I had an opportunity to visit the Grand Canyon for the first time recently, I stayed in a cabin near the Lodge, at the North Rim. I didn’t hike anywhere, really. Just drove about to the various viewpoints.
Wow. The vast space, the light, the colors all left me speechless.
Starting on September 15th I will be teaching two different Photography Classes through Burlington Parks and Recreation, they will be held at Maiben House, at 219 S. Skagit Street, in Burlington.
Basic DSLR Class
Taking pictures with your new DSLR is easy, just set it on auto and shoot away. Capturing GOOD pictures with your new DSLR…that’s harder. Quality photography starts with understanding how to set your exposure manually. This is NOT difficult to do. In this 2 hour workshop we’ll cover aperture, shutter speed and ISO and show you how to change them on your camera. Next we’ll discuss how to use these manual settings to create the images you want. We’ll practice the use bracketing your exposure to ensure you get the right shot, and more! We will also cover the use of polarizers and capturing images in the RAW format.
This class will be held on:
Thursday, September 15th, 6pm to 8pm
Tuesday, October 4th, 6 to 8pm
Thursday, November 10th, 6pm to 8pm
Tuesday, December 6th, 6pm to 8pm
How to Capture Awesome Images with your DSLR – Intermediate Level
In this class we will discuss different lenses, focal lengths and what they do; we’ll delve deeper into depth of field and how to master control over how much of what’s in front of you is in focus. Then we’ll cover the use of different shutter speeds to create stunning, unique images.
Next will be 2 advanced techniques to obtain a sharp focus throughout your entire image: Focus & Recompose and Hyperfocal Distance Focusing.
We will cover in detail how to capture Night Sky images of the stars and Milky Way. We will go over all the equipment needed, exact camera settings, locations for night sky imaging and more!
Finally I will cover my tips and tricks for capturing landscape images. We will spend time discussing (with LOTS of examples) Layering; Leading lines; the Rule of Thirds; Framing and more.
Prerequisites: You must have taken the How to Capture Awesome Images with your DSLR – Beginners Level 1 (aka Nature Photography – Beginners class) OR be VERY comfortable shooting in the Manual Mode with your current camera.
This class will be held on:
Tuesday, October 18th, 6pm to 8pm
Saturday, December 3rd, 10am to 12pm
Each class is $45. The classes are 2 to 2.5 hours long.
The trip started at Highway 20. My friend dropped the three of us off at the trail head and we ascended up through Devils Garden along the Jackita Ridge Trail. We were on a 12 day trip, heading north, along the Pacific Crest Trail, near the Canadian border, west to Ross Lake and south, back to the highway.
The trail afforded many wonderful views of Jack Mountain.
We arrived atop Devils Dome late in the afternoon and set up camp. Though we were atop the peak snow fields nearby supplied us with water.
The sunset was magnificent, but we watched it from inside our tent mesh because the mosquitoes were ravenous.
Devils Dome affords a 360 degree view of Jack Mountain, to the south, Hozomeen to the north.
The glaciated peaks of North Cascades National Park rose to the west and a broad expanse of the Pasayten lay to the east.
After a wonderful dinner we quickly went to sleep excited about the beauty tomorrow promised.
Something woke me up. I lay for a moment with eyes closed, sensing. There was a stillness, which was odd seeing that I was camped on a mountain top, and the smell of rain in the air. Suddenly opening my eyes I saw that the sky was clouded over. I lay for another moment reluctantly picturing myself getting up and putting the rain fly on the tent when I saw the flicker of lightning in the eastern sky. I sat up looking…there was another flash…and another.
Quickly exiting the tent I stood scanning the sky. There was lightning to the east…then to the south, then again, to the west…the dark tumultuous sky was alive with flashes, the peaks briefly illuminated and then again black shapes…I looked on in wonder…and then it stated raining.
I quickly awoke my two companions and let them know that they needed to get up, get dressed and get out of the tent and give me a hand. At first they were both saying, “why don’t you just put on the rain fly and get back in, go back to sleep…” and I replied that if they stayed in the tent that they would miss the lightning show…that provided sufficient motivation and they were soon out of the tent, looking at the skies. The lightning was getting more intense, more frequent…we could see the glow of a fire to the west, over towards Ross Lake and the National Park boundary.
My plan was simple: get the rain fly on the tent, throw all our stuff in it, don our rain gear and then lie on the grass and watch the show. But my two friends had other ideas. One strongly advised that we immediately depart and head down the mountain to find shelter from the lightning. My other friend insisted on a more simple approach: do nothing and simply enjoy the storm. I started with the rain fly and loading the tent and soon they came to assist me.
Someone came up with the idea of planting our trekking poles in the ground, well away from the tent, to act as lightning rods (!). And so, now somewhat content with our preparations, we all watched.
The rain started to come down now. The wind picked up, strong gusts blowing across the summit. The flashes became more insistent, more frequent. With each flash the ridges between us suddenly appeared out of darkness, and then…gone back to my imagination, leaving lasting imprints of what had just been illuminated. From our vantage point we could see what looked like 6 or so fires burning…
On three sides of us there were regular flashes, every few seconds, another, and then another. The wind and rain continued unabated. In fact they increased along with the regularity of the lightning, each building to a crescendo. The lightning now seemed to take on a reddish hue, then green or blue (was it just my imagination?)
Transfixed by the sheer beauty, we had front row seats for nature’s own fireworks show, the best we had ever seen. Just as I was starting to edge towards getting the hell out of there the tempest began to lessen, the wind shifted. The lightning to the west, which seemed to head towards us, stopped.
And that was it! The storm cell had passed us by. The lightning to the east faded out and in its place we could now see the faint hint of the sun.
The date was 08/08/08. This was the opening night of the Olympics in Beijing, and we mused that the fireworks we had just seen surpassed theirs, hands down. It was also the scheduled date for the startup of the Large Hadron Collider and we considered that the lightning storm was a direct result of the resultant black holes now devouring earth. These points we avidly debated, but all agreed that the peak was rightly named: Devils Dome.
As the excitement died down my friends retired to sleep and I ventured forth to catch some of the morning light.
The Pasayten Wilderness is one of my favorite places in Washington, a land of mountains and rivers, steep valleys and meadows, wildflowers and Zen like peace. This experience was on day 6 of our twelve day trek which started at the Canyon Creek Trail head on the North Cascades Highway.