What a year!
This year has been filled with ups and downs like most any year. I started off 2017 standing on the beach in Southern Oregon, the same way I ended 2016. Oregon is my forever home in my heart and soul. You will see some images from Oregon in this blog post. Everything was going well until Aug 11th when I tore my right calf muscle and couldn’t walk. This really puts a damper on outdoor photography. I started PT a few days after it happened and had a walking boot to help me walk. Due to this injury I had to cancel a workshop in the Tetons which was a real bummer not only for me but for my clients who were coming from Austria. Through emails I was able to guide them into the right places at the right times for what they were looking to shoot. They also came over for the event of the year, the eclipse! It was great to see the great images they were able to capture and I am looking forward to working with them again in Utah this year!
Summers keep me busy with night photography workshops in Utah, Wyoming and Colorado, teaching students of all skill levels everything they could want to know about night photography. I work with Mike Berenson on these workshops to help provide the ultimate experience for our students. In fact, this year in Moab, Utah during our workshop in May our 12 students were treated to seeing the Northern Lights while we were at Delicate Arch! Yes, you read that correctly. One of our students called it, “an experience of a lifetime.”
Also this summer my daughter and I spent a good amount of time traveling in Oregon as well as Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas. In one week we drove all the way across the USA from Tillamook, OR to St. Simon Island, GA. It was a great trip. I also took a solo road trip from Lititz, PA to Littleton, CO going through Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri and Kansas. Sadly enough the latter trip was done while I had my walking boot on so it made getting out and doing any hiking a real challenge…I did find a place in Ohio that has a nice waterfall that I would like to get back to. Honey Run Falls located in Howard, OH really looked like a gorgeous place. Unfortunately there was barely any water running down the rocks when I was there. So, it goes on the list of places to visit again with better conditions. I like to take the backroads and stay off the freeways when I travel, this brought me to a small town called Urbana, OH which really looked like a neat town…not neat meaning a big booming metropolis but a small homey feel. Urbana was laid out in 1805 and in 1812 was the headquarters for the Northwestern Army during the war of 1812. I did not get a chance to photograph here due to the pouring rain but it will go on the “to see” list as well.
I know, I know, let’s get to the images already, right? That’s what you really came here to see. We will get there in just a second or you can just scroll down but you should read this part first.
In picking out the 12-13 images for this blog post I like to do something a bit different. Instead of just posting my “Top 10” from the year, I like to pick the best/favorite image from each month of the year. Otherwise, truth be told, you would just see 8 images from Oregon and 2 Milky Way images….Boring right! So, by doing this it forces me to get out and shoot at all times of the year.
Last but not least I would like to take a minute to thank a few people/companies for their continued support and I recommend you check them out for your own benefit if you find that they may be relative to what you do.
Sigma Lenses – I have been a Sigma Ambassador for about a year and all the images I shot this year were with Sigma Lenses. Absolute quality and craftsmanship.
Moab Fine Art Papers – I print 90% of my work on their fine art papers. I love the feel, look and colors these papers provide. Clients and Students have been very pleased with these papers as well.
Englewood Camera – I have spent the last 2 years building a great working relationship with this local camera shop. They have a full service lab and they do all my printing for my 18 and 20 inch fine art prints. They have everything you could need from a local camera store.
American Frame – Custom printing and framing at great prices. I have been working with American Frame for about 3 years now and not only is their customer service second to none, also the quality of their work. American Frame provides many paper choices to perfectly fit the needs of any photography as well as unlimited choices for matting and framing. Over the years I have sent many friends to American Frame for their framing needs and everyone has been very very happy. You will be too. I use American Frame for all my fine art prints 20″ and larger.
Artbeat Studios – I have nothing but good things to say about the Metal and Acrylic prints that come from Artbeat Studios. Not only do my clients love the quality, I do too. That is why I have several acrylics printed by Artbeat Studios hanging in my own home.
Reed Art and Imaging – Again, their work and attention to detail is amazing. They do a lot of various types of printing on various mediums. I have had a lot of Gallery Mounts done by Reed. Not only for myself but also for clients I work with to help them create their own masterpieces from their own images. Their team of printers and salespeople are great to work with and make you feel like you’re part of their team.
Overleaf Lodge and Spa – Located in Yachats, Oregon this is simply the finest lodging you can find with the best views and access to the beach and Ocean.. The Overleaf Lodge was a fantastic place to host my 2017 Oregon Coast Winter Workshop in December. Their staff was always kind and gracious and when I left my room key in my room and could not get in at midnight, they came to open the doors right away. Wine tastings, ocean views, a spa, and a small gallery. This is the place to be on the Oregon Coast!
