Tag: Oregon


Snow on the Oregon Coast!

While snow itself isn’t terribly rare here on the coast, it is rare when we get so much and it blankets the beaches as well! Taking advantage of the unique scene, one of my friends and I decided to hit up the Yaquina Head Lighthouse and then took a quick trip to Otter Rock.

Of course it was cold given the conditions, but the walk into the Lighthouse area was *extremely* cold with the wind.  I was wearing 2 pairs of pants, 2 shirts, a fleece and my winter jacket with the liner, a nice warm fleece beanie cap, insulated gloves and a neck/face warmer and it was still barely enough in the windy spots.  Once we got down onto the beach level, it wasn’t to bad and about what you’d expect. 

It was definitely worth it though for some unique looks to this popular spot. Check out the pictures below and let me know what you think! Be sure to click the images to see them in a larger view.

If you’re interested in purchasing any of these prints you can check out the gallery of prints I have for sale by clicking the link here.


Trip Through Southern Oregon

Recently I spent a few days photographing the southern Oregon coast with a day or so spent in the Redwoods in northern Cali.  It was a weekend full of incredible light for both sunrises and sunsets.  Had a great time with a couple friends and we all came away with some great shots.  Here’s the collection I was able to capture.

Click on the images to view them in a larger lightbox view!


A Reminder of the Ocean’s Power

A couple weeks ago I went up to Pacific City and Cape Kiwanda with a couple buddies (Cody Cha and Majeed Badizadeganto photograph the sunset and the high surf at the tail end of a storm.  The night consisted of some great storm clouds, awesome color, and yes, the wave action was quite good as well.

The evening started off with a little rain as we were just getting in a place we could photograph.  Not to be deterred as we always go prepared with rain gear and covers for our equipment, we set up to shoot what is probably the most popular spot at Cape Kiwanda.  It wasn’t long that the rain let up and Cody pointed out a rainbow starting to form to the east! 

 Rainbow at Cape Kiwanda just as the rain let up.

In roughly the same spot with a much more common composition, the high water created some great contrast and movement on the sandstone. 

 Cape Kiwanda at Sunset with a traditional view

After getting our fill of shots down here, we headed up to the tip of the cape where there’s a great bowl in the rocks that the waves crash up and flow back out to sea. Another popular spot as you can get the big haystack rock in the distance as part of your composition.   

This next shot is unprocessed and straight out of the camera just to show what the area we were shooting looked like.  This is another popular spot on the cape that photographers love to shoot.

 Cape Kiwanda Bowl unprocessed image

It’s hard to get the perspective here, but that water coming up the rocks was a good distance away from us, and we are roughly 50′-60′ above the ocean.  With some reasonably sized waves and the color setting in nicely, we setup to shoot and we were all safe and thought to be in a good place.


After a few minutes we were unfortunate enough to have this happen……

 Cape Kiwanda - The huge wave that came over our heads and caused damage.

This huge wave came flying up at us and it was well above our heads.  The force of the wave knocked me to the ground including my tripod with the camera and lens on it of course.  The only reason this shot happened was I was already set up and firing a series of shots.  The gentlemen you see in the picture was just fine, just got a little wet, but he was very lucky the wave was not heading directly at him like it was to us.

Majeed didn’t have his backpack on his back and it was nearly washed back out to sea with the water. Luckily the guy out here was able to grab it before it made it all the way out.  After a few moments and realizing we were all okay, we quickly headed to a much safer location.  Had a few nervous laughs as we settled back down.

We were all okay, just rather soaked from the salt water, but some of our equipment was not so fortunate.  Majeed lost his phone and had to get it replaced, but his camera equipment was alright after drying out for a couple days.  Thank goodness for the expensive gear being okay!

Just Friday (the 27th), 3 days before this occurred I had purchased a new Nikon D7100 and an LG G2 phone.  Both of these ended up with fatal wounds 🙁  The phone does not have a removable battery and when I pulled it out of my pocket, the LED notification light was flickering and acting like it was shorting out, which I believe it really was. The phone never came back to life but was insured and a replacement should be here by the time this post goes live.

