Category Archives: The Blog

Surprise Light in Zion Nat’l Park


When I hear the words ‘storm’s a-brewin’ I get excited, because that means the potential for dramatic light and CLOUDS! I love love love clouds. They make those blank shapes of sky work within your landscape images so much more effectively. Not always, but most times, they provide the atmosphere that an otherwise great shot is missing.

So on the day we arrived in Zion, we had driven through rain showers, dark clouds, etc., but by the time we dropped the dog off at Doggy Dude Ranch in Rockville, Utah, the skies were just gray and the light was so so. Still, we wanted to check the upper reaches of Zion, the washes in the Checkerboard Mesa area, so we spent time doing that, and called it a day before sunset. Although we rarely do that, we were kind of beat from the drive in the rain and it really didn’t look like anything was going to break. So guess what? We had just finished eating an early dinner in Springdale, and Jed walks back from the restroom and says nonchalantly, “the sun’s breaking out – should we go check it out?”. Not expecting much, I said “yes”, grabbed my coat and stuff and headed out the door. By the time we got to the car in the parking lot, the sun had broken through rain clouds and in the last ten minutes of sunlight for the day, it bathed the west side of the Watchman and the mountains beside it. We screamed with delight and went running for cameras, but we were in the middle of town!! Experience told us not to try to drive anywhere, or we might miss it entirely, so we both scattered to try and make something of this magical light.

Needless to say, it was exhilarating light and atmosphere, but alas, getting above rooftops and between the wires of technology along Zion Blvd in the heart of town was painful. So the best composition is the only one you get, right?! And this is what I ended up with; if only I had been 5 feet taller, I’d have included just a smidge more dark area below at frame edge, but a roof line interrupted that. But ya get what ya get when your caught with your ‘camera down’, right? It was still incredibly special, and I was grateful to experience it.


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The Colors of Zion



It is always hard, and increasingly so with climate change, to predict peak Fall color anywhere. Yet the week we scheduled and ran our instructional tour to Zion was supposed to be peak, and there must have been at least 8 other workshop or tour group leaders all thinking the same, as we heard or or ran into several. But the reds of the big-tooth maples were over up in the washes of the upper sandstone, and the cottonwoods in the canyon were half-green, half turning to yellow. Thankfully, Zion offers much more than just Autumn colors, and this year we were all having to look for options!

When that happens to me, wherever I am, I turn to the intermediate or intimate landscape. I am always seeking to express my own vision about the place I’m exploring, and this is one way to be unique when the so-oft photographed large landscapes leave you ‘wanting’ more.

While walking in one wash, we just happened on leaves that had dropped off the trees, and fallen into the most wonderful crevasse of the sandstone. They piled up so nicely! The swirling darker lines of different sedimentary layers drew the eye inward to the ‘trough’. It was just the kind of image I had hoped to find!

Thanks for viewing, and please visit here again soon!





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Having a great guide makes a difference…



In a photography tour having a great local guide is essential to a successful photography tour. They set up the access to places, arrange for models, meals, transportation, etc. They know what to do when things change unexpectedly, as they often do when in developing nations and remote locations. And if you get all of that plus someone who knows photography, well, that just adds so much value to the tour. Often, you can find a great guide who knows the route, the history/culture, etc., but they don’t ‘get’ photographers’ needs so much.

We’re lucky – for our Myanmar Photo Tour, February 1-15, 2015, we have a wonderful guide. Win has been a professional guide for many years, and learned photography along the way so that he could guide for photography groups from around the world. He has his own business of selling his images and self-publishing books and calendars and his own tours. He has led tours for a host of professional photography leaders, I’m thrilled to have him as our guide! So today, I wanted to celebrate the fact that our tour will be led and managed by an efficient, experienced and knowledgeable guide who just happens to know what creative light is!

Our tour will encompass many of highlights – please read the itinerary and click on the Register Now button to go to Strabo Tours’ site for more information, and to register.

With both me and Win you can be assured you’ll have not only great photo opportunities, but also the help to make the best picture you can of the moment.



Bagan Panorama




Thanks to Win for working out all the logistical details that allowed us all to focus on photography while we were there.

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Dune Detail, Namibia



Here’s another image from the massive dunes that line the road in Sossusvlei National Park, Namibia. The dunes were very high, and some great compositions were above the desert floor, but here, I liked the two trees that gave it scale. Not much more to say than that, just sharing images!

Thanks for visiting,




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