Photo Cascadia Blog
Posts Tagged ‘Chip Phillips’
As our newsletter subscribers might know over the last last year we have taken turns pointing the lens on each of us to provide more insight to us personally. Since these were spread out among a half dozen newsletters we thought it would be good to post a recap that includes all of them. Besides we were not always good on following up to mention the myth found from a handful of truths of for the prior newsletter. Now we are rectifying that with all of them here.
If you did not receive the newsletter here is a speedy recap what we did. We published a listing of five things about one PC team member in a newsletter. One of the five is a myth, simply made up. four are true. The goal was to allow newsletter subscribers to guess which is the false one. If a person did respond correctly they would go in a drawing with others that guessed the same for a free 8×12 print of their choice. I don’t have a list of who all won yet I know some were guessed correctly by one or more viewers yet not that was not the case for all team members. Some are easier than others.
Without further rambling here they are for reading pleasure with a photo of each team member in their element… outdoors. Answers are separate at the bottom of the post for those that would like to take a stab at guessing.
- Failed the only photography course he ever took.
- Made ski movies when he was younger.
- Traveled around the world as a DJ.
- He likes to eat vegetables and seafood.
- Just out of high school bought a Porsche.
- Has performed onstage with Ray Charles, Natalie Cole, Ben Folds, Brandi Carlile, and Peter Cetera.
- One of his cars is a red 1988 VW Cabriolet.
- Has never used a traditional film darkroom
- Was a child actor and in a commercial for Burger King.
- He is not afraid of bees, but is of spiders.
- He reads 25-50 books per year on average.
- He grew up in the redwoods of northern California, but has never been back to photograph.
- In addition to photography, he enjoys surfing, mountain biking, snowboarding, and backcountry exploration.
- Has never used a traditional film darkroom.
- Owned cameras made by the following manufacturers: Sony, Canon, Nikon, Minolta, Apple, and GoPro.
- Did wedding and portrait photography full time for over a year before deciding to move back to landscape photography.
- Almost got blown off a mountain summit with his wife. The tent was sideways and he could not see where he was when he woke up. He ripped open a mesh window to get out.
- Has traveled to all the National Parks in the states of Oregon and Washington.
- First backpack experience felt a big adventure he embarked on. He now takes his young kids to the same location. It’s only 2 miles and 500 ft of elevation gain.
- Grew up at the mouth of the Columbia River Gorge playing in a creek on his property catching crawdads and hiking through the woods.
- He owned a music distribution company.
- He’s an avid guitar player.
- He’s held two state swimming records.
- He walked across the Yukon and NW Territories.
- He played in baseball’s Babe Ruth World Series.
- Pole vaulted in China.
- Reached the summit of Mt. McKinley on two separate expeditions.
- Lost a $5 bet with Galen Rowell when Galen successfully ran cross country at high altitude in time to capture his famous Rainbow Over the Potala Palace image in Tibet.
- Played in a 1990s bagpipe marching band, kilt and all.
- Partied with Woody Harrelson and his posse at a U2 concert.
Answers – the following are not true.
Kevin #4 – He likes to eat vegetables and seafood. Kevin does not like either of them. I know first hand from traveling with him.
Chip #5 – He is not afraid of bees, but is of spiders. Chip does not like bee’s at all but doesn’t mind spiders.
Zack #5 – Has never used a traditional film darkroom. Although he became an expert in Photoshop early in the DLSR age Zack has spent time in the darkroom.
Adrian #3 – Has traveled to all the National Parks in the states of Oregon and Washington. He has not been to the North Cascades NP yet.
David #2 – He’s an avid guitar player. David does not play the guitar.
Sean #3 – Lost a $5 bet with Galen Rowell when Galen successfully ran cross country at high altitude in time to capture his famous Rainbow Over the Potala Palace image in Tibet. He wishes he did but it’s not true.
I know I have written about this in the past, but wanted to share some images from this past winter that I took down in the Palouse. Photographing the Palouse in the winter can be kind of tricky. It seems like more often then not, a good dose of snow will hit the area, and disappear as quickly as it came. Other times, it will snow really hard, but be so windy that it will blow all of the snow off of the hills, leaving them bare and brown.
