Aaron Meyers

Aaron Meyers is a landscape and wedding photographer living in Silicon Valley, CA. Though trained as an electrical engineer at the University of Michigan, Aaron is never happier than when in possession of a good camera and a great view. His love of the outdoors makes for frequent forays into the Californian wilds, where he delights in the stunning vistas of Yosemite National Park, Lake Tahoe, Big Sur, and the Pacific Coast - but it was in Vancouver, British Columbia that (with the help of a pod of orcas and his dad's old Canon AE-1) he first learned to combine his love of nature with a talent for snapping pictures ... He's been hooked ever since.

Though it was the enticing beauty of the natural world that first drew Aaron into photography, he has come to appreciate some of life's other treasures as well, and has since widened his aperture to include a passion for photographing events and weddings. No longer content to merely capture the beauty of a breaking wave or piercing sky, he strives also to capture the moment when lives are joined and joys bestowed; moments that can be cherished and remembered in their fullest and most perfect light. As a photographer of reunions, wedding rehearsals, ceremonies, and receptions, Aaron has earned the high esteem of his clients and is always eager for his next assignment.

Thanks again for visiting the site! Aaron hopes you enjoy his photos and encourages you to visit again soon to catch the shots from his latest travels. If you see a photo you particularly love, please know that all photos posted on this site are available for sale. Also, Aaron always takes many more pictures than are actually posted here, so if you're looking for something in particular please feel free to ask. You can also find him on Facebook, and Flickr.
  • 2020-09-04T12:11:32Z

    Lady Bird Morning
    Sunrise in the Redwood Forests
    Redwood National Park, CA

    Willie, David, and I had planned on doing a Redwood National Park trip well before COVID hit, and we weren’t sure if our plans would be ruined. Actually, we were pretty sure they would be. But things started looking better by early May and the hotels and parks opened up enough for us to decide it was safe to do the trip. We took as many precautions as we could, including quarantining, wearing masks, using hand sanitizer at all times, socially distancing, and using separate vehicles. At the last second, Miles Morgan decided he needed to get the heck out of the house, and he joined us too.

    It’s a long drive up North — about 7 hours. We spent a few days photographing various Redwood groves, searching for rhododendron blossoms. On our last morning we decided to drive an hour south, to Lady Bird Johnson Grove, as it would reduce the long haul back to the Bay by an hour. The grove was super hard to photograph in but we made a few images that worked.

    In this particular scene I loved the combination of the old Spanish moss on the tree, combined with the rhode next to it. The light was filtering in through the trees and created a spotlight effect. It was too juicy to pass up.

    Nikon D850 w/Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8:
    40mm, f/11, 0.5 sec, ISO 320

    Available for purchase at Aaron M Photography

  • 2020-07-23T09:24:50Z

    Pot of Gold
    Pot of Gold: Rainbow over hills in the Bay Area, CaliforniaPot of Gold
    Sunset rainbow over hills in the Bay Area, California

    One of my favorite local scenes to photograph are the hills. The Bay Area has a lot to photograph but it’s mostly known for its cityscapes and seascapes, so it’s fun to photograph something different. And photographing it from the air is even more fun and different.

    Willie asked if I wanted to go fly the drone with him and the forecast looked perfect for some hills photos. Low clouds with a clearing at the horizon are perfect to light up the hills but also provide something interesting in the sky. When photographing the hills, I don’t actually want a colorful sky — the orange and reds from the sky don’t go well with the green hills. But a nice glow in the clouds pairs perfectly with the warm shades on the hills.

    The setup was perfect — before the sun went down, a hole in the sky cast light-beams all around. The sun dipped behind the clouds for a while before popping out just before it was blocked by the hills and dipped below the horizon. For a while, Willie and I were getting rained on. We let it past and then put our drones back up, and that’s when I noticed a rainbow had come out. I flew to a nearby hill to use as a foreground and captured this stunner.

    DJI Mavic 2 Pro:
    10.26mm, f/4, 1/80 sec, ISO 100

    Available for purchase from Aaron M Photography

  • 2020-07-01T11:31:30Z

    Salty Stretch
    Salty StretchSalty Stretch

    I flew my first drone in 2015 when I borrowed Ben Von Wong’s drone for my trip to Iceland. At the time the sensor in the drone wasn’t equipped to take great still photos, so I spent most of the trip recording video. When I flew to Norway in 2017 for some backcountry skiing, and a small drone could fit in our ski-jacket pocket I knew I was hooked. As typically happens, technology gets better and new doors open up. I’ve seen some amazing drone photos from people recently but none more inspiring than the photos my friend David Thompson has been taking. In November I decided to take advantage of the Black Friday sales and grab myself a drone: the DJI Mavic Pro 2.

