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Behind the Lens, with Larry Calof

Welcome to my website.  I hope you will enjoy browsing through my travels as a photographer as much as I have enjoyed visiting these remarkable locations and having the opportunity to interpret, enjoy and photograph them.  I plan to use this part of the website to provide news and other information and to answer questions that come in about locations or photography.  For me, the process of sharing what I see and photograph is my primary motivation in creating the website.

Larry Calof, Behind the LensI have wanted to photograph snowy owls in their natural habitat for several years. In February 2019, my friend Wes Howell, and I journeyed to the frozen regions around Ottawa, Canada for a week. Our workshop was headed by Marc Latremouille (Wingstretch). We spent 5 days tromping through snowy fields and lying in the snow to photograph these beautiful creatures. The cold reminded me of some of the descriptions in Robert Service’s classic poem, The Cremation of Sam Magee. It was all worth it. We came back with amazing photos of the snowy owls. I have printed these on canvas and framed then in old barnwood. I can’t show these easily on a website, but if you are interested in a snowy owl image, please let me know via email ( and we can discuss size and pricing for a framed image.

In June 2018, I took a trip to the coast of Maine with my friends Jeff Johnson and Wes Howell.  We first visited Acadia National Park, enjoying the Atlantic coast vistas and colorful harbors.  We then traveled to DownEast Maine to photograph the lighthouses that dot the Bay of Fundy and Passamaquoddy Bay.  The highlight of our time in DownEast Maine was our journey to Macias Seal Island to photograph the puffins, razorbills, northern gannets, terns and murres that come to the island to nest at this time of year. Several images from that trip are included in the website.  Also, the trip is chronicled in pictures in a book entitled Acadia National Park and DownEast Maine, available through the Blurb bookstore.  A winter trip to Yellowstone rounded out the year.  As usual I participated in several shows, including as a Featured Artist at the Portola Art Gallery with an exhibit entitled Sunrise, Sunset.

The images contained on the website are all printed on paper and matted.  I have found that many of my images have more depth and are sharper when printed on aluminum.  All images can be printed on aluminum.  I send these to a lab, so prices are based on size and the lab’s costs.  Generally, as 12 x 18 framed metal print is about $150.00 and a 16 x 24 framed metal print is about $225.00.  Please contact me via email ( if you are interested in a metal print.

I traveled back to Alaska in the summer of 2015 with my friend and fellow photographer, Jeff Johnson. We start out in Anchorage and flew into Brooks Falls to photograph the grizzly bears attempting to catch the salmon leaping up the falls. It is now a fairly famous destination, so you have to wait your turn on the platform next to the falls. The Park Service does a good job of managing the crowds. We were able to get some excellent pictures of the adult grizzly bears catching salmon, and a little further downstream we got some images of younger bears watching, learning the ropes and even catching a few fish.

The rest of the trip was spent at a lodge at the far end of Denali National Park. We were fortunate to have several beautiful views of Denali (formerly Mt. McKinley). These images located in the Alaska category on my website.

I also participated in several juried shows this year. One of my images from the trip to Capitol Reef was published in Cowboys & Indians magazine as part of its annual photo contest. I have been printing many of my images on aluminum over the last year or so. It adds depth and pop to certain of the pictures. The actual printing is done by an outside lab, so prices depend on the size and whether I can order when the labs I use are having a promotion.

In the early summer of 2014, I returned to Montana and spent a week photographing wildlife, including birds of prey and horses.  It was an excellent trip.  I also participated in several juried shows in the Bay Area, including Filoli and the Coastal Land Trust.  This fall, I traveled with my friend Jeff down to Capitol Reef and explored some of the hard to find locations, including the Valley of the Sun and the Moon.  Somewhat to my surprise, fall color in and around Park City provided some very beautiful pictures, particularly up in Guardsman Pass.  These shots are included throughout the website.

