Category Archives: backpacking

Top Photos from 2014

Is it too late for a “2014 Best of” post?  Hopefully this one is only arriving “casually late”.  Smile

That said, regardless of your photography experience, I think it’s a good practice to go through your photos periodically and choose a few that you consider to be among the best.  The transition from December to January provides, if nothing else, a convenient marker.

So, in no particular order, here are a few from my 2014 archive.



10 for 2014-1

This is arguably my best Milky Way image.  More details here.

10 for 2014-2

From a quick trip up to Mt St Helens – here’s an image of the edge of the crater that I’d posted over on the Facebook page.

10 for 2014-3

And there I was standing on the Morrison Bridge (trying to get an image for the Bite of Oregon) when the bridge went up.  I also posted a number of images from that gig over on the Camera 47 Facebook page.

10 for 2014-4

From the Harrisburg Harvest Festival and Tractor Pull.  More images from that afternoon can be found here.

10 for 2014-5

Who would have thought that fisheye lenses and historic bombers were a great combination?  More images of this B-17 can be found here.

10 for 2014-6

2014 was the year that I learned about the IR72 filter + X100s.  More details can be found here.

10 for 2014-7

Happened to be in San Francisco for business and brought the X100s along.  This is a panorama cobbled together from a series of handheld images.

10 for 2014-8

Could I really have an annual list of photos and not have a rodeo image?

10 for 2014-9

Or two?  More images from this year’s Philomath Frolic and Rodeo can be found here and here.  If you’re looking for more rodeo – check out the Exposure story.

10 for 2014-10

Or some hot air balloon photos?

10 for 2014-11

Just playing.  This photo can also be found over on my site.

10 for 2014-14

Had a chance to shoot some Polar Plunges for Oregon Special Olympics. The Portland event had a group of Super Plungers that ran once an hour for 24 hours into the very chilly Columbia River.  I posted a number of photos from my time with the Super Plungers over on the Camera 47 Facebook page.

10 for 2014-15

Just a bit of flooding here in Corvallis.

10 for 2014-16

More Viking! At the Bend Polar Plunge.  More images from my trip to Bend can be found here.

10 for 2014-17

The debut of Saddle Shop over the summer.  You can see more from this gig over at

top 10-21

Was looking for a vintage-feeling portrait for this one that connected the student, his school, and sport.

top 10-22

At the county fair for a dance performance and happened to have the X100s + IR72 filter with me.  Really dug the architecture + sun + colors on this one.  I thought the combination provided an unexpected industrial feel.

dog in shadow-1

Our dog was waiting for a bit of beef jerky in some pretty strong light with shadow.

Christmas morning-1

Christmas morning sunrise over Fish Lake just outside Leavenworth, WA.  Not sure what created all of the sparkles speckles.  I’m guessing it was a really dirty filter.  Then, again, it was Christmas morning.

Dollar Lake and Mt Hood

Had the opportunity to go backpacking with the dudes this last weekend in the Mt Hood wilderness area here in Oregon.  We set up camp at Dollar Lake on the north side of Mt Hood with a day hike up to Black Knoll on Saturday (and a bit beyond).  Below are a few from the trip (all with the X100s).

Thanks, Jim, for pulling the trip details together.  Great location!


Up on Black Knoll, it simply felt like we were face-to-face with Mt Hood.  Just a side note: this image was with the X100s (equivalent to 35mm focal length) and is not a telephoto compressed image. 

Dudes Go Packpacking 2014 - 1000px-23

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Just some low light fun and glowing tents.

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This image was cobbled together about 20 feet outside my tent. 

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Dollar Lake and Mt Hood (and more IR72 filter fun on the X100s).

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2013 Top 11 Photos

It’s always a great challenge to look back on a year’s collection and to trim to a list of the best.  It’s an exercise I recommend to every photographer out there.  That said, the extra challenge is to get that list to only 10 photos.  Well, I almost made it this year – I trimmed this one to 11.  Smile

So, in no particular order, here’s my 2013 list with a bit on each addition.


This first photo is from a children’s church group singing at a convalescence home.  It was a very sweet moment with folks stepping out of their rooms to hear the children sing Christmas carols in the hall.

Best of 2013-1

Once I saw these two barns – I just wanted to figure out a way to get the photo.  This is one of those rare images where (if I remember correctly) I was thinking black and white from the onset.

Best of 2013-4

In 2013 I had the opportunity to shoot two Polar Plunge events for Oregon Special Olympics.  This next photo is from the Corvallis event.  Initially I was torn between two photos for this list: “dynamic splash” and “pink tutu’s”.  You can see which one I chose.

Best of 2013-6

This was from the 2013 Photo Walk here in Corvallis.  It’s probably safe to presume that it took me over a hundred images to get this one.

Best of 2013-7

In the very next moment, this bull fighter found himself in the air (but my very next frame only had the legs of the bullfighter visible – I was zoomed in too far on the scene to get all of him in the air).

