Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013, Day 365 - Adieu

Tonight we say goodbye to 2013 and welcome 2014.  I can only hope that next year is as good to me as this year has been.  My business grew, the health of my friends and family was generally good, I got to travel, my dogs have mostly avoided unexpected vet visits, and life has been good.  So I will celebrate the generosity of the past year and give a warm welcome to the next.  I wish all of you health and happiness as you pursue your dreams and ambitions!

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
16mm, f4, 1/2 sec @ 200 ISO

Monday, December 30, 2013

2013, Day 364 - Camo fail

I love animals of all sorts but when I travel I find that I get rather obsessed with insects and reptiles.  It seems a shame that we are not awash with lizard in the Pacific Northwest and with all the spiders and abundant insect life here it seems ideally suited for them but alas it is not to be.  So I have to get my fix when I travel to the tropics and Mexico, especially the Yucatan, is just alive with lizards.  We saw monsters six feet long and tiny babies only a couple inches long.  They were everywhere and some even posed for us, this guy we found in the ruins at Coba and he was quite content to sit while we took turns taking his picture.  What a handsome little devil!

Canon 1D X, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f4, 1/40 sec @ 400 ISO

Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013, Day 363 - Gliding

On a stormy afternoon while visiting the Yucatan we went to Puerto Morelos.  It is a small town whose major draw is scuba diving but the weather wasn't really conducive to diving so we walked along the beach.  There were a lot of bird on the two small docks and the high winds allowed them to merely spread their wings and be whipped into the air.  It was a lot of fun to watch and we spent a good half hour observing the birds take off and land.  After a while it was so windy that it didn't feel safe to be out on the dock so we retreated to have a little dinner.

Canon 1D X, Canon 70-200/f2.8L IS Mark II
200mm, f4, 1/1600 sec @ 100 ISO

Saturday, December 28, 2013

2013, Day 362 - Washing

I took this picture when we visited Sian Ka'an.  It is a UNSECO World Heritage site and an area of enormous biodiversity.  Many threatened and endangered species, both local and migratory, use this area and their continued survival depends on the preservation of Sian Ka'an.  On this particular day we had been out to see dolphins and do a little snorkeling but the light clouds of the morning soon began to darken and as they blotted out the sun we decided head back into town before the rain started.  Unfortunately we got caught on the rutted and muddy dirt roads after dark which made the trip longer but in the end it was a fun adventure.

Canon 1D X, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
16mm, f5.6, 13 sec @ 200 ISO

2013, Day 361 - Counting

Apparently I am off by at least a day on my numbering for the purposes of my blog.  I should really pay more attention but I often blog in the evening and I admit that there are often distractions keeping me from really focusing on the task at hand.  Nevertheless, I don't think I've missed a day this year but that too might need to be checked but it should probably wait until it isn't late and when I am a little more lucid.

Until then I share with you a starry picture of the beach at Playa del Carmen.  The moon caused a bit of flare but I like the effect and I don't find it distracting; to my eye it is a little detail that is easily missed but that rewards the careful viewer.

Canon 1D X, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
16mm, f2.8, 30 sec @ 400 ISO

Thursday, December 26, 2013

2013, Day 359 - Architectural snowflake

When I was in Mexico visiting Xochicalco they had a nice little museum which I visited after the site itself.  The day was getting hot and it was nice to be inside as the sun reached its zenith.  Inside I found this ceiling and loved the geometric simplicity.

Canon 1D X, Canon 24-70/f2.8L Mark II
24mm, f4, 1/125 sec @ 500 ISO

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

2013, Day 358 - Iconic ice

Even though there have been a number of shots of Multnomah Falls in the winter I am sharing my version.  It was cold and beautiful and there was almost no one there so it rather nice even though my fingers were getting chilled.  There are so many good vantage points but I think I like this view the best of all of them.

