Balancing Tree

Balancing Tree

Tara Smith balancing on her slackline among the tall trees of Coopers Rocks. This shot was captured just after sunset.

Craggin’ Classic

 Craggin Classic 2014 New River Gorge, WV

Tara and I spent last weekend enjoying the perfect autumn weather camping and climbing at the New River Gorge, and hanging out at the Craggin’ Classic. While my hands were busy during the day clinging to rocks, I managed to snap a few shots in the morning and evening.

Craggin’ Classic at NRG

Here’s a small highlight real of the event…

Hosted by The American Alpine Club, and sponsored by a whole host of supporters: Outdoor Research, Salewa, C.A.M.P., Five Ten, Cliff Bar, Tenaya, Misty Mountain, La Sportiva Evolv, NRAC, Vertical Medicine Resources, Waterstonia, Mountain Hardwear, Appalachian Climbing School, Seneca Rocks Climbing School…to name a few

 Craggin' Classic 2014 New River Gorge, WV

Saturday Morning at the AAC New River Gorge Campground, right before the clinics began. Craggin' Classic 2014 New River Gorge, WV Read more

High Country

High Country - One of my favorite photos, captured near May Lake in Yosemite, CA

The High Country

This photo was captured while camping in the High Country of Yosemite, near May Lake. My topophilia extends beyond the curved boundaries of Yosemite National Park. I see and feel the Milky Way, and my interdependence to the rest of the universe. I see and feel the nature of our planet changing around me. I see and feel my friends. As the observers, we are the creators of our own place; they do not exist independent of us.

I just submitted this to NatGeo for their September assignment, Sense of Place.

Colorado Rocky Mountain High


Flowers in the Rocky Mountain National Park

Back in June I spent a weekend in search of that Rocky Mountain high. While exploring Denver, Boulder, and the local mountainous terrain, I believe I found it!

Here are a few photos and thoughts from my experiences in the city, the mountains, and enjoying life with friends, old and new.


I pulled into Denver not knowing where I was going, and stumbled upon the Denver Union Station just after a storm had passed through.  I then wandered around the area, admiring the open construction sites, imagining the new structures to come.

Denver Union Station   Denver Union Station

Denver Construction
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Bendra Wedding

Country Roads -Ben and Kendra Hogan Wedding

I’ve known Ben and Kendra for a quite a while, not as long as many but long enough …So, after 10+ years of friendship, I was very much honored when they asked me to capture the long awaited Bendra Wedding. Read more

Matanuska Glacier

“To the lover of pure wildness Alaska is one of the most wonderful countries in the world.” ~John Muir

Matanuska Glacier, view from the Cabin Deck

My first morning in Alaska, and the view from the Matanuska Glacier State Recreation Site Cabin. Matanuska Glacier, AK – March, 2013

to Matanuska Glacier

I arrived in Anchorage late one afternoon (my first trip to Alaska – March 2013), got a few supplies (beer and firewood), and headed to the Matanuska Glacier Cabin. I was very fortunate to have a good friend living in AK at the time, who had pre-purchased my real supplies (white gas and food stuffs).

Fins of Ice jetting skyward due to the mounting pressures within the always moving glacier. Matanuska Glacier, AK - March, 2013
My Sister, Katelyn DeWitt, in an ice cave at Matanuska Glacier

March in Alaska: the temperature when I left WV was about 26°F, and the temp when I landed in Anchorage was about 28°F…not so bad, not too different, right? Well, in Fairbanks one night as I was photographing on a mountain top and it was -14°F, not including the windchill from 20-30 mph winds…I had frostbite around my nostrils where the two layers of balaclavas didn’t cover. Anyway, more about Matanuska Glacier… 

I’ve always wanted to see the cold, raw nature of the earth carving glaciers, and after doing some research on accessible glaciers in Alaska, Matanuska was the one I chose. The below photo was taken just after the sun had set, and is highlighted by the alpine glow on the Sercas. This is perhaps my favorite photograph I’v captured to date…

Alpine Glow on the Seracs

Alpine Glow on the Seracs – Perhaps my favorite photo from my 2013 Alaska trip. Matanuska Glacier, AK – March 2013

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Wakeboarding on Cheat Lake, West Virginia

Ryan Kuehn wakeboarding on Cheat Lake, West Virginia

My friends Ryan and Eric took me out wakeboarding on Cheat Lake last summer, and it’s taken me over a year to get around to editing/posting the photos. Thanks for the patients guys!

I had more fun shooting photos of Ryan and Eric jumping wakes than I did wakeboarding itself. Read more

Little Planet Panorama – using Polar Coordinates


The effect that creates the little planet like images is technically referred to as a Stereographic Projection! It’s fun math to think about, and the visual product is intriguing to look at. What happens is a normal image with normal coordinates (x,y) is distorted on to a polar coordinates system to create the little planet effect.

I took the below image in 2012 in Seattle, Washington. I then distorted the panorama just last night into a Stereographic Projection. The following article describes how to create this effect.  

Seattle, Washington, Little Planet panorama

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Capturing Lightning

A quick how-to on capturing lightning photos…

Capturing Lightning

STEP 1: know that the elements won’t wait…

  • A good philosophy for photography in general is to always ask “if not now, then when?”
  • High vantage points are always good for capturing lighting, but be safe.

Capturing Lighting

  • MOST IMPORTANTLY, always be isolated from direct paths to ground.

Capturing Lighting from my truck window on a hill top in West VirginiaIt’s nice to feel like the vehicle provides some protection from being electrocuted. When photographing lightning, I’m always in an enclosure that I think is isolated well enough, often assuming my truck’s rubber tires will protect me on a mountain top. Though, this actually has little to do with why it’s safe. My friend, Dr. Robert Svensson reminded me that my safety is “due to the fact that the current flows outside the car body…This is also called Faraday’s Cage.” ..should I take a direct hit from a bolt of lightning.
A hatched back vehicle can make for a nice Faraday Cage and mobile enclosure. Additionally, I’ve found that if I can maintain a positive air pressure in the enclosure I’m shooting from relative to the outside conditions, it really helps keep some of the rain and wind spray off my lens.

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Blood Moon

I’m going to try see if I can catch a bit of the lunar eclipse tonight…  capturing it back in 2008 was a pretty stellar experience. Perhaps my D800’s 36 megapixel FX sensor and high ISO abilities will allow for a little extra detail this time around….clear skies pending..

Okay, I’m back inside… got a few shots before losing visibility… Here’s one photo that came out pretty swell, prior to the clouds taking over completely…Well, it’s almost 4am, off to bed…