Category Archives: Travel

Showing Scale in Iceland

Iceland is a country full of wonder. Of all the splendid locations in Iceland, my favorite without a doubt is the highlands of Landmannalaugar. Colorful mountains as far as the eye can see. Patches of snow create a pattern amongst the blues, red, greens, and every brown and yellow tone you can imagine. An interesting aspect of the highlands and most of Iceland is the lack of trees. Moss is about the only thing you will find growing on the highlands of Landmannalaugar. This presents us with an interesting opportunity to use people in our landscapes in order to show scale. The mountains are photogenic on their own to be clear, but adding a hiker gives that extra element of scale, turning a pretty scene into a jaw-dropping scene. Let’s take a look at some examples, starting with “The Hiker”.

The Hiker

The hiker on the ridge is entering this endless wilderness. The light in the image highlights the subject and we see the journey ahead. Imagine this image without the hiker, void of the story and sense of wonder.

The Legend

In this example, we see a hiker paused to take in the epic view, just as the viewer of the image is doing. A connection is made with the attempt to bring the viewer closer into the scene by putting you, the viewer, on the ridge itself. The title of this image is based on a client and friend of mine who is on that ridge. “The Legend” is his nickname and it seemed a fitting title here.

Almost Home

It can be difficult to view these images small on the web. Imagine being able to view them printed large? In this example, titled “Almost Home”, we see a hiker on the lower right about to make their final descent into camp. They came, they saw, they conquered. The journey is almost done.

Laugavegur Trail

In this final example, “Laugavegur Trail”, we see a hiker on the most famous trail in Iceland. Having experienced the hike myself, this image brings back fond memories. Every time I view this image it puts a smile on my face.

As a landscape photographer I’m not one to photograph people, pretty much ever. I have zero interest in it. But as you can see here, sometimes it can actually improve your landscape imagery, and that is something I’m always striving for. I encourage you to give it a go when the situation arises.


Trekking to Mt. Everest Base Camp

Pointing to Everest

Recently I spent a month trekking in the Everest region of Nepal with Kim Bannister of Kamzang. Kim and her partner Lhapka provided first class service, expert guidance and helped us tremendously with some of the obstacles of the trek, expected and unexpected. I can’t recommend her highly enough and I will be back for another trek in the Indian Himalyas in the not too distant future.

This wasn’t a¬†photography trip, it was for the experience of traveling and hiking with my girlfriend in an incredible region. Landscape photography is an all-encompassing pursuit that takes a great deal of research, often quite a bit of gear, and many hours for scouting and executing fine art images. It is incredibly difficult to achieve unless the sole purpose of the trip is designed around the pursuit of creating fine art images. So I leave the heavy camera equipment gear at home and hit the road with a point in shoot with a large sensor, the Ricoh GR, and an iPhone 5s.

The Ricoh GR is fitted with an APS-C sized sensor and enables me to print large any image that may come from the camera. It’s small size comes with a trade-off though, as it has a fixed focal length of 24mm.

The iPhone 5s doesn’t provide me with images for print, or anything of financial value to me or my company, but it tells stories like no other camera can through the use of fantastic apps. I know Sony has started an app store and it’s in its infancy, but it would be incredible to have a DSLR system with the Apple App Store ecosystem. I used my fair share of HDR Pro, the best HDR software I’ve ever used, and it happens in camera, but the app that really shined was DMD Panorama.

What makes DMD Panorama different from your standard panorama app is the ability to play back your image in a cinematic style. The Hymalayas are filled with incredible 360 degree views. What better way to tell the story than with DMD Panorama? You can share the images in a standard format or share a link to view the cinematic effect. After showing the group how the app works, we had people ditching their point and shoots and spinning in circles with their iPhones.

Here is a sample of some of the standard panos taken with the app. Click on each image for a larger view. To see what the panos look like in movie mode, check out this example.









A Super Bowl To Remember

I’m back in Seattle after a whirlwind trip to New York City to witness the Seattle Seahawks win Super Bowl 48! It was a life-lister experience that I didn’t know was even a possibility up until two weeks ago. After the dramatic finish to the 49ers game, I wandered over to my computer and said to my girlfriend, “should we go to the Super Bowl?” It’s not something I thought I would ever say and yet I found myself saying it in that moment! It was a chance to see history, to see the Seahawks win their first championship. I loved the matchup and felt strongly that the Seahawks were a far superior team than the Broncos and a victory was the most likely outcome. I envisioned a possible blowout, but not THAT big of a blowout.

We traded in miles for flights, my family donated hotel points for lodging and a friend had a relative looking to sell tickets at a good price. Everything lined up perfectly and we found ourselves on a flight to JFK on Friday the 31st!

We connected through San Francisco and it was great walking through SFO decked out in Seahawks gear. Some not so happy Niner fans!


The highlight of the flight was doing the SEA – HAWK chant with all the other twelves. Seahawk fans converged on NYC from all over. Walking in Manhattan on the day before the game it was clear who was going to have the home field advantage.

The day of the game involved taking a train from Penn Station to Secaucus, NJ for a transfer to Metlife Stadium. It wasn’t easy getting to the stadium or getting home, but when we finally arrived it was time for a pic.


Our seats were in the upper deck, but the view turned out to be great. We could clearly see all the numbers of the players and most of the exciting plays happened in our end zone. We had great views of the safety, Harvin’s kick return, Kearse’s TD and Baldwin’s TD. Here was our view:


The hawk leading the players onto the field, the national anthem and the Black Hawks overhead made for an intense intro. I was able to watch a replay of the game and the television broadcast didn’t come close to doing the helicopters justice. From our vantage point high in the stadium, the Black Hawks came from behind us, and as they flew overhead with cargo doors open, you could see soldiers in the helicopters looking back at us. It was incredible!

