Photography and commentary by Paul Yarnall

Gallery Introductions

Best of the West…. Winter Trek 2012

This winter we packed up the camper and headed west yet again. Last year the mission was to actually purchase the camper in Phoenix, and we saw what we could along the way. This year we gave ourselves a little more time, but left without a clear agenda or very specific destinations. I wanted to see the Indian mounds outside St. Louis and make a stop in Joshua Tree National Park in California. Everything else was a matter of serendipity. We did make it to the mounds, which were interesting, but photographically unremarkable. The surprise, however, was how much we enjoyed the Gateway Arch. Sometimes it is fun to be a tourist and that’s where the Best of the West gallery starts.

Next we stopped in Oklahoma City to see the Federal Building Memorial. A very moving experience. It’s hard to grasp the violence of that day and the state of mind of the perpetrators.

Susie remembered a retired colleague who lived in Santa Fe, a beautiful destination. That led to Taos where we met a family relative for a quick visit. The Gas Museum we passed along the way was a photographer’s delight. There were many photo ops every day that I could not have possibly planned.

A few days were spent in Page, Arizona to revisit Horseshoe Bend and the slot canyons.  Then it was on to Vegas.  I am not a Vegas type of guy, but I get all worked up when I see and hear the famous fountains at the Bellagio. I really wanted Susie to experience that, but we also saw just about every notable point of interest in town.

From there is it was only a days drive to Ojai, California to attend to a motorcycle project.  Next it was a short drive  to Santa Barbara which allowed us to see the Pacific. Our drive westward was over at that point as we headed south to the Salton Sea. (Do a quick Google search on the Salton…. you will be amazed at the history of this body of water, which is nearly as far below sea level as Death Valley.) As we camped along the Salton shore the mountains of Joshua Tree National Park lined the horizon behind us.

Joshua Tree did not disappoint us except perhaps for the temperatures. The high desert can get chilly. High twenties and winds to match finally drove us out, but not before filling a memory card with lots of images to work on.

Our journey eastward wandered off the interstate in Arizona, southern New Mexico, and southwest Texas. San Antonio’s River Walk was crazy eye candy. A personal tour of NASA Houston’s Space Lab training simulators by one of Susie’s former fourth grade students, now a NASA expert, was over the top!  Some of these great experiences did not make it into this gallery, but there are hundreds of shots to remind us of these great experiences.

The big surprise?  The iPhone 4s is a very capable camera!  Susie delighted her friends with eCards she made throughout the trip.  I even have one of mine in this gallery.  See if you can find it without reading the caption. Go here for Best of the West.

I wonder what we’ll see next year?!

South Africa 2010, the Inside Story

The previous gallery, South Africa Photo Safari 2010, was all about the animals.  After all, that was the mission… see wildlife… shoot wildlife.

While going through the thousands of images we brought back, I realized that there was also the human experience – the personal side to our adventure.  We were already friends with the rest of our little group long before we departed JFK, and there were lots of shots of places we went to and things we did, all of us having a great time every minute of every day.  Some of the photography was about that too.

A photographer friend noted that while he liked the animal shots I posted, he wanted to know about the countryside and the places we had been.

He was right. I should have included the big picture, so here it is.  Be warned, however, that this gallery, South Africa 2010 Travelogue, is large at 109 images. It is a mix of fun snapshots, landscapes and some animal shots that did not make the previous cut.  It’s a “this is my vacation” collection in a gallery style format.  Feel free to blow through them! I hope the story shows the fun we had.

South African Photo Safari at Bona Ntaba

The Impossible Dream

It is probably fair to say that most photographers who shoot nature oriented images have  photo safari in Africa as a line item on their bucket list.  After a number of years looking at ads for African treks it seemed an impossible dream.  The typical prices for a couple to spend a few weeks in the heart of big game country are what I call “stupid” expensive.  It seemed to be a trip for the “money is no object” crowd.  Susie, my wife, had spent time in Africa as  a Peace Corps volunteer before we were married and she really wanted to go back.  She reminded me more than once,  “You promised!”

Then I found out that some friends in the local photo guild I belong to signed up for a tour with a focus on photography and the cost was reasonable. They directed me to Africa Wild Safaris, owned and operated by Greg and Karen Sweeney.  Greg is a professional photographer known for his underwater photography, but is just as prolific a shooter when his feet are on terra firma.  My first conversation with Greg last fall revealed that his home base was in Florida, and, as luck would have it, he was guiding a client for manatee observing at Crystal Springs in February.  When I mentioned that manatees held a special place in Susie’s heart and we would be in Florida as well, he immediately invited us to join him.  I knew I was going to like this guy!