    I’ve been flying the drone a lot recently, mostly with Willie. It’s taken the same scenes that we’ve photographed for nearly 9 years and added a new spin. We can see them from a new light. From the air they take on different shapes, most notably you get to see a greater sense of scale and how they interact and engage with the landscape. Rivers and hills stand out the most as you can see how they meander over the earth, grabbing your eye.

    On this particular evening Willie and I planned to meet the infamous Miles Morgan, a photographer and pilot from the Pacific Northwest who I’ve been Flickr friends with for years but had never met in person. We met at a Mexican restaurant nearby, caught up over dinner, peed in the women’s bathroom (someone was taking too long in the mens!) and then left to go fly the drones. High clouds had excited us for a colorful sunset that would be reflected back in the streams of the salt flats, but Jeff had predicted the fog would roll in and he was absolutely correct. Although the sunset never got colorful, we did get a few patches where the golden hour light cast a beautiful glow to the salt flats.

    This particular set of “fingers” had captured me the first time we came to this spot. In just a few weeks it was interesting to see how the landscape had changed: water had retreated, some of the fingers were fainter, some more distinct, and new tendrils of mud and salt had come out. From this angle I loved how it looked like everything was creeping into the fingers, eager to reach out and grab it. The stream that flows just above the fingers helps to draw the eye through the photo.

    DJI Mavic Pro 2 w/Hasselblad L1D-20c:
    10.26mm, f/5, 1/50 sec, ISO 100

    Available for purchase at Aaron M Photography

  • 2020-06-03T13:06:03Z

    Last Aspen Light
    Sunset on the Aspen Trees
    Colorado

    In the summer of 2019, Sammi and I visited my coworker Ana in Slovenia. A few weeks later she came out to California for manager training and before she went back she asked if I would join her in Colorado for a fall colors photo trip. I’ve been wanting to photograph the fall colors in Colorado and happily agreed to join her.

    Our car broke down in Crested Butte. I’m so thankful that the car broke down when we were in town and not 5 minutes earlier when we were in the middle of no where. In the end we lost a day of photography but ended up with a bigger, more bad-ass car. That car was much more suited to drive the dirt roads towards Telluride, Colorado.

    We arrived at this spot earlier in the afternoon and instantly fell in love. There was a beautiful grove of Aspen trees with the San Juan mountains behind it. We drove on, scouted some more, photographed some intimate scenes inside a forest, and then came back here for dusk. Even though the sun had gone down many minutes earlier, there was still enough light on the trees to cast a beautiful glow on all of the Aspens. I pulled out the big lens and kept taking photos as long as I could. Then we stayed even longer and waited for it to get dark so we could shoot the Milky Way.

    D850 w/Nikkor 80-200:
    155mm, f/9, 0.6 sec, ISO 800

    Available for purchase at Aaron M Photography

  • 2020-05-06T10:57:21Z

    Brain Game
    Badlands, from Above
    Bisti Badlands, New Mexico

    I have major FOMO (fear of missing out), especially if David and Willie are involved. I’ve always admired David’s desert photos and when he invited me to join on a trip to New Mexico, I knew I couldn’t pass. Never-mind that the trip fell smack-dab-in-the-middle of a really good friends wedding. The trip was planned for Wednesday through Sunday and I figured I could join for 2 days and fly home in time for the wedding.

    Willie and I arrived Wednesday night and drove over to Bisti. By the time we arrived there was no point going to the hotel – instead we drove straight to a sunrise location and slept for a few hours in the car. David joined us just as we were about to wake up. Sunrise was fun with the best photos taken with the drone, we caught a few hours of sleep, met up with Paul Rojas, and scouted for sunset. The area was looking like a dud, so we tore off for a different spot that David knew would be great from the drones.

    We all flew the drones through 3 batteries that evening. The light on the badlands was beautiful, creating some really abstract and unique shapes. Just as my first battery was depleting I brought the drone back towards me and noticed this scene. I loved how the light was playing on the circular, brain-like shapes. Rather than landing, I kept the drone in the air until the battery nearly completely drained. I was standing just off the top of the frame here but kept coming back to this spot for these shapes.

    The trip and the next few days turned out to be crazy. After spending 2 days in New Mexico, I drove back Friday night, flew out Saturday morning, drove to Yosemite for the wedding, came back Sunday morning, then turned right around and drove to Tahoe, skied one of the top 3 days of my life Monday, and was back home and at work on Tuesday. Quite the whirlwind week!

