Mary’s Top Photos of 2016

Winter sunset in Tucson

Winter sunset in Tucson

What a great exercise to look back at a year’s worth of images, re-live the moments when I pushed the shutter, and reflect on the variety of experiences I had.  Every year when Peter asks me (or rather forces me) to do this, I always think “I didn’t really shoot much this year that would make my top 10”.  When I had gathered 25 images and was still adding I realized that I rarely left home with out a camera (or two) in hand.  I think maybe I will post a top 10 iPhone photos of the year too! 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 sand dunes

White Sands New Mexico

White Sands New Mexico

Peter and I have been fortunate to visit many different types of sand dunes.  Some of our favorites are the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes in Death Valley, the Great Sand Dunes in Southern Colorado near Alamosa, and White Sands in New Mexico near Las Cruces.  We visited White Sands over the holiday weekend on a beautiful (and photographically challenging) sunny day.  I decided to use a very long telephoto lens and see if I could capture light and shadow from the different shapes of the dunes.  It was difficult. Continue reading

Peter’s Top Ten Favorite Photos from 2012

#6 Moon-set Pismo Beach Pier

#6 Moon-set Pismo Beach Pier

It’s that time to reflect on all of the great trips from last year and pick our favorite images.  We went on twelve “named” photography trips/outings in 2012, just about one a month.  I probably produced 5,000 photos and processed and kept nearly a 1,000.  Here are my ten favorite photographs from 2012. 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 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

Peter’s Top Photos from 2011

Korean Friendship Bell, San Pedro, CA (#2)

The last week of every year, Mary and I do a last edit and we back-up of all of our photos from that year.  We also finish our yearbook and reminisce about all of the great trips and memories.  I tried to compile a list of top ten favorite photos I made in 2011, but it was nearly impossible with all of our trips and shoots.  Between the two of us, we archived nearly 2,000 images, about half from Mary and half from me.  I tried to pick one from every trip we took.  I could have picked many more from Oregon and from Capitol Reef.   I started with nineteen and reluctantly whittled it down to ten.  Next weekend, Mary will post her Top Ten.  So here are my “favorite” images from 2011: 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