The Adventure Begins

Fast forward to May. Our group of five arrived in Johannesburg weary from sixteen hours of ocean crossing, but excited to be on South African soil. We were met by a friendly driver and spacious van to begin the overland drive to our final destination, Bona Ntaba Lodge.  It was a long drive, but the roads were excellent and we took the opportunity to take in the varied geography and views of daily life in the many small towns we passed through.  The last fifteen miles to the lodge were on progressively poorer gravel roads until we were down to a very rough single lane track threading through the bush.  By the time we were within shouting distance of the lodge we had already seen glimpses of giraffe, cape buffalo, and wart hogs.  This was going to be the real deal.

Our long journey now over, we were warmly greeted by Greg and Karen. It was a  short walk from the lodge to our ‘tree house’ accommodations.  While not exactly tree houses in the strictest literal sense, these little houses on stilts provide a fantastic view of the miles and miles of tree tops and the distant Drackenburg mountains.  A live tree was part of our lodge finishing off the interior decor. Very cool.

Armed and Dangerous

The next ten days became something of a routine….  up before first light, grab a cup of coffee, load up into a ruggedized Land Rover and head out to one of the many nearby preserves for a ‘game drive’.  Since there were only five us, we each got a prime shooting spot in a truck designed to carry nine.  Perfect.  Sometimes the guide was instructed to focus on getting us close to rhino, lion, or whatever, but truth be told, the animals have minds of their own. Sometimes it felt like a game of hide and seek, but we always saw something.  It really didn’t matter what popped into view; it was fun and challenging photography. You could hear the avalanche of bits rushing to memory cards with six cameras blazing!

Then it would be back late in the morning for breakfast with time to rest, download images, or read up on wildlife until mid afternoon when a new and different drive was arranged.  We visited Kruger National Park twice and those were all day excursions.  Kruger is the size of Colorado and has many thousands of elephant, giraffe, lion…. all of the “big five” and so many more.  We were never more than a few minutes between sightings of something.

Not All Work

Some mornings we could sleep in until at least daylight and have a hearty breakfast before we would go do or see something within reasonable driving distance.  A visit with the hippo media star, Jessica, was great fun one afternoon. Hard to believe that hippos are allegedly responsible for the most human fatalities of all animal attacks in Africa.

On another we had some fun and excitement experiencing Africa’s longest zip line, Skyway Trails.

No matter what we were doing or seeing there were plenty of images to capture!

Tshukudu Game Lodge

Our tour concluded with a two night stay at Tshukudu Game Lodge, about an hours drive from Bona Ntaba and located in the center of a 12,000 acre preserve.  With a large friendly staff and beautiful facilities,  this well established family business provided an assigned expert guide for our group.  The food was good and perhaps too plentiful!  One of the highlights of the Tshukudu experience was the presence of three grown cheetahs, raised from cubs at the lodge. They roamed about freely posing for annoying photographers and occasionally playing with the dogs.  “Nice Kitty!”

In the evening dinner scraps brought out enormous porcupines and a bush pig for our photographic dessert.  The bush pig would roll over and let you scratch its tummy.  No thanks…  this thing had a face that only a mother could love!

Back in the bush away from the lodge, a large fenced in area held a mating pair of leopards.  These are endangered and the breeding program they are funding will help prevent their demise.  For us… unparalleled shooting!  The big cats were going to be fed and they weren’t the least bit camera shy.  These big cats (180 lbs) can easily drag twice their weight far up into the tree branches to eat undisturbed!

All Good Things Come to an End

The drive back to the airport seemed longer, and the flight back was definitely longer.  Traveling is really an ordeal, but a necessary sacrifice if you want to experience the world.

I came back with 5500 images and a case of African Tick Fever!  “Bugger!” Thank God for good doctors and antibiotics!  As for the images, thank God for Adobe LightRoom.  I distilled them down to fifty-five or so and you can see them here…

South Africa Photo Safari 2010

Thanks to Greg Sweeney for the first four photos!

“Twenty Ten” Already & Two New Galleries

I hope all my readers had great holidays with family and friends. It’s hard to believe “Twenty-O-Nine” is now “Twenty Ten”.  It will take me weeks to write dates without the hand writing “09” when the head knows better!

