After several years of drought here in California, we are finally having a true rainy season this year. Over the past few weeks, a series of storms rolled through our state providing much needed water for our reservoirs and snow in our local mountains and the Sierras. All of this extra moisture has caused some problems for the park rangers in Yosemite who had to close the park twice in one month due to flooding concerns as well as rockslides due to the heavy rainfall. Having to deal with tire cables, road closures and delays on my two recent trips to Yosemite were definitely a pain, but the opportunities that were waiting for me when I arrived were just too good to pass up.
This is the third year that I’ve put together a video to look back over my shots from the entire year. Included in this video are any shots that I posted either here on my blog or on my other social media sites. This year, Instead of posting them in chronological order I posted them from Sunrise to Sunset in a “Day in the Life” format. Here’s a look back at 2016:
Around this time last year I posted an article detailing the annual pilgrimage of hundreds of landscape photographers who have been making the drive up to Big Sur each December in an attempt to catch the magical light pouring through the keyhole arch. My last attempt was in January of 2015 and I came back with mixed results. The tide was much too low and I wondered if I came back on a day closer to the actual solitce if I would have better light.
After catching the first bus out of Lake O’hara, we headed straight back to Banff to return our camping gear before heading off to Jasper National park in a driving rain. We had been keeping an eye on the weather for the past couple of weeks, and while we were hoping for some clouds, we definitely did not want to get rained out…especially in Jasper.
Last week, I took off on the first free weekend that I’ve had in a month. I had spent the previous few weeks up to my eyeballs in work between beginning a new school year and various home improvement projects. Somewhere in there I also found time to build a makeshift platform for a bed of sorts in my Prius and I was eager to try it out on a quick two night trip up to the Eastern Sierras in an attempt to grab some Autumn color before it was gone for the year.
Last September, my three compadres and I flew in to Calgary airport from literally all over the country for a quick trip through the Canadian Rockies. Todd flew in from North Carolina, Mark caught a flight in from Orlando and Tom shopped around for a better flight than mine and came in from LAX. The airport was a bit smaller than what we were expecting but we were through customs and on the road in our rented mini van faster than I would have expected. I think Todd was the last one in, and we wasted no time in setting off for for Banff.
In the Spring of 2015, I decided that my next photography trip would be to the Canadian Rockies. I wasn’t sure who would be going with me, but I decided that I wasn’t getting any younger and that if I was going to go off hiking in Canada, I would need to get on the stick. So I threw the idea out to some of my photography buddies and fortunately, three of them said yes. I immediately began scouting for shots online.
Over two years ago, I mentioned to my hiking buddy Tom Bricker that I was interested in finding some alternate locations to shoot in Yosemite as we were beginning to shoot the same locations over and over on our frequent visits. By that point, we had already been up the Four Mile Trail, Olmsted Point and out to Cathedral Lakes, but we began to look for other locations that were a bit more off of the beaten path.
A few weeks later, Tom came upon a blog post which listed several lesser known trails, some of which didn’t really exist or were difficult to find. At the top of this list was a location known simply as the Diving Board. Ansel Adams had hiked to this location quite some time ago and it was from this spot that hie took one of his most popular black and white photos in Yosemite. Both of us were hooked at this point, but we had no idea of what to expect as there didn’t seem to be a clearly defined trail to this location.
It was only a few months ago that I finally made the dirve up to El Matador Beach which is arguably the most photogenic beach in Southern California. Located just a few miles North of the glamourous movie star-riddled enclave of Malibu, El Matador boasts several hundred yards of sea stacks, hidden coves and small caves. If you are thinking about heading out there to take advantage of this gorgeous stretch of coastline, here are a few things that you should keep in mind:
For the past nine years or so, my kids and I have made our annual pilgrimage to hang out with our friends who live in Loudoun County, Virginia. Besides the fact that they are wonderful friends who live in one of the most gorgeous spots in the country (miles of long, winding tree covered lanes bordered by 18th century era rock walls and horse fencing), we always take advantage of the fact that they live just 45 minutes outside of Washington DC. Having spent the last few Summers photographing the monuments and some of the memorials around DC, I thought I would share some tips with you in case you are planning a trip there this Summer or in the future.