Category Archives: Creative

Why Focus Stack

focus stack of fordite

Cropped version of final Focus Stack. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, 60mm + 26mm extension tubes, ISO 400, f/4, 1/50 sec.

Not all macro subjects are captured sharp in a single image, that makes a great reason to focus stack. In preparing for a camera club presentation, I decided to focus stack a new object. I chose a piece of fordite from Cadillac Ranch. If you aren’t familiar with fordite, just think – layers of paint. The first image (image A) is a close-up image of the piece of fordite that measures 2” x 1”. I used my 12-100mm lens and got as close as I could to capture the image. Then, with my macro lens and extension tubes, I captured image B. A small sliver of the subject is sharp, but not the whole piece of fordite. In order to have sharpness throughout the entire frame, I would need to focus stack.

 

At first, I tried a stack of 50 images. My Olympus camera has a focus bracketing mode so all I do is focus on the closest part of the fordite and program the camera for 50 images at a small increment of focus bracketing. The camera then captures 50 raw images changing the focus with small increments from front to back. After looking at image 50, the farthest part of the fordite was still blurry, so I needed more photos in my stack. I tried again, this time with 125 focus bracketing images. When I reviewed the photos, at image 118, I had the sharpness I needed. Next step was to focus stack the 118 images in Helicon Focus. Helicon is amazingly easy to use. After selecting the images in Lightroom, I export to Helicon and press the render button. Helicon does the rest. The last image is the final image of 118 focus stacked images.

A few tips on focus stacking:

  • Mark the start of a focus stack by capturing a single image of your hand, or other random subject otherwise if you capture several stacks, it will be hard to identify the start and stop of the stack otherwise.
  • Use a tripod and shutter release to minimize camera shake. Photoshop CC offers focus stacking but it is more complicated than Helicon Focus.

Benefits of Photographing Alone

Photographing Fall Colors in Westfork

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, 12-100mm, ISO 200, f/14, .5 sec.., Circular Polarizing Filter.

Benefits of Photographing Alone

Dried leaves

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, 12-100mm, ISO 100, f/4, 1/100., 8 image focus stack in-camera.

Not long ago, I spent a morning in Sedona photographing fall colors. Whenever I travel alone, I do check in with my husband at the start and end of my trip. Checking in with him is more for my benefit; knowing someone is aware of my location makes me feel better. My husband is very optimistic that I will be safe regardless. Photographing alone does require discipline, after all, hitting snooze on the early alarm is tempting, after all, no one is meeting up with me. But I stayed disciplined and left before dark to drive to Westfork in Oak Creek Canyon.

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, 12-100mm, ISO 200, f/8, 1/8 sec.., Circular Polarizing Filter.

When I find a scene that interests me, I love working the scene for a while. Constantly challenging myself and looking for better angles or compositions. If there were people around me, they would hear me talk to myself saying things like, “what if I used that rock as foreground…” And then adjust my composition. Walking along the quiet path was relaxing and I didn’t feel a pressure in the world. I worked each composition for as long as I wanted with no time restrictions of leaving. I hiked up the side of the canyon along a small trail with awesome fall colors and scrambled down low when I found mushrooms. It was a fun and rewarding day. Sometimes, creativity is sparked just by shooting alone.

Water Drop Collisions

Creating water drop collisions keeps me entertained for hours. For the last year, I have been very busy completing and publishing the book, The Art of Macro Photography and my drip kit was neglected. So, I blocked a few hours and went to work in my make shift studio (spare bedroom). I kept the setup simple and started with single drops of water. I didn’t use any additives, just wanted to practice making drops and fine tune the timing of the flashes. After a successful single drop, I added the second drop.

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, 60mm, ISO 400, f/16, .5 sec.

In all the time I have been shooting water drop collisions, I’ve never seen the second drop hit next to the original drop as you can see in the image to the right. After several minutes problem solving, I tapped the valve and all subsequent drops collided. Why does this entertain me for hours? I love the challenge of focusing sharp and the varied final images. With a small change on timing of the flashes, I can achieve several different looks. The last image is of my setup for this series.

Stay tuned for more images next week!

 

Ocean City

ocean city beach sunset

Cloudless Night. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, 12-100mm, ISO 200, f/20, .8 sec.

