Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Glimpse of Winter Photography

Every year most of my photography efforts fall in the seasons of Spring, Summer and Fall. And every year I get excited for winter and have hopes that I will get out for more winter photography than the year before. One of these years it will happen but for what seems to be different reasons year after year I don't get out for as much snowy winter travel or photography as I hope. There is always next year, right?

For now here are a few images from one of my few outings this winter with my friend Kevin McNeal. It was a very cold morning, probably around 8 degrees. Yet if you are wearing the right clothing it can feel great to be out there like it was for me. We traveled first to a local meadow at the base of Mt Hood and then headed over to the Hood River Valley where you can see the clouds came in quick. We went from completely clear skies at sunrise to snowing on the way home, in no time at all. Hope you enjoy these and that you were able to get out for some excursions of your own this winter as I post this on the first day of spring.

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Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Photo Cascadia Newsletter Debut

Hey folks, I thought I would take a moment and let you know that Photo Cascadia is going to be getting out a newsletter every couple months. We plan to highlight recent trips, blog updates, PC member news, photos and more. Feel free to add your name to the mailing list if you are not already on it. Here is our debut newsletter that came out this week. I would like to thank PC member Sean Bagshaw for putting it together. I only had to add the photos, which was the easy part!

To sign up for the Photo Cascadia mailing list click here.

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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Time Lapse Photography - TimeScapes and Baraka

Baraka. Do I need to say anymore. Have you seen this film? If you have not seen it and you are into nature or travel photography then this is a must. I still remember when I started dating my wife and she mentioned that we should go check out this movie called Baraka at a local theater. Not the mainstream Regal Cinemas but a local place that plays mainly indie, older and just plain different films. She had seen it and knowing how we were into the outdoors and my highly advanced point-n-shoot photography, she knew I would like it too. Boy did she nail this one. I loved it.

I can remember seeing that film as if it was yesterday. I walked out of the theater and it was for sure in my top 10 films, still is. It's a movie of mainly time lapse work filmed in 24 different countries showcasing tribal people to big cities to desolate landscapes, and here is the kicker, no words. Only the sites you see and natural sounds which allows your thoughts and emotions to flow as they like. Why I went into more single frame photography and did not explore time lapse more I do not know. I guess it kind of lost interest after the buzz from the movie wore off and I went on to figure out more about the single frame world and less about movies or time lapse.

Fast forward almost 10 years and now there is another time lapse movie coming out that holds serious promise to be another winner. Tom Lowe appears to be putting together quite a film that has me ready to see the full feature after only a two minute trailer that had me from the start, check out Rapture. I have tried a little here and there with time lapse since seeing Baraka yet nothing more than a few tries that did not go far. I have to say after seeing Tom Lowe's work it is really getting me to think about photography and exploring the time lapse side. Very inspiring to say the least.

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Use It or Loose It

In this day and age of letting technology try and do everything for us we need to step back and remind ourselves that we don't want to do that. Technology advances are great for us and our world yet we still need to remember and keep our mind engaged and active from time to time. If you don't use it you will surely loose it, this includes your mental awareness as we age.

I go into this more in the podcast. Basically a recent article my wife sent my way talks about GPS use and how some folks are becoming "GPS Zombies" from over using their GPS to guide their way around. These units have a purpose and I have one for hiking that I enjoy but we should not be using them on a daily basis for places we can remember to get on our own with a little bit of brain power and memory. I still have a map and atlas that get used many times a year. I guess that is old school to many.

I also mention photographer Eric Curry. Although it's more conceptual with the significant setup in the field, many lights used and extensive processing it is some amazing and impressive work.

Rangefinder / Eric Curry:

GPS Addict? It may be eroding your brain:

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Sunday, November 07, 2010

No Casino In The Columbia River Gorge

As a landscape photographer from the Northwest I feel strongly that certain natural areas need to be preserved for future generations. I want others to be able to experience the beauty we get to enjoy today that seems to be slowly eroding. One proposal that some of you may already be aware of is building a Vegas sized casino in the heart of the historic Columbia River Gorge in Cascade Locks. This is a battle that has been going on for quite a few years now.

