Monthly Archives: September 2012

Ghost Ship

What is one to do when it is getting towards the end of the summer and you don’t really have a whole lot of extra money on the weekend?  The first thing that came to mind for us this was a little road trip around Puget Sound, more specifically Hood Canal.

This image, made during that trip, was actually a bit more challenging than you might think.  I wanted to smooth the water out some so I used my new 10 stop Lee Big Stopper ND filter.  The problem doing something like that was the boat in the scene, it tends to move around a bit when the water is a little choppy, of course I wanted that boat to be one of the key elements of the scene so I had to come up with something.

I ended up simply taking a lot of shots with the hopes that at least one of them would have the boat remain somewhat sharp.  This image was the winner of about 10 that I made but even it had the boat moving just enough to introduce a bit of motion blur.  I ended up converting it to black and white and introducing some film grain which actually gives it the look of being a bit sharper than it actually is.

Posted in Photography

A Viral Haboob – Re-published

The following blog post was from the old blog at and was originally posted on July 6, 2011

The July 5th, 2011 Phoenix Haboob from Scott Wood on Vimeo.

I have always wondered what it would be like to have something go “viral” on the internet. It seems like you would be part of a somewhat small club. What I didn’t realize was that it would be somewhat exhausting, very much overwhelming and very educational.

When I posted this video, of the epic dust storm (haboob) that blew into the Phoenix metro area last night, I thought that it might get some attention. I felt it was pretty dramatic, and that my internet followers, at a minimum, would enjoy it. I uploaded it to my SmugMug galleries (more on that in a bit) and sent a tweet out to share it. Within a few minutes it had been re-tweeted a handful of times, which is pretty typical after I upload an image and share it. This went on for a few minutes and then it got re-tweeted by a couple different news agencies at almost the same time. After that, my twitter stream exploded. My Iphone display could not keep up with the tweet notifications and Tweetdeck on my desktop was a blur of activity.

Moments after that, the emails started arriving. I had almost immediate requests for the video from The Weather Channel, CBS News and even Gizmodo. The Weather Channel has aired it a number of times and CBS featured it on their national morning show. It also aired very briefly on their evening broadcast tonight. The CBS coverage lead to being contacted by a company that provides video content for multiple networks affiliates all across the country. A deal was worked out with them and I have gotten word that it was going to air on at least 25 different local stations today. I even did an interview with 3TV here in Phoenix that used the footage not only in the interview but as teaser footage for other parts of their storm coverage.

All of this has provided me with a very valuable education when it comes to internet exposure and marketing. I made a decision a long time ago that I was going to be very restrictive as to where I post images. I upload everything, with the exception of my 500px images, to my SmugMug hosted site and link to the images hosted there from my other sites, such as this blog. Because I sell prints from there, that is where I want to have people see my work. It only made sense that if I was going upload video, even if I didn’t have the intentions of it going viral, I would upload it to a place that would draw attention to my photographic work, without my viewers having to click through to a different site, as they would have had to do if I uploaded to somewhere like YouTube or Vimeo.

It does seem to have worked. In the last 24 hours, the video above has been viewed on my site 791,267 times. Since all of those people actually had to visit my site to see it, they have also viewed my other still images a total of 608,941 times over the same period of time. This is a grand total of 1,400,208 views of my work in the last 24 hours. While my video might have been seen nearly 800,000 times, my images certainly would not have been seen just over 600,000 times. You never know when something you upload will become powerful, and when it does, use that power to showcase the other things that you would like to have people see.

Finally, over the last 24 hours I have made it a point to not direct people to this site. My blog is just that, my blog. It isn’t the main showcase for my work, and even though I do share a lot of images here, it isn’t exclusively photography related. Even with that, the amount of traffic to this site has really jumped over the normal amount I usually see. If I would have linked my video though this site, and not directly to my SmugMug site, there is no way that the servers that host this site would have stayed up and running. If you want people to see your work, they have to be able to get to the site.

Posted in StormChasing, WayBackMachine

Falling through the cracks


If you shoot a lot odds are that am image every now then will fall through the proverbial cracks of your image indexing/storage system.  This image is a perfect example of that.  I made this back in February of this year.  As you may know, I was in the middle of buying our new place here in Olympia and planning on the move from Phoenix, so I hardly picked up my camera for almost 3 months.  When you see a sky like this, and you are a weather photographer, you have to grab a camera and take a few shots, even if you are busy doing other things. :-)

I came across this image again yesterday as I was finishing up doing some house cleaning of online galleries.  I hope you enjoy it, and remember to go back and look at the older images, odds are that you might find your own images that have fallen through the cracks.

Posted in StormChasing Tagged , |

Snoqualmie Falls

I love waterfalls, but I don’t think I am alone in this.  When you have a long 3 day weekend and the weather is gorgeous, places like Snoqualmie Falls is absolutely packed with people.  It becomes a real challenge to get a spot for a few minutes to setup a shot, especially when you are using something like Lee Big Stopper to slow the shutter down.

Even with the harsh mid-day light and the construction equipment in the scene, I am still quite happy with this image.  I hope you enjoy it.

Posted in Photography

Re-working five year old lightning

You have probably heard the old saying about measuring twice and cutting once.  This doesn’t only apply to carpentry, but to most other things as well.  My online photo galleries are a good example.  I didn’t take a lot of time when I first set them up to plan out exactly what galleries I actually needed.  This lead to a great deal of duplication.  As an example, I had separate galleries for each years weather photography, this lead to a number of images sort of falling through the cracks when those galleries migrated to the bottom of the list.  I needed to do a lot of house cleaning around here and I am spending a lot of time consolidating galleries, I know have one weather gallery instead of 5, and I am also purging out images that no longer “make the cut” as I want to concentrate on only showing my best work.

As a byproduct of all this, I have decided that I needed to address some of the older images that did make the cut.  These two are perfect examples.  Both of these lightning images were made in Tucson, AZ in 2008.  At the time I had cropped them vertically to focus on the lightning strike itself, but it lead to compositions that really were not all that compelling.  I think both of these images benefit from the negative space that I just added back.  As a matter of fact, I am going to be re-working almost all of my 2008 storm chasing images.

Stay tuned over the next week or so.  I will be sharing more of these images as I get them finished.

Posted in StormChasing Tagged |