Cool Portland Timelapse

Love the raised bridges!

Vimeo video: The Art of Time-Lapse (Portland)


Review – High Sierra: A Journey on the John Muir Trail

I recently had the opportunity to screen High Sierra: A Journey on the John Muir Trail and have to admit that of all the High Sierra, Yosemite, and John Muir Trail films I have watched none have given me the itch to hike like this one did. Shot in both an artistic and documentary perspective the film not only brings the beauty of the High Sierra into your living room but puts you right there on the trail. It’s no surprise this is an award winning film recognized at three film festivals. The family was so enthralled with it that we watched it three times in three days (I squeezed in one more while they slept). One of the things that makes this such a great video about trekking is that the guys doing it aren’t the typically geared out over prepared types seen in films like this. This is a group of normal guys going on a grand adventure proving wilderness expertise is not a pre-requisite to such an adventure (I’m not implying anyone can just head out there and do this at a moments notice, it takes lots of preparation and planning). Throughout the journey the viewer gets a real sense of belonging as the group shares their thoughts and feelings overcoming obstacles (both mental and physical) and succeeding despite their own doubts. The documentary, High Sierra: A Journey on the John Muir Trail, is available on Blu-ray DVD from Amazon and is worth every one of those hard earned pennies you will pay for it. Enjoy the brief trailer below then head over to the official website for more great High Sierra: A Journey on the John Muir Trail information.

I would like to thank the film’s director, Pete Bell, for exposing my family and me to this fantastic film!

YouTube video: High Sierra: A Journey on the John Muir Trail – Trailer


Eye Contact

Time to Focus on Me (you will need to view large to see the eye contact)

Brent Paul just posted Eye Contact Establishes That Vital Connection, the second in a two part series, over on Black Star Rising. I highly recommend reading it. While the point of Brent’s article is about making absolutely sure that the eyes are where our focus is the sharpest, it got me to thinking about eye contact in general. As an event photographer I capture a lot of images without eye contact. This works in event photography because the image is about that moment in that environment and capturing whatever emotion or interaction is taking place. Eye contact isn’t established because I don’t want participants aware that I am capturing their image, thus altering their behavior and changing the moment. So I sneak around hiding behind objects and people and generally lurking in the shadows. This doesn’t mean that eye contact is never made, it’s just not a part of what I am trying to capture, unlike when shooting portraits or other types of images.

Outtakes - Jess

Outtake - Jess - Apparently it's all my fault

I was thinking about my recent shoot with Jess and recalling how impressed I was with her understanding of the importance of eye contact. As I stood behind half a dozen photographers I watched in amazement as she worked the entire group ensuring each had an opportunity to capture an image with direct eye contact. Regardless of how good some of the shots are without eye contact, it’s the ones when she was looking directly into my lens that speak to me (even if she was blaming me for something I’m sure I didn’t do).

On the flip side, eye contact doesn’t always have to be with the photographer. I recently shot a young couple and my favorite image from the set is one where they are making eye contact with each other. The image captures the emotion and sincerity of love. The image tells a story even though their eyes are not trained on the camera.

With all of that said, don’t forget about the eyes. Eyes are one of my favorite subjects because they can say so much about a person. I guess it’s time to pull that personal project out of the cob webs, dust it off, and get moving on it. I wonder where I put my schematics and drawings for a LED light I was going to make for close-up shots of eyes?

Young Love

Young Love

Jess in Vivid Color

Using different colored gels is a great way to liven things up. Heck, just using gels can bring life to an otherwise ordinary photo. I recently had a bride request a purple gel on the background of her wedding portraits (thankfully indigo was close enough) and I thought the request was crazy but gave it a try anyway. I have to give credit where credit is due, the indigo gel on the background light really put some zip into what would otherwise have been ordinary bridal portraits. A series of photo sessions and online discussion over the last few weeks have gotten me thinking about where the art has gone. While I think the mass consumerisation of photography is a good thing for the industry in the long run, some of the speed bumps along the journey are turning into potholes. But, you know what? The same thing happened to the high end audio industry in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. Remember “hi-fi”? Hang on, have to go change the 8-track. Alright, I’m back.

Anyway, my point is that photography is art, even when it’s a snapshot a parent grabbed of their kid or Gramma Betty grabbed of that pretty flower she’s always doting over. Art is in the eye of the beholder. Stop criticizing the work of others (I didn’t say stop critiquing) and go make some art; even if that requires some crayons and the kids menu at your local dine ‘n dive.


Entire post created on a first generation iPad while laying on packs of ice partially on my side. Wow, that’s almost as bad as having to change my 8-track.