Archive for the ‘weather’ Tag

Eclipse Mania: Weather Worries   9 comments

A spectacular composite eclipse image from 1999, by Fred Espenak.

Can you believe the eclipse is only a few weeks away?  I can’t wait!  I’m concluding my series on planning for this eclipse by tackling perhaps the most difficult thing to plan for: weather.  But it really isn’t just about weather.  It actually has more to do with psychology.  I’m doing what is unusual for me, including images from other photogs.  Click on the image to go to the source web pages.

Weather: What, me Worry?

As you talk to other eclipse enthusiasts, the subject of clouds and weather is sure to come up.  It is probably the most over-thought aspect of chasing solar eclipses.  But I can’t really blame people for worrying.  Who wants to travel and spend a lot of money getting to a spot to watch an eclipse, only to be clouded out at totality.  Weather on eclipse day is something that all of us must prepare to accept.   But even though there is no changing the weather, a bit of thought and planning beforehand might help save the day.

Monitoring weather forecasts in the days leading up to the eclipse will help you plan, but only if you have solid backup plans.  This previous post discussed backup plans in some detail.  Satellite imagery in the 24 hours leading up to totality might lead you to choose one viewing spot over another.  If a large front is moving in, you will be faced with a dilemma.  You could wake in the wee hours of the 21st and drive to escape it.  But I only recommend such drastic action if there is little doubt that the sky will be covered by clouds and only if you know you can escape the front in plenty of time.

Most of all, don’t obsess about weather before the eclipse.  I am a landscape photographer but I don’t scan weather apps. prior to a shoot, preferring to scan the sky.  I never complain about weather because photography for me is about making the most of what you’re given.  Of course eclipses are different.  Clouds can completely negate the experience.  But you still can’t change the weather.

Let’s say the forecast is for mostly cloudy skies on eclipse day.  Before you go running off trying to out-run weather, realize you’ll be spending the hours leading up to the eclipse in a less-than-ideal manner.  Will you make it somewhere in time?  Or will you be forced to pull off the road just before totality?  Will you end up driving into cloudy conditions while the place you left opens up just in time?  The best plan may be to have faith and patience in equal measure.

Will the clouds clear out in time or will they block the view? Partial phase about a half hour before the 2016 Indonesian eclipse.

Yes, the clouds cleared! Indonesia eclipse of March, 2016.

A Lesson in Patience

The 1999 total eclipse in Turkey taught me a lot about clouds and over-thinking.  We were in a perfect spot on a mountain-top in the north-central part of the country.  That eclipse happened to also be in August, and that area is similar both geographically and climatically to parts of the inter-mountain west where the upcoming eclipse will happen.  In late summer Anatolia is typically dry and hot, with afternoons that commonly see isolated clouds and thundershowers.

Clouds started appearing just before the start of the partial phase and, predictably, our group’s anxiety rose.  There ensued an argument over whether to abandon the mountain and go out onto a wide plain that lay before us to the west.  The reasoning was simple: no orographic lifting on the plain and so less chance of clouds.  Air masses get pushed up a mountainside, cooling and condensing to form clouds.

After much hand-wringing debate it was decided to split the group, with one contingent heading out onto the plain and one remaining on the mountain.  I decided to stay up on the mountain.  That was partly because my girlfriend and I were comfortable picnicking and sipping some Efes pilsen I had smuggled in.  But it was also because the most experienced eclipse-chaser in the group (an author who was about to see his 14th eclipse!) had decided to stay put.

Those lucky enough to be on the Oregon Coast will be first to see the eclipse. Enjoy!

Clouds increased as the partial phase wore on.  I was having too much fun to care, playing with kids from a nearby village and joking around with the soldiers (they let me drive an armored vehicle!).  The government had insisted on our group being protected in the remote area.  As totality approached the air suddenly cooled.   Minutes before it happened most of the clouds dissipated.  I saw for the first time how during a solar eclipse the atmosphere can change in interesting ways.  It’s more noticeable when you’re elevated, such as on a mountain.  It was a spectacular eclipse!

The moral of the story is this: don’t stress a few clouds on eclipse day.  It can only negatively influence your experience.  Yes, a storm front will do a great job of hiding the eclipse.  But as far as partly cloudy skies go, keep the faith and stay positive.  The cooling of the atmosphere just before totality could stabilize the air enough to decrease the big puffies just in time.  By the way, the group that went out onto the plain also got a clear view of the Turkey eclipse.  But it was still satisfying to be one of those who had chosen to chill out on the mountain.

Thanks for reading.  Good luck and have a wonderful eclipse experience!

The sun sets over Pacific near the island of Iwo Jima after being eclipsed at noon: July, 2009.

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Friday Foto Talk: Shooting around Weather   4 comments

Dust and sand from the dunes at Mesquite Flat blows up-valley ahead of a storm.  Surprising for this hyper-arid place, I got soaked hiking back.

I took a break last week from Foto Talk.  Hope you all didn’t give up on me!  This week I passed by an area that was readying itself for a hurricane.  And there’s been plenty of rain besides.  So I’m taking the hint and posting on the subject of photography and weather, in particular photographing in the wet stuff.

Shooting in stormy conditions presents both challenges and opportunities.  You’ve probably heard the advice to keep shooting right through stormy weather.  While I won’t disagree with this in general, I prefer a less absolute, more realistic attitude.  It’s a matter of weighing the upsides against the downsides.

On the plus side, depending on the clouds and sky, you may get some of your most atmospheric or dramatic shots during bad weather.  On the downside your gear is at risk.  In wet weather you are taking the obvious risk of getting moisture inside camera or lens.  Since that’s where your sensitive electronics reside, this is of course not good.

A storm blows itself out over the Columbia River, Oregon.

SHOOTING IN THE STORM

I’ve lived in both Oregon and Alaska, two places where dramatically bad weather is very common.  Here is what I’ve learned over the years about photography in bad weather:

  • I just mentioned the risks of water inside the camera.  But that’s not nearly as bad as putting yourself at risk.  It doesn’t happen often but dangerous weather does occur.  Use common sense and know when to beat a hasty retreat, to high ground and/or shelter.
  • Find camera protection that works for you.  I’ve posted before with tips and recommendations in this regard, and this post isn’t about that.  Just realize that no matter how good your rain cover, lens changes and other occasions expose your camera to the weather.  So no matter what you do some moisture will likely fall on your camera.  If you have a well-sealed professional grade camera and lenses, you can get away with wetter conditions.  The key is to know how well sealed your gear is and act accordingly.
I shot this lighthouse on the Gulf Coast of Florida recently just after a heavy shower had passed.

