I’m experimenting a bit more with the Nik HDR Efex Pro 2 software.  I wanted to show you the HDR output along with the original “close to the right exposure” frame.  People can get carried away and overdo the effect, but I’m trying to take a more subtile approach.

Here is the image combining 8 frames into one to expand the dynamic range:

Here is the single exposure image:

Which do you like better?

P.S.  If you look closely, you can see the moon high in the sky.



Here is an image that I captured on Lopez Island, Washington.  It is actually a combination of 8 different images captured at 2/3 of an f-stop difference between each one. They were then combined using the Nik HDR Effects 2 software. The goal of the software is to easily combine images with different exposers in an attempt to expand the dynamic range of the camera sensor to more closely match what the eye sees in real life.

This was my first attempt at using the software and I have a lot more learning to do. But, it is fun learning new things and it gets me thinking a bit more about the final image when I’m capturing the shot in the field.



On a recent flight to San Francisco, I had an awesome view of the sunset.  Normally the sun pokes out from under the clouds, but this time I saw it from above the clouds at 30,000 feet.  The window of the plane was quite scratched, but it gives the image a nice effect as the sunlight refracts off of these scratches.


We were again blessed by being able to take our vacation in the San Juan Islands of Washington state. We also got to take some very close friends with us to enjoy the time on the water.

This year was a bit different that most of our boating vacations. Normally we sail, but this year we wanted to try out a motor yacht to see what that was all about. Our boat of choice was a 37 foot Nordic Tug named “Weak Moment.”

This boat normally spends the summer season in Alaska in charter service, but at the end of the year the owner brings it back down to Bellingham to a slightly warmer climate. The boat was the most comfortable boat I’ve ever been on. It has full-time AC power to operate a microwave oven, crockpot and even a curling iron (for one of our guests). Add to that the forced air furnace, windshield wipers, wall to wall carpeting and you ended up with some very happy campers.

From an operational point of view, it has a 330 HP diesel engine, bow thruster for maneuvering in close quarters, radar, navigational chart plotters with weather overlays and just about anything else you could imagine. Here is a twilight shot of one of our guests being illuminated by the chart plotter screens.

We had just hooked up to a mooring buoy in Fox Cove on the island of Sucia. You’ll notice how calm the water was on this first evening out. That was not to last. By the time morning arrive, we were facing 25-35 knot winds with 4 foot waves. Fortunately, we were in a relatively protected bay from the waves, but the wind was howling. The radio was alive with chat about various people in trouble due to the weather. There was even a US Coast Guard helicopter out looking for boats that were not in safe places, suggesting to the captains of those vessels to head for shelter.

The wind was forecasted to be a bit less in the afternoon (15-20 knots), but was then to increase to 35+ later that night.  We decided to make a run for it to Friday Harbor. Weak Moment handled the then 2 to 3 foot waves just fine and we pulled into a slip for a couple of nights to wait out the storm. Not a problem for us, as Friday Harbor is our favorite place to visit.

The storm passed and we ended up with nice weather for the rest of our trip. We visited Montague Harbor and the town of Ganges in Canada. It was nice to have some sun.

Two nights left on our trip, so we headed back to the US to clear customs at Roche Harbor. On the way, we passed Turn Point lighthouse on Stuart Island and had a very big surprise. A whale was spotted about a quarter of a mile in front of us. Then we saw some more. The next thing we knew they were all around us. We’re guessing there were probably 15-20 total in the pod, some being quite young and small, but two others that were gigantic. The dorsal fin on these big ones must have been 5 to 6 feet tall. Here is one of my favorite photos.

This was taken with my Canon 7D with the 70-200mm f2.8L IS lens. I still can’t get over how massive these sea creatures are.

We finally made it back to the US, but we were late so the on-call customs official had to make a trip across the island to check us in. I was the only one that could leave the boat until we were cleared, so we enjoyed a bit of dock time as we waited for the official to arrive.

Weak Moment was moved to a slip in Roche Harbor for the night and I’m glad we stayed here, as I could get off the boat for some fun night shots. Here is one that was was captured with my Canon 5D MkII with a 24-105mm f4 lens set at f5.6.  The exposure was 30 seconds in length, making the stars shine though the thin layer of clouds.

All in all it was a wonderful trip. We’ll probably charter another Nordic Tug in the future (especially in the rainy season), but you’ll just as likely see us on a sailboat next time around.

Hope you enjoyed a glimpse into our adventure.



This image was captured on the 2011 Autumnal Equinox just a couple of miles from our house.  I knew of some west facing tracks that would make a great frame from the setting sun.  It was amazing to see how the tracks lit up from the sun’s light, just as if they were on fire.  One other interesting thing to note is how wavy the tracks appear.  This was accentuated by the telephoto lens attached to my camera.



My wife and I took a little hike in the foothills east of Boise, Idaho just to capture some images because I just knew it would be a spectacular sunset. How did I know? Partly because of the fantastic sunrise this morning, plus the sky was clear of clouds but still quite smokey from the nearby wildfires.

I like this particular image because it looks like the branches are holding up the sun.

A larger version of the photo can be seen on the 500px photo sharing site.

It is a amazing what you see when you just look around.  Last fall we were sailing near Victoria, BC and were in the harbor for the evening when the sky started to change.  It became more colorful by the minute.  There were also a number of gulls swimming in the water.  I watched, waited for a shot, and…. click…  got it.


We said our fair-wells to Victory and started our journey back to the United States.  But, to get there we again needed to get into the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  Fortunately, it was not as rough this day and the wind was coming a bit from our front, so we could see the saves coming towards us.  We were not the only ones heading back to the states on this day as shown in the following image.

Whenever you cross a border into another country, the first place you stop needs to be at a customs station.  We took care of this in Roche Harbor on San Juan Island.  After a few minutes declaring what we were doing while in Canada and what we brought back, we were given the stamp of approval to be back home.  Now that customs was behind us, we could depart to where we would drop the anchor for the night.

Well, we didn’t have to drop the anchor as there was a convenient mooring buoy to hook our bow line to.  After we got securly connected for the night, we sat back and admired one of our favorite spots in the San Juan Islands… Reid Harbor on Stuart Island.  We had many neighbors that night and it was fun to hear the laughter from the various boats as people enjoyed their surroundings and their companions.

It is bound to be a quiet night!

2009-04-20I was out bike riding south of Boise a few weeks ago when I happened upon a very large shadow that was going across the road. It didn’t take but a second to stop and scope out the situation. The sun was setting behind the local Doppler Radar dome, so I took out the iPhone to see what I could capture. The iPhone does not have a very good camera, but I tried to make the most of what I had with me. Several shots were taken as I positioned myself to get various levels of direct sunlight coming over the top of the dome. This particular one was the best of the bunch, in my opinion.




Just a few weeks ago, my wife and I traveled to the Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands of Washington state. The only way to get to this beautiful place is by boat or small plane and the fastest and most inexpensive way is by ferry.

We were on our way back to the mainland on a somewhat cloudy and rainy day when I spotted another ferry following us back to Anacortes.  Just a few minutes later, the sun found a thin part of the sky to shine through and the sky and water became a very vivid orange color.

I took about 20 shots in about a 15 minute period, trying to capture the event the best way I could.  This photo was my favorite of the bunch.