Mike Berenson – I have been working with Mike now for almost 5 years doing Night Photography Workshops Mike captures amazing images that really make you feel like you’re there. Please visit his site and check out his work. It’s one of the reason I was so willing to team up with him to start Night Photography Workshop. His work has inspired me and it will inspire you too.
One more thing to note about these images. Aside from the panorama all photographs posted here are all single images, no crazy blends or photoshop. I wanted this to be more about my photography and not about my artistic abilities with software. Enjoy!
Oregon Island Sunrise – Jan 1, 2017 – After a great sunset to end 2016 the clouds moved in as well as the rains. I went back up to my hotel room thinking that I may get to sleep in for the new year. Who was I kidding? Even if it was raining I would have went out onto the beach, it’s who I am. Lucky for me the clouds were breaking up about an hour or so before sunrise. I walked to the north end of the beach, the lesser photographed section of Bandon Beach, to find this great reflection on an incoming tide. I was fascinated with the way the light was hitting the clouds and reflecting off the wet sand. Sigma 24-105mm @ 24mm, ISO 64, F/16, 1 second.
Train To Denver – Feb 12, 2017 – Downtown Denver near Colfax. Travelers wait for the next train heading into Denver. This image was shot and shared at the Lone Tree Photo Club exhibition night. The elements of this image that made it work well for me were the contrast between moving objects and stationary objects. Each of the 5 people in the image are doing something different all in a single frame. The person on the far left looking towards the city made me feel as if he or she were dreaming of something bigger. Sigma 24-105mm @ 82mm, F/6.3, ISO 200, 2.5 seconds.
Jackson Lake Sunset – March 5th, 2017 – After seeing this location on the map I knew it had epic potential for a full Milky Way Panorama. Since the Milky Way is still very low on the horizon this time of year I set out to capture what I had envisioned. As I arrived at the lake I realized right away that the Milky Way shot wasn’t going to happen on this night. With the still of the lake and the gorgeous clouds reflecting in the water I waited around for sunset. I have since went back to the lake for night shooting only to find out there is a huge floodlight on the dock that will interfere with any night shooting from this location. Sigma 24-105mm @ 48mm, F/8, ISO 64, 1/80th second.
Earth Day Visitors – April 22, 2017 – We always kick off our Night Photography Workshop season in Arches National Park for good reasons. The position of the Milky Way is in a great location for doing all kinds of different styles of night photography. It’s very good for single images but even better if you are looking to make nice panoramas. We had just left Double Arch and walked over to the Windows area. As our group was getting set up I decided to set my camera down and snap an image of them in the window of the arch. I only took this one shot and when I looked on the back of the camera I was very surprised to see the shooting star… I called out to my friend, Hal Mitzenmacher who was in our group, “hey Hal, you gotta see this!” I had to show someone so they would believe me when I said it was just captured in a single image. Even though this image was taken during the peak of the Lyrids meteor shower, to capture it in the first frame after setting my camera down was pretty amazing. Sigma 20mm, F/3.2, ISO 1600, 13 seconds.
Northern Lights at Delicate Arch – May 28th, 2017, 2:28am – More often than not we like to save Delicate Arch for the final night of our workshops. We were on the final night of a sold out Arches and Canyonlands workshop when our students began packing up ready to make the hike back down in the dark. As they were packing up I decided to do a real quick pano of the Milky Way over the Arch. Starting on the north side I snapped an image and my jaw dropped… I abandoned the pano idea for a second and took another shot to confirm what I was seeing. Sure enough we had northern lights in Moab, Utah. I yelled to the group, very loudly even though we were all right there together, “Get your cameras out and start shooting to the north, we have Aurora activity!” This completely changed the mood of the group from being ready to call it a night to getting that epic shot that would make all others pale in comparison from this location. Needless to say we ended up letting the group shoot for about an hour longer while the Northern Lights did their thing. A moment of my photography career I will never forget. My adrenaline was running so fast that I forgot to take the lower row of images for the foreground. 8 images stitched together with the following settings. Sigma 20mm, F/2, ISO 6400, 15 seconds.