My tarp finally got rained on as I packed to leave Cape Disappointment. On the way to Ocean City, I drove through rain, fog and mist. It was beautiful. In Ocean City, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and it was only 80 miles from Cape Disappointment. What a difference. After setting up camp, I sat in the sun and read for an hour just to soak up some rays. The Ocean City campground was two blocks from the ocean so I shot sunset for two nights here. The first night without clouds and the last night with excellent clouds.

falls creek falls

Fall Creek. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, 12-100mm, ISO 200, f/8, 6 sec., with Bryan Hansel Singh-ray Filter.

Ocean City is a short drive to Lake Quinault, part of the Olympic National Forest and there are many waterfalls. I was so excited to photograph there, I woke up very early and was on a trail by 7:30am after the 1-hour drive. My first location was Falls Creek which is on the edge of a tent campground and I was very quiet to not wake up any campers. It was a pretty fall, but I struggled getting a composition I liked. So, I hiked to Gatton Creek Falls. It was a mile to the falls and a bridge crossed over the top. The only problem with this tiered fall was access to it. I could not find a trail I was willing to walk down without going swimming so I headed back a little discouraged.

Even though I wanted to photograph waterfalls, I reminded myself how beautiful the trail was and tried to find other things to photograph. I came across chicken mushroom and moss growing on the side of a tree stump and pulled out the macro lens.

chicken mushroom and moss

Chicken Mushroom and moss. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, 60 mm, ISO 200, f/9, 2.5 sec.

Mosquitos were buzzy around, but my deet must have worked as I survived without a bite. Capturing the macro shots reinforced my thoughts of the beautiful trail and improved my mood. I took off in search of more falls.

Waterfalls
willaby creek falls

Willaby Creek Falls Final Photo. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, 12-100mm, ISO 200, f/8, 5 sec., with Bryan Hansel Singh-ray Filter.

The trail to Willaby Falls was non-technical and I didn’t feel that I was going to fall in. I stepped off the trail slightly to get a better angle and had fun capturing images here. In the photog section below, I discuss the first photo upon arriving at the scene to my final photo. When I am photographing beautiful falls like this, I try to remind myself to look not only through the camera but with my eyes as well. So, often I will pause and just admire without looking for a composition or changing an aperture. I just take in the beauty.

merriman falls

Merriman Falls Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, 12-100mm, ISO 200, f/10, 8 sec., with Bryan Hansel Singh-ray Filter.

Lastly, I drove to Merriman Falls. The 40-foot drop contrasted with Willaby Creek Falls and required a different approach to capture an image. Next to the side of the road with only a pullout (no sign) this waterfall was magnificent. The entire falls were hard to photograph because by this time, other people were around. Another photog was there capturing couple’s photos as well, so I worked around them and captured small scenes of the falls.

Comforts of Home
Amy selfie

I’m waving hello! iPhone photo.

I watched Neflix! This campground had free wifi and I enjoyed it thoroughly: backed up photos, caught up on email and watched a few movies on Netflix. This was my first TV for almost 6 weeks. After six weeks, my car and trailer are dirty. Even though I was rained on, the dirt roads and sea spray have done a number on my car. It still surprised me when a total stranger said, “That is a dirty car,” to me at the gas station. Peer pressure worked and I drove through a self-serve car wash 15 minutes later. Of course, the sea spray hit again that night shooting sunset. After 4500 miles, what do you expect?

car on sand

Car on beach, iPhone photo.

Oregon’s beaches are public property and the state owns them. In Washington, it seems similar and they let you drive on the beach! So, I had get my Renegade on the sand. When I sent the photo home to Rod he was concerned that I would get stuck. But, I didn’t.

I spent an afternoon in Ocean Shores a few miles away and walked several miles along Damon Point. Damon Point has spectacular crashing waves, agates, shells and driftwood. I even found a marble that I’m taking home for our cats. I grabbed fried oysters in town to complete my west coast seafood checklist and headed back to camp to prepare for sunset.

For the Photogs!
willaby creek falls

Willaby Creek Falls First Photo. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, 12-100mm, ISO 200, f/10, .8 sec.

When I photograph waterfalls, I like to start with a sample image once I am setup. I often use aperture priority mode and take a sample shot to help me view the scene. Once I take a shot, I am more successful on composing by analyzing if that is the story I want to capture. I say to myself, “what can I do to make this better.” With the image on the right, there is a lot to do to make it better. At first, I shot from the trail with the tripod above a bush. Then I noticed a dirt path off the trail and I examined what would be the best location to capture the photo. If your tripod isn’t as tall as you, make sure you view the scene the same as your camera. I often pull out my iPhone to “view” the scene at different heights to determine where to setup the tripod. Once I was away from the bush, I put on my Bryan Hansel filter from Singh-ray. Yes, I love this filter! I played with horizontal and vertical orientations until I found just the right composition. I knew before I captured the photo I would crop a small portion from the foreground because there was a distracting reflection that I could not avoid otherwise. View the final Willaby Creek Falls photo above in this post.

