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The night before friday we finally got snow. And i dont mean 5 cm...we got 50-60cm in one big portion. While i was shuffling snow like an idiot in the morning, all i could think of was where i was gonna shoot in the evening. It`s dark when i leave for work and it`s just as dark when i get home from work. This means i`m stuck with nightshooting at the moment.


I spend large portions of the day trying to figure out where to shoot. I decided to visit a remote spruceforest. I wanted to shoot large sprucetrees covered in snow...


When i put on my skis in the evening i was feeling quite confident. My fear of the dark was not gonna ruin this evening. When i turned on my headlamp my confidence got bruised... The headlamp had been turned on in my pocket for god knows how long. The light was so weak it was like i had a candlelight attached to my forehead...


I tried to ignore everything and started fighting my way into the woods. The snow was pure powder and i kept sinking to my knees in snow. It was a struggle... After a while i was too tired to be scared. I said to myself: " i better return with something nice...or i`ll never do this again..."


I got deeper and deeper into the woods. It was almost total darkness. No moon to help me this time. In moonlight i feel quite comfortable since it lights up a snowcovered landscape nicely. Now i was surrounded by darkness....and silence. Complete silence. I set up everything. Trying to compose with the aid of a candlelight was not easy. I felt like a complete idiot... But to those reacting to the "falling trees"..that was on purpose since i think that adds to the atmosphere. Creating a more threatening image..


Every exposure was a nightmare. This one took 60 seconds. 60 seconds of silence and fear of being slaughtered by whatever lives in these woods. I had shivers down my spine constantly... But i liked what the lcd told me. I did a few shots and started skiing down towards my car and safety...


Now i faced another problem. Going downhill in the woods with a broken headlamp.... I`m norwegian, so skills on skis is something we are born least thats what i`ve heard. I somehow managed to get home in one piece, so the myth of norwegians and skis must be true.. Anyway, i`m starting to think that my nightly adventures are helping my fear of the dark. I no longer think of Friday the 13th every time i`m out. Ok..i admit that i still close my eyes every now and then and count to ten because i`m sure i`m about to be murdered...but i`m really getting better :-)


When i started processing the images i was struck at how far artificial lights can reach.Every shot was coloured by the lights from the local airport...far far away from where i was shooting. Fascinating...


Don`t know if the shots i got was worth the struggle though...


Canon 5d w/17-40mmL

60 sec



iso 1600


oh...i almost forgot. I have made a small and not so interesting website. I really don`t know my way around these things, but hey...atleast i have a website.


Here it is...and don`t laugh :-)


Thanks for looking!



The road from Death Valley to Zion is a lot longer than I had planned for. Granted, it didn’t help stopped often for snacks, to use the restroom, check for wi-fi, or make the occasional sports bet (hey, I was in Nevada) During one casino run I ended up spending a good hour in some lowly establishment playing Pai-Gow with a bunch of vets….considering it WAS Veteran’s day….I figured it was only fitting. While these old guys may have won some wars…they were most definitely not on the winning end of their battle with the Pai-Gow dealer….who, ironically, was from Vietnam. It was all very surreal, and probably funny only to me. Actually…come to think of it, maybe it just seemed surreal because the old dudes were so heavily laden with Old Spice…it forced me to hallucinate. That’s a big issue with getting old…when you have to dose yourself in enough cologne so that YOU can smell it, and your smeller is only operating at about 20% of what it used to. These guys STUNK. Whatever, it killed an hour…and allowed me to shake off the cobwebs from the hours of driving I’d endured the past 24 hours.


The final plan for the day was to arrive in Zion. Rent my dry pants and canyoneering shoes, and then head to the visitor center to secure my permit to hike ‘The Subway.’ When that was finished I figured I would have enough time to grab a bite to eat…and maybe a power nap before photographing the sunset. Rob wasn’t arriving in St. George until midnight…I was going to have a considerable time left after sunset to kill before his shuttle showed up. There’d be plenty to do in St. George to kill time.


My plan didn’t quite work as planned. It never does. Ever. First off, the place I stopped to rent gear (even though in an email they told me I didn’t need to reserve the gear…they had plenty) had run OUT of dry pants. I was stuck renting only the shoes and neoprene socks…then proceeding down the road to Zion Outfitters to rent pants. For which they made me endure a video showing me how to behave in the canyons. It was very funny, in a totally unintentional way. The highlights had to be the respecting other hikers portion, where they show some guy splashing other hikers while in the narrows. Do other hikers actually DO that? Walk in the river then kick water on other hikers? According to this video, it must have been an issue. That’s why they rent you the staff right? To beat the hell out of any hiker who kicks water on you? My other favorite part was the poor guy who had to carry out his own doodie in a sack….his face, while totally fake, was priceless. I recommend renting gear there if for no other reason than to watch the mandatory video.


Now I have even more gear in my car.


I set out to get my permit for the wave. Time was ticking…and the sky, was looking favorable. I parked, and went in to the backcountry portion of the visitor center just in time to listen to the beginning of what would be a 15 minute story told by some climbers about something they had just done, and something that seemed very uninteresting to everyone BUT the climbers. The ranger tried to appear slightly interested and have them write their report down on a document she had handed them…She did not want it verbally spewed to her minutes before closing. I wanted to scream. Sunset was coming, and I had to listen to these knuckleheads talk about choke-stones and belaying.


FINALLY, The climbers ( I should clarify…it was only one of the climbers. The lady. The gentlemen looked like he was utterly wiped out, and wanted nothing more than to get somewhere he could have a cold beer, and relax. It was his female companion who felt she needed to bond with the ranger about the trials and tribulations of their climb, he rolled his eyes several times and wandered off to stare blankly at posters.) opted to write out their report as instructed rather than retelling it a 3rd or 4th time. I was allowed to get my permit and head out. It really wasn’t that simple. I had to run OUT to my car and get my license plate number before they would give me my permit…apparently, they are afraid of a pantload of white Prius’ overtaking their parking area…and wanted to be able to pick out mine specifically.


“Seriously? White Prius isn’t enough?”


“No sir, we need the license number before the permit can be issued.”


Permit in hand I set out to find a spot to shoot the sunset, which was only minutes away.


Within a five minute span I watch a potentially awesome sky vanquish into a miserable display of gray. Not even gray that would look nice with some black and white processing. Just awful. I just stood on the bridge watching the watchmen…who was watching who knows what. Maybe he was watching me, with my gear, alone, looking at a wasted night of photography. I tried to salvage something and hike up to the weeping rock…but it wasn’t flowing so nice…which made ME want to weep.


Stupid Zion.


With nothing to photograph, I opted to head into Springdale and get some dinner. I had seen this little Tex-Mex place, and from its outward appearance it looked festive, and quite possibly totally awesome. It’s the Southwest man, the Mexican food HAS to be good….right?!?




This was easily the worst Mexican food I’ve had in a long time. I pointed out in a Facebook update, that it was the worst Fajitas I’d had since I was in Prague about 15 years ago. That food, while horrid, was slightly justified. To their credit, the Czechs were fairly recently a eastern block country, and not so familiar with their friends south of the American border. They just new they needed some faijitas and tried like hell to come up with something they thought fit, and failed miserably. This place had Hispanic peeps working there, and were IN the Southwest…home of Tex-Mex. They had no excuse.


“Hello police, I’d like to report a robbery….someone stole all the flavor out of my fajitas.”


I left full…but totally disappointed.


I decided to head into St. George and wait…it was a good sized city, there had to be something to do to pass time until Rob arrived. Right?




St. George might be the most boring place on earth after the sun goes down. I drove ALL over that place. I even did google searches for ‘nightlife in St. George‘, and Google LAUGHED at me. The first thing that came up was something that said ‘ while St. George doesn’t have much of a nightclub scene, people in St George are fond of their ice cream...’


Ok. So they’re not big on nightlife…but they’re big on eating Ice Cream…hey, ME too….we can work with this. I looked for the directions to the ‘Blue Bunny’ Ice Cream place, and set off for some dessert. While my dinner was a disappointment, surely I could rebound and go big with dessert. Right?




It wasn’t terrible..but for a community of people who supposedly LOVE their ice cream, they’ve been getting some pretty mediocre dairy treats and just living with it. It wasn’t great. It’s ice cream…so of course, I ate it all…but California has way better ice cream…maybe it’s the happy cows….who knows.


