Photo Experience


Image of

the Month




To Home






Image of the Month





Each month I select an image and add

some commentary about the

experience behind the image.





September - 2022



SAC versus    


 Additional images can be viewed in

SAC vs Fullerton







August - 2022



Mount Rainier   


 Additional images can be viewed in

Mt Rainier NP







July - 2022



The Wedge Going Off   


 Additional images can be viewed in

Newport Wedge


Whoa!  Does this look like a 9-foot wave to you?   In fact, these were the biggest waves I've

seen at the Wedge in several years.  It kind of caught everyone by surprise as the board

surfers had not yet shown up when I was at the beach.  The air was relatively clear, the

 marine layer had not settled on the shore,  and the wind was tenable. 





June - 2022



Perrenial Garden   


 Additional images can be viewed in

L.A. Arboretum







May - 2022



Green Heron on Rock   


 Additional images can be viewed in








April - 2022





 Additional images can be viewed in

Freesia - 1


For a week in spring in spring every year, I have access to an abundance of flowers called

Freesia. If the weather conditions are good and the sun is in the right position, there are

some fun and colorful compositions that can be captured.  This is the perfect case of

photographing what is available, not just what you want.   It just so happens that Freesias

are fun to shoot. 





March - 2022



Yosemite in Winter   


 Additional images can be viewed in

Yosemite - Winter.


I have no clue what happened to the snow and ice.  When I last visited Yosemite

 in 2014, the Valley was covered with snow and pretty much vacated.  This February, 

the temperature was moderate, it was a 3 day weekend, tens of thousands of visitors

were drawn to a not very attractive Fire Fall, and the N.P. Service waived the $35

entrance fee.  The Valley floor became a parking lot. 


As a result, photographic opportunities were a lot more limited than they

should have been.  However, my attitude remained positive and I viewed

this more as a challenge than a burden.  In short, I am pretty happy with the images

I was able to produce. 


The above image is your standard image of Bridalvail Falls and it just never

gets old even though it's been photographed tens of millions of times.  You can

easily shoot this from Tunnel View with your smart phone. 





February - 2022



Flying Goose at San Joachim Marsh   


 Additional images can be viewed in



Instead of a dramatic close-up of a flying bird like last month, sometimes just a

minimalist  image works.  The subject is not really the bird but the golden hue

caused by the morning light permeating the entire pond.  I don't shoot many

soft images but this is definitely one of them. 


My secret settings are "Matrix Highlight" metering which means the brights in

the image  will not blown out but the darks will be really dark but can be fixed in

post.  Also, "Auto ISO" allows me to set the shutter speed at 1/1,000 second and

aperture at F8.  The camera sets the ISO

for proper exposure. 






January - 2022



Pelicans on La Jolla Cliffs   


 Additional images can be viewed in



I've been photographing pelicans on the cliffs of the La Jolla Coves for years. 

I often wonder how many more and different images can I capture.  Apparently a lot.

 The weather is different.  The sun is different.  The wind is different.   The pelicans

 are different.  The ocean is different.  Everything is different.  Not in big way but

enough different to make every visit an opportunity.  I have noticed the number

of bird photographers has waned quite substantially in the last 5 years. 


I don't understand the fewer number of bird photographers since the equipment to

photograph the birds gets significantly better every year.  I'm gradually moving from

DSLR to mirrorless.   Nikon has been slow to make the change to mirrorless but made

 monumental strides in 2021.   I'm now using a Nikon Z7II with grip and F-mount

150-600 G2 on tripod.  Not a bad combo.


My secret settings are "Matrix Highlight" metering which means the brights in the

image  will not blown out but the darks will be really dark but can be fixed in post. 

Also, "Auto ISO" allows me to set the shutter speed at 1/1,000 second and aperture

 at F8.  The camera sets the ISO for proper exposure. 






December - 2021



Fungi, Munising   


 Additional images can be viewed in

Munising Fall Color.

 Additional images can be viewed in



I've gone looking to photograph mushrooms many times with no success.  In this case,

I was photographing autumn color in Munising, Michigan when I accidentally discovered

this section of mushrooms.   I was on a public trail headed to a waterfall so most other

people were more interested in the waterfall than the mushrooms.  Lucky me.


This group of mushrooms was quite large but most had been stepped on or disturbed by

animals at night.  I could have spent a lot of time here sorting through the mushrooms

looking for composition but they wee on a tree trunk on a steep hill so it was quite difficult.





November - 2021



Horseshoe Waterfall, Munising   


 Additional images can be viewed in

Munising Fall Color.


It's getting more and more difficult to find photogenic locations that aren't inundated with tourists. In this era of smart phones with GPS, no location stays secret for very long.  In Michigan, Munising is fairly well known but just not by people outside the state.  It is also fairly difficult to travel to, sometimes requiring 3 flights. 


While the North Peninsula Michigan is know for its waterfalls, it also experiences fantastic fall

color in early October.  The color is quite fragile and once it reaches peak, it can be pretty

well stripped a few days later especially after a little rain and wind.  Add in the waterfalls and

you have some pretty good photographic opportunities.  Keep in mind that it is fall and the water flow can be limited.


  The above image was shot with a shutter speed of 1/2 second.  I actually took several images at each angle of the water fall changing the shutter speed 1/2, 1/4, and 1/8 of a second.  I don't

want to totally stop the flow or not see any structure in the water.  It's a matter of personal

preference.  I also try to make the image look like what I saw.  Some photographers pound on the color too much to be believable.  Every water fall presents it own challenge which is lot of fun. 





October - 2021



Santa Ana College Dons Football   


 Additional images can be viewed in

SAC Dons Football.


It's been nearly 2 years since I shot my last football game.  I've not only gravitated to almost all full frame, but also to mirrorless.  However, for football, I charged up my old cropped frame D500 DSLR with Nikon 80-400 and it didn't miss a beat.  Technologically, the camera industry has moved on but the older cameras can still capture images that are as good as any. 


I did pick up a new technique in the last couple of years which is very applicable to football.

It's called Auto ISO.  Basically, on not-too-old cameras, you can set the camera to manual mode, set the shutter speed you would like, and set the aperture you would like.  The camera will then select the proper ISO for proper exposure.  Now you can concentrate on shooting instead of fiddling with settings.  On the downside, you may find yourself shooting at 52,000 ISO once in a while but you'll get the image. 





September - 2021



Water Lily   


 Additional images can be viewed in

Water Lilies.






July - 2021



Women's Air   


 Additional images can be viewed in

Women's Air.


Last month I reformatted the surfing section of my web site and decided to put together a compilation of professional woman surfers getting air.  Guys do this all the time but in my 20 years of photographing surfing, I only have a dozen or so images of women surfing above the wave.  It's actually kind of awesome and not totally expected. 


There were a couple of other air images I could have selected but I like this one because the action is good, the lighting is good, the background is good, the air is clear, and she has an

expression on her face.  It looks kind of simple but in the vast majority of cases, the waves are lousy, or the air is misty, the splashing water is blocking the face, the angle is wrong, or something else detracts form the images.  Getting all the elements right is a real  stroke of luck.





June - 2021



Descanso Rosarium   


 Additional images can be viewed in

Rosarium and Roses.


This image really does look better blown up.  It is a picture of nothing, no subject, no

central point of focus, and no leading lines or layers.  However, it does keep your eyes

moving around the image looking for something, anything.  There is a little hope with

a few plants in focus but mostly out of focus.  This is kind of a mood image where all the

different plants, while none important, all lead to some importance of the image. 


After looking at the image for awhile, your eyes are kind of directed to the upper right

of the image under the branch of the Cherry tree.  You had to be there.


For more traditional image, press on the Rosarium link above. 


Above image shot with a full frame Z7II with grip with 100-400 full frame Tamron on

 tripod. Settings were 195mm, ISO 160, highlight weighted Matrix metering, aperture 16 with

shutter speed of 1/5th second, and 0 exposure compensation.





May - 2021



The Wedge - Newport Beach   


 Additional images can be viewed in

Newport Wedge.


I was semi excited when I read that 7-11 foot waves were forecast at the Wedge.  So I arrived

about 6:15 AM, still darkish, and low and behold, there were hundreds of photographers already on the beach.  I did notice a lot of seawater on the sand draining back into the ocean.  Then I looked up and that was not a 7-11 foot wave.  It was exhilarating to see a wall of wave right in front of me.  Yikes.  Run like hell. 

(For Wedge newbie's, the waves break really close to the beach.)


It turned out that this was one of the largest waves of the day.  When they get this size, they're

not always ride-able.  There were 2 primary locations from which to photograph the waves. 

This image was in front of the waves but another good location was 100 yards on the right on

a small sound made up of of sand.  It looked a little dangerous as sneaker waves from the right

were a little aggressive.  It did turn out that a little later in the day, a sneaker wave did catch the photographers off-guard and destroyed a lot of cameras and gear. 


It's hard to see on this small resolution image, but try to notice the foot of a body surfer

sticking out of the wave at about 2 o'clock from the surfer.  I love details like this. 


Above image shot with a full frame D850 with grip with 150-600 full frame Tamron G2 zoom on $20 tripod. Settings were 600mm, auto ISO, highlight weighted Matrix metering, aperture 9.0 with shutter speed of 1,600 second, and 0 exposure compensation.




April - 2021



South Coast Botanical Garden   


 Additional images can be viewed in

South Coast Botanical Garden.


SC Botanical is a cross between a wilderness and a public garden.  This is not bad but is quite

different then The Huntington Library or Descanso Gardens.  However, it has come a long way inthe last several years.  If you have looked as some of my other California images, SoCal is

absolutely blessed with some of the nicest gardens in the world.  Really!  Now no one is going

to compare this bulb garden with Butchart Garden in Vancouver BC, but there is a similar feel.

Visiting Butchart is on my bucket list but Covid has kept me from visiting this year.  I also don't

miss the crowds of a world famous garden. 


Descanso sets the standard for bulb gardens but SC Botanical has made a lot of progress.  I'll try Sherman Gardens in the next couple weeks.


Above image shot with a full frame Z7 with 24-200 full frame Nikon zoom on

 tripod. Settings were 28mm, ISO 100, aperture F11 with shutter speed of 1/30 second,

0 exposure compensation.





March - 2021



The Living Desert   


 Additional images can be viewed in

The Living Desert.


Yikes, it's been 10 years since I last visited the Living Desert in Palm Desert.   It's pretty much the maximum limit that I will travel for a couple hours of shooting in the early morning.  The Living Desert Foundation appears to have been very successful at raising funds to turn it into a zoo. Personally, I preferred it more as a botanical sanctuary in the desert with some indigenous wildlife but those days appear long gone.  Too much money in the area not to build a lot of hardscape.  The same thing has happened to Safari Park in San Diego. 


Desert flora images are much more of a challenge than they first look.  There is some relatively wild area remaining where you can see lizards, Road Runners, maybe a rattler, lots of Jays, and maybe a few other creatures you normally see in the California desert.  The park has added sectionscovering Australia and now Africa.  If you don't want to just shoot zoo animals, there is somedesert flora to challenge you.  Finding the right plants, angle, color, and leading lines is thefun part.  I really do like the subtleties of desert scenery. 


Above image shot with a full frame Z7II with 24-200 full frame Nikon zoom on

 tripod. Settings were 110mm, ISO 250, aperture F9 with shutter speed of 1/250 second,

0 exposure compensation.





Feb. - 2021





 Additional images can be viewed in



I used to photograph most my orchid images at the L.A. Arboretum but the orchid house is locked and there doesn't seem to much going on anymore.  It used to be the best orchid house by far but no more.  There are so few green houses available to the public, it's sad to see when one is left in neglect.  However, I did see this little non-descript orchid growing outside the orchid house.  It didn't appear photogenic but after working it for a while, I was able to take advantage of some faint background light and turn it into a reasonable image.  Most visitors were just walking byit not even giving it a glimpse.


This brings up the subject of change.  Most non-photographers might not notice, but garden are alwayschanging even though they look the same from one year to the next.  What makes a particular garden photogenic one year, just isn't the same the next year.  That's nature.  It's not anyone's fault,it's just that plants live out their lives, weather changes, light changes, and things are just different forbetter or for worse.  Just take advantage of optimum conditions when you see them.


Above image shot with a full frame Z7II with 24-200 full frame Nikon zoom on

 tripod. Settings were 400mm, ISO 400, aperture F9 with shutter speed of 1/25 second,

-1 exposure compensation.





Jan. - 2021





 Additional images can be viewed in

L.A. Arboretum.


One of the fun aspects of autumn is that you get to travel and visit a lot of really beautiful

places with fall foliage.  Unfortunately, this year was not a travel year for me.  However,

sometime the most beautiful scenery is near your own home.  Instead of  focusing

on a lot of different places, you put all you effort into just one place.  It's all amazing

how that one place can significantly change from year to year. 


As I sometimes prefer more complicated images, this image has a lot of elements in it from the bench in the middle, boulders in bottom left, red bud tree in upper left, and a flush of yellow  leaves in the upper right.  You are led into the image from the dead space in the

bottom right.  There is a nice S-curve in the bottom half of the image.  Am I being too mechanical?


