Smoke from Sauk Mountain

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Smoke from Sauk Mountain

Yesterday I was invited on a hike up to Sauk Mountain in the North Cascades.  I had heard of this hike earlier in the year via a friend's Facebook page - the views looked stunning and I knew I wanted to go, I just didn't know if or when it would happen.  After being invited, I looked it up and realized that was the hike I wanted to do!  Naturally I agreed to join; beautiful views, fresh (smokey) air, some exercise - why not go?  

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Shhhh....It's A Secret

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Shhhh....It's A Secret

I had planned this trip with a friend back at the beginning of April - the coast was due for a negative tide meaning some of the beaches and coves that are typically inaccessible were reachable.  The main area I really wanted to visit was Secret Beach.  I have been to Secret Beach a few times now, but not once have I been down on the beach, and I certainly haven't been on a low enough tide to access the back two coves.  Tide aside, it was nearly a perfect time for the Milky Way to be visible over the water.

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Photo Techniques - Blending Exposures

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Photo Techniques - Blending Exposures

Exposure blending is when you take several photos of the same scene at different settings to create a final image that captures all of the details.  In the case of the image I am using for this, I wanted to get the details of a sea cave along with the view at the end.  Had I shot a single image, I would have lost detail on one end or the other: either you'd be able to see what was at the end of the tunnel or you would be able to see the detail of the tunnel, but not the view at the end.  

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Bandon and the Redwoods - April 8th - 10th, 2017

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Bandon and the Redwoods - April 8th - 10th, 2017

As some of you may already know, my favorite part of Oregon is the southern coast, and one of my favorite places in the entire Pacific Northwest is the redwoods.  The beauty of both of these areas is jaw dropping - if you ever find yourself in this part of the world, definitely visit both areas.  

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Behind the Photo: Best of 2016 - Sparks of Color

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Behind the Photo: Best of 2016 - Sparks of Color

Wrapping up the "best of 2016" series with a photo from Oregon.  Sparks Lake is likely one of the most photographed places in Oregon.  Since I started exploring [online] different places I wanted to visit in the northwest, I have seen many photos of Sparks Lake.  Prior to moving to Oregon, I have been to Bend a few times, but always in the winter, so I was never aware this place even existed.

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Behind the Photo: Best of 2016 - Dreams

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Behind the Photo: Best of 2016 - Dreams

Finally!  We are stepping away from Chamonix and back to Iceland.  

Our first night outside of Reykjavik we stayed near Seljalandsfoss.  Earlier in the evening I had been walking around behind Seljalandsfoss and then went into Gljúfrabúi.  Gljúfrabúi is a waterfall in a very tight canyon that creates a ton of spray - I was back there for about 5 minutes and came out drenched.  I was cold and wet and needed to get into dry, warm clothes.

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Behind the Photo: Best of 2016 - Five Minutes

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Behind the Photo: Best of 2016 - Five Minutes

Like the last photo, "Mountain Spring", this photo also comes from Lac Blanc.  This photo was taken in July on our first hike to Lac Blanc.

The backstory...

We woke up late and none of us were exactly motivated that morning.  The night before was the night we went up to Lac d'Emosson; I can't speak for the other two, but I know I was tired and exhausted for the last few days of early mornings and late evenings.  

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Behind the Photo: Best of 2016 - Mountain Spring

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Behind the Photo: Best of 2016 - Mountain Spring

Lac Blanc is one of the places I distinctly recall seeing photos of and thinking to myself, "I'll never see that with my own eyes."  The first time I saw a photo of it had to be back in 2008 - I was searching around Panoramio and found a stunning photo of a lake with jagged peaks in the background at dusk - I saved it and stared at it for years.

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Behind the Photo: Best of 2016 - Rifiguio Rosa

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Behind the Photo: Best of 2016 - Rifiguio Rosa

Oh Italy.  The culture, the food, the wine.  Italy is one of those places that if I were to believe heaven were a place, it would be Italy.  

The Dolomites are a very unique mountain range and unlike any other found in the Alps.  The rock is made up of ancient seabed, hence the name dolomite.  Compared to granite, which is found in many other ranges, this rock is typically softer hence why it's more susceptible to erosive forces, but those forces are what have carved and created this stunning mountain range.

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Behind the Photo: Best of 2016 - Tyrolean Sunrise

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Behind the Photo: Best of 2016 - Tyrolean Sunrise

I think I mentioned this in an earlier post, but we spent most of the trip camping.  Camping in Europe is wonderful - campgrounds have a plethora of amenities and most of them have very clean bathroom facilities (that's the thing that matters the most to me; I'm a bit of a germaphobe).  

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Behind the Photo: Best of 2016 - Grands Montets

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Behind the Photo: Best of 2016 - Grands Montets

Would you be shocked if I told you that yet another one of these comes from Chamonix?  ...Didn't think so.

The Grand Montets is one of the areas where you can access one of the glaciers.  It's a symphony of peaks being carved out by the most erosive force of nature.  There are two cable cars operating in this area during the summer.  The first stops just below the bottom of the glacier - I can only assume that at one point in time this station was actually on the glacier.  The second goes up just below the Aiguille Verte.  

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Behind the Photo: Best of 2016 - Gullfoss Sunrise

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Behind the Photo: Best of 2016 - Gullfoss Sunrise

I touched base on this photo in my Iceland: Day 6 entry, but here are the full details...

I had spent the night before sleeping in the car.  The previous day was a very, very long day and after driving throughout the night, chasing hopes that turned out to be a bust due to weather, we found ourselves heading back west towards Gullfoss.  We made it just past Seljalandsfoss before I realized I was too tired to sleep, so we found a spot off the main road to pull off, set the alarm for an hour and a half and took a quick nap.

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Behind the Photo: Best of 2016 - Up!

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Behind the Photo: Best of 2016 - Up!

This installment is yet again from Chamonix.  Would you be able to guess where one of my favorite places is? 

My friends Bill and Gretchen have a photo hanging in their entryway from Chamonix.  It's a black and white photo of a cable car passing in the foreground with the glacial capped Mont Blanc in the background.  I have seen the photos over the years, never really thinking about where it was, until I looked again after my first trip to Chamonix.  I had to see this view for myself and get my own take on it.

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Goodbye, 2016

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Goodbye, 2016

2016 was a year full of ups and downs, for me and for everyone.  

I'm not one for "resolution" or any cliche shenanigans, but I am one for optimism and looking forward.  2016 did come with losses, but it also came with opportunity.  Many of those opportunities have become inspiration, inspirations that I'm going to take with me to 2017 and try my hardest to build on.

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Behind the Photo: Best of 2016 - Voyage Cosmique

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Behind the Photo: Best of 2016 - Voyage Cosmique

The second installment of my "behind the photo" series also comes from Chamonix.

One of the things I really geek out on, online, is Google Maps.  I find it to be a fantastic tool to find new places to visit.  I use Earth view and then rotate an image to get a 3D appearance so I can get an idea of what the terrain looks like - from there I use the street view tool to hopefully find other people's images to get a "real world" idea of the area.  So there's secret number one on how I find some of the places I have been.

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