No Man’s Land, Bay of Biscay

My travels along Spain’s northern coast continued with Asturias. Here, the lush green hills of the area sloped down to the sea, where time and the Atlantic carved the coastline into rocky coves and curious formations. It’s a remarkably picturesque part of Spain, where the Picos de Europa Mountains form a backdrop for the coast.

No Man's Land, Playa de La Gueirua in the Morning, Asturias, Spain
March 2018, single shot, additional exposures for highlights, focal length 26 mm, aperture f/8, shutter speed 122 seconds, ISO 64, ND 10-stop filter, tripod.

You can buy this photo as Fine Art Print >>




As I traveled along Spain’s coastline, I was drawn repeatedly to the rock formations at the sea’s edge. I was continually amazed by what nature was capable of and the power that the Atlantic could exert on the landscape.

Here, I was particularly entranced by the Playa de La Gueirua, one of the more remote beaches in the area, but also one of the most photographed. It took some effort to reach the spot, but it was worth the time and trouble — the rock formations here are particularly striking and it came to be one of my favorite locations along the northern coast.

The rock formations here are remarkable. Beautiful but somewhat menacing, the jagged spires seem to guard some unwelcoming kingdom beneath the sea. I wanted to capture just the right mood here — both the beauty of the place, but also the suggestion of danger and the sense of something ominous beneath the waves.

I tried several different compositions to capture what I felt at Playa de La Gueirua, but ultimately, I decided the best way to capture the coastline here was to photograph it in early morning. Early morning was a particularly magical time along the coast — I didn’t have to share the space with tourists and with the last of the night’s mist still in the air, it felt mystical, as if I had stepped into a distant world.

Posted in Landscape Tagged , , , , |

The Gate of Math, Bay of Biscay

I found myself becoming more and more charmed by the northern coast of Spain with each day that passed. It was an unexpected kind of place — not the sunny, languorous Spain of the Mediterranean coast, but a jagged, slightly forbidding place that felt very different than the Spain I’d imagined for years. It felt remote, as if I were standing on the edge of the world.

The Gate of Math, Urro del Manzano Rocks in the Morning, Liencres, Cantabria, Spain
March 2018, single shot, additional exposures for highlights, focal length 32 mm, aperture f/11, shutter speed 21 seconds, ISO 31, ND 5-stop filter, tripod.

You can buy this photo as Fine Art Print >>




It’s a place where the Atlantic and the Bay of Biscay have, over millennia, carved the coastline into sharp, unlikely formations. It’s less well-known than Spain’s Mediterranean coast and the tourists here are mostly locals taking short holidays. The comparative lack of tourists just added to my sense of being alone at the rough edge of civilization.

One of the more interesting rock formations along this stretch of the Cantabria coast is the Gate of Math, which I named so because of its resemblance to the symbol for Pi. Easily one of the most picturesque spots along a singularly beautiful coastline, I was determined to find the best angle to capture the formation.

After trying several different views of the rock, I settled on the most straightforward, with the Gate of Math centered in the photograph. A storm was coming in, and I focused the formation with the clouds in the background, with just the faintest suggestion of danger on the horizon. I used a long exposure and an ND 5-stop filter to smooth the water and waves in the foreground to minimize distractions.

I think the end result is striking — your eyes are drawn to the curious rock formation, which seems to hover just above the water, and the clouds on the horizon give a hint of something ominous.

Posted in Landscape Tagged , , , , |

Dragonstone, Bay of Biscay

You might have seen this place before. This rocky outcropping on the northern coast of Spain has made appearances in Game of Thrones as Dragonstone, the ancestral seat of the House of Targaryen. The filmmakers, of course, used computer graphics to add the Targaryen castle at the island’s peak, as well as the occasional dragon flying overhead.

Dragonstone, Gaztelugatxe and San Juan Church in the Morning, Basque Country, Spain
March 2018, single shot, additional exposures for highlights, focal length 16 mm, aperture f/11, shutter speed 242 seconds, ISO 64, ND 10-stop filter, tripod.

You can buy this photo as Fine Art Print >>




But even with that modern technology and computer animation can do, I was unprepared for Gaztelugatxe, crowned at its highest point by San Juan Church. The island wasn’t my primary interest on this particular jaunt; I went with the intention of photographing the rock formations for which this stretch of coastline is famous.

But it’s impossible to be near this part of Spain’s coast and not be entranced by Gaztelugatxe. That’s the effect that the island has on people — it simply isn’t possible to look away. It isn’t difficult to see why the filmmakers behind Game of Thrones chose this location; perched on a jagged sliver of rock on the edge of Europe, it feels far removed from the modern world. It seems to exist in another place and time.