Above image shot with a full frame Z7 with 24-200 full frame Nikon zoom on  tripod. Settings were 83mm, ISO 100, aperture F9 with shutter speed of 1/100 second,

0 exposure compensation.





Dec. - 2020



Bird of Paradise   


 Additional images can be viewed in

Bird of Paradise.


Bird of paradise are one of those flowers that can look spectacularly beautiful in person but capturing

that beauty on screen is extremely difficult.  Paintings of them seem to come out better. I've been

photographing them for years and this is the first time I've been able to capture a little drama.

It probably has to do with the color and angle.  The composition is also kind of unique.  This is not

your normal Bird of paradise image. 


Above image shot with a full frame Z7 with 100-400 full frame Tamron zoom on

 tripod. Settings were 300 mm, ISO 400, aperture F6 with shutter speed of 1/2,800 second,

-1.3 exposure compensation.





Nov. - 2020



Green Heron   


 Additional images can be viewed in



This little guy was fishing in the Japanese Pavilion at Descanso Gardens.  It was an unexpected bird

in a n unexpected location.  Never before had I even seen a Heron at Descanso.  You just

never know what you are going to see, usually only once.  I have images of a Great Horned Owl

upsetting a bunch of raven, some good looking hawks (scroll down to 2002), and a duck feasting on a

 crayfish (scroll down  to 2017).  These were all one time events so there are no do-overs.  You just

have to be prepared and ready.


Above image shot with a full frame D850 with 100-400 full frame Tamron zoom on

 tripod. Settings were 70 mm, ISO 200, aperture F18 with shutter speed of 1/200 second,

-1 exposure compensation.





Oct - 2020



Water Lily - Back Yard Pond  


 Additional images can be viewed in

Water Lily.


Due to Covid-19 and the closure of many botanical gardens, it's getting increasingly

difficult to come up with new material. The water lily image above was taken in our little

biologically balanced pond in our back yard.  Blooms are sparse but sometime the lighting

is perfect.  These water lilies are the most photographed subject due to their

proximity.  It just shows that sometimes beauty can be found all around you.



Above image shot with a full frame D850 with 100-400 full frame Tamron zoom on

 tripod. Settings were 70 mm, ISO 200, aperture F18 with shutter speed of 1/200 second,

-1 exposure compensation.





Sept - 2020



Amaryllis - Descanso Gardens  


 Additional images can be viewed in



I pretty much make my way back to Descanso Gardens every year to check out the status of the

Amaryllis hidden in the back part of the gardens.  It seems like they bloom profusely every other

year.  This year they were post peak when I photographed them. 


I generally start shooting Amaryllis that look the best.  However, once this is done, and they

are all boring images, I start experimenting with the light as it hits the blooms after it

 finds its ways throught the oak canopy.  A flatly lit bloom one minute can light up the next. 

You just have to stick around and wait a bit for the different blooms to light up.  It's kind

of fun and challenging.  Shooting into the light also adds an additional dimension to the

flowers.  I also triple exposure bracket as the "proper" exposure is seldom the best looking




Above image shot with a full frame D850 with 100-400 full frame Tamron zoom on

 tripod. Settings were aperture F11 with shutter speed of 1/1000 second.





August - 2020



The Wedge - Newport Beach   


 Additional images can be viewed in

Newport Wedge.


The wave is not perfect and the weather is not perfect but the image conveys a sense of

feeling of what it is like to be at the Newport Wedge on a foggy, dreary morning after

some storm surf.  The actual jetty is shown in the background with another set

of smaller waves about to roll in.  The image is definitely a surf shot but with a sense

of location.  Since the waves often break of the shore, it's hard to foresee an incoming set.

One of the secrets is to watch for white water slamming against the jetty which indicates

incoming waves. 



Above image shot with a full frame D850 with 150-600 full frame Tamron zoom on $20

 tripod. Settings were aperture F11 with shutter speed of 1/1000 second.





July - 2020



Echo Park  


 Additional images can be viewed in

Echo Park.


Traveling from Orange County to Echo Park in Los Angeles is quite an adventure.  There were

protests planned in Los Angeles the same day and the trick is to shoot early before the homeless

wake up in the park, and there were a lot of homeless.  While parts of the park looked

maintained, other areas of the park, and all the surrounding areas, were literally piled with trash.

  I blame the trash on the Los Angeles Dept. of Sanitation.  Mayor Garcetti spent a billion dollars last

 year on homeless, so you'd have thought they might have spent a few bucks on cleaning up the trash

and a little maintenance.


Echo Park was totally renovated between 2014 and 2017 and looked quite beautiful.  The

Lotus beds were replanted and have looked quite nice for the last couple of years. 

Unfortunately,  they have begun to deteriorate once again as they did prior to 2014 and

this may be one of their final years.  I was surprised to see so few people taking pictures of the

Lotus but that have been because of the Covid-19 pandemic.   


The image above was not planned but when I was shooting the Lotus,  I noticed this

view of downtown Los Angeles and grabbed a quick shot.  I've shot these beds numerous

times over the years and this is the first time that it has looked like this.  Just perfect atmospheric

 conditions.  You get lucky once in a while.  The angle of view was limited in order to avoid capturing

 all the tents on both sides of the lake. 


Above image shot with a full frame D850 with 17-70 cropped frame Sigma zoom on carbon fiber

 tripod. Settings were aperture F11 with shutter speed of 1/125 second.





June - 2020



Spoonbill Flying in Florida  


 Additional images can be viewed in

Florida Birds.


I lucked out and was able to finish photographing birds in the Central Florida lakes area

in late February prior to the Covig-19 pandemic.  I originally selected an image in April

but because of the shelter-in-place and lack of any exciting photo opportunities at home,

I decided to go back and try another type of bird image.  If you look at the Florida Birds link,

almost all of the images are captured from an environmental perspective.   Most required

setting up in a location and waiting for the birds to fly by. 


The above image is just a really plain image without regard to background or anything

else.  It is so simple, it is interesting.  Of course, the timing of the wings and position have

to be perfect to make it work.  In Europe it might be called "minimalistic".  This is

actually one of my favorite kinds of styles and less is often more.  I was originally

reluctant to post this image until several viewers told me they really like it.  I don't know if

they were just being nice.


Above image shot with a full frame D850 with 150-600 Tamron zoom at 650mm hand held. Settings

were aperture F11 with shutter speed of 1/125 second.





May - 2020





 Additional images can be viewed in



This year has been pretty spectacular for Freesia in OC CA.  Unfortunately, heavy rains pretty much

destroyed most of the blooms.  I was able to get a some images of a few Freesia but it would

have been nice to actually be able to work with a few blooms a little longer. 



Above image shot with a full frame D850 with 100-400 Tamron zoom at 380mm hand held. Settings

were aperture F11 with shutter speed of 1/125 second.





April - 2020



Spoonbill - Central Florida Lakes  


 Additional images can be viewed in

Central Florida Birds.


Spent a little over a week photographing birds in Orlando, Vero beach, and Delray. 

When going through all my images of Egrets, Wood Storks and assorted other species,

it kind of seemed that the pink colored Spoonbill epitomized what I think about

birds in Florida.  Most would think of the pink, plastic, Flamingo that adorns so many tacky

lawns but I actually never saw a single Flamingo in the Central Lakes area.  I guess I'll

have to go further south next time. 


I've also thrown in several landscape images taken in the Central Lakes area.  Florida is

not exactly known for its mountains and valleys because there aren't any.  This makes landscape

images a lot more challenging.  Most bird photographers also focus (pun) on birds in flight

against a clear blue sky.  I prefer clouds and trees in the background as I think it makes the bird

 images a little more interesting and provides environmental perspective. 


Above image shot with a full frame D850 with 150-600 Tamron G2 zoom hand held from

small pontoon boat. Settings were aperture F9 with shutter speed of 1/1200 second.





March - 2020



Winter Color - L.A. County Arboretum in Arcadia  


 Additional images can be viewed in

L.A. Arboretum - Autumn.


Hard to believe this image was captured in February in SoCal.  Either autumn is getting really

late or winter foliage is getting more beautiful.  Actually, I think I'm just getting a better

appreciation of winter.  People generally associate winter with ice and snow but this

may not always be true.  There is a fascinating nuance of winter colors that is kind of

intriguing if it can be captured in an image. 


Above image shot with a full frame Z7 with 24-105 Sigma Art lens on tripod.

Settings were aperture F11 with shutter speed of 1/400 second.





February - 2020



Woodlands - Irvine Regional Park  


 Additional images can be viewed in

Irvine Regional Park.


I am surrounded by parks and nature areas  where I live in Orange County CA.  All of my "SoCal"

 images are taken in parks and botanical gardens nearby.  In this particular case, I'd been

walking my pets in Irvine Regional Park since 1991.  Yet, it was only in December 2019 that I

discovered a grove of oak and Sycamore trees that stood out from the rest of the park.  Fires had

 ravaged the area in the last couple years, but now, after substantial rainfall, mother nature

demonstrated her resilience.  The mix of new growth, aging oak, and Sycamore in full color was

awesome.  I spent several days exploring and photographing all the colors and forms of this small

slice of nature. 


Photography makes you an observer of nature.  As such, it's incredible how the same location

can change radically from season to season and year to year.  Things just never stay the same.

If you don't capture a scene the way you want the first time, you may never have another chance.

That's just the way it is with nature and small changes in light and plants make all the

difference in the world.  I can't wait to try this location out in another season and another year

to see what changes have taken place.  They may be more or less photogenic.


Above image shot with a full frame Z7 with 24-105 Sigma Art lens on tripod.

Settings were aperture F11 with shutter speed of 1/400 second.





January - 2020



Flying Pelicans  


 Additional images can be viewed in



Second half of December is generally the time of year I trek down to the La Jolla cliffs to photograph

flying pelicans.  The first time, the surf was really rough, the wind above 10 MPH, and the

usual number of photographers on the cliffs, greatly diminished.  The ocean was pretty much deserted

of swimmers, kayakers, scuba divers and your normal cast of tourists attracted to the ocean.

The upper cliff next to the caves was also deserted of pelicans.  Over the years, photographers and

tourists with their smart phones continued to encroach on the birds and now they have retreated

to the lower cliff or other cliffs in the area which aren't as favorable for photography.


The whole idea of repeatedly photographing pelicans is to try and get something different.  Also,

I keep thinking that I might get better technical images because the equipment is getting better. 

Whereas my cameras used to be only 12 MP, now they are 46MP.  This should give me a few

more options, especially in post processing.  Also, the Dynamic Range is getting better which should

help out due to the brightness on top of the cliffs and the darkness towards the ocean.  As I

found out, DR this is still and issue, not just as much as before. 


Above image shot with a full frame D850 with grip and Tamron 150-600 G2 lens on tripod.

Settings were aperture F11 with shutter speed of 1/1000 second.





December - 2019



Smokey Mountains N.P. - Tremont Road  


 Additional images can be viewed in

Smokey Mtns N.P.


This was an organized trip with a couple professional photographers that knew the area well.  I

did a lot of research but the Smokey Mountains N.P. is a large place.  In actuality, we stayed in

Townsend and spent all of our 5 days on Tremont Road, Cades Cove Loop Road, and Foothill Parkway
which just makes up a fraction of the N.P.  Even after all my research, I could not have put together

a photo trip as successful and productive as this one.   


My takeaway from this trip is that your images are not only dependent on weather, but river flow

as well.  When we first started driving Tremont Road, it was raining and fairly miserable.  After shooting

an hour, the sun began to filter through and the river began to look like a real river.  The next

several hours were awesome.  We shot at multiple locations while the light was good in the

morning.  We came back in the afternoon to continue shooting but the river was now

overflowing and covering most of the interesting rock formations.  It's a dynamic look but not for the

the type of images I was seeking.   


Above image shot with a full frame D850 with Tamron 100-400 lens on tripod.

Settings were aperture F11 with shutter speed of 1/800 second.





November - 2019



Garden Scenes at Huntington Library  


 Additional images can be viewed in

Garden Scenes.


Taken in fall, but definitely not the fall color I was expecting.  It's always a surprise when

planning to shoot a particular subject and then finding a subject totally different that might even

be a better. This garden at the Huntington Library was absolutely stunning.  It's an expansive garden

with several gardens located around it, which change seasonally.  Generally, the garden is not

always photogenic, as a whole, but presents a lot of close-up and macro opportunities. 



Above image shot with a full frame D850 with Tamron 100-400 lens on tripod.

Settings were aperture F11 with shutter speed of 1/800 second.





October - 2019



Santa Ana College Dons vs. Fullerton  


 Additional images can be viewed in

SAC Dons Football.


Both football and surfing have one thing in common, peak action.  I had several similar images

at 10 FPS but chose this one.  I don't know why.  Maybe it was because it was a vertical and

the vast majority of my sports images are horizontal.  Too bad there isn't any separation

between the player and referee.  I love it when you can see the referee looking at the players.


I'm only available to shoot 3 games this season, 2 of them at night.  As mentioned in previous years,

shooting in a dimly lit municipal stadium with 20% of the lighting not working is a challenge in

and of itself.  The latest bodies have "Auto ISO / Manual" where you put the body in auto ISO

mode and set the aperture as open as possible and and the shutter speed to 1/800th of a

second.  The camera automatically sets the ISO which is often in the 20,000 range.  It's not

the best quality (by a long shot) but at least you'll get the image.  I believe the viewer is

more interested in the action than the quality anyway especially if the image is

reasonably sharp. 


