This weekend, I went on one of the Portland locations of Scott Kelby’s Worldwide Photo Walk, over in the Eastside industrial area. I met a bunch of great folks (here’s the group shot, before we all headed out from OMSI), but the weather was odd, and I had a hard time finding my bearings. (I’m also shooting with the D800 exclusively right now, since I really need to know if this will be my camera for the next few years, and it’s taking a while to get used to the controls and operational stuff.)
I shot quite a bit of garbage, and had pretty much resigned myself to emptying my card when I got home, when I happened upon this interesting section of a block. I took a couple shots of the tree, window and potted bamboo, and, while I liked them, there was something missing:
Thinking about it for a minute, I decided to pop myself into the frame. I took a couple of shots, and ended up with the one up top. I cropped it a bit here (the uncropped version is below), but I do like the end result, even if I’m not a fan of my own face.
Over on his blog, Duncan has great post — ‘An Evening with Mt. Hood‘ — about our adventure the other night. It sums up the nature of the evening quite well, and reminds me that, while photography is primarily about light, it’s also about patience and practice.
I have a bunch of shots from the night that I like, but none of them as yet really jump out. The changing light on the mountain was beautiful, but there was still something missing; if the lenticular clouds had been a bit more full, or the sky a bit deeper blue, I might have gotten an image that moved into the portfolio queue. But over the next month, I’ll continue to work through my picks from this night, and I very well might find something that sticks.
For now, I like the one above. It’s a bit dark, and as I have tried to push the tones around, it all seems to fall apart. However, this is one of those images feels like it will work best in print: the forest ridges have just enough depth to them to lead you to the horizon; the moon is light and delicate enough to hang effortlessly in the sky; and Mt. Hood has just the right amount of glow on it as it sits above that cloud bank.
The one below is also nice, even if it’s very similar to the ones taken by my friends on the mountain (click the image to see it bigger):
Larch Mountain is one of those places in the Columbia River Gorge that few people seem to know about, largely because it is a bit of a one-trick pony: there’s a single, small viewing area at the top of the mountain, a short 5-minute hike up from the parking lot. It’s out of the way if you want to do the Vista House/Multnomah Falls route, and, if you’re looking to make a day of it, there aren’t any simple hiking trails or picnic areas with sweeping vistas. (You can, however, go for the 14.4-mile ‘difficult’ trail from Multnomah Lodge, if, unlike me, you’re sufficiently in shape.)
However, the drive up the mountain is a beautiful winding ride (also 14 miles) through dense forest, and I never tire of it, especially on the bike. If you’re there on a clear day, what you get is a stunning panoramic view of five mountains in the Cascade Range: Jefferson, Hood, Adams, Rainier, and St. Helens. And, at 4,000 feet, the summit of Larch is also much cooler than the river floor, which is one of the reasons I head up here frequently during the summer.
Last night, Duncan and I decided to drive up to the top of Larch. A full moon was due about 25 minutes before sunset, and we were hoping that we might get a shot of the moon coming up alongside Mount Hood. (I was also itching to try the Nikon D800, which I’m evaluating to see if I’m up for the switch from Canon, but that’s a post for another day.)
Unfortunately, the moon came up about 40 degrees to the north of Mt. Hood, so epic moonrise shots weren’t in the cards, but it was still a lot of fun. The top of Larch was like a party, with a large group of folks hoping to watch (or photograph) a lovely sunset in a beautiful place while there was still a hint of warmth in the air. There were photographers with big-ass tripods and others with cameraphones. There were people with friends from out of town, and couples with glasses of champagne toasting the moon. Duncan and I had a great time shooting and chatting in the midst of all this, with the added bonus of meeting the photographer Hudson Henry, who was a blast to be around. And, as it turned out, fun to shoot as well, while he jumped on the bluff atop the mountain to grab some shots of the Columbia valley below. I grabbed the one above and the one below, and couldn’t really decide which one I liked better.
(You can see larger views of either photo by clicking on it.)
[Duncan has a couple of great shots of Hood over on his blog.]
While you’re at it, check out Hudson’s shot of the Enchantments; it is quite beautiful.
(Yes, this shot is very similar to this one from a couple of years ago. I like that one too.)