The Great Northwest Trip 2013

Posted July 29th, 2013 by
Categories: Crater Lake, National Parks, Oregon, Photos, Travel, Weather

Picture: Sunset and god beams from the rim of Crater Lake, Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

Image: Sunset and god beams from the rim of Crater Lake, Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

In my last blog post of nearly four weeks ago, I mentioned that I was turning off and moving on, all whilst posting an image of Mount Rainier that I’d taken back in 1993. I wrote that post as I was getting ready to head out the door on a family vacation, from which I have now returned.

I posted the image of Mount Rainier knowing I’d soon be getting a chance to revisit the mountain. Even after having done seven back-to-back books on California since my son was born in 1999, I struggle to believe it’s been 20 years since I visited this part the Pacific Northwest. Finally, I was going back! I also got to check off a couple photographic bucket list locations, including Washington State’s Palouse region, and the biggie, Glacier National Park; very surprisingly one of the few places in the contiguous US that I’ve never visited in my life, especially as a photographer.

While this was certainly a great trip, and a much needed chance to step away from the computer and the modern “connected” life, this was primarily a family trip vs. a photography trip. I suppose that’s a good thing also, as there were several things which kept reigning in my photography desires. Some of these things included endless amounts of boring blue skies while the western US sat under an intense high pressure system, road closures, impatient or uninterested family members (the non-photographer types), and watching my new D800 camera die a sudden ERR(or) death.

So the basic rundown of the trip:

20-days, (1) Family Reunion, (5) National Parks, including Crater Lake, Rainier, Glacier, Yellowstone, and the Grand Tetons, and 3,945 miles. My wife was with us, along with my Sister-in-Law and her family, for the first ten days as we traveled to Couer d’Laine, ID for the reunion (wife’s side of the family). My wife then flew back home to the Bay Area as my two kids and I finished off the rest of the trip camping in Montana and Wyoming.

I’ll be sharing more images and stories from my vacation here on the blog in the near future, but I’ll also (and more frequently) be sharing on my Facebook & G+ pages, so please feel free to keep an eye out or follow me there also.


Image ID#: 130708a_ORCL-0187



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Traditional Prints feature:
* a luster surface
* no watermarks
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Click here for Information & Pricing on larger paper, canvas, or metallic prints, incl. matted & framed prints. For complete purchase options, please contact me directly.


 

Catching up, moving on, and turning off.

Posted July 5th, 2013 by
Categories: Fossil Beds, Mountains, National Parks, Photo Business, Photos, Stock Photography, Washington

Picture: Mount Rainier reflected in Reflection Pond, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

Image: Mount Rainier reflected in Reflection Pond, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

CATCHING UP
: As I mentioned in a blog post few weeks ago, I’ve been spending a lot of time recently adding images to my image library. In fact, since wrapping up my last book, Photographing California; vol. 1 – North, I’ve added nearly a thousand new images into my stock collection, with about another thousand still in the production queue. Why so many? Even though I’ve stepped away from doing book production and active stock photography, and despite the radical (and downward) change in the stock photo industry, having my image library as complete as possible is still an important consideration when dealing with both print and publishing clients. Back in the days of film, if a client wanted to see an image, you just dug through your collection of original or duplicate slides, and you sent them by FEDEX to the person that wanted to see what you had. Today, in the digital and internet era, fast delivery of images to clients is still important, and having your images ready to go at a moments notice means they still need to processed, cleaned, captioned, & if in a searchable database, keyworded.

MOVING ON: One thing that I constantly think back on from my time spent working with and managing the image library of famed adventure photographer Galen Rowell was coming across a Read the rest of this post »

Racing the Super-Moon’s Celestial Clock

Posted June 26th, 2013 by
Categories: California, Moon, Mountains, Photos

Picture: Super-Moon rising over Mount Diablo, as seen from Briones Regional Park, Contra Costa County, California

Image: Super-Moon rising over Mount Diablo, as seen from Briones Regional Park, Contra Costa County, California

This last weekend was the “Super-Moon Rise.” This is when the moon is supposed to be 10-13% larger in the sky because the moon’s orbit brings it closest to the earth. Normally I don’t go chasing after these kind of celestial events too often. But as the date approached, I took a few moments to look up when and where the moon was due to rise, using the great app from The Photo Ephemeris (TPE). With the sun setting at its northernmost azimuth during the year, the full moon would be rising at its southernmost point. Sure enough, TPE showed the moon would be rising right over the slopes of Mount Diablo as seen from the hills of my favorite local hiking area, Briones Regional Park. I also knew that the moon would rise around 7:54pm, and just a few moments later would crest the shoulder of the mountain.

