Fine Art Prints

Stormlight Half Dome from Sentinel Dome

I rarely went to a specific spot with an idea but I hadn't seen a photo of the corkscrew twist of the arms of the recently deceased Jeffrey pine on Sentinel Dome. With both vertical and horizontal planes, it was an hour long challenge with a 4x5" bellows camera, dark cloth and tripod. In shorts, t shirt and light windbreaker, I was becoming hypothermic on the windswept dome as a light snowfall began. I swept up the tripod with camera still attached, all 16 pounds of it, and hurried off the top. Noticing a solid band of sunlight under the solid clouds running up Yosemite Valley toward Half Dome, I knew I had to return. Just in case. Sometimes it happens. The foreground pool is melting snow.

Aspen reflection Harden Lake Yosemite

I was teaching a fall color photo class in Yosemite. One of the few large aspen groves west of the crest in Yosemite is just beyond Harden Lake. The light had gone but I saw the possibility and returned with the class. I perched the 4x5" on a rock with my longest lens, and scanned for something that worked allowed me to make sense of the elements--rock texture, sharp grasses, floating reflections and color. Without the frame it was overwhelming/incomprehensible. The frame allowed for organization and appreciation

Bullfrog Lake and East Vidette Kings Canyon National Park

Sunrise Horse Ridge Ostrander Lake Yosemite

Similar but never the same, I've had almost five decades of watching Horse Ridge from the Ostrander Lake ski hut. In this case, a very cold morning after a snow, a blanket of gray cloud with a two minute window underneath for the sunrise. Then gone. But I was there for it. Is there such a thing as a disappointing sunrise or sunset. John Muir called it "Lord Man", whereby we judge nature based on our expectations and values. Or whether nature is photogenic and produces commercially worthwhile images. Amazement and gratitude might serve us better. The sunlight slowly spreads downward and then disappears in the cloud layer, not to reappear that day.

Sally Keyes Lake, Selden Pass--not the most memorable landmarks along the John Muir trail. Yet...Hiding behind the shadow of a tree, facing directly into the sun, the pine needles glowed while the sun reflecting off a hillside illuminated the colors and textures of the trunks. When the sun advanced onto the lake, the color became a glare and was lost. We were raising a lab/retriever for the non-blind with various challenges, and she and I climbed Selden Pass, then struck off for a snowy ridge to the east. It was her first snow ascent and she raced up the crust, then turned around and came back to me to bump my leg, then climbed again and did spins on the summit. We had 15 years of mountaineering together and she was always ready to adventure.

Lodgepole pines Sally Keyes Lake John Muir Wilderness

I take this old, unlined and narrow route from Yosemite through the foothills--Mt. Bullion, Hornitos--to the Merced River. The original California, miles of oak grassland, few people, scattered ranches, cattle. And in the spring, the valley is white with miles of almond blossoms. A minor subduction zone running parallel to the Sierra thrust up miles of "tombstones" which the lichen populate. I drove past this colony in a light misting rain one March, then stopped, not believing what I saw out of the corner of my eye. I turned around, never lacking the time to investigate mysterious sightings, then dragged my 4x5" under a barbed wire fence for the color and texture, feeling particularly blessed by that day. Like so many situations, there is very little to see now; lichen, I was told, is very sensitive to air pollution. Another fortuitous intersection with a moment of the world's natural history.

Lichen Old Toll Road near Snelling Ca.