Edward Mendes on October 6th, 2014

New Image – Chasm

California Fall Colors and Waterfall near Sonora Pass

California’s Eastern Sierra mountain range is home to countless hidden gems of unmatched beauty both on and off the beaten path. I was on a fall color hunt last year with my friend David Schroeder when he took me to this spot and my jaw immediately hit the floor. I spent the next hour or more exploring, climbing down into the rocky canyon and trying to find a perspective that would capture the beauty of the area. Unfortunately the fall colors were a bit past and we were there during the middle of the day and the light just wasn’t what I wanted so I filed the location away and decided to come back at some point in the future.

Fast forward a year and my brother-in-law and I decided to head to Sonora Pass and see what we could find to point our cameras toward. As we left that morning I immediately thought of the amazing waterfall from the year prior and set out to find it once again. It took most of the day and a few wrong turns and side missions but we did eventually stumble upon the majestic scene I remembered, and this time conditions were much better.

I spend some time scouting the area and creating a few images up the river, looking for a unique perspective and working with some of the smaller, intimate compositions the area offered before heading towards higher ground and the view I’ve been thinking about for almost a year. As usual I tried a number of different compositions both vertical and horizontal before finding this one which allowed for an open and uninterrupted view of the canyon, falls and river that feeds it all. A few light clouds helped to add a bit of texture to the sky and from there I simply waited for the late day sun to grace the background mountain top.

Chasm is available in sizes from 16×20 to 30×40 and would make the perfect compliment to any home or office decor.  Purchasing information can be found here. Art consultant or Designer?  Please contact me for a quote based on your project’s needs, 209-541-1815 or edward@edwardmendesphotography.com

Image Information

Nikon D7000
Nikon 18-200mm VRII lens
Circular Polarizing Filter
Cokin 2-stop graduated ND filter
Tonal Work in Photoshop CC

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Edward Mendes on October 1st, 2014

New Image Release – Crossing

Fall Colors

The Eastern Sierras has one of the best fall color displays in the west and even though I’ve visited the area numerous times over the years (and teach an annual fall color workshop) I can’t help but return every September and October when the temperatures dip and the hues of the Aspen trees change from green to gold.  As with any place you know well it’s the discovery of new locations that keep you coming back and keeps you excited about what may be around the next corner.

I created “Crossing” while scouting the area with another location and potential image in mind.  While walking down an old pack/hiking trail near Aspendale I was surprised and thrilled to find this beautiful log bridge spanning the river and leading to a number of young golden aspen trees in full color.  I had found a similar bridge nearby a year earlier but was unable to find a composition I liked as the scene, while tranquil, simply didn’t have anything to really catch the viewer’s eye.  This bridge on the other hand…with the rushing river, open space and beautiful golden trees was perfect!

I spent a lot of time composing the image, trying both vertical and horizontal compositions, as I attempted to find the right balance of bridge, river and fall colors.  This wouldn’t normally seem like an overly difficult endeavor but with three subjects, each strong, it’s easy for one to either dominate the others or for one to fall completely out of the viewer’s mind when viewing the image if it’s not given enough compositional attention.  I finally decided on a horizontal image which would allow the river and line of aspen trees to compliment and share the image with the bridge instead of being dominated by it as I felt was the case with many of the attempts  I made with a vertical composition.

Crossing is available in sizes from 16×20 to 30×40 and would make the perfect compliment to any home or office decor.  Purchasing information can be found here. Art consultant or Designer?  Please contact me for a quote based on your project’s needs, 209-541-1815 or edward@edwardmendesphotography.com

Image Information

Nikon D7000
Nikon 18-200mm VRII lens
Circular Polarizing Filter
Tonal Work in Photoshop CC

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Edward Mendes on March 24th, 2014

New Image Release – Renewal

Blooming hillside of poppies and lupine wildflowers in California's Knights Ferry State Park.