Canon 1D X, Canon 24-70/f2.8L Mark II
35mm, f11, HDR of 1/5, 0.4, 0.8, 1.6, and 3.2 sec @ 100 ISO

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

2013, Day 357 - Clear coat

This evening I am dreaming of a white Christmas and am revisiting my trip out to Ruckle Creek a few weeks ago when we had a really good cold spell.  The flowing water froze to the landscape and it became an icy shell encasing the creek.  It was quite magical and I think I am ready for some more true winter weather.

Canon 1D X, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
16mm, f8, merged layers of 1.3, 2.5, 5, and 10 sec @ 100 ISO

Monday, December 23, 2013

2013, Day 356 - Concentrating

Today I got to catch up with my brother and my nephew Orion.  The best part about being an uncle is getting the kids to do all the things their parents hate, teaching them nonsense, and making them pose for pictures.  I am sure that in the near future he will be much more reluctant to be my photographic subject but while he is willing I intend to take advantage of it and I suspect my brother and sister-in-law appreciate the efforts.

My sister Laura helped me to get Orion to follow directions.  I wanted him to make funny faces and he struggled initially but soon Laura was behind me modeling the faces and he mimicked her.  After he went to play quieting and I pursued with my camera but he didn't mind.  Below is one of him sitting quietly looking for the right toy to play with and below is an animated GIF of him being goofy.

Canon 1D X, Canon 50/f1.2L
50mm, f1.4, 1/250 sec @ 2500 ISO

Sunday, December 22, 2013

2013, Day 355 - Gradual descent

I was on the road today, with the holidays almost here it is time to visit the family.  When I left Portland it was dark and hours later it was still dark, I guess that's to be expected on the second shortest day of the year.  As I crossed the border into California the skies were dark but soon the temperatures started to climb and at one point it was seventy five degrees; that's not what I consider appropriate weather for the holidays.  In fact there was almost no snow on the ground and I don't think there is going to be any in the near future.  While that's good news for travel it is bad news for my holiday spirit.  I suppose I will just have to soak up the warm weather while I can.

Canon EOS M, Canon 22/f2 STM
22mm, f5.6, 1/1000 sec @ 100 ISO

Saturday, December 21, 2013

2013, Day 354 - Sneaky guide

When we visited Teotihuacan we were the first people to arrive.  It is always nice to beat the crowd and when we got out of the car this little man was waiting for us.  He was all smiles and kept bouncing in circles around us as we walked eager to have friends visit.  While touring the first part of the archeological site he followed us, ran ahead of us, climbed pyramids with us, and kept checking to make sure we were coming.  He was such a happy guy and I like this picture of him, his spots blending in with all the little rocks set in the mortar by archeologists to show that they have already investigated and restores those areas.  After being gone for a couple weeks it was nice to have a dog friend even if it was just for the morning.

Canon 1D X, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
34mm, f4, 1/320 sec @ 100 ISO

Friday, December 20, 2013

2013, Day 353 - Subterranean shortcut

While visiting Guanajuato we went on a walking tour and along the way we had to walk through a couple different tunnels.  The city is built between a series of large hills and given its mining past, and present as well, the shortest and easiest way to connect the city as it grew was through the use of tunnels.  They were designed for both vehicular and pedestrian traffic and because the ground is stone the stonework employed is quite impressive.  As you can see here, there are stairs leading in and out so that people on foot don't have to go too far out of their way when they employ these subterranean shortcuts.

Canon 1D X, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
35mm, f4, merged layers of 1/125 and 1/30 sec @ 250 ISO

Thursday, December 19, 2013

2013, Day 352 - Lonely

I've been enjoying all of the winter weather at home that I've been neglecting the photos from my recent travels.  This is one of the side streets in Guanajuato.  It wasn't as deserted as this photo would have you believe, I just waited until there were no pedestrians to take my shot.  Despite the foot traffic is was rather peaceful although you could hear the lively chatter of people eating dinner only a couple streets away.  I found Guanajuato utterly charming and wished that we had a solid week to spend exploring and photographs like this reinforce my desire to go back and do just that.

Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
16mm, f4, merged layers of 0.8, 1.6, 3.2, and 6 sec @ 200 ISO

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

2013, Day 351 - Vestiges

Although it is still technically fall it has seemed a lot like winter.  Unfortunately I missed the color again this year but it was a fair trade to be able to travel.  Still, when I see a little bit of color holding on I want to capture it, preserve it for just a little bit longer, to make up for what I missed.

Fujifilm X-E2, Fuji 18-55/f2.8-4R OIS
55m, f4, 1/1200 sec @ 200 ISO

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

2013, Day 350 - Early bird

Last week as the Pacific NW was in the fading grip of the freezing weather system that passed through I made a morning excursion into the Columbia River Gorge.  My starting point was Vista House as the previous morning we had been treated to the most spectacular sunrise.  Unfortunately the event was not repeated but I did get a nice sunrise over one of my recent favorite starry night locations.  So this evening I share with you a different take on Vista House.

Canon 1D X, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
16mm, f8, merged layers of 0.3, 1.3, and 5 sec @ 320 ISO

Monday, December 16, 2013

2013, Day 349 - Departed

A couple days ago I was headed from one appointment to another and because I was running early I decided to stop off at Lone Fir Cemetery.  It is a 19th century cemetery that is on that National Register of Historic Places.  There are over 25,000 graves in Lone Fir but the occupants of over 10,000 are unknown due to poor record keeping and a lack of maintenance over the years.  Many notable people are buried here, the doctor who is the namesake of Hawthorne Street, multiple mayors of Portland, governors, court justices, US representatives, and a number of notable artists.  Today it is a beautiful place and because it is open to the public many people stroll the paths and use the cemetery as a shortcut.  Fortunately most people are respectful and vandalism isn't a big problem, I would hate to see access limited in the future.

Fujifilm X-E2, Fuji 35/f1.4R
35mm, f1.4, 1/280 sec @ 200 ISO

Sunday, December 15, 2013

2013, Day 348 - Bunny

More photos from last week's play day at my friend Karen's house.  It was a cold day, the temperatures never got above freezing, and Frankie refused to leave his warm spot to go play after his morning walk so I went by myself.  Fortunately Frankie's brother Sand was happy to be my date so I didn't feel like a third wheel.  And I got to play with puppies, five month old little-man puppies, but they're still a lot of fun.  Pictured is Jaeger being chased by his brother Kenichi and their friend, and Frankie's niece, Solo swooping in from the side.  Jaeger and Kenichi are such funny boy, they play loud and cuddle well; I can't wait to see how they turn out when they're all grown up because they're showing a whole lot of potential.

Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 70-200/f2.8L IS Mark II
200mm, f5.6, 1/800 sec @ 320 ISO

Saturday, December 14, 2013

2013, Day 347 - Feathers of water

This is from my visit to Panther Creek with Nicole and Nicci a little over a week ago.  After photographing the falls from the ice-covered moss I explored the other views.  There is a secondary lower waterfall that I hadn't investigated previously and I wasn't about to attempt to get down to the bottom given the rather slippery purchase but I liked the little evergreen on the downed log and the frosty branches as a contrast so this is what I came away with.  The dusting of snow on the trees, the greens of the mosses not encased in a glittering prison and the feathered look of the water as it hits the pool at the bottom of the falls.

Canon 1D X, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
16mm, f7.1, merged layers of 1.6, 3.2, and 6 sec @ 100 ISO

Friday, December 13, 2013

2013, Day 346 - Fling

Puerto Vallarta was a boring place.  I don't travel to sit on the beach drinking all day and that is the primary reason people go there.  It didn't help that it was the only place I was served bad food that made me sick for days.  The best part of our visit was the morning we saw a small fishing boat in the bay surrounded by pelicans.  We made our way down to the beach and onto the stone breakwater close to where the pelicans were congregating and stayed until our obligations in town took us away.  They are so beautiful while flying and hunting but rather awkward when they have their feet on the ground.

