Jul 31, 2013

#800: "They Say That Love is Forever..."

Nikon D7100, 14-24mm f/2.8 lens @ 14mm, f/16, 3 exposure HDR, ISO 400, Nik HDR Efex Pro 2. I'm in Delta, Utah; doesn't Portland have graffiti somewhere?

This is my 800th blog post. Thanks for viewing. I love to show these pictures off, and I'm glad that you all have supported me for the last four years. I was privileged to have some time shooting with Jesse Walker this evening as we trekked to Delta, Utah, and we made this stop at the old TinTic reduction mill near Goshen. I think spray paint may be all that's holding this place together, and it's a wonderful notebook of poetry and pictures and tasteless tagging. Kinda makes me wanna put my hand to the can and see what I could turn out. I'll probably never do it, though. With my luck, the time I try it is the one time the sheriff would drive by; that and my Grandma Sim always says, "Fool's names, like fool's faces, always appear in public places," and that's pretty much turned me off from graffiti. Sigh.

Jul 26, 2013


Anywhere you go, anywhere in the world, anyone you show them to will know that bald eagles and buffalo are American. McDonald's, Mickey Mouse, and Coke may be more recognizable, but nothing is more definitively American than these two animals. We could certainly do worse than the Bald Eagle as a national emblem. I highly recommend observing them in the wild--find an opportunity. Same goes for Bison. You've never seen grace until you've seen a 1400 pound bison leap off a ridge and skip through the forest, or an eagle larger than your car skim the surface of the water.


NIkon D800, 105mm f/2.8 VR Micro Lens, f/4, 1/125, ISO 200. I love shooting on Collage Campuses, and am looking forward to exploring those in Lake Oswego.
I love photographing families. Look at these boys, and you know how that shoot went: lots of energy, lots of fun, and lots of running around and climbing in trees and hills. Really had a good time. I think even mom and dad had fun. 

I'm available to make pictures for your family, too!

Nikon D800, 105mm f/2.8 VR Micro Lens, f/8, 1/80s, ISO 400. These were the kind of kids who laugh when they're photographer is inflicting little bits of pain on himself...slapstick kinda stuff kept them laughing.
Nikon D800, 105mm f/2.8 VR Micro Lens, f/8, 1/125, ISO 400. Naturally, they behaved for mom...

Nikon D800, 105mm f/2.8 VR Micro Lens, f/8, 1/125s, ISO 400. But these laughs only came when the boys picked on dad a little bit. 

Jul 23, 2013

Greener Grass

You know that the grass is always greener on the other of the fence, right? "If only I could go to Yellowstone, then I could make some great pictures! Or the Grand Canyon! Oh, and Europe would really free me to create..."

Well, those places are wonderful, and I could doubtless find some wonderful (if commonplace) pictures. But I find that when I get out locally and really try to find inspiration on my side of the fence, those are the times that I find pictures that are not so commonplace and much more valuable to me. 

For this picture my family and a friend headed to the beach to beat the heat in Lake Oswego...little did we know that there was no heat at the coast. The air was 60, and the water was 50 (my elbows were numb, but I gotta take advantage!) and there was mist and clouds and beach fires adding a little something more to the atmosphere. All day long I couldn't take my eyes off of this tree at Indian Beach in Ecola State Park (which is one of the most beautiful places in the USA). It seemed like one standing on it's own and not suffering for it.

Nikon D7100, 50mm f/1.4 lens, f/8, 1/250s, ISO 400, Nik Silver Efex Pro 2. From Lake Oswego, it's only an hour or so to Ecola State Park.
Now for the geek speak.

This image is a much wider field of view than you could possibly get in a single frame with a DSLR and a 50mm lens, and that's on purpose. I know that my 50mm is wide enough to get everything in, but it's the perfect lens for landscape work because it's clear and sharp and has no distortion. In order to maximize these things, I shot this as a panorama-like image.

