Posted by dustin gent | File under : , , ,
This was taken last fall at Elowah Falls, located in the Columbia River Gorge. It was a nasty day out when this was taken, and RAINED the whole time I was shooting this. Not a fun shoot at all, but seems I have good luck in nasty weather.

This is a 25 second exposure, that is how dark it was out when this was taken. ISO 50 and f/16 allowed for the long shutter speed, and no filters were used.


Posted by dustin gent | File under : , ,
We just moved into a larger apartment (nicer and cheaper!), and when I was packing stuff up (okay, just tossing stuff into boxes), I found a few more back-up DVDs of images I removed from my Aperture Library. On one of the disks were images from Ruckel Creek. So now I can do a better comparison of the same waterfall, and from almost the same spot, to give a better contrast of seasons.

This shot is from "Mossy Grotto", along Ruckel Creek in the Columbia River Gorge. This is becoming more popular, due to the interweb. As you can see, lots of stuff grows here in the spring, and then hibernates in the fall. Click on the image to enlarge them.


Posted by dustin gent |
I have been meaning to put this up for a while, so I figured today is as good as any. Over the past month or so, I have been asked several times about when to visit Oregon - ie; best time of year. Well I will go in depth a bit about what I would do.

Every season has its pros and cons. Also, not everyone likes the same seasons, outdoor activities or even subjects to shoot. I have photographer buddies that do not like to shoot waterfalls as much as they do the ocean, or the mountains, etc. With this said, here is my opinions.

Having never been to Oregon (or the Pacific Northwest for that matter), I usually ask a few questions of people before answering them with my advice, so to speak. Beaches are good all year round, nothing new there:). However, it would be safe to say that coast (a beach is somewhere you lay out on, as I am from Huntington Beach...:)) has really TWO seasons. You can combine winter and spring into one season, and summer/fall into another. Really there are no fall/spring stuff that affects compositions like waterfalls or the mountains do (flowers/foilage/snow,water levels) Weather really is the only factor. Right now, there is 60 foot waves, which is not uncommon at all. Shore Acres, near Coos Bay often sees 80 foot waves. You can google Shore Acres and see images of crazy waves. Happens all the time - honestly.

Sunsets are better in winter, based on my experience. Summer you get maybe a few more sunsets, but that marine layer comes QUICK. I will look at weather.gov and the web cams and see that the conditions look favorable (this usually pertains to summer), but after driving the 70 miles from Portland to Cannon Beach, I see that it is "foggy" there, thanks to the marine layer. This doesn't happen very much in winter, due to the weather patterns we have. Also, the beaches and "toruisty" spots aren't as bad, usually just fellow Pacific Northwesterners there. You can usually tell by the lack of umbrellas, lol.

The waterfalls are obviously way different, as are the mountains. I usually avoid the Gorge in the winter, unless there is snow/ice, which only happens a few times a year, and only in winter (usually). It really is amazing how different the Gorge is in the late spring (early May usually - and this goes for pretty much all waterfalls around here - I just reference The Gorge as it is close). You can see the trees and some bushes that have bare branches, but the real secret are the ferns and other plants that leave no trace that they ever existed, other than the rotting leaves some plants leave behind. Also in late spring, the falls are usually at a nice flow from the rain and the snow melt in the mountains. Flow in winter is also good, just the colors are muted - not as green/yellow/etc.

The mountains are good all  year round, however accessibility is hindered quite a bit. Mt. Hood just  got 7+ feet of snow in the last 5 days, and they are getting hit again. Wildflowers are always amazing up here, and usually they are prime in mid July. This year, Mt. Rainier was prime in late August and even into mid September in some places. I even saw wildflowers popping up through the snow this year! Doesn't happen all that often.

I usually avoid The Gorge in the summer and early fall, as the water levels recede and the lighting is not ideal at all. Also, lots of people out - although many of the falls I go to are hard to get to, so I don't have that problem. Fall colors in The Gorge are great! Usually this starts in mid October, and by first week of November, it is prime! This year, it was pushed back several weeks.

So with that said, if you are shooting waterfalls and want to visit the beaches (and maybe even some mountains), late spring is probably the best (anytime in May). A word of warning; it does rain more in the spring than anytime of the year. The Columbia River Gorge gets 80+ inches of rain a year, whereas Portland (located 30 miles west) gets maybe 45 inches.

