Category Archives: Scenics

Recharging the Batteries, Columbia River Gorge Trains…

Gorge Train

After spending the better part of two months using Canon Speedlites to shoot lots of images for my new Digital Field Guide about the Speedlite system, I felt like I needed a break from flash photography and the computers. My photographer friend Dave Lutz suggested a trip out to the Gorge to shoot some trains, bridges and tunnels and I thought it was just the ticket to get the ‘ole creative juices flowing again. Sometimes all we need to break the routine is to step outside and flex the creative muscle.

While Dave chimps his images on his camera’s LCD monitor, I photographed him in Continuous shutter mode as a freight train whizzed by. This one was by far the best of the burst as the camera isolated him in the negative space between the railcars and an added bonus was getting the fall leaves behind him on the other side of the train.

Gorge Train2

Adding a Second Speedlite to Your Macro Photography…

This was shot in my backyard for the macro section of my new Canon Speedlite Digital Field Guide set for release February 2010. It shows the benefit of adding a second Speedlite for the background (triggered by PocketWizards) to counteract the tendency of the background to go black when shooting macro images at high f/numbers.
Canon 5D Mk II, ISO 2000, f/11 @ 1/80 sec. with an EF100mm macro lens. Macro Twin-Lite MT-24EX for the main light, 580EX II for the background, both on manual settings.

High Speed Flash test…


High speed flash test, dripping water into a bowl, for the book. It’s all hit or miss with stuff like this but I seem to like this one. I’m seeing some metaphorical symbolism in the water shapes, how about you? Exposure is ISO 800, 1/5000 sec. @f/8 with an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM lens with a Canon EX580 Speedlite set to ETTL.

Lensbaby…yeah baby!


I must admit the Lensbaby look just didn’t fit my style, or so I thought. Until I shot with the new Composer. OMG, have you ever had you head slapped up against a wall, in a good way? Everything they say about these unique marvels is true and the possibilities are really endless. It really is a whole new way of seeing.  My thanks go out to Craig Strong and Keri Friedman of Lensbaby for their unquestioning support, advice and friendship. I’m new to the fold but I’m a quick learner.


Canon 5D Mark II…

 A few weeks ago I had a couple of “firsts”. First time on snowshoes, first visit to an ice cave and first hands-on shooting with the new Canon 5D Mark II.


John Waller of Uncage The Soul Productions and I put together a project to test out the new Canon 5D Mark II, and awesome new camera that shoots 21.10 MP still images and up to 24 minutes of continuous 1080p high-definition video. I’m writing a field guide on this new camera and needed some “seat-time” with it and John was excited about the new camera’s capabilities and came up with a location to try it out on, an ice cave near Trout Lake, Washington.


It was quite the experience. Quite the caver  himself (do not, ever, use the word “spelunker”), John reminded Liam Nagy (our model) and I to keep close track of time because in a cave with no light and nothing to create the flow of time, hours seem like minutes. Surprisingly, this was absolutely true and an interesting phenomenon to experience.



We had several lights, even more Speedlites and Pocket Wizards to light everything up and headlamps to see what the hell we were doing! The camera was great, there’s lots of reviews online so I won’t bore you with statisitics, but we used almost all of the new shooting modes and were very impressed with the quality it produced. Check out the video here and a lower-res version here. Can’t wait to use this awesome tool for my upcoming assignments! Enjoy!


Christmas In Hawaii…


Many of you know I’ve just returned from a dream photo assignment, a location wedding in Waikiki, on Oahu, Hawaii. I will be posting some wedding favs in a future post but I wanted to share a few top images from our own endeavors. We were there the same time Barack Obama and family were vacationing in Kailua, about 20 minutes away. The first night we were there was the famous island-wide power outage. Some fun navigating by the light of your cell phone and glow sticks! Click here to see my favorite 135 images on my PhotoShelter web page archive. Having never been to Hawaii before, my visual awareness was on a heightened sense of reality, looking for the cliche’ images but putting my own personal slant on them. What a bounty of photo opportunities! We rented a car for two of the days and got away from the strip and out into the mountains, hills and landmarks. Pearl Harbor was very moving, as a somber pall falls over the tourists after watching a short film on the history and background of the attack before boarding a ferry out to the USS Arizona Memorial site. Expecting some awesome waves in Waimea Bay and the Banzai Pipeline along the North Shore, it was raining and fairly flat the days we were there but I am so glad my wife purred, “c’mon, go back there and ask the kind lady if you can take her picture” which is rare for her, but I’m glad I did because it’s one of my favorite portraits, other than the wedding, from the trip. I treated her with dignity and respect and she totally gave it up.


One of the main reasons I love to travel is it gets you out of your routine and comfort zone, opening you up to new foods, customs, dress and language, submerging you into a different culture if only for a few days. This is a huge benefit especially if you are a photographer. The pressure is on to document your trip in meaningful images that tell a story and document your time there.


I’ll be posting a multi media slideshow of these images in a day or so but I wanted to get these along and out there!


Mahalo and Aloha!









Takhlakh Lake, Mt. Adams area…

The long Labor Day weekend included the last camping trip of the season at beautiful Takhlakh Lake near Mt. Adams. The route from the south was washed out so we had to go around north to Randle, WA. then south to the lake. Incredible weather, it was a great time to get away and recharge the creative batteries!
Also recently, got invited to a blogger meet-up sponsored by local TV station KATU at their studios. It was a very fun event of local bloggers, and amazing to meet some folks who have been blogging since the beginning (I’m such a newbie compared to them :-) Free food, microbrews and wine (yum!) and even got to be IN a group photo for a change! That’s me, front right, third in.