Paul and I headed out to The Gorge yesterday to attempt to get to Weeping Walls (also has been called Enchanted Gorge). We have had a lot of rain in the last week or so, and the waterfalls have come back to life. Everything is roaring.

We bushwhacked to this spot. The creek was simply to high and powerful to cross. The water did some crazy rearranging of logs and trees here. I am talking 50 foot logs that were laying across the creek (probably for years) are now gone! No sign of them. I was here two weeks ago, and noticed many differences. There is a tree that is maybe 40 feet tall that was uprooted and just chilling on the river bank, next to where I was shooting.

There was also a log that had been lodged up in Punchbowl Falls for 12 years that was dislodged in late 2009 that had been floating in the splash pool just below Punchbowl. Well it had worked its' way to the foreground of Punchbowl. After these rains, it is now gone! I believe it is now lodged onto of these falls! That means it went down Lower Punchbowl Falls AND Metlako Falls. That is a good 230 feet HIGHER and two waterfalls upstream from this spot! Really crazy how powerful water is!

I have to head off to work, but will post more when I get home.


First off, I want to thank everyone for checking out my blog. Although there are no comments, I am seeing that more and more people are visiting. I also want to wish everyone a Happy and blessed Thanksgiving. Although I am spending this day alone (my wife is visiting her mom in Eugene, Oregon and all my family is in Orange County), I have a lot to be thankful for.

I have met some very good friends this past year via Flickr and FredMiranda that I now shoot with regularly. Up until about May of this year, I shot almost exclusively solo. Now I cannot remember the last time I shot solo (probably in Hawaii last month). Ofcourse I am thankful for my family and my health.

So while I am waiting for my roast to get done, I decided to go through some of my photos that have been sitting in "the chamber", so to speak. I haven't posted these anywhere previously, except for the Mt. Rainier shot. A shot from that morning is being used in the Portland Hikers annual calendar, although I am unsure which month they are using it for, lol.

Two of the shots are from The Painted Hills in eastern Oregon. Lower Lewis River Falls is the waterfall (taken last Friday in the snow). Mt. Rainier was taken last August I believe.


As promised (and advertised :) ), yesterday I made it up to the snow. A couple of friends and I headed up to The Gifford Pinchot National Forest. That forest is amazing! It is much more rugged than the Columbia River Gorges' forests, yet it is not far from there. The waterfalls are also just as impressive!

Our destination this day was The Lower Lewis Recreational Area. Once we got outside of Carson, WA, we hit snow. It was a few inches, and by the time we hit Curley Creek Road, we had to wait for the plow to plow the road, as there was probably 18 inches+ of snow. We thought about chaining up, but I am glad we didn't as the plow ended up going that way anyways.

When we got here, it was still snowing, and snowed the whole time we were here. I was in the water for 2+hours, and I have no waders or anything. My hiking shoes are made for water - meaning that they are designed to get wet and not get ruined, but my feet get wet. My feet were stinging the rest of the day.

As for the photos, I am not crazy about what I got yesterday - but that may change over the next few days/weeks. The colors were very monotone, as it was snowing and windy the whole time, muting the colors. Here is one photo that I have worked. I think it captures the mood quite well, however.

I should have some more to post in the next day or so.


Several months ago, I was doing some research on what type of weather we were going to get this year. I was unsure if we were going to get a repeat of last years' weather (lots of rain and some snow), or if it was going to be milder. Well, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) outlook, we are going to be A LOT more wet and colder than normal, thanks to La Nina. What that means is that the Pacific Northwest will get much more precipitation (with colder temperatures) from November - March, and the mid-west will be a bit warmer and have drought like conditions, thanks in part to the Rockies (and Cascades).

So yesterday I hear on the weather station that we are going to be getting 4 inches of rain today, and then the Arctic Air will be moving in on Friday; significantly dropping the snow levels. 1,000 foot snow levels (possibly lower) are expected Friday - Sunday. The Columbia River Gorge has many mountains that are 3500+, and it receives on average 84+ inches of rain. Portland receives about half that. I am stoked for this weekend, as the waterfalls (if the weather holds up) will be kinda crazy!