The D7100 I was thinking would be alright after drying out for a couple days. I pulled the battery immediately and as soon as I got it home, I put it in front of a heater. After a couple days I put a battery in and attempted to turn it on with no success. Being super bummed about that I took a closer look and realized there was some separation in parts of the body that would allow for water to go pretty much directly inside. 

In addition to that, I had my wide angle lens on the camera, and I do not yet know if that is alright. It makes some interesting clicking noises when turning the zoom ring, but it does move as before, as does the focus ring. Without a camera to test it on though, I’m not sure if it works or not. Here’s to hoping it does! 

Here’s a couple shots of the camera’s damage which is now better than it was after I pushed it back together some. 

 D7100 top side view of body damage

 D7100 bottom side view of body damage.

Even after growing up on the coast, and fully understanding and respecting the power of the ocean and it’s dangers, it can still throw some unexpected danger your way.  Everyone made it out safely and that is the most important thing, but it was also an expensive reminder of the dangers that can come from nowhere. 

My friend Majeed made a blog post the other day about some Landscape Photography Safety Tips. Be sure to check it out by clicking the link! It’s well worth the read and some great advice to heed before your next outing.



A Weekend of Photography

Over Memorial Day weekend I was lucky enough to spend the majority of my time out and about in nature with some great friends and other photographers!  Being primarily a landscape photographer, it is always a blast hiking, biking and photographing the beauty nature has to offer.  To end it all, I was able to visit some family and take a few photographs of the newest addition to our family, my niece Kacie.

Being on the coast, I usually have to drive a fair bit to get to the waterfalls and other areas but that’s never a problem since I get to listen to podcasts, audiobooks and music to pass the time and get me pumped up for shooting!

The weekend entailed a few different places…..

  • Opal Creek Wilderness area
  • Scotts Mills Park
  • Abiqua Falls
  • Silver Falls State Park
  • Visiting family! 

Continue on to see my favorite pictures from the trip! Click on each image for a lightbox view for better detail.

Opal Creek Wilderness


Opal Creek is an area that I’ve been wanting to visit for a while now. It always sounded so beautiful with a good variety of stuff to shoot.  It was definitely an incredibly beautiful place with some fantastic colors throughout.  To get here, you start with a 3 or so mile hike to a place called Jawbone Flats.  The flats is basically a small area with some cabins that you can rent which will put you much closer to the center of everything around.  You’re not allowed to drive to these cabins, so you have to hike or bike.   

In this case, I met up with a couple friends Saturday morning and we biked in.  Being the out of shape guy I am, it was quite tiring, but a lot faster than hiking in.   We are able to do some short hikes to the beautifully colored water, some great rapids and waterfalls mixed among a beautiful forest area. There is plenty more to see including some old growth forest, more waterfalls and such but those were a bit further than we were wanting to go for this trip, and one of the bridges crossing the creek has been washed out and never replaced to my knowledge.

 Upstream view from atop a bridge that spans Opal Creek.  You can see where the creek gets its name from the beautifully colored water. It's very inviting!

 SawMill Falls along Opal Creek. This waterfall is right where an old saw mill used to operate and one can assume, where its name originated from.

I had a Cokin P series filter set with a few other filters and accessories for it that I lost to the creek while taking the shot above.  I was able to climb up some rocks to get a slightly different vantage point than the easy one with no problem. On the way back down is when the filter holder fell into the water and floated out of reach before I could get down safely with my camera to snatch it.  Luckily, it’s a fairly inexpensive set of items to replace if I choose to do so. Was it worth it to lose that stuff while getting this shot?   I don’t know, it’s a beautiful view, but with a little more care, I probably could have left with everything in my possession. 

Scotts Mills Park


Scotts Mills county park was our meeting place before heading up the road to Abiqua Falls.  Marty (one of the friends and photographers) wanted to shoot this park before heading out and thought it would be a good meeting place and he was right!

There’s not much to shoot overall, but there is this pretty cool looking waterfall of sorts with some man-made aspects and interesting rocks all round it.  I arrived earlier than our planned meeting time since I didn’t sleep well the night before and was able to catch just a glimmer of color from the sunrise. 