St. George, either get some nightlife, or taste some real ice cream…you’re MISSING OUT ON LIVING.


OK. Let’s recap.


Dinner- Check.

Dessert- Check.

Four hours to kill until Rob arrives- Check.






I made 3 or 4 laps around the St. George area….stopped at a grocery to buy some water and stuff for the hike the next day. Organized my camera bag, got everything else all situated.


Three and a half hours left.


Nothing to do.


I thought about seeing a movie…which was a bizarre thought to have while on a trip for photography and outdoors activities. St. George didn’t even have any movies I wanted to see! Everything was old. St. George is three weeks behind the rest of the world cinematically. This city, while full of extremely friendly people…is out of it. Maybe being friendly is a full time job for these people.


With nothing else to do, I went to the Howard Johnson Inn where Rob’s shuttle was going to drop him off, pulled in, laid my seat back, and slept.


I woke at 11:45pm just as Rob’s shuttle pulled in. He quickly loaded more gear, and after a brief stop at Wal-Mart to get some snacks for him we set off for Zion.


Rather than find a camping area, we just pulled into the trailhead parking area for ‘The Subway’ and set up the tent, right next to the no camping sign for style points. Rob gathered his massive amounts of gear, threw it in the tent, and set out to get a couple hours sleep before we would have to wake and set out. I crawled in the Prius’ set up my pad, and tried to get a few hours as well.


Here’s a shot from the hike into the Subway, The bottom up route is boring, and not very interesting until the last ¾ a mile…then it’s just amazing. This shot is pretty typical of what folks come away with…but it doesn’t make it any less enjoyable.


The Death Valley workshop...home of the original crockpot story is coming up fast. Come spend two full days of photography with Stephen Oachs and Me (and the crockpot) Only 3 spaces left!!!


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Herrenchiemsee is a complex of royal buildings on the Herreninsel, an island in the middle of the Chiemsee, Bavaria's largest lake, 60 km south east of

Munich, Germany

and is the biggest of Ludwig II of Bavaria's palaces.

The New Palace is, in a sense, a monument to Ludwig's adoration of Louis XIV

It was to have been an equivalent to the Palace of Versailles, but only the central portion was built before the king died, leaving 50 of the 70 rooms of the palace unfinished.


I posted a macro of a portion of this fence a couple of days ago. Here now is the bigger picture.

Happy Fence Friday everyone and have a great weekend.


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I spent a large portion of my weekend attempting to get out and create some new images. When you’ve been in a photo drought it can seem like forever from the last time you had a good day of shooting. It almost feels, at times, like you’ll never get another good day ever again.


I was feeling that way BIG time.


Six days travelling to and in and from the southwest with barely a cloud to be seen.


Then coming home to miss a few doozie sunsets, and trying to make up for it with a trip to Crater Lake which failed HARD, then an attempt the following week two trips through Lassen NP neither of which was productive.


I was on a serious o-fer.


This past weekend I went out Saturday morning with my friend Adam to try and capture something memorable at Lassen NP. I had to return a radio to them…so it made the choice of where to shoot quite easy.


We left early and arrived at the Kings Creek meadow area with time enough to spare, so we could assess the situation and then make a decision whether we wanted to shoot the peak and meadow, or make the hike down to the cascades and falls area.

It became apparent quite early that the light and color was going to show up. We had bright spots of pink near the horizon a full 45 minutes before the sun rose, and clouds were in all the right places.


I was giddy.


The clouds and conditions looked favorable in the meadow, so rather than make a hike in the dark, we opted to stay in the meadow and shoot the creek and peak.


“I think this is going to be one of the best sunrises I’ve ever seen in this area!” I shouted at Adam as we were setting up our various compositions in the field.


I should’ve kept my mouth shut. I know better than to comment on a sunrise or sunset until it is over.


Within in minutes the pinks and purples faded and we were left with nothing but cold feet and a drab mountain. A plane even flew through the scene and left a fat contrail as the middle finger exclamation point to the morning.


Even though we had a brief moment of light to the east with which to shoot the meadow…It was still a bit disappointing, and the morning was chalked up as another day in the o-fer category.


I got home and all day the clouds continued to look promising.


They taunted me.


I made a decision in the evening to load up the older child and make another go at getting something decent at Lassen NP.


By the time we’d loaded up and set off the sky was looking less like something spectacular would happen, and more like I would end up with being shut out twice in the same day. There was only a small window of free sky near the horizon, that would need to hold out if there was going to be any chance of a sunset happening.


I like my kids, and generally enjoy them….but when they’re both in the car with me it takes about 3 minutes before I seriously wonder why I had any to begin with. Then I’m fortunate enough to take them out individually and I remember why I like them. We have good conversations, talk about life, goals, and dreams…the ride is fun, and something I put away in the good memory folder. To be opened after the first 3 minutes of a car ride with both kids together.


When we got to Lassen it was looking really sweet. The mountain was lit up with soft evening light. Blue sky and white streaky clouds were in all the right places. Manzanita Lake was a perfect mirror. Which is rare….it’s hard to get both clouds and reflection here.


Brenden and I made the short hike out to the area I like to shoot from. I put on the waders and set off into the lake while Brenden sat on the shore, played with sticks, and had conversations with the birds.


By conversations I mean he screamed bird noises at the top of his lungs. Hey it made a cool echo…I’d have done it too.


I think he chased off every other hiker in the area. I saw at least 2 sets of people get up from their peaceful picnic spots and walk away. Hey, sometimes you just gotta talk with birds.


The whole time I was in the lake I was just praying that the little patch of clear space was still along the horizon, and that I’d have even two minutes of good mountain glow and light.


Finally, it happened. I got a bit of a break with some nice conditions….


While this is not anything groundbreaking or off the charts cool…it’s so much better than what I’d dealt with the previous three weeks. The composition is something a bit new too from the stuff you normally see from this lake.


Enjoy, and here’s to better skies in the weeks to come.


Conditions are looking prime for Yosemite the weekend…and Stephen won’t be there to jinx it either. Two spots left.


I learned something new today!!!! (First go through on this image. PLEASE Note: this looks one-half stop too light on flickr than it looks on my monitor).


“Genius is 1% inspiration, and 99% perspiration” – Thomas Alva Edison


That isn't what I learned. I learned I should take 1% from perspiration and add it as a third category – “serendipity. “


Today, I realized I have been using my textures full-frame, as they were downloaded. I’ve duplicated them for depth, erase them where I don't wish them to affect the image, and use blending options, hue and saturation, as well as various blur and sharpen settings. There’s lots of lasso tool, copy and paste going on too to creat mini-layers on which to work.


But I’ve always used them at full frame, as they came. Why? Every now and then I might use one half-frame, but usually, I scaled them to fit the entire image. Again, Why?


An idea came to mind. I picked this image, Kankakee River at Sunset, Warner Bridge Area west of the State Park, to try out the idea because it is structurally complex, but clearly delineated in sections: sky, clouds, trees, water, islands.


I then picked one texture by skeletalmess, flypaper, distressed jewell, cat hair studios, and one of some stars. The more coarse the texture, the better I thought it might work.


I placed one texture layer on a given area. Then, using the “edit>transform>warp” tool, I shaped the texture layer – squeezing, pulling, crushing, extending it – until it more or less fit the area I wished with little bleed over to other parts of the image. The sky; trees; islands; water. Each of those areas has one style of texture on it.


Using the blending option, I blended the texture as I wished, then multiplied it once or twice to gain visual depth. I locked those layers together. Curves got applied, as well as lots of burning and dodging. I did this one section of the image at a time (in order – sky, then water, then trees, then the islands) – saving, saving, always saving the psd file.


It is the closet thing to oil painting – with the layering of oil on a canvas surface using big, medium and small brushes – that I’ve felt so far. Paintings aren’t always done top to bottom or left to right or any particular order, but as the artist feels. This was wonderful. The image built and built itself up as if on canvas.


It feels like what I call myself nowadays for lack of a better term: a photo/artist.


As I am fairly comfortable with photoshop, the tech parts aren’t daunting, but still require thought; mainly about using the warp transformation selection. The process is, think of something, pick a texture, put it on the image, do the tech stuff, look at it; repeat. If it is stinky, delete that layer and do it again, and again, until it is pleasing.


