Nature

Moose

A little over a week ago, work sent me to Anchorage for a couple of days. Given some solo time in a new place, I took the chance to bring some camera gear along. I had initially planned to look for and photograph Sheep or Mountain Goat along the Seward Highway, but I was met with bare rock (and no animals). Fortunately, not being one to give up hope, I took a bit more of a scenic route on my return and came across a couple of moose! Enjoy!

moose-5

moose-4

moose-3

moose-2

moose-1


Caught In Flight

#caughtinflight #pidgeoned #pierpics #pacificbeach

#caughtinflight #pidgeoned #pierpics #pacificbeach


Love me some sunrise

Love me some sunrise. #alaskastyle #anotherwednesday #destinationeaglecrest

Love me some sunrise. #alaskastyle #anotherwednesday #destinationeaglecrest


Yes Please

Yes please thank you. #anothersunrise #backtoskiing #brr

Yes please thank you. #anothersunrise #backtoskiing #brr


A Youngster

As I was driving along the road, in the distance I saw what looked like a cat just sitting and relaxing in my lane. As I came closer I realized it was a baby porcupine ambling for the woods. The sun had just set, but there was still enough warm light in the sky to capture some images of him… Take a look:

Check out other wildlife/fine-art photos here.


Starlight, Starbright

My friend Herbert Law of Minute Sixteen is in town, and invariably, we have insanely mis-matched schedules. The other night he invited me out to join him and a couple others to photograph the  Perseid Meteor Shower which came “flying through” (haha) this month. And while I had such great intentions to connect before the night was through, it turned out that another dear friend, Stacy LaMascus was going to leave town for a year at school… In this case, the mini going-away party trumped the meteor outing… But as we hung out and the ladies took a dip in the hot tub, I put my gear to use in the back yard to capture a few starlight photos.

Take a look.

The first image here has a shooting star. I also like the framing of the house and surrounding trees. It feels like we’ve got a portal to another world!

This one is (I believe) a satellite moving through the night sky. The milky way really stands out in here.

I noticed that the yard, lit by a light from inside the garage, had some interesting features contrasted against the starry sky. Fun!

See these images at the 2012 Fine Art Gallery.


Happenstance Macro

I had a meeting tonight that fell through, and so in the next 15 minutes or so I explored the undeveloped back lot of some condos… I love to look. I love to explore. Tonight I found a Daddy Long Legs and MAN, are they UGLY!  Plus, while photographing a pretty little buttercup, a fly happened to land on it for my enjoyment. It was great, except all of these are handheld and with a 200mm macro lens so I spent a lot of time trying to breathe slowly and not move a muscle (while wobbling in my crouched-to-the-ground position.) I don’t know how those sharp shooters get so well trained to slow their bodies… Maybe it’s just practice. Anyhow, take a look:

See these and more in the Fine Art Gallery.


Douglas Morning

I’m slowly catching up.

Heather’s mom is back in Nevada. Weddings have slowed a bit (though I have another this weekend!) Travel has subsided, and Juneau weather has been poor. The perfect storm of catching up with my personal photo backlog!

These are from an early-morning outing to North Douglas. I think I was out the door at around 4:15, so the first few shots of the deer were still a bit on the dusky side of things (thank goodness for high ISO options). It was a good morning for variety. I don’t think I’ve ever captured bunnies/rabbits/hares/whatever-they’re-called before…

I heard one story of a photographer’s wife receiving a phone call early in the morning because a police officer had found her car parked in the median of the highway with the driver nowhere to be seen. It turned out he had gone for a walk when he saw the perfect light, and eventually returned to find police company. Go figure. Maybe we’re a bit absent minded when it comes to those sort of details?

I call this “A Photographer’s Car”… For obvious reasons… 🙂

As I’m driving around and see something I like to photograph, I often park the car and hop out. This photo was me realizing that I left it running, door open, in the middle of the road for nearly 20 minutes while I wandered down an unmarked path.

And my favorite shot from the day? It was one of the first ones I captured… I had gone out in search for some deer, and whatdya know, there they were:


Steampunk Wedding & Bear, Oh My!

