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!


Light in Denali


Natural Lighting

Nikon D800; AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED @ 38mm, f/5.6, 1/800 (-1/3EV)

This photograph was taken from a ridge in the Toklat River Valley in Denali National Park. The weather shifts frequently and rapidly in Denali–a relatively well-experienced phenomenon. Here clear sky has been covered by a light layer of clouds, but the bright midday sky shines through on certain aspects. The contrast is exceptionally high, adding depth to the visage of a place that already awes in its endlessness. Watching these patterns unfold, flow over this place, it’s easy to get lost, a challenge to your significance.

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.

Exploring Quebec City

Rue Haldimand

A world heritage site since 1985, Old Quebec City is one of the most beautiful, well-maintained and abundantly touristic places you might ever go. The cobbled streets, wet with melting ice, glimmer under the moon and a bright night sky. A person can walk these streets endlessly. Many turn and snake unpredictably within the ramparts of the old city, ushering visitors unknowingly in circles and spirals through streets cleanly lined with grey stone buildings. These buildings are mostly single-family homes or apartments, boutique hotels and shops. Restaurants, pubs, churches and government fill the rest.

Petit Champlain Streets

We stayed on Rue Saint Louis, just inside the Saint Louis gate and comfortably within Vieux-Quebec, seemingly in another place and time. After settling in, we put on our hiking boots to safely navigate the snow-and-ice-covered hills above the Saint Lawrence River. It was night and the streets were mostly deserted. We took our first left onto Rue Sainte-Ursule which humped concavely into our first bit of treachery. Sainte Ursule is the namesake of the Ursuline Convent which was built 1639 and is the oldest women’s learning institution in North America. The convent itself is unbecoming, it cleanly matches the typical homes in the city and fits nearly in the center of Vieux-Quebec.Other than its white-enameled metal roof, it would attract no special attention to the otherwise ambivalent.

Rue Saint Ursule

Somehow we reached Rue Saint-Jean without slipping on the only lighted-salted ice luge of a street. Rue Saint-Jean is probably the most touristy of the streets within the city, otherwise well-preserved. Boutique shops, Irish pubs, a Starbucks, a McDonald’s and other restaurants fill the street with brightly lit and colorfully painted signs. We were headed for poutine, something rib-sticking to help us recover from an eventful day of cross-country skiing in the mountains north of Quebec on route 175. At the recommendation of our exceedingly hospitable bed & breakfast host, we found Ashton, or Chez-Ashton, a Quebecois fast-food chain specializing in burgers, sandwiches and, well, poutine. At first glance its a mix between McDonald’s and Arby’s. This impression led to the awkward exchange of glances between two calorie-depleted souls. It was too late to call an audible, so we ordered a large poutine and got down to work. I’d have to say it was the rubbery cheese curds covered in Chez Ashton’s spicy gravy that replenished and rejuvenated me.

Quebec City Hall

Energized and ready to explore some more by the light of the moon. We continued down Rue Saint-Jean until we reached Saint Patrick’s Pub (there are a lot of Irish pubs in Quebec) and split left, onto an unlit street (Couillard) working our way toward the tip of the wall, where we would peer out at the confluence of the Saint Lawrence and Saint Charles rivers. The rampart (wall) was adorned with canons. As we continued to the right, up the hill along Rue des Ramparts, we passed twenty more canons, each facing perfectly out toward the river, where the British would most certainly come from when they invaded during the Seven Year War. Unfortunately the canons did little to protect French Quebec in 1759, as the Battle of Quebec saw British invasion from the hills west of the fort.

A wider perspective of Old Quebec

Walking against the ordered one-way streets, we passed the Notre-Dame Basilica and turned up Rue du Fort. Impeccably lit in the brisk winter night, the formidable Chateau Frontenac immediately impressed itself upon us. This is the most notable piece of architecture in Vieux Quebec. Built under Canadian sovereignty in 1893, it towers high above the great stone walls on the Saint Lawrence banks. After some lustful wandering around the Frontenac, we got on the next main street, which, to our great surprise, was Rue Saint Louis. We followed this a few blocks until we reached our bed & breakfast (B&B Saint Louis), where we comfortably retired, exhausted and without dessert.

