kona District, Big Island, Hawaii
(Click here to purchase a print or license for use in publications. – 150526a_HI-0336)

Image: Waves breaking against lava rocks on the coast at The End of the World, North Kona District, Big Island, Hawaii
(Click here to purchase a print or license for use in publications. – 150526a_HI-0278)

Today, the End of the World can be reached near the southern end of Read the rest of this post »

New NorCal Meetup – San Gregorio State Beach

Posted July 6th, 2015 by
Categories: Bay Area, California, Coast, Photo Workshops and Tours, Photographers, Travel

Photo: Wildflowers on coastal cliffs at sunset, San Gregorio State Beach, San Mateo County coast, California

Image: Wildflowers on coastal cliffs at sunset, San Gregorio State Beach, San Mateo County coast, California

Last year I signed up during a special promotion to host a local Meetup group, Northern California Landscape, Nature & Travel Photographers. This was something I hoped and thought would be a fun opportunity to get out and meet and shoot with other like-minded photographer from around the area. I knew when I started the meetup-group that my schedule for much of my calendar year had been spoken for, and that’s continued longer than I anticipated. Between work, travel, personal, and family commitments, wrestling with the calendar has been a challenge, especially trying to do something without making it a commercial (money-making) venture.

Over the next few months, I have a few open dates that I’m finally able to put a meetup together, and am happy to announce the very first meetup, open to all photographers, all skill levels, as a no-fee social gathering which will take place at San Gregorio State Beach on Sunday, July 19, 2015. We’ll be meeting at 3:30 and staying through sunset. This is a casual, social meetup, not a photo workshop. Everyone is free to wander, shoot whatever catches their eye, share info and stories, and just have fun hanging out and shooting with other fun photographers.

You can find out more information about the San Gregorio Beach meetup, or join my meetup group here.

Here are some other images from San Gregorio to whet your photographic appetite:

Image: Wildflowers on coastal cliffs at sunset, San Gregorio State Beach, San Mateo County coast, California

Image: Wildflowers on coastal cliffs at sunset, San Gregorio State Beach, San Mateo County coast, California

Image: Wildflowers on coastal cliffs at sunset, San Gregorio State Beach, San Mateo County coast, California

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Hawaiian Waves – Silent Lucidity in Fluidity

Posted June 30th, 2015 by
Categories: ART, Big Island, Coast, Hawaii, Photos, Water

Photo: Waves breaking at sunset along the Kailua-Kona shoreline, on the Big Island of Hawaii

Image: Waves breaking at sunset along the Kailua-Kona shoreline, on the Big Island of Hawaii

One of the all-time great instances of musical misdirection occurred back in 1990 when the heavy-metal rock group, Queensryche, released their ballad, Silent Lucidity. Once the song became a hit on the radio airwaves, people flocked to their local record stores to buy the album. (That’s how it was back in the day.) But to the shock of those who expected an album full of beautiful easy-listening songs, what they got instead was one hidden gem of a ballad among an album filled with heavy metal rock songs.

Twenty-five years later, the song still remains one of my favorites by the band due to its Pink Floyd-esque backing and harmonies. And as much as I still enjoy the song, the mere title of the track, Silent Lucidity, has kept a semi-mystical hold on me. It represents an allure of something we know, something we can sense, with an almost uncanny clarity and certainty, yet remains isolated from our conscious reality; an unknown that we know, something touchable that we can’t quite grasp.

This is the feeling I enjoy looking at intimate abstract visions of the world around us. Like trying to understand a dream, there seems to be a progressive path that an image can lead us down. Too literal, too easily understood, it’s like the ethereal dream world has yet to cover our eyes with its soft veil. Too abstract, too difficult to discern, and the tendril of knowledge that we can grasp gets lost, leaving us feeling slightly more adrift. There’s no right or wrong along this perceptive curve. That’s why art is subjective. To respond is to elicit that internal emotional or experiential feeling that is individually unique. It’s not a style or subject I approach often, but in this one instance, I thought I’d share a recent attempt.

In my last post, I discussed how I spent my first evening on the Big Island of Hawaii trapped (by choice) shooting the sunset from the lanai of our oceanfront condo rental. The point that I tried to bring home in that post was about developing a sense of vision while shooting from one isolated location. Well, it just so happens that all the photos that appear below were also taken on that very same evening, from that same lanai, looking down at the breaking waves with my telephoto lens.

So, in thinking along that artful curve, I’d like to know if you had to hang one (or more) of these images on your home or office wall, which one(s) would get your vote?

1.) The photo at the top of this post. (It’s the only picture that wasn’t taken on this first evening, but was from several evenings later at the beach next door.)

2.)

Image: Waves breaking at sunset along the Kailua-Kona shoreline, on the Big Island of Hawaii

3.)

Image: Waves breaking at sunset along the Kailua-Kona shoreline, on the Big Island of Hawaii
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Trapped in a Hawaiian paradise – a photographer’s dilemma

Posted June 17th, 2015 by
Categories: Big Island, Coast, Hawaii, Photos, Sunset, Travel, Water

Picture: Sunset as seen from the Kona Magic Sands near White Sands Beach Park, Kailua-Kona, Big Island, Hawaii

Image: Sunset as seen from the Kona Magic Sands near White Sands Beach Park, Kailua-Kona, Big Island, Hawaii

When people think about travel or nature photographers, often we think of someone zipping around from spot to spot, tripod slung over a shoulder as they chase the elusive next shot. Most of us do it without even thinking. But what do you do when there’s simply nowhere else to go?

