San Juan Island, WA

[/caption] Beautiful view from San Juan Island, looking across Haro Straight with the mainland in the background. The small white dot in the upper middle part of this photo is Cattle Point lighthouse. It’s located on the southernmost part of the island and looks due east with Mt. Baker clearly visible. Haro Straight can be seen just above the lighthouse and the mainland of Washington State visible in the distant background. Cattle Point lighthouse is located at San Juan Island Historical Park or better known as American Camp. The lighthouse was built in 1935 and is one of two lighthouses located on the island. There are breathtaking views with Eagle Cove offering you a great chance of watching Orcas swim by. You can see the Olympic mountains as well as Mt. Rainier and of course Mt. Baker. There are miles of beach access available as well as some great hiking trails that allow you to venture in the forest that’s dotted along the area.

Old fashioned chair lift in Oregon

[/caption] Mt. Hood ski bowl is still using the old style chair lifts that look like they belong somewhere in the Swiss Alps and they make for some great photos. I could almost pass this photo off as a ski resort in the mountains of Europe but it’s actually located in Government Camp, OR. Mt. Hood Ski Bowl doesn’t offer any gondolas or high speed quads but they do offer you the opportunity to think back to how the original ski lifts used to operate. The wooded structures that run the chair lifts are a great example of the old days and they allow you to get some great pictures. I took this photo last month and on a day that the resort wasn’t opened. This allowed me to snow-shoe and wonder through the area without having to dodge skiers or snow-boarders. I was using my Canon T1i and my Sigma 17-70mm lens. I noticed the backdrop of this shot so I tried to make it look as though the mountain behind the structure was several hundred feet above it. The blue sky added a dramatic scene as well as the snow covered trees and rock outcropping.

Seattle industrial park and downtown Seattle, WA

[/caption] This is a photo of Seattle when driving over the West Seattle Bridge. The container’s and large cranes are located in the Industrial District West and on Harbor Island. The only way that you can get this shot is by driving west and then leaning out of your car in order to take a picture. We were traveling at about 35mph when I took this photo. I asked my wife to get in the far right lane and slow down as much as possible without getting rear ended. The photo seems a little blurry and that’s due to the fact that the bridge is in need of some repair and the ride is pretty bumpy. It also didn’t help that we were moving at 35 mph. I tried my best to get a good shot of the city skyline with the Space Needle stretching all the way to the Pioneer Building. You can also see some of the cruise ships docked in Elliot Bay. I was hoping that the large field of view would have eliminated any blurriness but the ride itself was too challenging and you pretty much only get two shots at best when traveling over the bridge. With all of the spectacular and popular areas available to photograph the city I believe that this offers the most panoramic and stunning views in the city. It offers one of the best perspectives as well as allows you to incorporate the industrial aspect as well. This photo allows you to look across the entire city skyline as well as into the city. To get this shot I set the ISO at 100 and reduced the white balance to -0.3. The camera mode was in Program/Normal mode so the aperture was set at F-7 and the shutter speed at 1/100 second. I set the focal length at 46mm in order to get as much of the city in full view without including any of the steel beams and concrete structures from the bridge. I took this shot in August and it was about 1:30pm and since I was facing north the sun was directly behind me. Obviously I wasn’t able to use a tripod so I had to make sure that I kept a steady hand and had to compensate for the bumpy ride.

Summit of Mt. Hood, OR

[/caption] The higher you climb near the summit of Mt. Hood, the darker the sky becomes. I slowly realized this as I trudged my way up the west side of the mountain. I began my snow-shoe journey from the parking lot of Timberline lodge and I was able to make it just below the hogs back when I started cramping and realized that I was getting pretty dehydrated. I was forced to turn back but not until I got some pretty amazing photos of Mt. Hood completely covered and crusted over with wind blown snow. It was pretty amazing to see the blue sky turn more and more dark blue as you increase in elevation. I spent most of my time adjusting the ISO and white balance in order to eliminate the photo from being under exposed or completely dark. The sky was epic and almost cast the mountain as a moon scape looking out into outer space. I was using my Canon T1i and attached my Canon 55-250mm telephoto lens. I wasn’t using a tripod and since I extended the focal length at 250mm, in order to get some really close up shots of the summit, I had to make sure that I kept a steady hand and allow enough light so the photo wouldn’t come out blurry or shaky. I was able to set the ISO at 100 but had to set the white balance at 0. The camera was in normal/program mode and the aperture was set at F-8 and the shutter speed at 1/500 second. I did attach my CIR-PL in order to saturate the sky and eliminate too much glare caused by the snow.

Sunset at Oceanside Beach, OR

[/caption] Sunset along the town of Oceanside Beach offers an amazing view looking across its pristine beach and out towards the Pacific Ocean and Three Arch Rocks. Oceanside is a tiny little town just west of Tillamook and just north of Netarts. The town is small enough to fit in your back pocket but the views are some of the most stunning along the Pacific Northwest coastline. There are several hiking trails and dozens of beaches to discover. Three Arch rocks are almost perfectly positioned off the coast since the their distance from the beach offers some great photography opportunities. There are a few hotels and homes in Oceanside so you can find quite a few beachcombers walking along the beach but during sunset you pretty much have the beach to yourself when taking sunset photos. This photo was taken back on 7/2/09 and I took the shot with my Panasonic DMC-FZ30 point and shoot camera. I remember attaching my screw on ultra wide angle lens and held my orange tinted filter in front of the lens. I wasn’t using a CIR-PL or warming filter since the lens was a screw on and it would crack any filter that was on the camera. I set the ISO at 80 and the white balance at 0 in order to reduce the amount of light even though the sun had already set and it was 9:30pm. The camera was in shutter priority mode and the aperture was automatically set at F-4 and I manually set the shutter speed at 2 seconds. I wanted to get a very panoramic shot so I set the focal length at 10mm in order to get a large field of view. The tide was beginning to come in and some of the froth from the previous wave looked really cool so I took this shot. The indention along the sand was from the swells moving along the beach each time they rolled in.

