Thursday, December 31, 2015

beach day

When anxious, uneasy and bad thoughts come, 
I go to the sea, and the sea drowns them out with its great wide sounds, 
cleanses me with its noise, and imposes a rhythm upon everything in me 
that is bewildered and confused. 
~ Rainer Maria Rilke

A trip to the South Jetty in Fort Stevens State Park 
near Warrenton, OR yielded these images.
It was a rainy, rainy, and windy day.
I was soaked.
I was perched on a wooden viewing platform.
Everytime another person climbed onto it it would tremble.
Not good in the middle of a long exposure.
I waited. I restarted. I stopped. Repeat.
I felt my patience was rewarded with this shot.

On the drive home I rounded a corner and saw a pop of color in the sky.
I pulled over, took out my camera and tripod and quickly...
...very quickly...
set up the shot.
I got off two shots before the color in the sky was gone.

Luck is a huge part of getting any shot.
Luck in being in the right place at the right time.
Luck in having the camera ready and attached to the tripod.
Luck in having a large shoulder to park.

Luck and patience.
I can live with that. 

Monday, December 28, 2015


Travel makes one modest, 
you see what a tiny place you occupy in the world. 
~ Gustave Flaubert

Another image from some autumn exploration.
This was taken on a hill above Yale Lake in Washington.
It was a glorious autumn day.
Beautiful for a drive with the camera in tow.

You never know what you might see.

FujiXT1 ISO 200 f/16 1/40 sec XF18-55mm (83mm EFL)

Monday, October 5, 2015


We must make our homes 
centers of compassion and forgive endlessly.
~ Mother Teresa

We were out and about this past weekend chasing waterfalls and leaves.
I found a barn.
Extra points for it being red barn!

I was surprised this image turned out.
The face of the barn was in deep shadow and the sky and roof blown out.
Thank goodness for graduated filters in ACR. I was able to darken the sky and roof of the barn,
and retain the exposure of the barn face that was then easily corrected in CC2015.

I loved the bee boxes to the right of the barn!

FujiXT1 ISO 200 f/5.6 1/150 sec XF18-135mm (135mm EFL)

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

more water works

In those vernal seasons of the year,
when the air is calm and pleasant,
it were an injury and sullenness against Nature
not to go out and see her riches,
and partake in her rejoicing with heaven and earth.
~ John Milton

Autumn is in the air!!
Today is the first official day of autumn!

To continue the 'water' theme, I give you waterfalls. These beauties are located
about 1 hour from where we live. It is a short walk to the falls in the upper image, and the
falls in the lower image were easily accessed from the side of the road.

I was lucky that there wasn't a full load of water running over, as it would
have created a sheet of white, and it would be difficult to get the correct exposure, and
it would block the beautiful rocky amphitheater visible behind the falls in the upper image.
I like the green moss on the rocks in the lower image; when there is a lot of water running over the rocks you wouldn't even know the rocks were there, let alone the beautiful moss.

I favor long exposures of moving water. I didn't have my large tripod for the top image, so did
my best to use a small, tabletop tripod. 

Lesson #1: Carry that tripod in with you. Better to have it and not use it, than to wish you had it!

Lesson #2: Bring boots! I missed my boots! I would've loved to have waded a bit into the water, 
and to follow the creek a bit. But be are slippery!

Lesson #3: Carry a circular polarizer and a neutral density filter. Even though the area was "dark", I still needed both filters to allow the combination of a long shutter speed, low ISO, and small aperture I wanted. The CP allows you to cut glare, reduce light, and generate richer colors. 

Lesson #4: If you don't have a remote/wired shutter release, you can always use the 10 second timer on your camera to avoid camera shake when you deploy the shutter release.

Finally, always remember to have fun!! Whether your shots turn out or not doesn't matter.
First and foremost, enjoy your surroundings!
I get a little obsessed with capturing the shot, so I'm working hard to learn to enjoy the
place I'm at as the primary outcome of the adventure. 
Baby steps!

Happy Autumn!! Now turn off your computer, grab your camera, and go enjoy the season!

Fuji XT1 ISO 200 f/22 6 seconds (top)
Fuji XT1 ISO 200 f/18 4 seconds (bottom)

Friday, September 18, 2015

puddle play

Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.
~ Soren Kierkegaard

There are many great things about rain to write about. We'll save them for another post ;)
One of the best things about rain is the puddles it produces!
Puddles mean reflections.
Reflections add a unique element to your image
and are a great source for a creative photo opportunity!

