Tag Archives: 8mm

Light At the End of the Tunnel

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One of the old train tunnels along the trek

Earlier this week, I took a hiking trip to the Iron Goat Trail — a journey into nature that taught me more than I usually learn exploring my new home.

The Pacific Northwest is a lush area full of many different types of landscape. You’ve got the beaches, sound, rivers, towering mountains, rainforests, and even the (not so lush) desert. Iron Goat Trail sits 60 miles northeast of Seattle along Stevens Pass Highway, an already breathtaking ride.

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The result of using my on-camera flash in dim forest lighting

After a short walk on the start of the trail, a snowshed appeared — a towering and crumbling cement wall right along the walkway. These snowsheds protected the Great Northern Railway… at least for the most part. According to the trail’s website,

In 1910, snowslides delayed two trains at the town of Wellington. A vast section of snow on Windy Mountain broke loose and crashed down, sweeping both trains off the tracks into Tye Creek below. Rescue efforts were quickly organized, but nearly one hundred lives were lost.

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Light At the End of the Tunnel

Old tunnels stretch along the trail, showing the engineering against the elements. Wooden barriers were put in place under concrete, to protect trains from the winter precipitation. All of this old architecture and beautiful mossy landscape made for amazing photos, but I had to break one of my main rules to photograph it well…

Using a Flash… For the First Time

I’ve been photographing pretty much non-stop for years. I’ve photographed landscapes, people, long exposures, macro… just about everything. One rule I abide by is never using the flash built in on my Canon Rebel xti. I’ve found that 99 percent of the time, it flattens images and leaves out the real, raw color and shadows that I love. But I found myself changing my ways!

In the heavily wooded areas with looming concrete and trees, photographing the low-lying details while not blowing out the highlights in the trees was incredibly difficult. But something clicked, and I gave in. Why not give it a try? And sure enough, with a little finesse, I was able to shed a little light on the foreground details, while still being able to capture those night natural highlights above. Lesson learned. Thanks, Iron Goat Trail!

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One of the snowshed walls left in the area. Used to keep massive piles of snow off the tracks.


Freeway – HDR

Freeway - HDR

An HDR image of Interstate 5 cutting through the north side of Seattle. Shot with my Rokinon 8mm fisheye lens.

Usually Photomatix does a fine job of giving me the HDR effect that I like — surrealistic enough to make you wonder how it’s done, but not enough to make you question the scene’s existence. This time, I blended two tonemapped versions of this photo, one of the sky and background separately, with another of the traffic to get the prefect balance I wanted.


Shooting From the Hip – Chicago

Recently my partner and I drove across the country from Massachusetts to our new home on the West Coast — Seattle. Along the way, we found ourselves in places we never thought we’d step foot in. Chicago was an amazing city that felt so cosmopolitan. It’s like a warmer, more spacious version of New York… with a much nicer coast. And the pizza… Okay, so they aren’t that similar.

But one similarity came in how I photographed this city — from the hip. Shooting candid shots of passersby is one of my favorite things, especially when you’re in an environment where people are dressing to be seen. Check out these classic and sometimes quirky views of the “Windy City.”

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