Storytelling

Its now 2017 and I have made my resolution for photography, to tell more stories to go along with my images.  Last year my resolution was to take more macro and small area images.  I was very successful in carrying out this resolution and I have no doubt I will be successful this year in sharing more stories about my images.  There is something about publicly making a positive affirmation through making a resolution that helps provide the energy to make things happen!

One thing I have noticed during this past year through social media is that when I combine a story with an image, the image is usually always more successful.  Viewers love a good story even if it is brief.  Most of my stories for landscape images have to do with the challenges that often come with getting the shot.  But there are also stories that have to do with the history of a landscape/land mark.  Sometimes the story relates to how a landscape awakens an experience at a personal level that is often shared by others as well, such a journey to one’s ideal home.  These stories are more archetypal in nature and point to common experiences.  Other times the story itself is in the image, for example images of trailscapes or approaching weather.  With all types of stories, the story helps lead the viewer not only into the image, but what the photographer was thinking and feeling at the time of capture.

In this blog post I will share some of my images and the original stories that went along with them from last year.  The first image is Snow Lake at Sunset and is titled “Its a Bugs World after all!”

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Snow Lake Sunset: Its a Bugs World after all!

“Yesterday I decided to take an impromptu trip to Snow Lake to watch the Sunset. I had scouted this composition out earlier in the week and wanted to return in more optimal light. Shooting the sunset at this location is challenging, not because of the steepness of the terrain, but because of the tempestuous and annoying buys that are everywhere. Every time the light got better, the bugs came out in ever increasing force creating zigzags in front of my camera lens and landing on the glass for in depth exploration as if it was a flower! And did I mention the biting! I attempted to swat them to clear them out of the area but this just caused them to come back with more vengeance as their high pitch humming sound got louder and louder. At one point I broadcast bug spray over the entire area but the spay fell back on my lens element interrupting my workflow some more! I resorted to speaking only in tongues and expletives. Finally i found my cool and I resigned myself to the fact that I was going to get eaten alive taking this sunset image and that I best take multiple images of the same scene in hopes that one would escape the wrath of the bugs, and that one shot is this one here! In spite of all the trouble, I am pleased how this turned out-it is such a beautiful spot! The pink heather dotting the landscape, the afterglow of the sun that just set, the warm color of the water and sky, were all just amazing that night!”

 

The next image is titled  “Nawiliwili Lighthouse” and is from a Father and Daughter vacation in February.

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Nawiliwili Lighthouse

“This image is of the Nawiliwili Lighthouse in the early morning light. The Nawiliwili Lighthouse is located close to Lihue and the Marriot Beach Resort on the island of Kauai. It is about a mile and a half walk from the Marriot Hotel where I was staying across a maze of roads and golf paths. On my first couple of adventures to this location I had not figured out the right way to get here and with headlamp trekked across the manicured golf greens close to the cliffs above the ocean in route to my obvious destination. Eventually I was approached by the attendant who told me this was strictly private property. After my next adventure, this time through head high abandoned sugar cane fields I finally set out to find the correct path through the maze which led me to this fine location and vantage point for Nawiliwili Lighthouse. Photographing at this spot is quite a memorable experience. If you arrive before dawn, you will enjoy the sound of not only the waves crashing on the shore but also of numerous bird calls including in infamous Kauai Roosters crowing one right after the other! The clouds move in an around the lighthouse quickly creating a constantly changing venue making possible always unique compositions.”

 

This next image is called “Going Home” and is from Indian Henry’s Hunting Ground at Mt. Rainier National Park, Washington State.

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Going Home

“This image is looking through a natural bouquet of flowers out to Indian Henry’s Ranger Cabin and Mt. Rainier in the distance. I do not know about you, but I would work for free to stay at this cabin at Mt. Rainier’s Indian Henry’s Hunting Ground for the summer months! Heck, I might evern pay! This cabin has to be everyone’s dream and fantasy of a home in an ideal setting, a universal archetype for a mountain cabin in a setting of a lush meadow with flowers and Mt. Rainier looming above. Needless to say, we met the ranger on this trip and he seemed quite content with his position, and very laid back also! Where is your special dream cabin located?

