Doug Beezley Photography

About

About

With most websites, the "About" section generally provides pertinent information about the organization or person whose site you're visiting. And, in the photography/art world it is not unusual for there also to be an "artist's statement" about his or her creative passions or reasons for being involved in the activity, their creative process and/or journey.

I have actually thought about an artist's statement quite a lot and you will be relieved to know that I am not going to utter deep philosophical or cosmic tantra. I enjoy photography as a hobby because it is a vehicle for expressing whatever creative skills and energy I may (some say "may not") possess. Photography, to me, is not only about capturing a good or great image but also about capturing the experience. Seeing something, hearing it, smelling it, feeling it and sensing it is as important to me as capturing the actual image. Nothing more, nothing less.

As for me, Doug Beezley, I'm a native Coloradan who was born in Denver but grew up on the High Plains of Eastern Colorado (Burlington) but have lived in a suburb of Atlanta for almost 25 years. My professional career took me from Denver to Chicago, Phoenix, Birmingham and finally Atlanta before I retired. In addition to photography, I also enjoy fly-fishing as an entry into the natural world. Catching fish (trout and salmon) is great but just being there is greater. There's nothing quite like a day on the Colorado River at Lees Ferry, Arizona to completely fill your senses! For that matter, a small stream in the North Georgia mountains is really good, too.

In the process of building and maintaining this site my goal is to take the viewer on a photographic experience through both the images themselves and the accompanying narrative. I hope I have accomplished this and I hope you enjoy your journey through this site.

Should you have any comments, critiques and/or suggestions about the images or this website, please contact me at:

doug@dbeezleyphotography.com.

I welcome your input.




New Additions

New Additions

Check here to see new additions to the galleries and where to find them.

The newest gallery to be added is Death Valley. Death Valley turned out to be an unexpected surprise in a positive way. Check it out.

The "Northern Arizona - Southern Utah" gallery is also recent and features a lot of "artistic" or "impressionistic" images as only slot canyons can present them. There's a couple of interesting night shots in this gallery, also.

Death Valley National Park -  February 2017 NEW

Death Valley National Park - February 2017 NEW

I did something I normally don't do. I went to Death Valley to photograph it because I didn't want to go there. Makes perfect sense, right? Let me explain.

I've never been interested in photographing Death Valley because it just didn't seem to have anything I considered photographically interesting or even just plain interesting. I had always viewed it in almost monochromatic terms with only a few geological facts of interest (lowest spot in North America, hottest recorded temperature, etc). I saw it as utterly charmless and mostly boring. Talk about WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!!! I could have easily stretched my five day stay into fifteen.

So, why go there when I didn't want to go? I have a very strong interest in wanting to improve my photographic skills and reasoned that if I could go to a place like Death Valley that held no interest for me and actually focus on improving my skills, I could become a better photographer. And, that's just what I did - total focus on skill improvement including composition, exposure, and focus.

So, I passed my thought process along to a friend, David Kingham, who runs select workshops and he committed to helping me improve my photographic and post-processing skills.

I worked diligently each day to improving my skills with ongoing feedback (and correction) from David and I think I might have made some progress. In my case progress is/was measured in the level of satisfaction with the process and with the images, themselves.

Bottom line: I think I am on the road to improving my skills; I came away truly in awe of Death Valley not only as a geological location but also as a really great photographic location. Big thanks to David Kingham and Jennifer Renwick for their help in this and also improving my post-processing skills. But, finally, you be the judge.

Northern Arizona - Southern Utah - March/April 2016

Northern Arizona - Southern Utah - March/April 2016

This was a trip that combined my two favorite activities - fly-fishing and photograpy and started out with a couple of days fishing the Colorado River below Glen Canyon Dam at Lee's Ferry.

After a couple of idyllic days on the river (fishing was OK but, as always, the experience was great) I left the Lee's Ferry area and headed to Page, Arizona where I joined up with friends to photograph numerous slot canyons as well as scenic locales and a night of photographing the Milky Way.

After blundering my way through multiple slot canyons, I have learned that I don't have a great ability to differentiate one from the other - they all started to blur. To be sure, a couple were "signature" slots but the others - yawn. This is photographic blasphemy and I'm likely going to be cast out for my heresy. I'll survive.

Colorado Wildflowers & High Basins - July 2015

Colorado Wildflowers & High Basins - July 2015

July 2015 found me heading up two back-back photo tours to Colorado on behalf of LightChase Photography Tours. The first focused on the Crested Butte area ("Wildflower Capital of Colorado") and the high basins of the San Juan Mountains in southwestern Colorado. The second immediately followed the first but focused solely on the San Juans.

