New Work

Tranquil Heart: After a banner snow year in 2019, Mount Shasta was still showing plenty of snow in July. This small lake gives clear views to the east and minimal wind at sunset gave a clear reflection of the shapely clouds. There weren’t even any mosquitoes to dull the peacefulness of the view.–Shasta-Trinity National Forest, California

The Gold Rush Takes a Turn: The number of creeks and streams in Yosemite are unfathomable. Exploring the different ways that they catch light, stream down the mountain, and change from season to season would take several lifetimes of observation. This one is a special in how it reflects gold at its edges. –Yosemite National Park, California

Crashing Wave: Gem Lake doesn’t have high peaks surrounding it, but it does have a contingent of interesting trees if you look for them. In the early afternoon a massive cloud bank parked itself to the north of our campsite. As the hours passed, it didn’t move, but the wind shaped it into the more and more interesting patterns of a Sierra Wave. The sunset color didn’t look like it would happen, but after ten minutes of resistance, the red turned on like a switch.–Ansel Adams Wilderness, California

Pause for a Drink: Horse Head Rock is one of the oldest rock structures in Australia at 500 million years old. All of the characteristics of the area remind one of the California coast in reverse. The sun rises over the ocean and sets over the cliffs, but the rocks, water color, marine layer, and surrounding cliffs are all reminiscent of Big Sur. –Sapphire Coast, NSW Australia

Fresh Smile: The road to Devils Postpile opened during the busiest time in the summer, yet we were among the only people there in the evening. Just us and the swarming mosquitoes. This section of the wall looks relatively fresh with the broken columns joining the talus pile. The geology makes for a beautiful story for those willing to observe. A reminder of this is necessary when one reflects on the history of the area. The first idea for the postpile was to blow up the entire structure and dam the river for mining interests.–Devils Postpile National Monument, California

Resilient Perennial: The White Mountains of California are not named for their snow since they oftentimes don’t get very much. The Sierra gets the lion’s share of precipitation, but in 2019 the Whites were uniformly blanketed. This group of arrowroot flowers will wait, buried in snow, to emerge from the ground as soon as the thaw comes. A glorious display of flowers attracts pollinators to aid in reproduction. They will gather as much sunlight as possible to store energy for the winter only to repeat the process once winter grips the mountains once again. –Inyo National Forest, California

Ice Crown: The spires and crags of the Sierra Crest leave one in awe. As the light dances over the peaks in silence, it gives a sensation of the volume being turned up, but only faint sounds of the forest can be heard. Experiencing one sunrise is never enough for the calm it instills.–Inyo National Forest, California

Marmot Among the Wallflowers: This marmot had probably recently come out of hibernation at Thousand Island Lake to stock up on calories after nearly seven months. It was very interested in our campsite, but it skirted around us to this patch of sanddune wallflowers. –Ansel Adams Wilderness, California

Nocturnal Frozen Islands: Thousand Island Lake touts Mount Ritter to its south and Mount Davis to its west, and many small islands within its bounds. A waning crescent moon was rising just below a massive cloud, so this light only lasted about 10 minutes. The core of the Milky Way coincided with Ritter during this brief window. –Ansel Adams Wilderness, California

Pearlescent Postpile: I’d been planning this image for months, but needed to be local during the correct moon phase. The last light of the moon is similar to sunset light since bluer wavelengths are filtered out. The way Devils Postpile suddenly materializes from its average pine forest surroundings is surprising to visitors, and this feeling is amplified in the night.–Devils Postpile National Monument, California

Pool on a Lake: Chaos is apparent as energy returns to the mountains, since the ice does not melt evenly. This aquamarine pool sat on the surface ice of Thousand Island Lake as the shoreline ice thinned. The red glow of first light touched Ritter in stark contrast. –Ansel Adams Wilderness, California

