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Rob Dweck
Lives in San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA
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Rob Dweck

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Acknowledgement
Hanalei, Hawaii, USA

I was fortunate to spend some time last month in one of my favorite places on earth, the north shore of Kauai. Every time I cross the first of the one lane bridges on the road from Hanalei to Haena I seem to fall under a spell that melts my troubles away and fills my soul with peace and contentment.

Near where the Hanalei River empties into Hanalei Bay and the Pacific Ocean, this pier is like a magnet that attracts surfers, swimmers, photographers and beach goers of all types. Even though the beach is two miles long, the crowds converge here at all times of day and night.

I spent several mornings and evenings photographing the pier under different weather conditions and came away with four images that I liked and will share in the coming weeks.
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Thank you  +Leyla A. Roberson!
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Those of us who live in or have visited the San Francisco Bay Area know how fortunate we are to have so much open space in and around a major U.S. city. However, San Francisco and it's surrounding areas could have just as easily become another overdeveloped (some say that is already the case) over-polluted metropolis, densely populated and crisscrossed with congested freeways, much like Los Angeles.

Take a little time to read the short stories at http://www.whatmighthavebeen.org (click on the stories link) to see and read about what the bay area might have looked like if it weren't for the foresight of some dedicated activists who fought the developers who saw the bay area as place to bulldoze for high-rises and freeways. 

Some people call the long time locals NIMBYs, as if it were an insult. There may be plenty of cases of "NIMBYism" taken too far, but those committed to preserving the rural and wild nature of the open space surrounding San Francisco knew what they were doing and they serve as a brilliant example of how a handful of committed citizens can go up against powerful and wealthy corporate interests and prevail. They stood up and said This Will Not Happen In My Backyard and deserve to proudly wear the NIMBY title as a badge of honor.
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+Chris Korman  I agree that a private concession is not in the public interest. I think the reality is that the NPS doesn't want spend cash, just collect it, so for them the easiest way is through private concession. It also gives them a scapegoat if there's problem down the road (no pun intended). They can place the blame on the concessionaire and deny any responsibility. As you said, there's nothing altruistic in their MO. They just want to do whatever will result in the fewest headaches for them and has the smallest impact on the bottom line. 
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North
Inyo National Forest, California, USA

Just another perfect morning in the Sierras. 
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Thanks +Nel K!
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Never Too Late
Golden Gate National Recreation Area, California, USA

If you’ve ever driven, hiked, biked or wandered through the thousands of acres of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in Southern Marin county that stretches from the Marin Headlands to Muir Beach, you know how fortunate we are to have this beautiful expanse of open space in the Bay Area. What you may not know is that this land nearly became a city, and construction had already started when some local activists succeeded in stopping the development. Along with the Nature Conservancy, they were able to purchase the property and turn it over to the National Park Service where it is now protected. (You can get the whole story in the very worthwhile documentary Rebels With a Cause at http://rebelsdocumentary.org.)

I’m reminded of this almost every time I go out to hike or photograph here, and also because as 2014 comes to a close their spirit and determination is very much on my mind. Despite the powerful interests they were up against and the major uphill battles they faced in preserving this land, they accomplished their goals and left a legacy that will be enjoyed for generations. 

Looking back on the last year, there is so much to be thankful for and so much more to accomplish both personally and collectively. I hope that the New Year finds you healthy, energized and inspired to face the greatest of challenges and live joyfully. I leave you with the words of John Robbins in hopes that you accomplish all of your goals and dreams for 2015. See you next year!

It is never too late to love
It is never too late to make a difference
It is never too late to choose health
It is never too late to choose a positive attitude
It is never too late to care about people
It is never too late to dream and dare to let those dreams materialize in your life, translate into actions, define the way you exist with other people
It is not too late to do the things that matter to your spirit and your heart and to all of our common collective longing to be part of something beautiful, healing, truthful and wise
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Thank you +Allen Cutler and +Dominique Dubied!
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Winter Storm - Merced River
Yosemite National Park, California, USA

It feels like winter is already in full swing with all the rain we've been getting, but since it officially begins today, I wanted to share this image from one of my best outings in Yosemite. It was one of the few times I got to experience a snowstorm in Yosemite Valley and it was truly magical. The normally busy valley became silent and the predominant color was white as the rocks and trees were enveloped in snow. It was Yosemite as I had never seen it before.

