In keeping the tradition that Jim Goldstein started over 10 years ago, I’ve selected my favorite images released in the past year. These are not necessarily my best or most popular, but each holds a special place as a moment in time not soon to be repeated or forgotten.
Enjoy! And feel free to let me know your favorites. You can click on any image for a large view, to learn more about it, or share individually. I look forward to seeing your selects in the weeks ahead, and wish everyone a wonderful holiday and Happy New Year full of beauty, adventure and photographic possibilities.
Midwinter, Yule, the Longest Night, Jól – the Winter Solstice is known by many names, but the shortest day of the year is the official start of winter and the perfect time to reflect on the past twelve months.
As 2017 comes to a close I’d like to thank everyone who has connected online and through my blog, clients new and old who have supported my work, and my friends and family who have joined me in exploring all the natural beauty that surrounds us.
I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and a healthy, prosperous New Year.
Twelve years ago after shooting film for over 25 years I made the switch to digital and never looked back. The year was 2005 and it wasn’t without a great deal of hesitation, but I knew I wasn’t alone and that the time was right. Not long before National Geographic had started accepting digital files from the Nikon D100, and if the quality was worthy of their hallowed pages then it was good enough for me.
The biggest concern for most outdoor photographers at the time was preserving that classic “look” of film that the world had embraced from the early days of Kodachrome and later Fuji Velvia. We were told that if you shot RAW files, profiles and presets could be applied that would mimic any type of film. At the time it was all Greek, but in the years since it’s become standard practice in post production. The lightbox and loupe were traded for hi-resolution monitors and software, but the holy grail of image making was still dynamic range.
Cameras have advanced at lightning speed since then delivering better resolution, wider dynamic range, higher megapixels and price tags to match! But one thing hasn’t changed – the powerful RAW image file. This digital negative can never actually be touched or manipulated, but utilizing RAW processing programs like Lightroom can produce files that match any conceivable style or vision by applying those magical profiles and presets all while retaining the highest image quality.
One of the best features of shooting RAW is the fact that software manufacturers are constantly improving the programs to better utilize all of the image data captured by the sensor. I recently revisited a selection of images from my archive that were made just shortly after I switched to digital. They were made on one of those early bodies, but because I had used a high-quality lens and created RAW files I was now able to create much finer images from those files than the original software would allow.
In a side-by-side comparison I was amazed at the clarity and definition that had been hiding in those images just waiting for a future application to release them. So if you’re still shooting JPEGs you might want to consider switching to RAW. Though each camera manufacturer makes their own proprietary file, Adobe, the creators of TIFF and PDF, developed the DNG (or Digital Negative) – a great format that preserves your RAW file and a JPEG preview eliminating the concern of proprietary files and software going the way of the 8-Track stereo and Betamax.
One thing is certain, change is inevitable and technology will continue to evolve. It’s a wonderful time to be a photographer and reassuring to know that the images we make today can not only be enjoyed long into the future, but like a fine wine will likely improve with age.
One of the largest yet least explored parks in the country, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is a vast desert landscape of mesas, slot canyons, petrified sand dunes, archaeological treasures and American history. Divided by a single long ridge called the Kaiparowits Plateau, this remote region was the last place in the continental United States to be mapped and is a wonderful destination to find that desert solitude that Edward Abbey so passionately wrote about.
From the south, the Vermilion, White, Gray, and Pink cliffs rise to form the giant multi-hued terraces of the Grand Staircase. And to the east the Escalante Canyons are a labyrinth of geologic wonders slowly winding their way down to Lake Powell. Together these escarpments expose 200 million years of the earth’s history in a visual feast for the eyes, and contain the most continuous record of Late Cretaceous terrestrial life in the world.
For the photographer, the Grand-Staircase Escalante National Monument is a sublime location where the possibilities are endless and the light, which seems to glow from within, is worthy most anytime of day. I’ve often said you could spend your whole life in southern Utah and not see it all, but that might just be true of this very special park. The temptation to try is always present.