September 2017 Art Show Appearances

Arts of the Terrace (link)

Sept 23-Oct 8, 2017

I am a participating artist at Arts of the Terrace. Stop by and see my work in person!

MON-THURS 12-6 | FRI-SAT 12-5 | SUN 1-5

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Sunset at Monkey Face [awarded third place] | Smith Rock State Park, Oregon

20x30 | High gloss metal print with custom shadow mount and hanging wire.

Blood Moon Eclipse over Mount Shuksan [SOLD] | Artist Point, Washington

16x24 | High gloss metal print with custom shadow mount and hanging wire.

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FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN: Eagle Creek / Columbia River Gorge Forest Fire

I was so gutted to hear of the devastating fire at Eagle Creek raging through the Columbia Gorge. It's a hard pill to swallow to see an uncontrolled fire spreading across one of our most cherished areas of the Pacific Northwest. While it's too late to prevent the damage, at least we can do our part to help rebuild such a wonderful and unique landscape. 

I have teamed up with Hargis Engineers to organize a fundraising campaign to benefit Friends of the Columbia Gorge, a non-profit organization that is dedicated to protecting and maintaining the Columbia River Gorge through restoration projects, land trusts, stewardship, and policy development. Artists from the Hargis family (myself included) have come together to offer their artwork as part of this campaign. 

Proceeds generated from this website (and from my normal store here at Washington State Photography) will be donated to Friends of the Columbia Gorge. In addition, Hargis Engineers will double your impact by matching the first $5,000 raised. 

This campaign will run through October 31, 2017. 

link to Artists for Restoration

Eagle Creek Wildfire. Image courtesy of Tristan Fortsch and KATU News

Eagle Creek Wildfire. Image courtesy of Tristan Fortsch and KATU News

Punchbowl Falls, taken approximately 1 mile away from the start of the Eagle Creek wildfire at the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon. 

Oregon Solar Eclipse Photographic Trip Report

Braving the traffic, heat, forest fires, and camera body mechanical failures to experience and capture the 2017 Great American Solar Eclipse in Oregon State. 

2017's total solar eclipse was anticipated to be a cluster for Oregon. With the small city of Madras (population: 6,729) named the nation's best vantage point for the eclipse due to its high probability of clear skies, Oregon expected to see over a million visitors swarming to the area over a 3-day period. With the Oregon Emergency Services preparing for this event for over two years and the governor activating the national guard in advance, this was sure to be an interesting one. 

It seemed like a perfect time to plan an Oregon getaway. I'd rent a cargo van for the week, throw in my camera gear, an air mattress, a Coleman stove, and a bunch of backpacking MRE meals. What could possibly go wrong, amirite?


August 12, 2017 [t-minus 9 days to the solar eclipse] 

After creating a finely crafted plan involving field of view calculators, Google Maps, spreadsheets, and a bit of trigonometry, my plan to shoot the eclipse from the base of Mount Jefferson went up in smoke as I discovered that I was planning to shoot in the middle of a forest fire. I decided to go down anyway, play it by ear, and create a new plan via some on-location scouting. 


August 17, 2017 [t-minus 4 days to the eclipse]

Seattle -> Mt Saint Helens

No crazy eclipse traffic...yet.

No crazy eclipse traffic...yet.

First stop: Leaving directly from work, I drove directly to Mount Saint Helens for a night of wide-angle astrophotography. 

Before the first shot of my photography vacation I had a tripod malfunction (stupid Arca-Swiss plate variation) and the camera and lens came crashing to the ground . Observe the aftermath:

Well hell. Vacation over. Humbled by defeat, I packed up, drove to a rest stop along I-5, and crashed for the night. 


August 18, 2017 [t-minus 3 days to the eclipse]

Portland -> Columbia River Gorge -> Mount Hood

Vacation salvaged! In the morning I found a few camera rental shops in Portland, one of which had a D810 available for the weekend. $150 poorer and a whole lot happier, It was time to head into the Columbia River Gorge to capture a few waterfalls and then off to Mount Hood to capture the sunset and Milky Way. 

Watching the sun set over Horsetail Falls, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

Hanging out with a huge dragonfly near the lower falls of Oneonta Gorge.

Sunset at Mount Hood / Poop Lake [early edit].

Fun story about this lake above: after wading into the water up to my ankles to compose this shot near I discovered a sign with a gigantic NO SWIMMING warning stating that this was a waste water outlet (not a lake, as I had originally thought). Awesome. I finished up my shoot and scrubbed the skin off of my ankles and tripod legs with a bunch of sani-wipes.  

After packing up at around 1:00am I took 26 down to Warm Springs Reservation and crashed for the night in the first pull-off I could find.

Photos not yet processed from this day: images from Oneonta Gorge and the Milky Way over Mount Hood at Poop Lake.


August 19, 2017 [t-minus 2 days to the eclipse]

Warm Springs Reservation -> Deschutes River -> Madras -> Proxy Falls Smith Rock State Park


Upon waking up I realized that I spent the night adjacent to this huge drop off into a dried riverbed. Since I didn't inadvertently back up into the ravine, I thought this was kind of cool and considered it a win.