Tips: Get low to the ground and close the water's edge:
this gives you more of the subject in the reflection.
Morning and late day are great times to shoot reflections - when the sun is low in the sky,
and you're able to get warm light to contrast with cool water tones.
Ripples provide an abstract element - and don't forget to play with long exposures!!
Avoid glare by looking for the light to fall on the subject not the water.

iPhone reflection photo tips (These are good concepts for any camera)
School of Digital Photography tips
Think outside the puddle (fun examples of reflection photography)!

I think this set of three puddles will be a constant source of entertainment for me
as the rainy season continues.

iPhone 6 / native camera

Thursday, September 10, 2015


The greatest step towards a life of simplicity is to learn to let go. 
~ Steve Maraboli

It's dahlia season here in the Pacific Northwest. The largest dahlia grower in the US resides
in Canby, OR and has its yearly festival over Labor Day weekend.
40 acres of dahlias.
Heaven on earth.

I love dahlias.
The colors, the shapes, the textures,
and mostly how each bloom interacts with its neighbor. 

The circumstances were a bit challenging:
overcast; the sky is a soft box and great for no harsh shadows 
and washed out colors, 
but it makes for a "low light" situation.
A slight breeze was present that made focusing difficult and required higher
shutter speeds to stop the movement.
Therefore, higher than usual ISO was used.

Regarding 'simplicity':
this image had virtually no post-processing applied to it.
I always try to frame/crop in camera; so no adjustments there.
A little sharpening was all that was applied in post; 
all but the edge of the petal was masked out.
No textures, no nothing. Simple.
Just dahlia.

Canon 6D ISO 500 f/2.8 1/160 100mm macro

Monday, August 24, 2015

monday blues

There is no blue without yellow and without orange.
~ Vincent van Gogh

I've had a lapse in posting.
This is from earlier this summer.
The 4 mile long Astoria-Megler bridge during the blue hour.
Awesomeness in steel and light!

I used a small aperture, low ISO, and a 10-stop ND filter to set a long enough exposure
to achieve the silky look of the water. 

FujiXT1 ISO 200 f/16 50 seconds XF16mm 1.4 (EFL 24mm)

Monday, July 27, 2015


You cannot be lonely if you like the person you’re alone with. 
~ Wayne Dyer

Sometimes your mobile phone device is the only camera you have on hand - 
thereby, also making it your best camera at the moment.

We went kayaking a few weeks ago, and the iPhone camera was all I brought for capturing shots.
This is the first time I've actually processed an iPhone photo with Photoshop.
Usually I use just in-camera apps for any processing.
It worked pretty well.

As this is a photography blog, I think all cameras are game for generating images.
It's about what gear will capture the moment 
before the moment passes.
And perhaps equally important, it's about your own creative expression
and what works best for you at the time.

iPhone, DSLR, mirrorless or whatever...go out and shoot!!

iPhone 6 native camera Enlight app and Adobe CC2015

Monday, July 20, 2015

the next move

We must be willing to let go of the life we planned 
so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
~ Joseph Campbell

It took me a couple of times visiting this location to get the shot I wanted. It's not an award winning shot to be sure, but it is the best of what I took, and I was really just after the "message". 

It's a lesson I keep learning when photographing.
And rarely do you get a second chance at a subject.
Move. Move. Move before shooting.
Walk around your subject. 
View it high, view it low.
Light in front, side, or backlit.
And in the case of large subjects...find different vantage points for shooting!

This capture was a whim and an after thought. I had already taken my shots from along the edge of the river, and continued on my way. On the walk back, I passed the dock and thought to try to shoot from the vantage point of the dock ramp. I liked the composition of this shot better than the others.

When processed in monochrome, the white boat pops out from the background 
and draws your eye to it and its message. 

Did I get it right? Is your eye drawn to the boat and the message?

Fuji XT1 ISO 400 f/7.1 1/500 XF18-135mm (EFL 83mm) 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

due south

Always go with your passions. 
Never ask yourself if it’s realistic or not. 
~ Deepak Chopra

Photographing from bridges is tricky. Wind. Vibration. Wind. Vibration.
Pedestrians and cyclists. 
Not to mention traffic.
Fast shutter speeds are the best, no doubt.
But, I'm learning that even long exposures can work
because any slight and short-lived movement
 is insignificant relative to the long exposure time;
therefore, it doesn't seem to show up in the final image

I'm not sure whether this observation will stand the test of time (haha),
but it worked for the fireworks, and it worked pretty well here.

