Fine Art Photography


David J Grenier Fine Art Photography
Posts in Blog
So Far, So Good! First Half of 2017

I have been very fortunate to photograph in a number of beautiful locations during the first half of 2017. This has probably been my most rewarding six months of photography in the first half of any year, and therefore want to briefly memorialize these experiences in this blog post. I will go through each location and pick a few images that I think highlight the best moments of the time spent there.

Yosemite Valley, California

At the top of the list is Yosemite National Park, which I have visited five times so far this year. My first visit was January 5th, and my last was May 10th. During those times, I also conducted two private workshops with special clients that I enjoyed spending time with showing the nooks and crannies of one of my most favorite places on earth. The highlight for this blog though has to be the massive rains that California received this year, and the resultant flooding that occurred in Yosemite Valley. California had been in a six year drought until this year, where the drought formally came to an end due to massive rain and snowfalls, with this season going into the history books as the second wettest in 122 years of record-keeping!

iPhone 7 Plus; 5:05 pm, February 10, 2017

The image above was shot on the evening of February 10th when I first arrived and began to drive around the Valley. In all the years I have been visiting Yosemite I have never seen standing water in this particular location, or that much of it. It is also interesting to note the sign that shows the level of the water in this location on January 2, 1997, the last big flood in the area. The flood stands as arguably the park's worst natural disaster to date (some would give this designation to the rockfall of 1996 or the Rim Fire of 2013), and inarguably the worst flood in park history. The flooding stranded 2,100 visitors in the park, albeit fortunately there were no fatalities. Total park damages were estimated at $178 million at that time.

Canon EOS 5DS R; 1/40 sec at f/11; Canon EF 16-35mm @ 16mm; ISO 100; 8:57 am, February 11, 2017

I began thinking about a reflection shot immediately I saw this standing water and came back the next morning at sunrise. I have never seen a shot like this showing Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls reflected from this particular location previously, so was very excited to capture this unique image. The small rainbow at the base of Upper Yosemite Falls was a nice added touch.

Canon EOS 5DS R; 1/25 sec at f/16; Canon EF 16-35mm @ 16mm; ISO 125; 9:09 am, May 11, 2017

This reflection shot of El Capitan and the Three Brothers was shot three months later to the day, when warmer weather created a powerful snow melt that caused the Merced River to overflow its banks in some places that, again, I had never seen standing water. I got my lower body very wet getting this shot, a three image panorama, standing in water that was a few inches deeper that the tops of my Wellingtons that got completely filled with very cold water! All's well that ends well:)

Canon EOS 5DS R; 0.6 sec at f/18; Canon EF 24-105mm @ 32mm; ISO 125; 6:30 pm, May 11, 2017

I thought that I would leave you with this sunset shot from Cook's Meadow, with the beautiful infamous elm tree in the foreground, fondly referred to as 'Ansel's Tree'. It is interesting how the weather patterns can change so rapidly in Yosemite. When we set up at this location, it did not look like there was going to be much of a sunset this particular evening. There was a small cloud sitting at the top of Half Dome and at best we were hoping for some alpine glow on the granite face. Gradually that cloud morphed into this beautiful structure that then began to catch color from the setting sun

Monument Valley/Hunts Mesa, Arizona

I had wanted to photograph Monument Valley, Arizona, for sometime now, and when I found an Arizona Highways Photo Workshop that would take me to Monument Valley, as well as Hunts Mesa I decided to sign up immediately. Along with a good friend, we began our journey to Arizona on May 26, and returning May 30, including visits to Kayenta, Monument Valley, and the highlight of the trip being an overnight camping stop in the incomparable Hunts Mesa.

Monument Valley, a red-sand desert region on the Arizona-Utah border, is known for the towering sandstone buttes of Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. The park, frequently a filming location for Western movies, is accessed by the looping, 17-mile Valley Drive. The famous, steeply sloped Mittens buttes can be viewed from the road or from overlooks such as John Ford’s Point. Hunts Mesa forms the southeastern edge of Monument Valley and the northern edge of Little Capitan Valley. Its elevation is 6,370 feet (1,942 m). Access to Hunts Mesa is not through the general entrance of the park but rather through the sand dunes northeast of the town of Kayenta, Arizona.

Canon EOS 5DS R; 121 sec at f/11; Canon EF 16-35mm @ 18mm; ISO 160; 9:09 am, May 11, 2017

I chose the shot above of Monument Valley, at sunrise, where I decided to use my 10 stop filter to accentuate the clouds in the sky with a two minute long exposure. It created the streaks in the clouds and gave it an interesting, unique look that added an element of drama to the scene, that includes the infamous East and West Mittens, together with the Merrick Butte on the right.

