I came across this photo that I took while on Rick Louie's Fall Colorado Tour in 2014. I believe that this was taken near the Million Dollar Highway in the San Juan Mountains just north of Silverton. Of course, the foliage was one of the reasons that I shot it, but it was also the fact that this structure was for sale. Fast forward to now, I decided to see if I could find it and the realtor who had it for sale it. Fortunately, the sign led me to Lorenz Realty out of Durango. I went to their website not expecting to find this spot but there it was (it has been over 3 years since I was there). Turns out that it and the parcel of land that it sits on sold for $95,000. The structure is the tram house that brought ore down from the Silver Ledge mine located further north on Red Mountain Pass. I don't know when it was sold, but it always amazes me how much information you can find online.
There are times that you see a great view and it is very difficult to get the shot. Improvising is the only way to get it. For those of you who have been on the Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park, you know that it is the only paved road in the park, and it stretches 50 miles from the west entrance to the east entrance. The road is particularly narrow with two lanes and there are very few pullouts to park along the way. The pullouts are quite small and are full most summer months. So how do you get this shot when you are moving 30 miles per hour? Put it in burst mode, hold on tight and stick it out of the window as high as you can reach. Burst mode allows for continuous shooting and you will need it. I think I shot 100 shots. Most but not all of them have trees in the middle of the mountain and others show the blurs of the guardrails, but there will be a couple like this one that looks like I was standing there when I took this photo.
One of the most scenic spots in Jasper National Park is a visit to Spirit Island on Maligne Lake. The easiest way to get to the island is by a 90-minute round-trip boat ride that allows for about a 20-minute stay near the island. Unfortunately, these boat tours don't run during the best time of day--to get the golden hour light, you must rent a boat. They do have photographer tours that unfortunately weren't running when I visited the lake. Regardless of the time of day you go, the surrounding scenery is amazing. This is one of the many shots I took on the way to the island.
I love lighthouses and seek them out whenever I am traveling. In September, we drove down the coast of Oregon and Northern California and I was able to visit and photograph a number of them. Of course, the best time to photograph lighthouses is either after sunrise or before sunset but, when you are on a 1,000 drive on the coast, it is impossible to visit each one during those times.
As we neared the town of Mendocino, our stop for the night, we decided to visit Point Cabrillo and visit its lighthouse. The point was surveyed for the light in the 1870s but wasn't built until 1909 after experiencing several shipwrecks. It was retired in 1973 and has undergone two major restorations.
Getting to the light requires a half mile hike that takes you past several buildings that include cottages that can be rented by the public. Once you reach the light, you get wonderful views of the California coastline and the Pacific Ocean. The bonus from the point is observing the whales that are just passing by.
The Eastern Sierras, like many mountain ranges, have many beautiful mountain lakes that are picturesque in many ways. One of the things I learned was that this whole area of eastern California is a mecca for fisherman. This particular lake was man-made, created in 1908 by the damming up of the middle fork of Bishop Creek and is a beautiful spot to photograph. A little tidbit is that Apple's newest operating system, High Sierra, has Lake Sabrina as its wallpaper.
When we first got to the lakes, we saw a small marina and walked along the length of the dam to get some decent angles of the lake. The water was quite rough and getting a reflection was almost impossible. As I walked back toward the marina, I noticed that the water close to these boats were sheltered and thus provided a nice reflection. When I sat down to edit this photo, I remember how serene it was as I took in the scene and composed my photo.
On my cross country trip several years ago, we decided to stay in Rapid City, South Dakota. This location was in the center of many of the attractions that we had targeted, namely Badlands National Park, Wind Cave National Park, Mount Rushmore and Custer State Park. Even though we had an interest in visiting the Crazy Horse Memorial, there wasn't time to fit it in. There are times when fate intervenes. We had left Mount Rushmore and I must have missed my turn when heading for Custer State Park. Lo and behold, we were only 10 miles from the site of the memorial, so we headed there. It turned out to be quite the inspirational visit.
