Saturday, January 24, 2009

Raining Cats and Dogs

I am so glad that I headed out today! I had thought I would head into Samuel P Taylor State Park to look for mushrooms in the rain but I've never been there and couldn't figure out where the trail heads were located. I found several turn outs but the only "official" looking area was the campground. So instead I drove past and ended up in Point Reyes... the clouds were breaking up to some extent so I went looking for raptors. I found several Red-tailed Hawks, a Red-shoulder Hawk and a Harrier Hawk but they were all pretty skiddish and flew away just before could achieve a focus lock.

The highlight came in the Tule Elk reserve. I noticed a bit of brown/gold fur poking out under the guard rail. Low and behold a beautiful coyote came into view. He gave me one split second look before trotting off to hunt more mice.

Later in the day I ran into several very cooperative Mule Deer.

To top it all off, on the way through Olema I found a beautiful Bobcat mousing in a field. What a wonderful day!

Bogged Down

It is way too easy to get bogged down in the day to day of life and forget about getting out there to photograph. I've been on hold for a bit, knowing that I am hitting the road in another week for a crazy month and a half long road trip through the desert and on to Yellowstone. Enough is enough, even though it's raining... I am hitting the trail tomorrow! Wish me luck in finding some inspiring subjects!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Wake Up California

We are in a severe drought. The utility companies are telling us this, the media is telling us this, the bright blue beautiful summer sky in the middle of what should be a dreary, rainy winter is telling us we are in a severe drought.

However, it is hard to believe when we turn on our faucets and the water runs fast and clean. So on to the photographic proof. John Wall is a Bay Area photographer who has covered the hills and forests for years, revisiting areas and monitoring the changes. He recently posted a comparison that shocked me. Check it out: John Wall's Natural California

If that doesn't make you think twice before leaving the water running while you brush your teeth, nothing will. Every drop saved helps so don't fall into the trap of thinking you are just one person, what difference can you make... Instead, make a difference one drop at a time.

  • Scrap your dishes after a meal instead of rinsing in running water.
  • Turn off the water while you are brushing your teeth.
  • Inspect your pipes and fix any leaks you may find. Even a slow drip wastes water over time.
  • Use a compost bucket in your kitchen rather than the garbage disposal.
  • Consider a drip watering system for your garden rather than running the hose for hours.
  • Run your dishwasher and clothes washers with full loads.
For more tips on how to cut your water usage check out the websites listed below.

Senator Barbara Boxer
Santa Clara Valley Water District
Be Water Wise
California Water Service Group

Friday, January 9, 2009


I've always believed that in order for people to care about something, be it an animal or piece of land or an historic structure, they must see it in order to have a connection. Paintings, Photographs and Films all serve to connect people to places and things which maybe far removed from their daily lives but warrant care and attention.

Most people living in major cities in the United States will never hear the booming call of a Greater-prairie chicken, or see a herd of Wild Horses running in the desert or see a Polar Bear napping outside their window. But Artists are in the unique position of bringing those animals into someone's home.

When you combine the arts with science and vision you can cultivate a true vessel for change. That's exactly what French Biologist Delphin Ruché is trying to accomplish. The stories and accompanying images he captures help to bring people into the realm of his subject. Delphin has also added a Guest of the Month section to his site that spotlights efforts by other photographers, researchers and biologists. This month is dedicated to the Greater-prairie chicken with a photo by yours truely. If you have a conservation related image or story, drop him a note and let him know as he is always on the look out for more material or just send him a note to tell him you are reading and appreciate what he is doing. Once you see his work I know you will be as impressed as I am. http://www.delphinruche.com/

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Some times you get lucky

I've been wanting this shot for a long time now and today I got lucky. I was in a bit of a fog this morning when I picked my friend Jim up for a day of shooting. We left San Francisco just a bit past 6AM. Houses were dark as we past, traffic was light and the air was crisp. We drove straight up to Mt Tam to check out a spot for the sunrise. Jim got the sunrise shot while I became completely entranced by all of the moss and lichen on the rocks that look as if they have been randomly dropped in place along the mountain side.

