Fish Catching

Not one of my greatest images, but a fun slice of life shot showing a typical scene at Pike Place Market.

Orca Reflection

Taken today, near Pike Place Market in Seattle.

Mt Shucksan and Wallace Falls

I went up to Picture Lake near Mt. Shucksan today to get some photos of the mountain reflected in the lake. Unfortunately, the mountain was swathed in clouds and wouldn't reveal itself during my visit. On my way back to home I stopped by Wallace Falls and grabbed some shots there as well.

Learning From Failure

Last night I went out to take advantage of an extraordinary opportunity to photograph the northern lights over Baker Lake. This was my first time photographing the northern lights and as such I learned a few things from my outing. Hopefully next time I will have more successful images to share with the viewers. But in the meantime, let me share what I learned so that it may be helpful to other photographers.
  1. Use your fastest lens and ONLY your fastest lens! By "fast" I mean your lens with the largest aperture. For me, that is my 50mm prime lens with an aperture of F 1.4 . You want to shoot wide open so that you can catch the patterns visible in the aurora as you shoot. If you use a lens with a smaller aperture you will either have to increase your ISO to freeze the action (which will result in unacceptable levels of 'noise' in your image) or you will have to shoot for a longer exposure time, which will result in your aurora losing all detail and looking like a blur and you won't get all those nicely defined patterns.
2) Focus carefully! My images were out of focus for two reasons. The first was because I used my widest aperture which results in a super shallow depth of field, which I thought wouldn't be much of an issue because I was focusing on infinity, but that turned out not to be the case. The second reason that my image was out of focus is because I relied upon my focusing ring to tell me that I was focused on infinity instead of focusing through the viewfinder. However, that was nearly impossible due to how difficult it was to see my subject (the mountain) well enough to focus on it in the dark.

3) Use a tripod. This, thankfully, I did right.

4) Use your lowest ISO setting. I was able to use an ISO of 100 because of the wide open aperture that my lens could achieve.

So, for my next trip I will do the following:

Arrive right before twilight while theres still some daylight. Set up the camera and tripod and pre-focus on the subject. Be prepared to sit around a while.

Try increasing my ISO to 200 and tightening my lenses aperture 2 stops smaller than its widest aperture. This will allow greater depth of field and also, most lenses are at their sharpest at about that aperture. For my lens, that would have placed me at about F 1.8. Thats probably going to be my starting point next time. However, I feel that I could probably go up to F 2.o. ISO 200 may not even be needed as those apertures will still gather a lot of light and be fairly fast. I certainly wouldn't go higher than ISO 200 as noise artifacts would start to become too noticeable.

Fortunately, we are heading towards an increase in the 11 year solar cycle that will yield more opportunities to photograph the Northern Lights and I will have another chance to refine my technique and bring back some better images!

Here are some links for those of you interested in the Northern Lights:

NOAA/Space Weather Prediction Center

Geophysical Institute

Aurora Borealis Forecast

NOAA POES Auroral Activity Page

Wikipedia article on Auroras


Mt. Rainer. 6:36 a.m.

Heres another shot of Mt. Rainer at dawn last Sunday.

Images from around Tipsoo Lake

The Leader of the Pack

Aggressive seagull is aggressive!

Help me out and vote for my images!

Hey everybody, if you enjoy coming to this page and viewing my images, then I need you! Please cast a vote for my submissions to the One Life Photography competition and help make one of my dreams a reality! Thanks!

One Life Photography Competition.

Shots From A Local Fair

"Ferris Wheel at Dusk"

"The Tornado"

Another shot from July 4th

I really like the multiple elements at work in this image. I enjoy the guys on the motorcycle doing their stunt, but I also enjoy the folks observing the stunt as well. From the gentleman in the foreground who is watching his fellow club members perform their stunt, to the townsfolk watching it from along the side of the street.

Seattle Cossacks Motorcylce Stunt and Drill Team

Taken at the Everett 4th of July parade.

Portrait of a Patriot: Sam Bloomfield

So, I was at the 4th of July parade in Everett today when I was approached by this fella with a sign and an umbrella asking me to take his photo. "Sure" I said thinking to myself how cool the guys face paint was. As I held up my camera I noticed that his face wasn't painted. It was a full on tattoo! Whoa! I took some snapshots of him and let him know I was putting them up on the internet. So, here we are! I gotta say, this guy is probably one of the most patriotic people I've seen lately, and he has the tats to prove it! You can read more about Sam at this link to the Seattle Post Intelligencer article from 2008.