About that new website. Well, it is a website that is new to me, and I believe relatively new. A buddy of mine sent me a link to this website. I really like it, and have uploaded several photos. It is a bummer that I have to go back and resize the images I want to upload to that site - so I only have like 3 or 4 photos posted there. The photo I posted in this blog entry, I hadn't posted here before. It is of Lower Lewis River Falls, and I may be back there this weekend.


Perhaps the correct name for this one? This one called to me today from my Aperture Library. I know that I am on a "waterfall kick" lately, and usually i avoid them like the plague unless it is late winter or spring time. This one is the same one I posted and called "Ipsoot falls", although I cannot make a claim to the name as I didn't' "find" it. It has been referred to as "Mowich Falls", though it has no official name.

I think it will look good as a metallic print!


Back again! It seems that I am going to have some extended downtime (won't be shooting everyday:( ), but my wonderful wife is getting me an XBOX, Battlefield 3 and Oblivion Skyrim this week, so I will have something to keep me busy, lol.

Now that I got that out of the way, I worked a photo in Photoshop and took screen shots to show you how I went about this particular image. Just keep in mind that each photo I approach differently. Before I get too ahead of myself, some info. I use the Nik software (which is SPECTACULAR) on most of my images. I try not to go overboard on anything; such as over saturation, contrast, ect. I am not a fan of HDRi at all. I understand that it can be helpful for getting shadow details back, but I think manual blending of multiple exposures renders MUCH better results, or even dual "processing" a single RAW file works just as well.

I also contacted Tony Kuyper. He is a bad-ace photographer based out of the SW. Over the last 6+ years, he has (with the help of others') written "actions" for photoshop. They are great, and the explanation on what they do and how to use them is excellent. To be honest, I don't know what 90% of them do..meaning I don't use most of what I bought. The photo I worked on here, I didn;t touch any of the curves. I try to get the best exposure I can in camera, and try not to rely on photoshop if I can. Don't get me wrong, I am not a "naturalist" or against Photoshop/etc at all, it is just that I am still learning the more advanced (and even basic, lol) techniques..so I keep it as simple as I can on my self. I do use the web sharpening (less halos) on all my photos I post online. I do adjust the amount via the sliders.

Now for printing, I do NOT use the Tony Kuyper sharpening actions. I use Niks' RAW Output sharpening. It works super well. There are settings in there you fill in (such as paper type, file size, sliders), but I will make a post about using the Nik Output in a bit. Also, there are a ton of different options for sharpening. I just found that his actions are really helpful and easy!

So here is what I did, step by step. Let's hope that I post them in order. I will add a photo where I did more to it, as I really didn't do a whole lot to this one.

First step I do is to get rid of the dust bunnies. I then will level the horizon - which I ALWAYS have problems with. The irony is that BOTH my head and tripod have level bubbles on them. After messing with the horizon, I will save the image to a PSD. That way off I mess up, I just simply go back and re-open. Also if there is a crash of Photoshop (which is super stable on my new 2011 iMac running Lion and CS4 Master Suite), I have a backup.

After saving, depending on the photo, I will use the TK actions for curves. He has a TON of them, so I will usually mess around with several of them until I get the result I am happy with. The beauty of RAW and digital in general! Then I will open Nik (which you have the option to buy it for Aperture, LightRoom or Photoshop I believe..I use PS) and adjust the colors and sometimes contrast values.

Next I will add a border around the photo and add my signature that I scanned. Then I run the TK sharpening and save for web. Here are the photos..

