Dahlia Flower

[/caption] This is a really cool shot of a Dahlia Flower that I got really close to in order to have nothing but the Dahlia’s pedals in the photo. I made sure to focus on the middle pedal with the rest of the flower slowly becoming out of focus as you work your way outside of the focal point. There is only a limited amount of shadow in the shot, which is what I wanted since I was hoping for the entire photo to be completely in bright red. To get this shot I attached my Sigma 50mm Marco/Prime lens and stood about 2 inches away from the flower. I attached my warming filter and UV filter in order to capture the most brilliant colors that I could without having any camera shake or blur. Since I wasn’t using a tripod, I made sure to remove the CIR-PL and kept a steady hand since the ISO was at 100 and the white balance was at 0. It did help that it was about 11:20am and I was facing towards the sun. The shutter speed was at 1/166 second ant the aperture was at F-5. I kept the camera in Program/Normal mode in order to eliminate any blur or camera shake.

Sunset over Vancouver Island, Canada

[/caption] Beautiful sunset over Vancouver Island taken from the edge of San Juan Island in Washington State. It’s almost time to start packing for a spring trip to the San Juan Islands. Spring offers some pretty unpredictable weather but the scenery is hard to match during Springtime. The Olympic mountains and the Cascades are still ripe with loads of snow throughout the entire region and the flowers are running amok all over the island. You have a great chance of catching killer whales dotting the sea scape and the vegetation is glowing in it’s neon green. The sunsets can also be at their best since the clouds can create an awesome color scheme. You will want to pack every lens that you own and make sure to bring a tripod and don’t forget your rain gear.

Crashing Waves along the Oregon Coast

[/caption] Perfect swells crashing along the Oregon coastline! A great scene along the coastline, in the Pacific Northwest, is watching the swells build and then crash along the sandy beaches or rocky coastline. Due to the volume of the swells and the rocky or long sandy beaches, you have a great opportunity to watch some of the most awesome waves available. Oregon and Washington have over 340 miles of coastline with amazing views of the waves crashing along rocky cliffs or along its miles of sandy beaches. I personally like the Oregon’s Southern coast due to the water being a little more blue, which gives you some pretty spectacular photo opportunities with the waves crashing into the blue water. However, if you visit any of the Pacific Northwest beaches on a sunny day, you will find that all of the water along the coast will look a lot more blue. I’ve spent hours photographing the crashing waves, looking for that perfect shot that is better than the last. I normally don’t use a tripod since I find myself constantly chasing the best waves. I took this shot using my Canon 55-250mm lens and set the focal length at 250mm. I wasn’t using a tripod so I made sure to have the IS turned on and kept a steady hand since I had attached my CIR-PL and had the ISO at 100. I did increase the white balance to +3 but the aperture was only at F-5.6 and the shutter speed at 1/256. If you take shots of the crashing waves during the middle of the day and it’s sunny, you will have a much better chance of avoiding any blur or camera shake compared to low light during sunset or an overcast day.

Mt. Hood, Oregon

[/caption] Even early March offers some epic snow conditions in the Cascade mountains. You will find more bare spots along parts of the spiny and craggy mountain tops but there is still plenty of snow to go around even the most experienced mountains climber. During the winter months, the entire mountain of Mt. Hood is completely covered in snow with no bare rock visible but around early March the warmer temperatures and gravity begins to loosen the grips of old man winter clinging to the volcanic rock. This shot was taken around 11:30am and the sun was at about a 90 degree angle just to the right of the photo. The higher rocks were still creating a shadow but the sun was quickly creeping higher in the sky and the shade was disappearing fast. The elevation of the trees in the foreground are at about 3600 feet but there was plenty of fresh powder on the floor of the forest. I took this shot with my Sigma 70-300mm telephoto lens and set the focal length at 160 in order to include most of the mountains as well as plenty of the blue sky and parts of the lush green forest in order to create a really nice photo. I wasn’t using a tripod so I had a hard time increasing the focal length past 250mm without showing camera shake or blur. I also attached my CIR-PL, which didn’t help with the blur problem when zooming in too close. I did make sure to turn on the IS in order to help eliminate any camera shake.

Riverplace in Portland, Oregon

[/caption] Another beautiful and sunny early March day in the Pacific Northwest. This photo was taken along the waterfront on the western side of the Willamette river in a part of the city known as Riverplace. Portland’s marina is located in front of the Riverplace hotel and offers some great photo opportunities when most of the boats are moored and there isn’t too much traffic. There are several different areas that you can walk along while looking for the perfect shot as well as get a little exercise. I took this shot without a tripod and just made sure to keep a steady hand since I reduced the white balance and had my CIR-PL attached to cut down on the overexposure and glare from the sun and water.

Pacific Northwest Fern

[/caption] The Pacific Northwest offers some of the most abundant species and highest concentration of ferns on the planet! If you live on the west side of the Cascade mountains you will find yourself immersed in some of the most diverse and neon green fern species you’ll ever lay your eyes on. However, because they require a lot of water and enjoy modest heat, it’s best to visit them during late spring to early summer. They are dormant during the winter months and become very brown and less photogenic when they’re at this state and the heat causes them to wilt and produce less color. Ferns are the best foliage to have when photographing waterfalls since they offer some great shots and love to grow along the edges of water. No surprise that they are at their peek at the same time the waterfalls are swollen with their most abundant amount of water spilling over rock ledges and traveling towards the Pacific Ocean. British Columbia, Washington, Oregon and parts of Northern California offer the best chance to really immerse yourself in these amazing plants. To get this shot I used my Sigma 50mm prime/macro lens and stood less than a foot from the plant. I wasn’t using a tripod so I made sure to keep a steady hand and removed the CIR-PL in order to avoid any camera shake or blur. However, I did attach the warming filter in order to bring out the vibrant green color.

Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach, Oregon

[/caption] Beautiful sunset along the Oregon Coast with Haystack Rock and the high tide rolling in. This is just another awesome shot of the many awesome sunset opportunities that Oregon offers photographers and sunset lovers. I actually took this photo on 5/12/12 at about 9:10pm. I believe sunset was about 8:45 and the sky was lit up like a roman candle as the sun set below the horizon with the clouds offering a second act of amazing color. The tide was finally starting to come in, which always offers some great opportunities to get the swells moving about the beach. I was using my Sigma 17-70mm lens and had the focal length at 31 mm in order to frame the rock in the photo. I attached my ND4, CIR-PL, warming and UV filter. The ND filter allowed me to set the shutter speed to 16 second, which allowed me to capture the ghosting effect of the surf. I had the camera in Shutter priority and the aperture was automatically set at F-22. I set the white balance at -1.7 and the ISO at 100.