In the spring of 2013, my good friend, Jeff Johnson and I visited Turkey.  We began in Istanbul, a city with its roots in both Europe and Asia, a rich cultural and religious heritage, wonderful markets and a distinctive skyline filled with spires.  After Istanbul we traveled to the magical landscapes of the Capadoccia area, where a hot air balloon ride highlighted the unusual landscape formations.  After viewing a performance of the whirling dervishes we visited the ancient ruins of Ephesus, followed by a visit to the Agean port of Bodrum.  A new category in Around the World highlights some of the scenes from my Turkey trip.  I also visited Canyon de Chelly in Northern Arizona, known for its wonderful Anasazi ruins (and of late as a location for several scenes from movie The Lone Ranger). I participated in several juried shows this year and have become a member of a small gallery in Menlo Park, Portola Art Gallery, located in the Allied Arts complex. It was a beautiful fall and winter in Utah, so I have added a number of pictures to the Park City and its Environs category. I have been producing many of my images on aluminum substrates.  The process really adds pop and depth to the images.  It is hard to show that on the internet, so please come visit the Portola Art Gallery to see the effect.

2012 was primarily devoted to a rafting trip down the Grand Canyon.  I have added a few new images to my existing Grand Canyon pictures.  I also photographed the Reno Hot Air Balloon festival and returned with some pictures of colorful balloons lit up a dawn.  I also visited an animal sanctuary outside of Reno where I had the opportunity to photograph some cheetahs running at 60 miles per hour.  Finally, I have added some new fall color images to the Park City and Environs portfolio.  I participated in several juried shows this year, and am exhibiting my photographs in two commercial businesses, one in San Francisco and one in Menlo Park.  I also had booths at the Union street Festival in San Francisco and the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival earlier in the year.  Next year will be primarily a year of landscape photography as I plan to visit Turkey in the spring.  I have printed a number of images on aluminum, both wildlife and landscape.  They are more expensive but the results are fantastic.

2011 was devoted primarily to African wildlife. Africa is a feast for the senses. We enjoyed intense sunrises and sunsets over the vast savannahs that provide a complex system of habitats for its denizens. We had the opportunity to observe and photograph playful and predatory lions, graceful antelopes, curious giraffes, cautious zebra, chattering baboons, majestic elephants, stoic cape buffalo, stealthy leopards and cheetahs and lumbering hippos and rhinos. There is something extraordinary about a close-up encounter with a lion or a rhino in its native environment. However, the colorful birds of Africa, a surprise on my first trip, remained fascinating to me. Spirit Horse was featured in the 7th Annual Atherton Art Exhibit. I also participated in 3 juried shows locally, with Mono Lake Sunrise, Powder Puff (snow leopard), and Narcissus (mountain lion) . There are a few new landscapes from trips to Yellowstone in winter and to Monument Valley this last fall. I hope you enjoy the new images.

2010 gave me an opportunity for more wildlife photography as well as landscape images.  I again visited the DDD Ranch and photographed animals in their full winder coats, including bobcats, lynx, mountain lions, wolves, snow leopards and a Siberian tiger.  The contrast of the animals in a snowy environment was fantastic.  I also took some time to photograph a herd of horses running through the snow.  The heat from the horses and the mist over the snow made for some dramatic images.  I also visited the Banff and Jasper National Parks in Canada; the bird refuge in Bosque del Apache in New Mexico, the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and White Sands National Monument.  I entered several juried competitions and was fortunate to have pieces selected.  Narcissus appeared in a Pacific Art League Show, and Smile appeared in a Filoli show.

