Falcon 9 Nebula
Falcon 9 Nebula
Ancient One
Ancient One
Diamond Ring of Elqui Valley
Diamond Ring of Elqui Valley
420lbs Lift
420lbs Lift
Peephole Portal
Peephole Portal
Sentinel
Sentinel
Morannon
Morannon
Icarus
Icarus
Amon Anwar
Amon Anwar
Halls of Mandos
Halls of Mandos
A Sword of Fire and Ice
A Sword of Fire and Ice
Thomas Fire - Embers
Thomas Fire - Embers
Guardian of the Blood Moon
Guardian of the Blood Moon
Trogon Greens
Trogon Greens
Attempted Murder at Canby's Cross
Attempted Murder at Canby's Cross
Beamed Rock
Beamed Rock
Belegost
Belegost
Biomimetics
Biomimetics
Blackbird Daydream
Blackbird Daydream
Blood Cross
Blood Cross
Blue Christ
Blue Christ
Calacirya
Calacirya
Carrizo Overlaps
Carrizo Overlaps
Catacombs Army
Catacombs Army
Cerin Amroth
Cerin Amroth
Flower Devourer
Flower Devourer
Cinnamon Bear
Cinnamon Bear
Cirith Ungol
Cirith Ungol
Petroglyphed
Petroglyphed
Curious Youth
Curious Youth
Dripping Moose
Dripping Moose
Dry Reflection
Dry Reflection
Dunnotar Castle in the Rain
Dunnotar Castle in the Rain
Edoras
Edoras
Eiffel Fairy Dust
Eiffel Fairy Dust
Eilenach
Eilenach
Emerge
Emerge
End of the Road
End of the Road
Enslaved Family
Enslaved Family
Eye Slit
Eye Slit
Fanuidhol
Fanuidhol
Fern Stream
Fern Stream
Candelarva
Candelarva
Meteor Grotto
Meteor Grotto
Golden Bison
Golden Bison
Golem Soup
Golem Soup
Gondolin
Gondolin
Grampians Golden Field
Grampians Golden Field
Gray Waves
Gray Waves
Griffith Horns
Griffith Horns
Hasufel and Arod
Hasufel and Arod
Heddal Cross
Heddal Cross
Iridescent Fog
Iridescent Fog
Isenmouthe
Isenmouthe
Jupiter Twilight
Jupiter Twilight
Lustrous Livingstone
Lustrous Livingstone
Melbourne Abstractscape
Melbourne Abstractscape
Memories For Sale
Memories For Sale
Meteor Crater Observatory Ruins
Meteor Crater Observatory Ruins
Mexican Hat Arch
Mexican Hat Arch
Milk Bowl
Milk Bowl
Miss Moiré
Miss Moiré
Moon Eater
Moon Eater
Bristlecone Dive
Bristlecone Dive
Mud Blob Collection
Mud Blob Collection
Nuclear Badlands
Nuclear Badlands
Orthanc
Orthanc
Painted Pano
Painted Pano
Paramount Specter
Paramount Specter
Petrified Stream
Petrified Stream
Pine Slug
Pine Slug
Prismatic Wave
Prismatic Wave
Progenitor
Progenitor
Prominence Valley
Prominence Valley
Ravenous
Ravenous
Razorwood
Razorwood
Rolling Hues
Rolling Hues
Sammath Naur
Sammath Naur
Sand Fire Power Lines
Sand Fire Power Lines
Saturn's Milk
Saturn's Milk
Symmetry
Symmetry
Skeleton Boy
Skeleton Boy
Spirit of the Caldera - Fairytale
Spirit of the Caldera - Fairytale
Eärrámë
Eärrámë
Spray of Butterflies
Spray of Butterflies
Sprout of Life
Sprout of Life
Spunk
Spunk
Sulphur Swarm
Sulphur Swarm
Sunrise on Fire
Sunrise on Fire
The Flame of Anor
The Flame of Anor
The Gates of Argonath
The Gates of Argonath
The Light Over Dunvegan Castle
The Light Over Dunvegan Castle
Tol Sirion
Tol Sirion
Tule Lake Minimalism
Tule Lake Minimalism
Vása, The Heart of Fire
Vása, The Heart of Fire
Vikebygd Fog
Vikebygd Fog
Smaug’s Shadow
Smaug’s Shadow
Turgon's Daystar
Turgon's Daystar
Wet Jaguar
Wet Jaguar
Yellow Brick Road
Yellow Brick Road
Falcon 9 Nebula
Falcon 9 NebulaThe SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket successfully delivers the SAOCOM 1A satellite to orbit. In a single long exposure, the ascent, second stage, boostback and re-entry burns are shown. From Santa Ynez Peak, California. I watched the launch from Santa Ynez peak, about 40 miles from the base. It was spectacular, the fog lit up and quickly the horizon turned red. After the second stage deployed, the Falcon 9 drew spirals of light in the sky and a massive cyan and magenta cloud formed. It looked as if we we staring into a nebula, with two bright eyes staring back. The descent back to base was fiery and almost blinding, while the payload left behind a trail that looked like a distant comet. This is a single exposure, at 9 minutes and 33 seconds. This was my first time shooting a launch, and it won't be my last.
Ancient One
Ancient OneAncient bristlecone pine witnesses yet another sunset, isolated on the cliffside where it has resided for thousands of years, at the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, California. This famous 3000+ year old tree at the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest has been photographed countless times, but I found a new angle by shooting with the telephoto and extender at 800mm, from very far away. Mt. Williamson looms behind it, warmed by the last glow of sunset. This photo has become one of my personal favorites. It's a clean composition, of an interesting subject, with a new perspective and, during a moment where the light and the climate where ideal for the photo. It also took planning: I snapped a similar photo the day before, and though it was very good I knew I could do better, so the next day I planned my composition changes and camera settings before returning, to minimize any chance of mistakes.
Diamond Ring of Elqui Valley
Diamond Ring of Elqui Valley
420lbs Lift
420lbs LiftMongolian World Sumo Champion Byamba lifts all 420 pounds of USA's Kelly Gneiting, and slams him into the ground, during the 2013 US Sumo Open at the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center, Los Angeles, California. The power of these fights is hard to capture. A monumental amount of energy is released in such a short time, and in a quick slam the battle is over. I created this composite image from a burst of photos I took during the critical moment of this heavy-weight fight. I picked the decisive frames that expressed the key moments in the short story, and merged them together in a linear sequence. Notice the spectators in the back, their expressions changing through the brief and shocking moments.
Peephole Portal
Peephole PortalAs sunlight passes through a peephole, different wavelengths refract at different angles, and through a long and shaky exposure reveal a prismatic rainbow in the air. At a Motel 6 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The door’s peephole refracted a circular rainbow on the far wall of our cheap hotel room. I positioned the camera over the vibrant beam, and with a long, intentionally shaky exposure, I was able to capture a multi-colored streak passing through the ephemeral prism.
