Monday, January 1, 2018

2017 My Year in Photos

2017 was a busy year for me, full of adventure and hard work. As is my tradition, let's take a look at some of the significant photos taken this year.

Horseshoe Sunrise, Horseshoe Mesa Grand Canyon

Angel's Gate From Horseshoe Mesa, Grand Canyon

Dow Springs, Coconino National Forest

White Pocket, Vermillion Cliffs National Monument
Star Trails at White Pocket, Vermillion Cliffs National Monument

Buckskin Gulch, Paria Canyon Wilderness

Doors. Chaco Canyon National Park

Bisti Badlands Bisti Wilderness New Mexico
Bisti Beret
The Rhino, Bisti Wilderness
White Pocket Lines, Vermillion Cliffs National Monument
Point Sublime, Grand Canyon National Park

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Hokokam Star Party

Remnants of an ancient American Indian tribe, these petroglyphs sit atop a hill in the Saguaro National Park outside of Tucson. The Hohokam tribe existed there between 200 and 1400 AD.

My girlfriend and I spent an evening there watching a meteor shower and making some long exposures over the Thanksgiving holiday.

It remains unknown what the etchings mean, but I imagine it to be a representation of the earth spinning within the stars.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Petrified Forest

I have to thank Arizona Highways for their issue on the Petrified Forest National park. Having lived in Arizona, and only an hour and a half away, I have not until now visited the National Park. I have driven by it a number of times, but this last spring break I made the decision to stop for the evening and following morning to see what it is all about. We arrived just before closing, and sunset which is typically the best time to do landscape photography. They close at sunset and as there is no camping within the park we couldn't dally. From the main entrance and visitor's center you don't get a glimpse of any petrified wood right away. Instead you follow the road along a rim with pull-outs and wide views of the Painted Desert.

Painted Desert Sunset

Petrified Forest is one of the few parks where you can take your pets off the road and onto their trails. We did just that as we circled one of the Ancient Puebloan ruin sites. Not much to see there except some remnants of a few foundations. Anxious to keep moving before the sun is completely down we made our way to a relic of Old Route 66, a 1932 Studebaker. The exhibit was installed in 2006, which includes the donated antique vehicle positioned along the old Route 66 road bed. From the pull-out you can see remnants of some telephone poles and make out where the road once carried cars from Chicago to LA.

1932 Studebaker

Not much to see after dark, so we headed out of the park, and slept in a free campground adjacent to one of the rock shops. Free also means no facilities. If you go be prepared to "hold it" until the park opens the next morning at 7. The visitor's center is always a treat, and full of interesting fossils, petrified wood samples and information on the creation of the petrified wood from the Pliocene era. Basically the forest pre-dates the ancient dinosaurs at about 200 million years old.

Petrified Trees Fractured

The area was once a large rain forest on the ancient land mass Pangaea, at that time located approximately along the equator. Volcanic ash layered on top of the fallen trees, then covered by an ancient river system and its sediment preserved the wood by turning it into a quartz like substance. Erosion eventually uncovered the trees. Shifting sand and earth cracked the trees much like a broken piece of chalk would if dropped. This enables you to see a cross-section of the crystalline wood.

Petrified Wood Cross Section

The variety of colors are produced by impurities in the quartz, such as iron, carbon, and manganese. Large cracks in the wood developed and encased large jewel-like crystals of clear quartz, purple amethyst, yellow citrine, and smoky quartz. If you have any interest in history, geology, or dinosaurs, then this park is a jewel in and of itself. As far as I know it is one of the most unique and geologically interesting parks on earth. If you ever find yourself around Holbrook, Arizona take the time to discover Petrified Forest National Park.

Ancient Araucaroid Petrified Tree

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Farewell 2016. Parting is such sweet sorrow.