While much of the country experienced some very cold and wet conditions, locally the past year has been exceptionally dry with virtually no measurable rainfall. Finally in February a series of storms started to move through the area over several weeks bringing some much needed relief to our dry conditions (though not nearly enough). I had been told that because of the prolonged dry spell followed by the recent rain and warm temperatures this year is posed to be a particularly good one for wildflowers, the hunt is on!

One of my favorite spots locally for outdoor portraits is the nearby foothills. The area is filled with meadows, trees, rocks and rushing river views that provided beautiful portrait backgrounds at almost every turn. Though I’ve been coming to the area for several years for my portrait clients, I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I’ve failed almost completely to explore the area for my landscape work. I think it’s because when I’m in the area I’m generally in a portrait mindset, which for me means I’m looking at the world completely differently than when I’m out scouting for landscape and nature images. I’ve always knew the area had potential but I’ve never attempted to find that potential, until now.

I had heard that a local state park had a particularly wonderful display of golden poppies and lupine and had be trying to find time to get out there to check it out for myself for over a week before I finally doing so. I arrived before dawn and made my way in the dark to the area that in years past was the home to some of the area’s most colorful displays all the while hoping I had not missed the opportunity entirely and be greeted by dead flowers. As luck would have it I’d timed things perfectly and as the morning sun rose I could see the display of poppies and lupine blanket the area.

It didn’t take much work to find a number of beautiful compositions, including one with a striking lupine surround by poppies leading to a lone tree and colorful sky. Just what I was looking for. I set up my tripod and made a few images in both a horizontal and vertical format. Upon initial review I enjoy the horizontal image the most and so, here it is.

Renewal is available in sizes from 16×20 to 30×40 and would make the perfect compliment to any home or office decor.  Purchasing information can be found here. Art consultant or Designer?  Please contact me for a quote based on your project’s needs, 209-541-1815 or edward@edwardmendesphotography.com

Image Information

Nikon D7000
Nikon 18-200mm VRII lens
Cokin 1-Stop Graduated ND Filter
Tonal Work in Photoshop CC

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Edward Mendes on November 13th, 2013

 Sky Light, Grand Teton NP – Landscape and Nature Photography by Edward Mendes

Sky Light, Grand Teton National Park - Fine Art nature and landscape photography by Edward Mendes.

Dramatic light makes for great photographs and storms, because of the clouds they bring with them, are often the starting point for something dramatic to happen. I was driving through Grand Teton National Park looking for an image to present itself and noticed the clouds breaking and shafts of light bathing the valley below. Just what I was looking for but I needed a strong foreground subject to anchor the image and remembered this grove as Aspens up the road a bit.  The composition was a fairly difficult one for two reasons.  First the aspen trees in the foreground of the image run at a bit of an angle and secondly the use of a wide lens to show as much sky as possible meant that a large amount of open, uninteresting land consumed the foreground.  After a moment of though I decided to crop the finished image as a panoramic which would remove the open sage from the foreground and allow the view to focus on what drew me to the image, the light, clouds and trees.  At that point it was just a matter of waiting and hoping the light would return to the trees, luckily everything fell into place and the clouds open up right above the grove.  I hope you enjoy Sky Light.

Sky Light is available in sizes from 10×20 to 30×60 and would make the perfect compliment to any home or office decor.  Purchasing information can be found here. Art consultant or Designer?  Please contact me for a quote based on your project’s needs, 209-541-1815 or edward@edwardmendesphotography.com

Image Information

Nikon D7000
Nikon 18-200mm VRII lens
Cokin 3-Stop Graduated ND Filter
Tonal Work in Photoshop CS5
Black and White conversion in Nik Silver Efex Pro2

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Edward Mendes on October 13th, 2013

New Image – Silos and Storm Clouds

Fine Art Black and White Photography - Silos and Storm Clouds

Silos and Storm Clouds by Edward Mendes

shoppingcarticon Purchase This Print

One of the most beneficial aspects of having a formal education in photography, or any art, is the opportunity you have to be introduced to, and as a result, influenced by the work of others in the field, especially historical work.  Seldom I’ve found do those self taught in any avocation take the time to divert their attention away from the act of doing long enough to properly focus on the works of those that have come before them, drawing instead on the works of their peers as a muse.  There’s something to be said for being familiar with the evolution of any art.