I shot this lighthouse on the Gulf Coast of Florida recently just after a heavy shower had passed.

  • At least as important as having camera/lens protection is having good clothing that keeps you reasonably dry and comfortable.  But since no clothing is perfect, be ready to put up with a certain degree of discomfort.  I always remember what my grandmom used to say whenever I complained about getting wet.  “You’re awfully sweet but you’re not made of sugar.  You won’t melt!”
  • Unless I see something quite compelling, either while driving or hiking with camera in a pack with rain-cover on, I usually don’t bother getting my gear out when the rain (or wet snow) is coming down hard.  Shots I may try when it’s dry I won’t chance when it’s very wet; that is, unless it’s really calling out to me.  It’s a simple calculation of risk vs. reward.
  • When it’s raining or snowing, contrast tends to be subdued.  So I tend to be attracted to compositions where low-contrast helps instead of hurting.  Low contrast in the wrong shot can rob it of impact, but in the right situation it helps establish the mood of your image.
Hiking up into the Oregon forest during a rainstorm near dusk was the only way to get this shot.

Hiking up into the Oregon forest during a rainstorm near dusk was the only way to get this shot.

  • I shoot from within my vehicle a lot more when the weather is bad.  And I don’t think it makes me a wimp!  It does require sometimes pulling off in odd places.  If you do this, take it from me:  turn your attention away from the light and pay attention to your driving until you’re stopped, and even then continue to keep one eye out for traffic.  Unless the road is truly empty, I won’t block the travel lane.  I always make sure there is good sight distance behind and in front.  Having good sight distance is key, as is using emergency flashers and being quick about it.
The rain was coming down hard for this shot from inside my van: Columbia River Gorge, Oregon.

The rain was coming down hard for this shot from inside my van: Columbia River Gorge, Oregon.

  • Being near big waterfalls can be just like being in a rainstorm.  So all the precautions you take in rainy weather you should also take when shooting a big waterfall in high flow.
  • Normally I don’t use UV filters, but when it’s wet I like to put them on. Lenses seal much better with a filter than without.  Any filter will help seal a lens.  If I’m shooting in a forest and especially along a stream, I use a circular polarizer instead of a UV filter.  CPLs cut down on reflections from wet leaves and rocks, bringing out their colors.
  • If you like shooting the stars at night, consider also shooting on moonlit nights when clouds or even storms are around.  Lightning is an obvious draw for many photographers, but if you let your imagination roam you can find unusual night compositions.
Most photogs. want clear skies when they shoot at night, but the clouds added drama to this overview of Norris Geyser Basin in Yellowstone Park.

Most photogs. want clear skies when they shoot at night, but the clouds added drama to this overview of Norris Geyser Basin in Yellowstone Park.

SHOOTING TRANSITIONS 

As I’ve gone along, shooting in weather of all kinds, I’ve learned that shooting on weathery days is all about transitions.  Periods when weather is moving in on you or just clearing away very often offer the most rewarding light and atmosphere.  That’s why I titled this post Shooting around Weather, not in it.

  • Given that weather transitions usually happen quickly, it’s important to be ready.  That means, for a start, getting out there.  Some people think it strange, but a landscape photographer looks at bad weather forecasts and plans to go out shooting.  And it’s not just landscape shooting that can benefit.  You’ll get some of your most interesting architecture, people or wildlife shots when weather adds some drama to spice things up.
The interesting light here at Bollinger Mill & Bridge, Missouri is from a rapidly approaching violent thunderstorm.

The interesting light here at Bollinger Mill & Bridge, Missouri is from a rapidly approaching violent thunderstorm.

  • So how to plan for something so capricious?  First, identify “transition days” ahead of time.  They are days when weather shifts from one regime to another, and the weather-person will sometimes call them out for you.  Otherwise you can see them coming yourself, once you’re familiar with the weather in your area.  Because they are full of change and thus unpredictable, you can easily get skunked with either socked-in conditions or clear blue skies.  But you can be rewarded with fantastic light as well.
  • Because they are literally defined by change, success on transition days is anything but guaranteed.  So instead of trying to outsmart the weather, go out on storm days too.  Transitions in the middle of stormy periods, often featuring brilliant sun-breaks and colorful rainbows, occur between fronts and generally don’t show up in weather forecasts (although you can sometimes see them on radar).

Within seconds, the rain stopped and light of the setting sun shot out from behind the Grand Tetons, Wyoming.

 

  • Watch the sky carefully and try to anticipate transitions.  This can take practice, and expect Mother Nature to throw you many curves.  During dry times, get to where you want to shoot and wait (hope) for the shift to stormy weather at the right time, when the sun is low.  During the storm, get to your spot and shelter there with camera & tripod at the ready.  As the sun lowers, there is always the chance it will dip below the storm clouds, illuminating everything in beautiful light.

Thanks for reading.  Now I’m off to get some shots of the ocean and sky in tropical storm weather.  Wish me luck!  Have a great weekend and happy shooting!

Recent sunset in a coastal area along the Gulf of Mexico where Hermine was due to hit.

Recent sunset in a coastal area along the Gulf of Mexico where Hermine was due to hit.

Friday Foto Talk: Shoot in Any Weather   19 comments

A blustery cold winter morning at Joshua Tree National Park, California gave me the opportunity to shoot something I’ve always loved to see: spindrift in bright sunlight.

Occasionally I see someone post on Facebook or mention elsewhere that they are anxious for the weather to cooperate so that they can get out with their cameras.  They’ll say they are inside playing in Photoshop because the weather is keeping them from shooting, or that they’re looking forward to getting out when the weather finally improves this weekend.

The message for this post is very simple.  Quit making excuses and get out there!  Short of hurricanes, tornados, and other dangerous situations, there is really no weather that you can’t handle with clothing and gear.  Check out my series on winter photography for tips on how to protect yourself and your gear.

It’s springtime now in the northern hemisphere, and that means quickly changing weather.  So why not go out to see what happens?  Maybe it will clear up just before sunset, rewarding you for your persistence.  But even if it stays weathery (or even gets worse), don’t worry!  The most important thing to remember is that there’s really no kind of weather that doesn’t offer at least a few good photographic possibilities.  Here are some examples:

The Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee.

The Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee.  It was raining pretty heavily but I walked to a high lookout anyway, just in case.  Grain added during processing.

