Monthly Archives: August 2015

Middle Tumwater Falls

OCC Middle Tumwater Falls

Middle Tumwater Falls captured during the OCC Advanced Photography Group photo walk

I love shooting waterfalls. I find falling water soothing, powerful and beautiful all at the same time.  I also love that you can shoot the same falls, in this case the Middle Tumwater Falls, many times and the falls are different every time you visit.

These falls are in Tumwater Falls Park, which is only a few miles from my house, and is a favorite shooting location for me when I just need to get out and shoot something.  The park features a series of 3 falls, all three of them completely different in appearance and feel.  While the lower falls is the most famous, it is the falls featured in the Olympia Beer branding, I have always thought that the middle falls was the prettiest.


Posted in Photography

Weber House Falling Star

A falling star at the Weber House near Pullman, WA

A falling star at the Weber House near Pullman, WA

The final night of the NxNW2015 expedition to the Palouse found us at the Weber House near Pullman.  For those that follow my blog you will remember that I have already shared an image from the Weber House.

We started the evening off shooting the sunset, then moved on to light painting and finally finished with some astro photography.  It was the first time that some in our group had ever tried to shoot the milky way, and even though it was still early enough in the year that it was still low on the horizon it still put on a show for us.  It was also the first time I was trying to shoot the milky way with my then new Sony a6000 and Sony 10-18 f4 lens.  I was pretty sure that the a6000 would perform well, I just wasn’t sure about the lens, I generally like to have a lens that opens wider than f4 for shooting the stars and the night sky.

During one of my first exposures of the milky way we were graced with a falling star (fireball), it was incredibly bright and while I can’t speak for the rest of the group, just seeing something like that is a real treat, let alone photographing it. Of the 10 of us shooting that night I believe that 4 of us actually captured it.

Unfortunately for me, it was at the very end of a fairly long exposure shot.  I really didn’t want to keep my shutter open any longer than I already had or the star trails were going to extend further than they already had and I didn’t want that. I had planned all along to do a little light painting during a milky way shot but the shot that actually captured the falling star was during what I thought was going to be an early text exposure.  Now I was in a position where I had the falling star in the night sky but nothing on the ground of any interest so I did the only think that I could think of doing.  I asked all of my fellow shooters to let me know when I could paint some light on the scene, I didn’t want to mess up any of their exposures, and when it was all clear I did another shot and put some light from a flash light onto the ground.

This left me with 2 exposures, one of an amazing falling star, the other of the Weber House lit by a flash light.  All that was left to do was combine them in post and the result is the image above.

Oh yeah, how did the Sony 10-18 do with astro photography?  It did ok but I still prefer to have a lens that opens wider than f4.  Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love the 10-18 but I have since added the Rokinon 12mm f2 to my kit.

Posted in Photography

Photo walk at Tumwater Falls Park

OCC Advanced Group Tumwater Falls Photowalk

An image from the August OCC Advanced Photography Groups photowalk at Tumwater Falls Park

Yesterday evening I lead a photo walk for the Advanced Photography Group of the Olympia Camera Club around Tumwater Falls Park. We had a great turnout and I think that everyone had a good time.

Tumwater Falls Park is a place I shoot quite a lot, not only is it very peaceful there, even better is that it is always a little bit different.  This particular scene was captured near the upper falls and if the water had been flowing more it simply would not have been visible.

Posted in Photography

Steptoe’s Shadow

The shadow of Steptoe Butte captured on the Palouse at sunrise

The shadow of Steptoe Butte captured on the Palouse at sunrise

For a number of reasons this might be one of my favorite images I captured while on the NxNW2015 trip back in June.  It’s not the most awe inspiring landscape that you have ever seen, heck, it’s not even close to the prettiest landscape image you have ever seen.  But this image of steptoe’s shadow does a great job, IMO, to demonstrate just how important good light is to an image.

If you are a landscape photographer you have heard how important it is to shoot your landscapes at sunrise or sunset, what is know as the golden hour, and that really is true, nothing will destroy an otherwise gorgeous landscape than flat light or even worse, harsh mid-day light.

What really drew me to this scene, and why I made this image, and more importantly why I am sharing this image, is in one click you can see the profound impact that quality of light has on an image.  I captured this at sunrise, facing west, with the rising sun at my back.  The cone shaped shadow you see is the shadow of Steptoe Butte itself.  The upper corners have that gorgeous golden light that you would expect in a landscape image, the shadowed cone is the utterly flat light that lives in the shadows.  The contrast between the two types of light really can’t be missed.

I am not sharing this image in the hopes that people will find it to be amazing art, or even a pretty picture, but I am sharing it in the hopes that as a photographer you will take into account the quality of light that you are shooting in and use it to your advantage.  With that said though, while it might not translate into a stunning image, it was actually quite stunning to witness in person.

Posted in Photography

Violent Skies

Lightning striking in Northern Arizona during the 2015 monsoon season

Lightning striking in Northern Arizona during the 2015 monsoon season

As I have grown and developed as a severe wether photographer I have found that what I consider good lightning photography has changed a great deal.  In the past I was happy to simply get a pretty bolt of lightning, but I have come to realize that in addition to simply having a nice bolt of lightning, an image should be able to stand on its own without the lightning, in other words it needs to be a good image that simply happens to have a bolt of lightning in it.  I hope that this image reflects that, and that it was actually the violent skies, or the sky that looked violent, that lead me to really liking this image.

Posted in StormChasing