I thought I’d take a moment to post a couple pictures from a wedding I had the chance to attend last weekend. My friend Rhys had a themed wedding, and invited Heather & I to celebrate! It’s a rare occasion that I get to attend a wedding without a role in documenting it, so I was excited to see photos pop up online afterwards. The only time I took my camera out was to take a picture of Heather & I before we left the house, and then a few shots of a bear on the way home!

These 4 photos from the wedding were taken by Anna Miller on her iphone – I really like the instagr.am treatments she applied!

And then of course a keeper bear photo of my own. Nevermind that frumpy rump – it looks like it’s just losing the winter coat now that it’s looking a bit more like summer!


March Aurora

Last night, after crawling into bed with Heather to watch a sitcom, my phone buzzed. It’s not often that folks call me in the late hours, so after the show was over, I hopped out of bed to find a message from my friend Shea excitedly telling me about the Aurora. He hasn’t let me down with reports of northern lights in the past, but just to be sure, I headed to Facebook to see what the crowdsourced space-weather report looked like: tons of people were chatting up the lights.

Not wanting to miss out on epic action, we bundled up and walked to the end of the street, seeing the sky aglow with the wisps of light. While the lights were certainly present, they were a bit bland to the naked eye – the truly amazing show had been earlier when the message was left. Not wanting to miss out on a return event, we went back home, tucked Heather into bed, and I headed out to make some photos.

Shea and others had been texting through the night encouraging and tipping each other off to aurora awesomeness in the case that we were not keeping eyes peeled to the sky… (Sometimes driving to a new location means that you miss the most amazing display ever.) It was nice to know that someone else was out in the cold and enjoying the sights. In a strange way, it’s kind of like that song in Fievel Goes West. Anyhow, back to last night.

After standing in the Mendenhall River for around an hour and thirty minutes, I was able to capture a variety of shots, and eventually headed back to the road where Shea had showed up. We stood and talked for the next hour or so making a few frames, and also gathering images for a time lapse video. Eventually I made it home, offloaded images, and was able to slip under the covers at just shy of 4am. Today has been a day of caffeine!

Take a look at what I came back with – shown in chronological order:

And lastly, the time lapse video. This was at ~2am for an hour. 400 frames, each at ~8sec/ea. Playing at 15fps.

Take a look at the larger versions by clicking on an image or heading to my 2012 Fine Art gallery.


Another

I thought I’d throw up another one from my outing last weekend – I would venture to say that I like this one better for the additional ‘interesting’ things in the frame, though it’s not strictly a photo of the aurora.

What do you think? Do you have a preference?


Sleepless Nights

Most people accuse me of not needing much sleep. I’m not so sure I agree, but I am certainly aware that I have strange sleep patterns. Take tonight for instance: I went to bed at a ‘reasonable’ hour (I think it was around 9:30 or 10pm), and then I awoke at 12:15am without much explanation. I even tried to go back to bed, and after laying there for 45 minutes waiting to fall asleep, I decided it was time to just get up and go read or otherwise keep myself entertained.

I’m glad I did.

Facebook did me well tonight. A fellow photographer who has a knack for aurora images had posted an image showing proof that the aurora’s were out, albeit faintly. That was enough. I went out and spent almost 2 hours collecting images. The one below which “made the cut” is one that was approximately a 33minute exposure (f6.3, ISO 400, @14mm).

I finally decided it was time to go home when I couldn’t feel the tips of my fingers. I’d blame it on the lack of gloves, but mostly I think it was my half-hearted efforts to create a time lapse that had my hands out of my pockets every 10 seconds.

Enjoy!

Also, I’ve put this up on my Fine Art page where prints and other artwork are available for purchase.


Winter Macro

This afternoon my friend Patrick & I headed out into the snow with cameras and dogs to see what we could find. Of course we carried waaay more gear than we needed, but it gave us some options from scenic (we’re in Juneau after all) to action (the dogs) to macro (complete with off-camera flash).

I tend to enjoy the macro option because I love to notice the details that constantly surround us. It’s amazing how you can go for a walk and miss all of the infinitesimal miracles all around.

Anyhow, here are my 3 keepers of the day that I recall taking. (We had swapped camera bodies several times, so I couldn’t tell you who took many of the other images).

I don’t consider these fine-art, and subsequently they’re just for show and tell, but I hope you’re taking the time to notice your world around you.


