Travels - Lake Chelan

Last weekend I journeyed over to Lake Chelan to shoot a friend's wedding. This was a quite the experience. Super stressful and I couldn't believe how many shots I took! I shot over a thousand and sent them 539 to choose from. They narrowed it down to 84 so now I gotta get cracking on the edit show. It's gonna be pretty time consuming but I was stoked to be there and help these guys out. It was a beautiful wedding and I was also able to shake a leg and journey to some scenic spots when it was done. I will be posting some of my faves from the wedding sometime next week. On Sunday, I headed over to the Apple Cup to meet some friends for much needed Bloody Marys and breakfast. If you are ever in Chelan, make sure to stop here for breakfast. It's a must. After my hangover was cured I decided I wasn't ready to just head home yet. I was in Chelan and it was gorgeous! So, all of us went our separate ways and I chose to head up to Echo Ridge. I had done a little mountain biking here a few years back but we were pretty disappointed with the terrain since it was mainly cross country skiing trails for the winter months. We did end up having a great time but it took some creativity and a good attitude. Anyways, this time I was back and I wasn't on a bike. I had a pair of boots in the car to my surprise so I laced them up and hit the trail with my camera on my back. It didn't take long to reach incredible views. I just got a new tripod and ball head so I was anxious to try out some panorama shots. Here are a couple I snapped along the "Nowhere to Hide" trail. Make sure to click the photo to view larger.

The mountain views were incredible! I felt so far from home and forgot how beautiful this side of the mountains can be. I also managed to get a shot of myself on top of the world. I played around with the curves and colors a bit for a dated look. What do you think?

I had a great 4 mile hike and really enjoyed myself. It was so quiet and peaceful. I made it back to the car and figured it was time to get on the road. I topped off the tank and headed west. I wasn't in a rush to get home so I planned on stopping off somewhere on the way back. I ended up choosing Deception Falls. The park was closed so I just parked on the street and headed down. I snapped a couple of shots of the Tye River and hit the road. These didn't really come out how I wanted since I just missed the sun. I was hoping for some sun to be shining though the trees and create some warmth but I was too late. There's always next time.

Spring Fest at Stevens Pass

Well, today brought the year to an end up at Stevens Pass. The season always seems to sneak up and leave before I get enough riding in. Opening weekend was epic with several feet of fresh powder. Closing weekend was equally epic with 60+ degree weather and lots of festivities to throw a couple beers back to.

My friend Mike had never been to any ski resort so I felt like today would be a great day to break him in. He swooped me up early this morning to ensure a parking spot and we spent the day shooting photos and... drinking now that I think about it. Here's a shot of Mike with his fresh new shades and hat that he scored from the shop at over half off!

I took a few groomers and then locked up the board for the day. The first stop was the dummy run. We trekked up Big Chief a bit to snag a good spot for some photos of the creations being sent off the big kicker. Here is Marvin the Martian before his flight.

Here is Marvin in mid flight soaring off the jump and landing on both skis finishing the run!

There were all sorts of characters out today. Babes in bikinis, dudes in jeans and shirtless and of course there was good ol' Uncle Sam getting his final runs in for the year.

Stevens Pass was running a photo contest for the month of April. The rules are you have to take a picture of someone jumping over something at Stevens Pass. I had planned to go up and shoot my buddy Nick but he was kept up all night by a bachelor party. Plan B entailed shooting my friend Taylor and his posse but he never called me back. So, I was left with my buddy Mike (who if you remember has never been to a resort let alone stepped foot on a board) and no ideas. We finished up our beers and headed back to his truck to brainstorm. I came up with the idea of Mike jumping over a snowman doing some spring time chillin'. I ended up naming the shot "Hopping into Spring". It definitely stands out from the rest of the contestants but I'm not sure if the lack of ski device will get me DQ'd. Here's the shot.

We checked the time and decided it was time to hit the road.

We had the windows down almost the whole way home! It was like 72 degrees. It was sad to leave all the snow behind but it's sure nice to feel some of that bright sun on the grill.

I've had this hat for as long as I can remember. Until next season my friend.

Travels - Birch Bay and Bellingham

Well the Spring is shaping up quite nice for us. Priya and I already have two trips under our hiking boots. Last weekend we headed out to Birch Bay to hang with some friends at a timeshare. We spent Saturday eating and drinking and watched the beautiful sunset on the beach just minutes from our pad.

On Sunday, we worked it all off with a hike on the Cedar and Pine Lake Trail in Bellingham. It was gorgeous and a brutal 9 miles long! We really had a great time trekking through the trees. Here is a shot of us on top of the world at a lookout point we climbed up to.

Here's a shot of what we saw from the top!

Priya ate a foot long subway sandwich right before our hike which decided to come up after about an hour into our hike. This allowed me to get this awesome photo of this moss covered tree with the sun behind it.

Also, I had downloaded this program on my phone a while back which allows you to track your treks with GPS. It creates a little map and gives you some details about the hike. This is how I found out we hiked about 9 miles. Check out the little map below.
View Pine And Cedar Lakes Hike in a larger map

Well, my next trip is out to Chelan to shoot a friends wedding next weekend. I hope to hit some scenic spots along the way!