Yet after much effort the supporters have worked to get the proposal to the desk of Secretary of Interior for a supposed final decision coming later this year. I am not anti building or development, change in certain respects is inevitable. However a change of this magnitude to the Columbia Gorge is something that will hurt the visual beauty, bring sound and light pollution, and not benefit the area in the long term. If you agree please take a moment to visit this link where you can send an email to Secretary and Assistance Secretary of State to voice your concerns.

In case you are not from the area and wonder what kind of fine art imagery can be had right in the area where they plan to build this casino, here is one such image. This is an image I took last winter that I would not have been able to take had the casino been there. Behind the foreground trees would have stood part of the casino complex.

Thanks for allowing me to interrupt the normal stream of photos and useful photography info for a subject of importance like this.

Friends of the Columbia River Gorge

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Friday, October 15, 2010

Pushing The Limits of Artistic Photography

Here is my latest podcast episode. The topic I cover this time around is one I am hoping to hear feedback on. Today in the digital age of photography the relative ease of processing images that are more fine art but look very real is something attainable by the masses and is done on a larger scale than ever before with more and more serious photographers out there everyday.

As I mention in the podcast this is a topic that can easily be discussed or debated for many hours. The opinions out there will differ as to what we each feel is okay even within the fine art realm. One photographer may believe you need to uphold certain methods and processes in order to communicate the reality of the scene while another photographer might be more concerned about pushing the limits of processing to attain their final photographic interpretation which may involve extensive processing or manipulation.

Photography for art purposes is much different in my eyes than photography for documentary or editorial purposes and with that I enjoy that photographers are constantly looking to change and broaden their horizons in the processing space. Whether I like the work or agree with the methods is not for me to decide. It's art and as long as you enjoy it and it provides you with satisfaction producing the work and seeing the final product, that is what is important. Follow your passion.

Play podcast below or visit click the icon above to subscribe.

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Monday, October 11, 2010

F-Stop Photo Gear Sponsorship

Have you heard of F-Stop Camera Bags before? Well if you have not I encourage you to check them out. I admit I had not heard of them until earlier this year. That said I am really liking their gear already. My main Lowe Pro bag is now my backup bag. Why you ask? Well, although many camera backpacks can do well in keeping your gear padded for protection most are just simply not comfortable. F-Stop changes that with camera backpacks (and other bags) that are functional and more comfortable for hiking and long excursions. If you purchase from them please use the following link: F-Stop

As a side note all participants that sign up for a workshop or private tour with myself or any of the other Photo Cascadia members will be able to demo out a pack or two, plus receive a discount to purchase any of their products.

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Monday, October 04, 2010

Photographing Jefferson Park Wilderness

In case anyone viewing this did not get over to the Photo Cascadia blog I wanted to post a link to my write up on photographing the Jefferson Park Wilderness here. A beautiful alpine destination located about 50 miles from Salem, Oregon. See the link below for more photos and information.


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Sunday, October 03, 2010

After The Summer Off

After taking the summer off from any podcasts I have a new short one recorded and online. I don't delve into any deep intense topics for this round. I talk about a few things to see or do photography related and about my break over summer to be with my family (wife and kids), lead photo tours, personal trips and professional development. Happy listening.

PS - I had to record this on a different computer than all the prior podcasts. If it does not sound right let me know and I will make adjustments for the next one.
Play podcast below or visit my website to subscribe. Thanks!

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Monday, September 27, 2010


If you know exactly what the title of this post is without reading on then you surely have seen this short film already. If you have no idea what I am talking about then I encourage you to view this film.

This summer I was getting ready to head for bed one evening when I figured I would watch a few minutes of TV before calling it a night. There are not many shows I watch and considering our TV gets about 13 stations you can tell our house is not big on TV watching. That said a couple stations I do enjoy from our wide assortment includes OPB and Discovery. That night I clicked on OPB and was immediately engulfed with what was on...which I found out afterward was the the short film SALT.

