Stages of my photographic journey

I thought I would take a departure this week from my typical post.  I’ve spent some time cleaning up my image library and have reflected on my own photographic journey.  I remember starting 8 years ago with my first Jack Graham workshop.  We witnessed the must beautiful sunrise I have ever seen, it was at Rooster Rock.  But my image… well…it sucked. The image you see below is Peter’s.  Mine were not salvageable.  I was very much at the bottom of this curve, struggling with my own technical proficiency – learning to use my camera, filters, cards, remote, Photoshop……  It was all so new.

I have been helping some of my friends on their journeys and it occurred to me that they were moving through similar stages.  I think many people start at the bottom of this chart and work their way up.  There are a fortunate group of people that have a vision and can communicate it in a compelling art form right from the start.  I’m still working my way up. Continue reading


The Accidental Photograph


Loretta, one of our regular readers, shared a story about an accidental shot that brought her great joy.  It reminded me of this picture, which makes me and Peter smile every time we see it. Continue reading

Why We Photograph in Infrared: Look. See. Imagine. Create

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If you are looking for a unique and creative way to make photos, you ought to look into converting one of your digital cameras to infrared.  Using digital infrared “negatives” can create startling black and white, as well as color, photos.  Here is how: Continue reading

Photographing the Colene Clemens Winery Barn in Newberg, OR

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When Mary and I were in Portland a few weeks back, we had a few hours to rush from the Portland Japanese Garden to the wine country to find a barn or two to photograph.  As we were running out of time, we decided to go to an old favorite that we saw a couple of years ago.  Here is the Colene Clemens barn from every angle. Continue reading

Photographing the Japanese Garden in Portland, OR

The "world famous" maple

The “world famous” maple

The Portland Japanese Garden was once proclaimed by the Japanese Ambassador as “the most beautiful and authentic Japanese garden in the world outside of Japan.”  It is a highlight and destination for photographers from around the world. We are not experienced garden visitors, but we were there with a few experts and captured some “winners” during a quick morning shoot.  Here’s what you might see: Continue reading

Photographing barns and red clover in Sherwood, OR

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One the fun things to do when we go to Portland to see our photographer teacher and good friend, Jack Graham, is photographing crimson clover and barns.  The red clover is a cover crop in the winter and replaces nitrogen in the soil.  Jack scouts the area regularly for these unique Oregon farm country photos.  Here is what you might see: Continue reading

How to Photograph Trees

Napa Valley orchard on a rainy day

There is something primitive about our love for trees.  No matter where you are or the type of trees you may find, there is something appealing about them.  They provide shelter, food, materiale, and beauty.  It may seem easy, obvious, and terribly basic to photograph trees, but I think with a little planning and thoughtfulness, we can capture trees even better.  Here is how: Continue reading

Making Panoramas

Mount Sneffles Mountain Range in Colorado from the Outlook on Highway 62

Do you remember the first time you saw a panoramic photo?  They are so appealing because we “see” in 180 degrees and most photos, even with a wide-angle lens can only capture about half that.  In the old film days you needed a special camera and specially made film.  Have you seen one of these cameras?  Anyway, thanks to digital cameras and software, any of us can make an appealing “pano”.  Here’s how. Continue reading

The Why and How of High Dynamic Range (HDR) Photography

Mittens Sunrise, Monument Valley, UT (HDR)

High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography may be the best and most useful new technology we have seen in years and also the most controversial.  HDR refers to the ability to combine multiple photos with different exposures that capture a larger range of light than is possible with a single exposure.  For someone who is a hardcore traditionalist, using HDR might seem like cheating.  After all, we already use hardware to change exposures with graduated neutral density filters, and other circular filters, like the 8-stop one from Singh Ray.  However, used well in the right situations, HDR gives you a powerful tool to make a photo that more accurately captures what our eyes can see.  Here is how to do it. Continue reading

He Saw…..She Saw

Mobius Arch, Alabama Hills, Lone Pine, CA

One of the many benefits and joys of photographing as a couple is that we “see” differently.  Mary loves her 70-200 mm lens and uses it the most.  I usually use my 24-105 mm lens.  I see big, grand, traditional landscapes and she sees the small landscapes, natural abstracts, and interesting details in shapes and colors.  Sometimes, we will literally be next to each other in the field and come home with completely different perspectives and photos.  Other times when we work a subject, our different perspectives create a more complete picture of the specific place and time.  Neither is right or wrong, just different.  Here are a few examples. Continue reading