Tuesday, December 28, 2010
All done? Feels good to help out someone in need doesn't it? Well then, without further ado... My top 2010 photo picks.
Wandering Albatross, (Diomedea exulans)
Kaikoura, New Zealand
It might be the fault of the movie "The Rescuers" or the poem "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" but the Albatross has held a long lived fascination for me. I've been lucky enough to meet many albatross from Black-brows to Laysan, Shy to Black-footed and in January 2010 I met the king: The Wandering Albatross. With a wingspan of 8.5-12 feet, the Wanderer holds the record for largest wingspan of any living bird.
Josh Loya, 3rd heat
Mavericks Surf Competition, Half Moon Bay, CA
Waves up to 50 feet feet dominated the competition. Even though my boat was outside the break zone we bobbed around like a cork which made photography challenging to say the least but worth every minute out there.
Humpback Whale, (Megaptera novaeangliae)
Silver Bank, Dominican Republic
A safe place to raise a baby whale. I was amazed at how tender these incredible creatures were with their young. At one point I watched as a female cradled her calf in his flippers as any human might hug her child.
Death Valley National Park, CA
At 282 feet below sea level, Badwater Basin is at the lowest elevation in North America. With an average of 1.58 inches of precipitation a year you would think water doesn't play a large role in Death Valley, an you'd be wrong. Any rain that falls dissolves the salt in the lowest point of the valley. As the water evaporates, the salt crystals reform. Without this constant rebuilding, the salt flats at Badwater would eventually turn dark and weathered as they are at the Devil's Golf Course.
First Day Out
American Avocet, (Recurvirostra americana)
Palo Alto Baylands, CA
It might have been the first day out for this little guy and he explored his home in the tidal flats and pickleweed of the San Francisco Bay but really, this was my first day out with my new Nikon gear. After frustration with my Canon gear I finally made the switch to Nikon and this adorable little puff ball was the subject of my first day out.
Tufted Puffin, (Fratercula cirrhata)
St. Paul Island, Pribilof Islands, Alaska
I had been hoping to get images of Puffin bringing fish to their burrow but the entire trip we saw none... until the very last day. I spent 3 hours glued to one burrow, waiting for mom & dad to bring home the bacon... errrrr fish and my patience was rewarded by a mouthful!
Beauty at the Beach
Baker Beach, San Francisco, CA
Another first for me... my first location shoot. Lucky for me I had a patient model willing to get her feet wet, a beautiful location, gorgeous weather and perhaps most importantly.... amazing assistants! I couldn't have done it without the help of Leonard Brzezinski and Jon & Victoria Bonney. Many hands make light (and a hell of a lot of fun) work! Thanks guys!
Cathedral at the End of the World
Lemaire Channel, Antarctica
The sheer grandeur of the landscape of Antarctica was overwhelming. Looking at a huge ice berg like this one and knowing that what we saw above the water was a mere 10% of what lurked below was humbling.
Out for a Stroll
Gentoo Penguin, (Pygoscelis papua ellsworthii)
I love all of the close images I was able to capture; the nests, the pebbles, the eggs, the fights, the cuddles, the thefts and the gifts but to me... this lone penguin marching across a sea of endless white snow epitomizes the isolation and starkness of this amazing continent.
Friday, December 24, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Big 'THANK YOU' to Leonard Brzezinski for helping me out with the shoot!!
Friday, October 22, 2010
Monday, October 18, 2010
The Albany Bulb was a former landfill area and is now a park with paths along the water front enjoyed by dog walkers, cyclists, artists, homeless, informal concert goers and even a production of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream. The urban art is the biggest draw. A collection of rebar, driftwood, mural’s, graffiti, statues, paintings and other hidden treasure dot the landscape.
We arrived with plenty of time to explore and begin taking photos of the art before the sun went down. Yet… it wasn’t until the sun disappeared that the magic of the area became apparent. The vapor lights of the city gave the sky it’s orange glow and with flash lights in hand we set out to paint the area with light.
