All posts filed under “Portfolio

comments 18

Project: Amtrak Subway Map, 2016

2016 Amtrak Subway Map - Small

Click on the image above or here to view a large version of the map!

One of my longest-running projects is a subway diagram-styled map of Amtrak’s passenger rail network, with the original version dating back to 2010. I always made sure to update it regularly over the years, adding and deleting stations to keep it current. In April last year, I attempted to update the design of the map as well, although I ended up trying a few too many overly-clever things with it – overlaying lines on top of each other just because I was in love with transparency effects being the worst offender. The final result ended up being less than satisfactory, and I shelved the project while I worked on other things.

Coming back with fresh eyes almost a year-and-a-half later, I was able to be ruthlessly objective about what worked and what didn’t in that 2015 draft. The confusing overlaid route lines definitely had to go, but the new typography – using the superb Fira Sans – and larger route designation bullets were huge improvements over the original design. From this starting point, I set out with some clear goals for improvement this time around.

First and foremost was more intelligent, harmonious spacing of stations. Previous versions crammed some sections in very tightly, while giving far too much space to other parts of the map. The chief offenders for closely-packed stations have always been the Keystone/Pennsylvanian routes running west out of Philadelphia, all the Michigan Service routes,  and the Missouri River Runner between St. Louis and Kansas City – so I paid extra attention to these sections, ensuring that the minimum distance between stops on these sections was the same as that defined elsewhere on the map. For the record, the gap between stations on the Northeast Corridor was used as the “building block” for the rest of the map, and it’s been much more faithfully adhered to in this version of the map.

More intelligent spacing also helped a lot on the west coast. Previously, I’d spaced these stations relatively evenly from Vancouver, BC all the way down to San Diego. This looks nice enough in isolation, but it caused the split route lines in the Empire Builder at Spokane to take up way too much space – the three stations on each of these two branches were placed much further apart than any other stations on the entire map. Eastern Washington state is big, but not that big!

In this version, I broke the west coast into a “Pacific Northwest” section from Vancouver down to Eugene-Springfield, and a “California” section from Sacramento all the way down to San Diego. These two sections were spaced as tightly as their Northeast Corridor counterpart on the east coast, with the connecting rural Oregon/California section on the Coast Starlight being more loosely spaced to fill in the resulting gap between the two regions. This improved the spacing and visual size of the Empire Builder branches immensely, possibly the single biggest improvement on the map. I’d always used a similar approach on the City of New Orleans route right from the first version of the map, so doing this actually made the design of the map more consistent.

I also reworked the trajectory of the Southwest Chief on this version. It’s a little twistier than before, but it puts the Colorado stations in a better location relative to Denver, which I think is a spatial improvement.

Keen-eyed readers will have noticed that there’s a new Amtrak service shown on the map – the Winter Park Ski Train that will start running between Denver and the Winter Park ski resort this January! It only has one return trip each Saturday and Sunday (and on the Presidents Day and MLK Day holidays) through to the end of March, but it’s definitely exciting to add a new line to the map, no matter how short it is! The new purpose-built station at Winter Park will not be served by the daily California Zephyr, which will continue to stop just down the line at Fraser instead.

This version of the map also shows two future Amtrak stations – Hillsborough, North Carolina (opening 2020), and Arcadia Valley, Missouri (potentially opening as early as Fall this year) – as well as the “suspended” section of the Sunset Limited between New Orleans and Orlando. I put this last bit in to show that the map is intentionally designed to accommodate it, just in case – by some miracle – it ever gets reinstated. The potential extension of Northeast Regional service to Roanoke is a little further into the future, so it remains off the map for now (although it would be quite easy to add when the time comes).

As usual, your thought and comments are welcome! Prints are now on sale in my online shop from just $27: there’s a version that includes the suspended Sunset Limited track, and another that just shows the current services.

comments 6

Project: Streetcars and Electric Railways in Portland, 1920

It’s safe to say that I’m fascinated with the rich transit history of my adopted hometown of Portland, Oregon, and it’s certainly something that I’ve explored before in a previous project. This new project started out with a very simple goal – to produce a route map of Portland streetcars at their zenith in 1920 that showed each line separately – but it quickly grew into something much more.