Driving another 30 minutes south south along route 26 brought me into the path of totality along the Deschutes River. I began to scout locations to shoot the eclipse by using the app Photo Pills to estimate where the sun will be at the time of totality:

I saw a few possibles, but nothing that really wowed me. The landscape at Deschutes River is beautiful but it really lends itself to a more telephoto composition (70mm and up). At totality, the sun would be so high that you would have to shoot 35mm or wider to capture both the landscape and sun. 

Next stop: Proxy Falls, an iconic Oregon waterfall that was on my bucket list. Or so I thought, anyway; Proxy Falls was closed due to yet another forest fire. Moving on...

Next stop: Smith Rock State Park! Due to the proximity, I decided to drive through this area and hoo boy am I glad I did:

Sunset at Smith Rock State Park

Scouting for a composition to shoot the eclipse also yielded better results:

Having found a composition I decided to stick it out around Smith Rock State Park for fear of getting stuck somewhere due to the forest fires or eclipse induced apocalyptic traffic conditions.  

Traffic was still pretty normal. I encountered no unusual congestion until I drove through Madras on the way to Proxy Falls Smith Rock where some huge tent cities were beginning to populate. Madras was busy, but the traffic was no worse than my every day commute into downtown Seattle for work.


August 20, 2017 [t-minus 1 day to the eclipse]

Smith Rock State Park

Still at Smith Rock. After doing an eclipse test shoot at 10:20 I took a hike up Misery Ridge and discovered Monkey Face, an incredible rock formation teaming with rock climbers. I decided to stay put from 3-8PM to shoot at optimal lighting conditions and to catch the sunset. It's days like this you can be content with coming away with only a single image. This is doubly so after having the opportunity to meet so many great people while waiting for the sun to do it's thing.

About the image: This one includes multiple exposures at different times of day to capture optimal lighting conditions and as much action as possible on the rock face. Click the image to view full-size. 

Rock climbers hanging off of Monkey Face like, well, monkeys | Sunset at Monkey Face | Smith Rock State Park | Oregon

An alternative version of this scene from Michelle Lam, one of the many people I met waiting for the sun to set that day. 

An alternative version of this scene from Michelle Lam, one of the many people I met waiting for the sun to set that day. 


August 21, 2017: Eclipse Day!

Smith Rock State Park

What an amazing (and long) day.

While joining two new friends just before dusk to shoot the sunrise, we met an awesome group of Seattleites who also braved the frigid desert cold and ungodly early hour in hopes of capturing that early morning light. While the shoot went bust after the sky failed to put on a show, all was not lost as our groups merged and an awesome morning was had by all. 

Clockwise from upper left: Awaiting totality. Strategizing over a bag of Doritos (the best kind of breakfast). Michelle photobombing Pumba's moment. GoPro selfie. Images courtesy of Jessmin Lau and Mark Tulewicz. 

Last minute composition confirmation. Also, 3 Asians, 3 Peak Design backpacks. Coincidence? (Mark Tulewicz)

Last minute composition confirmation. Also, 3 Asians, 3 Peak Design backpacks. Coincidence? (Mark Tulewicz)

I swear my next camera is going to have a tilty screen. I'm getting too old for this. (Mark Tulewicz)

I swear my next camera is going to have a tilty screen. I'm getting too old for this. (Mark Tulewicz)

"Tracking the sun at 600mm sure is ruff."

I once experienced a partial solar eclipse as a kid and have never forgot it. Even though the moon only covered about 30% of the sun, I got such a thrill by looking at the sun through a sheet of aluminum foil (yeah, safety standards are a little higher these days). Experiencing a total eclipse was nothing like that. 

At 90-99% totality, the quality of the light was just weird. The shadows were still strong and harsh, yet the light was dim and colors were noticeably de-saturated - perhaps because our eyes' rods, the photoreceptors responsible for seeing in the dark, are not as sensitive to color. I was not able to capture this observed lack of color in-camera.

As the moon slipped in front of the sun and the diamond ring effect became visible, there was a very immediate and very stark loss of light and temperature. What had previously looked like a slightly pale version of the sun became this shimmering halo in the form of a diamond ring. The diamond ring effect lasted for 5-10 seconds and then the world around us was lost in pure totality; an experience I struggle to accurately describe. 

We did not observe any abnormal animal behavior but the humans around me were definitely losing their shit.

And with that, our group's images of the event: 


Killer shot by Mark Tulewicz, who shot this at 600mm. Follow Mark on Twitter @GhostTapMark.


Solar Eclipse Progression | Smith Rock State Park | My wide-angle shot of the phenominon over Smith Rock State Park.

This image is a composite of 27 images - 13 focus stacked images of the foreground, 13 frames of the sun, and an additional image of the sky.


