After a year of backpacking with the intrepid 4x5 camera, I realized I was really falling in love with the idea of just using a lightweight wooden box to create images. I used the “older” mk2 version last summer during several trips…Read More
It’s been five years since I’ve last touched on this subject and I must admit a lot has changed since then. Backpacking has grown into an even larger part of how I create images, and the desire to go deeper into the wilderness while having the miles wear me out less has required more than a few “tweaks” to how I do things…Read More
It’s time to address what has become my top question in emails and social media messages: What kind of 4x5 camera should I buy? It’s a topic I’ve put off far too long for a variety of reasons, the foremost being that I’ve never talked too much about gear because I find large format cameras to be such simple devices that hardly have any level of modern technology. Another reason I've put off this post is because there's much more...Read More
With the new year just a few days away, it's time for one of my favorite annual blog posts where I get to look back on where the last year has taken me and think forward to where I'll go in 2018. I can't think of a better way to do this than by sharing the best images of 2017...Read More
Many of you who follow me on social media have heard that I acquired a drum scanner about a year ago. I spent much of the last year learning how to properly wet mount film and operate this beast of a machine. Now after scanning about a hundred sheets I now have some results to share...Read More
Updated - November 2017
Hello Everyone! I get a lot of questions from fellow photographers about the types of color films I use and why I use them. I figured this would be a good subject to write about and give people some insight on film types. The question frequently comes from someone who may have just gotten their first film camera and wants to know what kind of film to use for...Read More
Aside from creating new images, one of the main reasons I venture out into truly wild areas is for the solitude, the peace, and the diversion from the noise of everyday life. We humans make an astounding amount of noise nearly all the time, often appearing as if that was our sole purpose of existence on this earth. Talking, driving, constructing, and entertaining all come with an incredible amount of noise...Read More
I just wrapped up a nice 5 day backpacking trip in the Wind River Range of Wyoming, which gave me a great chance to become familiarized with the new Intrepid 4x5" field camera. If you're not familiar with the Wind River Range, it's a huge area with over a thousand alpine lakes and deep wild valleys surrounded by lofty granite spires that attract climbers from around the world. It's also known for lengthy hikes to most of the locations that keep the day hikers out and make it a great backcountry destination. Just about all of the good spots.....Read More
With 2016 coming to a close, it's time to reflect on the last year and look forward to the next. On top of that, it's time to show my personal favorite images from the last year!Read More
It’s time for me to answer another set of frequently asked questions, one that I get almost weekly so I need to make a blog post about it. Do you use GND filters, how do you choose the right filter, which ones should I buy, how do you position them, and how do you meter for them? Well the answer to the first question is a big definite yes, I use GND filters for the majority of my images and I will explain the rest throughout this post in great detail...Read More
It's time for a long overdue post. Looking back through my archives, I realized that I've covered topics like film selections and scanning film but to date I've skipped one really important part: metering and exposing color film. This is something I get quite a few questions about so bear with me while I try to be very thorough and cover topics from different lighting conditions and how I would meter with the various film types, both color negatives and slides...Read More
At the end of 2015 I ditched the Colorado snow and headed for the warm sun of Death Valley, California. Well, okay, it’s not that warm there in December (stupid northern hemisphere and science) but the days are far more pleasant and the nights more mild than they are in Colorado this time of year. I’m going to write a bit about my experiences in the park but mostly I want to share the images! Death Valley National Park...Read More
As the year 2015 comes to a close, I like to look back and see where my images have progressed and where I want them to go in the future. It’s also a good time to reflect on how I’ve grown personally over the last twelve months. I would say 2015 was another great year! Sometimes after a year as amazing as 2014 it can be hard to compete but I still grew a lot this year, took some wonderful […]Read More
The other day while riding my bike down a river trail lined with golden autumn cottonwoods, I somehow found myself wondering how my life would be without the beauty of nature. More specifically, my connection with nature that's happened from years of experiencing it through the mindset of a landscape photographer. The thoughts started to roll through my head as I pedaled along for miles, and I realized that I've come...Read More
A few months ago I was approached by my friend Jen who had an interesting proposal. She and Marc (also my very good friend ever since I met them both at the Pawnee Buttes four years ago) were finally going to tie the knot this June after years of being together. Jen knew very well that traditional wedding photography was not something I do, but she wanted me to help to create a special memory of the day they would be getting married. Marc and Jen moved out to the Denver area from New York in 2011 and quickly fell in love with all aspects of Colorado. They instantly enjoyed the mountains and also gained...Read More
Right at the beginning of this year, I decided to mix up my photography with the addition of a new and rather unusual type of camera. This decision took me many months to make as I usually try to avoid the desire for new equipment and get a great deal of pleasure out the fact that I have been using the same camera and lenses for many years...Read More
Over the years I have been asked a lot of questions about how I manage to get so much detail out of the highlights on my film scans, particularly color negatives. A lot of people have also been asking how I correct the colors in my scans. I touched on the basics of those topics on an earlier post, so if you haven't already read my blog post on Scanning and Editing Color Negative Film make sure to check it out. This post will elaborate...Read More
2014 has already flown by and once again it's been a successful year with great adventures and plenty of new photos! I always like to look back at my progress each year and I think I've grown both as a photographer and a person throughout the year. This year I was able to get some of my best images ever out of nearby Rocky Mountain National Park, and I continued to explore off the beaten path in Colorado and other parts of the West. Many locations I went to were a first time for me and I can't wait to see them again! All told, I think I spent somewhere between 6 to 8 weeks worth of nights this year either in my car, in a tent, or sleeping under the stars on the ground. It's no doubt the most time I've spent camping...Read More
This fall, someone from an "anonymous" online image board for photography decided it would be a good idea to send a $3 thrift store camera around the US to see what we would come up with. I loved the idea because it would be a simple and fun way to document my travels this autumn. If you've never heard of a traveling camera, the general idea is that someone sends it to you, you shoot a few rolls of film (hopefully in a short period of time) and mail it on to the next person who signed up for it. Well, it arrived one day before...Read More
The Grand Tetons are some of the most dramatic peaks out there, rising more than 7,000 feet above Jackson Hole without any foothills whatsoever. With all the awesome mountain ranges there are in Colorado it can be easy to forget about the wild beauty of Wyoming, so I had never really been able to explore the Tetons before. This September, I decided to head out there and see them for myself.