Sentinel
SentinelBacklit by the moon, a tawny frogmouth (Podargus strigoides) holds as still as a dead tree, on the side of the road at Wilsons Promontory, Australia. This was an amazing moment, driving out of Wilsons Promontory at night. The frogmouth flew off to the side, and since there was no traffic, we stopped right in the middle of the road, and had enough time to change lenses, set up the tripod, and get lots of long exposures of this beautiful bird, lining it up perfectly behind the moon. I couldn't believe how cooperative this bird was. It remained still enough to get long exposures of over a second, while still changing its pose from time to time to give me new compositions as I adjusted the camera to the moon's quickly shifting motion.
Morannon
MorannonA sand tufa portal opens towards the gray dunes of Mono Lake, California. This is one of the most exquisite sand tufa formations, menacing and unsound. It rests on smooth, unperturbed sand dunes. Despite how peaceful and still this scene looks, I had a really hard time taking this photo due to strong winds, and sand shooting through my eyeballs, I could barely open my eyes to focus. The closer you get to the ground to get these low angles, the worse the sandblasting gets.
Icarus
IcarusA fireman and two deer watch as the hills are set ablaze during the La Tuna Fire, which burned 7,194 acres in the Verdugo Mountains of Los Angeles County in 2017. I didn't know there were deer in this scene when I took this photo (there are two in there, one barely visible in the shadows), I was too transfixed by the flames, trying to capture the right moment with the tiny firefighter. It was spectacular and terrifying. So much can burn so quickly.
Amon Anwar
Amon AnwarThick snow blankets the Mono Lake Cemetery, overlooking the frigid lake with a single mound of tufa in the salty waters. Mono City, California. A few feet of pristine snow covered the cemetery that is just north of Mono Lake. I slowly dug a path forward and made it all across to the southern fence, taking some photos of the gravestones with the fresh powder over them. There is no clear view of tufa from the cemetery, they are all very far away, but with the telephoto I managed this composition. I wish I could've gotten the angel a bit clearer, but I couldn't find any other angles that included the tufa.
Halls of Mandos
Halls of MandosSand tufa towers reveal their intricate silhouettes against the core of the Milky Way, with Jupiter glowing in the center. Mono Lake, California. Saturday ended with a very clear sunset, no clouds at all, which was disappointing for photography, but also meant a clear night was coming. I went to bed early and woke up at 2am (the Moon set at 1:30, and I needed a bit of time for the glow to dissipate). I hiked in the dark to find the sand tufa, and took photos from 2:30 to 4:30am, at which point the glow of sunrise started showing. The night was extremely clear. This was the first time I recall seeing the core of the Milky Way and being able to visually identify the warmth of the core, it had a distant orange tone. Jupiter was my anchor, it's the brightest spot right in the center of this photo. It was easy to line up the shots by using it as a reference.
A Sword of Fire and Ice
A Sword of Fire and IceAn icy lake reflects a piercing shaft of light from the morning sun, with its disc clearly delineated thanks to the thick fog of Tule Lake, California. The constantly-moving fog created weird light conditions, in this case the sun shone through a temporary slit below the fog, creating a streak on the ice, while at the same time the fog above the slit was holding just the right density, revealing the sun's disk. The colors were odd, the golden rays filtered out in the fog and turned gray and eerie, tinting the shadows and creating a monochrome landscape.
Thomas Fire - Embers
Thomas Fire - EmbersEmbers from the Thomas Fire light up a patch of trees and brush under a pink sunset in Wills Canyon, Ojai, California. The Thomas Fire, the largest wildfire in modern California history, burned approximately 281,893 acres in 2017. We were in the city of Ojai, getting distant glimpses of the uncontained fire. The sunset turned pink with all the smoke. A distant tree flared up in huge flames, leaving only these scintillating ashes behind. Catastrophic events can sometimes hold an ember of beauty in them.
Guardian of the Blood Moon
Guardian of the Blood MoonDuring the “super blood moon” eclipse of 2015, an ancient whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) embraces the moon. Taken at the Watchman Peak Trail, Crater Lake National Park, Oregon. There was a wild flock of photographers at Crater Lake for the eclipse. I got some wide shots too, but I wanted something a bit different from what everyone else was getting, so I focused my attention on this old pine. This now endangered species can live to over 1,200 years, and their numbers are quickly diminishing due to invasive, conifer-killing beetles.
Trogon Greens
Trogon GreensMale Amazonian trogon (Trogon ramonianus) showcases his shimmering back feathers in the Amazonian rainforest of Alta Floresta, Brazil. Trogons are ancient and mysterious creatures. They move as if in slow motion, observing everything with robotic and meticulous head twists. This male trogon perched on a branch next to our observation tower, the green of the forest was no match for his iridescent green feathers.
Attempted Murder at Canby's Cross
Attempted Murder at Canby's CrossShrouded by fog, two ravens perch on Canby's Cross, a memorial on the spot where General Canby was killed, in the Lava Beds National Monument, California. A historical landmark on the spot of General Canby's killing, by a shot from Captain Jack of the Modocs, who was later hanged. I found no monuments for murdered Modocs nearby.
Beamed Rock
Beamed RockDuring a 6 hour hike inside the tapering canyons of The Narrows, a beam of light placed itself symmetrically behind a massive boulder. The turbid, brown water bounced the intense, golden light into the canyon wall, making it seem like it was lit from the inside.
Belegost
BelegostA complex structure of columns and plates of sand tufa stand plastered by fresh snow, on the south shore of Mono Lake, California. This sand tufa is well hidden, behind dunes and away from a clear line of sight, surrounded by about 30 other amazing formations. I was very happy when I stumbled upon this area. This big roof holds an inverted tufa "stalactite", where the bottom broke away but a large chunk of it remains attached to the top. I could not get a good angle that showcases that formation on a still image (it's right in the center of this photo), but I did record a video of it to make it clearer.
Biomimetics
BiomimeticsJuxtaposed to a reflected penguin, a woman wearing black and white searches for information in one of the terminals of the Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle, Paris

My favorite shot from Paris, great contrast, color, and juxtaposition. I was on the interior balcony of the museum, and saw the lady playing with the touch screen controls. As I moved by, the reflection of the penguin from a lower level appeared. I quickly sat on the floor lining up the reflection into the darker shape, locked my lens hood between the balcony's bars to avoid shake, and took two shots before the lady moved away.

The shifting hues of the museum lights gave a nice set of complimentary colors.