Above image shot with a cropped frame D500 with Sigma 120-300 F2.8 lens on monopod.

Settings were aperture F3.2 with shutter speed of 1/800 second with Auto ISO.





September - 2019



U.S. Open of Surfing - Women's Heats -

Huntington Beach, CA


 Additional images can be viewed in

U.S. Open of Surfing - Women's Heats in Huntington Beach.


I learned a couple years ago that some of the best waves and surfing occur before the contest even

begins.  Last month's Pre Contest images can be found here (*).  Women's surfing now precedes

men's surfing when the light is better, the women more colorful, and most important for

my kind of photography, fewer onlookers on the beach, even though it can get really crowded.   


Since the surf has been relatively calm this year in SoCal and the surf forecast wasn't that

optimistic, I was surprised that I got some images of some decent waves.  Of course, some of the

women surfers were "on fire" and that sure helps capture some decent images.  The women

have come a long way in the last 10 years and now a few can even rival the men. 


Above image shot with a full frame D850 & battery pack with 300-800 Sig Monster.

Aperture set at F8 with shutter speed of 1/800 second in Auto ISO. 





August - 2019



U.S. Open of Surfing - Pre Contest


 Additional images can be viewed in

U.S. Open of Surfing - Pre Contest in Huntington Beach.


The U.S. Open of Surfing covers July 27 through August 4 and includes lots of other, non-surf related

events.  Of course the men's and women's surfing contests are the main draw.  Unfortunately,

the competitiveness of the surf events is dependent on surf conditions.  For a photographer, throw

in weather conditions including wind, clouds, fog, tides, and crowds.


After reviewing local surf and weather forecasts, it looked like deteriorating surfing conditions over

the week coupled with increasing fog.  With sun-up at 6 AM, the best time to photograph might just

be in the early morning.  After 9 AM, the bright sun is really challenging.  The window is only a

 few hours.  With only men's junior events scheduled for the first day, by photographing early, you

might even get a few women surfers. 


It's July and these are the first surfing images I have taken this year.  The surf at the Wedge just

hasn't been there and there are no longer any pro surf contests at Trestles.  What ever happened to

the monster waves we used to get.  The ocean has so chilled out.  This is also part of the

experience; sometimes you just have to go do something else.  In this case, the water lilies

at Sherman Gardens were kind of neat.  You have to be really flexible.  Can't wait for football

season.  At least you know ahead of time when the games will be played.  I think. 


Above image shot with a full frame D850 & battery pack with 300-800 Sig Monster.

Aperture set at F8 with shutter speed of 1/800 second in Auto ISO. 





JULY - 2019



Delphiniums at Descanso Gardens


 Additional images can be viewed under



Things change.  Normally a one time visitor to any of the better gardens in SoCal wouldn't notice the

difference, but from year to year, things change a lot.  You just have to be observant and photography

forces you to do that.  I photography spring bulbs at Descanso every spring and some years

are better then others.  This year, after waiting 5 or 6 weeks, I went back to Descanso to check out

the roses and wow, look at all the Delphiniums.  I had never seen them here before.  Absolutely

gorgeous and almost no one enjoying their beauty.  Visitors were there to see the roses. 


In fact, I went back 3 weeks in a row to shoot the Delphiniums.  The first week I was kind of

overwhelmed with the beauty and did a really poor job capturing their beauty.  Sometimes

capturing beauty is a lot more difficult than it seems.  The 2nd week was much better.  The 3rd week

was the end of the bloom and it turned out much better than is should have.  I'm particularly happy

with the white Delphinium blooms. 


Above image shot with a full frame D850 with 150-600 G2 on carbon fiber tripod.





JUNE - 2019



Rosarium at Descanso Gardens


 Additional images can be viewed under



Descanso Gardens is one of those places where you can go to photograph on a given morning and

absolutely get skunked.  Yet, at other times, it can be fantastic. Last month, tens of thousands of tulips

were in bloom and this month the rose garden was showing its best after plentiful rain

earlier in the year.  Water matters.  You have to be  little apprehensive because the gardens can

be so beautiful yet your images simply fail to capture any of that beauty.  This actually happened

to me on the Saturday during Memorial day weekend so I went back the following Monday and

had a little more success.  It's still tough to capture the beauty of the garden.



The Delphinium garden was planted over the spring bulb garden adjacent to the Rosarium. 

It's 2019 and the last time I photographed Delphiniums was 2002.  It's not like I don't go to

multiple gardens every spring but most of the time there just aren't any Delphiniums to photograph. 

It's the same for sunflowers.  They are one of my favorite flowers to photograph but the last

time I had a real opportunity was in 2011. Things change.  This is one of the truisms of life. 

I can count on roses every year but a lot of other plants, especially annuals,  seem to go

out of favor for years at a time.  So this year, seeing the brilliant Delphiniums at Descanso, I ended

up going back 3 times to capture their beauty.  The 3rd time was the best when the light was

actually quite flat and dull. 


Above image shot with Nikon Z7 with 24-120 hand held.





MAY - 2019



Spring Bulbs


 Additional images can be viewed under

Spring Bulbs.


When you first walk into the gardens in early morning light, everything looks brilliant.  As you approach

the flower beds, you observe that these are not Parrot Tulips or an exotic looking tulip but some

generic variety that are not particularly attractive individually.  In fact, when you approach even closer,

you'll notice that a lot of the tulips are wilting, partially bug eaten, and probably on their last couple days

of bloom.  All of a sudden this does not appear to be a photographic slam dunk, not by a long shot.

In fact, you are going to take a lot of images and delete a lot of images as soon as you get home.


So after the initial shock and facing reality, you can begin to focus on capturing some artistic

renditions of the tulips in front of you.  The first step is to follow the light.  Forget tulips in bright sun

and forget tulips in the shade under numerous oak trees.  Focus on faintly lit tulips in the margins

of light and dark.  All those images taken in the bright sun and dark shade were only going to be

deleted in post processing anyway.  


Your next decision is to decide if you want a close-up, wide-angle with background, or

 compressed telephoto images.  I tried all three but on this particular day with not so special tulips,

 I veered away from close-ups and pursued compressed telephoto shots.  Next, you have to get

in the zone and experiment with forms and color.  You can start by just scanning the tulips

at different apertures and focal lengths and see what happens.  This is not easy when the garden

begins to fill  with people.  However, getting motivated is a lot easier when you find a group of

 tulips in the right light, right color, and right composition.


It's highly likely that when you get home you'll probably be disappointed with most of your images

including some images that you really thought you would like.  But, you'll also get some surprise

 images that you didn't think you would like but turned out pretty good.  Of course, you'll find

some images that if you had the opportunity to shoot them again, you would do a much better

job.  Unfortunately, the blooms will be gone by your next visit so you'll have to wait till next year

and everything will probably be totally different by then anyway.  Time to start over. 


Above image shot with Nikon D850 with 100-400 hand held.





APRIL - 2019





 Additional images can be viewed under

Kachemak Bay, AK.


Winter is the best time of year to photograph eagles and one of the best places is in Alaska. 

So off to Homer Alaska in Kachemak Bay I went.  Planning for a trip to Alaska in early March,

when the temperatures can range from 10F to 40F, is a daunting task.  You'll spend a lot of time

 traveling and photographing from a little 6 person supply boat in Kachemak Bay. Layers are good

but nothing beats insulated, waterproof pants, jacket, and boots.  The weather turned

out a bit warmer than forecast so I was actually a little too warm. Being comfortable sure makes

photography more enjoyable and allows for more creativity.


Knowing that we would be photographing flying eagles, I did travel to La Jolla in January to practice

on flying pelicans.  They are slower than eagles but every minute of practice really paid

 off when it came to photographing the eagles in Alaska. While the weather was mostly cloudy to rainy,

there were also other photographic opportunities that actually turned out pretty decent. 


I captured about 7,500 images over 6 days and ended up deleting about 7,000 of them immediately.

When photographing eagles at 9 FPS, there are a lot images that just don't make the cut.  A wing

may be out of frame, focus was on the wrong spot (eyes are most important), motion blur,

exposure error, busy background, and composition issues. I do wait till I get home to delete images

but I also keep one of my backup drives from the trip, undeleted, until my next trip just in case.


I did tend to shoot tight so this led to a lot of missed compositions.  The advantage is that when I

did get a photo of the eagle that I liked, it was a nice 47MP image with lots of color and depth. 

Noise was a problem because many locations were dark and dingy; that's just the wy it is.

I used Auto ISO with a shutter speed of a minimum 1/1,000 second and aperture of F6.3 to F11

depending on lighting conditions.  In order not to blow out the whites, I also used highlight priority

matrix metering.  I was a little worried about my settings but my prior photographing flying

pelicans in La Jolla gave me a little more confidence.  On the image above, did I mention that

luck also plays a part in wildlife photography?  I like to think of it as preparing to be lucky.


Above image shot with Nikon D850 with with high speed battery pack and 150-600 G2 hand held.





MARCH - 2019





 Additional images can be viewed under



I was walking along the rocky shoreline near the coves in La Jolla and came across this cormorant

sitting on a rock with his feet hanging over the edge.  He was actually kind of camouflaged as can

be seen in the image above.   Instead of shooting tight, I decided to include

    some of his surroundings to create an "environmental" image.  I like the rock he was

standing on and the S-curve of the water and rocks in the background. 


One of the questions a viewer might ask is how many pictures of a bird can you take before

you start getting bored.  The answer is, a lot.  I try to take all kinds of photos of birds, some with

beautiful bokeh in the background, some with birds so close that you don't want a background at all,

and some with backgrounds that place a bird in a scene.  The types of photos really is unlimited

and that's why birds are so much fun to photograph.


Above image shot with Nikon D850 with with high speed battery pack and 150-600 G2 hand held.








Flora - Plumaria


 Additional images can be viewed under

Tropical Flora.


As some parts of the U.S. are currently experiencing -40F degree temperatures, I decided to select

an image of a tropical flower (not in a tropical location) that struggled to bloom last December. 

It's more bright and cheerful than most other flora during the winter.  Feel better now?

The irony is that some of the most beautiful flowers that I have photographed have been way out of

season.  Even some of my best photographs of roses have been taken in winter-stricken rose gardens

where only a few errant blooms remain.  But, they are there, somewhere, hiding.   


Not a lot of people would say that SoCal experiences a real winter, especially people from colder

 states.  Of course the flora in SoCal thinks something different as the roses, annuals, and

deciduous trees all lose their leaves.  In fact, the color last fall in the Eastern Sierra was about as is

good as it gets.  I was in Maine at that time.  Maybe next year. 


Above image shot with a Nikon P1000 on a cheap tripod.





JANUARY - 2019



Pelican  - La Jolla Cove


 Additional images can be viewed under



Pelicans are usually photographed in January as the males are in peak color.  So in mid December

I decided to check out the situation in La Jolla and see if there was anything of interest.  I was really

surprised to find that I was the only one on the cliff early in the morning and there were pelicans

everywhere.  Once the sun broke the horizon and sun rays hit the cliff, everything lit up and the birds

leaped into the air with beautiful morning sunlight reflecting off their feathers.  For about five minutes,

it was like magic.  A true experience.  Unfortunately, after about a half hour, other photographers and

tourists with smart phones began to show up and their presence pretty much chased the pelicans off

the cliff.  This is what typically happens in all of January. 


The excitement of seeing these flying dinosaurs glide onto the cliffs makes you want to shoot like

crazy the minute you arrive on location, even before the lighting conditions are optimal.  When

I get home and start selecting images for post processing, I literally discard all of the images of the

pelicans taken before the sun rises and lights the cliff.  However, wait too long and the sun quickly

becomes too bright and blows out your images with really harsh light.  I don't think there is more than

 a half hour window of shooting with the best light. For me, the optimal light lasts about 5 minutes

after the sun shows itself which is the period during which the image above was captured.


I've photographed a lot of pelicans over the years, and after a while, the images become repetitive

 even though I may capture something a little different.  The big difference is that lenses have gotten

a lot better and I am shooting the pelicans with a high resolution, 46 MP sensor body.  The resolution

on my large images is stunning (I had nothing to do with this, it's the equipment).  It's hard to

really appreciate the detail of the small images posted on this web site.  I feel like I have to

re-shoot every image I have ever taken, except with much better equipment. 


While enthusiast photography is cratering (people would rather use smart phones), the cost of

serious wildlife photography is also dropping.  A high end sports body used to cost around

$5,000 to $6,000 dollars.  Now it's $2,000 to $3,500.  A high end, fast telephoto lens, still costs up to

 $18,000 but an excellent 150-600 zoom lens runs anywhere from $700 to $1,900.  Because the

 lower cost lenses are zooms, you might even get some shots with the zoom that you might have

missed with the much higher priced prime lens.    


Above image shot with a Nikon D850 with grip and Tamron 150-600 G2 on tripod.








Kegon Falls  - Nikko, Japan


 Additional images can be viewed under

Nikko, Japan.