Ocean city beach at sunset

Ocean City Beach. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, 12-100mm, ISO 200, f/10, 1/80 sec.

Cape Disappointment

Cape Disappointment Boat Launch. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 12-100 mm, ISO 400, f/18 @ 1/640 sec.

Cape Disappointment
Light house

North Head Lighthouse. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 12-100 mm, ISO 400, f/16 @ 1/500 sec.

It was a relaxing 40-mile drive from Astoria to Cape Disappointment. I ran a few errands on the way out of town (ice, food, gas, etc) and arrived at Cape Disappointment in time to check in and set up my trailer. Fifteen minutes later, I was ready to explore. The ocean was a short walk from my campsite so I checked it out. The view included the North Head Lighthouse but the weather was cloudy, and a lighthouse in the clouds wasn’t working for me, so I drove around the park to scout other areas. Slowly, I sunk back into a discouraged photographer. These clouds were not what I wanted to capture. So, I bailed on photography (sort of). I went to town, sat in a McDonald’s parking lot and streamed my favorite Mirrorless Minutes podcast from the McDonald’s wifi. Normally, I listen to it from iTunes, but this was their 100th episode and I watched it live. Karen, one of my friends from Phoenix was in the podcast chat too. I felt a little more inspired.

After the podcast, I got a text from Karen. Thanks to some fun discussions about photography and what to shoot, I flipped the switch to wanting to take photos and couldn’t wait to get back to the beach. Without phone service at the park, I talked to myself the entire time on the beach. Once I took a shot, I would ask myself how it could be improved. Initially, I thought I would photograph macro subjects that are perfect for cloudy weather. But as I looked at the sky, I noticed clouds with highlights and shadows. I saw definition in the clouds. Maybe it was there all along and I wasn’t noticing…either way, I was ready to capture images. I rotated between wide and long lenses capturing reflections on the wet sand. The tide was heading out, so I continued to creep up on the waves. My final images are abstract and I like them. Thanks Karen for the inspiration. The lesson I learned: there is always a picture to be made.

Cloudy Reflections

Cloudy Reflections. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 7-14 mm, ISO 200, f/16 @ 1/10 sec.

World’s Largest Frying Pan!
frying pan photo

Largest Frying Pan! 14 ft tall.

Day two at Cape Disappointment was spent sightseeing. I went to lighthouses, beaches and Long Beach. Long Beach had many unique finds: Cranberry Museum, Marsha’s Free Museum with Jake the Alligator man and the largest frying pan in history! How have I lived almost 50 years and not known where the largest frying pan in history was located? I found a taco bar and had a halibut taco – it was yummy! I took the evening off from photography and read a book. All in all a great day.

Cranberries on the vine. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 12-100 mm, ISO 400, f/8 @ 1/200 sec.

My days are relaxing but lonely at times. I don’t over talk to people like I did my first week (good thing) but often want to talk more. Other than my daily conversations with my sister and husband I often don’t speak. Hopefully, this doesn’t have a negative side effect on my vocal chords….otherwise my family won’t recognize me when I get home.

My next stop will be further up the Washington Coast in Ocean City.

For the Photogs!

In case you are looking for a great solution to transfer photos to iPhones or iPads, a workshop participant told me about Sandisk’s iXpand. It is a usb drive with a usb on one end and lightning on the other. So, I save photos to it, put the other end in my phone and transfer images instantly. Works like a charm, thanks Pat!

Clouds with details

Clouds with details. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 7-14 mm, ISO 200, f/18 @ 1.6 sec.

When I saw the details in the clouds, I also thought this would make a strong black and white. So, using Nik Silver Efex Pro, I did just that.

Gray Skies

clouds, fog and fishing

Clouds and fog at Coffenbury Lake. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 12-100 mm, ISO 200, f/11 @ 1/40 sec.

