As an aspiring landscape photographer,  I have the opportunity to explore less traveled parks and remote wilderness areas. This blog shares of my "notes from the field," including photography techniques, hiking tips and lessons learned the hard way ... like the time I fell through the ice in the Merced River, Yosemite National Park.  I welcome your comments and thank you for visiting our site.   Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer, Field Photographer 

Coastal Photography: Point Reyes National Seashore, California

October 17, 2015  •  9 Comments

  I was happy anywhere I could see the ocean.”  Ai Yazawa, Japanese Author


Driving about an hour north from bustling San Francisco, we’re transported to largely uninhabited Point Reyes National Seashore. Here, at Point Reyes Peninsula, dramatic shoreline cliffs converge with crashing ocean waves.

< Drake's Beach, Evening Reflection, Nikon D800E 1/60 at f/16, ISO 250 

Located on the San Andreas earthquake fault line, the 71,000 acre national nature preserve is home to countless wildlife species, marine ecosystems and the Point Reyes Lighthouse. 

< Drake's Beach Golden Hour, Nikon D800E 1/15 at f/20, ISO 250

With photo opportunities galore, our first challenge was determining where to start and how to spend our limited time in this vast scenic park.  Intially, we visited the lighthouse and each of the beach areas.  With the exception of readily accessible Drake’s Beach, hiking was required to access the shoreline areas.  Thus, we saw few other people along the highly photogenic shoreline - a huge expanse of sandy beaches separated by steep, impassible cliffs.   

< Limantour Beach at Dawn, Nikon D800E, 1/50 at f/18, ISO 400

This being a January trip, we encountered fierce winds and bitter cold on our ridgeline hikes and a quick visit to the lighthouse. Our most tasking hike was on the exposed Tomales Point Trail, flanked by the ocean on one side and Tomales Bay on the other.  We had the peninsula pretty much to ourselves, encountering only one other hiking party and herds of Tule Elk during this six hour trek.


About three miles into the Tamales Point hike, we were rewarded with a truly spectacular view of the rugged coastline.  We made a mental note of our vista point, opting to shoot the scene on our return hike in the late afternoon light under less windy conditions. On our return hike, we were blessed with wonderful lighting, but no break in the wind.

< Kehoe Beach, River to Sea, Nikon D800E 1/20 at f/18, ISO 160

Our Bear Valley Trail hike to Mt. Wittenberg (1,407 feet) was also quite a challenge, given gusting winds and cold spitting rain. We started on this venture too late in the afternoon, making for a rushed hike and little time for serious photography. Still, the sights from the Bear Valley summit trail remain vivid in my mind’s eye, drawing me back for a return visit to Point Reyes.


A special thanks to my brother and fellow photographer, Brian Reinkensmeyer, for his great company on yet another unforgettable photo trek.   We’re both grateful for times like these, out in nature with cameras in hand. 

< Tamales Point Trail View, Nikon D800E, 1/160 at f/16, ISO 320 

Related posts:  Impending Coastal Storm: California Landscape Photography; Natural Coastline Shift: Big Beach, Maui, Hawaii; and Lighthouses and Piers: Ten Tips for Coastal Photography

< Tomales Bay, First Light, Nikon D800E 

1/25 at f/22, ISO 500

Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer

Reinkensmeyer Photography Exhibit at the State Bar

October 04, 2015  •  4 Comments

State Bar Exhibit 1Our Arizona landscape photography exhibit at the State Bar, Flagstaff, Arizona.

October and November, 2015
If you’re in the Flagstaff area, please stop by and see our Arizona landscape photography exhibit at the State Bar. The show includes 24 color prints on aluminum plates, exploring scenic areas from the Grand Canyon, Sedona, Monument Valley, the Superstition Mountains, San Francisco Peaks, Vermilion Cliffs, and San Rafael Valley.

State Bar Exhibit 3Our Arizona landscape photography on display at the State Bar in downtown Flagstaff, Arizona.
October and November, 2015

Located in the building which formerly housed the Shane Knight Gallery, the State Bar features live music and a wide array of Arizona wines and beers.  The whole setting was delightful on our opening this past Friday, the same evening as the Flagstaff Art Walk.

