Category Archives: Photography

Ruby Sunset

Sunset from Ruby Beach

Sunset from Ruby Beach

We spent a few days last week shooting in Washington’s Temperate Rainforests and as you can see, spent time on the beach. We had been planning this trip for a couple months, hadn’t been to the Washington coast in many years and I wanted to get out of the mountains and spend some time in a place that knows what rain is. Since we spent time in my old home, the Smoky Mountains, earlier this year – we opted for the west coast.

We only had a few days and couldn’t come close to spending time everywhere on my shoot list – rather it was a quick whirlwind trip to reacquaint myself with the area and ultimately so we can make notes and plan an extended trip next spring. It really was a whirlwind tour though – we visited Neah Bay, Cape Flattery (most NW point in the 48 states), Ruby and Rialto Beaches (my two favs), Hoh and Quinault Rainforest and stayed on the beach at Kalaloch Lodge. We almost spent a night at the Quinault Lodge in the rainforest, but I’m glad we didn’t, they were hosting a photography workshop – that would have been annoying. The trip was 99% work and I was so amazingly tired after getting back – but it was nice to be in the land of humidity and more importantly, fresh  clam chowder. We’ve got our notes and an extended trip to Washington Coast will absolutely be on the calendar next year.

I will be posting a few photos from the trip here on my photoblog, and in the near future there will be section from this trip on my print gallery.

Also posted in PhotoBlog

Missed Opportunities

I hate it when a print order comes through for a photo I almost didn’t take. No, don’t get me wrong, I love my customers and appreciate every sale. But imagine for a minute. You’re backpacking, 10 miles into a 14 mile day… you see something kinda cool, but don’t take the time to stop, pull out the camera and take the shot. Some stuff you see and you have to take the shot, but in this case, it’s borderline. You’re in ‘go’ mode and just want to get to camp, get the pack off and eat something warm. For the next 300 yards you wish you had stopped, but soon it’s out of mind.

Imagine you’re driving on a dirt road hours from anywhere trying to get to a location for sunset and see something kinda cool. You don’t stop. For the next half mile you play a round robin in your head on whether or not you should have stopped. Sometimes you turn around and get it, sometimes you keep moving.

I live in Idaho – I’m outdoors or traveling in really cool places literally all the time, there’s no way I can shoot every shot I see. This happens to me almost daily. There are so many images in my head that I thought “cool” and kept walking, driving, biking… Thankfully I also have a bunch where I did stop, turn around and get it. What really messes with my head is when, like this week, a print order comes through for a photo I almost didn’t take. I’m happy to sell it, but then my mind flashes back to all the photos that I could have taken in the last few weeks, months or even years. I think about those photos and the walls they could have been displayed on, and yes, a part of me thinks about the sales… sigh.

This one? I wasn’t even driving for it, had to debate whether it was worth asking the driver to turn around. I do love it though and know that it’ll look great on your wall, but I almost didn’t take it. almost.

Also posted in Random Thoughts

Project: Thus Untitled…

I have a new project that I’m about to start. I’m not going to title it yet – as with many of my photo projects, the scope is evolving as I start scheduling and putting plans on paper.

Over the next couple months I need to assemble quite a cast for a photo project in Boise, about Boise. The project focuses on artists, it makes an attempt to showcase them and their work in an interesting perspective. I won’t go into all the details until I have a few of the shots completed and have a better vision of where this road leads, but I’m sure it’s going to be great. We’ll starting shooting the second week of October with people I’ve already contacted and scheduled- I’m starting with the easier locations and saving really tough ones for late in the project, once me and the project has some momentum. If you’re at least mildly interested in being a part of this project, send me an email, I’ll give you more of the details about the theme and the locations.

Here is list of a few of the folks I’m still looking to work with for this project.

  • Musicians
    I already have a several signed up, but could use a few more, so regardless of the instrument(s) you play – send me a note.  Especially looking for violinist, bassist and a small band. Near the end of the project I’ll be looking for a pianist but that will be the culminating piece of the project — And, quite a challenge – not sure I can pull off the location I want – need to work the phones and cash in a few favors 🙂
  • Painter
    Have a couple on the maybe list – wouldn’t mind talking with one or two more.
  • Potter/sculptor
    One of the more difficult shots.
  • Dancer
    Really looking for a ballet or otherwise classically trained dancer. But if you’re a modern/contemporary dancer, feel free to contact me.
  • B-Boy
    Need a master of handstands
  • Shakespearean Actor
    This will be one of the later shots in the project.
  • Mime(s)
    Should have this one covered already.
  • Martial Arts
    May have this one covered already – but feel free to contact me
  • Any creative/artistic person/small group
    I’m open to ideas. If you or your group is of the creative/artistic type and do something that isn’t in this list, let me know, I may already have enough interest in that area that I didn’t list it or I may have totally missed it. Speak up, we’ll see if you fit with the scope of the project.