Blackbird Daydream
Blackbird Daydream
Blood Cross
Blood CrossA cross made out of light materializes on the floor mosaics at the Getty Villa. Pacific Palisades, California. The Getty Villa is a great location to find compositions with reflections and transparencies. This cross, over a deep blood red floor, stood out to me as soon as I entered the room. The reflection of the windows looked like claw marks of a giant beast trying to escape.
Blue Christ
Blue ChristA rusty bronze statue of Christ on top of a tombstone in the Montparnasse Cemetery of Paris.

I couldn't get the camera to focus. I was shooting down towards this figure but for some reason the focus kept getting stuck. I couldn't use the viewfinder since I hat to stretch my arms up over me and blindly aim the camera down. I got the camera to focus after several tries, but I liked the out of focus version of the image the most. The splatter that looks like blood red comes from seedpods that gathered under the metal sculpture.
Calacirya
CalaciryaThousands of Wilson's phalaropes (Phalaropus tricolor) flock over the Mono Lake tufa, as they stop to feed in California before they make their 3,000 mile trip to Argentina. We went to Mono Lake to see the phalaropes that had come by on their migration, as I really wanted photos of the tufa with flocks of birds around them. These amazing birds stop at the lake to feed for 6 weeks before they embark on a 3,000 mile journey to Argentina, flying non-stop for 3 days, covering 1,000 miles a day. The brine shrimp and alkali flies at the lake are nutritious and bountiful, allowing the birds to double their weight and molt into new feathers before they take the long journey.
Carrizo Overlaps
Carrizo OverlapsOverlapping hills covered with different flower species are lit by quickly shifting beams of sunlight, during the 2019 superbloom at the Carrizo Plain National Monument, California. We returned to this spot in the Temblor Range, which we had visited years ago during the last superbloom. Last time we only had perfectly clear skies, but this year we had some clouds that changed the pattern of the light from moment to moment. I took a lot of photos in this same spot, and they all look very different.
Catacombs Army
Catacombs ArmyA wall stretches down a curved corridor, made from a small collection of the over 6 million skeletons that inhabit The Catacombs of Paris, France.

They don't allow tripods at The Catacombs, and I wanted to shoot at f/11 to get a sharper foreground, which meant a very long exposure. I gathered a little pile of pebbles on the ground, rested the camera on them, and got my sharp 8 second exposure that way. The artificial lights make it hard to find good spots, I prefer it when the light is diffused, indirect, more natural. Finding foreground elements is really tough, this was one of few curved walls that allowed this sort of foreground/background play.
Cerin Amroth
Cerin AmrothFalling snow sparkles in the morning light over a small tufa mound, which sits in a golden field by the shore of Mono Lake, California. The morning I took this photo was surreal. The sun was breaking through the horizon, and the falling crystals of snow were tiny and perfect, falling quietly and floating with no wind. The fresh sunlight paired with the dried grass made for a perfectly golden scene. I let the sun shine into my lens, creating some flares that further enhanced the golden colors. The glow on top of the tufa in this photo is one of these lens flares, just perfectly lined up to it.
Flower Devourer
Flower DevourerChestnut-eared aracari (Pteroglossus castanotis) devours flowers at the Jaguar Ecological Reserve, Brazil. This was our first morning in the Pantanal, I woke up and walked outside where I spotted this gorgeous aracari, very close to our room. He methodically devoured about a dozen of the flowers, and then left.
Cinnamon Bear
Cinnamon BearA black bear takes a breath of fresh air among the flowers, and stares up towards the sun. Lake Sherburne, Glacier National Park, Montana. We saw this cinnamon-colored black bear on the side of the road by lake Sherburne. He was eating berries and walking parallel to the road. I loved the look on his face at this moment, when it looked up and its eyes lit up, full of life.
Cirith Ungol
Cirith UngolTiny sand tufa towers, only about one foot tall, display their intricate, organic shapes under the starscape of Mono Lake, California. This is another experiment with the very soft FD lens, creating a milky blur that feels almost underwater. The light pollution was hitting the low haze, and just minutes after this that turned to a dim fog that obscured the stars entirely, and I had to stop shooting. I like the very soft feel of this lens, but it's extremely hard to find something to shoot, since every element needs to be on the same plane or they get blurry too fast. Something 5 inches behind would lose all detail.
Petroglyphed
PetroglyphedA raven (Corvus corax) and his twin shadow glide over an immense sandstone wall adorned with stripes of desert varnish, at the White House Ruins of Canyon de Chelly, Navajo Nation. I spent most of my time down at the ruins taking pictures of birds. The alcoves and enormous sheer cliffs made for a great background of colors and lines. I chased a kestrel around as he hunted, and also saw two golden eagles being chased by the ravens. This was my favorite image of those walls. I have others of multiple ravens with even more shadows and with colorful backgrounds, but the simplicity of this one made it much more striking.
Curious Youth
Curious YouthThree young statues express their precocious curiosity at the Vigeland Sculpture Park of Oslo, Norway. Gustav Vigeland was a very prolific sculptor, his park in Oslo is the largest sculpture park in the world by a single artist. I had fun exploring character juxtapositions and new interpretations, the combinations are endless, especially when using a long lens.
Dripping Moose
Dripping MooseA bull moose stares at the camera after raising his head from feeding on the aquatic plants of Fishercap Lake. Glacier National Park, Montana. I was walking around Fishercap Lake, where I was told that moose come to feed at dusk. I spotted two grizzly bears on the mountain across the lake, but way too far to get any pictures. There I waited, until the bull moose showed up, slowly making his way through the shallow lake and feeding on the aquatic plants. He took his time feeding and approaching, eventually getting as close as 15 feet away from me. I was torn between the desire to remain still and keep photographing, and the instinct to move away, since moose can be quite dangerous. I felt like the moose did not mind me, it was he who approached while completely aware of my presence, so I kept still and respectful and waited for him to be on his way.
Dry Reflection
Dry ReflectionA tree sits over crackled caps of fossilized sand dunes, seeing its reflection on a tiny plant growing from the sand, at White Pocket, Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, Arizona. There's a tree in White Pocket, the most contrasting shape among the hardened, ancient sand dunes. There is a little pool of water that gets surreal reflections of this tree, but I found this dry mirroring in the sand equally interesting. The vertical crack completed the effect by aligning the two subjects.
Dunnotar Castle in the Rain
Dunnotar Castle in the RainDunnotar Castle hides behind a layer of rain and fog, on the northeastern coast of Scotland, near Stonehaven. From all the castles we saw in Scotland, my favorite one was Dunnotar Castle, a cliff top fortress built mostly in the 15th century. It's ruined but well kept, it's accessible but doesn't feel like a theme park, and it's massive, with numerous rooms and passages to visit. By the time I walked the steps and windy road back to the car, it started raining hard. I got out of the car and ran back the road towards the elevated viewpoint, and waited with my camera aimed at the rain until I could see the castle again. I had my telephoto on and at 100mm I couldn't get the right shot, so I did a vertical panorama to get the composition I was after.