 Small waterfall at Scotts Mills County Park along Butte Creek with some great and interesting man-made aspects to it.

Abiqua Falls


Abiqua Falls is easily one of the best waterfalls I have been to.  The hike through the forest, along the creek bed all to open up in this beautiful area of column rock and a gorgeous waterfall in the middle.  It’s not the easiest to get to, but definitely worth the trip.  It starts with a pretty rough drive down a road for about 2.5 miles or so.  I highly recommend a 4×4 vehicle or at least one that has higher road clearance.

Once you get to the trail head, it’s only 1/2 mile hike or so to the waterfalls, but don’t let the distance fool you. It’s a fairly steep hike through the forest down to the creek bed.  There are plenty of steep areas that have ropes to help you climb up and down.  Once you get to the creek bed, you’ll walk upstream a short distance, but this short distance requires climbing over, under and around numerous fallen trees and over loose rocks. 

As you get closer you hear the waterfall from a good distance, but you can’t see it until you round the last corner and opens up into this amazing area you see below! 

 The beautiful Abiqua Falls showing off a great water flow this time of year.

 Abiqua Falls from a lower perspective showing some of the rocks along the creek.

After leaving Abiqua, we headed for Silver Falls State Park.  We continued down a road passing some great looking forest areas only to come to a locked gate. So we had to turn around and lucky for us, the car leading the way had a photographer in it who convinced the driver to pull over to photograph the forest with some great light and fog throughout. 

 Fog in the forest creating an eerie but beautiful feeling and that's what I wanted to create with this image.

Silver Falls State Park


After Abiqua Falls and a quick lunch, we headed over to Silver Falls State Park.   This is a very well known state park that’s home to a lot of waterfalls. Most famously known for 10 or so falls along it’s trails that are pretty easy to access if you’re willing to walk the distance.  One of the unique aspects about this place are a couple of the waterfalls you are able to walk behind which is always an interesting experience if you’ve never done it.

 Double Falls at Silver Falls state park.  Above the big waterfall you can see just a tiny bit of the upper falls.

 A waterfall at Silver Falls state park.

 A view from under some of the rocks that you can get to from walking behind the waterfall.

 A more traditional view of one of the waterfalls at Silver Falls state park.

 A view from directly behind the waterfall. Taken rather quickly to avoid all the spray from the water.

Family to end the weekend

In addition to all the beautiful outdoor nature I was able to photograph this weekend… I was also lucky enough to photograph the newest addition to our family. My niece Kacie!

She was 6 days old when these were taken and really did not want to sleep at all for us while we were trying to do a shoot.  The shot with her eyes closed only lasted a minute or so, but was long enough to capture that pleasant and peaceful look on her face. 

 My niece Kacie having a curious look on her face.

 A very rare moment during our shoot when Kacie had her eyes closed. It didn't last long though!

 Kacie lifting her head on her own with a determined look on her face.

It was definitely a fun filled and busy weekend.  Couldn’t think of a better way to spend a few days, except maybe if there was a Portland Timbers game in there somewhere. Which I was able to watch in my motel the first night. 

Let me know what you think of the photos and these places! Have you been there? want to visit?  Have any stories and places you’d like to share? Post away! 

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Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival

 A panorama crop from a low angle at the top of a row of tulips.

Most of you who follow my work know that landscapes are definitely my go to type of shooting.  I really enjoy doing all types and trying new things, but landscapes are where I’m in my element.  

Every year, the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm has a month long festival allowing the public into their tulip fields.  This year was my first time going and it was quite a bit of fun shooting all the beautiful flowers and trying some new things.  Naturally I took some more typical landscape looking shots, but I also tried to go out of my element and shoot some more close-up shots and different compositions than usual.

 A shot before sunrise looking down some rows of various colored tulips.

 A second shot before sunrise from a ground level perspective looking between two rows of tulips.  Some Light painting was used via a flashlight to help lightup the flowers.

