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Life in the Field

pacific morning

Lone Gull, Seaside,Oregon

Everyone thinks that the life of a photographer is a dream job. I do love my life and think this is a great job, but I must say it is more difficult (but rewarding!) than most think it to be. I just returned from a photography trip to the Oregon Coast, and I feel like I need a week to recover. While I did get to spend a lot of time doing what I love and visiting some of the greatest places on this planet, the schedule was brutal. It was so exhausting that I didn’t even get on the computer to blog, and I love blogging!

A normal day started at 4:30 or 5:00 in the morning. I would get up, get dressed and head out to a predetermined location. I would arrive enough before sunrise to allow me to get a feel for the area and determine what I needed to photograph. Due to the marine layer (fog) that I had all week, I was able to photograph for about two hours before the light became too harsh for my taste. I would then go back to the hotel and clean up for the day and get breakfast. Hiking and exploring were the days activities, often finding new places for the morning and evening photography sessions. After an early dinner, I would head back out with cameras for the evening light. The evening session would keep me going from about 7:00-10:00. I love photographing until it is too dark to focus, as I find some of the most interesting light is after sunset. I then go back to the hotel, download the days images, clean and prep my gear for the morning, and get to bed about midnight or later. After a week of four hours per night of sleep and rigorous schedules during the day I am ready for a break!

Even though I keep a crazy schedule, I love what I do. I have learned to see the world in a different light, one that I love sharing. Even when I don’t have a camera in hand, I see things in my own way. I have learned, as Dewitt Jones puts it, to “Celebrate what’s right in the world.” I look for the extraordinary, and have found that when you look with an open mind, you will find it. That is what makes it worth it.

Crescent City Waves

Crescent City

Rocky Shoreline near Crescent City, California

It’s always good to get back home! I have been on the road photographing the Pacific Coast from Crescent City, California to Brookings, Oregon. When I am out, I am on the go from before sunrise to long after sunset, so I really have no time to post. My apologies for those of you that frequently check in. In fact, I am on my way out again this afternoon, but for a shorter trip this time. I will be back to regular posting next week. I have some new images and stories to go along with them.

This image was made on my first evening in Crescent City. It had been stormy all day, but we got just a sliver of light right at sunset that illuminated the coastline while the waves crashed into the rocky shoreline. It was quite a trek getting to water level, as I had to make my way down a steep incline of boulders, but it was well worth it. Never could I have experienced the sea in this way from high above. There is nothing like being right at the waters edge, or even in it at times, attempting to capture a representation of its force, power and beauty.

Life in Balance

Yaquina Head Lighthouse

Sunset at Yaquina Head

Another school year is coming to a close. Today I have the last 2 classes final project presentations and critiques. It has been a year with many bumps along the way, but also a very good year. I have had some of the best students that I have ever had the privilege of working with in my advanced classes this year. Many very self motivated learners that have really made the year enjoyable. It is a joy to be in the classroom sharing my love of photography with young students who are just beginning to develop a passion for the arts. To my seniors, I wish you well as you move on to bigger and hopefully better things in life, and to the others, I hope to see you in the fall, ready to continue our journey.

Summer brings a whirlwind of activity in my life. My personal photographic projects take center stage. There will be photographic trips to the coast as well as family trips. Workshops to attend as well as teach. Plenty of work to do around the house as well as a full list of “honey-do” projects. Living a balanced life has always been difficult for me, but is a necessity. As an artist, my emotional status affects my work. When things are running smoothly and relationships are in good standing, then my mind is open to creative thinking. My vision is clear. When life gets out of balance, I feel burdened and am unable to work as freely. My mind kind of shuts down and I am unable to be as creative. My vision becomes clouded and it becomes difficult to work. Hopefully I can maintain balance in my life this summer!

The Simple Life


Sunflowers, Lake Lowell

I like a simple life. A walk on the beach. An afternoon nap. Daydreaming. A bike ride. A good book and an hour to kill. When I can slow down and enjoy life, my vision becomes clearer. I see things that otherwise I may pass by.

It is too easy to let life get complicated, and then we miss so much. When rushing from point A to point B it is difficult to focus on the journey, yet the journey is what should be important. I have to remind myself often of that fact. This simple image of a couple of sunflowers is a reminder to me to simplify. As I was on a walk out at the lake one evening, I passed by a patch of sunflowers, and these two blossoms caught my attention. I had to work to find an angle that would isolate them and simplify the composition while maintaining the feeling that they instilled in me. Much like in life, simplifying takes effort. We must work at it and strive for it. When we succeed, it is a beautiful thing.

The Ocean, Sky and Horizon


Horizon from Devils Churn

I love the ocean. I’m not sure how I fell in love with it, but I did. I grew up in Utah and have lived in Idaho for the past 20 plus years, but somewhere along the way I found the ocean. Every chance I get, I head to the sea, most frequently to the Oregon Coast is my destination of choice. I love the smell, the sights, the sounds. Waves crashing into a rocky shoreline or sitting on a sandy beach. It is all good to me. I can sit and watch the waves for hours and never tire of the experience.

While observing and experiencing the ocean, I am often drawn to the horizon, that line where sea and sky meet. There are times that it is nearly invisible, as the two blend almost seamlessly together, and at other times there is a distinct line. The reflection of colors bouncing off the water, blending in very abstract ways, depending on the wave action is fascinating to me as well. The longer I sit, the more I realize there is to see. The more I attempt to photograph my vision, the more I realize that my vision is very fluid. I see differently, depending on my circumstances. It keeps me coming back for more. And every time I do, I am not disappointed.

Break Time at Bruneau Dunes

Bruneau sand dunes

Bruneau Sand Dunes

Sometimes it is nice to just sit back and chill. I have realized that it is a necessity occasionally. Life moves way to fast and will get us down if we don’t take time for ourselves. It is refreshing.

Last month I had a chance to do just that. My wife and I took a weekend and headed out with no plan in mind. I did throw in my camera, but had no intentions or expectations. We just drove. We talked. No kids or responsibilities for a couple of days. It was wonderful. I returned with a renewed spirit and zest for life. It made me a better person and a better artist.

We drove southeast and, as the sun was nearing the horizon we came to Mountain Home, which is not far from Bruneau Dunes State Park. Christeena had never been there, so we decided to stop. It is reported that the taller dune is the tallest single-structured sand dune in North America, rising approximately 470 feet above the lake at its base. We arrived as the sun hit the horizon, so we did not have time to really look and seriously photograph, so we just walked around in the sand enjoyed the view. We had a great time!