6/28/15

Posted by dustin gent |
A week ago, I put in my transfer at work. It was a bittersweet moment, but won't feel "real" until i get confirmation that the transfer went through and is official. This could take several weeks, but hopefully not as we need to put in notice to our apartments and start looking at ones in Salt lake City.

I have made a list of places I wanted to go visit, and in many cases, revisit before we hit the road for SLC. Naturally that list is much longer than what is realistic, however there are places here that i never got to visit in my 20 years here (technically 20 years last week).

In my planning of hitting these places in the next 4-7 weeks, I started to look towards the future and what beautiful, exciting and stunning places Utah holds for us! I started to go through my images, and immediately this place is high on my list for Utah, once we get settled in and the cold weather also settles in. You see, the "high season" for southern Utah (Southwest in general) is Spring and Fall. Winter and Summer are the off season with low crowds. So I will most likely be here when the temps are low :)

So while I will be moving from the PNW and not being able to get to most places on a whim (3 day random weekends), I will still visit here several times a year. It is only an 11 hour drive from SLC to PDX.


5/8/15

so yeah, i haven't been keeping up on this. it hasn't been for lack of shooting, just life gets in the way sometimes. speaking of life, my wife and i will be relocating to Utah in the near future. this will be bittersweet, as i have lived here for almost 20 years, but am super excited to be moving. life is too short to be stuck in one spot for ever. also i am not really a people person, and this place is getting too crowded for my liking. seems like everyone is moving up here.

in any case, last weekend i made a trip to some spots I have been meaning to get to; and since we will be moving soon, i wanted to visit them one last time. of course the weather was warm and cloudless, so i had some obstacles to overcome as most i was focusing on waterfalls.

the first photo is from panther creek falls. when i first got here, i was in awe of how destroyed this place has gotten over the last 2 years. all the beautiful and lush moss that draped this place is now mostly gone. even on the logs. people just don't realize how delicate it is. i don't think it will ever recover. that is too bad for those that never got to experience before.

so the next time you are out in nature, please be careful. it is the most minute details that make the biggest impact.


5/27/14

Time flies. Cannot believe it has been almost a year since I posted anything on here. The good news was that I hadn't taken a single picture since my last post, so you really didn't miss out on anything. More good news is that I bought a D600 and 14-24 in February of this year; although I didn't use it until mid April when I went on a rowdy southwest trip with two good buddies. Pictures from there will be posted soon on here. 

Usually I don't copy and paste my words from one media site to the others, but I had a slight accident yesterday (that will be posted here as well soon!), and the meds are kicking in right now. Writer's block I guess :). 

For those that have been following my work, or that know me personally, know that I don't indulge on my adventures. Also, I don't really have a lot of dialog that goes with my photos. 99% of the time I am ho-hum about it. 

Well my friends, this falls deserves the deets. I know the word "remote" gets thrown around for street cred, but this place is no fuckin joke. Wassen Creek is the most remote place on the Oregon Coast, and possibly Oregon (that has a destination like this worthwhile visiting). For years, it was endangered of getting logged, much like Opal Creek was. In November of 2013, it passed protection from voters. It will remain wild! There has been no wildfire in here for I bet 150 years. Undergrowth is ridiculous. 

The "main" route to this place calls for a minimum of 8 hours. However, my good buddy 
Brian and I tried another way. Wrong idea. We planned on camping one night. We left the dip in point at 2:45pm and by 8:30pm, we had only gotten half way to the falls - maybe 1.5 miles in. The next day we broke down camp and left at 8am and didn't reach the falls until a little after 10am. The lighting wasn't the best, and the water was maybe 2 feet higher than any of the photos I had seen of this place, but was still magical nonetheless. Visiting a place that maybe less than 15 people a year see is really an experience.

We left the falls a little after noon and a few bad calls later, we were camping again on a creek. It is disheartening to go 3 hours and gain 700 feet of elevation in trail less forest to reach acres and acres of huckleberries, rotten trees, and a ton of rhodys out of the blue - to the point we were crawling on all fours for 100 yards. With a 40lb Gregory Baltoro 75 litre bag. Yes I need to re-evaluate my gear :) We made a decision at 7pm to head back down the 700 hard ass feet in elevation we had worked for hours to gain, to get water (which we were super low on), and to try to get sleep. 

We reached the creek in which it took us 2.5 hours to reach the first day. We actually were super lucky to find the location we camped at, as flat ground is non existent in this area, literally. I had to use my emergency blanket, and I had a Marmot down vest, pants and a 30 degree down bag. It was 39 degrees, but I was set up on the only level ground, 6 inches from the creek. We both were. Photos will be posted on my blog. 

Now before I left, we were smart and let people know where we were going. We left on a Sunday and I worked on Tuesday at 8am. I have to say that REI is the BEST place to work - not just saying that because of the discounts. They were in contact with the sherifs office all day, and a special thanks to my wonderful wife, who started the whole "chain reaction". I told her if I wasn't back by midnight on Monday, to call it in. Same thing I told several people at work. 

So when we left camp at 8am, I knew it was bad. The problem with this place is that the GPS only works maybe 50% of the time. Creek level, you are better off finding a money tree than getting a satellite feed. When we reached an "opening" in the tree line, it would "update" our track. So while we were checking where we needed to go, it would suddenly move our position. Yes, I had a topo map as well. 

