Posted by dustin gent | File under : , ,
Here's the deal. I had a Flickr "Pro" account. I think it cost $29 a year. That isn't a ton of money, I agree. Equals like 2.50 a month or so - but let's break this down a bit.

What does the Pro account give you? Where does the money go, as far as improvements to the site? Are they better alternatives? These questions led me to make my decision NOT to give flickr anymore money.
Now I may seem like a mad, bitter person. Perhaps, perhaps not. But when one isn't working much right now, and money is tight - you may have better insight into my reasoning.

So somehow I ended up on Flickrs' "help forum", which really is not very well organized. I am sure they are going to address this when they decide to roll out their update in 8-9 months. I voiced my opinions, and as I expected, many people defended Flickr. I was told you cannot compare G+ or even 500px to Flickr. I was also told that flickr isn't a "social media"site. But isn't it? Maybe perhaps not in the sense that G+ or Facebook are, but it is no doubt still social media. There are Flickr Apps, Flickr plug-ins from Aperture (and I am assuming Lightroom as well?). It was also suggested I delete my account, or even get a website, which I do have.

If you have used Google Plus, I am sure you have opinions on it. You also know what a GREAT tool it truly is. I am sure that Google knew that it would be a HUGE hit with photographers. They already had Picassa in place, and it was integrated into G+ well before Google opened up G+ to the masses (it used to be by invite only). What is really wonderful about G+ is the "blog" aspect of it. I still like the traditional layout, but I could seriously use G+ as my blog. It is like instant messaging or texting, if you think about it. The beauty of G+ is that it IS FREE. As someone who cares about jpeg compression, G+ handles compression extremely well.

500px also handles jpeg compression well. I cannot tell you how frustrating it is, when you upload a 700kb file to flickr, and only 565kb is uploaded. A lot of people don't care about this, but if you are PAYING for a service, it should at least handle files better than a free service, right? Also, both 500px and Google do NOT limit the amount of files you can have. 500px DOES LIMIT the amount per week on their free account, but it is 20 per week. I have yet to even come close to that limit.

Also, and I may be superficial here, but the UI of Flickr is years behind the curve. It is not elegant at all, especially for a so called "non social media" site. Now we get to the cost. For my Zenfolio account, it cost me $80 a year. That equals $6.40 a month or something. For the extra $4 a month, I would much rather have a website that has unlimited storage, customizable, can sell prints from, etc.

However, I have met good people via Flickr. A few buddies I shoot with regularly with I met via flickr. I also met some via G+, and most people that have flickr have a G+. These are my opinions on this, and nothing else:)

Here is a shot I worked on this morning. It is near Fort Rock, Oregon. It was at sunset, and the temperature was around 35 degrees with a breeze.


Posted by dustin gent | File under : , , , ,
Time to admit that I am tired of looking at the photos from my last trip. I shot more during the mid day harsh lighting last weekend, than I have in the last 3 years combined. This has happened to me before - sick and tired of images from an outing. Sometimes it takes a while before I am able to process them. Weird, I know. Oh well.

So that being said, I switched paths and went back through my first attempt to shoot the tunnel. Ironically, it has taken me this long to be able to work something from there I am happy with. Actually, I did post a shot from there that I recently processed. Perhaps 2 weeks ago or less I worked a shot from here. Regardless, it was October when I took these; so a good 4 months, give or take a few weeks.

My how time flies. Spring is upon us, my friends! That means more rain (actually is snowing here today - and is forecasted tomorrow), the renewal of life, cherry blossoms, tulip festivals, and WATERFALLS! Wildflowers as well, but that is usually in May (for Gorge wildflowers - Rainier and Jefferson are a bit later; usually)

Waterfalls have always been my strong point. I think that is starting to even out with my ocean shots, with the mountain and wildflower shots a little weaker. That is obviously due to not having spent a ton of time up there. Desert scenes are way down below, lol. Anyways, here is a shot from October 2011.

"Almost Paradise"


Posted by dustin gent | File under : , , ,
Zenfolio has streamlined the ability to import (or even create) a blog right on the homepage. This is a very welcomed addition. Managing more than one blog would be quite a task, although it would be all "control +C and Control+V"; copy and paste:).

I do have a tumblr blog started, and will probably start one there as well - just for more exposure. After all, photography is 80% marketing - ok 90%. There are people out there with far better marketing experience and far less photography ability than myself, making a living (or even selling a print, which I haven't done yet) at this. If I didn't think I could sell anything, I would've sold my camera and equipment long ago. At least when I start showing my work at shows, I will come out with guns a blazing!

So what would a blog post be without pictures you are probably asking? Kinda boring, I suppose. So to remedy this problem, here is a picture I took Monday. I was the only one that didn't have any other lenses, or fitters, and they all had like $10K worth of glass - and nice enough to let me borrow some glass.

This was taken with a 24-105L and a 10 stop B+W filter. I think this will print up superb on metallic. The finished file looks superb, as do all my finished files;)

Posted by dustin gent | File under : , , ,
Growing up, I spent a lot of time in Flagstaff, Arizona. That is where I first started to have an appreciation for photography. I have always enjoyed history and geology, and in another life I would be a geologist (or a pro photographer!). The vastness of Arizona (the whole Southwest in general) has a spell on me.

