Photos by J.R. Robinson
My Favorite Photos
This is a collection of my personal favorite photos that I've taken over the years. These are the shots that keep me pushing to do better, to capture something even more amazing. Each one has a story, and a permanent place in my heart, as well as on my wall.
I spent an entire day in May of 2018 lying in the fields of San Juan National Historic Monument, on the south-eastern tip of San Juan Island in Washington, watching the fox kits sleep and tumble and explore their surroundings. The adults watched from a distance as the half a dozen youngsters played.
This one, the victim of an encounter with an eagle that was well documented just a few weeks prior, was extremely curious, aware of my presence as I lied down, probing closer to investigate me and my camera, emboldened as the day went along to eventually lay down and pose amongst the wildflowers of late spring.
Patience is something I've always struggled with as a photographer. While I'm very content to sit and compose a shot in the moment, I find it very difficult to sit and wait for that moment to come, and I constantly feel like I have to be moving on to the next great location or moment. If I'm not moving, there's a chance I'm missing something spectacular around the next bend.
Delicate Arch is a near impossibility to capture without throngs of tourists infesting the shot. People crawl all over the rocks surrounding the arch, posing beneath its span to utilize it's natural frame for their vacation pictures. I get it, it's an iconic landmark and a must-stop when in Arches National Park, but as someone who wants a clean frame for my photos, it's more than a slight annoyance.
On this day in April of 2014, I had one goal: to get a clean shot of the arch for my portfolio. I climbed up early, but still did not beat the crowds. I did that day what I rarely do, I sat and waited. I watched ravens circle and pass through the arch for over two hours before a brief window appeared between the tourists, and I captured this and several other shots in the 30 seconds I had before another wave arrived. I went against my natural instincts to move and captured one of my favorite shots from one of America's most beautiful parks.
Mount Whitney. That f***ing mountain. If I had a hated nemesis in nature, it would be her.
In June of 2015, I was three days away from attempting to summit the highest peak in the Continental United States, waiting for the arrival of my girlfriend from Los Angeles to meet me in the town of Lone Pine at the mountain's base. I was in the midst of my attempt at through-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, and had been walking for almost two months to arrive at the mountain on that day, so that we could meet and summit together, a long-time goal for both of us. For me, it was a side trip, a diversion before tackling the remaining 1800 miles to Canada, for her it was a destination, the culmination of a lifelong desire to tackle and tame the cloud-scraping peak.
I took this shot on the evening before we would set out on the 30+ mile approach to the mountain along the PCT from Cottonwood Pass, not realizing that it forecasted the conditions that would ultimately derail our summit bid, and force me into a rapid descent that caused the injury that forced me off the trail and ended my through-hike that year.
We didn't make it to the top. The mountain beat us soundly and thoroughly, and we both limped out the way we had come, her with feet wrecked by broken shoes, me with a fractured leg that took 2 months to heal.
This photo is a reminder of the things I still need to accomplish, of the mountain I still need to overcome.