The first play from scrimmage was a 12th man victory as the Broncos were completely unprepared to deal with the noise. After the safety and a 2-0 lead, we never looked back! It was amazing to feel like you are a part of the game, and you could have an influence on something so significant for your city and the entire Pacific Northwest! There was so much to celebrate during the game: turnovers, big hits, touchdowns, it just kept coming and we kept celebrating with unbridled passion and joy! There wasn’t a single snap Peyton Manning took that we didn’t make as much noise as possible. The entire experience was completely enthralling and joyous!

The halftime show was a chance to recover and rejuvenate for Seahawk fans and for the Bronco fans, they were too stunned to do much of anything. After the show was over, we got back on our feet and I noticed Harvin back to receive the opening kickoff. Percy was my MVP pick before the game and I knew this was his moment. I’ll never forget watching Percy run straight towards us, making incredible cuts and showing his unrivaled speed. That was truly the dagger and the game was over. We did it and did it emphatically. With the exception of a lone Denver score, we enjoyed each moment until the final snap.


We did it!


The Seahawks are a team in every sense of the word. They play with passion, for each other and for the love of the game. They are an inspiration and I’m so thankful to have been there to witness history!

All my pics are taken with the iPhone 5s, my camera of choice for documenting events. I’m also a huge fan of DMD Panorama, and here is a view from our seats:

New Meadowlands Stadium, East Rutherford - NJ, United States

And a giant 48 statue outside the stadium:


A Change of Heart

During workshops, I have clients who will use their iPhones to take pics, and I’ve never quite understood the appeal. Until now that is. I’m interested in capturing fine art images. My goal is to be able to print large for homes and offices. The iPhone felt like a poor excuse for a DSLR, and with my one track mind searching for one great image, I missed out on the fun factor of the iPhone.

Friends Michael, Frits and Scott had shared an app called Pro HDR on different workshops and while I was impressed at the performance, it wasn’t until my recent trip to Morocco did I fully understand just how powerful an app it is. It transforms the iPhone into a camera I can’t seem to put down!

One of my traveling companions in Morocco, Raya, is a big fan of iPhone photography. To see more of her work check out her blog:

She uses it as her exclusive camera. I shared the Pro HDR app with her and she instantly loved it. In most situations I didn’t make the effort to pull out my camera but my iPhone was always at the ready. It become contagious. I had to do it and it didn’t take long before I was hooked. Pro HDR travel photography is a blast, pure and simple. It’s not necessarily about the HDR, the app does an incredible job in most situations, has incredibly intuitive controls and you have a finished image in a matter of seconds.

It is a bit ironic that I’m using an HDR app, as I do my fine art work with manual blends. HDR software isn’t to the point where it’s useable if your aim is realistic imagery, but this app is the best I’ve seen in software, and I’m more likely to push the boundaries of realism with an iPhone pic than I am with an image I aim to hang on a wall.

Let’s get to some examples!

It really took off in the incredibly beautiful town of Chefchaouen, Morocco.


Incredible blues…


Everywhere you look!


and continued into Spain…




Could it work for landscapes too?


Why not!

February Road Trip

It’s time for some landscape photography! From Feb. 13th – 23rd I will have the chance to photograph Yosemite, Death Valley, and possible the Alabama Hills and somewhere in Oregon (weather dependent). Before I leave for a trip I always like to include some links to images that have inspired me in these locations.

I hope you enjoy these images as much as I do!

Over the Top by Ryan Dyar

Natural Firefall by Jeff Sullivan

Tunnel View Just After a Winter Storm by Kevin McNeal

Badwater on Fire by Jim Patterson

Stormy Mesquite Dunes by Stephen Oachs

I'm Back!

It’s been a while I know, and it’s time to get back to bloggin’. This summer was full of hiking and shooting, an incredible growing experience for me as a landscape and wildlife photographer. Spending time in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park was an eye opening journey into the world of wildlife photography. That experience really instilled in me that I wasn’t going to just shoot landscapes for my career. I’ve been back from my adventures for a little while now and I have been busy at work on my new website – It is finally completed and now I’m going through the process of optimizing it for search engines. It was an interesting experience which had me learning some CSS, a good deal of copying and pasting different code, and relying on endless forum posts to get just the look I wanted. I am pretty happy with it so far and fortunately, being hosted on smugmug means that I can evolve it as needed.

I have numerous posts planned, from trip reports to hiking tips, there is plenty to discuss! This weekend I leave for Zion National Park where I hope the fall colors come a little early, and I can add some Southwest images to my portfolio. Until next post (which will be sooner than later!)

August Road Trip

I leave tomorrow for a 16 day adventure including Palouse Falls, Yellowstone National Park, Grand Tetons National Park, and the Wind River Range. There are two major hikes planned. The first is Sky Pilot, a 37 mile loop through the heart of the Winds. The second is the Teton Crest Trail, 35 miles through the spine of the Tetons. I’m bringing my wide angle lens and, because of the wildlife, I’m bringing my 400mm lens. It’ll be interesting to lug all that camera equipment through the mountains, but hopefully the images captured will be worth it. I’m extremely excited for the adventure and will be sharing the photos upon my return!

These photos are an inspiration for me on this trip:

Palouse Falls Sunrise by Chip Phillips

Horizontal Grand Teton Sunset by Chip Phillips

Beaver Pond Reflection by Jeff Sullivan

Something Special by Leviathor