From pine cones to the insides of cactus flowers, macro photography allows the viewer to find a new perspective on nature. Interesting patterns in nature that most people miss, become the subjects of beautiful images. Macro photograhy is the name given to photography associated with closeups and magnified images. Closeup photography takes you into the unseen beauty of nature and allows you to see it with new eyes. An important element of photography is being able to make order out of the chaos of nature. In macro photography, one looks closely at nature to reveal the intricate patterns that exist.
Arizona has been my home state for the better part of thirty years. It has one of the most diverse terrains of any of the 50 states, making it one of the most photographed spots on Earth. This gallery explores many of the different places in Arizona not specific to the other galleries included in this portfolio.
In northern Arizona, there are canyons carved by wind and water in the Navajo sandstone, that are so narrow, they are hard to walk through. These "slot" canyons are worlds unto themselves. The most impressive of all of these Slot Canyons is by far and away Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon. A tributary of the Colorado River, and now Lake Powell, Antelope canyon runs south to north, near Page, Arizona. When I first ventured into these slot canyons in 1992 they were relatively new on the tourist schedule. Now, it is rare to get a time when you are in there with less than twenty other photographers. It is still an amazing location and one that I will return to again and again, just not on weekends or in prime tourist season. There are other lesser known canyons along Lake Powell accessible only by boat or a long hike that may provide the solitude photographers so often seek.. The Grand Daddy of all of these canyons as far as depth and length is the Buckskin Gulch. This canyon is a tributary of the Paria River and is located in Northern Arizona, near the Coyote Buttes Wilderness Area. I suggest at least two days to explore the "gulch". An overnight stay at the Confluence of the Paria River and the Buckskin Gulch can be a mystical experience.
In Southwestern Utah, there is a canyon named after a place in Heaven; Zion Canyon. First inhabited by Anasazi Indians approximately one thousand years ago, and later settled by Mormons who named it Zion, Zion Canyon is a water carved, natural wonderland.The park has two main areas, the Checkerboard Mesa area to the east and the main Canyon which runs north and south. At the north end of the canyon, the Virgin River comes cascading into the canyon through the Virgin River Narrows. This narrows is easily accesible in summer, but the cold waters and rushing rapids make it difficult to access at other times. For me, the most amazing trail is located at the north end of the main canyon called Angel's Landing. This is not for the faint of heart nor anyone troubled by heights. A narrow ledge runs atop a fin of sandstone, suspended some 1,500 feet in the air. The view of the canyon from Angel's landing makes the whole hike worth the trip.
One of the most interesting subjects for me to photograph is water, especially waterfalls. The sounds they create in the forest, the patterns in the rocks and water, all add to the dynamic potential in these images. From the majestic falls of Yosemite, to small backyard falls with no special names, waterfalls have been of special interest for me since I began creating images.
Monument Valley is a spiritual center of the Navajo people. Hunt's Mesa and the surrounding valley is also one of the most amazing place to visit and photograph. The Mittens and other rock formations have become iconic figures of the American Southwest. Featured in many movies and commercials, these formations remind us of the American spirit and westward expansion.
The Grand Canyon is a place of wonder and mystic revelation. Having white water rafted over 200 miles of Colorado River, hiked in from both North and South Rim trails and slept inside the inner canyon walls, we can say that this is truly one of the natural wonders of the world. The Grand Canyon however, is not an easy place to take dramatic pictures. The sky needs to have some clouds in it for the pictures to become memorable.Our favorite spots are on the North Rim. The North rim is less crowded and seems to attract a more environmentally sensitive type of people. Our favorite spots include Point Sublime, Cape Royal and Point Imperial. Sunrise at these places is truly an inspirational and awe inspiring event. During the winter months we will visit the South Rim for snow shots and dramatic sunrises, but during the summer months it is too crowded for our tastes.
Every fall, nature turns to thoughts of color as the changing of the weather forces trees to drop their leaves. The buildup of sugars in the leaves paints them red, orange and yellow when the nights dip below the freezing mark for the first time. Driving through the mountain pastures, especially Hart Prarie near Flagstaff, Arizona, one is flooded with visions of color unmatched at any other time of the year. Each fall we pack up our equipment and head to the high country, Colorado, Northern Arizona and Utah, to catch the color show before returning to the lower deserts as the changes follow the temperatures south.