First, I found an exposure that let me have a little detail in the clouds and nice enough detail in the dark areas, too, and set those settings in manual mode. I chose f/8 for an aperture because I wanted to make sure that I had all the important things in focus, and f/8 on 50mm focussed that far away lets practically the whole world fall within the depth of field. So I focussed on the top of the tree (with the clouds as a backdrop I was sure it was focussed on the main tree and not something else) and switched to manual focus so it wouldn't change. Ideally, I'd have the camera on a tripod, but I was going light and fast and handheld, so I used a higher ISO to allow a fast shutter speed to freeze my shake.

I then turned the camera vertical and shot three frames along the bottom of the scene, overlapping 25%, then shot three more in a row for the middle, overlapping 25%, and one more row on top. In Lightroom I made adjustments to white balance and contrast to the center image, as well as color toning, then applied those same settings to all the other images in the grid (one click with the sync button). Then I selected all the images, and chose to merge them to a panorama in Photoshop. I made sure to click the vignette control option and pressed go. A few minutes later, after PS worked its magic, I had the composite. I hit save and cropped it in Lightroom, then opened it in Nik Silver Efex for the black and white conversion. Back in Lightroom I used my special Grape Dreamcicle toning for the slight bit of color you see. (let me know and I'll share the recipe). 

Today I just got a Gigapan Epic Pro, and it makes this sort of picture automatically and I can't wait to try it!

I sure enjoyed making it. It came out just as I envisioned while being pounded by the frigid surf.

Jul 13, 2013


Photofocus.com recently posted an article I wrote about how to make sunbursts happen in your photographs. I think it's a lot of fun, and can really add some spice to your images. I made this one a couple of years ago during an outing with my class and just dug it up. It's a favorite scene from Cache Valley, UT. I'm exctied to be living in Lake Oswego, OR now. The Agricultural imagery around here is archetypal and I can't wait to explore it more.

Nikon D700, 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens @ 28mm, f/13, 7 frame HDR, ISO 400, Nik HDR Efex Pro2. Cache Valley, Utah.
I used HDR software (Nik HDR Efex Pro2) to combine 7 different pictures. The pictures are all the same, but different brightnesses, which allows us to see both the brightest sky by the sun and the dark side of the windmill, much like I could see with my eyes as I stood there watching the sun set. The clouds around the sun helped give the rays shooting out by making the visible portion of the sun smaller. Man, it's fun to combine all these things into a single image!

Jul 12, 2013

Support Your Library

I love public buildings. Good architecture is hard to come by these days, but libraries often get a good dose of it, and the USU library is no exception. It's built with great light in mind, and I used to love going there with my clients to make use of it. For this image I took my class of Summer Citizens (visiting from Arizona and Texas) to the library to work with our wonderful model, A. Sunlight coming directly through a high window was shining on the white wall of the art exhibit in the atrium, and the reflection back onto A. was simply perfect. It's got a great direction, and since there's no light shining on the ground behind, she stands out against the simple background. Her simple black dress was just right for a black and white image. 

So, get out there, explore your public buildings and look for great light. It's time to put your tax dollars to work!

Nikon D800, 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens @135mm, f/5.6, 1/320s, ISO 800.

Jul 2, 2013

Feels Like a Flat Tire...

A few weeks ago we drove from Lake Oswego to Logan. It was a nice day, fair weather most of the way, temps in the high 70's, and about 32 people pulled over with flat tires. I've never seen so many! Everyone was getting it taken care of, and we were just crossing out fingers that we wouldn't have any trouble (it was our first trip with a kid in the car).

Well, this week is the Cache Valley Cruise-In, and three years we started a photo contest associated with it, and I've had a blast making pictures for the contest. Follow this link to see some of my previous entries. This year, however, I'm in a new place (Lake Oswego, Oregon) and still finding out all the cool things going on. Still, not going to the Cruise-In is a little like getting a flat tire.

Here's a fun one we made last year with the talented (and recently married) Jane.

Nikon D800, 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II lens, f/3.5, 1/800s, ISO 800.