As I am now only affecting a small and specific part of the overall image, each texture can be picked to do a specific, instead of general, overall task. The effect and feeling of control is exhilerating.


It took about three-four hours to do this image (with breaks). Same amount of time I’d spend on a wet print. A lot less time than the days it took to do a painting. But, anyway, what’s my rush? Do I have something better to do? NO. I don’t


I like where this took me today. One texture, used multiple times, for one particular part of the image. Differing textures used only on limited (selected) portions of the image, warped to make it fit those specific areas. I suspect that a few of you are already doing this in one way or another.


I like images that are rich in color an contrast, with a sense of depth to them. This helped achieved that wondrously for me.


I grew as an artist today. 1% inspiration +1% serendipity + 98% perspiration = genuis. :-)


Damn! It feels good. Got to try another.


After i shot this one; i had quite a walk ahead of me. And the sun was about to say goodbye. I have already stated my intense fear of the dark. Im not just a little afraid..i`m the biggest pussy you`ll ever find when it comes to dark places :-) The only time i`m comfortable in the dark is when i have a remote in my hand doing long exposures.


So i walked/ran like Forrest Gump down from the mountains. I`m pretty sure i outran a hare and a fox at some point, but i was too afraid to doublecheck that...


Just before i reached the car i noticed this little area by the creek that follows the road. The grass was frozen and the light was mystic. My heart pounding like crazy, i set up the tripod. With the remote in my hand the pulse normalized. I went into compmode, took this one and got the hell out of there...


This one is more or less straight out of the camera. 30 sec,f/4,iso 100 @17mm.


I`ve cropped a small portion at the top since i found the light up there to be a little bit disturbing. I wanted to keep some of it to explain the reflections.


whatever... is my birthday... 17 years old held hostage in a 31 year old shell..


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Have a great day everyone... and again, thanks for visiting!





LET'S READ>> Etna Walk Meeting - 15 Gennaio 2012, Monte Minardo (Etna Ovest)


1° parossismo del 2012 dell'Etna, 19° della serie, visto dalla strada Mareneve, Fornazzo. 05 Gennaio 2012

1st Etna's paroxysm of 2012, 19th of the series, seen from Mareneve, Fornazzo. January 5th 2012.


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Please add COMMENTS and FAVES. I hope to reciprocate as soon as possible!!! :)


© All rights reserved.

Use without permission is illegal. Unauthorized use, copy, editing, reproduction, publication, duplication and distribution of my photos, or any portion of them, is not allowed.

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This shot was taken using a new technique that I read about online. Using a solid black 8x10 card, I opened the shutter on the camera and left it open, and then I used the card as an external shutter, only opening it when there was a single firework present in the sky(which wasn't often during this show). It took about 5 mins to get the settings right and it takes a bit of luck as well as quite a bit of post processing bit I managed to pull it off during this very long exhibition. This is a combination of 3 different shots, one for the sky, one for the boats and city, and the multiplied shot all combined into one final scene. Of course the camera has to remain perfectly still during all the exposures.


The show was supposed to start at 8:45 and one firework went off at 8:45 then nothing, a highly patriotic crowd roared when it went off, then they waited and waited 9:00 pm rolls by, nothing! Meanwhile I used this time as an opportunity to relocate now that I knew where the fireworks were going to be in the sky. I'm not sure if that was done intentionally or if it was some technical difficulty but I used it like a gift. At 9:15 the crowd started chanting "We want Fireworks" "We want Fireworks" and after about 5 mins of that it died down on our shore but you could hear it from the other side of the lake like a wave from a baseball game but with sound. It was incredible to hear 80,000 people all chanting "We want Fireworks" around a five mile long lake. That was almost as impressive as the show I was about to see. What I hadn't anticipated was the massive boat presence on the water making it very difficult to get a good reflection.


I've spent the better part of 35 years in the secluded portions of San Bernardino Mtns. and really only ventured into Big Bear lake for the skiing. With 3 resorts, it's the best option for last minute spontaneous night skiing. Last year I had heard about the fireworks show that the Rotary Club puts on, supposedly the largest fireworks show in California, so at around 2:00pm I decided to check it out for myself.

Well, I have to say that it was quite a impressive show that lasted around 35 minutes and had some great 3D fireworks of shapes and symbols. This was taken from the North Shore east of the fawnskin area in the northwest section of the lake. The best spot it seems is from the observatory east on the north shore, there you will see the land based displays that sit on top of a huge floating barge.


I couldn`t believe my luck when this Cormorant surfaced with this fish caught the whole scene in a series of shots from catch to big swallow :)

RUPO 381 is just about done on the Rumford Branch portion of its journey. After stopping at the big switch to get paper onto the main line from D1, the train slowing begins moving west.

There are places I photograph that, for the most part, I’m content with the images I’ve gathered. Burney Falls is one of those places. I don’t think I’ve gotten THE image yet…but I’m happy with what I have in my portfolio and the location has dropped down to a ‘conditional shoot,’ meaning if conditions are right…I would go back and shoot.


I’ve told myself the past two years, “If it snows a lot…then I’m going to go shoot Burney Falls.”


Well it snowed…A LOT the past week…and now its time to put up or shut up.


If you read my report from Oregon you know I HATE driving in the snow. I figured though, if I could take the van of all vehicles, and its non-snow touring tires, into some pretty hairy spots full of snow and ice…then my jeep should be a lot easier.


Still I wasn’t thrilled with the idea, and conditions had to be ideal for me to make the attempt.


By ideal I mean, snow all night the evening before, clearing in the morning for a few hours to allow the plows to do their work…and no chance of snow during my drive time. THEN, and only then would I give it a go.


The conditions played ball perfectly…and forced my hand. It was go time.


I had packed my winter gear and camera equipment in the car…and was able to leave directly from work.


There was a lot more snow on the road than I thought…..Even though it had been sunny for hours, and plow crews had passed through the area several times and were now parked on the roadside happily drinking scotch, I mean, uhm coffee.


Put down the thermos…there is STILL snow out there to be plowed gentlemen.


When I departed Redding, I assumed I would arrive at Burney Falls with plenty of time to stroll around and look for where I wanted to shoot from….BUT with this unplanned snow on the ground, and the rate at which traffic was navigating through it…I was going to be lucky if I made it at ALL before dark.


4:40 PM- I rolled into the Burney Falls SP parking area. The thermometer in the car read 13 degrees.


There was actually another car in the lot, belonging to some hikers…who were on their way out…leaving the entire park to me.


Quickly, as the night began its descent on the park, I set to getting my cold weather gear on.


Why is it that boots always decide to be finicky when you need to get them on in a hurry? For whatever, cruel reasons…my left boot decided to lock the top portion of my foot in a death-grip, while refusing the heel portion access to the warmth that lay below….the boot was half-on if you will.


It pissed me off.


The snow was too deep for me to just wear hiking boots, and I was in too much of a damn hurry to throw the demon boot across the icy parking lot where I could scream insults at it, and teach it a lesson, before slamming it into a tree two or three times for good measure.


All I could muster was some teeth clinched insults…as I angrily stomped my foot on the ground to try and force the foot in.


“GET IN THAT BOOT! You Stupid $#)(#(@&**!”


Finally…the foot found pay dirt and I was suited up…ready for action. Let’s do this.


The hikers I saw had already paved the trail to the base of the falls…so I was able to quickly maneuver the path to the base.


Burney Falls is a tough falls to shoot in my opinion…in nice weather. In 2 feet plus of snow…it’s a whole new ballgame. The mist, which is a constant struggle to deal with under ideal circumstances, becomes heavy in the below freezing temperatures and lingers in the air, just waiting to freeze to something.


Lens and glasses will do fine.


The polarizer I normally use was having serious issues with mist, so I took it off and put it in my pocket. My glasses I normally use to see with were now coated with mist, and began to freeze over as well making sight difficult.


Shooting this close to the base of the falls wasn’t going to work. I needed to move.


My favorite spots to shoot the falls from lays along the creek about 35 yards from the falls. In summer, getting to this spot requires traversing a field of lava rocks, and a maze of trees and shrubs. It’s not too difficult…because you can see where you’re walking.