I left my house late. I was in a rush from the very start. I drove to the trailhead, slapped on my pack, and hiked the Read the rest of this post »

Chip Away, Chip Away at the Stone

Posted June 19th, 2013 by
Categories: California, Coast, Lifestyles, People, Photo Business, Stock Photography

Picture: Neal Maloney, owner of Morro Bay Oyster Company, cleaning oysters at his schucking table on his barge in Morro Bay, California

Image: Neal Maloney, owner of Morro Bay Oyster Company, cleaning oysters at his schucking table on his barge in Morro Bay, California

Some of you may recognize the title of this post as belonging to an old Aerosmith song. With that chorus pounding in my head, this image and that song describes exactly how I feel these days as I try to catch up on a mountain of unedited photo shoots. This virtual mountain sitting on my hard drive includes several years worth of book project shoots, along with a bunch of odds n’ ends-type shoots. The latter usually isn’t too big a deal, but a number of the book shoots cover whole weeks or more, and contain anywhere from 2,000 – 4,000 RAW files.

Many of these shoots have been cherry-picked to show off and share a few favorites, or to include in book projects. The difference now is that I’m doing a deep edit, which means getting rid of all the out of focus frames, the ‘not-quite-up-to-professional-standards’ frames (read: just-plain-crappy-photos), and similar or bracket frames. The remainder will eventually get keyworded and distributed to my stock agents and added to my own image archive.

I must admit, before hitting that final DELETE & REMOVE FROM DISK button and erase up to 1,000 images at a time, I probably waste up to an hour triple and quadruple checking myself to make sure I’m not deleting a hidden gem. But in the end, it’s a delightfully cleansing act to watch that Hard Drive needle show more free space, while what remains in my image library is a much more tightly defined vision of how I saw the world. It’s like looking in the mirror after getting a shave and a haircut for the first time in a couple months. :)


Image ID#: mro-2227

Benjamin Franklin and I – keep your fingers crossed.

Posted May 24th, 2013 by
Categories: Books, California, Mountains, National Parks, Newsworthy, Photos, Sunset

Picture: Sunset over Lassen Peak, Lassen Volcanic National Park, California

Image: Sunset over Lassen Peak, Lassen Volcanic National Park, California

It is with a great amount of pride and honor that I’d like to announce I’ve learned from my publisher that my book, Photographing California; Volume 1- North, has been nominated as a Top-Three Finalist for the 2013 IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award in the Regional Titles category. The award, handed out by the Independent Book Publishers Association, is apparently a pretty big deal in the publishing world, and to even get nominated as a finalist is an incredible recognition, akin to being nominated for an Oscar or perhaps winning an award at the Sundance Film Festival.

My publisher, Laurent Martres of Graphie International, started his PhotoTripsUSA publishing company with his own three volume book set, Photographing the Southwest. He’s now expanded his “Photographing…” series to include other photographers and other states, including Oregon, and now Northern California, with other titles on the way. In fact, another title he produced, Photographing the World, with fellow photographer Tom Till has also been nominated as a Top-Three Finalist in the Travel category. To have two books published in the same year by the same publisher get nominated for such a prestigious award speaks volumes to the care and quality with which Laurent puts into the layout and printing of these books.

For more about information about my book, click here or on the photo below. You can also order yourself a copy today from Amazon.com, or better yet, visit your local independent book store, and have them order a copy for you.

Image: Book cover Photographing California Volume 1 North

The awards will be announced next week at the Book Expo America in New York City. I’d really appreciate it if you’d keep your fingers crossed for me, and perhaps send a quick “Good Luck” thought out into the Universe. While I’m delighted as heck just to be honored with the nomination, I have to admit that winning the award would certainly be a nice feather in the cap.


Lassen NP Image ID#: 110915b_LVNP-0461



Popular Photographic Print Sizes

Traditional Prints feature:
* a luster surface
* no watermarks
* white paper border




Click here for Information & Pricing on larger paper, canvas, or metallic prints, incl. matted & framed prints. For complete purchase options, please contact me directly.


