Thursday, September 26, 2013

Fuzzy Faces

This summer, I had the privilege of working at Big Sky Bible Camp, in Big Fork, MT. Big Fork is probably the prettiest place I have ever spent more than a few days in. To my surprise, as the months went by, the majesty of the mountains, the sparkle of the lakes, and the intricateness of the wildflowers never faded.

The view from the dining hall
ISO 800,  f/22, 1/200s, 80mm
Unfortunately I didn't have a whole lot of time to spend taking pictures, and at that point I had very little knowledge of how to use my new DSLR. On weekends, I used areas of tall grasses as practice ground for using manual settings. These areas were teaming with color and insects under the 2pm sunshine, and I quickly became fascinated with the challenge of photographing the fluttering butterflies, bees and dragonflies. Although most of my settings were improper at best, I got some decent exposures.

ISO 400, f/8, 1/640s, 300mm
ISO 800,  f/11, 1/640s, 300mm
These are two of my favorites from the summer. I am fascinated by their little fuzzy faces and long sucker things. Unfortunately I took them both at an unnecessarily high f stop, and a higher ISO. Given what I know now, I would drop the f stop to 4 or so, and move the ISO to 100 or 200 to preserve quality and allow for larger prints.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Scotland Hot Sopts

In class on Tuesday, our group met to discuss our future trip to Scotland and Ireland. We agreed that we would all go home and research photography destinations in this area. After googling "Photography Destinations in Scotland" I found a great website, This is essentially an online gallery for photographers Jason Bonniface and Gavin Goppins. These photographers also happen to have  a strong interest in GIS (Geographic Information System), so they include a map of their favorite shooting locations and link the photos in the gallery to geographic locations on the map. A brief description of the location is also included. This could be a great source for planning information.

See the photo map here:

Below are some of my favorite photos and locations.

Taken looking south from the Hamlet of Hope, on the northern coast of Scotland

View from the summit ridge of Sgurr Mhic Choinnich

A herd of red deer just off of the main A9 Road to the north coast of Scotland

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Prints to Clay

Before I was seriously interested in photography, I was seriously interested in ceramics. I took my first ceramics class in high school, and fell in love with the feeling of throwing clay on a wheel. As of right now, ceramics is still my primary interest, but I am learning more and more about how expanding your mediums influences your creativity. Lee Akins, a ceramicist, has been using photography to help expand his creativity in his ceramic works. Although he generally doesn't base his ceramic work directly off of his photographs, the influence is pretty clear.

Check out this photo of weathered wood Akins took at Lake Kathrine, NM:

And now look at the ceramic vase he has created:

Although I don't have access to ceramic supplies right now, I am hoping that exploring photography will give me resources to pull from when I get a chance to put my hands in some clay again. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Pacific Cost Bike Trip

Garibaldi Lake, near Vancouver, BC.
Photo from
About a month ago, I got a phone call from my dear friend Caroline Jones, who was very excited about planning a bike trip for after her graduation in the spring. She had decided that we would take a 4-6 week bike trip from Vancouver, BC to San Francisco, CA - just over 1,200 miles.

The descriptions of the route spoke of sea lions, mountains, farmland, beaches, cliffs, and huge trees - providing a variety of great nature photography opportunities. The highlights include:

Sea Lion Caves, Oregon. 
Photo by Richard Nilsen

Redwood National Forest
near Crescent, CA
Golden Gate Bridge,
San Francisco, CA