Kegon Falls is located in Nikko N.P. about 150 km north of Tokyo and is accessed by bullet train

and cab. It was a particularly beautiful day in the peak of autumn color and I think everyone else

in Japan was there also (hyperbole).  It took 3.5 hours to drive 4 km from Nikko to Kegon Falls.  Ugh. 

The parking near the falls was packed and there were people everywhere.  I was with a business

group who were shooting selfies with the water falls from the top. 


One of my associates told me that the view was better from a different location so I headed in that

 direction.  I missed the location but found a pay booth to an elevator that took me down to the

bottom of the falls.  Sometimes you just get lucky.  While the viewing platform was also packed

with people, when a couple taking selfies left the front of the platform, I jumped in and

 took some images really quickly at 24mm.  Most smart phones are 28mm so I was able to get a

little different perspective.  I was surprised how few people were using real cameras.


Should I have used a slower shutter speed to smooth the flow of the waterfall?  I can understand

smoothing the ocean if the rough water interferes with the composition (makes it too busy) but I like

to see the power and dynamics of the waterfall so I'm not a fan of smoothing waterfalls.  Just an opinion. 


Above image shot with a Sony RX100 IV hand held in a hurry.








Acadia N.P. Maine - Bass Harbor


 Additional images can be viewed under

Acadia N.P.


Acadia National National Park is visited by 3.3 million tourists per year, thankfully, predominantly in the

summer months.   It sure is nice that there aren't nearly as many visitors during the autumn when the

leaves turn color.  The reason, I'm told, is that Acadia/Bar Harbor has to compete with other

neighboring New England states better known for their autumn color.  Even with the more limited

color, the autumn photo opportunities seem unlimited to a once-in-a-lifetime visitor like myself. 


There are splashes of yellow, orange, and red, but the color can also be used as accents in photos

of the other subjects that you are shooting.  The area includes no shortage of rock cliffs, harbors,

light houses, road-side foliage, ponds, swampy forest areas, and a manicured Japanese garden. 

Cadillac mountain experiences beautiful sunrises and is the first light to hit the U.S. every morning.

As a result, the types of images varied widely over my 5 day autumn trip.


The workshop I attended was no walk in the park.  We woke up about 4:00 AM each morning to

travel to a specific part of the park to catch sunrise.  After sunrise, we drove around the park loop road

to catch any color that we could.  Once the light became too bright, we headed back to Bar Harbor,

ate lunch, and selected 4 to 5 images to process and then presented them to the rest of the

group for review.  Around 3:00 PM we headed back out in the field to catch more location images

and a possible sunset.  This is a long day but the education and the images made the  trip

extremely worthwhile, especially after the trip was over.  It's an achievement thing. 


Above image shot with a D850 & 100-400 F4 with TC 1.4 on travel tripod.





OCTOBER - 2018



Santa Ana College Dons Football


 Additional images can be viewed under

Don's Football.


The fun part of shooting Junior College football is that you have relatively unfettered access

to the field and you simply don't know what kind of images you are going to capture.  It's best to be

flexible and use a slow aperture 80-100 but when shooting at night, I'm forced top use a much faster

Sigma 120-300 F2.8.  It's big and heavy but after the sun goes down and the less than brilliant high

school stadium lighting goes on, you're really going to struggle without it.  I've seen many

photographers with slower lenses and less capable ISO bodies just give up.  (Like I used to.)


The goal is to capture "peak" action so that the viewer can savior the moment.  Video is

great but it presents a totally different experience.  I'll shoot 1,200+ images during a game

and I am happy to be able to select and post process 30 images.  Selecting the images is

not necessarily an easy task either although it seems like it should be. 


  I've leaned a new technique for shooting football games in the evening called Auto-ISO.  Instead

of aperture priority, I set the menu to Auto-ISO, change the Mode to Manual, dial in a shutter

speed of 1/1,000th of a second, and dial in a aperture of 3.2 and just shoot.  The camera body

adjusts to proper exposure by changing the ISO.  This seems counter-intuitive but every shot is

properly exposed even at 16,000 ISO.  This produces a lot of grain but is perfectly suitable for posting

on the web and at least you won't have a dull, blurry image.   


Above image shot with a D500 & 120-300 F2.8 on monopod.








Great Blue Heron


 Additional images can be viewed under



I was in the process of unexpectedly shooting some really nice images of Egrets and Great Blue

Herons at the San Joachim Marsh when I noticed this Egret in some reeds at least 50 yards away.

There was no way I was going to be able to capture a close-up image of the bird with my full frame

camera and 150-600mm lens so I quickly grabbed my P900 (24-2,000mm) camera and ripped off

a few shots.  It's ability to capture images of birds at distance is simply awesome.   


Nikon will soon be selling the recently announced P1000 with a focal length of 24-3,000.  I may be the

only person talking about the new P1000 as everybody else is talking about Nikon's announcement

of new full frame mirrorless bodies.  From a business point of view, the new mirrorless bodies are

 sure to attract existing serious amateur Nikon shooters with lots of discretionary cash to spend.  I doubt

 they will attract new amateurs due to the high price point. However, the existing P900 and new

P1000 will allow anybody to shoot close-up images of birds and wildlife that the best, most

expensive professional equipment can't even capture. 


  What's the catch.  The P900 and P1,000 have a tiny little 16MP sensor which is still twice the size of

most cell phone sensors.  In case you didn't notice, there are some pretty awesome images being

taken with iPhones and other smart phones lately.  Warning, bird watchers claiming to seeing some

rare birds no longer have an excuse for not capturing an image of them.  (Uh oh)


Above image shot with a P900.





AUGUST - 2018



The Wedge


 Additional images can be viewed under

The Wedge


Finally some waves in Southern California.  It took till the end of July this year. Since there is

only 1 remaining surf contest in SoCal, I'm spending a lot more effort photographing at the

Wedge.  We recently had 4 days of waves, spread over a couple weeks of waves that were

8 feet plus.  No big 25' A-frames but some nice tubes, beautiful sets, and a few angry waves.

Both surfboard and body boards are allowed in the morning hours but I have a preference

for the surfboards.  Standing up and dropping off the top such seems more dynamic. 


Above image shot full frame DSLR with 150-600.





JULY - 2018



Great Blue Heron


 Additional images can be viewed under

Great Blue Heron.


I was photographing Lotus Blooms at Echo Park when a Great Blue Heron wandered out of the reeds

and started shaking like crazy.  I just kept burst shooting until he stopped.  Since I was shooting Lotus,

I was using a relatively low shutter speed and totally unprepared to freeze any type of  motion.  I just

happen to capture one image freezing the Heron's head and neck but not the feathers on its wings.    


I've photographed a lot of birds in my life, most intentionally, but every once in a while you get some

behavior that is different or at least more rare.  For the Lotus shoot, I wasn't planning to

photograph any birds, but when this guy showed up, I won't pass up an opportunity.  Again, it takes some

luck but you do have to plan to be lucky.  Without the right equipment, this image would have never

been captured. 


Above image shot full frame DSLR with 150-600.





JUNE - 2018



New Zealand - South Island  #2


 Additional images can be viewed under

New Zealand - S. Island,

 Additional Images,


 Christchurch Botanical Garden,

 Panoramas, and


Also check out NZ Folio


Once again, the best camera is the one you have on you, ready to shoot.  In this case, I just jumped out

 of the helicopter with my backpack loaded but the only way to shoot this image was with my

iPhone 7.  Notice that this photo resulted from me, looking backwards, as I ran away from the blades

of the helicopter.  The sunrise and the person at right also caught my attention and gave some

perspective and added composition to the image. 


What isn't shown in the image is that we were at the peak of a mountain top and there was only one

way to escape.  There was room for 2 helicopters and that's it.  On take off, the pilot asked if we were

afraid of heights.  I said "no, but I'm afraid of falls".  Upon take-off after shooting the sunrise for an hour,

the helicopter rose off the ground and over the valley and immediately dropped a hundred feet

before we started rising again for the trip back to the local airport.  The sun had risen by this time and

 flight back was stunning. 


Above image shot with a lowly iPhone 7 hand held.





MAY - 2018



New Zealand - South Island  #1


 Additional images can be viewed under

New Zealand - South Island,

 Additional Images


Christchurch Botanical Garden, and


Also check out NZ Folio


New Zealand South Island is an excellent  "bucket list" location.  It does require a 12 hour flight

from Los Angeles to Auckland and a 1.5 hour flight to Christchurch on the South Island.  For over 8 days,

we drove to Twizel, Wanaka, Te Anau, and finally to Queenstown with 2 side trips per day including

Mt. Cook, Mt. Aspiring N.P., Milford Sound, and Glenorchy.  Overall, the geography of the

South Island is remarkably like California except without all the people.  N.Z. is a beautiful country

with clean accommodations, good roads, and outstanding food which makes for incredible travel.


This was a genuine photography workshop with only 6 photographers conducted by Phillip Bartlett,

an accredited professional landscape photographer.  His style is very deliberative and precise

with a focus on the nuances of color and composition.  I felt a little different as I was photographing

everything in sight while the other photographers were focusing intently on landscape images.  I

was also shooting landscape, although quickly, and then shooting birds, macros, and minor scenics.

The most important factor for me is that we were usually at the right place at the right time.   


I like to post a variety of images of a location and then post them on a page I call a "travel photo

blog".  My goal is to provide the viewer an assortment of different types of images of a location. 

I'm sometimes surprised at which images viewers like. 


The image above was taken near Glenorchy, Queensland.  While this image was primarily of the

 tussock, there was a stunning amount of autumn color.  We hit peak color perfectly.  I took a lot of

images of the tussock but this image had the added elements of the rising sun and sun stars,

valley in the background and clouds in the skyline.  Notice the lit up mountains in the middle to

upper right of the image. That's a lot of luck at one time.  This image will also hold up to being

blown up really large.  I didn't realize that I had gotten this image till I got home and started post

processing images. 


Above image shot with a high MP, FF DSLR and 16-35 lens on carbon fiber tripod.





APRIL - 2018



Azalea at Descanso Gardens


 Additional images can be viewed under

Descanso Gardens.


The reason for going to the Descanso gardens in late March is to see the spring bulb gardens which

consist mostly of tulips.  While the general view of the tulips is just plain awesome, actually capturing

an artistic image of a couple tulips is a lot harder than it appears.  I take thousands of images that

 look fantastic in the viewfinder and actually only get a couple, if any, that are suitable for posting. 

It's just that I have really high expectations after seeing the general view. 


You've probably noticed that the image above isn't a tulip but an azalea or actually a rhododendron. 

That's because I know that when the tulips are blooming, so are the azaleas, but you'll have to wonder

into the oak forest to find them.  They were pretty well hidden from the tulip gardens.  As such, you won't

find any other photographers photographing them either.  Personally, I find the experience of

wondering around the azaleas and photographing them, a unique experience that I don't think you'll

 find in any other place except maybe in the Northwest. 


The azalea image above was taken with what I call my "Instamatic" which is really a 24mp, cropped

frame DSLR with 17-70macro lens.  Regardless of whatever serious lenses I carry with me, I always

take this combo.  Sometimes I'm just too lazy to pull out my serious equipment and use this combo

instead.  Because the 17-70 is really a macro lens, I can get close-ups with interesting backgrounds. 

I'm not sure there are any other combos that can this so easily.  It gives a different perspective to flora

images and is really fun to use.  It lets you focus on the composition instead of your equipment. 


Above image shot with a cropped frame, 24 MP DSLR and 17-70 macro lens hand held.





MARCH - 2018



Cherry Blossoms in Japanese Garden


 Additional images can be viewed under

Huntington Library.


I've walked  by this little creek many times but this time the cherry blossoms were in bloom with

perfect lighting.  It is a delicate little scene and a few other photographers were taking macro shots

 of the little water plants on the lower right.  The scene was kind of camouflaged by the brightly lit

trees in the upper left and the dark reflection in the lower right.  I thought about using a graduated

neutral density filter but I just didn't think that I could accurately separate the brightness and darkness

in the scene.


Instead, I decided to bracket the scene with 2 images, one optimized for the brightness of the upper left

and the other for the darkness of the lower right.  Of course I was using a tripod.  In post processing,

I simply copied one image over the other, no opacity, and proceeded to use the history brush to erase

the improperly exposed area of the top image so that the properly exposed lower image came

 into view.  I flattened the image, proceeded with my normal post-processing work flow ... done.


Is this a real photo?  I think so because this is what I saw in my mind.  It was my eyes (and the camera)

that simply couldn't reconcile the extreme range of the exposure.  Superimposing 2 different exposed

 captures and erasing the improperly exposed areas solved that problem quite nicely.  Normally,

I would have resorted to exposure blending but this image just lent itself to the technique

described above.  I'll will have to use it more often in difficult lighting. 


Above image shot with a cropped frame, 24 MP DSLR and 17-70 macro lens on carbon fiber tripod.








Water Falls at L.A. Arboretum


 Additional images can be viewed under

Arboretum - Water Falls.


When I first walked up to the water falls at the Arboretum, I had no intention of shooting any images.

 I had walked past them many times in the past and this time they were totally shaded and bland

looking. Photography is light and there definitely wasn't any noticeable inspiring light.  All of sudden

I "saw" an image that I thought might work.   I would have to depend on composition. 


