A red-shouldered hawk takes flight from a perch in a bush at Point Reyes National Seashore.
I have been an outdoor photographer for over 30 years. My photography has taken me underwater to some of our most pristine and fragile ecosystems. Above water, I have photographed while backpacking in the Sierra Nevada mountains to a number of our National Parks, State Parks, and local parks. In the age of highly capable cell phone cameras to the lastest evolution to mirrorless cameras coupled with instantaneous worldwide dissemination of our photos, it has never been more important for photographers of all kinds to be deliberate in how we treat these natural areas and to think about what effect posting our photos has on these natural areas.
Nature First is an alliance of like-minded nature photographers with common-sense pledge to think about and be deliberate in how we treat and photograph our natural environments which are under increasingly more pressure and quite simply being loved to death. The principles are common sense and many photographers area already practicing them but even for a seasoned nature photographer like myself, they are a reminder to be deliberate in how we treat our natural environments and encourage others to do the same.
A visit to Death Valley National Park in January
Winter sunset over Bodega Bay, California. Bodega Bay, a safe harbor along the treacherous Northern California Coast has a storied maritime past. While the present-day Spud Point marina is home to the local commercial fishing fleet, this abandoned pier with it’s missing section connecting it to shore is a remnant of a long-ago fishing industry that boomed in this small bay.
I am honored to have placed 2nd in the 2019 NOAA Sanctuaries “Get Into Your Sanctuary Photo Contest“! NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries are our underwater National Parks and preserve the past as well as protect the future of these unique underwater regions. I can’t remember the last time I entered a photo contest but after my trip to Lake Huron to dive into the past on shipwrecks from the late 1800’s I had an image I thought would be worthy. The image I captured was exceedingly difficult with less than 20-minutes of “bottom time” during a 1-hour dive to 200 feet in 38 degree water, operating a rebreather and trying to take photographs at the same time all with the goal of doing it safely!
The Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge is the winter home to literally millions of water foul that travel thousands of miles each year on the Pacific Flyway from as far away as the Soviet Union. This was my first trip here, a short 2hr drive from home. Though the weather looked promising, it ended up being a hazy partly overcast morning. I plan to return as the photo opportunities here are endless!
Here are a couple of common birds to Northern California visiting my backyard. The neighbor’s hedge/tree provides a nice background that is rendered a blurry green abstract due to shallow depth of field from my telephoto lens.
Not sure how many harvests I’ve covered for Rosati Family Winery but like each vintage of wine, no one is the same as another.
After several years of planning and training, the time finally arrived to drive 2,600 miles from California to a remote northern part of Michigan to dive on a number of shipwrecks dating back to the late 1800s. We were part of a group of twelve technical rebreather divers on a trip coordinated by Becky & Dave Schott who have extensive experience diving and documenting what lies deep in the cold clear waters of Lake Huron. Our dives were anywhere from 160 feet to over 200 feet deep for 20 minutes which required a total dive time of over an hour in 38-degree water after we spent our time doing required decompression. Two dives a day for 5 days was our goal, visiting historic steamships and sailing vessels lost over 120 years earlier after collisions with other vessels or succumbing to sudden violent storms that plague the Great Lakes year-round. Despite a number of setbacks, I was able to capture some of these incredible ships that to this day remain largely intact!
After five very long days and hundreds of images telling the story of this year’s film festival I am already looking forward to next years event! Here are some images from this years Sonoma International Film Festival. I had the opportunity to work with a number of very talented photographers covering this years 5 day festival. It was a treat to get a chance to sit and watch several movies including “Ballon“, “Girl on Wave“, “SIR“, “Ladies in Black” & the close to home “Uncrushable“.
I have been a volunteer Public Safety Diver for the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office since the team’s inception in 2014. Most of the time, I do not get a chance to shoot pictures when out with the team, however during this day of training at the rain swollen Lake Sonoma I was able to capture a few photos showing what Public Safety Divers do – find things and people. This type of diving is extremely equipment intensive with tough drysuits to stay warm and separated from contaminated waters, full face masks for communications to the surface tender via a special rope this is both a safety line but also contains communication wires. There is always safety divers on standby incase of any problems underwater where a diver cannot solve an issue on their own in the black water environment.
First day of sun after days of torrential rains in the Sonoma County wine county. Here are several photographs of the bucolic countryside of Kenwood, nestled in the Sonoma Valley shouldered with vineyards and oak woodlands.
The first series of storms rolled into Northern California which included swells up to 16 feet tall resulting in a day off for the fishing fleet at Spud Point marina in Bodega Bay, California. This is a fairly often taken photo that is not difficult but I could not resist to make it my own. This is one of my favorite locations to shoot images. Subjects in the area along the coast here run the gamut from harbor, ocean side cliffs, variety of sea birds and birds of prey to marine mammals.
I had the opportunity to photograph fourteen 2 ft by 2 ft oil paintings and process the files to be printed on 4 ft by 4 ft acoustic panels. What was particularly special about this project is that the scene is our local skyline including Hood Mountain and surrounding hills which are making a strong comeback after the Northern California Wildfires of October, 2018. These will be installed in a million dollar plus remodel of a senior recreation center. This project was equipment intensive with a 30 megapixel DSLR to produce clean large files and studio lighting with 2 strobes light the oil paintings and capture their true daylight color and canvas texture. Here is a mock up of the panels which will be arranged on opposing walls in two groups of 7. The artist is David Harris of Harris & Kasten
Waking before dawn I noticed the clouds in the sky blocking some of the stars and new there would be a good chance of a spectacular sunrise. I had a preconceived plan to use the bay and sunrise as my foreground and background and all I was missing was a main subject. I was hoping for one of Spud Point fishing boats to pass by but alas, it was a very quiet morning. I was still able to capture the dramatic sunrise and make something from nothing.
I has been several years since I have covered the harvest at the Rosati Family Winery. This year was the latest harvest in a number of years for the this vineyard that is nestled along a ridge top high above the Russian River valley in Southern Mendocino County. The day started well before sunrise with the fog lying low in the valley only to rise up to the vineyard right at sunrise and hung on until late morning. This made for some interesting photos of the workers early in the day harvesting fruit from exquisite cabernet sauvignon vines.
A few images from this years Wings Over Wine Country airshow at Charles M. Shultz Sonoma County Airport. Including CALFIRE Tanker 85 and Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department SWAT Team demonstration.