Sunday, December 21, 2008

West Hylebos Wetlands - Winter

I already posted a blog on the West Hylebos Wetlands last October, displaying some of the beautiful autumn color. Today I’m posting what it looks like in the Winter…it’s not a winter wonderland, but the stark trees, some remaining fall color, and the skiff of snow…make this a very magical place!

A little info:

The West Hylebos Wetlands is equal parts wildlife refuge, ecological and hydrological conservatory, nature trail, and just plain natural wonder. One of the last remaining bogs in South King County, Hylebos’ wetland wilderness lies just one mile west of I-5 in southern Federal Way. It's easy to reach and easy to explore this rare urban nature park.

Enjoy the show!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Red Barn - Soft Pastel Painting

Click on image for a larger view

This is my latest soft pastel painting titled "The Red Barn". It's 7"x9" on Wallis Professional. You can purchase this painting now for $225.00. Just click on the PayPal logo below. You may also contact me through email . It's in a gold wooden frame, and will be shipped to U.S. addresses for free.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Black and White is Back...

Black-and-white is back because it's part of the power of photography.

Black-and-white is back in print advertising. In today's saturated-color manipulated-image world, black-and-white feels real. To many, it looks fresh.

Black-and-white is back because brides want to see black-and-white photos in their wedding albums.

It is crisp and clean with its patterns, shapes and lines to intrigue our minds. Black and white photography is honest. No flashy punched up colors to get in the way. It's art, plain and simple. From the deep dark richest blacks to the crisp clean clear whites, it tells a story. With its gentle gradations of gray, it holds our attention and makes us want to see beyond the surface.

This is the way photography was meant to be before color took over and clouded our vision of what a great print should look like. Now we often look at a photo as an exact rendition of a scene and that is all. "Oh look, my couch is green, what a lovely shade of green." Black and white photography is different. It is about textures and emotions, light and the absence of light.

It's been said that there is something sexy about black and white photography that you just can't get from color. I think it's true. Once you remove the color, it is like stripping a scene down to the bare bones removing the layers and leaving the form. You do not have to be an expert photographer to try black and white photography; after all, it was black and white film that not so many years ago captured the memories of many generations.

I hope you enjoy all of my recent black and white photography shown above.

Have a wonderful holiday season!


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Night Photography - How to do it...

Have you ever wanted to take photos at night…it can be scary…right?! But it doesn't need to be. All it boils down to is: How to get more light to your camera's sensors when it's dark out

You will need a tripod!

But if you don't have one, don't think that you can't enjoy taking pictures at night. It just means a little more pre-planning!

First! Get your kit together. Include a flashlight. (Ever tried to level a tripod in the dark??) Oh yeah ... if you don’t have a tripod, build a platform - use books on your car roof, upside down buckets or wood blocks) Ever tried to see your camera settings in the dark? Take a flashlight!
Dress warmly; fingerless gloves are more than a fashion statement! Take a flask of hot coffee or tea. Something to nibble on is always good!

Pick a place that you think will look cool at night: View to a city, your neighborhood streets, rooftops in moonlight, or boats bobbing in a harbor. Check the place out during daylight or just as evening twilight settles in.

Pick out the best place to set up in advance, especially if you don't know it too well. There is nothing worse than stumbling around in the dark trying to find ground to set up your tripod. Oh yeah ... if no tripod look around your chosen spot for a spot of night shots for something to stabilize your camera on – fencepost, etc.

And be safe! When I'm taking photographs I don't want to worry about my six! Ladies, I am all for equal endangerment and the right to trespass with the best of them, but if you are setting up across the river from a cityscape, don't count on it being deserted. What will be deserted, is the people you DON'T have to worry about. Things are different at night. Exercise some common sense and judgment. And now for the dreaded .... CAMERA SETTINGS!!!!

Relax. If you're shooting digital, you can shoot a hundred (BTW always a good idea to have extra batteries in with your kit).

Night time is like daytime - rules change depending on what you are shooting at. Just less light :)

Point & Shooters!

If your camera will not let you set manual apertures and shutter speeds try this.
Set your ISO to lower speeds (depends on your camera but try for 200 or lower)
Choose "night" mode (if your camera lets you combine modes also use the "landscape" setting)
DISABLE YOUR FLASH!!! This will "force" your camera to slow down the shutter speed.