Best of 2013-8

The Lover’s Bridge in Danshui, Taiwan.  This is one of those rare images where I actually pre-visualized the final result.  Some folks are really good at that – I’m not.

Best of 2013-10

Jiufen, Taiwan is a great little market town.  Fortunately while we were there we were treated to this epic rain.

Best of 2013-11

Street opera in Tainan, Taiwan.  I like how this image shows the proximity of the street to the opera.

Best of 2013-13

Hot air balloon festival.  Another image here on the list with strong architectural elements.

Best of 2013-15

Sheep nor shearing are typically on my list of favorite images.  But, I liked this moment along with the lighting, color, and texture.

Best of 2013-17

Mt Hood in the clouds.  It wasn’t long after this image that the mountain was completely obscured by the incoming weather.

Best of 2013-18

Burnt Lake

On Labor Day I had the chance to get out for a day hike with Jim up to Burnt Lake in the Mt Hood Wilderness.  It was just a 6.5 mile or so round trip – but I took more gear than any one person should be allowed on a day hike.  Fortunately, I had the f-Stop Loka backpack and it performed flawlessly down the trail.

And in no particular order here are a few photos from the outing.

Not too much later after this first photo – Mt Hood was mostly blanketed by clouds.

Burnt Lake 2013 - low res-7

We found Lost Creek Falls.  I great little spot.  The greens were quite lush – but I sort of liked the B&W treatment on this one.

Burnt Lake 2013 - low res-10

Late-morning light peaking through trees on the trail.

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Backpacking Weekend – Jefferson Wilderness, Oregon

Had a chance for a backpacking weekend in the Jefferson Wilderness here in Oregon.  We set our tents at Carl Lake on Friday – with a Saturday day hike over to South Cinder Cone – followed by a stretch up on the ridge above Carl Lake along the PCT.  On Sunday – we broke camp.  Lunch on the drive home was at Giovanni Mountain Pizza in Mill City.  A great weekend.


This first photo is from the hike in to Carl Lake on Friday.  Within a 100 feet of the trailhead – the trail begins to cut through a section that was burned in the 2003 B&B Complex fire.

Carl Lake 2011 for blog-1

There’s a certain beauty of hiking through a recovering forest.  On the other hand – there’s more exposure to the elements.  It’s simply not the typical Central Cascades lush forest experience.  I’m hoping this next one captures (at least a little bit) the scorched forest + sun + heat.  Carl Lake 2011 for blog-2And there was a bit of trail fix-it.  Use #742 for duct tape.  🙂

Carl Lake 2011 for blog-3

Here’s Jim as my foreground element in a morning shot across Carl Lake.  He was kind enough to wait patiently on this rock while I futzed with camera settings.Carl Lake 2011 for blog-4

10 Images from 2010

First – Happy New Year!  And welcome to 2011!

OK – I’ve posted what I thought were 10 of my better rodeo images from 2010.  But when it comes to the rest of the portfolio – not only does the whole process become more difficult – but definitely much more diverse.

I’ll take a bit more time with this one – and maybe a note or two on why a particular image made the cut.  So – in no particular order – here’s 10 images from 2010.

Agree?  Disagree?  Let me know.


The first two images come from Willamette Celebration – one of the best photo experiences I’ve had.  I probably could have tossed in 20 images from the weekend – but that sort of breaks the whole “10 images” motif.  These two images, I thought, stood out from the pack.

This image – I thought – just simply worked.   It sort of tells the whole story without the need for much introduction.

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For the Newsboys – I pretty much just kept the hammer down for the entire time they were on stage.  Great show.

newsboys - for blog - sRGB-1

Next up – Pt Lobos.  I’d like to get back there and try a few more.    It’s funny that this image didn’t make the blog earlier – but it has since bubbled towards the top of my list.  Maybe it’s the story it conveys – not sure.

pt lobos - for blog - sRGB-2

Hot air balloons have become a bit of a theme for me the last two years.  This image turned out better than expected.  To get this shot – I was down flat on the ground – and with a bit of neck strain – pointed the camera up at the people milling nearby.  Just glad nobody stepped on me.

hot air balloons - for blog - sRGB-1 The last couple of seasons – I’ve tried to shoot a bit of rugby (when I can make it out there).  It’s a club sport at the university – with great action – and casual - for blog - sRGB-1

Campus Rail Jam Tour – a.k.a. Snow in the Quad.  Could have been named Snowboarders vs. Photographers. snow in the quad - for blog - sRGB-1

I shot this image at a Tea Party rally in early 2010.  For a number of reasons – those images haven’t seen the light of day.  But I liked this image.  tea party - for blog - sRGB-1

Two years now – I’ve shot the Pro Life rally in Portland, Oregon.  This image is from the march leading up to the event in downtown Portland.right to life - for blog - sRGB-1

Yaquina Bay Lighthouse.  Local iconic architecture (and some might consider it trite, boring, overdone, and only good for postcards).  This image (I thought) was kinda fun – and just sort of worked.

