Dogs take a hike! Behind the scenes of the 365DogHikes project

Dogs take a hike! Behind the scenes of the 365DogHikes project

Natalia is both an inspiration to me on the professional front and a kindred spirit and dear friend on the personal front. When she began her project, I was more than eager to jump aboard and go on a hike or two with her and Willow. So at sunrise one spring morning, we met up at the start of a trail where we were greeted by a most fantastic pink sky filled with low thin clouds. While she photographed the hike for her project, I turned the camera and the interview around onto Natalia about everything from how approaches her photography to smart tips for the hiking trail.

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Controversy over tule elk conservation on the rise as California's drought worsens

Controversy over tule elk conservation on the rise as California's drought worsens

The story of the tule elk seems to be perpetually wrapped up with the story of cattle ranchers.

In late 2013, I wrote an article about the surprising story behind the tule elk species. The smallest subspecies of elk, and the only elk endemic to California, the tule elk was nearly erased from the earth forever. It was a cattle rancher who saved the species.

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How banding western snowy plovers may help them come back from the brink in California

How banding western snowy plovers may help them come back from the brink in California

Have you ever noticed a banded bird in the wild and wondered who banded them, why, and what the colors mean? For residents of the west coast, there is a minuscule shorebird for which these bands could mean the difference between survival and extinction of the species in California.

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A beautiful (and very up-close) moment with a bobcat

A beautiful (and very up-close) moment with a bobcat

Early one morning at sunrise I headed up to photograph some river otters. Or at least I'd hoped to. They were a no-show that morning. It seemed like most everything was a no-show. Some mornings are just annoying like that, and there isn't much you can do to fix it except recognize you're getting skunked and go get a cup of hot coffee. So, I was driving back out to head home when a shape walking across a field caught my eye. A gorgeous young bobcat was strolling across a meadow.

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How to use the Brenizer method in pet photography for extra impact

How to use the Brenizer method in pet photography for extra impact

The technique, now known as the Brenizer method (or bokeh panorama or bokehrama), provides a wide-angle image with an extremely shallow depth of field, isolating the subject from the background in a dramatic way. It basically creates the look one can get with a medium format camera but it can be accomplished using a regular old portrait lens on any old camera. The finished photograph can look like it was shot with a 20mm lens at f/0.6, or maybe an 18mm lens at f/0.7 -- in other words, it looks like it was shot with a lens that doesn't actually exist anywhere in the world.

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River otters and their incredible comeback in California's Bay Area

River otters and their incredible comeback in California's Bay Area

In early October of 2012, someone spotted a ripple of water in the Sutro Bath ruins at the northern end of San Francisco, a ripple made by an unlikely visitor. A North American river otter had traveled to and set up camp in San Francisco for the first time in over 50 years.

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How to break creative blocks through photo essays

How to break creative blocks through photo essays

Armed with an assignment, fresh inspiration, and a new lock on what of me I want to keep and what of me I want to push forward, I headed out. For two mornings, I shot with purpose. While my dog did pretty much the same thing as usual — run at full speed for two hours — I looked at everything we usually do together during our runs with an eye for how I would capture images for each of the six categories of photos in an essay. How would I tell this incredibly simple story, and how would I do it in a way that doesn’t feel old to me?

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An animal of extremes: How the northern elephant seal barely dodged extinction

An animal of extremes: How the northern elephant seal barely dodged extinction

Among the countless stories of species disappearing into the mists of extinction, there are a handful of stories about species that nearly slipped away and miraculously (or tenaciously) managed to come back. The northern elephant seal is among this number.

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4 reasons why sunrise photo walks are worth the effort

4 reasons why sunrise photo walks are worth the effort

There are two reasons I love the winter for photography. One, the sunrises are more spectacular. That's not just me saying so, either. Science says so too. And two, you don't have drag yourself out of bed at 5 am to be able to enjoy them. In fact, I barely have to drag myself out of bed at 6:00 to have plenty of time to get dressed, make a cup of coffee and head out the door. That hour can be a luxury, even for those of us who love mornings.

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The epic flight and worrying plight of monarch butterflies

The epic flight and worrying plight of monarch butterflies

The butterflies know to return to the exact same groves, even the exact same trees, that their great grandparents sheltered in the year before. Yes, great-grandparents. The single annual migration takes four generations of butterflies to complete. Exactly how the butterflies make their way back to the same locations is still a mystery to scientists. Humans trek to the locations every year as well, to witness the arrival of these beautiful creatures, to stand among them, looking up and seeing the trees and sky filled with flitting color.

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How to value content over quality in your photographs

How to value content over quality in your photographs

When is a flawed photo a keeper?

This is a question asked while evaluating every single frame before hitting the delete button. It’s built into the workflow; what stays, what goes, and why. What merits being flagged as a winner in spite of, or because of flaws and how do you recognize it?

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A nod to nene: How Hawaii's native goose is returning from near extinction

A nod to nene: How Hawaii's native goose is returning from near extinction

The fascinating evolutionary history of the nene is rivaled by another story, that of its return from near extinction. This species was a mere 30 individuals away from being known only through the fossil record, and yet it is now poised to possibly return to self-sustaining numbers, and Kaua’i has been the place where numbers have been rising the fastest.

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What to do when your photo goes viral

What to do when your photo goes viral

It happens sometimes that a photo becomes so widespread that tracking use of it is an exercise in futility and frustration. This photo is my first experience in it. Sure I've had photos used without permission quite a few times in the past. You can't put something online without running that risk. But they are usually one-off instances. This photo, though, has been another thing entirely.

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A study of jellyfish in black and white

A study of jellyfish in black and white

There is something deeply meditative about watching the jellyfish tank at an aquarium. I have two favorites: Monterey Bay Aquarium (at which the jellyfish exhibit is, understandably, the most photographed exhibit at the aquarium) and the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.

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Modeling Ruffwear gear above a San Francisco sunrise

Modeling Ruffwear gear above a San Francisco sunrise

While I was writing an article about how to train your dog to wear a backpack, Ruffwear sent me a fantastic pack test out with my dog, Niner. The company makes great gear that is well-designed and durably constructed, and we were thrilled to get a new pack to put through its paces. So, we woke up one workday morning, waited impatiently for first light, then booked it out the door and up to a little preserve near our apartment, which gives a gorgeous view of the bay and San Francisco at sunrise.

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