  • Rainy & Foggy.  Especially when paired with fog or low clouds hugging hillsides, rainy weather can be the perfect time to shoot mood-filled landscapes.  And if it suddenly clears, hello rainbow!  Rain also offers good people shooting.  With typically bright raincoats and umbrellas, the flat light of cloud-cover can really bring out those colors.  Rainy conditions can also favor flowers and other small colorful close-ups.  Droplets on flowers and other vegetation look great in macro photos.

 

When you're in a Costa rican cloud forest, and it's raining, these are the kinds of shots that jump out.

When you’re in a Costa Rican cloud forest and it’s raining, these are the kinds of images that jump out.

One recent morning I woke to clouds and a missing sunrise, but this fog made it well worth shooting anyway. Toning added during processing.

One recent morning I woke to clouds and a missing sunrise, but this fog made it well worth shooting anyway. Toning added during processing.

  • Snowy & Cold.  New-fallen snow glistens like an older snow-cover never does.  And when the wind starts playing with snow magical things tend to happen (as in the image at top).  It can certainly be a challenge to deal with the contrasts of a snowy scene.  All that white, when it fills most of the viewfinder, demands that you are careful with exposure (your camera’s light meter is ‘fooled’ into underexposing).  The cold air of winter offers a clarity that can give your landscapes a sense of depth, and make your backgrounds stand out better.
The drive out to this spot in an ice storm was not fun but how else are you going to see and shoot unique light like this? Columbia River Gorge, Oregon.

The drive out to this spot during an ice storm was a little sketchy, but how else are you going to see and shoot unique skies and light like this? Columbia River Gorge, Oregon.

  • Windy.  I’ve been shooting in some wind in the desert lately and have posted a few of those.  The nice part about wind is that it will pick up sand and other loose materials and blow them around, creating moody effects.  Of course windy conditions present some challenges.  You need to think about camera stability; decide if a tripod is better than being buffeted while you’re holding the camera.  As long as you weight it down by hanging a heavy bag from the center post, a tripod will work well in wind when exposures are too long for hand-held shots.  And don’t try to change lenses out in the wind, unless you don’t want to have your camera’s sensor & interior cleaned afterward.
Owen's Valley, California in a sandstorm.

Owen’s Valley, California in a sandstorm.

  • Clear Blue Skies.  This is the bane of every landscape photographer.  It means the sun’s light isn’t really filtered and reflected while it’s still in the sky, before it gets to your subject.  Thus most photographers think the light is poor in times of clear weather.  While it’s easier to get a great landscape image when there are clouds in the sky, that doesn’t mean great shots aren’t possible.  Subjects have to be unusually strong when under bluebird skies, and there is a tight window to shoot in when the sun is very near the horizon.
Mount Rainier and its famous subalpine flower meadows under soars into the clear blue near sunset.

Mount Rainier and its famous subalpine flower meadows under soars into the clear blue near sunset.

  • More Clear Days:  Clear skies are also decent times to shoot close-ups and macros.  A portable diffusing panel helps out, or you can shoot when the sun is very low.  For similar reasons people pictures can turn out very nice in clear sunny weather.  You need to find shade or again shoot when the sun is low.  Placing your subjects at the edge of the shade and near broad reflective ground surfaces helps to give beautiful illumination backed by darker backgrounds.
I photographed this particularly striking food vendor at Angkor Wat, Cambodia in shade but adjacent to a brightly lit square.

I photographed this particularly striking food vendor at Angkor Wat, Cambodia in shade but adjacent to a brightly lit square.

  •  And Clear Nights:  When it’s clear, some subjects (architecture being a great example) look very good at the so-called blue hour.  That’s well after sunset but before it gets dark and the sky loses all of its blue color.  If you want to shoot a star-filled sky, clear and moonless is the time to do it.  I actually like a partial moon to help illuminate the subject or foreground.  I also like some clouds in my starscapes and don’t care too much about the Milky Way.  But I’m in the minority there.
A crescent moon was setting as I captured this image at Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado.

A crescent moon was setting as I captured this image at Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado.

I think you can see that almost any conceivable weather is good for photography.  The trick is to think about all the types of pictures you may want, not just the one or two that you happen to desire at a given time.  If you have this mindset, then no matter what the weather you’re likely to find just the right kinds of pictures to shoot.  Have a wonderful weekend!

Just before sunset the clouds started breaking and voila! Columbia Gorge, Oregon.

Just before sunset the clouds started breaking and voila! Columbia Gorge, Oregon.

Single-Image Sunday: Fog over the Trees   11 comments

Subalpine firs filter fog atop Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park, Washington

Subalpine firs filter fog atop Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park, Washington

I missed Friday Foto Talk, out camping.  The conclusion to my series on tripods will post this coming Friday.  In the meantime, here’s an image from a great time I had last week in Olympic National Park.  It was taken hand-held, no tripod.

An unusual display of fog and weather greeted me when I arrived on top of Hurricane Ridge on Washington’s northern Olympic Peninsula.  It had rained the previous couple days, though not hard, and a transition to drier weather was taking place.  The fog and low clouds that had formed over the coast of the Strait of Juan de Fuca started rising and dissipating as the air cooled toward sunset.

The stately subalpine firs that dominate the forest near tree-line on Hurricane Ridge not only were filtering the fog as it rose up the steep slopes, they seemed to be adding their own moisture (via transpiration) to the mix too.  The result was really beautiful as viewed through the low rays of the sun to the west.

As I hiked to the top of Hurricane Hill, the quick-moving fog several times enveloped me, causing me to stop and look around in wonder at the dreamy atmosphere.  I’ll post some more shots in a future post.  I was distracted so many times I barely made it to the top for sunset.  It was a memorable evening.

Friday Foto Talk: Photographing Rainbows   12 comments

A rare morning rainbow in the desert graces my campsite one morning on the Baja Peninsula, Mexico.  Click for purchase options.

A rare morning rainbow in the desert graces my campsite one morning on the Baja Peninsula, Mexico. Click for purchase options.

With springtime right around the corner, the weather in many areas, including here in the Pacific Northwest, will be ‘unsettled’, prime conditions for one of my favorite things: rainbows!  Throughout the world’s temperate regions in fact, the change of seasons that is about to happen results in clashes of warm & cool air masses.  That means frequent showery weather and a sky that’s often broken into clear and cloudy parts.  When the sun is relatively low in the sky, whether morning or late afternoon, and there is precipitation in the area, you’ve got the perfect setup for rainbows.