I shot a number of images, mostly close-ups at slow shutter speeds.  I wasn't prepared with a ND filter

for really slow motion images but I gave it a shot at F32, my slowest lens aperture.  I didn't shoot too

many images but enough to at least a couple of reasonable images.  In retrospect, I should have worked

the scene a little longer. 


Above image shot with a full frame, 36.6 MP DSLR and 150-600 lens on carbon fiber tripod.





JANUARY - 2018



Lone Pelican at San Joachim Marsh


 Additional images can be viewed under



Usually I photograph pelicans at Bolsa Chica or on the La Jolla Cliffs.  This yearling was all by itself

at San Joachim Marsh adjacent to the University of Irvine.  It's a beautiful bird but not really a beautiful

picture but I have selected it, first, because it was a slow month, and second, I wanted to

experiment with digital cropping.  This image was cropped in post processing instead of with lens

selection in the field.  This is normally something I don't do. 


I've been shooting with a 24MP, cropped frame camera with 150-600 but decided to shoot with a 45.6 MP

full frame camera with 150-600.  In practice, I can actually crop the 45.6 MP full frame image down to 24MP

in post processing and have an image that is identical to the image in the cropped frame camera.  It also doesn't hurt that, technologically, the FF sensor is just a higher MP version of the smaller cropped frame sensor.  Another way to look at it is that the 150-600 on 1.5 crop body, is actually a 225-900.  If post-process cropping is factored in, the 150-600 is actually a 150-900.  Awesome. 


What does this have to do with the image above?  This image of a pelican is a 24MP crop taken from a full frame sensor.  Had I been using a cropped frame body, this would have been the image I would have gotten with no reduction in quality.


Above image shot with a full frame, 45.6 MP DSLR and 150-600 lens on carbon fiber tripod.








L.A. Arboretum - Arcadia


 Additional images can be viewed under

L.A. Arboretum.


A nice, brisk day in SoCal with a dash of fall color at the L.A. Arboretum.  Kind of subtle but that's

what happens after a spending a week in Colorado photographing unlimited fall color. The image

does not exhibit traditional composition but put yourself in the image looking down the path on the

right and then looking at the bench, at the end of the lawn, on the left.  Unfortunately, a lot of the

intricacies and nuances of the scene are lost in the low resolution image above. 


I am in the process of upgrading the bodies that I shoot landscapes.  Unfortunately it adds weight and

is more cumbersome but the improvement in quality should be noticeable.  It's not a matter of creating

 larger images but creating images with more detail, especially for the more complex images. 

My 24 MP cropped frame body, my Instamatic, with 17-70 macro lens, will remain in the bag. 


A 16-35 F4 lens will be partnered with a new 45 MP full frame body.  A 100-400 F5.0 lens will be partnered

with a 36 MP full frame body.  For landscapes, the 16-35 is great for real wide angle images and the 100-400

is great for compressed images.  The 17-70 macro will cover the range between 28mm and 105mm. 


This does add about 3 pounds to my existing pack.  It still fits in a backpack that can be stuffed in the bin above my seat in a small, CRJ type jet. 


Above image shot with a full frame, 45.6 MP DSLR and 16-35 lens on carbon fiber tripod.








Ouray, Colorado - Woods Lake

(Fall Color - Last week September)


 Additional images can be viewed under

Ouray, Colorado.


Spent 5 days photographing scenery along the Million Dollar Highway (U.S. Route 550) from Ouray to

Silverton to Telluride.  Traveled to the Black Canyon outside of Montrose on day 3 due to rain storms.

 I had signed up for the trip a year and a half in advance, not knowing if the Aspen trees would be in

full color for the shoot.  We hit peak color in a window of about 2 weeks.  It wasn't the ideal year as

large groups of Aspen had already lost their leaves and other groups were still green.  Actually, I like

 the contract between the Aspen in full color, conifers mixed in, and other Aspen in different stages

of losing their color.  There are no reds as you would see in the Northeast during fall. 


The image above wasn't taken along the highway at one of the typical photo spots congested with lots

of other photographers.  I have a lot of those shots also.  This shot was taken as I was walking along a

path to a narrow point at Woods Lake.  The parking lot is to the left of the Aspen.  What attracted me

 to the image was the colorful Aspen and sparkling water.  Then I noticed the interesting looking
 clouds and the composition just fell into place.  It happens. 


Equipment Limitations: 


When you travel to a location by car, you can pretty much take anything you want as long

as it fits in the back of your car.  When you travel to a location that requires you to not only take a mid

sized jet (737) but also a small regional jet, your selection of equipment becomes much more limited.

 It is a compromise between quality, zoom range, size, and weight.  What you take on a trip

to shoot wildlife would be significantly different than what you would take to shoot landscapes. 

I figured this trip would be predominantly landscape and I was right.  On a winter trip to Jackson Hole a couple years ago, I totally guessed wrong.  You'd think it would be about scenics but it turned into a great wildlife shoot.  Oops.  There are usually some wildlife opportunities on a landscape trip but you'll have to forgo taking the long telephoto if you want to get all your equipment on the regional jet.  A 737 is a

 different strategy.  Your backpack starts getting really heavy. 


  Equipment Strategy:


I first started by using a camera backpack that would fit in the overhead bin of a regional jet.  Yes, there

 are camera bags designed for this and you really don't want to check your more fragile bodies and lenses.  Second, I didn't want to miss the opportunity to shoot the "big landscape" so I included a 36 MP full frame camera with 16-35 wide angle lens.  I also like compressed landscapes so I included a 24 MP full frame

body with 100-400 lens. It can also double as a wildlife combo.   Finally, I almost always take my

 "instamatic".  It's actually a 24 MP cropped frame body with 17-70 macro capable zoom lens.  Yes,

it's about 18 pounds but for the Colorado color trip, nailed it. 


Above image shot with a cropped frame, 24 MP DSLR and 17-70 lens on travel tripod.





OCTOBER - 2017



Santa Ana College vs. Victor Valley

(Santa Ana Stadium)


 Additional images can be viewed under

SAC Football.


One of the attractions of shooting football, is that you never know what kind of images you are going to

 capture before the game.  Just be prepared to shoot and be really lucky.  An image starts with some sort

of dynamic action.  I also look for the ball, a player number, and if I'm really lucky, an identifiable face. 

Of course some sort of image composition and appropriate background help out a lot.  Also throwing in

a secondary subject like a referee that supports the main subject, the runner, also helps. 


While most action photographers tend to focus on fewer elements in a sports image, such as a close up

of a runner in the open field, I tend to like more complicated images.  I also do this for surfing and scenic photography.  I like to give the viewer something more to look at and maybe ponder the image for a

few seconds longer. 


The first thing you learn from other professional photographers is to simplify the image.  I actually prefer

the pileup with the ball readily identifiable and as many players in the frame as possible.  Perhaps that's because I'm generally the only photographer on the field and I can't take a chance on capturing one outstanding image versus capturing several decent images.  I'll accept a group of decent images if they tell

a story.  This is particularly true of scenic images.  There is always going to be another photographer that is going to capture a better image. 


One additional observation, the image above could be either great offense or great defense.   It just

depends which team you are routing for. I just look at the image in photographic terms as I outline above.    


Equipment Notes: The game time start at 6:00 PM straddled the late afternoon into the early evening hours.  The problem was that a 5:1 slowish zoom is ideal for late afternoon but not so much for the early evening when ISO numbers need to be cranked up.  After sunset, I was shooting at F5.6 at 16,000 ISO.  If I had

brought my 120-300 F2.8 instead, I would have been shooting at 8,000 ISO which yields really better image quality.  With the higher ISO's not only do you increase grain but you also lose dynamic range.  Even

JPG images look really muddy and require a lot of post processing. 


Above image shot with a full frame, 20 MP DSLR and 80-400 lens hand held.









(Huntington Beach CA)


 Additional images can be viewed under

Men's Surfing.  



Every year at the end of July it's time to check out the U.S Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach CA. 

Every year I take an ultra long zoom lens and shoot from the beach for a couple days and then

select a shorter zoom and shoot from the pier.  The surfers are always top notch but the waves

don't always cooperate. 


This year for the shoot from the pier I decided to try a 100-400 on a full frame camera. 

No images to write home about but when I finished, I walked over to the north side of

the pier and grabbed a couple extra shots.  It was quite crowded with surfers in the water so I

wasn't really excited.  All of a sudden, like Moses parting the sea, a single surfer appeared on a

 single wave and the image above popped into place.  For me, this is a unique image much different

than what I am used to capturing.   All of a sudden I really like my full frame + 100-400 combo. 


Equipment Observation:  So now I have an expensive 80-400 AFS lens and and a much less expensive,

slightly slower 100-400.  Do I have one too many longish telephoto zooms?  Actually, the new

100-400 is the sharpest zoom in this range on the market so I will use it on a competent full

frame body for scenics.  The 80-400 isn't quite as sharp but has much better auto focus, slightly wider

range, and with the 1.5X crop factor, I will use it for sports for an effective focal length of 120-600. 


Above image shot with a full frame, 24 MP DSLR and 100-400 lens hand held.





AUGUST - 2017




(San Joachim Marsh)


 Additional images can be viewed under



On a Sunday morning I was kind of bored and really didn't want to drive anywhere too far away, so I

decided to take a casual walk around the San Joachim Marsh in Irvine.  It contains the largest sewer water

reclamation facility in the U.S.  The processed water is disposed of in a number of ponds before

finally being discharged in to a small river that leads to the ocean.   The ponds do attract a lot

of marsh plants, birds, turtles, and all kinds of other wildlife.  This is not a small marsh with over 300

acres of freshwater wetlands. 


For the image above, my wife and I were walking along a dike occupied by a couple ducks and their

chicks.  I was able to take a bunch of pictures of them (see Ducks) but then they started moving into one

of the ponds.  Although they were behind some reeds, I decided to take few shots anyway.  I couldn't

believe that the D500 focused on the chicks instead of the reeds so I ripped a few shots.  It actually

worked.  Sometimes it just pays off to be impulsive. 


Above image shot with a cropped frame DSLR and 150-600 lens at F8 on tripod.





JULY - 2017



Lotus Bloom - Echo Park 


 Additional images can be viewed under



They're back.  It's been years since the lotus at Echo Park (Los Angeles) totally died out but the City of

Los Angeles recently spent $45 million to renovate the entire lake and park.  The lotus are the off spring

of the original plants, their parents having been bagged (not exactly legal) by a horticulturist for his own green house years ago.  He managed to successfully propagate the  lotus so when he found out that the

lotus beds were being replaced, he was able to donate some of his plants to re-populate the lake.  It's a

really neat story


The image above does not represent the most photographed view, having been taken near a much

smaller bed of lotus at the east side o of the lake.  Typically the scene includes a few skyscrapers in the

back ground like the image below. 



Notice all the photographers at the right.  When I arrived at 6:30 on a Sunday morning, the area for photographing the lotus was packed with photographers and tourists from all over the world.  Since I

couldn't find a reasonable location from which to shoot, I wandered over to the northeast side of the park

and found this great little bed of lotus.  I had never seen it before in all my years of shooting lotus at the

park.  It must have been added during the renovation.  This is an example of how wandering around at

almost any location may work out very well.  It also produces an image of a scene much less photographed. 


Above image shot with a full frame DSLR and 16-35mm lens at F8 on carbon fiber tripod.





JUNE - 2017



Perennial Garden at L.A. Arboretum 


 Additional images can be viewed under

L.A. Arboretum.


There seems to be a resurgence in botanical gardens on Southern California.  The L.A. Arboretum in

Arcadia, the Huntington Library in San Marino, Descanso Gardens La Canada, and the South Coast

Botanical Gardens in Torrance all seem to be expanding and/or improving their gardens.  In light of

the recent draught, this is really welcome.  There is also a shifting focus from hardscape to landscape. 

 There needs to be a balance and for several years, there simply was not enough green stuff being

planted.  I suspect that it is more productive to solicit donations for hardscape. 


The L.A. Botanical garden already has a great orchid house, Madagascar garden, water features, and

other assorted and xeriscape gardens scattered over its 127 acres.  The perennial garden is a garden

that has quietly, over the years, grown and developed and is now just reaching its peak. The paths

provide leading lines and the perennials display unbelievable colors and hues.  On first look, its seems

like there are potential pictures everywhere.  If you like to take photos of flowers, this is the place.  If

you're trying to capture a sense of place, its a little harder, actually much harder. 


One technique I use is to just simply put my equipment down and walk around without your camera

enjoying and "seeing" the garden.  This is good for your soul and photography.  Just enjoy your

surroundings.  After a while, you'll know when to start shooting again.  This is part of the photography experience in so many ways. 


Above image shot with a cropped frame DSLR and 17-70 lens at F8 on carbon fiber tripod.





MAY - 2017



IMSA Race - Long Beach CA 



 Additional images can be viewed under



I went to photograph Indy Cars but ended up really liking the International Motor Speedway racing.  I hadn't been to the Long Beach Grand Prix in several years, and when I do, I generally only shoot the practice and qualifying on the Friday and Saturday before the Indy Car race on Sunday.  The problem with going on Sunday is that the 4 Photo Locations are over crowded and you are only allowed 20 minutes on each stand before being rotated out.   You have to have a camera to enter the photo stands but most fans have no intention of using them, they just want entrance to some pretty good locations to view the race. 