Edoras
EdorasYoung wild horse walks in front of a large mound of tufa (porous rock formations composed of calcium carbonate) while being observed by a dark bird, at Mono Lake, California. The shifting clouds in the Eastern Sierra sometimes line up to create entirely surreal lighting situations. In this case, a yellow beam of light hit the lighter-colored sands in the far distance while the rest of the landscape was under a soft, purplish bounce light. It created an artificial horizon, and worked just right with the pale yellow color of the young horse. The bird was just extra, feels like an omen. Rather than going to the main south or north tufa formations during our Memorial Day Weekend trip (areas which were even more packed with tourist than usual) we took a dirt road around Mono Lake towards the more inaccessible and less-known tufa in the south-east. To our surprise, a team of horses was roaming around the area. I ditched the idea of setting up for landscape shots and instead stalked the horses to capture something unique. Tufa with horses is something I had never seen before, it was a much more interesting take than tufa against a pretty sunset. Luckily I had my rubber boots, so I could hike around the deeper marsh areas and thick reeds to find the best angles.
Eiffel Fairy Dust
Eiffel Fairy DustEiffel Tower on a long and shaky exposure during the nightly show that repeats every hour from sundown to 1:00 am, in Paris.

Since the strobing white lights blinked at unimaginable speeds, I was able to shake the camera around extremely fast in my hands during a 1 second exposure, and make everything blurry except for the bright flashes. I tried this a billion times during and embarrassing public display. I picked the photo that had the best circular shakes and looked the most like fairy dust. This take also caught a dynamic lens flare from a street lamp.
Eilenach
Eilenach
Emerge
EmergeA fallen tree emerges from the low fog that blankets the Cristalino River every morning in the Amazonian rainforest of Alta Floresta, Brazil. We got up very early every day to head to our hikes. Since you can only move around in boats for the majority of the areas, our journey always started with a brief trip through the foggy Cristalino River. The fog is dense, but vanishes quickly once the direct sunlight hits it.
End of the Road
End of the RoadBright flags mark the end of the road as the highway is closed for the winter, at the North Cascades National Park, Washington. We knew we would not be able to drive all the way through the North Cascades Highway, but on a gray and snowy day an untouched road with fresh snow is too beautiful to pass. The end of the road was highlighted by flags of the most surreal orange color, with the highway markings lightly visible underneath the translucent, thin layer of fresh snow.
Enslaved Family
Enslaved FamilyA family of chimpanzees hold each other tightly inside one of the cages at the Los Angeles City Zoo, California. Despite the indispensable job zoos are responsible for, I find it hard to look at the caged animals without feeling sad for their trapped existence. I caught this moment, with the chimpanzee's clenched fist behind bars, while the baby was cuddled in his sleep.
Eye Slit
Eye SlitA thick-furred bison stares at the sunset, revealing the horizontal pupil shape of his slitted eye. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. It was sunset in Lamar Valley, and a herd of bison began crossing the 212 Highway right in front of us. I stayed next to the car and kept the telephoto mounted to get some really tight close-ups. The bison grunted to show their dominance, and stared straight at us vigilantly, but kept moving at a steady pace.
Fanuidhol
Fanuidhol
Fern Stream
Fern StreamA refreshing creek flows smoothly in a cove of ferns near Watson Falls, North Umpqua River Basin, Oregon. I took this pic on the hike to Watson Falls, by the 138 freeway. The main falls were a bit dry, but the stream below was very beautiful and created a cove of ferns and silky water. I let the exposure linger for half a second, to record the softness of the flow.
Candelarva
CandelarvaCradled in a cave of ferns and moss, a delicate chandelier of light is lit by a patient glowworm, in Melba Gully, Great Otway National Park, Australia. This series was taken at Melba Gully (a rainforest walk in the Great Otway National Park) and at the Glowworm Tunnel (an abandoned train tunnel in the Wollemi National Park, near the Blue Mountains). The glowworms are fly larvae from a fungus gnat from the Keroplatidae family. This species is tiny, the worm about 1 cm, the gooey web cave they build around 3 cm wide or so. The larvae build a structure composed of a horizontal mucous tube suspended by a network of threads attached to rocks, bark or soil. They can turn around in the tube and move back and forth. They build snares, much like spiderwebs, decorated by sticky droplets that glow in the blue light emitted by their tails, attracting small insects. The species pictured in this series is Arachnocampa richardsae.
Meteor Grotto
Meteor GrottoLike a meteoric rain, stocky droplets of mucous from a glowworm sparkle suspended in a miniature cavern, in Melba Gully, Great Otway National Park, Australia. This series was taken at Melba Gully (a rainforest walk in the Great Otway National Park) and at the Glowworm Tunnel (an abandoned train tunnel in the Wollemi National Park, near the Blue Mountains). The glowworms are fly larvae from a fungus gnat from the Keroplatidae family. This species is tiny, the worm about 1 cm, the gooey web cave they build around 3 cm wide or so. The larvae build a structure composed of a horizontal mucous tube suspended by a network of threads attached to rocks, bark or soil. They can turn around in the tube and move back and forth. They build snares, much like spiderwebs, decorated by sticky droplets that glow in the blue light emitted by their tails, attracting small insects. The species pictured in this series is Arachnocampa richardsae.
Golden Bison
Golden BisonA powerful bison makes his way through Lamar Valley, silhouetted agains the golden light of sunset. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming I left the car and headed down the valley. Soon I was surrounded by a moving herd of bison, who kept their distance. I tried focusing on one large male that was walking toward the sunset, which was especially colorful due to nearby forest fires. I let the sun shine straight into the lens, washing the whole frame into a golden light.
Golem Soup
Golem SoupA composite of the endless forms most beautiful that evolve from the bubbling mud of the Norris Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. This is a composite of a bunch of images taken in succession, in an interval of just a few minutes. I held my composition tight on a very active area of the mud pot, and hit the shutter whenever I felt a big blob about to erupt. Then I merged the best moments from these shots into a single image, creating a landscape of alien creatures.
Gondolin
GondolinA white column of tufa leans over a windswept wall of blossoming rabbit brush, at Mono Lake, California. On the west shore of Mono Lake, we had to hike through dense thickets of rabbit brush to get to the tufa, this was taken right as you enter the tufa area, breaching the thick brushes. There's a sense of flow and motion in this photo that I really love, the lines created by the branches make it seem like a strong wind is blowing. It was a bit windy out there, but I actually had to wait until the winds stopped to take the photo.