By the way, all these images are copyrighted and not available for free download without my permission.  They are small versions anyway.  Click on the image you’re interested in to go to the main gallery part of my website, where full-size versions are available for purchase.  If you can’t find what you’re looking for, have any questions or special requests, don’t hesitate to contact me.  I’m happy to get your email!

Some photographers turn up their noses at rainbows.  I think I know why; they believe them to be ‘cliche’.  But I don’t at all understand how anyone, photogs. included, could be cynical about something as beautiful as a rainbow.  It’s true, I don’t like over-done subjects.  And when a certain look or technique catches on (courtesy the internet), it tends to start looking gimmicky to me.  But rainbows are one of nature’s wonders.  So they will never be cliche to me.  It is a small step from there to thinking that beautiful skies and light are cliche.  And then you are well on your way to becoming a photographer of the grim.  That’s not me!

Another morning rainbow, this one a very bright one over the Pacific from high up on a cliff on California's Big Sur.

Another morning rainbow, this a very bright one over the Pacific from high up on a cliff on California’s Big Sur.

I think it’s safe to say that most of us love rainbows.  They are a beautiful way to add color and interest to any landscape image.  And they are sufficiently rare as to always elicit a reaction whether viewing a picture or in person.  So if you want to go chasing them, don’t ever let anybody make you feel less the photographer because of it.  By the way, one of my followers requested this subject.  So thanks Annette, it was a great idea!

This post will focus on standard rainbows, the kind that are formed by slanting sunlight hitting moisture-laden cloudy skies.  I’ll leave oddball bows like moonbows, waterfall rainbows, etc. to another time.

A storm moves through Oregon's Alvord Desert, and leaves behind a rainbow!

A storm moves through Oregon’s Alvord Desert, and leaves behind a rainbow!

How Nature Creates Rainbows

Before we get to tips, it’s helpful to know exactly how a rainbow is created.  We aren’t going to get too sciency here, but optics are involved.  Sunlight is made up of all the colors of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, blue, indigo and violet (Roy G. Biv is how so many students have memorized it).  When a beam of sunlight passes through a glass prism, as Isaac Newton first discovered, the light is split up and the colors hidden inside are visible to us.  Normally they are all smushed together (that’s a science word I swear!).  The colors appear because each one is bent at a slightly different angle as it passes from air to glass and back out again.

When big puffy storm clouds invade the sky, there are of course zillions of tiny water droplets inside the clouds.  But high up in the clouds and even outside of clouds there are also ice crystals.  Both water droplets and ice crystals can act like prisms, but as you might expect, the ice does a better job.  That’s why rainbows are more common when there is a cool, unstable air mass creating tall, puffy and energetic clouds with cold, ice-rich tops.  The reason why rainbows more often occur in afternoon than morning is because the atmosphere is more turbulent, with rapidly rising air forming ice crystals high in the clouds.

Rainbows are potentially visible to you when the angle between light source (sun), rainbow and you the observer is close to 40 degrees.  This is because the light is bent (refracted) at a shallow angle when it enters the drop or ice crystal.  It’s bent again once or twice more as it curves around and is concentrated on its way back to you.  On it’s way through it is split into the colors of the rainbow.  With ice crystals there is also reflection involved, which increases brightness and intensity.  To check this out for yourself, play around on a sunny day with a water hose set on spray.  Point it at varying angles with the sun to find the one that produces the best rainbows.

Green Heaven

What does this tell us about chasing Rainbows?

I have caught plenty of morning rainbows,  But combine the fact that the weather most often is suitable in late afternoon with the angle of 40 degrees and you can see that starting a couple hours before sunset is a great time to look for them.

When the sun is still fairly high, the triangle forming the 40-degree angle between the sun, rainbow and you is nearly vertical.  As the sun gets lower, that triangle starts to lay down on its side.  Then rainbows will not appear directly away from the sun but at an angle to it.  And you are more likely to see partial and nearly vertical rainbows.

When you’re looking directly away from the sun, when that triangle is standing straight up, that’s when the classic rainbow with a full, tall arc will most often appear.  When the sun is nearly set, you can still get full rainbows looking directly away from the sun.  They’re just going to be very flat and shallow

A rare place to spot a rainbow, the desert of Namibia.

A rare place to spot a rainbow, the desert of Namibia.

The Green River flows through Dinosaur National Monument in Utah, under a rainbow!

The Green River flows through Dinosaur National Monument in Utah, under a rainbow!

So here are some tips for catching that rainbow!

      • Be Prepared:  When the weather is unsettled, when the weather-guessers are calling for thunderstorms, have your camera gear handy early and late in the day, with an eye to the sky at all times.  Or just set aside time to go out and try your luck.  Pay particular attention to the half of the sky away from the sun.  Don’t forget raingear for both you and your camera; they don’t call them rainbows for nothing!  Keeping your camera relatively dry and yet being ready for rainbows is a delicate, sometimes frustrating balancing act.  But it’s worth it!
      • Remember the Angle:  Remember you get rainbows most often in the afternoon when the light makes an angle of about 40 degrees or less with the earth’s surface.   So if you go out two or three hours before sunset, start by looking directly away from the sun.  As the sun approaches the horizon, keep an eye out for partial rainbows at oblique angles away from the sun.  For full rainbows that have a big arc, look an hour or so before sunset.
      • Use a Polarizing Filter:  To make the colors of a rainbow really come out, similar to what you observe with your eyes, use a circular polarizing filter.  This will make a huge difference.  In almost all cases, you want to rotate the filter so that the rainbow is at its most colorful.  If you are very close to an especially large and colorful rainbow, you may want to minimize the color, either by leaving the filter off or rotating it only partway to max color.
One of Portland, Oregon's many parks, on a weathery spring day.  Click on image for purchase options.

One of Portland, Oregon’s many parks, on a weathery spring day. Click on image for the full-size version & purchase options.