...and here comes the traffic, which for the first 6 hours was just as interesting/hellish as predicted. Thankfully I was too dehydrated to require a pit stop on the 140-mile 8.5 hour non-stop drive to Portland. At least I had time take a few shots while at a complete standstill:


August 22, 2017 - Post Eclipse Hangover / My Second Eclipse in as Many Days

Back in Portland and showered for the first time since Thursday! Contrary to reports, it turned out that totality was visible in Portland. I give you the Total Solar Eclipse Voodoo Donut: 

Aw man I could have saved like 3 days worth of travel by simply enduring the 45 minute wait at Voodoo. 



Fin. Next post: How I shot the solar eclipse. 

Art Show Appearances, June 2017

I will be a participating artist this month at the Edmonds Arts Festival and Kenmore Art Show. Come on out and look for me and my work (shown below) in the Juried Art Gallery

Edmonds Arts Festival (link)

June 16-18, 2017

FRI-SAT 10-8 | SUN 10-6


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Punchbowl Falls [SOLD]

Columbia Gorge, Oregon


High gloss metal print with custom shadow mount and hanging wire.


(Click image to enlarge)

Amboseli Winds

Ol Tukai, Kenya


High gloss metal print with custom shadow mount and hanging wire.



Kenmore Art Show (link)

June 21-25, 2017

WED 5:30-8 | THU - SAT 10-8 | SUN 10-7


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Starry Night at Reflection Lake

Mount Rainier, Paradise, Washington


High gloss metal print with custom shadow mount and hanging wire.


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Sunrise over Mount Shuksan

Picture Lake, North Cascades, Washington


High gloss metal print with custom shadow mount and hanging wire.


(Click image to enlarge)

Punchbowl Falls [SOLD]

Columbia Gorge, Oregon


High gloss metal print with custom shadow mount and hanging wire.


(Click image to enlarge)

Amboseli Winds [SOLD]

Ol Tukai, Kenya


High gloss metal print with custom shadow mount and hanging wire.


Displaced: Refugee Voices in Conversation at Town Hall Seattle

Images from the Northwest Immigrant and Refugee Health Coalition's Town Hall Seattle event: Displaced: Refugee Voices in Conversation. A big thank you to the organizers for asking me to document such a great night. 


Thank Flying Spaghetti Monster the days are finally getting longer.

While the Pacific Northwest is undeniably gorgeous, winters here are harsh for the photographer with a day job. Being so far north the sun sets as early as 4 pm and I haven't seen daylight on a weekday since October. 

Thankfully, spring is around the corner and the sun has been staying out past 6 (gasp!). After such a long and wet winter cooped indoors, sometimes you have to skip out on work a little early on a beautiful day to go chasing after a good sunset. 

Such a day occurred earlier this week in early March, and while my hope for a fiery sky was dashed by some low clouds blocking the sun at the horizon, I still like what was going on over the Seattle Skyline. 

Seattle Sunset

Some notes about this photo:

Location: Rizal Park, just below the bridge. The Jose Rizal Bridge is one of the most popular spots to get the Seattle skyline, but that bridge vibrates every time a large vehicle drives over it. Not great for longer exposures. I recommend walking south a bit to find the the Rizal Dog Park entrance. From there, walk downhill to the dog park and find the exit to the paved path below. The view from that area doesn't include the port and sports arenas, but the ground is much more stable if shooting at night. 

Shooting/Post Processing tips and tricks: Sunset pictures with well-lit foregrounds are hard to nail-down in one exposure because the sky doesn't really come alive until a few minutes after the sun has already set. For this image, I took three exposures: one during the golden hour to get a well-lit city for some depth in the skyline, another exposed for the sky at its reddest moment just after sunset, and a final photo after dark to get the city lights. Each image was processed in Lightroom and blended together with a bit of creative masking and blending in Photoshop. Try using the "Lighten" blend mode for the darker photo with the city lights. 

Seattle VS Minnesota

I seem to average about one illustration per every two years, but this idea was too fun to pass up. 

Yesterday's wildcard matchup between Seattle and Minnesota was a crazy game that proved to be the third coldest in NFL history. It wasn't always pretty for the 'hawks, but they churned out an improbable win assisted by an always stifling defense, a hot offense in the fourth quarter, and miffed field goal by the Vikings in the final 30 seconds. Doug Baldwin's unbelievable one-handed catch was one of the two amazing offensive plays of the day: 

Gif Source: SB Nation

Daaaaaaaaamn. I couldn't help but think of a certain sports icon when watching this play. A day later, it seems as though no one else got the connection, so I took a stab at doing a quick and dirty design:


Go Hawks! On to Carolina!

I was on the news today


 ...and I didn't even have to get arrested! 

My image of Alder Lake was selected as one of the seven hidden wonders of Washington State by the Nature Conservancy. 

Granted, this wonder is visible from the road that takes you into the most popular national park in the state, so "hidden" may be a relative term. 

Pro tip: Alder Lake is a reservoir, so go in the fall when the water level has dropped for a more dramatic foreground. Sunsets here can be spectacular, but sunrise is a bust as a large hill east of this location keeps the lake in the shade for the first few hours of the morning.