2009 Recap

Photographically, 2009 was a prolific year for me.  I took over 12,000 images from dozens of inspiring locations between the two great oceans of North America.  Of course with multiple exposures for possible HDR and  re-shoots to alter a composition by moving the camera six inches (or six feet) there was a lot of redundancy. Nonetheless the shutter finger got a lot of exercise this year!

As my portfolio of decent imagery has grown, I took advantage of more opportunities to show my work, including The Photopath 12 Exhibit in Rochester, my own solo show at the Canandaigua Wood Library, a continuing exhibit at the Canandaigua National Bank in Geneva, NY and most recently acceptance of three images at the WOW! exhibit now showing at Image City Photo Gallery in Rochester, NY.  The fact that folks are willing to part with their hard earned dollars in these uncertain times to make one of my images their own is greatly humbling and gratifying.  To all of you who have come to my shows, sent kind words of praise, or even  purchased an image, please accept my very heartfelt thanks.

It is bewildering how many  photographers are rapidly maturing with great work to show. I believe this is a direct result of the “digital revolution”.  It is a marvelous artistic pursuit that is always full of surprises.  No two photographers ever see quite the same thing even when they are looking in the same direction at the same time.  Throw in the infinitely variable choices in todays editing arsenals and every photograph is a snowflake.  No two are identical.

Two New Galleries

Back in 2006 Susie and I went on an Arctic “Adventure Cruise” with Adventure Canada.  In addition to the incredible photographic opportunities we were privileged to experience, we also met some interesting people.  One of them was Pete Ryan, a professional stock and assignment photographer, who is on a short list of approved contributers to the National Geographic on-line  stock library.  Pete and I stayed in touch and for reasons only known to him, he graciously invited me to join him on two photo missions this past fall.

Pete throughly researches his subjects and locations before arriving and he always has a list of places to see and shoot.  I got to follow along and tried to stay out of his way while I experienced a photographers’ waking dream of shooting from dawn to dusk.  Only hunger, fatigue or driving to the next site slowed down the relentless pixel count.

This was certainly the case when we joined up in Newfoundland in November.  By his own count Pete has been to Newfoundland dozens of times and he still had a list of “must sees”.  The short version of his list included a remote and little known site, (even to the locals), of a B36 USAF bomber  crash high on a rugged mountain top on the Trinity Peninsula, and a visit to a remote abandoned fishing village, accessible only by boat, just to name two.  I call the village “Sworn to Secrecy” since Pete does not want me to publish the name of the nearly forgotten village.  In spite of uncertain and rapidly changing weather, each day was an adventure all its own.  Newfoundland Revisited samples that memorable trip.

As we parted company in Newfoundland, Pete was thinking about a return trip to Death Valley. Even before the Newfoundland shots were culled, organized and first edits done, Pete was selling me on the hidden gems in Death Valley.  I am not a very ‘hard sell’ and so it was that we joined up in mid December in Las Vegas as a jump off for another photographic adventure.  I piloted a Ford Escape 4X4 and Pete pointed the way to remote abandoned mines and long deserted buildings. Thank god for GPS and topo maps!  We tested man and machine.  We had more fun than should be legal.  We also saw many of the popular and well known attractions in the great valley, but sans the crowds.  It was great shooting.

We even ended up with a day and evening in Las Vegas, a town where “what happens here, stays here” ….  or something like that.  It is a gaudy, sometimes rude, sometimes racy place, but oh my, the lights at night!  Check out Death Valley: Off the Beaten Track, for the highlights of that trek.

First Solo Exhibit at Wood Library

My first solo show ran the month of September at the Wood Library in Canandaigua, NY.  To tell you the truth, it felt a bit like I was promoting my own birthday party since I don’t normally try to draw attention to myself. I was pleased that the opening was very well attended with friends, family, and the public turning out.  It was over in a blink, and everyone seemed genuinely impressed with the images.

I tried to select images with a wide variety of subjects and locations and I posted a short narrative with each image to provide either insight to the time and place of the photo or other musings that would add to the story.  Folks really seemed to enjoy reading these and certainly spent more time with the images than they would likely have otherwise.

