About Me

My photo
An 8th grade English teacher for the past 16 years, my interest in photography began in my early teens. An avid Fuji Velvia shooter for years, I finally purchased my first digital camera, a Canon 20D, in January of 2005. I started my photography business on the side in 2004, and it has grown into a second career. I love how my teaching profession and photography business work so seamlessly together. Today, I find myself shooting in excess of 100,000 images a year, including wedding imagery, senior and family portrait work, sports team and action shots, and my true passion, landscape and wildife. I'm actually doing what I always dreamed and I feel totally blessed.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Circle Park: Bighorn Mountains in the Fall (photography)

It's been a weird year.  I've had a ton of weddings, but this fall, while I'm normally in the throes of a crazy senior portrait schedule (as many as 35+ sessions), I currently only have 8 scheduled.  That makes for a lot of "free" time I would not normally have to spend time photographing scenes I don't normally get to experience.  I've enjoyed it immensely.

I got up early this past Sunday morning and drove down to Circle Park off highway 16 above Buffalo.  Sitting at the base of the high peaks of the Cloud Peak Wilderness, Circle Park was ablaze with color.  This has been an amazing fall for aspen colors in the Bighorn Mountains due to the longer, warmer fall weather without a significant frost.  These images are a small representation of the spectacle.  Enjoy!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Tetons in the Fall

The title of this post may be deceiving in that I came over to the Tetons for really one purpose.  Because I did not draw a good elk tag for the first time in nearly 20 years, I decided to visit the Tetons in hopes of catching the elk rut in full glory.  Therefore, I haven't spent much time shooting the landscape, hoping more for intimate encounters with my favorite animal on the planet, the majestic wapiti or elk.  With just one day remaining of my time here, I have captured much more through auditory means then through the lens.  Bugles can be heard everywhere, from the deepest willows to the dry sagebrush flats.  The bulls are definitely at work resounding their challenges.  I just haven't had so much luck catching them.  I've chased them through deep timber, waded through willows so thick I knew I was within 30 yards and still couldn't see what I was after, and I've seen them in the deepest dusk,  in light so dim to be far beyond the capabilities of my camera's sensor to record.  Despite the frustration with not finding what I'm really here for, here are a few images so far of what I've encountered.  I'll post many more once I'm home, but for now, this is what I can post sitting in the lobby of the Jackson Lake Lodge looking out the window at Mt. Moran soaring into the smoky blue.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Blacktooth From Highland Park

Throughout this past spring, I constantly told my wife that I planned to spend some considerable time in the Cloud Peak Wilderness during the first portion of July, focusing on capturing images of my own backyard.  I know that I have wanderlust and am drawn to far off places, often neglecting the wonderful imagery found near Sheridan.  I also, as my business has grown, have been asked for more and more images of the local area for use in Dr's offices, local banks and even the homes of friends and acquaintances.  Therefore, I purposed to work hard at spending more of my photographic energies closer to home.

Despite my best laid plans, throughout the spring, snow flew heavy and often in the Bighorns, accumulating impressive amounts of snowpack that were above 1000% of normal (that's not a typo!) in early June.  I knew then that my plans for July were in serious jeopardy.

Once my busy June wedding schedule ended, I caved into my wanderlust and headed west and north, abandoning my plans for the wilderness due to the still lingering snowpack.  I wouldn't think about those plans until school started again in the fall.

Once school began again in August, I started lamenting the fact that I had not made it into the wilderness over the summer, so after I finished working through wedding photos on September 4th, I left home at 1:00 and rode my 4 wheeler to the end of Little Goose road and trekked the 5 miles into Highland Park.  I got there at 4:43 after lugging my 60# pack up over the two passes along the route, sometimes cursing the extra 30#s of photo equipment, including my array of lenses, a Manfrotto 303 spherical panoramic head, tripod, filters and other misc. stuff.  The views, though, were worth the price of admission.  I'll share some of them here.

When I got to Highland Park, a cloudless sky greeted me.  I trekked about the ridge above the park and shot several panoramic sequences, later stitching them together with software.

The image below is an amazing shot in that it is actually a 3 row panorama.  I shot 11 images across for 3 different levels of this image.  Once it was all stitched together, the file size is actually 1GB and reveals crazy detail even when zoomed all the way in.  I could print this image 8 feet tall and over 25' wide with little image degradation at all.

As the sun settled below the ridgetops, golden light painted Blacktooth and Mt. Woolsey with vivid Alpenglow.  The image directly below is an HDR image, done using Nik HDR efex pro software.  I'm not sure I like it.  Others similar to it down the page were done using graduated filters and are not HDR images.

I climbed into my sleeping bag at 9:00 that evening and I slept under the stars, setting my alarm for 11:00PM.  I knew that by then the moon would have set, leaving a black sky for maximum star impact.  I'm still muttering under my breath as I forgot to pack my long exposure remote control for the trip.  I had brought my small remote, but not the one to allow for extended exposure times beyond the 30 seconds my camera would allow.  If I had brought the correct remote, I could have had some incredible star trail images.  I guess what it means is that I'm just going to have to go back next summer!  Meanwhile, you can glimpse the milky way below.  I believe that the extremely bright star in the last images is actually Jupiter.

After heading back to bed after shooting a number of star images, I set my alarm for 5:30 to catch the rising sun.  When I awoke, I knew the hazy outline of Blacktooth was not just from gloopy contacts.  Sometime after I had gone to bed the second time, a bank of smoke had climbed over the distant peaks.  A think pall of the stuff clung to the peaks, making for less than ideal sunrise images.  I'll leave you with these, letting them speak much more than I can to the effects of the smoke.

All in all, it was a great one night trip and I look forward to another similar adventure (with the right remote) next summer!  Goodness we live in a beautiful location.