I remember sitting in class and seeing the work of Charles Sheeler and the images he made of the Ford production plant for the first time.  I was drawn to the images, by the way the sun light seemed to make the metal buildings glow.  Sheeler was able to turn something as mundane as a factory into a piece of art. Charles Sheeler’s work along with John Sexton’s Places of Power portfolio continue to affect the way I see the world and helped me recognize this composition when I saw it.

I was driving along Idaho’s highway 26 just outside Idaho Falls when I noticed the wonderful cloud formations that were filling the sky.  I had made this drive a few times in the past and had always wanted to photograph the silos scattered throughout the farmland between Idaho Falls and Jackson, Wyoming but never seem to be there with anything but boring clear skies.   I knew today was my chance to finally create a few of the images I had been visualizing for years.  This tight grouping of silos is one of my favorite in the area, the vertical composition allowed me to include as much of the interesting textures in the sky as possible and I used the silos as a foreground subject and allowed them to anchor the images a bit.  After finding my composition I simply waited for the clouds to open just enough to put a little glow on the silos and their surround area.  It’s taken me seven years for the conditions I visualized upon my first visit to the area finally present themselves but and after seeing the finished print, I think it was well worth the wait.  I hope you enjoy Silo and Storm Clouds as well.

Silo and Storm Clouds is available in sizes from 8×10 to 40×60 and would make the perfect compliment to any home or office decor.  Purchasing information can be found here. Art consultant or Designer?  Please contact me for a quote based on your project’s needs, 209-541-1815 or edward@edwardmendesphotography.com

Image Information

Nikon D7000
Nikon 18-200mm VRII lens
Cokin 2-Stop Graduated ND Filter
Tonal Work in Photoshop CS5
Black and White conversion in Nik Silver Efex Pro2


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Edward Mendes on October 4th, 2013

Eastern Sierra Fall Color Report

Fall Leaves, North Lake - FL1010

I’m here in the Eastern Sierra’s near the towns of Lee Vining and Bishop getting ready for my annual fall color workshop. I’ve spent the last two days driving up and down highway 395 to some of my favorite fall color locations scouting for the workshop and thought I’d put together an update for anyone else thinking about heading to the area while the colors are still around.  Forgive the lack of images but my laptop is having some major problems and has decided it’s better to crash than process any images.  Here’s what I’ve found so far…as of October 4th 2013.

Convict Lake

The classic wide view of the lake, in the general area of the dock, is beautiful with the color in the groves running up the mountain side on the far side of the lake as close to ideal as I’ve ever seen it during my many visits.  As you walk around the lake the color near the shoreline is brilliant from afar but is mostly past prime with many brown spots on the leaves as you get close.

Round Valley

The cottonwoods and other trees that dot Round Valley as you descend Sherman Grade into Bishop are just starting to turn yellow.  Most trees are still dark green with some lighter shades mixed in.  There are a handful of cottonwoods bunched together in a few spots that are almost completely gold, but those are certainly the minority.  The sage brush in most areas look great, bright yellow.


Color near Aspendale is in full force, particularly along Cardinal Road and the aspen groves just south of the town as you drive along highway 168 towards North lake.  The view from the highway down the valley is beautiful with most trees showing yellows and gold.

North Lake

The Aspen grove at the beginning of the road that leads to North Lake from highway 168 offers some beautiful views as you travel up the road and look down the canyon.  If you stop to get a closer look however you may be disappointed as most are showing brown spots.  For the most part this is true of all the color around the lake and road leading to it, much like the perfect 10 you saw at the club last night, once you get a closer look you’ll be disappointed by the liver spots.  The exception are the groves near the trail head parking area which are mostly completely bare.

Lake Sabrina

The Aspens surrounding the lake are mostly bare, which is fine considering the lake is mostly drained and therefore doesn’t lend itself to full lake images with the first rays of daylight touching the upper ridges on the far side of the reservoir.  The trees on the road leading up to the lake however look very good from a bit of a distance but feature brown spots upon closer inspection.  There are a few trees however along the edge of the creek just before reaching the lake that are on fire right now, but they won’t last long.

