Category Archives: nature

summer sunset.

i love my backyard.

sun setting on the warm waters of the eastern bay of the chesapeake.



Filed under nature, photography

national marine sanctuary foundation: leadership awards dinner.

celebrating capitol hill ocean week.

for the 3rd year in a row, i was honored to photograph the national marine sanctuary foundation leadership awards dinner at the famed ronald reagan building + international trade center in DC. the event, held annually during capitol hill ocean week, honors top leaders in marine conservation and draws the most notable oceanographers, explorers and activists in the field.

master of ceremonies boyd matson of national geographic fame, once again entertained guests and introduced speakers dr. jane lubchenco, jason patlis, dan basta, jean-michel cousteau + bob talbot – all of whom reflected on issues related to the current state of our oceans, especially in light of the recent and devastating oil spill in the gulf.

this year’s award recipients were as impressive as ever – congresswoman lois capps + congresswoman ileana ros-lehtinen, co-chairs of the national marine sanctuary caucus, received the 2010 leadership award in recognition of their support of the national marine sanctuaries. julie packard, executive director of the monterey bay aquarium, was honored with this year’s lifetime achievement award for her commitment to ocean sustainability + leadership in marine conservation over the past three decades. and steve kroll, from the thunder bay national marine sanctuary, was named national volunteer of the year.

additionally, the evening celebrated the 10th anniversary of the national marine sanctuary foundation as well as the 100th anniversary of jacques-yves cousteau‘s birth – with special presentations by the cousteau family + a “red-cap” tribute to the amazing french captain, naval officer, explorer, ecologist, filmmaker, innovator, scientist, photographer, author and researcher of the underwater world!

for more about the leadership awards dinner, capitol hill ocean week, and the national marine sanctuary, visit their website, follow them on twitter or become a fan on facebook!

“her deepness” dr. sylvia earle.

director of NOAA’s national marine sanctuaries systems, dan basta.

national marine sanctuary foundation president, jason patlis.

jan + philippe cousteau, jr.

my first crocheted cumberbund!

leadership award recipients congresswoman lois capps + ileana ros-lehtinen.

julie packard accepting her lifetime achievement award from jason patlis.

boyd matson + dr. jane lubchenco.

jean-michel cousteau.

the amazing nominees for volunteer of the year.

signed copy of jacques-yves cousteau’s the silent world.


Filed under celebrity, dc, event, nature, news, photography

redwood roadtrip :: the coast

following the redwood and sonoma coasts on the shoreline highway.


part II :: redwood roadtrip :: the coast

the amazing northern california coast bears little similarities to the glamorous beaches of socal, but it’s natural beauty is even more striking. windswept and often deserted, the beaches along the redwood and sonoma coast are pristine and the cliffs that rise to meet the highway are exceptionally dramatic. as we explored the redwoods in the dense, temperate rain forests of the pacific northwest, we made the trek to the coast often. in some areas flat paths lead a few miles to the shore as in big sur, while beaches like goat’s head beach (above) and gold bluffs beach were accessible only by car – separated from the road by sheer cliffs.

making our way along shoreline highway from mendocino to bodega bay the view was truly breathtaking. at times we had to slow to 5-10 mph to handle the curvy highway with it’s multiple switchbacks. despite the gusty wind, we relished the cool salt air and admired at the rocky, rugged coastline below. cloudless and clear, the sky along the coast was in sharp contrast to the thick clouds that lay low in klamath and the dense fog that lingers in san francisco.

the towns along the coast were perfect and picturesque – from wandering through on old russian cemetery in fort ross, to horseback riding in the mountains of elk, to watching the sun set over the pacific in gualala. we even visited bodega bay to buy saltwater taffy and a admire the set of hitchcocks’s movie the birds.

having passed through san francisco on our way north from big sur, we decided to make another visit on the return trip. on father’s day we lunched on the water in sausalito, strolled along baker beach, and climbed the rocks for a spectacular view of the golden gate bridge. the ideal end to a fabulous trip.