Read More

comment 0

Alaska Basin Sunset

Camera: Canon 7D
Lens: Canon EF-S 15–85mm f/3.5–5.6
Exposure: 5 seconds
Aperture: f/16
Focal Length: 15mm
ISO Speed: 100

View on Flickr
Society6 – Prints from $18

The Alaska Basin is a beautiful sub-alpine meadow in the Teton Range in Wyoming, USA. Sitting at an altitude of around 9,600 feet, it’s an 8-mile hike with 2,500 feet of vertical gain from the nearest trailhead to even get here. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have been given the opportunity to take this photo — with stunning sunset light striking the peaks above the basin — as the night before we arrived, there was thick cloud, freezing temperatures, snow, hail and sleet all night long!

comment 0

Zoomable On-line Previews of my Transit Maps

To say I’m excited about this is an understatement. Thanks to Stuart MacMillan — who very kindly spent the time to show me exactly how this all works — I’ve now implemented awesome zoomable, scrollable versions of many of my transit map designs here on the site. Serving large images on the web has always been problematic (especially when there’s more pixels in the image than can fit on the screen at one time!), and this seems to be the most elegant solution that I’ve seen so far.

Read More

comments 12

2015 Amtrak Subway Map – Revised Draft

2015 Amtrak Subway Map Revised Draft - Sml

Based on feedback from the first draft of this new version of my Amtrak as subway map, I’ve gone and made a few edits, additions and corrections.

The major revision is a reworking of the main section of the Northeast Corridor between New York and Washington to make things a little clearer. I’m still using overlapping “multiplied route colour” lines to indicate identical service patterns, but I’ve broken the routes down into smaller, thematically linked groups: the three “local” Empire Corridor routes (the Empire Service, Adirondack and Ethan Allen Express); the three “inland” routes (the Cardinal, Carolinian and Crescent); and the three Atlantic Coast/Florida routes (the Palmetto, Silver Meteor and Silver Star). These groupings are reflected in the ordering of the route designation disks at New York Penn Station, and the terminus dot for each group displays all three route colours.

With the help of readers, I’ve located and added another three stations: the North Carolina State Fair (which, like the New York State Fair station, only operates for the dates of the fair each year); Lexington, North Carolina (which is only open for one day each year — for the annual Barbecue Festival held in October); and Hillsborough, North Carolina, which is slated to open sometime in 2015. I also heard tell of a Charlotte Airport extension of Carolinian and Piedmont services, but can’t seem to find a solid construction date for it, so it remains off the map for the time being.

The Hoosier State is back on the map, which did require a change in colour for the City of New Orleans, as otherwise the red California Zephyr line would have been directly above the similarly-red City of New Orleans line, making it look as if one long route extended through Chicago. I appropriated the Palmetto’s orange line colour for this, and made the Palmetto a new silver-grey colour to tie in with the two other routes in its thematic group (the “Silver Service” trains).

On this version, I’ve also included the now long-suspended section of the Sunset Limited between New Orleans and Jacksonville, just so you can see how it fits neatly into the structure of the map. Restoration of this service by Amtrak is extremely unlikely, and I would not include this segment on any final version of this map.

As always, comments are most welcome! Almost there, I think!

comments 23

Draft: NEW Amtrak Subway Map for 2015

Amtrak 2015 - Draft

Check out the revised second draft of this map here!

At the end of April 2015, Amtrak’s Hoosier State service between Chicago and Indianapolis is scheduled to be discontinued — the first complete loss of a service since I created my “Amtrak as Subway Map” way back in 2010. Over the years, I’ve been pretty vigilant to changes to the Amtrak network — adding and deleting stations as required, extending the Downeaster Line to Brunswick and the Northeast Regional to Norfolk — but a change of this magnitude gives me the chance to take a completely fresh look at this project and rework everything from scratch, instead of just tweaking the old diagram again. Let’s face it – I’ve learned a lot of new skills and tricks in the intervening years!

