Rainbow - Rainbow Bridge National Monument, Arizona

Rainbow Bridge National Monument, located near Page, Arizona, is one of the world's highest natural bridges with a height of 290 feet. It is almost as long as it is high with a length of 270 feet. Rainbow Bridge was known by Native Americans who have long held the bridge sacred as a symbol of the deities responsible for creating clouds, rainbows and rain--the essence of life in the desert. They named the bridge "Nonnezoshe" or "rainbow turned to stone." One of the natural wonders of the world, the bridge was formed by erosion of the sandstone by water flowing from Navajo Mountain towards the Colorado River. Rainbow Bridge can be reached by a two-hour boat ride on Lake Powell from either of two marinas near Page. After a wonderfully scenic ride on the lake, boats drop you off at the National Park wharf in Bridge Canyon and, to reach the bridge, there is a short mile-long walk. The only other alternative is to hike several hours from a trailhead on the south side of Lake Powell, but that requires a permit from the Navajo Nation.

When planning for photographing the bridge, I realized that I would not be able to shoot it in great light as the earliest boat reaches it at almost 10 am. For those of you that have seen images of the bridge and it's reflection in the water, it is not possible to capture. One of the Park Rangers told me that due to the low water levels on the lake, the last time water flowed through the arch was almost 20 years ago. Regardless of the not perfect light and lack of water, the bridge is still an impressive subject.

Quiet Morning at the Barn - Oakesdale, Washington

There are plenty of barns in the Palouse that one could capture on digital film. Of all of the ones I have shot, this one is one of my favorites. Why? I love red barns. There is something about how the red stands out against the blue sky and green crops that make photos pop. Red is a very popular color for barns and came about by accident. According to the Farmers Almanac, hundreds of years ago farmers would seal their barns with linseed oil, which is an orange-colored oil derived from the seeds of the flax plant. To this oil, they would add a variety of things, most often milk and lime, but also ferrous oxide, or rust. Rust was plentiful on farms and because it killed fungi and mosses that might grow on barns,  it was very effective as a sealant. It turned the mixture red in color. The morning I shot this photo was before co-hosting a Palouse tour with Jeff Clow. Jeff and I were the only ones there and it was a beautiful serene morning. I noticed the moon shining in the sky and made sure it was included in my composition.

Bow River View - Banff National Park, Alberta

The 167-mile long Icefields Parkway is filled with mountain bliss. While the Bow River does not flow the full length of the parkway, there are still miles and miles that the river can be seen with the majestic Canadian Rockies as a backdrop. There are so many spots to photograph from, it is hard to remember where each photo was taken. When I came to this photo, I had no GPS information to help me figure out where it was but that isn’t a prerequisite to post some of the best scenery that you can find in Banff National Park.

Boulders - Boulder Beach, Acadia National Park, Maine

Boulder Beach is my favorite sunrise location in Acadia National Park. Getting there takes a little work and an ability to walk on unsteady footing. After scrambling down a steep incline, you are faced with walking on these round boulders that can be tricky to stay upright on (I have taken a spill in the past). The challenge is not only walking on rounded rocks, but also not knowing which ones are loose and which ones are slick from being wet. Despite these challenges, the payoff is worth it. I have shot from this location many times, and it is hard to get new compositions, especially when there are lots of photographers already staked out. For this photo, I decided to capture a small section the the boulders and slowed down the motion of the waves.

Monument Valley Evening - Navajo Nation

The best way to see Monument Valley is to hire a Navajo guide, which enables you to see parts of the valley that you cannot see on the 17-mile road semi-public road. The guides are not inexpensive but are well worth it for their local knowledge, stories of the Navajo culture and even playing musical instruments and singing Navajo songs. If you cannot afford to hire a guide, you can still see wonderful scenery as well as all of it's famous landmarks for a $10 per person or $20 per vehicle entrance fee. This fee allows you to drive a 17-mile dirt road that winds throughout the park. It is a fabulous drive and I recommend doing it at least twice - early morning and evening. The light is so different at these times that the formations take on very different looks. This image of the world-famous East and West Mittens and Merrick Butte was actually taken from the visitors center in the early evening (no fee for this view). The dirt road can be seen below as well as the shadows of the visitor center. I left the car on the road to give the image scale - those buttes are really huge.

Coast Beauty - Gold Beach, Oregon

The sea stacks at Myers Creek, just south of Gold Beach are symbolic of the nature of the Oregon Coast. I remember the first time that I laid eyes on them as I was driving toward the southernmost point on the Oregon Coast. As I was coming down an incline in the road, it curved toward the ocean and I saw one of the most amazing stretches of road that I had ever seen. My first thought was that I could spend all day photographing all of the monolithic sea stacks in the ever-changing light. The sea stacks cover about a mile of beach and there are endless compositions. My favorite time to shoot there is in evening light with the sun setting over the Pacific Ocean. This is not a sunrise location, as the bluffs adjacent to the ocean are pretty high and the sun has to clear them before they light up. That gives landscape photographers like me an advantage over other locations as we can sleep in. On this particular morning, I headed to the southern part of the sea stacks and waited for the sun to peek above the bluffs. Not a bad way to spend a morning.