Here are two shots. I couldn't find the direct comparison I was looking for, but you get the idea. Latourell Falls gets this wild with ferns, don't you worry!


Posted by dustin gent |
So a good buddy of mine told me yesterday that round trip tickets from PDX to Las Vegas are $120 (plus any bag fees), and that he wants to go on a South West trip! I have been to Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend (and Grand Canyon but as a kid several times), but never to Zion, Arches, Death Valley, etc.

What does this have to do with getting back into film you may ask (or maybe not :). Well, while the job situation is looking better, I still am not full time. Add that we are moving (saving money each month!) next week, expenses add up. So right now I am thinking of selling my beloved 1Ds to help pay for the move and to have some extra money. If I work next week, then I won't sell the camera. Right now, if I sell the camera, I will buy a film camera (most likely an EOS-3 as it is weathersealed and wicked durable - I had one years ago) and some film.

Currently I am looking at film options. I had a Nikon CoolScan IV ED scanner, but was not impressed by the scan quality. That scanner is not cheap; they still go for $400+. There are labs locally that offer drum scanning. It is NOT cheap (about $60 a scan), but I will only do this if someone wants a print from a slide. I will have my slides scanned by other means than drum scanning, just to get them online. I will also check about scanning quality of slides vs color negative prints. I will keep my lens I have now, so theoretically I should have close to the same quality, as my digital camera is 10 years old and was just the beginning of the Full Frame revolution.

Oh and if I sell my camera, I WILL get a website. It will only be temporarily (not having digital full frame). I need to start selling my prints at shows and such. I believe it is good enough to sell - otherwise I wouldn't go to the great lengths to capture these amazing spots.

Here is a shot from 2006. I was with my father on this trip. He lived in Prescott, AZ and wanted to do a small road trip. Shot with a Canon 30D and EF-s 10-22mm. I was as close to the edge as I could get!


Up here in the Pacific Northwest, we haven't had much of a winter - until now. The past few days we have had snow, rain, wind, etc. I was talking with some buddies and I let them know that the Gorge was supposed to get 1-4" of snow, which could make for some interesting conditions.

We decided upon Spirit Falls, as I really like this falls and had seen a shot from here before, cloaked in snow. It was a miserable shoot, I won't lie. The hike down to this place is a good 450+ feet down a talus slope, and factor in a good 4-5 inches of snow (and I don't have proper winter gear). Also, shooting under the trees proved to be a bad idea, as all the snow/water drops were relentless on us.

I took maybe 37 pictures, and didn't really think I came away with anything I was really happy with. You could say I was pretty surprised with my take away.


The image was taken on the same trip as my last entry I posted. I just worked this one. This is a two image blend, and then worked in Silver Effects Pro. This is kind of a bitter sweet image. I was informed that this area (the access to it) is now officially off limits.

In order to access this public beach (area), one has to cross over onto private property. Now I have been here before, and the only no trespassing signs were posted on a "trail" from this area to the house that sits about 30 yards behind this spot. Well, the old lady that owns this house moved these signs from "her" trail onto the last 20 yards of the "trail" used to get her. There are no other "No Trespassing" signs. The Oregon Beach Bill of 1967 states that it is illegal to to own beach front property, and has to allow for access. I have no idea what really is private property, and what is state owned land.

There is another way to get into this area, but it involves using rope and scaling some cliffs (not all that high), and perhaps some swimming, as low tide is not the best conditions at this place. I will be trying that route, but not in the immediate future. This area is spectacular, in the correct conditions.

Anyways, I wish I had known it was going to be my last trip here for a while; I would have tried more comps - but still happy with what I got. I am heading to Olympic National Park here in the next few days, so pretty stoked about that. Ironically, we have to cross private land to get to some beaches, but the Indians have allowed for public access via fees. If this homeowner would do the same, I would gladly pay $5 to get to this spot, even though maybe 5% of the whole "hike" in is on private land.


Posted by dustin gent |
Just trying out new things in photoshop. Getting out of my comfort zone, so to speak. They always say the ones that succeed, do so out of their comfort zone - but I think they talk about pro athletes or something, lol. In any case, it is a good way to learn. You never know what you will learn.

