Peter’s Favorite Photos from 2016

Sunset in Saguaro National Park

Sunset in Saguaro National Park, AZ

Mary and I had a great travel year in 2016.  We took 11 named trips including many weekend jaunts.  We had major trips to Tucson, Maine, Page (AZ), Death Valley, and New Mexico.  We had a variety of locations that were in major cities and in pretty remote locations.  Here are my favorite photos from 2016. Continue reading


Photographing White Sands, New Mexico


You have to hike a bit to make a photo of the dunes without footprints.

The White Sands National Monument is 300 square miles of a white gypsum dune field located in Southern New Mexico between Las Cruces and Alamogordo.  It is the largest gypsum dune field in the world.  Mary and I have photographed here a half dozen times as her parents live nearby.  Here are a few photos and hints. Continue reading

Photographing Birds at Bosque del Apache in New Mexico



Mary and I were at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge about a month ago to photograph snow geese and Sandhill cranes.  This was our second try here at bird photography.  Whether you are a birder or just a curious outdoors person, this place is a must.  Here is what you might see. Continue reading

Once again, what is rule number one?

Back bay hike at Morro Bay, CA

Back bay hike at Morro Bay, CA

Almost every book and blog I read has a set of rules and/or commandments for the aspiring photographer.  I find most of them helpful, but also forgettable.  My favorite set comes from the well known photographer, John Shaw.  However, all of them forget to mention the most important rule of all – ALWAYS CARRY A CAMERA! Continue reading

Photographing the Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico



Carlsbad Caverns is one of over 300 limestone caves in a fossil reef laid down by an inland sea 250 to 280 million years ago.  It includes a large cave chamber, the BIG ROOM, that is almost 4,000 feet long, 625 feet wide, and 255 feet high at its highest point.  Here is what you might see. Continue reading

The Why and How of High Dynamic Range (HDR) Photography

Mittens Sunrise, Monument Valley, UT (HDR)

High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography may be the best and most useful new technology we have seen in years and also the most controversial.  HDR refers to the ability to combine multiple photos with different exposures that capture a larger range of light than is possible with a single exposure.  For someone who is a hardcore traditionalist, using HDR might seem like cheating.  After all, we already use hardware to change exposures with graduated neutral density filters, and other circular filters, like the 8-stop one from Singh Ray.  However, used well in the right situations, HDR gives you a powerful tool to make a photo that more accurately captures what our eyes can see.  Here is how to do it. Continue reading

Photographing at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico

Blast Off

In February, Mary and I traveled to New Mexico to see one of the premier bird sanctuaries in the U.S. – Bosque del Apache.  Bosque is near Socorro, NM which is about 75 miles south of Albuquerque.  We are not experienced bird photographers or wildlife photographers, in general, but we did a lot of reading and watched a lot of video before we got there.  Here is what we saw and a few lessons for novices. Continue reading

Photographing the White Sands National Monument in New Mexico

White Sands Sunset February 4, 2012 (High Dynamic Range Composite)

The White Sands National Monument is a 300 square mile white gypsum dune field located in Southern New Mexico between Las Cruces and Alamogordo.  It is the largest gypsum dune field in the world.  It is the result of an ancient lake that dried up millions of years ago leaving the mineral deposits behind.  There are three types of dunes here – dome, parabolic, and transverse-barchan.  Each looks and feels different as you walk on them.  Consult the park map for the different fields.  Here are a few key shots to get while you are visiting. Continue reading

Photographing the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

Detail from Balloons

Mary and I travelled to Albuquerque, New Mexico in October to see the world-famous Balloon Fiesta.  Though it runs for a full nine days, we attended two days on the last weekend.  The Balloon Fiesta is a world-renowned attraction and destination.  People from all over the world come to Albuquerque to celebrate ballooning.  We saw hundreds of balloons at the huge Balloon Fiesta Park that is the base for the balloon launches. Continue reading

How to Photograph Sand

White Sands, New Mexico

This is a boring title, but a very exciting subject.  Mary and I have done several trips where we have had the opportunity to photograph different kinds of sand.  In this blog, I want to outline a few of the major issues you will face as you try to make good sand photographs and some suggestions around composition.  After a bit of experience, you will see that sand comes in many colors, for example, Death Valley sand is white-ish gray; White Sands, New Mexico is snow-white gypsum; and Monument Valley sand is a burnt orange.  Here is how to capture the color and texture of sand. Continue reading