Another problem is accessibility. They don’t plow most of the roads down there, and they never plow the road up Steptoe Butte. Therefore, the only two options are to snowshoe up, or attempt the drive in a 4WD vehicle with good ground clearance and good tires. I have snowshoed and skied up the hill, but this year I was able to make it up on each of my attempts in my FJ Cruiser. It was a bit sketchy a few times, but I didn’t get stuck.
My favorite time to head out is in the afternoon on a day when a storm system is moving out of the area. This gives me a chance to catch the sun at a low angle, but still high enough in the sky to light up the hills. I learned early on that, heading out only just before sunset can result in missing some of the best light of the day. Often times I find the light more interesting when the sun is high enough in the sky to light up the hills, which just doesn’t usually happen right at sunset.
The usual things still apply for photographing the Palouse during winter, such as a good strong setup with enough capacity to hold things steady in the wind. This means a very sturdy ball head, and very sturdy tripod. I use a Gitzo 3 series tripod, and a Markins M20 ball head for my telephoto shots. I also use a tripod collar, and have rigged up a steel plate extension and set screw for added stability to the barrel of my lenses.
This last image was actually shot last April, so not really winter but still some snow. As you can see, snow is a possibility even into April. This is the first time I have ever seen conditions like this in April. Usually during March and April, there is heavy rain and hail storms that move through the area. These are great fun to watch from high vantage points.
Despite the challenges involved in making good images, winter time in the Palouse is definitely one of my favorites. Last winter, of all the times I went down to photograph, I didn’t run into a single other photographer. I do see people around though, mostly locals, especially up at Steptoe Butte. My last trip down I ran into a local farmer and his wife up on their 4 Wheeler just taking a trip to the top of Steptoe Butte. We had a great conversation on their way down. Winter is definitely a peaceful time of year in the Palouse.
More of my images can be seen on my website: Chip Phillips Photography
Many techniques used on these images are demonstrated in my editing videos available here: Image Editing Videos
By Adrian Klein
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.
Tips for Backpacking with Camera Gear (ultralight)
By David Cobb
I owned my first “real” camera before I took my first “real” backpacking trip, but they have gone hand-in-hand over the years, and my techniques with both have changed and improved over time. My backpacking and photography grew with long-distance hiking as I learned more about composition while taking thousands of images to document my backcountry trips. My backpacking grew by learning how to pack lighter and lighter over time as I walked further and further. For distance hiking, I needed to walk 20-40 miles (32-64 km) a day in order to complete a thru-hike of 2,500-3,000 miles (4,000-4,800 km). Now I’m returning to the places I only documented before, to re-photograph them in a much more artistic way and under much better light.
Whether it was a walk across the United States or Iceland , I tried to keep my backpacking weight below 30 pounds (13.5 kg) if possible, and closer to 20 (9 kg) when I could. First, let’s start with the pack: Many long-distance hikers use a homemade version saving both money and weight. My backpack of choice is ULA (Ultralight Adventure Equipment), I purchased one of their early models and haven’t needed another since. There is no internal or external frame to the pack, so you already begin 5-7 pounds (2-3 kg) lighter than most backpacks on the market. You may wonder if you need the added support those other backpacks offer? You don’t. You’re packing light, not packing the usual 50-60 pounds (22-27kg). For the internal frame I use a Z-rest, this also doubles as a sleeping pad when I’m in my tent.
I go lightweight on my tent too, using a Six Moon Designs Skyscape tent which is affordable and weighs in at 15 ounces (.43 kg). My ground cloth is painters plastic purchased from a hardware store. Some distance hikers prefer nothing, but others use Tyvek as a ground cloth. A Six Moon Designs prototype tent got me through a 1,100 mile (1,800 km) north-south walk along the Canadian Rockies during some pretty nasty weather, so I trust their gear.
I cook with a lightweight and homemade alcohol stove created from the bottoms of old pop cans. It cost me about a quarter to make, and weighs about as much. I pack my stove away in a small titanium cook pot to save space. The stove burns denatured alcohol which can be purchased at any hardware store and I carry this fuel in a small plastic water bottle.