The lowest point in North America and the highest point in the 48 contigious states can be found in California. From Badwater in Death Vally to Mt. Whitney 100 miles to the west, the extremes of nature are presented to the western traveler. Death Valley has become one of my favorite locations to create images since my first visit there in 2001. Living in Las Vegas, I can be at Furnace Creek in less that two hours. The geographic and geologic features of Death Valley are magnificent. From Darwin Falls in the west, to the giant sand dunes of Stovepipe Wells and Eureka Dunes, Death Valley offers the photographer a plethora of possibilities.
Bryce Canyon is located in Southwestern, Utah on the Paunsaugunt Plateau. This canyon was carved by the Paria River and is geologically the upper section of the Grand Staircase.The 'pink cliffs" that are exposed here leave the visitor breathless. Photography is best done at sunrise here because of the main ampitheater's (Bryce Ampitheater) Eastern exposure. Sunset is still beautiful, but the light dissipates quickly over the plateau. In my opinion, Fairyland Canyon and the Bryce Ampitheater are the best locations for photography. I also recommend hiking into the "Wall Street"and "Thor's Hammer" area along the Navajo Loop and Queen's Garden trail.
The Anasazi of "Ancient Ones" have left numerous ruins to be explored in the American Southwest. Various theories abound as to their origins and extinction. In either case, the ruins make for great photographic opportunities.
In addition, the Druids of the Salisbury Plain and the missionaries of the Americas have created monoliths and cathedrals worth exploring.
There aren't many places I go to every chance I get. Colorado is one of them. I graduated from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado in 1984. The San Juan Mountains are a wonderful place to travel, especially during the summer. Wildflowers spread across high mountain pastures and the skies are the deepest of blues. The Great Sand Dunes National Park, Wolf Creek Pass, Pagosa Springs, Red Mountain Pass, The Dallas Divide and other locations in Southern Colorado are among my favorites. Autumn explodes in an array of yellows, oranges and reds from the millions of Aspen trees. These colors stand in stark contrast to the deep green of the pine trees, making for spectacular images.
If I could choose only one part of the country to photograph, it would probably be Southern Utah. No where else can one find the unique geologic features found here. From the Paria / Escalante Wilderness to Cedar Breaks, Southern Utah offers a diverse landscape for creating dramatic images. Bryce, Zion, Capital Reef, Coral Pink Sands and Lake Powell ar all found here. As part of what is known as the "Grand Circle" these areas represent a major portion of my photographic collection.
Every spring, the high country meadows in Colorado and the deserts in Arizona display their colors to the world. After laying dormant for an entire year, the cactus blossoms burst open and the deserts glow with orange and yellow. In Colorado, places like Yankee Boy Basin near Ouray and the meadows around Silverton, are favorite places for us to photograph. From the mountain pastures of Colorado and Washington State, to the valleys of the Arizona deserts, we wait in anticipation every spring to see what colors the winter rains and spring runoff bring.
Reflections have always had a special place in my photographic images. I enjoy their inherent symmetry and balance. Whether it is a mountain lake or a reflection in a stream, I enjoy the colorful abstractions that are created when the subjects are reflected. When the sun is not directly shining on the water and is still shining on the subject being reflected, the images created are of better quality. I often use a graduated neutral density filter to accomodate the differences in the amount of light on the water and on the subject. It is the balance of the image that makes for a quality photograph.
White Sands National Monument just outside of Alamogordo, New Mexico, is a photographers dream. The beautiful whitr sand takes on the colors of the sky, blue, pink, gray. The intermittent yuccas, and the sand dune formations are immaculate. Early in the morning, when the light is very low, the ripples of sand make dynamic patterns across the landscape.
New England has always held a special place in my mind since living there as a child. When I think of New England, I usually think of the beautful Fall foliage. After visiting Vermont in 2006 for a photo workshop, I vowed to return to New England every fall for the changing of the leaves. I hope to fill this gallery with images of Vermont, Maine and other destinations after my adventures each Autumn.