Lake Tahoe, Sierra Nevada Range, Nevada and California, June 23, 2014. Photo by Dennis Dimick
While flying from Portland to Los Angeles early this summer, I happened to be sitting by a window with a clear view of Lake Tahoe from the east looking west into California. Only having the camera in my iPhone 5s handy, I imagined what might I do that captures this blue jewel in a way that does dignity to the scene before me.
I held the phone to the window, not moving it for the five minutes or so that it took for the plane to fly from right to left – North to South – across the scene. As the plane moved I took a picture about every 15 seconds.
A couple of weeks later, I assembled 20 images from the sequence into a panoramic image using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, Adobe Bridge and Camera Raw, and the Image Merge and Perspective Correction tools in Photoshop CC. In the picture, Nevada state capital Carson City can be seen in the right foreground and Washoe Lake is in far right foreground..
It's amazing to think how far we have come since the days of film photography, and how a tiny phone combined with new software tools can now create images we could only dream of imagining a few years ago.
Walker Lake, Nevada, historically fed by runoff from the Sierra Nevada. Photo by Dennis Dimick
My piece on drought in California and the Western United States was published Tuesday July 15 at National Geographic News. "Drought a Devastating Game-Changer."
"If droughts were hurricanes, people might pay more attention to them. Droughts can creep up on us with their prolonged absence of rain, and their effects often are seen as not much more than cracked ground in dry lake bottoms. Devastating storms can be sudden and meteorologically exciting, and they make great television. Droughts are deliberate—a relatively slow evolution in which it can be difficult to capture the devastation in any one moment..." more here.
Columbia River Gorge Sunrise, 5:48 a.m., June 23, 2014. Photo by Dennis Dimick
On a trip this past week to California and Oregon, I was unexpectedly taken to Portland. I grew up on a small farm (now underneath an Interstate highway) just south of this beautiful city. Due to repeated flight cancellations by United Airlines from Medford to San Francisco the day before, I was eventually routed on a 5 a.m. Monday flight on Alaska Airlines through Portland.
Lucky for me. As we were approaching Portland just after sunrise Monday the 23rd, the wing of the high-wing commuter craft lifted to reveal this memorable scene for about 10 seconds before we turned away. I happened to have a small travel camera (Canon Powershot G1x) in hand, it was a wonderful moment.
The Columbia River slices through the Cascade Mountain range here. We are looking east towards Hood River and Bonneville Dam, and the sharp rock just to the left of the river is Beacon Rock. It is easy to see why this spectacular place is a national scenic area. Washington State is on the left, Oregon on the right. I have driven through the Columbia Gorge untold times from Portland to Pendleton and Walla Walla where in the 1970s I worked as a newspaper photographer. As a child my mother used to watch the Native Americans fish for salmon at the now drowned Celilo Falls further to the east at The Dalles.
In 2002 a bronze sculpture by Decker Studios showing the north and south faces of the Columbia River Gorge was installed at the 17th Street entrance to the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C. Two 16-foot bronze models of the river's shores sit atop granite walls across from each other, flanking the entrance to the place I have worked for nearly 34 years. It is nice to know I am going home, so to speak, each day as I enter.
"...The world—with China and the U.S. in the lead—burns more coal now than ever, and our reliance on it to generate electricity keeps rising. But coal pollutes more than oil or natural gas, and scientists say that cutting its use is critical to reducing the impact of climate change.
"The Obama Administration, amid objections from political foes and even some friends, is moving to push the U.S. to reduce its use of coal. The question will be how much the EPA's efforts to cut carbon emissions can do for the environment at a time when other nations, especially China and India, are escalating their burning of coal to meet a booming demand for electricity..." (more at link above)
"This week in Washington, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, which for years has been immersed in questions about food and its supply—where it comes from, what kind and how much we grow, how we use or waste it, and whether we will have enough in the years ahead—gathered to discuss solutions to what its members see as an emerging food crisis...."