The two above images were taken early in the morning about an hour or so before sunrise.  In order to have enough light on the flowers without blowing out the sky, I used a headlamp during the long exposure to provide some light on the flowers.  The beautiful colors in the sky were not the sun rising, they were in fact a great combination of sky, clouds and city lights.  Light painting is a lot of fun to play around with and a new technique I’ve been experimenting with more frequently.

The Hot Air Balloon launch was one of the main reasons we went up so early in the morning.  There were 4-5 balloons there and prepared to go, but only one was successful in launching. The second kept going up, then losing altitude and they said it was a result of to much wind and scrapped the remaining launches.

 The first and only Hot Air Balloon that successfully launched from the tulip farm.

 The second hot air balloon being inflated with a view of some tulips and a tractor.

 Look from down low between two rows of red/white tulips.

 A closer shot of a pink tulip missing a pedal allowing a great view into the middle of it.

 Closer shot of the top of pink tulips on a gray sky background and a shallow depth of field.

I love the simplicity of the one above. I found a great composition with a clean background that focuses on the texture and beautiful color tones.

Lastly, There was this one flower I found that stood out from the rest. Not because of it’s height or color, but because it was taking it’s own path as it grew and not the same path as everyone else.  After getting this one processed, I began thinking that it deserved a great quote to go along with it. Check out the picture then read the quote just below and see if you think it fits as well as I do.

 One tulip leaning sideways, then growing upwards standing out between two rows of only vertical flowers.

Why fit in when you were born to stand out?

— Dr. Seuss

The festival closes on May 5th, so if you live in the Oregon/Southern Washington area, it may be worth a visit to see some beautiful tulips.  I would love to hear your thoughts on the pictures and if you have been to a tulip or flower farm and what your experiences were, or stories about shooting new and different things from your usual subjects.


The Importance of Exploring Close to Home

 Newport, OR public fishing pier with the famous Yaquina Bay Bridge.
Newport, OR public fishing pier with the famous Yaquina Bay Bridge.

I’ve been photographing for a couple years now, and since that time I have been looking at everything with a completely new set of eyes.  Naturally, people want to capture these grand, epic landscapes or portraits in exotic locations.  I am certainly one of those people as well.  It’s taken me quite some time now, but getting out and exploring closer to home is still just as interesting as exploring new places.  It all depends on your mental eyes approach to your surroundings.

All of the photo’s in this post are within a few minutes drive from my home.  The photo at the top includes a very iconic bridge in Newport, the Yaquina Bay Bridge.  Years ago there was talk and movements to building a new larger bridge to increase traffic flow.  It ultimately got turned down, and is now constantly under repair to maintain it’s historic stature.   There is no shortage of pictures containing this bridge in the world.  I’ve got quite a few myself where the bridge is the sole focus of the image.  Wanting to try something different, this sign for the public fishing pier is so obvious, that I never considered it.  While walking around one day, I decided “what the heck, lets try it”. 

Got my tripod low, composed the shot with the bridge in the background, and it has turned out to be my favorite shot containing this bridge, and it’s not the sole subject in the photo as so often seen, like the photo below.  Sure, the image may be beautiful to some, but what’s so interesting about it that you haven’t seen before? Nothing!

 Yaquina Bay Bridge as seen during the blue hour from the south jetty.
Yaquina Bay Bridge as seen during the blue hour from the south jetty.
 An old boat that's been sitting along side the highway for as long as I can remember. 
An old boat that’s been sitting along side the highway for as long as I can remember. 

This boat here has been along side the highway about 3 miles from home forever. I remember seeing it when I was a kid, and just simply thinking, “what an odd place to park a boat.”  To this day, I still don’t know why it’s there or who it belongs to.  I have driven by this boat thousands of times. Every time I drive into Newport and back home, I pass by it twice.  Took me quite some time to decide to stop and photograph this boat, even though it’s been there for such a long time.  Who knows when this boat may fall apart, be moved, or even vandalized completely changing what has long been an after thought for me.  Now, I have some great shots that if anything were to happen, I can always look back on.

 The very popular Ona Beach State Park, as seen during winter.
The very popular Ona Beach State Park, as seen during winter.

