Monday, December 28, 2009

Play it again Sam!

(Looking through Eastern Europe images I made a few years ago, I dug up some that hadn't made it into my favorites pile but interest me more now when I see them with a fresh eye...hope you find them somewhat interesting too.)

Trying to figure out how to get to the outskirts of Budapest on a city bus system without understanding a lick of the local language, was an adventure in itself, one that lasted 2 hours until I finally arrived at my destination, a large, run-down, but popular with the locals, flea market.   The goal seemed simple, find something authentic and unique!  To start off I couldn't resist this toothy piano just begging to have it's picture taken.  But it gets better, stay tuned next week for my post on...the Intimidator!  Otherwise known as the steely-eyed hungarian mafia king pin posing as a bicycle repair man!

Click above picture to see it larger

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Going to the birds!

Since it's my firm belief you can never have enough bird pics, here are a few more.....

I was in Santa Fe at a photo workshop.  At the end of each day I would rush out to the hills (or are they called buttes?) to try to get some kind of picture in the remaining hour of light.  Once again a bird flew by and gave me this opportunity.  The flat hills fading away in the dusk were pretty cool themselves but the addition of the bird gave it life and made it much more compelling to me.

Another scene on Lake Waughop next to my home on an early Saturday morning.  I can never get goosed enough I guess :)

Same lake, different day.  That's snow coming down, not dust on my lens.  Of course if I have to explain that, then it's probably not that great of a picture. :)

So if you had to vote would it be bird number 1,2 or 3?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Goose bumps

I guess my wife has a point, I like birds!

At least I think I do, I know I tend to take lots of pictures of them.  I'm not the bird watcher type who gets goose bumps when he comes across that rare tittering red bellied Brazilian pud knocker. aka: Anas brazilmensis.  But when a bird flies by I just have to shoot it (with camera of course).  I guess it's similar to when the ball is thrown and the dog has no choice but to chase it.

This photo was taken near my home in the fall.  Many fall mornings are foggy near the lake making for these great backgrounds.  This picture wouldn't be nearly as appealing to me if it were sunny and the background was competing with the foreground.

*click the pic for a larger view

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Rusty Truck

I usually always keep my reject photos on file just in case.  Sometimes when I look at them later with a fresh eye I discover there was something there after all and am thankful I didn't delete them.  This is one of those photos (click on it for a larger version).

I found this in one of my photo rejects folders and thought it might be interesting if I Photoshopped it up a bit.   Below is the original.

I went with my friend Duncan to look at some rural property he wanted to buy.  It had an old tractor, this truck and a number of other old relics lying around.   I asked him to lean on the fender and made a quick portrait, then snapped a couple different angles of the truck just in case I'd ever want to use one in the future.   I guess this is the future. :)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Gray Crane

Waughop lake, near my home is a place I've visited for years, usually for exercise and sometimes for photographing.   One early Saturday morning I caught this shy crane on it's way to the other side of the lake, to get further away from pesky photographers.  The grace of the bird and the symmetry of the image really appeals to me.  Do you think it is stronger with or without the reflection?

Friday, November 27, 2009


On Thanksgiving morning we looked out the window and saw these six fishermen seriously at work.   We pondered their story.  Was this just a fun family tradition?  Did they say, "Hey it's pouring down rain, I know what let's do...."?  Were they driving their wives nuts so got kicked out of the house until the turkey was ready?   Or were they trying to catch their turkey?  Whatever the case, in the short time we were watching, they caught two fish and they didn't sink so we figured they too had a thankful day.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Something's Fishy!

You know how you have a favorite song, then get tired of it and get another favorite song?  Well that's how I am with photographs and this is my favorite image for now.  Philip Peterson, my former student and a photographer extraordinairre turned me onto it.  It's a photo made by Erik Johansson.  He has a bunch of very creative images.  You can check his talent out at

This motivates me to do something like this.  Anyone care to join me?  I can post our best attempts.

~click on the photo for a larger view~

Sunday, September 27, 2009

My wife has a good eye!

Jo is a good photographer!  She has a real natural eye for an interesting subject and has especially shined through the years with candid portraits.  She has a way of making the person comfortable then catching just the right moment to get that great expression.

Recently she ventured into digital photography and has been unofficially the official photographer for our band.  Last night we were playing for a fundraiser in Freight House Square, downtown Tacoma.  She took some colorful pictures of each of the band members then turned around and started watching the crowd.   A cute, spirited gal with bobby socks and red shoes was really stealing the show.  Jo loved the way she danced and how her red shoes sparkled when the light hit them just right.   After taking a few shots she timed it perfectly and caught this image.

When we were all done for the night I stepped outside onto the deck to cool off.  She stood back with her wide angle lens and made this photo with me framed in the doorway.  I love it!  Both images are visually interesting and capture the flavor of the night perfectly.

-Click on an image to see it larger-

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Free-Range Tumbleweed

For whatever reason this image I made has been fairly popular.  A company in Wisconsin uses the color version as their web banner.  A head banger band in Germany used it for their CD cover, posters and buttons.  An author put it in his book on social disorders.  And most recently a guy in the Netherlands is using it for a poster on homelessness. 

For me it just reminded me of the fields around my childhood home in eastern Washington. I loved the energy of the wind storms and watching the tumbleweeds come alive. 

~Click on the image to see it larger~

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Sorry Joyce!

This is one of those images where you just start doodling with ideas that never really work.  I have no idea what the image means except that I was trying to copy famed photographer, Joyce Tennison's style.

My niece, Kylee, was my victim who briefly tolerated being posed.  I guess if I was serious about the image I would have asked her to wear something different than a spanish Coca Cola shirt, but then in hindsight someone could look at it and ponder, is there an ethnic meaning behind this?? It could have been one of those little accidents that sometimes make an image more interesting.  

