Ash Ponders in the NYT for Covid Survivors

Scarred by Covid, Survivors and Victims’ Families Aim to Be a Political Force

Quick turn around assignment to grab a portrait of Tara Krebbs, summer days had been getting pretty swelter-some, so Tara and I agreed to do this one at the crack of dawn, just a tad past 5am.

They paired that portrait with another photo I did back in October, and led the whole story off with a great image from Gabriella Angotti-Jones. Love when my photos get to hang out with photos made by my friends.

Ash Ponders in the WSJ for Skills Mismatch

Job Openings Are at Record Highs. Why Aren’t Unemployed Americans Filling Them?

Always a delight to make photos on horse ranches. This one was very straight forward. I definitely arrived too early and made too many photos, but that’s just who I am as a photographer. I made several images I actively like, and that’s not nothing! 

Natalie Behring did all the anchor images for this story and I think they’re lovely. I am glad I got to help out with the Arizona angles.

Ash Ponders in NYT for Heat

Climate Change Batters the West Before Summer Even Begins

Man it’s a hot one. In fact it was like three hot ones on this assignment. Got a request at 8am to get out there. Stayed out from in the record setting heat until 8pm looking for features, no real idea other than “show the heat.” Thankfully the sunset was totally apocalyptic. Weird thing to say.

PS: Made it to A1 in the International edition of the New York Times. First time I’ve made it to A1 in the NYT after several near misses. Woop woop!

Ash Ponders on The Intercept for Migrants


Ryan Devereaux and I went to Ajo again to learn more about how CBP’s recent choice to simply abandon migrants in rural desert towns.

I’ve been to Ajo dozens upon dozens of times over the past couple decades and I learn new things each and every time I go. This was no exception. I was glad to work with a writer who has significant understandings of the realities in the area and deep appreciation for my experience too.

This story also ended up on The Intercept’s podcast Intercepted. With a very subtle and well done composite of my photos by Elise Swain.

Ash Ponders in the San Francisco Chronicle for Giants

The Chronicle had me head to the first practice before Cactus League Spring Training began. Covid restrictions were strict! Couldn’t get within 100’ of any players, nor on the field or even up against the netting. A tricky ask. Adding to the fun, I was trying to cover several stories at once. I always like that kind of gig, gives me more opportunities to get loose and make good photos.

Ash Ponders in San Francisco Chronicle for Kamala Harris

Harris makes history as first woman to be U.S. Vice President

A while back the San Francisco Chronicle put me in the press pool for the then VP-Candidate Kamala Harris on her tour through Arizona. It was my first assignment for the Chronicle, but it wasn’t attached to any breaking news, just to fill their archive with images of Harris for the coming years. Some of those images came out in a beautiful photo retrospective the Chronicle put out to celebrate Harris’ ascendance to the the Vice-Presidency.

Ash Ponders in National Geographic for Oak Flat

Sacred Native American land to be traded to a foreign mining giant

I’ve been pitching on this story in different iterations since late 2019, along with my coopmate Caitlin O’Hara—check out her stories from 2019 and 2021. Recently there have been a number of news pegs, so my pitching has gotten a bit more urgent. National Geographic licensed some of my images to give their article a visual sense of place. I really love Doug Main’s writing so it was a treat to have my images paired with his words again.

Ash Ponders in the New York Times for Virus Twins

Twins Help Scientists Untangle Disease’s Genetic Roots

This was a super quick turn around. Got the assignment, hit up the contacts, drove there, made the photos, filed the photos before dark. I looked at my timestamps and it turns out I was photographing for only 16 minutes. The light got pretty bad rather abruptly as these folks live in a canyon: despite almost an hour more of sunlight, once it dipped behind the canyon walls everything got less than ideal.

I was ready to hear that I ought to head back and make more photos, but the editor was pretty into what I made. Sweet. Nice to get back into the Times in the new year.

Ash Ponders in Audubon Magazine for San Pedro River

Audubon found me on the Diversify Photo list and commissioned me to continue my work in southern Arizona waterways. I was thrilled—I had just been talking to my coop-mates about wanting to work with Audubon in the future—and got even more excited when I realized they wanted me to pair up with a number of experts that would help me get deeper into the nuances of the story.

Fast forward several months and the Winter edition of the magazine is out and it’s fantastic. I spent several weeks putting these images together and I think they’re some of the best work I’ve ever done. Of course, in the time delta from when I made these and when they came out, I’ve tightened up my technique a lot and made some real improvements—but that’s always how it goes, isn’t it?

Phoenix based; available for work in Latin America and the American Southwest.
Using Format