Hey, it’s over there

Over There

Image of a photographer shooting in the wrong direction while trying to capture a lightning bolt

Since moving to Washington State back in the spring of 2012 I have made it a point to get back to Arizona at least once every summer to chase the Arizona Monsoon.  During those trips something of a tradition has developed where I make a storm chasing trip to the northern part of the state with two of my friends, Bryan Snider and Chris Frailey.  I was during that trip last summer that I made this image which I simply titled “Over There” for what is a somewhat obvious reason when looking at the image.

For Monsoon 2015, our trip north ultimately took us to the Petrified Forest National Park.  For those that have never been, the Petrified Forest offers some of the most beautifully stark landscapes you will come across anywhere.  Even though there aren’t a lot of roads in the park, it really is a great place to capture weather images, the contrast between the storms and the desert, IMO, is captivating.  The downside to there not being a lot of roads in the park, there are not a lot of places to be able to pull over the capture those images.  You are generally limited to scenic vista points and the roadside pullouts near trailheads.

This particular shot was captured at one of those highway wide spots with pull off parking.  The storm was due south of us and the only place to shoot from was on the north side of the road meaning that we were actually shooting across the highway.  Generally speaking this wasn’t much of a problem other than having to try to time shots between passing cars, fortunately traffic was fairly light when we where there.

While the three of us were setup and shooting the storm to the south, a very nice couple pulled up, got our of their car with their cameras and asked us about capturing lightning.  We explained the basics to them and really assumed that the woman would shoot from beside us.  As you can see from this image, she took a different approach and walked to the other side of the highway and started shooting.  I am not really sure that she actually captured a bolt of lightning, she was shooting hand hold and would concentrate on where a strike had previously occurred kept missing the real action.  As I said, she was actually quite nice, and when we pointed out that she had jumped right into our shots she moved, but I do think that there was a bit of mother nature’s justice in that she was constantly point in the wrong direction and the lightning was always “over there.”

While I have at least 100 other lightning images from that day alone, I suspect that this will be the last one that I share from the 2015 monsoon.  I am really looking forward to making at least one Arizona trip for Monsoon 2016 and for the annual trip north with Bryan and Chris but before I finish this blog post I thought I would share one bonus image of two good storm chasing friends that I captured with a humble iPhone.


Bryan Snider and Chris Frailey storm chasing in Northern Arizona during Monsoon 2015


Posted in StormChasing

Comparing lens adapters for mirrorless cameras

I have had a lot of people ask me about the different lens adapters for using Nikon lenses on mirrorless cameras. I decided to shoot a short video explaining the options that I have experience with.

This isn’t intended to be a comprehensive run down of the options out there, simply what I have experience with and what I feel I can confidently speak to.

Posted in Tutorials

Downtown Olympia Time Lapse

Over the last few weeks I have gotten back into shooting a lot of time lapse video.  As my followers might remember, I have done a lot of this in the past for sort of stepped away from it for awhile.  This video, of Downtown Olympia, was shot from the Washington State Capitol grounds.

When I started this sequence the light was sort of so-so, but the time the sequence got under way, the sun had dropped in the sky and a gorgeous golden light bathed the area.  I hope you like it.

Posted in Photography

Three Books

Even in the digital age, three books that I think that every new photographer should read

Even in the digital age, three books that I think that every new photographer should read

Pretty much every aspect of our lives these days are digital, from the television to watch, the music we listen to and the cameras that we use to make images.  I know a number of people who feel that we were better off in an analog world, I am not one of those, I don’t see digital better or worse than analog, just different.  With that said, there is a lot that we can, and should, learn from the analog era, especially when it comes to photography.  I sort of feel that these three books should be required reading when a new photographer buys their first camera.

What a lot of new photographers, and even some that have been doing this for a little while, don’t realize is that even though the technology has changed, drastically, over the last 100 or so years, the basic concepts, as well as what the camera is actually doing hasn’t.  At the end of the day a camera is still capturing light and projecting it into a surface that is sensitive to that very light.

The Camera, The Negative and The Print have been available in publication for decades, and are still in print today.  I have had copies if them in my library since my very early days in photography, and would highly recommend that if you have read them, pick them up and learn from a master.

Posted in Photography

Lake Union Houses

Houses on the east shore of Lake Union in Seattle during the golden light of sunset

Houses on the east shore of Lake Union in Seattle during the golden light of sunset

During a recent break from the gray skies and rain, I decided to head up to Seattle for a little evening / night shooting with my friend Gary Wells.  We had a great time and started the evening off at Gasworks Park.  For those not familiar with Gasworks Park, it offers a nice view of the Seattle skyline and sits on the northern shore of Lake Union.

We arrived just before sunset and as I was waiting for the sun to go down and the city to light up, the setting sun cast a gorgeous glow on the houses along the eastern shore of the lake.  I couldn’t resist grabbing a few shots during the fleeting golden light.

Posted in Photography