Waterfall

Witches Brew

Witches Brew

I spent almost 2 weeks in Iceland with 6 friends: 5 of whom were not photographers. This meant that rather than following the weather, like I would have preferred, we followed our itinerary instead. Mama Nature had the perfect chance to attach a rope between our RV and the rain clouds and boy did she take advantage. It wasnt until 9 days into our trip that I finally saw the sun. The first 8 days were filled with rain, fog, more rain, more fog, and grey grey sky. Fortunately the last 2 nights ended quite spectacularly.

Theres a few places in Iceland that photographers love and Kirkjufell Mountain is one of them. Of course it was high on my list of places to visit and we saved it for almost last. We arrived at Grundarfjrur, the town next to the mountain, parked the RV in their marina and made dinner. Dinner seemed to last for hours. Every few minutes I would get up, look at where the sun is, and say guys, can we hurry up Of course the non-photographers responded with relax, itll be fine

Finally I jumped into the drivers seat, told everyone to hold on, and drove us over to the spot. Surprisingly, this view is right off the road (you can, in fact, see the road at the bottom of the mountain) and offers countless compositions. As we arrived though, the clouds started to thin out and it forced our compositions to move to the left, towards the 3-pronged waterfall and the bridge. Fortunately the sky lit up beautifully long enough for us to snap a few photos. About 20 minutes after this photo was taken, a marine layer moved in, the clouds disappeared, and the beautiful sunset was gone. Thanks, Mama Nature, for a yummy bit of dessert

I loved the way the mountain looks like a witches hat while the waterfall and river brew below it.

Nikon D800 w/Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8 ED-IF AF-S:
17mm, f/9, 1/6 sec, ISO 100

Purchase at Aaron M Photography

Reynolds Milk

Reynolds Milk

Willie, Alan, and I spent a week at Glacier National Park back in August and the trip was everything but what we expected. This particular night was about the only night that went as we intended. The weather forecast seemed great before we arrived but we witnessed poor conditions after poor conditions. For 2 days we couldn’t even see our feet the fog was so thick. On our first night the clouds stayed away and we did the one thing we planned on: getting some Milky Way shots from Logan Pass.

I had seen this waterfall earlier in the evening and photographed it as the last light hit Mt. Reynolds, disappeared, the stars came out, and eventually the Milky Way moved into position. I knew that Milky Way would eventually move parallel to the right edge of Mt. Reynolds but I didn’t realize how long it would take. It wasn’t until around midnight that it got dark enough and the Milky Way moved far enough to the right.

I used a 4 image focus stack to make sure the entire scene came out in focus. As you’ll notice the sky doesn’t entirely look as sharp as it could. I rented the lens from BorrowLenses and it quickly became clear that this particular copy of the lens had some serious coma flare issues. I did my best to get rid of some of it but eventually removing it became tedious and I gave up. BorrowLenses customer service was awesome and I was given a coupon for the price of the rental to use another time!

Nikon D800 w/Nikkor 24mm f/1.4G ED:
Sky: 24mm, f/1.6, 13 seconds, ISO 3200
Foreground: 4 images, 24mm, f/10, ISO 100

Purchase at Aaron M Photography

Autumn Metlako

Autumn Metlako

Ive seen many photos of the Columbia River Gorge and it was high on my photography bucket-list. Willie, Alan, and Jave still laugh at how jealous (and how quickly I responded to their behind-the-scenes post) I was of their trip to Oregon in the spring. I asked Alan and Willie if they wanted to go back in the fall and off we went. I was in Portland a couple weeks earlier for a bachelor party and the fall colors were just starting to emerge; I figured a trip in a couple weeks would be perfect timing. Unfortunately recent rain and some weird weather caused the fall color to somewhat fizzle we never really found a great abundance of color but we did manage to find little patches here and there.

After exploring the Gorge for a bit we decided to head to the Eagle Falls Trail and visit a few more waterfalls. We came upon Metlako Falls and found a nice patch of orange leaves. I immediately setup my tripod, pulled out the 80-200 and proceeded to drop my lens hood into the gorge. I seem to have a habit of dropping things when in precarious places: I almost lost my Lee Filter Holder off the side of the Grand Canyon, I dropped a 2-stop filter off the edge of a wall at Hawk Hill and now I lost my lens hood. Oh well, at least it wasnt my camera The one nice thing about the rain was that the waterfalls were gushing very nicely. It was a great hike and we saw some beautiful scenes. I cant wait to get back

