Wigglegram: Milky Way over Kalaloch Beach

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Taken back in October 2015, when I camped near Kalaloch Beach in Olympic National Park in Washington State on my Nikon D700, f/2.8 at 14mm.

There’s a lot of things I love about gifs, but one of the things is that it allows you to capture a passage of time that you just can’t with a static image. This is 5 shots, each 20 seconds, of the Milky Way as it moves through the sky over the pacific ocean, over about a period of 2 minutes.

I don’t know if I can say enough about the night sky. People often ask whether or not it actually looked like this. And it’s hard to say “well, not quite”. Sure with it being a long exposure, it captures the milky way a little more brilliantly than may be seen with the naked eye, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s not actually the way it looks. There is so much of this scene that can’t be captured by just our eyes, or even captured by a photo.

Sometimes we just assume that only the things the rods and cones can detect are what is real, but there are parts of the spectrum that aren’t visible to us but are there nonetheless.

Anyway, I’m not sure what I’m trying to say here, except, yes, these photos are real, and they’re spectacular.

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Wigglegram: Doune Castle (Monty Python & The Holy Grail)

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From our trip overseas back in March. Took the Hairy Coo tour to the Scottish Highlands and got to see the Doune Castle. Yeah, that’s right, the same one seen in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Snagged this pic of the fellas enjoying themselves in front of the castle… just as the gate was closing.

I aligned this photoshop, and since I used a wide angle lens, you can see the difference in distortion causing the whole castle to wiggle between frames.

Ohanapecosh Campground, Mt Rainier

Just steps from my campsite at Ohanapecosh Campground in Mt. Rainier National Park, you can find the Ohanapecosh river.

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Taken at dusk, back in October of 2015, using a polarizing filer. Really makes a difference to cut some reflections in the water to get that clarity for long exposure shots. Just thinking about it, and looking at this photo makes me want to get back out into the wilderness, and hear the soothing sounds of running water.

As a bonus, here’s a short timelapse of me setting up camp:

 

Where was one of your favorite places you’ve camped?

London on Film

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Back in March, some friends and I took a quick trip across the pond to spend some time in the UK, and visit our friend Samer (top left).

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Hm. What to bring?

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I wanted to travel light, as I was only spending a week traveling, but I always have such a hard time doing that.

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I managed to fit everything into a backpack, and an american sized carry-on (Europeans use much smaller carry-ons, I’d come to find out), but as a midwesterner, I think minimalism is something we all struggle with. I brought both my DSLR gear and my film gear, which is probably overkill. 

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I was a little worried about placing all of my faith on my film gear on a trip like this, so I really wanted to have the versatility of my DSLR just in case (and if I wanted to shoot any video). 

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The film gear:

  • Bronica ETRSi w/ prism (6×4.5 Medium Format)
  • 2 120 film backs
  • 40mm f/4.0
  • 50mm f/2.8
  • 150mm f/3.5
  • 1 or 2 rolls of the following: Kodak Ektar 100, Fuji Velvia 100 (slide film), Kodak Portra 160, Fuji Pro400H, Kodak Portra 800, Ilford Delta 3200
  • Cheap Sekonic reflected light meter

(I probably didn’t need both the 40mm and 50mm, but I wanted the wide angle of the 40mm, but the aperture of the 50mm, and I couldn’t decide, so I ended up bringing both.)

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I used one of the film backs for indoor/night time photos (with either the 800 or 3200 speed films), and the other for outdoor/daytime photos (with one of the other films). Having 2 backs made it much more versatile, but there were some challenging situations where neither of them would have worked well, so I didn’t shoot anything, or where I wanted to ditch the backpack, and only carried my DSLR.

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We had a number of flights throughout, and bringing film with you is always a challenge, since they want to send everything through the x-ray. I managed to have my film hand-checked at a few checkpoints, but a couple were unavoidable, so we will see how some of those turn out when I finally get my high-ISO film developed.

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My goal was to get out there, and shoot at least 2 rolls a day (one low ISO, and one high ISO). I have been shooting film so sparsely, that the other goal was to use a variety of film, and then develop some opinions and preferences on which film stocks I liked.

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I only ended up averaging about 1.5 rolls a day, and shooting mostly outdoors, but I really liked how the majority of them turned out.

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I was excited to get these rolls home, as that would be enough for me to actually mix my own C-41 chemicals, and develop at home.

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I developed these in my kitchen sink using Patterson reels and developing tank, and the Unicolor 1L C-41 powder kit. You gotta pretty precise with the temperature and timing, so I  kept the tank and the bottles in a bath or warm water to help regulate the temperature.

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Overall, I’m pretty please with how these turned out. After drying, I scanned them in on an Epson V600. I still have a ways to go with nailing the colors and white balance; but I think that has a lot to do with how I exposed, and the variation in film stocks, and also how I scanned. I’ll get there some day, but until then…

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Thank You for reading.

 

Glacier National Park

Somedays, it is hard to believe there is this much beauty in the world.

This past fall, I took my dog, Obie, with me on a roadtrip to the west coast. I had just been laid off from my job, and I had also just adopted Obie, so I figured that was as good a time as any to take a roadtrip, and hit some National Parks I hadn’t made it to yet. Here are some nice photos I took while I was in Glacier National Park.

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Obie tests the waters of Swiftcurrent Lake

 

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She says, “The water’s nice. Come on in.”

 

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Dog-gone-wild.

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Sunlight pushes past Mt. Grinnell

 

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A Closer Look: Autumn Colors

 

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I had previously shared this photo, but it was so good I had to post it again. I also have an alternate photo, shot simultaneously with my D700, which also happened to catch the same shooting star.

 

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This is the alternate shot; with the 24mm f/1.4, you can see it has captured more details in the peaks rather than just the silhouette of the peaks.

 

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A couple nights after the supermoon, but even without the full moon, it was bright enough to light up the scenery and obscure the Milky Way.

 

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The next morning was a struggle to get up and moving. But when you have scenes like this, you can’t just sleep in. Long exposure shot with a 10 stop ND filter and a polarizing filter.

It was a lot colder than I anticipated in late September, and so I camping meant I had to sleep in my tent with multiple layers on in my sleeping bag. I camped at the Many Glaciers side of the park, and although the campsite was busy, I was able to find a spot even though I had showed up late that evening. There was a lot more of the park I missed, even though I ended up driving the Going-to-the-Sun Road on the way out, but I made relatively few stops there as I made my way further west.

Landscape photography can be hard in that way. If you don’t already have an idea of where to photograph, you might spend a lot of time trying to find the perfect spot, or you might waste a lot of time thinking there is a better spot somewhere else. In the end, you just have to work with what you have. Sometimes, you just aren’t spending enough time in a place to be too picky, and there are only certain windows of time which will allow you the photo you envisioned. And sometimes, you just get lucky with the right conditions and get to take home some nice photos.