* * * * *

*note* i separated this trip into two blog posts, the forest + the coast, based on the strikingly different landscapes. however, the forest and the coast are in fact very much intertwined – at times separated by only a few miles, as the redwoods have a close relationship with the sea. to see the forest photos and read more about our adventure click HERE.
















Filed under nature, photography, travel

redwood roadtrip :: the forest

from big sur to (very) big trees.


part I :: redwood roadrip :: the forest

a few weeks ago i took off with my dad for our father’s day redwood roadtrip to see the giant redwoods of california. our goals were simple: see the tallest trees on earth, hike the forest, check out the coast, and relax and recharge while simply enjoying time together. from central california to just shy of the oregon border, we logged nearly 1500 miles along the scenic highways – trading the 101 for the avenue of the giants, cruising through the impressive landscape – at times with the forest canopy high above, and then astride the steep cliffs dropping to the sea below. along the route we paused in tiny towns, to fulfill our curiosity, to buy fresh cherries from roadside farmers, to amuse ourselves with oddities like the “artichoke capital of the world” in castroville, and of course to drive our car through an actual redwood – the famed chandelier tree in leggett.

flying into san jose from dc, we drove  first to big sur. intrigued by this famed region and enamored with the idea of seeing mountains of redwoods rising abruptly from the sea, i knew it would be an excellent start for our journey. hiking a few miles through the los padres national forest, we immediately encountered giant redwoods. in pfeiffer state park the largest tree, the colonial tree, has an outstanding circumference of 27 feet. emerging from the forest we trekked in the andrew molera state park to the windswept coast – stunning and seemingly abandoned, covered in driftwood. from big sur we pushed north, driving across the golden gate bridge, 500 miles to klamath – a quiet town nestled in the redwood forest, about 30 miles south of oregon. this was our base for exploring the tallest trees – redwoods that soared 360+ feet into the sky, creating a canopy so thick that sunlight barely makes its way to the forest floor. despite the profound serenity i found among the redwoods, there is also a strong buzz of life and energy – of tress that have stood for thousands of years, so old that they are hollow in the center and unable to be accurately aged. from the banana slugs to the roosevelt elk that we saw, and the black bears and mountain lions that we didn’t see, the region was teeming with life.

making our way through the redwoods we drove, we hiked, we rode horseback, and we paused often to pay homage to nature and its spectacular beauty. i believe that traveling shapes us in ways that we don’t immediately realize, and that it changes us forever. i feel incredibly lucky to have experienced the glory of the pacific northwest redwood forest and indebted to trees that have survived for centuries so that i could look up at them, and realize my smallness – not in size alone, but in time and space. i am so very thankful that i was able to share this experience with my father by my side – it was a fantastic journey.

* * * * *

*note* i separated this trip into two blog posts, the forest + the coast, based on the strikingly different landscapes. however, the forest and the coast are in fact very much intertwined – at times separated by only a few miles, as the redwoods have a close relationship with the sea. to see the coast photos and read more about our adventure click HERE.




















Filed under nature, photography, travel

the flower fields.

ode to spring.


holy giant tecolote ranunculus!

tucked away in carlsbad, california, these glorious ranunculus thrive in the so-cal sun! the famous flower fields at carlsbad ranch consist of nearly fifty acres of colorful ranunculus and welcome over 150,000 visitors each season. it’s amazing to be able to stroll through this working flower field and (in my case) lay on the ground and let my camera get friendly with the amazing blooms :)











Filed under just for fun, nature, photography

bon bini aruba!

sweet escape.


aruba is fabulous. 

from the white-sand beaches with abundant + friendly wildlife to the bustling downtown with amazing restaurants and colorful action, it was a delightful way to spend a few days. after reveling in the hot sun and the cool caribbean, we rented a car to explore the “other” side of the island – amazed at its wild, rocky terrain and the deserted, almost wicked, wind-swept northern coast. 





















Filed under animals, just for fun, me, nature, photography, travel