Last winter f-stopgear’s videographer (Cam) came out to the Northwest for a couple days of adventure to follow me around in my element as part of the company’s Life in Focus mini-series. They picked a group of their staff pro’s to partake in the project. I feel fortunate to have been included.
Cam did a top-notch job on the video and post production work. The colors and mood really show what it’s like to be hiking around the damp cool forests of the Northwest in winter. Below are some links to check out the video as well as text interview with f-stopgear.
I remember when I got my first iPhone a couple years back I did not believe I would use it much. Someone told me you will use it more like a computer and a lot less like a phone. Looking back they sure hit the nail on the head. Between texting, apps and Internet access calling people seems to have taken a backseat. The sea of apps and other options we use our smartphones for is endless and I bet each of us could write an article that would enlighten the person next to us on something new. I also believe there are folks out there using their phone more than I since I still believe in trying to do some small trips on a whim without checking every detail and seeing what comes of it, which is part of the fun. Not to mention the sea of apps now days is large and always changing. I am sure there will be a part 2 in the future!
I would say one of the biggest uses for me is simply to get an idea of what the composition will look like without the process of taking out my DSLR when it’s tucked away in my backpack which is often the case when I am hiking and backpacking. Before this I was always trying to use my hands out in front of me to isolate the scene when composing (Still do this some out of habit). Sure it’s not perfect yet many times I have said “oh wow this has potential” after taking an iPhone photo and ended up with a keeper image with my DSLR.
Sure there are many apps yet sometimes just a bookmark to the right page is all that is needed. I have tried a number of options but my current top choice is www.noaa.gov using their mobile site. Although we all know weather forecasts are not 100% accurate NOAA seems to have the most reliable forecasts. On the page you can save many places you frequent to quickly access up to the minute forecasts.
NOAA Forecast Graphics – showing change of precipitation by percentages
The one app I do use occasionally for weather is from NOAA. This app gives more insight and better detail on predicted intensity and direction of precipitation than the mobile site.
App: NOAA Weather Radar
Cost: Free to $3.99
OS: iPhone app only but I have seen similar for Android
NOAA Weather Radar – screenshot of radar loop over Yellowstone National Park
Despite the many photography apps most of us will still need a separate tide app. Don’t leave tides to guessing as that can lead to a bigger adventure than you ever expected! There are many apps for a few dollars that can give fancy charts and graphs. I simply want to see the tide table and that will do me just fine. I use Tides which allows me to see multiple locations and adjust number of days visible from a few to a month. Good for those inside the United States as it only applies to the US and Caribbean Islands.
OS: iPhone app only but I have seen similar for Android
Comprehensive Photo Planning
Whether it’s our computer or smartphone technology is giving us many tools to plan specific photos in a way that could only be done in the past with extensive scouting and knowledge of an area over time. One of many is the ability to know moon rise, moon set, sunrise and sunset points in correlation to the horizon for the moon and sun.
Recently I have been using the app Photo Pills which is proving to be quite useful in the field and ahead of time. It has features that a variety of apps have separately as well as additional useful features. There are too many features to go into detail without dedicating an entire post to it. That said here are two very hand features that I have been using.
Augmented Reality – This is a game changer from how surgeries are being performed to planning photos. Getting an overlay of where the moon will rise, sun will set, the direction the stars move is very cool. We all have shown up at locations for sunrise for the first time and don’t know the exact location the sun is coming up. This app takes that guessing away.
Photo Pills augmented reality feature. Here you can see a location where the overlay shows when the sunrise will occur along with moon set.
Scouting – We all come to locations where the light is not right, wrong time of day and too many more to list. Being able to log the location for future reference is great. In this app I can log the location as a Point of Interest (POI) including notes, mapping and multiple photos of each location. If your list gets long enter in search word to shorten the list. I am a list person and until this app came along I would try to (not always successfully) log in my own folder for places to visit in the future.
Photo Pills points of interest you can store locations for future reference.
This is a complex app and although some pieces are intuitive there is a learning curve to fully understanding many features. The website has many short tutorials to help understand the different features.