Clouds depress me. It must be from growing up in the Phoenix area and not seeing them often. Here in Astoria it’s been cloudy and misty/rainy for most of the time. I’m never sure which it is, rain or mist, but it is moist. They sky is gray without definition and I’m not inspired. Insisting I would “get over it” I went out shooting anyway. The images are nothing I plan to post, but it did relax me. Fog excites me. My first day here was sunny and clear and I hung out on the beach photographing sandpipers and waves. As evening settled in, the campground filled with fog, so I took off with my camera. Coffenbury Lake, near my campground, was covered in mist and fog and the icing on the cake came from the young men fishing. After that evening, it has been undefined clouds without fog.

fog and clouds

Fog on Coffenbury Lake. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 12-100 mm, ISO 200, f/11 @ 1/125 sec.

Campground Etiquette
people in campground

iPhone photo of visitors through my camp.

It is so funny what people talk about in campgrounds. I’m not trying to eavesdrop, but some voices really carry in a campground. At one site, I learned how allergic a person is to Benadryl. At another, I heard a couple fighting about what they cooked for dinner. In Bodega Bay, two young girls walked right through my camp site to take a photo of themselves on the sand dune. The entire campground was full of sand dunes, why my site?

A few mornings ago, I woke up to a dog squeaky toy at 6:15 am. I couldn’t believe these owners would let their dog have a toy like at that time of the morning. Squeak, squeak, squeak. Then, I realized the squeak was a consistent pattern and stopped suddenly. I don’t think it was a dog squeaking…..

Bunnies

Bunnies in a Sroller

The campground I am in is the largest campground East of the Mississippi with 536 sites. That is huge. I didn’t see pet cats this time, but a woman came around with a stroller and her three bunnies! I heard the neighboring kids talking about bunnies and didn’t believe it until I saw them. They sat so still they looked stuffed. Apparently, they were raised to be show bunnies and sit still for long periods of time. Notice they are dressed in clothing.

Seeing some of these camping setups is funny. From the Instapots to the RC cars and plastic toys from home, and the monstrous RV’s to my little bed on wheels…I don’t know if this is camping or glamping? I know I sure enjoy a shower and my electricity to charge my laptop and camera batteries.

Waterfalls
Waterfall

Barefoot selfie in the middle of the river.

With the lack of sunlight, I did find a waterfall outside of Astoria to photograph. Youngs River Falls is 10 miles south of town and again I was the only person there. Luckily, I am much more comfortable with arriving alone. The 60-foot waterfall was gorgeous but lacked the foreground I hoped for; the rocks were bland and without moss. I took a few photos but kept searching out a better angle. Then I saw the “shot” would be from the middle of the river. I left my water shoes in the car, so I rolled up my pant legs and kicked of my shoes and socks. In I went. I was right, the best shot was from the middle of the river.

waterfall

Youngs River Falls. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 12-100 mm, ISO 200, f/18 @ 1.6 sec., with Singh-ray Bryan Hansel Waterfall filter.

After all these weeks and looking at what there is to shoot at each location, I realize I am most excited about photographing waterfalls. So, I went to the library to research my Washington locations and compile a list waterfalls, beaches and creek. When I booked my campgrounds, I created a rough list, but I like to refine it as I approach the towns. Since Washington will be more remote, I did most of the work today and if all goes as planned, I will photograph 6-8 more waterfalls!

Astoria Column with clouds

At the Astoria Column.

With the cloudy weather, I did seek out another waterfall 30-miles east of Astoria. But when I got 5 miles from there, the clouds broke up and I was in direct sunlight (not what you want for shooting waterfalls). I figured I would go look at the falls anyway, since I was so close. My book resource didn’t tell me this was a spring and autumn run off falls….and in summer the fall is not present. There was a trickle at most. Discouraged, I drove back to Astoria and ate a late lunch (fish and chips) at Bouy Brewing while sampling one of their small run beers. Of course, I had to walk up 164 steps to the top of the Astoria Column too.

Making Music

One positive note to the cloudy weather, I printed more ukulele music and practiced for an hour last night. Ever since Rod visited, my practicing has been more regular. I’ll be ready for the jam session when I get home. If you aren’t aware of our ukulele interest, Rod has been building ukes for a few years now. He started production of six and has finished two. The remaining four are very close to production. These aren’t your run of the mill ukeleles either, these include custom wood with detailed inlays and precision construction.

Rod's ukelele's

Rod’s six ukulele’s early in production

For the Photogs!

