Thursday, September 25, 2014

Three Events

I joked in this space last week about how my end-of-summer wedding work has been keeping me busy and cutting into my hiking time, and the same wisecrack could be made about the volunteer shooting I do for the Seattle-area Tibetan community.

In all seriousness, however, this work is most definitely a labor of love, and the Tibetans have become like family to me. I'll gladly sacrifice hiking time for them.

Today I thought I’d post excerpts from three shoots I’ve done recently for the Tibetan Association of Washington.

The first five pictures are from Tibet Fest, held annually the last weekend in August at the Seattle Center.  It’s an event where the local Tibetan community shares its culture of food, dance,  and song with the city of Seattle. I do lots of pictures of the various on-stage performances,  and the Tibetans post those images on their web site and Facebook page.

What I’m posting here, however,  are off-stage and behind-the-scenes moments from Tibet Fest -- a few of my personal faves from the two-day event.

A couple of Saturdays ago,  one of my Tibetan monk friends was giving a teaching, but it happened that I was booked to shoot a wedding that day. Fortunately,  the timing of my “work” shoot was such that, on the way to the wedding,  I was able to first make a stop at the Tibetan monastery,  listen to at least a little of my friend’s teaching, and quietly shoot a few pictures,  which I later emailed to him.

Because Tibet Fest was such a success, a celebration dinner was held last weekend so that the Tibetan community as a whole could thank the many individuals who had volunteered at Tibet Fest (myself included.)

Seventeen monks from the Namgyal Monastery in northern India, currently on tour in the US, happened to be visiting Seattle that day.  The monks were invited to the dinner and enthusiastically took part in the laughter and celebration. At the end of the evening, a ceremonial scarf was presented to the monks, who, in turn, offered a prayer to the community.


Friday, September 19, 2014

Too Perfect

I’ve been busy-busy-busy shooting weddings lately, which has really cut into my hiking time. This business of working for a living has got to stop...and fortunately it is about to, because the “wedding season” is winding down.

The last time I was able to get up into the mountains was two weekends ago,  and it was a t-shirt and shorts kind of day with bluebird skies and views from here to forever.  If anything -- and only a photographer would make this complaint -- the weather was too perfect: Cloudless skies do not landscape photographs make.

Thus,  I’m pulling “desaturation” out of my photographer’s Bag of Tricks.  If a color photograph is boring, try making it black and white.

I might add that the North Cascades panoramas posted below are WAY more impressive when viewed larger, so please click on them.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Local Guy

The hordes of tourists who flock to Seattle and the Pacific Northwest in the summertime serve as a good reminder to me to appreciate the place where I live.  I see folks riding the ferries across Puget Sound, and they’re wearing Boston Red Sox or Cleveland Indians t-shirts. They stand out on the decks of the boats with cameras out,  and they snap-snap-snap pictures of the  Seattle skyline to the east, or the Olympic Mountains to the west. 

There is just something about these people that screams TOURIST, and everything they’re seeing appears to be New and Exciting to them.

I get my jaded, Cool-Local-Guy self out on the ferry decks with the tourists, and I too take pictures.  Even though I’m observing a scene that I’ve seen hundreds or thousands of times before,  I challenge myself to photograph it with new eyes. It’s a fun little visual exercise, and I wind up with a couple of pictures that I kind of like.

I just hope that, as I snap-snap-snapped there among the visitors, I didn’t look like I was one of them.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Whole Milk

After spending most of July in and around the very high mountains of Northern India and Nepal, returning to Seattle and sea level made August my Superman Month.  Everything physical that I have done now that I’m home --  like running trails near my house, or even hiking in the Cascades -- has felt so ridiculously easy.  The air here is like rich, fat-filled whole milk, compared to the non-fat, skim milk atmosphere of the Himalayas.

I lost weight on our trip,  but feel now like I’m gaining it back, just by breathing.

The pictures I’m posting today are images I’ve shot on hikes in the Cascades during Superman August.  Above is Sherman Peak on Mt. Baker as seen from the Ptarmigan Ridge Trail. Below are wildflowers along Lost Creek Ridge near Glacier Peak.

I miss the adventure and excitement of India and Nepal, but, at the same time, it does feel good to be home and enjoying a Pacific Northwest summertime (oh yes, the living is easy.)