Archive for October, 2010

Postcards From Paradise

Wish You Were Here

Wish You Were Here

The first full day of photography has come to a close.  After 12 hours in the field we can finally take some rest.  It rained on us, the wind blew a bit, and the sun even shined on us a few times.  Through it all we kept the shutters blazing and the film burning and pixels popping, we could not have asked for better conditions.

Tunnel View

Tunnel View Morning

The rain that fell today was not substantial, more actually fell over night and we awoke to a wonderland of saturated color.  The day started out somewhat dull at Tunnel View, and when we arrived about half an hour before sunrise there were few people there.  Within three or four clicks of our shutters, suddenly the place was overrun by nearly 50, yes 50 photographers!  It was getting a bit crowded and since the sun had risen and the light difficult to capture, we decided to move on to the color before everyone else did.  That was a good move.

Pohono Color


We worked here until our stomachs said “feed me” so we took a break to power up and then we continued on our search for color which took us into the Ansel Adams gallery first.  There we looked at some amazing photography from Ansel Adams as well as some stunning work by others, the most impressive of which came from photographer Charles Cramer.

We then made our move into the El Capitan Meadow where the sun played hide and seek with us and won, as we could catch its rays to our satisfaction.

Moving on we found ourselves working along the Merced River where we not only found some amazing color among the Dogwoods, but they were showered in the sweetest warm light that just rendered the trees into something that I can only describe as delectable.


Sugar Coated for your Eyes

We worked there until we could no longer see through the camera viewfinder and headed back into the valley.  As we approached our lodge, we saw the slightest hint of twilight still dancing in among the the clouds and decided it was worth the effort to make one more photo.  I am glad we did.  The camera can sometimes see much better than we can.


Last Dance

So for another night, I bid you good night and Wish You Were Here!


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The Happiest Place on Earth

The Happiest Place on Earth

The Gates to Happy

Finally here again after two years.  Yosemite Valley has to be the happiest palce on Earth.  As soon as you drop into the valley and move past the Merced River and over Pohono Bridge the colors of autumn in the valley enthrall your eyes. Then as you meander along the gentle road passing through big leaf maple groves and sugar pine the grandeur of the largest monolithic piece of granite in the world greets you and your heart skips a beat in the shadow of its greatness before it settles into a state of tranquility certain in the fact that you are now home.

I will be posting each evening over the next few nights on what I find here this time around.  Stay tuned, the happy can only get better!

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Hidden Pearls

I am not sure how to begin this entry.  I feel melancholy and wonder why.  Every month when the new moon returns, I prepare myself to go out with the hope of seeing it and photographing it once more.  If nothing else, the endeavor reconnects me with the heavens and the Earth.  I am looking forward to it this month, as this moon will not have the fan fare associated with the start of Ramadan or with that of Eid.  It will be a quite trip, a trip of and for the heart, a return to the beginning.  Almost twenty years ago, in the very month of October, I captured my very first moon in a photograph.

First Crescent

First Crescent

It was not the best of photos, but it did capture the moon, one of the youngest I have ever had the good fortune to capture.  Since that time I have seen many moons and have discovered a beauty that is rarely seen.  The new crescent moon, like many things in nature, is a hidden pearl.  I marvel at how the most valuable of things in the world are hidden and require immense effort to acquire them.  Take for example the pearl, a small iridescent orb of crystalline calcium carbonate formed over years inside an oyster or other mollusk deep underwater in the sea.  To find it naturally is quite rare, at least these days, and I cannot fathom how it was even first discovered.  To retrieve a pearl requires great effort in diving down under water tens of feet if not more, wrenching an oyster off the ocean floor, bringing it to the surface and then wrestling open the oyster with the hope that it might contain a single glowing pearl.

There is however, a deep wisdom behind this.  For as soon as something of value is discovered, the greed to own as much of it as possible soon follows, and in the wake of that greed much destruction takes place.  I have often pondered on notoriety and obscurity, asking myself which is best.  If we allow ourselves the license to follow the ego, we will strive for notoriety, for the ego always wants to be known, even if it results in its own demise.  Logic would have it, on the other hand, that obscurity is the more prudent path to follow as it will afford one much protection and desiring that protection will always keep a person safely tucked away behind the veil that conceals who they are.  However, before we all go off to hide in our shells we must understand that the hidden pearls are of no benefit if they remain hidden and revealing them and giving them the notoriety they deserve helps spread their benefit to everyone.

Discovering hidden pearls over the years with a camera in hand and sharing them with others has been both a joy and a disappointment. I find great joy in sharing my photos and more so when those who look are overjoyed with them as well.  As we gaze upon what is depicted in the photos we feel a connection with the Earth that brings all of us closer together.  A sense of wonderment and, in some respects, a longing to see in person the same thing as that shown in the photograph develops and with that the wanderlust takes over and  suddenly my audience become my companions in the field.  All of us searching, seeing and falling in love with the Earth and what she gives us, to the extent that the Earth becomes a priceless treasure, in-expendable and worthy of protection.



Unfortunately, as with many hidden treasures, most people are clueless to their worth until they are elevated to notoriety.  In fact, the true treasures of this world live in obscurity for their whole existence with very few ever finding them and fewer yet benefiting from what they give the world.  Although I relish finding and benefiting from the hidden pearls of the world it also brings me much disappointment that more people do not garner for themselves the benefits at hand.

We need to find some hidden pearls for ourselves and drink in the value they posses to enrich our lives then share what you gleaned from them with others in the hope that we can all come to appreciate and value them.  The pearls you find might be other people, or something in nature like a tree or an animal.  Maybe the pearls you find are the words of a poem or a song, or possibly even the precious shining moments of life when they flash before our eyes.  Whatever they might be, they must be found, valued and shared so that we can all come to cherish what we have in the world.

As I said at the start of this post, I’ll be heading out in a couple of days to search for my hidden pearl, the new crescent moon, and soon thereafter, I will return to the mountains to find the veiled autumn color that glows in obscurity.  I invite you all to tag along if you wish.  Just let me know.


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