The light wasn’t right on the day John Conn saw the scene, so he came back the next day at a time when the shadows would work in his favor. Then he waited. The geometry of the legs of a trousered figure striding by was distracting. “I really wanted a woman because they usually dress in lighter, more colorful clothing,” John says, “and I needed a more solid form, with more of a flow. And she had to be the right height, too.” His next opportunity was a bicyclist…who veered away from the perfect spot, spoiling the alignment. Then a woman came by and John took the photograph you see here.
Rick Sammon’s first comment when I asked about this picture was, “The best time to take a night picture is not at night.” Twilight is a better choice, and that’s when this image was made in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which was the first stop for Rick and his wife, Susan, on their six-day tour last April of selected attractions along Route 66.
August, 8:45pm. The sun just set and the mercury is still hovering above 95. Not even a whisper of a breeze. It’s hot. It’s too hot to sleep, too hot to work—too hot to think. My only hope sits out back, parked on a pad covered with pavers. I simply need to turn the key, press the start button, and my ride will roar to life with only a single thought—escape the heat! I head west on State Route 412, a lonely deserted road that goes nowhere but has lovely sweeping curves and hard level straightaways where my baby can cut loose. With my feet on the pegs, the wind blows my hair back and sweat evaporates from my skin. Blessed relief!
When this old pebble balanced there by the Ice Age thousands of years ago in the Garden of the Gods Park near Colorado Springs, Colorado, tumbles from its perch, it could be the end of the world. I used a slow shutter speed to get this shot as the old boulder wasn’t shaking at the time. But who knows?
As frequent visitors to the Gettysburg National Military Park researching the participation of my wife’s family in many different regiments during the battle, my wife and I had a strange occurrence one morning. We always arrive at our chosen point on the battlefield well before sunrise each visit. This particular morning we were set up on Cemetery Hill facing Culp’s Hill and the soon to be arriving sunrise. The morning had good promise as there was some ground fog in place already. Suddenly, from the lower part of the valley, a thick fog began rolling in. It didn’t appear from the ground up as normally happens, but was a dense mass pushing into the valley. It covered the ground up to a knoll to our right and just left parts of the treetops visible. From then on it was just scrambling around with the camera on the tripod, hitting the infrared remote and then moving again.
Walking on the Greenbelt along the river in Boise, Idaho, always presents interesting photo ops. This was taken when they were putting together the framework for a new building at Boise State University.
The January rainstorms had come to the Utah high desert mountains, making it a perfect day to capture the storm clouds and rainbows that moved across the various mountain ranges. As I was driving on the outskirts of the small town of Gunlock, Utah, I came around a large mountain cliff ledge. To my surprise under the ledge were at least a dozen donkeys trying to escape the cold, freezing drizzle and get the warmth coming off the rock face. There were two donkeys in particular that caught my eye because of their noisy insistence on being in the same place.
This King Penguin chick, warm in his downy “fur coat,” didn’t seem to mind the snow, cold, or gray skies, but he plaintively called for his parents hoping to be fed. Larger than either parent he seemed to be well cared for, but his full-throated calls and beseeching body language made it clear that he wanted his parents and food now. It’s hard to make your voice heard among so many thousands I’m sure, but it made us smile. He has more in common with human children than he knows.
Walking along the boardwalk at the Wakodahatchee Wetlands in Delray Beach, Florida, I was taking pictures of birds when I heard a thunderous roar emerging from under the boardwalk. I also heard a huge splash and people screaming. I knew without looking that an alligator had emerged from hiding and grabbed something in the water. Looking into the water I saw the alligator with a turtle in its mouth. My emotions elevated into help mode and my impulse was to grab a stick and hit the beast in an effort to free the turtle that was attempting to escape but caught on the alligator’s huge teeth. I also realized the alligator could severely injure or even kill me.
Growing up in Florida, I began playing golf at an early age. However, for many years the most important club in my golf bag was the ball retriever. Florida golf courses are notorious for their water hazards and I believe I found many of them.
This pair of cream-colored mountain goats presented themselves on one of my early morning trips to the Mt. Evans Wilderness in Arapaho National Forest, southwest of Idaho Springs, Colorado. They could have been mates, sisters, brothers, or rivals. The hair raised along their backbones, particularly the goat on the right, suggests they were spooked by the presence of people. At 13,000 feet above sea level, this scene, as well as the thin air, literally took my breath away. Only three photographers were privileged to shoot this scene, which changed a second later, for eternity. Nature and photography are funny that way.
During a recent photo shoot getaway at Joshua Tree National Park, my primary vision was a foreground filled with a Joshua tree and the background would consist of a large rock formation with star trails circling the scene.
While driving up to higher elevation searching for the perfect scene, it became evident that it had recently snowed and I spotted this snowman that a mother and her two young sons were just completing. I stopped for a while and enjoyed making a few images of the snowman and as I was walking back to my vehicle it dawned on me that this rare desert snowman would make a great subject for my star trail image.
In the fall of 2011 my wife and I traveled to the Charlevoix region of Quebec known for its spectacular autumn foliage. Unfortunately, the weather was uncooperative with heavy rain, dark clouds, and high winds.
Disappointed but undeterred, I pocketed my Fuji X100 to explore the local vibrant artistic community. I came across the veranda of a local artist’s boutique and my mood immediately improved. The whimsical and creative display with the “Commedia dell’Arte” surreal theme reminded me of children playing joyfully in the rain.
At the Goodyear Blimp hangar in Pompano Beach, Florida, I was struck by the stark geometry of the common site of the blimp. The preparation platform makes a distinct linear comparison to the round shape of the blimp seen nose on. I must say, too, that the sheer size of the hangar and blimp are quite remarkable. The blimp took off within 15 minutes of this photo and it was quite a sight.
After a long morning shoot throughout Death Valley National Park my wife and I found ourselves at Furnace Creek at the Borax Museum. She was intent on going inside the museum but I spotted old equipment outside that previously had been used in mining operations. Being a strict nature photographer I am normally not attracted to architectural venues or mechanical subjects. But on further examination I found the afternoon light to be pleasing, casting interesting contrasts between the illuminated equipment and shadows. I was particularly attracted to this old rusty train locomotive, one of two engines previously used in Death Valley on the narrow-gauge railroad extant during the borax mining era.