Don’t forget to take a day off. Sometimes it is hard. I didn’t do that well at the start of the trip, but I have found it doesn’t do me any good forcing a photo. So, when I am tired, I take a break and then I have more energy when I get inspired. Even doing a load of laundry revitalizes me. It has been enjoyable doing some of the touristy things too. I often take my big camera to these touristy locations but sometimes only my phone and I just enjoy my surroundings.

Cape Lookout

man in fog

Cape Lookout. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 12-100 mm, ISO 250, f/16 @ 1/250 sec.

Lookout

Teardrop with tarp

Three very peaceful days at Cape Lookout State Park. Weather was varied and still no rain. The first night the sea spray was so heavy I put up my rain cover tarp off the back of the teardrop. As you would guess, the spray still found its way to me. The next morning was foggy and windless so I immediately went to the Cape hiking trail for beach and foggy tree shots. Only one other person was walking the beach and I was able to add him to my photo. While I hiked the trail, I found dew covered thistle stalk with a small spider web and spent an hour or more capturing this image.

Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 60 mm macro, ISO 250, f/3.2 @ 1/160 sec., in-camera focus stack of 8 images.

After I returned to camp, the sun came out and without the wind this was the best beach yet! I put down the camera and sat on the beach for part of the afternoon. Although soaking in the sun was great, it was too mellow for me and I took off for a walk down the beach. There were many washed up jelly fish on the shore and I think they are moon jellies. Austin asked me if I tried throwing them back in… I did not. After texting one photo to Rod, he pointed out that I was not looking at a jelly but a plastic lid. I hated admitting it, but he was right. All the others were jelly fish though! Here are two photos, one of a jelly and one of the jelly like lid. Hopefully you can see why I was fooled by the lid.

Moon Jelly. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 40-150 mm, ISO 200, f/3.5 @ 1/1250 sec.

Burn Ban

Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 40-150 mm, ISO 200, f/6.3 @ 1/8000 sec.

Little did I know this might be my last campfire. The dry summer has hit Oregon and Oregon State Parks started a burn ban. At least I won’t smell like a campfire anymore! My second day was full of touristy locations Munson Falls, Tillamook and Cape Meares Lighthouse. While in Tillamook, I drove by the creamery intending to stop but the crowds were thick and I decided to bypass the bustle. Instead, I bought Tillamook cheese at Safeway. Wasn’t that a cheesy excuse? The afternoon was again sunny and I walked the beach with camera in hand. This adorable little girl jumping the waves drew my eye. My only regret is that I was too relaxed (lazy) to talk to the parents and offer the photos.

It’s interesting how different the waves look at low tide vs high tide and from one beach to another with comparable tides. Here are two of my favorites.

Low Tide. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 40-150 mm macro, ISO 64, f/16 @ 1.3 sec., 8 stop ND filter.

Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 40-150 mm, ISO 200, f/22 @ 1/5 sec., ND filter.

For the Photogs!

Sand Dollar Shell. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 60 mm, ISO 200, f/9 @ 1/60 sec.

With the calm winds at Cape Lookout, I used my macro lens more. The first night, I brought shells and a broken sand dollar to my camp. The cloud cover provided a perfect softbox and I setup my table top tripod to capture the images.

Here’s a tip when photographing around salt water. Don’t forget to rinse off your tripod. When I capture the wave images, I often step into the area were larger waves flow up the beach. I watch to avoid splashes, and make sure I rinse the sand and salt off my tripod each night.

Low Tide

Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 12-100 mm, ISO 200, f/10 @ 1/100 sec.

Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 12-100 mm, ISO 800, f/5.0 @ 1/250 sec.

After several weeks, I live for low tides, especially when it is a negative tide. My next stop was South Beach State Park, outside of Newport, Oregon. Beautiful beach just a ½ mile walk from my camp. The first thing I did when I got to camp was take a shower! My previous campground was perfect expect for the lack of showers. After 5 days…I was ready for a shower. I celebrated by making a fire and enjoyed the calm evening. Low tide was at eight o’clock the next morning so I drove 10 miles to Seal Rock. I read that was the best place to go for low tide and it was great. Not to mention there were seals too. I spent several hours on this beach capturing images of sea stars and seals. I even returned the next day. The first day was sunny and the seals were much more active. The second day was cloudy and cool and the seal just slept!

Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 12-100 mm, ISO 200, f/10 @ 1.6 sec.