March 2010 - Photo of the Month

Spring is in the air. Well, not so much this week like the last but it is officially here. The mountains have been getting pounded with snow the last few days which seems to be a spring time ritual here in the North West. I'm hoping to close out the year tomorrow and take advantage of some of the fresh fallen snow.

All snow aside, Priya and I just returned from a trip to the beautiful San Juan Islands. We stayed at a friends place in Friday Harbor and really enjoyed the dining, drinking, exploring and relaxing. Here are a few places that are worth checking out if you make it to the island. Downriggers is a great spot for delicious food and drinks with a brilliant view. Blue Water is a great casual spot for drinks and specials. Mt Young is a scenic hike with moderate effort to get to the top. Panoramic views of the islands, mountains and sea greet you as you approach the "summit". Which brings us to the Photo of the Month.

This was taken at the top of Mt Young looking west. The sun was just hovering above this lonely tree atop the rock and moss which makes up Mt Young. Something about this photo is majestic to me. It was just so perfect. It was like it was waiting for me at the top of the climb. I love the simplicity of the tree and the complexity of the layers of islands and sky. It was really a beautiful moment snapping this shot. Also, it really helped strengthen my recent discovery of harnessing the great feelings you have when you are enjoying something. I have been really trying to consciously feel the positive energy when accomplishing something. Whether it's a run, a bike ride, a climb, a meal, a laugh or editing a photo, I have been working on bottling up the feeling and storing it for a rainy day. Nothing great comes easy. When you reach the greatness, the hard work is almost always worth it. This is my way of not giving up and knowing the feeling will be unmatched by any other which really helps ease the pain of the journey. You can apply this to almost anything. (Mike tips back in his chair and strokes his goatee.)

I have a ton of shots I am working on which will be up with in a week or so. Which is a great door to my last point. My print shop is finally up and running!!! You no longer have to deal with me if you want prints. Just click on "prints" on my website and you will be directed to my SmugMug page which will have all my available prints in several different sizes for ordering. As of now, I only have the photos which are hanging at Greenlake Bar & Grill available for ordering but I will be adding more this week. Stop by and let me know what you think. It's all for you guys so your feedback is important. Is it easy to order from? Is it easy to navigate? Could it be better? Any comments are much appreciated.

Until next time!

-Mike

February 2010 Photo of the Month

I'm finally posting my Photo of the Month on time! This month has been really eye opening. I've figured out that the busier I am, the better work I turn out and the more motivation I retain. I had a couple of slow days this last month and really had a hard time staying motivated to do any work. I've decided to make my schedule as full as possible and keep shooting whether I'm getting paid or not. I just need to keep shooting and getting better.

A couple of months ago I ran a contest on Facebook which offered a free photo shoot to the first 5 people who responded to my post. The contest was over quick and I found myself with 5 people who needed to find a slot in my schedule. Well I'm finally getting around to taking care of these shoots. A couple of weeks ago one of the winners (and good friend), Nick Thompson came over to my house and we set out for some creative shooting. We took a trip down to Goodwill and picked up an old typewriter and then got some old rope from my dad's house. We decided to do an office type shot and a hostage style shot. This was obviously the latter.

We dirtied up Nicks t shirt and wrapped him up with rope. Once I got the light just how I wanted it, I threw on a blind fold and duck taped his grill so he couldn't mouth off while I was shooting.

We had a really good time and all 10 hours of work that I have put into it were free of charge. Fact is, this is probably one of my favorite shots I have ever taken. If I let the money come between me and getting this shot, I would have never gotten this shot. This has sparked a lot of new motivations to start shooting things for free that I want to get paid for in the future.

Thanks to Nick for being such a good sport with the shoot!

Do you guys like it when I post camera info on how I shot it? I am trying to cater this blog to you so let me know.

Also, I recently started "tweeting" so if you're looking for more people to stalk you can follow me on twitter here.

Until next time,

- Mike

January Photo of the Month

Holy smokes! These last two months have been the best two months for business. I've been working 7 days a week for the last month or so putting in 10 hour days. It's been awesome and tiring at the same time. I got a bunch of new gear with my tax return and can't wait to really put it to use in the next few weeks.

This is the second month now I've been more than 10 days late on my blogging... It's my way of making you believe I'm busy...

Anyways, this month was so amazing for shooting. I had three projects with musicians to do their photos and album design. All are turning out really dope!

This photo was from the Dice photo shoot. I really wanted to post the behind the scenes video with it but I haven't had time to edit the clips yet. Oh well. The shoot went crazy well! Her project is titled "The Foundation" so we really wanted to get some cement and grime in the shoot. We got "access" to a construction site that I spotted which only the foundation had been laid. We also got access to use this wonderful garage in Phinney Ridge. We were brainstorming where to shoot if it rained and I started thinking dark grimey basements. We were strolling along 3rd Ave NW and came across some awesome grimey cement garages. We pulled over and knocked on the door to be greeted by a wonderful lady "Marie". She said "use it as much as you want just don't forget about me when your famous". How rad.

This was the biggest production I have dealt with yet. Tawnya aka Dice really put  a  lot into the shoot. It really made a huge difference in how the pictures turned out. The make up, the hair, the outfit and the energy. It was great! I really worked hard on this shoot and I think it shows.

I will be posting some more shots in the week to come along with the behind the scenes video.

Also, as I am writing this I am sending all the album design files to Copycats Media for her new project. I will be posting some links on where to hear and buy her new album very soon.