About Photography on the Run


Contents Copyright © 1995-2024 by Gary Valle’. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Please inquire about licensing of images, publication quality image files, exhibition quality prints, backdrops and murals. Please use this Information Request Form.

My passion for the outdoors, photography and exploration began in the parks and pine woods of the South. Drawn by curiosity, I would wander the woods and fields, exploring creeks and following game trails, reveling in the richness of the Georgia countryside. When my father accepted a job in California, we were greeted by eye-watering smog and the Bel-Air fire. It seemed to be far from the promised Shangri-la. But in 1964 a summer vacation hike to a snowbound, partially frozen lake in the High Sierra revealed a wonderland, and hooked me forever.

A few years later I started to run, climb, and ski — and also started to study photography. From Ansel Adams Basic Photo Series to Kodak Technical Notes, I consumed all I could on the subject. I marveled at the art of Alfred Stieglitz, the magical compositions of Henri Cartier-Bresson, and the powerful images of W. Eugene Smith. The elegance and expertise of the prints of Ansel Adams were stunning, the Pathos of Diane Arbus images unsettling, and the sensitivity in the work of Paul Sands an inspiration. I spent many, many hours in the darkroom.

Editors seem to like my work, and early on a number of my images were published. One of those editors was William Kemsley, Jr., the founder of Backpacker magazine. He recognized the spontaneous “point & shoot” nature of my photography and gave me an opportunity to present it. Since then my work has been published in a modest number of magazines, books and other publications — but whether I’m shooting with a big SLR, or an ultra-compact camera, I’m still a “react & shoot” photographer.

Most of the photographs here have been taken with small digital and film cameras. Some of the cameras used include the Olympus XA, Contax TVS III, Nikon Coolpix, Olympus Verve, Pentax Optio WPi, iPhone, Panasonic Lumix LX2, LX3, LX7 & ZS100,  Sony Alpha a6000 and RX100 VII.  Occasionally, I will also carry a digital or film SLR on a run. Most have been taken on self-supported trail runs, ranging in length from about 5 to 30 miles. Many of the runs have been in the open space and wilderness areas of Southern California and the Sierra.

A long run may take several hours. It is minimalist photography in the sense that there are significant constraints on the equipment and process. Ounces and minutes count. Out in the middle of nowhere, with your water running low, and a couple of hours to sunset, there may not be much time to wait for the wind to stop, or the light to change.

Other than simple post processing, most of the images are full frame and unaltered. A few of the images have had some kind of minor alteration that does not bear on the essential content of the image. Some images have been composited from an array of images — in a digital world this is no different than changing to a wide angle lens.

I am a realist and usually attempt to reproduce images as seen, without artificially manipulating color or content. In the field, I (almost) never add, remove or rearrange the actual physical elements of an image. I prefer to shoot a scene as I find it.

For me the essence of photography is found in the spontaneous recognition of that “some-thing” that can be recorded and communicated. Most of my photography is spontaneous, but this does not mean it is indiscriminate. It reflects my experiences and explorations. It is what I see and what I feel. Without emotion photography is merely an exercise and not an art.

Photography on the Run may occasionally share some photography and other content with my legacy galleries and web sites on SierraPhotography.com:

Teneiya Gallery • Split Rock Gallery • Off the Wall • Coyote Oak Journal

Tahquitz Rock Climbing Notes • Southern California Weathernotes • Southern California Creeking

My photography has been published by Backpacker, Popular Photography, Rock & Ice, Sierra Club Books, Fortune 500 companies and in various other books, magazines, newspapers, and web sites. If you wish to contact me, or provide feedback, please use this  Information Request Form.

Contents Copyright © 1995-2024 by Gary Valle’. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Please inquire about licensing of images, publication quality image files, exhibition quality prints, backdrops
and murals. I’ve produced image files for printing photo walls with widths up to 30 feet.

I have a large selection of rights-managed microstock images with an emphasis on the outdoors, nature, fitness, climbing, kayaking, trail running, the Sierra, and Southern California.

Photography on the Run can also be accessed using the URL http://www.natureontherun.com.

Gary Valle


Photography and inspiration from running and other adventures in the Open Space and Wilderness areas of California, and beyond. No ads. All content, including photography, is Copyright © 2006-2024 Gary Valle. All Rights Reserved.