I am excited to share that my “Discover Digital Quick Tips” article is published in the April 2012 issue of Outdoor Photographer! OP’s Editor gave me this opportunity after telling me that he always considers my images to be among the most authentic and beautiful that he regularly sees. In my article, I offer my advice on what my top processing techniques are and how photographers can use them to make their own images look spectacular. Please let me know if you enjoyed reading it and feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments below.
In other news, my regular readers, friends, fans, etc will probably have noted that I have not been online much in the last 2 months. I spent a wonderful, though, not super productive 3 weeks in Hawaii in February. I was barely home for a week before I flew down to Arizona to give 3 presentations about my Alaska photography at the Tucson, Paradise Valley, and Tempe REIs. (I will be at the San Diego, Portland, and Anchorage REIs in the coming month.) Last week, I moved my family into our gorgeous new house just south of Leschi. It is breathtaking to look out my windows anytime and see Lake Washington, the Cascades, and Mount Rainier. This week, I am finally settling into my new office which has its own separate entrance, new cork floors, furniture, and gallery track lighting. I have some large acrylic face-mounts being made by West Coast Imagining that will adorn my walls for when clients visit. Summer is also coming just around the corner. I have multiple trips planned to Alaska, plus my first trip to Tonga. This fall, I will also be joining a small sailboat expedition to South Georgia Island for 4 weeks. As you can see, I have a lot of exciting things going on and many new images to be created.
I am incredibly excited to have 2 of my new acrylic face mount prints on permanent display at Etheridge Family Dentistry in Seattle, WA. The 35×50 Laguna de los Tres Sunrise 5 print above is from my trip to Patagonia last January and the 35×50 False Clownfish 23 image below is from my trip to Raja Ampat last March. They look absolutely stunning (even with Dr Ty standing in front of them). Both of these acrylic face mounts were created by West Coast Imaging. WCI offers several paper options. I chose the Epson premium glossy paper, because it most closely matched the colors of my own Epson printer. They are mounted directly to 1/4″ acrylic, backed with a white dibond backer, a metal hanging system is attached, and the edges are flame polished. I have not finalized my price list for these spectacular prints, but they will cost about 2 to 3 times the price of my current Museo silver rag prints. To celebrate the 2011 holiday season, I will offer these ready to hang prints at the introductory price of 2 times my current print prices. It takes about 3 weeks to create them, so all orders that are placed no later than next Friday December 2 will be guaranteed to arrive in time for Christmas.
During my recent trip to Patagonia, I was only able to see and photograph the amazing granite spires a few days due to the notorious weather. Most of my trip involved sitting around camp waiting for better conditions. It was not the most productive photography trip. However, when the weather was nice, it was amazing! In order to get to this fantastic viewpoint in time for sunrise, I had to hike over 2 miles and 1600′ vertical feet in the dark. On the morning that I photographed this scene, I could tell when I woke up at 3am that it was clear on the eastern horizon and discerned the silhouette of Mount Fitz Roy above camp to the west. Anticipation of an epic sunrise provided me with extra motivation during the hike up to Laguna de los Tres. I was not disappointed, because the clouds lit up with dramatic color while Mount Fitz Roy was bathed in alpenglow. This image was created using my Canon 5DmkII and Singh-Ray 3-stop Hard Graduated Neutral Density filter on a Carl Zeiss 21mm f2.8 ZE lens that Zeiss USA was kind enough to loan me for my trip. This image required minimal processing using Aperture 3.
Each year, the summit of Cerro Torre eludes climbers from around the world mostly due to the atrocious weather. They most often spend weeks or even months tent-bound patiently waiting for the weather to clear, but it rarely does. My own experience trying to photograph Cerro Torre has been equally challenging. Between my first visit in 2007 and 2 visits during my recent trip, I’ve spent 8 days attempting to photograph it. If I had been at the lake the day before I created this image, I might now be sharing a sunrise picture of the mountain surrounded by beautiful orange clouds and a calm reflection. However, I hesitate to say that my recent attempts were totally unsuccessful, because I created this mysterious image. Though I could not see the summit at sunrise, an hour later the clouds became thin enough to allow the summit to peak through a hole while Laguna Torre was almost a perfect reflection. This image captures the drama of the typical conditions beneath this impossible spire more so than any image that I might have originally hoped to create. I am sure I will someday return to photograph Cerro Torre during a more ideal sunrise, but do I need to? I created this image with my Canon 5DmkII, Carl Zeiss 35mm f2 ZE lens, Singh-Ray 4-stop Soft Graduated Neutral Density filter, and tripod. It required minimal processing using Aperture 3.
Located in the Southern Andes Mountains of Argentina and Chile, Patagonia boasts some of the most dramatic mountains on Earth, including Mount Fitz Roy, Cerro Torre, and the Torres del Paine. Unfortunately, Patagonia also receives some of the world’s worst weather. Clouds obscure the mountains for weeks or even months at a time. This consistently awful weather makes photography in the region a lesson in monotonous boredom and disciplined patience. One of my old climbing partners from Alaska was down there the entire month of January and never got a good weather window long enough to climb anything significant. Over the course of my own 3 week trip, I was only able to see the summits at sunrise on 4 days, 2 of which I did not shoot because I was exhausted and frustrated back in town for the night rather than camping close to my objectives.
I visited Patagonia for the first time in March of 2007. During that trip, I experienced my only major camera failure in 10 years as a professional photographer. I had been shooting startrails the night before walking up to Laguna de los Tres with my old Pentax 67II and had drained the batteries. I was not worried because I always carry a spare set of batteries with me, but after 1 weeks of waiting patiently for a clear sunrise, I discovered that my spare set was also dead! That camera failure haunted me for the last 4 years. Knowing how few opportunities I would have because of the weather, I made photographing Mount Fitz Roy from Laguna de los Tres my main objective for my recent trip.
From the town of El Chalten, I backpacked up to Campemento Poincenot and established my basecamp 3 different times. From there, I walked uphill over 2 miles and 1500′ in elevation each morning to this spectacular viewpoint. I camped a total of 7 nights, waiting for the right conditions. Most of the mornings the weather was windy, cold, and wet, but I still dragged my butt up hill 4 times. This is probably my favorite image from my trip. I really like how the dark clouds above the summits intensified the alpenglow illuminating the mountains. The light only lasted for about 12 minutes, which meant I finally had 12 minutes for photography after 1 week of travel! I created this image using my Canon 5DmkII and Singh-Ray 3-stop Hard Graduated Neutral Density filter on a Carl Zeiss 21mm f2.8 ZE lens that Zeiss USA was kind enough to loan me for my trip. This image required minimal processing using Aperture 3.