On site is a wonderful museum with great displays and exhibits of the Native American culture. If you visit there, don't miss the movie that tells the story of how the sculptor, Korczak Ziolkowski, came to the project and the work he performed on it from 1947 through his death in 1982. Since that time, his family has continued his work. The family will not accept government funds because Korczak believed in individual initiative and private enterprise. The project is funded by admission fees and donations and it's completion date cannot be determined. The monument, when it is completed, will be about 10 times larger than Mount Rushmore. If you look closely, you can see a couple of workers there that look smaller than ants. It was quite impressive to see in person and will be even more amazing when it is finished. I highly recommend spending time there if you visit the area. I am glad we ended up there.
The Icefields Parkway is one of the longest and most beautiful scenic drives that I have ever been on. The parkway traverses the Continental Divide in the Canadian Rockies and connects Banff National Park and Jasper National Park. The Icefields Parkway is 140 miles long and named for the ice field and glaciers that are visible from the parkway. One of the glaciers that can be seen from the parkway is the Crowfoot Glacier pictured in this image. The Crowfoot Glacier's runoff is the main source of water for Bow Lake, which can be seen between the parkway and the glacier. The glacier has retreated and has lost an entire "foot", so it no longer resembles the shape for which it was originally named. Even with its missing part, it is still magnificent and provides a breathtaking view especially when seen in the early morning light.
I am always beating the drum about revisiting locations when the weather doesn't cooperate, even if there are years between visits. I first stood at Sprague Lake with family and friends during a very cold and very windy day. Even though the lake is far from any real oceans, I swear that there were waves on the water surface. Okay, maybe I exaggerate a bit but not by much. The next time I stood on the lake's shore, there was a steady rain that made photography impossible. So the third time is a charm? I'll let you be the judge of that. I shot this photo one September morning, and, although it rained during the night, I was blessed with great light and clearing skies as the morning sun lit up the landscape on the opposite shore.
There is no better city to walk around than Venice, Italy. It has such a unique feel to it that transports you to a different time. Sure, the fact that the "streets" are canals contributes to the feel. But so do the gondolas, even though they are there for tourists rather than for transportation. Maybe it is the wonderful buildings, some of which have been there for hundreds of centuries. Maybe it is the museums that scream the Italian Renaissance wherever you look. Or it could be the history or the food. I could go on and on. When I edited this image, all of my feelings about Venice came rushing back to me. My wife and friends had headed back to the hotel to rest and I decided to spend the late afternoon just walking around with no destination in mind. When I came across this scene, I knew I had a winner (at least in my mind). Venice should be on everyone's bucket list.
Standing in the town of Banff and its surrounding area, it is hard to miss Mount Rundle. It can be viewed for miles and miles around. The mountain is almost seven and a half miles long and has seven distinct peaks along its length. It's highest peak is almost 9,700 feet, which puts it in the top twenty highest peaks in the Canadian Rockies. It might be the most recognizable one given that Banff is one of the most visited towns in the Canadian Rockies. While Mount Rundle is often photographed reflected in Vermillion Lakes or Two Jack Lake, it still is a beautiful subject from almost anywhere. This photo was taken off of Tunnel Mountain Road one late June afternoon.
Vancouver is my favorite city to visit in Canada. That's not to say the others aren't beautiful in their own right but there is something magical there for me. I am sure that geography has something to do with it (location, location, location) as it sits on the southern coast of British Columbia. It is a large city with a population of almost 2.3 million people (in 2016) but it does feel bigger probably because it is the fourth-most densely populated city in North America. The city has so much going for it, and for that reason, it is consistently named as one of the top five worldwide cities for livability and quality of life.
My favorite place to view the city's waterfront and skyline is from Stanley Park, a 1,000 acre public park that is almost completely surrounded by water. There are so many things to do there. Stanley Park was named "top park in the entire world" by TripAdvisor in In 2014.
