Summer is winding down and my photo shoots have been as diverse as always. This is a selection from some some of those shoots, as well as recent published materials. Looking at the photos reminds me that the best part of the work is visiting new places.
I was excited when the Sonoran Institute recently sent me to photograph their Colorado River Delta restoration project in Baja California, Mexico. The Sonoran Institute is a U.S. non-profit that works to
On the last day of the shoot I made this photo from Cape Solitude. It shows the location where developers plan to build a mile and a half long tram from the rim into the Grand Canyon. Construction of the tram can start as early as this year.
I liked Robert's and the Smithsonian's choice of a title for this story. It reminds me of the ad that the Sierra Club ran in the New York Times and the Washington Post in June of 1966. The NYTimes Sierra Club ad was a call to action when two dams were being proposed on the Colorado River up stream from the confluence. I believe the ad was the brainchild of David Brower who was president of the Sierra Club at that time.
The Canyon is under threat again, I wonder if the public will rally again to protect the Canyon?
The year 2014 seemed to involve a string of amazing photo shoots and travels. For me the real highlight was settling into my new home in Tucson and reconnecting to the landscape and people around the South West. Looking back over the year I discovered there were many occasions where conversations and ensuing connections with people led me down creative roads I might not have otherwise explored.
I'll share one of those encounters. A magazine assignment for Arizona Highways sent me to Mexico to photograph scientist Fransisco Zamorra who works for the conservation group the Sonoran Institute. In the course of the shoot Fransisco, who is also an avid wildlife photographer, introduced me to the Colorado
Months ago when I heard that a group of developers from Phoenix were planning to build a tram into the Grand Canyon from the rim down to near the confluence of the Colorado River and Little Colorado River, I thought it would never get anywhere. But now I learn the Navajo government has agreed to this project.
The confluence is visually the heart of the Grand Canyon and a place I have viewed from many vantages.
The photo below is at 60 mile Canyon on the Colorado River. In the distance you can see Cape Solitude. This location is less than a mile up stream of where the proposed tram complex will be established in the Grand Canyon.
Should the proposed tram be built you would see the cables and gondolas from where I took this photo. The inner canyon, in places like 60 mile Canyon, are peaceful and quite places to retreat. Even with 25,000 or so people a year who float past this location on river trips this place along with most of the inner Grand Canyon is wild. The developers for the tram proposal estimates they will be able to send 9,000 people a day into the Grand Canyon. Grand Canyon National Park intends to fight this as do other groups.
It will be interesting to see how this develops in 2015.
This week I returned to Saguaro National Park to rephotographed one of the cooler looking saguaro I had photographed last month. Here's a select from this recent shoot. I nearly always publish color images, but after looking at the color image on my home computer I thought the white flower and the cool lines of the saguaro ribs might have more punch if I converted it to Black and White in Photoshop.
But I am in a quandary here because I didn't originally shoot this image in Black and White and when I shot the image I was intent on a shooting a color image. So the question I ask myself is shouldn't this image remain in the original color?
I've often written and promoted the idea that in wildlife, landscape and news photography the photos should be kept as true to the original moment as possible. This means no excessive photoshop or editing to remove items other than dust from the photo. This concept is really just for images whose intention is to depict a real scene. Of course for creative sake an image can be manipulated to the extreme if the intention is to create an art work. I guess that's the threshold I crossed when converting this color image to Black and White. What do you think, did the Black and White alteration I made change the original intent of this photo? My answer is probably not by much, but it is a very different photo from the original.
That got me to thinking that most news photographers publishing black and white images are usually shooting in color with digital cameras then converting the image to Black and White for publication. This is the case with many landscape and wildlife photographers as well. The reason many still produce images in Black and White is not only a style choice, but the fact that a photo in Black and White will often depict a subject with more power and emotion than a color image. Is this kind of radical alteration to a color image true to the moment? It is if the intent when the photo was shot was to make a B&W image. The difference between what I did in altering my saguaro photo and what the B&W publishing photojournalist and wildlife photographer is doing, is their original intention is seeing the final photo as Black and White.
The saguaro cactus is the iconic cactus of the Sonoran Desert. Locals are saying that with the mild warm winter in the American Southwest the saguaro is blooming early. Yesterday I saw thousands of saguaro flowering in Saguaro National Park outside Tucson, Arizona.
These cactus can grow over 40 feet tall and live more than 200 years. Most visitors view the cactus from ground level. I used a special wireless camera rig that allowed me to look down on the saguaro from above. I've discovered there's always a unique perpective with aerials.
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.