Grampians Golden Field
Grampians Golden FieldField of canary-grass grows underneath a clean blue sky, and the southern ends of the towering sandstone mountains of the Grampians National Park, Australia. We were on our way to Bryan Swamp, a little detour before entering the Grampians National Park, when we came upon this endless golden field. It was extremely hot outside, but we decided to stop the car and join the grasshoppers outside. A few minutes after taking this photo, wispy clouds showed up, but I liked this super simple and graphic version of the pic the most.
Gray Waves
Gray WavesChaos of sandstone waves create a disorienting painting of curves and shadows at Antelope Canyon, near Page, Arizona. The light patterns and curved shapes are so abstract in Antelope Canyon, that sometimes the concept of up or down seems meaningless, the rocks are but a frozen crashing wave twirling around you.
Griffith Horns
Griffith HornsWaxing crescent moon suspended in a beam of light sets over the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, California. It's much harder to plan moon positions than sun positions for super telephoto shots. The sun transitions rather evenly day by day, it'll be just a tiny bit off to one side the next day, pretty predictable, but the moon jumps around a lot more. It's also much harder to avoid camera shake, due to the longer exposures with low light. Even with a tripod, 90% of my shots were not sharp enough. But one sharp shot is enough.
Hasufel and Arod
Hasufel and ArodTwo stallions watch the sun set as they roam freely among the tufa (porous rock formations composed of calcium carbonate) at Mono Lake, California. Rather than going to the main south or north tufa formations during our Memorial Day Weekend trip (areas which were even more packed with tourist than usual) we took a dirt road around Mono Lake towards the more inaccessible and less-known tufa in the south-east. To our surprise, a team of horses was roaming around the area. I ditched the idea of setting up for landscape shots and instead stalked the horses to capture something unique. Tufa with horses is something I had never seen before, it was a much more interesting take than tufa against a pretty sunset. Luckily I had my rubber boots, so I could hike around the deeper marsh areas and thick reeds to find the best angles.
Heddal Cross
Heddal CrossThe Heddal stave church, constructed in the early 13th century, sits under a stormy sky, surrounded by tombstones, in Heddal, Norway. We saw 7 or so stave churches during our trip, named by their specific type of timber framing construction. I wanted a unique angle for the Heddal church. After walking around for a while, I went behind the rock walls and found this corner that let me frame one of the tombstone crosses and the entrance to the left. By letting my camera sit on the rock wall I was able to get a multiple exposure HDR and get some details in the stormy skies, while still keeping a low contrast image overall.
Iridescent Fog
Iridescent FogMoon halo shines a full spectrum of light next to the colorful night lights by the water tower of Tule Lake, California. We were out for a night of shooting in the dark and fog once more, passing by the town of Tule Lake. We stopped on the main road when seeing this sight. I loved the variety of street light colors in this area, and the moon surrounded by all of the colors at once. It's impossible to shoot this without blowing out the whites and crunching the blacks, so I took 3 long exposures (half a second to three seconds) and had the HDR merge take care of mixing for a proper dynamic range.
Isenmouthe
IsenmoutheLight erupts in the sky over the intricate sand tufa of Mono Lake, California. Whenever I try and set up for a good sunset or sunrise composition at Mono Lake, things just never work as I plan them. The sky is unpredictable, and in order to line up elements in the ground and sky I have to keep mobile and react quickly to the shifting clouds. I had set up for the "perfect" horizontal sunset shot, aiming west, but had to forget that whole setup when this cloud lit up towards the north east, almost straight above.
Jupiter Twilight
Jupiter TwilightA hazy gray sky partially obscures a Jovian sunset, seen from an observation tower in the Amazonian rainforest of Alta Floresta, Brazil. We watched the sun set from above the tall canopies of Alta Floresta, near the Cristalino River. The sky was lightly fogged and muted, so I color balanced the image to emphasize a purely gray sky, to contrast against the saturated sun. The equal brightnesses with the extreme differences in saturation makes the sun shimmer.
Lustrous Livingstone
Lustrous Livingstone
Melbourne Abstractscape
Melbourne AbstractscapeFour distinctive skyscrapers compete for attention in an abstract cityscape in downtown Melbourne, Australia. Skyscrapers in Melbourne have a huge variety of colors and styles. I took this pic from the park in front of the library. I know which building is in front of which, but my brain still has a hard time accepting it.
Memories For Sale
Memories For SaleA mirror opens a portal into a forgotten memory at the Mauerpark flea market, Berlin. One of my favorite shots from the trip. We were at the busy flea market in Mauerpark on a warm Saturday afternoon. I saw the woman reflected in the hanging mirror, so I hung around the far end of the antiques table and waited for a good shot.
Meteor Crater Observatory Ruins
Meteor Crater Observatory RuinsFramed between two distant mesas, the ruins of the old Meteor Crater Observatory slowly erodes into the desert landscape near Winslow, Arizona. This observatory was opened right on the old Route 66 in the 1930's, where you could pay 25 cents to look at the meteor crater through their telescope. It was abandoned in the 1950's. The ruins seem like a castle, a strange apparition in the middle of the desert. By using a super telephoto lens, I was able to frame this ancient building with two distant mesas that shared complementary shapes.
Mexican Hat Arch
Mexican Hat ArchThe balanced rock known as Mexican Hat emerges through the falling snow, at Mexican Hat, Utah. It was snowing hard when we drove by Mexican Hat, and the rock wasn't visible from the road. As we approached, the silhouette revealed itself slowly. I found a complementary natural curve that flowed well with the background, creating a clean arc across the image. The snow offered a sense of scale and distance.
Milk Bowl
Milk BowlA smooth bowl of mud pops as it emerges from the geothermal pools of the Artist Paint Pots. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. Capturing exploding mud bubbles took a lot of patience, fast reflexes, and a faster shutter speed. I was aiming for violent, jagged monsters of mud, but my favorite pic ended up being this simple, elegant bowl, underneath a lonely, hovering droplet. It's a fun game, trying to figure out where to aim the camera, and at what time to hit the shutter. There's an extremely short anticipation when the mud inflates, and less than a second later the mud bubble has already exploded. Some areas are more viscous and explode slightly slower, but the key moment is always extremely short and hard to capture.
Miss Moiré
Miss MoiréA woman with an exemplary collection of contrasting patterns sits pointedly at the Bolsa Chica State Beach, California. Unaware of my presence, Miss Moiré sits on a bench, summoning her pinstriped, zebra-patterned, polka-dotted, speckled, halftone powers.