Last September, I met with Mike Louthan in Reno before a Jeff Clow Mono Lake Photo Tour, and we spent a few days in Lake Tahoe and then Yosemite National Park. Yosemite might be my favorite location in the US. We had rented an AirBnb that was near Tunnel View and when we passed it on our way to check in, we decided to pull into the parking lot and take a look. As you can see in the photo, there was a cloud of smoke rising from the valley floor. I asked someone what was going on and he informed me that there was a small fire near El Capitan. We later found out that there was no fire, rather a large chunk of rock had broken off the formation and fell to the ground. On the previous day it had happened also, but that one was described as a small flake. The size of the one we almost saw was the size of an apartment building. There was so much concern in the park that the Park Service closed a large portion of the Northside Loop the next day, causing Yosemite's already bad traffic to become horrific. The loop is one-way and on Friday, it became two-ways with very little signage. Thankfully it was back to normal the very next day.
The Icefields Parkway has so many well known lakes, mountains and glaciers to visit, it is hard to fit them all in. Having visited there many times and seeing all of the iconic locations, when I have the opportunity to explore lesser known spots, I try to take it. On my last visit, we were heading from Banff to Jasper to spend a couple of days. One of us spotted this small sign for a beaver pond and pulled over. After a short hike through the trees, the area opened up to this view. A beautiful view of the Canadian Rockies reflected in the pond's water was our reward for stopping. Although there wasn't evidence of beavers or any beaver dams, I think we will revisit here in the future.
The Bay of Kotor in Montenegro is a 15-mile narrow winding bay leading from the Adriatic Sea. The bay is composed of four smaller gulfs and, due to its many twists and turns, is often called Europe's southernmost fjord. Numerous cities and towns are located on the bay such as Kotor, Perast and Prčanj. When we entered the bay, the fog was so thick that we could hardly see anything as we traversed the length of the bay. After we docked in Kotor (at the far end of the bay), the weather took a turn for the better and began to clear. By the time we started our tour of the bay, the fog had mostly dissipated, leaving some remnants as seen in the background. The early morning fog bank had hidden one of the most beautiful places that we have ever visited. As we passed along the shoreline, we were able to observe these wonderful towns that were fully surrounded by towering mountains.
Sometimes Mother Nature takes pity on photographers and allows a few moments of joy to come into their lives. The morning started off with what is normal - up well before dawn, meet for a quick continental breakfast, and head out for some great landscapes. Not this morning. The weather forecast had not predicted rain, but rain it did. We decided to wait a while and head out a little later. It was still raining when we eventually headed out, and we headed to Red Cliff Lodge on River Road to wait it out. The rain finally stopped, but we were left with overcast skies and a bleary morning. Don't get me wrong, you can still get some stellar photos with these type of conditions, but the great orange color of the sandstone is muted. After shooting for the morning and the early afternoon hours, we began heading back to Moab, stopping at a few spots along the way. The last of our stops was Castle Valley. A number of us decided to hike on this trail rather than stay by the road. What a great decision that was. As we began the hike, we noticed small pockets of blue beginning to peek through. By the time we got to this spot, the photography gods smiled upon us and blessed us with some amazing blue skies and terrific clouds. Moments like these make photographers realize that waiting out the inclement weather can be worth it, and that when the weather is great, we appreciate it more.
On our first Mediterranean cruise, we had a stop in Naples for a full day. There were tons on things to see but we opted for a tour to the Isle of Capri. We boarded a jetfoil on the waterfront and about an hour later, we were in Capri. Part of the tour was to then take a small bus up to the small town of Anacapri to visit Villa San Michele. Anacapri is situated high above the town of Capri on the slopes of Mount Solaro. I wasn't feeling the tour of the Villa and wanted to explore the beautiful views from the Isle. When I got off the bus, I noticed this small sign for the Monte Solaro Chairlift that took passengers to the top of Mount Solaro. No Villa tour for me! I told my wife and friends where I was going and told them I would meet them later. They opted to join me. Turns out the chair lift is just that. Small chairs that fit one person. Up we went and got to enjoy some amazing views. On the chair lift ride back down to Anacapri, I captured this photo of the rooftops while my feet were dangling below.
