Tuesday, February 27, 2018


Nothing disturbs the silence of a snow shrouded forest in the early hours of a winter morning after a the thick blanket was laid down by the blizzard that raged the night before. Every fern is sculpted, the thin branches of maples and alder guilded in shining powder, the wide branches of douglas fir and the imposing cones of cedars weighed down by drifts of crystals. As the day warms, the glittering suessian wonderland will collapse, raining down avalanches of powder that will catch the light like diamonds and dance to Earth. For now, though, it is as if time has stopped, and not a breath of wind disturbs the perfect quiet of the woods.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Desperate Times at the Edge of Paradise

Arriving late to a popular National Park in the middle of summer with no reservations of any kind is a bad idea. Nevertheless, there we were, goggling at the massive, soaring peaks of Glacier National Park - without a clue where we’d be staying that night. Well into the afternoon we learned at the Logan Pass Visitor center that all the big campgrounds were already full. A smaller, less developed campground was our only chance. With that in mind we chose the nearest, and as the sun began dying in the west, we fled down the mountain, ignoring many a famous viewpoint in our haste.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Soaring over the Snow - Aerial Photography of Winter in Southwest Washington

Glittering fields, frosted trees, and frozen marshes. Landscapes in the lowlands of Southwest Washington can be a dull subject for photography, especially in the winter, but with a layer of fresh snow and an eye in the sky with the DJI Spark the world is transformed and great photos are easy to find.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Thunderstorms and Memories of Old Wars on Whitebird Hill

On the long drive between Glacier National Park and central Idaho there is a particularly steep and infamous hill that strains the engine of many a car and is often clogged by slowly creeping semis churning their way up the steep grade. The original road can still be seen across the valley from the summit: a winding contorted collection of switchbacks that makes the casual traveler on the modern highway grateful for the newer road's lack of terrifying curves. However, it’s not the road that is of interest - this place has a much older and bloodier history to explore. Though today the only storms that visit White Bird Hill are those wild thunderstorms of an Idaho summer, once, nearly a hundred and fifty years ago, it was the thunder of war that broke the silence of the hills.

Sigma 150-600mm Contemporary Review

Wildlife photography is perhaps the most demanding genre of photography in terms of gear. Since most of the time you can't (and shouldn't) get up close to wildlife, you need a massively long lens in order to capture those amazing shots like the pros get. In most areas of photography, the skill of the photographer is far more of a factor in great images than the gear they use, but when it comes to wildlife you not only need a high degree of skill, you also have the gear to match. If you have the skill, but not the dough, the Sigma 150 - 600mm Contemporary lens offers a way to get into wildlife photography without taking out a second mortgage.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Secrets of the Woodland Realm

Look more closely at that favorite forest trail you like to walk. Passing by, you will see very little - just a lot of green that seemingly lacks variety. A sea of moss with some bushes and trees poking out of it. Kneel down, let the mud stain your jeans and your hair fill with flecks of bark. Put your eye right up close to that sea of moss that seemed so much a monoculture of lichenous growth. You will find another forest hidden in plain sight; a secret woodland realm just as, if not more complex that the one we walk ourselves.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Signs of Wilderness

Humans have a habit of creating boundaries that are essentially meaningless. We love dividing the world up into mine and thine, and the results of this love of borders, fences, and boundaries is in some cases visible from space. For me, the boundary with the greatest meaning is that which bounds our wildest and best protected places: Wilderness.

Ever since I started hiking in my early teens I have had a fascination with the rugged markers of these pristine havens - weatherbeaten gray slabs of wood that stand sentinel to these bastions of untamed country. Each proclaims with silent, implacable finality that past this point the works of man are not permitted. Leave your clanking, whirring, roaring contraptions behind. Once across this line you will tread with care, leaving as little mark as possible on the land, and you shall not remain in this place. Past this point is the kingdom of untamed creatures, and its rulers; the wolf, the bear, the elk, and the rest. Do not permit your emigration into their domain lest it be forever altered.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Sunsets and the Super Moon

Last week I went out to photograph the Super Blue Blood Moon. I got a few good shots, and even tried flying my DJI Spark drone up to film it from a higher angle. However, the drone struggled to pick up the moonlight with it's tiny little camera, and a rain storm soon concealed the moon and forced me indoors. However, when combined with video from a couple of sunset flights, I got enough footage to make this ( perhaps overly dramatic) video.


Thursday, February 1, 2018

A close encounter with infinity at Takhlakh Lake

There is an illusive experience that may be found only in the depths of space, or in the wildest corners of our public. The realization of our utter insignificance in comparison with the unimaginable vastness of the cosmos is a revelation that most of the human race never experiences. People tend to bury themselves in the safe, comforting bubbles we all create for ourselves, tucked away inside a house or high in an apartment building within the concealing haze of our atmosphere. It is easy, in such a life, to believe that there is nothing more; that we are an unstoppable force in a tiny, helpless world. It takes a special sort of experience to shatter such delusions.

Those who chose to explore our public lands will find wonders that make them feel small indeed. Small adventures give you a taste of the grander scheme, but seldom do they cross the line into illusion shattering territory. Still, growing up with the small adventures, one tends not to build up the really strong homo-aggrandizement. Yet, even for me, with all I have seen, it was not until last summer that I got a real look at the true scale of the universe.

Winter Camping on the Wild Olympic Coast

There are few places more primal and untamed than the wild coast of Olympic National Park. Its rugged cliffs and rock strewn beaches are lashed by the fury of the Pacific Ocean, and that fury builds to a crescendo in the midst of the Pacific Northwest Winter when great typhoons bring pounding surf, torrents of rain, and howling winds to the twisted forests and the snow capped mountains that rise over the lowland rainforest. Exploring the Olympic Wilderness coast in winter is not for the faint of heart.

There is some insane part of my soul that drives me out there into the maelstrom, despite the repeated misery of past experiences. The raw power of nature on display is intoxicating, and to spend days at this point where the forces of land and water clash is an experience like no other.