Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Behind the scenes: Bioluminescence, Mosquito Bay, Vieques

Bioluminescence, Mosquito Bay, Vieques, Puerto Rico

Whether you call it Mosquito Bay, Bahía Bioluminiscente or something else, the bioluminescent bay on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques is the world’s brightest. The Guinness Book of World’s Records says so.

The glow comes from dinoflagellates, which are not actually rare. They’re a type of plankton and are found in much of the ocean water. What makes Mosquito Bay special, however, is how concentrated they are there.

Friday, November 30, 2018

In the footsteps of the Impressionists

God Beams and Manneporte, Étretat, France

The art that we create today stands on a foundation built by the imaginations of the artists who have come before us. No matter how original any new work of art may seem, the artist who created it was able to draw from thousands of years of experiences of other artists. Nothing truly comes from scratch.

Even though I am a nature photographer, for the past several years, I have found my inspiration in the work of Impressionist painters. Last month, I got a chance to travel to the Normandy region of France to photograph locations featured in some of my favorite paintings.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Why yes, Virginia, those are mountains!

Sunrise Through Storm, Ridge View, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

I’ve lived my entire life in a state that’s home to five volcanoes. The word “mountain” has meant to me a permanently snow-capped peak that often reaches into the clouds.

Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains are nothing like that, but they are inspiring nonetheless — maybe more inspiring if you count the number of times they’ve been featured in songs. I can’t think of them without hearing John Denver singing about them, but Take Me Home, Country Roads is just one of dozens of songs in which they’re featured.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Finally out of the eagle's shadow

Red Fox Kit Sleeping, San Juan Island, Washington

I originally planned to share these images with you five months ago — but a certain eagle stole the show (just like it stole the rabbit from the fox).

Like the eagle/fox/rabbit sequence, these images are from San Juan Island in Washington state. I try to keep some variety in my posts both here on the blog and on social media. The sequence got so much attention, I wanted a bit of a break before I shared other images from that trip.

Friday, August 31, 2018

The vanishing Milky Way

Midnight Sky over Mount Rainier, Washington

As we celebrate Labor Day in the United States, we also celebrate the unofficial end of summer in the Northern Hemisphere. But the weekend marks more than a transition from BBQs to cooking indoors. The night sky begins its own seasonal transformation. Over the next few weeks, the most visually stunning portion of the Milky Way — the galaxy we live in — will fade from view.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

The story behind the stamp: Northern Lights Over The North Cascades

Northern Lights Over North Cascades, Washington

Outside Alaska, the northern lights are a rare treat in the United States, but the aurora captured in this image was visible across most of the country. I’m honored the dazzling display so many of us witnessed that night in our “spacious skies” will be featured on a new pane of U.S. Forever postage stamps to illustrate the lyrics of America the Beautiful.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Revisiting the Alpine Lakes Wilderness

Streaks of Pollen, Lake Dorothy, Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Washington

My love for nature preceded my love for photography. One of the places that connected the dots for me was the Alpine Lakes Wilderness of Washington state.

The Alpine Lakes Wilderness protects more than 400,000 acres of craggy peaks, mountain lakes and forests in Washington’s Central Cascades — an area that stretches between two busy mountain passes. Its proximity to civilization was what initially brought me there.

An hour after leaving Seattle you can be in a wilderness where even bicycles aren’t allowed. It was convenient. It would have taken me at least three times longer to reach Mount Rainier National Park. But after my very first hike in the Alpine Lakes, its beauty became its primary draw.