P.S: Thanks to Alan I think I put on 20 pounds after this hike. We stopped at the local eatery and Alan somehow convinced me to eat an ice-cream that was taller than my head And I downed most of it

Nikon D800 w/Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8D ED AF:
100mm, f/9, 1/10 sec, ISO 400

Purchase at Aaron M Photography

Overwhelmingly Grand

Overwhelmingly Grand

Many times during my photography career people come up to me and ask Why arent you taking a picture of this Its so pretty One of the things I learned early on was that often times scenes that are pretty to the eye unfortunately dont make great photos. Scenes are too busy, theyre too grand, or they lack a main subject. This was the case when Willie and I arrived at Burney Falls. We took one look at it and said WOW But as we got down lower and took out our cameras we started to scratch our heads. No wonder we didnt see many good photos during our research. Its not that it hasnt been photographed, its that its really hard to photograph well. The place is just too grand. It didnt help that there were blue skies above the falls.

As I was shooting I noticed that the setting sun was positioning itself perfectly in the trees. I managed to snap off a few shots before the sun dipped completely behind the trees and the cliffs and was hidden for the rest of the evening. Lightstars streak out from the sun as the trees provide an edge to refract off.

Foregive me for the horridly boring sky but I found Burney Falls so breathtaking that I just had to post a photo of it. As Alan will say, this is Caca Dudu (his term for BORING) but who cares — its a gorgeous place and I want to motivate everyone to visit Burney Falls if theyre in the Shasta area (or make a trip to go see it). I made sure to include all of the falls to give you a sense of how giant and large this place is

Nikon D800 w/Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8 ED-IF AF-S:
20mm, f/22, 0.8 sec, ISO 320

Purchase at Aaron M Photography

El-o-wah Mess

El-o-wah Mess

Pretty much everything at Elowah Falls on this morning was a mess. The hike down to the waterfall was a mess. The colors near the falls were a mess. The branches stuck in the stream, the leaves fallen in random places, the complaints from Willie and Alan, and the rain trickling down on us all made for quite the messy scene. We had hoped for some beautiful fall colors for our long weekend in the Columbia River Gorge but most of the colors hadnt peaked yet or just died out into dead, brown leaves.

Elowah Falls is pretty majestic and our first inclination was to get close to it. Unfortunately, there werent any fall colors and we found ourselves slightly down stream. Elowah became blocked by some trees but we did finally find some autumn color to include in our photos. Leaves fell on top of the rocks near us, ripped off their trees by the rain from earlier in the morning. We tried a number of compositions before lining up in a row and settling on this little cascade here.

Nikon D800 w/Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8 ED-IF AF-S:
17mm, f/10, 1.6 sec, ISO 250

Purchase at Aaron M Photography

Logan’s Frustration

Logan's Frustration

The first photo I saw that made me want to go to Glacier National Park was of Triple Falls in Logan Pass. Once I booked a flight and started to do some research I found I was more excited to shoot the rivers and streams in Logan Pass than Triple Falls. Before Willie, Alan, and I arrived at Glacier National Park the forecast looked good for some beautiful sunsets. Unfortunately that never happened — on nights just like this, we watched the clouds disappear right before our eyes just minutes before sunset. 15 minutes after I took this photo the clouds were completely gone. So frustrating

Logan Pass is known for its rivers, streams, and wild flowers. Due to a dry winter the flowers werent in bloom as we had expected. In fact, there were hardly any flowers around. Thanks to 2 days of rain, though, the streams were gushing quite well. Logan Pass sits in between 2 mountains: Mt. Reynolds and Mt. Clements. I find Mt. Clements to be the more photogenic mountain and I knew I wanted to find a waterfall with Mt. Clements in the background. I feel like I hiked around forever trying to find the perfect spot. I found this spot midway through my wandering and when Alan came around and showed me that he had also found this spot, I knew it was where I wanted to be during sunset.

I got partially into the stream to get the angle that I wanted on the waterfalls. I then used a 4 image focus stack to ensure sharpness throughout the photo and a 5th photo exposed for the sky. I only wish the clouds here had lit up with some color but I cant complain. It was such a beautiful way to spend the afternoon that I didnt even mind my feet were soaked (I would have felt bad that Alan and Willie had to endure my wet feet but luckily Alans feet were even worse. It wasnt until later on in the trip that I got my shoes so wet they had to be scanned multiple times at the airport).

Nikon D800 w/Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8 ED-IF AF-S:
17mm, f/11, 1/6 sec, ISO 160

Purchase at Aaron M Photography