Here’s a tip and a challenge that I’ll often try to teach photographers when discussing developing a personal vision. Pick one spot. Stay there and shoot as many photos as you can. Moving is easy. Looking and finding things from one singular vantage point is what pushes your vision and teaches you how to see. As a photographer, you should feel comfortable with the concept of being randomly placed anywhere, and without moving, be told to “Photograph,” and be able to produce pictures. They may not be world-class, National Geographic quality photos, but they should certainly be able to express what you saw from that one spot.

Such was the case on my first night on the Big Island of Hawai’i last month when my wife and I ditched our kids for the first time in 16 years as we zipped off to spend two weeks celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary. Decidedly not a dedicated photo trip, my first Hawaiian sunset was shot from the solitary location that was our lanai (patio/deck). After a long day of travel, rental car acquisition, shopping at Costco and Safeway, and checking in to our first VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner) location, the urge for food and a couple Mai-Tai cocktails left little energy, will, or desire to head out and photograph the sunset. But as that magic hour approached, the fact that I was going nowhere didn’t mean I couldn’t make a few worthy photos from that singular location.

Image: Sunset as seen from the Kona Magic Sands near White Sands Beach Park, Kailua-Kona, Big Island, Hawaii

Image: Sunset as seen from the Kona Magic Sands near White Sands Beach Park, Kailua-Kona, Big Island, Hawaii

Image: Sunset as seen from the Kona Magic Sands near White Sands Beach Park, Kailua-Kona, Big Island, Hawaii

Image: Sunset as seen from the Kona Magic Sands near White Sands Beach Park, Kailua-Kona, Big Island, Hawaii


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Nature Photo Walk – Point Reyes workshop – June 20

Posted June 11th, 2015 by
Categories: California, Coast, Photo Workshops and Tours, Point Reyes, Workshops

Picture: Sunset light illuminates the spray off a breaking wave along the coast at Point Reyes National Seashore, Marin County, California

Image: Sunset light illuminates the spray off a breaking wave along the coast at Point Reyes National Seashore, Marin County, California

If you’re in the Bay Area and interested in learning how to improve your nature photography skills, or even just want to know how to take better pictures with your cell phone camera, join me for this wonderful one-day photo class, Discover Nature Photo Walk on June 20th in the beautiful Point Reyes National Seashore.

Here’s the class description and links to register:

Do you love taking photo outdoors but wish there was someone there who could give you helpful tips, pointers, or advice on how to improve your picture-taking while out in the field? If so, then grab your camera, put on your walking shoes, and let’s take a photo hike. We’ll meet for several hours at the rustic Point Reyes Hagmaier House for an introduction and slide show. We’ll then carpool to the Palomarin trailhead for an easy mile-long stroll along the coastal section of the trail, taking pictures of whatever catches our eye, from grand coastal scenes, to small intimate details of things like flowers, or rocks. Gary will be available to help participants work on setting up their own photos, discuss ways of looking at objects in nature, and seeing how to compose and create stronger expressions of your photographic vision. Photographers of all experience levels are welcome, including those who use DSLR, Point-n-shoot, or even those who just like shooting pictures with their phones.

–> SIGN UP: The class is being offered by the non-profit Point Reyes National Seashore Association and the Point Reyes Field Institute. Workshop registration is handled through the PFRI. You can register for the course online or express your interest in signing up by calling (415) 663-1200 ext. 373

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Class Photos from my Beaches of Pt. Reyes Photo Workshop April 2015

Posted May 21st, 2015 by
Categories: California, Coast, Photos, Point Reyes, Travel

Picture: Photographer shooting at sunset along the Great Beach, Point Reyes National Seashore, Marin County, California

Image: SPhotographer shooting at sunset along the Great Beach, Point Reyes National Seashore, Marin County, California

Last month I was delighted to once again teach a sold out Beaches of Point Reyes photo workshop. It was a great group of photographers to work with, and they produced an eclectic set of images highlighting some wonderful examples of personal vision. After you look through the images, I’m sure the students would love to hear any thoughts, comments, praise, or feedback that you might like to offer.

The weather was, as usual with Point Reyes, slightly challenging. We stared with a storm approaching, making for a solid gray sky non-sunset on our first evening. We awoke early, but to the very welcome sound of rain. Granted, it wasn’t very welcome from a photography perspective, but if you live in the California Drought Zone, you’ll know that we were happy to see every drop that fell. Fortunately for us photographers, and unfortunately for the state, the storm system was way too briefly-lived, and by 8:30 in the morning we headed out to start our shooting. The wind kicked up in the afternoon, and by sunset, it was really blowing pretty strong. Sand and salt spray was quickly coating lenses, cameras, and glasses. The next morning was clear and beautiful, with far less wind at the sheltered Drakes Beach where we arrived nearly an hour before sunrise, and shot from the Blue Hour until well into the Breakfast Hour. As usual for these great 3-day workshops, one of the highlights at the conclusion is the image review and critique where we all get to see and share the vision of what everyone managed to capture over the weekend.

Before I present the class photos, I’d also want to mention that I have a few more workshops scheduled at Point Reyes coming up this year, including the next one which is a one-day Nature Photography Walk and Workshop on June 20th. If you live in the Bay Area and are looking for a great, easy, and fun way to spend a day learning how to take better pictures and using your camera, I hope you’ll consider joining me on this wonderful day. Photographers of all levels are welcome, including those who just want to learn how to take better photos using their phone cameras.

You can find out more about these upcoming Photo Workshop courses on my web site, along with links to register for the classes, all of which are run by the non-profit Point Reyes Field Institute.

So now without any further delay, I’m delighted to share this selection of photos from everyone involved in the April 2015 Photographing the Beaches of Point Reyes Photo Workshop:

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