Oops, dust above the bee's left wing. When you're out shooting for a few weeks the camera sensor collects more and more dust. This photo is shot on my Nikon D-3s. The sensor was cleaned just before the shoot and this is after 2 weeks in the field.
Smoke from a control burn near Tusayan on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park contributed to some soft light for this sunrise photo of Isis Temple. This pic was taken last week from nearby Shiva Temple below the North Rim. A long walk in, but well worth the effort.
In an article in today's New York Times about rising water levels on the East coast of the U.S. I was reminded of a shoot I did last year in Australia to document the same subject. Taken in Sydney, Australia my photo illustrates where normal ocean levels will be by 2050. I shot this photo during a King Tide event. Amazing to imagine 35 years from now, during a similar high tide event, the ocean water will completely submerge this outdoor pool.
There's a lot of chance that plays into getting interesting photos in remote locations especially when you let the unfolding events control your shots. What I've discovered is on some photo outings nothing happens; the skies are clear, the company is dull and the location sucks no matter how stunning the place might be. Then on other trips great events unfold, great light happens and making nice photos is as easy as pointing the camera in the right direction and letting the shutter fly.
This point was made clear to me again on a recent multi-day hike off the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona. I was joined on the trip with two botanist, Glenn Rink and Steve Till, as well as another avid canyon explorer Bob Dye.
I was in the Canyon on a scouting trip for a future story. The others had no set determined goals so the hike quickly unfolded as a casual romp in the Park to explore some new country and have some fun. And of course I brought a camera should anything interesting happen.
I liked this shot of Steve exploring the art of flying. If I claimed that this sort of activity is a hot new sport craze, it would have the Park managers of GCNP sleepless with worry, but it's only Steve enjoying some flight-time.
Okay I did have some photographic goals during the trip. I did want to make a nice portrait of Bob Dye. Bob is incredibly knowledgeable about the canyon and displays an uncanny ability to find ancient building sites and artifacts.
Glenn Rink is the ultimate energized hiker. As we walked out of the Canyon across the Powell Plateau in a blowing fog and wet snow, I managed to get a photo of Glenn in his element. He later admitted that when I took this photo he was freezing cold and was nearly running to stay warm.
So like many people I enjoyed three days of photo serendipity in the Grand Canyon and I am already planning on my next trip. This last photo is what Glenn says is the ultimate scout of Deubendorf Rapids. What I saw was the beautiful curve of the Colorado River, the steep ridges dropping off the Great Thumb and more than a few reasons to return.
Despite the Park closure I was able to do a four Day walk along the Colorado River in Marble Canyon on the Grand Canyon Natl. Park boundry.I was able to do this by walking into the canyon from the Navajo Reservation side. Navajo hiking permits can be obtained for this activity from the Navajo Nation Parks at http://navajonationparks.org/permits.htm
On my walk I joined botanist Glenn Rink who is involed in doing plant collections for the Navajo Nation. Our 38 mile loop hike decended Hot Na Na Canyon to a pouroff above the Colorado River. We walked the bench above and then below the Colorado for 13 miles then exited the canyon at 29 mile or Shinamo Wash. From the top of the canyon we made our way via roads to our truck.
I found many beaches below the rapids to be littered with drift wood. The debris is the result of the big floods that have swept into the Canyon during the heavy rains this summer. We saw evidence of debris flows down a couple of the canyons and gullies from 19 mile to 29 mile.
We were surprised to find a new spring in Shinamo Wash flowing at around 20-30 gallons per minute. We figure this must also be due to the higher percipatation in area in the past few months. The spring begins near where the old Dam survey trail exits the canyon.
Sacred Datura blooming in Shinamo Wash On the canyon rim I found the endangered
This was a difficult walk mostly off trail that accessed some rarely visited areas above the Coloraod River in the Marble Canyon. During the hike I walked through some beautiful country and learned more about the regions rare plants. The last morning in the canyon I could look across to the sunrise on the North Rim in Grand Canyon National Park.
With a possible government shut down less than 12 hours away I am lucky I had a chance to visit a few of my favorite National Parks in the past few weeks. If the shut down happens like it did back in 1996 places like Canyonlands National Park in Utah and Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve in Colorado could close their gates for weeks.
Hiking up dunes patterned with dark iron rich sands containing magnetite that contrast with the lighter colored sands at Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado.
Expansive views from the top of Amasaback across the Colorado River from Islands in the Sky district of Canyonlands National Park.
I am used to putting my cameras in all kinds of situations that might not be too healthy for the camera. This photo was made one morning during a boat trip down the San Juan River in Utah. I took the shot looking down river with my iPhone 5. To get the photo I held the phone just above the murky brown waters of the San Juan. Was I afraid the camera would drop in the drink and never be found, of course, that's why I held it with both hands, but I also have all the data backed up and the phone is insured. After making this photo I put the phone back in it's happy river home a steel water proof and sand proof case.
The climbing area of Mount Arapiles in Western Victoria, Australia is a stunning destination. What has brought me to Arapiles for many visits is that there are thousands of quality climbs scattered on the walls of this rock mountain. The rock is so perfect and so accessable that night climbing is an option as well. Here Jordan Webster, a climber visiting Arapiles from California, climbs the uber classic Agamemnon.
To make this shot require a fair bit of pre-planning as well as a small team to help light paint the climber and surrounding walls with light. I will write more about light painting and how I made this photo in my next column in Australian Geographic Outdoor.
Possums might be a common thing in Australia, but like so much
of the wildlife I've seen on my travels around the country I find them
to be a strange and delightful sight. On a walk last night I saw a couple running on a power line. I ran home to get my camera and the little guys were still up there when I got back.
On a technical aside I would never have thought of making this photo in the film days.For this I used a Nikon D3s ISO 10,000 1/20 sec f 2.8, the lens was a 70-200 VRII shot at 92mm handheld. The focus is set for the nearrest possum. The possum are illuminated by a sodium vapour street light. The clouds are illuminated by a bright moon.
This past year National Geographic asked me to document tall trees in Tasmania, Australia. It was a fantastic experience spending time in the giant eucalyptus forest with tall tree scientist Dr.Steve Sillett and other tree and forest experts. We climbed several 80 to 90 meter tall eucalyptus trees. I also had a chance to spend time in a protest tree with environmentalist Miranda Gibson. She spent a record 457 days in a tree platform 65 meters up in an Alpine ash.
The best moment during my 5 weeks in the forest was one morning watching the scientist in a 500 year old Eucalyptus regnans located in the Florentine Valley. The photo here is from that morning.