2013 Favorite Photos

The first is an atlantic puffin captured off the coast of Maine on Machias Island. I call this “Humble”
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My second choice is near the Santa Cruz Coast. The tafoni in the foreground led me to name this “Moonstone Beach”

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My third choice is from Passau, Germany. This is a long narrow alley taken on the empty streets of Passau at night.
passau

This image of a Barrel Cactus in full bloom is currently hanging at the Madaras Gallery, and is certainly a favorite for 2013.
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These are my beautiful granddaughters, and my beautiful daughter, the mother of one. I am so grateful. I have another one on the way for 2014. My grandson did not make my favorite picture choices, but I love him to bits also.
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Mom and daughter

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Hunting Fall Foliage

I grew up and lived on the East Coast, so fall foliage was available and readily accessible every year. Now, living in Tucson, it is not so easy. I have taken some recent trips trying to track some down. My most recent trip was up to Northern Arizona in the Apache-Sitgreaves Forest. Here are a couple from that area.

Sunset On The Mogollon Rim

Aspen Stand

Next, it was off to the Painted Desert, not for fall color, but simply because it was close and I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity.

Painted Desert

Then, in the middle of this vast red desert I stumbled upon this:

Desert Surprise

It’s like my good friend Simon says: “Danny, if you don’t go, you won’t know”.

Then, I get back home to Tucson, and I hear there is some color up on Mount Lemmon.

Yes there was.

Next, I hope to go up to Zion in early November. I’ll keep you posted.

If you are in Tucson, Sunday 10/28/12, come and see my new photos at The Madaras Gallery. It’s Diana’s biggest show of the year.

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Road Trip To Southern Utah

Just returned from a marvelous road trip to southern Utah with my friend Steve who I am mentoring in photography.
We drove 6 hours and spent the first three nights in Page which we used as our base camp for all our photo trips except Marble Canyon.

1. The Wahweap Hoo Doos
2. Old Pareah
3. The Toadstools (two trips)
4. Marble Canyon and Lee’s Ferry
5. The Vermillion Cliffs
6. Wahweap Marina

It was not only a fun trip, travelling with someone with whom you are sympatico with, but it was very rewarding contributing to Steve’s learning and growth as a photographer.

Our first stop once we arrived was the Lake Powell shore for sunset:

Lake Powell Panorama

The next morning we headed out for the Wahweap Hoo Doos, a hike I was certainly not looking forward to.

Wahweap Hoo Doos

We drove in the easier way, but that meant an 8 mile round trip hike in the bright sun through a desolate sandy and rocky wash with 25-30 pounds on my back. Our instructions told us to skip the first and second set of hoo doos and proceed to the most photographic set about 600 yards past the first. By the time we reached the first set, I could not tell if it was the first second or third. It looked like what I had seen in photos. Nevertheless I spent about an hour and a half photographing them. When I finally got back to camp, exhausted and blistered, I realized I had photographed the first set, and never even got to see the second and third set. Bummer!

Here is a sample from that particular skunked shoot:

Wahweap Hoo Doo

Our next destination was the Toadstools which we did on two successive days. This was only a two-mile round trip hike. A piece of cake compared to Wahweap. The Toadstool Venue moved me as much as any place I have ever visited. It was truly “other worldly”. We, at times were totally isolated and on a another planet. I will definitely return to shoot this amazing place at night under a full moon.

Hoo Doo Central

Hoo Doo God

Another World

Our next adventure was to Old Pareah, what some call the most beautiful colors in the southwest.

Old Pareah

The colors of the muddy river bed and brush were beautiful.

Last, but not least, we headed for Marble Canyon and Lee’s Ferry, a place I had traveled to prior. It certainly did not disappoint.

Sunrise At Lee's Ferry

View From Paria Beach

Oasis

This last shot was how I felt when we first arrived to Pariah Beach. Compared to Utah, it was very hot, and the Colorado River was very inviting for a nice cold swim.

On the way home I caught a shot of the Vermillion Cliffs.