When two feet of snow cover the area, each boulder becomes a potential ankle snapping hazard. Shrubs, cloaked in snow, long to grab hold of a leg, and fling you face first into the powder. Trees hold up piles of snow, waiting to fall on you and your gear should you move the correct branch and trigger its descent.


Even if I was careful maneuvering the maze of trees…I’d have triggered some snow fall. I was running late on light…so I took the bull rush approach.


Let it be noted, the bull rush approach isn’t fun.


Pile upon pile of snow fell on my head, and unfortunately…my gear too. I tried to keep the camera dry, and succeeded (sort of) in keeping the front of the lens dry….but a big pile of snow landed right on the back of the camera…filling the eye-piece with ice.


Taking photos is interesting without the use of the eye-piece….it takes a lot of trial and error….which is made nearly impossible as mist begins too settle on your lens, your feet shake from balancing on two icy rocks, and your gloves are of no longer of use to keep your hands warm because what little dry areas they had left is being used to wipe your lens free from icy mist.


Oh yeah…and it’s about 10 degree outside….and I’m the only one in the park.


Taking photos is cake.


Once I’d done my best to capture the falls from my little spot on the creek…I made my way back to the trail…making sure I triggered any snow that remained in the trees to fall on my head as I passed under. I especially like the part when the snow went down my coat onto my back….that was swell.


Even though I was just above miserable, I stopped and took a few more snaps before I went back up the trail…but by this time it was dark, stars were out, and the temps were dropping rapidly….any part of my head that had gotten wet with mist or snow was an icicle.


I like the word cold….but it really doesn’t do justice to the environment I was in.


I was real happy to finally get back to the car…although I almost slipped on the frozen parking lot and ended it all, 2 feet from my car door. HAHA….I would’ve survived the frozen Narnia-esque plow through the frozen wasteland of the falls, only to end up in a jangled heap right by my car door. That would’ve been just like me.


The drive home was slow….and temperatures got as low as 1 degree….I stuck my arm out the window for a minute so I could ‘feel what 1 degree was like’


1 degree sucks. It took me 25 minutes to re-feel what normal was like.


I wasn’t thrilled with everything I got photo-wise. However, I was proud of my endurance to make the drive, and then actually go photograph the falls…two years ago I never would’ve considered it. I know I can do better, and I plan on returning this weekend with Stephen Oachs to try again…and this time I’m bringing waders.


A view of a portion of the Big Thompson River flowing through one of the valleys in the park.

On Black

A River Through It - Mark Isham

I’m not sure what it is…maybe I’m a glutton for punishment…or perhaps I really do enjoy driving at night, like I tell myself…but it seems that whenever I’m going to photograph I leave early.


This past weekend I took my youngest son Aiden, and one of our dogs, Callie for an overnight trip to Redwoods National Park. This trip served to accomplish several goals.


1) Separate my kids for one day. They’ve been fighting so much lately we needed an intervention, even if it was just for 24 hours…they could regain normal kid form, and give us ’normal’ parent form again…even if for just 24 hours.


2) Last year during this time of year I took Brenden, my oldest son to the Redwoods for a day. I was nearly mauled by an elk…we drove through the worst of the Nor-Cal forest fires…The photography sucked, and I ate way too much fried food for my own good. My son had a good time though, and his bragging led his little brother demanding a trip of his own in the future.


That day came this weekend.


3) I wanted good photos of the Redwoods. I’ve been there 3 or 4 times in the past two years, and NEVER gotten images I even remotely liked. I live in California. What kind of portfolio can I build without Redwoods NP shots?


2AM- I woke up my son, who was mumbling incoherently about doughnuts and our trip. “Time to go…”


I know, you’re thinking;


“You sick man…what kind of dad-tard wakes his 5-year old up at 2am to torture him…just so he can get someplace for sunrise photography?”


Me. That’s the short answer…but in actuality, it was Aiden’s fault as well…he wanted to “get up before anyone else and leave while mom and Brennie were sleeping.” He may not have specified 2am…but we left while everyone else was sleeping, so he got his wish.


The drive to the coast was slower than usual due to fog, darkness, old eyes, and deer. We saw at least 7 deer on the drive. There’s no place to get coffee at that time either. Maybe leaving early ISN’T awesome.


I planned to shoot Luffenholtz Beach for sunrise…because, really, it’s the best spot in that area for photographing the Ocean. It’s close to Houda Point and Moonstone Beach and has every type of scenario one with a camera would want; Sea Stacks…big crashing waves…slow meandering waves….surfers….dogs…whatever your beach photographing desire is…it‘s there.


AND best of all..


It’s wiener free.


We rolled into one of the parking areas of that region about 5:15am. The sun hadn’t risen yet…but I could tell there was NOTHING in the way of good sunrise photography.

Gray-ball city.

Flat…uninteresting clouds…monochrome wasn’t even a real option.


The only thing left to do was nap.


Like my kids, my dogs all have very different personalities. Callie is the watch dog of the pack. She barks at each and every noise…no matter who it is….or what it is. She’s ready to protect. This is a reassuring trait…at home…where nighttime noise is minimal.


Trying to nap in a parking lot that is rapidly filling with surfers and beach combers-trying to catch the low tide…is really difficult with Callie standing guard.


Here a bark the a bark every five minutes a bark bark.




Here a growl there a growl everywhere a growl growl


Stupid dog. SHUT UP.


Somehow…we slept…We reallllly slept. We woke after 9am


9am was no different than 5am as far as weather was concerned…..still dull and gray. I think being a weatherman on the northern coast HAS to be the simplest job ever. Just guess…you’ll be wrong 75% of the time but nobody will care…because it’s the coast, and you can hide behind the ‘well…hehe this coastal fog is sure unpredictable isn’t it…should burn off at some point…hehe.”


The forecast was supposed to be SUN and partly cloudy.


If there is a silver lining to the boring gray skies…it’s that there is a better than average chance that the Redwood regions will be covered with fog…which IS great for photography.


Del Norte State Park…here we come.


I have to apologize to Oregon…whoever is responsible for Northern California’s coast park regions must have defected from Oregon….because there is far too many State Parks in this region as well. I guess California is guilty of over-park-syndrome as well.


I’m not familiar with all the ins and outs of the Redwoods National and State Parks region. It’s vast, and there’s a billion places to turn off and get lost in big trees. Big trees are intimidating to photograph. Photographically, I’ve heard people go nuts for the ‘Rhodies’ which is photo-slang for Rhododendron. I was happy just calling them pink flowers….but it’s not hip to ask another photographer,


“Yo…where’s a good spot for some pink flowers?”


You have to be photo-jargon-savvy….and say something like,


“How’s it going? What trails you tried so far? How the Rhodies?”


Then they know you’re IN and give you the 4-1-1 on where the Rhodies are poppin’


Damnation Creek trail. Rhodies be poppin. According to a photo source I saw while shooting along the road.


Aiden and I parked at the trailhead to Damnation Creek and set off. This trail is a 2.1 mile trek from Highway 101 all the way to the sea. It loses over 1000 feet in elevation as it drops to the beach. The parks service lists it as ‘Very Strenuous’ and ‘Steep’ I figured, being as I had my 5-year old…we wouldn’t go down too far…just enough to shoot some trees, and maybe a ‘Rhodie’ or two…then back up we’d go.


.6 miles into the trail…sits another sign warning hikers of the extreme elevation change, and sucktitude of the remaining portion of the hike. I figured this was a good spot to turn around.


“Where’s that trail go dad?” Aiden asks…bent down grabbing another wormy-millipede-like bug from the dirt to add to his already heaping handful of the critters.


“It’s steep dude…and it goes down to the ocean…”


“I wanna go to the ocean…”


“Oh we will, we’ll go to a different ocean...with less walking.” I assured him.


“I wanna go to THIS ocean.” He says matter-of-factly


“It’s STEEP Aiden…and you’re wearing rubber boots….we can go to another beach.”


“I don’t care. I wanna go to this one. Let’s go!”


“Fine. But I’m not carrying you up on the way back…not carrying…capiche?” I said trying to catch him as he tromped off down the path.


“Capiche.” came a little voice from down the trail.


The more we hiked…the steeper it got…and the more I reminded my son about the task that would await him once we finished playing at the beach.


