Field Notes

  • Eight prints on display at Velouria through July

    Eight prints on display at Velouria through July

    Come join us this Saturday from 6-9pm at the Ballard Artwalk, where I'll be showing eight black and white abstracts at Velouria. The event is co-hosted by my beautiful and talented wife Mellicia, of Poplin Style Direction. She'll be on hand to provide styling advice and ideas on how to pair and accessorize Velouria's highly-curated merchandise.

    We want make your trip worthwhile, so make any purchase (from Velouria or from me) the night of the artwalk and be automatically entered to win a personalized, online shopping recommendation wishlist from Poplin Style Direction (worth $575) or a signed, matted print from me. Plus, 10% of sales the night of the artwalk go to support YouthCare.

    Clearly, we'd love to have you join us:

    Ballard Artwalk
    Saturday, June 14, 2014
    Velouria, 2205 NW Market St.

    Can't make it that night? Don't worry, the prints will be up through the end of July.

  • Something a little different

    Something a little different

    Saturday was spent with family and good friends out on the water. On a moonlight cruise back home after dinner, I took these unusual long exposures of the Seattle waterfront. I played with zoom and focus during exposures lasting four to twenty-five seconds, which combined with the movement of the boat to create some pretty out there images.

    » See more

  • Enter the Columbia River Gorge

    Enter the Columbia River Gorge

    In the ten years I've lived in Seattle, somehow I've never really gotten around to exploring the Columbia River Gorge. 

    On my way back home from last week's quick trip to the Oregon coast, I thought I'd venture in and see what I could find. The Eagle Creek trail has been on my list for a long time, so that's where I decided to start.

    This trail's a keeper. There are two sizable waterfalls on a quick out-and-back hike — Metlako Falls at about 1.5 miles, and the magnificent Punchbowl Falls (shown above) about a half-mile further.

    If you want to see Punchbowl Falls at eye-level, take an unmarked spur on the right side of the main trail, about a quarter-mile before the falls. This spur drops several hundred feet down to the creek, where you'll hear the falls but won't see them. Follow the bank past the end of the spur trail until you dead-end at a moss-covered cliff.

    If you're there during the rainy season when the water is high, prepare to get wet. You'll need to carefully work your way into the creek so you can see around that cliff (it appears this might not be necessary when the water is lower.) Once you've gotten to about the center of the creek, the falls will reveal itself through a narrow gap.

    Despite my rain pants and knee-high overshoes, I got soaked. I spent about an hour in the middle of that creek, fighting intermittent rain and slippery rocks — but this is good, relaxing fun as far as I'm concerned. If this trail is any indication of what I'll find as I continue to explore the Gorge, I can't wait to go back.

  • Following in the footsteps of the Corps of Discovery

    Following in the footsteps of the Corps of Discovery

    I never learned about Lewis and Clark in school — or if I did, I certainly don't remember any of it.

    So in the interest of continuing my education, I recently read Stephen Ambrose's seminal work on the subject, Undaunted Courage. What a story! Meriwether Lewis and Thomas Jefferson's charming bromance, William Clark's experimental spelling and general liberties with the English language, Lewis's reckless heroism, political naïveté, and eventual descent into madness — all this was exceedingly rich, regrettably new information for this 33 year-old history buff. I blame the schools.

    I decided I wanted to try and see the great Northwest as these two did, so earlier this week I packed up my tent, my camera, and my copy of the pair's journals and headed down to the Oregon coast. My timing was right: reading their entries from early March of 1806, Lewis complained bitterly about the perpetual rain and gloom — the same rain that kept my camera safely tucked away in my bag for the whole first day of the trip. A lot of things can change in 207 years, but rain in the Northwest isn't one of them. 

    By Tuesday morning the rain had let up enough for me to spend some quality time down on the beach at Cape Kiwanda. The shot above is of one of three sea stacks along the Oregon coast that share the name Haystack Rock, this one being the biggest of the three. In fact, it happens to be the fourth-largest sea stack in the entire world. And if you're at all familiar with my work, you know I love me some sea stacks. 

