Welcome To Paradise! | THOUGHTS FROM THE ROAD AND LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY #6

Well, my time in the Pacific Northwest has come to an end. What a trip it has been! I feel so grateful for the great overall conditions in all the National Parks I visited in Washington State. Mount Rainier has a special place in my heart, because many years I ago a good friend of mine recommended that I visit this great National Park. He overheard talking about my desire to travel more, and I mentioned wanting to visit the Swiss Alps. In the U.S. we do truly have plenty of mountainous regions just as beautiful as anywhere else in the world. 

This time we’re in Paradise! Literally. This region of the park is called Paradise and it’s a great spot for landscape photography. My first compositions of the day came as I was hiking up one of the more popular trails. Given the time of day, I opted to go black and white for all of the images I took. One of them is perhaps in my top 5 favorite pictures I’ve taken this year. 

ISO 100 42mm F13 1/25 Secs

ISO 100 42mm F13 1/25 Secs

If there is one lesson I continue learning time after time in landscape photography. Its that you need time! Slow down and take your time and focus on quality, over quantity. It will help improve your photography tremendously. I found myself rushing back down a steep trail to try and catch a better sunset composition. Luckily for me, this time I got lucky and was quite pleased with my final images of the evening. 

ISO 100 21mm F11 3.2 Secs

ISO 100 21mm F11 3.2 Secs

ISO 100 21mm F11 3.2 Secs

ISO 100 21mm F11 3.2 Secs

ISO 100 78mm F11 4.0 Secs

ISO 100 78mm F11 4.0 Secs

Be sure to check out my latest video from Mount Rainier. 

 

Until 2018! When I return once again to the great Pacific Northwest. Happy New Year.

A Beautiful and Relaxing Location | THOUGHTS FROM THE ROAD AND LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY #5

We have now left the Forks, Washington side of Olympic National Park and headed to Port Angeles to be closer to the mountains. I began my final day in Olympic National Park with an early morning sunrise shoot near Lake Cescent. A really beautiful and peaceful location. I spent most of the morning just taking it all in and enjoying the early morning calm. 

ISO 100 21mm F9 5.0 secs

ISO 100 21mm F9 5.0 secs

After the relaxing morning I decided to explore some nearby waterfalls. Olympic National Park has plenty! When I talk about how diverse this location is. I'm not kidding! It's filled with beautiful locations to shoot. I was fortunate enough to capture two images of this waterfall with no one around and so I was able to take a little bit of extra time here. 

The second image is actually a focus stacked image. One focusing on the near foreground and the other on the far background with the falls. It makes for a pin sharp image, front to back. 

 

ISO 100 24mm F16 5.0 secs

ISO 100 24mm F16 5.0 secs

ISO 100 24mm F13 120 secs (Focus Stacked) 

ISO 100 24mm F13 120 secs (Focus Stacked) 

On the way back to the car my eye caught this beautiful scene. The one tree leaning over towards the river. The moody background with the fog and clouds I thought made for a nice composition. Due to the timing of the shot, I had to be quick to capture it and so I went for a smaller aperture than normal, F22. I needed to slow down the water just enough to create the effect I was hoping for. 

ISO 100 24mm F22 1/4 secs

ISO 100 24mm F22 1/4 secs

Check out my video from this fantastic location. 

I'm Too Late | THOUGHTS FROM THE ROAD AND LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY #4

Since the first time I visited the HOH Rainforest in Olympic National Park, I was in complete and utter amazement at the abundance of plants, trees, and beautiful nature everywhere I looked. It sometimes feels like a maze of other worldly looking plants and trees. I had just wrapped up photographing in Ruby Beach about an hour and a half drive from the HOH Rainforest entrance. Definitely a completely different environment. That's what's great about Olympic National Park. You can see it all! I arrived about an hour before sunset. A terrible, terrible mistake on my part! To effectively photograph this beautiful forest, you need light! 

