Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Oregon Wild 2011 Photo Contest

My image titled, "Alvord Desert Sunrise" was chosen as the winner of the Wildlands category of the Oregon Wild 2011 Photo Contest. There were over 400 images submitted this year, so this is quite an honor for me! I won a $250 gift certificate to Pro Photo Supply and a new REI Flash 65 lightweight backpack. The image will also be published on the Oregon Wild Website and in the Oregon Wild Magazine.

Here is my winning image.

Here is a picture of me with the 20x30 print at the Oregon Wild Photo Contest unveiling/silent auction. This is the first 20x30 print I've had made and I was impressed with how well it turned out. Angie and I had a great time at this event. It was fun to meet several other Oregon Wild members and view all of the winning images. The prints were all beautiful and we ended up buying Brizz Medding's image titled "Skunk Cabbage Sofa".

I would like to personally thank Oregon Wild for hosting this photo contest and also for all of the work they do protecting Oregon's endangered places and animals. Please click the Oregon Wild logo image at the top of this post to learn more about Oregon Wild.

Oregon Wild 2011 Photo Contest Press Release

Oregon Wild 2011 Photo Contest Winners

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Dropbox Review

Traditionally, storage and backup of digital data has been limited to physical devices such as hard drives, CD-ROMs, Blu-Ray discs and flash drives. While these devices have been used for years, they are all prone to failure, loss and theft. When the devices fail or are lost/stolen, the digital data is lost forever. In the last few years, a new way of managing digital data called "cloud computing" has emerged.

Cloud computing is a term which is used to describe the storage, retrieval and backup of digital data online. If current trends continue, cloud computing appears to be the future digital data management. There are currently several companies offering online cloud computing services, but this review will focus only on Dropbox.

I became interested in cloud computing earlier this year when I purchased the iPad 2. I quickly discovered the easiest way to transfer files to the iPad 2 was through the cloud. By using the cloud for file transfer, the need for being tethered to the home computer was removed. While researching different cloud computing sites, I found Dropbox and have been quite happy with the service.

Dropbox works by storing files online in the cloud. These files can then be downloaded/synchronized to different devices, including, other computers, portable tablets (iPad/Xoom/Playbook/Galaxy Tab) and mobile phones (iPhone/Blackberry/Droid). Users simply set up a Dropbox account on the website and then start uploading digital content to the cloud. On the home computer this is done by moving files to the Dropbox folder which automatically uploads the files to the cloud. On the iPad/iPhone the Dropbox app is used to upload files. Once a file is in the cloud, the user can download/synchronize the file to any device. Sounds very simple and it is.

From a photography perspective, Dropbox is likely to be most useful for the backup of digital images. All photographers should have a backup plan for their digital images and the cloud offers another possible solution.

Currently I have two main uses for Dropbox. 1)As a means to transfer files to the iPad 2. This includes anything from Word documents to PDF ebooks. 2) As a backup storage for my master digital image files.

Everyone always asks if sites like Dropbox are safe for storing digital data. In my opinion, Dropbox is safe to use, since data security appears to be very important to the Dropbox team. It's really no different than trusting your email service (Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail) to send your important files. The only issue I see with using Dropbox is that if the cloud goes down, you will not be able to retrieve any digital files until it is back online. This is why I currently recommend Dropbox as a backup of the files that are already on your computer, iPad or iPhone. In the future, if services like Dropbox have proven themselves to be reliable, the cloud may turn into the primary storage site for digital data.

If you are interested in signing up for Dropbox, please click here to use my referral link. By using this link you will get an extra 250 megabytes of storage space and I will receive 250 megabytes as well. If you end up using Dropbox, I hope you enjoy the experience, and welcome to the cloud!

Dropbox has three different account types.
1. "Basic" Free account with 2 gigabytes of storage space. Dropbox also gives you 250 megabytes of storage for each friend you refer to the site, up to a maximum of 8 gigabytes.
2. "Pro 50" 50 gigabyte account for $99.99/year
3. "Pro 100" 100 gigabyte account for $199.99/year

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Winter Majestic

Winter Majestic - Mt Hood from White River
Nikon D7000, Nikkor 12-24 dx lens, polarizer
0.8 sec at f/16, ISO 100, single exposure
click image to see larger

In mid January I made it up to White River Sno-Park to photograph the sunrise and Mt Hood. White River is located on the southeast side of Mt Hood and is about a 90 minute drive from Portland.

I've had the idea for this image in my head for a while now and the conditions finally came together to make it a reality. The elements I was seeking for this image were; 1) clear skies, 2) sunrise alpenglow on Mt Hood, 3) fresh snowfall, 4) a good amount of water flowing in White River.

White River is a place I've visited several times over the past few years and these previous visits allowed me to scout the area and find the best compositions. Knowing the area well is very important, since to photograph the sunrise here you must start snowshoeing while it is still dark. The morning I went up to the mountain, I got up at 4AM to drive to the Sno-Park, snowshoe ~1 mile in the dark and get the camera set up in an area with a good composition.

From a composition standpoint it is somewhat difficult to make good images of Mt Hood from White River. The main challenge is the closer you get to Mt Hood, the less of the mountain you see. As you snowshoe up the canyon, the view of the mountain becomes obstructed by the ridge on the right hand side. Another challenge is finding a stretch of the river which compliments the composition. The river is in a constant state of change and the path of the river will usually change after a warm winter rains flood the river. Basically your favorite section of the river might not be the same next year, over even next month.

I processed this image using Lightroom 3 and Photoshop CS4. While processing the photo I opted to keep the blue color cast to make the image feel "colder". I'm happy with the result and I really like the contrast between the warm glow on Mt Hood and the cool tones in the foreground.

Feel free to leave me comments here if you have a blogspot/blogger account or contact me through the contact link on the website.

Take care,

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Recent News

My photo titled "Alpenglow, Mt Hood" is currently displayed on the main page of the Oregon Wild Website This photo was also featured in the Oregon Wild Winter/Spring Magazine

"Alpenglow, Mt Hood" White River, Mt Hood Wilderness. December 2009.
Nikon D80, 12-24mm Nikkor Dx, polarizer, 2 stop soft GND.
1.3 sec at f/16, ISO 100
Click image to see larger.

Also, my photo titled "Veratrum and Wildflowers" was chosen as an honorable mention in the Wildlands category of the 2010 Oregon Wild Photo Contest

"Veratrum and Wildflowers" Mt Jefferson Wilderness, July 2010.
Nikon D80 50mm 1.8. 1.8 sec at f/16, ISO 100, polarizer

Click image to see larger.

It's an honor for me to have Oregon Wild use my photos to help promote conservation of Oregon's wild areas. This is a cause that I truly believe in and I'm glad we have organizations like Oregon Wild serving as advocates for the land and animals. As a nature photographer, I feel I have an opportunity to use my images to convince the public that these places are worth saving.