Canon EOS 5DS R; 1/250 sec at f/16; Canon EF 24-105mm @ 35mm; ISO 400; 9:09 am, May 11, 2017

This is a sunrise shot from Hunts Mesa, after a sleepless night in a small tent and howling winds that did not let up all night long! The tent was so small I could not stretch out on the cot that we were provided with, and it had been thirty plus years since I had slept in a sleeping bag. Clearly, this confirmed that it is illegal, as well as foolish for me to consider camping even for one night again:)

Canon EOS 5DS R; 1/6 sec at f/16; Canon EF 24-105mm @ 28mm; ISO 125; 9:09 am, May 11, 2017

This is the Totem Pole at dawn, and on the left the Yel-Bichel pinnacles. The Totem Pole is a pillar or rock spire and is a highly eroded remains of a butte. It is over 400 feet tall, and was last climbed by Clint Eastwood and George Kennedy in Eastwood’s 1975 film, The Eiger Sanction. The Yei-Bi-Chei pinnacles are named for their resemblance to the real dancers who appear on the ninth and last night of the Navajo winter religious ceremony called “The Night Way”.

Canon EOS 5DS R; 1/125 sec at f/11; Canon EF 24-105mm @ 65mm; ISO 200; 9:16 am, April 30, 2017

Monument Valley, has been featured in many forms of media since the 1930s. It is perhaps most famous for its use in many John Ford films, including Stagecoach (1939) and The Searchers (1956). It has also been featured in the film Easy Rider (1969), Robert Zemeckis' film Forrest Gump, Clint Eastwood's film The Eiger Sanction (1975), and recently the popular United Kingdom television show Doctor Who in the two episodes "The Impossible Astronaut" and "Day of the Moon". This is John Ford Point, named in honor of the movie director who spent a lot of time in Monument Valley, aside from making five movies here. We had a young Navajo Native American ride the horse in this image and pose as a model that provided an added interesting, and appropriate touch to the composition.

I would like to make a mention here of the leader of our workshop, a Navajo Native American photographer of renown, LeRoy DeJolie. This is the third Arizona Highways Photo Workshop I have taken with LeRoy, and I highly recommend him as a workshop leader. His local knowledge is second to none, works very hard to help any photographer that asks, and he is the perfect Navajo guide, a mandated necessity, to get us into these beautiful ancient Navajo lands. These workshops are a very reasonable cost method of getting to locations that you want to photograph, always led by a great professional photographer, who know the right places to go and at the right times of day, together with very competent support people who work very hard to make these events memorable.

Palouse, Washington

For my next photo shoot, I joined two of my closest photographer friends on a road trip that took us to the Palouse, Washington, onto Yellowstone National Park, and finally to the Grand Teton National Park, both in Wyoming.

The Palouse is the most serene and pastoral region in southeastern Washington characterized by gentle rolling hills covered with wheat fields. The hills were formed over tens of thousands of years from wind blown dust and silt, called "loess", from dry regions to the south west. Seen from the summit of 3,612 foot high Steptoe Butte, they look like giant, colored sand dunes because they were formed in much the same way. In the spring they are lush shades of green when the wheat and barley are young, and in the summer they are dry shades of brown when the crops are ready for harvest. The Palouse hills are not only a landscape unique in the world, but they are beautiful to behold and or photograph.

This was one of the most joyful shoots that I have ever experienced. The area to photograph is endless, the compositions are unlimited, and the lighting we had, both at sunset and sunrise was simply stunning. I have so many images that I like it is very difficult to choose, but I chose the following and hope that it portrays the region well and shows the endless beauty of this magnificent region of Washington state.

Canon EOS 5DS R; 1/125 sec at f/11; Canon EF 28-300mm @ 105mm; ISO 400; 5:49 am, May 23, 2017

This first image is a panorama that I shot during the first sunrise that we did from Steptoe Butte. This location, in my humble opinion, is what makes the Palouse so photogenic. It is the highest point in the region, and at the very top, it gives a photographer a 360 degree view to shoot from. The early morning light on these 'earth dunes' is magical, and the compositions are endless. The sunsets too are special, again because of the light and never ending views.

Canon EOS 5DS R; 1/4 sec at f/9; Canon EF 28-300mm @ 60mm; ISO 100; 8:16 pm, May 22, 2017

This is an image from our first sunset shoot on Steptoe Butte. The setting sun and the lupin created this beautiful scene typical of this magical area in Washington. The 3,612-foot (1,101 m) butte is preserved as Steptoe Butte State Park, a publicly owned 150-acre (61 ha) recreation area located 12 miles (19 km) east of the nearest town, Colfax.