As you can see, this isn’t a small project. I’ll post more details here in the future but in the mean time — if you fit in one of these categories, please contact me. If you know someone who does, pass this along.

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Basin Butte Lookout

Have I mentioned how much I love shooting the night sky? Well, I do. One of the projects I’m working on right now involves shooting a lot at night and in some very remote locations, like this lookout. I had just about decided not to post this shot, to save it for possible inclusion in the project, but consider it a teaser shot.

Oh, and I’m supposed to give my dad photo assistant credit as he was with me for this shot and says he never gets any of the credit. 🙂  So I credit thee, dad, with:

1) Location Safety Advisor – for holding the flashlight and telling me how close I was to stepping off the cliff. (pretty close)
2) Logistics – You were nice enough to drive.
3) Security – While we didn’t have any bears, mountain lions or ticked off mountain goats breach the location perimeter, I’m sure you would have handled it. Plus having a second person helps prevent big foot sightings.
4) Lighting Grip – You held a flash for me.
4) Entertainment – Lets face it, after watching the camera blink for the first 20 minutes of shooting, it gets kinda boring…

Also posted in PhotoBlog

Looking back…

Elk Cow and Calf in the Idaho Wilderness

Elk Cow and Calf in the Idaho Wilderness

The year is almost over. It’s not though. I love Christmas and usually do a fair amount of shooting in december, but around thanksgiving I start thinking about next year…. Becasue this year is almost over. Though it’s not over yet. Almost. Not quite. Will be shortly.

I’ve been looking at random photos in my “2009” folder, as I look back through the year I’m happy to say I was able to do a lot of things I wanted to do, go places, shoot things. I’m happy to say that overall, my photos have gotten better. But it seems my todo list left for next year is longer rather than shorter. Next year, I believe, if I take off the months of February, April, May, July, August, September and  October… I may be able to shoot everything on my list, but something tells me that isn’t going to happen. Prioritization is in order. There are things, projects, that I want to try, new places I want to go, techniques that need tried and honed. It’s rather exciting really…

We’ve got a trip to Salmon at Christmas to see the family. Salmon is one of the most beautiful places in the world, so the camera is always handy, it’ll be a great no pressure photo trip and with that, 2009 will be over, done.

I’ve yet to plan anything major for 2010. Aside from a workshop myself and two friends, Johnny and David are organizing on January 16th, but beyond that it’s a blank page.

Speaking of blank pages, I am going to re-examine my website…  I’m asking it to do so much, that I end up not doing enough with it. I hope to roll out some structure changes around the first of the year that will make it easier for me to share my work as well as my tech and personal content without doing three separate websites. I’m constantly getting email and face to face comments (or even by proxy) about the photos I choose to post here and I realize I need to post more. So many of my photos I want to post just sit on my hard drive waiting for a blog post I can associate with them. I cant guarantee anything, but I’m gonna try my best to post the photos and let them speak for themselves without thinking I’ve got to comment everything. Though, google sure prefers I write about them 😉

Also posted in Misc, PhotoBlog Tagged , , , , , |

Reasons to Love Idaho – Farm Bureau’s rights grabbing photo contest

I logged into flickr tonight to check on my groups and found a post with information pointing to another rights grabbing photo contest.

This one put on by Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance of Idaho. The contest “Reasons to Love Idaho”  requires to you trade your copyright for the chance of winning a Ipod.

“You must own the copyrights to any photos that you submit. Winners turn over copyright ownership of their winning photos to Farm Bureau Insurance Company.”    -FAQ

“Granting of Copyright and Acknowledgment of Right to Submit. A Contestant has the right to submit one or more photos for display in the Photo Gallery. By submitting a photo to the Photo Gallery, Contestant grants to FBM a perpetual non-exclusive, royalty-free and irrevocable right to place that photo in the Photo Gallery and to use, reproduce, copy, publish, display, distribute, adapt, modify or otherwise exploit that photo and to incorporate it in other works and to sell, license, or otherwise commercially utilize that photo.” -RULES

They could only make it worse by requiring you to sign up for a new account before they give you the ipod. I won’t give the contest the benifit of a link. If you want to read the rules yourself visit reasonstoloveidaho dot com.