Australian Sky: The Australian night sky is disorienting to a resident of the northern hemisphere. The core of the Milky Way has always been near the horizon for me, but in Australia it is much higher in the sky. Australia Rock reminds one irresistibly of the shape of the continent itself. The high milky way and Australia Rock together give one a strong sense of place. –Narooma, NSW Australia

Strata: A steady stream of fast moving cirrus clouds ripped through the sky and left us with blue skies in a matter of two hours. The crags slowly being eroded by freeze-thaw cycle can stand for an entire human life, but are no more permanent than the clouds that move overhead. –John Muir Wilderness, California

Wetland Layers: Tule Lake has altered and shifted west even as the human history of the area with terrible treatment of the Native Modoc people, and the harshest Japanese concentration camp in the country. The landscape does not tell of these horrors. –Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge, California

Written in the Mountains: The exposed rock outcroppings that are too steep to hold snow appear to me to be letters arranged in a language I do not know, but can still intuitively grasp. This group below Mount Ritter stands above the Jackson Pollock like spread of Thousand Island. –Ansel Adams Wilderness, California

Coastal Pinnacles: The Pinnacles on the coast of New South Wales are a beautiful feature made of iron rich sedimentary rock, and it is of further interest because it is so near the ocean. With kangaroo prints in the sand, and banksia flowers on ground this truly felt like a foreign place. –Ben Boyd National Park, NSW Australia

Edge of the World: The aquamarine water, the quality of rock, the marine layer, and the atmospherics of the Sapphire Coast reminds one irresistibly of Big Sur, California. These anti-crepuscular rays stretched opposite the descending sun, and reached an apparent vanishing point at the horizon. –Sapphire Coast, NSW Australia

A While Yet Until Spring: Minaret Vista is only a mile and a half from the Mammoth Mountain Main Lodge, but it still has the air of open wilderness. Over the Memorial Day weekend it snowed at the higher elevations and extended an already snow-laden winter. This was the morning after the storm cleared, and the sun rising revealed the Minarets freshly covered in snow to the west. –Inyo National Forest, California

Quenching the Columns: The basaltic columns at the Bombo Headlands meeting the ocean’s waves made for a different experience than what I’m used to at Devils Postpile. The shedding columns end up swallowed by the sea, and the edges are much smoother. I expected the sound of a sizzle as the rising sun gave the columns a blush as the waves continued their steady assault. –Bombo Headland Quarry Geological Site, NSW Australia

Hydra: The glacial polish left behind on the granite leaves interesting patterns for those who look down. –Yosemite National Park, California

Gravity and Water: Looking for patterns in the rock and water flow is difficult. The downward curve of the near rock is mirrored above it, as the seemingly never-ending flow of water cascades over both formations.–Yosemite National Park, California

Making a Point: Human nature leads us to point out whatever is interesting or important, and these wallflowers seem to be making a point about Mount Ritter. No other flowers around Thousand Island Lake appeared to be blooming so shortly after the snow melt, so they stood out in the difficult environment. This fragile ecosystem is in danger of collapse as extinctions may soon begin to mount. –Ansel Adams Wilderness, California

Event Horizon: The soft white sand curves of the Eureka Dunes will draw you in, and the shadows can be deep when direct light is lost. It is as comfortable and simple as falling into as a routine or pattern in day-to-day life.–Death Valley National Park, California

Bracing for the Storm: The junipers and granite around hot creek stand above volcanism beneath the surface. Magma chambers feed super-heated water up to the creek bed from below, but the dramatic weather patterns of the mountain ranges in eastern California roil above. This forming cumulonimbus cloud was pouring rain down on the White Mountains as the sunset light touched it. –Inyo National Forest, California

The High Cost of Mating: These beavertail pricklypear were at about 1,000 feet, but overlook Death Valley itself. The slow collection and careful rationing of water makes photosynthesis and energy production a trial, yet the extravagant colors, sweet nectar, and production of untold quantities of pollen are still worth it for the chance to reproduce. As humans, we can probably relate. —Death Valley National Park, California