Murray Fredericks is a landscape photographer that has made many extended trips to the vast and open landscape of Lake Eyre in Australia. I highly encourage you to check out this movie if you are into remote travel or nature photography. Although I did see it online and on OPB I plan on getting a copy for my DVD collection as well. It's really something to see; the stills he captures, the cinematography and the story of his dedication on his remote solo trips.

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Friday, September 10, 2010

The End of Nature

I know I have been absent from blog posts for many months now. Time to break that streak to mention a recent book I finished up is 'The End of Nature' by Bill McKibbon. I have not read any of his work until now but plan to read more especially his new one titled 'Eaarth'. This was his first book and one of the first for a general audience on Climate Change, published in 1989. I saw it in my local book store and thought it would be interesting to read an environmentalist’s perspective from the early days of true global awareness of climate change and our human impact. He is correct in how he talks about the end of nature. We really have advanced very rapidly as a human race in such a short amount of time allowing us to create, consume and live as never before.

The wild untouched nature we dream of does not truly exist on our planet now. We go to places that are 'wilderness' yet the influence we have on the planet has us impacting everything from the weather to how and when plants grow. You may not agree that the climate change is anthropogenic caused. I don't believe it's 100% human caused as change will always happen to some extent with or without humans, but surely we are having a significant impact. How can we not have an impact with the size of our population and how many of us live our lives the way we do. The majority of us purchases products, take warm showers, heat our house, commute to work, buy food at the store, use a computer, heck I am typing this on my computer right now! With that list I have not even got into iPods, cell phones and the like which many of us would not give up and use everyday. These are things we cannot necessarily do away with or change greatly overnight, they have become the way of life for most of us. So the question becomes how can we lessen the impact and still get to enjoy life. I believe as a human race that we will overcome these concerns to make our planet livable in a positive way for future generations.

When this book was written I was barely a teenager and surely did not have a care for the environment that I do now. The way I acted when I was much younger does appall me looking back at it... throwing out plastic bottles and aluminum cans, cigarette butts out the window, leaving lights on all over the house and the list can go on. And there are many things I enjoy today that I am not willing to give up but I am thankfully not acting anything like I did when I was younger without a care for the world, literally. Now with that said I am not out to make this a doom and gloom blog post. I do agree we have serious issues facing our planet. And as someone that loves nature and the outdoors it does concern me. I know I can always do more even when I am making strides to make this a better planet. I like to believe the glass is half full. Here is a quick list of 10 things I have done in the last 10 days that I feel are pro-environment and green. I encourage you to do the same. This helps to see what we are doing right and much different than the way many of us lived only decades ago. If you cannot come up with at least 10 then start thinking of what small changes you can make that will be positive for Mother Nature.

10 things I did in the last 10 days that are environmentally friendly.

1. Biked to my favorite local coffee shop to get fresh bags of coffee.

2. Using reusable cloth diapers for our baby.

3. Taking my travel coffee mug with me on the road/plane to drink my cup of joe.

4. Walking to the store (with reusable bags) to pick up the short list of needed items.

5. Bringing my Klean Kanteen water bottle with me in the car, to the gym and elsewhere.

6. Put left over vegetable, fruit and other scraps in our compost bin.

7. Avoided watering our lawn, we typically let it go brown in summer for sake of water reduction.

8. Did not turn on the A/C in our house despite getting in the mid 80's multiple days. We try to avoid it unless it's near 90 or warmer.

9. Turn off computer monitors when I ever I walk away from my PC.

10. Eat various produce that was locally grown.

I could have listed recycling the newspaper, yogurt cups, milk cartons, etc but that should be 'standard' part of the consumption cycle now for most of us, at least from my standpoint. I was trying to list things outside of that realm.

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Interview with landscape photographer Chip Phillips

Alright, I was finally able to record another podcast episode and this time it's an interview with Chip Phillips from Chip Phillips Photography in Washington. I have been fortunate to have become friends with Chip over time and asked him recently if he was up for a short interview. I think you will find it to be a worth while interview with interesting and entertaining stories. Caution: One of the stories may cause the itch factor to go up. I won't say anymore, you will need to listen to it and then decide if it made you itch or not.