    Only after coming home did I learn that there's a replica of Fort Clatsop, the expedition's winter quarters, not far from where I camped at Cape Lookout. Sounds like I'll need to make another trip.

  • Exploring Cache Creek Canyon

    Exploring Cache Creek Canyon

    If you're familiar with my work, you know I spend a lot of time capturing images of California's Capay Valley, where my mother-in-law owns a ranch.

    I've been pushing north in recent trips, into an area where the valley closes in and becomes a canyon, shaped by Cache Creek. It's a beautiful and fascinating place, with large tracts of backcountry rugged enough to be spared the intense agriculural activity that surrounds it today.

    Sometimes, in the course of searching the horizon for grand landscapes, I remember to look down. This images records one of those times.

    » See more from Capay Valley

  • Mt. Rainier trip report, part 2

    Mt. Rainier trip report, part 2

    My second night on the mountain, I headed over to the Paradise area. I had done some short hikes around the visitor center in the past, but this time I really wanted to push myself.

    I left the visitor center at about 4pm and headed up the east side of the trail system. I spend a whole lot of time sitting at a desk at sea level, so the hike up to 7,000 feet took its toll on my thighs and my lungs. But, with plenty of breaks I made it up just in time to watch the sunset light play over the volcanoes of the South Cascades.

    As I watched from just above Panorama Point, a massive fog bank rolled in below me, and there must have been some ragged clouds on the western horizon because I watched the most fantastic play of light on Mount Adams. Pinks and purples rippled over the western face for about a half hour.

    A single shot doesn't really do the scene justice, so consider this a poor substitute until you can make the trip yourself.

    » See more photos from my trip

  • Mt. Rainier trip report, part 1

    Mt. Rainier trip report, part 1

    I spent a couple days up on Mount Rainier last week. My first afternoon and evening was spent hiking in the Sunrise area, on the north side of the mountain.

    Being unfamiliar with the area, I decided to be conservative and mapped out an easy 4-mile loop from the visitor center. After an encounter with a totally laid-back bear (my first sighting!) I decided I had more in me and pushed on to the Mount Fremont Lookout — which ended up being completely socked in.

    On the way back down, the fog dissipated and I bagged this shot as I descended through Berkeley Park.

    » See more photos from my trip

  • Pictures in my head

    Pictures in my head

    Taking advantage of a short break between jobs, I took off for the coast last week. This time I had one photo in mind — the one you see above.

    Previsualization, in which you imagine a scene in your head and then set up the conditions in the real world to make it happen, is a technique much discussed in nature photography. My typical experience is that the intended image ends up a wash while other images I take along the way end up being the good ones. But here I think I got myself to the right place at the right time, and managed to pull it off.

  • Easter egg hunt!

    Here's a timelapse from this year's Easter egg hunt at my in-laws’ almond orchard. My nephew Bailey and I used an app called Miniatures to capture the video on my iPad.

    That's Buttercup the dog at the end.

  • In good company

    In good company

    I went up to Larrabee State Park last week after reading Alan Majchrowicz's blog post recommending Clayton Beach. And wouldn't you know it, I found him right there, shooting at the beach with BC photographer Michael Russell.

    Alan's and Michael's work that evening was arguably better, but I enjoyed exploring the unusual sandstone formations at this beach and will definitely be returning.

  • Well, how about that?

    Just found out I won a drawing for a Gura Gear Kiboko 22L+ bag from Outdoor Photo Gear. I've been really curious about this bag ever since I heard Andy Biggs talking about it on the This Week in Photography podcast. This is a premium piece of kit.

    Plus, today's my birthday so, well... happy birthday to me! Thanks OPG, you shouldn't have!

    P.S. — Outdoor Photo Gear owner Chris Klapheke is a fantastic avian photographer. Check out his work here.