(View this one large and you can see the streaks of falling snow.)
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Thank you +rochell collins!
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Sundial
Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest

Southern Utah gets all the glory, and for good reason: the remote desert of that region offers some of the most spectacular scenery on the planet. The unique geology of the area could keep anyone who loves the outdoors enthralled for years, if not for a lifetime. So I was surprised this past summer to discover that the northern part of the state is home to some incredible scenery of it's own.

The Wasatch Mountains offer scenery that rivals some of the more well known mountain ranges, although without the feeling of remoteness since it's just a stones throw from Salt Lake City. With less than a week to explore, I barely scratched the surface but was overwhelmed by the beauty of the area. And if the number of people on the trails was any indication, I'm not the only one who feels this way.
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Thanks +Rory Button!
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Starting tomorrow and going through Wednesday, you have the opportunity to learn from one of the best educators I know, +David Wells. David will be teaching a course on creating photo essays and personal projects, and if you watch it live, it's free.

As a photographer, he is a master of light, shadow and silhouette, and his photo essays penetrate the core of his subjects. As an instructor, he is thoughtful, intelligent and insightful. Much of my development as a photographer is a direct result of time spent learning from him. Here's an opportunity to spend three days in the classroom with him. Don't miss it!
 
Take your photography to the next level with my free online course, Creating Powerful Photo Essays & Personal Projects, at creativeLIVE on Jun 30 - Jul 2 enroll: http://cr8.lv/dhwells #WellsLive
Watch free live online classes taught by the world's top instructors. Learn photography, design, business, and more. Join today!
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+Larry Nienkark I think they do a free rebroadcast in the evening right after the live one. If you're not working all night you can probably catch it then.
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Have them in circles
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Rob Dweck

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I'll state the obvious first: There's nothing inherently special about this picture. In fact, it's just a snap from my phone, shot while hiking one of my favorite trails at Point Reyes National Seashore. The location on the other hand is as spectacular as they come. Miles of unspoiled Pacific coastline where cliffs rise up from the ocean and sandy beaches invite animals of all sorts to rest, play and appreciate all that nature shares with us.

But there are often limits to that sharing, which brings me to what is special about this random snapshot: The cliff on which I stood as I lifted my phone to click the shutter button no longer exists. Yesterday it collapsed into a pile of rocks and claimed the life of one hiker and seriously injured another. Two souls out for a hike who happened to be at what always seemed to me the right place, but definitely at the wrong time. In a matter of seconds, Arch Rock was no more.

The last time I was there it didn't occur to me that the spot where I often found myself sitting 60 feet above the Pacific Ocean contemplating life, freeing my mind of troubles or simply enjoying the view while spending a day on the trail would disappear someday. And that is why I'm writing this today.

Most of us have our lists of places we want to see during this lifetime - places that we've heard about, seen in pictures or movies, or just want to see with our own eyes.If we're fortunate with time, finances, planning and schedules, and all of the other factors that go into getting our butts out the door to someplace new, we get slowly cross them off the list. We rarely consider that by the time we're ready to go, they may be gone.

So that place you've always been wanting to go? Get going. Nature isn't waiting for you. Neither are the developers, miners and other opportunists who see nature as a resource to exploit for their own profit. Delicate Arch, Half Dome, The Great Barrier Reef...they've all been around as long as we've been alive, but there's a good chance that some of us may outlive one or more of these icons. It may seem hard to fathom, but that's just the way it is. Arch Rock was still standing above the Pacific Ocean when I woke up yesterday. It was gone by the time I went to sleep last night. 
--
Now, nobody lives forever
Nothin' stands the test of time
Oh, you heard 'em say "never say never"
But it's always best to keep it in mind
That every tower ever built tumbles
No matter how strong, no matter how tall
Someday even great walls will crumble
And every idol ever raised falls
And someday even man's best laid plans
Will lie twisted and covered in rust
When we've done all that we can but it slipped through our hands
And it's ashes to ashes and dust to dust
-Steve Earle
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Indeed it can be. Thanks +Steve Hambley. 
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Dragon Teeth II
Halong Bay, Vietnam

Strange how time changes perspective. When I arrived home from Vietnam a little over a year ago, I started sorting through my 1000+ photos and didn't find a single keeper in the bunch. The snaps from my iPhone were better than the shots from my big boy camera. I deleted the real clunkers, but kept the rest and a year later looked through them again. I found one keeper and one potential keeper.