Canon 1D X, Canon 70-200/f2.8L IS Mark II
200mm, f4, 1/2000 sec @ 400 ISO

Thursday, December 12, 2013

2013, Day 345 - Obstacle

Sometimes things don't go as planned.  This photo was taken with Brian, Nicole, and Brian as we tried to find a waterfall we had heard about.  Unfortunately bad directions left us off course so we made the best of the scenery at hand.  When I first looked at this tributary I almost didn't take the picture because I didn't like the bridge but the more I looked at it the more I liked the juxtaposition between the natural and the artificial.  There isn't a lot of color, it is subtle but I like the mellow red tones in the trees and the vibrance of the moss with the cool silky blue of the alpine waters.

Fujifilm X-E1, Fuji 14/f2.8R
14mm, f8, 26 sec @ 200 ISO

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

2013, Day 344 - Breaking

This was the beach just outside La Libertad, El Tunco to be exact, where we stopped to have breakfast during our trip to El Salvador.  It had been a stormy morning and we were hoping that the rain would stop so we could enjoy our day at the beach.  Things weren't looking especially promising but after I ordered my food I grabbed my tripod and wandered down to the beach for a better view.  The waves were erratic, many small but some quite big and when combined with a long exposure it gave the ocean an interesting smokey view.  Amongst the debris washed onto the black sand beach was this piece of wood worn down by the sand and water which became the foreground focal point and the iconic rock formation is the background is used to anchor the upper portion of the composition.  I can still feel the warm water washing over my feet as a light rain fell on my face.

Canon 1D X, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
30mm, f2.8, 10 sec @ 200 ISO

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

2013, Day 343 - Crisp

As a continuation from yesterday's post, this is the wide shot of Ruckle Creek yesterday morning.  The ice is thick with just a dusting of snow across the top but the mosses and ferns are still bright and green under that layer of frozen spray.  It was beautiful, tranquil, and I ended up staying for an hour despite the biting winter winds.  This kind of magic doesn't last long but it is worth the effort.

Canon 1D X, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
16mm, f8, merged layers of 1, 2, 4, and 8 sec @ 100 ISO

Monday, December 9, 2013

2013, Day 342 - Translucent lace

Sometimes it is worth pushing yourself.  I woke up this morning at five o'clock warm in my bed with two of the four dogs snuggled tight against me and I asked myself "Do I really want to get up and brave the freezing weather for a few pictures?"  But the freeze is supposed to be coming to an end and I hate having regrets so I got up to take the dogs for a walk before heading out the door.

I drove out to Vista House first.  Lately I seem to be stopping there a lot but we had a dazzling sunrise yesterday and I was hoping for a repeat performance.  It didn't happen.  But I did get some nice pictures and caught the sunrise.

Then I drove out to Latourell Falls where I slid on some hidden ice but got some great views as well.  There were a number of other places to stop but I headed straight for Multnomah Falls.  When I got there I encountered a few other people, almost all with cameras and tripod, and one guy told me he went yesterday morning but it was so packed with people (again, mostly photographers) that he left and returned today.  It was beautiful and the ice buildup was quite impressive.

When I returned to my car it was time for a tough decision, wether or not to go out to Ruckle Creek.  It is a bit of a hike in and the area is so sheltered it might not be that great.  Still, it was only a fifteen minute drive away and another ten minute walk to so I decided to make the most of the morning.  When I arrived I stopped dead in my tracks.

I had been visiting some of the biggest and most spectacular waterfalls in the gorge this morning and Ruckle Creek was by far the most beautiful.  The problem with being so impressive is the volume and velocity of the water disrupts a lot of the ice buildup and the little streams lack the flow to keep them from freezing entirely.  But Ruckle Creek has about the perfect balance of grandeur and with slow enough water movement to have really good accumulation.  I spent over an hour moving around and taking pictures from different angles; each was so different.  Then I had to switch lenses and focus more on the details.  I was wet and cold but completely entranced by the beautiful that I didn't care.