I photographed the rock formations but soon realized that the island itself would make the best photographs. To get this shot, I climbed 50 meters up an adjacent cliff. It was a vertiginous climb up a barely-usable path and it involved a certain degree of danger, but it was worth it. It was early morning and the last of the mist was burning away. The tourists and hikers had not yet arrived. From my vantage point, Gaztelugatze seemed to hover just above the water, ethereal and beautiful, tethered to the mainland by a ribbon of rocks and a manmade bridge.

I got the shots, packed my camera, and prepared to climb back down the cliff and back into reality.

Posted in Landscape Tagged , , , , |

The Gate of the Winds, Bay of Biscay

The Bay of Biscay, located along western France and northern Spain, is regarded as one of the world’s most treacherous bodies of water. It has long been notorious among sailors for its fierce storms and rough waters. But in my travels I’ve learned that incredible beauty is sometimes created from a combination of time and the elements, and this is especially true along the northern coast of Spain.

The Gate of the Winds, Praia das Catedrais in the Evening, Galicia, Spain
March 2018, single shot, additional exposures for highlights, focal length 16 mm, aperture f/11, shutter speed 221 seconds, ISO 31, ND 5-stop filter, tripod.

You can buy this photo as Fine Art Print >>




Spain’s rugged northern coast has been pounded for centuries by the sea. And the result is a breathtaking — and often hidden — masterwork of nature known as Prais das Catedrais, or Cathedrals Beach. As if taking a cue from Medieval Europe, nature has carved this rocky coastline into a series of arches and flying buttresses not unlike those that grace Gothic cathedrals. And just like those cathedrals, the jagged formations along Prais das Catedrais inspire a sense of wonder.

At high tide, the water from the bay comes in with such force at such a volume that these rocky carvings are completely inundated. It’s possible to stand along this jagged edge of Spain and have no idea of the formations below the surface. But when the water recedes, it reveals contours seemingly carved by a craftsman beneath the water’s surface.

When I traveled to northern Spain, I hoped to be able to photograph these formations from the beach, since that’s the angle that allows you to best appreciate arches like the ones at Prais das Catedrais. But it wasn’t possible — the beach was under water for most of my trip. Instead, I climbed to the top of a cliff 20-30 meters above the water for my photographs. Even at that height, the Bay of Biscay was fearsome, and more than once both I and my camera were lashed by waves. Remembering that beauty is often created from time and the elements, I decided to let nature have its way with the beach and I exercised patience in getting my photographs. The result is a photograph that captures the rugged beauty of the Galician coastline, and the majestic arch that I call the Gate of the Winds.

Posted in Landscape Tagged , , , , |

Guggenheim Museum in the Evening, Bilbao

I was fortunate to spend the early part of this year traveling in northern Spain, where the city of Bilbao served as my gateway to the country. It’s a fascinating city filled with incredible architecture, and the countryside beyond Bilbao is equally striking.

Salbeko Zubia Bridge and Guggenheim Museum in the Evening, Bilbao, Spain
March 2018, crop from panorama from 5 vertical shots, additional exposures for highlights, focal length 16 mm, aperture f/11, shutter speed 5 seconds, ISO 64, tripod.




The coastline of northern Spain is as breathtaking as one would imagine — I find the contrast of intricate harsh rock formations against the deep blue of the sea to be especially beautiful. I was enchanted by this rugged edge of Europe and as you’ll see in the coming weeks, it was very much a working holiday for me. I was drawn again and again to the coastline, camera and tripod in hands, and I hope you enjoy my upcoming fine art collection as much as I enjoyed photographing that striking landscape.

Within Bilbao, it was the architecture that most interested me. Once an industrial city, Bilbao transformed itself over the last couple of decades into a sleek, modern city known for its innovative architecture. Principal among the city’s landmarks is the Guggenheim Museum, the work of acclaimed American architect Frank Gehry. With its shimmering titanium coating and soaring lines and curves, the Guggenheim is instantly recognizable, an iconic city landmark.

One of my first photographs of the Guggenheim was in early evening against a slightly overcast sky. I wanted a photograph that captured two of the city’s landmarks — not only the museum but the Salbeko Zubia Bridge as well — with night slowly falling over the city. I think the lights of Bilbao reflected in the facade of the Guggenheim are particularly lovely, and an appropriate way to remember this inventive city.

