Pinecone Pixels: Blog en-us (C) 2017 Pinecone Pixels (Pinecone Pixels) Fri, 21 Jul 2017 18:17:00 GMT Fri, 21 Jul 2017 18:17:00 GMT Pinecone Pixels: Blog 120 114 It's been a long time.... It has been a long time since I last posted anything, so here is an update on what's happening in my world. As you may or may not know, I was diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer that had metastasized into my lungs and liver. While not an immediate death sentence, it was a real blow and wake up call as to what is important in life. I went thru 6 chemo treatments over 4 months, and have completed them about 3 weeks ago. They were difficult to experience as anyone who has gone through them will attest to. I am feeling better now and continue to regain my strength and stamina. The cancers all shrunk in size and there are no new ones, but they are  still there and I have been put on a schedule to monitor them on a regular basis. If they begin to grow again, I will be facing another round of chemo. It is not the outcome I was expecting, but God had a different plan for me and my lovely bride Lisa as we prepare to retire and enjoy the fruits of our labors. The Lord has blessed us richly, and we will enjoy whatever time we have left together. I am always amazed by the others I have come into contact with while going through the chemo treatments. Most have endured way more than me and are an inspiration to behold. One of the side effects of all of the treatment has been that I am now incontinent, and must wear Depends and use catheters as well. It is a most humbling situation with many accidents that I won't go into! As I have traveled the medical system for the last 10 months, I have not been out shooting much, and doing updates. I was really excited to make the annual trip up on Mt Rainier to check on the wildflowers. It was an unusual winter with an abundance of snow, so the flowers will be much later than normal. The shot below was taken around Reflection Lake where the flowers were out in force. Paradise still has a lot of snow on the trails as you head up the hill, but the lower trails are clear. There were only the avalanche  lilies and a few paintbrush out on the lower trails. I expect the flowers to be outstanding about 3 weeks from now.

Pinecone Pixels 2016

]]> (Pinecone Pixels) Fri, 21 Jul 2017 18:16:44 GMT
Health Update While I do not want to bore you with my health problems, there may be some who have no other way to stay informed, so here goes. I was sent to Virginia Mason in Seattle to get a second opinion as they discovered a nodule in my lung that they thought was a different kind of cancer. After reviewing my scans and files, the oncologist there believes that the two cancers are related and they recommended chemo and radiation therapy to begin as soon as possible. I hope to begin soon, but the medical community is not known for speed. We shall see. In all of this, I give God the glory for He has a plan for me, and works all things for my benefit. Because of all the time at doctors and the bad weather we have had this year, I have not been shooting much. The shot below was taken in Columbia Park at around 6:30 at night, and I used a flashlight to light paint the trees. It was very cold, so I set up quickly and took the shot before climbing back into my warm car. I named this Winter Picnic.

Pinecone Pixels 2016

]]> (Pinecone Pixels) Sat, 18 Feb 2017 20:27:27 GMT
Getting old is not for the weak It's been a while since I have posted here. It has been a difficult fall this year. Age has taken it's toll on me, and I have become aware of the fragility of life. It all started early this summer when I was having trouble urinating. I would have intense urges, but would not be able to fully relieve myself. After putting up with this for to long, I went to the doctor to see if there was some relief. The process took some time to work thru, and I finally had a turp surgery to help open up the urethra so that I could go. That was at the end of September. The good news is that I was able to go again. The bad news was that I have been diagnosed with Prostate cancer. While it was a shock to hear, prostate cancer is the one to get if your going to get cancer as it is highly treatable and has a high success rate. So we move forward to now. I have taken a step backward, and am no longer able to urinate at all. This has me using catheters 5-6 times a day to go. It is unpleasant to say the least and a real restriction for my photography. I need to be near a restroom most of the time. I am continuing to keep a positive attitude that God is in control and His plan for me is the best. I have more testing and treatment in the near future and will give an update when I know more. The photo is a composite of two images taken this last summer at Sunrise in Mt Rainier National Park. It is a very popular spot for night shots of the Milky Way, and you have to get there early to get a spot to shoot from. There is a constant stream of people coming up the trail with their headlamps on, which you must wait for them to pass for the next shot. Part of the attraction of this area is that this is only a short hike from the parking lot, and it is a easy hike up the hill to the spot where this was taken. You can see that the trail is a four lane highway compared to most of the hikes I like to do. This is a 25 second exposure with f2.8 and ISO 2500 shot with a 24-70 lens. I edited with Photoshop CC and Lightroom. Take care till next time.