Vermillion Cliffs

Nothing like sharing a passion for nature and photography with a good friend. Can’t wait to hook up with Shimon, soon, for a trip up the coast :)

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Flaunting

Ever since I can remember, I wanted to be “on stage” in front of people. In my very early years I starred in my camp theater productions, and later as an adult I did several years of community theater. Yet, I never went into show business because I also learned at a very early age to “be practical”. And so I went into the defense industry as an organizational consultant (irony), but I got to be on stage doing my training and interventions. Now that I am retired, I have returned to other early life passions, photography and nature. And to be on stage, I write a blog, post my photos on Facebook, Google Plus, and other forums. Why is it so important to “be on stage” you ask. The only conscious reason that I can come up with is that it feels good to have others validate and appreciate what I do, whether it be singing a song, dancing, or producing a beautiful photograph. Some might see it in a pejorative light, but for me it is both a way of getting feedback and improving.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Marianne Williamson

For the past several years I have been practicing landscape and wildlife photography full time. If I am not shooting pictures, I am processing photos on my computer, or reading articles, or seeing what other photographers are posting and shooting. I have discovered so many great landscape photographers and I have learned a great deal from them, both in the field and in the digital lab.

I am now ready to take my flaunting to a new level. I have arranged to be a guest artist at a prestigious and nationally respected art gallery “Madaras Gallery”. Diana Madaras is an extraordinary southwest visual artist that uses both acrylic and water colors. Her compositions are mostly bright, colorful, southwest themes. You can see them HERE

My space within this beautiful gallery will consist of several metal prints of various western and southwestern landscapes. I hope you will take the opportunity to come visit, and let others know. One thing is for sure, I will learn a lot, and I will continue to enjoy this journey that I am on.

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Let It Be

May 8, 1970, the Beatles unleashed Let It Be to the world. It was an instant success, a profound message, and a beautiful song. But what does it really mean to let something or someone BE? And, how good are you at letting stuff BE, and when you do, what effect does this have on how YOU feel and how YOU BE.

For me, letting things BE can be one of the most powerful ways to experience peace, both for yourself and for others. For me, it is suspending judgement and assessment; no labeling right or wrong or good or bad. Letting it be must be genuine, one cannot just verbally suspend judgement, but authentically give it up. When you give it up you, just let it be.

I am certainly not suggesting that we should practice letting things be all the time. Our ability to judge, form opinions, and act upon those judgements, is essential, but having the choice to let certain things BE and knowing when to exercise this choice, is powerful.

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My Near Death Adventure

I just recently returned from a two week road trip which included photo ops in Monument Valley, Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Grand Teton National Park, and Yellowstone National Park. I came very close to not returning, however. More about that in a minute.

My first stop was Monument Valley, a place I had visited once before, and one I was excited to see again. Since weather conditions and light conditions are always different, I was sure to get something new, especially since it snowed during my last trip to this epic wonder. My first shots here were during sunset:

Mitten Sunset

Rising early to get a sunrise yielded this:

Mitten Sunrise

Then it was back on the road to Moab to shoot the Canyonlands and Arches, certainly two of the most surreal and other worldly locations on the planet. One of my uncertain goals for this part of the trip was to explore the possibility of shooting a location known as “False Kiva”. It was discovered by Tom Till, a well known professional photographer who has a gallery in Moab.

Here is a photo from that location taken by Jason Corneveaux:

False Kiva

As you can see, this is quite a coveted vantage point, and so I was quite motivated to get it myself. I stopped at the visitor center in Island In The Sky, Canyonlands, and spoke with a ranger who showed me a few pictures of the trail (if you can call it that) leading to this venue. He told me it was quite strenuous a hike and not well marked. He also said that if I encounter water, I should head back. I told him how old I was, and asked him if I could do it. He said take it slow and come back if you see water. He also gave me precise directions on how to spot the beginning of the trail, which was not marked nor advertised by the park.

I drove about 40 minutes from the visitor center to a spot on a less traveled road which he had indicated. I gathered my equipment which included a 35 pound bag of photo equipment, and a pint of water. It was drizzling out and there was some thunder off in the distance, but I walked about 250 yards back along the road until I found what appeared to be the beginning of what the ranger called a “social trail”. I figured I could always turn around if the hike became too dangerous or unmanageable.