“I KNOW…why don’t you worry about something else.”


“Alright…I just don’t wanna hear the complaining about how steep it is on the way back…”


“Well….well….you’re worried about it too.”


“I’m not worried about the hike. I’m worried about you…and you not making it….it’s STEEP. I know you too well.”


“Beach.” he said, pointing down the trail.




The beach was nice…not huge, but under good conditions it could be a pretty sweet place to photograph. We took some snap shots on the beach…threw rocks and sticks…and watched the waves for a bit. There was a group of foreign high-school students there as well. Everyone was looking at me like I was the worst parent in the world.


How dare you drag your 5 year old down here…that’s CRAZY! Was the look I was getting from more than one person.


Hey. He wanted to. It was HIS idea. Was what I wanted to scream…but they wouldn’t have understood me.


As suspected…the hike up was NOT fun for Aiden. 100-yards into the return trip he was asking to be carried.


I wasn’t carrying him.


I’ll spare you most of the agony of the hike back…but just know it was LONG, and by the end my son was shirtless, and bellyaching with me about how tired, sore, and hungry he was….2/3 of the way back we passed a group of folks heading down.


“You guys having fun?” one of the ladies asked, making the typical trail-passing chit chat.


“Yeah.” I said, answering with the typical smiling response to trail-passing chit-chat.


“I’m not having fun!” My son snaps at me. “She wasn’t asking ME if I was having fun…because I AM NOT having ANY fun right now!”


No A, you are not having any fun…that is very apparent.


We made it back to the car…it only took an hour and a half. I’ve never seen a child happier to get back in the car.


Aiden can also say he’s completed the longest hike out of my kids….and he did it in Goulashes.


I’ve got to say I was very proud of him. Despite the complaining he did it all himself, and was patient (or too exhausted to care) while I stopped and took photos the entire hike.


This shot was from the hike down. I’ve got to say, even though there aren’t any ‘Rhodies’ in this image…I think it does a good job of showing how dramatic, and moody the park is.


Part 2 soon…

Seattle’s cosmetic surgery continues near the waterfront. This portion of Highway 99 (SR99), which was once part of the bilevel Alaskan Way Viaduct, continues to be redesigned and rerouted as construction demolishes the ground underneath for the new tunnel that will replace the viaduct in a few years. As a result, every couple of months since 2011, either slight or significant alterations are made to change the course of the highway itself.


Typically not your most attractive scene, the onset of what appeared to be a massive thunderstorm (that did not happen) coupled with the last hues of sunset made the scene look beautiful, yet chaotic, futuristic, and even apocalyptic in a manner best portrayed in science-fiction novels and movies.


For comparison, here is what this scene looked like back in April 2011, before any construction took place.


PROJECT "2014 : 365" / TIA INTERNATIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY / TIA Facebook / TIA Twitter / TIA Blogger


is color coded!


A year back I decided to upload my first picture in flickr. It has been only about a month then that I met (7) Dee and got interested in photography. Little did I know that Dee would have me spellbound since! The blue and pink realm of Flickr that started as a place to dump my so-called photographic efforts would soon turn into a place where I would meet friends, build relationships and learn from some great mentors (besides continuing to dump my so called photographic attempts)! They say, life is unpredictably beautiful; “they “ say it right! Never did I imagine I’d spent a non-trivial portion of my regular life in flick or behind photography for that matter. What started as a hobby, a way to pass time has turned into a part of who I am. I no longer take pictures to process or post only; I take pictures to feed my soul. Thank you all for your support.


Thanks Rafaat for helping me compose and take this picture.


On Black


Because it’s been awhile since I’ve unloaded a long story on you….here’s a doozy.


This past Saturday was our first SF Workshop of the year w/ the Aperture Academy. This is one of our most popular classes and we had a full boat along for the ride. I can’t say enough nice things about the group we had, they were enthusiastic and just very eager to shoot all day. The full report of the day and photos of the students should be up at the Aperture Academy site very soon.


What I want to address is the morning I had leading UP to the workshop…which sucked.


This was the first SF workshop I was on sans Stephen. Stephen is in Quebec chasing hooters (owls) all over the countryside. We offer so many classes now that we’ve added a lot of great instructors to help out. For whatever reason, due to the new dynamics, and such I was STRESSED big time about the whole day for weeks. The size of our groups means we needed a van in order to transport our students from location to location.


Getting the van was my job. Kelly, our gallery manager, and all around big help had made the reservation for me ahead of time at Enterprise rent-a-car in Berkley. It was on my way into SF and they have an afterhours drop off for when the class was over. It was perfect. They would also allow me to pay for the rental on my debit card…as long as it has a Visa or M/C logo on it, which mine does. I don’t carry a credit card because they’re a huge pain in my rear, and just one more thing I can lose somewhere. However, Enterprise had assured us, the van could be rented with what I carry on my person.




I rose early Saturday and took off towards the city by the bay. It was raining for most of the early portion of the drive…which caused more stress. The forecast had looked GOOD…it’s not supposed to rain. Rain sucks. Rain makes our schedule more hectic, and our day harder to plan. We ALWAYS run our courses rain or shine…but rain, a big van in traffic, and no Oachs would lead to an interesting afternoon.


Luckily, by the time I hit Williams, the storm had scattered some, and it appeared the day would be very nice. My plan was to roll into Berkley by 9:45am, get the van and be at our meeting point early. One of my BIGGEST peeves is being late somewhere…it drives me NUTS. I’m pretty impatient as it is…I like to be early; which is one reason I normally go down a night early for these workshops.


According to plan, I arrived at Berkley Enterprise Rent-a-van at about 9:45am. I walked in, and was greeted by the anvil shaped man behind the counter. He began to ring up my order. Right on Schedule! A minute into the transaction the anvil’s face furrowed…and he told me he needed my major credit card to complete the order.


Oh Anvil….this was NOT in the plan. I was told I had what was needed…Kindly give me my van, and I will be on my way.


Anvil, it turns out, can NOT rent me a van under ANY circumstances without a credit card; EVEN if the debit card has the proper credit card symbol, and plenty of cheddar to cover the van rental….it can NOT be procured.


I tried to tell the anvil I was sorry I hadn’t been told this information, nor had our gallery manager…otherwise we WOULD have figured this out ahead of time…because that is, in fact, how we roll at ApCad…information is gathered ahead of time and plans are set to avoid setbacks.


Anvil tells me…he can’t do anything. Unless a person with the credit card ACTUALLY SHOWS UP. I have no van. I can’t even have my wife call with a number.


Awesomeness abounds.


I was already stressed…now I’m about to FREAK out.


(By the way, I have a cell phone now…and I’m SO glad….because it saved me today.)


I can’t call Stephen, because he’s either on a plane or in the middle of a Canadian field somewhere checking out owls. I sent him a cryptic text anyway, mainly to document the dilemma, and make myself feel like I was doing SOMETHING. I paced around the parking lot for a good 10 minutes trying to figure out what to do. I hope that the anvil will sense my rising stress levels, decide to be a good dude, and give me the van with a friendly, “I’ll do it THIS time, but next time…we won’t be able to do it…”


He does not. He apologizes…for some stupid reason. (If it’s not YOUR fault…why are you apologizing?) He asks if I have a student ID card…because it seems that for some lame reason a UC Berkley student ID is sufficient to rent a van…while money on a debit card is NOT.


I walk down the road to a café and get online. I love my i-pod. I leave Kelly a cryptic panic message, and find Jim Patterson’s phone number online (Jim is my co-instructor for the day)


Jim doesn’t answer…I leave him a panicked message. Everyone at some point got a panicked message from me that day.


I roll back to the van-holders to wait and try to figure out how I can lift the vehicle without them knowing it. I think a badge might work. “I’m an officer…and I need this vehicle.” I notice another guy working the counter. I’ll call him hair-gel. I make the attempt to talk with hair-gel, hoping he’s the ‘good-cop’ in this set-up. Turns out what they got going there is a ‘bad-cop’ ‘dumb-cop’ scenario. Neither individual was any help…and occasionally they were downright infuriating.