Set your camera on a stable surface or tripod. I find that even pressing the shutter button will jiggle the camera. So I use my camera's auto-timer set to 2 seconds. Take the shot! Look at it! If it is too dark, try using your E.V. compensation - Try 2/3 increments in the PLUS. If the E.V. comp doesn't give you what you want then try changing your ISO speeds to a higher rate. Remember though higher speeds = more noise!

If the shot has too much glare, try using negative E.V. compensation and lowering your ISO.

Manual Settings

You know that if you got it, use it! Set your ISO to the lower or lowest.
DISABLE YOUR FLASH!!! Aperture is just like for daytime. What are you taking a photo of? Ignore the fact that it is night. Believe it or not, there is a lot of light available when you can slow your shutter speeds down to 15 seconds or longer, or even have a "B" (bulb) mode.

Think about Depth Of Field and Infinity! (the point where ALL is in focus)
If it's a lighted city skyline you want a greater DOF, so try starting at f/6 –f/8 and then setting your shutter speeds from 5 seconds, 15 seconds, 30 seconds, one minute ... you’re using digital, so take as many as you need.

Adjust your aperture and shutter speeds before trying for faster ISO's.

Hot Tip: If you're shooting city lights, try switching your White Balance to "Incandescent" or "Tungsten". It will cool down the warm cast from all those burning lights!
And about now I bet you're glad for those fingerless gloves and hot coffee!

The following are my first attempts at night photography. They were taken at the Glass Museum in Tacoma, Washington.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

West Hylebos Wetlands

The West Hylebos Wetlands is equal parts wildlife refuge, ecological and hydrological conservatory, nature trail, and just plain natural wonder. One of the last remaining bogs in South King County, Hylebos’ wetland wilderness lies just one mile west of I-5 in southern Federal Way. It's easy to reach and easy to explore this rare urban nature park.
Walking the park’s one-mile-long boardwalk immerses visitors in a forested wetlands that existed before Europeans settled the Puget Sound lowlands and affords a unique opportunity for nature study and reflection.
Red-legged frogs inhabit the park’s slow waters and the mysterious Deep Sinks while flying squirrels traverse the distant canopy overhead.
Almost hidden by the activity above, the wetlands works its wonder on water flowing into the park through the many tributary streams. The wetlands slows and purifies this surface water, protecting Hylebos Creek and recharging the Redondo-Milton Channel Aquifer that supplies water to Federal Way, Milton, Fife, and Puyallup.

Enjoy the tour…it was like walking in another world!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge

I took these photos this was a chilly autumn day, and the leaves were just starting to turn into beautiful Fall colours. Enjoy the view!

Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, on the Nisqually River Delta in southern Puget Sound, was established in 1974 for the protection of migratory birds. Three thousand acres of salt and freshwater marshes, grasslands, riparian, and mixed forest habitats provide resting and nesting areas for migratory waterfowl, songbirds, raptors, and wading birds.

Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge is one of over 544 National Wildlife Refuges in the United States. Managed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service in the Department of the Interior, the National Wildlife Refuges encompass over 95 million acres of land for wildlife.

The mission of the Refuge System is to administer a national network of lands and waters for the conservation, management, and where appropriate, restoration of the fish, wildlife, and plant resources and their habitats within the United States for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Western Washington Fair

I just thought I'd share a few photos I took at the Puyallup Fair last Month. This is one of the larger fairs in the United States.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Priest Lake, Idaho - Summer 2008

Every year we stay at Elkins resort located along the sandy shores of Priest Lake in the State of Idaho. It's tucked quietly in the Selkirk Mountain Range of the Idaho panhandle. Crystal clear lakes, old growth forests, towering granite peaks, and pristine waterfalls are just a few of the natural wonders provided by Mother Nature that allow you to slow down, sit back, and enjoy the calm away from the hustle and bustle of modern living.

These are just a few of the many photos I took at this wonderful location.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

New Paintings

"Elkins South Beach" - 11"x13.5" Soft Pastel on Wallis Museum

"Beached" - 11"x17" Soft Pastel on Wallis Museum

I took my 2nd workshop from my favorite artist last weekend - Desmand O'Hagan. I again learned a great deal, from the "master of lost edges and implied detail" - I just love his style, and over the past year I've incorporated much of his style in my own paintings. Granted, this style can not be used with the miniatures I do, but I love using it in larger work.