State Bar Exhibit 2 copyOur Arizona landscape photography on display at the State Bar in downtown Flagstaff, Arizona.
October and November, 2015

My sincere thanks to the State Bar owner, Attorney Brian Webb, and manager, Eva Rupert, for the opportunity to display our photography at this unique Northern Arizona venue.  These folks are great supporters of the arts and we genuinely appreciate their collaborative approach.  

State Bar SignDisplaying our Arizona landscape photography at the rustic State Bar, Flagstaff, Arizona

A special thanks to my lovely wife, Anita, for her tireless work in planning and hanging the exhibit, and to our family for their strong support … as always.  

The exhibit runs during the months of October and November, 2015, at the State Bar, 10 East Route 66, Flagstaff, Arizona.   Phone:  928.266.1282. 

Epilogue:  Yesterday, we scouted out the nearby San Francisco Peaks area for autumn colors.  We found patches of vibrant golden leaves in the high elevation Aspen groves.  We’re hoping that the lower elevations will be in full Fall color for our return photography trek next week. 


Marcus Reinkensmeyer 

Related posts:  Peaceful San Rafael Valley, Snow Laced Sedona, Frozen Meadow Aglow, Autumn Aspen Reflections, Northern Arizona Sunflowers, and Superstition Mountain Storm

Landscape Photography from Peaceful San Rafael Valley, Arizona

July 19, 2015  •  5 Comments

"Land, then, is not merely soil: it is a foundation of energy flowing through a circuit of soils, plants and animals."  - Aldo Leopold, Co-founder, The Wilderness Society


< Nikon D810, 1/125 at f/16

Based in Phoenix, we generally head north for landscape photography excursions in Sedona, Monument Valley and the Grand Canyon.  At the suggestion of my adventurous son-in-law, Todd Severson, we recently switched things up with a trip to San Rafael Valley.  Situated in Southern Arizona in Eastern Santa Cruz County, this vast valley represents yet another facet of our state’s diverse land and lifestyles.


< Capture My Arizona Photo of the Day, Nikon D810, 1/10 at f/20

Touched by gentle winter winds, tall golden grasses are in constant motion.  The valley is flanked by expansive mountain ranges, with the State Natural Area resting on the Arizona-Mexico border:  Patagonia Mountains to the north, Canelo Hills to the northeast and Huachuca Mountains to the East. A few large cattle ranches rest quietly in the valley, accessed by well-maintained dirt roads. The valley is also home to countless John Wayne movies and other western films. 


< Nikon D810, 0.6s at f/16

As always,  our best photo opportunities were found in the early morning and late afternoon "golden hour" light.  The Patagonia Mountains are simply majestic in pink pastel pre-dawn light, revealing seemingly infinite layers aglow.  Under mid-morning’s full sunlight, we captured a few images of single trees along the shallow waters of the winding Santa Cruz River. Our first evening was a photographer’s dream: richly textured foreground grasses backed by the cross-lit Huachuca Mountains.


< Nikon D810, 1/15 at f/16

My favorite image of the trip is a lone tree reflection on a small pond, captured in the waning light of sundown.  Honestly, we were packed and driving out of the valley for late dinner when we drove past this wonderful, placid scene.  Our rushed tripod set-up was comical,  particularly given the tranquility of the scene. From an outsider's view, our shooting was like a choppy old time movie displayed on fast forward .... 


< Nikon D810, 1/125 at f/16

Locals at the Stage Stop Inn in Patagonia advised that the San Rafael Valley is even more scenic during summer monsoon season, when rains bring stormy skies and brilliant wild flowers to green fields.   So, we’re planning a return trip to Southern Arizona, hoping to learn more about this natural oasis so far from the city.  

Related posts:  Northern Arizona Sunflowers on a Windy Hillside; Whirlwind Photography Trek: Arizona and Utah; Snow Laced Sedona; and Grand Canyon  Afterglow

Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer

Impending Coastal Storm: California Landscape Photography

June 20, 2015  •  12 Comments

"To me the sea is a continual miracle; The fishes that swim-the-rocks-the motion of waves-the-ships, with men in them, What stranger miracles are there?" - Walt Whitman 


This past Memorial Day weekend, we made a quick family trip to LaJolla, California.  While the days were filled with family activities, I was able to break away for some early morning – pre-dawn – photography on the rugged ocean shoreline.  