Cascading Walkway - Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida

During my hiatus from my blog and social media, I decided to change my editing software from Lightroom to ON1 Photo RAW. As part of that change, I decided that I was going to go through my entire photo library and really cull through them. As of today, I have been though about a third of my photos (about 30,000 photos) so far. It will probably take the rest of this year as I am doing a little at a time. One of the benefits of this tedious process is to revisit all of the great places I have been and maybe reprocess a few with different looks. This photo of the walkway underneath Fort Jefferson is one of my favorite photos. I thought that it would be a great subject to process in Black and White.

Pollen - Longwood Gardens, Pennsylvania

My photography usually centers around landscapes, wildlife and travel. I try to get outside my comfort zone and try some other genres of photography. The ones I particularly like to experiment with are Urbex (urban exploration) and Architecture. One that I haven’t done much of is Macro Photography. Maybe it is because it doesn’t involve travel and going to some epic locations. There will be a time when I won’t be able to travel and Macro Photography will probably become my go-to genre. This macro photo of a flower was a great subject, as the pollen on the stamen and the small pieces that fell on the petals became the main subject.

Glowing Arch - Arches National Park, Utah

One of the most photographed arches in Arches National Park is Turret Arch. It is almost always photographed from the North Window in the early morning. Since it was cloudy on both mornings I was there, I decided to take a less classical shot of the other side of Turret Arch in evening light.. It is hard to get a good shot from this angle because there is a big formation in front of the arch (you can see its shadow in this image). Fortunately, I had a wide-angle lens with me and the sun did the rest. 

Moody Tetons - Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Many wonder (including my wife) why I like going back to places that I have already been to, and end up shooting many of the same scenes that I have previously shot. The answer is that one of the most important factors in making a great photograph, besides the subject, is the light and atmosphere. The light changes every hour of every day, and you never know what you will get. Clouds many times cover the mountains so that you cannot get a shot of them. We photographers always wish for great golden hour light and light, fluffy cumulus clouds in the sky. We often forget that there is great beauty when clouds don’t block the view, but rather, create an atmosphere that conveys the moodiness that is part of the nature of mountain ranges throughout the year. Yes, it is great to get that golden light, but make sure that you also visit when the light isn’t golden if you can.

Selectman's Footbridge - Somesville, Maine

When one thinks of Acadia National Park, the first thing that comes to mind is Maine's rugged coastline and beautiful lakes. What many visitors don't realize is that the park is actually located on the second biggest island (Mount Desert Island) on the eastern seaboard. The park was formed through a trust that gradually acquired land over a period of time that was ultimately granted national park status in 1919 by Woodrow Wilson. 

Given its history, Mount Desert Island has a lot of small towns that are randomly located around Acadia. Many of these towns are very small (the island has 10,000 residents year-round) but are nonetheless picturesque. This photo of a small footbridge is in a town called Somesville. If you didn't know that it was there, you would miss it in the blink of an eye. Fortunately, I had visited it several years ago when the light was terrible and the foliage was not turning. I was a bit luckier this time.

Banff Morning - Banff National Park, Alberta

The Icefields Parkway connecting Banff National Park and Jaspar National Park in Alberta, Canada is probably my favorite road to take photos. That's saying a lot as it beats out California Highway 1, the Alaskan Highway, Montana's Going to the Sun Road and Arizona's Apache Trail. It is probably the combination of pristine mountain lakes, beautiful glaciers and towering mountains that makes it my favorite. I am often asked how far I had to hike to reach some of these lakes and my answer sometimes surprises them -- very little. Of course, there are some lakes that hiking boots and a long hike are required, but many are just a short distance from the highway. The lake in this image, Herbert Lake, is a prime example. I literally had to walk about 20 feet to set up my tripod, wait for the golden hour glow (in this case just past dawn) and shoot the shot. The biggest variable for photographers is the light, which can never be predicted. I was lucky this morning to get some great light.

Acadia Splendor - Acadia National Park, Maine

The first morning of a photo trip to Maine a few years back was washed out with a steady rain. The good news was that the forecast called for it to clear up in the late morning. In anticipation of this weather improvement, we headed out to Jordon Pond (not sure why it is called a pond as it as big as many lakes). It was a great decision as the overcast skies began to clear up. We walked around the lake and I took this shot at the southern end of the pond showing the bubbles across the way. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Acadia, the Bubbles (north and south) are the two mountains in the distance. As you can see, they do look a bit like bubbles. Both measure less than 1,000 feet high (872 and 766 respectively) but look considerably bigger. We probably got to Acadia a week too early, as the foliage was not yet peaking. The photo does show a good start to the changing of the colors that autumn brings to New England.