A recent lecture by Dave Black impressed upon me "If you want an image to be more interesting, only light part of it." And so after we worked the basic silhouette we started to go crazy. Pulling out color gels for our flash lights, setting our timers and running to all angles to throw light around. Most of it was trial and error with more images to trash but in the end we came away laughing with glee and a with few new and fun photos to add to our collections. I can't wait to go back and work the other statues in the area. There is way more than you can cover in just a few hours time but it sure was fun to try!
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
It's time for the 26th Annual Coastal Cleanup Day! This Saturday, September 25th from 9am - 12pm you've got the chance to participate in one of the 'largest garbage collection events in the world.' *Guinness Book of World Records 1993
Last year over 80,000 people volunteered their Saturday morning to take a walk on a beautiful beach and collect 1,300,000 pounds of debris. 14 MILLION pounds of debris have been collected since the cleanup's first day in 1985. 2009 Recap Report
There are a lot of sites that still need volunteers. You can find locations near you by clicking the links below. I'll be out on Stinson Beach in Marin if you'd like to join me! Many hands make light work so come spend a day on the beach helping out the oceans!!
California Coastal Commission
Marin County via the Bay Model
Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy
Monday, September 20, 2010
1. Shoot every day. Sounds like a no-brainer but people often forget that in order to capture a great image you need to be so familiar with your equipment that control comes by second nature. The camera should be an extension of your eye, not a bunch of knobs & buttons you need to think about setting every time you see something pretty.
2. Don't jump on the band wagon and buy all the latest & greatest equipment. Find a kit you like & stick with it. Upgrade as things break rather than when the camera company launches something new & more money will stay in your pocket.
3. Study everything you can get your hands on. Books by the masters, websites, magazines, billboards, calendars, greeting cards. Make a note of what you like then deconstruct the image for composition, light and technique. Challenge yourself to think how you would shoot those images differently.
4. Get a business degree. Images don't sell themselves and anyone who thinks they are going to be able to spend all day taking photos while someone else markets them is delusional. A solid business background will give you the tools you need to succeed.
5. Don't be afraid to ask. Ask for internships, ask for critiques, ask people to shoot with you. The worst they can say is no.
6. Don't let one person's opinion get you down. Art is subjective. No one liked pointillism or the Rite of Spring when they were first introduced. Now they are both classics because people were brave enough not to let criticism get them down.
7. Cull mercilessly and do it early. Keep your portfolio tight and clean and easy to navigate. It's no fun trying to sort through 100,000 images looking for a half remembered photograph.
8. Never stop learning.
-- Post From My iPhone
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Their size is comparable to a pigeon but they weigh twice as much. As with most birds in the Auk family, Tufted Puffin lay one egg and both parents are responsible for incubating the egg.
When it comes time to feed the young, Tufted Puffin excel at the task. The corner of the Puffin's bill is a fleshy membrane which allows the bird to open it's lower bill almost parallel to the top. This clamping action, combine with a series of backward pointing spines on their tongue and roof of mouth, allow the puffin to gather a great number of fish in one trip. They average 10 fish per trip but have been observed carrying up to 60!!
Tufted puffin were once hunted for food. Their tough hides were used to make parkas, the warm feathers worn toward the inside. Today they are a species of least concern with an estimated global population of 2,400,000 individuals.
At first glance the Horned Puffin (Fratercula corniculata) looks much like it's Atlantic cousin (Fratercula arctica) with it's soft white face, candy corn beak and bright orange feet. Puffin are often referred to as the clowns of the sea because of their bright beaks and feet. A group of puffin is known as a "circus" or "improbability" of puffin.
On closer inspection the Horned Puffin is larger and lacks the Atlantic's distinctive band of blue on it's bill. It's named for the flashy black horn that extends upward from it's eye resembling a single eyelash. Rather than nest in burrows like the Atlantic Puffin, Horned Puffin prefer ready made rock crevices.
