Monthly Archives

December 2011

Nature’s Best Windland Smith Rice Contest: Pacific Harbor Seal, La Jolla, California

Harbor Seal, La Jolla

Cute Harbor Seal Photo, La Jolla, California.

This is the third of three images I had that were Highly Commended in this year’s Windland Smith Rice photography competition.*

This is one of the famous or, depending on your political position, notorious Pacific harbor seals (Phoca vitulina richardsi) the reside at the Children’s Pool in La Jolla, California. Some people really hate these seals and feel their presence on the beach has robbed people of the use of small cove and want to see the seals gone, forcefully or otherwise. Others love the seals and don’t want to see them bothered at all. I don’t really care either way, I just like to shoot photos of them. I’ve been photographing (and diving with) these seals since their colony first began forming in the ’90s. There are certain times of day when the light angles and water movement really work well here for photography. On this day, one of the more charismatic seals was moving about at the water’s edge and paused for a moment with its flippers raised, looking at me. I got off a series of photos and this was the most appealing of the group.

Pacific harbor seal, an sand at the edge of the sea, Phoca vitulina richardsi, La Jolla, California

Pacific harbor seal, an sand at the edge of the sea.
Image ID: 26315
Species: Pacific harbor seal, Phoca vitulina richardsi
Location: La Jolla, California, USA

* I was fortunate to have three of my photographs receive Highly Honored recognition in this years Windland Smith Rice photography competition sponsored by Nature’s Best Photography. The first was a photo of photographer Garry McCarthy working in the Virgin River Narrows in Zion National Park. The second was a composition of the Giants Marbles in Joshua Tree National Park. 21,000 images were entered in the competition, 500 made it to the final round of judging and 131 were winners or highly honored and appeared in the most recent issue of Nature’s Best Photography magazine. I am crossing my fingers that one of mine will also be featured as part of the competition’s six-month exhibition next year at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C.

Torrey Pines State Reserve Running Photos

iPhone, La Jolla, Panoramas, Seascapes

It is for views like this that I run. I’ve been running for 35 years and will keep running until my body can’t do it anymore. I estimate that I have run at least 32,000 miles (1.25 times around the Earth!) and it is views like this that keep me fired up for more. I have probably run the trails in Torrey Pines State Reserve (north of La Jolla, California) 1500 times or more during my life. The other night during my run I enjoyed one of the finest sunsets I have ever seen there. Clearing storm, golden light, clouds, wet sand. I had my iPhone strapped to my arm but I had no “real camera”. There was no one else on the beach and it appeared I had two miles of spectacular low tide beach all to myself which in San Diego is a virtual impossibility. I spent the last 30 minutes of the day composing panoramas of the golden waning light shining on the cliffs and breaking storm clouds with my iPhone. That night I fed a stack of 45 individual iPhone images to Photoshop. Photoshop cranked away all night making a panorama and the following morning the first image below is the result. I’ve checked it at full resolution and the quality is really impressive. Thanks for looking and keep on running!

Click any of the images to see them larger. In their full resolution form, all of these panoramas are quite large, made from 20-45 individual iPhone photos that are stitched together in Photoshop. Sizes range up to 10,000 pixels in length and 3800 pixels in height. In the images that include waves, there are stitching errors in the waves which are largely unavoidable. However, in the images that face away from the ocean there are few if any stitching errors and in my estimation the images are clean enough to print up to 30″ or more in length .

Nature’s Best Windland Smith Rice: Giants Marbles at Dusk, Joshua Tree National Park, California

Joshua Tree

Giant’s Marbles, Joshua Tree National Park, California.

This is the second of three images I had that were Highly Commended in this year’s Windland Smith Rice photography competition.*

I made this photograph in Joshua Tree National Park just as the sun was setting, at a series of granite boulders that is quite popular (being near one of the campgrounds). The sun had already left the first of the Giant’s Marbles in shadow in front of me, but the warm light was still kissing to the topmost Marble perched atop the rocks. These nearly spherical marbles are natural anchors for any landscape photo of this boulder group, and indeed one sees various compositions of these rocks in many landscape photographers’ portfolios. This is my rendition. Thanks for looking!

Boulders and sunset in Joshua Tree National Park.  The warm sunlight gently lights unusual boulder formations at Jumbo Rocks in Joshua Tree National Park, California

Boulders and sunset in Joshua Tree National Park. The warm sunlight gently lights unusual boulder formations at Jumbo Rocks in Joshua Tree National Park, California.
Image ID: 26720
Location: Joshua Tree National Park, California, USA

* I was fortunate to have three of my photographs receive Highly Honored recognition in this years Windland Smith Rice photography competition sponsored by Nature’s Best Photography. The first was a photo of photographer Garry McCarthy working in the Virgin River Narrows in Zion National Park. . 21,000 images were entered in the competition, 500 made it to the final round of judging and 131 were winners or highly honored and appeared in the most recent issue of Nature’s Best Photography magazine. I am crossing my fingers that one of mine will also be featured as part of the competition’s six-month exhibition next year at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C.

Nature’s Best Windland Smith Rice: Photographer in the Virgin River Narrows, Zion National Park, Utah

Utah, Zion

Photographer in the Virgin River Narrows, Zion National Park, Utah

I was fortunate to have three of my photographs receive Highly Honored recognition in this years Windland Smith Rice photography competition sponsored by Nature’s Best Photography. 21,000 images were entered in the competition, 500 made it to the final round of judging and 131 were winners or highly honored and appeared in the most recent issue of Nature’s Best Photography magazine. I am crossing my fingers that one of mine will also be featured as part of the competition’s six-month exhibition next year at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C.. Here is the first of the three, taken in a bend of the Virgin River Narrows in Zion National Park. This is an utterly fantastic hike with spectacular photography possibilities at every turn, and a place to which I am anxious to return in 2012. My buddy Garry McCarthy serves as an “anchor” to lend some perspective to the scene and create a little tension from the corner of the composition across to the beautiful cottonwoods in the Narrows.

Photographer in the Virgin River Narrows, with flowing water, autumn cottonwood trees and towering red sandstone cliffs, Zion National Park, Utah

Photographer in the Virgin River Narrows, with flowing water, autumn cottonwood trees and towering red sandstone cliffs.
Image ID: 26106
Location: Virgin River Narrows, Zion National Park, Utah, USA