The Photographers Ephemeris (TPE) is an app which many of us already know is similar in features and price although does not have quite as many features as Photo Pills. The advantage is availability for both Android and Apple.
Full disclosure: I was provided a copy of the app by Photo Pills to demo. No expectation of review or feedback was requested.
If you are horizonally challenged (photographer speak) like me you have two options 1) always correct the horizon later or 2) use a bubble level. In some cases where I forgot my bubble level and I cannot get the horizon close enough by site I have used a level on my phone to help.
Although there are apps that have sunrise and sunset info (Photo Pills, TPE and others) I find sometimes I want one click to get this info without digging through an app of other features when I am on location. As a landscape photographer this information is crucial where many other pieces of planning can be more nice-to-haves. This simple app gives sunrise, sunset as well civil twilight and dawn.
As we are starting to see the smartphone will be an extension of our cameras where more and more we will have the ability to control our camera from the phone, preview images, store backups in the cloud and more. It will be interesting to see how this evolves. One last thing to say…I do actually take snapshots with my iPhone as well. Imagine that! I recently started an Instagram account (akphotonw) to post some snaps for fun that are much different than my DSLR work.
What app(s) do you find most useful for photography? Feel free to add them with your comments.
Here are we about to exit another year in life and usher in a new one. Always a time to reflect on where we have been and where we want to go. We want to take this time to thank the many viewers and readers of our blog. When we embarked on the Photo Cascadia path a significant part of the goal was to follow our slogan “Learn, Explore, Create”… helping others learn more about photography, explore areas for your next adventure and discover what it takes to create photos that fit your vision. Based on what we have heard in the hundreds of emails over the last couple years we seem to be doing just that. We enjoy the discussions and dialogue so keep it coming.
Without further rambling here is a quick blurb from each of the PC team members about their year in photography and anything else they felt like sharing. Plus a three minute slideshow with image favorites of 2011. Along with this post comes a two to three week winter break before we start bringing you new blog content in 2012. Thank you again!
It’s been a fantastic and busy year for me. I was able to get out and capture some fantastic images across the country. I was lucky enough to lead some great workshops this year. I was also privileged to get together with my fellow Photocascadia members and got to take a photo trip to the Desert Southwest with Sean Bagshaw. I’m now in the editing stage of my Multiple Exposure, and Tonality Control Photoshop video and hope to be done very soon. I’m also still teaching lots of online Photoshop Workshops, they’ve been a fantastic success this year. And to cap it all off, I’m expecting my second child, a baby boy due in March.
Life is good, and I feel my photography continues to grow. I hope to get out even more next year and continue my series of Photoshop video tutorials. Hope to see you all out in the field and online.
Well as 2011 rounds out and again I find myself asking where time went. So many journeys and things discovered in the past year with both challenges and rewards. This past year I have been lucky enough to travel to the Canadian Rockies, Colorado Rockies, Southwest, Southwestern BC, Oregon, and California. But my favorite part was I finally got to see Iceland after all these years of lusting to get there anyway I could. It did not disappoint, I also got to spend some good times with photography friends as well as well as my Photo Cascadia Group. It has been busy but another great year of photography. I have been so blessed to live out my passion and that I will always be grateful for.
2011 was all about experiencing new things for me. I winter camped at Mount Rainier for the first time, I explored the Broken Top area in Oregon’s Cascades, I backpacked to Spray Park for the first time, and my wife and I took an epic 3 week trip to explore the Southwest of England. I was also able to visit Glacier National Park during fall color and snow, and explore new remote regions of the Oregon Coast. I taught many successful workshops and made many new friends. I’m excited about my new collaboration with Amana Images in Tokyo, Japan. I bought a new large format printer, which is really inspiring my creativity as far as printing goes. I’ve been experimenting with putting prints on stretched canvas, and having images printed on sheets of metal for a really dynamic effect. All this plus another exciting year playing principal clarinet with the Spokane Symphony.
The year 2011 was a busy year of shooting for me. I got into the backcountry a bit, but most of the year was spent photographing Japanese gardens across North America for an upcoming book. I’ve included two of those garden images here. I hope you enjoy what I’ve picked as my favorites for the year, and I look forward to what lies in store for 2012.