Newport has a beautiful bridge that I photographed last summer so I included that image. My pace has slowed as I relax more and capture images of what interests me and mostly, it’s the tide pools! I spent one afternoon with an old friend, Jeff Cox. He was a volunteer with Arizona Highways Photo Workshops with me for several years and sold his place in Tucson to live south of Newport. Jeff and his wife took me to South Beach Fish Market for lunch and it was excellent! I had a crab sandwich with a ¼ lb fresh crab on it. Eighty percent of the menu includes fried items from crab to oysters, they have it all. Jeff took me to the Hatfield Marine Center where he volunteers and I got to touch sea urchins, anemones and sea stars. My favorite anemone photo came from here. Then we checked out the Yaquina Head Lighthouse and the Newport Harbor. It was a fun afternoon and it was great having a fellow photog to talk to!

Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 12-100 mm, ISO 1600, f/4 @ 1/160 sec.

Moving to Oregon

Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 12-100 mm, ISO 250, f/11 @ 1/320 sec.

Ok, so that heading was just to get your attention. But, I have to admit, I have looked at real estate in Oregon. Let me clarify, I have looked at my realtor app to identify housing costs, I have not toured any homes. I’m not sure it will come of anything, but I could live on this coast. So, would a house on the Oregon coast be a winter home? Because we have a great summer home in Flagstaff.

One thing that is alarming when driving on the coast are the tsunami warning and evacuation route signs. With so many worldwide natural disasters in the past few years, this signs definitely send up a red flag.

For the photogs!

Capturing images at low tide is much easier with cloudy skies. In the images below, the first was captured with sunlight and the second with cloudy skies. Notice how the colors are brighter with cloudy skies and the shadows are not so harsh.

Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 12-100 mm, ISO 200, f/5.6 @ 1/125 sec.

Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 12-100 mm, ISO 200, f/5.6 @ 1/500 sec.

Before the trip, someone told me, “don’t be lazy.” Meaning change the lens, or carry all the gear, whatever it takes to make the shot – do it! Well, I’ve been pretty good about that, but when I visited Seal Rock and took my long Panasonic lens 100-400mm, I did not take my tripod. I knew it was full sun and would be able to shoot with a fast shutter speed. A fast shutter speed still isn’t good enough if the lens is so long I can’t hold it still! So, my favorite image is not as sharp as I would like due to my movement, but I included it above because it shows the seal yawning. The second day, I went back and handheld my 40-150mm lens. Since it was cloudy, I chose to bring the faster lens.

At low tide, I also saw a bunch of white plasticy looking things. After asking about them, I learned they are squid egg sacs. Although the beach was covered with them, there are still plenty more in the sea! Once they are on land for awhile they sacs will not survive.

Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 12-100 mm, ISO 400, f/5.6 @ 1/320 sec.

Sweet

Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 12-100 mm, ISO 200, f/22.0 @ 4 sec., with circular polarizing filter.

Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 12-100 mm, ISO 200, f/13 @ 2.5 sec., with circular polarizing filter.

The whole reason I chose the next campground because it was located near Florence, OR. Last summer, Rod and I hiked Sweet Creek Falls and I wanted to go back. I did have my camera and tripod with me last summer, but we arrived after the sun was hitting the creek, so the images were not what I wanted. So, I planned a trip back. And not just one, but two. I went both mornings while camped outside of Florence. It was a 45-minute drive to the creek and I was the first one there, I had the place to myself for at least an hour. Once the sun hit the trees above, the reflections hit the water below and it was magic. This hike has many different waterfalls, some larger and some smaller. All exquisite!

Jessie M Honeyman State Park campground was much busier than any other I stayed in. Sand dunes are attached to the campground and many families were there with the four-wheeled sand vehicles making it much busier and louder. I was happy to spend more time at Sweek Creek Falls!

Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 12-100 mm, ISO 400, f/8 @ 1/5 sec.

Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 12-100 mm, ISO 400, f/18 @ 2.5 sec., with circular polarizing filter.

Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 12-100 mm, ISO 400, f/16 @ 4 sec., with circular polarizing filter.

Florence is a nice little town along the river and I continued my taste testing of clam chowder soup here as well. This time I went to Mo’s – the Oregon favorite. It was good, better than any so far.

Humbug Mountain

12-100mm, ISO 400, f/14 @ 1/15 sec.

7-14mm, ISO 400, f/16 @ 1/500 sec.