If you don't know about Chip Phillips and his work this is a good intro to hear him talking about his photography and numerous pointers of what you can do to improve your work in the field and in the digital darkroom.

And finally I want to thank Chip for taking the time for the interview. I know he tends be shy about talking about himself so it's much appreciated that he opened up and was willing to do this for the podcast and all the listeners. Thanks Chip!

Here are several images from his excellent portfolio of work, that are discussed in this podcast. Click the player below to listen or visit my website to subscribe to the podcast for your iTunes player. Happy listening!

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Thursday, April 29, 2010

What Will Your Photos Mean In the Future? - New Podcast

I am not sure any of us can answer this question. None of us know what the future will hold for the photographic images we capture today. As I mention in the podcast I got to thinking about this with an Ansel Adam's photo I was viewing. This particular image taken almost 80 years ago of San Francisco Golden Gate before the Golden Gate Bridge. I can only imagine he had no idea at the time the future impact his work would have. Just as we don't know how work will be looked at decades from now in a photographic world that has significantly changed with the advent of digital. Not to mention the digital era is only it's toddler stage. Who knows what it will be ten years down the road. Regardless of the medium used to capture images it's safe to say there is likely not going to be another Ansel Adams anytime soon. And by that I mean a photographer that everyone knows by name regardless of whether they are into photography or not. I think of many well known photographers today from Art Wolfe to Peter Lik but even then they are not known on the scale that Adam's is.

I have tested this theory a number of times. When people have come to me that are new into photography (just bought that first DSLR) I get talking to them and throw out some of the names of well known photographers around today. Most of these new photographers haven't clue who these people are, and I was one of them when starting at as well. But I pretty much knew who Ansel Adams was back before taking my first darkroom class in Junior High School.

Ok, getting back onto topic. Another reason I was pondering this topic is the reverse of building of structures that mixes man & nature and alters the landscape to more man than nature. For those that don't know Olympic National Park is about to undertake one of the largest dam removal projects in our nation. Two dams with one built almost 100 years ago will be removed. Almost all the images taken now and in the past will show these places with dams, becoming the opposite of the Adam's image I mentioned. This does give hope that not all historical photos will be of places before structures came and permanently infiltrated the land. It is possible to go in reverse and bring more nature into view. A positive thought for the future.

Ansel Adam's "Golden Gate Before the Bridge, San Francisco, California, 1932"

Olympic National Park - Elwha Ecosystem Changes

Play podcast below or visit click the icon above to subscribe.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Columbia River Gorge in Spring

The Historic Columbia River Gorge is a beautiful place any time of year. Yet each Spring it transforms and comes ‘alive’ making it one of the best times to visit if you only are able to come once. The many different flowers from Lupine to Balsamroot in the drier and more open vistas of the Gorge to the dense deep jungle feeling forests with lush carpets of moss, cascading streams galore, rushing waterfalls and green foliage abound. It really is a sight to see if you have not had the opportunity yet. Ask many that live here and they will most likely agree that it rivals many National Parks and Preserves in its scenic diversity and postcard beauty. This marvelous landscape is not a secret as you will easily see on any sunny weekend in spring or summer (even though overcast and a foggy drizzle is better in my book, at least for being in the forest).

Nonetheless there are always those spots that receive much less traffic than others, allowing you a slice of solitude to visually soak up the scenery and sniff the natural aroma of the Gorge. I know I have covered the Columbia Gorge in the past on my blog and elsewhere but I never tire or grow bored of the area. Even though I have hiked hundreds of miles over the years in this area; I know there are still falls, streams and hikes I have yet to experience on both the Oregon and Washington side. It really is almost endless. Here are just a few images I have captured the Spring of 2010 on a few different trips to the area. These three images are as different as can be but all in the same general area no more than 20 miles apart. If you are planning on coming out and are interested in a photography tour, I normally offer group and or one-on-one workshops / photo tours in this area.