Canon EOS 5DS R; 1/640 sec at f/11; Canon EF 28-300mm @ 80mm; ISO 500; 4:20 pm, May 24, 2017

This is a location that we stumbled upon driving up and down roads using a map of the region provided to tourists by the Pullman Chamber of Commerce. What made this location so special on this afternoon was the way the clouds in the sky filtered the light on the landscape, where as you waited the light changed and lit up different areas just like spotlights. Again so many compositions and three to four points of view to shoot from just one location.

Canon EOS 5DS R; 1/8 sec at f/11; Canon EF 28-300mm @ 28mm; ISO 400; 8:37 pm, May 24, 2017

After shooting the location above we drove around for quite some time looking for a location to shoot the sunset. With the ever present clouds in the sky we were anticipating a colorful sunset but had great difficulty finding a suitable location until we stumbled upon this hill, at what turned out to be on an unmarked private property. Soon after we decided that this location would have to do because we were running out of time before the sunset would begin, the farm owner drove up to inform us that we were on his private property.

With our best smile and diplomatic attitude we asked him if that meant we had to leave, and also informed him that if we had seen any signs driving in that told us we were on private property we certainly would not have done so. He was kind enough to let us stay, even though he did come back later after the sunset was over and saw us drive off his property. A wonderful end to an extremely productive day!

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Yellowstone National Park is a nearly 3,500-sq.-mile wilderness recreation area atop a volcanic hot spot. Mostly in Wyoming, the park spreads into parts of Montana and Idaho too. Yellowstone features dramatic canyons, alpine rivers, lush forests, hot springs and gushing geysers, including its most famous, Old Faithful. It's also home to hundreds of animal species, including bears, wolves, bison, elk and antelope. The Yellowstone Caldera is a volcanic caldera and supervolcano located underground in Yellowstone, sometimes referred to as the Yellowstone Supervolcano.

The term “supervolcano” implies an eruption of magnitude 8 on the Volcano Explosivity Index, indicating an eruption of more than 1,000 cubic kilometers (250 cubic miles) of magma. Yellowstone has had at least three such eruptions: The three eruptions, 2.1 million years ago, 1.2 million years ago and 640,000 years ago, were about 6,000, 700 and 2,500 times larger than the May 18, 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens in Washington State.

While the Yellowstone national park in Wyoming is stunningly beautiful, with brightly coloured sulphuric hot springs and erupting geysers, it packs a mighty punch. If the volcano were to erupt, it could cause a global catastrophe, particularly in the US where it would instantly kill 87,000 people and make two-thirds of the country immediately uninhabitable as the large spew of ash into the atmosphere would block out sunlight and directly affect life beneath it. I can only hope that this does event not need to occur in all of its majesty during my lifetime!

Canon EOS 5DS R; 1/10 sec at f/11; Canon EF 16-35mm @ 16mm; ISO 160; 5:59 am, May 26, 2017

The Grand Prismatic Spring, discovered by geologists in 1871, is the largest hot spring in America and the third largest in the world. It has a diameter of about 295 feet and a depth of 164 feet. In the center of the spring the water is so hot that the bacteria is not able to survive, whereas the temperature gradually drops towards the edges. This explains why the dazzling bright yellows, fierce oranges and deep reds only appear around the edges while the deep blue remains confined to the center. It is located in the Midway Geyser Basin and is one of my favorite geyser springs to photograph in Yellowstone.

One item of interest that we learned while we were at the Yellowstone Visitor Center, is that the Park Rangers have been in the process of constructing a viewing platform on on the ridge that you see in the background of the image above. It is scheduled to open in July this year, and will provide a magnificent photographic opportunity to capture the whole of this spring from above, something that has only been previously available to adventurous people who were willing to climb up into the hills around this area. Can't wait to get there again and photograph from the new location!

Canon EOS 5DS R; 1/5 sec at f/14; Canon EF 16-35mm @ 27mm; ISO 125; 5:52 am, May 28, 2017

Silex Spring, a favorite go to sunrise location when in Yellowstone, has a temperature of 193 F and is 36 feet x 40 feet, and a depth of 27 feet. It is unknown when or by whom this colorful blue spring was named, but the name Silex may refer to the word silica. Some believe it may refer to the Silex coffee percolator. The spring boils occasionally and, periodically large bubbles of gas rise to the surface. The 1959 earthquake caused it to erupt and increased the flow. The discharge is now 70 to 100 gallons per minute.

Canon EOS 5DS R; 1/25 sec at f/11; Canon EF 24-105mm @ 28mm; ISO 125; 2:15 pm, May 27, 2017

This is Lower Yellowstone Falls, and an area of the Park that I had not visited the last time I was here in the fall last year. Yellowstone Falls consist of two major waterfalls on the Yellowstone River. As the Yellowstone river flows north from Yellowstone Lake, it leaves the Hayden Valley and plunges first over Upper Yellowstone Falls and then a quarter mile (400 m) downstream over Lower Yellowstone Falls, at which point it then enters the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, which is up to 1,000 feet (304 m) deep.

