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.
Late in 2010 I made a trip to South China to visit my wife’s family in a village of rice and vegetable farmers. Being very hot and humid there, I always looked forward to walking the bean fields with my camera late in the day. It’s very peaceful and sometimes you can catch a cool breeze.
Bicycles are integral to the city of Amsterdam’s lifestyle and while traveling there, I decided to give myself an assignment and carve out time to concentrate on them alone. I set up in the open window of my hotel room along a busy, narrow thoroughfare with a designated bicycle lane, next to the Amstel River, and began to shoot. I recorded an incredible variety of bikes, including some for hauling everything from pets to freight, but this one, which I call “Rush Hour,” has become my favorite.
Traveling in winter on the train from Dresden, Germany, the mostly overcast countryside zipped by as the train quickly moved along on its way to our destination in Prague, Czech Republic. Occasionally the sun peeked out from the clouds and lit up the houses and the industrial areas we traveled through. At first I thought my images might be impaired by a too slow shutter speed and the reflection in the train windows, but I quickly decided to use those problems to my advantage. The photos I ultimately made (and named “Views From the Train”) clearly indicate movement, low light, and reflections; qualities that mirror both the literal and metaphorical aspects of the country we traveled through.
Hiking through the mountains in the Poudre Canyon above Fort Collins, Colorado, I happened upon a small clearing. Up against a mountain and surrounded by a grove of aspen trees, I found this very old abandoned cabin. The sight of this stopped me in my tracks. I immediately felt chills and a sense that I was stepping back in time. I took very slow steps as I listened to the wind move through the cracks of this home from the past. I felt as though I was trespassing on a family from long ago. I stayed long enough to capture this image with the sun setting the front aglow.
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!
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.
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.
As collectors of 19th century American paintings, my wife and I are very familiar with the wonderful twilight paintings of Frederic Church, Albert Bierstadt, Jasper Cropsey, Samuel Colman, and Jervis McEntee. While touring Grand Teton National Park in the fall of 2009 we passed by the overlook to Lava Creek on numerous occasions and stopped to determine the possibility for a good panoramic shot. I took several over the course of a few days but was not satisfied with the lighting conditions.
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.
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.”
While hiking an overlook at Capitol Reef National Park in Utah I came across this wonderful juniper tree as a storm was approaching. The tree’s gracefully gnarled and twisted bark tells a story of survival. The tree’s very existence is the result of surviving the storms that sweep across the ridge helping to form and shape it.
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.
While shooting waterfalls in North Carolina, I noticed the glowing reflection of the morning sun at my back. I quickly changed my position and captured this image. The majority of people in my area were facing a different direction, missing the beauty of the soft morning light on the slow-moving water upstream as it appeared on the opposite side of the stream from the falls. The morning light was impressive and little to no color boost was necessary to deliver this picture.