Moon Eater
Moon EaterWaxing crescent moon inside the metallic, piercing bite of Breceda's Eagle. This sculpture by Ricardo Breceda inhabits a desert road in Borrego Springs, California. I had to embrace the noise in this image, I needed a really high ISO of 6400 to get things sharp with the telephoto at f/16. I was looking for an original angle of this sculpture, since I've seen in photographed many times before. Few people care to take out a telephoto at night, it's a nightmare to use even with a tripod, so I gave it a shot. I had a ton of blurry images, but the ones that turned out sharp became some of my favorites from this trip. Going to Borrego Springs feels like hunting for Pokémon. The sculptures by Ricardo Breceda are scattered all over, some right by the main road, some in the middle of nowhere, and one can't help but go visit each one of them and try to see them all.
Bristlecone Dive
Bristlecone DiveDiving from an ancient bristlecone pine, a mountain bluebird (Sialia currucoides) lets its translucent wings shine in front of a bright sky, at the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, California. I took notice of the spots the bluebirds frequented, so I set to find a composition using this elderly log, which is likely several thousand years old. The wood is from a dead tree, sitting on top of a rocky hillside 10,000 feet above sea level. I waited uncomfortably for the birds to return, sitting on the cold, sharp rocks. Several of them came by, males and females, briefly pausing on top of the log and taking off in different directions. I kept my aperture sharp, since I did not not in which direction they would fly off, and I wanted to get a sharp picture in mid-air.
Mud Blob Collection
Mud Blob CollectionMud blobs of all shapes emerge ephemerally from the geothermal muddy pools of the Artist Paint Pots of the Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. After hundreds and hundreds of shots of mud in one day, I picked this diverse sample of portraits as my favorites. Sometimes I enjoy the simplicity of the shapes, while other times it's all about the chaos. It's a fun game, trying to figure out where to aim the camera, and at what time to hit the shutter. There's an extremely short anticipation when the mud inflates, and less than a second later the mud bubble has already exploded. Some areas are more viscous and explode slightly slower, but the key moment is always extremely short and hard to capture.
Nuclear Badlands
Nuclear BadlandsLoaded with bright LEDs, thousands of ATVs and RVs light up the desert's night sky, in this long exposure view from Font's Point, looking towards the Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area, California. 40 minute exposure from Font's Point in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Despite this area being great for dark skies, due to the massive amount of off-roaders there for Thanksgiving, the landscape was covered in clouds of dust and not as dark as it should've been. There were thousands of RVs and ATVs with bright LEDs all around the landscape. This shot was stupidly overexposed, I set the ISO too high for star trails, but I ended up liking the apocalyptic look it took. No tripod! The tripod would've vibrated too much over 40 minutes, so I left the cam on a rock at the edge of the cliff. The rock didn't move.
Orthanc
OrthancAn intricate sand tufa (porous rock formation composed of calcium carbonate) stands in a delicate balance against the elements at Mono Lake, California. This is so far my favorite sand tufa we discovered, the complexity of the shapes and the way it sits on the tilted mound of sand makes it look like the fossilized remnants of an ancient city's vascular system. We discovered two new areas of sand tufas by taking a 4WD sandy road on the south-east side of Mono Lake. The sand tufa are different from the regular tufa, they are much more delicate, smaller is scale, and more linear instead of blobby. They are not easy to spot, and once spotted there's a good hike in the sand to get to the different clusters. I think this cluster we found is much more intricate and iconic than the other tufas found near the touristy areas of the lake, despite being less numerous and smaller. They are nicely isolated against the sky, with clean sand beneath, and the Gigeresque patterns they spawn are entirely alien.
Painted Pano
Painted PanoThe painted hills of the Carrizo Plain National Monument explode in painterly colors during the superbloom of 2019. Carrizo Plain, California. We had a great weekend photographing the colorful hills. I think it was as good as the previous superbloom, and though some areas we saw last time were a bit patchier, some others that were not covered in flowers last time were blanketed by them this year.
Paramount Specter
Paramount SpecterSpectral apparition of a child soldier carrying a Nerf crossbow, shot through the window of a western church movie set at Paramount Ranch, California. A group of kids were playing a capture the flag Nerf battle, the church was the spawning base of this kid, who was patrolling around the building a bit bored since all the action was in the middle of the battlefield. The dirty window added a diffuse glow. The far background and the reflected background are both sharp, leaving the kid in the middle soft and ghostly.
Petrified Stream
Petrified StreamA stream of 225-million-year-old petrified trees frozen in time over the pigmented sands of the Blue Mesa badlands, at the Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona. We weren't planning on going to this park during our trip, we decided on it at the last minute, and were going to drive through it rather quickly. We ended up staying there until sunset (they kick you out at sunset, which is unfortunate and idiotic). We needed more time, there's a ton to see, way too much. It's not a few fossilized trees, it's millions of them, stretching over miles. They are everywhere, you can't walk around without seeing massive fossilized trees everywhere you go.
Pine Slug
Pine SlugTwisted through thousands of years, a bristlecone pine rises its gnarly branches towards a stormy sky, at the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, California. This tree was on the road to the Patriarch Grove, on the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest. The grove was inaccessible due to snow, but we got half-way there and found an area with dozens of gnarly trees and some fresh, untouched snow. Some can see a creepy face on the side of this tree, to me it looks more like a demonic slug.
Prismatic Wave
Prismatic WaveFrom a distance, the microbial mats around the edges of the mineral-rich waters of the Grand Prismatic Spring are abstracted into a wavy rainbow. This is the third largest hot spring in the world, located at the Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. These famous springs are so huge, that they are sometimes best appreciated from afar. Taking a small path on the hills west of the springs, one can climb high up to a spectacular vantage point, where the colors and shapes are abstracted into a painterly palette of waves and rainbows.
Progenitor
ProgenitorA dilapidated windmill observes the new wind turbines and power plants across the sea, at the Nationalpark Vadehavet, on Denmark's west coast. On our way south through Denmark, we didn't have too much time to stop, but we still took a few minutes to pass by this coastal park right before sunset. When I noticed this old windmill I knew I had to find an angle with the distant power plant. Luckily there was an open field right next to the road with a clear view. I would've tried a multiple exposure HDR, but that's impossible with the moving blades, so I had to settle for a bit of an overexposed sky.
Prominence Valley
Prominence Valley
Ravenous
RavenousA raven pauses briefly over the travertine terraces of Mammoth Hot Springs. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. A spectral haze from nearby forest fires settled around the travertine terraces. I set up to take photos of the skeletal tree, when an almost impossibly perfect raven walked straight into the frame, and briefly held his sepulchral silhouette.
Razorwood
RazorwoodShattered bristlecone pine sets up a pike defense against the incoming cavalry, at the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, California. This image was more of an afterthought, I snapped it while walking around because the pointy shapes caught my eye, but I didn't expect it to work well in a composition. I found that simply by cropping with a tilted horizon line I was able to balance the image, and that there was a lot of cloud detail to recover that I hadn't expected to find. Color was completely unnecessary and distracting.