Once we finished on Mt Tam we headed straight down to Moss Landing. We had intended to rent a canoe and head out into the slough. We were a little bit side tracked by a group of ruddy ducks and buffle heads that were feeding right near the beginning of the slough. By the time we actually got to the kayak rental operator it was well past 2 PM. We had our safety training, attached a set of stabilizers to the canoe, loaded up the gear and ventured out into the slough. We made pretty good time and decided we could venture up the channel for a bit. That's where we found three separate mom and pups. The low canoe allowed me to get this eye level shot of one of those mom's with her pup. I can't wait to go back and try for more.

Thanks so much Jim! It was a great day!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Favorites from 2008

As I browsed my friend Jim's Blog last night I came across his "My Top 10 Favorite Photos of 2008" and thought to myself what a great idea! I stopped staring at my calendar and wondering 'where did the time go?' and I started looking through my images trying to pick out just 10 to list... it was incredibly hard! I had no idea that this year had been so prolific for me. I can see exactly where all of my time went. So rather than picking 10 images from one shoot I selected one image per month. Here we go!

January 2008
I was so lucky to have spent New Years on Carcass Island in the Falklands with Rob and Loraine McGill. It was such a wonderful place and an amazing way to ring in the New Year. I took this Southern Elephant Seal image on January 1, 2008. He seems to me that he is contemplating his New Years Resolution... I'm sure it was something along the lines of "Eat More Fish."
February 2008
It wasn't cold enough for me in the Falklands so in February I headed up to Montana and Wyoming. I had one extra day and so I spent it cruising the Lamar Valley in Yellowstone, hoping to see a coyote or fox. It was snowing like crazy when I saw the Druid Wolf Pack. They were far across the valley but I managed a few shots with my 600mm lens and 2x teleconvertor. My first wild wolves makes this image so special to me.March 2008
Still not cold enough I ventured up to Homer, Alaska where I met an incredible lady, Jean Keene. Her love for these eagles is inspiring.

April 2008
I thought the snow was done! I headed out to find a Greater-Praire Chicken Lek in Minnesota. The day I arrived it was sunny and the brown grasses were glowing on the plain. The next morning when I awoke the snow was thigh deep. I'm glad I made it out of bed!

May 2008
In May I finally got a break from the snow. I dragged my husband and his family back up to Alaska with me. We had an amazing time hiking in the forest near Juneau and discovering some wonderful restaurants in Sitka.

June 2008
We ended our land-based tour in May and headed into the Icy Straits and Glacier Bay National Park on a small American Safari cruise. I loved the color of the kayaks as they were made ready for us each morning... I did NOT love rolling one of these kayaks in the frigid waters one morning.

July 2008
Something different for me... most of the time I can't get my family to sit still for me to practice taking portraits. I think the inner ham of my father-in-law finally broke free when I got him to pose like a hit man. I know he would never hurt a fly... well.. ok maybe a fly but definately not any higher life forms and I think that's why this image makes me smile whenever I look at it.

August 2008
Back to Alaska! What can I say, it's a wildlife photographers paradise up there! There is nothing quite like staring a huge grizzly bear in the eye through your camera and suddenly realizing that you have a short lens!!!!!

September 2008
September brought me my very first up-close, SHARP, humpback lunge feeding in British Columbia. Remembering the moment still sends chills down my spine!

October 2008
A rough day at sea is still better than any day in an office in my opinion. On a trip out to the Farallon Island we were so lucky to see this beautiful Leatherback sea turtle. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love turtles!

November 2008
I am so enchanted by polar bears... I couldn't believe my luck when mom and both cubs stood in unison to check out a big male approaching from behind us. I really have to thank my friend Chas Glatzer for teaching me the value of always being prepared to capture what nature might hand to you. Out of 17 people on the buggy I think only 3 of us were ready to capture this special moment.
December 2008
I lucked out and managed to get a cancelled spot on an Oceanic Society trip to Midway Atoll. My friend Enrique and I covered the entire island inch by inch and came away with some amazing images. These Black-footed Albatross were my absolute favorite.

It was so hard to choose but I think these are going to be the images of 2008 that stick with me for a lifetime. So I say a fond farewell to 2008 and I am more eager than ever to start my new adventures in 2009!