Good photographs speak for themselves, and there is not much that words can add. At least I can’t put into words what these pictures are about. That’s why I take them.

I can tell a little about the circumstances under which they were taken and about the photographer, in case you are interested. On something like my 10th birthday my father gave me a camera and a beginner’s darkroom kit. Within a year I had a color darkroom running (no mean feat in the mid 1950s when color chemicals were toxic and temperature precision had to be better than a half degree F). By the time I arrived at high school I was quite the precocious photographer and went on to win prizes in the Kodak High School Contest three of the four years. Photography was largely displaced by the demands of college and graduate school and the early years of a scientific life in high energy physics. Sometime in the 1970s Madeleine, on the way to becoming Time Magazine’s Senior Science Correspondent, suggested we take a break in the Yucatan, and the travel bug took over. Every year or two we were off to wonderful places where the people were always welcoming, often despite living in difficult conditions. Many of them became subjects of photographs. Some of these travels resulted in stories, written by Madeleine and accompanied by my photographs, for the Chicago Tribune and Time. Over the last decade assignments from Smithsonian Magazine and Time have taken us to especially remote places (Western Tibet, the South Pole and the Dry Valleys of Antarctica). In 2007 a chance to go to the Pantanal in Brazil resulted in a big spread in the New York Times on the conflict between jaguars and ranchers. In June 2008 High Country News, a small high quality magazine devoted to covering the environment and ecology of the Western US, sent us to the Big Horn Basin in Wyoming for a story on paleontologists digging in the 55.5 million year old soil layers of a climate warming period, much like our own. In spring 2009 we covered the critically endangered Bay checkerspot butterfly on Coyote Ridge above San Jose for High Country News.

Traveling overland is almost a lost pleasure since jetting to far places became habit. Overland to the ends of the earth is so much more intimate with the land and the people who inhabit remote places - and it presents a photographer with special opportunities. The last 15 years road trips have become our favored way to travel -- through Burma, Tibet, Sri Lanka, Southern Africa, Syria, the UAE and Oman, and the American southwest -- and recently, a mirrored pair of long road journeys, as far north and as far south as one can go, took us first through Patagonia in Chile and Argentina (late 2010) to the southern end of the American continent, and then (late spring 2012) from San Francisco through the Yukon to the Arctic Ocean in Canada (with the help of a small plane for the last 75 miles since the ice roads were melting). There is nothing like turning left out of your driveway and left again at the end of the block and heading north and a couple of weeks later crossing the Arctic Circle. In 2014 we travelled mostly overland through Himalayan areas for almost 8 weeks in a circuit from Calcutta to Kathmandu to Bhutan and back to Calcutta by way of Assam, Meghalaya, West Bengal, and Sikkim. In 2015 a road trip circumnavigated Iceland in late winter, and the Faroe Islands. Greenland travel was necessarily and delightfully by dogsled. A month road trip in 2016, this time in Iran, took us from Tehran to the Strait of Homuz, 3200 miles through deserts, to glorious mosques, ancient sites, and countless encounters with friendly and hospitable Iranians.  In 2017 another road trip from home beyond the Arctic Circle took us to the North Slope and  bush plane flights to remote camp sites and summer solstice in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge and over some of the most amazing land we have ever seen.


These pictures were all taken with Nikons (Nikkormats, F3, F5, D2X, a D700, and now a D800E and a D850) and Nikon lenses. The lenses I used in Iran in order of usage: 14-24 f2.8,  105 f1.4(!), 70-200 f2.8VR2, 300mm f4, 24-70 f2.8, TC20E3. The equipment has proven to be extremely robust, in sea kayaks in the arctic ice, at -40° at the South Pole, hanging out a helicopter for hours in Antarctica (-20°F), on horseback at 115°F (46°C) in Brazil, at 123°F (51°C) in Death Valley, in the sand at the bottom of the Grand Canyon and in Botswana, in steaming humidity (Amazon, Borneo, Angkor, Sri Lanka, ...), at 19,000’ (5800 m) in the Andes and Tibet. Nikon has granted me an NPS card (for high priority repair and loaners) probably in recognition of this experience, even if I have barely needed the service to date. Chromes were scanned with Nikon scanners (LS5000), until the TIbet expedition when I went digital. These days I do most post-processing in Lightroom, earlier in Aperture, going out to Photoshop for special adjustments. Before Aperture, all pictures were edited in Photoshop.

All pictures get some implicit or explicit tonal and color adjustments. There are no absolutes in the visual space. I try to get images close to what I remember - and the colors of my memory are colored by emotional reactions to what was getting my attention when I took the picture. Many images are cropped to focus them on what mattered. Rarely (never for photojournalist work), I will touch up an image to remove something distracting.

My images have been published by Time Magazine, The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, Smithsonian Magazine,

Kodak, CNN, BBC, The Weather Channel, Panorama (Italy), Cosmos (Australia), Prentice Hall, High Country News, ...  



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