Looking back each December on the year gone by is always fun. I’m a sucker for year end reviews: best photos, movies, books, songs, you name it. 2011 has been a year with some great events, memories and milestones for me personally; perhaps right up there with some of the top years in my life. I could write several different year end reviews for 2011. These are some memorable times I had photographing the landscape this year.
February: I spent a couple days skiing and camping in the frigid high desert environs of Hart Mountain with one of my oldest friends, Chuck (RokChuk) Porter.
March: I aborted a trip to Yosemite due to storms and instead had a great time photographing in Death Valley with Big Wave Larry Carpenter.
April: A canceled flight saw me stranded in SoCal for a few days, so Big Wave Larry and I headed to Joshua Tree and marveled at the daily morning light show in the cholla garden.
May: David Cobb and I had a tick nightmare while exploring the canyons of Oregon’s Owyhee country.
June: Between back to back workshops with Christian Heeb and David Cobb in Bend, Oregon, I made a cannonball run down to the California redwoods and back. Thanks to a tip from Big Wave Larry, it was best rhododendron bloom I’ve seen there.
September: Solo trip to the Tetons. The valley was full of smoke and hundreds of other photographers, but a 10 mile hike into the back country put me in clear air and beyond the crowds. I gave myself my semi annual dose of the willies by hiking in the dark in bear country. No bears spotted however.
October: Zack Schnepf and I had a surreal four days camping, cracking wise, photographing and breaking wind at White Pocket. When Zack headed home I met up with the sandstone Jedi, Tony Kuyper, and the desert adventure continued.
November: David Cobb and I taught a photography workshop on the Oregon coast. The photography and classroom sessions were great, but the best memory was having dinner at the Rogue Brewery and using iPhone camera tricks to make David appear four times in our “Last Supper” photo.
December: Kevin McNeal kept all of us bent over laughing at the annual Photo Cascadia gathering in Bandon, while clouds kept us from seeing the lunar eclipse.
All in all, some amazing times with the best people in the world. The photos I took are just the icing. Here’s looking to 2012!
2011 is yet another year in life that I had the health and ability to be in the outdoors which I am always thankful for, and oh yeah and I took a few photos while I was out. This year I stayed in the Northwest for most outdoor excursions which to be honest can fulfill me for years to come, it seems there are always new places to explore here despite being a home grown Oregonian. I explored more of SE Oregon including the peaceful Lake Abert. I made it back to Opal Creek Wilderness which was long over due. I did some new hikes from the coast to Mount Hood National Forest.
In the mix of all that was more successful group and private workshops as time allowed. I always enjoy seeing others learn and grow with their photography, something I try to do personally as well. I surely cannot forget taking my 5 year old daughter on her first backpack trip (As long as I can find pink outdoor gear I can likely get her to keep going). As the year started to wind down I was fortunate to spend a couple weeks in Kauai with my family, and yes more photography. Shortly after coming home from that trip was a few days in December with fellow Photo Cascadia members (it’s nice to see each other face-to-face after the hundreds of emails and phone calls throughout the year). I am fortunate to have a fine family and super friends. I hope you have the same and were able to enjoy the great outdoors with or without photography in 2011.
Before the Photo Cascadia group takes a short break for the holiday season, we’d like to share a few photos of our favorite waterfalls from around this region called Cascadia.
Zack: Wahclella Falls has been a favorite of mine since I was a teenager. It’s not nearly as crowded as some of the more popular trails, and it’s one of the most beautiful falls in the Columbia River Gorge. I particularly like the view from up high, but there are a couple other good vantage points as well.
Zack: My favorite waterfall in the Gorge is Fairy Falls. It’s also my favorite teaching spot in the Gorge. It’s the best example of how slow-shutter speed affects the look of an image—and you can zoom in for many abstract compositions of the falls. It’s a steep (but relatively short) hike up Wahkeena Creek, but definitely worth the effort.
Chip: “Palouse Falls Sunset” is my title for this dramatic sunset sky over Palouse Falls in eastern Washington State.
Chip: “Mossy Elowah” is the title for this misty capture of one of my favorite waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon.