I briefly thought about using butterflies instead of feathers but then why be trite?  At least with a feather you get to ponder again.   

In fact I'm pondering right now as to why I'm even putting this in my photo journal. I made this image a couple of years ago and didn't do anything with it then.  I still won't do anything with it except put it in this journal and say...what was that all about??  :)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Texas Hold 'Em Up!

At a family reunion in Texas my cousins kids were happily playing together in a corner of the room.  I went over and got some cute mug shots but also wanted something more creative.  I asked, if I was a movie star photographer how would they like to pose?  I had no idea what they would come up with as the boys  grabbed their toy guns and pretended to shoot their sister. The fact that she seemed to care less makes the image more compelling.  What works for me is the images symmetry and mix of 'adorable' vs 'disturbing'. 

You may click on the image to see it larger.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

You don't need a lot of people to have a good time!

What is a disclaimer?  Ahem... disclaimer is generally any statement intended to specify or delimit the scope of rights and obligations that may be exercised and enforced by parties in a legally-recognized relationship.

It's also a band, a band that I even play in.  Last Saturday we attracted a whopping 30 people for ribs, lemonade, homemade beer, and our music under the warm farm sky near Orting.  It was an end-of-the-year party for folks running a farm that produces fruits and veggies- all of which are distributed directly to local food banks and hot meal programs.   Nice folks. :)   

You don't need a lot of people to have a good time!

The best time was clearly being had by Ellie, the dog.  If you had barbeque ribs you were her best friend.  When the music began she went into happy mode prancing and wagging.  I thought she loved us until I realized it was her leash in her mouth which she was bringing to everyone to take her for a walk....Get me outta here! 

Meandering out into the field we smiled with the sunflowers for our annual band photo.   Not that we necessarily think of ourselves as a sunny band, but it was either that or stand by the port-a-potty.  Come to think of it maybe that would have been a better fit :)    

Since this is my photo blog I'll mention that I put the camera on a tripod and ran into the picture. In hindsight, if I did it again I'd raise my tripod higher so our heads don't compete with the trees and sky.  

You can also see photos my wife took of us at     

Rock on!  

disclaimer- no one in the band is considered armed or dangerous.....damn, maybe standing with sunflowers is appropriate.

Click the picture to see it larger

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


My buddy Rob and I were having a drink in a high rise overlooking Portland when I was suddenly inspired to make this nice portrait of him. :)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Alexis is another graduate we are highlighting in a publication and video.  Photographing younger people should be easy because they are so used to the camera having been photographed millions of times by the time they are 18.   However,  I often find it tricky to get past their pose and into something real.  

Alexis is pretty, poised and eloquent.  I think I caught some of that in these two images but I kept looking for that extra  spark.  She was helpful and wanted to work with me but I just didn't quite find what I wanted.  Maybe I'm being too picky.

My favorite of the two is the lower one.  It felt a little more natural, plus when I saw her shirt I moved her over by that artwork which compliments the same type of pattern. 

(as always, you can click on the images to see them larger)

Sunday, July 19, 2009


I showed my wife the picture I took of Jackie and she said, why don't you take a nice picture of me? I said, are you kidding, with you as my subject that's easy! I grabbed her camera as we were talking and tada!! :)
**click on image to see it larger

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


On Monday I was tasked to photograph a student for a high gloss publication. I was a little uncomfortable with this because I hadn't taken portraits in awhile and never was all that good setting up posed lighting shots (one of my least favorite types of photography).

Getting her picture taken made her understandably nervous too so to loosen up we walked around the campus with me occasionally putting the camera in her face (the equivalent of me saying...cheese! ).

An hour before I scoped out the places I thought would make good backgrounds so was just casually leading her to each of those spots, including one room all set up with studio lighting. We both talked and started loosening up and I was getting some passable images, but by the time I needed to bring her back for her video interview, I still wasn't feeling like I really had an image that would do her proper justice.

She did a great job with the interview and when it was over I could tell she felt good about it all and was finally able to relax. She was standing near the window, I loved the natural lighting, so I walked up to her thanking her for everything and asked her to give me one last look of satisfaction. I used a fill flash to get some catchlight in her eyes and lighten her face a bit. It only took a matter of seconds to shoot and was by far the best image I got of her that day.
ps- you can click on the image to see a larger version.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Yakima

I carried my little waterproof point and shoot in my pocket yesterday while out fly fishing on the Yakima River. Off and on throughout the day I used it as a video camera. Late in the afternoon when the sun was just minutes from hiding behind the hillside I saw this image and thought, 'damn, I wish I had a still camera'. Then I remembered that I actually did and switched it from video to photo mode and made this image. The power comes from the contrast of the hillside in the shadows and the light illuminating my buddy Rob in the foreground. Keeping this as a color image would have just weakened it.

Here's the little video I took too. I dropped them into a simple editing program and added some music.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Rolling along

My niece and I broke away for about an hour to see what we could see. We spent most of our time taking pics at an old grange hall. Coming back I saw this old tire store and couldn't resist. It was the repetition of form and texture that pulled me in. They say to avoid photographing at noon because the light is boring but the straight up light is what made this work.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

To HDR or not ....

I took this image last Fall thinking I should HDR (high dynamic range) it and make it into a card for work. The only problem, I was on the run with no tripod and no students to fill the scene. But I took several hand-held bracketed images anyway. Using Photomatix I dropped in the bracketed images, pushed the 'align' button, messed with the tonal mapping, dropped it into Photoshop, bumped up the contrast, cropped it and tada........ another surreal, overdone image! But I don't care, I still kind of like it! :)