On this trip, that feeling came back to me. Eastern Oregon really is a special place, that not many people get to experience. Something about standing most anywhere and seeing the same thing Native Americans or settlers did is pretty amazing. Time seems to stand still out here.

There are many secrets out here. Google searching will not help. It seems the locals really enjoy sharing the spots of interest, especially with photographers. I hope that anyone reading this, either who currently resides in Oregon or plans on visiting Oregon, does visit this area. It is quite a drive from Portland (8 hours), but is not too bad if starting out from Bend, Oregon (160 miles maybe?). The Steens are special, to say the least.

Hopefully this summer I can head back out. It WILL NOT be another 32 years before I get back out here. I am hoping once a year. If I am lucky enough to start selling my work, I will visit this place seasonally!

Posted by dustin gent | File under : , ,
Just got back from a road trip to one of the most remote places in Oregon, and possibly the whole Northwest region of the US. A guy we ran into while out in the Alvord Desert told us that according to a google search, the Alvord is the darkest place in the US - as far as light pollution (or lack thereof) goes.

In any case, it was dark. The stars were amazing, although we didn't get any star trails. Kinda wish we did, as the moon is at 1/4 (crescent) and didn't rise until 5am. It was was cold, and on Saturday night, it was a smelly 8 degrees and some snow. Also the wind was brisk at times.

I hadn't been here before, so it was really something to see. The Alvord has a playa (ply-ah), much like the more famous Death Valley Race Track. The Alvord Desert is larger than the one found in Death Valley, which is interesting. It doesn't get a lot of love, and many people here have never heard of this - even photographers. I am sure my buddies and I won't help keep this a secret any longer.

While I didn't get any amazing sunsets/sunrises, I am now addicted! I am hoping next time I get out here (hopefully this summer as the thunderstorms I have been told are a true sight to behold), I can explore the area a bit more. It is quite the trek (8 hrs one way from Portland), but that is a good thing, as it keeps people from exploiting this area too much.

Here is the first shot I have worked from the actual Alvord Desert. My sensor dust is pretty bad, and I am a perfectionist - so it takes me a bit of time to clean up the image before editing.


Posted by dustin gent |
I sold my printer (Canon Pixma Pro 9000 II) due to me not using it that much - plus the fact that if/when I start selling, people aren't wanting to buy "home prints", even though that printer is legit. I also wouldn't want to do that.

So I finally bit the bullet and got the zenfolio website. It is a bit confusing at first, but I am figuring it out. The site may change from time to time, as far as layout and such - I haven't dialed it in 100%. I will be adding images daily most likely.

What does this mean for this blog? Absolutely nothing! I will still post here. I mean it is Dustin Gent Adventures™after all, and there is usually a story to go with the images. I am heading to the Alvord Desert on Thursday evening - so will be there for a sunrise. Plenty of beer (good beer, like Fort Gorge - based in Astoria, Oregon) and alcohol (Makers Mark and Patron) and a few good buddies. Hopefully the light and weather will be amazing. It is an 8 hour drive from PDX to this isolated location, which I have never been to before. Only one of us that is going has been there.

Here is a shot from the Central Oregon Coast, taken Saturday evening.


Posted by dustin gent | File under : , ,
So perhaps you may know, I am NOT a fan of HDR at all. It probably has to do with the way over-cooking of it. That is most likely due to the mis use of it when it first came out. I also don't like it due to people using it, and not disclosing it is an HDR, even though it is obviously HDR.

Now I admit that I have the Nik software, and have the HDR software. I haven't used the HDR software. With this said, I saw on 500px a nice shot of Punchbowl Falls. PB falls is kinda hard to get a unique perspective, as most people who shoot there either shoot from the shallows or the water is too rapid to get out further (thus the reason for shooting in the shallows). I know for a fact that when Eagle Creek is raging, I cannot even get out to where this was taken. It is THAT crazy (and wicked cold).

So I went through my Aperture and saw a few sessions from Punchbowl. One such shoot was from 2006, when the log was still present. I will post a shot from that series soon, but i am not happy with any of them. As I was working this shot, I didn't realize that it started to look kind of like an HDR - kinda. I describe HDR as "chrome like". This kind of has that feeling. I know that people can achieve HDR manually in photoshop, but HDR is usually used to bring out the detail in shadows and such. This photo didn't have heavy shadows.

In any case, HDR is a fine line between beautifully executed and over done. Programs and methods are getting to the point where one cannot discern between HDR and non-HDR - but it is far and few between. I think this photo caught my eye because of the colors and the sharpening used. Anyways, this will be printed in metallic, and it will work well I think.

Posted by dustin gent |
I realized that I have been ignoring my blog lately. I apologize. I am a numbers guy. I like looking stats and such. Apparently this blog is over 10K views since I started this back in October. That is mind blowing, as one wouldn't think that as I don't have any comments - but I don't think that is necessarily a bad thing. I keep this blog to show my work and perhaps give a story, or an adventure summary (if you will) behind the images posted.