Of course, the displayed images were (discretely) for sale, and while I am happy to say that I sold a surprising number of them, I was more interested in the opportunity to see what the public liked the best out of the thirty-five images displayed.  To accomplish that, I provided  ballots and asked folks to vote for their favorite five images.  To encourage voting, I promised a free image to the winner of a drawing at the end of the show whose five favorites included the overall show top vote getter. (Congratulations to Ken Poole of Canandaigua, NY!)

“Glacier Rain” was the top pick.  Because of two ties, seven images emerged as the favorite five. Notable to me was the fact that of the seven, five were HDR (high dynamic range) images, and one was a stitched panorama.  There is always some debate in the photographic community about the use of HDR, but in the case of my work, the public has clearly spoken.  It was gratifying to discover that every image in the show was on someones’ ballot.

It was a huge amount of work and expense to  do the show, but it was an honor to be invited and very satisfying that the images were well received.  My sincere thanks to all who took the time to come.  For the benefit of those who could not make it to the show I created a gallery of the exhibit , Wood Show 2009.  Keep in mind that no screen does justice to a good large print.  The images are ordered in the gallery based on the votes they received.  (The meerkats in “Watchin’ You Watchin’ Us” was actually a triptych and I had a group of four puffin portraits in a quad, but I had no convenient way to post them in the gallery….  sorry.)

One Man Show

I am very pleased to announce that I have been invited to show a collection of my printed images at the Wood Library in Canandaigua. I will feature approximately forty images that showcase a variety of the subjects I enjoy photographing including animals, travel, aviation and scenics from many of the places I have been privileged to visit.

The opening and reception for the exhibit is Thursday, September 3, 7-9 PM on the third floor of the Wood Library on Main St., Canandaigua, NY. The exhibit will run for the month of September.

As a visitor to my site you have seen many of the images that will be on display, but I encourage you to attend as most computer displays can not do justice to an image the way a large carefully made print can.

The reception will be informal of course, and you need not plan on staying the entire time, so I hope you can fit this into your busy schedules and I hope to see you there!

Paying the Piper

It is incomprehensible to me how fast time rushes by these days but I now have some time to write as my wrist heals from carpal tunnel surgery. The irony is that driving a computer all day, either for work or for my photography, is what finally aggravated the symptoms enough for me to do something about it. Of course, it wasn’t just relentless computer use that did me in…. since the opposable thumb is what distinguishes us from most of the other inhabitants on the planet I have spent my entire life taking advantage of our ability to grip things. Countless hours on the motorcycle, or bicycle… wielding tools… you name it, I have, and continue, to do a lot of it.  And now I am paying the piper.

Recovery time for this relatively minor procedure is hard to predict but “months” are often mentioned. It has been a week so far and I am greatly encouraged by my progress. At the present rate I should be able to handle the lighter 5D and a smallish lens in another week or two

I sent this to a few of my friends just to prove that I am “benched” for a while….

So, since I can still use the computer without too much discomfort, I have gone through a lot of stacked up images the past week that have produced four new galleries.

Captured is a small collection of shots from visits to two of our regional zoos in Rochester and Buffalo, NY. I enjoy ‘shooting’ wildlife, but I have to say there isn’t much wild about captive animals. Certainly there are species that are fairly oblivious to their surroundings, but the higher order vertebrates are, well, depressing. They are basically prisoners put on display for our amusement.

May – July Odds and Ends is just that. A few shots from here and there, which includes the Chimney Bluffs on Lake Ontario, the Genesee River at the High Falls area in Rochester, NY, Some scenics, from the Old Forge area in the Adirondacks, and some shots of an old truck to mention a few. A large percentage of these images are the product of HDR (high dynamic range) processing where multiple exposures are combined in software to capture a wider dynamic range than could normally be viewed on a screen or print. HDR is the subject of a lot of debate in photographic circles these days. Amazing software, Photomatix Pro, for example, gives the user the freedom to create images that can be a startling “interpretation” of the original “reality”. I admit that I have exercised the creative side of HDR in some images and the risk is that some will be annoyed or object to them. That’s OK. This is like TV… if you don’t like what you see, change the channel, (or go on to the next image). However, in spite of the potential for abuse, HDR has also allowed me to create images that look “normal” when none of the individual images used to build the composite had any potential what so ever. You can be the judge.

Within the last month I was able to travel into the past, at least with a little added imagination, when I visited Gettysburg, PA for the 146th anniversary re-enactment of that great (and horrible) battle in the Cival War. The time and effort of many hundreds of participants dedicated to reliving that historical period is something to witness and provided great subject matter for my viewfinder.