Posted in City Tagged , , , , |

Cape Khoboy at Sunset, Lake Baikal

Places like this are the natural birthplaces of intense religious beliefs. Remote and forbidding, life can be precarious, even today. In the summers, the earliest inhabitants here must have believed themselves blessed because of the lake’s bounty. Perhaps they judged the winters here — forbidding and often deadly, even now — as the price to be paid for the lake’s largesse.

Cape Khoboy at Sunset, Olkhon Island, Lake Baikal, Russia
March 2016, single image, additional exposures for highlights, focal length 16 mm, aperture f/11, shutter speed 20 seconds, ISO 64, tripod.




There’s a curious energy here and the lake tends to have a powerful effect on people. It’s known for its volatile weather — a summer day that is almost preternaturally quiet can become a windstorm with little warning. The winds at Baikal have their own names and they are not for the fainthearted.

It’s no wonder, then, that this place has been associated with shamanism for centuries. The Buryats, a subgroup of the Mongols, view Olkhon Island as the most sacred space in the lake. It’s the largest island in the lake and is surrounded by some of the purest water in one of the world’s cleanest lakes. On the western coast of the island is Shamanka, or Shaman’s Rock — it is one of the most sacred spots in Asia and is believed by some to be one of the five global poles of shamanic energy. For centuries, superstitions have surrounded the cave at Shaman’s Rock; healers practice their most important rituals there. But for tourists — and photographers — the cave’s interior remains a mystery. Only shamans are allowed inside.

I made the trip to Baikal in winter. It’s the most treacherous season on the lake, but also the most beautiful. When it freezes, Baikal doesn’t turn white. Instead it turns a deep, glassy blue, streaked with cracks and fissures like inclusions in a gemstone.

I’m no shaman, but there is a mystical kind of beauty to Baikal and Olkhon Island. Catching the last wisps of a pink sunset over the ice, I couldn’t help but feel some of the ancient wonder this place inspires.

Posted in Landscape Tagged , , , |

Isle Elenka in the Morning, Lake Baikal

One of the great privileges of my work is that it takes me around the world to far-flung locations that I might never otherwise see. Like a child seeing the world for the first time, I’m frequently wonderstruck by the places that I photograph. Whether natural or man-made, they often leave me awestruck.

View of St Moritz in the Morning, Switzerland
March 2016, single image, additional exposures for highlights, focal length 16mm, aperture f/13, shutter speed 0.8 seconds, ISO 100, tripod.




So much of my time is spent in other countries that it can be easy for me to overlook the incredible beauty here at home. Russia is vast — much more than the most intrepid traveler could take in over the course of a lifetime. Most tourists only scratch the surface of Russia with excursions into Moscow and St. Petersburg. They’re beautiful cities, but I am most moved by the natural beauty of Russia, the vast countryside that stretches out beyond the cities and its forests, impenetrable and enigmatic.

Lake Baikal is one of the most evocative places in the country. Like Russia itself, it is vast and ancient, perhaps one of the oldest lakes in the world. An enormous lake formed by the shifting of tectonic plates, Baikal’s blue depths contain roughly one-fifth of the world’s fresh surface water. It’s staggering in its size and depth, and stunning in its beauty.

At any time of year, Lake Baikal is bathed in an unfathomable, mystical aura, but in the winter, the lake is more than that. With the jagged promontory of Isle Elenka looming over the lake’s icy surface, my mind wanders in a more ominous direction. This is a formidable landscape. It is not for the faint-hearted.

Beyond the rift that Isle Elenka tears into the horizon, I imagine White Walkers. There is beauty here, but it is a beauty laced through with a sliver of dread. In this place, it isn’t difficult to imagine the steely-eyed undead coming for me. I am far beyond the relative safety of Westeros and far north of the wall and I can almost hear the White Walkers in the distance.

Posted in Landscape Tagged , , , |

St Moritz in the Morning, Switzerland

Many of the destinations that I photograph are justifiably popular with tourists. I can’t blame them; they’re drawn to the same beauty that I am, after all. But sometimes, especially when I’m working, I like to escape the crowds. I like to see a place as it is, free of crowds and free of the commercialization that often intrudes into beautiful places.

View of St Moritz in the Morning, Switzerland
January 2018, single image, additional exposures for highlights, focal length 66mm, aperture f/8, shutter speed 30 seconds, ISO 200, tripod.




St. Moritz is actually a small town; its fame far exceeds its size. But we were there just on the cusp of the main ski season, a time when the number of visitors to St Moritz may triple the town’s population. I quickly found that one of the best times to photograph the city was in early morning, before many of the guests were up and about.