Canon EOS 5DS R; 1/500 sec at f/5.6; Canon EF 1oo-400mm @ 100mm; ISO 800; 9:21 am, May 28, 2017

On our final day in Yellowstone we set out to photograph Bison. Not exactly my expertise so I wanted to get some practice in and bring back one or two images of these majestic animals. This was our first stop, where I managed to get this beautiful animal as it just crossed the Madison River, near West Yellowstone. The male Bison can weigh approximately 2000 lbs., and this one still had on its winter coat, albeit soaking wet in the rear because it had just swam across the river.

Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park is in the northwest of the state of Wyoming. It encompasses the Teton mountain range, the 4,000-meter Grand Teton peak, and the valley known as Jackson Hole. It’s a popular destination in summer for mountaineering, hiking, backcountry camping and fishing, linked to nearby Yellowstone National Park by the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway. It is only 10 miles (16 km) south of Yellowstone National Park. Grand Teton National Park is named for Grand Teton, the tallest mountain in the Teton Range. This is a beautiful location to stop at on your way into Yellowstone or on your way out. I first visited it last year in the fall and wanted to see it in the spring, which did not disappoint one bit! From my experience in this area I have found that there are four classic locations for photography, and I have images from each one below.

Canon EOS 5DS R; 1/4 sec at f/16; Canon EF 24-105mm @ 82mm; ISO 100; 5:18 am, May 29, 2017

Sunrise at the T.A. Moulton Barn and with the Grand Teton showing in the background. The T. A. Moulton Barn is all that remains of the homestead built by Thomas Alma Moulton and his sons between about 1912 and 1945. It sits west of the road known as Mormon Row, in an area called Antelope Flats. The property with the barn was one of the last parcels sold to the National Park Service by the Moulton family.

Canon EOS 5DS R; 1/15 sec at f/11; Canon EF 24-105mm @ 50mm; ISO 800; 4:45 am, May 30, 2017

Oxbow Bend in Grand Teton National Park is located just a little over a mile straight east of the Jackson Lake Junction on Highway 89.  It's where the Snake River gets extremely wide and Mount Moran is seen reflecting in the calm water in all it's glory.  It's really a sight to behold. Oxbow Bend is without a doubt the most photographed place in the entire park.  The image of the Snake River with Mount Moran's reflection is iconic and is probably the most recognized image of Grand Teton National Park throughout the world.  It is a magnificent sunrise location, and it is grand central station in the fall, where I have seen over 300 plus photographers line up for a sunrise shoot!

Canon EOS 5DS R; 1/13 sec at f/11; Canon EF 24-105mm @ 32mm; ISO 125o; 4:57 am, May 31, 2017

Schwabachers Landing is a boat landing located a few miles south of Snake River Overlook, along the east shore of the Snake River. It provides an opportunity for beautiful reflections of the Grand Teton range, and is especially beautiful in low morning light at sunrise. Having the duck in the foreground was a bonus, and in order to ensure it was sharp I adjusted my ISO to 1250. One huge noticeable difference shooting in these locations in the spring vs the fall, is in spring there were a significantly less number of photographers to contend with in all of these locations.

Some 75 years ago you could see the bend of the Snake River, where Ansel Adams included it in one of his most iconic images in 1942, The Tetons and the Snake River. Today the trees have grown, as you can see in the image below, and you can no longer see that bend in the river, though it is still one of my favorite places to see and photograph the Grand Teton Range.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III; 1/25 sec at f/16; Canon EF 24-105mm @ 40mm; ISO 10o; 4:37 pm, May 30, 2017

On the last evening of our stay in the Park, we decided that we would go out and practice photographing Bison again. That is until, driving out of Jackson we noticed a massive and beautiful storm sitting right above the Teton Range. We immediately decided that we should head straight out to the Snake River Outlook, an ideal location to photograph this gnarly looking storm. I was so excited to have this opportunity as I had never seen such a beautiful looking sky over this mountain range and was so looking forward to the chance to capture some unique images.

We literarily raced out to the location, got out of the vehicle, opened the trunk to reach for my camera and tripod when it hit me - I had left both my camera bodies in my hotel room. I was incredulous that I could have made such a stupid mistake! We had been photographing Bison earlier in the day, and I had long lenses on both camera bodies which gave me a wider choice of focal range. When we got back to our hotel earlier in the day, I grabbed both bodies and headed up to the room to change lenses and set everything back to the way it normally was. I then forgot to bring them back out with me to the vehicle when we left.

