an afternoon in the alabama hills

I just finished up helping out on a workshop in Death Valley, run by my good friend Hudson Henry. It was a rich and rewarding event, and it recharged my photographic batteries, which have been low for a few months.

I’m less than midway through the culling process of shots from the trip, but today I started in on a bunch of panoramas that I worked on in the Alabama Hills, which Hudson and I visited the day before the workshop began. The image shown here is one of my favorites, and belies the weather conditions at the time, which was cold and stormy to the west and the south of us. (Click on the photo to see it larger in this browser window; right-click this link and choose “Open Image in New Window” to see it at 6,000 pixels wide.) It’s a bit darker here than I’d like, but it speaks to the mood of the day for me.

I know I’ve been more than scarce with the photos posted here over the past year or more; besides the trailer travels, I’ve been working on book publishing projects[1. Red Notebook Press, my first publishing imprint, released Nan Narboe’s Aging: An Apprenticeship last spring; it did well, but not great, for a variety of reasons. I will say that I learned a lot in the process, and am anxious to apply those lessons to future book projects. (If you’re interested, you can read more about that process in the post, “What I did on my summer vacation“)] and a redo of an older website, Complete Digital Photography (known as CDP around the house). These gigs have kept me quite busy, and I’m pretty much heads down on CDP right now.[2. I also left Portland, and moved to La Grande, a small college town in eastern Oregon, but that’s a story for another day.]

All that said, the image above is a direct result of one recent project: late last year, through CDP Press, I published Hudson’s Panoramas Made Simple. As part of that book’s editing process, I worked to move from the sloppy, “Rick LePage pano method” to the more accurate—and, frankly, more satisfying—methods that Hudson talks about in the book. When we were out in the Alabama Hills and in Death Valley, I spent a lot of my photographic energy working on panoramic compositions. I have a few more that I’ll get up in the next few weeks, but I thought I’d share this one now, while it was still fresh.

sunset, south waterfront

south-waterfront-sunset-panoramaI’m just now getting around to processing some of the images I’ve shot in the past year (things have been really busy), and this morning, I came across this one, a two-image panorama taken in February from the balcony in our old place. I loved (and still miss) the Richard-Scarry-esque views we had from the apartment; it truly was like watching the city pass by every day.

I did some lens correction on this inside Photoshop, to take the bend off the shed at the bottom of the frame. (I had to be careful, though; it’s easy to overdo the distortion correction.) I also worked with a few crop variations here–the original images had the OHSU building looming at the left of the frame–and this one seems like the best fit overall.

larch sunset (2015)

larch-sunset-2015Sunday was my first time up Larch Mountain this year. It’s always a lovely thing to do, that 14-mile ride through the forest, followed by the short, slightly steep walk up to the top of the mountain. A lot of nights, it’s like a party, especially with a beautiful sunset like this one.

Of course, as much as I love the silhouette shots, it really makes me nervous to see the kids scampering up on the rocks, especially when they appear to have been imbibing (or smoking) something. One of the days, I fully expect to hear about a mishap up on Larch.

Click the image to see it full-size. And don’t forget about this guy, who I met first atop Larch back in 2012.