The Tetons are well know for their epic beauty, endless reflecting lakes and ponds, and long-lasting sunrises with amazing hues of pink and purple. These traits have brought people here for decades, by the bus load. Since I hadn't had the opportunity to explore the Tetons before I still enjoyed the roadside vistas (let's face in the views really are outstanding along the highway), but I also wanted to take the opportunity to get away from the crowds and the beeping sounds of 2-second timers that come with modern cameras.
With that idea in mind, my friend Lance and I decided to get a permit and hike into the backcountry to spend the night. I chose Lake Solitude as our destination, because it looked like it would give a good view around the back of the peaks and it was near the Cascade Canyon backcountry zone where we could camp. The hike is just under 10 miles, but we decided to take the Jenny Lake shuttle and save 2 miles. For me that still makes for a good day's hike when loaded with cameras and camping gear. Right away I noticed I was breathing easier because the elevations here were a little lower than the hikes I'm used to in Colorado. Lake Solitude is only at 9,000 feet, which is lower than most starting points for the trailheads that I'm used to.
One of the special things about this hike is that the views are downright amazing the whole way! I feel like many hikes I take are in the forest the whole time until you reach a lake or treeline, but this hike takes you through a sparsely vegetated canyon with epic views of the Grand Tetons the whole way.
Even at the backcountry campsite the views were still awesome. This has to be the best view from a tent I've ever had. We ended up making the hike with plenty of time to get up to the lake for sunset, so we set up camp and continued on. Lake Solitude is about a mile from the campsites.
The late summer tundra around the lake was a mix of green and reds. Soon this place will be covered in feet of snow and won't be seen again until next summer. There were a lot of interesting white granite boulders scattered about. After watching the Grand Tetons soak up the last of the day's sun, we headed back to camp. I left the shutter open most the night for this star trail image.
We awoke a couple hours before sunrise and hiked back up to the lake. The air was as still as could be, and we were even lucky enough to be treated to some clouds in the sky and get a beautiful sunrise! This came as quite a pleasant surprise as the forecast said we wouldn't have a cloud for days. We even had some off and on rain falling throughout the sunrise. Gentile droplets pattering away on the perfectly calm lake, it was a special experience.
A while after sunrise, bands of clouds started to move in and fill the sky. The lake was still perfectly calm and the reflection was outstanding. The Tetons catch a very interesting light in these late summer mornings. The sun rises too far south to light them directly, but the still seem to glow from reflected light coming through the canyon. As a photographic note, I want to mention that one particular lens focal length really seemed to come in handy for the entire trip: 35mm (on full frame cameras). Whether I was on the roadside or in the wilderness, that seemed to be the equivalent focal length I was using the whole time. With how tall these peaks are, it surprised me that I wasn't using a wider lens. If you come to the Tetons, you may want to bring a lens around 35mm with you!
After such an awesome sunrise and backpacking experience, I didn't want to go. I spent some time just enjoying the views from the lake, laying in the grass. I will have to spend a lot more time in the Teton backcountry!
The hike down was a pleasant trip through the amazing scenery. Once we were about a mile from Jenny Lake, the crowds started to become apparent again. It made me very happy to get out there and away from them. As is typical with National Parks, most people will only venture up to a mile away from a trailhead. If you're willing to put in a little sweat equity and hike further, you can almost always have the place to yourself. On the way out of the park the next day, we caught a sunrise at Oxbow Bend. It's no doubt a very popular place but with good reason. Standing on the shore watching the sunrise go on and change colors for nearly an hour was fantastic. The sunrises really seem to last forever in the Tetons, changing from shades of pink and red to purple and blue. It seems as if the winds die down completely every morning as well, just to make these perfect reflections. I exposed sheets of film throughout the sunrise, but something about this light on the trees that only lasted a minute really struck me.
I will certainly be returning to the Tetons again!
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