I developed the itineraries, made all the vendor arrangements (hotels, restaurants, jeep company, rental cars) and generally managed both groups of photographers. Along the way, I was more than ably aided in the San Juans by Brian Simpson. Brian teaches engineering at Montrose High School in Montrose, Colorado but is an absolute expert "jeep" driver, guide and mountain historian.

Late spring snow and a very wet spring and early summer made the wildflowers in the Crested Butte area about the best I have seen in the past ten years and the sunflowers absolutely exploded in every location. The lushness of every mountain-side and meadow was absolutely astounding. Conditions in the San Juans were much the same but the weather presented some real challenges while we were there with daily rain, heavy overcast skies, hail and even snow above 12,000 feet one day. Just your average July day in the San Juans!

While Crested Butte is my favorite Colorado mountain town, the mighty San Juan Mountains are special among all the mountains of Colorado because they bring together several of my special interests - mining history, railroad history, rugged wilderness, and endless wildflowers. During our time in the San Juans I took the two groups of photographers to the following basins: American Basin, Silver Basin, Governor Basin, Yankee Boy Basin, Storm King Basin as well as to a couple of special locations - the south saddle of Red Mountain #3 and the Blue Lakes Trailhead Meadow at the end of Ouray County Road 7. Other locations traveled and photographed include Corkscrew Gulch, Hurricane Pass, Cinnamon Pass, Animas Forks, California Pass, California Gulch, Grey Copper Gulch, Cunningham Gulch and Silverton for the arrival of the Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.

You would think that having spent nearly three weeks in such prime locations that I would have an abundance of images to share. You won't see evidence of all those locations in this gallery - in some I was just too involved assisting the photographers. In one (Governor Basin), I was surprised by close and long-time friends from Durango who were waiting in Governor to surprise me. They did - and what a great surprise it was. And, in other locations I was just enjoying the day too much to be bothered with a camera. I hope you enjoy our journey to the wildflowers and high basins of Colorado.

Canyonlands National Park - May 2015

Canyonlands National Park - May 2015

This trip started out as a short trip to photograph the Milky Way in Arches National Park near Moab, Utah. What it turned into was a series of sunrise - sunset locations in adjacent Canyonlands National Park. Why the switch? Cloudy, rainy weather covered much of eastern Utah during May and our time there fit into the storms perfectly.

Nevertheless, we enjoyed our time in the Moab area and explored Canyonlands and nearby Dead Horse State Park.

This, basically, is the story of making lemonade from lemons. And, we had great fun doing it. I'll try for the Milky Way again next spring, I guess.

2014 Favorites

2014 Favorites

2014 was an interesting photographic year with planned trips to Iceland to photograph the Aurora Borealis in February and March, a night photography workshop in Grand Teton National Park presented by David Kingham, and a fall trip to my native Colorado with three friends from Colorado and Illinois where I acted as the unofficial tour guide.

I hope you'll enlarge each image by clicking on it to see the details that a smaller representation just doesn't show. Just click on the image and use your browser back arrow to return to the gallery.

Colorado Fall 2014

Colorado Fall 2014

Here's what four old guys saw and photographed in Aspen, Marble, Crested Butte, and the San Juan Mountains of Colorado.

This was kind of a magical trip - magical in the sense that some wonderful winter weather presented itself in both Crested Butte and the San Juan Mountains, magical in the sense that the four of us got to photograph Crystal Mill before the "unpleasantness" that took place there when the landowner decided to put up a fence, post the property and guard it with a gun (apparently warning shots were fired while another group was there a day or two after we photographed the mill), and magical that four guys could have so much fun, enjoy photography so much, have no disagreements and leave wanting to come back again.

Although not "magical", another element of the trip was the new camera I had just purchased. This was the first road trip for the camera and that was without much time with the manual.

Against that backdrop, I'll try to convey a sense of our journey as it started out in Glenwood Springs with me picking up my friends from Iowa and Illinois and heading to Aspen, Marble, Crested Butte, and Ouray with all the fun photo shoot stops along the way.

This was a "strange" year for the aspen and attendant colors. During what is, historically, the peak or near peak time for the leaves to make that magical transformation from green to yellow, orange and red, whole areas that should have been yellow were still green while only a few miles away, a good portion of the leaves had already dropped from the trees. Locations like Kebler Pass west of Crested Butte that are normally totally dependable showed up with a green forest on the west side of the pass while the trees on the east were near peak color. And, the San Juans which should have been peaking while we were there were mostly green and a week or even two from peaking. But, we did find beautiful color and made the most of it.

