03Oct

My Flomax commercial…not really

Okay- here I was, up in the state of Washington heading over the border to British Columbia, shooting a few editorial magazine jobs in both areas- combining it with a sports / road trip, just happy to be with good friends – something I’ve needed for a long time.  


And as we drove from Seattle to Vancouver by way of Snohomish, I sat in the back seat (a place I’m definitely not use to) with a smile on my face and a slow heartbeat.  We joked about someday renting a convertible and being the guys in the flomax commercial.  As we headed up Interstate 5 towards the US/Canada border, we past a beautiful forested area near Bellingham and Mt Baker where I shot this image.

Although it was an impromptu capture of friends on a road trip, and a nice but not once-in-a-lifetime-photo, it still took all of my photographic exposure experience to meter the outdoor light, use my pop-up fill-flash to add detail in the backlit shaded interior (couldn’t use my strobe flash unit since it was just too large in the Acura TL we were riding in), chose a super wide-angle lens to frame the scene, all the while driving 70 MPH in the small sedan with the sun shining straight into my lens (an aspect I desired since I knew it would add an extra spark to the scene).

My exposure was f/5.6 @ 1/200 second in manual mode, spot metering, using ISO 100, fill-flash, and a 12mm lens…not that this would help a ton to reproduce the image – only the specs of what I chose for the particular situation.

Dope road trip – cool assignments – great sporting events and outdoor activities.  Maybe in 20 years I’ll try the same shot in our convertible, as our grey hair flows in the wind.  🙂

23Sep

Google Earth is the best, true that, double true!

Last week, while on my way to a Seattle Mariner game at Safeco Field, I was walking through downtown Seattle with a friend who pointed out the tallest building in Washington.  “It use to be the tallest building west of the Mississippi”, he stated.  Moving close to the front facade, I pointed my wide-angle lens up toward the sky and captured this image- we were trying to make the first pitch of the ball game, so I didn’t spend much time trying to find out more about the location, however I knew I could license the image to a publication or two at a later time, or turn it over to my stock agency to do the same.


Off we went and I didn’t think much about the image until it showed up on my computer in Adobe Bridge (Photoshop’s media manager for imagery and RAW digital files).  Opening the graphic shot, I came to like it more and realized I hadn’t gathered enough information for a solid caption.  Off to Google Earth an jammin’ free Mac/PC application that let’s you go anywhere on Earth- one of those scary I-hope-the-terrorists-don’t-get-into-this programs allowing you to fly over mountains, view any landscape at any angle and elevation, and navigate through cities past three-dimensional buildings.  It’s addicting for sure. 

So I typed in Seattle and in a few seconds found my original location of this photo- through links and information on the building I was able to gather all the facts and figures I needed.  

The Columbia Center, the building on the right (along Fourth & Fifth Avenues and Cherry & Columbia Streets) is the tallest skyscraper in the downtown Seattle skyline at 937 feet.  It is also the 19th tallest in the US- constructed in 1982 and completed in 1985. The building on the left is the Seattle Municipal Tower

, 62 stories high, completed in 1990 (designed by Bassetti Architects).

I hadn’t played around enough with the 3D city views in Google Earth and was so amazed by it, I decided to see if I could recreate the view I captured in this virtual globe platform. Sure enough, after a little finageling, I was able to get it pretty close- I’d say close enough.

Wow.  Our world in real-time, available for so many educational functions including a travel photographer gathering caption info for his commercial business.

19Sep

Seattle at sunrise


Being a night owl, I’m not a big morning person- although as an nature and travel photographer, I’ve had to get up at dawn a ton of times to catch and photograph sunrise.


Sunrise not only has a wonderful quality to it with beautiful light, but air is usually cleaner and clearer.  And although the first 15 minutes waking up is painful, I’m always glad I did so when I get out there.

Last Tuesday before returning to the Bay Area from the Pacific Northwest, I was due to photograph one of Jimmie Hendrix guitars at the Experience Music Project (EMP) in Seattle, Washington- one he smashed during a performance (for a Via magazine article).  The problem was I needed to reschedule my flight and didn’t want to pay the change fee – so I headed to the airport with a friend at 6am, booked myself on stand-by for a noon flight, and headed back to downtown Seattle with another friend (who works in the financial district).

After catching a cab to the EMP (a wonderful music museum founded by Paul Allen) arriving there at sunrise, I had a few hours to kill so I decided to photograph the the Space Needle which stands right next to EMP.  The light was beautiful and clear, there were few people around, 
and I spent the next two hours playing around documenting some of the amazing architecture with a few of my wide-angle lenses.  

Here are some of the images captured that morning with my Nikon D200 digital SLR camera– images I didn’t plan on taking, but was able to get due to certain circumstances, my experience understanding light, as well as creative play with no particular goal in mind.  “Chance favors the prepared mind” as Ansel Adams once wrote.