The owner of the vehicle we were traveling in very kindly offered his vehicle for me to drive back and fetch my camera, which I did in about 45 minutes, and by the time I got back there was still a beautiful sky available and I ended up with some nice images after all. You get by with a little help from your friends:)

San Francisco

Canon EOS 5DS R; 1/120 sec at f/9; Canon EF 24-105mm @ 50mm; ISO 1000; 7:40 pm, June 24, 2017

And finally, I will leave you with an image of Mt. Tamalpais that I shot last Sunday. I took a very good friend and photographer with me to show her this phenomenon of coastal fog that rolls in and creates beautiful scenes as it washes over into the Marin Headlands in the summer. We went back to a spot that my daughter Michelle, who lives in the area, took me to just over two years ago. We had a lot more fog on that particular day, though this experience did not disappoint!

As I wrap up this blog post just before the celebration of this country's Independence Day, I feel grateful and excited about the photographic opportunities that I have had so far this year. I also feel grateful to have some wonderful friends to accompany me on these photo journeys, whose presence makes these adventures even more fun. I am now getting ready to leave on my first professional assignment for a marketing company in San Francisco. I am being sent out to the beautiful island of Kauai, Hawaii, on the 4th of July returning July 13th, to shoot landscape images on what is so rightfully called the 'Garden Isle'.

The adventure continues!

Outdoor Photographer Magazine, Photo of the Day, 6-1-2017

I just arrived home today, June 1, 2017, from a photo shoot that took me to the Palouse region in Washington, then on to Yellowstone National Park, with our final stop being the Grand Tetons National Park. It was a photo shoot that has provided me with hundreds of images to sort through and develop, a difficult and time consuming task as I have so many that I like,  so choosing which ones to work on is difficult. A good problem to have:)

Going online to get caught up with all I needed to check on, I discovered that one of my images from a Patagonia shoot late last year had been selected by the Staff of 'Outdoor Photographer Magazine' as the Photo Of the Day, June 1, 2017. This indeed is an honor and a thrill as OPM is the premier landscape magazine in the USA. It also made me happy because this is my favorite image from the Patagonia trip. Here is the link to their online post:

In all the time we spent in Patagonia, both Argentina and Chile, we had very strong winds blow. While these are the prevailing winds in the region, as a photographer a goal of this trip was to capture reflection shots of the magnificent local mountain ranges - Mt. Fitzroy in Argentina and Paine Massif, located in Torres del Paine National Park, Chile.

On this particular morning, while I knew the chances were low, I wanted to walk to a lake located at the bottom of these beautiful distinctive three granite peaks of the Paine mountain range or, Paine Massif. With two other photographers in tow, we set out to walk to the lake. It was a long walk, begun in the dark and we kept walking until day light first appeared.  After a lengthy walk it became obvious that there was no still water anywhere. We reached the lake, confirmed that there was no reflection shot and began walking back.

The next composition I was contemplating in my mind was the early morning light that I knew was about to hit these granite peaks. In the foreground I also knew that I had to use the omnipresent dead, silver colored trees, still standing from accidental fires that ravaged the park at various times going back to 1985. I captured another image before this one, did not like the composition and quickly scrambled into a place that I could also include the path. Back at the hotel later that day I developed this image and was very happy with how it turned out!

Photo Of The Day By David Grenier

By Staff | May 31, 2017 |

Today’s Photo Of The Day is “Patagonia Morning Light” by David Grenier. Location: Torres del Paine National Park, Chile.

Photo By David Grenier

Today’s Photo Of The Day is “Patagonia Morning Light” by David Grenier. Location: Torres del Paine National Park, Chile.

“One of my favorite images from a Patagonia trip last November, shot at sunrise on a cloudy morning with the magnificent and distinctive three granite peaks of the Paine mountain range or Paine Massif,” says Grenier. “Torres del Paine National Park encompasses numerous mountains, glaciers, lakes, and rivers in southern Chilean Patagonia. In the foreground are the omnipresent dead, silver-colored trees, still standing from accidental fires that ravaged the park at various times going back to 1985.”

Photo of the Day is chosen from various OP galleries, including AssignmentsGalleries and the OP Contests. Assignments have weekly winners that are featured on the OP website homepage, FacebookTwitter and Instagram. To get your photos in the running, all you have to do is submit them.

