Thursday, May 16, 2013

Project 52: Weeks 19 and 20/52

I got a little off on my posting so I am combining Week 19 and 20 in this post. Most is Week 19 where I finally write about the amazing birthday adventure!

Week 19 - The Epic Birthday Adventure of 2013
For years I have asked for someone else to plan my birthday. I have a hard time planning things like that for myself. So when I was told that my family had completely planned my birthday outing, I was pleasantly surprised. The fact that they planned a trip specifically with the idea of capturing the places with my camera made me feel truly special!

The day before we left I had the thought of renting a wide angle lens for the occasion. I messaged a group of fellow photographers I met through the Clickin Walk and they gave me advice on a local place to rent on short notice and the type to choose. I ended up renting the 16-35mm f/2.8L. It was so easy, well priced and the lens was amazing to shoot with! We began the trip by staying in Ellensburg in Central Washington where I went to college. We set out early the next morning and I was greeted with a clue in the form of a quote with our first destination. My brother's girlfriend had a whole itinerary and clues for each destination. It was amazing! The first clue/quote was about the chocolate waterfall in Willy Wonka and the chocolate factory. The destination was Palouse Falls!

Settings: ISO 100, 16mm, ss1/50, f/16

Settings: ISO 400, 16mm, ss1/125, f/22

Settings: ISO 400, 35mm, ss1/1600, f/5.0

The 16-35mm was the perfect lens for this setting to capture the immensity of the falls and the beauty of the trees. The light was tough on the waterfall because part was in sun and part was in shadow, but I had a blast exploring with my family and trying out the lens!

Clue #2 was about food and lunch. We stopped at Zip's, which is apparently popular on the east side of the mountains. We took lunch to a park along the Columbia River to enjoy the sunshine and let the dog niece out of the car for a while. It was a gorgeous day and I was able to play with sunbursts using the wide-angle lens. They are so much more defined and beautiful. I loved the was this tree turned out with the interesting bark, the sun and the perspective. I loved this wide angle lens more and more each time I used it at a different location.

Settings: ISO 400, 19mm, ss1/80, f/22

The third clue was about following the winding river. So we drove along the Columbia on the Columbia River Scenic Highway. Pure blues skies and turquoise colored water could be seen as we drove along. We stopped at a small park and I took another sunburst shot. Usually I hate sun flare and clone it out, but there was something about this that I loved. 

Settings: ISO 400, 16mm, ss1/320, f/22

The next quote was about Stonehenge, the one in England, but we did not get on a plane. Instead we visited the Stonehenge homage in Maryhill, Washington. Built as a memorial to soldiers from the area who fought in World War I it was an impressive structure with such interesting dramatic light. The bright sun and the dark shadows made such an amazing combination that I had to try some shots of the family. The first picture was taken by my brother's girlfriend of me and dog niece Cece. She did a great job! I love the way the wide angle captured the structure and the fields beyond. The picture of the whole family was taken by me using a tripod and a remote. A little too bright with the sunlight, but I have not mastered open shade yet. The middle picture is the view from the hill overlooking the Columbia with Mount Hood in the distance. There is such a difference in capturing the feeling of a vista (one of my favorite places to shoot) when you have a wide angle lens. 

Settings: ISO 400, 33mm, ss1/4000, f/6.3

Settings: ISO 400, 35mm, ss1/640, f/16

Settings: ISO 400, 35mm, ss1/640, f/16

Destination #5 was supposed to be dinner in Portland, Oregon, but I had to deal with a sudden onslaught of allergies - sneezing, watery eyes, itchiness - that got us a little off track time wise. When I recovered, a backup plan was put in motion and we headed for the Rowena Plateau and the Tom McCall Preserve. A place I had on my list to visit after seeing a shot by Sarah at Hood Photography. The view was amazing and I was inspired to put it on my list of places to photograph. I am so glad we were able to make that unexpected stop as the sun was setting and the golden hour lit up the wildflowers on the hill. The scene was breathtaking with the sweeping views of the Columbia and the fields of purple and yellow flowers. I am so grateful I had the wide angle lens for this place in particular. My 50mm alone would not have done it justice!

Settings: ISO 400, 19mm, ss1/200, f/22

Settings: ISO 400, 35mm, ss1/200, f/16

As we left the plateau and headed down toward the highway, the sun was setting over the Columbia and I of course had to make the family pull over and take this sunset shot. My 50mm worked nicely here to capture the colors and the silhouette of the hills along the river's edge. It was the perfect way to end the most amazing birthday I have ever had! I highly recommend renting a lens to try out (though be prepared to want to buy it!) and going on an epic birthday adventure with your family!

Settings: ISO 100, 50mm, ss1/10sec, f/11
"All my life through, the new sights of Nature made me rejoice like a child." - Marie Curie

Week 20 - Mother's Day Tradition
For Mother's Day my mom asked that we go to the same park we went to last year and take photo of the family. We loaded into the car and headed to Tolmie State Park near Olympia. It was another gorgeous day so the park was full of people. The log we had used the last time was occupied with people and a ton of their stuff. So we went to a log further down and I used the tripod and remote to take some shots. I make no secret that I struggle with shots of people and this day was no exception. It took a long time to get the shot and I am still not sure how well it turned out. However, it captured our family and made my mom happy so I am so glad we did it. I do have to admit that I have improved a lot in my abilities to take family photos. Still a long way to go, but look at the difference! I also had to throw in some photos from my comfort zone - landscapes!

Settings: ISO 100, 50mm, ss1/250, f/11

Last Year
Settings: ISO 200, 29mm, f/8.0, ss1/30

This Year
Settings: ISO 100, 50mm, ss1/250, f/6.3

Settings: ISO 100, 50mm, ss1/250, f/11
"Family traditions counter alienation and confusion. They help us define who we are; they provide something steady, reliable and safe in a confusing world." - Susan Lieberman

  the long road  Weekly Top Shot     Ni Hao Yall Nurture Photography Challenge - Spring 2013 Edition


  1. I loved the point of view of the birch tree shot. Nice shot.

  2. wonderful series... your sun bursts are amazing!

  3. Love the shots looking up through the trees.

  4. Nice collection of photographs. I too live in the PNW and recognize some of those places.

  5. Love the sun in these! Great bursts!


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