2015
05.04

Travertine cascades on the Korana River, Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia (© Russ Bishop/www.russbishop.com)

Travertine cascades on the Korana River, Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

The mesmerizing waterfalls at Plitvice Lakes National Park are renowned for their unique colors, ranging from azure to green and blue. The waters are fed from underground Karst formations, and the colors change constantly throughout the day depending on the quantity of minerals and organisms in the water and the angle of sunlight.

Delicate travertine dams separate the 16 lakes that are visible on the surface, creating a unique ecosystem between each body of water. Formed as plants and bacteria in the water interact with the air, these barriers grow at a rate of 1 centimeter a year and continue to shape and form the myriad cascades the park is famous for.

Established in 1949, Plitvice Lakes is one of the oldest national parks in Europe and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. Croatia is a beautiful country with a rich and colorful past, and as one of the newest members of the European Union its friendly atmosphere and gorgeous scenery make this an ideal addition to any European adventure.

2015
04.24

New spring growth on an evergreen branch, Olympic National Park, Washington USA (Russ Bishop/Russ Bishop Photography)

Happy Arbor Day!

Created 143 years ago the first Arbor Day was held on April 10, 1872 by J. Sterling Morton (President Grover Cleveland’s Secretary of Agriculture) as a celebration of trees in all their wonderful shapes and forms. The holiday occurs each year in the United States on the last Friday in April and similar events are now celebrated worldwide.

The Arbor Day Foundation is the world’s oldest and largest tree-planting organization whose mission is “to inspire people to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees”. It is an excellent resource for everything from identifying trees to forest management and educational materials to connect kids with nature.

So whether you plant a tree today, wander through a redwood grove, or simply enjoy the beauty outside your office window – take time to appreciate all that trees bring to our lives.

2015
04.13

Lupines, coreopsis (Coreopsis californica), and California poppies (Eschscholzia californica) in the Tehachapi Mountains, Angeles National Forest, California (Russ Bishop/Russ Bishop Photography)

Celebrating Earth Day and National Park Week!

Forty-five years ago the green movement was conceived and since then it has become a driving force in today’s world economy and social consciousness. We’ve come a long way since the early days of tie dye and a novelty called recycling, to 2015 where LED light bulbs are in vogue, hybrid cars are everywhere, and small countries like Iceland are run almost entirely on clean energy.

One of the driving forces in my photography is to show the natural world at its best and to remind us all why it’s important to preserve it. I also support organizations like The Nature Conservancy and The Wilderness Society, which do an excellent job of preserving natural spaces, working with landowners, and educating the public about the connection between health and conservation throughout the year.

Earth Day is April 22nd and kicks off National Park Week (April 18th-26th) with free entrance to over 400 of the nation’s parks and monuments on Saturday and Sunday. It’s a great time to get out and enjoy America’s Best Idea at a park near you or celebrate the day in a natural space close to home. Take a hike, plan a photo excursion, or volunteer with one of the organizations above and marvel at all the natural wonders of our tiny blue planet.

2015
03.22

Moss-covered bigleaf maple and lush groundcover along Cannings Creek, Quinault Rain Forest, Olympic National Park, Washington (Russ Bishop/Russ Bishop Photography)

Cannings Creek, Quinault Rain Forest, Olympic National Park, Washington USA

March 22nd is World Water Day – a time to celebrate the season and our most precious natural resource. It’s easy to take for granted when a bottle or tap is always within arms reach,  but we share the planet with nearly 1 billion people who don’t have access to safe clean drinking water or sanitation. That’s a hard fact to swallow when you consider that most of the earth’s surface is water.

The United Nations first began the celebration back in 1993 and it’s grown significantly over the years as a platform for education and public support. Each year, one of the many UN agencies involved in water issues spearheads a campaign to promote and coordinate international activities. This year the theme is “Water and Energy” and focuses on how these two resources are inseparable in our modern world.

On the world front, there are many ways to help those less fortunate than ourselves and at home simple conservation can have a profound effect. I’m proud to be involved with Photographers for Good and the Plus One Collection, which is using its resources to support The Samburu Project building wells in Kenya. I can think of no greater reward than inspiring others with the beauty of nature, while helping to provide life’s most basic necessity to those in need.

This year our weather has been anything but normal with record snow in the east and drought in the west, but whatever the conditions at home we should always remember that water is a precious commodity. So enjoy that drink and spread the word (just don’t forget to turn off the faucet).

2015
03.04

Delicate slickrock formations in upper Antelope Canyon, Navajo Indian Reservation, Arizona (Russ Bishop/Russ Bishop Photography)

Antelope Canyon on the Navajo Indian Reservation in Arizona is arguably one of the finest slot canyons in the American southwest, and certainly one of the most photographed. Although beautiful to witness with the naked eye, these jewels of the desert really shine when a long exposure reveals the light and color our eyes can’t perceive – the subtle shades and hues of the sunlight as it plays off the wind and water sculpted sandstone.

Unlike most landscape photography, which benefits from the warm light of dawn or dusk, slot canyons are best photographed midday when the greatest amount of light penetrates the steep and narrow canyon walls. A tripod is mandatory for sharp images with the long exposures necessary to capture the light in these dimly lit passages. And once your eyes have adjusted, the challenge is to create meaningful compositions that lead the eye into the frame and showcase the myriad textures that surround you.

This image was made with a wide 24mm lens and a 30 second exposure – no filter or artificial lighting was used!