2016 Top Twelve Photographs of the Year

“Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop.”~ Ansel Adams

It is that time of the year again for me to share with you my 2016 Top Twelve Photographs of the Year. This is the 4th edition of this tradition that began in 2013, that was inspired by Ansel Adam's quote shown above. Ansel Easton Adams (February 20, 1902 – April 22, 1984), is one of the most recognizable names in American landscape photography. His black-and-white landscape photographs of the American West, especially Yosemite National Park, have been widely reproduced on calendars, posters, books and prints. He is revered by landscape photographers all over the world, and to this day continues to have and operate The Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite National Park

When you shoot a few thousand images, as I do on an annual basis, it is difficult to cull it all down to 'twelve significant photographs' so, as in previous years, I determine my Top Twelve, and the order of the selections, by looking back at my Facebook page and noting how many 'Likes' I received when they were originally posted on my wall. I am fully aware that this is far from scientific and could be argued that it is downright arbitrary, but that is the method I have used and arbitrarily choose to continue to do that again this year:)

I was fortunate to have traveled and created opportunities to shoot in a wide variety of places in 2016. From my favorite venues such as Yosemite National Park, Mono Lake, Bodie Historical State Park, and the Central Coast in California, this year I was also able to shoot for the first time along the Pacific North West Coastline in Oregon. There were a number of other memorable firsts for me this year ~ The Grand Teton's National Park, Yellowstone National Park, and last but not least and a highlight of the year was a visit to the Patagonia regions of Argentina and Chile. It was also my first visit to the Continent of South America, and adds to my list of Continents that I have already visited - Asia, Australia, Africa, Europe and North America. That makes it 6 of the generally recognized 7 Continents, with the outstanding 7th now being Antartica. I wish I could tell you that I have in an interest in making it to all 7, but I have no interest as of this writing to do so since cold weather to this day chills me to the bone!

So again this year I will count them down starting with Number 12, give you the Facebook vote count, say something about each image, and provide some basic EXIF data.

#12 (112) 'In the Footsteps' ~ Some fall colors in the foreground and the Grand Tetons basked in afternoon light, shot from the Snake River Landing parking lot in the Grand Tetons National Park, Wyoming. This was the location that Ansel Adams shot one of his iconic black and white images, perhaps one of his most famous, entitled The Tetons and the Snake River, in 1942. Back then the Snake River bend created a beautiful leading line into the Tetons, where as now those trees have grown upwards a great deal and the shot is quite different, but still beautiful, especially with the fall colors. Adams was passionate about the natural landscape in which he spent much of his childhood, and would use his art to convince, or remind, others of it's beauty. Still a worthwhile pursuit for any photographer even today!


Sep. 17, 2016, Snake River Landing, Grand Tetons National Park, WY; exp. 1/125 sec @ f/11; 24-105 mm lens at 60 mm; ISO 100

#11 (115) 'Light My Fire' ~ This is what is commonly known as the 'Horsetail Falls phenomenon'. What you see in the image below is Horsetail Falls light up by the setting suns' light shining on the water that flows down this particular location for a few weeks in February in Yosemite National Park. It is one of nature’s most wondrous sites to watch how this phenomenon gradually develops high on top of the eastern side of El Capitan, where I am certain thousands of people drive by and do not even know that this waterfall exists! For this amazing site to occur, water needs to be present in the falls, the sunset needs to unobstructed by clouds in the western sky, which then lights up the falls and its spray to look like it's on fire within the last few minutes of the setting sun. I have had the good fortune of being here three times over the last many years to view and photograph it, and this last time was simply the best!


Feb. 16, 2016, Yosemite National Park, CA; exp. 0.5 sec @ f/11; 70-200 mm lens+1.4x at 257 mm; ISO 100

#10 (116) 'Lady in Red'~ Alpenglow at sunset reflected in the Merced River, at Valley View, or also know as Gates of the Valley, Yosemite National Park, California. El Capitan (Spanish for The Captain) is located on the north side of Yosemite Valley, near its western end, the granite monolith extends about 3,000 feet (900 m) from base to summit along its tallest face and is one of the world's favorite challenges for rock climbers and BASE jumpers. Along with most of the other rock formations of Yosemite Valley, El Capitan was carved by glacial action. This is one of my favorite locations to shoot at sunset when the skies are completely devoid of clouds, and the alpenglow can be counted upon to give a photographer this beautiful reflection photographic opportunity!


Nov. 14, 2016, Valley View, Yosemite National Park, CA; exp. 2.5 sec @ f/11; 24-105 mm lens at 28 mm; ISO 100

#9 (120) 'Tranquil Solitude' ~ I have shot this lone oak tree from this particular location, a ten minute drive from my home, so often that it has now unofficially been named My Oak Tree! Over the years I have been fortunate to shoot many an image here, always blessed with amazing skies that light up at sunset. This particular image shows a typical winter's evening in Northern California, a place I have called home now for almost 14 years, when the hills begin to turn green again, a chill is in the air, and we are blessed with these beautiful skies. I love this spot because it allows me to be creative between photo shoots to exotic, far away locations, and enjoy this pastoral scene a few minutes from the hustle and bustle of city life. I also don't take if for granted that one day this location will become a massive construction site for the continuous urban sprawl that we have become accustomed to and put it down as 'the progress of man'!


