Nature’s Ability to Amaze…


Early one winter morning 14 years ago, shortly after moving to Santa Fe, amidst its wonderful high desert landscape, I was driving up Santa Fe Mountain’s west face to continue my photographic study of its extensive Aspen stands. Upon rounding a sharp curve in the road — I happened upon an astounding and sublime surprise: a “snow spiral” which apparently had formed rolling down the steep slope. Not certain what I glimpsed, I stopped to take a closer look. And having never before seen anything like it, I just had to capture it!

Nor have I ever seen anything like it since…

Enjoy! Merry Christmas

Snow Spiral<br>Nature’s Ability to Amaze — 2003 Snow Spiral II<br>Nature’s Ability to Amaze — 2003 Snow Spiral IIl<br>Nature’s Ability to Amaze — 2003 Snow Spiral IV<br>Nature’s Ability to Amaze — 2003 Snow Spiral V<br>Nature’s Ability to Amaze — 2003 Snow Spiral VI<br>Nature’s Ability to Amaze — 2003 Snow Spiral VII<br>Nature’s Ability to Amaze — 2003

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Friend vs. Foe


Penguins vs. Skuas

Of the 17 penguin species, Adelies, Chinstraps and Gentoos, averaging 30″ in height (males weigh from 10 to 18 lb., and females slightly less) are the most prominent on the Antarctic peninsula and surrounding islands, where they spend about half their time on land and half in the ocean.

Further south, at the South Pole, where it is much colder, the Emperor Penguin reaches 5′ in height.

Antarctic penguins form breeding colonies ranging from thirty to thousands of pairs, and establish their nesting grounds between June and November. Each of the Antarctic penguins species create their own separate breeding colonies, where each penguin pair construct a nest from stones, grass and moss, in which are laid two white, spherical eggs that are incubated by both male and female for 30 to 40 days. Penguin chicks fledge 2 to 3 months later, but continue to be fed by their parents for 2 to 6 months.

The Gentoo are readily distinguished by their orange-red bill and conspicuous white patches above each eye. They have pale whitish-pink webbed feet and fairly long tails, which is the most prominent tail of all penguins. The gentoo penguin trumpets loudly with its head thrown back.

Antarctic penguins reach sexual maturity at the age of two years, typically return to their previous year’s nest, and are loyal to breeding partners, with many forming long-lasting pair bonds.

Walking with their rather comedic, waddling gate on land, with flippers extended for balance; on downward slopes penguins readily flop over and slide on their bellies. In the water where their streamlined body and flippers provide propulsion up to 20 miles per hour, penguins reach depths of  200 meters in pursuit of their diet of Atlantic krill, squid, and fish.

Breeding on sub-Antarctic islands and the Antarctic peninsula, their non-breeding range is not fully known, but they have been found as far north as New Zealand, Australia and Argentina.

Penguins are the only warm-blooded creature able to tolerate Antarctica winters, which is one of the coldest environments on Earth. A thick layer of fat under their skin, covered by feathers that help to insulate them, provides a waterproof layer for extra protection.

Without any land-based predators, penguins are not afraid or even distressed by humans. Their biggest threat is the Leopard Seal — one of the sourthern-most species of seal and a dominant predator in the Southern Ocean.

Penguins’ single most feared foe, however, is the Skua, a large brownish, highly predatory seabird related to gulls that feed on other birds, penguin eggs and young penguin chicks, making them the penguin’s worst enemy. While skuas nest in southern latitudes, their habitat is open ocean, ranging widely at sea, moving far to the north in both the Atlantic and Pacific, feeding mainly on fish.

Penguins are certainly among the cutest creatures on earth. They are gregarious, living typically in large breeding colonies. Waddling, skimming and honking, and swimming in large groups, and furiously diving for food, their complete lack of concern for humans makes them even more endearing. 

Skua<br>Friend vs. Foe — 2014 Penguin<br>Friend vs. Foe — 2014 Skua II<br>Friend vs. Foe — 2014 Penguin II<br>Friend vs. Foe — 2014 Skua III<br>Friend vs. Foe — 2014 Penguin III<br>Friend vs. Foe — 2014 Penguin Colony<br>Friend vs. Foe — 2014 Skua IV<br>Friend vs. Foe — 2014


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Grand Canyon IV


Soft Canyon Light

I have celebrated New Year’s Eve 2011 and 2012 at the Grand Canyon’s South Rim, shooting the very last light of the year as well as the new year’s very first light. Winter light’s low angle muted with clouds creates such a soft palette, which when lucky enough to also have some snow, softens the canyon even further.

The cold and the silence seem to further soften the winter light, and without thermals, even the ravens are quiet, though still appearing to stand guard along the rim.

This is my ninth consecutive year capturing one of the world’s most iconic landscapes. In one glimpse you can see a third of the Earth’s history layered a mile deep into the canyon. To convey that feeling of elapsed time within single images encompasses my most thrilling moments as an interpretative landscape photographer.

Morning Glow<br>Grand Canyon IV: Soft Canyon Light - 2011 January Glow<br>Grand Canyon IV: Soft Canyon Light - 2011 Winter Glow<br>Grand Canyon IV: Soft Canyon Light - 2011 Colorado River<br>Grand Canyon IV: Soft Canyon Light - 2011 Late Light<br>Grand Canyon IV: Soft Canyon Light - 2011 Sentry<br>Grand Canyon IV: Soft Canyon Light - 2011


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Truchas Peaks


The Truchas Peaks are 25 miles northeast of Santa Fe in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Spanish for “trout”, it is north-south trending with four identifiable summits including South Truchas Peak, 13,102’, the second highest independent peak in New Mexico and North Truchas Peak, 13,024’.

The birth of the Sangre de Cristos Mountains, the southernmost subrange of the Rockies, began 80 million years ago when the Farallon Plate slid under the North American Plate at such a shallow subduction, it created a broad belt of mountains running down North America. The low angle moved the focus of crustal melting and mountain building much farther inland than the normal 2-300 miles. Over the past 60 million years, erosion stripped away the high rocks, revealing the ancestral rocks beneath, which have since been eroded by water and glaciers to sculpt the Rockies into dramatic peaks and valleys.

I was fortunate to capture Truchas Peaks in late light, immediately following the first snow.

Truchas Peaks<br>Truchas Peaks - 2011 First Snow<br>Truchas Peaks - 2011 Blended Range<br>Truchas Peaks - 2011 Truchas Range<br>Truchas Peaks - 2011 Truchas Range II<br>Truchas Peaks - 2011 Truchas Last Light<br>Truchas Peaks - 2011


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Sedona Red


One hundred miles south of the Grand Canyon, Sedona sits in front of the Mogollon rim’s 50 million years of exposed sedimentary layering that evidences the formation of the Colorado Plateau 250 million years ago.

To experience first or last light among its red rocks reveals why Sedona has taken on its own spiritual aura. The red Sandstone and tan mudstone coupled with the immediacy of the formations are breathtaking.

Winter Red<br>Sedona Red - 2011 Limestone over Sandstone<br>Sedona Red - 2011 Sandstone<br>Sedona Red - 2011 Desert Snow<br>Sedona Red - 2011 Sedona Red<br>Sedona Red - 2011 Sedona Times<br>Sedona Red - 2011


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