I used a 150-600 at Turn 1 (end of straight away) and Turn 4 and a 80-400 at Turn 11 (hairpin turn). The photo locations are much more restrictive than track side with a press pass.  My strategy was to focus tight so as to eliminate distractive elements in the back ground.  Some times the images seemed repetitive especially when trying to capture each race car in the same position.  It really is a game of nuance and the cars are moving very quickly so it is not as easy to catch the perfect shot as it might seem after the image has been captured. 


The latest DSL equipment makes capturing these race cars like shooting fish in a barrel.  With old, manual SLRs, a success rate of 10% would be considered good whereas with the lasted technology, a success rate of 90% is easily achievable.  Give yourself a break, don't bring your old equipment, and if that is all you have, since you are paying a couple hundred bucks to get a photo pass, upgrade now.  Much of the latest DSLRs and telephoto zoom lenses are under $1,000.


Above image shot with a cropped frame DSLR and 80-400 lens at F8 on monopod.





APRIL - 2017



Sherman Garden 

(Succulent Garden)


 Additional images can be viewed under

Sherman Gardens.


I'll bet that most people that live in Newport Beach CA, have never heard of it and drive by the

Sherman Library and Gardens every day.  It's fairly small but contains an orchid hot house and garden,

succulent garden, bulb garden, and other gardens that are all beautiful in their own way.  It is

truly a gem in an otherwise congested city.  I particularly like the succulent garden which is

really intricate with lots of patterns, color, and very photogenic. 


As with other botanical gardens in SoCal, entrance fees and donations are supplemented with

revenue from weddings and catering to special occasions.  While I was photographing the

succulents, a section of the gardens filled up with quite a group of young women dressed to the hilt. 

Good thing I didn't notice that till I was leaving.  I need to concentrate when I'm photographing. 


In all seriousness, I was quite surprised to see these interesting patterns and it is a real pleasure to

relax and focus on capturing as many patterns as I could.  These are not discrete patterns but

very obvious patterns, at least to my eye.  However, I did see another person struggling to find

images to capture.  The bright sunlight also caused a few brightness problems but there were

enough clouds in the sky to help equalize some of the bright light.  The gardens don't till 10:30 AM

so you really can't take advantage of any early morning light which is my favorite. 


Above image shot with a cropped frame DSLR and 150-600 lens at F8 on tripod.





MARCH - 2017




("da plane, da plane")


 Additional images can be viewed under

LA County Arboretum.


Remember Fantasy Island?  This is the lagoon in front of the building from which Tattoo yelled those most

memorable words.  Due to the tremendous rain in late 2016 and early 2017, the lagoon is now beginning

to fill to its original level.  It never totally drained but pretty close.  I have no clue where all the carp and turtles went but hopefully their populations will recover.  The lagoon is natural and was supposed to be refilled by a spring but it also had run dry in the past couple years.  Several other water features at the

Arboretum had also run dry. 


  I have shot this lagoon many times over the years but this time it just seemed different.  I think it's the

color and condition of the flora that make it look like winter. I generally shoot images with a focus on color

 in the autumn but winter can be equally as beautiful.  Of course, snow covered scenes are magical

but so are the bronze-like colors of winter in an area that never sees snow. 


I don't know if this image is effective at conveying the "experience" or not, but it is to me

as I have visited this location many times over the last 50 years.  I like the colors, it's decently framed,

and although there is no dominant subject, I like to look at the ducks and reflections to see what is going

on.  If I can get the viewer to look into the image for more than a couple of seconds, then I have succeeded.

 If you are the type of person that isn't interested in these type of scenic images, than you probably

wouldn't be looking at this section anyway.  Ha. 


Above image shot with a cropped frame DSL and 17-70 lens at F8 on tripod.









(And a little help from another member.)


 Additional images can be viewed under



I was at Descanso Gardens to photograph fungi after a rain storm in the early morning when one of

the members came up to me and pointed me towards an owl in an oak tree (2) about a 100 yards away.

I had earlier heard a bunch of ravens throwing a hissy fit but didn't know what the problem was.  An owl

was the problem. It sounded like a scene from an old classical movie.  It was very dark and I could hardly

see the owl.  The owl and leaves in the tree were very backlit as I aimed my camera straight up into the

 canopy of the oak trees. 


  There was nothing particularly interesting during the rest of visit but as I approached the exit, the same member flagged me down to see if I had gotten any good images of the owl.  I showed him an image on

the LCD on the back of my camera.  I then asked him if he knew the names of a couple ducks in a nearby pond and he proceeded to tell me about all the crayfish that were in the pond.  I didn't think much about

his comment but went over to the pond to take a couple of shots even though nothing was going on.  All

of a sudden, the male duck ducked under the surface of the water for a couple seconds and then popped

up with a crayfish in his mouth. Holly cow.


I wasn't quite prepared (low ISO) as the scene was very dark which resulted in shooting at a low shutter

speed but my camera was on a tripod.  Any movement the from the camera or subject would be blurred. 

I rattled off a couple dozen images as the duck cruzed through the water and actually got one that wasn't blurred.  The duck was thrashing his head and biting off the crawfish's claws which was very blurred. 

It was an amazing scene and I was fortunate to have gotten a single sharp image, by luck. 


Above image shot with a cropped frame DSL and 150-600 lens at F8 and 1/100th second on tripod.





JANUARY - 2017




(iPhone ... are you serious?)


 Additional images can be viewed under

Irvine Regional Park.


December 30 was fall for Liquid Amber in Southern California this year, at least where I live.  I've been

walking in this park for over a decade and have never seen it this beautiful during the golden hour.  There

were several evenings when it was this beautiful but this is a popular park so lots of visitors didn't hesitate

to run through the leaves and mess it up.  If you look closely, you will see a person walking their dog at

the middle right side of the image. 


The above image was taken with an iPhone while walking my dogs.  Can I blow this image up really

large?  Nope.  Would I have gotten that image if I didn't have my iPhone with me? Nope.  Am I glad I got

the image even though it was taken with an iPhone?  Yup.  This is a prefect example why the smart

phone has a clear advantage over a DSLR.  It's always on you.


On a business note, iPhones are cleaning the clock of the traditional manufacturers of DSLRs and point-n-shoots.  Demand is collapsing as iPhones are increasingly improved and now can take stunning images at

12 MP or higher. As a result, the demand for DSLRs and P&S cameras are becoming a niche business, only supported by professionals and old farts like myself.   


Above image shot with an iPhone, hand held.  I have no clue on the settings.  Are there any?









(1" sensor ... not too bad)


 Additional images can be viewed under

Hakone, Japan.


On a recent trip to Tokyo, we spent an extra day and found this really nice little museum outside of

Tokyo with a great garden.  The primary attraction was the main garden and show cased trees with

thousands of crystals on them.  After wandering around a bit, I found a path that led to a hillside garden

 with few tourists.  It truly was as serene as Japanese gardens are supposed to be.  I could easily visit the garden again in different seasons to really capture its hidden beauty.  Unfortunately, I only had a couple

hours to experience the garden.


Normally, I would just take a bunch of images, select the best, and post them on the site.  I'm trying to

be a little more comprehensive and tell a story that will project the look and feel of the location in my

mind, and maybe the viewers, for years to come.  It's not just a picture but an experience.  I generally

begin with a general image which typically ends up being nothing special but provides an overall view of

the setting.  Along the way, I will usually capture an image or two that I really like such as the one above.

 I will also post an image that will remind me of the "non-photographic" experience such as the table I

was sitting at drinking a glass of wine.  Not much relevance for the viewer, but plenty for me. 


In summary, instead of presenting isolated images without context, I try to think and plan for groups of

images that might mean something as a group.  It kind of sounds like an old fashion vacation slide show

 with projector but hopefully it will become more than that. 


Above image shot with a high-end, 1" sensor, Point & Shoot, hand held.








Descanso Flora Close-up

(Woh! 150-600 +1.4X close-up)


 Additional images can be viewed under



I specifically visited Descanso gardens in La Canada California to test out the new Tamron 150-600 G2

with 1.4x matched tele-extender.  I had intended to shoot flying birds closer to the beach but the

weather was lousy and there weren't any flying birds.  It happens. 


I don't know the name of the above plant but it just sparkled in the backlit sunlight. I also took some

images of other flowers in the backlit sunlight and they came out similarly. 


Now a little math.  The image was shot at 600 mm, add the cropped frame factor of 1.5 plus the TC factor

of 1.4 and you have a net of 1,260 mm.  Yes that really is 1,260 and the image is cutting sharp.  Some of

the other images also displayed outstanding Bokeh.  For those that are experienced at shooting with

DSLR's and long lenses, this is a game changer at any price and this lens is a fraction of the price and

weight as any prime lens offered by the dominant camera companies producing DSLR's. 


Above image shot with 10 FPS, 21 MP, DX body with Tamron 150-600 + TX1.4 on tripod.





OCTOBER - 2016




(Talk about luck.)


I always wanted to get some sort of big fish swimming through the wave with a surfer but I'll settle

for a pelican.  Obviously this is an unplanned event.  In fact, I didn't even know the pelicans were flying

above the waves.  All of my focus was on the surfer and the wave.  The pelicans just happened to

fly above the wave.  I was shooting at 10 FPS so I was only able to catch a couple of shots.  I would

have thought I would have caught more but the action was pretty quick.


I love the bloggers who claim they can catch action images, peak action, with only one shot.  I certainly

can't.  In fact, I miss images with a 10 FPS "pray and spray" (which is one of my favorite sayings and a pun).

  I have enough difficulty keeping up with the surfer and keeping him in the frame while trying to position

him in the frame for composition issues. 


After an image has been successfully captured, it looks pretty easy.  I actually go to surf (and football)

events a little early to practice following the surfers. I actually have to warm up a bit.  If they just went

in a straight line, it's a piece of cake.  But they don't.  They zig zag, cut back, and do just about anything

 they can do to leave the frame.  The smaller the surfer in the image, the easier it is.  But I like to zoom

in close for maximum resolution which makes following the subject more difficult, but worth it in the final image. 


The above image shot with a 10 FPS, 21 MP, cropped frame body with 300-800 on gimbal head.









(I love shooting football.)


 Additional images can be viewed under

SAC vs Desert.


First game/scrimmage started at 5:00 in the evening with beautiful light enabling me to capture the kind of color saturated images that I like. At one point, the sun cast a shadow on the field which is brutal going from the shade to the bright sunlight.  As the sun sets the shadow goes away, and after jacking up the ISO on the body to 3,200, the images still look pretty good.  Using a relatively slow 80-400 handles most situations very nicely. 


Unfortunately, the next 4 games will start at 6 in the evening so most of the game will be shot in the dark.  This requires and entirely different approach and different equipment.  First, you have to use a big and heavy fast F2.8 telephone which in this case is a Sigma 120-300.  It also cannot be hand held for more than a few moments so a monopod is required.  The zoom range is less than 3:1 whereas an 80-400 is 5:1.  Finally, it's very dark with inconsistent stadium lighting so the photographer needs position oneself so as not to blow out the background with random bright light sources. 


Otherwise, shooting fast moving football at night is a challenge but can be a lot of fun. 


The above image shot with a 10 FPS, 21 MP, cropped frame body with 80-400 lens hand held.





AUGUST - 2016



Lotus Blossom

(Today's telephoto zooms are awesome.)


 Additional images can be viewed under



I've been photographing Lotus in Echo park (near Los Angeles) since 2001.  Unfortunately, in 2008, just

about all the Lotus died due to disease resulting from water pollution.  I then learned that the

Huntington Library in San Marino had a beautiful, much smaller display of pink Lotus in a couple of

ponds in their lower gardens.  A couple years later, they opened a Chinese Garden and the main

pond supports a beautiful collection of yellowish Lotus as photographed above. 


For a relatively simple flower, there are a lot of different ways of photographing them.  Along with simple
solo blooms, I've been trying to capture the natural, artistic beauty of one or two blooms relative

 to the buds and leaves around them.  These tend to be more complex, portrait-type images.  There are

just  so many combinations and possibilities. 


New technology is a wonderful thing.  In this case, the new Sony 21 MP cropped frame sensor in the

D500 has incredible sharpness (no Bayer filter) and extremely wide dynamic range (15 stops). 

This provides a higher level of color nuance and detail in the petals.  Second, Adobe Photoshop has

included some additional capabilities in its latest version of Photoshop CC such as blur correction.

 I thought I used pretty good long-lens technique but CC was able to reduce blur even further.


The above image shot with a 10 FPS, 21 MP, cropped frame body with 150-600 lens on carbon tripod.





JULY - 2016



Surfing at the Wedge in Newport Beach

(Pure Wedge.)


 Additional images can be viewed under

Newport Wedge.


It's seems forever since the last time the surf was large enough and the light was good enough to

photograph surfing action.  I accidentally missed a surfing event at Huntington Beach in early January

and the surfing contest for professionals at Trestles in April was also cancelled for another year.  I

understand that since the surf wear industry has consolidated in recent years, there simply aren't

enough sponsors to financially support more than a couple events in SoCal each year.  Too bad. 