      • Composition is still Important:  Sure a rainbow is a great subject on its own, but your composition will still make or break the image.  Your foreground and background, how the rainbow cuts through the frame, how the other elements are situated in the frame, all of these things matter more than the fact you’re shooting a rainbow.
      • Exposure is a Breeze (usually):  Since the sun is over your shoulder shining front-light onto your rainbow and landscape, exposure is easy.  You can even shoot in auto and get great results.  Most modern DSLRs do a great job with the metering mode called Evaluative (Canon), Matrix (Nikon), or similar names.  Even other metering modes work most of the time, but sometimes the rainbow is very bright and dark clouds are in the background, so there’s a chance of messing up your exposure.  You could get underexposure if you point the center of your frame right at the brightest part of the rainbow or overexposure if you point at the darkest clouds.
      • End of the Rainbow:  Speaking of composition, you will do well to find an interesting element for the rainbow to come down to.  This is particularly dramatic with partial rainbows, where there is a spotlight effect on something interesting, with the rainbow hitting ground very nearby and beautifully lighted (or dark and dramatic) sky and landscape beyond.
A small barn in rural Oregon, at day's end on a typical showery spring day.

A small barn in rural Oregon, at day’s end on a typical showery spring day.

      • Use the Rainbow as a Frame:  With a full rainbow especially, using it to frame your entire image is a great idea.  If it’s a partial, you can still frame your main subject, as I did with the image above and at bottom.
      •  Light Matters:  Usually your light will by definition be good when it’s a rainbow day.  But there are cases when the light is especially great and those when light is so so.  Rainbow-making weather should make you think about going out and photographing no matter the time of day, but try to get to that great spot with the special composition very early or very late in the day.  That way the light has a chance of being that much sweeter for the stronger composition.
      • Chase that Rainbow!  What mostly happens of course, is that a rainbow appears while driving or otherwise engaged.  Then you find yourself trying to pull over and shoot it before it’s gone.  This is a fine idea, but be safe!!  My personal approach is to (as quick as is safe) drive, walk, run, somehow get to a spot where I have a decent composition, where the end of the rainbow comes down near something interesting.  I don’t just stop and shoot it.  I need to tell myself I don’t care about missing the rainbow, that the overall shot is the most important thing.  So I miss a lot, but those I do get are better for it.

I’m wishing every one of you the best of luck catching all the rainbows that come your way.  To return home from a shooting foray with a shot of a rainbow gives you a special little feeling, like you were given a sort of bonus or gift.  Not quite as great as coming away with a pot of gold, but special nonetheless.  Have a great weekend!

A rainbow works with a tall tree to frame Vista House in Oregon's Columbia River Gorge.

A rainbow works with a tall tree to frame Vista House in Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge.

Friday Foto Talk: Clouds   12 comments

Low clouds and fog filling the Columbia River Gorge help add impact to this image of the Vista House catching day's last light.

Low clouds and fog fill the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon, helping to set off Vista House, subject of this recent image.

I think photographers take clouds for granted.  Most of us seem to believe there is nothing special or difficult about photographing them.  But most of us also seek out clouds when we are out shooting.  So I think they’re worth a second (and third) thought.  Whether doing landscape, outdoor portrait, street, really any photography is made more interesting with clouds.  They make the light that much nicer.

Winter weather brings moody clouds in the forests of western Oregon.

Winter weather brings moody clouds in the forests of western Oregon.

I’ve been going out in bad weather lately, looking for low-clouds and fog to set the typical atmosphere of the oft-stormy Columbia River Gorge near home.  It got me thinking about all the things one needs to consider when including clouds in photographs.  By the way I consider fog to be simply a cloud at ground level; blame the scientist in me.

So here are a few things to keep in mind when including clouds in your compositions:

      • When composing images, use cloud patterns to your advantage.  For example, when clouds form lineear patterns, use them to complement the patterns in your foreground.  They can help to define a vanishing point.  And layered clouds can help bring out the often more subtle layering in your foreground.  Also you can use clouds to help frame things, sort of like a natural vignette.
In this image from the Canyonlands area, Utah, layered clouds help to highlight the layers of color in the landscape.

In this image from the Canyonlands area, Utah, layered clouds help to highlight the layers of color in the landscape.

      • Depending on what you’re shooting, the right amount of cloudiness is key.  So it’s worth trying to match the type of photography you’re doing with the clouds.  Some examples follow.
      • With landscape photography near sunrise or sunset, a broken, partly to mostly cloudy sky can yield amazing light.  The ideal situation is when the low sun peaks underneath the clouds.  The light bounces off and is refracted by the clouds on its way to your subject.  This lengthens wavelengths, making light more orange or red.  It also bounces that reddish light onto the landscape, and generally gives things a beautifully soft glow.  You can easily be skunked too, when the sun sinks into a bank of clouds while the rest of the sky has perfectly scattered clouds.  Nothing ventured nothing gained.
Light can be a little harsh & contrasty in the desert southwest.  Clouds very late in the day help soften things in this image near Moab, Utah.

Light can be a little harsh & contrasty in the desert southwest. Clouds late in the day help soften things in this image near Moab, Utah.

      • If you are shooting outdoor portraits, a relatively thin overcast sky can act like a giant soft-box, diffusing the light source so that it falls evenly over your subject.  Of course beautiful light at golden hour can result in wonderful portraits too.  But sometimes the light is just too warm on your subject and you need to adjust for that later on the computer.  Overcast skies give you light that ‘gets out of the way’.  Macro photography is similarly benefited when there is a continuous cloud cover.
This spring tulip has nice even light due to the overcast sky.  Clouds also blessed it with the droplets.

This spring tulip has nice even light due to the overcast sky. Clouds also blessed my subject with water droplets.

      • When low clouds and fog invade your scene, a scenario that’s very common at sunrise, you should not be too disappointed.  Shoot the fog if it looks good, or simply wait for it to lift.  Sometimes it begins to dissipate very soon after sunrise, giving you magical light and atmosphere.
Mist and fog shrouds the celebrated view of Mount Rainier from Reflection Lakes.

Mist and fog shrouds the celebrated view of Mount Rainier from Reflection Lakes.

The images above and below were shot at Mount Rainier National Park as this was happening.  Other photographers had arrived at this popular spot, only to be discouraged by the thick fog.  They drove away as soon as they arrived.  Meantime I was hanging around shooting the fog.  When the sun started breaking through, they rushed back (I heard slamming doors up on the road).  But the transition from fog to full sun was very quick and I was the only one who was able to catch it by the lake (instead of from the road).  I was too busy shooting to feel smug; that came later!

The fog lifts quickly!

The fog lifts quickly!

      • When the cloud cover is heavy and there is very little chance of seeing the sun, certain types of nature and landscape subjects shine.  This is a great time to shoot during the day, with none of the time pressures you feel at golden hour.  Another advantage: it’s a great time to try black and white.
An angry sky in the Columbia River Gorge develops as a warm moist front moves in right after a day of snow and freezing rain.