Twenty-sixteen was a bittersweet year for me. I experienced the absolute worst day of my life, seeing my father pass away from lung cancer. The image of his last breath is forever burned into my consciousness, and will be something I will have to carry with me the rest of my days. Another disappointment is shared with the entire country. The events that transpired on November 8th will no doubt change forever the environment and landscape as we know it. These recent events really make one look deep and focus on what really matters. Like it or not the job of a landscape photographer is to document the beautiful world we live in, and to serve as a reminder that nothing is forever. The landscape image is one that can increase awareness of the necessity to preserve and conserve. I set out on my journey in photography to not only remember the good times and adventures, but to document for posterity the disappearing and fragile universe. The melting glaciers, the collapsed arches, the vandalized ancient ruins, and fallen stars. Twenty-sixteen has further strengthened my resolve.

My year wasn't all bad though. I experienced some of my favorite epic trips from Maine to the Grand Canyon. Times spent with friends and family will be remembered and cherished. Here are some of my favorite images from the last year, and sharing them is my pleasure.

Solon Falls on the Kennebec River, Maine

Bass Harbor Head Light House, Acadia NP

Lone Pine at White Pocket

White Pocket Wildflowers

Take out Beach, Colorado River UT

Castle Valley, Colorado River UT

Heart Prairie Aspen Sunburst

Ribbon Falls, Grand Canyon

View from Horn Creek, Grand Canyon
Toward Monument Creek, Grand Canyon

Snow on Yaki Point

Toward the Within

Of course there are many more images worthy of sharing, so check out my New Additions gallery on my website. Thanks for looking, and commenting. Here's to looking forward....cheers.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Alpine Images at Vora Financial

I am pleased to announce that 20 of my images are on display at Vora Financial again this year. If you are looking for last minute gifts, or happen to be in the neighborhood, stop by 14 E Birch Monday - Friday 9-5 to check them out.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016


It always amazes me that even against insurmountable odds life finds a way to live. Located atop of Dance Hall Rock down the Hole in the Rock Road in Escalante National Monument, this area supports about a half dozen trees like this. The great photographer Guy Tal made this locale famous in his book Intimate Portraits of the Colorado Plateau. I made this image on an overcast day in early spring. Many of the dirt roads were still closed and impassable this time of year, and indeed some of the higher elevations still had a foot or more of snow. Dance Hall Rock is an interesting formation that makes a natural amphitheater.  The rock got its name from the 19th century Mormon Settlers that used it to hold square dances.  You can sit there and just imagine the sound of fiddles, guitars and banjos echoing throughout the canyon.  Petticoats spinning, and girls giggling at young men courting their hearts out.  Just as the Mormon settlers did, this tree ekes out a living in this high desert environment, persistent against the odds.

Lady in a Tub

Lady in a Tub

The last leg of our Escalante loop found us in the Valley of the Gods, just outside of Mexican Hat, Utah.  It's a great place to get the feel of Monument Valley, without the crowds.  It's a sixteen mile loop that winds through red sand stone monoliths.  You can take a self guided tour and drive the loop in about an hour, or stay in one of the few campsites overnight. Since we were coming from the Burr Trail up north we had to progress down the perilous switchbacks called the Moqui Dugway. Just at the bottom of the hill is the road to Valley of the Gods.  Of course the sign only faces the opposite direction so we soon discovered that we past the turn off.  We realized after consulting the GPS and map that we had to turn around. We were running out of time,  the sun was going down,  already making the most beautiful glow on the rocks. It wasn't long until we found a great campsite at the edge of a mesa.  I took the opportunity to capture some sunset images.  After a little dinner and campfire, we settled in this gorgeous area.  Just as dusk had fallen I began to realize the 3/4 moon was beginning to become visible along with Venus.  It was a large orb floating in a beautiful gradient blue sky, perfectly aligned with one of the famous monoliths, the so-called Lady in a Tub.   I snapped images, as Kristi watched the moon slowly lower itself below the horizon.  The light was such that I was able to capture some detail in the moon's shadow.   The moon travels quickly and I had to find a shutter speed that froze the motion, and capture enough light to keep it from being blurry.  We left the next morning during the sunrise, but I captured some more images on the way out. Only having spent one night in the Valley of the Gods, I was blessed with a spectacular display of light for the duration. My only regret was that we didn't spend another night there.  We definitely will be back though.

Valley of the Gods