Drama at Portland Head - Cape Elizabeth, Maine

It has been a long time since my last post (almost three months) and I think it is time to start posting again. This little hiatus was not planned and started when we were having our kitchen redone. My absence was only to be for two weeks but two weeks became a month and a month turned into three months. I guess I just needed a break from photography for awhile. I have been posting photos on my blog and social media five days a week since 2010 and I guess I needed time to reinvigorate myself. So now I am back. I have some terrific trips lined up this year and am looking forward to them. so without further ado…

Arguably the signature lighthouse of Maine, the Portland Head Light is actually located outside of Portland on Cape Elizabeth. The light was initially commissioned by George Washington in 1787. The light stands 80 feet above the land and 101 feet above the water. Edward Rowe Snow wrote about the light: “Portland Head and its light seem to symbolize the state of Maine—rocky coast, breaking waves, sparkling water and clear, pure salt air.” The lighthouse is surrounded by a huge park and it is usually swarming with people during the day. Go there before sunrise and you find yourself virtually alone. You never know what type of sunrise you will get but, on this morning, I was blessed with some amazing clouds that began to glow when the sun came up.

Editing Note: While I didn’t pick up a camera on my hiatus, I did change my main processing software from Lightroom to ON1 Photo RAW 2019. This is the first image that I have processed on it without using Lightroom or Photoshop. So far, so good.

Oxbow Morning - Grand Teton National Park,Wyoming

If you mention Oxbow Bend to any serious landscape photographer, they know exactly where it is, even if they have never been there before. It is one of the most photographed landscapes in the western US, photographed millions of times. Standing anywhere along the shoreline of the Snake River or from the road above, Mount Moran is always present, towering above everything. I have been lucky enough to stand there many times in the past ten years, and I will say that every time the scene is different. Contributing to the variety are the clouds or lack of clouds, the time of day (sunrise is the best time to shoot there), the stillness of the water, the presence or lack of wildlife, low to the ground fog or lack thereof, and the season of the year (ice and snow-covered peaks and/or fall foliage). Suffice to say, for some, visiting this majestic location moves you in ways that you never expect.

Soaking It In - Millinocket, Maine

Well the best laid plans often get impacted by weather. I now appreciate what visitors have gone through to get a look at New England foliage. I shot this photo a few weeks back on a trip with my son to northern Maine. The trip was for him to do some research for a novel he is writing. After completing his research, we headed up the Golden Road to soak in some foliage which, luckily for us, was peaking late. I took this shot of him taking in the view and taking an iPhone shot of Mount Kadahdin reflected in the Penobscot River. When we headed home to Connecticut, I was looking forward for the foliage to make its way south. Unfortunately, that is when the weather stepped in. We had a big Nor’easter this weekend with drenching rain and heavy wind which dramatically affected the dying leaves. I think the best of the color was adversely impacted here.

Bow Dreaming - Banff National Park, Alberta

I have posted numerous images in the past from Banff National Park and the famed Icefields Parkway. Many people who have commented on these images have wondered how long of a hike it was to reach these beautiful mountain lakes. They are very surprised when I tell them that many of them are just a few hundred steps off of the highway. They are some of the most accessible (and some of the most beautiful) lakes that I have ever been to. That is why I recommend the Icefield Parkway to anyone who wants to visit the Rockies. Just imagine 140 miles of glacier and mountain-fed lakes along with majestic mountains on either side of the road. This image of Bow Lake is just one example of what will be right outside your car.

Silhouette - Steptoe, Washington

This past June, I co-hosted a Jeff Clow Photo Tour to the Palouse. It was my fourth trip there in the last three years. Many of the photos that I have posted from this beautiful area center on barns in all stages of repair (or disrepair); occupied or abandoned farmhouses; farm machinery; rolling farmland; and, of course, the iconic views from the top of Steptoe Butte at sunrise and sunset. The butte towers about 3,600 feet above the surrounding farmland. There you get a 360-degree view from its top. I thought I would post a different shot of the butte (instead of from the butte) from below. I really like the grand old tree and used it to frame the butte. I have shot this before but this time I was lucky to get some sun rays that seemed destined for the tree.

Two Jack Beauty - Banff National Park, Alberta

I was blessed with some amazing light during a trip to Banff National Park a few years ago. This was especially true of Two Jack Lake. Being only about ten minutes from the hotel, I visited there twice and was treated to beautiful light each time. This contrasts with my visit a couple of years before when I visited the lake four times before getting decent light. As you can see, the light was amazing even though Mount Rundle was only partially lit (it never did get fully lit on this morning). Regardless, the clouds and the reflection more than made up for it. This is the reason you wake up at 3:30am for a June sunrise shoot.

North Woods - Millinocket, Maine

The Golden Road in the North Woods of Maine is a 96-mile private road built by the Great Northern Paper Company. Of that, about 32 miles of the road is paved (some would say semi-paved). Fortunately, the Paper Company allows the public access to it, and many visitors and sportsmen use it as a major thoroughfare through the North Woods. The west branch of the Penobscot River parallels parts of the road and it is a prime destination for whiter water rafting. The Golden Road is believed to be named so because of the cost of it, but the company has stated that it was actually cheaper that floating the logs downstream to its mill. The road has many spots where you can see the superb landscape and fall foliage on full display.