iPhone photos – dragonflies, logs and a dog. Oh my!

Alaska, Black & White, Iphone, Photography, Portraits

Time for another iPhone photo collection. For me iPhones are true slivers of life. It could be my other camera is just out of reach, or I need to be quick – dramatic light in a restaurant or a dragonfly landing on my leg. My favorite is attempting to capture the impromptu; that picture that must be shot out of a car window with little time for composition, a logging truck or a man and his dog.

Palace at Versailles – Part Three

architecture, Photography, Portraits, Travel

Above: The grand Château de Versailles as seen from the gardens, July 12, 2013.

It’s time for more images from the extravagant Château de Versailles. If you missed either Part One or my Hall of Mirrors post check them out for more history and a more complete tour. This post fits in particularly well with the Weekly Photo Challenge – Grand. 

Denali and Fairbanks

Denali and Fairbanks at Dusk

Alaska, Landscapes, Photography

Above: Denali – the tallest mountain in North America – is silhouetted at sunset as city lights from Fairbanks begin to shine. A 15-second exposure created the long tail of smoke leaving the power plant. November 20, 2013, 

Winter in Fairbanks is a double-edged sword. The clear days with stunning views are often some of the coldest. The low temperature was -32 degrees fahrenheit the night I took this photo, 2 years and 2 days after I took this similar photo.

Luckily one of the grandest sights is easily seen about 7 miles north of town, on the Steese Highway.

Drone photos above Fairbanks

Alaska, Landscapes, Photography

Above: Farmers Loop road cuts across the frame in this view of the hills north of Fairbanks. My friends and I are the three small dots almost in the center of the frame – as seen from Dog Mushers Hall.

A friend of mine has been using drones for research and testing, so we took it out a few weeks ago for reconnaissance. The roughly two-foot wide, four propeller remote control unit is impressive – and difficult to keep track of in flat lighting. A few times we had to chase after it to verify which way the directional beacons were facing.

It’s great to get different perspectives, and drones offer a fantastic vantage point – not just reasons to worry about privacy. With that said, the presence of drones will only grow, and quickly. New laws and regulations must accompany the metaphorical and physical rise of unmanned aerial vehicles.

A colorful drone takes off amid a gray day, Nov. 9, 2013.

Drone and GoPro take off amid a gray day, Nov. 9, 2013.

The view south toward Fairbanks, from Dog Mushers Hall.

The view south toward Fairbanks includes two dogs and two dog walkers, taken above Dog Mushers Hall.

My backyard, Birch Hill in the background.

My backyard, Birch Hill in the background.

WPC: Unexpected, On Seattle Streets

Photography, Street, Travel, Weekly Photo Post

Above: A leashed cat sits on a chair in downtown Seattle, Washington.

Unexpected is the current weekly photo challenge, and what a great challenge it is for photography. Photographers live for the unexpected, I constantly scour scene and surrounding looking for good light, an event or the unexpected.

As the saying goes, “expect the unexpected.” Fantastic advice to increase success in any endeavor. When it comes to photography “expecting the unexpected” often means a split-second reaction – always have a camera ready. It can also mean working a scene longer until some action develops – be patient.

My images from the unpredictable streets of Seattle; juxtaposed birds and early-bird special sign, a young woman stretching on drift wood on the waterfront, gorgeous light cascading into Pikes Place Market, and a row of neatly arranged lunch boxes in a barren entryway. 

Click on any image to view in carousel.

Palace at Versailles: Hall of Mirrors

architecture, Black & White, Photography, Portraits, Travel

Above: Le château de Versailles as seen from the gardens. 

In continuation with Palace at Versailles Part One, it’s time for part two.

There’s more Palace de Versailles then a person could fathom to tour and document in one day. Between hordes of people and long walks with minimal refreshments or restrooms the end of the tour was welcome.

One of the highlights was the hall of mirrors, also known as la grande galerie. The hall of mirrors was the utmost symbol of power and vanity from a time when mirrors were were only for the wealthy. Perhaps the most well-known story involving the hall of mirrors – if not the entire Palace – is the Treaty of Versailles. The armistice that ended WWI on June 28, 1919, also often credited the leading cause for WWII, was signed in this hall. WordPress.com has a detailed and succinct post about the treaty. 