Many of you know I've recently been creating a lot of glass sculptures, and continue to refine my digital photography skills. So to kick start my soft pastel painting again, I took Desmond's workshop. I'm still tweaking "Elkins South Beach", but it will be finished soon.

Hope you like what you see!

Make sure you click on the photos to get a closer look of this "painterly" style.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

A tough Capture!!

I've tried many times to capture a hummingbird in flight, especially attempting to get a shot of their speedy little wings! Well, I was finally successful getting that elusive shot while on vacation at Elkins Resort, which is located on Priest Lake in Northern Idaho.

For those that are interested - I took this shot with my Canon Rebel XT using my 75-300mm zoom lens. The ISO was set at 1600, F16 @ 1/2000 of a second. I was four feet away from a feeder.

Hummingbirds hover in mid-air by rapidly flapping their wings 15–80 times per second (depending on the species). They can fly backwards, and are the only group of birds able to do so.

Make sure you click on the images for a closer look...the detail is amazing!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Lavender Festival - Sequim, Washington

Saturday was our first visit ever to the Lavender festival in Sequim, Washington...and what a site for our senses to enjoy. I took many photos of the area - so enjoy the show!

The following is a litle information about the Lavender Festival:

Visitors from all 50 states and over 55 countries have come to experience this event that features Northwest crafts, Olympic Coast cuisine, live music, lavender workshops and demonstrations, and the area's famous lavender.

Sequim is located on Washington State 's Olympic Peninsula cradled in the "Rain Shadow" of the Olympic Mountains and the world-famous Olympic National Park. The Sequim-Dungeness Valley has an ideal microclimate for growing lavender. With less than 20 inches of rain per year, the area is similar to the Provence region of France where this amazing herb is native. Because of the unique conditions and dedicated farmers, Sequim lavender has received national recognition for its superior quality. Our farmers have over 200 years of combined experience cultivating lavender, determining ideal varieties, developing the best planting and growing practices, and creating lavender products.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Museum of Glass - Tacoma, Washington

All glass, all the time. Housed in a striking building distinguished by its iconic 90-foot-high cone, the Museum of Glass features ongoing glass blowing demonstrations in the Hot Shop Amphitheater, where visitors learn about the creative challenges of working with molten glass. The 13,000 square feet of gallery space is dedicated to changing exhibitions of works executed in glass. A hands-on art studio is available for visitors of all ages, our theater shows a variety of films on artists who work in glass, and the Museum Store offers a large selection of glass objects. The Museum is located on the picturesque Thea Foss Waterway and is part of the Tacoma Museum District, which is linked by the Chihuly Bridge of Glass.

Enjoy my photos…they’re some of the most colorful shots I’ve ever taken!

Just click on any photo to go directly to the album. All photographs are for sale on my website at

Sunday, July 13, 2008

New Glass Sculptures...

Blue Galaxy - 4.75" W x 4.00" H - SOLD
Click on photo for a close-up view

Teal & Greens - 4.25" W x 5.00" H - SOLD
Click on photo for a close-up view

Fire IV - 4.25" W x 3.75" SOLD
Click on photo for a close-up view

I've created over 40 pieces now, and I feel these three are some of my better sculptures!

Those that have purchased one of my glass sculptures, have come to realize that the glass is so much better when viewed in person. What a ray of sunlight does to the glass is pure magic!

You can purchase any of these by clicking on the PayPal "Buy Now" links above, or you can notify me by email .

Be sure and click on the images for a closer look.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Fireworks 2008 - Tacoma, Washington

I took these photos on July 4th - and believe it our not, I was over a mile away. I was glad I brought along my 75-300 zoom lense! These shots were taken with my Canon Digital Rebel XT. The view is from the Brown's Point Lighthouse, looking across Commencement Bay toward Ruston Way in Tacoma, Washington.

Tacoma Tall Ships - 2008

I had a wonderful time taking photos at the Tacoma Tall Ships Parade on July 3rd. Hope you enjoy the show!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

MJ Erard Gallery Displays “Vivid Motion” - Work by Two West-Coast Artists

The MJ Erard Gallery located in the South Wing of the Historic Oliver House is pleased to display the colorful artwork of two West Coast artists from July 1 – August 22nd. (I know, the poster says through July, 31st - but it's been extended) An opening reception is scheduled for Friday, July 11th from 7 – 9 p.m. in the gallery.