My first images came as I entered the "Hall of Mosses". I was definitely struggling to find a composition and sadly the images I had in mind were not going to come to be today. 

 

ISO 100 33mm F9 1.6 Secs 

ISO 100 33mm F9 1.6 Secs 

ISO 100 24mm F8 1.6 Secs

ISO 100 24mm F8 1.6 Secs

ISO 100 24mm F5.6 0.8 Secs 

ISO 100 24mm F5.6 0.8 Secs 

While I wasn't completely demoralized, I was still disappointed in knowing I wasn't going to capture that glowing forest image I had in mind. I say it again timing is so important in landscape photography. Even this location, as beautiful as it is. It's 10 times more magical with better light. 

I made my way towards the trail end and back to my car, as I quickly noticed a nice composition in a mix of clutter. I saw a painting like image in my mind though. I tried my best to capture this. I am pleased with this image overall. 

ISO 100 30mm F13 6.0 Secs

ISO 100 30mm F13 6.0 Secs

Check out my Vlog from my time in the HOH Rainforest. Thanks for reading!

 

Thoughts From The Road and Landscape Photography #3

Location: Sequoia National Park

“Only One Image”

Sometimes you have great days. Days where there seems to be one win after another. Image after image. You feel more and more inspired after every composition you find. You and the sun become one, and it rewards you with a colorful fantastic sunset or sunrise. My day in Sequoia National Park was not that kind of day. How can I feel so low? When I’m such a beautiful place. My journey to Sequoia National Park was a sporadic decision after wrapping up a one day workshop in Yosemite. It’s only a four hour drive south from Yosemite, but along the way you will drive thru winding roads and what seems like never ending turns. I was running on about 6 hours of sleep in the past 48 hours, but I wanted to continue and push it just a little further. My time in California would soon be over. Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park are truly one my favorites. This National Park is so well organized and very easy to navigate around. It certainly feels a lot more “out there” and somewhat cut off from any major town or city. After battling some construction traffic on our way to the park entrance, we finally made it. I knew I had about 4 hours left of light until sunset. I wanted to visit Grant Grove just to sight see, as this is perhaps my favorite grove of all. Given the lighting conditions and the time of day, I didn’t bother bringing my camera along on this small trail. Similar to the Redwood’s in North West California, the Sequoia trees in the Sierra’s leave you in absolute awe. Capturing their size and beauty is not an easy task. As the sun began to die down, I decided on visiting the General Sherman tree. Perhaps I could find an intimate composition. I was fortunate to find a side of the tree trail where there were no people. The General Sherman Tree is the biggest single living stem tree on earth. That’s just mind blowing! The bottom of the tree trunk has a lot of personality and shape. I focused in on that and took my image. I was quite pleased with the result, and I knew that was it for the day. The lighting conditions just weren’t there, and I kept thinking why go for more obvious compositions that have been photographed so many times. I don’t usually have this mentality, but the sleep deprivation was having an impact on my overall outlook and mood. I decided to have one last quick wonder around the Congress Tree Trail. I didn’t hike very far, as it was almost dark. I think what was making me most upset is that I knew I had pushed myself to much. Perhaps my goal of trying to visit countless National Parks all in one week was counter productive. How many images in total had I really considered to be “Great”. Luckily as I approached my car I was able to snap out of this mindset and focus on just being grateful for being present and in the company of such amazing nature. It’s easy to let those negative thoughts and feelings run wild. My time in California was far from a waisted time. I’ll be back soon.

ISO 100 73mm F11 0.5 secs

Check out the episode from Sequoia National Park. 

Thoughts From The Road and Landscape Photography #2

Location: Yosemite National Park

"Searching for Compositions in Yosemite" 

My first location to shoot in Yosemite was Valley View Point. This location is a relatively small area mainly used for sight seeing as the parking lot is right next to the main viewpoint. It’s still possible to find shooting locations on this observation point off the main path which are less crowded.

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