Read More

comments 3

New “Highways of the USA” Map – Hawaii

Highways of the USA - Hawaii

Disclaimer: this was produced for April Fools Day and is not an actual product in the “Highways of the USA” print series.  

Pretty much as soon as I finished my monumental Highways of the United States project last year, people started asking me why I hadn’t included the two non-contiguous states of Alaska and Hawaii, both of which do actually contain federal highways in one form or another.

To be honest, after finishing the giant map of the lower 48 states and then splitting that up into all the maps of the different states and regions, I was pretty much exhausted and needed a break from the project. After two years of intensive research and design, can you blame me? Fast-forward to almost a year later, and I finally feel that I can revisit those requests for the two “missing” states. After a lot of thought, I’ve decided against doing Alaska, as my maps only show existing signed routes. While the Alaskan “A” Interstates exist on paper and in funding budgets, there’s not a single Interstate shield to be found along the highways of that state. Also, Alaska is freaking huge, and there’s no way I’m drawing/simplifying all that crinkly coastline!

Hawaii is a different matter, however, as its “H” Interstates – all on the island of O’ahu – are very definitely signed. There are three “major” highways: H-1 through H-3, and one three-digit loop highway, H-201. The major highways don’t follow the same odd/even numbering conventions of mainland Interstates, but are just numbered in the order that they were funded and constructed. Together, the four highways total just 55.4 miles (89 kilometres) in length, but feature some impressive (and expensive) engineering, especially along Interstate H-3.

And for all you people asking how the heck Hawaii can have Interstate highways when they clearly don’t travel interstate, hush. In this instance, “Interstate” refers to the method of federal funding and the minimum standards that the highway must adhere to. There are plenty of intrastate Interstate highways on the mainland: I-97 in Maryland is actually wholly contained within one county. More information on Hawaii’s Interstates here on the FHWA’s website.

The map uses the same design conventions and is drawn at the same scale as my other Highways of the United States maps, although I’ve introduced some appropriately tropical colours for each of the highways. To give a proper sense of scale, I’ve included the entire Hawaiian archipelago.

I definitely recommend that you click here to view a larger preview of the map in order to fully appreciate the majesty of the vast azure expanses of the Pacific Ocean surrounding these tiny islands.

comments 4

Download: New Orleans Letter Tiles Artwork

New Orleans Letters

Way back in 2009, I created a corporate identity for the New Orleans Tile Company, basing the logo’s letterforms off photographs of the beautiful blue-and-yellow 1920s ceramic tiles that can still be found spelling out street names around the city today. As I only required a small subset of letters for the logo, I never got around to completing the full alphabet. However, over the years, I have received quite a few requests for my artwork from people working on other New Orleans-related typography projects.

So, once and for all, here’s everything I’ve created – released into the public domain for anyone to use as they see fit. While you don’t have to credit me if you create something based on these letterforms, I’d sure like to see what you’ve made! You can use the site’s contact form to send a link to your work my way.

Download: Adobe Illustrator CS3+ .ai format  |  SVG 1.1 format

comment 0

Collections on Society6

Collections

In addition to the maps that I sell in my own online store, I also sell prints (and other products like phone and laptop cases) via the print-on-demand service, Society6. One problem with Society6 to date has been making all the photos I have there easily accessible – older work tends to just “disappear” behind the sheer weight of newer posts. I’ve tried to feature some of my favourite photographs on this site via the “My Photography” post category, but that can only do so much.

Read More

comments 3

Project: 2015 Sydney Festival Route Map

Sydney Festival 2015 Route Map

If you’ve ever been to Sydney in January, then you’ll know that the Sydney Festival is a big deal. Running for almost the entire month, it brings together the very best in the arts from around Australia and the world – music, dance, performance and more. So I was more than a little bit excited when I was commissioned to produce this thematic “route map” of highlighted events, to be used both online and in the Festival’s printed program/brochure.

