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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Tragedy Under the Commons – October Desktop Calendar

It’s been a dry year, again. El Nino is out on vacation (not like she would necessarily bring the coastal areas relief). And it’s hot again. Resources are thin and getting thinner. Our water is literally evaporating away, like those underground rivers that we never see. The aquifers that creep quietly far from the reach of most straws are themselves creeping along ever more slowly. Well are being drilled everywhere. The graph below from the USGS tells that story.

 

change in groundwater in CA - USGS

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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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Photography as a dimensional bridge: Annie Leibovitz and other thoughts

Copy of star-trails-cr-logoI often look to the internet for inspiration. I’ll have a quick minute as I’m brainstorming a project and look to my favorite places for both new photographers and techniques, as well as our predecessors.

In July, I read an interesting interview of Annie Leibovitz recently found in Fast Company magazine. It was brief and certainly didn’t allow for her to expound on her ideas, but the brevity inspired me to think a little more (NOTE TO FAST COMPANY: Annie has experienced such an incredibly complex life with huge leaps and bounds in inspiration and style, so this was an amazing opportunity spoiled by going, well, too Fast). She was critical in watering the seed of a nascent Rolling Stone Magazine with images – like John and Yoko lying in bed (note: gut wrenching story behind it), pics of the Stones proper, and this one I just love of Willie Nelson – perfection. Continue reading

My 100th post: Thoughts on Rain, Boundaries, Inspiration

A tribute to another photographer who sometimes had rain and sometimes sun. Either way he created amazing images from embracing nature.

A tribute to another photographer who sometimes had rain and sometimes sun. Either way he created amazing images from embracing nature. Into Yosemite Valley – circa 2010.

Rain is the force of life in Mediterranean climates. It’s not simply a thing that happens here or there – rather it defines wet and dry seasons. It creates possibilities for birds, worms and salmon alike. Today it’s raining here. It’s quite a surprise for the end of June, but I wanted to embrace it. It’s a beautiful caesura in the parching season of the hot, dry summer which is forecast for 2013. Enjoy the rain, the anomalous rain and all the life it brings at the most unpredictable moments. Continue reading

June Desktop Calendar: El Capitan Meadow to be Closed

Yes, you read that right. One of the most iconic, magical places on earth will only be accessible by trespass. This is what we call Fortress Conservation in the ecology field: buy the land – then put a fence around it to limit human interaction.

Erecting fences is a short-sighted, privilege-driven way of doing conservation. It’s not a way to promote conservation, it’s the way to kill it.

fence

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B-E-S-T engagement photo… Evah!

Sometimes you’re just at the right place at the right time. And sometimes that’s enough, but if you don’t have the right people, the place and time are almost meaningless… well at least for photography. And actually, as I think about that a bit more, it’s a truism that rings throughout everything we do. Pleasurable, fulfilling life experiences become so much richer when place, time, and personality come together.

So here we are at Golden Gate park enjoying a remarkable spring day when we come across a gang of people.

cherry blossoms backlit web Continue reading

Dr. Martin Luther King Day

The sleepiness of December weighs heavily on me every year. I feel like the new year is a time for reset, but for the most part I don’t feel like I’m in peak shape, or creativity, and certainly not productivity.  But then the day to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream arrives and I personally feel like my life becomes refocused, and reinvigorated. Take a moment – listen to one of his speeches – get inspired by his voice and delivery. He was truly an amazing human being.

writing on the wall

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Cara and Zach – Napa Style Done Right!

engagement pic teasers-7139I was recommended to Cara and Zach through mutual friends and it’s been nothing but fun from day 1 at Ben and Nicks.  We shared a beverage and talked about the idea of a wedding, the role of photography and realized we would be a good match.  These two are enviros to the core and I can’t tell you how great it was to be a part of their big day.  They are both doing great things with their lives, spreading good will and advancing science.  Congrats to them on throwing an amazing celebration with some of the kindest, warmest people I’ve ever interacted with.

Here is a brief spin through their amazing day at the Robert Young Estate Winery in Healdsburg.  This venue was incredibly storybook-like with grapes, mountains and white picket fences.  The staff was wonderfully warm and I enjoyed my time there greatly!

Pics after the jump – Continue reading

Here comes #2

We’re getting close and we’re so excited to see Kaya become the big sis.

Here’s to my beautiful wife and all she does carrying the weight. Literally.

This photo was created with a single off-camera light with a softbox.  (Oh yeah, and a pregnant lady too!) I love the creativity that emerges out of the constraints of a single light.

Only 3 more to go before we get the basketball team together 🙂

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