Category Archives: images

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

15 Images from 2011

I’m thankful to have had a chance to really stretch myself as a photographer in 2011.  Now – that doesn’t mean I nailed every shot I pointed my camera at (in fact – I missed quite a few images) – and it doesn’t mean that I shot everything on my “2011 list” – but it was a great year for learning – from having the chance to fly half around the world to deciphering some studio lighting.  In between – I had opportunities to shoot more rodeo and hot air balloons – and to teach an informal travel photography class and write an article for PhotographyBB (both were great learning curves!).

As I’ve done the last few years, I’m posting images from the year that I think sum up what could be considered some of my best work.  For folks new to this blog – I simply think this process of handpicking and culling photos from a year – the process of drawing a line in the sand – is a great exercise to really sharpen the proverbial pencil.  There’s no need to post your images on a blog or on Flickr  or Facebook – but I highly recommend trying this exercise.

In year’s past – I’ve posted 10 images – and then I quickly followed up with “ten more”.  Well – this year – I decided to simply post 15 images without a follow up.  Maybe next year – I can actually get myself to only 10.  🙂

It’s probably not surprising – but this year’s list is heavily weighted with images from Uganda (6 photos).

Also – maybe not surprising – buts something that struck me after I compiled this list – many of the images – at least in my opinion – had a lighting element that could be considered striking or extraordinary.

Are these my “15 best”?  Maybe some of these would make that list – it’s hard to say exactly.  Regardless – I hope they represent a range of some of my better images from the year.

So – here you go – in no particular order – 15 images from 2011.  And – if you have any feedback – please don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments.

Fishermen on Lake Victoria.

2011 top images-4

Playing with sparklers (+ long exposure).

2011 top images-8 Traffic on Highway 99.

2011 top images-21

I was taking some photos inside this classroom between classes – and this girl was just drawing on the board.

2011 top images-15

At the Northwest Art & Air Festival.

2011 top images-1

Boda-boda drivers outside of Kampala, Uganda.

2011 top images-6

Steer wrestling at the Philomath Frolic & Rodeo.

2011 top images-12

Rough stock riders prepare at the Benton County Rodeo.

2011 top images-3

Green heron fledgling.

2011 top images-9

Hot air balloons at sunrise.

2011 top images-17Rain at Rally for Life in Salem, Oregon.

2011 top images-14

Sunrise.  Uganda.

2011 top images-5

Carver at the carousel in Salem, Oregon.

2011 top images-10

Boy playing at a school in Kampala.

2011 top images-7

From the back of a boda-boda outside of Kampala.2011 top images-16

Photos from Uganda: #7

OK – the last in my series “… from Uganda” (at least for now).  And – so I thought I’d just leave you with a few that I shot “from the road”.  These are shots from moving vehicles – either cars, buses, or motorcycles (and – no – I wasn’t driving 🙂 ).

from the bus-2 A boda on the back of a boda.

from the bus-3 from the bus-4As for the last one – well – that’s from the back of a boda-boda (motorcycle taxi).  Fortunately – he drove slow while I took photos.

boda boda-1

11 Tips for Photographing Hot Air Balloons

The great thing about hot air balloon festivals is that there are no “back stage passes”.  Unless you happen to have a seat in a basket – everyone has the same vantage point.  And – I really don’t think it matters if you’re using a Holga, point and shoot, SLR, or imaging satellite – there are great images to be had.  But – shooting a launch is work.  It’s busy – it’s furious – and the whole gig can be done in 60 minutes or less.NW Art Air 2010 - Friday - low res-1

On the other hand, it can be tough to even know where to point your lens – as there’s simply so much stuff happening all around.  Now that I’ve shot a few of these – I’ve gathered a few tips that work for me.  So – in no particular order:

  • Again – it’s busy if you’re standing among 40 (or more) hot air balloons.  There’s color, noise, and a heck of a lot of photographers.  Try to take all of that mayhem – and simply pick 3 or 4 balloons that you’d like to focus on during the morning.  If there’s a little break in the action – you can NW Art Air 2010 - Friday - low res-2shoot the ones right next door, too.  Of course – you don’t need to have this list in hand when you arrive.  Simply pick a colorful one when you arrive.  When that one has launched – or you have the photos you’re looking for – just go pick the next one.
  • While you’re looking at your 3 or 4 balloons throughout the morning – look around at the horizon.  There’s a lot going on – and during a break in the action – those are the times to get your “big scene” shots.
  • If you can only pick one lens – go wide.  Your wide glass (zoom or fixed) will be more versatile while you’re there shooting.  Of course, there’s a place for long lenses, too.
  • The event is so short – try to limit your lens changes (in fact – I might recommend not changing lenses at all).  And the fewer lenses you have – the lighter your camera bag – and the easier it will be walking around.

balloons - albany art & air 2009-9

  • Try to minimize the visual clutter.  There’s a lot going on at a hot air balloon launch.  Try to leave some of it out of the frame.
  • Unless you’re looking for something creative (e.g. long exposures or graduated ND filters) – try to leave the tripod at home.  With everything happening so fast – you’ll want to be more agile.
  • A polarizer will help (though – I admit – I often leave mine in the bag).
  • Shoot from the hip.  Many of my photos are shot from about knee or ankle height.

balloons - albany art & air 2009-22

  • Shoot on burst mode – sometimes in that moment between shots – there can be a subtle change that will simply make the photo better.
  • Know where the sun is at.  Will you be backlighting your balloons – or will you have that beautiful morning light fall on the face of each aerostat?
  • Be polite, smile – and have fun!  There are a lot of other photographers out there, too.  Share that great spot.

hot air balloons - NW Art Air - 2010 - low res-31 And just in case you were wondering – yes, I underexpose many of my hot air balloon photos.  It can do a few things:

    • It can clean up the foreground clutter by making much of it near black.
    • More of the morning color can be highlighted.
    • I happen to like the architectural elements that silhouettes can add to an image.