This image is from the recent series of wildflower hikes I led for the Seattle Mountaineers. Indian Henry’s is about a 12 mile round trip hike with about 3,500 feet elevation gain, making it somewhat challenging for a sunset hike with return by handlamp (this is what we did).”

 

The next image is titled Mirror Lake and is also from Indian Henry’s Hunting Ground at Mt. Rainier National Park.

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Mirror Lake

“This image is of Mirror Lake in the evening light at Indian Henry’s Hunting Ground, Mount Rainier National Park. Indian Henry, known as Soo-Too-Lick, early on (1883) guided several familiar names to Mt. Rainier including the Hunting Grounds, these familiar names include James Longmire Philemon Beecher Van Trump and John Muir. Indian Henry was a Cowlitz Indian, beloved by many people. Thanks to Celine Cloquet for helping uncover some background on Indian Henry.”

 

The next image is from a day hike to Goat Lake that I took in late Spring and is called “Refuge”.

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Refuge

“From my hike yesterday, this is Goat Lake in evening light with Cadet Peak in the distance. Goat Lake is located in the north central cascades with the trail accessible at the end of a short forest service road that departs from the Mountain Loop Highway. The hike is about five miles one way, but it is an additional mile, sometimes beating the bush, to where this image was taken at the far end of the lake. Goat Lake is only about 3.100 feet high and is one of the first lakes to become easily accessible and snow free in May. The bush is very thick and dense around the lake, making it difficult to find suitable places to properly frame an image. After scouting out the area for some time, I found an elevated boulder where I could place my tripod, the only issue is that I had to bunch the three legs close together making the balance somewhat precarious. Plus the tripod was situated higher than i could see clearly the LCD or EVF so I had to balance on my tiptoes on top of the narrow boulder also! Not a bad place, however, to perform acrobatics and a balancing act with no spectators.”

 

This next image is from my families vacation at the end of the road at Denali National Park and is called : “Dreams of the Great One”.

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Dreams of the Great One

“Denali basks in the calm atmosphere of the warm early morning light and also reveals itself in the waters of iconic Reflection Pond. Although this is an iconic site, very few people get to see it due weather and restrictions on access. The typical state of affairs in July are clouds and or rain with only occasional and brief moments of clearing. On my first trip to this location, I feel so blessed that there was an opening early on this morning. Cars are not allowed this far into the park, but the Backcountry Lodge, where I was staying, agreed to shuttle me out there in the early morning as long as I would walk back. As we rounded the bend of a steep and winding road the mountain suddenly became visible, and the beauty of the peak was spell binding, to the point I almost forgot I came here to take images. The beauty first and foremost must be experienced for what it is in the moment. Images come second. Denali at 20,310 feet is the largest in North America and when measured from the base to the top is 18,000 feet making it the highest mountain in the world. The flowers in the foreground along with the clouds and atmosphere helped me frame this image in a somewhat unique way.”

 

This next image is titled “Like a Bridge Over Troubled Water”

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Like a Bridge Over Troubled Water

“” Like a bridge over troubled waters, I will ease your mind.” With all stress and anxiety that many have been feeling over the past couple of weeks or so I thought I would feature an image that takes us to to calmer place. This image is from my recent trip to the Columbia Gorge and is of Mist Falls along the Wahclella Falls trail. These falls normally do not have much of a flow, but in late October there were heavy rains in the Gorge making these falls really stand out.”

This final image is titled “On the Trail to Elowah” and tells its own story.

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On the Trail to Elowah

Here is to telling more stories to go along with my images in CY 2017.  What stories will you tell in the coming year?  I look forward to hearing them and will be sharing many of my own in the days ahead!

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