< Nikon D810 2s at f/20 ISO 31

The first morning was chilly, with a palpable mist in the air. On the second morning, I encountered strong winds and intermittent spitting rains. My biggest challenge was keeping the camera and lenses dry, mainly by covering my camera with a protective plastic rain sleeve and using deep lens hoods.  Even then, on the second morning, I found myself wiping down my lenses and filters every few minutes.  Some of my shots were ruined by water spots and condensation on the lens. 

< Nikon D810 5s at f/18 ISO 31

While these aren't the most comfortable conditions for sight seeing,  low light and gray skies make for some terrific photo opportunities.  On both days, overcast skies created a strong sense of doom and impending storms.  Being a resident of Phoenix, Arizona, it felt good to once again experience some weather and to photograph the dramatic ocean shoreline under unpredictable conditions. 

< Nikon D810 1.3s at f/20 ISO 31

Under the low morning light, I was able to shoot fairly long time exposures of the surf moving across shoreline boulders until mid-morning.  For those planning to visit the area, the rock outcroppings at Shell Cove make for excellent foreground and a natural breaking point for the waves.  Just South of Shell Cove, the fascinating color palette displayed in tidal pools is particularly vibrant under flat, cloud-diffused lighting. 


With such stormy weather, only a few other people were out walking on the otherwise busy beach areas.  For the most part, in composing my images, I was able to work around these folks and manmade objects. The one exception was a small, vacant lookout shelter, included in a few images for a sense of scale and a feeling of solitude. 

< Nikon D810 0.4s at f/18 ISO 31

Back at home, I spent quite a bit of time adjusting the color balance and other settings in Photoshop. In the end,  I found that  black and white versions of the scenes best captured the stormy mood and essence of the seashore environment. The conversion from color to monochrome was made with Nik Silver Efex Pro 2  (a Photoshop  plug-in),  using the  000-Neutral filter from the pre-set library and an orange digital filter. 

< Nikon D810 2s at f/20 ISO 31

Ah, the wonders of digital photography. Vividly, I recall carrying a pouch of colored filters and BW sheet film when shooting a 4 x 5 inch format camera way back when.

Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer

Related posts: Natural Coastline Shift: Big Beach, Maui, Hawaii; Lighthouses and Piers: Ten Tips for Coastal Photography; Black and White Digital Photography:  A Peaceful Surrender.

People's Choice Apparel Features Reinkensmeyer Photos

June 13, 2015  •  4 Comments

  Dear Family and Friends: We’re pleased to present some new shirt designs from People’s Choice Apparel (PCA), using some of my more recent photographs. The full collection of my photo shirts can be found at PCA

As a part-time landscape photographer, I‘ve never had the time or the expertise needed to actively market my images outside of traditional publication channels such as magazines, calendars and prints.  The folks at People’s Choice Apparel have opened up a whole new world of possibilities, now displaying my photos on phone cases as well as various styles of shirts.


Located in Los Angeles, this family owned business produces tasteful, high quality customized merchandise at reasonable prices.  It’s  great working with talented PCA team, given their strong sense of design and deep commitment to customer service.


A bit more information about some of the new shirt images, featured in the above banner: 


- Autumn Aspen Reflections is a time exposure image taken at a small pond just off Hart Prairie Road near Flagstaff, Arizona. It was such a windy day that I opted to shoot a series of sweeping abstract images, rather than fighting to “freeze” the branches and leaves.

- The image Snow Laced Cathedral Rock was taken this past New Year’s Day, when the iconic Sedona red rock was blanketed in snow and ice.

- Jardin de Monet presents a single deep red flower dripping with morning dew, from our painter Claude Monet’s gardens in Giverny, near Paris France. The gardens and ponds were the source of inspiration for Monet’s vast collection of iconic Water Lilies paintings.


My sincere thanks to People’s Choice Apparel for the opportunity to present my photography and to all of you for your continuing support. 


Related posts: Snow Laced Sedona, Autumn Aspen Reflections: Northern Arizona Photography, Northern Arizona Sunflowers: Photography on a Windy Hillside, Autumn Colors, Arizona Fall Colors, West Fork Trail and France Landscape, Architecture and Travel Photos.  


Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer

Notes from the Field

Landscape photography techniques, photo expedition travel planning and hiking tips.