“Forest Rain” – A lush mossy backdrop with fast flowing stream photographed in the pouring rain. To capture this photograph I did need to stand in the water which is pretty ice cold this time of year. Not to mention on this day there was a spring season winter storm that had snow falling only about 1,000 feet above me. I could see the snow line before walking into the Forest. This is normally not a busy place but on this day it was completely void of people. Very peaceful it was.

“Early Spring” – One of the first signs of Spring is the presence of the Grass Widow (Sisyrinchium douglasii) which is seen normally in early March, however the peak bloom was very early this year. In Fact this photograph was captured early February and they were at their peak then, about a month earlier than 2009. Photographing flowers in the Gorge is never easy. Even when the bloom is good the sunrise/sunset might not be and the wind seems to always blow in the open areas where the landscape scene is usually best. Yet on this morning the sunrise was pleasant and the wind only a subtle breeze.

“Hiding” – This is one of those images that speaks about the art of nature as much or more than a landscape with a blazing sunrise sky, at least to me. While out exploring with my friend and photography peer David Cobb, we came across this scene. Both of us commented how we wanted to photograph this area but never had, despite passing it many times and the fact it is not some hidden far off location (it sits within view of the highway). We sure were glad we stopped to see the potential. This image is of Alder trunks blending in with the landscape of the rock wall behind it. A gem of a find for any photographer in search of abstracts.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Air Travel With Your Photo Gear May Cost More

Airline Ticket $29, Flight Fees $229, cost to travel on the flight you purchased an additional $49. You laugh yet the odd changes continue.

Well, this should not amaze me at the nickel and diming the airlines do already. If this catches on, and I truly hope it doesn’t, you will pay extra to bring your photo gear on every trip. I have only one question, when will this madness end? I know all businesses need to make money, nothing wrong with that. Personally I find it a little strange the way airlines are doing things today but that might be only me that sees it like this.

This is how I see it going down next time I am at the airport… “Excuse me sir, that jacket looks kind of bulky that will be $15 charge if you would like to wear it on your flight today.” These extra fees are out of control. Include them in the ticket price, that goes for the ho-hum meals of the past, and call it good. Ready for takeoff…


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Podcast Episode 8 - Looking Beyond The Subject

The most recent episode of Northwest Nature Photography Podcast is a short story about why it’s not always best to get caught up on the subject of the photo and how it can keep you from enjoying other fine points of a print. I should add that we all can get hung up on this from time to time and this story covers how that can impact us in a negative way. Of course the subject is important, no doubt about it. Is it always the most important element that can make or break an image? No. Can other elements be just as important but not properly digested by the viewer because personal judgments on a subject become a roadblock? Yes. To understand what I mean here you will need to listen to the podcast. Happy listening.

And to give you folks reading some background on the photo I reference in the podcast here is the story behind how it was created. The photo, seen below, is called “Hood’s Early Light” is of the lonely high peak of Mt Hood and created almost 5 years ago. It was one of those moments being in the right place at the right time with little, make that very little, time to act. I was actually on Mt Hood doing field training for a mountain climbing class I was taking. I figured even though I would not have time to wander on my own, that taking my DSLR and one lens would be good in case I got a break or wanted to capture shots of our class. You just never know. We arrived at Timberline around sunrise to make a short trek up in the same area you would go for the climbers trail. Of course the mountain was completely obscured with what seemed to be a death grip of clouds and fog. Sometimes we could not see more than a couple hundred yards let alone the whole mountain. I was attached to the rope for practice routines we were doing but we were taking a break and I happen to notice the mountain peeking out very briefly here and there through large gaps in fast moving clouds. I quickly unclipped my carbineer from the line and ran for my camera about 50 ft away. With my rip rockin’ Canon 10D (back when going to 6mp was an upgrade), the Canon 28-135 IS lens and eBay “special buy” no-name polarizer… I grabbed only a handful of shots in less than a couple minutes and then the mountain was completely covered again for the rest of the outing. This was a handheld shot, no tripod. Who needs a tripod! Ok that is definitely not true. They are usually needed for great landscape images, that is when you have time to act and here that was not an option if I had one which I did not. Fortunately a slight bump to ISO400 and fairly bright conditions I did not need one. This is pretty much as shot. Hardly any processing from the file outside of removing some dust spots and converting to black and white. It was one of those moments I was truly happy to have my camera nearby because as I said, you just never know.