Conway Summit

Most of the trees that make up the big grand view on Conway Summit are past prime and while the color is still OK they appear a bit dry.  The first two groves you come to as you drive up the road have some nice trees with yellow leaves on them and would make nice candidates for some detail work.  Beyond these first two groves however there isn’t much going on, you’ll still see yellow trees but most have brown spots on them.

Lee Vining Canyon

I forgot to write down the name of the road, sorry, but it’s the one that ends at a power station and heads the deepest into the canyon (not much help I know).  Anyway, there are a few areas along the dirt section of the road that are incredible, bring yellow!

June Lake Loop

The loop looks pretty good in general but I wouldn’t say the color is at peak as I think that may have been a few days ago but it’s still very good with groves on the mountain sides near Silver Lake looking great.


In general most of the color is a bit past it’s peak in most areas but looks stunning from a distance, just concentrate on larger compositions and you’ll be happy with the results.  There are some nice pristine color still to arrive in some areas as green trees liter most areas to different degrees so the season for color is far from over but has made the summit and is starting to descend back down to camp, if you’ll allow me a climbing analogy.  If you’re planning on checking out the color in the Eastern Sierra I hope this helps.

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Edward Mendes on April 18th, 2013
Incoming Tide, Big Sur Coast. Fine Art Landscape and Nature Photography by Edward Mendes

Incoming Tide, Big Sur Coast by Edward Mendes

shoppingcarticon Purchase This Print

The above new image, Incoming Tide is a result of making the most of what you have to work with, both in the equipment you have on hand and the subject which presents itself.   I was walking down Garrapata beach along California’s stunning Big Sur Coast during a recent photography workshop I was leading in the area. I generally don’t make my own photographs while I lead the workshops as I want to dedicate as much time to my participates as possible and because of this I don’t carry my tripod with me, just the camera so I can demonstrate certain things in the field.

As I was making my way from one student to another I noticed the waves crashing on the beach and really liked the soft cool pastel tones and the patterns that were being made. The sun had yet to rise and I didn’t have my tripod with me so I decided to try a motion blur image where I move the camera in a certain direction during the long exposure to create an abstract image focusing on just tone and texture.

This is the result and I think it turned out pretty nicely considering it’s a major departure from my usual images.  I have a fine print of Incoming Tide coming soon, a 30×30 gallery wrapped canvas that I’ll finish by brushing several coats of lacquer onto which will help to protect the image but also add a beautiful texture from the hand laid brushstrokes.  I’m excited to see it!

Incoming Tide is available in sizes from 8×8 to 50×50 and would make the perfect compliment to any home or office decor.  Purchasing information can be found here. Art consultant or Designer?  Please contact me for a quote based on your project’s needs, 209-541-1815 or edward@edwardmendesphotography.com

Image Information

Nikon D7000
Nikon 18-200mm VRII lens
Minor Tonal Work in Photoshop CS5

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Edward Mendes on February 1st, 2013




Emergence  by Edward Mendes

I announced my new images for 2013 in my last post and mentioned I would feature each of them individually here on the old blog as time goes by.  I’m excited to present to you the first of these new fine art images entitled Emergence.   I was in Yosemite National Park to teach my annual “Winter in Yosemite” workshop (always a lot of fun btw, you should sign up for the next one), but did have an opportunity to do any shooting myself as I was too busy with my wonderful participates.  On the morning after the workshop ended I woke up and headed into the park to find that it had snowed overnight and a beautiful fresh layer of snow was covering the valley.  As I turned a corner El Capitan emerged from almost out of no where, covered powdery snow and framed by snow covered trees at it’s base.  I jumped out of the car and spent a few minutes finding a composition that perfectly showcased each element I wanted to feature, the snow covered trees, El Capitan and the cloud filled sky.

