Mt. St. Helens, WA

[/caption] 8365′ Mt. St. Helens is an amazing place to visit on a sunny winter day. However, these days can be far and in between. I was fortunate enough to be visiting during a day that offered very few clouds. Gazing up at the mountain, as seen from the south, makes it look like a giant ice cream cone with the numerous rock outcropping protruding out as though they are nuts you find in rocky road ice cream. As you ascend towards its summit you will be able to get spectacular views of Mt. Adams in the east and Mt. Hood looking south. I’ve never climbed to the summit but I would have enjoyed snow-shoeing parallel at the higher elevation even more since there are so many crags lingering along the volcano. This photo was taken at about 6000′ and if you look closely you can see all of the snow-shoe tracks lurking all over the mountain. Unfortunately, on this day I got a very late start and had already spent the good part of the late morning snow-shoeing in the lower elevations. My food and water rations were low and I was pretty well spent. To get this shot I was using my 18-55mm Canon lens and attached my warming and CIR-PL filter to help saturate the blue sky and reduce the harsh glare created by the snow. I had to set the white balance to +0.7 so the snow wouldn’t be underexposed as well as the blue sky. The focal length was at 46mm and I was able to keep the field of view high in order to eliminate any blur other than the tree in the lower part of the photo. I wasn’t using a tripod on this day since I figured that the bright sunny skies didn’t warrant the need but I wished that I had. However, I was moving so much and I was always on very uneven ground that I probably wouldn’t have used it very much. I had the camera mode in Normal/Program mode so the aperture was at F-8 and the shutter speed at 1/160 second. Because it was later in the afternoon when I took this shot, you can see some of the shadows lingering over some of the snow covered crevices in the higher elevations.

Spring Flowers

[/caption] The Willamette Valley offers some of the best nursery’s in the Country and Adelman Peony Farms is no exception. They have acres of Peony’s that you can simply walk through and get some of the most awesome pictures. There are several different species and colors throughout the farm so you will find yourself spending hours taking in the photographic opportunities that abound. You will surely want to include your macro and your wide angle lens in order to take advantage of this gem. I’m not sure when Peony’s stop blooming but I would advise visiting during Spring. This shot was taken on 5/30/10 at about 2:50pm. Because I wasn’t using my tripod, I removed my CIR-PL but attached my warming filter in order to bring out the contrast of the flowers. However, using my CIR-PL without a tripod would surely have created a blurry photo. This is especially true since I was standing so close to the flowers. I was using my Tokina 12-24mm wide angle lens and had the focal length at 15mm. I wanted to maintain a strong field of view so I stood back just enough so the clouds and the flowers were in focus. Using any other lens would have kept parts of the photo out of focus. I did experiment with my macro lens but found that the Peony’s looked nice as a panoramic photo with the crazy looking clouds lurking the background. I was facing towards the sun so the photo was a little overexposed, especially since I wasn’t using my CIR-PL. However, I made some changes in Photoshop in order to decrease the brightness of the clouds as well as darken them enough to bring out some of their personality. The camera mode was in Normal/Program so the aperture was at F-9 and the shutter speed at 1/160 second. I set the ISO at 100 and the white balance at +0.3.

Silver Falls State Park, OR

[/caption] Silver Falls State Park offers 10 spectacular waterfalls that are showcased as you hike the 7.5 mile of trails that span the 9,000 acre park. However, Upper North Falls is actually off the beaten path but only a .2 mile hike from the main trail. Unless you pay close attention to the hiking map you may miss the waterfall or just decide that it’s not worth the short hike. It’s actually one of the most impressive waterfalls within the park and it’s set in a very private and surreal setting. As you can see in this photo the trail literally stops at the waterfall and in order to get a really great shot you need to carefully walk along the slippery and unpredictable creek below. The lighting can also be a real challenge since its so well forested that only a fraction of the suns rays reaches along the falls. Spring is usually the best time to photograph since the sunlight is a little more predictable and the lush vegetation hides some of the black basalt that can wash out the picture due to the low light. I took this shot on 5/7/10 on a very sunny morning and the time was 7:48am. I was facing due east just as the sun was directly behind the falls but as you can see the light was still limited. I was using my Canon T1i along with my Canon 18-55mm lens. I attached my ND8 along with my warming filter. Without the ND filter I wouldn’t have been able to set the camera mode to shutter priority. I was trying to ensure that the field of view was high so everything was in focus but I also wanted to make sure that the waterfall was the main subject in the picture so I set the focal length to 24mm. I was using my tripod, bubble level and remote switch and ended up lowering my tripod just enough so I could make it as though the creek was rushing into the photo but without reducing the field of view. The aperture was at F-14 and the shutter was at 1 second. The ISO was at 100 and the white balance was at +0.3. You could spend an entire day cris-crossing the trails in order to take several different photos of the waterfalls within the park. I’ve actually hiked the entire trail twice in one day so I could get the morning shots and then the early evening shots in order to take advantage of the changing light. Each waterfall literally changes its personality as the light changes.

