[view in gallery]
Can You See Me?
Tucked inside a white daisy in our garden was this white crab spider that my wife discovered while tending to the plants. I like how it is juxtaposed against the white of the surrounding daisy petals, awaiting its prey.
[view in gallery]
Morning Snow Blanket
I remember waking up in the morning as a kid to see a fresh blanket of snow covering the ground. How wonderful and magical it was. The world was transformed. Brand new. Ripe for exploration. What a pure and happy sight.
Here my daughter is looking out our front window at the snow after having briefly been outside to see and feel the flakes falling from the sky. There are a couple of melted snowflakes sitting as water droplets in her hair. I think this was one of the first mornings where she "discovered" snow.
[view in gallery]
Sunset settled over the Cascade Mountains as my brother-in-law and I shagged flies in one of the baseball diamonds at Glacier Peak High School in Snohomish, WA. The school is up on a ridge southwest of town and, as you can see, has an amazing view of the mountains. I had to cut the games short in order to snap this hurried panorama while the fresh snow was still lit with alpenglow. It wasn't the most technically sound shot - I was attempting to stabilize the fully-zoomed lens and camera on a round fence post with shaky hands - but it turned out well enough, I think.
Anyway, lucky students.
[view in gallery]
ACCEPTING ALL FOOD DONATIONS
I went for a drive with my family around Snohomish to enjoy the summer evening and maybe to take a dip in the river. We didn't end up taking the dip because our daughter fell asleep, but we did see these cute little donkeys (donkeys??). When we walked over to look at them they all, of course, came to see what kind of food we might have to offer.
RIVER RUNNING FULL
A quick rise in the water level of the Snohomish River was reason enough to take the bike out for a late-night spin. Add the starry night, broken clouds, and the fact that my wife needed some things from the grocery store and it all added up to the perfect evening and excuse to get out and take some pics. It was a little eerie cruising along Rivershore Road with the deep, cold, relentless river water flowing by just feet below the top of the bank. The water is usually a good 10-15' lower than it was that night. I found myself starting to imagine the water suddenly surging up and over the bank and had to cut those thoughts short so as to not spin around and head out before getting started.
Because I took my bike and I haven't yet rigged up a solution for hauling along my tripod - keep that a secret between you and I - I was only able to get a couple decent shots. The rest ended up blurry because, unfortunately, I'm not Steady Eddy when it comes to my hands. Probably too much coffee. Luckily, there were a couple spots where the levee was recently repaired so there was no grass or brush which allowed for a clean shot on a natural rest. Although even with resting my camera on the levee some of the photos still picked up enough vibrations to render a blur. I set my camera on aperture-priority, 800 ISO, 30-second exposure, and used the self-timer in order to reduce camera movement from pressing the shutter. Focusing at night is always a challenge. There was just enough contrast in the trees against the sky across the river that I was able to use auto-focus to set my focus and then switch it to manual to keep it from adjusting. At first, a train went by and I caught it streaking by. After that, it was quiet. And peaceful. Occasionally, a small ripple or surge of the river could be heard. A reminder of its power. It was nice to just lay on the levee and watch the river flow by and I lingered for awhile after taking my pictures. It's moments like these that I seek and that I hope to share when I pick up my camera.
Pass me the horn, I want to give a toot for Washington. You don't need to travel far here to view some world-class scenery. For a guy with such an affinity for taking pictures - such as me - it sure is a great place to call home. I'm a lucky guy.
Even though I've lived in Washington my entire life and have spent a lot of time exploring it, I still find out about things and places I never knew about. Picnic Point was almost just such a place. I'd seen it before, but had never been there. Let me explain. Many years ago I rode the Sounder commuter train from Everett to Seattle. A ride I recommend, by the way, especially at sunrise. It is prime! Anyway, the route follows the east shore of the sound and you pass some beaches along the way. Mukilteo and Golden Gardens are a couple of them. I'd already known about Mukilteo. The others I didn't know about. I later searched out Golden Gardens. I didn't search out Picnic Point and until just recently, when some friends invited us to a BBQ at Picnic Point, I had only a name-less and place-less memory of it as just one of the beaches I enjoyed viewing from comfort of the train. Now, I'll have to go explore the others. I'm sure they're also worth the trip.