So with this said, I promise to pick my "blogging game" up. I have many, MANY images that want to share. The problem has been the lack of post processing skills. More advanced techniques and such were over my head. That is my fault, as I didn't really take the time to learn. It is a daunting and overwhelming! Where does one start? There are tons of great videos out there. Sean Bagshaw and Zach Schnepf have amazing videos out. I haven't met either of these guys, but my buddy I shoot with quite a bit (heading to the Alvord Desert next week with him) has shot with these guys! My buddy Paul has shot with Chip Phillips several times (and has taken his workshop), and they are all part of Photo Cascadia. Check out the links and their blog! Very informative.

In any case, I have taken the time in the past 3 months to learn and mess around with different things in Photoshop. I feel my editing has improved a ton, and now I am going back over old photos that I had kept, with the hopes I would improve enough to bring them to life, so to speak. In the past, I tried to do as little post as possible, but now realize that is not a good idea. Even with a 1Ds3 and top of the line glass, post processing is still needed. Just taking the picture is half the battle - seriously. Now that I have learned (and am comfortable) with blending several exposures, I now bracket my shots when needed. I have no filters at my disposal; so on some scenes, I have the knowledge on what exposures I need to take to be able to execute a blend. I used to shoot bracketed (manually) shots years ago, but they were simply too far apart in exposure range to make them work.

With this said, I am still very much a novice at photoshop. I use the WONDERFUL Nik software, which all that stuff can be done in photoshop. The aforementioned videos show you how to do this, but Nik makes it much easier and quicker. I will probably learn how to do it manually. I also use Tony Kuyper's awesome actions. They seriously improved my post processing 100%! I have received many messages and comments in the past few months about how I have improved as a photographer, and how my photos look much better. To that, I reply that it probably is a combo of both. 2011 was when I really emerged from mediocre to above average I think. I upgraded cameras, but honestly most wouldn't consider it an upgrade. I had a 40D and a Canon EF 17-40L, and very good ultra wide zoom lens. I sold that and got my Canon 1Ds that is FIVE YEARS older than the 40D, and my lens I picked up in May - which I think made as big a difference. Combine this with the post processing tools and knowledge I have gained, and those are the reasons.

Also "shooting with a purpose"™ is my mantra. If I won't print it, I won't take it. I am also very hard on myself, and thus am very critical of my own work. Sometimes I will work on a photo for an hour or more, and then realize I don't like an aspect of it, and just trash it. If I am happy with the final edit, I know someone will want to buy it. I am hoping that this angle will actually prove to be correct!

Next week I am heading to southeast Oregon, specifically to the Alvord Desert. I have never been there, and am going to spend 4 days in this region. That means 9 sunrises and 9 sunsets. The Alvord receives 4" of rain annually, so I am hoping they don't reach their quota while we are there. Hoping the light gods are there with us, as it is an 8 hour drive there.

I will be back in a bit with new work. Stay tuned!
Posted by dustin gent |
On Monday, I headed to Cape Kiwanda, located on the Central Oregon Coast. I like Kiwanda, however I have shot it many times. The reason I went back was due to shooting a sea tunnel located here. Several weeks a year, the sun lines up with the tunnel and if the tide is low enough, you can get a glow. While I didn't venture out in the tunnel ( I wanted to - but had several buddies' with me and would've gotten in their shot), I did get some good stuff.

I went back through my tunnel shots I took in October, and worked one I hadn't previously. So here are two shots from this location - I used the same camera and lens on both.


Posted by dustin gent | File under : , , ,
This was taken about 3 weeks or so ago. I was much closer than the "well" than the image makes it appear. I was a good 4 feet from this beast, but the 17mm lens makes it seem further. I kind of like this image. This is a 2 shot blend, as I didn't have a grad filter. I think blending works better IF you can get the exposures correct. I just dislike handholding a filter in front of the lens, ESPECIALLY when shooting at the beach. Once that salt water gets on the lens, only fresh water will clean it off, and that is hard to come by at this location.

Heading off this afternoon to shoot the Kiwanda Tunnel. I am hoping for a better execution than what I did last time in October. If I don't get it this time, I will have to wait until late October of this year...


Posted by dustin gent | File under : , ,
Well, I obviously didn't find this one, but it is new to me. On Thursday, a few buddies and I headed out to find this not very well known gem. When you think Oregon Coast, you think Cannon Beach, Astoria, Bandon, Cape Kiwanda, Florence, etc, etc.

This beach is called Short Beach. It is probably one of my favorite beaches i have been to. There is so much potential. The irony is that while there are un-numbered amount of compositions, when I pulled out the camera, I found that 2 of my batteries were almost dead and the third was on 1 bar (meaning it was almost done). So I had to conserve the battery power, and didn't get to shoot other comps I wanted to. Next time..

So here is a shot from this place. Easy to get to, but you have to have a lower tide to access this spot.. I will be back hopefully next week or so.