Season of the Orbs

Fall! Yes, it’s coming even though it was 100 degrees this past weekend. Orb spiders are a predictable totem of fall in our parts. They use standing vegetation that usually has some sun exposure. Then they catch flies, get fat, lay eggs and disappear into the earth. Here’s one who posed for me this weekend. She’s actually a banded garden spider (Argiope trifasciata) by common name.

Banded garden spider - Argiope trifasciata - bottom- MYN 2

I brought out the big flash and my white background. Photo for the www.Meetyourneighbours.net collection. The sun was out, but everything worked out well with balancing light. The flash adds a touch of fill and bounces nicely off the white. You can see some of the web there since I didn’t move the actual spider. Continue reading

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Wish Upon a Star

So this year the backcountry birthday arose from the sprawling mounds of biodegradable diapers. In fact, the whole family and another couple of best friends headed out for a new area in the Yuba Pass area. Wilderness, hiking, quiet, and proximity all brought us to Carr Lake in the Tahoe National Forest. There we unloaded and hiked 25,000 lbs of baby stuff, beer, and food into the nearest open campsite some 1/4 mile down the trail. Some nice gentlemen had pity on us and helped me carry in gear. Once we were set up (well we actually moved for the second night!!!) I felt so blessed to be breathing in backcountry birthday air. We explored some truly amazing terrain that was accessible, hikable (i.e. not immediately steep for toddlers) and swimable – yes – lots of lakes.

Sierra startrails carr lake 1600 sml

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Tips and Tricks: A workshop with National Geographic

Iris douglasii coming into bloom.

Iris douglasii coming into bloom.

I’m very excited to be working with NATGEO this afternoon helping photographers get the most out of their camera! The 2014 Bioblitz is already looking to be a tremendous success as more people get out and learn about the natural resources in the Bay Area’s Golden Gate National Recreation Area. I hope to see you all out there geeking out on nature!

Mastering Your DSLR Workshop – San Francisco

We have one (maybe two) slots left for our February 1 workshop in San Francisco. This will be modeled after the January workshop where we spent the day going over techniques/methods – photographing – talking and repeat! We had a great time and I’ve heard lots of positive feedback from attendees.

Who’s this for? Amateurs who are interested in getting the most out of their camera (usually a DSLR, but an advanced compact is great too!). You’ll be joining a small group of about 4 people and will be working together and learning as a group. It will be fun, instructional, and very interactive with fast feedback on what you’re learning!

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Picture Stewardship: Photography presentation at CNPS

13-wildland stewardship

I’m excited to be presenting some photographs at the East Bay Chapter of the California Native Plant Society’s Membership slide show. This should be a really fantastic evening of people who will share images from all around the East Bay and even greater Bay Area I bet. I know a couple of the other photographers presenting and they will have some great images. Presenters must register in advance and here are more details on the evening: http://ebcnps.org/meetings/.
I personally hope to offer a ten minute insight into the power of imagery with the goal of celebrating the value of human stewardship of our wildlands. It will be a quick taste of how I use the camera as a tool and why you (as an advocate for nature) should too. Create depth – connections – interest in your images.

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Model What?

So, it’s a bit of a stretch from conservation to the world of glamor. But hey, conservation work can be glamorous at times… right?

As most of you know, I don’t usually stumble into the world of bright strobe lights, make-up, outfits, and striking a pose – well at least not for work!  Headshots, photo-booths, portraiture all feels comfortable with me working to expose what exists. This felt a bit different. I had a captive audience trained to be photographed professionally. This made all the difference.

SF MAS portraits full--4

When I saw the SF Meet and Shoot group offer its inaugural meetup focused on models and glamor I decided, why not. I had never worked in such a fashion – no pun intended – and I was interested to see how different it would be from my shoots.  Well- it was different. Most notably, the ability to direct became critical. The range of emotion a model can pull out of a hat is amazing. Truly. Now, I understand Blue Steel in all its glory.

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Conservation Photography Workshop: A Day in Review

Stefan taking in the scrub and grassland interface.

Stefan taking in the scrub and grassland interface.

We completed our 8 hour intensive conservation photography workshop hosted by the California Native Grasslands Association and I’m very happy to report that it was an absolutely wonderful day spent with inspired and interesting people (who love photography too!). Here are a few pics from the day and even one or two items about post processing that we went over. Thanks to everyone for such a great day. Continue reading

Photography Workshop Registration Closes Today

research plot Tulare HillI’m very excited to be teaching a workshop on photography that is being sponsored by the California Native Grasslands Association.  

The workshop is a full 8-hour engagement with myself and photographer Jim Coleman of the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center.  We will be catering specifically to thinking about outdoors photography with an eye on conservation and site documentation. That doesn’t mean we won’t offer some basic ideas, themes and concepts to improve anyone’s photography (and if I remembered half the things I teach, I’d be a better photographer too!). We only have a limited number of spots remaining (in keeping with our class size of less than 15)!

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Northern Coast Portrait Bike Tour

Bragg2SF-Lechphoto--4I’m very lucky to have ambitious and inspired friends like Ryan. He constantly pushes all around him to make people more conscious, more involved, more informed, and more fit. Yes, more fit, might be the best description for a buddy who now has a term that describes the process wherein one begins a cursory run or bike ride only to realize that the perfunctory nature of the workout slowly morphs into a point-of-no-return epic endurance event.
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