Monday, February 28, 2011

Gallery Opening - Reception this Friday, 3-7PM

My photography will be on display at the Orland Art Center and Gallery from March 4th to 26th. There will be a reception at the Gallery on Friday the 4th from 3-7PM.

My work - focusing on rural and agricultural landscapes of the Sacramento Valley will be part of a exhibit titled "Beautiful Northern California" and will include works of three other artists - James Gregg, Charlie Osborn and Richard Verkuyl.

I will be there from 5-7PM to sign copies of my book of photography of the Sacramento Valley (Under the Endless Sky) and to talk, so make sure to come by!

The show will run from March 4th through March 26th. The Gallery is open 1pm - 7pm Tuesday through Saturday, and is located at 732 Fourth Street, Orland, CA.

Here are a few of my images that will be in the exhibit:

Rice Harvest near Marysville

Oak tree near the Sutter Buttes

Sunset Over the Sutter Buttes

Peach Orchards from the Air

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

More Almond Flowers

Well, it's that time of year, and with the weather as iffy as it's been, I've taken every opportunity to get out and photograph the almond bloom before the wind and rain do it in - and the almond crop with it.

I had intended to go up in the air to do an aerial shoot of the almond bloom last weekend, but the clouds made that an iffy proposition, particularly given the cost of chartering a plane. So instead, I headed out in my truck. Turned out to be a beautiful day - go figure.

I got a lot of nice photos of the flowers, and was rewarded with a colorful sunset at the end.

Almond Flowers
Close up of almond flowers (Glenn County)

Almond Flowers
Row of almond trees (Glenn County)

Almond Flower Close up of almond flower

Almond Flowers
More almond flowers - they are beautiful

Almond Orchard at Sunset
An almond tree glows in the light of the setting sun (east of Willows, Glenn County)

Sunset over the Sacramento Valley
And finally, the day ended with a dramatic sunset.

I'm still hoping to get up in the air this coming weekend to get the bloom before it ends, but the weather is not looking cooperative - they are predicting snow on the Valley floor, which could ruin the almond crop.

Keep your fingers crossed that doesn't happen and we get some clear warm weather.

Friday, February 18, 2011

An Early Year for Almond Flowers

One of the wonderful things about agriculture is it's cyclical nature. Every year, the same processes occur, blooming, budding, sprouting, fruiting, harvest, etc. They don't always occur at the same or with the same intensity (ask any farmer about the lateness of last year's harvest), but they do occur.

One of my favorite cyclic events of the year is the almond bloom that starts in mid-February and lasts for about two weeks. Historically (I've been shooting the almond bloom since 2004), the bloom starts around February 18 and peaks around February 28th, as can be seen in a chart of the dates of photos of the almond bloom that I've taken in the past 7 years:

Almond photos 2004-2011
Chart of the dates of almond flower photos I've taken since 2004.

However, this year got an earlier start than I've ever seen: I took my first batch of photos on February 12th - far earlier than any previous year!

This isn't really much of a surprise since we have had six weeks of warm, dry weather in January and early February, with many days getting all the way into the 70's. 

I'm not sure what effect this will have on the length of the almond bloom, but knowing that a series of storms was coming, I wasted no time getting into the field this year. True, most of the orchards were just starting to bloom on the 12th, but there were enough flowers blooming to get a few nice shots (below).

All of the photos below were taken at Cal Worthington's ranch in Glenn County.

First Almond Blossoms of the Year

First Almond Blossoms of the Year

First Almond Blossoms of the Year

First Almond Blossoms of the Year

Hopefully, the weather will clear enough for me (and the bees) to get out again before the bloom is over. If I'm lucky and I get some really good weather, I might be able to even get some aerial views of the almonds again this year.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Wildflower Workshop at Table Mountain!! Sign up Now!

A wildflower field macro photography workshop led by professional photographer, Tony Dunn. You'll learn beginning and advanced photographic and lighting techniques for capturing dramatic wildflower photos, learn the settings on your camera that will give you the best wildflower photos, and do it all in the field surrounded by dramatic displays of spring wildflowers.

Owls Clover on Table Mountain

Table Mountain, North of Oroville, Butte County. We'll meet at the parking lot at the Table Mountain Wildflower Reserve on Cherokee Rd (see map below - zoom out to see the general area). We will hike down to the waterfall where there is the highest concentration of wildflowers.

View Larger Map

Saturday, March 26, 2011, 2:30-5:30pm (sunset). Please arrive promptly as we will leave the parking lot for the field immediately at 2:30.

Poppies on Table Mountain

How Much
The workshop is $65 per person in advance. Because of limited space, please make your reservation in advance, as the workshop will sell out. You can pay via check or PayPal. Contact me for more payment information via email or phone (530-321-1753).

Tidy Tips

Is This Workshop for Me?
This workshop is for beginning, intermediate and even advanced photographers wishing to either begin learning the basics of wildflower photography or learn and practice more advanced macro photography techniques.

Owls Clover on Table Mountain

What do I Need?
We will be hiking about a half a mile each way over relatively gentle but occasionally soggy terrain to the main wildflower area, so you should wear sturdy boots and clothing appropriate to the weather. Since the flowers are very close to the ground, wear clothes that you won't mind getting down on your knees or belly in. Bring water and snacks if you wish.

You can bring a tripod for your camera if you wish, but it is unlikely that you'll use it.

You will need to bring a camera that is capable of capturing close up images of wildflowers. Most point-and-shoot and 'prosumer' cameras have some level of this capability. For DLSRs it depends on the lens. Some lenses have a 'macro' setting that does not really allow you to get close enough to take pictures of wildflowers really close up. For DSLRs, you will have the best results with a 'real' macro lens.

How can you tell what your camera will do? Try taking a photo of a quarter.

Quarter Macro view

If you can get a quarter to look this big (or bigger) in your camera's viewfinder (in focus!), then your camera is OK for wildflower macro photography. If your camera won't let you get this close, then you can do general photography of wildflowers, but won't be able to capture the dramatic close ups that true macro photography gives. But that might be all you want.

Make sure your camera's batteries are charged!

What happens if it's Raining?
The workshop will occur if it is overcast and or cold. If it is rainy or extremely windy (which makes it difficult to photograph the wildflowers), then the workshop will be cancelled. If it is possible to reschedule for Sunday the 27th or for the next weekend, we will do that. If not, all participants will receive a full refund. 

For more information,  email or call me at 530-321-1753.

Wild Violet on Table Mountain

Monday, February 7, 2011

Gallery Showing - March 4th - 26th

My photography will be on display at the Orland Art Center and Gallery from March 4th to 26th.

My work will be part of a exhibit titled "Beautiful Northern California" and will include works of three other artists - James Gregg, Charlie Osborn and Richard Verkuyl.

Though my work spans the length and breadth of northern California, for this exhibit my focus will be on the under-appreciated beauty of the rural and agricultural landscapes of the Sacramento Valley. Generally considered to be little more than "hot, flat and dusty", the Sacramento Valley is in reality a rich landscape full of contrasts and beauty.

Rice Harvest near Marysville

Golden Foothills

Come see for yourself! There will be an artists' reception on March 4th, from 3 - 7pm. I will be there, but probably only after about 4:30.

The show will run from March 4th through March 26th. The Gallery is open 1pm - 7pm Tuesday through Saturday, and is located at 732 Fourth Street, Orland, CA.

Almond orchards in bloom