After 5 hours of super hard conditions, we came up maybe 10 feet from the truck! We were both super exhausted, low on water bu
t high on spirits! We did hear a heli fly over maybe 40 minutes before we reached the summit. 

Would I visit this falls again? I actually would. This area is super amazing, and I would love to visit in fall. In total, it took us 21 hours of action to reach this spot, and I would guess 2900 feet of brutal elevation gain to reach this place - all with 30-40 lbs on gear on our backs each. 

I present to you the Devil's Staircase.

10/15/13

Posted by dustin gent |
So a lot has happened in the last 4 plus months. I made two trips up to Rainier and a trip to the Olympics. Doesn't sound like much, but they were extended trips - and I came away with some images.

Having never been to the Olympics (I know..my bad), I didn't know what to expect. This National Park is unlike anything I have ever experienced. With that, I mean the diversity of the landscape, and also that it is really spread out. I didn't think I saw an "entrance", like you would see at Yosemite or Rainier, etc, etc.

We also went at probably the driest time of the year, so the Hoh, while still impressive, was dry and not gleaming green. Up here in the PNW, we had quite the dry summer - and many "boring" clear skies and sunsets.

Mt. Rainier treated us to some nice color, although during the 8 days/nights I was up here this summer, there was a nice sunset maybe 2 times. The rest was either fogged in (2 times) or clear (5). Oh well, I have some nice shots from there.

A few weeks after I got back from Rainier in August, I sold my camera to pay some bills off finally. It seems the D610 is being released in less than a week (19th of October), so prices on the D600 will drop a ton, which I will pick up most likely. So I will be on the lookout for a new camera in the coming weeks/months.

In late February, I am hoping to get out to Iceland for several weeks. Also, I have calendars available for sale - and magnetic bottle openers as well. You can contact me via email, or through my website.

This shot was taken after a 6+ mile haul into the backcountry of Mt. Rainier. Brutal hike and the mosquitoes were relentless...


6/23/13

Been a while since I posted anything - so here is something new. Seriously, I will try to keep this updated regularly. Been busy with work and such.

This particular shot was taken at sunrise, down in Bandon, Oregon. One doesn't think of sunrise as the ideal time along the Pacific Coast - much like how people along the Atlantic Coast of the US do not think of shooting at sunset.

The light this morning was quite amazing and lingered quite a long time. Only good light we got down there, and I have spent 6 days now down there. My white whale

4/12/13

A buddy of mine, who is a professional photographer, flew into Oregon a few weeks ago. We embarked on a 5 day journey throughout the state - but before we left, I showed him a waterfall that I have always liked. This falls is becoming more and more popular; and for good reason.

I have to credit him for finding this comp, but I suppose if I hadn't said "I am going to cross the creek to check out the other side", this shot wouldn't have been made :). I am pretty happy with the shot.

A new website will be coming soon. I cannot disclose exactly when that will be, but within several weeks for sure. I have several trips planned, so time will be limited for a while.

Don't fret though. I will still be posting on here, among some other blogs I have (Wordpress and Tumblr).


2/27/13

Well, I am back from Yosemite. It really is amazing how this place emerges from out of nowhere. We drove the 140 from Merced into the West end of the park, and the landscape leading up to the park ABSOLUTELY RESEMBLES NOTHING like what is in the valley floor. Blows my mind. A lot of the National Parks have a "seamless" transition in the landscape leading up to the Park (or whatever destination), but the only other place I can think of that comes close is Smith Rock State Park, here in Oregon.

If you came to this blog via a link on my Facebook page, you will remember that I have mixed feelings about this place. Let me explain why I typed that. Now remember, it is "winter" in Yosemite, so most of the good places are in-accessible by vehicle - such as Glacier Point, Tioga Pass, and all the great spots out there. Getting to Mono Lake and Mammoth take 6 times as long to reach - but I knew this going in.

Yosemite is unique in that most of the classic spots that Ansel Adams so famously shot, are super easy to get to. This is great as far as a National Park goes, because you don't need to be in super good shape witness this amazing place. It also means it is so super crowded - not so much when I was here, but the lodge just outside the park was booked up, and by the looks of it, the Ahwahnee was as well. I can only imagine what this place is like in summer.

Don't get me wrong, waking up at 3 or 4am and a 20 minute drive and a 2 minute walk to shoot a location is nice sometimes, but it kind of cheapens the total experience. I cannot tell you how many times i have left Portland at 10pm to get to a trailhead by 3:30am, and then hike 4 miles in to shoot a sunrise. Thins out the crowds for sure.

With this said, the photographers I ran into were actually pretty nice. After the Peter Lorber "Hasselblad" workshop in Arches and Canyonlands National Parks last March, I try to avoid shooting in crowded areas as much as possible. But here, people moved their tripods to allow others to shoot - and people were talkative. So that was a very nice plus.

Another thing that blew my mind was the lack of photographers at night! Once the sun went down, the park was empty. I saw cars driving around, but no photographers. I shot every night i was there, for some star trails (it was a full moon, so didn't turn out as well) and some long exposures with the full moon. I am no expert on Yosemite, but how often is there snow on the ground with a full moon and clear skies? Perhaps other photographers didn't realize that? I ran into no one on Friday night, a dude Saturday night and three on Sunday night. So basically I had free range of the whole park after 9pm. I am not complaining, however!

When I go back in summer, I most likely won't spend much time in the Valley Floor - but rather do a bit of backpacking to some of the high country lakes.