Flowers By the Stream – June 13th, 2017 – I always get up early, arrive early, sometimes annoyingly early. I once, many years ago, arrived 13 hours early to pick up someone from the airport. This shot happened because I got up early. I was headed up to Eldora, Colorado to go hiking and search for waterfalls. Waterfalls in Colorado? Yep, there are a few. As I was driving up the road to the trailhead I noticed all these yellow flowers along the bank of the stream and thought that would make a cool shot. I quickly hit the breaks, my daughter woke up from her slumber and I turned the jeep around. When I got out I noticed there was no wind but the sun was quickly rising and in a couple of minutes this entire scene would be completely blown out by the sunlight. Another reason to get up early is because the light is better right before sunrise. Sigma 24-105mm @ 48mm, F/18, ISO 64, 0.6 seconds.
Sands of Time – July 9th, 2017 – Being born and raised on the Oregon Coast and traveling up and down it many many times in my life, I like to think that I have seen most all the places that have access. I grew up roughly 15 miles from this location and have driven by it probably 1000 or more times but never actually got on the beach to see it. You can’t see it from your car on the road. While my daughter and I were in Oregon this summer I decided to make a point of visiting this particular location, Twin Rocks, Oregon. I don’t know why they call it, “Twin Rocks”, they look nothing alike, nonetheless, my daughter and I went out in the early afternoon to enjoy and explore this area. The beach is quite large and open without a lot in the water except these 2 rocks. It was a very windy day and these ripples in the sand were just calling me to photograph them. I waited until the Sun was just on the horizon so that the light would create some nice shadows to help bring out texture and depth to my foreground. While not the most exciting beach, I only saw 1 other person here, it’s one I will visit again for sure. Sigma 24-105mm @ 28mm, F/18, ISO 31, 75 seconds.
Eye of the Eclipse – August 21, 2017 – A day many of us around our nation will never forget. I had high hopes of going up into Wyoming to capture the eclipse in the path of totality. That dream was sent down the drain when 10 days prior I tore my right calf muscle. Still being at the initial stages of my injury I decided to not go fight the crowds, not drive the 3+ hours (it’s impossible to drive safe with a walking boot on your right leg) and take the chance of causing a wreck for a view of the total eclipse. I stayed home, sat out on our deck and just watch as we saw the moon cover the sun at 93%. The sky was clear just before the eclipse started and very slowly a thin layer of clouds started to form almost in rhythm with the moon covering the sun. As we, in Denver, approached maximum coverage these iridescent clouds began to form. Lunar Halo or Fire Rainbows were appearing around the moon and sun. Since I was looking almost straight up I was lucky enough to see this almost perfect circle around the moon and sun. While I did not get the epic shot of the total eclipse, I was quite happy with what I did capture and experience. Sigma 24-105mm @ 105mm, F/7.1, ISO 200, 1/20th second.
Storm Landing – September 16th, 2017 – I always arrive to our workshop location a day or so early to see if there is any special area that needs the attention of our workshop student’s cameras. Just my luck that it was pouring down rain in Jackson, Wyoming when I pulled into town. I decided to head north to Yellowstone to see how much snow they had up there. I am not sure exactly if this is in Grand Teton or Yellowstone or no mans land. I saw these very dark clouds hovering above this hill/mountain so I pulled over and walked down towards the water. I noticed a small area of light hitting the hillside and started shooting. The light area got bigger and bigger to what you see here. As I was shooting, these geese (I think they are geese) flew into my frame and landed. I was very lucky to capture them just before they landed. It wasn’t something I had planned on shooting but a nice added element to the overall image. Sigma 24-105mm @ 75mm, F/9, ISO 64, 1/160th second.
Rocky Mountain Elk – October 7th, 2017 – The Rut is on! And that means everyone with a camera is up in Rocky Mountain National Park to get a shot of these big boys. On this particular day I saw people taking pictures with any device that had a camera in it. They say, “the best camera is the one you have with you.” There is a lot of truth to that. I had kinda been watching this guy pretty close and moving in the direction he was moving so that if he stopped and looked my way I could get a good shot of him. He had left his group and walked over to the trees when something caught his attention, he stopped, turned and looked for about 3 seconds and then continued walking. Eventually he went behind some trees and disappeared out of sight. I felt lucky to have him in the shadow with even light. Sigma 150-600mm Contemporary @ 600mm, F/6.3, ISO 1600, 1/80th second.