 

Point Reyes Panoramic Workshop – May 11, 2013

Posted May 2nd, 2013 by
Categories: California, Coast, Panorama, Panoramic, Photos, Point Reyes, Trees

Picture: McClures Beach at sunset, Point Reyes National Seashore, Marin County, California

Image: McClures Beach at sunset, Point Reyes National Seashore, Marin County, California

A few spots still remain for a one-day photographic workshop called Panoramic Point Reyes, which I’ll be teaching in conjunction with the Point Reyes Field Institute, a non-profit educational and experiential partner of the NPS & Point Reyes National Seashore.

–> Click here to register. < --

Saturday, May 11 • 1:30PM – 8:30PM • $95 ($90 Members)

Come explore Point Reyes with a very specific photographic perspective. We’ll spend the day learning about the techniques for finding and creating compelling panoramic images with a distinctive Point Reyes flavor. Emphasis will be split between in-field compositional choices using a variety of subjects, both natural and man-made, and classroom discussion of workflow and post-production techniques. The day will start with a classroom presentation, followed by spending the remainder of the in the field concentrating on finding great panoramic subjects to photograph. We’ll continue to shoot through sunset into the early evening light. If extreme weather is an issue, we’ll spend additional time discussing digital and creative processing for nature photography. All skill levels welcome.

Picture: Trees at sunset, Point Reyes National Seashore, Marin County, California

Image: Trees at sunset, Point Reyes National Seashore, Marin County, California

I hope to see you there!

–> Click here to register. < --


 

Why I don’t like powerlines in my scenic photos.

Posted April 30th, 2013 by
Categories: Environment, Newsworthy, Photographers, Photos

Picture: Fall colors on trees in the White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire.

Image: Fall colors on trees in the White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

If you don’t like High Capacity Electrical Transmission Towers and Wires running through your scenic photos, or even just your view for that matter, I’d like to ask you to check out (and possibly help fund) a project started by friend and environmental photographer, Jerry Monkman. He’s launched a film project on Kickstarter called The Power of Place. The film:

“…explores the negative impacts of Northern Pass, a 180-mile long electricity transmission line project that has been proposed by Northeast Utilities in partnership with Hydro-Quebec. (He) will combine classically beautiful landscape cinematography with interviews of those intimately connected to the land to show how the wild and undisturbed character of the land has the power to fuel inspiration, imagination, and an interconnectedness with nature. The main question the film will ask is “Do we want to trade this power for electricity that most likely won’t even be needed in New Hampshire?”

Many years ago, my wife and I took a two week vacation to Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada) and the nearby “Sunshine Coast” toward the resort town of Whistler. (The fact that it was gray and raining the entire trip, and the fact that I renamed the area “Sunshine Coast My A**!” will remain a subject for a future post.) This was very early in my photography days, and the one thing I remember most clearly as we drove the Sea-to-Sky Highway between Squamish and Pemberton was how ugly and scarred this beautiful landscape was by the electrical transmission towers and wires which snaked the entire length of the area.

Still to this day, I also remember Read the rest of this post »

Photo Borders; a non-political border war

Posted April 25th, 2013 by
Categories: California, Photo Business, Photos, Point Reyes, Sunset, Trees

Picture: Trees at sunset, Point Reyes National Seashore, Marin County, California

Image: Trees at sunset, Point Reyes National Seashore, Marin County, California

I’d really love it if you’d leave a comment with your thoughts, personal preferences, or any feedback in general on the following:

I’ve been struggling with my own Border War. I’m not talking between countries, and it’s not the TV Show on the NGS Channel. Rather, my dilemma involves the re-occurring debate about the use of Photo Borders and watermarks. There are many people who hate large intrusive watermarks on images, many of whom would prefer no watermark at all. Other folks dislike Image Borders, claiming they take away from the photo. The one thing I do know, as a professional photographer, I refuse to send my images out into the world without a shred of identifying information. This was recently strongly reinforced when I finally started to explore the web site, Pinterest. The one thing I quickly discovered was how many great photos appeared scattered like buckshot across the site, yet you rare;y see a clear indication of who the photographer was.