I returned for my second visit to the Historical Air Group Airshow at Geneseo, NY earlier this month to document this years theme of Naval Aviation. In addition to the meticulously restored and maintained warbirds of the last century, I again stepped back in time as I walked through a 1941 Air Corps encampment. A ‘high point’ was circling around at 2500′ above the New York countryside in a Cessna “Bamboo Bomber” as three Navy warbirds formed up on our wing for our eager lenses.

I hope you enjoy some of these images…. as always, I am happy to hear your comments.

Follow up to Photographers Path 12 Exhibit

These are the final stats for the show. Out of 326 images which were submitted, 200 made the final gallery. Harbor Dawn scored a 55 tying for second in judging (first place scored 56.5), and won first in the popular vote. Glacier Rain scored a 52 and tied for second in the popular vote with Taking Flight scoring 46.5 and 21st in the popular vote.

Remember, the show runs until May 3rd and the High Falls area is a delightful place to spend a few hours. Enjoy the view of High Falls on the Genesse from the foot bridge over the gorge.

The three images I submitted to the exhibit…..


Harbor Dawn was taken from a motel room overlooking the harbor after I awoke early and peaked out through the curtains. The scene before me had me throwing the tripod and camera together in a panic for fear of losing the light, all the while still in my “skivies”. OK, maybe too much information, but you never know when the magic moment will be in front of you. Go here for the rest of Circumnavigation of Newfoundland 2008 gallery.


Glacier Rain was shot from the front of a zodiac a few hundred feet from a forty foot high wall of ice in the Canadian Arctic. The ‘rain’ in the shot is the melting ice pouring down the face of the glacier. Global warming right before my eyes. The Western Greenland and the Canadian Arctic has many other similar images from that great adventure.


Taking Flight was the only usable image from a string of continuous shots taken from my canoe in Canadice Lake while a pair of young geese exercised their spontaneous primal urge to try their wings. The light was low as evening approached and even at a high ISO the shutter speed was too slow to freeze the motion of the beating wings. At first I was disappointed in the shot but the sense of motion captured in the blur of flapping wings grew on me. More in Canadice Evenings, 2008.

Photo Path 12 Exhibit, High Falls, Rochester NY

I decided to enter the 12th annual photo exhibit in Rochester this year, A Photographer’s Path 12, (download below) held at the High Falls Fine Art Gallery. This exhibit provides an opportunity for area photographers to show their work in a fine art gallery for both jury and popular judging. I felt it was time to see how my work would be recieved in the context of other competing images. All who entered were assured of at least one of their images making the final gallery, thus insuring the democratic roots of this show.

It was excruciatingly difficult to decide which of my images would show and judge well. I enlisted the eyes of other photographers and friends whose artful judgment I respect to narrow my choices down to seven images. With the help of Jeff Adams, a friend and graphic arts educator, (and a fine photographer himself), we further narrowed it down to three.

Since I volunteered my time to help set up the gallery following the judging phase I was granted a sneak peek as to how well my images stood up to the jury and popular balloting process. I am humbled but gratified to report that all my images scored high enough to make it into the “little room”; reserved for images scoring over 40, (out of 70). They also scored very well in the popular vote.  Harbor Dawn scored 1st, Glacier Rain tied for 2nd, and Taking Flight tied for 21st out of 326 submitted images.  This perhaps is the most gratifying and the most surprising to me as there are many very good images on display this year.

This post becomes rather short notice but for readers in the Rochester area the opening reception for Photo Path 12 is Sunday March 22 from 3-6P.  It is a good show and in an historic and visually interesting area.  A great place to spend a few hours on a Sunday afternoon.  If you can’t make it then the show runs through May 3rd.  Go to for directions.

I will post a follow up after the opening.

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Trekking to Florida and Back

It’s funny how one thing leads to another.  Late this past fall I decided that it was time to look for a replacement for my aging 1/2 ton pickup truck.  It served me faithfully for 10+ years, but was showing “the signs.” So I started the “hunt” while it still had enough value to be useful to someone else.

The great search turned up  a nearly new Dodge 3/4 ton diesel.  Somehow the new truck and its greater capacity led to a bigger camper. This one has a small bathroom which greatly expands one’s choices for evening stops on long trips.

All of this led Susie, my wife, to suggest a late winter trip to Florida for a maiden voyage.  Great idea!