Along the way, we met some friends who belong to the same group that I do (Rocky Mountain Nature Photographers) and that was a treat. And, a long-time friend from Durango drove over to Ouray to have dinner with us one evening - an even more special treat.

On balance, I can easily say I had more fun on this trip than any I've been on in years - strange Fall colors not withstanding.

Starry Nights - July 2014

Starry Nights - July 2014

This is a very small gallery with very large ambitions - at least, for me. All the images in this gallery were captured during a night photography workshop I attended in Jackson, Wyoming in July 2014.

The impetus for attending the workshop started while on a photo tour of Yosemite National Park in February 2013 where I got my first taste of night photography. The interest grew as I participated in a photo tour of Iceland in February and March of 2014 where our principal objective was to photograph the Northern Lights. And, photograph them we did! But, while the experience of photographing the Aurora was unforgettable, the quality of most of my photographs was, unfortunately, forgettable. Not all failed the "eyeball" test but enough did that made me want to learn the fine details of night photography.

Enter David Kingham, fellow Coloradan (expatriate now like me) who specializes in night photography and operates workshops to share his skill, expertise and passion for the night sky. David's workshop was four days and three nights in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming with field instruction and shooting as well as classroom review and post-processing instruction. Without getting into minutiae, David delivered as promised and I'm now even more "hooked" on night photography. The only downside to this new-found interest is where I live. There are no dark skies in the southeastern US and the further exercise of night photography will require me to travel to the West (Oh, darn). So, keep watching for more additions to this gallery in the coming months as I travel to Colorado principally to photograph the fall color and then to Utah to see if I can capture the magic of the Milky Way in Arches and Canyonlands National Parks.

Here's some brief technical information about the images that the photo-curious would be looking for: camera - Nikon D800E, lens - Nikkor 14-24 mm f2.8, ISO 6400, white balance - 3700 K, aperture setting - f2.8, exposure time - all but the String Lake image were 30 seconds. Info about that image is included with the image.

When you view the images, please click directly on each image to give you an enlarged view - the larger the size the better and more interesting they look. Just use the back arrow on your browser to return to the gallery. Several of the image titles are quotes from the song, "Saturn" by Sleeping at Last.

Iceland & Northern Lights - March 2014 - Wonders and Woes

Iceland & Northern Lights - March 2014 - Wonders and Woes

In late February and early March, I traveled to Iceland as part of a group to spend 10 days photographing the natural winter wonders of Iceland with the hope of including some good images of the Aurora. This is a trip I had been planning for over two years.

Iceland didn’t disappoint – the scenery is beyond fantastic, the people even better and we experienced one of the best Aurora displays imaginable. Locals told us it was the best display in terms of intensity and duration since 2006. The display on the night of February 27- morning of February 28 started about 9 pm and continued past 3 am with every imaginable shape and color on display. Not only were the usual greens present but also red, magenta, and blue. And, those colors could be seen with the naked eye. The Northern Lights displays spread from horizon to horizon!

In addition to the Aurora, I was pleased to see and photograph geysers, spectacular mountain/volcanos, waterfalls, and Iceland horses and family churches. I missed the black sand beach lagoon with the icebergs, the glaciers and several other waterfalls. Therein lays the “Woe” part.

I rented a Nikon D800 and 14-24 f2.8 lens for the trip on the premise this likely would be my one and only trip to Iceland and I wanted to make it count. The D800 and lens performed as advertised with spectacular pixel-peeping results until…

Until the wind blew over an unattended tripod mounted camera and lens and the lights went out in Nikon land. I had been taking images of the Aurora and decided I needed to warm up (cold blowing winds!) and clean the lens but had left the microfiber cloth in the car. I was absent from the camera less than 30 seconds when the wind blew over the tripod, the lens broke away from its metal mount and the D800 died forever. Another photographer graciously loaned me his “back up” camera but without the full array of lens I would need, it proved to be a pretty frustrating experience. After the fifth day of a ten day tour, I cancelled the remainder of the tour and returned home. But, I shall return. Iceland is just too beautiful to only go once.

2013 Favorites

2013 Favorites

A few of my favorites from 2013; they came from Sequoia National Park, Yosemite National Park, Green River, Wyoming, and Rocky Mountain National Park. As I did last year, I've added a personal indulgence - this time it's my new Border Collie, Ben.