I Am at Home: The Eureka Dune Evening Primrose was put on the endangered species list due to the popularity of off-roading and other destructive acts popular in the last fifty years. Having a place to call home is important and this primrose has nowhere else where it grows. The primrose is unassuming and doesn’t seem very interesting until spring when the blossoms appear in a range of light pink to white. Fortunately, regulation has brought a resurgence of the endemic species of Eureka Valley, and the primrose been moved from the endangered list to threatened. —Death Valley National Park, California

Like-Minded: These hillside daisies have most of their resources put towards reproduction, and the strong lines of the carved mountain join them.–Carrizo Plain National Monument, California

Beauty from Poverty: The carpet of wildflowers is the biggest draw to Carrizo Plain, but sometimes there’s a story at the edges of the extravagant. This pair of phacelia growing out of the mud cracks at the edge of a huge patch of thriving wildflowers spoke volumes. —Carrizo Plain National Monument, California

Prevailing Wisdom: The mountains of Carrizo Plain are annually awash in yellows, purples, oranges, and greens. The dominant yellow hillside daisies here meet with the purple phacelia in what appears to us as staggering beauty, but is really a competition for space and survival. —Carrizo Plain National Monument, California

Falling into a Rut: Even though water is hard to come by in Death Valley, it still makes its presence known with potholes, alluvial fan, and dry lake beds. This small pothole may eventually make a small ecosystem when filled with water. As time goes on, the paths we take will become more worn and difficult to change.–Death Valley National Park, California

First of the Thirteen Moons: The Thirteen Moons petroglyph stands as a record of human understanding going back more than a thousand years. The January moon marks the first of our calendar and it coincided with a lunar eclipse. The moon disappeared before totality was reached, but the moon lighting up the petroglyph told a complete story. –California

Sun Gilded Armor: The Alabama Hills have proved challenging to photograph. A set for hundreds of movies and TV shows, they sit in the shadow of Mt. Whitney, the highest peak in the lower 48 states. After ten previous trips producing mediocre images, this feels synchronized with the place at its best: A barrel cactus sits among a cluster of granite boulders with the eastern escarpment of the Sierra draped in fresh snow. –Alabama Hills Recreation Area, California

Haziness of Old Memories: The Merced River provides reflections of some of the most iconic rock formations in the world, but cottonwoods have a story to tell as well. A memory may feel like it is etched in stone, but like a river, the passage of time will change small details. From the river bank to the trees through the seasons to the light quality that reflects off the water, change is inevitable. –Yosemite National Park, California

Scarred: Aged Sequoias nearly always have fire scars, and this resident of the Mariposa Grove is no different. In fact, sequoia cones are semi-serotinous when it comes to fire. This means it often takes the heat from a fire to trigger the seeds in the cone to be released . Scientists have analyzed sequoia trunk cross sections to measure the frequency of fires throughout California history in order to see what was common before the Mariposa Battalion (a state militia) entered Yosemite in 1851. By suppressing natural fires, non-native park stewards prevented most new saplings from growing for nearly a century. Fortunately, we now understand what Native Americans knew for centuries: fire both destroys and renews. –Yosemite National Park, California

Gazing Back Into You: The vastness of the Grand Canyon is hard to put in human terms. It’s certainly possible to measure at 4.17 petaliters (quadrillion liters), 10 miles across, and 277 miles long but as a human you feel small. Time ticks by and an hour can be spent looking into its depths without realizing it. Thoughts can turn to existentialism easily… –Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Prayer Shawls: Snow is somewhat common in Joshua Tree, but snow that sticks is not. The light dusting that greeted us for sunrise likely didn’t make it through the day. It had been awhile since we’d been to Joshua Tree, and finding it like this was wondrous. The Joshua trees dressed in snow was reminiscent of a tallit, or prayer shawl. –Joshua Tree National Park, California

