Category Archives: environment

by Scott Sady This blog post about Oregon waterfall photography and exploring the Pacific Northwest has been a long time coming. So long in fact, that I forgot about it until I was contacted by the Oregon Eclipse travel guide to use one of my starfish photos that I shot even earlier on Bandon beach….

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By Scott How to best photograph the Lava flowing in Volcano National Park on the big island of Hawaii? I’m not going to talk about pixels or f-stops or composition or any of what makes a good photograph, I am going to tell you all the things that I tried to find out before I…


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  • Susan WilmesAugust 15, 2016 - 12:36 pm

    Scott, Thank you SOOO much for this post. I just spent the last hour pouring over your photos and carefully reading your posts. You are so thorough – I appreciate your comments and descriptions, but even moire so your insight into the process of just getting to the lava flow. I’ll be in Kona volunteering for the Ironman in October and always leave time for the volcano. I was there in the 80’s when you could walk on the lava tubes then as well, but never had an opportunity to get back to them under those type of conditions. Your photos are mesmerizing and bring me back to the 80’s when I felt how insignificant we are in the scheme of things. While I attempt to take a few good photographs, they don’t even come close to yours. I’m sure Madame Pele would approve of your work in documenting her fiery nature! Thanks again!

  • ssadyAugust 15, 2016 - 3:48 pm

    Thanks Susan. When the lava started flowing again, I got online and couldn’t find out anything either. That’s why I did this. Also, I mention try to rent a bike in Kona if possible, that is because all the bikes in Kalapana, Pahoa, Hilo area were already dedicated to the rental fleets. So if you plan to go out multiple times, that is the way to go.

  • Curt WeidnerJanuary 28, 2017 - 2:51 pm

    What a great article! SO, many useful tidbits. We also have rented a house in Kalpana. Any other hints about staying somewhere that’s off the grid? Any recommendations on where to rent bikes? Can you walk in to the lava flow any time? You mentioned driving closer since you were staying in Kalpana. How did that work? I’m a serious amature photographer so all photo hints esp on dark frames is appreciated. I haven’t seen dealing with digital noise mentioned anywhere else. Thanks, Curt

  • ssadyJanuary 29, 2017 - 6:31 pm

    Hard to say, check the hawaii volcanoe update, I’m not even sure there is much flow on the surface right now, but there does seem to be a massive flow shooting out of a hole in the cliff into the water. It’s possible the best way to see it will be via lava boat tour. Do some searching for epic lava on instagram or facebook. As for dark frames, just make sure if you do any long exposures at night to through the lens cap on and make one dark exposure at those same settings. Later you can google dark frame subtraction and figure out how to use that frame to help automatically eliminate a lot of the noise you will get from the heat and long exposure.

by Scott Monique and I took a few weeks last fall after our wedding photography season started to wind down to head out and visit Southern Nevada. Despite living in Reno for the last 15 years or so, I have never actually explored any of the desert southwest part of my own state. We headed…

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We didn’t get out into the backcountry last year because we had such a busy summer and I vowed that will never happen again. Here is the first of several trip reports of photography expeditions from this year’s adventures and I’m sure there are more to come. I’ll break this down into two sections, a…


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  • KathleenJuly 10, 2013 - 9:14 am

    Sick with envy and regret!!! Such stunning and amazing images…and all of your beautiful faces. Wish I could have rally’d for this one!
    Just holy WOW!

  • AndreiJuly 15, 2013 - 9:33 am

    Great report and pictures. i have a question. For a trip like that 3-4 days, do you need a permit?
    Also what was the entry point?

  • adminJuly 15, 2013 - 1:51 pm

    Hi Andrei,

    Yes, permits are required in this section, as in most of the wilderness areas. This basin is generally limited to 39 people. Half of the permits can be reserved in advance, the other half you need to show up for by 8am the day of your hike if you feel lucky, otherwise by 8am the day before to get in the que for the first in line, first served issuing of following day permits at 11am sharp. We actually did the latter, because we didn’t plan to well. Granted it was a holiday, but got to the Forest Service office in Bishop at 7am the day before our hike and at 8, we were first in line to put our name on a list to get our permits at 11am. At 11am sharp, (you can’t be late or they skip you) they call out, in order, all the folks that got on the list that morning. We were first and scored a permit for 3 people. The couple right behind us asked for the same route and were denied. All the forest service office computers apparently are linked together now, so even if nobody in front of you is planning on taking your exact route, that doesn’t mean someone isn’t in line at Mammoth, or Mono or some other office for the same area. This usually only applies to weekends and holidays, but we went in on July 4, about the busiest time of the year, so we got lucky. But that said, permits are always required.

  • […] report, feel free to share. Also check out some of our high sierra trip reports such as Dusy Basin, Humphreys Basin, the Sawtooth Range, and Thousand Island […]

  • John WelshAugust 30, 2015 - 8:20 am


    Was in this very area about 8? years back; interestingly, we did a similar off-trail adventure in the same pockets, I think, where you and your friends traveled; you are so correct about Desolation Lake. Big, yes. But not a very attractive pocket — hence the name, I guess.

    Did you use a tripod or some steady rock platform to get the night stars? Those are lovely shots.

    Was curious if you ever looked at that seemingly easy-to-navigate skree to the northwest of Desolation. My buddy and me looked it a few times and thought that we might be able to go “cross country” style to the direction of Star Lake (but we decided against it because we were a bit worried it might be more difficult than we were willing to tackle for a Day 2 location.

    Years later we ended up in that area (not Star Lake — but L Lake; that is a pretty part of the world too).

    Enjoyed your post and photos! Happy hiking!



  • CharlesMay 2, 2016 - 11:39 am

    Thanks for the great post. I have backpacked the higher altitude Pioneer Basin when rejected for the “day of” trail pass to Piute. They did a lottery and even though we were there early it didn’t matter. Piute is very popular.

    I’m curious. What are your thoughts doing this trip mid-June? Obviously, it’s hard to predict weather systems but any experience that early in the year?


  • ssadyMay 4, 2016 - 6:41 am

    Hi Charles, we did the lottery and we were second in line and the first person took 3 spots and we got the rest, so yes, pretty popular. This year was a decent snow year, I would expect you might have a lot of snow, especially up over the pass, to deal with. Plus wildflowers probably won’t be out that early that high unless it turns really warm. If you are experienced with winter navigation it shouldn’t be much of a problem.

  • Sierra At Tahoe Pass — maximseoJuly 29, 2016 - 2:24 am

    […]… →admin-Hi Andrei, Yes, permits are required in this section, as in most of the wilderness areas. This basin is generally limited to 39 people. Half of the permits can … […]

Last week I got a call from an old college friend of mine. Dan Cearley and I worked together a lot when I was a photographer for the Associated Press in Guatemala. Dan was, at that time, a forensic anthropologist working on digging up mass graves for a human rights organization. Fast forward 10 years…


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  • Frances ChartersMay 26, 2014 - 12:28 pm

    It is interesting about your find of the mammoth and so close by to where I live.
    I was wondering if you know of other dinosaur sites near by as someone said there is a place near Santa Nella that has dinosaur fossils to see. Do you know of it that we could go to see with out children.
    Thank you for your time. I was at La Brea a long time ago and it was fascinating a friend told us to go there. It was really wonderful. Maybe there will be something someday in Castroville us to view.
    If you have information please email me.
    Thank you and enjoy the dig!