Read More

comments 2

Project: McKinney Avenue Trolley Map (Dallas, Texas)

McKinney Ave Trolley - Current Service

Here’s a small project that was inspired by a message to my Transit Maps blog about the currently existing map for the McKinney Avenue heritage trolley line in Dallas, Texas. As you can see in the gallery below, it could use a little help. However, rather than review and criticise a map produced for a non-profit organisation (most likely by a volunteer or staff in their spare time), I thought that I would create a new, accurate, more user-friendly map instead. While produced as a design exercise for my own benefit, I’m hopeful that the McKinney Avenue Transit Authority (MATA) might consider adopting it as their official map.

Read More

comment 1

Mount Adams

Mount Adams

Camera: Canon 7D
Lens: Canon EF-S 15–85mm f/3.5–5.6
Exposure: 30 seconds
Exposure Bias: +1 EV
Aperture: f/13
Focal Length: 15mm
ISO Speed: 100

View on Flickr
Society6 – Prints from $16

A beautiful dusk view of Mount Adams taken from Tahklahk Lake in Washington state. My trusty 6x neutral density filter allowed me to extend the exposure out to a full 30 seconds for some lovely, rich colours and a beautiful reflection.

comment 0

St. Johns Bridge

St Johns Bridge II

Camera: Canon Digital Rebel XT (EOS 350)
Lens: Canon EF-S 15–85mm f/3.5–5.6
Exposure: 30 seconds
Aperture: f/14
Focal Length: 40mm
ISO Speed: 100

View on Flickr
Society6 – Prints from $16

A combination of a perfect gradient sky and some lovely light trails from traffic on the extremely photogenic) bridge through the 30-second exposure make this one of my favourite photos ever.

The shot was made possible by the use of a 6x neutral density filter, which allowed me to extend the exposure time, even in pretty decent evening light. The 30 second time is what allows the light trails to build up so nicely, although there were a lot of discarded shots where the trails weren’t anywhere near as nice – orange turn indicator lights blink on and off, creating a dotted line, rather than the smooth, flowing lights in this shot.

comment 0

Flight Attendant

Flight Attendant

Camera: Canon Digital Rebel XT (EOS 350)
Lens: Canon EF 70–300mm f/4–5.6
Exposure: 1/125
Aperture: f/8
Focal Length: 120mm
ISO Speed: 100

View on Flickr

I don’t do a lot of candid/street photography: it’s a very difficult discipline that requires quick thinking and flexibility. I prefer to take my time composing my shot and thinking about how different apertures, shutter speeds and focal lengths affects the final photo. However, when this flight attendant stepped into my otherwise empty abstract architectural shot, the opportunity was too good to miss. She provides a great visual counterpoint to the stark white airline terminal, with her dark, curved shape. The only down point is that her eyes are closed, but you can’t have everything, I guess!

comment 0

Lights on Mount Hood

Lights on Mount Hood

Camera: Canon 7D
Lens: Canon EF-S 15–85mm f/3.5–5.6
Exposure: 784 seconds
Aperture: f/5.6
Focal Length: 15mm
ISO Speed: 400

View on Flickr
Society6 – Prints from $16

13-minute exposure of Mount Hood from Trillium Lake, taken at around 3am. Originally, the exposure was meant to be much longer, but a huge bank of fog rolled in from the left and completely obscured the view.

What I find most interesting is the number of lights on the mountain itself. The huge cluster of bright lights at the treeline are Timberline Lodge, and it looks like the headlights of a snowcat just above that, descending down from the upper ski area. However, the rest of the little white light trails can only be riders coming down (at three in the morning!), or climbers heading up to the summit to be there for sunrise.

comment 0

Across The Gate

Across The Gate

Camera: Canon Digital Rebel XT (EOS 350)
Lens: Canon EF 70–300mm f/4–5.6
Exposure: 1/200
Aperture: f/11
Focal Length: 235mm
ISO Speed: 400

View on Flickr
Society6 – Prints from $18

One of my favourite photos, and one that always gets a positive reaction from viewers. The combination of the monumental size of the bridge compared to the traffic below and the softening effect of the fog really work well together.