 I shared the keeper a couple of months ago and recently upgraded the potential keeper to keeper status. Maybe in another year I'll find a third? We'll see, but if there's one suggestion I would make to any photographer it's to keep your fingers off of the delete key. Even if you're not sure if you like an image after you download it, give it some time. As time passes we see differently and what once seemed ordinary, may appear extraordinary. Likewise, things that used to seem special can become mundane.
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Thank you +FineartPhotoshots!
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Cascade 7
California, USA

Last month I had the privilege of spending a day on the Sonoma coast with +Michael Ryan and +Bob Bowman. We headed out as a storm was ending with hopes for some dramatic light, but instead encountered heavy cloud cover and intermittent fog. We did get some drama in the form of heavy surf crashing against the rocks and cliffs, with sprays upwards of 25 feet. 

Mike and I stayed on the cliffs while the more adventurous Bob scrambled down to the base of the falls to shoot. Had I been a little more sensible I might have cautioned Bob against going down there, but I was so taken by the beauty of the location I didn't think to say anything...at least that's my excuse for now. You can find his account of the experience and his unique image of the falls at https://plus.google.com/+BobBowmanRMBImages/posts/J1rUhbjKpih.

Bob's image also shows a much more accurate portrayal of the scene since it contains a glimpse of the crashing waves. I opted for the longer exposure to smooth out the water and make the waves appear more like mist and then converted it to black and white. It was a memorable day in the wonderful company of two great photographers who were kind enough to show me around their stomping grounds and provide a real time dramatic escape story as well. Can't wait for the next time!
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Nel K
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Thx Rob I will learn this I am in LightRoom now atm learning so I guess it's a step at a time to get such masterpieces as you have photographed :)
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Rob Dweck

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Portal
Golden Gate National Recreation Area, California, USA

The recent storms have made for some dramatic skies around the Bay Area. Earlier this month I spent a little time at one of my favorite local beaches and was treated to a beautiful light show at sunset.
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Thanks +Garry McCarthy!
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Dragon Teeth
Halong Bay, Vietnam

Yes, I'm alive, although you'd never know it from the number of new images I've shared this year...which would be zero until now. With 2015 just around the corner, I thought maybe it's time to change that. Although "new" is relative - maybe it would be better to describe this one as previously unseen.

Just over a year ago I was fortunate to spend some time in Vietnam and the area I was most looking forward to was Halong Bay. I would have two full days of shooting this spectacular landscape from land and water and I couldn't wait. But a couple of days before we were to board our boat, we were trekking through some small villages in the north and I suffered the worst case of food poisoning I have ever experienced. 

After spending a day in bed weak, dehydrated (I'm still not sure if there's a word in Vietnamese for electrolytes) and barely able to move, we had to board the overnight train back to Hanoi en route to Halong Bay. I couldn't even summon the strength to lift my camera pack. When we arrived on our boat the following day I went straight to bed. My energy levels remained low to non-existent for the next two days and at one point we stopped at the island where I shot this image. I could barely make it up the steps but managed to get high enough to get this perspective. The small islands you see here are known as Karsts and are said to resemble dragon's teeth. I've never seen a dragon so I couldn't tell you.

A few days later I was feeling well again, but after arriving home and downloading over 1,000 shots, there wasn't a single keeper in the bunch. The mojo just wasn't working on this trip. A year later I was looking through them and found this one. I was wrong - there is one keeper, it just took me a year to realize it.
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I'm serious +Michael Ryan.
):|  <--serious face.
I'll be in touch with you and +Bob Bowman so we can make a plan.
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Have them in circles
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San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA
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Transforming reality one pixel at a time
Introduction
My passion for photography grew from my love of nature and hiking. I find peace and beauty in the natural world and I attempt to bring some of that back into the everyday world through photography.
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