Columbia River Gorge

[/caption] Springtime offers some great photo opportunities along the Gorge and only the vegetation decides when it’s time to take pictures. The one deciding factor that designates the best time to travel along the Columbia River Gorge in order to photograph the pristine waterfalls and neon green vegetation is when the vegetation decides to come out of its dormant stage. It becomes a waiting game as you find yourself hiking along the tall trees and view the many different ferns that create the perfect canopy below the massive forest. However, you never know when the forest will come out of its dormant stage and usually it’s only after the weather warms up and the rains begin to subside. Sometimes you have to wait until mid June but sometimes you’re lucky enough to start in April. this doesn’t only apply to the Gorge but to the entire areas west of the Cascade mountain chain.

Oregon Spring Flower

[/caption] The Hyacinth is one of the most photogenic flowers and yet it’s one of the most challenging as well. It’s also one of the most aromatic flowers that I have ever smelled. I know that there are hundreds of spring and wild flowers that smell beautiful but the Hyacinth is over powering with its sweet smell. I took this photo from my flower garden on my tiny little patio. I didn’t even know that I had a Hyacinth bulb from last year but it started to come up earlier in the month and much faster than my tulips or lily’s. I pretty much just planted all of the bulbs that I had in my garage into two pots and had no idea what they were. I took about 75 photos and found this one to show a lot of personality with the flower creeping around the plant with the pointy parts of the flower in focus. I was using my Sigma 50mm Prime/Macro lens and the lens was about an inch from the flower. I attached the warming filter in order to reduce any glare and capture the colors. I made sure to remove the CIR-PL in order to reduce the chance of any camera shake due to the lack of light. I wasn’t using a tripod so I made sure to keep a steady hand. I set the ISO at 100 and the white balance at -0.3 and had the camera in Program/Normal mode so the aperture was automatically set at F-5.7 and the shutter speed at 1/200 second. It was about 12:15pm and the sun was pretty bright. Since the plant was in a smaller planter box I just positioned it on one of my chairs and rotated it as I took photos. This is my first time and attempt to photograph flowers while they’re potted and it’s nice to know that you can take some pretty good shots of the same plants/flowers that you planted.

KOIN Tower in Portland, OR

[/caption] The KOIN Tower offers a great view looking into A modern high rise with the sky and clouds high above. The best part of photographing around a modern city is finding buildings that are photogenic and have a great personality. If the light is good, you normally won’t need a tripod and that can save you a lot of time and frustration. However, the type of day can really dramatically affect the saturation of the photo. On this day, it was partly cloudy with spots of blue sky. I was hoping to get several shots with the clouds moving around and even getting a photo with all blue sky. Unfortunately, the clouds pretty much just sat high above the KOIN Tower so I wasn’t able to get all the photos that I wanted. I usually like to frame as much of the building in the photos and only include the sky in the background. This really highlights the personality and dominance the building has. However, I will normally spend several minutes photographing everything around me and find many different photo opportunities that may include other building or vegetation surrounding me. I could spend hours in just one small area looking for a great photo opportunity. I was using my Canon T1i and attached my Sigma 17-70mm lens. I set the focal length at 17mm and attached my CIR-PL and warming filter. Since I had the camera in Program/Normal mode and had the ISO at 100 and the white balance at -1.3, the aperture was automatically set at F-6.3 and the shutter speed at 1/200 second. I was facing north east and the sun was pretty much directly behind me and mostly shrouded behind the clouds. Since this photo was taken around 4:00pm and the lighting was low, there wasn’t any glare. I tried to position myself directly in the center of the building so I could show the lines in the architecture of the building.

Along the water in Portland, OR

[/caption] The saying states that April showers brings May flowers but I wonder what the recent rains will give us in May. March was the wettest month ever recorded in Portland and April is more of a mixed bag of rain, wind, clouds and some sun breaks. The flowers are doing fine in the city but most of the trees are still trying to bud, which makes the vegetation look like it’s still winter. I’m hoping that the trees will bud so I can start photographing the city again. This photo was taken last Saturday when the weather was pretty awesome and the temperature was about 64 degrees. This shot was taken on the east side of the esplanade. I noticed this shrub blooming and framed the city in the background. I wasn’t using a tripod since the light was pretty descent and I was moving around so much that it would have been too cumbersome and wasn’t needed. I crouched down so I could get more of the red flowering shrub but also include the river, cityscape and clouds in the background. I was using my Canon T1i and attached my Sigma 17-70mm lens. I also attached my CIR-PL and warming filter and set the ISO at 100 and the white balance at -0.7. The aperture was at F-7 and the shutter speed at 1/200 second. I had the camera in Program/Normal mode in order to ensure that the correct aperture and shutter speed would be used. I was facing south west and the sun was at about a 90 degree angle. The color was a little grey due to the clouds and time of month but overall I was surprised at the lighting available. Unfortunately, the river was still too brown due to the amount of mud being carried down river and the vegetation is still too dormant. Hopefully May will be much better.