Cabin Fever!


Impressions of an Aspen Grove

I’d say it’s been a long winter but most of you that know I live in northern California would scoff at that comment – given the amazing cold temps and snow so many of you have had! Usually I can get away with that because it’s so rainy and gray, but that hasn’t been the case this year either! But the ‘long winter in my mind’ allowed me to stick close to home after Cuba and get a lot of things accomplished – like the new website, organization of my image database (well, almost) and other important tasks that keep the business running when I’m on the road. And time to actually work on my photographs! This image was created a while back but I never got around to assembling all the layers and making the adjustments to create this multiple exposure. It was 12 exposures, and I moved the camera vertically for each one, and assembled the layers in Photoshop, adjusting each one’s opacity using the formula of 1/x – where x was the layer #, and working my way down the stack until arriving at the background (layer 1). Curves, color balance, and a few other minor adjustments were all that was done after that. Finally done, and it feels good! But now I have cabin fever. A few warm sunny days and all I want to do is hit the road somewhere, typically somewhere where Spring is bursting out – like southern California or Arizona. Arizona is looking like it will be a terrific year for flowers, but I won’t know yet for a couple of weeks. And I just hear from Michael Frye that the redbud are already popping in the Merced River Canyon. Yikes! Always a hard decision where to go – wishing I had 6 weeks to hit the road to everywhere, but alas, at the moment, I don’t, so I’ll have to pick somewhere.

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Serene Swimming


I’ve been editing my library of images and came across this beautiful scene of a family of Orcas. It was the end of the day and the water was quite, providing great reflections. It was such a peaceful experience to watch them! Serene, really. It was quiet, as cut our engine, and drifted and the only noise we heard was their breath. We must have spent 45 minutes photographing this family unit, before it became too dark. Hearing them blow, watching them push a pressure wake just as they were about to surface, was magical. The hard thing was picking the best pictures of the whole series – there were so many good moments! I’m looking forward to being in southeast Alaska and in Glacier Bay again July 13-19. It promises to be another wonder-filled trip. There are still 3 spaces left, if you would like to join us please visit Dolphin Charters site and contact them directly for details.

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Recap on Cuba Photo Tour


Our photo tour to Cuba in early January was, as always, great! It was terrific to return and find people who recognized me, and it was pure photographic fun. We had wonderful moments such as this one where the story unfolded before our eyes. The little boy was sitting there, watching us, and he leaned on the door, and that cracked it open enough that the dog stuck its head out, saw interesting new people, and decided to come out and investigate. That’s when it got fun – the little boy first pet the dog and then put his arms around it. It was a wonderful moment and he (the boy) was such a cutie!!

We are going back later this year – for a different season with different light. Check out the dates and info here and then join us in October!


Meanwhile, other news – you may have noticed a new look to the site. I’ve been hard at work designing a fresh look and have uploaded many galleries of photographs – many new to the site/scene, combined with some favorites.

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Rockin’ Around in Zion



Anyone who has traveled with me probably knows I LOVE rocks. I’m not sure why I didn’t choose geology as a major in college, but regardless of that, I have continued to be excited by rocks, rock formations, and how it all formed, wherever I go.

When our photo tour in Zion Nat’l Park was finished, a few were around on Sunday morning so we went off to explore a little more. We climbed up high on a rocky plateau to look at the landscape opportunities for afternoon light, but soon we all found photo opps that were at our feet – literally! There were patterns and swirling lines and tiny bonsai’d trees and these cool rounded rocks that you see here. Referred to as moqui marbles, they are concretions of various minerals, and they were stuck here and there in the sides of larger boulders, but hundreds of them had washed out over time – geological time – and scattered on the flatter surfaces we were standing on. With wind and rain, they’d roll around, and pile up in crevasses, or get stuck in a water-filled depression that then dried up. They were so neat to photograph, I was doing my happy dance that afternoon!




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Posted in Brenda Tharp's Photo Blog, close-up photography, general photography, Landscape Photography, nature photography, Photo Blog Tagged , , , , , , |

Hope for Cuba’s Future!





Exciting news from President Obama this morning. I especially liked his statement that ” we do business with China… and we have relations with Vietnam… so why not Cuba, too?” I agree that engagement, exchange of ideas, and bringing to the forefront ways we can help Cubans is a good direction to take. How will it change things? Will McDonald’s start popping up in Havana or Trinidad? yikes, I hope not. And besides, that sort of business is probably not high on the list with the current admin in Cuba. But hopefully it can help Cubans in their private enterprises, in healthcare, education, etc. I think it will be an overall good thing for our Cuban friends. We have always been warmly greeted and our interactions with the people have been wonderful, and I’d love to see them prosper in all ways. It’s time that America has a positive presence.

It will be very interesting to see how things unfold in the coming year(s) as travel opens up to the country, too. It’s about time. I’m glad we’re going back in October.





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The Cutest Grizzly Bears




“Mom? What are those things on two feet back there? They have HUGE glassy eyes pointed at me. There are at least 8 eyes. I’m not sure about this, can I hide behind you?”

OK, so we’re not supposed to anthropomorphize with wildlife, right? But how can we resist when one cute cub peeks out from behind the safety of Mom to watch us? I mean, you can tell it’s so curious, but timid. It hasn’t learned yet that we come in peace, to watch, enjoy, and photograph its antics. And with all those glass lenses pointed at it, no wonder it’s uncertain of things! It flicks an ear and motor-drives whir…

I have such a good time on these bear tours that I lead in Alaska. The bears are very habituated, which makes for photographic opportunities that you would not easily get elsewhere, such as Sows letting their cubs get close to us and having her wander off to feed while we “baby-sit” the cubs! That’s pretty unheard of unless the bears have a trust in us.

For this tour, you don’t have to have extreme telephoto lenses, although they can be useful. I found that my 500mm on a full frame camera was often too close and had to resort to using the 100-400mm on that camera body instead. I used my 70-200mm on my 7D body and the 100-400mm on the Mark III and that setup worked great.

You also don’t have to be an expert at wildlife photography – I’ll be there to help you with settings and techniques for handling longer lenses and shooting action. (It does help to have a good working knowledge of photography and your particular camera, however).

I have only 4 spaces left at this point for the July 2015 tour.  It promises to be another great year for bear photography!


Enjoy, and thanks for visiting,







 “I can see my toes!”

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