Height: 12.5 in
Weight: 13 oz
WingSpan: 21 in
Height: 15 in
Weight: 17 - 22.9 oz
Wing Span: 23 in
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
These auklets exhibit a behavior that is unique in birds. They rub each other with a citrus-like scent secreted in feathers on their back. This behavior is called alloanointing and while common in mammals, it has only been documents in Crested Auklets. It's thought that this behavior might help to ward off parasites.
The crested Auklet lays one egg and both parents help to incubate. They eat plankton and small crustaceans. A small pouch under the birds tongue helps them transport the plankton to their chicks.
Parakeet Auklets feed on jellyfish, krill and zooplankton. They breed on the islands in the Bering Sea but in winter they travel as far south as the California coast.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
The Marine Mammal Protection Act makes it illegal to harass, hunt, capture, or kill, or attempt to harass, hunt, capture, or kill any marine mammal. The term “ harassment” means any act of pursuit, torment, or annoyance and they take this law very seriously on St Paul. Two viewing blinds are set up for people to observe the seals at two different rookery sites and visitors must be accompanied by officials.
The Northern Fur Seal was first named "sea-bear" which is related to their scientific name, ursinus, meaning "bear-like". As with other seal species, pups are born with black pelts earning them the nickname 'black coats'. Males grow up to 385-605 pounds and females range 66-110 pounds. Their natural predators are orca, great white shark and occasionally pups will fall victim to hungry foxes.
Friday, August 20, 2010
Snow Bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis)
Lapland Longspur (Calcarius lapponicus)
Winter Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Wandering Tattler (Heteroscelus incanus)
Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres)
A group of researchers were marooned on St Paul with us for a few days as they were thwarted in their efforts to get to St George Island. They eventually made it after days of trying and will capture (and then release) these far-traveling birds to take blood, cloacal and choanal swabs to study for presence of avian flu.
Northern Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis) Caught somewhere between an albatross and a gull, this bird immediately captured my heart. They don't begin breeding until they are at least 8 years old and often not until they reach 10. Exceptionally long-lived, Fulmars banded in Scotland in 1951 as adults were still found to be breeding in 1990 setting their age around 50 years.
Glaucous-winged Gull (Larus glaucescens) Embarrassingly enough, these gulls are so large that after a week of working with tiny auklets, I mistook a gull on the beach for a large wading bird, thinking some heron had blown off course. From a distance I was certain it was the size of a black-crowned night heron. A peek through the binocs set me straight.
The Red-faced cormorant (Phalacrocorax urile) is another jewel in family with his bright red face patch and beautiful feathers. Their North American range is restricted to coastal Alaska and they are far less gregarious than many of their cousins and are often shy of human approach.
We arrived too late in the season to see these beauties in full breeding plumage. I did not see any birds with white neck feathers but the eye patches on many were still strikingly red. Photographing these birds added a bit of a challenge for me personally. I'm terrified of heights and these birds love to be on high, precarious cliffs. Perched on a small shelf jutting out from the cliff face, leaning out to try and capture the portrait above was a personal challenge that I faced with grim determination. I could feel the cliff shake and move with the force of every large wave which crashed and broke on the shore below. I couldn't help but wonder how much longer the rock I was perched on would remain stuck to the wall. Lucky for me, everything held in place and I was able to beat a hasty retreat once I achieved my image.
A group of cormorants is often called a "sunning", a "gulp" or a "swim" of cormorants.
A group of murres is called a "bazaar" or a "fragrance" of murres and I can attest that they certain are fragrant when they gather together.
Monday, August 16, 2010
Caribou meat is extremely lean and flavorful... I highly recommend giving it a try if you get a chance... just don't tell the kids you ate Rudolph or you might never be forgiven.
Their motto has to be "No Fear" as they would often buzz past at high speed before settling down to forage within arms reach. A true specialist in extreme living, this finch has the distinction of being the highest breeding bird in North America. When other bird have long ago sought cover or lower elevations to hide from winter storms, the Rosy finch can still be found navigating the blustery high winds and snow storms with apparent ease.