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).
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!
Yosemite Valley from Tunnel View, Yosemite National Park, California
Today is Ansel Adams’ 113th birthday. The master of landscape photography had a profound affect on my creative direction and continues to be an inspiration to generations of outdoor photographers.
Adams pioneered the idea of previsualization, the concept of seeing the final image in the mind’s eye before the photo is created. He also co-founded Group f/64 with other photographic masters Edward Weston and Imogen Cunningham, and he developed the Zone System, a technique for translating perceived light into specific densities to allow better control over finished photographs.
As a strong advocate for the environment, his iconic black and white images of the American West influenced powerful decision makers in Washington and helped preserve places like Yosemite and California’s iconic Big Sur coast. Ansel was also largely responsible for photography being accepted into the world of fine art, culminating in major exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, in 1980. And shortly after his death in 1984, the Minarets Wilderness in his beloved Sierra Nevada Mountains was re-named the Ansel Adams Wilderness in his honor.
Thank you Ansel – your legacy lives on!
“Photography is more than a medium for factual communication of ideas. It is a creative art.” - Ansel Adams