Food is a personal thing, but for me that too is lightweight, cheap, but also nourishing. I cook my own food during the winter, then dehydrate and vacuum seal it or I purchase it in bulk from a grocery store before vacuum sealing it. For this I save about $6 per meal, packing space, and weight. I’m also a firm believer that if you eat better, you shoot better. When I cook, I just boil water and add it to my dinner bag for rehydration, and eat. No dirty dishes to clean, so I can head out early to photograph a sunset. Clean dishes also come in handy when I’m packing through grizzly country. I’ve walked through large portions of Alaska, the Yukon, Northwest Territories, Alberta, and the U.S. Rockies and have never had a camp incident with a grizzly bear or any wild animal for that matter.
I carry as little water as possible to keep my backpacking weight down. Each quart of water weighs about 2 pounds (.9 kg), so the less water I carry, the less weight I carry, the easier the walking, the less water I need. Much of my packing is in the Pacific Northwest where water can often be found every 5 miles at the most. I don’t need much more than 12 ounces (.34 kg) of water for a stretch like that, so I carry a water bottle that can be purchased at any 7-11. I like the bomb-proof Nalgene bottles, but find them way too heavy. For extra water when I get to camp, I pack with an empty Platypus container, then fill it when I get near my camp destination. I carry a small water purifier, or sometimes just iodine tablets to save weight.
My sleeping bag is a packable Feathered Friends “Hummingbird” 20 degree bag coming in at 13 ounces (.37 kg). I have a liner in this which brings it down to a 10 degree bag. Obviously for winter camping your bag will weigh more as you carry warmer bag, but this is my 3 season bag. I wrap this in a garbage bag to keep it dry in case I fall in a stream or if my pack gets wet in a rain storm.
Since I pack less, I also wear less on my feet. I know some people need more ankle support and prefer boots, but for me the old adage that every pound on your foot adds 3 to your back holds true. I either wear tennis shoes on my feet, lightweight Merrels, or sometimes even Tevas while backpacking. The lighter my feet are, the faster I move, the better I feel.
I also carry a few toiletries, rainfly, headlamp, compass, maps and such to round out my camping gear, so let’s move on to camera gear. I first decide what kind of trip this will be, this limits the gear I’ll carry into the backcountry. Am I going to photograph wildlife only? Then I’ll carry a zoom. Will this be a landscape photography trip? Then I’ll carry my super wide-angle and wide-angle lenses. I’ll also carry my Kenko Pro 1.4x to add a bit of zoom possibility to my 24-70mm lens. I don’t carry my macro lens when backpacking, since I can usually find enough macro subjects when I day hike. I might however carry my Canon 500D diopter (or close-up) lens, this allows my 24-70mm to take close-up macro-like images if I get the itch.
So, let’s assume I’m on a landscape photography backpacking trip. I carry my camera over my shoulder (with lens and polarizer attached) in a small camera bag. My super wide-angle lens is packed away in a Think Tank lens holster. This holster adds padding and also attaches to my extremely small butt-pouch (I wear this pouch backwards when packing in, as it supplies easy access to map, compass, and water) that I use to day-hike to photo locations once I’ve made base camp. I carry extra cards and batteries in my shoulder camera bag, and rarely use grads in the backcountry, but instead I bracket while shooting to blend images later in post processing. For a tripod I carry a carbon fiber Gitzo 1128 Mountaineer Sport Tripod. There are a few lightweight ball-heads out there too: Fiesol and Really Right Stuff make them and fellow Photo Cascadia team member Chip Phillips swears by his Markins Q3 Emille which at .83 pounds (375 grams) is the lightest ball-head I know of that can sturdy the weight of a good camera and lens.
There you have it. I’m a firm believer that by packing lighter you get there faster, easier, and have much more energy to shoot once you get to camp. You have a few months now to get in shape for backpacking season, and to slowly collect some lightweight gear, so I hope this brings more enjoyment to your outdoor experience and allows you more time to “see” photographically along the way. Obviously these are just guidelines to ultralight backpacking techniques, and in the long distance hiking community there is the saying to “hike your hike,” so it’s certainly not my way or the highway here. If you’d like to pack a small chair for your bad back, then do it – just leave the axe at home.
By the Photo Cascadia team
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.