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Mt Jefferson from Russell Lake.  30 second exposure with some filters near sunset.  This was taken not far from the tents.dudes go backpacking - for blog - sRGB-1

Backpacking Photo Gear List

dudes 2010 - low res-7 Yeah – it’s been over a month since I’ve been back from the last backpacking trip – but I’m still tidying up my notes for gear and food – all in hopes of keeping the gear list tidy – and the pack a bit lighter by keeping non-essentials at home.

Of course – a key part of my list is photography gear.  The kit I carry isn’t large or ulta light.  But – on this last trip it did get heavier.  For example – I swapped the 24mm prime for a zoom and the Gorillapod stayed at home in favor of the (slightly) heavier tripod + ballhead.  As this was just a weekend trip – the (slightly) heavier kit was a good trade-off for the increased flexibility.

The big experiment for this trip was the Lowepro Toploader Zoom 50 AW + Toploader Chest harness.  I’ll try to get a full review here soon – but in short – two thumbs up.

So, in no particular order – here’s the list:

  1. Camera: Canon 50D
  2. Lens: Canon 17-55 f/2.8 IS
  3. Filters: B+W Circular Polarizer, B+W 10 Stop Neutral Density, Cokin P Filter Holder, Hitech 2 Stop Graduated ND P Filter, Hitech 3 Stop Graduated ND P Filter
  4. Bag: Lowepro Toploader Zoom 50 AW + Lowepro Toploader Chest harness.
  5. Memory: 8GB cards (x7)
  6. Batteries: 3 Canon batteries for 50D
  7. Tripod + Ballhead: Gitzo tripod + Joby X ballhead (ballhead review here)
  8. Shutter remote: Surprisingly – I didn’t use it on this last trip.  None of my exposures exceeded 30 seconds – and when on a tripod – I simply used the 2 second shutter delay setting.
  9. Misc: 4 lens cloths (just in case…), Moleskin + pen (but I used it mostly to record my food consumption so that I hopefully won’t bring too much next year…)
  10. Gorp: my favorite backpacking mix… plain M&M’s, honey roasted peanuts, and raisins – in a 1:1:1 ratio.

Feedback?   Thoughts?  What’s on your list?

A Few More from Jefferson Park

dudes 2010 - low res-11Just trying to tidy up images from the recent backpacking trip into Jefferson Park – our mostly-annual Dudes trip.

As you can see – we had a pretty nice view of Jefferson from our tent site on Russell Lake (top photo).

The middle photo shows our hike out on Sunday in the fog.  By this point – it was lifting a bit (it was pretty thick there for a while).

As for the bottom image –it was from our hike into Jefferson Park on Friday afternoon.  This particular image is on the descent to Russell Lake.

As it turns out – Friday was a blue, clear day – and Saturday and Sunday were quite sepia.  Maybe it was the clouds and fog…more mt jefferson 2010 - low res-2more mt jefferson 2010 - low res-1

Mt Jefferson at Sunset

Just got back from a weekend backpacking trip into Jefferson Park – considered by many to be the most scenic area in the Oregon Cascades.  Now – I’m not one to debate such things – but I thought I’d just toss one out from Saturday’s sunset – taken not far from our camp site.  Hopefully, soon, I’ll get the rest of the set worked jefferson from jeff park - low res for blog-1

Big Sur to Santa Cruz: Pt Lobos

Pt Lobos - low res-1On the only full day of the 50 hour “weekend” – we drove in the general direction of Big Sur.

The first stop was Pt Lobos – where some guys by the name of Adams and Weston are also known to have stomped around with cameras.  Lots of trails here – and it can be pretty busy.  Fortunately – we hit it semi-early on a Monday.

Our morning / early afternoon at Pt Lobos was greeted with more fog.  Again – we weren’t doing so well in finding that California sunshine – but it definitely wasn’t a showstopper.

(And – just a note – if you’re thinking about visiting Pt Lobos – there’s lot of poison oak lining the trails.  Seriously.  Be mindful of it.)

Pt Lobos - low res-2We started on the north side of the reserve – and worked our way south – for the only reason that somewhere I think I’d read that the north might have more photo ops – and the fellow working the ranger station as we entered also had good things to say about it.  Not sure if it indeed has a higher percentage of images – but it seemed to work for us.

And maybe it was the fog – maybe not – but my memory apparently has Pt Lobos painted in sepia tones.

And the top two photos?  Yes – same trees – just different lenses.  I actually couldn’t decide which one I liked better.  If you have an opinion – please let me know in the comments below.

As for the last three images – a bit landscape – and all three include Hugh and Jim working in the field.

One side note on gear – the piece of gear that I’d wish I’d had for this shoot was a 10 stop neutral density filter.  There were plenty of rocks, surf, and (filtered) sun – but the 3-stop I had with me wasn’t going to slow the shutter significantly.

At some point – I think I’d like to get back to Pt Lobos and do some more shooting.


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