]]> (Pinecone Pixels) Mon, 14 Nov 2016 18:28:25 GMT
Mt Rainier Wildflower Weekend It was a fun time the last month. We made 2 trips to Mt Rainier to shoot the wildflowers. Both times were fun, but we spent time in different areas and revisited others. The first time out, the wildflowers were not fully at peak, and the first day, the mountain was fogged in so we spent time shooting what ever we could find. The Pasque flower below was drenched in dew and made for a photo stacking shot. All I had to do was wait for the wind to die down and rattle off 5 or 6 frames to later combine using Helicon Focus software, then some tweaking in PS for the final. For some of the other shots from the weekend, we went to Sunrise to shoot the Milky Way at night. Always fun, but a bit frustrating from all of the traffic on the hill. It is becoming difficult to go to an area to photograph without a deluge of others seeking the same. Some are considerate of those around them, others not so much. The flowers were not as profuse this year as I have seen in the past. 2012 was one of the best years I have ever seen. If you are interested in shooting the mountain during the wildflower season, check the web for reports on when to go. The National Forest Service has Twitter accounts that can be helpful, and of course the weather plays a most important role. The thing about going to a mountain area to photograph is that you can get a different view every time you visit. As I have a house that is 45 minutes from Paradise, it is much easier for me to go when I want. I swear I can drive the  road in the dark now. As always, be careful when driving in the mountains at night or early in the morning as the deer and elk also travel in that time and do a lot of damage to your vehicle if you run into them. I know from experience. Good Shooting! Pinecone Pixels 2013

]]> (Pinecone Pixels) Wed, 10 Aug 2016 17:30:11 GMT
Early Morning on the Mountain Pinecone Pixels 2013 Well, it's been a while since I have had time to add to the blog, so I thought I'd better get to it. The summer is upon us and the wildflowers are popping out all over. We took a ride up to Paradise two weeks ago and the wildflowers are just starting to bloom. We will be there this weekend for a photo club outing to shoot the mountain in all of it's glory. The photo above of Sunbeam Creek was taken around 5:30am as you know I love to shoot early in the morning to get the best light. It is a 45 minute drive from our house to Paradise, and this particular morning it was quite foggy on the way up. This shot was all I got for my efforts and gas money. This is a 3 second exposure to get the nice blended water, which I prefer. I will post some shots of  the wildflowers in the near future.

]]> (Pinecone Pixels) Mt Rainier Waterfall Thu, 21 Jul 2016 00:44:59 GMT
The Wildflowers are out! Mt Hood MorningDallas Mt at 6:30am.

It was a beautiful morning at Dallas Mountain in the Columbia River Gorge. I left the house at 3:30am to be able to arrive before the sunrise. After much coffee, and 2-1/2hrs of driving, I arrived to find at least a dozen others already there! I quickly got out and set up for my first shot of the morning. The flowers are every where as you can see. Most of the shots I took were comprised of multiple captures to be later stacked for depth of field using Helicon Focus stacking software. The play of light on the Balsam Root and Lupine is striking, and even the photo does not do justice to God's creation. They will only be around for another week or so and then they will be gone till next year, and that is the beauty of wildflowers. I also took a new panograph of Mt Hood which you can see in the Mt Hood gallery. This is an off the road shot that I wish was what my back your looked like. It is a 8 shot image stitched together with AutoPano Giga software.

]]> (Pinecone Pixels) Mt Hood Spring Wildflowers Tue, 19 Apr 2016 20:24:20 GMT
Time lapse star shot Time Lapse

I have wanted to do one of these time lapse star shots for some time. This is my first attempt. I took this from the patio at our home in Packwood. I took 100 shots for this composite image using the built in feature in Nikon cameras for multiple exposures. I shot in JPEG format just o make the files smaller.  Using StarStax software, I compiled all of the shots to get this final image then made a few tweaks in Photoshop. I plan to do this more in the future if I can just stay awake!

]]> (Pinecone Pixels) Lapse Night Packwood StarStax Stars Time Tue, 15 Dec 2015 02:16:37 GMT
The 4C's convention The Chuck WagonPinecone Pixels 2013

The Columbia Council of Camera Clubs annual convention was this last weekend in Walla Walla. It was a great photography event with an abundance of learning and field trips. One of the field trips was a period shoot at Bennington Lake with cowboys and cowgirls, along with horse drawn buggy and this chuck wagon. I shot this mid day, and processed it with the Topaz Glow plugin to give it that aged look. Glow works really well with edge contrast and feature enhancement for a unique result. My time as Chairman of the 4C's is now over, and I will look for other ways to serve and grow in my chosen field. Enjoy!