After about a 15 minute easy hike, the first pronounced descent into the gorge was upon me. It wasn’t too difficult, and there were some cairns along the way which assured me that I was on the right path, and that I figured I could use when I returned. It was still drizzling out but it wasn’t too bad although the red rocky clay was getting muddy and slippery so I stayed on slick rock to avoid falling. More cairns along the way guided my continual descent into what became a very steep gorge, and I began to worry if I would be able to navigate the return trip. About an hour or more into the descent, I came to what I estimated might be my final obstacle; a sharp rocky climb down into the gorge. Sweating, wet and tired, I stopped to think. How much risk was I willing to take for this photo? Close to my goal, and not one to give up or quit, I decided that the risk was too great. I even began to think of the 127 hour film that depicted a lone hiker who had to amputate his own arm to escape. I took out my camera and tripod and took a photo from my current location, knowing that it was nothing like the real thing that I was striving for:

Almost (False Kiva)

After taking a few shots in the rain and getting my equipment soaked, which I normally try to avoid, I packed up and began the very steep ascent. After maybe 10 grueling steps I was panting and my legs were exhausted. I stopped, leaned on a rock and rested for about 2 minutes (luckily I had some water). A few more steps up and I was panting again. It was now obvious to me that getting back to my car was going to be very difficult, and I became seriously concerned about my survival. I checked my cell phone which I knew would not have service, but I looked anyway; zero bars, no service. I continued my gradual climb like this for maybe 30-40 minutes when I realized that I could no longer see the next set of cairns which I relied upon to guide my way since there was no marked nor obvious trail. I WAS LOST!

Climbing higher in what I believed to be the approximate direction back, and zig zagging a bit to maybe find a cairn was my only hope. I never did see another cairn and so my only strategy was to stay focused, continue up hill and hope that eventually I would see something that resembled a way out. After about another hour of wandering lost, I dialed 911 on my phone, hoping that even though I didn’t have a signal, something miraculous might happen and someone would come to my rescue. I had purchased a SPOT GPS system for just this kind of emergency, but I had left it my suitcase (lol). Funny now, but not then.

After, what seemed like an eternity of wandering lost, I finally got high enough where I could see cars on the horizon, and I knew that if I just kept walking toward the cars, I eventually would find my way out, if a pack of wolves or a mountain lion didn’t get to me first. Trekking onward, the road and the cars became closer and I was beginning to feel almost safe when I realized that between me and the road, was a canyon that was almost the size of the Grand Canyon. I kid you not, it was huge. After all, this place is not called Canyonlands for no reason. So all I could do was walk parallel to the canyon hoping that eventually I would discover an exit point and make my way to the road. Another half hour or so I spotted the road again, and this time it looked like clear sailing, with the exception of dense ground cacti that covered the land between me and the road. Nevertheless, I managed my way back to the road, but I had no idea where I was nor where my car was. I hailed down a passing car and the driver helped orient me. I was little more than a half mile from where I had originally left the road. Back at my car, drenched, and covered with red dirt, I knew how stupid I had been, and how lucky. I also learned an important lesson:

1. Put the SPOT GPS in my camera bag;
2. Never take a hike like this alone; and
3. Always tell someone where I am going.

I did manage to take some safe hikes in Canyonlands one of which resulted in this shot from Dead Horse Point:

Dead Horse Point

Back on the road and on my way to Jackson Hole, WY where I would stay for several days while shooting the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Parks, was a nice way to recover from my Canyonland adventure. In fact, my thighs felt like they had been on a stair-master for hours; well they kind of were, actually.

My goal for these two national parks included several often photographed iconic shots, wildlife as it presented itself, and thermals from Yellowstone. Here are just a few of my favorites:

Mormon Row At Dawn

Fog In The Valley

Coming

Which Way, Mama

You can see more in my landscape galleries HERE

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Brynn Has Arrived

Not only has she entered this world, but she did so with relative ease, if giving birth can be easy.  And, I must say, she is not only a beautiful infant, but she is a sweet dispositioned child; much like her mom, Ilana.

Her presence changes everything.  For one thing, my son is now a father.  The impact this is having on him, and will undoubtedly continue to have, can not be measured, but is certainly significant.  Here is my son, just yesterday, it seems.

Jeff At The Zoo

And here he is today:

Brynn And Jeff

Another change, that I believe is inevitable, is that Brynn will bring her parents closer together in new and unpredictable ways.

First Moments

How can such a tiny little person influence the world in so many ways?

Brynn

Oh, and not to miss an opportunity to plug my photos, here is the first landscape I took post Brynn’s birth :)

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