• Dispatches,  Nature

    Dispatches: Meet the desert’s ‘ugly duckling’ at Joshua Tree National Park

    As the legend goes, Mormon pioneers gave the Joshua tree its name because it reminded them of the Old Testament prophet with his arms outstretched to the heavens. Those Mormons were most likely suffering from heat-induced delusions. In nature’s beauty pageant, the homely Joshua tree walks away with Miss Congeniality. They’re in a word, ugly — resembling the unfortunate offspring of a cactus and a palm tree, without the stateliness of a palm or the intimidating presence of a cactus. Yet, as unattractive as they might be, no plant in the 800,000 acre Joshua Tree National Park is as important to the fragile desert ecosystem. The Joshua trees play a…

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  • Dispatches,  Nature

    Dispatches: A trip to the Faroe Islands

        If you’re anything like me, when I first heard of the Faroe Islands, I had to get to a map to figure out where they were. The small island chain in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean is an incredibly beautiful place to visit. The 18 major islands are host to about 50,000 people. I spent the week, staying in the capital city, Torshavn, and then drove to all my other destinations. Perhaps the most special place that I visited was the westernmost island, Mykines. The island’s 10 permanent residents live in a small village that sits atop a rocky bluff overlooking the small harbor. The hike…

  • Dispatches,  Featured,  Nature

    Dispatches: Death Valley National Park & The Alabama Hills

      [nectar_dropcap color=””]L [/nectar_dropcap]ast month, I flew out to Las Vegas for 3 nights of photography. It had been a long while since I took a trip dedicated to photography! As a new father, my world turned upside down and I found it to be much harder to spend extended time away from home. Every moment is so special and I find it hard to be away to miss even the slightest thing. But being out in the environment and doing photography helps me clear my head and mind when the rush of life overwhelms me. Taking the time to travel and explore is worth it for me. I had…

  • Featured,  Meetups,  Nature

    Spending a chilly weekend with Assateague’s wild ponies

      Camping out on Assateague Island National Seashore in March is always a roll of the dice. You might end up with great spring weather … and you might end up under a foot of snow. The recent DC Focused outing to Assateague probably fell somewhere in between. Temperatures dipped into the 40s but the windchill made it a lot worse. Still, we were there for the ponies and they didn’t disappoint. The 48,000 acre National Seashore is on the Maryland coast, just south of Ocean City, and about a two and half hour drive from the district. From the National Park Service: “Human activities also exert a strong influence Assateague’s natural…

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  • Long exposure,  Monuments, Memorials, Statues,  Nature

    Winter Rush Hour by Geoff Livingston

      Today’s featured image is a great example of why you should never be satisfied with your work. Go back to it a few months later and ask yourself what could you could have done differently, what other angles, perspectives or lenses should you try next time? In this case, Geoff Livingston returned to the Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge where he had taken the photo at the bottom of the page a year earlier. “I actually had been thinking about that shot for a couple of months,” Geoff sad. “I had gotten it from the Virginia side before but it wasn’t as good as I wanted, in part, because the sunrise…