2009 was primarily a year of photographing wildlife.  I really enjoy my interactions with animals, and I hope that enthusiasm is conveyed through my pictures.  In June of 2009 I traveled to Montana to the DDD Game Ranch and was able to photograph baby bobcats, lynx and river otters, as well as adult mountain lions and wolves.  These images are in the wildlife gallery.  In September, my good friend and fellow photographer, Jeff Johnson, joined me on a 10-day tour of Alaska.  We started in Denali.  I was surprised and delighted to see the vibrancy of the fall color of the tundra.  We photographed mountain grizzly and moose during our travels throughout Denali National Park.  We also traveled to locations around Homer and Seward where we found grizzly fishing for salmon in Crescent Lake, lots of eagles and more moose.  We also visited the Independence gold mine and the Kennecott copper mine. This was a trip where planes, trains and automobiles were all part of our transportation.

2008 was another magical photographic year.  It would be hard to match the experience of last year’s polar bear experience, but 2008 provided different, but equally interesting opportunities.   The highlights of the year included a trip to Peru and the Galapagos Islands (see Around the World—Peru and the Galapagos Islands section) and a workshop in Death Valley (see National Parks—Death Valley section). You will find some pretty snowy egrets and a shot of sand cranes at sunrise under Wildlife, some spectacular fall color images under Park City and Its Environs, and some images of Bryce Canyon in winter under National Parks—Bryce and Zion.  I was fortunate to travel to Peru around the winter solstice, so was able to photograph the sunrise on the solstice at Machu Picchu and to see the amazing celebration called Inti Raymi, the Inca Festival of the Sun.

I self-published three books, one called Tracks of the Polar Bear, which contains images from the trip to Churchill, Canada in 2007, another called Timeless Lands, which chronicles my trip to South America in 2008 and this year I published Alaska Through a Lens, which chronicles my trip to Alaska in 2009.  I am working on a portfolio book of my wildlife photography, which should be available on Blurb in early 2011.  The other books can be viewed at  Just go to the website, go into the store and search under my name.

In 2008 I had a successful show of my polar bear images, and two of my images were included in the Native California show at Filoli Gardens.  My Snowy Egret was selected to be included in a juried show at the Pacific Art League last summer and my North Canyon Reflection (see National Parks/Grand Canyon) was awarded second place in the Water and Reflections show, also at the Pacific Art League.

In 2007, I decided to try something new with my photography and took a course in photopainting from Fay Sirkis at the Lepp Institute.  Using Corel Painter X, I learned basic techniques to turn some of my photographs into images that looked like either watercolor or oil paintings.  I have included a few of these under the Photo Paintings section.  I hope to add a couple to this category every year.  While it is difficult to see on the screen, the fur in my image of the gray wolves is painted in painstaking detail using a very thin brush and my Wacom tablet.  The  photopainting does not replace my love for the images that come out of the camera, but it allows me to experiment and look at things in a different perspective.  Corel Painter works great for me, since I have no talent for free-hand drawing.

2006 was a great year for me. I entered a picture of elk in the National Elk Refuge in the Cowboys and Indians National Photo Contest in 2006.  I was honored to learn that it won the grand prize.  My photograph of the Goosenecks of the Colorado won second place in a juried show sponsored by the Pacific Art League in Palo Alto.  Friends, my photograph of gray wolves in Yellowstone was a finalist in the Cowboys and Indians contest in 2005.

You can click on a gallery to see thumbnail versions of the pictures.  Just click on a picture to see a larger size image.  To go back to the thumbnails, simply click on the gallery in which the pictures are located.  I generally have listed 3 sizes of pictures.  I can produce larger sized images.  I print images up to 16 x 20 myself, and use an outside lab for larger images.

All images are signed.  The larger images (13 x 19 and up) also are numbered as limited editions.  At present, the images for sale on the website are unframed, but generally I provide a basic mat.  Sometimes it is more efficient to ship photographs in a tube, particularly when most people want to have mats that are coordinated with their décor, so please send me an e-mail ( if you would prefer to receive a photograph that is not matted.

In the section of the website dealing with my greeting cards, I have exhibited several specific cards. However, I make greeting cards from all of the images on the website.  Please e-mail me with any requests for cards for an image that is on the website, but not in the card section.

This section was last updated in November 2019.

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