Best Picnic in Napa

Rutherford Hill Winery Picnic

One of the best ways to soak up the scenery in Napa Valley is to have a picnic, and the best advice I can give you is to stock up at Oakville Grocery and head to one of the wineries mentioned below for some fantastic wine. Oops, did I say wine?  Lunch, I meant lunch. Oakville Grocery originally opened in 1881 and is the oldest continually operating grocery store in California. I always find fantastic new things to try, and Read More

Vegas Detour: Up Close with Wild Bighorn Sheep

Bighorn Sheep by Lake Mead

Next time you visit Las Vegas, take a short detour and enjoy a front row seat to watch grazing desert bighorn sheep in the wild, with a beautiful setting of Lake Mead in the background. At Hemenway Park in Nevada, just 30 minutes from the Las Vegas Strip, these wild animals come down from the hills each day to feed on the lawns they have been frequenting for over 30 years. The size of the herd varies, but 40 to 50 sheep are a Read More

The Giraffe Whisperer – Safari West

Zebra Herd

As the hot sun beat down, I sat on the top deck of an old diesel safari truck when a giraffe approached and stopped about two feet from my face. I lowered my camera to get a better look at him and, curious about my face, I felt his breath as he tried to get a good sniff of me. Surely he smelled the wine I had just tasted an hour earlier in Napa Valley. I’m at Safari West, an authentic African wildlife preserve in Santa Read More

Tips for Photographing Cinque Terre, Italy

Riomaggiore Italy

Benjamin Mourot is a french photographer who has captured fantastic and unique images along the rugged Italian Riviera. "The Five Lands" or Cinque Terre as it's known around the world, is comprised of five coastal villages in the Liguria region which is on many travelers bucket lists. Here Benjamin shares his advice about the most difficult aspects of landscape photography in Cinque Terre and the nearby fishing village of Read More

Where to Stay in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Chiang Mai Hotels_affordable luxury

With a whopping 32,000 hotel rooms in this northern Thailand city, where do you even begin? The truth is, many travelers who pass through Chiang Mai just rent a room from a guest house for weeks at a time because it's so inexpensive and there is plenty to explore. Some of us, however, are just visiting for a few days and are in search of more comfortable, but still affordable accommodations full of Thai charm and that's Read More

Descanso Gardens

Arched bridge at the Japanese Garden

Tucked away in Los Angeles is the dreamy 150-acre public botanical garden known as Descanso Gardens. Their famed Camellia collection is the largest in North America and the gardens are also home to the remainder of a magical oak tree forest that once consumed the entire region. This spring their Japanese Garden offered cherry trees in full bloom and a sprawling lilac garden with amazingly fragrant blooms. I thought you'd enjoy Read More

Spring on California’s Blossom Trail

Spring on the Blossom Trail

I recently visited the San Joaquin Valley in Central California (near Fresno) to photograph the hundreds of acres dedicated to fruit orchards known as "The Blossom Trail". Other than a small pack of adorable little 'watch dogs', the only company I had was the chirping birds and industrious bees. It was one of the prettiest mornings I can remember... the fragrance of honey in the air and flower petals covering the floor. Not to Read More

Puppy Patrol

Playful Puppy in Peach Tree Orchard

I recently visited fruit orchards in central California to photograph their annual spring blooms, and as it turned out, the highlight of my trip had nothing to do with flowers.... The local tourism office encourages visitors to drive the "Blossom Trail" with a provided map and you can pull over for photo ops at various orchards. So I did, paying attention to avoid the places with 'keep out' or 'no trespassing' signs. I came Read More

Embracing Flaws: Film Photography in France

seaside mediterranean hotel

I had traveled 7 countries and 8 US states having shot about a dozen rolls of 120 film with my Holga camera, a lightweight plastic film camera from the 1980s. The whole idea of film photography with a Holga is what some people call a "low-fidelity aesthetic" where flaws such as light leaks, blurry edges and other distortions are the norm. Well, if flaws are what you seek, then I have a doozy for you. When I got home Read More