I have had some down time the last few days, so it afforded me the opportunity to work on some of the shots I took on Friday. I am excited about what I have captured. All of the adventures my camera has endured the last 3-4 weeks has significantly quickened my workflow in Photoshop. I used to spend 20+ minutes cloning out the dust on the sensor, but after taking a swim in the Pacific Ocean, taking a 3 foot fall onto some rocks at Silver Falls State Park and then again rinsing off in the drink at McCord Creek, it now takes me less than 5 minutes to get rid of the dust via cloning. I LOVE that camera!! If you are in the market for a camera and you are torn between a 5D and 1Ds (or even 5D2 and 1Ds2), seriously look at the 1Ds! The 5D build quality are embarrassing for what you pay, not to mention the AF is not up to par. If you need video, then your options are limited.

So back to the images. Something recently happened to me that improved my photography. I wouldn't go as far as to say the events that happened in the movie "Phenomenon" happened to me, but after experiencing Mt. Rainier National Park and that sunrise, I have had this confidence and stuff just clicked. Perhaps it was due to the fact that using an old camera and lens that is probably as old as I am captured this event unfolding SUPERBLY and I didn't even have the aid of filters, whereas everyone else shooting with me had new gear and filters (and AF - but who shoots landscapes in AF anyways:) ).

Since that sunrise, I shoot with a "purpose", so to speak - and showing my work at the RAWArtist showcase has helped me immensely. My biggest creative block has been compositions. In any art field, you HAVE to get out of your comfort zone. The ones who separate themselves from everyone else, will adapt to their respective situations. With myself, my "comfort zone" had been waterfalls. There is something about waterfalls that I get drawn to. It isn't the ease of access hat draws me, but it was the ease of access that helped me learn how to shoot them.

Before I shot Rainier, I had very limited experience shooting mountains. I know it had a lot to do with not experiencing the "CLL"; composition, lighting and location. I just made that up:), but it is true. That is true with all landscape photography. You need these three elements to converge at the same time to really experience the essence of landscape photography. You can have an excellent location and a killer composition, but without the lighting, it is just a regular shot. You can have a killer location and once in a lifetime light, but if you have no comp... Only way (if you know of another way, please email me!) to get all three is dedication and luck. Luck is as big as the other elements. So we could label it CLLL, but it doesn't have as nice a flow, lol. If you EVER have a chance to spend multiple days out in the mountains, DO IT! You may not get that magical light - but you just might! Once you experience the excitement of a lightshow (sunrise-sunset), you will want more!

Back on track, when I first got to Rainier NP, I was out of my element. I really didn't have experience shooting in the mountains. Now it is one of my favorite places to shoot! We are planning a trip to Glacier National Park, Jasper and Banff this spring (they are so close to each other, why not?) and I cannot wait!

The whole purpose of this rant was that I hadn't ever shot fall. Can you believe this? Last year this time, I sold my camera, tripod, everything because I didn't think I would be shooting until the following spring, which was true. I sold it beginning of October, and the fall colors hit usually mid to late October. This year they are way late, but that is due to the crazy year we had - and looks like this winter/spring is going to be even more wicked!! So the river scene I am posting is an element I have not had much experience with. I have crossed so many of these scenes, but have never taken the time to shoot them. I just never have been happy with the results, but I am happy with the 30+ I took. I will be posting more this afternoon.


Yesterday, we headed back out to Spirit Falls on the Washington side of The Gorge. I was there last Friday, but I wanted to see the fall colors (if any) a bit more vibrant than last weeks' trip.

We took the wrong entrance into the falls, which is ironic because Brian #2 has been there 4 times previously, and I was there last week. After following some game trails for a bit, we made it. Brian #3 hasn't really bushwhacked yet, so it was his "break in".

We got down to the falls, and were not disappointed! Nice colors were there, but the real treat was above the falls, along the creek. For me, it is hard to find a good comp with a creek/river and foliage. I found some I liked on this day, and it wasn't just limited to this area.

After shooting this place for a few hours, we ran into Sheldon. I have never run into anyone out in the wild before that had been a "contact" on any of the photography sites. We had a nice talk, and then headed out.

