Bill Sharpsteen is a freelance writer and photographer. His first book project, Dirty Water: One Man's Fight to Clean Up One of the World's Most Polluted Bays, was released in 2010, and his next book, The Docks, about the Port of Los Angeles was published in 2011, both by University of California Press.


His editorial photographs have appeared in Washington Post, Entrepreneur, Emmy, Transpacific, Westways, Washington Journey and Buzzworn. His popular moonlit landscapes have been published in Los Angeles Times, Westways (the article won the Lowell Thomas Award, Society of American Travel Writers, for best illustrated article), Outdoor Photographer and Photo Techniques.


His articles have appeared in Los Angeles Times Magazine, Los Angeles Magazine, Washington Post, TV Guide, Entrepreneur, Photo Techniques, Outdoor Photographer, Alaska Airlines Magazine, Westways, Washington Journey, Emmy, Buzzworm, Seattle Weekly, Visio and Transpacific. Preferring to cover a wide variety of subjects, Sharpsteen has written about such topics as business, television, the environment, personalities, travel and entertainment.


Sharpsteen also worked during the early 1980s as an award-winning documentary producer for PBS, covering Alaska Natives and the social issues facing them. Those shows garnered such awards as a silver medal in the 1983 International Film & TV Festival of New York, the Lincoln Unity Award and Alaska Press Club awards for best documentary and best video photography.He has shown his art photography at exhibitions throughout the Northwest and Southwest.


Sharpsteen received his BA in Communications (summa cum laude) from Washington State University. He currently lives in Los Angeles, California.


You can contact Bill Sharpsteen at billsharpsteen@billsharpsteen.com



Plunge into the rugged, stunning beauty of canyons through the popular sport of canyoneering. Canyon Deep: Descents Into Hidden Landscapes takes the reader on a tale of exploration through Bill Sharpsteen’s compelling essays and striking photography. Discover largely unknown mountain canyons throughout the U.S. Southwest following the adventures of Sharpsteen and his small group of friends. This isn’t a “how-to” book, but a “what-it’s-like” story of trekking the rocky crevasses that split down through mountainsides, and rappelling down ropes over 200-foot rock walls and thundering waterfalls. The 110-page book includes more than 170 photographs.

Dirty Water is the riveting story of how Howard Bennett, a Los Angeles schoolteacher with a gift for outrageous rhetoric, fought pollution in Santa Monica Bay—and won. The story begins in 1985, when many scientists considered the bay to be one of the most polluted bodies of water in the world. The insecticide DDT covered portions of the sea floor. Los Angeles discharged partially treated sewage into its waters. Lifeguards came down with mysterious illnesses. And Howard Bennett happily swam in it every morning.


By accident, Bennett learned that Los Angeles had applied for a waiver from the Clean Water Act to continue discharging sewage into the bay. Incensed that he had been swimming in dirty water, Bennett organized an oddball coalition to orchestrate stunts such as wrapping brown ribbon around LA's City Hall and issuing "Dirty Toilet Awards" to chastise the city's administration. This is the fast-paced story of how this unusual cast of characters created an environmental movement in Los Angeles that continues to this day with the nationally recognized Heal the Bay. Character-driven, compelling, and uplifting, Dirty Water tells how even the most polluted water can be cleaned up by ordinary people.


The Docks is an eye-opening journey into a giant madhouse of activity that few outsiders ever see: the Port of Los Angeles. In a book woven throughout with riveting novelist detail and illustrated with photographs that capture the frenetic energy of the place, Bill Sharpsteen tells the story of the people who have made this port, the largest in the country, one of the nation's most vital economic enterprises. Among others, we meet a pilot who parks ships, one of the first women longshoremen, union officials and employers at odds over almost everything, an environmental activist fighting air pollution in the "diesel death zone," and those with the nearly impossible job of enforcing security. Together these stories paint a compelling picture of a critical entryway for goods coming into the country—the Port of Los Angeles is part of a complex that brings in 40% of all our waterborne cargo and 70% of all Asian imports—yet one that is also extremely vulnerable. The Docks is a rare look at a world within our world in which we find a microcosm of the labor, environmental, and security issues we collectively face.