Saturday, August 25, 2012

Fantasy Forest

I took a trip into the Hoh Rainforest on the  Olympic Peninsula last week. It's been a while since I've been up there and I find that I always enjoy how peaceful and quiet it is in that part of the state.
Usually when I tell people that we have a rainforest here in Washington,  I get some funny looks because most people think of rainforests as being Tropical and much closer to the equator. They tend to forget about the kind that doesn't have a good publicist... the Temperate Rainforest.  Washington has one of the largest temperate rainforests in the U.S. which really shouldn't be a big surprise since we are known for our rain.

I thought I would try something a little different with a few of my photos there this time around.  I don't normally take my photos to any kind of extreme "artsy" kind of look when playing with them in Photoshop but something about a couple of the photos made me want to play with them and give them more of a "Lord of the Rings" kind of feel. This was a shot of a fairly popular spot in the forest. It's a grove of big leaf maples covered in moss. Since you can find all kinds of nice photos of these tress out there already, I thought giving it a little twist and making it different might be kind of fun and might make it a slightly more interesting photo.  I'd love to hear if you like it or not ... is it too much?

Monday, August 20, 2012

British Columbia Parliament Building

If you ever get the chance to travel to Victoria British Columbia, and you happen to make the trip by taking the Ferry from Port Angeles Washington—one of the first buildings you will probably notice is the British Columbia Parliament Building.

The Neo-baroque buildings face north on Belleville street facing the Inner Harbour and diagonally across from The Empress Hotel. A statue of Queen Victoria stands on the front lawn as well a statue of a soldier to commemorate the province's World War I, World War II and Korean War dead. Atop the central dome is a gold-covered statue of Captain George Vancouver.

Despite many problems, including exceeding budget—the British Columbia Parliament Buildings began operation officially during 1898—the final cost was $923,000.

Trying to get a photo without a crowd of people in front of the building is pretty tough unless you're willing to either get up very early in the morning and get there before people are out and about starting their day or doing what I did and hang around until the crowds call it a night and you only have to wait out the other photographers. I actually had to spend some time waiting for a couple that decided to practice dancing on the empty lawn and then decided to just snap the shot and try to remove them in Photoshop. I think it turned out okay.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Air Force Memorial - Washington DC

This is another photo from the memorial tour in Washington DC.  Once again I found myself walking around looking for a unique angle to shoot from, trying to see if I could find something that wasn't the typical photo that we all take when doing the tourist thing.

I had almost given up on shooting anything out of the norm when I stopped to read this inscription, and as I read it I realized there was a great reflection of the memorial behind the words.  

Among other things, the three vertical spires symbolize the three core values of the Air Force: Integrity first, Service before self, and Excellence in all we do. It also seemed very fitting that this image captures another message, one that goes to the heart of many in the Armed Forces, and that is the message of Sacrifice.

It might not be the best photo I've ever taken, but it might be the one that touches closer to the core of who I am today than anything else I've ever shot.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Iwo Jima Memorial

I recently took a trip to the Nation's Capital and like most of my trips in the last few years, I got there just in time for a major heat-wave. Being from the Northwest you should know that I've gotten used to our high's of 80 on a hot day, so stepping outside into 104+ temps and high humidity left me wanting to just hang out in the hotel where they actually had air conditioning that kept me from becoming nothing but a puddle on the floor.

As much as I hated to though, I did manage to leave the hotel a few times and actually kept the sweat out of my eyes long enough to shoot a couple of photos while I was there.  I'm sure you have seen thousands of photos of all of the monuments and memorials around DC and I have too.  So I tried to challenge myself to do something a little different than the norm while I was there.  I wanted to try to capture something that would bring out those feelings I got while standing there looking at these memorials.

There are so many young men and women that paid the ultimate price for our Freedom and continue to do so. I found my mind wandering to the current crop of soldiers and I felt a great respect for them and a hope that they will all soon return home safely.  With the heavy skies I thought this image had to be a Black and White and a little harsh to try to capture all of those feelings... but the Flag had to be left in color to show the hope of a Nation. Not sure if I managed to pull it off but I'm happy with the results of this shot, and hope maybe it makes people stop and remember our troops, both past and present, even for a few minutes.  If you are someone that prays from time to time, please send a few their way, and if you see a soldier in your travels... remember to thank them.  I don't think they hear it enough.