Dec. 4, 2016, El Dorado Hills, CA; exp. 3.2 sec @ f/11; 24-105 mm lens at 40 mm; ISO 100

#8 (122) ‘Homeward Bound’“The fact that we live at the bottom of a deep gravity well, on the surface of a gas covered planet going around a nuclear fireball 90 million miles away and think this to be normal is obviously some indication of how skewed our perspective tends to be.” – Douglas AdamsIt had been a desire of mine for several years to capture the Milky Way arch, and I finally did so at South Tufa, Mono Lake, June 2, 2016! For a technical point of view, this is 7 different images taken with my camera on a tripod, beginning at the left side of the Milky Way and then rotating the camera and shooting another image several times. I then 'merge' the resultant 7 images in a function of Adobe Photoshop, creating a final image that looks like the one below. Some fun facts about The Milky Way - the Galaxy measures some 100,000–120,000 light-years in diameter, it is home to planet Earth, the birthplace of our humanity. Our Solar System resides roughly 27,000 light-years away from the Galactic Center (far right). The Milky Way has between 100-400 billion stars; but when you look up into the night sky, the most you can see from any one point on the globe is about 2,500, which on a new moon night and the accompanying dark skies, and a mere mortal like me looks up at the sky, I would swear that I was looking at all 400 billion stars in the galaxy! It is overwhelming, humbling and I strongly recommend that you experience this at least once in your lifetime!


June 2, 2016, Mono Lake, CA; exp. 3o sec @ f/2.8; 16-35 mm lens at 19 mm; ISO 6,400

#7 (138) 'Shine On You Crazy Diamond ~ Closed out 2016 with this image, shot during a couple of days that I spent with my son in the Big Sur area mid-December. This is Keyhole Arch, Pfeiffer Beach, Big Sur, California, and the phenomenon that occurs annually during the time of the Winter Solstice. The best light for this happens mid-December to mid-January, when the setting sun shines through the Keyhole, provided there is a cloudless sky on the western horizon at sunset. I always find this to be such a fun shoot. You must arrive early as the parking lot at Pfeiffer Beach, privately managed, is small and fills up quickly. The beach is crowded with lots of families and photographers. It is not difficult to get a spot to shoot from as most photographers move around as the setting sun moves around and gives you different looks as it pours in through the Keyhole. I leave you with this thought for the New Year ~ ‘We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.’ ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.


Dec. 19, 2016, Keyhole Arch, Pfeiffer Beach, Big Sur, CA; exp. 1/6 sec @ f/11; 24-105 mm lens at 60 mm; ISO 100

#6 (144) ‘Mountain Light’ ~ One of my favorite images from the Patagonia trip, shot at sunrise on a cloudy morning, with the magnificent, and distinctive three granite peaks of the Paine mountain range or Paine Massif. The Torre del Paine National Park, encompasses numerous mountains, glaciers, lakes, and rivers in southern Chilean Patagonia. In the foreground are the omnipresent dead, silver colored trees, still standing from accidental fires that ravaged the park at various times going back to 1985. To me this was one of the highlights of our Patagonia photo shoot, as the scenery and the views of this magnificent mountain range on this particular morning was simply spectacular. The early morning light was special and the hundreds upon hundreds of dead, silver colored, gnarly trees added a great deal to the setting, providing ample foreground material to make any composition interesting.


Oct. 31, 2016, Torre del Paine National Park, Chile; exp. 1/8 sec @ f/11; 24-105 mm lens at 28 mm; ISO 160

#5 (150) 'Touching' ~ I set off to capture the supermoon at Yosemite National Park, set to rise on November 14, 2016. The moon’s orbit around Earth is slightly elliptical so sometimes it is closer and sometimes it’s farther away. When the moon is full as it makes its closest pass to Earth it is known as a supermoon. At perigee — the point at which the moon is closest to Earth — the moon can be as much as 14 percent closer to Earth than at apogee, when the moon is farthest from our planet. The full moon appears that much larger in diameter and because it is larger shines 30 percent more moonlight onto the Earth. Due to some miscalculations that I made as to the time and precise location of the moonrise, I was unable to capture that particular event much to my disappointment. However, the next morning, quite frankly by accident more than precise planning, I was got to photograph the setting full moon. I was able to get into a position where I had the moon setting upon these burnt pine trees, which was an interesting juxtaposition of the moon sitting on top of the charred remains of the tree trunks. It was a beautiful sight to see, one that will not be visible again this close to Earth until November 25, 2034. Fairly good chance most of us will be long gone by then:)


Nov. 15, 2016, Yosemite National Park, CA; exp. 1/400 sec @ f/11; 400 mm lens+2x at 800 mm; ISO 200

#4 (182) 'Stuck in the Middle' ~ The waterfalls, streams and rivers in and around Yosemite Valley typically have an abundance of water flowing in spring time, a result of the winter's snow beginning to melt and the run off begins. It is a wonderful time of the year to visit Yosemite. This is an image that I shot, precariously hanging off the edge of the bridge over Cascade Creek in early March. The lone tree growing, seemingly out the middle of these two rocks caught my eye, and I wanted to capture the chaos of the raging waters around the stillness of the rocks, with the lone, bare tree stuck n the middle. I tried a number of camera setting and settled for this one, trying to freeze the movement of the water and show a sense of the turbulence and power of the rushing water juxtaposed against the stillness that these two rocks provide with the lone tree growing in the middle of this natures chaos.