The ice took on a lacy quality.  Thin and going from opaque to translucent, it has so much delicate texture and detail to enjoy.  I love that the rocks were incased in ice and I can't tell if there is more ice forming or if the existing ice was melting but it was beautiful and I am so happy that I decided to leave the comfort of my warm bed and cuddle dogs for a little winter adventure this morning.

Canon 1D X, Canon 24-70/f2.8L Mark II
35mm, f5.6, 1/2 sec @ 100 ISO

Sunday, December 8, 2013

2013, Day 341 - Inquisitive

This sweet face belongs to Kenichi.  He is five months old and can hardly sit still.  Everything he sees needs to be investigated and, if possible, tasted.  His brother Jaeger is quite a different pup.  Where Kenichi is confident and adventurous Jaeger is cautious and thinks before he acts but he is willing to follow his brother anywhere and derives confidence his brother's complete assurance that the world belongs to him.  They are joined at the hip and when they play you can hear them from a mile away trying to sound tough.  But at the end of the day they love a lap to cuddle in and are complete sweetness.

Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 70-200/f2.8L IS Mark II
70mm, f4.5, 1/800 sec @ 100 ISO

Saturday, December 7, 2013

2013, Day 340 - Demonic view

This is the view from Puerto del Diablo, the Devil's Door.  The legend says that when the daughter of a noble family started fell in love with an evil spirit her father discovered the relationship.  He set out after the spirit and the agent of evil in turn split that enormous rock formation and descended safely into the underworld.

On one side of the Devil's Door is San Salvador and on the other is Panchimalco.  Panchimalco is a small community where the indiginous witch doctors still practice their craft.  It is said that people seek out their services for the casting and removal of curses as well as to aid in unrequited love.  They can cast and remove the evil eye, provide charms to ward off malevolent magic, and one particularly sadistic curse will cause a toad to make its home in the victims stomach where it will grow until they die is agony or another powerful witch doctor is able to counteract the magic.  We had rather hoped to visit the town and investigate the brujos but ended up short on time.

Funny how two places steeped in lore and magic are in such close proximity, I am sure it isn't chance that brought them together.  It is a beautiful location and apparently it is quite a popular place for young couples to do on dates.  I suppose if it ends in heartache you can always head down to Panchimalco.

Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 24-70/f2.8L Mark II
24mm, f5.6, 1/500 sec @ 100 ISO

Friday, December 6, 2013

2013, Day 339 - Frosty falls

Panther Creek is a favorite location in part because it is easy to get to the creek and in part because it is beautiful.  Notice I said it is easy to get the the creek?  That's because it takes a bit of climbing to get to the falls and it isn't too bad when the weather is nice but it is a bit more challenging when it is covered in ice and snow.  The descent wasn't too bad but the ascent was particularly difficult because many of the best or easiest hand and foot holds were icy but with a little patience and creativity it wasn't too bad.  The other tricky thing was all the ice surrounding the lower part of the falls thanks to the spray from the falling water.  I was limited to the flat areas because even though they were icy I wasn't going to slide into the frigid water.  Still, it was worth it and I was very careful so there was little chance of falling.  Although it was snowing it wasn't heavy enough to make it through the dense trees down to the falls in most places and I suspect if it was then I wouldn't have been able to get access safely without more equipment.

Canon 1D X, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
16mm, f8, merged layers of 1, 2, 4, and 8 sec @ 100 ISO

Thursday, December 5, 2013

2013, Day 338 - Herd

This afternoon we braved the cold and the wind and headed out to the Columbia River Gorge.  Nicole, Nicci, and I were headed to Panther Creek with our fingers crossed that there would be some evidence of winter and we found it.  As we gained elevation there was snow on the ground and frosting the trees and the were icicles hanging from branches and and moss all around the creek.  Again my ambition outweighed my reluctance and I descended to the bottom of the falls for the iconic shots and when we were chilled through we made our way back to the car to return to town.  On the way, just outside Carson, we saw these elk in a field and had to stop to take a few pictures.  They were almost completely unconcerned by our presence and we would have stayed longer is we hadn't pulled halfway onto a non-existent shoulder with hazard lights flashing in the first place.  But we got our pictures and it was a wonderful day out.