No pro, or self respecting hobbyist will touch a contest like this, please share this info and ALWAYS READ CONTEST RULES. for more information, please check out my first post about bad photo contests.

Idaho Statesman & Idaho Camera Photo Contest: read the fine print (of any contest)

Just a real quick post: Saw a note a few minutes ago about a photo contest being run by the Idaho Statesman in cooperation with Idaho Camera. First, both of these companies are reputable and I’d have no problem doing business with them in most cases. I don’t usually do photo contests, but since I run a “Outdoor Idaho Photography” group on flickr I clicked the link to check it out for a possible announcement on our forum. And right there in plain sight is the reason I don’t do photo contest and why you should ALWAYS read the rules.

“Photographs and Articles submitted to the Idaho Statesmen and Idaho Camera shall become the property of Idaho Statesmen and Idaho Camera and may be reproduced and distributed in print, electronic, or other form for perpetuity.” source

If that doesn’t give you chills, you don’t value your work enough. For what it’s worth, that’s essentially all of the fine print, there is no link or reference to a “complete set of rules” or such. I realize that publications have to have a copyright release as part of their submission guidelines so they can print your photo in the paper or display it as a winner on their website. Some contests handle this gracefully, and I’ll participate. But many, if not most, grant themselves the right to sell prints and some, as in this case, claim to own the work. Perhaps, just perhaps, that’s not what they intended but rarely do court cases revolve on intent instead of what was written in the contract.

There are plenty of resources on the internet regarding photo contest and what to look for in the fine print of your local contests. It’s accepted they won’t send you back the print you sent in, and there will be language to that effect, that’s standard. You should expect to see language saying that you the photographer grant the company license or permission to print the photo as part of the photo contest. Read closely and be sure you can live with the “license” or “permission” you are granting. Stay far away from “own,” “become property,” “exclusive” and “perpetuity.” Always make that there is wording to the effect of: “the original photographer retains the copyright” For more information on photo contests and why many of them are bad, really, really, bad. Search google, there are plenty of rights grab stories out there. For further information about contests and photographers rights as well as examples of good and bad contests; visit:



VERY BAD: Costco Photo Contest
Good, specific rules: photo contest

More links: are yougambling with your copyright by entering that photography contest?

Another local, Bad photocontest. Farm Bureau of Idaho

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Boise Curb Cup 2009

Boise Curb Cup 2009 - Angie Stevens and The Mark

Angie Stevens and The Mark - Boise Curb Cup 2009

I’ve been meaning to post this for a bit now. But we all know how things seem to come up, it’d been a crazy week and then came the holiday weekend. I had to put down the computer and step away from the internet for the last four days; it was nice.

Last week Joy and I went to the first annual Boise Curb Cup. I’m not sure there’s a good way to describe it, but imagine 130 different, some really different and all very random street performers gathering for a two hour competition. We didn’t hear about the event until the day before, one of my wife’s friends was going to be among the performers. But we were able to rearrange our schedule to see it.

Looking at a list of 130 entries and knowing that we had two hours that meant less than a minute per individual or group. That’s not counting getting stuck in a crowd, crossing streets etc. Yeah. not gonna happen. So somewhat randomly and based on name alone I circled 10 groups that I wanted to see, Joy added two that weren’t already on my list, together we marked a few more as 2nds.
Continue reading »

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Sometimes they’re just sitting in the road

Sometimes they're just sitting in the road

Hawk on a dirt road at sunset

Some of the crazy places I’ve been, crazy things I’ve done… for photography.

I’m not a big fan of “Zoo Shots” but hate people calling it wildlife photography. Spending time at the Zoo is a great way to spend a day and take some pictures in a no pressure environment. I’ve been meaning to go to the Zoo here in Boise for some time. But what I hate is seeing a photo by a wildlife photog and thinking, wow, how in the world… Then learning that it was on a ranch where the photog had paid several hundred dollars for a few hours of guaranteed time shooting this animal. And what I hate more is I didn’t come up with the idea to pin in a bunch of animals, call it a game ranch and let photogs come in by the van load to pay me to see them. I don’t have a problem with the shots themselves, I’ve seen some good photos from zoos and game ranches, but it’s not WILDlife. My problem is when a wildlife photographer fails to mention that he paid money to photograph the animal in a controlled environment.

