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.
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.
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.
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.
I captured this image on a backpacking trip to the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan one wet, stormy morning. I’ll never forget rounding the corner to the beach at dawn, instantly getting blasted by 25 to 30 mph winds and standing in awe of the massive 15- to 20-foot waves that were plowing into the shoreline. I decided to start shooting what was becoming an amazingly intense sky when all of the sudden a rainbow—than a double—materialized in the frame. I never moved the camera when the rainbows showed up—they were compositionally perfect in the viewfinder!
My husband and I have a Texas peach tree in our backyard that in the spring covers itself with pink flowers during a brief two-week period. When this happens we are literally surrounded with all kinds of insects flying all over the place, getting intoxicated on the sweet nectar of the flowers. It is one of those spectacles of nature that we look forward to witnessing every year.
Being a musician, a visit to the historic Sun Studio was a must-see tour on a recent trip to Memphis, Tennessee. I selected black and white on my Nikon D300 to capture an authentic feel of the 1950s era inside and outside. Upon leaving the building, a 1955 Cadillac pulled up to drop something off. I had just a minute to get set, compose, and snap off a couple of shots. This classic car under an historic landmark reminded me of one of my favorite country songs, “Guitars, Cadillacs.”
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.
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.
While in Kenya on business I visited the Nairobi Railway Museum, home to a variety of fantastic and rare trains from the Colonial Era, including the famed Lunatic Express. Yet little effort, if any, was made to preserve these historic treasures as they silently deteriorated in the equatorial heat and humidity. I spotted this one rusting train engine bearing the fallen Masai of Kenya nameplate (painted in Masai red) and thought it summed up the state of the museum quite well.
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.
While visiting the small island of Kökar in the Åland archipelago in Finland, I found this weathered fishing boat. This old boat tells a story of many years ago when herring fishing on Kökar was in its prime. No longer in use, the boat reminds us of the rich history of the island when hardy fishermen led courageous lives on the sea. Photographing the boat in early morning light, I was able to capture the nuances of its story. Since my ancestors originated from here, the boat gave a glimpse into my own history.
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.
I was touring in Merida, Spain, through Roman ruins. I had an image of columns, brick, and shadow lined up when a young girl in red flashed into my frame. Wow! With just a bit of serendipity I had captured old vs. contemporary, free form vs. ossification, modern meets old. For me, this was just a great moment. I processed this image in Lightroom and took the color out except for red, allowing even more stark contrast.