    DJI Mavic 2 Pro:
    10.26mm (28mm equivalent), f/4, 1.0 sec, ISO 100

  • 2020-05-06T08:27:00Z

    3 Smiling Amigos
    Sunset over Sunflowers
    Silicon Valley, California

    This isn’t the first time that I’ve photographed sunflower fields. I’ve always loved them — I don’t have many memories as a toddler but I still remember playing with a few sunflower stalks when I was teeny. In high school I loved to eat sunflower seeds while sitting on the bench at baseball games (hey, I was designated pinch runner!).

    Willie, Zack, and I drove over to these sunflower fields on a night that was predicted to have a beautiful sunset. Thanks to Escaype, the prediction was spot on and the sky lit up beautifully. We arrived right as the sunflower fields were at their “peak”, meaning the flowers were still blooming beautifully, their heads weren’t drooping, and the petals are nice and fresh. A week or so later and the heads would be dipping down and the leaves withering.

    I looked for a set of flowers that filled the screen and found that here. In previous years I had taken vertical sunflower photos so I was on the hunt for a landscape orientation scene that filled the frame. These reminded me of the 3 amigos, smiling up at us.

    D800 w/Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8:
    15mm, f/10, 1/60 sec, ISO 640

  • 2020-03-29T13:39:04Z

    Creeping into the flats

    As I’ve been spending more and more time working on photography at SmugMug, I’ve found less and less motivation to photograph the same places and things I had previously enjoyed photographing. The city, which was once a constant source of inspiration and focus for my camera, has become too much of an effort to go photograph. Seascapes, which I still love for the motion and power and color, lost interest as most non-photographers continued to lack interest in them. I needed something new to inspire me.

    I’ve seen some amazing drone photos from a number of photographers lately. Originally these drones could take great videos but lacked great sensors for still photography; DJI now has a number of well-priced drones that also do great still photos! I picked up a DJI Mavic Pro 2 in November and I’ve been having a lot of fun flying and taking photos. It’s provided a renewed sense of purpose and excitement with my photography.

    I love getting above the land and seeing its shapes from the sky. It’s amazing what just a hundred feet can show you that you would never see from the ground. And when the sun hits it at the right (low) angles, some magic can happen. On this particular night the sunset went blood red and orange in the sky and the streams of water managed to pick up the color beautiful!

    DJI Mavic Pro 2 w/Hasselblad L1D-20c:
    10.26mm, f/5, 1/15 sec, ISO 640

  • 2020-03-22T15:58:18Z

    Silent Night
    Silent NightDeath Valley National Park, California

    Death Valley National Park has some crazy dichotomies in its landscape. The most popular photos of Death Valley usually feature sand dunes, salt flats, or muddy playas. When Willie and I planned a trip to Death Valley for November, we had hopes that we’d take photos of all of those.

    After a quick couple of hours of sleep at David Thompson’s house in Las Vegas, we woke early and drove to Death Valley, took some sunrise photos, and setup camp. David had given us some tips and we set out for a patch of mud-cracks with no idea what to expect.

    When we found the mud-cracks you should have seen the look on our faces! We were like little kids in a candy store, running around at all the amazing patterns and foregrounds. Sunset was beautiful, as clouds had rolled in and lit up with pinks, oranges and reds. The color lasted into blue hour, when the stars came out and the clouds bristled orange from the Las Vegas light pollution. I loved the shape of the cracks here and had to use it for my night-time photo!

    Nikon D800 w/Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8:
    Foreground: 14mm, f/11, 1/5 sec, ISO 100
    Sky: 14mm, f/2.8, 10 sec, ISO 1600

  • 2020-03-02T17:12:30Z

    Sneaking around

    Many months earlier Willie had asked me if I wanted to check out Lassen National Park. It was one of the California parks that I had never been to and we had seen photos of the Painted Dunes from some amazing photographers like Brian Rueb, so I immediately said “YES”! It didn’t seem worth getting a hotel for just a few hours so we made the (crazy) decision to drive 12 hours round-trip, all in one day.

    The hike up the Cinder Cone is *grueling*. It’s basically straight up an 800 foot ancient volcano and since the ground is volcanic sand called “loose scoria”, it’s basically 1 step back for every 2 steps forward. I’d count 100 steps then call for a break, and then we’d repeat until we were at the top. Once there, the views of the “Painted Dunes” were spectacular! Created from layers of oxidized ash falling on top of still hot lava flows, the colors in this area are just stunning.

