It’s A Candy Cane House

Candy Cane House

A house decorated for Christmas with lights and a huge candy cane

We took advantage of it not raining last night to go out and see some of the more decorated houses around the Olympia area.  It is a tradition that the wife and I have been doing for at least 10 years now.  This particular house is in Olympia and they really do a great job with it.  This years focal point was a huge candy cane in the yard.


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Some of my favorites from 2014

Here we are at that time of the year when a lot of photographers start looking back on the year and sharing their favorite images from the last 365 days.  I am no different, I enjoy looking back and have been doing so for a couple years now, click on one of these two links to see my 2012 and 2013 collections.   I typically break my annual look back into a number of categories, but for my favorites from 2014 I am only going to break them down to three, one of which will be very generic, and like last year I will save my favorite image of the year until the very end of the post.

Most of the images in this post can be viewed in larger versions by simply clicking on the image itself. I hope that you will take a few minutes to look over this collection of images and I hope you enjoy them.

Field Trips With The Olympia Camera Club

If I am going to be completely honest, 2014 wasn’t really a very good year for us, I won’t go into details as they are not really important here, but because of that I did’t really get out and shoot as much as I normally do.  My Lightroom catalog has just about half the number of RAW images for 2014 as it did in 2013.  With that said, I did get out on a few different field trips with the Olympia Camera Club.  The OCC is the oldest camera club in the Puget Sound area and I have become a lot more active with the club over the past year.  The club tries to go on at least one group field trip each month and the following images, in no particular order, are from some of the trips in 2014.

Broken Bird

A woman looks at a bird that can no longer fly

Into The Fresnel

A memember of the Olympia Camera club making an image of the fresnel light at the Point Robinson Lighthouse on Vashon Island

Shooting The Coast

Black and white image of a photographer making an image of the Ocean on the Washington Coast

The Surfer

A surfer at Cape Disappointment State Park in Southwest Washington State

That sort of all over the place category

Ok, this next group of five images might seem like they are all over the place when it comes to subject matter and you would be right, they are.  :-)


An abstract image of 2 carnival rides at the Washington State Fair

Emerald City

Seattle, the Emerald City, at night.


Woman enjoying a cup of coffee in solitude overlooking the Pacific Ocean

Boston Harbor Fireworks - 2014

Fireworks during the annual 3rd of July celebration at Boston Harbor near Olympia, WA

Into The Sun

An old tree and a sunset near Tucson AZ


As always, no look back would be complete without a few weather images.  This years selection of 4 images all came from the same storm chasing trip to northern Arizona with Bryan Snider and Chris Frailey.  Not only that, but Bryan even manages to be featured in one of them.

High Desert Lightning

Lightning over the high desert of Arizona near Winslow

Bryan Snider

My friend and fellow storm chaser Bryan Snider shooting a thunderstorm over the Painted Desert near Winslow, AZ

Winslow Lightning

Lightning over the high desert of Arizona near Winslow

And my favorite of 2014

Painted Lightning

Lightning over the high desert of Arizona near Winslow

Well, there you have it.  My favorite images of 2014.  I really do hope that you have enjoyed this collection of images and I want to wish each and everyone of you a great 2015, may it be far better than 2014.

Posted in Photography

Topaz Glow – Some Initial Thoughts

Topaz Glow Test

A flower given the Topaz Glow treatment

If you are at all familiar with my work you know that I rarely push post processing beyond the limits of keeping my images looking as “natural” and “realistic” as possible.  I never want to have someone compliment by work by saying that I did a great job with post processing.  I want people to judge my work as a whole, based on the image itself.  Because of that you will rarely ever see me share images that have gone through filters to make them look like oil paintings nor will you see me share images that are over the top HDR with that cartoony look that we all know all too well.  With all of that said, you might be wondering why I am sharing this image that I processed with the new Topaz Glow from Topaz Labs?

Well, the short answer is that even though I don’t share a lot of images like this, I still have a lot of fun playing around with them, and another short answer is that I am a Topaz affiliate and they ask me to evaluate their new offerings, but the real answer would that the new Topaz Glow is not only a lot of fun, it does crazy cool things to images of fairly normal things.

I will be doing a much deeper dig into Topaz Glow after the holidays, amazing how busy things are right now, but I wanted to share this first image that I processed with it.  This is actually an iPhone 6 image I made of a flower during a recent trip to Tacoma and beyond simply running it through the Glow plugin, I did nothing else to it.

Stay tuned for my deeper look at the product, but in the meantime if you would like to give it a try for yourself simply click on the links that I have included in the body of this blog post.  They will take you to the Topaz site where you can download trials of all their products, including Glow.

Posted in Photography

821 – A #WE35 Equipment Check and Test Run


Simple house numbers on a cedar fence

I guess the title for this image, 821, is pretty obvious.  What might not be so obvious is why I made this image in the first place.  Before I go into that though, a little background might be in order.

I have always gone through periods of what I like to think of as photographic doldrums, basically they are periods when I just don’t feel all that creative nor motivated to get out and shoot much.  In the past that always happened at the end of the Arizona monsoon season, since moving away from Arizona and back to the Pacific Northwest, it seems to hit at more random times.  The only way I have ever found to really get out of those doldrums is to find some sort of photographic project to work on.

The timing for this recent bout of the doldrums could’t have been better when my friends over at The Photo Frontier launched their #WE35 research project.  I jumped at the chance to join the research team and while I won’t go into a lot of detail here, no reason for me to re-write everything that they already have online, please click through to the project page for everything you need to know.

This leads me to why I am posting this image today.  While I use my 35mm prime lens a lot during storm chasing trips, it tends to collect some dust the rest of the time.  I dusted it off this morning, mounted it to my Nikon D610 and made an excursion all the way out to my front yard.  Think of it as a bit of a shakedown and an equipment check prior to the serious research. :-)


Posted in Photography Tagged |

Moonrise over Cape Disappointment

Moonrise over the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse

Moonrise over the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse

While it might seem like I have been ignoring my blog lately, the truth is that I just returned from a week long work trip and while I had plans to get a number of images prepped to post while I was on the road, life got in the way and that didn’t happen. Have no fear though, I am back at my desktop computer that hosts my Lightroom Catalog, and I am sharing am image of the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse from back in October.

This image was made during a club field trip to the park, and while the weather was pretty amazing that day, I am really looking forward to returning to this very location when the weather is really bad, I have seen some amazing images of HUGE waves crashing onto the rocks below the lighthouse which I really want to shoot myself.

Posted in Photography