As I worked the scene I made a number of images in both vertical and horizontal formats but eventually thought a horizontal image was the most powerful.  The real struggle came in the quickly moving clouds the formations of which changed with each image made.  This was my favorite.    The image also works very well as a black and white and I struggled for some time on which version I was finally include in the collection.  When the dust settled I decided to include both as I found myself second guessing my decision whenever I made one.  I’ll post the black and white version in a few days and let you decide which is the better of the two.  Until then I hope you enjoy Emergence.

Emergence is available in sizes from 11×14 to 30×40 and would make the perfect compliment to any home or office decor.  Purchasing information can be found here. Art consultant or Designer?  Please contact me for a quote based on your project’s needs, 209-541-1815 or edward@edwardmendesphotography.com

Image Information

Nikon D7000
Nikon 18-200mm VRII lens
Polarizing Filter
Cokin 2-stop graduated nd filter
Manfrotto Tripod and Head
Minor Tonal Work in Photoshop CS5

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Edward Mendes on January 17th, 2013
Garrapata Sunset

Garrapata Sunset


It’s been some time since I’ve released a new group of images, 2011 in fact.  Over the last year and a half I’ve occasionally shown a new image or two on different social media sites but nothing with any type of regularity.  The reason?  Well actually it’s because of my workshop schedule.  I’ve been teaching a lot over the last year or so and haven’t had time to travel much outside of where my workshops led me.  During the workshops I try to dedicate most of my time to my students so I don’t shoot much myself outside what I may do in the days leading up to or just prior to the workshops, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been out there shooting.

Over the last year and a half I’ve had the opportunity to visit some of the most beautiful locations in the western United States, including Yosemite, Mono Lake, Zion, Grand Teton and more while teaching both group and private workshops.  During that time I have managed to create a number of images that I’m very proud of and excited to share with you now.  As I look at the images I’ve noticed two things, first many of the new images I’m making are ending up in a panoramic format and second I’m starting to regain my passion for black and white.  Neither of these things are something I’ve intentionally set out to do but are coming about organically for one reason or another, it’s an interesting change in the way I’m seeing the world of late and something I’m assuming I’ll continue to explore in the future.

Ok, that’s enough talking.  Below are my official 2013 fine art releases, a few you may have seen before but most are just seeing the light of day.  Over the coming days, weeks or months (how knows) I’ll feature each one individually here on the blog and on other sites along with the story of how they were made but until then I hope you enjoy them as a whole.  If you would like to view each image with it’s story you can head on over to the new release portion of my website.

  • If you’re a collector and would like to own a print of any of these images please contact me or order online by viewing the image you enjoy via the link above.  Images are available as fine prints in sizes from 11×14 to 30×40.
  • Art consultant or Interior designer?  Contact me to discuss your project and image needs.  Images are available in any size and finish to fit your project, for more information visit the Home Decor Professionals section of my website.
  • Please contact me for licensing information.


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Edward Mendes on January 12th, 2013
Fireline, Yosemite NP

Fireline, Yosemite NP by Edward Mendes

It’s winter and that means rain, snow and generally cold weather unless you live in a tropical climate, and if that’s the case then know I hate you.  While a beautiful mountain summit covered in fresh snowfall makes for a great image it’s also makes for chilly conditions, something camera gear (and some photographers) don’t like very much.  So here’s a few tips for making the most out of winter conditions.

Keep your batteries warm

Batteries don’t like cold weather and tend to discharge more quickly when exposed to the elements.  To ensure your batteries give you as much use as possible keep them warm.  I do this by keeping them close to my body usually storing them in an inner coat pocket however you could also keep them in some sort of pouch worn around your neck so they are held against your body.   Another favorite way to keep batteries warm is to store them inside my camera bag along with a number of chemical heating packs.

Extra batteries

As mentioned above batteries lose their charge when the temperature dips so always be prepared and have extra batteries on hand.