Wild Horses, The Snowy Range & Rocky Mountain National Park - August 2013

Wild Horses, The Snowy Range & Rocky Mountain National Park - August 2013

My trip to photograph wild horses was several years in planning; I first learned about the possibility about three years ago in discussions with Mark Rasmussen of LightChase Photography Tours and was probably one of the first to sign up for the tour which also included a short enroute stop in Rocky Mountain National Park and a similarly brief visit to the Snowy Range in Medicine Bow National Forest northwest of Laramie, Wyoming at the end of the tour.

Photographing wildlife is a big challenge for me; it just doesn't come naturally because I seem to be challenged to actually get a moving object in sharp focus. So, in preparation, I practiced on moving cars, running dogs and anything that moved. The local police didn't understand why I was photographing cars at an intersection but that's another story.

Photographing the horses was more than just getting them in focus; it was first finding them then getting close, but not too close, so as not to alter their natural behaviors nor impede their travels. Or, scare them away. And, their travels are all about survival. Traveling constantly to feed and go to the few waterholes in the region, their daily journeys are survival in the purest tems. The region was the plateau just north of Green River, Wyoming. Within that huge plateau are two WMA's (Wild Horse Management Areas) named the White Mountain WMA and Little Colorado WMA. The White Mountain WMA has a population of about 265 horses and the Little Colorado has about 200. Most of our search was done in the White Mountain WMA with some small incursions into the Little Colorado. The horses are scattered in small groups over hundreds of square miles and the hunt for food is for low growing grasses (similar to "Buffalo Grass" found on the Great Plains) dispersed in a sea of sage (Wyoming has 13 species of sage!). The waterholes are few, miles apart and quite small.

Within the gallery I've tried to show small realities of the very harsh life of the wild horses of Wyoming - grazing, playing, fighting, dusting, nursing, breeding and just surviving. I'll show you new colts, old stallions, battle-scarred stallions, alpha stallions, alpha mares, "Bad Boys", outcasts and challengers and maybe even a mule deer or two as we covered hundreds of miles of dirt roads, tracks and trails in Wyoming. It was dusty, it was uncomfortable and it was tiring but it was worth it - well worth it.

There are a lot of camps about how wild horses should be handled. Certainly the BLM has a point of view, our excellent guide, Rich Nobler, has one and I'm sure ranchers and locals have one as well as do various wild horse advocacy groups. I'm not well enough informed to promote nor advocate. I just enjoyed. I hope you do, as well. Thanks for looking.

Sequoia, Kings Canyon & Yosemite National Parks - February 2013

Sequoia, Kings Canyon & Yosemite National Parks - February 2013

These three national parks, Sequoia, Kings Canyon and Yosemite are the last three major national parks in the western US that I had not visited before this trip. There are others I have visited but not photographically such as Mesa Verde, Great Sand Dunes and Black Canyon of the Gunnison in Colorado as well as Glacier/Waterton in Montana and Canada. But, this visit completes the tour in the lower 48.

Our visit to Sequoia and Kings Canyon was better than expected because of the snow depth and the new snow while we were there. And, to stand next to one of the giant sequoias that is nearly 2,000 years old is very humbling.

Yosemite didn't disappoint either. Although it didn't snow while we were there, enough remained from January storms to accent the natural beauty of the park. I can say that there is no way I would ever go there in the summer or fall with the attendant crowds; it was pretty busy in the winter. Yosemite offers natural wonders so abundant and so unique as to bolster its stature among our national parks - El Capitan, Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, the Merced River and more. It's a park of superlatives!

12 For '12

12 For '12

2012 didn't turn out as planned. This was to be the "Summer with Sam" (my Border Collie) as we spent July and August in Colorado based in Crested Butte. The trip was sanctioned by my wife (actually, it was her idea) and I had every day planned as to where and when we would fly-fish, which days would be camera days, where we would hike and camp and which friends would be recipients of a scruffy old guy and his dog looking for a home-cooked meal and a Milk Bone. The "Summer with Sam" ended up addressing different and more important priorities as a result of health problems with Sam. Instead of roaming the Rockies, we spent the summer making vet visits, starting a chemo regimen and just doing the things we had always done for nearly 14 years - visits to QuikTrip for a hot dog, trips to the bank, Ace Hardware, the dry cleaner, Dairy Queen, taking our nightly walk and our weekly Sunday evening drive. And, it was a good summer - a very good summer.

A planned spring visit to the Smokies did take place but, based on the results, I should have left my camera at home. And, a planned trip to Savannah apparently was only in my imagination since that didn't happen, either.