    Just as the sun was dipping below the mountains, the scene became even more gorgeous. The tips of the trees turned golden yellow and the colors of the dunes started to glow pink and purple and orange. We ran around like crazy people trying to photograph all the different spots of the dunes with the different trees and shapes and patterns. After the hike down we made it back to home without falling asleep on the 6 hour car ride!

    Nikon D850 w/Sigma 150-600mm:
    210mm, f/11, 1/20 sec, ISO 640

    Available for purchase at Aaron M Photography

  • 2020-02-12T00:21:19Z

    Horsetail Falls 2020 Date & Time Predictions (Yosemite National Park)

    For 2020 Yosemite instituted some new rules, especially pertaining to viewing locations and parking. See more information below.

    [Update: Feb 12, 2020: The National Park Service is reporting little-to-no water in Horsetail Falls at this time. I will be in the park later this week and will post an update on the condition of the falls. There is some rain predicted later this week, which could cause the falls to flow for a few nights. I wouldn’t give up hope yet]

    Last year I posted the times for the Horsetail Fire Falls event and discovered hundreds of people had found my blog and printed out the times! Thank you all for finding my post and taking advantage! I’ll continue to post them for each year.

    Scroll down for the 2020 times…

    Each year thousands of photographers visit Yosemite National Park in hopes of seeing the famous ”Fire Falls” event at Horsetail Falls. Horsetail Falls is a seasonal waterfall that only flows after rain or as the snow melts above El Capitan. It’s located on the east side of El Capitan and can be viewed from a number of locations. This event occurs when the sun is in just the right spot to reflect off the granite behind the waterfall and cause it to light up. The sun also needs to be close to the horizon to give off its orange light and thus turn the waterfall orange. It’s amazing how much like fire and lava the water becomes! The event starts around Valentines Day each year and continues for about 2 weeks.

    Horsetail Fire Falls from 2016
    Horsetail Fire Falls from 2016

    Everyone always asks me when the best time to view the Horsetail Fire Falls will be, and more importantly, when to photograph it. Each year I calculate when this will happen and here’s the breakdown for 2020.

    As a reminder:

    • There needs to be water in the waterfall.
    • There needs to be a clear night where the clouds to the west won’t block the sun from hitting the waterfall.
    • Arrive early as there will be many people in the park and parking spots are limited.

    Sunset for 2020:

    Predicted date and times for Sunset Horsetail Falls, 2020

    Where to See/Photograph Horsetail Falls:

    Horsetail width =

    There are 3 popular locations (click the link for Google Maps and GPS coordinates) that can be easily accessed to view and photograph Horsetail Falls on fire.

    However, f0r 2020 they have closed all Southside Drive locations. Photographers are not allowed between the river and the road due to negative impacts to the environment. As a result, I will only talk about the 1 location.

    Also note: The park service no longer allows parking near the photograph locations. You will need to park at Yosemite Falls parking area, or on Northside Drive along El Capitan Straight.

    1. El Capitan picnic area (on Northside Drive). This is the most popular (click to see Michael Chang’s photo) and most crowded view of Horsetail Falls. This is where Galen Rowell took his famous ”Natural Firefall” photo. This location provides the closest view, but it’s further east and a harsher angle and is better in late February (perhaps the last week of the Fire Falls as the sunset moves east). You can get some great photos from here but it is recommended to go further east during the early week of the Fire Falls and to hit this spot at a later week.

    GPS Coordinates: 37° 43’ 41.82”, -119° 37’ 13.62”

    Rules for 2020:

    In 2018 there was a lottery system for parking spots close to the viewing spots. In 2019 these rules were not reinforced. New rules were installed for 2020, particularly:

    • The only location to witness Horsetail Falls will be along Northside drive, near the El Capitan Picnic Grounds
    • You cannot park, stop, or unload passengers on Southside Drive
    • Viewers cannot stand near the river on Southside Drive. You must view from Northside drive.

    From the NPS:

    Due to the popularity of the event, restrictions will be in effect from February 14 through 27, 2020 daily from noon to 7 pm. To view Horsetail Fall, park at Yosemite Falls parking (just west of Yosemite Valley Lodge) and walk 1.5 miles (each way) to the viewing area near El Capitan Picnic Area. Northside Drive will have one lane closed to vehicles so pedestrians can walk on the road between the viewing area and Yosemite Falls parking. Bring warm clothes and a headlamp or flashlight. Parking, stopping, or unloading passengers will be prohibited between Camp 4 and El Capitan Crossover. Vehicles displaying a disability placard will be allowed to drive to El Capitan Picnic Area and park in turnouts on the north side of Northside Drive.

