Exploring the Earth and Sky of the West

About Zach

IMG_20180923_093032840_HDRAbout me:

My photography focuses on the natural and geologic landscapes of the American West and the dark night skies above them. I specialize in daytime landscape photography as well as wide-field and telescopic astrophotography. My images have been used extensively by the National Park Service, published in Backpacker Magazine, and won or placed as a finalist in a variety of photography contests. Read more about my photography in this article by the Loveland Reporter-Herald. I occasionally teach night sky photography workshops in various locations around the west.

My love for photography developed while growing up among the canyons and volcanoes of Northern Arizona. Since then, I have called Washington, Colorado, and Utah home and have been fortunate enough to explore and photograph the diverse landscapes of these and other western states. My professional background is in the geosciences; I have a B.A. in geology and astronomy from Whitman College and an M.S. in geology from Western Washington University. I currently live and work as an science educator in Washington state.

To view and read about my most recent images, visit my Pyroclastic Pixels Blog. To view my images sorted by location, visit my Galleries page.

My “Photography Philosophy”:

I strive to create images that capture the landscape as it is experienced by the human eye. In our current era of filters, increased saturation, and Instagram, so many of the landscape photos that I encounter feel like a poor representation of reality. I am a firm believer that nature doesn’t need enhancement and perform only minimal editing on my photographs. The joy of photography, for me, comes from spending time outside as opposed to in front of a computer screen. My favorite images have come from simply being in the right place at the right time. The odds of being in that place increase as one develops an an intimate familiarity with light, land, and the natural world, not with hours spent in photoshop.  


I currently shoot using a Nikon D750 and the following lenses:

  • Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED
  • Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 20mm f/1.8G ED
  • Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G
  • Tamron AF 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 SP Di VC USD XLD

Image Use Policy:

All images and text on this site are © 2010-2021 Zachary Schierl. Use or re-posting of any of my images without written consent is prohibited. I am generally happy to allow no-cost use for educational and other non-commercial purposes, but you must ask first.

For personal or commercial use, my images are available for licensing or for purchase as prints. Please visit my Prints & Licensing page for more information. You can also leave a comment or get in touch with me using my Contact page.

Responsible Nature Photography:

I am a member of Nature First: The Alliance for Responsible Nature Photography. The goal of Nature First is to promote responsible nature photography through adherence to seven core principles:

  1. Prioritize the well-being of nature over photography.

  2. Educate yourself about the places you photograph.

  3. Reflect on the possible impact of your actions.

  4. Use discretion if sharing locations.

  5. Know and follow rules and regulations.

  6. Always follow Leave No Trace principles and strive to leave places better than you found them.

  7. Actively promote and educate others about these principles

If you are a nature or landscape photographer, check them out and consider joining.

Nature First Photography Logo