"Hood's Early Light" - The arrow points to climbers on hogs back that can be seen in larger prints.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Podcast Episode 7 - Abstract Nature Photography

I also posted this podcast on the Photo Cascadia blog but it appears I am having some technical difficulties in getting the podcast to play in the blog like it does on my personal blog (here). Basically the same widget I use here is not liked by Wordpress interestingly enough. Anyway, this latest epsiode is on abstract nature photography. The below images are mentioned in the podcast for your reference pleasure. Enjoy!

"Snow Line"

"Desert Lizard"


Photo Cascadia Anncouncement

I want to announce a new website that Zack Schnepf, Kevin McNeal, Chip Phillips, David Cobb, Sean Bagshaw and myself are announcing. It's Photo Cascadia or www.photocascadia.com. I could list all the info about the site here but I will let the website do the talking here.


Monday, February 22, 2010

New Podcast Episode, The Oregon Coast and More...

Wow, that long since my last blog post, almost two months! I did take quite a break off from the podcast, social networking, processing images and more. Even when you love something as much as I love photography a break can be good, whether planned or not. However, it does feel great to be back. Some updates in general...

The workshops for 2010 have been filling up, most of the spots were full in 2009 and I want to thank all of the folks that have signed up already. I look forward to meeting everyone and having some great workshops. We do still have some openings so contact us if you are interested.

Some recent award recognition that I am happy to share includes:
- Professional Photographers of Oregon 2010, Highest Aggregate Score Illustrative Division
- Professional Photographers of Oregon 2010, Court of Honor
- Photooftheyear.net, 2010 Top 10 finalists for Professional Category

Here is an image from a seascape outing over this winter along the Oregon Coast. Proving there is shooting options even during the overcast mid-day light. There has not been much worth while shooting in the local mountains with drier and warmer weather than normal the snow pack is definitely suffering on Mt Hood and other areas in the Northwest.

Also, I know there has been quite a gap since the last the podcast and the drought is over now. Here is the latest episode. I talk about the never ending quest of balancing family life and being a nature photographer. Let me know if these ideas are helpful and would be glad to hear what else you know of that works or doesn't.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Look Back, Naturescapes 2009

As the year is coming to a close it's time to reflect back on 2009, something I am sure we all do in one way or another. As cliche as it may sound it gives me a chance to be thankful for my health, happiness and family. As we slowly stumble out of one of the worst economic climates since the Great Depression the little things are more important, or at least we are more aware now, more than maybe before of how not to take them for granted. Without my health I would not be able to get out enjoy hiking, biking, backpacking and the type photography I truly enjoy most. And happiness because if you are not happy or can't pursue happiness then it sure makes humming along in life pretty tough. And as for family that should be obvious, they are fun to be around, supportive of my endeavors and make for both exciting challenges and good times. As much as I love traveling for my photography and personal exercise for sanity, coming home to my family after any trip is what it's all about and can't imagine a better way to end my outings. I hope your 2009 was all you wanted, and that 2010 is that and more. All the best this Holiday Season!

In regards to my family special thanks to my awesome wife Molly which many of you may have experienced communication with this year, she helps out immensely with the business. And even my son Logan gets a big thanks too for helping me get the podcast off the ground and making the music for it. He is very creative.

And of course I want to thank all of our clients in 2009 from the wedding and portrait clients, to all the folks that participated in the photo workshops. Without you we would not have a photography business, yet another reason to be thankful.

Here are some of my images that I was fortunate enough to get out and create in 2009. It's about a 4 minute slideshow. Please be patient, it takes about 20 to 30 seconds to load. Enjoy!

Click here to watch slideshow large:
View Slideshow