Once back to the car, we decided to head over to the Oregon side of The Gorge as the clouds had moved in. The lighting was amazing. After a quick stop in Hood River for some refueling (coffee), we stopped at Starvation Creek. This place had exploded with color! The best part is that the incoming rain kept all of the tourists away! We ran into one other photographer here, and he had a large format camera. Very nice guy.

2 hours or so later, we decided we better go to Elowah, as it was getting late. The sunset is at like 4:45pm. Right before we got to the trailhead, it started to rain lightly. It progressed to a heavy downpour and made for one of the worst rains I had shot in. The Gorge gets an average of 7-8 feet of rain a year. Pretty crazy. I was soaked, as was my gear and I took maybe 10 shots. It just got too dark. I am hoping to get back out there this week at some point before the leaves are blown off of the trees.

Here are some of the images. I think my keep ratio from yesterday was maybe 90%. A lot of times, it is like 9-20%. Oh well, if it was this easy, everyone would do it...oh wait...:) More images to come tonight or tomorrow.


Headed to Cape Kiwanda several weeks ago for a rare sight. During a week in the fall and a week in the spring, the setting sun will light up this tunnel with her light. You need two elements to get this shot; a low tide (we had a negative tide) and a sunset (we had a pretty much cloudless sky). If you had been to the Oregon Coast (or pretty much anywhere in the PNW), you will know that getting the sunset is the biggest challenge.

This shot is a single exposure, no blending. Also, no filters were used - as I have none. I was trying to get to the rock about 20 yards ahead of this vantage point. The problem is that over the last year or so, the ocean has eroded out the sand and thus the water is about a foot deeper than it used to be. So I decided to take a risk (un-calculated of course ) and get out as far as I could for a different comp. While shooting the second shot, a wave came in and my camera was half submerged in the Pacific.

You can see it is a bit out of focus, but that is due to me picking up the camera right before the exposure ended. It wasn't really a wave, but a surge of water. This is the second time my camera has come into contact with the Pacific. One reason why I will never buy anything less than a Canon 1 series! I don't expect to always be lucky, though. I am super lucky as I am not making any money on my photography (yet)....

As always, you can "like" my Facebook page. Oh and I made a Google+ page. I am not totally sure if I made it in the "correct" category. Here are other places you can find my work:

Going through my Aperture library on my computer to get rid of "garbage", it lead to me going through some old shots. Just like me to get off track - or starting another task while still in the middle of another one:).

This one was taken while i was stopped on the I-5 exit heading home from The Gorge in May 2010. We were stopped due the bridge lifts. As chance would have it, we were stopped in the perfect vantage point. I hesitated to get out of the car and set up my tripod and camera, but when I finally did, I captured this. Gotta love the way things work out sometimes.

On another note, Razi used my image for their "photo of the day", which is kinda cool. It is the second photo they have used for their POTD. Ironically, I had never been on FlickR's "explore" - but that website is mostly "pat me on the back, I will pat you on the back" type of deal.


Posted by dustin gent |

I have been to this magical place many times, and in every season. I still don't have a shot of it that I am entirely happy with. I visited this place with Brian Kibbons a few weeks ago. Now I know that it is obviously too dark for details, but I like the mystery to this one.

The sunrise was pretty good, with nice colors. I think that Crater Lake is best in the winter with snow. That way it will reflect the light. I guess I will test that theory soon enough. For now, I am happy with this image. Should look good in a metallic print.


Posted by dustin gent |

I have been at this photography deal for many years. It has been really a crazy journey. My dad used to have an SLR back in the 80s. I remember him toting that around when we would go on vacation, or to the beach, park, etc. It was a Minolta, and he had several lenses, flashes; the works.

In 1987 (perhaps 86') I was 8 years old and I got a Kodak Reflections camera, which I still have to this day. It was a point and shoot little camera, but it was a stepping stone, so to speak. I used that until I got a Canon point and shoot from Target for like $149 in 1992 or 1993. I used that until I got an SLR (EOS 650 or 630) in the late 90s. I had the "kit" lens, but I was happy with that.

