Early 2018 Robin and I experienced an adventure of a lifetime over the course of seventeen days. We flew from Michigan to San Francisco, from there we boarded the Monoa, a 900 foot container ship, with Captain Jeff Idema. Once on board, we waited until 2 AM when the Monoa was given the okay to leave the Oakland harbor and begin the journey across the Pacific Ocean towards Honolulu, Oahu.

During our nearly six day journey, we saw incredible sunrises and sunsets, Gannets soaring between waves to fish, flying fish trying to escape the path of the Monoa, and a small group of Laysan Albatross!! Neither Robin nor I had ever seen Albatross before, so we were absolutely blown away. The Laysan Albatross has a wingspan of six and a half feet, what a huge bird! 

Once our sea bound voyage was complete, we began leg two (of three) of our adventure. From Oahu, we flew to Kauai, the garden Island, of the Hawaiian Islands. The first night in we hiked along the Kalalau Trail to Hanakāpīʻai Beach for sunset. Hiking back was a bit of a journey. Over the two miles of wet and steep terrain with only headlamps to guide us, we encountered massive toads, I believe we counted 64, so weird, I know! The next two days we spent in Kōkeʻe State Park. The park is home to the Waimea Canyon, the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, and the Kalalau Valley, a massive valley filled with dense rainforest flora. The rest of our time on Kauai was spent driving and hiking at different beautiful locations around the Island. Kauai is truly unlike any other place, if you have the chance to go, take it! 

From Kauai, we flew over to the Big Island to begin our third and final leg of our trip. Here we visited a sea bound lava vent dubbed Pele’s Well, Snorkeled with tropical fish, hiked to stunning waterfalls, and spent an entire evening hiking the required 11 miles to witness the awe, terror, and splendor of flowing lava! It was exhausting to say the least, and after 10 days of camping we were ready for a real shower and a soft bed. I hope everyone enjoys our story and the photographs. Please feel free to ask any questions you have about our trip, as I am more than happy to answer any and all!

The Hidden Lake

"The Hidden Lake"

The 3:2 ratio of 35mm photography is typically my preferred 'frame' for any given scene, it has a perfect balance in my mind. Once in a while the 3:2 ratio just does not cut it, in these situations I always study the scene to discern how many photographs and at what focal length will be needed to capture the scene as a panorama or gigarama.  

As the case with all panoramas, each photograph in the series should be able to stand on its own to a certain degree, but when combined create something much more. The old story of the whole being much more than the sum of its parts. It was this principle that lead me towards a panoramic approach for Hidden Lake.

This panorama would not have been possible without some very important equipment and thoughtful technique. A nodal rail was used to dodge the problem of parallax which happens when the iris of a lens is not directly inline with the center of rotation. The Canon 11-24L lens was used at 11mm to capture the panoramic sequence, making a perfectly level tripod/camera extremely important to minimize the issues involved with such a wide angle of view. To top it all off, the dynamic range was far too large to capture in a single exposure, so a bracketed set of five exposures one stop apart (-3,-2,-1,0,+1) was triggered for each section of the panorama. 

Canon 6D, Canon 11-24L (@11mm), Really Right Stuff nodal rail, ISO 100, F/10, Three photograph panorama with camera in vertical orientation, bracket of five exposures per section.

Two Medicine Lake II

"Two Medicine Lake Sunset"

As the sun neared the horizon, Robin, my Brother Jesse and I found ourselves in the town of East Glacier outside of, you guessed it, the East Glacier National Park entrance. As the light started to look promising, we jumped back into my Brothers car and made a mad dash back into the park (thanks Jesse!). 

We arrived not a moment too soon as the sky lit ablaze and put on one of the best shows we had seen yet. I scrambled to put my waders on and to compose a shot at the edge of Two Medicine Lake. The fascinating multi-colored stones of the lake made for a truly compelling foreground that complimented the blushing colors of sunset. I hope everyone enjoys!

Canon 6D, Canon 11-24L (@18mm) ISO 100, F/16, 1/20th of a second.

Two Medicine Lake

"Two Medicine and the Tree"

This photograph represents only one of a million moments where I would be nothing without the love of my life helping me along the way. One evening on our five week American/Canadian Rocky Mountain adventure, Robin noticed a tree that lined up with a mountain peak at Two Medicine Lake in Glacier National Park that reminded her of the Japanese Cherry Blossoms and Mt. Fuji. I am very thankful for her showing me this scene, as I completely overlooked the possibility. I hope everyone enjoys!

