Author Archives: Jeff Swanson

New Images — Desert Southwest, Winter 2014


HivemindMoqui Marbles & SandstoneSandstone FlamesCollective ConsciousnessMaineframeBlast FurnaceSwerve & SwelterThe Meetin' PlaceFirey Foyer

I was lucky enough to sneak a few days in the desert over the past month with two good buddies and GREAT photographers.  Lukas, Jim and I headed out for the White Pocket formation in the Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness.  It was the first truly off-road voyage for my “new” Land Cruiser and Lucille performed perfectly.

White Pocket is an amazing place as you see from the images.  We had some fierce, tent rending winds during the days, replete with blowing sand and grit that ended up EVERYWHERE, but each of us came away with some great and different images.  We loved it, but we really want to go back during the monsoon season when our chances for some great pools of water and stormy light are much better.  We bookended our trip with stops in Valley of Fire State Park just outside Las Vegas and got some great light there.




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Top 10 of 2013

On this my 30th birthday, I am extremely happy about the extremely positive things that I have seen and experienced in 2013.

  • Most importantly, Sam and I were married in July which was the culmination of Sam’s hard work.  It was truly beautiful to have so many friends and family come out to celebrate our union in a beautiful location.
  • I am healthy.  After a lung surgery, stereotactic brain radiation therapy, and an immunotherapy treatment this year I have had a good run of clean scans.  I’m finally feeling like I can start to move out of crisis mode and plan for the future beyond a few months at a time.  That’s a great feeling!
  • Currently, my wonderful wife is back from Greece for the holidays and it’s a damn delight to have my better half here.  I can’t wait til she’s back for good and we can start our married life in earnest.
  • We’re moving to a new house very soon that should prove to be less hassle than our current rental and at a lower price to boot.  It just happens to be exactly one block away from the new home purchased by good pals Lukas and Megan.  We’re going to have to get some walkie-talkies.  And it’s going to be a lot harder for me to sleep through the sunrises for which I was supposed to get up and meet them.  But, the most important perk of this new home is that it’s 50% closer to the donut shop.
  • I’m finally feeling like I’m back into the swing of things at my job.  The last two years have been fractured by medical leaves, fatiguing treatments, and sometimes crippling anxiety.  I am truly thankful that my employer has been incredibly understanding during this time.

Photographically, I have had quite a satisfying year.  I have found myself in many beautiful places under some truly spectacular conditions.  I met a bunch of fabulous, like-minded folks and enjoyed their company in those beautiful places.  Enough with the words, here’s the images that stand out in my mind, not just for the conditions, but for the experiences had in capturing them.  Here they are in the order they were taken.

The Little PrinceDelicacyWarm EmbraceEverything is GraceThe MaestroMellow MeadowHeavenly HanaleiThe RefrainShadowlandsMudflat Fusion

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A Death Valley Thanksgiving (2013)

This year I was able to spend the Thanksgiving long weekend in Death Valley.  I’d just picked up a new photomobile a few weeks beforehand and I was anxious to get out into some wide open spaces and shoot some desert goodness.  I rode down to the Ibex Dunes where I was able to meet up with e-friend become real-friend Matt Kuhns to shoot turkey day sunset and then enjoy a nice freeze dried meal under a banner of countless stars and a soundtrack of deep desert silence. Then the next day I did some backroad rambling in my new Land Cruiser up the Harry Wade Road and the Echo Canyon Road, finally ending up out on Cottonball Marsh for a delightful light show.  After that we had a fabulous meal at the Furnace Creek Inn (SWANKY!!) and I was finally able to meet up with Jeff Lewis.

Here’s the images that arose from that weekend; anytime I break away from a few days of shooting with more than 1 image per day I am a very happy camper.

ShadowlandsIbexual HealingMudflat FusionCrystal Cauldron

The above images are included in my Holiday Print Sale which goes until 12:00 noon PST on 12/10.

And here’s an image of my new photomobile, Lucille, ain’t she fabulous?!


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2013 Holiday Print Sale

Hallelujah Chorus Warm EmbraceSpilled MilkMellow MeadowHeavenly HanaleiRhythm of the WoodsThe Refrain

Last year’s holiday canvas print sale was a huge success so I’m bringing it back for 2013.  This year I’m expanding it to cover all prints.  The sale is for up to 20% off photo prints and up to 50% off canvas prints.  These prints make a great gift for that special loved one.  All images included in the sale are shown below.

Sale prices available through 12 Noon PST on December 10, 2013.

The sale is now closed.  Happy Holidays!

As always, I donate 25% of my profits from image sales to the Melanoma Research Foundation. (  I’m incredibly thankful to be currently healthy after my battle with stage 4 metastatic melanoma, but there is still an immense amount of research to be done to move towards a reliable treatment for this aggressive and deadly form of skin cancer.