I used to live next to the Smokeys, now live near Yellowstone & The Tetons and enjoy going up to Glacier. I love shooting wildlife in the National Parks but still don’t get the same excitement photographing an animal in a park as I do out in the sticks. It still takes skill and persistence to get good photos and see the best wildlife in a national park (unless we’re talking Mountain Goats at Glacier). I don’t know, maybe it’s all the other people, more likely just the large majority of people who go to a big box retail store buy an expensive camera, go to Yellowstone take a few pictures and call themselves a photographer. Continue reading »

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Vacation 2009: Stanley

I'm Back: aka self portrait at Goat Falls

Self Portrait of me standing under Goat Falls

I’m not sure a photographer ever gets a real vacation.  If we do… this “vacation” was the closest I’ve come to a “real vacation” in a long time. Being half photographer half computer guy, I didn’t do any computer work while I was gone, so at least that half of me had a real vacation. Don’t get me wrong, it was a vacation, there were days where I could have fit the photos I took on one roll of 35mm. Other days were centered around photography and filled my largest memory card. My camera was never more than a few feet from me, ending up with over 1500 photos. Joy and I met my parents in the Stanley, Idaho basin for a week camping trip. Well, it was supposed to be a week, but we got there a few days early and left a day later clocking in at 10 nights in camp. The morning we left we were pulling out of camp and we both decided that it had been a good trip, but we were ready to go home; that is, for me, what made it a great vacation. I was actually ready to go home. We had an amazing trip though, I hiked thirty two miles of trails in the Sawtooth Wilderness plus a bit of bushwhacking here and there for large rocks and waterfalls. Hiking destinations in the Sawtooth wilderness included the breathtaking Sawtooth Lake and Goat Falls a spectacular (cold) 300 foot waterfall. (pictured).

In addition to hiking in the sawtooth wilderness, I also spent time in my old stomping grounds of the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness; Dad and I caught a bunch of fish on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. I also took everyone up to the headwaters of the Salmon River where puppy could jump across the river.

I got most of my photo todo list done. There was one shot that I really wanted to get but the stars weren’t in alignment. Or rather the moon wasn’t. Many of you have seen some of my star trail photography. I scouted the place for my next major star trail photo, but the moon wasn’t cooperating within the time frame I had. I’ll be running the night sky simulator to find a couple days and times when I can travel back up to Stanley to take this three hour photo. The window is very tight and the weather will have to be perfect, and I have two months to take the picture or wait another year. hmmm.

The above photo was a self portrait of me at goat falls. I love waterfalls! nothing I’d rather photograph….   The perspective doesn’t do it justice as this was setup for the self port; Goat Falls is an amazing place, this torrent of water makes a 300′ fall from the top of the photo to my feet then continues on an amazing cascade down to the valley below.

This was the last of my hiking destinations in the sawtooth wilderness. One leg of the tripod was on a rock, the other two in a pool of water. Joy would have taken the photo except she was on a rock a couple hundred feet down the hill reading a book to the dog. Shortly before we got married her and I were climbing on a waterfall in Lemhi County near the Salmon River. She fell 90% of the way down it (30-40 feet). I thought she was seriously injured. We were ten minutes from radio coverage. An hour drive to the nearest paved road; another half hour to the clinic. Or lifeflight an hour to a real hospital. She wasn’t as badly injured as I thought, so we ended up not taking the helicopter ride that day, instead we bandaged her up, gave her some pain medication and made it back to town in record time to have my mom (a nurse) check her out. Nothing broken, major bruising, serious pain for a few days and some scars left, but we laugh at it now. Oh, but she’s banned from waterfalls.

Anyways, we got an daylight early start for this hike but it was still amazingly hot. So I was happy to pull the waterproof cover over the camera backpack and spend some time getting soaked.

It’s back to the real world now. I have 1500 more photos in my queue to go through and post process. I have a todo list a mile long from the next trip and I’m further behind everything I was behind on before we left. It was an amazing trip; I’m glad to be home.

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