Shifting Shapes in Namibia

Afternoon light creates shadows and shapes on Sossusvlei dunes, Namibia.

Those of you who know me well know that I love visual design. So it’s no surprise that when faced with these huge dunes in Namibia, I was seeing shapes everywhere. The reach of my Tamron 150-600mm lens created an optical compression of the depth, furthering the graphic quality of these shapes. And all of them mattered – the darker and lighter dune shapes, and the sky shape. A long time ago when studying Freeman Patterson’s work I remember him saying that everything is a shape in your picture. I felt the same way but hadn’t expressed it as well to my students.

So, using my telephoto lens as a spotting scope, I scanned the dunes looking for a combination of shapes that was pleasing to me. I had seen this with my own eye, but with the viewfinder framing it and the tight angle of view from the lens,  I found the right combination of proportions.

I am looking forward to going back to Sossusvlei dunes on our Wonders of Namibia Photography Safari this summer. I’ll be looking for more shapes in the shifting sands, and sharing what I see with others, on this amazing journey with pro-photographer and co-leader Wendy Kaveney.

If you haven’t seen her A/V show yet, Fall in Love with Namibia, you have to check it out! She’s blended stills with some video that make the place come alive. And she includes a variety of pictures to tell the story of the journey between the amazing, iconic locations.  You can also view still images at my site and Wendy’s website.

Join us this summer for a wonder-filled journey.

Thanks for visiting.



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Death Valley Abstract

Mud Flats HF V2


I love it when you can compose a detail image so that when you are done, it’s hard to tell if it’s an aerial or a close-in image – at first glance, anyway. This morning was our last and only one participant joined us for the sunrise. Ironically, the sunrise itself wasn’t memorable, but these very cool patterns in the edge of the water in Cottonball Marsh were amazing! I photographed them before the sun, and then when the rays of light were just high enough to skim the surface, I did this picture. Something about the low angle of the light and the way it rakes across the surface changes it for me to where, even though I know what it is, it still looks a bit like an aerial photograph.

When we run our photo workshops and tours, we are always on the lookout for photo opportunities beyond the icons of the places we visit. We like to encourage people to find personal images and to see beyond the obvious. I’m sure that our participant thought at first we were crazy walking down the stony wash! And had it been a great sunrise, the location would have been fantastic for a landscape image; but in the end, she was excited to see these formations, too.

Thanks for visiting!



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Which do you like?






I am finally getting through most of the images from Winter in Yosemite (my oh-too-brief trip) and my wildlife refuge images. In a previous post I had shown a foggy scene of birds, and I have several. Each of them is different, and the two here were made when it was even more foggy. But I like the mood in these. They are different than the standard, albeit exciting mass lift-off scenes. They both show the activity of geese coming in for a landing, flying about, etc., and the mood of what it’s often like in the central valley in winter, but they are different. So I thought I’d ask you which of them you liked best, and why. Comments are truly appreciated!


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Light, Color and Design in Arizona Desert



I know that it’s the ‘dead of winter’ in many parts of the USA, but in Arizona, spring is just around the corner! Spring begins in mid to late February and runs through April, with a succession of events involving everything from birds and baby wildlife to unusual plants in bloom, and in a good year, carpets of wildflowers. By early March, the desert is a-buzz with life. I’ll be there with MISA and an enthusiastic group of students to photograph the wonderful dramatic light, to seek out and photograph nature’s built-in design of textures, patterns and shapes, and more. Join us, and you’ll have opportunities to explore and create images that express the essence of the desert. We’ll be visiting many different locations that will provide wonderful opportunities to work on your techniques of wide-angle landscapes, macro, and telephoto views. Please check out the Madeline Island School of Arts (MISA) link below for more information and join us for a fun, intensive learning experience in the deserts of our own beautiful USA!




Thank you,



Posted in America, bird photography, close-up photography, nature photography, workshops & photo tours Tagged , , , , , , |