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Aspens and the Eastern Sierra (and low fog BONUS!)

Rhythm of the Woods


A couple of weeks ago I was able to make a run over the Sierra to shoot the aspen trees in full autumn splendor.  Because of my latest treatment it had been a while since I’d been out and about for photography’s sake and it felt great.  Here’s a few images I was able to make on that trip and a bonus low fog sunset from this past weekend at the Golden Gate Bridge.  Hope you like them!


Autumn's PaletteRhythm of the WoodsHigh Desert SerenadeThe RefrainThe Harp

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New Images — Kauai

After getting married at the end of July, Sam and I were able to take a WONDERFUL trip to Kauai for our honeymoon.  That place is flipping gorgeous.  We stayed in a small cottage in Kilauea on the North Shore and it was just about perfect for us.  We explored the island on foot, by air, water, and road.  We ate some delightful Hawaiian foods and enjoyed plenty of time relaxing on gorgeous, uncrowded beaches.

Here’s a few shots from our trip.  Kauai is truly a photographer’s wonderland as you will see.

Heavenly HanaleiLumaha'i RushLumaha'i ValleyHanalei BayDraperyKalalau's SpendorThe Queen's ShowerHanalei Dreamscape


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Slew of New Images — Lake Tahoe, Castle Crags Wilderness, and Eastern Sierra Spring 2013

This is a sort of catch up post to add some of my new images to the site.  I have been travelling as much as possible lately.  I have made short trips up to Lake Tahoe, the Castle Crags Wilderness near Mt. Shasta and a few days over in the Eastern Sierra.  Enjoy!!

Spilled MilkThe ParadeEverything is GraceStanding RoomCliff DwellingAlpine EndeavorThe SorcererSpring MoonsetFreedom

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NEW IMAGE — Warm Embrace, Folsom Lake, CA


Warm Embrace

Click the thumbnail below for a larger view and click the add to cart button if you’re interested in hanging it up on your own wall.

Warm Embrace

It’s been a while since I’ve had a new image post.  I’ve recently added a few new prints to the galleries for purchase, but I’d like to showcase this one.

Last weekend, Lukas and I took a trip out to Folsom Lake in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada to catch some of the incredible lupine bloom that was occurring on the banks of the lake.  We wandered around immersed in the wonderful scent of the acres of fresh lupine bloom and shot some images.  I found these two great oak trees to help frame my scene and add a bit of interest to the flat blue sky.  The rest was just waiting around for a while until the sun was low and the light nice and warm.  Happy spring everyone!

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Free Wallpaper — Inspection Point, San Francisco Bay Bridge

Here’s a wallpaper version of one of my new images called “Inspection Point”.  Please feel free to use it as the wallpaper on your personal computer, but not for anything else or I’ll have to sick my copyright monkey on you.  Click on it to view the full size 2560 pixel wide version.

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Death Valley & Eastern Sierra — January 2013

Gathered GrainsDunefield Dreamin'HeadwallReplicatesPortentDelicacyCollaboration


I just spent a little while out in far eastern California.  I spent some time in Death Valley National Park and in the Owens Valley.  Both places that I love to explore.  Each time I visit one of them I feel like I discover that there’s immensely more territory that needs exploring.  Oh well, I hope to return early and often!

In Death Valley I set out to visit two of the more remote sets of sand dunes.  The Ibex sand dunes are in the far southern region of the park and are located a mile and a half or so from the nearest (rough!) dirt road.  The Eureka sand dunes are in the far northern part of the park and involve a 50 mile trip from Big Pine, CA on about half dirt roads.  Both were quite different.  The Ibex dunes were a relatively small complex with great exposure to the setting sun in the winter months so that they really glowed with that late day light.  The Eureka dunes lie in an absolutely immense valley and are extremely tall.  Make sure you give yourself ample time to explore them as they look  smaller than they really are.  I ended up huffing and puffing up them in about half the time I should have allotted before the sun when down.

After spending time in Death Valley I turned my sights to the Owens Valley.  I spent some time tracking down a petroglyph north of Bishop that had eluded me for a few trips.  Found it! Now I just need to get back there when there’s good conditions for sunrise or sunset.  On the final day of the trip I headed north so that I could cross the Sierra Nevada.  I photographed the final sunrise of my trip at Convict Lake and was happy to see the first clouds I’d seen all week then.  Finally, I ran into some amazing conditions in the Mono Basin where an thick layer of frozen fog had settled down.  The light and texture down inside that fog were great and I was rewarded again when I ascended out of the fog at the northern edge of the basin.

I ended up driving about 1,400 miles and (thankfully!) didn’t need either of my full-size spare tires.

All in all this was a very productive trip!  I hope you enjoy the images!

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