]]> (Pinecone Pixels) Thu, 15 Oct 2015 15:04:32 GMT
The last of the 4 Blood Moons Blood Moon is sometimes used to describe a Total Lunar Eclipse. When the Earth casts its shadow on a Full Moon and eclipses it, the Moon may get a red glow. Total lunar eclipses are rare – only about one in three lunar eclipses are total. About four to five total eclipses can be seen at any place on Earth in a decade. BloodmoonPinecone Pixels 2015 Every once in a while, four total lunar eclipses happen in a row. This is called a lunar tetrad. The total lunar eclipses happen 6 months apart. There are at least six full Moons between two total lunar eclipses in a tetrad. The last of the current tetrad was September 28th, and the next one will not occur till 2033. There were a lot of watchers out along with photographers to document the event. I did not get out until late, as the moon was not visible here locally until later. The shot below was taken from the popular Clover Island looking due East. This is where I have taken many photos of the bridge and the lighthouse. If you missed it, you will have a long wait for the next one.

]]> (Pinecone Pixels) Blood Moon Kennewick Tue, 29 Sep 2015 21:25:10 GMT
Photo Weekend It has been a busy summer with the house building and moving stuff back into our new home in Packwood. It is still a 2nd home to us right now, and we are hard at work completing our new studio that will house my photography and Lisa's quilting. We have a 28 X 30' clear span room to work with. We are both excited to see what the future holds as we plan and execute this dream. I have purchased a ceiling rail system for my mono lights and am looking at a rail system for back drops to make it easy to do photo shoots and still keep all of the gear off of the floor and no cords to trip over. I will also have my computer setup in there as well as a 4 X 8' movable work table. We are still in the building phase right now, but I will have some pictures as we get things done. There has not been much time for actually taking pictures, but that will come soon. The 4C's conference is coming up soon, #4C's Conference (October 9-11th), and I will be done with my service as chairman of the board.

Packwood Studio

]]> (Pinecone Pixels) Wed, 09 Sep 2015 00:21:55 GMT
Mt Rainier Photo Shoot I had a photo club hosted photo shoot at Mt Rainier last weekend. It was just me and Stan, but we had a great time shooting and hiking. We got up at 3:00 am Saturday morning to make the 50 minute drive to Reflection lake and the trail head for Pinnacle Peak. It is a short hike of 1.3 miles, but fairly steep. My plan was to make the bluff before sunrise for the shot I had planned. As it turned out, I made it just in time, but Stan lagged behind taking more shots from the trail. It was a beautiful mostly clear morning and the shot below was taken about halfway up the hill. My pano shot did not turn out the way I wanted which will lead to another trip up the hill another day. After we got back down, we also went to Paradise and hiked around there, although the wildflowers were mostly gone. We ended the day by going to sunrise at 9:00pm to shoot the milky way and stayed out till 2:00am. It was a long day, but we had a blast and I am already planning another night shoot next month. Stay tuned.... Looking at ParadisePinecone Pixels 2015

]]> (Pinecone Pixels) Fri, 24 Jul 2015 15:05:52 GMT
San Diego Nights I an in San Diego for some work related training and staying at the Grand Hyatt hotel right on the water. San Diego is a beautiful big city, with lots to see and do. There is a nice walkway by the hotel for you to stroll by and drool over all the boats in the harbor. Those guys make way more than me. I brought my D5200 as it is my basic travel camera, and went for a walk to see what I might find to shoot. This shot looking at the hotel was the best I found, and I like the way it turned out. I shot this without a tripod by leaning against a tree to steady my camera. Note to self: never leave home without your tripod, even if it is a travel one. I enjoy night photography very much if I can manage to stay awake until it gets dark enough. I have plans for other night shots in the works, so stay tuned. I tweaked this in PS CC to finish it.

The Grand Hyatt HotelPinecone Pixels 2015

]]> (Pinecone Pixels) Thu, 04 Jun 2015 00:39:15 GMT
An award winner! This image won an award of merit for the 4C's EID creative category. This was taken along I-84 at the tree farm. Everyone in this area knows this spot as it is right along the freeway. I processed this with the Topaz Glow plugin. I really liked the effect. It draws out the colors and the layers of the image.

Pinecone Pixels 2013



]]> (Pinecone Pixels) Mon, 01 Jun 2015 03:17:27 GMT
Lightroom Class I was recently asked to teach a Lightroom 5 class on the Develop module. This was a follow up to a previous class I had done on the Library module. We held it at my church as they have lots of rooms available for a reasonable price, and can handle the parking. We had around 15 people show up for the class from our local photo club. Most brought their computers so that they could try all of the controls as I went thru them. One of the things I like about teaching is I always learn as much as I teach, and this day was no different. Most of the attendees already had been using LR and just wanted more depth or a better understanding of what you can get done with a very powerful piece of software made just for photographers. It was a fun day spent sharing, and all went home with some new knowledge. I went home tired and with a worn out voice, but it I enjoyed every minute. Thanks to all who attended and to the club for asking me to teach.