Rolling Hues
Rolling HuesLone hiker explores a surreal landscape of wildflowers in Carrizo Plain National Monument, California, during the superbloom of 2016.

There is no way to showcase the scale of the flower-covered hills, but the lone hiker in this purple hill at least gives some sense of how vast the space is.

We passed by his parked minivan some moments later, and I left a note with my contact info, so I was able to show him these images days later when I received an email from him. 

This was shot from our truck, using the telephoto lens. If I had used a wide angle, the hiker wouldn't have filled a single pixel.
Sammath Naur
Sammath NaurTowers of sand tufa (porous rock formations composed of calcium carbonate) lean in a fragile balance at Mono Lake, California. On this particular trip to Mono Lake, we spent a long Thanksgiving weekend with my parents and got to wake up early for sunrise and then be back at the lake for sunset. The goal was to see snow, the forecast said it'd be snowing and raining the whole weekend, but nothing happened. There was a bit of snow left when we arrived, but by the morning most of it had melted, and then it entirely vanished a day later. I still need to get some good tufa photos in the snow, maybe some frozen rain, and hopefully the pogonip fog that sometimes coats the shore.
Sand Fire Power Lines
Sand Fire Power LinesPower lines lead to the hellish conflagration caused by the Sand Fire, which burned 41,432 acres in the Santa Clarita Valley, California, in 2017. When leaving work during a regular day, I saw a smoke cloud extending from the mountains to the north. I called my husband and asked him to grab our camera equipment, which he was already doing anyway after hearing about the fire in the news. We met up in a canyon road and drove fast to the location of the fire. We took a dirt maintenance road up the mountain, picking up a friendly photographer on the path, who didn't dare take the rough road on his own, and made it to the top of the mountains to get great views of the fire. Once the fire started spreading south, we decided it was time to head back. Fire moves really fast in such windy conditions, and it was also dark and the road treacherous. We got back to the main road soon after, and saw these power lines go up in flames, along with the hills we were just standing on an hour before. The area we took this photo from burned shortly after we evacuated.
Saturn's Milk
Saturn's MilkA mud bubble grows inside another exploding bubble, in a milky-teal mud pool at the Artist Paint Pots of the Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. Sometimes areas on the mud pots have a clear separation of the mud and water, and the water can take some beautiful pastel colors. During this afternoon, the mud was not very dense and it formed extremely delicate bubbles, that moved much faster than the usual thick ones you see in the area. These more liquid bubbles are harder to shoot, since they explode much faster and timing and shutter speed becomes extremely critical.
Symmetry
SymmetrySay's Phoebe (Sayornis saya) hunts for flies in the fishbone and salt-encrustred shoreline of the Salton Sea, California I chased this Phoebe around for a while, the white landscape of the shore was perfect for high-speed shooting, and also offered a nice bounce light from below. I was trying to get a good angle in which the bird was facing me instead of flying away from me. I was really lucky to get this symmetrical shot.
Skeleton Boy
Skeleton BoySkeletal kid holds his mother's hand as he walks the wet cobblestone streets of Paris.

It was super fun shooting after the rain, so many reflections to look for, I was mostly focused on getting reflected images on the cobblestones. This was a great moment, when I saw the kid far away I knew I had to set up for a photo right away, I stopped focusing on reflections and aimed up. Even the pattern on his mom's clothing was skeletal, the colors all match up.
Spirit of the Caldera - Fairytale
Spirit of the Caldera - FairytaleAt the end of a cold day, a bull elk rests next to the warm steam of the fumaroles at the West Thumb Geyser Basin of the Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. I followed the elk for about an hour, careful to keep him against the setting sun, and with the steaming fumaroles behind him, until he finally went to rest. I used no filters, instead, I removed my lens hood and held my lens close enough to touch the pine needles in front of me, causing a natural green/brown vignette and soft focus.
Eärrámë
EärrámëA single Wilson's phalarope (Phalaropus tricolor) wades on a calm spot in Mono Lake. Phalaropes stop to feed in California before they make their 3,000 mile trip to Argentina. I really like how this composition turned out, the shapes created by the reflecting tufa, and the particles over the still water, create a fascinating contrast and texture. Phalaropes stop at Mono Lake to feed for 6 weeks before they embark on a 3,000 mile journey to Argentina, flying non-stop for 3 days, covering 1,000 miles a day. The brine shrimp and alkali flies at the lake are nutritious and bountiful, allowing the birds to double their weight and molt into new feathers before they take the long journey.
Spray of Butterflies
Spray of ButterfliesAs a boat is set out to launch at the docks, hundreds of sulphur butterflies congregate in a beam of sunlight on the short of the Cristalino River in the Amazonian rainforest of Alta Floresta, Brazil. Hundreds of butterflies gathered around the muddy coast of the river, while a group of explorers was getting ready for the daily adventures. There was a strong beam of sunlight shining on the butterflies, and the tall canopy of the trees was casting a thick shadow over the shore behind them.
Sprout of Life
Sprout of LifeGrand Prize Winner: "American Forests - Forests In Focus 2017."
 A minuscule sprout grows on a mossy mound nested inside an old bonsai tree, at the Huntington Gardens in Pasadena, California. 
This impossibly tiny plant was inside an actual miniature bonsai tree, and the light was so seductive that I had to jump a fence to get close for a macro pic. I got yelled at by security, but I got the photo. The little plant has ambitions to be one of those large trees some day, maybe even as large as that bonsai who was kindly hosting it.
Spunk
SpunkA pressurized spray of foamy water is suspended in front of Abercrombie & Fitch poster at Universal City Walk. Studio City, California. We were walking around City Walk for a photo trip with the Disney layout crew, finding interesting compositions and patterns. The idea here is pretty obvious, I simply had to hold still and get some bursts at the right moment when the fountain sprayed up, and pick the photo that looked the slimiest.
Sulphur Swarm
Sulphur SwarmSulphur butterflies swarm by the muddy waters next to the Cristalino River in the Amazonian rainforest of Alta Floresta, Brazil. I took a few hundred pics of these butterflies, I would find a good angle and hold the shutter down. I saw them after coming back from a sweaty trip, having taken countless photos in the rainforest already. Unfortunately, my memory card was close to full, so I had to keep deleting images on the fly and shooting new bursts. I like the chaos in this particular photo, and how many of the butterflies remained sharp. I wanted to compress the space and abstract the butterflies against a soft background, so I backed off as much as possible and used a super telephoto lens to get this effect.