Canon 6D, Canon 11-24L (@24mm), ISO 100, F/16, 1/20th of a second

Swift Current Lake Sunrise

"Swiftcurrent Lake Sunrise"

Swiftcurrent Lake, in Glacier National Park, is truly stunning. Andy and I only camped here one evening as the weather forecast was dreadful. The night of our arrival winds were sustained at 30 MPH with gusts up to 50 MPH, making photographic conditions a nightmare. The following morning we were granted an hour or so of wonderful lighting before the landscape fell back into a bleak despair of gray. We felt very fortunate to have had such an opportunity during such poor weather, a short break when the weather wasn’t trying to kill us. I hope everyone enjoys!

Canon 6D, Canon 11-24L (@24mm), ISO 100, f/8, 1/2 of a second. Five image panorama, camera in vertical orientation.

Rare Lighting

"Grand Teton Sunset"

I noticed a break in the cloud cover one evening atop Signal Mountain in the Grad Teton National Park. Knowing that these conditions often create a chance for 'up glow' lighting, a dash was made to the closest mountain view location in the park to hopefully catch some magical light.

Frenzy was in the air upon arrival, as 'up glow' lighting seldom lasts more than mere moments. Luck was abound, the magic started only moments after arriving.

Rare lighting like this is certainly fun to witness, but truly intimidating to nail in the pressure of the moment.

Canon 6D, Canon 24-105L (@100mm), three-stop soft edge graduated neutral density filter, ISO 100, F/11, 1/5 of a second. Eight shot panorama, camera in vertical orientation.

Jenny Lake, Grand Teton National Park

"Jenny Lake"

A perfect morning at the base of Jenny Lake in the Grand Teton National Park. The rising sun cast wonderful front lighting on the face of the Grand Tetons, and the setting moon added a sense of elegance that would have been impossible otherwise. 

Canon 6D, Canon 24-105L (@35mm), three-stop standard neutral density filter, ISO 100, F/11, 1/8th of a second. Five image panorama, camera in vertical orientation.

Snake River Overlook

"Snake River Overlook"

In 1942, Ansel Adams decided to create a work of art that would likely live forever at the Snake River Overlook. People from around the world have visited this location to witness the view that had inspired him and hopefully witness the scene in inspiring light. Much has changed about the landscape since 1942, however, the area is still overwhelmingly beautiful.

I do not believe it is anyone's intentions to visit any of these famous locations to out-do or out-preform the original artist. I believe it is simply to have fun witnessing a scene that is so well known, while also photographing it for ourselves in light that has never been seen before, as all light every moment is light that has never been seen before that exact way. It is this concept of constantly changing light that is so interesting about photography, one in which that will continue to foster imagination and inspiration for a lifetime. 

Canon 6D, Canon 24-105L (@35mm), 3-stop soft edge graduated neutral density filter, ISO 100, F/11, 1/2 of a second. Five image panorama - camera in vertical orientation.

Grand Tetons National Park - Part I

"Oxbow Bend"

Oxbow Bend, Grand Tetons National Park.

Canon 6D, Canon 24-105L (@105mm), 3-stop soft edge graduated neutral density filter, ISO 100, F/11, 1/250th of a second. Nine photograph panorama - camera in vertical orientation.

Kayaking into Mordor

"Narada Lake"

Not very often am I presented with such a wonderful opportunity. I use my kayak often, but typically when I go out the weather is quite mundane, or violent and terrifying. This evening the wind was calm and the cloud cover was excellent, I knew there was a great opportunity to create something to be proud of.

Kayak photography has consistently been one of the hardest conditions to work within. The rocking of the boat makes it nearly impossible to create level, sharp, and properly exposed photographs, especially when working with graduated neutral density filters attached. A calm mind and a steady hand are more important than ever, when a tripod is no longer an option and quality is of the utmost importance.

After several attempts to keep my graduated filter in place, kayak level, and composition level, I finally took a photograph I was excited about.

Canon 6D, Canon 24-105L (@32mm), 2-stop reverse graduated neutral density filter, ISO 800, F/11, 1/40th of a second.