The Newport Wedge is my go-to location when I hear the local TV news stations report "surf advisories"

and viewers to stay away from the water.  For me, that's code for going to the Wedge if the swell is

originating from the right direction. 


There really is no right lens for shooting at the Wedge since there are typically 3 different breaks, the

largest waves coming straight in, really nice rides breaking off the jetty, and body breakers crashing on the sand a couple hundred yards to the west.  The wave above was of the first variety due to its size but the

 most prominent wave is the jetty break.


My favorite time to shoot is from sunup, about 5:58 on the day I shot the above photo, to about an hour

later depending on fog and low cloud conditions.  This day was perfect with the first rays of sun lighting

up the edges of the waves right at sunup.  This really doesn't happen very much and most days you have

to wait around till the sun breaks through the low clouds.  The window of opportunity is much shorter on

 these days as the light becomes very hard and blows out the whites on your surf images.  


The above image shot with a 10 FPS, 21 MP, cropped frame body with 150-600 lens on carbon tripod.





JUNE  - 2016



Fitzroy Massif

(Kind of like Yosemite on steroids without the crowds.)


 Additional images can be viewed under

Fitzroy Massif.


For over 17 days, we photographed the Horns of Torres del Paine, the Perito Moreno Glacier, and finally the Mt. Fitzroy Massif.  It was also

autumn so when Fitzroy was clouded in, there was no shortage of opportunity to photograph the colorful forest, ponds, rivers, and

waterfalls in the valley adjacent to Fitzroy.  It was magical and I don't say that casually. 


One of the problems (good kind) on a trip like this was the number of images (10,000+) taken between the 3 locations so it was like 3 separate

 trips.  At least the number of images can be divided into 3 groups.  I also performed a lot a 3 image brackets to make sure I got the  correct

 exposure or could exposure blend later for the more difficult lighting situations.  Add in some multi frame panoramas, and the number of distinct

views is reduced even further.  Keep in mind that when shooting in the morning or evening, the light changes rapidly and the same image from

 the same location can look totally different only 5 minutes later. 


One lesson learned is that sometimes a properly exposed image is not the best looking image.  Sometimes an under-exposed or an over-exposed

image just looks better.  Often times, the meter in the camera is simply faked out by the difficult lighting conditions. 


With so many images and variations, selecting the "right" image is a lot more difficult than it sounds.  After the trip on my home computer, I will

sort the images chronologically into days and further sort into specific locations.  I may delete up to 80% of the images due to technical issues such

as focus and movement.  (I do keep an entire copy of images from the entire trip on a separate external hard disk which is placed aside.)  Much

later after completing the entire sorting process, selecting the best images, and post processing them, I will go back to the original image "dump"

and scrounge for images that I may have overlooked on the first or subsequent sort.  The image above is an example of an image that I nearly

deleted. Enough said. 


The above image shot with a FX body with a 36MP, FF sensor, body with 24-105 lens on travel tripod.






MAY - 2016




Torres del Paine

(Just plain awesome.)


 Additional images can be viewed under

Torres del Paine.    


We arrived in Calafate after flying over 1,000 miles of desert.  Patagonia, after all, really is a desert

east of the Andes Mountain range.  We had to drive another 5 hours south to Torres del Paine before

 we saw anything that didn't look like a desert.  Technically, I don't think it is pure desert, but ferocious

winds most of the time sure made it look like a desert. We arrived at Pehoe at night so I didn't know

where the desert ended. The next morning we saw the Horns and it was definitely more vegetated

although I wouldn't call it forested.


We drove down the only highway in the area and after photographing several Guanaco on a hill,

stopped at a water fall which required a short hike so you can carry as much equipment as you would

like.  Most people, including myself, were shooting the waterfall from in front of the small hill in the

upper right.   I decided to walk around and just absorb the scenery and all its beauty.  I will

 generally take a couple "grab" shots while doing this.  Had it not been for the rays of light hitting

the grass in an area on the lower right, this image would not have worked.  Instead, I got one of my

favorite images taken on the trip.        



The above image shot with a DX body with a 36MP, FF sensor, body with 24-105 lens on travel tripod.





APRIL - 2016





(Nikon P900 - Teeny weenie sensor with super zoom at 1,800 mm - Really?)


 Additional images can be viewed under

Woodpeckers & Parrots.    


Some times just having a camera or smart phone with you is more important than having a pro-grade

camera sitting in your closet at home.  I am trying to get into the habit of taking a 24-2000 MP, mega-zoom, point and shoot  camera with me when I walk my dogs each evening.   It's amazing how many different, picture-worthy images you will discover just by looking.


This year has been kind of unique.  Last year, there was an owl I saw a number of times in a Sycamore

tree at the Irvine Park.  This year, he's gone, but many woodpeckers have made their presence known. 

I have never seen so many before.  Of course, the parrots. noisy as they can be, are hiding in the trees just

out of reach of a pro-grade camera even with an 800 mm lens.  This is where the P900 proves its worth.  It's not professional, but it is 2,000 mm (4,000 mm digital) and that's what it takes to capture the parrots.  Of course, just locating  them in the trees is another challenge.  These light green birds camouflage very nicely in the light green Sycamores. 


This gets down to classifying photographers into those that must use the finest equipment available or the image will be a failure (pixel peepers) and those that just want to get the image and will use whatever equipment it takes to accomplish that goal.  In the bigger picture, doesn't that also define human nature.


The above image shot with a DX body with a 16MP, small sensor, P900, hand held.





MARCH - 2016




Flower Pattern


 Additional images can be viewed under

Flower Patterns.


Every once in a while I come across something that I can't believe and really don't know what it is.  I don't know if this flower, or whatever it is, fell out of a tree into some barren branches or this was a bloom that originated from the branches in preparation for spring.  I just thought the pattern of the branches was pretty cool and the bloom made it even more unique.


The above image shot with a DX body with 80-400 lens at F8, 1/80 sec., ISO 320.









Cactus Landscapes


 Additional images can be viewed under

Cactus Landscapes.


I had no real reason to go to the Huntington Library in San Marino, California except that I hadn't been

there in a while.  The sky was overcast, most of the plant life dormant, and definitely not a "touristy"

kind of day.  The cactus garden is typically the first garden I walk through as I do a walk around the

perimeter of the 100+ acre property.  Keeping a open mind, I quickly realized that while there were few blooming cactus, the garden, as a whole, just looked beautiful.  This happens sometimes. 


This is not only a flora landscape, it also a complicated landscape.  I just learned this term as I was reading through a photographic magazine.  I've always felt that landscapes don't have to always be clean with leading lines.  This landscape, besides being of all cactus, has layers and I learned from a previous trip to the Grand Teton with miserable weather, that layers can be really interesting and also be leading in their won right. 


Also notice that there is no single subject in the image.  I like to think that the viewer is the subject as he or she visually encounters the image.  The viewer can pretty much make of the image for what they want. 


The above image shot with a DX body with 17-70 lens at F8, 1/80 sec., ISO 320.





JANUARY - 2016




San Joachim Marsh - Green Heron


 Additional images can be viewed under

San Joachim Marsh.


The first time I had photographed a green Heron was last May since that was the first time I had ever seen one.  This time I was at San Joachim Marsh in Irvine, CA and some other photogs pointed out to me this little Green Heron hiding in the reeds on the other side of the marsh.   The difference this time was that I wasn't carrying any higher-end enthusiast or professional equipment with me.  I was carrying a new point & shoot camera with a unique, long focal length lens. 


P900 - WHAT IT IS:

  The Nikon P900 is a $600 P&S that, while relatively large and heavy for this type of camera, has an equivalent focal length of 24 to 2000 mm.  Yikes.   It contains a 16 mp (not bad) tiny little sensor and is really usable during the day in full sun.  At 2000 mm, there is simply no other body/lens combination on the market that even comes close to this range, professional or not.  I found myself shooting birds so far away that I wouldn't even have tried shooting them with my other equipment.  Not to be minimized, the P900 also shoots 24 mm wide angle shots which cover a wider angle than most other P&S cameras.  I figured the P900 would be great for just having on hand when casually hiking around wildlife reserves in SoCal when not really planning to shoot anything in particular.  The zoom range just about covers everything including close-ups.  



  The Nikon P900 is not a sophisticated DSLR.  It only shoots JPEGS (as do most sports pros), it's slow to zoom, and image quality substantially deteriorates over 800 ISO.  I would also try to limit zooming to under 1000 mm as detail will begin to suffer. It is possible to take images at longer focal lengths due to its excellent vibration reduction but you are better off with a tripod. However, any movement of your subject will tend to be blurred as the ISO needs to kept low which will keep the shutter speed low thus increasing motion blur.  If you like shooting at night, you will need a larger sensor camera to reduce digital noise.    


In short, given its incredible strengths and known limitations (small sensor), this P&S is a game changer.  Volume sales of general purpose P&S cameras are literally collapsing but there is some life left in the ultra zoom, rough and tough, and underwater segments of this market segment.  Reasonable quality telephoto photography is now available to anybody with $600 and a little steadiness.   The P900 does allow for a huge amount of artistic freedom and isn't that what photography is all about.  (And bird watchers, now you have proof of what birds you have seen.)


The above image shot at 560 mm equivalent, F6.5, ISO 400.









Los Angeles County Arboretum in Arcadia


 Additional images can be viewed under

LA Arboretum.


You know what's missing this year from the web site?  Autumn color.  With the California draught not really giving me any encouragement and just a lot of other things to photograph, I almost missed taking any fall images this year.  While the East coast is best know for its color, the California Sierra Nevada and  some metropolitan major parks can show some color.  It's just more subtle. 


The Arboretum is located across the street from Santa Anita Race Track and, over the years, has been host

to a number or Tarzan movies and Fantasy Island episodes.  Who knew.  The jungle is still in pretty good shape and the Queen Ann Cottage has been renovated several times.  Unfortunately, some of the lakes on

the property are fairly dry as they were fed by natural springs that are now dried up due to the drought. If

you are ever a tourist in SoCal, you might want to put this garden on your list of places to visit. 


The above location is a place I have walked passed many times before, but it never looked like what it

looked like when I captured this image.  In fact, I got a half dozen similar images from different angles of

the same garden.  All of the gardens change with the seasons and offer different photographic opportunities throughout the year.  The Madagascar garden is particularly interesting with a lot of interesting looking plants.  There is also an orchid house, waterfall, large spances of grass, and rose and herb gardens.


The above image shot with a  24 MP, cropped frame DSLT with 17-70 zoom lens.









SAC Dons Football - Touchdown


 Additional images can be viewed under

Don's Football.


It's been over 10 years now that I have been shooting college football.  Not USC or UCLA, but a junior college team, the Santa Ana Dons.  In exchange for images , I get access to the field and the opportunity to create some really neat action photos which I can post and share with the team members and their supporters.  Actually, I could be sitting at home and watching a Pac 12 football game from my sofa, or running up and down the field photographing a real junior college football game. 


Shooting sports actually covers and exercises a lot of disciplines (5P's):

       1) Preparation: Lining up access to the field and proper equipment selection, especially if at night.

       2) Photographing:  Deciding, real time, which side of the scrimmage line to shoot from.

       3) Pre-selection:  In order to qualify, the image must have the football, player face, and action.

       4) Post processing:  This is getting a lot easier with the new, high dynamic range, high FPS bodies. 

       5) Presentation: Developed a new scroll mode on web site to accommodate smart phones and tablets. 


The first 2 games were night games so I was forced to use a D7200 with 120-300 F 2.8 lens.  The D7200 can capture reasonable good images at ISO 8,000 but is only 6 FPS so I missed a lot of peak action.  The game above kickoff was 1:00 with an artificial turf temperature of 165 degrees F.  It was really hot and a reason not to buy artificial turf for your back yard.  For daylight games I use an A77 II which can shoot at 12 frames per second at maximum aperture.  Since it was so hot and bright, I chose to shoot at F8 which knocked me back to 8 FPS.  Not bad, but 12 FPS is so much more fun and really spoils the sports shooter.


The above image shot with a  24 MP, cropped frame DSLT with 70-400 zoom lens.




OCTOBER - 2015




Women's Surfing - Trestles CA


 Additional images can be viewed under

 Women's Pre Contest Practice.


The Swatch Pro (women) and Hurley Pro (men) are the final pro surfing contests in SoCal for the year.  While I normally shoot just surfing action, there is also the opportunity to shoot "design".  After all, the underlying objective of sponsoring surf contests is to sell clothing and push fashion trends.  Having an athletic female subject in the image doesn't hurt either.  I generally miss a lot of these types of photographic opportunities since I'm so closely focused on the waves and not what is going on around me.  As I've mentioned before, it really makes a lot of sense to keep an eye on what's going on around you.  This is true in photography and it is true in life. 


  On the equipment scene, I opted for a D7200, 24 MP, slow FPS, high dynamic range, cropped frame DSLR.  Basically, I chose to sacrifice peak action for image quality and the image quality is a significant  improvement.  (We're talking tools here.)  With Nikon, this is your only option unless you're using full frame and then you don't have the crop factor, even with a 300-800 zoom. As a result, I did miss a lot of peak action.   A lot of other Nikon sports shooters don't like this situation and are moving over to Canon with their recently introduced, high FPS, cropped frame DSLR. 