However (and, this "however" is a positive one), my planned fall trip to Colorado and Utah with several photographer friends did take place and was very successful but only as a result of the advice and recommendations of three Rocky Mountain Nature Photographer members, Jack Brauer, Darren Kilgore, and John Mumaw. After hearing repeated reports of "early color" in Colorado, I contacted Jack, Darren and John, told them of the planned itinerary (start the trip in Utah and end in Colorado). All three gave me first hand and up to date color reports and recommended changing the itineray to start the trip in Colorado and finish in Utah. As a result, we expereinced near peak and peak color in the Elk Mountains, the Crested Butte area and the northern San Juans. Thank you Jack, Darren and John. Your advice and recommendations were spot-on and sincerely appreciated.

So, here are my favorites for 2012. Critiques are always welcome. Click on the images for a larger more detailed view.

Colorado National Monument - September 2012

Colorado National Monument - September 2012

Colorado National Monument, a part of the vast Colorado Plateau, rises up 2,000 feet above the Grand Valley and Colorado River. Largely overlooked because of comparisons to nearby national parks such as Arches, Zion, Bryce, Canyonlands, and Monument Valley and because it "suffers" from being so close to the largest city between Denver and Salt Lake City, Grand Junction, Colorado Monument is spectacular and unique in its own right.

I had been to Colorado Monument before but this was the first time with a camera and I only had a couple of hours before meeting friends at the Grand Junction airport to start a ten day trip to photograph Fall color in both the Elk and San Juan Mountains in Colorado and visit Arches, Bryce and Canyonlands National Parks in Utah.

CNM was so designated in 1911 by President Taft under the Antiquities Act and the first real road network in the Monument (Rim Rock Drive) was constructed in 1931 by the Civilian Conservation Corps.

Wildlife abounds in the Monument with regular sightings of bear, mountain lion, bobcat, Big Horn Sheep, coyotes, foxes, Golden Eagles, hawks, vultures and deer. I was lucky enough to see a small herd of desert Big Horn Sheep near the west entrance.

Colorado - Utah Fall 2012

Colorado - Utah Fall 2012

My annual fall pilgrammage to Colorado took on a couple of new dimensions for 2012; first, instead of this being my usual "solo" trip, I acted as "location consultant" for the Colorado portion of LightChase Photography Tour Company's "Colorado-Utah Fall 2012" tour and secondly, a "Whitman's Sampler" (LightChase president's description) of Utah national parks was added to the tour.

At the last minute, because of earlier than normal leaf color changes in the aspen forests of Colorado, we completely changed the itinerary to start in Colorado and end in Utah rather than starting in Utah and Colorado. And, it was an excellent decision and we enjoyed outstanding aspen color throughout the tour.

Colorado tour location highpoints included: Aspen, Marble, Kebler Pass, Crested Butte, Ohio Pass, Cimarron Valley, True Grit (Kate's) Meadow, Red Mountain Pass area, various Ouray County roads and the Mt. Wilson overlook near Telluride.

Our Utah itineray included Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, Arches and Canyonlands National Parks as well as Dixie National Forest . My favorite - Canyonlands. The view from the "Green River Overlook" is "other-worldly" and let me imagine I was on the surface of Mars.

Enjoy the journey.

Southern Utah - Northern Arizona - November 2011

Southern Utah - Northern Arizona - November 2011

The trip to the national parks of southern Utah, Bryce and Zion, and the Grand Canyon in northern Arizona was originally a "throw-a-way" trip taking back seat to a planned fly-fishing outing at my favorite location, Lee's Ferry on the Colorado River below Glen Canyon Dam. My original plan was to fly into Durango, CO and meet up with a long-time friend, drive to Lee's Ferry for a grand fishing trip then on to Zion National Park to meet up with LightChase Photography's tour of southern Utah and northern Arizona. The "perfect" plan. But, like all "perfect" plans this one ran into an unplanned obstacle - my friend from Durango had to make a change in his plans that took him to Hawaii instead. What a sacrifice. And, I thought of him the morning it was 3 degrees at Bryce National Park, and the morning it was 11 and the wind was a steady 40 mph. Kona showed a high of 82 with gentle tradewinds.

Losing the fishing portion of my grand plan was tough enough but focusing on the photo tour elements more than made up for any fishing shortfall. I had been to both Zion and Bryce before and thoroughly disliked both. Not because they were a physical disappointment but because of the crowds in the summertime when I had first visited both. I remembered wall-to-wall people, traffic jams, shuttle buses, 45 minute waits to eat and endless tour buses disgorging herds of people.