Canon 1D X, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f4, 1/125 sec @ 200 ISO

2013, Day 337 - Whipped

This evening Nicole and I went out to dinner with her friend Nicci and afterwards headed out to Vista House.  The temperature was just about freezing but with the wind chill you could easily take ten degrees off so it was frigid on the top of the bluff that overlooks the Columbia River.  Nicole and Nicci quickly gave up, the winds were too bad and there were gusts strong enough to move a loaded tripod.  Still, I am stubborn so I widened the leg spread and kept shooting.  Within ten minutes I was having a  hard time feeling my fingers and I got a couple good shots so I was happy to jump back into the warm cozy car and head back into town.  It was worth the discomfort as we had a new moon a couple days ago and the stars are spectacular!

Canon 1D X, Canon 24/f1.4L Mark II
24mm, f1.4, 15 sec @ 400 ISO

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

2013, Day 336 - Filtered

My favorite thing to do when I travel anywhere is to go to the market.  This is the Central Market in San Salvador and we had a blast.  I love seeing the variety of food available and when we visited kindly woman making chocolate happily gave us samples.  It was still warm with cinnamon and chile powder; delicious and it was so cheap we had to buy some.  By the time we left we had about forty pounds of food and produce and I think we spent less than fifteen dollars.  And, as a nice surprise, we paid the same prices that locals pay.  I've found that when you travel sometimes the vendors at the markets charge foreigners more but the generous people here didn't seem to know about that custom.

Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 24-70/f2.8L Mark II
24mm, f2.8, 1/400 sec @ 100 ISO

Monday, December 2, 2013

2013, Day 335 - Pure

This is the Iglesia Santa Lucia Suchitoto and the restoration work was completed this past spring.  Although small compared to some of the other churches we saw this one is nicely scaled to the size of the town and to the central plaza which it borders.  They ring the bells to call the city to mass and given that El Salvador is a very observant Catholic country the ringing becomes quite insistent as the time for mass draws closer.  It is a beautiful building and very well maintained although I wonder how long that will last with all the pigeons perched along the facade.

I took this photo the morning we left Suchitoto and it was absolutely beautiful backlit by the clouds and the sun started to crest the horizon.  It it is one of the enduring memories I have of our time in Suchitoto.

Canon 1D X, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
16mm, f4, merged layers of 1/500, 1/250, 1/125, and 1/60 sec @ 100 ISO

Sunday, December 1, 2013

2013, Day 334 - Undisturbed

This is another shot from yesterday's failed attempt to follow directions.  Well, that's not entirely true, we followed the directions given it is just that they weren't accurate and given that it was a relatively long drive we didn't feel like continuing aimlessly so we stopped off at the the sites we saw on the way in.  One was a small waterfall that was meandering through lush green moss-covered rocks and surrounded by the delicate fallen leaves.  Although it was small the four of us worked different angles as we crowded in.  Passing cars slowed down to see what all the fuss was about and I suspect they left just as puzzled as when they first noticed us.  Nevertheless, we enjoyed ourselves and made the most of our little trip; in the end I think it was worth it.

Fujifilm X-E1, Fuji 35/f1.4R
35mm, f11, merged layers of 1.7, 3.2, and 6.5 sec @ 200 ISO

2013, Day 333 - Stillness

This afternoon I went on an adventure with Brian, Brian, and Nicole.  We set out with a waterfall as our destination but bad directions led us astray but we made the most of the trip and came back with some fun images to share.  As dusk approached we found ourselves at Yale Reservoir and although it wasn't the vantage point we had initially wanted it turned out the be a nice evening.  The clouds were coming in and it was just beginning to sprinkle as we were packing up to leave.  Sometimes when things don't work out the way you planned you can still make the best of it by keeping an open mind.

Fujifilm X-E1, Fuji 14/f2.8R
14mm, f16, merged layers of 5 and 20 sec @ 200 ISO