Thankfully, Patterson called me just as I was about to abandon ship and head to SF--sans van. Jim is a few minutes out, I have time to just sit and stare at Anvil and Hair-gel whilst I wait. I figure, at this point, because it’s nearly 10:45am, and I’m going to be rushed to get loaded and drive to the city when Jim arrives to secure the van. I ask Anvil where I should park. He confers with Hair-gel who tells me I can park anywhere where there isn’t a sign prohibiting it (really!?) and probably about six blocks away there should be some spaces. I thank him and set off to find parking.


I can’t find ANY places. The farther I go from the campus…the more ‘NO PARKING’ signs there seems to be. I can’t park 2-miles from the van…my mile time isn’t that good…and I need to be back soon.


Eventually, I look at one of the signs…and it says ‘EXCEPT SAT and SUN,’ which means I can park virtually ANYWHERE….even close to the van. Now I hate the Enterprise people even more for not knowing their own city, or what day it is. I found a parking spot about ½ mile from Enterprise, and run back to the van to meet Jim.


Jim gets the van situated; then we get to do the pre-flight check…to make sure we’re not billed for anything already damaged on the van…even though we have purchased full coverage. I think this is not efficient. If it’s fully covered…it doesn’t matter WHAT happens. I want to tell Hair-gel,


“Now when I return the key…should I give you the GPS coordinates for the wall I drove the van into?”


I decided not to, because it was in Jim’s name…and there’s a good chance we’ll have to rent this van again.


FINALLY at 11:25am I’m in the van and off to the city….and it starts to POUR rain. Kelly calls to say it’s pouring at Baker Beach as well. SWEET! This just gets better. In my mind I foresee the worst workshop ever; fourteen students standing in the rain waiting for their instructors. I punch the gas to start this van moving and notice I’ve got only 1/8th of a tank of gas.


They gave me a van that was running on fumes…and I have NO time to stop to get any in it. Wouldn’t it have made sense to check that during that whole period we were just staring at one another while I waited for Jim?


Solid work Enterprise, really solid.


Jim Calls me as I’m entering SF to tell me NOT to go on the Embarcadero because it’s swarming in a pro-choice/pro-life combat situation. I actually find that this whole Murphy’s Law situation that’s happening kind of funny. If this is truly going to be the worst workshop ever, it might as well REALLY be over the top. One instructor trapped in a rally, angry protestors beating on his vehicle with signs, the other out of gas in traffic, in a crap rental-van. Poor Kelly stuck at Baker Beach trying to teach a workshop she was only supposed to assist on; rain just pelting the soul out of the entire group, and Stephen off in Canada, reading my cryptic text messages wondering if his gallery will be burnt to the ground when he gets back.


Thankfully, I made it to Baker Beach only 5 minutes late, and Jim was already there. The rain had stopped…and we had an AMAZING class. This was the sunset we had that evening. The place we normally photograph was being bombarded by high surf, and these clouds were just off the charts cool…so we stayed and shot them. This was the only shot I took at the beach…and it was to show some students how to use a filter.

If you’d like to ride in the van, and be a part of any of our adventures, join us in one of our workshops.


If you like faces and books….then head to Facebook and see the best of both worlds. While you’re there, become a fan of my photography, and refer some of your friends and the 250th person, as well as the one who refers them will get a prize.


The new website is up and operational. If you’d like to buy a print, or be a sponsor for the Iceland Project…it’s ALL there to enjoy. It’s running a smidge slow right now, and we’re in the process of converting a few things around to make it speed up. (You’ll need a current browser to see it though.)

Big Thanks to for their hard work on making this site.


Now this is one large grasshopper I found in Florida! Too large to transport in my vehicle I had to get some shots in the field.


Micro-Nikkor, 55mm f/2.8 Nikon Lens


Romalea guttata, known commonly as the eastern lubber grasshopper or just lubber grasshopper, is a grasshopper native to the southeastern and south central portion of the United States. It is the most distinctive grasshopper species within the southeastern United States, and is well known both for its size and its unique coloration. It can reach nearly 3 inches (8 cm) in size.

It was a pleasure getting to meet Teri, Cyndi, and Robert today. They were kind enough to guide Geoff and myself around the little known parts of the bankhead national forest. This shot is from Coal Mine Branch Falls. This is a nice spot, very pristine. Once your down in the canyon there are few signs that people have been there. No trail, no trash, and no grafitti like you often find in more heavily visited areas. It was a big treat getting to see this place.

Explore #92 10/11/08


For those who asked about Yom Kippur and the holiday foods…

I will give you some of the traditions as my family celebrates them ......


Yom Kippur is the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. It falls 10 days after Rosh Hashanah and that 10 day period is a very important time. During this time we must atone for our sins, give forgiveness to those that transgressed against us and ask to be forgiven by those we have injured in hopes to be written into the book of life for another year. We also travel to the cemeteries where our loved ones are buried to pay our respect.


As the tradition is to fast on Yom Kippur, there is usually a lovely, filling meal the night before. Every family has their own tradition for this meal. Ours always includes chopped liver, matzo ball soup, a noodle kugel with a cinnamon topping, either brisket, a tenderloin roast, Cornish Hens in Peach Sauce, or Sweet and Sour Meatballs. This decision is made according to who will be at the table, as some who have married into our family prefer some dishes over others.

We always ended our meal with pies. My Mom was a wonderful pie maker and she was always thrilled to present her blueberry pie to the family. A lovely memory for me now.


We start our meal with a prayer over a Challah bread, which thanks G-d for the blessing of the food on our table. One slice is cut and passed around the table with each person taking a small portion of that piece as we share the blessing. Our little ones love this tradition, although we do sometimes hear that someone else’s piece is bigger! :-)

Then the rest of the Challah is cut and enjoyed along with the meal.


That evening we attend Kol Nidre Service at our Temple. This service has the most magnificent music and is so beautiful it moves my soul!


The following morning we again attend services. These services run throughout the day until shortly before sunset. At that time we have a special service of remembrance for all the loved ones lost throughout the years. Then we have the final service as the sun sets.

Following services we gather with family and friends and celebrate with a Break Fast meal.


My family’s tradition was to start to eat slowly… with the chicken soup from the night before. Then we had sandwiches made from that delicious Challah Bread, giant red tomatoes and sliced chicken that had been used to make the soup. Any and all leftovers were fair game! :-)

My husband’s family always ate dairy - tuna salad, egg salad, blintzes, herring etc.


My grandfather was an Orthodox Jew who remained in Temple for the entire day on Yom Kippur. As a little girl, my job was to bring him a giant turkey leg when the service ended which he ate right in his seat! :-) Another wonderful memory.


Food has always been important in the Jewish tradition, as with most ethnic traditions and it certainly remains so during these holidays. We always start Rosh Hashanah with apples dipped in honey to represent the sweet New Year we are about to begin.

So for those who asked about the food, please feel free to email me and I will share whatever recipe you think you might enjoy! :-)

I geared my explanation to the questions I was asked - I hope this answered them.


I end this explanation with the traditional salutation amongst Jews on these holidays -

L’Shana Tova – Have a beautiful year!



Within a heartbeat of the Rynek Gospoda Kwiaty Polskie serves up cracking Polish country cooking inside an interior that blossoms with folk art and ceramics. Primary school paintings of happy sunflowers adorn every available space and diners seem happy to sacrifice the formality of nearby restaurants in return for big portions of bargain Polski classics.

Fall along Big Creek, Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Big Creek is the north eastern portions of the park, and is relatively easily accessible from I-40. This is one of those rare creek shots that looks interesting looking downstream. Here's an earlier shot looking upstream:

A single RAW image I captured from my Nikon SLR camera and then used Aurora HDR to bring out much more vibrant and truer colors to that late afternoon in the Chisos Mountains during a recent stay. By zooming out for a wider angle view and including a view of the road heading off into the distance, I found I was better able to capture that setting of these mountains. The image was now filled with hillsides of the trees and mountain peaks all around. Casa Grande Peak is that amazing backdrop and partially caught in the late afternoon sunlight. I found that the sunlight kind of added texture and nice contrasts with those portions caught in that warm glow and others areas in the shadows.

(Explore 22 Febrero 2008#225)


Ascendiendo la duna.

Sossusvlei es un salar en el Desierto de Namib central, que está dentro del Parque Nacional Namib-Naukluft. Alimentado por el Río Tsauchab, es conocido por las altas dunas de arena roja que lo rodean, formando un importante mar de arena (erg).