Vibrant hues and lively movement characterize the oil paintings of self-taught artist, Joachim McMillan. McMillan, born in Granada now residing in Portland Oregon, will display his unique and colorful expressionistic paintings that depict his Caribbean heritage either in mood, hue or subject matter. McMillan reports, “Each painting tells a story and is part of a series, it will draw you in and make you want to touch the highly textured surface. The motion in my paintings will leave you emotionally charged.”

In his early 20's Joachim McMillan moved from Grenada to New York City to study technology. At the same time he continued to explore different artistic techniques. He now resides in Oregon, where he works for a leading semi conductor company. McMillan states that his technical and artistic diversity plays a role in his unique skill and style. His artistic uniqueness is undoubtedly the reason why galleries in the US, Caribbean, and the UK frequently exhibit his work. Additional work by Joachim McMillan can be viewed on his website

Accompanying Joachim McMillan’s oil paintings will be expressive art glass by David Patterson of Tacoma Washington. Patterson received a BA in Fine Arts from Washington State University. He has resided for the last 31 years in Tacoma, Washington, where he has been working in the aerospace industry as a methods analyst. Patterson states, “I have slowly been transitioning back to what my heart desires – my art and photography.” When Patterson is not in his studio painting in pastel, he is creating glass sculptures at the Tacoma Glassblowing Studio. His glasswork consists of multi-colored round and egg-shaped sculptures. Patterson’s sculptures have the unique ability to draw you into the glass to follow the energetic lines of vibrant color, while at the same time sooth and calm your emotions. “I’m thrilled to be able to exhibit my glass sculptures in the MJ Erard Gallery – especially with Toledo being the birthplace of the American Studio Glass Movement”, Patterson notes. David Patterson’s paintings, photography and glass can be viewed on his website at .

Entertainment will be provided by Ed Levy Jazz Duo – more info:

The Oliver House is located at 27 Broadway Street in Downtown Toledo's Warehouse District.

For more information contact Mary Jane Erard, Director - 419-389-0385

If you would like to know which pieces will be at the gallery - go to the "Glass Art" section of my website - they are the 2nd through 8th pieces listed.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

A Day at the Races...

Be sure you click on the photos for a more detailed look

This was another first for me...photographing at a thoroughbred racing track. The location was beautiful Emerald Downs in Auburn, Washington. I just loved shooting all the color at the track...enjoy the action!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Miniature Pastel Painting - Cannon Beach, Oregon

Actual size

Painting detail

Photo reference

I've been doing quite a bit of glass and photography lately, so I decided I better get "dusty" again - before I forget what it feels like. This is a 3"x3" soft pastel miniature painting, created on Wallis Professional. Hopefully this will lead to a larger painting in the future.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Glass Sculptures - Fire and Greens

Click on images for a closer look.

"Fire III" - SOLD

"Green and Amber IV" - Not for sale

"Greens and Pinks III" - Not for sale

Creating glass sculptures is quite an experience. Having the glass go from a molten state, to the final form, is something everyone should see or do. If you have the chance to stop by a glassblowing studio, or hot shop, you'll witness an amazing process you'll never forget. I've created around 40 pieces now, and every sculpture seems to take on a life of it's own. You never really now how the colors turn out, until they have been in the annealing oven, and cooled for 24 hours...the wait is sometimes agonizing!.

Those that have purchased one of my glass pieces come to realize that the glass is so much better when viewed in person. What a ray of sunlight does to the glass is pure magic!

The "Fire" piece is 4.50" tall, and the round pieces are 4" in diameter. Be sure and click on the images for a closer look.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Lions, and Tigers, and Bears! Oh My!

Click on images to enlarge
Bengal Tiger

Tiger by the Falls

Bath Time

Musk Ox

Sea Otter

Waving Goodbye


Japanese Pagoda - Point Defiance Park

Well...I did capture some nice photos of a tiger, and other critters - but no lions or bears!

Animals are also a subject that I rarely photograph, mainly because they are usually found only in zoos. Also, a photographers nightmare, is having it's subject's image obstucted because of a fence or netting...which makes for a very difficult shot. The Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma, Washington, has a few areas that allow the photographer to get a decent shot...but one must use their telephoto lense to get close to the subject. I used my Digital Canon Rebel XT, with a Canon 75-300mm lens. My lens doesn't have the "image stabilizer" feature, so getting good focus can be a real chore.

I'm not waiting for National Geographic to knock down my door, but I did get some decent photos, especially this being my first time photographing wild animals.

Enjoy the view!