3rd Annual Calendar

For the past couple of years, I have taken on the task of creating a photo calendar featuring some of my work from the past year. It’s a fun project for me to look back and find 12 of my favorite images, and of course my mom loves it because she can now brag about the artist, but still get’s her annual calendar from her son!  🙂

In reflection of my 2011 images, I didn’t think I had a strong enough collection in one particular vein to have strictly a Macro, Wildlife, Scenic, or other theme. But with Heather’s help, we were able to get it done. You can call this particular grouping, “photos that made the cut”! Ha!

For printing this year, I decided to go with one of our partners, Kodak Gallery. In the past I had used iPhoto, chosen for their fairly simple process to get a large, quality calendar. So many places offer calendars but at some minuscule size (like 8.5×11) which, to me, communicates mass-market cheapness. I’m a big fan of quality over price.

After receiving the calendars last week, I can say that I like the product. The size is more than adequate –14.25″x10.9″– (larger than the iPhoto calendar –13″x10.4″– that I’ve had previously), and the print quality gets a 7/10 ranking because while the quality of the print & paper was mostly amazing (9-10/10), the downside was that their printer obviously had some issues as there were color bands across many of the images (5/10). I haven’t decided if I’m going to chase down their quality control offices and demand a refund (reprinting is too late in the game for Christmas Gifting.) They may be expensive to make, but it’s fun to share, and most people can actually use it throughout the year!

If you don’t get one from me by new years and you REALLY, REALLY have to have one, let me know. I’m happy to order more, but you’ll cover the costs. 🙂

Here are the images (in order of how they appear in the calendar). Click for a larger view.

           


World Wide Photo Walk

Each year Scott Kelby coordinates an International Photowalk where thousands of photography enthusiasts come out of the woodwork to enjoy an outing with their cameras. Because of the world wide reach of Kelby’s influence, there are also some major names who come forward to sponsor the event and each participant has the chance to submit an image for consideration of impressive prizes.

Anyhow, today we had approximately 10 folks join in the Juneau fun. It was great weather, good company, and we even had the occasion of multiple forms of local wildlife.

Sadly, I don’t get the chance to submit a photo to be in the running for the grand prize, but I’m pretty sure I get to submit an image to be in the running for the Leaders competition.

These are my 5 top images from the day – enjoy!

 

 See these and more at my 2011 Fine Arts Gallery.

 


Glacial HDR

Generally speaking, I don’t use HDR much. Most of my post-processing is done through a variety of tools within Lightroom. I lean on things like exposure, blacks/shadows, vibrance & clarity to handle my editing. It works well for me. This time, with the ice (and the extreme darks and lights) I decided to bracket my shots and then create a few HDR (High Dynamic Range) images. I think they turned out alright. What do you think?

 

 

See these and more at my 2011 Fine Arts Gallery.


West Glacier

I am ridiculously tired, but it was oh-so-worth-it. 🙂

Today I hiked out West Glacier trail to the face of the ice. After finding the first “cave” unappealing (aka boring), I decided to head farther up the ice and around the bend to find a fairly major cave. It was long enough that daylight was blocked from the entrance, and you were left with a world of blue. This is the first image that I’ll consider a finished product. It is actually several images stitched together to look down towards each end of a bend in the cave.

Enjoy!

Click here for a larger version, or to purchase a print!


Nature, Up Close

Thanks to my friend & fellow photographer Herb Law of Minute Sixteen, I’ve got a new toy on loan to play with for a couple weeks. It’s a giant piece of glass: the 200-400mm f4 VRI. Time will tell if it’s a good idea for me to play with toys like this. It could go either way – maybe I realize I don’t need it, or conversely I find I can’t live without it.

At any rate, I’m considering purchasing some “long glass” – either a similar super-telephoto, or something like a 300mm f2.8 prime lens. I love to have a long reach on the lens, and lately I’ve been “surviving” (oh, the humanity!) with a 70-200mm f2.8 VRII and a 2x teleconverter giving me effectively 140-400mm.

Carrying around the 200-400 today was beastly, with a 5+” diameter and a length of ~18″ (not including the lens hood), you could easily get a work out from just an hour of consistent shooting. 7.5 lbs of glass and metal is not for the faint of heart.

