June 10th, 2020
My brother Matt and I had tried to take this picture the evening before. Total fail! No sunset, choppy water, zero clouds. He was good enough to try again the next night and wow am I happy he did! (Lake Almanor, Lassen Peak, Brokeoff Mountain Subject is Matt Thau, Livermore/Pleasanton Fire Department)
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May 22nd, 2020
This is perhaps my favorite desert black and white image. In many ways it is very simple. It shows that sometimes it is not about getting one more thing into the frame, but rather how much can you take out. When I see this image I am instantly transported back to the moment I captured it. Since it was nearly 10 years ago and it seems like yesterday I expect the emotion of that moment will stay with me forever.
Everything seems balanced when I take in this image. The nearly black parts of the dunes work because they enhance the loneliness of the place. Just enough sun has reached the ridge for us to see the footprints. There is also the perfect amount of sun on the single side of the dune for us to see all the texture and detail the wind creates. I am happy with how the clouds broke up the sky. While I love all the parts I just mentioned, it is the lone person that means the most to me. Of course this hiker gives us perspective, but so much more. You could stare at this stunning landscape for hours or days making up stories and backstories for the person.
It was once said, “Just because I am alone doesn’t mean I’m lonely.” I feel that to be very true. A walk in a special place like this can bring peace and contentment. There are no distractions, meetings to attend, calls or emails to return, tasks to be completed, nothing. Only to be present and take it all in. It can take a lot of planning, time, and perhaps money to make this walk a reality. When on your walk, clear your mind, be keenly aware of all your senses, realize the uniqueness of the moment!
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May 13th, 2020
***Surprise Valley Spring***
I look forward to spring in the high desert. Weather can change fast. A day that was completely clouded over might have the sun and blue sky break through. All of a sudden things get really visually interesting. This is exciting for me! If you combine those conditions with being in an interesting spot it gets even better.
I spent some time here and ended up taking pictures in just about every direction. What you see represents such a unique grouping of things. If there were this much weather here all the time this image wouldn’t be as unique and the landscape would be dramatically different. The storm clouds give way to blue sky. A vast expanse of muddy water. Despite the water only desert shrubs grow on the hills except for on the tops of the distant mountains. The ripples on the water reflect how windy it was. This cold wind on my face makes me feel alive and truly connected with the area. Being here to enjoy this view is special, having that wind really finishes the experience off for me!
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May 7th, 2020
I really wanted this one! Since it was mid March, the morning air was chilli. As is often the case, the wind can gust and blow at the edge of a cliff. That feeling just adds to the grandeur of the view and makes me appreciate nature’s power even more. After hiking into the spot I had planned to use, last minute I switched to this view. It was still dark at the time, so as the sun came up I was going to find out if that was wise. Lots of things were happening in the sky before the sun started to show itself. There was no guarantee the sun would come out or there would be any color. At that point I was thinking, “At least I got a walk in, and I’ll enjoy the view I have to myself.” As you can see, things got better! The sun was able to break through. I love how the morning light on the grass, trees, and rocks makes this image feel. The view down on just a portion of the park helps show how big it is. Really lucky to have this gem in my backyard!
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April 30th, 2020
***First Light Flowers and Oak***
I picked this tree out the night before. As a result I wasn’t 100% sure exactly where the sun was going to come up. This was the shot I wanted, but it was going to require putting several images together to make it happen. Some of them might be needed before the sun actually came out. Once the tripod was set up and I started there was no turning back. You can imagine how excited I was to get the sun in just the right spot! To me, this final image represents a quintessential late spring, sunrise, on the North Rim Trail in Upper Bidwell Park.