An angry sky in the Columbia River Gorge develops as a warm moist front moves in right after a day of snow and freezing rain.

      • Low, heavy clouds can lend a moody feel similar to fog.  I will often go out in the worst weather just to see if I can capture one of these moody scenes.  Be selective; featureless cloudy skies do not tend to create this atmosphere as easily.  Go for times of rapid weather changes instead.
The Columbia River Gorge in Oregon draws in clouds and rain, viewed from a small back-road.

Along a back-road in the Columbia River Gorge, with typical clouds and rain.

  

      • A day with continuous cloud cover, however, is a great time to shoot in the forest.  It’s similar to outdoor portrait and macro photography.  The light is even, without the hot spots that plague sunny days in the trees.  Since the light is usually very dim, bring a tripod.  While more open landscapes lack color in these conditions, the forest’s green-dominated colors are richer and more vibrant.  If it has rained recently, use a circular polarizing filter to tame reflections and make colors pop.  If things are real dim and dreary, go with the mood – try black and white.
A small creek in Oregon's Columbia River Gorge rolls through a mossy forest.

A small creek in Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge rolls through a mossy forest.

Forest Mist

      • Clouds can easily be the main element in a photo.  If they are interesting enough, you shouldn’t be shy about featuring them in your images.  For instance when crepuscular rays invade a foggy forest (image below), a situation my friend calls “Jesus rays”, I almost always shoot so that the foreground is subtle or completely absent.
Winter is a great time to catch fog in the redwoods of northern California.

Winter is a great time to catch fog in the redwoods of northern California.

      • And speaking of  making clouds the focus of your shots, you can always shoot nothing but sky.  This rarely makes a good image on its own, but can always be combined (composited) with other images that lack a nice sky.  I can count on one hand the times I’ve done this; it’s because I really prefer capturing a single moment (and I’m painfully slow with Photoshop!).  But I continue to shoot interesting skies.  I place them in their own collection inside Lightroom.  Who knows, there may come a day when I want to do more compositing.  I try never to say never.
An early winter storm moves across the Alvord Desert in Oregon.

An early winter storm moves across the Alvord Desert in Oregon.

      • When the sun is bright, contrast between the blue sky and white clouds can be pretty intense.  Be careful about overexposing the clouds.  A little overexposure and contrast is okay; viewers expect this in a sky like that.  Programs like Lightroom do a great job of recovering highlights, so you can tame the contrast to some extent.  But no software can recover highlights where exposure is completely blown out (lacking detail).  Sure the sun, moon, and a few other exceptions can look natural when they’re blown out.  But you should avoid it in clouds; you don’t want solid white with zero detail.
Gokyo Lake in Nepal has that distinctive color that only glacial lakes can have.

Gokyo Lake in Nepal, with that distinctive color that only glacial lakes can have.

To deal with the situation of over-exposed clouds, start by turning on your camera’s highlight warning (blinkies) so that you see on your LCD screen where you have blown out highlights.  If your camera doesn’t have that feature, look at your histogram on the LCD and make sure it isn’t climbing way up the right edge.  Or you can simply judge over-bright areas by eye.  Bring down the exposure and re-shoot until the blinkies go away and you recover some detail in the bright portions.  If doing this makes your foreground too dark, use a graduated neutral density filter to darken just the sky and leave the foreground properly exposed. 

The Alvord Desert, southeastern Oregon.  I used a graduated neutral density filter for this high-contrast scene.

The Alvord Desert, southeastern Oregon. I used a graduated neutral density filter for this high-contrast scene.

      • The opposite can happen too.  You can underexpose your sky, especially when you have dark, brooding clouds.  Though you can, as above with highlights, recover shadow details later on the computer, it’s not ideal to do this.  You can end up increasing noise.  It’s better to capture dark clouds either perfectly exposed or somewhat brighter.  You can always darken them on the computer later.  This is much better than brightening.

So let’s take an example.  Say it’s a few hours before sunset and the sky is looking interesting, with broken or layered clouds.  You have some decisions to make.  Of course, as mentioned, you can go to the trouble: burn gas and time…only to be clouded out.  Or you could luck out and get a spectacular show!  It’s a gamble that will, sadly, not usually pan out.  But it’s worth taking that chance.  After all, it’s the only way you’ll get shots with truly amazing light!

      • So you wisely decide to go for it.  Now there are more decisions.  For starters, where to shoot?  If you think the sky will be really awesome, consider water, snow, or some other reflective surface.  Water can reflect those beautiful clouds.  Who doesn’t like double the beauty?
The Lamar River Valley in Yellowstone National Park is a peaceful place at dusk.

The Lamar River Valley in Yellowstone National Park is a peaceful place at dusk.

      • If Mother Nature plays a trick on you and clouds thicken, graying out the sunset, don’t despair.  Wait for a bit.  I have seen gray, boring sunsets turn into truly technicolor skies after sundown.  It doesn’t happen frequently, but on occasion our home star performs a final encore after it’s passed below the horizon.  The atmosphere has a wonderful way of bending the light (it’s how mirages are formed).  Patience and hopeful realism, along with a headlamp to get back to your car, is all you need.  The same thing can happen before sunrise, so try to get there early in case the sunrise itself is dull.
The Grand Tetons in Wyoming appear to have caught fire just after an autumn sunset.

The Grand Tetons in Wyoming appear to have caught fire just after an autumn sunset.

      • Lastly, Mother Nature can also play the opposite trick, clearing the clouds out before golden hour.  Stick with it.  Though clouds are in many ways preferable, remember that a rainy and cloudy stretch has a way of cleaning the atmosphere.  When it clears, it’s a great time to shoot pictures with far-away elements.  For example, distant mountain and desert vistas are beautifully clear and pristine in fresh-scrubbed air.  And if you are using a telephoto lens to capture wildlife, recently cleared air helps get the detail you want in your subjects.
The Colorado Rockies!

The Colorado Rockies!

As always, these images are copyrighted and not available for free download without my permission.  If you are interested in purchase options for any of them, just click on the picture.  Please contact me if you can’t find what you want or have any questions or special requests.  Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

Clouds gift a colorful sunset the other day at Crown Point in Oregon's Columbia River Gorge.

Clouds gift a colorful sunset the other day at Crown Point in Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge.

 

Wordless Wednesday: Columbia Gorge Weather   2 comments

Columbia_Gorge_2-24-14_5D3_002

Friday Foto Talk: Shooting in Winter, Part I   2 comments

From a previous trip to Nepal, this is the roof of the world.  Going up in elevation like this makes every day of the year a winter day!