Kevin: This foggy-day photo was taken in autumn at Silver Falls State Park in Oregon. I had seen this waterfall before and it can be difficult to shoot in terms of composition. Positioning myself at the vantage point seen here in this photo was somewhat dangerous, but it was worth it. I was also lucky to be there just as the sun was breaking through.
Kevin: Myrtle Falls is an iconic waterfall located in Washington’s Mount Rainier National Park in the Paradise area. I like this waterfall because it shows the majesty of Mount Rainier and its surroundings. To get this photo I had to stitch two images vertically to better capture depth and sharpness.
Adrian: “Enchanted” is the title for this image of Metlako Falls in the Columbia River Gorge on a chilly still winter morning as sunlight pierces its way through the thick fog. I have photographed this scene many times with only fog, but this was the first time I was able to include sunbeams. It’s one of my favorite Gorge photos.
Adrian: “Forest Rain” is the title to this Columbia River Gorge shot of Gorton Creek in the cold spring rain. For me, it’s not only the flow of the image that works (pun intended), but also the falling rain. It adds additional mood and feeling to the scene that would not be there otherwise.
David: I loved photographing Outlet falls along the Klickitat River of southern Washington, because it is so dramatic and remote. There is no “official” parking area for this falls and no directional sign. A steep descent gets you to the bottom of the canyon, and some added fall color brings out the best in these falls.
David: Salt Creek Falls is another favorite of mine, located in southern Oregon in the midst of the Cascade Range. There are a few view points for this waterfall, but I prefer a bushwhack to the bottom for this front-on view.
Sean: Since I’m based out of Ashland, Oregon that means I don’t have the quick access to the well-known waterfalls of Silver Falls State Park and the Columbia Gorge that the guys from the north do. While the waterfalls of the southern rivers, the Rogue, and the Umpqua aren’t as numerous or as grand, there are still some very beautiful cascades. Best of all, there aren’t the crowds of people that you get in the upper part of the state.
Near Union Creek on Hwy 62, the Rogue River spills into the narrows of the Rouge Gorge in a series of rapids and short drops, with one final big plunge. I love photographing at this Gorge because there is a lot to see in a condensed area. Over time, the river has carved a deep channel in the volcanic basalt and connected a series of lava tubes to create the gorge. The resulting eroded rock formations make excellent foreground elements. At the top of the gorge, the river fans out over the basalt and spills into the narrow chute in multiple locations. There are many different compositions that can be made from various spots along the rock shelf next to the river.
Light at the Rogue Gorge can be challenging, and I waited several years to get my chance to be there during this spectacular sunrise. The bright red and orange sky shed a warm glow across the entire scene and completely transformed it. Using a polarizer helped cut reflections and saturate the color on the rocks. I don’t know if I’ll ever get another chance to photograph the Rogue Gorge with light like that, but that one experience is etched in my memory.
Sean: Another favorite waterfall of mine is Triple Falls in Montana’s Glacier National Park. I first became aware of this falls from Galen Rowell’s iconic image of it. In a high alpine bowl, several small creeks converge and drop over the edges of a narrow canyon carved out of the red stone commonly found in Glacier. With sheer Rocky Mountain peaks as a backdrop, it is a uniquely beautiful natural formation. The falls isn’t located on a trail, nor is it marked on any maps that I have seen. In order to reach it by sunrise requires a cross-country hike through grizzly country in the dark. The day we photographed it, David Cobb and I walked cautiously through the pre-dawn gloom. We stuck to patches of snow and exposed rock so as not to walk on the delicate alpine foliage. We were sure that every boulder and bush along the way was a bear. We arrived just before sunrise and prepared for the light to come. Earlier in the summer when the snow is melting, there are three distinct waterfalls that plunge into the canyon. When I photographed it in the autumn, one of the falls was nothing more than a trickle so my image is titled “Double Falls.” The stormy sky that morning added shadowy dramatic light to the scene. At that time of day, the sky was so much brighter than the depths of the canyon that two exposures needed to be blended in order to contain the wide dynamic range.
There you have it, a few of our favorite waterfalls from Cascadia. We’ll be back with more blogs and information in the New Year, so until then have a happy Holiday season, from all of us at Photo Cascadia.