If you follow me on social media, you will have recently seen this picture I got (above).  This is at a popular state park, well known for it’s flat, boring ol’ beach.  There is no shortage of just sand, and it certainly makes for a great family outing.  However, that’s not very interesting to someone who lives just a few miles away.  We see that all day every day.  What’s interesting about this park is, that if you walk south instead of the usual north, you’ll run into this beautiful area.  An interesting tidbit, these rocks are usually covered by sand during the summer, and only exposed during the winter.  If we have had a stormy winter, there are even more rocks revealed.  Put these rocks in your scene with the vibrant colors, include the famous sunsets as just a part, and you’ve got a whole new look than what is usually found. 

Lastly, the photograph below is from another very popular spot, Seal Rock.  This tiny little town has some gorgeous rocky landscapes that provide for consistently great photographs.  I drive by this place twice a day for work, and shoot here a lot. It’s easy to capture a beautiful landscape, but it’s a little more difficult to capture something new in such a highly photographed area.  I went exploring and walking around in different areas that I don’t normally walk through trying to find a different vantage point.  That is when I found this small little overlook that provided a great view of the setting sun, the ocean below, a little bit of the famous Seal Rock itself, while providing some new elements that are much more prominent in the frame.

 A new vantage point for me to consider shooting out a few more times while still trying to find others.
A new vantage point for me to consider shooting out a few more times while still trying to find others.

This post isn’t to simply tell you about what I’ve found or show off my images.  The goal is to help inspire you get out and explore closer to home and see what new interesting places and things you find.  Whether you shoot landscapes, architecture or even people, I guarantee you’ll be able to find A LOT of new and inspiring subjects to shoot.

Check out some of your favorite places as a kid during different seasons, you may find a completely different scene different times of the year. I certainly found one I wasn’t aware of.  Go explore with different weather conditions. Everyone loves a beautiful sunset, but what’s so interesting when you see a million of those every day?  Go shoot the same place when it’s snowing, raining, cloudy, you never know what amazing stuff you will run across. When it comes to objects, capture them, before they are gone. You just don’t know how long things will be around, and that can include major structures like a bridge.

Who knows, maybe you’ll capture a historic moment that will live on well beyond your own years, all because you decided to take a closer look at exploring close to home.


Let me know your own thoughts on this subject.  Feel free to link to
your own photo’s and interesting things that you’ve found close to home
that you may not have noticed or appreciated before. What inspires you to go out and explore close to home?


One Light, Two Light with Joe McNally and Kelby…

               This may be a little long winded, but I think it’s worth a read and will hopefully portray how great this day was. Read on for my thoughts on this One Light, Two Light tour.

August 27th I had the pleasure of attending a Kelby Training seminar featuring
Joe McNally! The title of the seminar was One Light, Two Light with the
emphasis on using one or two smaller speedlites to provide great lighting
without the need for big expensive studio strobes.  

whole idea behind the seminar is what caught my attention in the first place. I
have been shooting more people recently and wanted to improve my lighting
knowledge and capabilities without buying an expensive studio setup.  This type of setup is also portable and could
be used out in the field without too much trouble as well. When I heard it was
Joe McNally running this thing, it was a no brainer to attend.  Kelby Training prices these at such a low
price, there’s not much of an excuse to not go if you’re considering. 

                Joe is
a fantastic teacher and easy to listen to. He’s incredibly knowledgeable and it
truly shows. Despite being able to rattle off technical details and talk about
in depth subjects relating to light and equipment; he’s able to explain and
describe exactly what he’s doing so even the most novice photographers can
understand.  One of the biggest things I
came to love and respect about Joe is his standpoint on mistakes.  Mistakes happen, no matter how prepared you
are. Whether it be an equipment malfunction or user error, these things
happen.  Understanding what went wrong
and why it went wrong is an important thing. Don’t freak out, stay calm, make a
joke about it, and use your knowledge to correct it for next time you pull the
trigger.  There’s nothing wrong with
firing a couple test shots either if you’re not 100% sure where to begin.  Being more of a landscape photographer, these
lighting aspects are not my strong suit. Making mistakes has been one thing I
freak out about ahead of time and hope it doesn’t happen on the job. After
listening to Joe talk about this, and even witnessing these things happening in
front of hundreds of people, I’ve got a much better grasp on how to handle a
situation like this.