Susie insisted that we take our two dogs, and I insisted on getting the canoe and kayak on the roof.  I knew this “family vacation” was not going to be ‘photo trek’ per se, but of course I took every lens and body, prepared for anything.

Dogs are like little children and need a fair amount of attention, but they travel a lot better… they never ask “are we there yet?”, though they do make a protest if you drive past their dinner time!  You can’t just let them out the door when they need to go out, so it was leashes and little plastic bags several times a day.  I pretty much resigned myself to missing sunrises and sunsets with my camera.

Still, we had a great time. We spent a few days in the charming city of Charleston, SC and a day at the beautiful and authentic Magnolia Plantation. A couple of interstate billboards extolled the Butterfly Rainforest at the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville, so we spent a day there in butterfly heaven.

Visiting family near Tampa, we spent a day as authentic tourists at Busch Gardens. Laugh all you want, but there are great photo ops for African wildlife few of us will get to experience on African soil.

We visited a number of the many Florida natural springs and spring fed rivers in the fantastic Florida State Park system, and that led to canoeing on the Ichetucknee, Weeki Wachee, and Chassahowitzka. Magical places to paddle.  Check out Florida Snapshots.

On our last weekend before heading back to the frozen north, we spent a day at the Jennings Raceway in north Florida watching and photographing my brother, Dave, and his friend, Mike, balance the physics of horsepower, speed, friction, and human dexterity and skill on their motorcycles. Photographically this was more challenging than you can imagine!

Since these photo subjects were all so different, I put them in their own little galleries. You can get to them from the links above or from their description widgets on the right.

If you would like more detailed information on where any of these photos were taken, drop me a note.

Six New Galleries from 2008

Well, here it is, day two of 2009. The past week has been one of focused attention on this new site, the new galleries, putting it all together….lots of hours parked in front of a keyboard. Where does the time go? Part of all this reorganization was revisiting and reviewing thousands of images from 2008… many which had been sent to bits and bytes heaven and a few were real ‘finds’. Going back to images months after you took them gives you a fresh set of eyes…  new possibilities for images you passed over before might inspire you to process them.

The review process made me realize what a good (and busy) year 2008 was photographically. (In all ways, really, given that my friends, loved ones, and I are in good health).  The highlights of 2008?…..

It started with four weeks touring the American Southwest with my good friend, Jason Murphy, last April. Then a week in June shooting Puffins and other bits in Maine.  Several days in July were spent with Pro shooter friend, Peter Ryan, immersed in aviation history at the Historic Air Group in Geneseo NY. In August it was off to Ecuador (third trip!) working for Safari Party Adventures and spending more time with Jason. Then there was an unexpected opportunity to revisit Newfoundland by way of Adventure Canada on their Circumnavigation of Newfoundland cruise. Susie and I loved our first trip to ‘Newfie’ land… how could we resist? And there was a short but fun workshop for area teachers I conducted at Letchworth State Park.  In between the big trips I slipped off to beautiful Canadice Lake with camera and canoe on numerous summer and fall evenings.  I had great fun watching two Canada geese a friend owns grow from fuzz balls to powerful fliers! Whew, what a year!

Given that the last gallery I published was of the Southwest trek, I was clearly way behind by the end of the year.  Along the way I adopted a Mac Pro and Adobe LightRoom. Both have had a big impact on my productivity and state of mind. Strangely, I really don’t miss cursing at locked up or crashed Windows programs.

For some reason there is a need for photographers to show their work. We can dispense with the psycho analysis, but I enjoy showing the images that ‘work’ and my website was a primary way of reaching an audience. One of the reasons I was slow in posting was that it was an incredibly time and patience consuming process, and that tended to result in putting off getting things posted. To top it off, I wasn’t particularly pleased with the look of it.

The result of all these forces working together is this new venue.  It is far easier to maintain and add to than the old one, so the next galleries won’t take six months from the time they are taken to getting into a gallery. That’s the plan.

I apologize for posting six new galleries at once. Take your time. If you ‘subscribe’ at the top of the page you will be alerted when anything new gets posted.  Love to hear from you.  As always, thanks for visiting.

The NEW Images by Paul Yarnall

It is common knowledge among those who have created any kind of web presence how much time and energy it takes. It can be exhausting and frustrating especially if your html skills are minimal. Visitors to any site expect new material on a regular basis, otherwise it’s “been there done that”. So, my apologies to all who have enjoyed any of my photos but were wondering when I was going to get around to showing new ones. I was creating images faster than I could get them processed, organized, and posted. Something had to change and this new site is it.