Winter Road – October 3rd, 2017 – This is not a mistake. Yes, you get 2 images from October. October is a very special month for many people. Pumpkin Spiced Lattes, Halloween, Pumpkin Pie, Pumpkin Everything, right? Well, for us landscape photographers it’s a special month also. Here in Colorado our Fall colors usually peak in the first week up in the mountains and we start getting some snowfall too. When you mix Fall colors with fresh snow something magical happens. I can’t put my finger on it but I can put my shutter finger on the camera and capture it. It’s the way the seasons combine to create a beautifully unique landscape. This road has lots of “no parking” signs on the side but since I stayed in my lane I don’t consider it parking. I never turned the Jeep off and I was only out of it for a few clicks of the shutter. When I see this image I feel something that awakens my soul. Even though it has a road in it, I feel free in the fresh mountain air. Sigma 24-105mm @ 32mm, F/7.1, ISO 64, 1/400th second.
Tunnel View – November 19th, 2017 – Every since I was a very small child I have always believed that everything happens for a reason, both good and bad. While we may not know those reasons for days, months or years later I have just accepted what happens and went with it.. My plan was visit my dad in Oregon in December when I was out there for my workshop. After checking schedules I realized that I would not have enough time to see him in December so I booked a trip out for 5 days in November. Usually November along the Oregon Coast can be a very challenging time since the weather is less than optimal for photography. One morning while my dad was out in the ocean fishing I decided to go see about getting this shot. Having this as my “home beach” while growing up I had been alive long enough to remember when this tunnel was closed up, opened back up and the day I almost died just outside this tunnel by a massive sneaker wave. Just ask Gary Randall he’ll tell you all about it… I had been through this tunnel hundreds of times and always enjoyed this view as I was headed out. On the morning I took this image I entered the tunnel, turned on my Nitecore flashlight because it’s pretty dark in there and you don’t want to hit your head on the rocks hanging down inside. I turned on my light, walked about 10 feet and noticed something sitting on a rock surrounded by water. I looked closer to realize it was a $20 bill. I looked ahead of me and I looked behind me to make sure no one else was looking for it. I did not see anyone else at all so I picked it up and put it in my pocket. I was as happy as a clam in saltwater. I went about my morning shooting in a great mood when all the sudden I realized one of my filters wasn’t in my bag. I went into panic mode. I could not find my Tiffen double fog filter anywhere. This isn’t just your average run of the mill filter. They run over $300. Suddenly finding $20 wasn’t as exciting when thinking I was going to need to spend $300 to replace the filter… I kept telling myself that everything happens for a reason. Upset that I had lost the filter I decided to cut my morning shoot short. I had already got the shot I was ultimately after but I was still bummed. Still looking for the filter, hoping it had just fallen out of my bag, I retraced my steps along the waters edge. Thinking the worst, the water came up and the filter is out at sea I kept walking. I saw an empty beer bottle on the beach and picked it up, (when I lived in Oregon I did the S.O.L.V.E beach cleanup each year) thinking that Karma would play out… Still nothing. The filter was gone and the $20 means nothing to me now.. I get back up to the rental car, properly dispose of the beer bottle, put my gear away in the trunk, open the car and get in and my filter is laying right there in the driver seat. A huge sigh of relief as only then I realized I had the filter in my pocket and it must have fallen out when I got out of the car. Sigma 24-105mm @ 24mm, F/14, ISO 64, 1/30th second.
Cape Perpetua Rush – December 7th, 2017 – One thing I always tell my students and I will tell you, If you are going to shoot moving water that is constantly changing, set your camera on continuous mode and shoot through the actions of the water. Then, when you are home you can pick the image that best captured the water how you like it. If you were to try and shoot the water as a specific moment, chances are you would not capture what you wanted. We, Chuck Rasco and I arrived in Portland, grabbed our rental cars and made a beeline for the coast. We knew we had only a short window of time to grab lunch since the sunset is early this time of year. Just as I had planned for the workshop, the proper tide and the timing of the sunset came together beautifully. Thor’s Well was rocking. It was at the right level where it wasn’t doing the Old Faithful geyser thing but just filling up nicely and spilling over. That is what you are seeing here. As Thor’s Well would fill up I would begin shooting until it was empty again. Of the 100’s of images I took this night, this was the only one where the water was exactly how I wanted it as it flowed up and over Thor’s Well. The reason I wanted it like this was because of how the sky looked. I wanted the water to mimic the clouds in the sky and chances are that isn’t something you can get on a single try. You don’t see many images with Thor’s Well completely filled up like this. It was a great ending to an adventurous year! Sigma 20mm, F/16, ISO 64, 1/4th second.
I would love to hear your thoughts, comments and opinions. Please feel free to use the contact form below to connect with me. You can also visit the Home Page and find links to where I am on the interwebs. A big thanks to everyone for your continued support and joining with me to create lasting memories on these crazy adventures. All the best for 2018!