Photostory: The Duane-venture

I’m taking a slight break from the Bryce posts to bring you a local photostory.  As the weather continues to improve, we’re getting out more, and I’m taking more pictures of the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

The trip involves closed paved roads, easy trails, tough trails, tunnels, scrambling, and really nice scenery.  The distance is 5-6 miles.  Elevation gain is approximately 800 feet.  There will be ropes.

Equipment:
– Layers of clothing you don’t mind getting dirty
– Sturdy boots with good traction
– Flashlight (yep)
– Work gloves
– Sunglasses for protection against branches
– Spare clothes to change into afterwards
– Definitely bring camera gear, but keep it light.  Tripods are recommended.

The Duane-venture

Woman in a riverbank in a mossy forest, photographing the water | LotsaSmiles Photography

We have a friend.  His name is Duane.  He knows a lot of the local hikes, and he’s kind enough to share those with us.  He likes to chase waterfalls.

Duane’s also familiar with many “off-road” trails – ones without parking lots or paved paths or crowds.  Most don’t have bathrooms.  Many don’t have officially marked trailheads.  Some don’t even have well-established paths through the underbrush.

These are the hikes we’ve dubbed the “Duane-ventures.”  And these are oftentimes the highlights of my summers.
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The Zion valley floor from atop the Angels Landing hike with the canyon walls dappled in spotty sunlight | LotsaSmiles Photography

Weekly Wow: Atop Angels Landing

After such a rainy start to our trip to Zion National Park, we didn’t expect the sky to clear out so beautifully.  And when it did, we further didn’t expect it to invite a few elite clouds back into the scene to perfectly diffuse the harsh sun at just the right moment, providing a spectacular view of the valley below.

Yes, we survived the famed (infamous?) Angels Landing Hike (though six people, sadly, have not), and we were in for quite a treat when we reached the top.  I have a more in-depth photostory to share with you about the full hike next week, but for now, I wanted to focus on this one photo.

View of a valley far below the summit of the Angels Landing hike in Zion National Park - Weekly Wow: Atop Angels Landing | LotsaSmiles Photography

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Weekly Wow: Zion’s Watchman

A visit to Zion National Park often comes with seeking out the iconic shot of The Watchman.  Generally viewed from atop the Canyon Junction Bridge, I wanted to (excuse the pun) shoot for something different.  I love getting close to my foreground so I can make full use of my wide angle, so I ventured down to the riverside.

Weekly Wow: Zion's Watchman | LotsaSmiles Photography | Every photographer takes the same picture of Zion's famous Watchman landmark.  Click to see a different point of view!

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WC: Rock Candy

I’m afraid this one will have to be really quick, as I’m on the road.  We are spending a few incredible days in Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park.  We’re having an absolute blast, and I’ll have some fun stories to share.  Be sure to follow my blog here so you don’t miss out!

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WC: My Favorite Things to Shoot Around Portland

Portland is a wonderful city.  I’ve been living in the area for many years now, and I simply love it.  One of the benefits to living in a place for a long period of time is the photo opportunities.  Any place can be beautiful.  But the truly magical moments are sporadic and fleeting.  You might luck out with timing, but that’s sheer coincidence.  To guarantee success in a particular place, living there certainly gives you the upper hand.

Over the years, I have found there are so many things I love photographing in this city.  Here are some of my favorites – something of a personal photo tour, if you will.
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WC: What Do You Shoot?

I love a great many things in life – purring cats, a heavy snowfall, a rocking tune, a solid dose of mist, a beautiful hike – to name a few.  Sing with me: “these are a few of my favorite thiiings….”  And fortunately, most of the things that bring me joy pair well with photography, my other love.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

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WC: Varying my Hobbies

I tried something new.

While I understand the world is full of unique experiences and packed with far more ways to spend my time than I could logically sample in a lifetime, I still endeavor to explore as many opportunities as possible.  As a result, I end up a collector of hobbies – music, coding, hiking, writing, photography – and it’s difficult to choose which activities I wish to prioritize.

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Even when I do focus on one thing for a while, the activity splinters into a thousand variations, any one of which could demand my full attention in itself.  Continue reading

WC: A Break in the Weather

This time of year in the Pacific Northwest, it’s typically dreary.  We’ll get nice days as well, but “nice” merely means “not actively raining.”  These days are usually accompanied by a thick blanket of clouds, threatening, but not yet releasing any precipitation.

Every so often, though, we get true sun with bright blue skies.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

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WC: 5 Things that Drastically Improved My Photography in 2017

I’m constantly learning.  But I love building on my skills and improving.  How boring would this world be if there was nothing new left to learn?  There aren’t as many items as last year, but while I’m finding fewer things that really improve my art each year, I hope to never stop growing.

Here are a few things that drastically improved my photography in 2017:
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