Namibia, África.

Sossusvlei is a salt pan in the central Namib Desert, lying within the Namib-Naukluft National Park. Fed by the Tsauchab River, it is known for the high, red sand dunes which surround it, forming a major sand sea.


The Dead Vlei and Hidden Vlei lie near Sossusvlei.


Entry path to Dead Vlei starts cca. 500 m before entering Sossusvlei with your 4x4. It is 1.1 km (one way) heavy trip over sand dunes to the exciting salt pan with both dead and green trees. The oldest trees are cca. 900 years old. The whole pan looks like big white soccer playground surrounded by red dunes and dark blue sky.


Third time's the charm...


Two years ago, almost to the day, I was at Valley of Fire with my friend, Steve where we got skunked trying to shoot the Fire Wave. The reason? Three days before we were there, a heavy rain hit the park and washed out portions of Scenic Drive road. This wasn't just a gully washer -- it was big -- the park's annual rainfall total in an afternoon.


The park personnel closed the road for repair.


So we settled for light painting at Elephant Rock, which was fun.


This time, I took my wife and her sister-in-law on my quest to shoot the wave. My wife, is content to sit in the car and read while I traipse off and shoot. My sister-in-law isn't a photographer -- well, except for her iPhone, but was up for the hike, so we set off on the trail a little before sunset.


I crossed my fingers that the clouds to the south would not dissipate before the sun set, and luckily my wish was granted.


We saw a few people heading back up the trail and when I asked a couple from Germany why they were leaving before the sun set, the guy's response was because the wave was already in shadows.


"But you're gonna miss the show!" I yelled to him, not knowing how right I was going to be.


When we got to the wave, two others were still there; a couple of guys from Singapore, that we had seen earlier at the pay station.


They had set up just to the right of where I shot this, so standing back and getting a wider vantage point wasn't really an option, but hey, this worked for me.


Reached Explore #148 on Tuesday, September 2, 2014.

Thank you all!

For more information, see my Blog.


A few weeks out of the year the setting sun is in the correct position to shine directly through this portal in a large rock formation at Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur, California. It has become very popular with photographers - but not many are brave enough (foolish enough?) to climb the tall cliffs behind the formation to see this marvelous sight. The opportunity occurs when the sun approaches it's southern most point for the year and the weather also cooperates.


In the large image a serendipitous lens flare lies right over the opening of the Pfeiffer Portal. It was NOT surprising to find 25 photographers here (18 visible in this picture)... it's a popular place. So I went for a different shot. I considered NOT exhibiting this image since I'm sure someone will copy it. There are safe ways to get to this location - but starting from the beach is NOT one of them. Please don't try that!


Also serendipitously, the red in the cliffs in front of me really lit up in the setting sun. I didn't crank up the saturation - it just worked out this way. Now that I've been back I understand how the illuminated rusty orange cliffs became so intensely colored. The glowing cliff is not lit by direct sunlight - you are seeing the shadowed side - but by sunlight reflected from the portion of the cliff below where this image is. Take yellow/orange light from the setting sun bounce it off a rusty colored cliff and illuminate another rust looking surface and that is what you get.


Looks much better larger. You might also want a closer look at the Solar Keyhole or a close up shot of the enormous rock. Heck, you might also be interested in seeing one of the three star trails: west view, low west view, or view to the south from this location on the same night. Or maybe just a single night shot or a shot with this rock and the moon.


By the way, I completely forgot to photograph the purple sand that can be found here. Yep, purple! You can see it in the bottom foreground behind all of the onlookers.


07/20/2010: This image was short listed by the Royal Observatory for the Astronomy Photographer of the Year. Crossing my fingers, hoping to win!


09/02/2010: This image was featured in the UK Times article about the Astronomy Photographer of the Year.


09/09/2010: This image won in the category "People and Space" in the Astronomy Photographer of the Year, 2010 competition. A team from Buzz Films, Ltd. put together an interview with me that you might find interesting.


11/29/2010: This image and an interview of me was shown on ABC7, San Francisco, California.

05/18/2011: KQED featured me on a segment of QUEST (Your Photos on Quest)


About this image: This is an HDR image - that is, it is a composite of 3 separate photos taken at different settings. One specifically for the sky/sun. One for the middle ground, and one for the foreground. The range of f/stops was about 7. Images were combined in Photoshop using HDR Techniques described in The Photoshop Darkroom book by Harold Davis


© Copyright 2009, Steven Christenson

Most Rights Reserved. Non Commercial Use permitted.


NOTE: These photos were taken at an event of the Night Photography group.

The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is located in Bayfield, Wisconsin, on Lake Superior, the “largest, cleanest, and coldest of the Great Lakes.” [3] The lakeshore comprises beaches, cliffs, water, and 21 islands.[4] Madeline Island is the only one of the Apostle Islands not included in the national lakeshore, although a portion of the island is protected as Big Bay State Park. The island's accessibility by ferry or ice road, along with the shops, restaurants and other commercial establishments of the island town of La Pointe, make it popular with visitors to the national lakeshore.

such an interesting spot. this was below the pool. a spot that reminded me of a scene in Seven or Saw... it was kinda scary, to be honest. and the anxiety portion of my brain kept wondering what would have happened back in the day if someone had been down there fixing something and one of those windows had shattered. would they be flooded out? would they die down there? yeah, i think shit like that a lot! *shudders*

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About this series

Wow. It's number #20 … in seven months. Mmmh, that's not much compared all the other strangers series. But I feel no pressure to shoot, publish every day, week whatsoever. Could you imagine seeing people in the streets in (three) pieces all the time? Well, I couldn't - haha. That's why things keep going on rather slow.


So I call this the 20th anniversary because I have only four more left and stranger #25 might take some time again ;-). Thanks for your encouraging comments and faves during this series.


Story about this shot

I was sticking around London Fields. If you make it there on a Saturday you should must visit the Broadway Market. It`s a less crowded Market compared to Sunday Up Market and feels like being among locals. A few pubs and cafes, but also a small market very selected tasty delicacies, clothes, music, a neat atmosphere in general … a stall selling old prints of old London: The place where I recognized his awesome camera … Yeah, it's a photographer. Asking a like-minded to participate in any photographic project is as easy as pie. The weakest victim you might find in the streets wherever you are, bird of prey.


About this stranger

Meet the Stranger #20 with the melodic name Kim Tae Hwan. He is 35 years old and maybe our first real celebrity - he is a fashion/editorial photographer mostly working for Elle, Dazed and Confused or Cosmopolitan. But I also enjoyed his efforts in street and beauty.

His clients book him because of his very own signature. Now you are right to say: that's the minimum you should expect from a professional photographer. But most of his releases for fashion are on polaroid, at least they are in fact analog. I think that's quite unusual … so in that very moment he was telling me his story with this antique jewel in this hands … I thought this guy must be an analog lover.


Look a his amazing work on his Website.


Kim Tae Hwan lives is from Busan, the second biggest city in South Korea. He spends most of the time traveling around the world - a citizen of the world. I really wonder how many stamps he might have in his passport. He just finished a video shoot in London and had a few days left to spend.


It was really fun talking to him. We had some minor lost in translation kinda like problems, but luckily his was his korean entourage of two and one of them was actually living in London.


-- ---

sets London, Triptychs of Strangers or Strangers | follow flickr, google+, tumblr or twitter

The Little Sur River meets the Pacific Ocean on a nice cloudy day. Located in the Ventana Wilderness portion of the Los Padres National Forest.

~Peter Marshall


Since I am on a bit of an S90 kick, thought I would follow up my last shot with this one. This is a 3 autobracketed expoosure HDR of the mall that has gotten a good portion of my money this holiday season!


I don't mind invitations, but please no big, shiny, flashing, glitter graphics, they will be deleted. Thanks!


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Enjoy your evenings my friends!

Another shot from last July, this beautiful waterfall (of which I was only able to fit a small portion of in the frame) winds from the top of a big hill at Lake Midnapore all the way down into the waters of the lake.


It really is quite beautiful!

A sunset at Point Lobos on California's Big Sur coast. This portion of the Cypress Grove Trail overlooks Pinnacle Cove.