Up to this point, I’ve been Read the rest of this post »

A shout-out to BorrowLenses; Nikon D800 and 200-400 f4

Posted April 18th, 2013 by
Categories: Animals, California, Photos, Rants and Raves

Picture: Sunset through clouds at the Merced National Wildlife Refuge, San Joaquin Valley, California

Image: Sunset through clouds at the Merced National Wildlife Refuge, San Joaquin Valley, California

Several weeks ago I had to ship my (nearly) brand new Nikon D800 camera off to the Nikon Repair facility in Los Angeles. During those couple weeks I had a couple shoots scheduled, and BorrowLenses.com became my go-to rescue resource. Not only were they able to immediately provide a replacement D800 body, but I was also to use their great inventory to test out a prime piece of Nikon glass, namely the robust 200-400mm f/4 VR AF-S lens. Now please understand, I’m not a sports or wildlife shooter, but I love using a good telephoto for quite a number of my landscape and travel photos, and for me, this is a pretty big lens. Weighing in at over seven pounds, and when combined with the D800 and battery grip, this was a beast of a combination. Shooting handheld for any period of time was a real test of upper arm strength, and with an injured shoulder, my hand-holding times-until-exhaustion were fairly brief.

I must say, for a first time experience with BorrowLenses.com, I was totally delighted with the prompt and courteous service, and the clear and easy use of their web site. The equipment was delivered exactly as promised, and the loan period was just right to cover my needs while my own camera body was repaired. I loved testing the D800 & 200-400mm combination, and was delighted by the swift and accurate AF. In the long run however, and after a few dedicated shoots, I decide that was just too much lens for my own particular needs over 85% of what I typically shoot. If I do come up with a job where this lens is the go-to piece of equipment I’ll need, I’m delighted I now have a go-to place to get those specialized bits of equipment that just aren’t practical for me to own outright.

Below are a few other Read the rest of this post »

Take a look around; Seattle in 360

Posted April 11th, 2013 by
Categories: City Scenes, Panorama, Panoramic, Photos, Seattle, Travel, Washington

Picture: 360-degree view of downtown Seattle from the top of the Seattle Space Needle, Seattle, Washington State.

Image: view of downtown Seattle from the top of the Seattle Space Needle, Seattle, Washington State

Perhaps you’ve occasionally seen a 360-degree panoramic image on the Internet where you can virtually spin around in all directions. They’ve become hugely popular with hotels, restaurants, and other businesses. What you may not know is that these images can often be stitched together using as few as 4-6 images.

I just recently returned from a week’s travels to the Pacific Northwest. Before plunging into a week of non-stop (typical) gray skies and rain, we were treated to two spectacular days in Seattle, with crystal clear blue skies and their warmest temperatures of the year-to-date. (A fact that was incessantly repeated on the local news, so it must’a been a big deal for them.) I used this great weather window to my advantage by planning a specific shot from atop the landmark Seattle Space Needle, namely a 360 degree view as if you walked around the entire observation deck.

To create this image required shooting 61 vertical frames, shot over a period of nearly 20 minutes in order to make a full circle around the building, and of course weaving in and out of all the other tourists and visitors. In this case, like several other of my Panoramic Photos, I’ll sometimes create a full-sized draft version to isolate any mistakes. In this case, I forgot to check the “remove vignetting” option, so you can see some light banding issues in the sky. Once I’ve had a chance to work out other issues like blending areas of the water, I’ll make a second, and hopefully final render that I will prepare as a master file.

The image was shot using my Nikon D7000, and the original file is 18″ x 174″ @ 300 dpi. Between layers and making some transform actions, the file again pushed my machine to the functional max of 65.1 Gb before getting flattened and saved. I chose not to use my D800, as I can only imagine those large files would have broken my poor machine, creating the electronic version of a brain embolism.

Click here to see a large 400×3700 pixel version.

Click here to see a sample of my first try at making a 360-VR image, so I downloaded a software trial. That’s why you’ll see trial watermarks as you spin around in a full circle. Also, there’s a special process to make a seamless blend in the 360 view, but since this is a first time experiment for me, and I just got back in town, I haven’t had the time to do that part yet.

Below is a sample shot of the city taken from the full res pano, and a 100% detail shot. Read the rest of this post »