The next day allowed for much more exploration, hours of walking about the city in bright winter daylight, a deep blue sky and yellow-cast stone buildings. I dragged Emily through a tour of the Quebec Parliament building, which was breathtaking and politically intriguing. We took a very affordable trip up to the Observatoire de la Capitale, where we caught incredible views in every direction around the city. We trudged our way through the snow-covered hill to the top the of citadel–Emily post-holed her way up a cliff while I took the well-traveled route and kept from falling. The Cathedral-Basilica of Notre-Dame, was destroyed during the Battle of Quebec, rebuilt from 1786-1822, and burned to the ground in 1922 but was again rebuilt and restored by 1933. Making time for a quick stop through was well worth it for glimpses of the elaborate interior–similar in elegance but smaller than its counterpart in Montreal.

The Glorious Notre-Dame Basilica

Our last meal in the city was designed for celebration. Legende provided our tastebuds with plenty of joy as we moved through nine seafood preparations (a shrimp nugget, scallops in pesto, sturgeon gizzard salad, sea snail salad, Arctic char terrine, smoked sturgeon, smoked salmon, mussel salad and a smoky sea clam chowder), seared duck breast and delicious bread with a meat jus butter. This grand display of local and traditional ingredients was the perfect way to end a week-long trip through wintery Quebec, matching our wonderment and indulgence at Au Pied de Cochon.

Chateau Frontenac Towers above the Quartier Petit Champlain

If I had to do it all again, I would.
During our trip in, we took a planned diversion to drive route 354, along Riviere Sainte-Anne. Covered in ice patches and with snow blowing off the crests of plowed embankments, it was a little treacherous and slow-going. But it felt worlds away, with small farms and quaint village centers marked by their church steeples and bridges. That feeling is what would compel me take more time to explore the coastal, colonial towns out past Saguenay, past the mouth of the Saint Lawrence River and along Atlantic Ocean. And after prefacing our stay in Quebec city with a two-night camp in the wooded Reserve faunique des Laurentides (in the Laurentian Mountains), I would happily do that again.

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

The Beltane Ranch

I feel as though I’ve spent the last month wandering randomly around the states. I have two major things to show for all my wandering. 1) The completion of an intense work schedule. (I’m sure it’ll get better… right?) 2) About 3,000 photographs, 2,000 discarded straight-away, and about 300 more I’d like to eventually share.

Welcome!Though not the beginning of my journey, this series of photos is the start of a much needed two-day kick back, and my first time in California Wine Country. After much deliberation we finally settled on what appeared, through all accounts and photographs, to be the perfect bed and breakfast, at a price I could settle for: The Beltane Ranch. What ensued was all I could have asked for. Following a wet and foggy afternoon of cave-ridden wine tasting, this place was the perfect escape.

Beltane Ranch Main House

Emily and I bought some brie in Sonoma. We couldn’t decide which kind so we got both. And some pepper jelly. And crackers of course. The ranch gave us a nice wooden cheese board, we popped the cork out of a bottle of Alexander Valley Cab and sank in, absorbing the perfectly adorned everything in our corner room [this isn’t a review so I didn’t take a photo]. An hour later we drove the two whole rainy miles into Glen Ellen where we dined on carmelized onion soup, pumpkin raviolis, and boar shank. On a Thursday night in the late fall, it was packed by 8, but we still felt alone and away.

Emily at Beltane Ranch

The next morning we awoke for a slow coffee walk around the ranch, taking in the tennis courts, the horses, cows, tractors, mud, flowers, garden… There was a lot to see before the clouds covered up the blue skies and we returned for breakfast–a goat cheese omelette, fruit and blueberry muffins. This was accompanied with terrific company and conversation. Refreshed, we packed up and, regrettably, got on our way.

Nikon D800, Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G ED, Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 Pro AT-X

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 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.