Historyplace.com has a photo credited to U.S. National Archives of the absolutely packed hall during the signing.


Here’s the hall of mirrors from a not-so-high vantage point I shot July 13, 2013. The similarities and differences between the amount of people but their purpose for their visit are shocking. Chandeliers and much decoration have apparently been since added. 

Lots of people.

Lots of people.

Decoration and mirror closeup.

Decoration and mirror closeup.

And for good measure an image from the other end of the hall of mirrors.

Versailles, France.

Versailles, France.

iPhone Photos

Alaska, Iphone, Photography, Street, Travel

I have been pretentious when it comes to phone cameras. Always the last one I go for, often forgetting I have it.

That’s unfair of me. Camera phones continue to change our world in ways we can’t predict or fully understand.  The ease, concealment and wide-spread use share the world more then any medium before. From pets to people, welcome parties to war zones, the game has changed.

“You finally have a video technology that can fit into the palm of one person’s hand, and what the person can capture can end up around the world,” James E. Katz is quoted saying in a 2011 New York Times article.

Here’s an edit of some of my iPhone images.

The Palace at Versailles – Part One.

architecture, Black & White, Photography, Travel

Above: The private cathedral at the Palace of Versailles.

Chateau de Versailles is unlike anything I have ever seen. Enormous, gaudy, deluxe, extravagant, historical, overwhelming and beautiful, all barely begin to describe the centerpiece of the Paris suburb of Versailles. 

Originally built as a hunting lodge for King Louis XIII, the Palace at Versailles was the official seat of power for courts and the government from 1682 until the French Revolution in 1789. Indeed, Chateau de Versailles played a large role in the anger French citizens had directed toward the aristocracy – and the resident King Louis XVI and his wife Marie-Antionette were forced to flee the palace, before both being executed. 

Louis XVI was preceded by his grandfather, Louis XV, who allegedly foresaw the revolutions, as legend says he proclaimed “Après moi, le déluge,” which translates to “After me, the flood.”

This is first in a series of three posts with pictures from the Palace at Versailles. 

Beginning the tour of the Palace, July 12, 2013.

Beginning the tour of the Palace, July 12, 2013.

Every square inch is decorated, and ceilings become canvases for colorful paintings. As well as the cause of a sore neck.

Every square inch is decorated, and ceilings become canvases for colorful paintings. As well as the cause of a sore neck.

Statues and busts fill any available spot, often portrayed in classical greek style.

Statues and busts fill any available spot, often portrayed in classical greek style.

Statue, Palace of Versailles.

Statue, Palace of Versailles.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Layers

Abstract, Iphone, Landscapes, Photography, Street, Travel, Weekly Photo Post

Above: The silhouette of a tree creates abstract patterns as colors cascade across Green Lake in Seattle, WA.

Using layers effectively can be a powerful way to captivate an audience. The effect of taking a three-dimensional scene and rendering it two-dimensional can be greatly minimized by offering multiple layers as focal plains to create depth.

An easy trick to think about is having something in the foreground, mid ground and background. Shoot through objects like fences, window frames or tree limbs to instantly add depth. Clouds, fog and mist all help individual layers stand out from each other, and adding a reflection can quickly increase depth.


The edge of a window, clouds and shoreline make for three very distinct layers.

Reflections and multiple rooms with varied lighting create a confusing set of layers.

Multiple rooms with varied lighting and window reflections create a confusing set of layers.

Foreground, mid ground and background to create layers, with complementary colors to boot!

End Road

Alaska, Landscapes, Photography, Street, Travel

The scene begged to be pictured. A sign proclaiming the road is about to end with the appearance of nearly-infinite wilderness ahead. Yellow sky blending perfectly with the yellow traffic advisory.

Perhaps I could have included a little more of the road’s imminent end, but the composition’s subtle symmetry would have suffered.

In the end it’s nothing more then a little cracked asphalt, a sign, and a large field cleared for moose habitat. With striking juxtapositions.

P.S. There’s a new drop down “Categories” bar on my blog page. Picking any genre will show all the posts I’ve put in that category.