Hope that helps.  And if you have more tips – please don’t hesitate to leave them below.

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.

boarders for Christ - for blog - sRGB-1

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.

yaquina lighthouse - for blog - sRGB-2

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

10 Rodeo Images from 2010

This last month has simply been a traffic jam at the intersection of “full time dude-in-a-cube” and “holidays” and “part time photography” – and the blog has been a bit neglected.  Sorry ‘bout that.

And it’s not that I haven’t been thinking about photography (and you folks).  Actually – quite the opposite.  It’s just that I haven’t been typing all that much on the blog.  But you should see my notebook!  (lots of scribbles) There are also a few more books (and ebooks) and pieces of gear to review – but I guess that will all need to wait until next year – when I’ll hopefully get this corner of the blog-o-sphere tidied up a bit.

And that brings me to the post at hand – long time readers of Camera 47 know that I’m a fan of year-end Top 10 lists – especially when it comes to the challenge of distilling down a year’s worth of photos to a critical few.  Well – I’m going to stick to my formula of giving you two lists – one of rodeo images – and one for everything else.  So – in no particular – here are 10 rodeo images from 2010 that I thought stood out a bit more than the others.

Agree?  Disagree?  Let me know what you think.   Benton County Rodeo - a few for blog - low res-1for blog - sRGB-3PFR - Thursday - quickly low res-1bw-1Benton County Rodeo - a few for blog - low res-4

PFR - Thursday - quickly low res-2PFR - Sunday - low res-6

JJ horse - sRGB-1

bareback - sRGB-1

for blog - sRGB-1

Pro-Life Rally: 17 January 2010 in Portland, OR

Right to Life rally - PDX - Jan 2010-41On a wet Sunday afternoon about 3000 to 4000 people gathered  in downtown Portland at Pioneer Courthouse Square to support Pro-Life.

The rally kicked off with the Portland Praise Band – and then followed with several dynamic speakers:

Rally sponsors included Oregon Right to Life, The Oregon Family Council, Christian News Northwest, 40 Days for Life, Precious Children of Portland, KBVM 88.3 FM, and 93.9 KPDQ FM.

The Oregonian’s online coverage of the event can be found here.

I also stumbled onto Daniel Payne’s photography site with more images – and a write up from Pro Life Tribe.

Right to Life rally - PDX - Jan 2010-42

Right to Life rally - PDX - Jan 2010-43Right to Life rally - PDX - Jan 2010-1

Right to Life rally - PDX - Jan 2010-5

Right to Life rally - PDX - Jan 2010-2

Right to Life rally - PDX - Jan 2010-28Right to Life rally - PDX - Jan 2010-26

Right to Life rally - PDX - Jan 2010-19Right to Life rally - PDX - Jan 2010-20Right to Life rally - PDX - Jan 2010-4

Hot Air Balloon Photo for sale over at WozoFoto

Wozofoto offers a “deal of the day” photo – and today it happens to be one of my hot air balloon images from the Northwest Art & Air Show.  8×10’s are $10 – and 11×14’s are only $15.

And if you’re curious – more images from that weekend can be found here.

The cool thing about Wozofoto – is that every day he posts another photo at a great price.  So check his site out – and if you want to keep track of his daily deals – you can follow him on Facebook or over at his blog.

balloons - albany art & air 2009-11

10 Images from 2009

Tired of the “Best of 2009 …” lists yet?  If not – here are 10 (non-rodeo) images from 2009 (if you’re looking for the rodeo-centric list – look here).

As a photographer – I think this idea of culling the annual portfolio to 10 solid images – from roughly 10,000 to 20,000 frames shot over the entire year – is a good exercise.  It forces trade-offs and discussion (at least among yourself) to why any one image made the list over another.

And – if you’ve been a regular reader of Camera 47 for the past year – you’ve likely seen a number of these images.  Sorry ‘bout that.  But in the end – here are the 10 images I chose (in no particular order).


Washington vs. Oregon State rugby match.


Yaquina Bay Bridge in Newport, OR.

downtown corvallis-1 Downtown Corvallis with the Lensbaby fisheye lens.

balloon-1 Hot air balloons.

auto show-1 Portland International Auto Show.

at bombs away cafe-1

Jeremy + gig at Bombs Away Cafe + Lensbaby.

50 million lost-1 50 Million Lost rally.b24-1

Wings of Freedom tour.

dv days-1 The noodle cart!

tea party-1 Corvallis Tea Party.

10 Rodeo Photos from 2009

Well – it’s that time of year for “Top 10” lists – so I thought I’d get it started with a little rodeo.

Images are from the Philomath Frolic & Rodeo and the Benton County Rodeo.  These are listed in no particular order.  Hope you enjoy them.

2009 PFR - low res - fun-11

2009 PFR - low res - fun-12 2009 PFR - low res - fun-10benton county rodeo 2009 - low res-1 benton county rodeo 2009 - low res-2benton county rodeo 2009 - low res-4benton county rodeo 2009 - low res-3

steer wrestling - top 10 - low res-1

tie down - top 10 - low res-1

bull riders - top 10 - low res-1