Mar. 8, 2016, Cascade Creek, Yosemite NP, CA; exp. 0.3 sec @ f/11; 70-200 mm lens at 91 mm; ISO 100

#3 (258) 'Peaceful Easy Feeling' ~ This is one of my favorite locations to visit, just hangout, and photograph in Yosemite National Park. It has many names - River Bend, Housekeeping Bend, as well as Camp 4. It provides a wonderful view of the magnificent Half Dome, with many different faces, colors and features dictated by what happens in the various seasons in Yosemite. This was shot February 18, a day after a snow storm swept thorough the area, when I was in the Valley intent on shooting the Horsetail Falls phenomenon that can occurs about this time every year. The title of this image derives from what I feel every time I stand at this location in Yosemite National Park, with the Merced River in the foreground and the magnificent Half Dome in the background. I have many a fond memory of this location in just about every season, and always look forward to visiting it every time I am fortunate to be in the Park.


Feb. 18, 2016, Yosemite NP, CA; exp. 2 sec @ f/2; 16-35 mm lens at 17 mm; ISO 50

#2 (261) 'Perfectly Still' ~ This is one of my favorite images from my trip to Patagonia in the latter part of the year. I had never been anywhere before in South America, but always wanted to visit the Patagonia region, that encompasses parts of Argentina, as well as Chile. This was shot in Torre del Paine, Chile, with the Cuernos del Paine and Almirante Nieto mounts reflected in Lake Pehoé at sunset. Patagonia is famous for its prevailing winds, so strong that a gust can knock you down to the ground and often. That is not conducive to reflections, to say the least. So two quotes come to mind about this image - ‘Creativity is intelligence having fun’ ~ Albert Einstein, and ‘You don’t take a photograph, you make it’ ~ Ansel Adams. It took an unusual effort for me to make this image, but I also had a lot of fun doing so!


Oct. 29, 2016, Torre del Paine, Chile; exp. 2.0 sec @ f/11; 24-105 mm lens at 40 mm; ISO 50

#1 (323) 'Both Sides, Now' ~ The early spring months in Yosemite National Park are a great time to photograph reflections in the Valley. It is a time before the snow that accumulates during the winter months begins to melt and eventually begins rushing down the various waterfalls that end up in the Merced River. This image was captured the day after a small  snow storm passed through Yosemite, creating these beautiful clouds around the dawn wall of this iconic land marks in the Valley. I shot this from one of my favorite locations to view the magnificent El Capitan, and its reflection in a very still Merced River (with the aid of a polarizer). I dedicated this to one of my all time favorite singer songwriters, Joni Mitchell, who is recovering from a brain aneurism suffered early last year. Get well Joni, your songs are very much a soundtrack of my youth, wishing you a full and speedy recovery!


Feb. 18, 2016, Yosemite NP, CA; exp. 1.3 sec @ f/22; 16-35 mm lens at 16 mm; ISO 50

And there you have it, my fourth annual Top 12 Photographs for the 2016 year. Also, a continuing tradition, a few observations in closing - 1. Six of the Top Twelve images voted on in 2016 were shot in Yosemite National Park (a first), my own Granite Cathedral, where I go to converse with God:), 2. nine of the twelve were shot in California, (another first), 3. two were from Patagonia, Chile, 4. the remaining one of the twelve was shot in Wyoming, and 5. five of the images were vertical compositions (another first). It is interesting for me to compile these images every year and be reminded of the wonderful accomplishment I was privileged to be allowed to complete by traveling to these beautiful locations, as well as what excellent tastes that the followers of my Facebook page have, and how much these people help in my selection process at the end of each year. So a big thank you to all these people for taking the time to do so - greatly appreciated!

In conclusion, and as always, I owe a great deal of gratitude to the many people who support my photography by purchasing my images in print form, as well as the hundreds of Likes and Comments that so many people take the time to stop by and leave on my Facebook page at Last but not least, the wonderful and talented photographers and friends of mine that I travel and live with during these photographic journeys through out the year - again, my deepest thanks!

Looking forward to 2017 and wishing everybody a Wonderful New Year!