Arizona Desert

[/caption] Jeeping deep in the Arizona Desert offers some spectacular views that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to visit. I noticed several descent hiking and mtn. biking trails but jeeping allows you to go much further into the Desert that would take you days if you were hiking. The most popular off road trails also follow along some of the most historical areas. This shot was taken on 12/26/10 at about 1:15pm. I was looking southwest and the sun was just overhead. We had stopped at an old cabin that was once used during the mining period and there was a small creek running close by. There were several Acacia and Aspen trees lining the creek. I thought that this would make a good photo so I hiked up an abandoned road about 50 feet and took this photo. the jeep trail is just below me and I used the large Aspen tree to block out the harsh light from the sun. I was using my Canon T1i and had my Tokina 12-24mm with the focal length at 24mm. I made sure to attach my warming filter and CIR-PL so I could offset the harshness of the overexposed clouds and bring out the tones of the desert rocks and vegetation. I set the ISO to 100 and the white balance at -1 in order to avoid overexposure. The camera mode was in Program/Normal mode so the aperture was at F-6.3 and the shutter speed was at 1/100 second. One of the best things about having a strong sunlit landscape is that the field of view was very broad so almost all of the photos were in focus. I just made sure that I included a panoramic landscape so the foreground and the background were always in focus. Since the light was descent I wasn’t using a tripod. We were also moving pretty fast so I also didn’t have enough time to set up a tripod. Most of my photos were actually taken from the jeep while we were moving.

Downtown Seattle, WA

[/caption] This shot was taken from the deck of a ship while cruising along Elliot Bay. We bought a ticket and boarded one of the many boat trips offered by Argosy Cruises and proceeded to tour along the Bay. On a sunny day I think that it’s well worth the money, especially if you’re wanting to get some really cool pictures that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to get. On this day the sky’s were filled with smoke due to a raging fire that was burning in the Olympic National Park. The day brought unusual 90 degree temperatures and a very rare clear sky with no clouds in sight. I knew that August would be the best time to find good weather in Seattle but I never imagined this. I took this photo on 8/16/10 and it was about 11:55am. The sun was in the upper right hand corner of this shot so I tried to position my camera to bend the overexposed light as much as possible. I was using my Tokina 12-24mm wide angle lens and I had it at 24mm. To help tame the sunlit sky I set the ISO to 100, the white balance to -0.3 and attached my warming and CIR-PL filter. I wasn’t using my tripod since the boat was rocking quite a bit and there was enough light to eliminate the need. The camera mode was in Program/Normal mode so the aperture was at F-7 and the shutter speed at 1/125 second. Though days like this in Seattle are rare you have to visit the city when the weather is nice. It’s amazing to hang out along the many beaches, watch the hundreds of daily boaters go by or just hang out gazing at the city skyline. Seattle is deffinitely the place to be when the weather is nice.

Oregon Coast sunset

[/caption] Some of the best sunsets along the Oregon coast is during the Winter season. However, the drive to the coast can be a little dicey, the weather can deteriorate quickly and the sun does set at a quick pace. I normally just check the weather to find a day that is supposed to be mostly sunny and then pick a place to visit. This sunset shot was taken at a hidden beach that has no name and is hardly ever visited. There is no sandy beach but rather large black rocks that line the 1/4 mile beach. There is a waterfall that cuts in between the beach and there are several rock outcroppings that help block out the sun glare and make for a great subject. You can also see one of the lighthouses peaking through the edge of the cliff. This photo was taken in December and the sun was just about to set. A massive storm system had just moved through so the clouds were moving at a very quick pace. Therefore, I wasn’t able to set the camera mode to Shutter priority since the blurring of the clouds were too much. I stood behind this rocky cliff so I could expose only a part of the sun so I wouldn’t have too much glare. I wanted to get the glare of the sun to creeping around the rock as you can see in this photo as well as the halo bouncing around the clouds and the the reflection bouncing off the swells crashing on the beach. I was using my Canon T1i along with my Canon 18-55mm lens. I attached my warming filter and my CIR-PL and set the focal length to 22mm. The camera mode was in Program/Normal so the aperture was at F-4.5 and the shutter speed at 1/6 second due to the low light. I kept the ISO at 100 and the white balance at 0 in order to make the photo as crisp and tack sharp as possible. This photo is almost exactly as I saw while standing at this very spot. Only the warm orange and yellow colors of the sunlit sky was enhanced by my warming filter.