The NEW Images by Paul Yarnall website is now completely Blog based because blogging tools make it easier to get things ‘online’. In addition, all photo galleries are now generated in Adobe LightRoom. My switch to LightRoom will be another post by itself, but in short, it is an integrated photo processing environment that streamlines all the tasks of getting images from the camera to the web. The LightRoom generated galleries lack a few embellishments I hope Adobe will see fit to add as time goes on, but the results are a nice presentation of images with very little additional effort on my part once they are “developed”.

You will find links to all the photo galleries, old and new, on the right sidebar. All of my previous blog articles and posts are here below or can also be found using “Categories” at the top of the page.

It seems fitting that the NEW IBPY is launching with the new year. I am going to do my best to shoot more AND post more. Comments and suggestions are appreciated as always.

Reflections on Ecuador 2008… Safari Party Adventures

Well, it’s been a little too long since my last post. The older I get the shorter the days get. Sorry about that. I am going to try creating shorter posts and do it more often.

Anyway, I am sitting in my friend Jason Murphy’s condo in Santo Domingo, Ecuador. We just finished up the Safari Party Adventure Ecuador Photo Trek, (see my old post) . By all accounts everyone had a good time and got some great photos. My role as “photo specialist” turned out to be highly rewarding as participants of various skill levels all worked very hard to improve their image capturing skills. And improve they did! It was great fun to watch and help. It kept me motivated to do my best as a shooter too.

I won’t be uploading any new Ecuador photos to my website gallery for a while, (posted here Jan ’08)  as I am still exploring Ecuador, but I have put together a little “souvenir” slide show that includes a lot of “snaps” of the trip, and also some shots that will make it to the gallery later on. It is a 27 Mb Windows self-executing file and will take a few minutes to download on broadband. Save to someplace where you can find it, then double click on it to run it. It runs automatically, but if you move the mouse to the top of the screen various controls will appear should you wish to pause or advance images. It has music with it, so have your speakers on. No captions… sorry about that… just not enough time while on the road… but the images tell most of the story.

The American Southwest… Out and Back

This past April I had the great fortune of visiting parts of the amazing American Southwest… focused mostly in Northern Arizona… the Page, Lake Powell area. How this journey came to be was not based in good fortune, or was it?

Rewind back to last Fall. I learned of a weekend lecture by the superlative photographer, Art Wolfe, hosted at a small college in Pennsylvania. I had heard what a remarkable shooter and speaker he was so I signed up. I decided this could be a fairly low cost weekend if I used my slide in, pop up, truck camper and since it was not far from my home town I could also visit with my aging Mom and my siblings. Mom didn’t make it to Christmas so that was one of my last precious visits with her and I always enjoy time with my brothers and sister.

The lecture was amazing. It wasn’t that I learned much from a technical stand point, but in spite of being bombarded with an endless stream of Art’s singular photography that I could only hope to match in my wildest fantasies, I left incredibly inspired. The one message that I took to heart as my left hand brain was constantly trying to define a purpose to my need to freeze a moment, was that every time someone gazes at one of your images and is transported, however briefly, you have ‘done a good deed’.

As I headed back home up a very busy eight lane highway, thankfully in the far right lane, I heard a strange sound followed by a slight jerk in the truck, followed by the view of the roof of my camper tracing an arc through the sky behind me in my rear view mirror. It crashed upside down still in my lane, missing cars behind me, and others doing the “Oh my God” dodge to avoid crashing into it. It came to rest half on the shoulder as did I quite a way farther down the road. It all took a second or two to take hold in my brain. Bedding and misc. stuff trailed me back to the roof. I slowly backed up on the narrow shoulder, already thankful that no one had been hurt, but reeling with the strategic challenge now before… make that behind me. I was three hundred miles from home and part of my camper lay on the road. Bummer.

A very good Samaritan stopped to offer assistance. There is little doubt that I was in a bit of a state of shock with an adrenaline chaser as the two of us managed the impossible by getting the roof back up where it belonged. It was heavier than four or even six people could have safely lifted. It was badly damaged but I couldn’t leave it there and I needed to have some protection for the inside of the camper in the event of rain. It took a lot of rope to tie everything back together, several more stops to add rope or check that it was staying put, but I made it home without further incident. That weekend was so full of emotional extremes it felt a bit schizophrenic.  

