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!


The Olympic Mountain Range, from Elliott Bay

The Olympic Mountain Range from Elliott BayI don’t have much to say about this panorama. It’s a few shots stitched together. This is the sort of natural beauty that makes putting your eye to good use so very rewarding. I’m lucky and thankful to have so much beauty around me, and happy to celebrate it.

AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VRII

This panorama can be printed up to 200 inches wide for a wall mounting.

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.

A Meteor in the Milky Way

Milky Way MovingThe Perseid Meteor Shower was this weekend. I was late to the game. Clouds obstructed my view the first night I hoped to capture the galactic madness. Nonetheless, I went for it again on Saturday Night and I caught our stars twisting around us. In the middle of an hour-long exposure, what appeared to be a meteor (but let’s be honest, it’s probably a plane), zipped through the sky directly above me.

As we spun slowly through the Milky Way, the perspective shifted, lending itself to capture as not much more than a colorful abstraction. It’s amazing to think about the different physical properties of the thousands of stars in this photo that alter their brilliance and color.

In Anacortes: Boats and Baby Sea Lions

Nordic Tugboat

A few weeks ago, I found myself, by many strokes of good fortune, in Anacortes. Within moments of arriving, My party had left our slip and was making our way calmly into the protected waters just south of the San Juan Islands. A short putt around the bay ended with a monster crab haul and an upcoming feast.

The sun fell slowly as we ate, signalling feeding hour for some local friends. With fresh crabmeat hanging from my lips, Doug called my attention to a group of sea lions drifting in the shallow water. When the light that remained was only what reflected off the clouds, the sea lions hopped onto the dock to sleep. The clouds over the marina created an incredible contrast and reflected in the falling tide. By the ambient light and the lights of the marina, I crept around, capturing pictures of the boats and our amphibious friends.

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

Mt. Snoqualmie Sunset

Mt. SnoqualmieDuring the summer months, the Washington State Department of Transportation conducts blasting operations on the Snoqualmie Pass. On an evening drive to Wenatchee from Seattle, I chose to take the I-90 route to Cle Elum, then Blewitt Pass over to Leavenworth and highway 2 over to Wenatchee.

Well… In terms of convenience, this route did not pass muster on the night in question. Blasting was underway and I-90 was completely stopped as cliffs were trimmed and rock debris was clear from the freeway.

However, as a photographer who refuses to travel without his camera, I was prepared for a little delay. The stop provided me with a rare vantage up Commonwealth Basin straight to Mt. Snoqualmie. Here is a result of my good fortune.

Stopped on I-90

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