So this is a two shot blend. I very rarely blend, and had NEVER even bracketed exposures before in my camera, or even used exposure compensation. I did on this day and it actually is not a bad idea to do this, although i manually "bracket" my shots.

Another thing I learned is that sometimes a photo that i think is too dark to use to blend, is in fact perfect! The sky in this shot I though would look un-natural with the foreground, but it looks pretty good I think. It is by no means perfect and seamless, but it is a good start! This is opening up possibilities with older photos that I have kept around, so when I learned how to utilize blending, I would go back to those photos.

Posted by dustin gent |

**This is a repost from October - seems the links and such were broken...**

My buddy and I headed down south to SilverFalls State Park. I haven't shot here much - ever! Maybe it is due to it being a tourist trap, or perhaps the ease of accessibility (all the trails are paved); but since he hadn't been there ever and I really haven't spent any time here in a few years, we decided to shoot it. It is autumn after all and was raining pretty good during the few hours we were there.

We just shot this one falls. Winter Falls was low flow and not really an interesting waterfall in my opinion. North Falls is ok, but after being spoiled by The Gorge and all her waterfalls, most falls pale in comparison.

Tomorrow I think I am heading out to The Gorge tomorrow. I was there on Friday, but I shot EVERYTHING at ISO 800; so gotta re-do all those.


Posted by dustin gent |
Here is another shot I took from Thors Well. I didn't get soaked, but i did brace my self for impact...

Also, here is some info on prints and pricing. I have been really searching online for options to make a website. I looked at bigblackbag.com, but they are outrageously expensive - and for what they offer, not that great of a deal. Zenfolio is a DEAL compared to that. Intuit has web hosting, but their templates are kinda cheezy. They look like blog templates, and they charge $13 a month (after you upgrade the storage)..

In any case, I put together a price list for my prints. I needed to do that anyways, so now I can transfer this info onto a website, whenever I decide to commit to a company.


Last week, my buddy Paul contacted me, wanting to know if I wanted to go shoot at Tom Dick and Harry mountain near Mt. Hood. Unfortunately I had to work on Friday morning, but he also said he would be down for a coastal shoot. My buddy Scott just got back from the east coast and wanted to go shoot somewhere, so I told him our plans. He said Jeremy wanted to go as well, so we all met up in Newport at the Rogue Brewery Friday night.

Saturday AM, we shot Thors' Well for sunrise which didn't have the best lighting ever, but did have  a good mood. The tide was high and it was not raining or windy! After shooting that and eating breakfast at kind of a shady spot in Yachats, everyone was a bit tired. So after nap time at the Yurit we had at the campground, we headed north towards Newport.

After a stop a Starbucks to refuel, we hit up a spot made famous by Marc Adamus, affectionally known as "The Caldron". Paul has been here before with Marc, and I had been here as well previously with Paul. The other two hadn't been here, and people are tight lipped about the location/directions to this place. One of the reasons is that the easiest way to get here lays on private property, and also I am sure they don't want it to become wicked popular - which I understand.

The tide was not the most ideal to get the caldron effect, but the lighting was pretty good. I had to blend two shots for the caldron shot, as I have no filters. I will be posting some other shots in the next few days, when I get time to decide which ones I want to try to work. In two weeks, we will be heading to Olympic National Park - so I hope I can get some good lighting!


Posted by dustin gent |
As many have either read online or have seen on the news, a park ranger was needlessly killed in Mt. Rainier National Park. Margaret Anderson was just doing her job, when she encountered that psycho. I realize that many people are killed in the line of duty, but this hit home.

This past summer, I was very fortunate to spend 11 days at this amazing National Park. Every Park Ranger I encountered was so super nice, even when my buddy Paul and I were in the wild flower area that was "closed". A woman in her mid to late 20s approached us and was so nice. We had a great talk for about 30 minutes, and she gave us some great tips on where the best locations were. Mt. Rainier is spread out, and since conditions change daily (especially with the late wildflower season), real time info is priceless, especially when you don't get cell phone service in many places within Mt. Rainier NP.

In closing, I am dedicating this image to Margaret. I don't think I ever met her, but that doesn't matter. My prayers are with her family and the people who knew her.