Temple Pathway: The temples that stand in the Grand Canyon are what remain of sandstone that has been worked and altered by the course of water. It is instinctive for humans to draw inspiration from nature. We build architecture that is derived from natural features we see, and often name the most prominent landmarks and imbue them with humanity. However, this moves both ways. We were shaped by nature first. –Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Window Dressing: The patterns that come out of millions of years of erosion are awash in the Grand Canyon. The snow here draws out the strongest patterns by highlighting the striations and cliff faces. The view that these rocks see year after year from their uncovering to their ultimate dissolution is one of beauty and speaks to the ever changing face of the world. –Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Broken Crown: Showing an entire giant sequoia tree is incredibly difficult. This meadow gave an unimpeded view of a gorgeous specimen that shows the characteristic shape of an aged giant sequoia. On closer inspection its crown has been broken by too many winters, and it has stopped growing taller. However, it will continue to add to its girth. While other pines in the area age and die around it, this sequoia will persist. –Kings Canyon National Park, California

Embracing Mother: The warm hues in the bark of sequoias stand out against a sea of brown and green. A young sequoia sits draped in snow against the background of its parent. The sapling extends its branches, but remains within the visual confines of a gargantuan trunk much like a child would do to its mother. –Kings Canyon National Park, California

Pummeled Smooth: Nothing says California winter like a beach and 60°F. Peak low tide offers different perspectives, and in this case a look at what water can do given enough time. The smoothness of these rocks is visually appealing (and satisfying to touch!). This was one of hundreds of images taken, and I chose this because the wave just about touched the camera without overtaking it. —Davenport, California

Sunbathing Serpent: We have a love hate relationship with wind and sand dunes. Wind shapes the sand into wonderful textures, but being on the sand during high winds is punishing to both humans and camera equipment. No winds often mean unsightly tracks. Fortunately these dunes were renewed without high winds present. —Death Valley National Park, California

Last Breath of the Sun: Searching in the rain, snow, and fall colors doesn’t always produce interesting results. The aspen lining June Lake Loop were not quite ready yet, so we decided to leave for more interesting areas. On our way out we saw light coming through the swirling clouds, so we waited to see what would come of it. “Fire in the Sky” is so often used in landscape photography, but this has a stronger case for fire without smoke. In a state that has developed a year round fire problem as climate change progresses, this view was much more welcome.–Inyo National Forest, California

Portal from Fall to Winter: Weather in the mountains is notoriously unpredictable, and this sunrise brought temperatures below freezing. The clouds were swirling and the warm light breaking through didn’t last very long. This hole in the cloud bank made for a good focal point as the sun briefly lit up the golden leaves of this stand of aspen, the whites of a light snow fall, and the cloud bank itself.–Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, California

Leaves on the Dance Floor: Aspen trunk scarring where defunct branches fall off is fascinating, but the trunks of these trees were twisted in a way that I hadn’t seen much of before. This group was at the edge of a stand, and my guess is that these aspen were subject to avalanches when they were saplings. The leaves that adorned the ground around these trees gave me the irresistible image of the trees dancing their leaves off until winter. —Inyo National Forest, California

Fallen Constellation: The formation of shapes when water collects and evaporates from old lake beds are mesmerizing. The rocks that washed down from the nearby Panamint Mountains embed themselves into the cracks when the playa is wet, though some of the rocks have been found to be fragments of meteorites as well. As we wandered the playa waiting for the full moon to rise and bathe the ground in light, a fireball (a meteor brighter than Venus) sizzled across the sky in one of the most spectacular celestial displays we’ve seen. The shape of these rocks pointed towards the Panamints in the same pattern as Perseus (in the upper right) in recognition. —Death Valley National Park, California

Autumnal Mask of Tragedy: The warm colors of fall against the cool colors of Sierra granite is well worn territory. However, cracks that form in the granite are infinite in their ability to tickle our brain’s desire to find patterns and faces. The grim face looking on has a strong resemblance to Buskin the Greek mask of tragedy. —Inyo National Forest, California