Welcome to the first blog post on my new website! Another year has come and gone which means it's time for a rewind looking at some of my favorite photos and experiences of the year. While 2021 did have me stepping back onto to a plane a couple times, most travel continued to be pacific northwest road trips. In life I have learned to appreciate any and all outings whether it's a short drive or a long plane ride. I am simply thankful for the opportunities that I can enjoy with my family and friends. It's what makes life great! When I can come home with photos that make into my portfolio that is a bonus. Experience first, photo second is the mindset I strive for.
2022 will bring significant changes for me and by this time next year I will be reflecting on photography in a different way. Yet before I get ahead of myself here are some highlights of 2021! Whatever the year brought for you I hope you made the best of it. Thank you for stopping by.
2021 came roaring in like a lion on the Oregon Coast on New Years day. I can appreciate that after 2020 brought a whirlwind of impact and change to all of us. Strong winds and rain whipped up the ocean waters better than the expert barista from the local coffee shop. The results were incredible. After the rain subsided we had only wind which was blowing these large mounds of foam across the beach. In many cases simply sliding along like it was on a sheet of ice.
After many years looking for the right tidepool filled densely with beautiful sea anemones, I came across it this year along the Oregon Coast. On a cool foggy summer morning with a minus tide is when I photographed this scene. One of the first photos I captured with my newly acquired Canon macro lens. Without it I would not have been able to get up as close. View it large to appreciate the details.
I spent some time photographing new places in Washington as I worked with the Photo Cascadia crew on our next book project. This was taken on a short trip with David Cobb. I always enjoy the challenge of looking for the right composition that works for scenes like this. There were a few spots I liked but this one stood out the most with the unique scalloped look to these wavy sand lines.
I had put off photographing this location for a long time. Yet when I got a text from my friend Darren White seeing if I wanted to meet up the following day, we made it happen. I had not seen him for probably 10 years or more. It was good to connect with him not to mention just in person time with another photographer which was in short supply the prior 12 months from when this was taken. A damp, cool, and overcast spring morning in the Pacific Northwest with everything soaking wet from the overnight rain. A perfect day to make my first visit to this waterfall.
Similar to 2020 I have been very fortunate to spend more time along the Oregon Coast. One thing I love doing is simply walking the beach to see what I come across. Sometimes it's a chaotic mess. Other times it's covered in foot or paw prints. Then there are times like this where the shapes, lines, and texture line up for a must stop experience to see what I can create. I am happy with the way this one came out.
This is one of a few in this line up that was taken in prior years. 2018 to be exact. I never get through processing all of my photography in the same year I took the photo. This is mostly intentional. It was as if the the loose sand was perfectly and artistically poured on a slab of concrete. All beach here.
I found out during the pandemic that a long time photographer acquaintance through the online sphere turns out to live within walking distance. We have since gotten together more for both photography and to grab a beer to talk shop. Early in the year I connected with Michael Bollino to check out a forest spot in the Columbia Gorge. While this was not the destination it was a clear reminder to be open and ready at any time. This was taken next to my parked car before heading into the trail that was our destination that morning. Sometimes the favorite scene is the first one of the day, as was the case here.
I have come across a lot of different sandstone in my photography days yet never anything that looked quite this interesting. The shapes, texture and muted colors really intrigued me.
In February of 2021 we had a rare ice storm in Portland. Trees, powerlines and everything else out in the open was covered with 2+ inches of ice. Fortunately the combination of prior snowfall and freezing temperatures allowed me to make an outdoor "freezer" to save most of our food as we went a short 48 hours without power. We were the lucky ones. Some homes only blocks away went up to 10 days off the grid. One of the days during the snow and ice storm, I spent a full day simply wandering around to see what I could find. Never went more than a couple miles from the house. This is a messy unphotogenic swampy area during any other time of year. Yet give it a little ice and snow and it's a completely different scene.
This goes back even further. Taken in 2016 during a very memorable trip with a number of us on the Photo Cascadia team. This particular day I was with my friends Erin Babnik and David Cobb where we pretty much spent from sun up to sun down wandering this canyon in the desert southwest. I literally was like a kid in a candy store. It was almost over stimulation from all the amazing small scenes. Many like I had never seen before.
Another case where my head was spinning and eyes popping with all the opportunities around me. Many scenes of pocked up sandstone. I literally stepped right over this when I happen to look down. The contrast of the bright orange bark from the madrone tree against the sandstone works well. While this piece looks to have fallen as part of the natural bark shedding process, shortly after taking this photo the scene was covered in "shrapnel" as a energetic woodpecker chipped away at making his next home directly above.
In the end mother nature wins. Anything we don't consistently maintain will slowly make it's way back into the natural world. Here is a wall of a train car that has been left for decay. The peeling paint and rusted metal show a web or map like view. This was taken a few years ago and when viewing this same spot a few months back it was not the same.
Summer solstice this year was spent in Alaska, land of the midnight sun. While I had been to Alaska before in summer and winter, I had to be up there for solstice. It was a great experience. One short trip we made was to a glacier with it's terminus flowing into a river filled with large icebergs. This was my first time seeing a sight like this close up. To the point we could touch the icebergs, carefully and cautiously of course. This abstract close up was taken from a pack raft a safe distance away.
My brother, a local professor in geological sciences, paddles in his pack raft near one of the ice bergs. With a couple pack rafts and one paddleboard we had options to get around for exercise and viewing enjoyment for this Alaskan adventure. I missed the only bear sighting which was a black bear just a half mile away from camp on the trail.
One of the family trips took us off the grid for 4 days into an Oregon forest that had mostly burned down in the summer of 2020. No cell phone reception, no wi-fi, no computers. Just time reading, playing games and being outdoors. While the level of destruction was unfortunate to see, this trip was a clear reminder that even in a freshly scorched forest there is artist beauty to be found. This is one image as the fog was lifting and the soft sunlight coming through.
Sometimes what you find of interest can be found in places you least expect. I bring forth exhibit A. I was in nature surrounded by a forest and water, I was not expecting to be photographing decaying humanmade objects. Yet that is precisely what happened. I found this large metal cylinder that is something you think would be found in an urban area. This is only one of several unique photos I captured of this rusting metal structure.
"ABSTRACT!" I shout out at a volume level that can only be assumed by my family I had just seen a large bear in the wild. In fact it was just their dad and husband getting really excited at what I saw in front of me. The lines of yellows, blues and purples was rather interesting. Mother nature doing her part to create this piece with what I can only assume was many years of moisture in the air allowing for a corrosive environment on this piece of metal.