]]> (Pinecone Pixels) Thu, 09 Apr 2015 20:43:39 GMT
Sunrise at the Boathouse If you read my blog, you know that I have another shot from this same location. That one was selected for the local phone book cover for last year. One of the lessons learned from other photographers is to shoot the same location multiple times as the scene is always changing. That is so true with landscapes where the weather is a factor, as is the case with this shot. I live not far from the boathouse, and can be there in 10 minutes, also, I am an early riser, up at 4:30. Yea I know what you're thinking, is he crazy or what. It is just my schedule and it allows me to be ready if there is a breathtaking sunrise about to unfold. When ever you see clouds in the sky and clear sky to the East, you can be sure that there will be one of these beautiful sunrises. Of course I am not always ready to go with my camera, and work interferes with being able to just drop everything, but when I retire.....

The BoathousePinecone Pixels 2013

]]> (Pinecone Pixels) Tue, 17 Feb 2015 22:40:30 GMT
Another Glow Shot Here is another shot processed with the new Topaz glow plug in. I pushed this one a bit more to show the capabilities of this software to give an image a surreal look. I used the airbrush preset as a starting point and play with the glow, smudge, electrify and simplify sliders to get the final effect. This is a well know spot at the tree farm on I-84 that has this lone pine tree in front of the Alder trees that were planted just a few years ago. They grow at an advanced rate and will be harvested in 7-9 years to be made into furniture and other wood products. You may also take photos in the farm with permission and a small fee. 

Boardman Tree FarmLonepinePinecone Pixels 2013

]]> (Pinecone Pixels) Tue, 27 Jan 2015 18:30:53 GMT
Topaz Glow and The Bodie Hat Well, it's a brand new year with all of its' challenges ahead! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas season as I did. I took 2 full weeks off to do some home improvement projects and to spend time on my passion. I purchased the newly released Topaz glow plugin and had a blast with it. It has a lot of sliders to play with that affect glow type, brightness, color and spread to name a few. You can apply a little or a lot for different effects. It comes with some presets that you can modify, or you can create your own. The picture of the hat was one I found from my trip to Bodie last summer that I had not worked on. I really like the result and hope you enjoy it also.

Pinecone Pixels 2013

]]> (Pinecone Pixels) Fri, 09 Jan 2015 23:21:58 GMT
Sumpter Valley Railroad On October 25th, our local photography club hosted again, a one day photo shoot in Sumpter, OR, at the Sumpter Valley Railroad. SVRR has about 7 miles of narrow gauge railroad and two steam engines and a number of other rail cars.There was about 35 of us, and we had a wonderful fall day shooting the Classic #19 steam engine. The staff was fantastic and accommodated all of our requests to back up and do it again. We would all load up in the passenger cars, and then travel to a spot that offered a great view or reflection in a pond. Then stop get off and set up for the shot. The train would back up and then come at us with the smoke pouring out of the stack. We were also fortunate to have a couple of models in period dress to add to the fun. The weather was cool but not bitter cold as it can be there at that time of year, and the day started off with a spectacular sunrise. Everyone came home with some treasured photos and a new appreciation for our current mode of travel!

Pinecone Pixels 2013

]]> (Pinecone Pixels) Mon, 10 Nov 2014 22:04:51 GMT
The October Bloodmoon This is the second bloodmoon of the four that are to occur through out 2014-15. The next one occurs April 4th next year and the last one on September 28th. This was my first attempt to photograph this rare occurance, and was taken at 3:30am. I was using my 70-200 with a 2X extender to fill the frame as much as I could. The arc was from the moon moving thru the frame on its merry way to the west, with a 5 minute space between shots.  I would like to be more prepared next time, and be in an area with very little ambient light. This was just out the front door, so it made for ease access, but there was some light pollution that I had to deal with in post processing. Enjoy.

]]> (Pinecone Pixels) Tue, 14 Oct 2014 00:45:48 GMT
The 4C's convention I just returned from the annual 4C's convention in Vancouver Washington. It was a smaller than normal convention, but fun and informative as always. It was a great year for me as I came home with a 1st place and 3 honorable mentions for the year. I also had 3 images in the top 80  category. The first place image was one of my water drop shots called For every action... It was very rewarding as it not only was a new category of interest for me, but was also a monochrome image, which is a style I am still learning. You can learn about the 4C's here: . Enjoy!

Pinecone Pixels 2013

]]> (Pinecone Pixels) Thu, 09 Oct 2014 00:08:24 GMT