Arriving at Humbug Mountain State Park on July 4th was great. I went to Port Orford (nearest town) before I checked into my campground to preview the holiday festivities. Scouting for the fireworks launch was easy, so I ate fish and chips at a local restaurant. It was ok, but not Taco Temple from Morro Bay (see Morro Bay blog post). Once settled at camp, I walked to the beach, a short .25 mile walk and mostly empty. Although it was cloudy, the patterns in the clouds were stunning. I ran back to camp for my wide-angle lens (7-14mm). The spot I chose to photograph was the intersection of Brush Creek flowing into the ocean. The lines from the creek and the clouds intrigued me and I visualized this image in black and white.

As evening drew near, I faced the decision to drive the 7 miles to town for fireworks, or to catch sunset at the beach. In the previous two hours, the clouds were breaking and I suspected a decent sunset was in the making, so I stayed. The sunset did not disappoint. What stunning colors, reflecting off the sand and lighting up the clouds. This beat fireworks any day!

Too Talkative

Camp at Humbug Mountain

It is not uncommon for campers to inquire about my teardrop trailer. Several are intrigued with the size and ease of use. So, I wasn’t surprised when a woman approached me at Humbug. What did surprise me was the look she got on her face after I talked to her for a while. The look was, “please stop talking and let me go!” I realized after she left I have not talked to anyone for some time and I was talking her ear off. I probably gave her my life story…yes, I did. Maybe if I found a “Wilson” like Tom Hanks had in that movie – something to converse with so I don’t bore future campers.

Ho Humbug!

iPhone photo

My last full day, I hiked Humbug Mountain! This trail was 6 miles round trip, summit with an elevation of 1748 feet (I was at sea level) and views were spectacular. The morning was cloudy which meant fog at the top and the overgrown trail with moist ferns soaked my pant legs. The view at the top was uneventful and I was drenched. The trail was a loop and I went up the moister western side with one small ocean view. The drier east side on my descent included many flowers and even a snail. Both trails included a lot of

over/under fallen trees. A highlight of my trip so far.

Heading north from Humbug, I spent the day in Bandon (always a favorite town) and then arrived at Sunset Bay Campground outside of Coos Bay. Although I am staying 3-4 days in each location, I wish I was staying a week in every spot. There is so much to see, photograph and enjoy. The best part of Sunset Bay Campground – it is only a 5-mile drive to get to two more state parks, all part of Cape Arago. From crashing waves, whale & seal watching to rose gardens and sunsets, this 5-mile stretch has it all.

60mm macro, ISO 200, f/5.6 @ 1/125 sec.

The highlight for me at this location was Shore Acres State Park Gardens. It was cloudy and the rose garden was unbelievable. Every time I see beautiful rose gardens, I think of my mom; she loved her roses. Luckily for me the sprinklers just sprayed the garden so I followed the sprinklers to capture water drops on the plants. At least I can say I did not place the water. I shot at the gardens until my batteries ran out!

60mm macro, focus stacked, ISO 200, f/4 @ 1/30 sec.

Back at camp, another camper stopped by to say I had the “other” teardrop trailer in the campground. We chatted for a while and he invited me to their camp. I did stop in and met his wife, parents and their teardrop. Their trailer is a bit fancier than ours with many built in shelves and many amenities. It was a great happy hour visit and I discovered he knows a rock climber we know! Isn’t it funny, traveling so far and someone else knows Frank Sanders! Another evening, I ventured into the closest town of Charleston to check out the harbor and watched several sea lions fishing.

For the Photogs!

12-100mm, ISO 200, f/20 @ 1/80 sec.

Since sunset is averaging at 9pm, I eat dinner around 4:30pm and then head out. I haven’t shot a lot of sunrises mostly because it takes time for the sun to hit the coast. There will be a sunrise or two in the future though (or more). My “go to” lens is still the 12-100mm (24-200 full frame equivalent) unless I am capturing macro objects. Like the Shore Acres State Park Gardens, I use the 60 mm (120 mm) or my 40-150mm lens for close-up images.

The Sunset Bay photo was captured at ISO 200, f/20, 1/80 sec, and if you look closely, you will see a silhouette of a person next to the trees! Of course, I did not see the person until I downloaded my photos.

Driving Details

I am currently at 2049 miles driven with an average 21.2 mpg for the first 2.5 weeks. My internet service is minimal as I move up the coast and my next location is only 40 miles north! I scouted that area last summer and am excited about the opportunities that lie ahead.

12-100mm, ISO 400, f/5.0 @ 1/2000 sec.

12-100mm, ISO 400, f/4.0 @ 1/60 sec.