Greetings from Big Sky Country,

You may have noticed that there was no newsletter last month. I was in the midst of an adventurous 3-week road trip that harkened back to earlier in my career when I lived a spartan-like existence from the back of my car. My Subaru was loaded down with camping gear, bicycling gear and of course my photography equipment. I had designed this lengthy excursion after a good friend graciously offered an elusive wilderness permit to hike into the famed swirling sandstone area called “The Wave” along the Utah and Arizona state line.

The stats from the trip; 4381 miles driven and just about an equal number of images taken. Coincidentally, about the same number of spam emails in my junk folder when I returned home. I arose dutifully at 5-5:30am every morning, spent some time in my tent and ate often from my cooler or cookstove,. There were several days that entailed 600-950 miles of driving. I got poison oak on my legs (again!). I laughed when one of the emails I received stated “hope you are enjoying your vacation”. While I love what I do, I’m not sure that getting up well before the sun fully constitutes a vacation.

I did the math before departing. 18 days on the road meant that I had approximately 36 chances for some really great light. Now realistically and even historically, that means that about 5-10% of the days would bring me terrific light. In the end, those were my actual chances as I can count on one hand when the elements all lined up the way a landscape photographer hopes for. It was great to be in such a disciplined rhythm and I really felt in tune with my surroundings. I think the images reflect this feeling.

I had so many great new images, it was hard to pare them down to just these.

New Pacific Coast images.

New Desert SW, plus Montana and BC


My experience in The Wave.

I had not been to this amazing (and hard to get into) place for nearly 17 years. The last time that I was there I went with a friend and we foolishly took a really hard route over the mountains to get to the location. This time I actually had directions from the BLM (there are virtually no markers on the route itself) and a plan. I hit the trail at dawn, 6am, hoping to reach interesting formations at sunrise. Over the next few morning hours I hiked, explored and recorded what I saw. Other hikers would trickle in. (only 20 lucky folks receive a permit per day) and most were content to hover around the actual “Wave” formation.

In reality there was so much to see in the area. An arch, dinosaur tracks, a second wave, stromatolites and one amazing twisted and color-laden formation after another. I was in Disneyland for photographers. The Wave itself, is an anomaly of landscape photography where it is actually best to shoot at noon when all of the shadows have disappeared. I had a lot of “down” time in the middle of the day when I visited with a literal United Nations of visitors from across the globe. I hung out in the shade and waited until the sun was low in the sky again as I wanted to photograph other features that would look great in evening light. Yes, I was the first to arrive and the last to leave the Wave. I got back to my car at the trail end after 8pm making for a 14-hour day that was one of the most satisfying of my career. What a special and spiritual place and I savored every minute. My thought was, I may never get back there again, so I made the most of the day. My images were so much better than in 1998!


What’s Next?

I have another super busy month ahead as June is one of best months to shoot, especially in the prairies while the landscape is lush and green. I have assignments in Michigan and North Dakota. Two workshop classes on back to back weekends will make for another epic and intriguing road trip as I spend a few days in eastern Montana, then Theodore Roosevelt National Park and then looping to Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming before heading back to Montana.

Update on the  photography workshops, I still have a scattering of openings for all of the remaining 2015 classes. I still have plenty of openings left for the Michigan class in September. The Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore along Lake Superior is a fantastic setting and will be a great learning environment and opportunity to come home with amazing new images.

Colorado aspens in late September is really close to being sold out. If you want in to this special class, then act fast!

I will be adding the 2016 schedule of workshop classes to the website in September. Here are some of the locations that I am researching and considering 7 classes for next season.

Late Winter- Saguaro and Organ Pipe National Parks based in Tucson, Arizona. Desert wildflowers will be in bloom with amazing cactus landscapes.

Spring- Seattle for night-time shooting and then the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in NW Washington. Cityscapes and fields of colorful flowers.

Summer- The Rocky Mountain Front Range in Montana. Always a favorite. Hard to beat the amazing backdrops and scenery here.

Badlands National Park, South Dakota. Love this unique park!

Glacier National Park, Montana. I do this special class every two years. Don’t miss this one.

Autumn- UP of Michigan. A return to the Keewenaw Peninsula and the Porcupine Mountains for some of the best fall color in the country.

Whitefish, Montana. My hometown when the hills and mountains are filled with golden larch trees. In addition to the field shoots, we will concentrate on Photoshop classroom time and printing your images from the shoots. If you are in need of digital image processing and printing skills this will be the class for you.

I will be selling some of the equipment this summer as I re-tool with the release of Canon’s new 5Dr camera body. Please contact me directly if you are interested in any of the following gear.

Canon 14mm super wide-angle 2.8 II L $1500.00

Canon 70-200mm 2.8 L I $999.00

Canon 300mm f4 L IS $999.00

Canon 600mm f4 IS L $6000.00

Canon 1D Mark IV camera body $1500.00