Visceral Morning at Camp of the Cascades

Posted February 20th, 2012 by   |  Photography, Travel  |  Permalink
Reeds and reflections at dawn. Nikon D7000, 18-105mm kit lens, handheld.

Reeds and reflections at dawn. Nikon D7000, 18-105mm kit lens, handheld.

Last weekend I attended a retreat at Camp of the Cascades, near Yelm Washington. It was a short event where we arrived at 6pm on Friday evening, then departed by 3pm the next day, but I still brought my camera to see if I might be able to capture a few pics of the area. On Saturday morning, I woke up before dawn and went on a quick 40 minute jog around the lake. I brought along a Nikon D7000 with an 18-105mm kit lens and took off into the darkness with my head lamp. Along the way, I photographed the morning sky and the trees along the lake.

Lake reflections at dawn. Since I was hand-holding my Nikon D7000, I used a high ISO and bracketed three shots. I merged them together in Nik HDR Efex Pro.

Lake reflections at dawn. Since I was hand-holding my Nikon D7000, I used a high ISO and bracketed three shots. I merged them together in Nik HDR Efex Pro.

Although the shots from the morning adventure might not be the best I’ve ever taken, the experience was visceral. Before the morning light opened up detail in the shadows, I could hear loons rapidly flying by in the darkness. As they landed on the water, their whoosh made an eerie sound that made the hair stand up on the back of my neck. A few minutes later, as I was running the perimeter of the lake, my headlamp highlighted the leg of a freshly killed deer on the trail. There was hair and blood all over the place and it was clear that a mountain lion had taken this deer within the last few hours. If the hair on my neck wasn’t standing up on end earlier, then it sure was now! My eyes darted to the left and right trying to figure out if I was in immediate danger. I found nothing so I continued on my journey while adrenaline caused my heart to race.

I never found the mountain lion, nor did I capture any shots of the loons, but I did get a chance to experience creation through my camera that morning. For me, that’s a big part of what photography is all about.

Boats in the early morning light. I hand-held this shot and exposed for the sky. Then, I opened up the shadows using Photoshop's "Shadows and Highlights" filter.

Boats in the early morning light. I hand-held this shot and exposed for the sky. Then, I opened up the shadows using Photoshop's "Shadows and Highlights" filter.





What’s Your Walk-Around Camera?

Posted August 19th, 2011 by   |  Photography  |  Permalink
Gig Harbor garage.

Gig Harbor garage. Nikon D7000, 18-105mm kit lens.

This week has been a low photo-productivity week for me since I’ve been hunkered down writing books. However, like most shooters, I get antsy and have to get out of my office to shoot pictures. When I head out on an errand or go for a walk, I like to take an easy-to-use camera with me. My goal isn’t necessarily to photograph a specific subject, but rather just to get the creative juices flowing again.

For these situations, I love to take my small Nikon D7000 and 18-105mm kit lens. I love the low weight of the D7000 camera, and I also love the sharpness of the kit lens. Over the last three months this camera has definitely become my go-to system for times when I’m hanging out with my family or going on a weekend trip.

Tools on a workbench.

Tools on a workbench. Nikon D7000, 18-105mm kit lens.





Always Take Your Camera

Posted July 29th, 2011 by   |  Photography, Software  |  Permalink

I know you’ve all heard this a million times before, but if you are a photographer, then you should always have a camera with you. I don’t care what type of camera you take, but it should be something that allows you to snap an image. Cell phone. Point and Shoot. dSLR. Rangefinder. EVIL. ILC. Anything.

Tacoma Narrows Bridge from Narrows Park in Gig Harbor, WA. Nikon D7000, 18-105mm. Hand held five frame panorama. Stitched together with Photoshop CS5. Processed through Nik HDR Efex Pro to bring out detail in the clouds. Converted to Black and White in Nik Silver Efex Pro 2.

Tacoma Narrows Bridge from Narrows Park in Gig Harbor, WA. Nikon D7000, 18-105mm. Hand held five frame panorama. Stitched together with Photoshop CS5. Processed through Nik HDR Efex Pro to bring out detail in the clouds. Converted to Black and White in Nik Silver Efex Pro 2.

Over the last two weeks, I’ve had lots of family staying with me at my home in Gig Harbor, WA. Each day, we’ve gone on hikes and adventures exploring this beautiful corner of the world. Over the last two days my nieces, nephews and I have been exploring the local Puget Sound beaches. The kids and I have been having a blast skipping rocks, climbing cliffs and looking for jelly fish. The entire time I’ve slung my little Nikon D7000 and 18-105mm kit lens over my shoulder everywhere I go. It’s been wonderful to capture these great images that I normally would have passed by.

Mt. Rainier and Tacoma Tide Flats. Nikon D7000, 18-105mm, handheld. Photo taken from Sunrise Park. Processed in Nikon Capture NX2 using Pro Contrast. Border was created in NX2 using a rectangular marquee and a levels adjustment.

Mt. Rainier and Tacoma Tide Flats. Nikon D7000, 18-105mm, handheld. Photo taken from Sunrise Park. Processed in Nikon Capture NX2 using Pro Contrast. Border was created in NX2 using a rectangular marquee and a levels adjustment.

“You can’t get the pics if you don’t have the camera.”
-Mike Hagen





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