Sunrise on Fire
Sunrise on Fire
The Flame of Anor
The Flame of AnorA sun pillar (a light phenomenon caused by sunlight refracting on the falling snow) lights up the clouds in a fiery iridescence, and engulfs a crooked and delicate tower of tufa. Mono Lake, California. It was magical to be at Mono Lake with falling snow, while the sun shone brightly under the clouds. Sparks of snow flew everywhere, and the odd light angle created a gorgeous sun pillar, while the clouds turned to rainbows. One thing none of my photos captured was the motion: the flow of snow falling and the twinkling and vanishing of detail is impossible to catch in still images.
The Gates of Argonath
The Gates of ArgonathThe lesser-known tufa of Mono Lake, California, called the "sand tufa," stretch up towards a stormy sky. These formation are much smaller than the prominent ones on the shore, growing only up to 3 feet tall, but also much more dynamic in shapes and textures. I took these photos from way down on the grown, the camera resting on the sand. Tufa are spires of limestone that are formed when underwater springs loaded with calcium mix with an alkaline water base, such as Mono Lake, and it precipitates as limestone shapes. Once the lake level drops, the formations are revealed and the towers cease to grow.
The Light Over Dunvegan Castle
The Light Over Dunvegan CastleDunvegan Castle is briefly illuminated by a sunbeam, perfectly aimed at it alone. Isle of Skye, Scotland. In the center of a 42,000 acre land in the Isle of Skye sits Dunvegan Castle, seat of the MacLeod clan. After two days driving in the rain, we finally saw a little break in the clouds, which produced some neat streaks of sunbeams. We were close to a viewpoint of the castle and stopped to wait, just in case another sunbeam happened to break through and illuminated the castle. I waited around for about 10 minutes, and suddenly a perfect beam landed straight on the castle, lasting a mere 5 seconds, and then all went gray again. I couldn't believe how perfectly the sunbeam landed, nothing else was illuminated, and no more sunlight shone in the area after that single moment. Minutes before I had been setting up a more interesting composition with some foreground flowers, but I happened to move away from that point for a bit and by the time the light appeared I only had enough time to snap a couple of photos and the moment was gone, no time to rethink the composition or tweak settings.
Tol Sirion
Tol SirionA small flock of Wilson's phalaropes (Phalaropus tricolor) rush past a tufa in a tight formation. Mono Lake, California. Before sunrise, as I was hiking towards the South Tufa area, I saw dozens of small flocks of phalaropes moving in small formations, one after another, all headed to the same area, so I headed that way as well. They start in small groups of about a dozen or two, and eventually gather into a massive flock of thousands that swarms around the shore, forming organic shapes in the air similar to a murmuration of starlings. We went to Mono Lake to see the phalaropes that had come by on their migration, as I really wanted photos of the tufa with flocks of birds around them. These amazing birds stop at the lake to feed for 6 weeks before they embark on a 3,000 mile journey to Argentina, flying non-stop for 3 days, covering 1,000 miles a day. The brine shrimp and alkali flies at the lake are nutritious and bountiful, allowing the birds to double their weight and molt into new feathers before they take the long journey.
Tule Lake Minimalism
Tule Lake MinimalismMinimalist composition of sunset colors reflected over the frigid waters of Tule Lake, California. The lake area was getting too dark after sunset, and trying to get photos of birds with so little light was pointless. Since I had my telephoto on already, I looked for other interesting subjects in the areas that were still bright enough. To get this composition, I moved around to find a spot that showed a nice mix of colors and an interesting transition. I tried longer exposures too, for smoother waves, but the colors weren't as crisp and defined in those photos, I prefer the textures I got with this version.
Vása, The Heart of Fire
Vása, The Heart of FireA bird flies straight into the setting sun, after perching on a tufa at Mono Lake, California. I couldn't tell what species of bird this was, I could barely see what I was shooting. It was smaller than a blackbird, bigger than a sparrow. When I take photos of this sort, I tend to look down to see if my own shadow lands in the shadow of the object I'm aiming to photograph, so I can line up the sun without staring at it. Then I use live-view on the back screen of the camera so that I don't burn my retinas.
Vikebygd Fog
Vikebygd FogClouds rise from the ground in the middle of a forest, next to the village area of Vikebygd. Hordaland county, Norway. Shooting across the Hardangerfjord, the clouds were forming right at the surface and then moving up to the top of the mountain. The extreme contrast took a lot of the color away, so I turned this one to black and white to avoid any color distractions.
Smaug’s Shadow
Smaug’s ShadowA Violet-green swallow (Tachycineta thalassina) perches on a tufa in front of organic silhouettes at the west shore of Mono Lake, California. Normally I try to frame a subject so that there's enough contrast to read the silhouette, but in this case I'm glad I went the opposite way. The swallow and the foreground tufa here are entirely hiding in the shadow of the dominant and more interesting tufa shapes in the distance. It keeps the focus on the abstract shapes, yet still has the swallow in a key position with a sharp rim light.
Turgon's Daystar
Turgon's DaystarA Violet-green swallow (Tachycineta thalassina) perched on a tufa on the west shore of Mono Lake, California. I waited for sunrise in a cacophony of bird calls. The west shore of Mono Lake has multiple springs that empty out into the salty waters, which increases the diversity of fauna. I spent the morning photographing birds on tufa; there were numerous swallows, black birds, cowbirds, a few osprey, and I could also hear a great horned owl nearby but in an area inaccessible to me. Lining up shots like this is hard. I can't look directly at the sun, and I can't use the viewfinder, or I'll burn my retinas. I use the back screen and aim semi-blindly, quickly adjusting depending on where the birds land. Shaking just an inch changes the composition entirely when you are at 400mm, and even the motion of the sun itself is too fast, so I can't be on a tripod.
Wet Jaguar
Wet JaguarJaguar explores the murky waters in the Pantanal as he searches for his next pray, at the Jaguar Ecological Reserve, Brazil. This was the first jaguar we saw (out of 5 on the same day!). We followed him by the side of the river while he was looking for food. He didn't catch anything, perhaps our boats scared off possible catches. I was the first to spot him, so our boat got a nice view for a bit, but soon enough other boats noticed us and approached and it became a madhouse of photographers. It's not the magical, seductive and wild experience I had imagined, there are too many people bothering the poor animals, and I was one of them and it didn't feel right. At least they are used to it, they don't seem to care at all about the boats that stop next to them.
Yellow Brick Road
Yellow Brick RoadA yellow brick road cuts through a hillside of wildflowers in Carrizo Plain National Monument, California, during the superbloom of 2016.

We found this spot while getting lost on the south end of the Carrizo Plain National Monument. We followed dirt roads, looking for a distant peak with a very golden dome of flowers. No roads on the maps seemed to lead to it, so we took random roads that looked interesting to see if we were lucky enough to find a way in. In the end, we ended up behind the peak we were searching for, on a beautiful road that followed leading to a solitary camping spot overlooking both the north and south valleys. An impressive sight, and with rocky formations very different from the silty soil you find in the plains.
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