Shore Acres State Park, OR

[/caption] The Southern part of the Oregon coast is far different than the Northern Oregon coastline. In fact, it doesn’t really resemble it at all. Maybe it was the warmer temperatures, large number of lighthouses or the limited number of towns dotting this part of the coast. However, you will be truly amazed at the beauty and serenity that can be found. This photo was taken while hiking along Shore Acres State Park, just south of Coos Bay. We were camping within the park so we were able to fully explore the entire area which included Cape Arago State Park. There are several hiking trails that parallel the coast and a quick walk to the formal gardens that boasts hundreds of different types of flowers. I was using my Panasonic DMC-FZ30 point and shoot when I took this photo. The camera mode was in Program/Normal mode so the aperture was at F-5.6 and the shutter speed at 1/250 second. I attached my warming filter and CIR-PL to offset the harsh light from the summer sun. I set the ISO to 80 and kept the white balance at 0 in order to limit any overexposure since the sun was directly overhead. This part of the coastline is a photographers paradise with dozens of beaches, cliff views, wildlife, lighthouses, waterfalls and hiking trails galore.

Snow covered forest in winter


There is nothing more awesome than snow-shoeing deep in the forest just after a huge snow storm blankets the forest. I took this shot as well as many others while I was snow-shoeing within the Mt. Hood Wilderness. I had just finished photographing Mt. Hood when I decided to blaze through the trees and see what kind of pictures I could get. I was fortunate to have been visiting the day after it had snowed. I was trying to capture the perfect photo as I positioned my camera in every angle I could. This shot was taken at about 11:45am and I was pointing towards the sun. This created some reflections off the trees and made them look somewhat blueish as this can happen when you’re taking pictures in the snow. I was also shooting at about an 80 degree angle so this makes the light have to bend at a pretty steep angle which can also completely change the lighting and the perspective of the shot. I made almost no changes to the saturation or brightness in photoshop. This is pretty much a raw photo with me mostly just cropping parts of the edges out since I was using my wide angle lens and the edges were dark due to the use of my filters and lens hood. I was using my Canon T1i along with my Tokina 12-24mm wide angle lens. I had the focal length at 13mm in order to get as much of the trees in the frame. I attached my warming and CIR-PL filters in order to calm down the overexposure of the bright sunlit skies as well as eliminate any shadows that may appear from the trees. The camera mode was in Program/Normal so the aperture was at F-4 and the shutter speed at 1/40 second. I wasn’t using my tripod so I did increase the white balance to +0.7 so I could still keep the ISO at 100. I was lucky enough to avoid any sun glare, especially since I was looking almost directly in the sun and the aperture was at F-4. Using the trees to block parts of the sun and having filters helped avoid this

Hiking in the Gorge, Oregon

[/caption] Hiking inside the Columbia River Gorge offers some of the most spectacular views you will ever experience. You will never be let down no matter which hike you decide to take. You will most likely encounter several waterfalls, steep canyon walls, creeks, brooks, steep drop offs and plenty of wildflowers. I took this photo using my Canon T1i along with my Canon 18-55mm kit lens. I was using my warming filter and CIR-PL along with my tripod, bubble level and remote switch. This shot was taken around November so the forest was lush and green due to the recent rains. I had the focal length at 34mm in order to narrow the field of view and frame the trail and forest in the shot. The camera mode was in Program/Normal so the aperture was at F-4.5 and the shutter speed at 1/3 second. I set the ISO to 100 and the white balance to -2 due to the late morning glare from the sun high above. There was a huge drop off behind the trees in the foreground and the sun was shinning just behind them. I have never been disappointed when visiting the Gorge no matter what the month is or the season. However, Spring is probably my favorite with Fall a close second.

Cape Falcon on the Oregon Coast

[/caption] Cape Falcon and Oswald West State Park is the place that has just about everything you could ask for. It’s a short walk to Smuggler Clove and Short Sand Beach with two waterfalls cascading into the Pacific Ocean. There are incredible views that follow along the Cape Falcon trail with sheer drop offs plunging several hundred feet down to the ocean. A campground offers an extended stay which is good since there are several different trails that offer over 20 miles of hiking trails. There are several spots to take in the horizon looking out towards the ocean with incredible views of the crashing waves thundering against the rocks and impassable beaches far below. I took this shot back on 3/23/10 and it was about 2:00pm in the afternoon. As you can see the sun was directly above which was creating some intense sun glare. I set the ISO to 100 and the white balance to -0.3 in order to offset some of the overexposure. I also attached my warming and CIR-PL to tame some of the suns rays and bring out the warm colors of the rocks. I was using my Canon T1i along with my Tokina 12-24mm wide angle lens. A wide angle lens allows you to garner as much to this panoramic view as possible. It would really hurt if you were to fall from this spot. This is a popular viewing area and there is also a narrow and less traveled trail that takes you lower but the views aren’t as good as this. You can see as far as Cape Lookout which is about 30 miles from where I took this photo. I had the camera mode in Program/Normal so the aperture was set at F-9 and the shutter speed at 1/200 second. I tilted the camera down a bit in order to avoid too much glare which helped bring out the colors and context of the cliff below as well as the land masses in the far distance. I also wanted to avoid any sun spots from appearing in this shot. I’ve never taken any sunset shots from this spot but I could imagine it would be pretty spectacular. However, you would need to watch your step and bring plenty of light since one false step would surely be your last.