Trained academically as a biologist and natural historian, Robb Hirsch developed an intimate relationship with the natural world. This connection was established early during annual childhood visits to Yosemite, exploring and developing a sense of oneness with this magical place. Later, Robb traveled through Africa, Central America and the western United States, absorbing the beauty while gaining a deep understanding of these surroundings. He established a career as a field biologist, working for United States Geological Survey, California State Parks and several private firms, focusing primarily on threatened and endangered species. He also gave slide shows to a wide variety of groups where his photography was originally a tool to educate others about the natural world and the importance of wild places. As he continued to shoot, Robb became more critical, realizing the quality of the images he was producing had great potential, and there might be a market for this work in the future.
The future became reality when Robb and his wife started Mountain Sage, just outside Yosemite National Park, in the Sierra foothill community of Groveland, CA. This is a unique combination of art gallery, plant nursery and gardens, coffee and teahouse and retail store on family heirloom grounds. Several rooms of the historic house are dedicated as gallery space displaying a selection of large framed images. Robb began selling fine art prints out of Mountain Sage in 2002 to a very receptive audience and has experienced consistent growth since.
Robb prefers to photograph away from the crowds, often backpacking or skiing long distances to previously scouted locations. Photography is part of the wilderness experience for him and by spending considerable time exploring,, scouting and waiting for the right light, he becomes more in tune with the area, ultimately culminating in more evocative images.
Robb shoots with 35mm Cannon equipment (no color filters are used) and all images are printed to accurately reflect the original slide (no digital manipulations are performed). He enjoys shooting everything from wildlife to wildflowers, from grand landscapes to tiny abstracts. Robbs images are known for their compelling subjects, careful compositions and fine light. In 2007, these attributes were highlighted nationally when his color landscape, El Capitan and the Merced River in Winter, was selected out of 17,000 entries and named a winner in the Natures Best, Windland Rice Smith International Nature Photography Competition.