Keep those fingers warm

I’m not sure if there is anything more difficult to deal with in cold weather than cold fingers.  I’ve been in situations when my fingers have gotten so cold that I literally could not move them, which makes taking pictures next to impossible.  To help with that I now carry multiple pairs of gloves with me in my car and choose the pair that will best fit the conditions.  I prefer a nice thin glove made out of water resistant material so they don’t stay wet when the snow on them later melts.  A thin glove allows me to continue to manipulate the camera controls without removing them and exposing my hands to the elements.  I try to stay away from the gloves with exposed fingers or with removable fingers as I don’t want to expose my fingers to use the camera.  In very cold conditions I often wear two sets of gloves, my favored thin pair and a heavier glove over them.  This helps to keep my hands warm in very cold conditions and by wearing the thinner pair also I can take off the heavier gloves and adjust the camera while still having my fingers protected.

Keep those toes warm

For some people cold feet are just as bad as cold fingers.  Whether that describes you or not having warm, dry feet will make sure your much more comfortable and productive in the field.  I like to wear water proof or water resistant hiking boots with at least two layers of socks, one of which are always heavy thermal socks.  The water resistant shoe is important in even snow covered conditions because the snow on your shoe will melt and absorb into your foot as soon as you’re back in the car and traveling to your next location.  You can also try water repellant spray on your shoes.

Walking Aids

If you’ll be walking on snow or ice having the proper footwear or walking aids makes a world of difference.  If you’ll be hiking over any distance a pair of snowshoes will make your experience a much more pleasurable one.  Snowshoes look a lot like tennis rackets and usually attach onto your existing shoes, though there are many different types.  Snowshoes distribute your weight over a much larger surface area then boots and allows you to walk on snow without sinking to your waist, which has happened to me many times.

If you’ll be doing any walking on ice or other slick conditions crampons are extremely useful and allow you to walk with confidence and safety.  Crampons are basically small spikes that dig into the ice, giving you much needed grip and fit over your existing footwear.  There are many different types of crampons for different uses.  I personally use a very inexpensive one-size-fits-most pair that does a great job for the conditions I tend to visit.  If you’d like to learn a bit more about which crampons are right for you check out this info on the REI website.

It may also be a good idea to carry a walking stick with you in extreme conditions as they can help tremendously when the snow gets thick or the ice particularly slick.

Drink something warm

A thermos of hot coffee, tea, chocolate or soup can go a long way in making your winter photography experience more enjoyable when you’ve found your sunset location an hour or two before sunset.  Sitting in the snow for a couple hours waiting for the sun isn’t exactly the most enjoyable thing in the world but it’s made a little better when you can stay warm.  So fill up the thermos with your favorite hot beverage and stop staring at your watch, the sun never sets when you’re staring at your watch.

Carry chains

This one’s for your car.  If you’ve ever fishtailed down a raised road in your four-wheel drive desperately trying to regain control before you head off the embankment and into a ditch then you know how hazardous driving in snow and ice can be.  That’s exactly what happened to me a few years ago while traveling only 25mph down what seemed to be a dry road.  Tire chains do for your car what crampons do for your feet.  Having chains and knowing how to put them on can get you out of some pretty hairy situations while also allowing you to explore areas others won’t be able to get to because they aren’t carrying chains.  A couple things to remember.  First, tire chains are NOT one-size-fits-all, you must purchase chains to fit the size of your tires.  So if you had chains for your previous car and now you’re driving something different you better check the tire size and see if your current chains will fit.  Secondly, tire chains can be a bit tricky to put on, that’s why you’ll see guys charging you $50 to install them on the side of the highway.  Practice installing your chains under different conditions so you feel more comfortable putting them on when you need them.  Finally, chains do you no good if you don’t use them.

Closing thoughts

Winter is one of the most exciting times of the year to be a photographer as it offers some of the most beautiful moments our planet has to offer.  In addition not as many people get out when the weather is cold and thus allows you to capture moments that others never experience.  While I know it’s not as easy getting out there when you have to hike through knee deep snow or wait an hour for the sun to set when its 3 degrees outside there are a few simple things you can do to make your photography outings more enjoyable even if the weather doesn’t isn’t.

Join me for my upcoming “Winter in Yosemite” workshop, February 8th through 10th 2013.  Visit my website for all the information.


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