The 31st annual Yosemite Renaissance Exhibit opens this weekend in Yosemite Valley. Come on by if you are in the park! The free opening Artists Reception is on Friday, February 26 at 5:30-7:30pm in the Visitor Center Gallery. The show then runs from Saturday, February 27 though May 1.
Yosemite Renaissance features artists who work in and around Yosemite and the Sierra. It includes a range of media — photographs, painting, ceramics, sculpture, and more.
I’m honored that one of my photographs was again included in the exhibit — for the fourth year in a row. This time it is a photograph I made at Devil’s Postpile National Monument last year: “Basalt Columns, Lichen, Autumn Plants”
A man stands near the doorway between two cars of a historic New York subway car
This is another of my historic subway photographs from late December 2015 in New York City. During the holiday season, on one day the system trots out the old rolling stock and folks can ride the old trains over a section of the modern subway system under Manhattan. We got there early and caught the first run of the train heading uptown, then caught it again for the trip back.
The experience is remarkable. Some of these subway cars are very old, and while they still look like subway cars there are aspects of the experience that are quite different. They are very noisy! Sometimes the lights switch off for a moment, presumably as the train rolls over un-powered sections. The passageways between cars are entirely open — the ends of the cars bounce up and down relative to one another and the wind streams past. This photographs looks through that inter-car passage and toward the connected car, where a man stands in the aisle.
Every December I review the past year’s work, revisit twelve months of photographs and experiences, and share a set of my favorite images. I select a set that includes a variety of my photographs: The Sierra Nevada, Central Valley, and desert landscapes; seascapes; wildlife; a bit of night photography and some urban and street photography. Thanks for taking a moment to look at the photographs.
Water reflects clouds above photographer David Hoffman as he works from a levee in San Joaquin Valley wetlands.
Passing through California’s Great Central Valley by car, you could be forgiven for thinking that there isn’t much there besides fast food, gas stations, freeway, and other stuff alongside the road. Get off the freeway, get out of the car, and slow down a bit, especially during the colder half of the year, and you may find a very different place. This little post is not the place to share the whole story, but for me the place is partly defined by its agricultural roots, partly by the sense that it is located between the coast ranges and the great Sierra Nevada, and partly by the sense I often get there of space and immense sky.
We had spent the morning photographing migratory birds and the somewhat hazy landscape. We broke for lunch in a nearby town and then returned for more photography in the mid afternoon. While we were at lunch the conditions changed — the light fog dissipated and high clouds from a Pacific weather front drifted across the sky. As we headed out toward a spot where we hoped to find birds for evening photography we paused along the levee and photographed the sky, its reflection in the wetlands pond, and the spare winter landscape. My friend and photographer David Hoffman is photographing the same pond from the far bank.
Morning light and fog along a San Joaquin Valley levee.
I seem to have developed a ritual for photographing this favorite San Joaquin Valley location. Almost invariably I arrive very early in the morning, in the half hour before dawn. Often I meet photographer friends who have arrived from other places. We stop at an area near the entrance and greet one another, engage in a bit of small talk, marvel (again!) at the sound of tens of thousands of migratory birds just beyond out sight. We get in our vehicles and we start a circuit of the wetlands, first looking for a place to photograph the dawn. By now, after photographing there for a few years in variable conditions, we all have our favorite spots — this place if there is heavy fog, that spot if the birds are close by, another if it looks like we may have a clear view of sunrise.
On this morning I moved quickly past the first ponds to round a corner on the perimeter road and then stopped near a junction of several levees, at a spot that has often proved fruitful for my photography. There was a thin fog in the air and high, broken clouds were above the Sierra far to the east. Depending on which direction I chose to point that camera I found a range of subjects. Birds were nearby, the Sierra were in the distance, and in between was that flooded wetlands. As the first thin sunlight from the rising sun came through the fog I swung my camera back in the direction from which I had arrived and photographed along the levee route, past trees and brush to a long grove of old cottonwoods lying along the boundary.
Forest edge in evening light with forest sloping upwards toward Sierra crest peaks
This is most certainly not an iconic view, but I’m sure that many fellow Yosemite high country aficionados have been to this spot and gazed at this and the surrounding view. (Part of one Yosemite high country icon does appear in this photograph, but it is the bottom part.)
Earlier on this visit to the park I had walked out into this landscape to photograph in the meadow, on low hills, among trees, and alongside a river. As I passed by here again on this early evening I stopped and was entranced by the warm evening light on the trees at the edge of the meadow and by the further forest-covered slopes rising into the alpine zone and eventually above tree line to the elevations where there is little but rock and tundra plants. While the landscape often seems rather static during the day, at moments like this near the beginning and ending of the day the landscape changes dynamically as light shifts and highlights and then shadows subjects. I had only a brief moment to make this photograph (and a couple of others) before the light lifted from the trees and left them in shadow.
Closing time at shops in San Francisco’s Chinatown district.
In late July I met up with a group of fellow night/street photographers in San Francisco. The group’s explorations ranged between the commercial hub of Union Square and the old neighborhood of North Beach. (The rest of the group got there before I did and they began with dinner in the latter district.) I finally connected with the group along Stockton Street, the less touristy portion of Chinatown.
I frequently walk though here but often don’t make too many photographs. I love the Stockton Street area, with its vibrant shops and busy morning crowds, but sometimes I feel a bit too intrusive making photographers there and then. But on this evening things were quieting down, shops were closing, and there were fewer people.