Sounds like a good reason to keep shooting long exposures from bridges to test the hypothesis!

Fuji XT1 ISO 200 f/11 17 seconds  XF18-55mm (EFL 27mm)

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


With every deed you are sowing a seed, though the harvest you may not see.
~ Ella Wheeler Wilcox

I came across these wonderful hay bales on my morning run. But, it was overcast.
Coming home that same evening, the sun was out and sunset was close at hand.
I did the only reasonable thing - I drove by the Bernet Farm to check out the hay bales.

I'm so glad I did.

Not only did I get some shots of the guys gathering the hay bales in their truck, 
I was able to capture the quickly disappearing light on the few bales remaining in the field.
15 minutes well spent.

Fuji XT1 ISO 250 f/8.0 1/80 18-135mm (88mm EFL)

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

night lights

willamette river waterfront fireworks

I often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day. 
~ Vincent Van Gogh

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday weekend!

Last year we watched the July 4th fireworks show in close proximity to the fireworks themselves. It was very crowded and very difficult to photograph.
This year I had a plan to photograph from a bridge that was a modest distance away from the show. 
Close enough to see the display with ease, but distant enough to be away from the crowds and to have    bridges in the foreground and city lights as complementary elements to the main show.
This image stood out because the display on the far left was clear and not overexposed, and I also caught another explosion near the towers (middle) and a flash from the show a state away (Vancouver, WA; right). 
A triumvirate of displays!!

For this shot, I manually focused on the bridge in the foreground, I used a low ISO (200), medium aperture (f/8.0), and used the bulb setting
to manually initiate and terminate the exposure time. I aimed to commence the exposure after the initial explosion and end it before the disappearance of the display 
and before the beginning of the next explosion. In this case, 3 seconds. 
Exposing is empirical.
The most important part of the whole thing -
have fun!!

For more technical information on shooting fireworks, check out this site.

Fuji XT1 ISO 200 f/8.0 3 seconds 18-135mm (EFL 52mm)

Monday, June 29, 2015

summer blues

It's the possibility of having a dream come true
that makes life interesting.
~ Paul Coelho

Coming home from a small gathering on Friday night,
I saw this sky and had to stop.

No one was at the bridge...a first, to be sure.
I quickly grabbed a few shots.
And then a few more.

This image was captured at the tail end of the Blue Hour.
This is the time around sunrise/sunset when the sun is well below the horizon
and the remaining light is of a blue hue.
Shooting with your camera set to daylight white balance gives good results,
or try a fluorescent option for some creative blues.

I felt I needed a wider angle lens to get the shot I was envisioning.
This will be a good placeholder until that happens.

Fuji XT1 ISO 250 f/8.0 1/30 XF18-55mm

Friday, June 26, 2015

peace train

Oh, I've been smiling lately
Dreaming about the world as one
And I believe it could be
Some day it's going to come.
~ Cat Stevens

We saw this train graffiti on our way home the other evening.
We turned the car around, I quickly grabbed my camera 
and ran across a 4 lane highway to capture the shot.
As luck would have it, the train began to move.
I literally fired off one shot, then proceeded to chase after the train...
...shooting all the while.

I lost the race.
But I got this one image.
It just takes one.

I love graffiti. And I especially love graffiti on trains.

Peace out.

Fuji XT1 ISO 3200 f/4.0 1/50 XF18-55mm

Monday, June 22, 2015


You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.
~ Rabindranath Tagore

It has been a long time since I last posted here.
A very long time.

It's time to start afresh.
It's time to stop staring at the water.
It's time to begin the crossing
into becoming a real photographer.

This image was captured near sunset - at the blue hour - on the boardwalk 
at Longbeach, WA. The blue hour has quickly become one
of my favorite times of day to photograph.
The very shallow depth of field (f/1.2) made this image dreamy,
and using a fluorescent white balance enhanced the blueness.
Just as I wanted.

Thank you for stopping by!
If you're new here and are interested in seeing
what has been happening 
between my last post and this one,
you can check out these sites:

my whimsical pixel photography Facebook page
my 500px page and portfolio

Canon 5DMkII ISO 200 f/1.2 1/800  EF 50mm f/1.2L