One of My Favorite Spots – Cannon Beach

…and we stayed at one of my favorite hotels:  Surfsand Resort.  Really a spectacular 3 day getaway.  A few photos from the beach:

cannon beach sunset sunset

Cannon Beach Sunset Sunstar


Cannon Beach Sunset Panorama

cannon beach coastal birds

cannon beach coastal birds

cannon beach fishing boat sunset

cannon beach fishing boat sunset

cannon beach sunset bird

cannon beach coast bird

cannon beach surfsand resort

cannon beach surfsand resort

cannon beach surfsand resort

cannon beach surfsand resort

#cannonbeach #surfsandresort

Skagit Mud

Mud was definitely on the menu today in the Skagit Valley as a massive rain squall moved across the landscape.  Knowing that given a few hours later, things could be sunny again, I decided to hang out and wait for nice dusk light.  These were handheld Zeiss 85mm Otus shots. #visitskagit #laconnerdaffodils #RoozenGaarde #laconner #tulips #king5springDSC02761DSC02762DSC02764DSC02772


How to Shoot Through Glass in an Observatory

As the in-house photographer for the Columbia Center’s Sky View Observatory, I have a bit of experience shooting through glass to get photos of the awesome city view.  Reading reviews of people’s experiences/frustrations there and at other similar properties around the world, I would like to share some of the expertise I’ve gained over the years shooting at SVO.

Basically, the issue is the reflections in the windows created by interior lighting.  My solution for this doesn’t involve filters or anything in-camera.  The work around involves bringing a black cloth.  This can be a 2×2 foot piece of black cloth bought at a fabric store which is what I carry or a scarf, jacket, or even an umbrella cover like I saw last night up there.  It also helps to be wearing something dark.  Try to avoid the gold lame sequin dress look.  It doesn’t help.

Recently I have added a new tool, the LensSkirt.  This beauty slips around the lens and attaches to the glass with four suction cups.  Except for the widest of lenses, say 10mm, its awesome.  It also works great in airplanes and helicopters.   LensSkirt on Amazon


If you didn’t bring a tripod, set your camera on the ledge, use timer release and then cover it with the cloth.  If you did bring a tripod, you can check out my technique and or use something of your own.  Notice how the cloth is rolled up, wrapped around the lens up to the glass and then the ends cross over the legs of the tripod.  I usually check below the lens for light leak as with wide angle lenses, that’s where the reflections creep in.  In addition, notice how my tripod legs are unextended and perched on the railing with one leg down, so as to get closer to the glass.IMG_3602[1]IMG_3604[1]

A recent favorite:

Seattle Fog Moves In

…and two short timelapses:

Seattle and Rainier Sunrise from Sky View Observatory

Seattle and Rainier Sunrise from Sky View Observatory

Seattle Sunset from Sky View Observatory

Seattle Sunset from Sky View Observatory

I hope this helps.  Please feel free to contact me with questions or ask if you see me at SVO.  I helped 3 people last night get better shots and that gave me the idea to write this.

How to Take Better Skagit Flower Field Shots

It’s that time of the year again where Spring beckons and photographers, after months of rain and gray skies, head to the flower fields to take photos of the blooms.DSC06614

I love this time of year.  Mud covered boots, trying to predict the weather, should I care about the geese flying over with malicious grins.  I am thankful when it comes around.  My happy meds were getting low.  Just kidding…Ok so on to the tips.  Likely you have a list of your own but here is mine:

  1. Predict the weather.   Its a serious bummer to get up to Skagit and its car wash raining.  So check out NOAA’s site or your favorite weather source for some clues. Now bear in mind that you may have to drive through several rain squalls to get to this bluebird promised land.  Don’t turn back just because its snowing in Everett. Being able to see Baker from Seattle is a good sign  🙂
  2. Prepare for mud.  This is farming country and getting to a nice photogenic spot amongst the fields will probably be muddy.  At least bring a second pair of shoes to change to.  Or, like me, bring some Sorels or Extra Tuffs.
  3. Shoot at Dawn or Dusk.  Shots like the one above were not taken at noon.  Whether you are taking broad field shots, flower closeups or swarming geese, your photos will be much better in soft dusk/dawn light.  Great lighting also saves you processing as they tend to look pretty good out of the camera.
  4. Scout for Photos During the Day.  Daytime isnt the light you want.  So spend the time driving around looking for where you want to be at dusk or the next sunrise.
  5. Be a Gracious Guest.  Skagit Valley residents are thrilled you are here.  They really are.  Be a good guest and watch where you park.  Don’t be the one everyone is pointing and laughing at because they basically stopped in the middle of a busy road to snap a geese shot.  Its not good for your photography Karma and just sours the experience for others.  Also, check out the awesome businesses in La Conner.  Galleries, eateries, great beer and people watching.  Its a great place to recharge.
  6. Take pictures for others. This is another Karma point.  Help others have a great time by offering to take their photo with their camera.  It spreads good will and helps us rid the earth of the Selfie Stick scourge.

…more later


Skagit Valley Mud and Daffodil Fest

The weather report claimed that Thursday afternoon would be clearish up in Skagit so I headed up around noon to get a jump on traffic.  Really beautiful conditions in the fields but seriously muddy after many days of rain.  Sony a7r2 and Zeiss 16-35mm.