What I found this time was magnificant natural beauty, almost no people, no lines, and a thoroughly rewarding and revealing experience. New friends were made, new experiences were had and a new perspective was put into place.

A Colorado Fall - 2011

A Colorado Fall - 2011

Serendipity. That's the one word that would describe my nearly annual pilgrammage to Colorado to experience and photograph Fall in the high country this year.

Everything that happened, everything I did, every occurance turned into an unexpected pleasure; even when it started out as a mis-adventure or unhappy beginning. The unfortunate beginning was the result of a good friend and fellow traveler having to cancel his trip with me due to health concerns. What I had hoped would be two old guys roaming around the Rockies became one old guy freelancing his way through a most spectacular display of autumn color. And, never has "freelancing" been so much fun and so completely rewarding, personally, as well as photographically.

Everywhere I went, Aspen, Capitol Peak, Ashcroft, Crested Butte, Kebler Pass, Ohio Pass, the Cimarron Valley, Owl Creek Pass, Ridgway and Ouray and the various Ouray County roads: 1, 5, 7, 9, 24, Last Dollar Road, Red Mountain Pass, as well as some unmarked trails I found great fall color and even greater fun meeting an assortment of photographers from amateur to professional, from Texas to Tokyo, while traveling those roads to various destinations.

And, along the way, another "not as old" friend met up with me in Ouray so we could conquer some previously undriven high mountain passes in his "Yellow Beast" as well as traverse a familiar pass in the snow.

But, I'm getting ahead of myself so go ahead, take a look at this year's crop harvested from the golden aspen trees of my home state.

Crested Butte Wildflower Festival - July 2011

Crested Butte Wildflower Festival - July 2011

This image I submitted to the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival contest was the winner for 2011 and was featured on the official poster for the Festival.

The photo was taken off Kebler Pass Road west of Crested Butte near an area known as "Horse Park". Technical information for photo fans: exposure 1/6 sec @f22, ISO 200, focal length 17mm. The camera is a Nikon D200 and the lens is an f2.8 17-55mm Nikon lens. The image was shot as a fine jpg/NEF file and the white balance was set for shade. Thanks to Darren Kilgore and Brent Doerzman for some excellent location advice and to Mark Rasmussen for teaching me how to shoot "sun stars", use graduated neutral density filters and much more.

Crested Butte is known as "The Wildflower Capital of Colorado" and my many visits there in the summer would certainly support such an assertion. The Festival was held from July 11 - 17, 2011 and is the largest of its kind in the West and perhaps in the entire country.

I thoroughly enjoyed being in Crested Butte for the Festival and the hospitality extended to me, my family and friends by all associated with the Wildflower Festival was warm and warmly received - I'll be there helping visitors find that special place where the wildflowers grow at next year's Festival and the ones after that.







Oregon Coast - May 2011

Oregon Coast - May 2011

This was my second (not to be my last) trip to the Oregon coast which features lighthouses, sea stacks, wild flowers, fiery sunsets and an occasional colorful sunrise plus ever-changing etchings in the sandy beaches.

My first trip four years ago was an introduction to beach photography and the use of graduated neutral density filters. What should have been a glorious learning experience turned into a pretty frustrating week because of some serious equipment failures - ballhead and tripod both "locked up" and became extremely difficult to use. Nevertheless, I was encouraged by what I saw and learned so when I won the trip of my choice from LightChase Tours, I elected to make a triumphant return to the Oregon coast. This time I would have the advantage of fully functioning equipment, experience with the use of filters and a familiarity with the routine of a LightChase Tour.

The "triumphant" return became a huge helping of humble pie (not my favorite flavor) as I apparently forgot everything I knew about using graduated neutral density filters (or didn't really know in the first place) and, yes, equipment failure. This time the failure was with the most critical piece of equipment, my camera which experienced electrical voodoo. The cause was fairly quickly discovered so I could use the camera as intended but there were other gremlins that would surface as I reviewed my images - 40 mysteriously disappeared, times and dates were all over the map and the white balance control locked in at a very "warm" setting. Fortunately, I shoot RAW (digital negative) so those white balance discrepencies were correctable.

All that aside, I can say that this tour was one of the most fun I've gone on because of the other participants. The enthusiasm and positive attitudes abounded and made up for lost sleep, much less halibut than I had planned on for dinner, and the equipment problems. In the end, it was an excellent week with a few good images, time spent with old friends and some new friends I hope to see on another photo outing in the future.


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