Mission Ranch

SSA Photography (332 of 400)

This photograph of my son Kemper, who was four at the time, was taken at Mission Ranch in Carmel Valley, California.  As you can see from the long shadows of the sheep, I captured this scene just before dusk as the sun had nearly set in the western sky.  Kemper adores all animals, and he wanted nothing more than to stand on the fence and watch the sheep herded into their barn for the night.  That we missed our dinner reservation was a small price to pay to see him so carefree and joyful.

Click here for a larger version.

Pod

SSA Photography (212 of 400)

I took the photograph of this pod of pelicans off of Point Lobos, in Carmel, California.  This is only the front of a much longer line of pelicans that was flying down the coast, and I thought the panorama captured them nicely against the bay and the creeping marine layer.  I love how they are all in different stages of flight, some coasting and some flapping frenetically.

Click here for a larger version (and a color version).

Starry Night

starry-night

This photograph was taken around midnight in Brevard, North Carolina.  I hiked about a mile up to a remote field on the property of a family friend, where there was little to no light pollution.  It was my first attempt at astral photography, and aside from the stars being a tad out of focus, I was thrilled at how the photograph turned out.  The moon had not risen, and the field was pitch black.  I used a 30 second exposure, and I was pleasantly surprised at how the sky was illuminated.  The wisps of clouds immediately made me think of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night.”  After I uploaded the photograph and did some very minor post-processing, I trekked back up to the field.  Unfortunately, the wisps of clouds had turned into a think blanket, and all of the stars were obscured.  When we return at the new year, I hope for clear skies and good weather so that I can capture more of these scenes.

Click here for a larger version.

Rocky Path

This photograph was taken on the shore of Stillwater Bay. The path leads to Pebble Beach, and I was surprised by how many people I found wandering through the outskirts of the course, having climbed this well trodden path.

Morning Dew

SSA Photography (83 of 400)

This photograph was taken just after dawn on Little Talbot Island, north of Jacksonville, Florida.  It was one of the first macro photographs I took, and it remains one of my favorites.  I love how it captures the pendant dewdrop and the weight of the driftwood branch and the water.  The little bubbles add an interesting depth of field.

Click here for a larger version.

Passerine

SSA Photography (281 of 400)

Lugete, o Veneres Cupidinesque,
et quantum est hominum venustiorum:
passer mortuus est meae puellae-
passer, deliciae meae puellae,
quem plus illa oculis suis amabat.”

Mourn, O Venuses and Cupids,
and whatever there is of pleasing me:
the sparrow of my girl is dead –
the sparrow, the delight of my girl,
whom she loved more than her own eyes.

Catullus, Carmen 3

As evidenced by this brief passage from the funeral dirge of the first century (BC) Roman poet Catullus, the sparrow has been a subject of art and admiration (even tongue-in-cheek adoration) for thousands of years.  I found this golden crowned sparrow perched in the chaparral along the path towards Whaler’s Cove in Point Lobos State Nature Reserve, Carmel, California.  I thought it was a lovely photograph of a beautifully marked bird, but upon closer inspection of the photograph as I was processing the photos at the end of the day, I noticed the rather doleful look on the sparrow.  For an animal that flits about, seemingly without care, this look struck me as rather queer.  Perhaps, like Catullus, I am importing more meaning to the life of a sparrow than reason would suggest appropriate.  Still, this remains my favorite photograph of the many sparrows I have photographed over the course of the last fifteen years or so.

Click here for a larger version (and a black and white version).

Daylight on the Davidson

Version 2

“The gray-eyed morn smiles on the frowning night,
checkering the eastern clouds with streaks of light…”
-Shakespeare
This photograph was taken at dawn in the Pisgah National Forest on the banks of the Davidson River.  The sun through the dappled leaves left streaks in the dewy air, which I attempted to capture in this photograph.  The shadow-play made the exposure a bit tricky, but overall I have always enjoyed this photograph and its even its color version.  We are venturing back to the Pisgah in December, and I look forward to capturing even more scenes of the rivers and falls once there.
Click here for a larger version (and a color version).

Bixby Canyon Bridge

SSA Photography (174 of 400)

I descended a dusty gravel ridge
Beneath the Bixby Canyon Bridge
Until I eventually arrived
At the place where your soul had died
Barefoot in the shallow creek,
I grabbed some stones from underneath
And waited for you to speak to me
And the silence; it became so very clear
That you had long ago disappeared
I cursed myself for being surprised
That this didn’t play like it did in my mind
-Death Cab for Cutie
This photograph of the Bixby Canyon Bridge in Big Sur, California, just after dawn shows the marine layer lifting from the bay, slowly creeping up the mountains, only to burn off completely by the early afternoon.  The bridge spanning Bixby Creek is one of many on Route 1 down the coast of California south of Carmel, but it is probably the most famous.  The bridge has a rich history, opening in 1932 to connect the residents of Big Sur with Carmel and San Francisco further to the north.  When it was built, it was the longest concrete arch span the west coast.  It remains one of the tallest single-span concrete bridges in the world.  It is narrower (by eight feet) than the required width of modern bridges, but due to its historic relevance, expansion is unlikely.
Click here for a larger version.

River of Ice

SSA Photography (20 of 400)

On the list of the most beautiful natural places I have ever been, Alaska ranks at the very top.  This glacier may have had a name, but so many others did not.  There were simply too many of them.  Beauty was within reach at every point on this trip, whether it was seeing the salmon in the rivers towards the end of their annual run, coming upon a group of ten bald eagles on the bank of a fjord, or paddling next to a huge river of ice that creeps along ever so slowly, carving mountains in its wake.  The force and the majesty of the state was almost overwhelming at times.  I could not capture it all, but this photograph is a stunning reminder of my trip there.  I cannot wait to go back with a renewed focus (and a better camera) to document the awe inspiring beauty of untouched nature.

Click here for a larger version.