The Value of Turning Around

Red Barn Winter Wonderland

A red barn in a winter wonderland of Northern Idaho

In my opinion, any photographer “worth their salt” will have an idea for an image that they want to make before they head out the door with their camera gear. In the modern age there are a numerous apps that will help you plan where the moon or sun will be at a certain time and location.  There are apps that will help determine how impressive a sunset or sunrise will look and there are a tons of sites that help you determine what location to shoot.  With all of that, sometimes the best images come from simply turning around.

I created this image after climbing up a snowy hill over the Christmas holiday in Northern Idaho.  The same hill that I created this sunset image that I shared the other day.  I did the shooting that I had planned on while on the hill and turned around to walk back down the hill to go inside and get warm when I saw the scene in this image.

I sort of forgot about everything else I was shooting that afternoon and made this image when I saw that red barn in the distance.  This is not a selective color image, it was simply that the red of the barn was the only real color in the wintery scene and provides a nice contrast to everything around it.

If I hadn’t been paying attention to everything else around me while I was out shooting I most likely would not have seen this as it wasn’t what I was going out to shoot, it was a happy accident.  Sometimes there is nothing better than a happy accident and who knows what will happen, in the case of this image I shared in on Flickr and so far it has had over 11,000 views and has ranked very high in their “Explore” section.

So to recap, TURN AROUND :-)

Posted in Photography

A wintery sunset

Wintery Sunset

A wintery sunset over fields of snow in northern Idaho

Contrast in images can come from a lot of different things, far to many thing to actually list in this post, but to me this image just “screams” contrast. For me, that contrast in this image is the sky that caught on fire during a wintery sunset.

I captured this over the Christmas holiday while spending 10 days with family in Northern Idaho.  It was really cold that day and we were enjoying some cocktails just as the sun was starting to set.  I noticed the sky started to get a little hint of orange so I grabbed my camera, a coat and climbed up a nearby hill to get this scene.

I really wish that any image could have captured what this really looked like while I was standing there, the color in the sky reflecting in the field of snow was jaw dropping.

Posted in Photography

Potatoes and Leeks

Potatoes and Leeks

Potatoes and leeks at the Olympia Farmers Market

We had plans to spend a little time at the Olympia Farmers Market over the weekend, we needed honey and we always buy honey from a local bee keeper that sets shop up at the market. I also thought it was a great opportunity to carry my #WE35 kit around with me. When I saw a stand of potatoes and leeks, with some nice light falling on them, I had to grab a snapshot of them.

The thing that really jumped out at me when I saw this stand was that the vendor seemed to be something of a potato merchant, there were 6 or 7 different varieties yet only the one basket of leeks right in the middle of the sea of potatoes.  I thought it made for a nice contrast.

Posted in #WE35, Photography

A new year, a new #WE35

WE35 Mailbox

Starting the 2017 #WE35 project with my mailbox, as we have in previous years

Back in 2015 I participated in a photo project that ended up being very rewarding, #WE35 from The Photo Frontier.  If you scroll though the archives here on my blog, especially for the posts back in 2015, you will see a lot of posts and images from that project.

As I said, I found that project to be very rewarding, not only did it provide a much needed motivation to get out and shoot, but to get out a shoot things I might not normally shoot, it also lead to making a lot of new online photography friends.  It really was a win-win no matter how you look at it.

In addition to the community that has developed around #WE35, it really does help photographers see things a little differently.  The whole object behind the project is group assignments each month that are shot at a focal length of 35mm.

The image above is my January 2017 #ExpeditionWE35 submission.  Each year of the project we have started the year out by sharing an image of our mailbox.  If you haven’t scrolled through my #WE35 archives yet, here is a link to my mailbox back in 2015.  

I have to confess that I didn’t really shoot as much as I would have liked in 2016, there were a lot of reasons behind that, but I am truly looking forward to 2017.

Posted in #WE35, Photography

My favorite images of 2016

Every year in December I post a sort of “year in review” to this blog sharing some of the images that stood out from the rest for me.  This year I am doing it in early January, and hopefully you will forgive my tardiness, but here it is, my favorite images of 2016.  Please note, these images are presented in not particular order, and for the most part will be without comment.


The sunset reflects in the wet sand of the Pacific Ocean near Ocean Shores, WA

Lower Lewis River Falls Panorama

A seven image panorama of the Lower Lewis River Falls in southwest Washington State


Crane and Needle Sunset

A pair and cranes and the iconic Speattle Space Needle just after sunset


Through The Fresnel Lens

Looking through the 3rd order fresnel lens at the Grays Harbor Lighthouse in Westport, WA


Twilight Capitol

The Washington State Capitol building in Olympia during the blue hour


I had said that this collection was going to be presented with a lot of commentary, but I feel the need to talk a little about the following images.

For those that don’t know, I lead the Advanced Photography Group of the Olympia Camera Club.  One of the real highlights for the group in 2016 was when my friend, Matt Ferris, did a presentation on toy photography.  Matt is a very accomplished toy photographer and setup a scene for the members in attendance to shoot.  He went on to give us tips on lighting and post processing.  This next image is the one I made that night, with a lot of help from Matt.

Kylo Ren Lightsaber

Toy shot of Kylo Ren and his lightsaber

These final two images are very special to me.  They were both shot in the summer during a family vacation to Yellowstone National Park.  Yellowstone is a special place on its own but that isn’t why these images are special to me.  They are special because due to a lot of things outside of our control Ann and I hadn’t been on a real vacation in almost 9 years.  We had taken a number of short trips over 3 day weekends, but a full on vacation was something that we weren’t able to do.  When you add in that we spent this vacation with members of my family, it was a week that I don’t want to forget.  I have blogged about both of these images in details, click here for “Land of Contrast” and here for “American Bison in Yellowstone.”

Grand Prismatic Basin Monochrome

A monochrome image of tourists at the Grand Prismatic Basin in Yellowstone National Park


American Bison in Yellowstone

An American Bison in Yellowstone National Park with majestic mountains in the background

I hope that you have enjoyed this small collection of images and my look back at 2016.  I will say that I didn’t shoot as much in 2016 as I would have liked, or have in previous years.  I am not entirely sure why, but my one and only resolution for 2017 is to correct that and start creating more images to share with all of you.

Posted in Photography