From a previous trip to Nepal, this is the roof of the world – Everest & Lhotse. Going up to high altitudes in high mountains makes every day of the year a winter day!

Winter is upon us and it’s tempting to put your photography on hiatus.  The cold and wet is not only uncomfortable to shoot in, it can also be hazardous to your camera equipment.  Avoiding wintertime photography, however, means missing some beautiful pictures.  In this first part I’ll do my best to convince you to keep shooting through the winter months.  In Part II, I’ll pass on some tips and other ways to help you protect your gear and get some great shots.

Enjoy a grab-bag of images both recent and older while you’re at it!  Remember that all of them are copyrighted and not available for free download without my permission.  Just click on the images to go to my main gallery page or contact me for requests on specific recent images.  I’m happy to hear from you!

A recent image, this is a snowy morning spent on the canyon rim of the Rio Grande in New Mexico.

A recent image, this is a snowy morning spent on the canyon rim of the Rio Grande in New Mexico.

Click image to purchase.  Late winter blends into spring in Oregon with a gorgeous rainbow.

Click image to purchase. Late winter blends into spring in rural Oregon with a gorgeous rainbow.

Benefits of Shooting in Winter

      • Scenes with snow and ice have a special feel to them.  There is no other time in which to get those atmospheric shots of snow and ice but during the winter months.
      • For those who live outside the tropics, the sun is lower this time of year.  That means you get nicer light for longer periods of time.  With winter solstice, the shortest days of the year are right now.  Depending on how far north you are and the quality of light, you may even be able to shoot in beautiful light from dawn to dusk.
      • The air is most clear and pristine at this time of year, giving the light a special character.  The atmosphere is often cold from top to bottom and the days are short.  This means the ground and the air near it doesn’t warm up appreciably during the day.  The rising heat waves that tend to distort things to one degree or another in summer are almost absent.  Even distant mountains can take on a startling clarity in wintertime.
      • For most areas, wintertime brings stormy weather.  This means it’s your best chance to capture dramatic skies and misty atmospheric light.
      • Similar to the above point, winter is when you’ll find fog in the mornings.  As you drive or walk around, try to imagine what a scene might look like shrouded in fog.  A scene you wouldn’t think of capturing at other times can yield gorgeous shots in fog.
The pastels in this dusk image near Mammoth Lakes, California only appear in winter's frigid and pristine air.

The pastels in this dusk image near Mammoth Lakes, California only appear in winter’s frigid and pristine air.

      • There are fewer other photographers around in winter.  So shooting at popular spots is easier.  If you’re willing to bundle up and go out on freezing mornings, you are unlikely to find your favorite shooting positions already occupied.
      • Speaking of shooting at sunrise, if you’re not exactly a morning person (like me), it’s easier to drag yourself out of bed for the later sunrises during winter.  With the earlier sunset, you might find it easier to shoot and still make dinner afterwards at this time of year.
      • Lastly, winter is a perfect time to experiment with shooting still lifes or portraits at home.  Experiment with using window light or various types of artificial lighting (including flash).  Buy fresh flowers and photograph them.  Even try your hand at product photography.  Use your imagination, but don’t stay inside.  Winter light is waiting!

Reading the above, it seems like a no-brainer to keep going full steam ahead with your photography during winter.  Of course nothing comes for free, and one can easily think of reasons to make your shooting less frequent.  The cold and wet can really put a damper on both your spirits and your equipment.  Days are short and light is often low.  But are these reasons or excuses?  Stay tuned next Friday Foto Talk for ways to avoid some of the pitfalls of wintertime photography, how to make it rewarding and even enjoyable.

A winter storm moves through the interior of Mexico's Baja Peninsula, far from the beaches of Cabo.

A winter storm moves through the interior of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula, far from the beaches of Cabo.

Sunset in the desert of Anza Borrego State Park, California, the light has that winter clarity.

Sunset in the desert of Anza Borrego State Park, California, the light has that winter clarity in this recent image.

Friday Foto Talk: Cameras and Water   6 comments

Metlako Falls in the Eagle Creek Gorge (Oregon), as viewed from above.

Metlako Falls in the Eagle Creek Gorge (Oregon), as viewed from above.

First of all, let me say these pictures may indeed be the last ones my Canon 5D Mark II has captured.  That’s because it took a bad fall and bath.  I had climbed down through the steep brush in Eagle Creek Gorge (Columbia River Gorge in Oregon) trying to find an interesting view of Metlako Falls.  Metlako Falls is one of the tougher waterfalls in Oregon to access and photograph.  I ended up in a spectacular spot, looking down a tumbling stream toward the hidden grotto that the beautiful cascade spills into

The clamp on my tripod head had been a little loose lately.  I’d tightened it but apparently not enough.  I was trying to mount my microphone on the camera to take a video.  In sketchy spots like this, I usually have the camera strap around my neck for safety.  But I had taken it off to get the mic.  The camera was about 7 feet above the creek.

Metlako Falls in the Columbia River Gorge is difficult to access.  Here it's viewed from above.

Metlako Falls in the Columbia River Gorge is difficult to access. Here it’s viewed from above.

You know what happened next.  The camera slipped out of the clamp and fell directly onto a rock then into the creek.  I quickly grabbed it before it went over the edge and frantically dried it off.  But the damage was done.  There is a big dent in the top.  This camera has served me very very well.  It has given me zero problems and captured excellent images for about a year and a half.  I was planning to keep it at least until the next version of the 5D came out (or a new high-resolution full frame Canon).

One more of Metlako Falls, this from a small steep path that leads to this view.

One more of Metlako Falls, this from a small steep path that leads to this view.

Now of course that’s all changed.  Luckily my lens appears to be fine, but the camera is damaged goods, no matter whether it can be repaired or not.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed.  I’m using my backup, a Canon 50D.  It’s a solid DSLR, but it’s a crop-frame.  I’m too much the wide-angle enthusiast to shoot with it on a constant basis.  Also it doesn’t do video and has slightly lower resolution.  So with few financial resources right now I need to somehow get a new camera.  Though I’m curious about the 6D, I’ll probably just go with the 5D Mark III.

The Columbia River Gorge's high cliffs turn gold at sundown, reflected in wetlands formed during spring's high water flow.  This was captured the day before this camera took a fall.