The above image shot with a  24 MP, D7200, cropped frame DSLR with 300-800 zoom lens using an aluminum tripod with gimbal head. 











Southern Iceland


 Additional images can be viewed under

Iceland Images.


I shoot a lot of color images so sometimes it's exciting to have the opportunity to shoot an image that

looks like it is monochrome.  This image was taken at the foot of a glacier.  Basically, it's a glacier

lagoon.  We were actually hiking our way to a glacier when I noticed this scene to right of the path. 

It's one of those situations where you are walking the path, look to the side, and wow, that's beautiful. 

This was really easy to shoot and post process. 


I really like the idea that this is not a monochrome image but looks like one.  The color is extremely

subtle but it really is a color image.  I also like the idea that it is the result of carrying what I call my

"Instamatic" which is really a 24MP body with upgraded kit lens.  I just seem to get more successful

 images with this combo.   Maybe its because the images are mostly taken impulsively.


The above image shot with a  24 MP, cropped frame DSLR with 17-70 zoom lens using a carbon fiber tripod with ball head.




AUGUST - 2015




Southern Highlands - Iceland


 Additional images can be viewed under

Southern Iceland.


In July, I spent 10 days in Iceland where we had a nice mix of sunny weather, cloudy weather, and wet, windy miserable weather.  This resulted in an assortment of postcard, type images, fine art type images, and "ugh" types of images and that's just fantastic in photography terms.  If you click through to the Iceland image library, you'll notice how the weather affected the variety of images that I have posted on my web site. 


I realize that the 1960's era slide show went out-of-style a long time ago, but I try to focus on more than just a bunch of singular images independent of each other, but a group of images that are related and show a variety of image styles.  Iceland provides the perfect opportunity to achieve this as there are waterfalls, fjords, coastal scenes, and pastoral scenes with a smattering a wildlife thrown in.  Along with the variety, I have really upped my post processing game in order to make each image look like what I thought I saw when I photographed the image.  Unfortunately, photographic DSLR equipment still isn't at the point where you get what you saw.  Ironically, my iPhone does a lot a better job at this.  


The image above aptly applies to what I refer to as the photo experience.  I was showing my printed images to some viewers and the most common comment was how beautiful the landscape was, not what a great image.  This is actually a compliment because I didn't want the print to take away from the actual experience.  I have other images that do that.  The image is actually what I thought I saw and experienced but not close to what the scene looked like on the digital capture.  For most casual photographers, this is a true letdown.  In this case, post processing is probably over 50% of the final image.  The image actually consists of a 2 frame panorama, highly cropped, and a lot of cloud and color modification.  However, no subject elements have been added or removed from the image.  This is not unlike the dodging and burning performed in the dark room by the early black and white days of photography during the last century.


Now for the ugly part.  I shoot a lot and should know what I'm doing.  If I don't know how to do something, I check it out on the internet, think about it, and then try to implement the new technique in the field.  I am finding out in my older years that this doesn't always work.  For example, I always bring along a graduated neutral density filter with me on trips of this type.  I tried to hobble together a holder that was more convenient and much easier to install on my lenses in the field.  (Putting something together in the field with the rain, cold, and wind is a whole different activity than from the comfort of  your home.)  Unfortunately, traveling over dirt roads literally rendered my new holder to pieces with bolts and screws all over the place.  I was unable to put it together after trying to find all the missing parts that had shaken loose.  With 3 stop bracketing, I didn't lose any potential images, just a little more post processing after the trip.  No harm, no fowl. 


Not having adequately prepared to take 2-4 minute time exposures was a problem and I did lose a lot of potential images.  First, DSLRs only take time exposures up to 30 seconds.  Oops.  Second, once you put a variable stop neutral density filter in front of your lens, the body will not be able determine the proper exposure.  Help!.  There really weren't any workarounds except just to take exposures at less than 30 seconds and hopefully the camera can figure out the exposure.  It didn't help that I didn't have a remote release that could be used in the DSLR's "bulb" mode either.


Solution, when I got back home, I sidelined the variable ND filter (because the shutter speed is so low that the body can't determine exposure) and bought a fixed 10X ND filter and prepared a little exposure cross reference chart that guides on how long the exposure should be.  First you set the exposure, manually focus,  then put the body in "bulb" mode.  Second, attach the remote release and time the shutter opening as indicated by the cross reference chart and time the exposure using your watch.  Piece of cake!


The above image shot with a  36 MP, full frame DSLR with 24-105 zoom lens using a carbon fiber tripod with ball head.




JULY -  2015



Sleepy Owl 


  Additional images can be viewed under



I walk my noisy, 12-pound Chihuahua every night at a local regional park in Orange County CA.  One evening at sunset I saw a woman photographing and I advised her that she might take a look at the sun glistening off the backs of some ponies not too far way.    She then showed me some images on her camera's LCD screen of an owl in a tree over by an wooden arch that leads to the parking lot.  I had walked this route a thousand times and never seen an owl. Sure enough, I checked out an old Sycamore tree and there was a sleepy little owl in a crevice in the trunk about 20 feet above the ground.  It was kind of funny because he kept falling over and then righting himself.


Well, of course, I was unprepared,  and didn't have the proper equipment to photograph the owl.  So I rushed home, about 5 minutes way, dropped the dogs off, grabbed a cropped frame body with 150-600, and headed back to the park.  I use multiple bodies and grabbed the one that had already been set up to shoot action (high ISO).  Lucky me, the little owl was still in the tree. It was so funny to watch him keep falling over and then getting back up.    I was able to take an assortment of photographs from different angles before the sunset light faded away. 


I looked for the little owl again each night for about a week.  I didn't see him so I was a little concerned about his well being.  I didn't really know if he could fend for himself.  I never saw his mom.  Finally, about a week later, I saw him again and he posed for a couple minutes.  He finally disappeared into the crevice in the trunk of the tree,. Apparently, it was a lot deeper than I thought.  In fact, this little owl may not even know how to fly but he had a nice place to hide when the park was full of people. 


Finally, the moral of the story is than when you are nice and helpful to people, you might be nicely surprised. 


The image was captured with a 150-600 mm zoom lens at F8 on a cropped frame camera and carbon fiber tripod with ball head. 




JUNE - 2015



The Wedge, Newport Beach


  Additional images can be viewed under

The Wedge.


The Wedge is  famous for body boarding the shore break.  No shortage of surfers breaking body parts hitting the beach on any given day.  On the bigger days, lifeguards will question surfers, who they don't know, in order to make sure they know the dangers of entering the water.  On this particular day, there was a side break off the jetty and 15' to 18' footers breaking 100 yards out.  You'll be surfing one break and another one sneaks up on you and plants you in the sand.


The above image shot with a  24 MP, cropped frame DSLT with 150-600 zoom lens using a carbon fiber tripod with ball head.




MAY - 2015



Green Heron 2


  Additional images can be viewed under

Night Herons.


These guys have been hiding out at the Fullerton Arboretum for years and most people, including myself, have never seen one before, anywhere.  I'm used to photographing Black Crowned Night Herons.  When I first saw the Green Heron sitting in a tree, I guessed it was a Green Heron which was quickly confirmed by other photographers who specialize in photographing Herons. 


It's always fun to shoot something that you've never seen before.  This includes going to different places, especially National Parks.  Beautiful birds such as the Green Heron are particularly interesting.  I was truly surprised since I had no intention of photographing birds that particularly day.  That's why it's important to carry a variety of lenses just in case you come across an interesting situation.  Yes, it's a pain to carry a big and heavy back pack.   


The above image shot with a  24 MP, cropped frame DSLT with 70-400 zoom lens using a carbon fiber tripod with ball head.




APRIL - 2015



Mountain Goats - Anza Borrego 


Additional images can be viewed under

Anza Borrego.


Sometimes you just get lucky but unless you are prepared and have the right equipment at hand, you won't be able to capture the image.  In this case, I was taking an early morning drive up Hwy 22 in Anza Borrego State Park to photograph some cactus and scenics.   At the last moment I decided to throw a cropped frame body and 150-600 in the car just in case.  Just in case worked out quite nicely. 


Driving up the mountain, I noticed 3 young male mountain goats interacting with each other so I jumped out of the car and began shooting.  I thought this was pretty much fun until I found out later in the day that mountain goats are on the endangered species list and most people have never see them, even people living in Borrego Springs.  I had no clue how lucky I was.  But, then again, I just happened to have the right equipment in my car.  This is an advantage to driving you vehicle to a location.  Normally, I would not have brought this lens on a jet. 


The next challenge is the the goats wanted to play in the shade and the sunrise was orangish and highlighting the background.  I focused and exposed on the goats and figured I'd just fix the background in post processing which I did.  The wider dynamic range of a 3rd generation sensor and increased capabilities of post processing software really saved the day. 


The above image shot with a  24 MP, cropped frame DSLT with 150-600 zoom lens using a carbon fiber tripod with ball head.




MARCH - 2015



Succulent Garden 


Additional images can be viewed under

L.A. Arboretum.


The above image is a landscape that looks more like a pattern.  No leading lines, no rule of thirds, and no flow.  Just a large mass of succulents.  I think there are painters that utilize this style. 


I can really get used to the colors in the south western palette.  A lot of muted greens, pinks, and oranges.  These types of images show their best when blown up really large.  Unfortunately, I can't do that on the internet.  The image just invites the viewer to explore all the nooks and crannies of the succulent garden. 


The image was captured with a 17-70 mm zoom lens at F8 on a cropped frame camera and carbon fiber tripod with ball head. 







Gulls - 13 


   Additional images can be viewed under



For photographers that shoot flying birds in coastal areas, sometimes the only birds available are gulls.  Most would rather shoot pelicans, egrets, cormorants, hawks, or other birds of prey.  Unfortunately, you don't always have that option.  I've learned that gulls will seldom let you down photographically.  They constantly  show up and perform by flying all around you.  If a photographer can't capture a couple of gull images, it's time to go back to landscape. 


There is simply no shortage of gull photos on the internet.  I suspect it may be the most commonly photographed bird in America.  All you need is an iPhone and a loaf of bread and you can capture some really neat images.  The abundance of images everywhere is why photographing gulls doesn't always get the respect that it deserves.


For this shoot, I was photographing pelicans in La Jolla, or at least trying to, but the pelicans just weren't coopering.  All of a sudden, a gull was flying straight towards me.  Hey, why miss the opportunity, so I took a shot.  Not bad.  The auto focus on the camera and lens just nailed the eyeball on the gull. 


I often get in arguments with other photographers on the web about the need for speed (shutter) when photographing any fast moving subject.  I'm advised that the difference between 6 FPS and 8 FPS is only marginal.  I don't believe it is. I'm also told that I need to take one image at peak action.  Well, unfortunately the flying gull is much faster than the shutter release mechanism on my camera.   In the 1 second I photographed the gull, I would much rather have 8 images to select from instead of just 6.  In this case, I had 12 imagers (12 FPS) and was able to select the single image that showed the gull with his head turned so I could see his entire eye. 


The above image shot with a  24 MP, cropped frame DSLT with 150-600 zoom lens using a carbon fiber tripod with ball head.




JANUARY - 2015



Jackson Hole - Winter - Barn 2 


Additional images can be viewed under

Jackson Hole - Winter.

(Folio Images)


One of the big problems with scheduling a trip several months in advance, is that you simply have no clue what the weather conditions will be once you arrive.  For this trip to Jackson Hole, it didn't look good at least a week before the start of the trip.  Because I live in SoCal, it is a lot easier to travel to places like Yosemite or the Eastern Sierra because they are only a 4 to 5 hour drive when the best conditions show themselves. 


The positive side of lousy weather is that you're unlikely to capture any  traditional "post card" type images.  Of course, these types of images are nice if you've never been to the location before but not necessary if your trying to shoot "fine art" images. I always like to take a couple standard images to prove to my wife that I was actually at the location I said I was going.  (humor)


With no really obvious images to capture due to the inclement weather, the photographer has to really work to find, capture, and create the final image.  Post processing is a major part of the process, and any image shot has to be thought of in terms of the type and amount of post processing that will be needed to complete the photographer's vision.  This is what makes this type of photography so exciting and difficult to accomplish.  It requires the photographer to have a vision and a plan before taking the shot. This is not beginner photography, and, as such, the other photographers on the trip were equally as passionate about photography and even more skilled.   


One of the easier images to capture on the trip was a group of barns located in the valley. This particular barn gets photographed hundreds of thousands of times per year with the beautiful Grand Teton mountains in the background.  We didn't even see the Tetons for the first 3 days of the trip.  Photographers will typically limit their composition to the barn and perhaps try to include the tree at the right.  In order to add a little dimension to the image, I chose to add the tree at the left. 


 One of the potential criticisms of the image is the excessive white blank space at the lower right.  If the Tetons were visible in the background, this would be true, but since there is little definition in the sky, I use the white space to balance the image.  This was also necessary to include the tree at left.  It will also be possible to add a caption in the white space like "Merry Christmas" for next year's Christmas card.  Did I mention thinking ahead above? 


I do take multiple images of a subject with different exposures and compositions so it is always possible to post process a different image of the same barn taken at a different angle at a later time. 


The above image shot with a  36 MP, full frame DSLR with 24-105 zoom lens using a carbon fiber tripod with ball head.