I will skip the distasteful unpleasantness with the insurance company… (I really like my NEW agent and carriers, by the way)… but it became clear that letting the factory restore my camper to its former glory was the most prudent solution. The factory is in Michigan. While I was looking at maps contemplating the drive to the factory I noted that it was a “good leg up” in the generally Western direction. I had just seen some images of slot canyons in Arizona that I wanted to be in MY camera and, oh yeah, I have a friend in Denver. Work was slow, (who says on their death bed,”Gee, I wish I had spent more time in the office?!”). The concept of a camping photo road tour was taking shape.

When I mentioned this to my dear friend (and son I never had) Jason, who lives in Ecuador, and mentioned that he was welcome to join the adventure, his acceptance sealed the deal. He was anxious to sharpen up his photo skills and as long as we found a WIFI hotspot at least once a day so he could keep tabs on his work, he was good to go. He flew into Denver, we visited with my friends and the adventure began.

The interstate drive through Colorado was constant visual stimulus… there was still plenty of snow in the hills, but as we approached Utah things got dryer. Our destination was Page, Arizona, but we stopped in Moab and had a quick visit at Arches National Park, before continuing on. When you have only “the moment” it is really a lottery as far as the light is concerned.  You have to take what you get. Plenty of snapshots of the  “this is my vacation” variety with a few ‘wall hangars’.

The slot canyons in the Page area were everything I hoped for… surreal, amazing, and  photographically challenging. We followed our noses and our whims. We made plans, but we adapted to unplanned choices. This got us to Stud Horse Point. Wow. This got us hooked up with a local expert on petroglyphs and native navigational (he thinks) markings he has discovered over the years painstakingly exploring the hills and mesas in the area. He took us on a WILD jeep ride to see some of his discoveries. Another Wow. Some tough light that day but great memories. Then there was the march up to Angel’s Landing in Zion, (see the blog before this one). Not for the weak of leg or the faint of heart. Amazing that this trail even exists with the lawyers, insurance companies, and even our government who wants to protect us from everything. You could easily have the last day of your life as you approach the summit, but Oh my, what exhilaration and what a view!

We desparately wanted to get to the North rim of the Grand Canyon, but one small camping area was un-characteristically full (after 80 miles of the roughest gravel roads ever!) and the other was still snowed in, so we made the pilgramage, along with many others, to Grand Canyon Village on the South rim.  Too many people, for sure, but then we got to see the Canyon and got some good pics of horses (mules really) and their handlers.  Expect the unexpected…. and be ready to shoot!

And speaking of shooting, I confess that I lost a very precious 4 gig worth of images by getting sloppy in my work flow.  A hard lesson that I will expand on in a future blog.

We took the Southerly route back which included the Petrified Forest… (do you know how the trees turned to rock??… I do)… and we finally ended up in the Great Smokey Mountain National Park. The surrounding communities have taken on a distressingly low taste amuzement park mentality and a lot of people come to the park… also distressing, (can you tell that I don’t like crowds?), but there is photographic gold in those hills, and some of the gold requires a good sweaty walk to get there. That seems to thin out the crowds at the good spots.  This is another destination that could fill weeks, not days, and I plan to return.  A Fall visit after school is back in session would be spectacular.

After 6000 miles, great adventures and a few ‘good enough’ images, I can reflect on that day last fall when my roof came crashing down and say, what a lucky day that turned out to be!

When you have a few minutes, check out the new gallery.

As always, I love to hear what you think.  I am particulary interested in what you think of the black and white versions of some of the Arizona – Utah landscapes.

Changes to IBPY & IBPY Blog

Continuing to make refinements to both the IBPY web site and this blog…  changed some fonts, added some images in the latest gallery album, “Faces and Places, Ecuador 07”.  Feel free to provide feed back, as always.  I think the technical issues and various links are now resolved and I will start working on some more interesting material for posting.  Thanks for your patience.

First Order of Business

My intent when setting up this blog space was to mimic the
look of my web site,
That ‘look’ has white text against a black background, and
that was a carry over from my Shozam generated gallery.
While I love the gallery look and so do my visitors, I am
not convinced that it is the easiest to read. Please
drop me a line if the white on black is tiresome to read
or you just don’t like it. It only takes a few seconds to
change it back to black on white.