My first digital camera was a Fuji Finepix 2400Z. It was a point and shoot, but back in 2002 or so, they were still expensive. Canon had just released the original Digital Rebel 300D, and it was a break through as far as the price went, but still too expensive for me at the time. My next camera was a Fuji S602Z. It was an EXCELLENT camera and what really got me out shooting landscapes. It wasn't the fastest camera, but it had great IQ. It also was almost as expensive as the DREB. I had that camera for several years and then moved onto a 20D.

It wasn't until I bought the 1Ds that I got serious about photography. What I mean about serious is shooting for a reason. I always have had the "film state of mind". Learning with film makes you stop and pay attention to everything - the lighting, composition, etc. As everyone knows, with film you have to wait sometimes up to a week (I shot Velvia 50 slide) to see what you captured, and if you missed focus or used the wrong aperture, it sucked to say the least (especially if you had driven 500 miles to a location). When I got the digitals, some of that went out the window due to the ability to see results instantly.

Nowadays, I only post what I think people would want to hang in a frame. I got back to the basics, lol. The images posted here are from years and years ago. They aren't necessarily bad or good, but more of a progression - if you will.

Now that I have the "history lesson" out of the way, I have been contemplating offering "workshops". I know that there are many others that offer their services with great results, and some not so successful. At this point, I am just jotting down ideas, but the prices will be VERY affordable. I think I have a grasp on photography, and with photography booming in popularity, many people would like to learn new techniques. You can always email me or comment if any questions arise in the mean time.

Lately, I have been pretty busy that I haven't really been able to work on photos. I have gone out shooting the last 4 full days. Between that and work, not much time to post/work photos. Add in that it was a bit of work getting all the prints and stuff ready for the PDXRaw show...

Some of these images have been printed up, but I just haven't posted them online anywhere. Usually I post them here first and then over at 500px.com. I have found that website to help me decide what prints to get done in Metallic. Brian Kibbons (who I usually shoot with every Friday and Saturday) has prints done in gallery blocks and metallic wraps, and they look wicked good! I am impressed. His prints look 1000% better than his online shots. BTW, he is revamping his website. I told him the waterfall on his site needs to go :).

Getting back on track, here are some shots that I have taken over the past few weeks/months. I went out Friday ALL day (sunrise to sunset) and really don't have anything I am happy with. I will probably back them up and delete them from my Aperture Library. Yesterday I had some I was happy with, but on the last waterfall of the trip (we got a late start), I had some water on the lens that I didn't notice until I got home. Me being not the best with photoshop, I may just go back to that place and get more shots. Might be easier, even though there are no trails to these falls, and the falls have no name.

I should be getting some more shots up in the coming days. Stay tuned.


Today a buddy and I hit up a creek on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge. This creek has many waterfalls along it, but there is absolutely NO TRAIL. I was in the water for about 5 hours, and my feet are all bruised up - but it was worth it.

These falls have no names. I will have to come up with some names. We discovered another falls on our way out, just before sunset. For now, this is what I have processed.


Just got back from Spirit Falls on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge. This waterfalls is like 2 miles from the Columbia River, yet you would NEVER EVER know there was this crazy waterfall hidden down here.

I hadn't ever been here before, and my buddy who went with me hadn't either. He saw an image on 500px of this waterfall and sent me an email, inquiring what and where this falls was located. I knew immediately the details of this falls, except on the exact directions. A search of google gets you really nowhere. It is really easy to find, but the talus slope is a formidable foe!

This falls is super popular with kayakers worldwide. There are UK based websites showcasing people running this 30 foot (or so) falls. In any case, here is a quick shot I edited to show this falls. It is a low flow, as are most of the waterfalls around here. I think the water is about 2 feet lower than normal (winter-spring), but the fall colors are good. Heading off tomorrow and Saturday somewhere to get some shots. Snow in the mountains are calling my name.