Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Spring in the Eastern Gorge Workshop

After a very wet March, April provided some needed sunshine and great conditions for photography. All the rain and then sun added to a spectacular display of wildflowers in the Columbia Hills and surrounding areas. Of particular beauty was the Arrowleaf Balsamroot and Lupine blooming concurrently.
Suzanne Michalik, ©2016
Under blue skies with some cirrus clouds, we headed directly to Columbia Hills State Park in Washington state, and drove up the lumpy road to the small parking area above the Dalles Mt. Ranch. The oak trees were just starting to leaf out, adding a nice warm color to the opulent flower display.

Setting up along a flower covered hillside
John Camp, ©2016
Carol Enyart, ©2016
We moved to a lower area in late morning, where there were different groupings of flowers and trees. This area also has some nice views of the flower covered Columbia Hills, the Columbia River and Mt. Hood.
Kira Bartlett, 2016
After a very fine lunch at the Baldwin Saloon in The Dalles, we visited the beautiful Horsethief Butte State Park, which adjoins Columbia Hills. There are many subjects to choose from here, with some added clouds and lovely light on the Columbia near sunset. Even the contrails looked pretty good. We also had a nice ring around the sun through the cirrus clouds.
Suzanne Michalik, ©2016
 It was a great day of photography and a full day of capturing some of the beauty found here. If you would like to see more images from this workshop, click here>>
Working to capture the last light on the Butte. Kira Bartlett, ©2016

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

A Trio of City Workshops

Winter can sometimes get a little dreary here in the Northwest, but there are endless things to photograph. Three workshops were scheduled over a one month period to explore various ways of capture and post production here locally.

1. Japanese Garden Workshop, Portland, Oregon,  March 18th and 19th

The Japanese Garden is going through some construction right now, but the main garden area is unaffected. It was a somewhat chilly morning, but the weather was very agreeable, with clearing skies. We concentrated on intimate captures with Spring just emerging.

Andew Kaplan ©2016
The following day we reviewed our images and suggestions were made for composition and development in Lightroom.

2. Cityscape Workshop, Downtown Portland, Oregon, March 17th and 18th

This workshop concentrated on using some new processing that were recently added to Lightroom; Stitching and HDR. A handout was sent to participants to review with suggestions for capture. Tripods are important here, especially in the evening light.

Kira Bartlett, ©2016
Katrina Gustafson, ©2016
The following morning we reviewed our work and applied these new tools. Some participants brought prints, which is always a welcome addition to our discussions.

3. Japanese Garden  Monochrome Workshop, Portland, Oregon,  April 2nd and 3rd, 2016

The main emphasis of this workshop was thinking in terms of shapes and forms and translating our color images to monochrome. We always shoot in RAW, but some participants set their cameras so the JPEG preview was converted to monochrome. Overcast weather was welcome in the first half of our visit, but once again the sun broke through, changing and challenging what worked well in the viewfinder.

Jan Hand, ©2016

Suzanne Michalik, ©2016
The next morning we had an intensive overview of possible workflow options of monochrome conversions using Lightroom and Nik Silver Efex Pro. The results were quite lovely. Working in monochrome can also help to sharpen perceptions of elements and space when photographing in color.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

A Break in the Northwest Storm Parade

Finally able to leave the confines of the Portland metro area for a few days, we headed to the wilds of the Olympic Peninsula. Knowing there was going to be a series of storms marching through, we were prepared for rain and wind inside our trusty cabin on the shores of Lake Crescent.

With a break coming in the storms, we headed to the Pacific coast. My wife read her book in the River's Edge Restaurant in La Push (lovely setting, friendly people and nice food) while I headed to Second Beach. Been coming here for 40 years, revisiting the beautiful and ever changing familiar features, as well as discovering new and unexpected beauty.

With a building wind and incoming tide, I headed north towards Quateata, the final headland on this beach. The sun was already low in the sky at 3p. Had some nice sun and interesting darker clouds. Scattered on the beach was an array of well worn sticks. I loved the remorseful, bone-like features randomly strewn on the beach.

Bone like sticks on the sand
Shifting patterns with each wave
 As the tide approaches and the sun appears and reappears, present new water and cloud patterns. The wind is now approaching 30 knots from the south.

The "bones" are now washed into the sea
Waves of Clouds
Time to find some shelter from the wind, so headed into the wind to a favorite resting spot.
Pools and Sculptured Rock
A brief clearing and some sun gave some hope of a colorful sunset, but it was short lived as the clouds quickly moved in. Another wonderful time at the dynamic and beautiful Pacific coast.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

PCC Advanced Digital Photography Class: Inspiration from the Masters

Paris Window, Eugéne Atget
For my Advanced Digital Photography class for Community Ed. Winter Term at Portland Community College, we studied and were inspired by the masters of photography of the 20th Century,  Starting with Eugéne Atget, Edward Steichen and Alfred Stieglitz, two photographers were presented every week for six weeks, concluding with the use of color by Ernst Haas and Jay Maisel. It was great fun exploring these masters of light and expression.

Assignments were given to learn, emulate or be inspired by these historic and important photographers and their various photographic styles in order to inform our own photography. There is also much to be learned from a photograph, both attractive elements and subject, and, just as importantly, what you may not find interesting, to help further refine your personal photographic perceptions and preferences.

The majority of class time was devoted to reviewing student’s photographs, adding comments make suggestions and discuss challenges. Constraints were also required in the assignments to get a feel for what it was like before the days of auto exposure and auto focus. Street photography can be also be rather challenging, but everyone rose to the task.

Zeb Andrews at Blue Moon Camera
We had a number of interesting field trips. We gathered in downtown Portland and photographed in Old Town (near where Minor White photographed) and also along the Steel Bridge. 

Another evening we visited Blue Moon Camera and Machine in St. John’s, given by Zeb Andrews, to examine and view through period film cameras.

Dr. Julia Dolan providing history and  insights
We also had a private lecture/tour at the Portland Art Museum graciously given by Dr. Julia Dolan, Minor White Curator of Photography, of the Fotofolio exhibit, which featured many of the photographers we discussed, with portfolios from Ansel Adams,  Edward and Brett Weston, Paul Strand and a series from Minor White on display.

Another post on the PCC website repeats this report, but more importantly, displays some of the fine photographs created by my students. here>>

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Lunar Eclipse Beauty

In hopes of capturing some interesting color with the red moon, the hills and view of the Columbia River from Coyote Wall seemed liked a good choice. The weather was ideal. A warm, gentile breeze blew over the dry grass. A few mountain bikers and hikers were in this open and spacious area.

There was quite a bit of haze at lower elevations, with the moon slowly revealed itself as it rose in the growing darkness.

Columbia River with Lyle, Washington in the distance
It was quite a lovely sight. The deepening blues of night with a few stars appearing. An appealing aspect of these eclipses is, because of the shading, the moon appear to be a nice round ball.  The lights of Lyle, Washington added a nice warm shade of lights.

Darker sky with deepening color

Later, as the shadow of the earth moved away from the moon, the light returned to one side, making a very interesting orb in sky with stars and and meteors.