Before you start looking on Google maps for Chicken Dinner Viewpoint on the Oregon Coast, don't bother, we made up the name. A little explanation is in order. Jeff Clow and I were scouting the length of the Oregon Coast last April for his upcoming Photo Tour there in September (we have two tours with a few spots left on the second one if you are interested). For those of you who follow us, you might remember that of the ten days we spent there, approximately nine of those days it was raining. We were near the end of the scouting trip on the southern coast visiting Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor. The corridor is twelve miles in length and there are many challenging trails that show off some wonderful views of coastline. Luckily, there are also many pullovers that have some impressive views without hiking. Most of those have names but there are a few that do not. When we pulled into this unnamed pullover, it was drizzling. Being always wet, we jumped out and took a look and saw this scene. My first words were "Winner, winner, chicken dinner." Jeff, with his penchant for naming things proclaimed that this would be the new name for this viewpoint.
I really love the American Southwest and always look for a reason to go back. I have been to the target-rich Moab area almost ten times with its amazing National Parks (Arches and Canyonlands); State Parks (Dead Horse and Goblin Valley); the famed River Road (paralleling the mighty Colorado River); and, of course, the majestic La Sal Mountains. There is something for everyone. My favorite among all of these gems is Arches National Park. All of the amazing sandstone rock formations, along with its unique sandstone arches, are a sight to see. This spot where I took this photo says it all. To my back is Balanced Rock and looking forward are some of my favorite arches. The only one visible is Turret Arch in the middle. To the left, although hidden, are the North Window, the South Window and Double Arch. I particularly love this spot, because the La Sal Mountains pose as an incredible backdrop to the desert foreground and the sandstone formations. Having a nice blue sky and the lenticular clouds doesn't hurt the scene either.
Visiting Europe is always a history lesson, where I always walk away with a greater appreciation of the past. That was so on our visit to Lucerne, Switzerland, after our Rhine River cruise a few years ago. Lucerne is a great city that lies next to the blue waters of Lake Lucerne, and it is surrounded by towering mountains. One of the most beautiful areas of the city is where the Reuss River passes under the Kapellbrücke (literally the Chapel Bridge) on its way to Lake Lucerne.
The Chapel Bridge is the oldest wooden covered bridge in Europe, as well as the world's oldest surviving truss bridge. The bridge is so named, as it starts on one side of the Reuss River near Saint Peter's Chapel. Originally built in 1333, it is 560 feet in length and is unique, as it houses many interior paintings that originate from the 17th century. Today, the bridge serves as one of Lucerne's main tourist attractions, and is prominent in almost any scene along the main thoroughfare. I particularly liked this composition that uses the bridge as a leading line with its beautiful flowers leading to the other side of the river.
Back in 2000, my family and I headed to Las Vegas on vacation. The plan was to spend some time there and visit some of the national parks in the southwest. After spending some time in Vegas, the family decided to spend more time there. I am not a Vegas type of guy, so I headed out to the Valley of Fire State Park to take in the scenery. I was not really into photography then and visited the park at the totally wrong time of day and got some so-so photos. Once I got back into photography, I promised myself to revisit the park and do it right. Well, it took me sixteen years and I finally followed through on my promise.
After spending some time driving up to Overton along the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, we headed out to the park before dawn. We came through the eastern entrance to the park. We crossed the park boundary and drove up the hill toward Elephant Rock, got out and waited for the sun to rise. After shooting the rock we drove to the top of the hill and had to stop once we saw this view. We knew it was going to be a great day.