                For a
good half of the day, he used one off camera flash.  He used a variety of different light
modifiers to achieve different light and effects he was after. Sometimes he
would block off parts of the light with gaffers tape or a flash bender, other
times he would double diffuse and add additional interruptions to the light
before it hits the subject.  Joe would
choose various people from the audience for his subjects and he would shoot
tethered so we would see the results straight from the camera instantly.  When things went wrong, he would explain what
happened and make the necessary changes. 
He always made it a point to ask their name, what they do, and shake
their hand. Little things like that add a lot to the experience.

                One big
surprise to me was that Joe uses TTL for all of his flash work and no radio
triggers involved. He shoots with Nikon so it’s the i-TTL stuff.  He had one flash on the camera that was
acting as the commander, not effecting the exposure of the image, and then it
would tell the off camera flash how to expose. He was able to easily manipulate
the flash using on camera settings without adjusting the shutter speed or
aperture most of the time. Using a white background, most of the pictures he
shot were black, and only lighting the subject as he wanted. A few times he
would maintain the white color depending on the look he was after. Between each
shot, he would review the camera settings and talk about the modifiers being
used and what they do to the light.  It’s
all simple and affordable stuff that even beginners could obtain easily.

last thoughts on the day. Joe would take time to ask the audience if we had any
questions, and would take the time needed to make sure the answer was addressed
and understood. He and his assistants were available during the breaks for
questions as well.

                It was
just a fantastic day and a lot of fun. I learned a heck of a lot, and from one
of the world’s best! This ended up being exactly what I was hoping it would be
and touched on everything I was hoping for. I walked away with a far better
understanding of light, and what my current gear is capable of with just a few
tweaks here and there. If you haven’t attended any of the Kelby Training
seminars, I can absolutely recommend this one without hesitation. I will
certainly be looking out for others in my area.

you Joe McNally and Kelby Training for the services and knowledge you provide
to us. I’d hug you both if it were possible!

If you would like to check out more about Joe McNally, visit his website at www.joemcnally.com
Also be sure to check out Kelby Training at www.kelbytraining.com One of the best resources on the internet for all things photography.


April Showers

This photo was taken back in April during a pretty big rainy spell we had. It was nearing the end as you can see with the clouds breaking a bit in the background. The rain visible up front is what drew my attention to this particular spot. During the winter, this type of scene is not uncommon as we get a lot of rain, and some incredible clouds that often break nearing the sunset hours creating some fantastic drama in the sky.  It doesn’t always work out like that, and in this case it was one of those times. Still provided some great pictures, but never did quite break enough for my liking.

In order to capture the background, rain and foreground the way I wanted to, I shot a 3 bracket exposure with 2 stops between each capture. I processed this image using NIk HDR Efex Pro2 and Lightroom 4.

I started with some of the presets built into Nik Software and then tweaked the options for a look closer to what I was going for. Started out with the Deep2 preset, and then added some custom control points to adjust the exposure, contrast, saturation in very specific locations. After that I added a little sharpness and noise reduction in Lightroom.

 Seal Rock, OR during some April showers.
Seal Rock, OR during some April showers.

Nik HDR Efex Pro2

I’ve been a fan of HDR for a while. Some of it overcooked, some of it much more natural looking. My taste varies quite a bit depending on the scene I’m looking at. 

Recently I picked up this piece of software and have been really enjoying it. I previously used Photomatix, which is still great, but I really enjoy the layout and control in HDR Efex. It’s a much more comfortable layout and control for me.  This is likely due to being a big fan of the other Nik Software, Color Efex, Silver Efex etc..

Here’s a great little article with images to download if you wanted to trial out exactly what this gentleman did.

Below you can see an image I processed using this software in combination with Lightroom4.

 Yaquina Bay bridge as seen from the Port of Newport public fishing pier. Processed using Lightroom4 and Nik HDR Efex Pro2
Yaquina Bay bridge as seen from the Port of Newport public fishing pier. Processed using Lightroom4 and Nik HDR Efex Pro2