The park rangers really want people to stay on the trails, which is inconvenient for photography but good for preserving a beautiful area. The wires on the left mark the trail, the chain is a more serious warning to stay back from a fatal drop into the churning surf below.



is a complex of royal buildings on the Herreninsel, an island in the middle of the Chiemsee, Bavaria's largest lake, 60 km south east of Munich, Germany

and is the biggest of Ludwig II of Bavaria's palaces.

The New Palace is, in a sense, a monument to Ludwig's adoration of Louis XIV

It was to have been an equivalent to the Palace of Versailles, but only the central portion was built before the king died, leaving 50 of the 70 rooms of the palace unfinished.


Saw this 'Queen Anne's Lace Wildflower' while walking at '5 rivers preserve' in Delmar this past Spring.

Happy Friday All~


for more Sparkly DoF View On Black


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As hurricane Sandy moved inland and broke up, it created strong weather patterns across the entire eastern portion of the United States. On October 30 it created gale force winds on Lake Michigan which caused waves to reach as high as 25 feet in some locations. In St. Joseph, Michigan it battered the old lighthouse.


Just to provide some context for the wave sizes the inner lighthouse is 57’ tall while the outer is 35’.


Click here to view the large size.


Update [11/2] - Thanks for the fantastic response! Seem like people overwhelmingly prefer the color version and after a couple of days I have to say that I think that's the right call. Sometimes it's not easy to separate the idea you want to be true from the actuality of the moment. I set out to make a strong black and white image but I agree with the comments about the red serving as a strong focal point in the image.


Featured on the Flickr blog on November 1, 2012.

This the scene from my front porch this morning after winter visited leaving close to a foot of snow behind, constituting the first real significant accumulation of the year. Big, soft and fluffy flakes and mild temps make for a proverbial winter wonderland...but then, I have nowhere pressing to go, requiring only tall boots...

This P-51 Mustang named the "Big Beautiful Doll" is seen here shortly before a mid-air collision with a Douglas Skyraider during an airshow flypast!

The 2nd plane, a Skyraider, landed safely shortly afterwards, even though it was missing a portion of it's wing!

The pilot of the P-51 "Rob Davies" had to parachute to safety after having most of his flying controls cut. He jumped out at high speed & at only 200ft! Normally pilots wouldn't parachute out under 1000ft, so the bravery involved was incredible. Rob bounced of the tail of his aircraft & received some injuries but survived remarkably well from this dramatic incident.

The plane crash landed in a field, broke up and sadly is now a complete write off.


Two big grasshoppers. Romalea microptera, known commonly as the eastern lubber grasshopper or just lubber grasshopper, is a grasshopper native to the southeastern and south central portion of the United States. It is the most distinctive grasshopper species within the southeastern United States, and is well known both for its size and its unique coloration. It can reach nearly 3 inches in size. (Hershey Gardens)


©Darren White Photography 2010 | All Rights Reserved | Please do not use without my permission.


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Just returned from the first leg of my 11 day photo journey. I spent a good portion of the morning here thinking there might be a sunrise....Nope, that didn't happen..What this morning lacked was more than made up for by the sunrises and sunsets of the previous 3 days further down the coast....


Ill be catching up when I can. I am really only home for a day and then will be hit and miss till next Tuesday..... Hope you all had a great weekend!!!!


Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II

Exposure: 2.5 seconds

Aperture: f/8.0

Focal Length: 22 mm

ISO Speed: 160

Exposure Bias: 0 EV

Maine is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and south, New Hampshire to the west, the Canadian provinces of Quebec to the northwest and New Brunswick to the northeast. Maine is both the northernmost and easternmost portion of New England. It is known for its scenery—its jagged, mostly rocky coastline, its low, rolling mountains, its heavily forested interior and picturesque waterways—as well as for its seafood cuisine, especially lobsters and clams.


On this evening, the sky was so big, I had to pano stitch using a wide lens, which is unusual for me. These golden hills in the Black Diamond Mines area are just east of Mt. Diablo. I photographed this scene at the end of September and then forgot I had a folder full of RAW files until today; what a pleasant surprise.


Lens is the older A35mm f/3.5 on the 645D. This is only a portion of a much wider 4-frame pano, but any wider and poor Diablo would shrink away. Single exposure, no blending nor HDR.


Happy Mother's Day!

A portion of Highway One, as viewed from up above.


Thanks, everyone. Another Explore photo.

camera: panasonic fz50 + raynox dcr250

diaphragme: f5.6

vitesse: 1/125s

focale: 196mm

iso: 100

programme: manuel

Robin Mom tried time and again to feed the baby. Baby tried, but somehow they were having a bit of trouble with the delivery. Might need a smaller portion.

The largest NASA Hubble Space Telescope image ever assembled, this sweeping bird’s-eye view of a portion of the Andromeda galaxy (M31) is the sharpest large composite image ever taken of our galactic next-door neighbor. Though the galaxy is over 2 million light-years away, The Hubble Space Telescope is powerful enough to resolve individual stars in a 61,000-light-year-long stretch of the galaxy’s pancake-shaped disk. It's like photographing a beach and resolving individual grains of sand. And there are lots of stars in this sweeping view -- over 100 million, with some of them in thousands of star clusters seen embedded in the disk.


This ambitious photographic cartography of the Andromeda galaxy represents a new benchmark for precision studies of large spiral galaxies that dominate the universe's population of over 100 billion galaxies. Never before have astronomers been able to see individual stars inside an external spiral galaxy over such a large contiguous area. Most of the stars in the universe live inside such majestic star cities, and this is the first data that reveal populations of stars in context to their home galaxy.

Hubble traces densely packed stars extending from the innermost hub of the galaxy seen at the left. Moving out from this central galactic bulge, the panorama sweeps from the galaxy's central bulge across lanes of stars and dust to the sparser outer disk. Large groups of young blue stars indicate the locations of star clusters and star-forming regions. The stars bunch up in the blue ring-like feature toward the right side of the image. The dark silhouettes trace out complex dust structures. Underlying the entire galaxy is a smooth distribution of cooler red stars that trace Andromeda’s evolution over billions of years.


Because the galaxy is only 2.5 million light-years from Earth, it is a much bigger target in the sky than the myriad galaxies Hubble routinely photographs that are billions of light-years away. This means that the Hubble survey is assembled together into a mosaic image using 7,398 exposures taken over 411 individual pointings.


Read more:


Credit: NASA, ESA, J. Dalcanton, B.F. Williams, and L.C. Johnson (University of Washington), the PHAT team, and R. Gendler


NASA image use policy.

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center enables NASA’s mission through four scientific endeavors: Earth Science, Heliophysics, Solar System Exploration, and Astrophysics. Goddard plays a leading role in NASA’s accomplishments by contributing compelling scientific knowledge to advance the Agency’s mission.

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First off, this is not Mossbrae Falls as it may appear. This is actually Berry Creek Falls in Big Basin State Park. It has been approximately 1.5 years since I’ve hiked this trail and photographed this waterfall. My previous visit was during the fall when the water flow was much less and the forest greens were dull.

The peak time for best water flow is typically late winter to early spring in Big Basin. With a decent rainfall earlier this week I decided to give this place a go. Weather forecasts predicted mostly cloudy skies for the morning which were the perfect conditions. I decided to get an early start by getting to the park by 8:45am and hitting the trail shortly after. After about an hour and 15 minutes of hiking I reached Berry Creek Falls. Having not seen it for a while it was definitely impressive and the water flow was significantly more than my previous visit. With the warm temperatures this past week the forest was full of life with lush greens.


About 99% of the photos I see taken of Berry Creek Falls are of the zoomed out entire falls view framed by the surrounding forest. I wanted to try something different and thus lugged along my tele lens. I went for the close crop focusing on select portions of the waterfall, predominantly the areas with significant moss and layers of water streaming down. I spent a good 50 minutes at Berry Creek Falls shooting various compositions, both wide and zoomed in.


After finishing up shooting I decided to get a good workout by blasting through the remainder of the hike. The end result: 10.5 miles in 3.5 hours according to my GPS. My legs were beat, my body was covered in sweat, and my stomach was growling. It was a great way to spend my President’s day weekend and an absolute pleasure to see this mythical waterfall.


Canon 5D Mark II

EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II


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