The Columbia River Gorge’s high cliffs turn gold at sundown, reflected in wetlands formed during spring’s high water flow. This was captured the day before my camera took a fall.

Now to the advice.  Shooting in the Pacific Northwest gives one plenty of experience with water.  From plain old rain to splashing creeks and waterfalls, even the humidity, this area tends to be hard on cameras.  My 5D II was not the best sealed of cameras, so I needed to be careful.  I use a towell that sort of has a big pocket built into it.  It is very absorbent.  I found it at Walgreens.  The pocket fits right over the top of the camera, then I can drape it over the lens.  I do this when it is raining lightly or if I have waterfall spray.

You can buy quite expensive rain gear for your camera.  But nothing I’ve tried is very convenient for use in the rain.  I want to get a housing.  I would just love to start shooting underwater pictures at freshwater creeks and wetlands.  Housings are extremely expensive though.

There is one challenge that often goes overlooked when talking about this subject.  When it starts raining you need to quickly transition to camera protection mode.  How do you do this without getting the camera wet?  If you have an umbrella it might help.  But it’s often a stressful scramble when the sky suddenly decides to open up and take a big pee on you and your gear.

A fisherman tries his luck in the lake that sits beneath Crown Point in Oregon's Columbia River Gorge.  This picture was captured with my backup camera the day after the "accident".

A fisherman tries his luck in the lake that sits beneath Crown Point in Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge. This picture was captured with my backup camera the day after the “accident”.

I also shoot above rushing water very often.  I have a friend who uses a safety strap that connects the camera to the tripod.  If the head or plate fails, the camera does not fall to the ground or water.  But that still leaves the tripod itself vulnerable.  So I try to always keep the camera strap around my neck near cliffs or over water.  That way if a disaster develops I can save at least the camera/lens and probably the tripod as well.

There is a major Catch 22 here.  Often you want to be out shooting when the weather is “interesting”.  I usually am trying not to shoot in actual rain but just before or after.  I don’t regard grey skies and steady rain as interesting weather!  I think it is the edge of things that you want to target with your camera: the edge of a storm, edge of an ecosystem, edge of the day, edge of a facial expression, etc.

The walls of Oregon's Columbia River Gorge at day's last light.

The walls of Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge at day’s last light.

So my approach is to avoid having my camera out while it’s raining, to wait until the rain lets up before shooting.  And then I cover it with the special towel when I have it out shooting.  I think the electronics in this gear we have will never get along with moisture very well.  Of course if I was independently wealthy, or was somebody famous, sponsored by Canon (yes I’m talking about you Art Wolfe!), I would have a well-sealed Canon 1Dx.  If something happened to it Canon would just send me another.  If I had this $6000+ camera I would not worry about drizzle so much, though full immersion (and salt water) would still be a danger.

The last image below was captured the day after the accident.  I had done a sort of rock climb 100 feet or so up Rooster Rock.  A nearby osprey in her nest was not amused at my presence, and I clung to a precarious spot to get the shot.  I definitely kept the neck strap in place this time.  But I won’t ever stop putting my camera in dangerous spots just because of the possibility of an accident.  That’s just not me.  I know, what about putting myself in danger?  I don’t want to talk about it!

Hope you found this advice helpful.  It’s a mean world (at least for camera gear), so be careful and good luck out there!

A viewpoint gained after a short rock climb partway up Rooster Rock in Oregon's Columbia River Gorge gives a fine view of early evening colors on the river.  Captured with my backup camera the day after the accident.

A viewpoint gained after a short rock climb partway up Rooster Rock in Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge gives a fine view of early evening colors on the river. Captured with my backup camera the day after the accident.

Oregon Weather   4 comments

Typical weather in western Oregon's forested Cascade Mountains outside of the height of summer.

Typical weather in western Oregon’s forested Cascade Mountains outside of the height of summer.

 

The weather in the Pacific Northwest (western Oregon and Washington) can be described in one word: drippy.  This is not always true of course.  Summer is typically sunny and beautiful.  But for much of the year, this region of the country gets hit by one storm another other coming off the Pacific Ocean.  The percentage of cloudy days here is by far higher than anywhere else I have lived.  In short, there is a good reason the Northwest is green and heavily forested.

This Spring, the weather has been typically cloudy and wet.  There have been a few warm sunny days of late, and that has given the hopelessly optimistic (naive?) among us the impression that the rainy season is over.  But this past weekend’s cool wet weather shattered that fantasy.  I feel sorry for newcomers to Oregon.  They actually expect springtime to bring warm and sunny weather.  They don’t really get it yet.  Reliably warm and bright weather does not arrive here until after the 4th of July.  Cruelly, it really does seem to like waiting until after this holiday weekend.

Fog and sun battle for dominance in an Oregon forest.

Fog and sun battle for dominance in an Oregon forest.

Being a photographer, I know that bad weather provides some opportunities along with its challenges.  So over the weekend I spent some time trying to get atmospheric pictures of our lush green forests and waterfalls.  (Tune in to the next post for the waterfalls.)  I look on weather like this as an opportunity to capture the unique and special feel of this place, the deep forested canyons and ridges that make up western Oregon’s Cascades and Coast Range.  You really can’t do that when the skies are clear, because the pictures end up looking like so many other beautiful places.

The steep forest of the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon sees plenty of misty-rainy days.

The steep forest of the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon sees plenty of misty-rainy days.

So I went on short hikes into the nearby Columbia River Gorge.  My goal was to be out photographing between showers.  I really don’t enjoy hiking in the rain for one thing.  For another, my camera gear is even more averse to wet weather.  Go figure!  As I should have expected, things did not turn out as I hoped.  Dry periods were spent driving to and from my hiking destinations, while a steady, soaking rain fell for nearly my entire time spent in the woods.  In other words, I spent my weekend getting muddy and soaked from head to toe.

Fog and mist permeates a deep evergreen temperate rain forest in Oregon.

Fog and mist permeates a deep evergreen temperate rain forest in Oregon.

Although it was a struggle to keep my camera gear dry, I managed to get a few good pictures and (amazingly) returned home with a working camera.  I hope you enjoy the pictures.  They are copyrighted and illegal to download without my permission.  Click on any of the images to gain access to the high-res. versions where purchase options are given.  You’ll need to click “add this image to cart” in order to see prices, but they won’t be added to your cart until you decide what you want.  Please contact me with any questions or requests.  Thanks for your interest.

There is a reason Oregon is green and chock-full of streams and rivers.

There is a reason Oregon is green and chock-full of streams and rivers.

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