I wanted to capture St Moritz — the actual, authentic place. I walked to a different part of the town, away from the center where most of the hotels and resorts were located. Then I walked a short distance away, just enough to give some perspective on St Moritz and its relationship with its environment.

From that vantage point, I could see the true scale of the mountains that surround St Moritz. It was the Alps — formidable and breathtaking — that gradually turned a pilgrimage spot into a holiday destination. From my spot just outside the town, I could see how tiny and insignificant it all is when juxtaposed against the mountains. It’s a theme I return to often in my work — our small place in the world — but viewing a still – sleeping St Moritz against the backdrop of the Alps, it wasn’t difficult to find myself thinking along those lines again.

I set up my tripod, and while St Moritz slowly came to life, I framed a shot that captured the majestic scale of the Alps.

Posted in City Tagged , , , |

St Moritz in the Evening, Switzerland

As a photographer, I am almost always working. Even when I’m “officially” on vacation with my family, I can’t help but be drawn to beautiful, interesting places. I always have a camera with me, so even my down time usually results in at least a few photographs.

View of St Moritz in the Morning, Switzerland
January 2018, single image, additional exposures for highlights, focal length 38mm, aperture f/8, shutter speed 30 seconds, ISO 64, tripod.




My family and I made a trip to St Moritz for the holidays. Skiing is one of my favorite pastimes to share with my family, and St Moritz lives up to its reputation as a beautiful winter retreat.

But St Moritz is, as we quickly learned, much more than a winter ski destination. In St Moritz, it’s possible to experience any number of weather extremes — snow, storms, mist, and even sun — over the space of a day. Every day seemed to bring totally different weather than we’d had the day before. And there were more brilliantly sunny days than most people would ever expect.

In fact, the large number of bright, sunny days in St Moritz is one of the things that made the resort. For centuries, it was a popular spot for religious pilgrims who made the trek to drink from the area’s mineral springs. Pilgrims who made the journey to the springs were granted absolution from their sins. It was only in the mid-1800s that a pioneering entrepreneur, Caspar Badrutt, realized the unique appeal of a place that offered snow-covered natural beauty with 300 days of sunlight each year. Badrutt invited a handful of English friends to St Moritz during the winter, promising that if they loved the place as he expected, they could stay at his expense. If they didn’t like it, he would reimburse their travel expenses. The English tourists came, and as Badrutt expected, they loved the place, and a major tourist destination was born.

Like Badrutt’s English guests, I find the juxtaposition of snow and sun strikingly beautiful. But the most beautiful days in St Moritz were the ones when we had a snow storm followed by brilliant sunlight. The light that fell over St Moritz on those days — when sunlight broke through an atmosphere still heavy with snow — was enchanting and bathed the town in a fairy tale glow.

A view like this one, taken over St Moritz as the sun broke through the snow, is the reason that my family vacation became a semi-working holiday.

Posted in City Tagged , , , |

Copenhagen Opera House in the Evening

Copenhagen isn’t just a city with an appreciation for the arts. It’s a city where design is a national obsession and architects are celebrities. One of the city’s most acclaimed — and controversial — structures is the Copenhagen Opera House. Located just across the canal from the Royal Danish Playhouse, the Opera House is built on a former navy pier and is part of the city’s forty-year-long redevelopment of its waterfront.

Copenhagen Opera House in the Evening, Denmark
September 2017, single image, additional exposures for highlights, focal length 35mm, aperture f/11, shutter speed 60 seconds, ISO 64, ND 5-stop filter, tripod.

You can buy this photo as Fine Art Print >>




Once a gritty naval and industrial space, the waterfront is now the centerpiece of Copenhagen’s cultural life. The city’s success in transforming its waterfront has become a model for urban planning around the world. And the focal point of that development is the Opera House, which was designed by Denmark’s most well-known architect, Henning Larsen.

It’s a striking and very modern — even futuristic — building. It was controversial from its inception, because of its design as well as its cost. The building, which is estimated to have cost $500 million, sits directly across from the royal residence, an audacious decision that did not go over well with everyone in Copenhagen. Larsen, as it turned out, was himself troubled by the building; he and Arnold Maersk McKinney Moller, the building’s sole financier, disagreed over virtually every detail of the building’s design.

I can see how the Opera House would have both its admirers and its detractors. It’s strikingly modernist facade is quite a contrast from the more Old World appearance of the royal residence. Still, on a pleasant early evening in Copenhagen, in the blue hour before night falls, I found the Opera House and the light it cast over the canal captivating. It was — to me — emblematic of Danish creativity and ingenuity.

Posted in City Tagged , , , |