Picnic Point is, as the name suggests, a great place to have a picnic. Or a BBQ. From the parking lot, you cross the railroad tracks, fenced on both sides, via a footbridge and come out on the grass. The grassy area is a nice and is supplied with picnic tables, grills, and a view of the Olympic Mountains across the sound. Trains occasionally pass by and you get to see, hear, and feel them as they roar along. Walking out onto the rocky beach gives you a view up and down the Sound. Although I didn't go in the water, it appeared to be a pretty shallow and safe slope. However, don't take my word for it. All in all, it was a great place to finally go.
Snow geese have been congregating in the fields of the Snohomish valley. Have you seen them? They look like a patch of snow against the contrasting green and brown of the fields. When they take off to fly, they look like an erupting wave and sound like a soft, drawn-out thunder. They were in the fields the other evening so I decided that I would stop on the way to the park and take a few shots. While my wife and daughter waited patiently, I tried to sneak as close as possible without disturbing them. Although they noticed me, they didn't scatter and I was able to get close enough to capture some decent detail. I was really hoping that some would take flight as it is quite the spectacle. None did, of course, UNTIL we got in the car to leave.
I'LL TAKE A CARROT
It was a nice winter morning the other day - one of those clear, crisp, bright days - so I took my camera around with me and took shots whatever I came across that looked interesting. Shooting just to shoot. You'll see some of the other photos from this morning in the roll.
I swung by a farm where there's a couple horses to see if I could entice one to come near by and let me take a couple shots of it. It wasn't hard, carrots did the trick. This one here was walking back-and-forth along the fence, but I wanted it's head to be closest to me and in the forefront of the picture - since that generally gives animals a friendly look - so I held the carrots on my side of the fence and made it lean over to get them. It was a willing model as long as I kept the carrots coming.
I did a little Photoshop post-processing to this image in order to give it a little more character and a bit of a farm, countryside feel.
WORLD MAP - DIY WALLPAPER
I like to make my own wallpapers. Digital ones, that is, for digital devices. I use my phone a lot for this. Since it doesn't take high quality images to begin with, it's fun to play with its weaknesses to try and turn a lame picture into something interesting to look at by taking creative license in an editing program. It's a fun challenge that gives you meaningful backgrounds. Give it a shot!
This image here is a shot I took of a large, laminated world map hanging on an office kitchen wall. I love maps, and I liked the pastel color scheme and contrasting elements in this one. The ugly fluorescent office lighting was reflecting off all the folds though and with my cheap little phone camera I definitely wasn't going to get a good raw picture. But maybe there would be an old-fashioned angle I could take with it? I used the Adobe Photoshop Express app initially to convert the image to black-and-white and add a vignette. Then I uploaded it to my computer where I upped the saturation and contrast and gave it a sepia-ish hue using Adobe Photoshop Elements. That was it. Pretty simple stuff. And now I have a new wallpaper.
WANNA' BE BIKER GANG
It's fun dusting off the old albums, albeit digital ones, and uncovering long forgotten photos. In this scene some buddies of mine had rented mopeds in Seaside, OR and were causing a bit of a ruckus about the town. I heard them coming as I was strolling around so I got my little Canon point-and-shoot ready and when they stopped at the intersection I snapped a quick shot. The sun's rays were shining down on them as if they were in the spotlight when they stopped - which they, of course, thought they were in - and that with the black-and-white adds a nice touch to this street scene snapshot. To add some additional vibrance and character, I post-processed to enhance the contrast, tones, and added a lomo effect with a vignette.