Anyhow, enough with my babbling; here are a few images from today.

See these and more at my 2011 Fine Arts Gallery.

 

 


Out Late

Saturday morning I snapped awake at 4am and suddenly realized that the northern lights might be out. I had noticed a stronger than usual chance of the aurora, so was enthusiastic to get up early to explore. I checked Facebook for the requisite comments about the lights and found several folks who had commented enthusiastically. So I set out… And found nothing but a sunrise. 🙁

Last night I opted to stay up late in order to look for the lights. A friend came along so we headed out to the Mendenhall Glacier in hopes of escaping the light pollution of streetlights. After checking out the horizon and not seeing anything of note, we continued to the shore of the Mendenhall Lake. Night photography is always something I enjoy and I had hoped that I might be able to capture some of that cool blue coloration of the evening sky and maybe even the Big Dipper over the glacier itself.

I thought the evening worked out well, photographically speaking. The Auroras came out for around 1-2 minutes at nearly 2:50am, and Joel can tell you how excited I was. I seem to have a knack for getting shots of the aurora the night after a great display. It works, but one of these times I’m hoping the timing will be in my favor.

Enjoy the photos…

This is obviously modified in post production - I had noted that my camera was able to capture the detail of the mountains and nearly give a daylight feel, but with stars. I should note that it is ~2:45am, and it is in fact dark to the naked eye.

One of the techniques I learned long ago was to turn around when photographing an interesting subject. Sometimes we get so immersed in what we "should" be photographing that we miss something even more spectacular that is happening behind our backs. Try it sometime. Oh, and regarding post production here: I simply muted the tungston lights falling on some of the tree branches.

Another instance of 'Turn Around'. If you look closely along the shoreline, you can see my friend Joel engrossed in his own imagery.

Proof of the Auroras. 🙂 Oh, and note the Big Dipper

See these and more in my 2011 Fine Art Gallery.


Montana Creek Macro

Last weekend while Heather was sleeping, I headed out to enjoy a morning hike along Montana Creek. I took entirely too much photography gear, but that’s what I do. 🙂

On the way back, during the brief periods that it wasn’t raining, I captured a few images of the flora (and fauna!) along the path. With macro, it’s always darker outside than I expect. Even “wide open”, I had to crank up the ISO so that I could capture these handheld.

Enjoy!

 

 


Early Mornings

In Juneau, during the summertime, we are blessed with more than 18 hours of daylight at the June solstice. Even now in late July, we get around 17 hours of daylight. I love these summer months for the bright early morning outings to spend time with wildlife. There’s something magical about sharing a look of curiosity with a purely wild creature. And, in the early, early hours of the day, you don’t have to fret as much about the most unpredictable species: humans. I am grateful for my quiet time in the wilderness before most people would even consider being awake.

This morning was another outing for me. There were a couple bears near the glacier this morning. I sat and watched one of them for nearly two hours; here are a few keepers…

 

And, I’ve been learning to appreciate fences too…

Oh, and there was a visiting eagle too. Man I love Alaska.


Recent Wild Things

It’s the summertime again, and so subsequently I’ve been out in the mornings and whenever I can taking more photos of the nearby wildlife. It amazes me to think that I can sit on a rock just 10 feet away from massive American Bald Eagles and they’re as ‘common’ as the crows down the beach. Living here certainly has it’s perks. 🙂


Juneau to Haines to Skagway to Juneau or Bust

Heather and I went on a great mini-roadtrip this last weekend. It was three nights away from town and I thoroughly enjoyed the time away from phones and email and other distractions to be able to sit and chat and giggle with my wife. It was our two year anniversary on Monday, and it’s a good reminder that we’re in love, not just the business of living together. Anyhow, I took my camera along for the drive too, expecting the weather to cooperate a bit. Here are my top selections from the images I brought back…

 

 

 

 

 


Magnificent Moss

Click for a larger version

I love macro shots because they help me to capture such great detail of something that we commonly overlook. It’s so easy to see a forest floor and recognize that it’s green in color, and might be soft to step on, but how often do you lean in close to see the individual ‘blades’ of the moss and how they catch light during a sunset?

For me? This was a first.

Click for a larger version