    Southside Drive will be open to vehicles, but parking, stopping, and unloading passengers will be prohibited between El Capitan Crossover to Swinging Bridge Picnic Area. Pedestrians will also be prohibited from traveling on or adjacent to the road in this area. From Cathedral Beach Picnic Area to Sentinel Beach Picnic Area, the area between the road and the Merced River will also be closed to all entry.

    El Capitan Crossover (the road connecting Northside and Southside Drives near El Capitan) will be open to vehicles, but parking, stopping, and unloading passengers will be prohibited.

    No permit or reservation is required to view Horsetail Fall.

    https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/horsetailfall.htm

    What to Bring:

    • Your camera (obviously), preferably an SLR, but a point-and-shoot with a longer zoom will work too.
    • A telephoto lens (100-200mm lens is enough. Full Frame cameras may want a 300mm lens).
    • A sturdy tripod (I used a crappy tripod and had some small shake from the heavy lens).
    • Cable release/remote control shutter (to avoid camera shake).
    • Warm clothes (layers, gloves, hat, sweatshirt, jacket, etc).
    • Flashlight (for after sunset).
    • Lawn chair (to sit on while you wait for sunset).
    • Snacks/Food/Water.

    Recommended Settings:

    • Mode: Aperture Priority (you have a tripod to allow for slow shutter speeds and you want to make sure you have a good depth of field).
    • Aperture: Use the sharpest aperture for your lens (typically around f/8). Once you have a couple good shots you can start to play around with other apertures.
    • Focal Length: A focal length of about 100-150 should be enough (150-225mm on a full frame dSLR).
    • ISO: Lowest ”standard” ISO, to ensure the least amount of noise.
    • White Balance: Auto White-Balance. You’ll probably warm it up in post-processing.
    • Focus: Manual focus with Live-View (if available). Many photographers had trouble getting clear shots because autofocus couldn’t be obtained or it focused on the mist and not on the rocks. Turn on manual focus and image stabilization (vibration reduction on Nikon), zoom as far in as you can on live view, and manually adjust the focus until it is sharpest then turn-off image stabilization and LiveView.
    • Shutter: use a remote shutter release. It will decrease the chance of motion blur.
    • Mirror-Lockup: If you need to, use mirror-lockup to reduce motion blur. I had a crappy tripod and this was needed to get better shots.
    • Exposure Compensation: Under expose your photo. The falls are really bright and can cause a slightly overexposed photo if shooting in Matrix Metering. I found a darker image with dark granite looked best and you’ll also get a faster shutter speed and thus sharper photo.
    • Use 14-bit RAW images if you have the option. Don’t shoot in JPEG.

    Tips for Shooting Horsetail Falls:

    • Scope out the locations before hand and choose your favorite spot.
    • The sunset starts out on the west side of the rocks during early February and progressively moves east (from left to right in the photos). If you want to see the falls all lit up in the early ”Fire Falls” season, go further east. As the sunset moves east you can move east (towards picnic grounds) to get good shots. See Steve Thuman’s shot for an example of going too early in February.
    • You need to shoot this at an angle to get the falls on fire. The “Fire Falls” effect is created because the granite rocks face east/west and happens to reflect the February sunset. This reflection then backlights the waterfalls. Too much water and it blocks the sunset from hitting the falls. Too far west and you aren’t at an angle to see the sunset reflecting off the rocks onto the water.
    • Get there early! People started showing up at the picnic grounds by 2pm and at the Southside Dr location by 2:30. Parking is limited and you can get a $300 ticket for parking on the street!
    • Don’t get stressed if you do not see much water on the falls. The mist will light up beautifully. In fact, from the picnic grounds we couldn’t see any water but they still got a great Fire Falls!
    • Re-adjust your focus a couple minutes before sunset is supposed to start. The dropping temperatures will change your focus.
    • A really sturdy tripod is recommended. Add some weight under the center column if you can. Shutter speeds will be less than a 10th of a second and even the slightest movement can ruin your shots.
    • An L bracket on your tripod can be handy for stabilization when shooting in portrait orientation. Some lenses have a slip ring that can rotate 90º to allow you to do this without an L bracket (for example both Canon/Nikon’s 70-200mm f/2.8 lenses do this).
    • You do not need a polarizer. The light is soft and the polarizer didn’t do anything to enhance the photo.
    • Take a couple practice shots before hand so you can figure out your settings and make sure everything is super sharp.
    • The snow/ice that you’re standing on can be really slippery when the sun sets. There are lot of dried pine-needles on the ground so take a bunch and put it on the ground below you to provide some extra traction.
    • Be patient! You’ll be sitting outside for a while so make friends with the other photographers, ask em for tips, and just have fun!

    View my Photos from Here:

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