Shi Shi

At the northwest tip of the US is Cape Flattery. Just south is Shi Shi. A two-mile stretch of Paradise. A soaking wet hike through the temperate Olympic rain forest reveals the beach, bracketed by smokestacks.

Seagulls fly across the Point of Arches

Seagulls fly across the Point of Arches

On this particular trip we emerged, drenched, to a drizzling sky and wet sand. The dark overcast reminded us that we were still in the Northwest, despite other signs to the contrary.

We quickly set up tents and Spence got his board waxed. This ritual inspired some change in the atmosphere. The clouds parted and we spent the next 36 hours under bright, warm sun and wispy clouds.


Spence waxes his board; the clouds begin to thin

Those next 36 were spent barefoot, aimlessly wandering the beach, combing tidepools, poking anemones, searching for sea otters and cooking steaks and bacon over open beach-wood flame.


Paradise, as far as the eye can see

Click for gallery view!


East Fork, Upper Toklat, Denali NP


A creek edges off the east fork of the Upper Toklat River. Nikon D800, f/2.8G 24-70mm @27mm, f/7.1, 1/800s, ISO 200

A mile or so off the road in Denali National Park, we descended into this rocky river shoal. This creek flows calmly off the Toklat as winds start to creep up the valley. Just before starting in, we were warned of the wind tunnel this river valley could become. As we walked south following the river, the gusty breeze turned to a gale, sand and water whipping us in the face. Despite it being past 11PM, I put my sunglasses on to protect my eyes from the projectile mist. We stared west, considering a river crossing to escape the wind. The river was too deep this late in the day, so we decided to head back for the hills. There was no protection nearby. The only aparent hope far out of our way. Foolishly, we decided to set up camp behind a short corner and a large shrub that killed only a bit of the howling air, not nearly enough. We wondered if we would sleep as we dawned our masks. Hardly did.

The photo was taken earlier that day (around 10:30 PM AST) looking south up the east fork of the upper Toklat River valley. Below is a shot from the north side of the river, taken the night before we crossed daringly through. You can see the wind whipping a particulate of concrete off the shoal.


Nikon D800, f/2.8G 24-70mm @ f/9.0, 1/250s, ISO 160 (12:00AM Midnight AST)



Nature in Eastern Washington

Shot in Nature 12

I love taking these up-close, detailed, not-quite-macro shots when I’m out hiking or walking around. My friends often find me in odd positions, dirtying my jeans, elbows, and everything else to get the right angle on the subject. Sometimes the back-bending results in something great. This is a random collection of those shots.

Escape to Blodgett Creek (Birthday Tribute Post)


A life in flux is an exciting life. But sometimes you just need a breather. Something to put your mind at ease.

In a recent transition, I took three days to celebrate my Grandpa Walt’s birthday in his home in Stevensville, Montana. Regrettably, I had never been to his home there, and not for lack of desire. Well. I was glad I went. I got to see him, spend time with my family and enjoy some of the most beautiful, easily accessible, and pristine wilderness I’ve ever seen.

A short trip up Blodgett Creek Canyon was all I needed to put my mind at ease, to reflect on recent experiences and grow.

And happy birthday to wonderful Grandfather and my buddy Spencer (today)!


Nikon D800, AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED, Hoya HMC NDX400
21 Shot Pano Stitch
@ f/5.6, 1.3s, ISO 100

Lake Ingalls Part II: Jeff the Mountain Goat

The Lake Ingalls hike in the Snoqualmie Forest is not only known for its breathtaking vistas of Mt Stuart. It also has the reputation to be teeming with mountain goats. I had my fingers crossed that I would see some–for my first time–out in the wild at 6,500 feet.

On the journey up we crossed paths with some backpackers who had just finished their third night up near the lake. Since it was my first time up there, I got to talking with them about their experience. At the end, I asked if they’d seen any mountain goats, since I was so eager to. When they said no, my heart sank in disappointment. My hopes lowered and I refocused on the landscape aspect of the journey.

As I climbed the final rocky path to reach the lake, a group of hikers saw me with my gear and were excited to tell me that just ahead there was a mountain goat. Sure enough, after about 30 more paces, the mountain goat appeared. I approached cautiously, as you always should, and came within a few paces before kneeling down and watching him pick the needles. bark., and lichen from a sapling. I snapped “a few” shots of him doing his thing before continuing to the basin where my friend Lindsay was relaxing by the lake. I was compelled to ask her if she’d met “Jeff,” the mountain goat. For my own entertainment, I had given this young goat a very normal, human name. But Jeff also represents one of the most exciting learning opportunities I have had to build my wildlife photography skill. And beyond that, he is the living connection I have to one of the most beautiful places I have experienced.

For more awesome pics of mountain goats, check out my buddy Spencer’s photos. Some of these will blow your mind.

Nikon D800, AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VRII, AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED

Lake Ingalls Under Mt Stuart

Lake Ingalls Panorama
I’ve been hoping to do this hike for years. Up until this last weekend, it had evaded me. Weekend after weekend from summer into fall I plotted trips. But with consistently bad luck, each weekend I picked seemed to be doomed by clouds and rain. I even dragged my friends out in early winter for a snowshoe. We turned back a hundred yards under Longs Pass as a blizzard blew in.

But finally, on my last weekend for the foreseeable future in the Northwest, the weather was perfect: mid 70s with a slight breeze blowing through the mountain passes. I took hundreds of pictures, prolonging this journey by hours and eliminating my alpine lake nap-time. But it was worth it. I am proud to have captured one of the most beautiful, prized and quintessential hikes in Washington.

As I climbed over the final rock into the lake basin, I was greeted by a young mountain goat (photos coming later). I continued down to the lake, removing my hiking boots and soaking my feet in the ice cold water. As I did this, I stared across the space in front of me, unable to focus my gaze on the immense beauty of Mt. Stuart under late-day sunlight and reflected in the still lake. The feeling was meditative and mindful, yet at the same time, the overwhelming calm lulled me into relaxation. By the time I snapped out of it, my feet were numb. The grass I stepped out onto felt like pins and needles.

As a photographer, my passion for landscape comes from the desire to capture and share these feelings. But the natural beauty, the presence and awe of the moment is challenging to capture. To hone my skill and capture these moments and scenes defines my success in sharing these feelings.

Nikon D800, AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED, Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8G AT-X, Hoya HMC NDx400, Hoya NDx8


Post-Cascade Wilderness

As a Seattlite, I love spending time in the Cascades. Hiking the mountains and alpine lakes, skiing the endless white wilderness in the middle of winter. Pacific Northwesterners are drawn out of the cities, to celebrate their surrounding. Perhaps its the natural beauty and purity of their backyard. Driving over Snoqualmie Pass, through the Cascades is a challenge. While the mountains and lakes beckon at the peak, I often push through. The variety of landscape is immense and endless adventures await those who are willing to explore.