Scouting with Matter Creative


Yosemite National Park is a big place. It’s a challenge to prepare visitors for all of the factors involved in shooting film here.

The sun moves fast through the sky, lighting changes quickly, and locations — in general — are not close to each other. The weather can change in minutes, or not change at all, and forecasts are educated guess’s at best.  Any travel between locations requires time. The roads are twisty 2 lane, and in the instance of traveling from Yosemite Valley to the parks South Entrance, there are no passing lanes. You have to hope that slower traffic will be courteous, use pullouts, and let you pass if they are sightseeing. The speed limits are strictly enforced, and they are low. Navigating the one way loops (South Side Drive, North Side Drive), and the intermittent 2 way roads between, can be tricky for those new to the Valley. It’s totally possible to burn an hour or two in Yosemite N.P. just sitting in traffic or backtracking to a location. Having someone with you who knows the high/slow traffic bottlenecks can save you a lot of time!

You have to do a lot of planning to pull of a good and efficient Yosemite National Park photo/film shoot, and that is where I can help out.

Yesterday I did a creative location scout with the friendly folks from Matter Creative. I have been working with Matter for a couple of months assisting in their pre-shoot planning and scheduling. With the aid of my Location Gallery Archive in their research, they were able to make informed decisions way ahead of the creative and technical location scout days here in Yosemite. On May 1st, we charged through Yosemite National Park scouting over 20 locations, experiencing  dramatic weather conditions, dodging weekend traffic, and managed to do it all in 11 hours.

tunnelveiw-bridalv-050116We travelled from Tunnel View (Shoot Base) to Turtleback Dome, hiking and scouting much of the dome. (Note: it’s a lot bigger than people think when they look at it from the highway!) From there we travelled to the trail head for Taft Point and Sentinel Dome, Washburn Point and scouted the hairpin switchbacks between Washburn and Glacier Point parking area. At Glacier Point we hiked out to the overlook, and then a way down 4 Mile trail. For reference, the drive from Tunnel View to Glacier Point is about 40 minutes average driving at the speed limit the time depending on traffic and weather … it can be longer.

We then travelled back to Yosemite Valley scouting Bridalveil Falls, Cathedral Beach, Sentinel Beach, Swinging Bridge, Liedig Meadow, the Chapel Area, Sentinel Bridge, Cooks Meadow South, then a well planned stop for lunch at the Village Grill. After lunch we visited Ahwahnee Picnic Area, Church Bowl, the Majestic Yosemite Hotel area and trails. We cut to Southside Drive by Cooks Meadow (quick hike), Sentinel Bridge, then east to Stoneman Meadow.

glacierpoint-scout-050116Turning back west, we crossed Stoneman Bridge and sat in the usual traffic for a bit (which is why I suggested cutting over to Yosemite Village for lunch when we got to Sentinel Bridge and everyone was feeling ready for some food, and they would have been waiting lot longer if we’d continued east at that time), past Yosemite Village to Cooks Meadow (north side). A short drive to Yosemite Falls parking area, and a hike to Lower Yosemite Falls and back. Then on to Camp 4, El Capitan Meadow, Bridalveil Falls View (from Northside Drive), Grand View Point, and a drive up Oak Flat Road to Cascade Falls bridge. On the way back to Tunnel View we made a quick stop at Fern Spring.

This is basically the same route I would travel when doing a location scout of Yosemite Valley, except I would have to stop and spend more time at each location to shoot photos! Tough to do in a day.

It was a great location scout day. Time well spent and carefully planned to be efficient, yet still give everyone time to breath and see some of Yosemite National Parks most amazing photo/film locations.


Posted in Location Scout, Yosemite National Park

UGG Location Scout

In 2015 I did a location scout for Micon Worldwide in NYC. The scout required confidentiality and at the time, and for a year after, I couldn’t share any photographs or tell anyone I was shooting locations for UGG Australia.

The scouting required about 3 days of photography, and when the crew showed up for the shoot I spent 3 more days helping them get to-and-from locations around Yosemite. It was a great experience and I enjoyed every minute working with the Micon crew and their amazing photographer Cathrine Wessel, who as we discovered while working together, went to the same school I did, the Colorado Institute of Art in Denver CO.

I would like to present a small gallery with examples of the location scout photos and with the final results taken by Cathrine. To say the least, the photographs she captured are simply beautiful. It was an awesome experience and I could not have worked with a better crew.

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Posted in Location Scout, Yosemite National Park

Horsetail Falls Firefall, Yosemite N.P. 2016

IMG_9223-3Every year during the last two weeks of February, hundreds of photographers come to Yosemite National Park to attempt to photograph the iconic Horsetail Falls Firefall.

This year I chose to avoid the maddening crowd of photographers on the valley floor — literally hundreds of photographers in one spot, making photos of the same thing, from the same angle, with the same results — and find a nice quite location where I could focus on making a photograph of the event from a different perspective. Even more people on a Sunday during the weekend!

I found a nice spot up the 4 Mile Trail where I spent most of my time chatting with a very nice fellow about our experiences in Yosemite Valley and beyond. It was quiet, relaxing and well, perfect. I had my kit set up and was hoping to catch a well lit waterfall with a dark ridge in front of it. The light was good for this photo 30-45 minutes before the “prime time” from below and I captured a couple of nice shots around 5:00 PM. The sun went behind some low clouds just before sunset and so I wasn’t able to catch the most red light (I did get a couple of interesting photos, but they weren’t close to what I had hoped for.) So basically, it was a very successful “scout” mission.

One of the greatest bonuses of living in El Portal, at the west entrance to Y.N.P. is that it’s only 20 minutes travel time to get to the Valley. So I am set to go back again and get the shot I want … and now I know exactly what I need, it will be even more fun, and I won’t carry so much stuff!


Posted in Photography, Yosemite National Park

El Portal Fire

The El Portal Fire, just outside the western entrance to Yosemite National Park, started early in the day Saturday 7/26/14. By afternoon it had grown to a large fire that threatened our neighborhood in El Portal’s NPS housing area. As we prepared for possible evacuation on Saturday, I took photos and video with my iPhone when I had the opportunity. Early on Sunday I took my camera (Canon 7D) to a location near our apartment where firefighting helicopters filled their tanks. I shot a couple hours worth of HD video. I had posted several videos to Instagram, and YouTube, and shortly afterward was contacted by ABC, and NBC asking for permission to use my video for their broadcasts.


Posted in El Portal Fire, National News, News, Photography, Video, Yosemite National Park Tagged , , , , , |

New Website in the Works

Screen Shot 2014-09-07 at 9.10.40 AMI have been very busy working on new websites and a variety of other graphic design projects for Design Studio. You can see the new website design (in progress) that I am doing for this company here.

I have over 20 years of experience working in web design. Yes, that means I was designing websites in the very first couple of years that the internet became public. I worked with HTML sites when they were simple. Over the years I have designed may HTML 4 sites, and now HTML 5. I have also worked with Custom CSS integrated into those sites. In recent years Content Management software like WordPress, Joomla and Drupal have come along, and I have designed and managed quite a few sites using those CMS tools. In other words … I have kept up with the trends in website design and content management software. I’m confident that I can help you in that area no matter what your needs are.

Posted in News, Website Design, Website Management