People often ask how and where I took this photo: it’s actually not that hard to replicate. I was at the Vista Point lookout on the Marin side of the bridge, and just moved around carefully until I was looking directly down the bridge’s length. A long zoom lens (I used a 70-300mm at 235mm) allowed me to really get in close to the pylon of the bridge, even from this distance.

comment 0

Video: Printing the “Highways of the USA” Posters

I’m very pleased to report that full production of the 44″ x 72″ Highways of the United States posters has begun. I’d like to thank everyone who has ordered so far for their patience as we got this process up and running.

As you can see from the attached video, printing these beasts is quite the epic task: each poster takes about half an hour to run through the printer!

comment 0

Vaporetto

Vaporetto

Camera: Nikon Zoom 140ED (film camera)

View on Flickr
Society6 – Prints from $16

A photo taken on a fog-shrouded morning in Venice, Italy back in 2003. I’m on the bow of another canal ferry (called a vaporetto locally), which had just pushed off from the Ferrovia (railway station) wharf and was standing by as this other vaporetto came in to dock.

The way that the fog makes the buildings along the canal disappear into nothingness, with the ferry emerging from that emptiness is what makes this shot for me.

comment 0

Recursive

Recursive

Camera: Canon Digital Rebel XT (EOS 350)
Lens: Canon EF-S 17–85mm f/4–5.6
Exposure: 1/4
Aperture: f/10
Focal Length: 20mm
ISO Speed: 800

View on Flickr
Society6 – Prints from $16

A view along the length of the old officers’ quarters at Fort Point, San Francisco. I’ve tried a lot of different processing methods on this picture since I took it way back in 2006, and this is really the first time I’ve been truly happy with the result.

As you can tell from the EXIF metadata, shooting conditions were challenging. It was gloomy inside the building, and no tripods were allowed. So I pumped up the ISO (800 was about as far as I ever liked to go on the ol’ Digital Rebel, as noise just got too noticeable after that), set the aperture for some decent depth of field and braced the camera against myself as best I could. With an exposure length of 1/4 of a second, this really shouldn’t have come out anywhere near this  sharp, but it somehow worked. The new 2012 processing algorithms in Lightroom 5 definitely do a much better job than the old ones, while the straightening and lens distortion tools took care of my slightly off-kilter framing.

comments 4

Highways of the United States: Maps of States and Regions

Texas_01

In my post about the overall Highways of the United States project, I mentioned that the reason I made the map of the U.S. so big and detailed was so that I could break the map down into individual states and regions. Below is a gallery of all the maps available for sale. You can click on the “View Full Size” text in the gallery lightbox to see the largest preview for each map.

Posters from $27 in the Shop

Read More

comments 29

Project: Highways of the United States of America

Highways of the United States of America

44″ x 72″ Poster – $185 See Also: Maps of States and Regions

After almost two years of single-handed research, design, checking and cross-checking, I’m incredibly proud and thrilled to present my latest map project. It shows every single current and signed Interstate Highway and U.S. Highway in the contiguous 48 states in a style very similar to my previous Interstates as Subway Map and U.S. Highways as a Subway Map projects. Having made two separate maps that showed each type of road, I really had to at least try to combine them both into one map, didn’t I?

However, I’d stop short of calling this a “subway map”. While still taking many design cues from that genre, I’d rather call it a “simplified road map” instead. Because of the insane complexity of the two combined networks, there’s a lot more adherence to geography here than in those previous, more stylised diagrams. Yes, the roads have been straightened out a lot – especially the Interstates – but many cities fall pretty much exactly where they would be on a “real” map, and roads cross state borders at or very near the correct locations. The overall shapes of the states have also been preserved as much as possible: you’ll see why soon!

The map follows much the same design principles as the previous ones: white circles with black strokes denote named places (cities, towns, etc.) where two or more roads intersect. The more roads at that location, the larger the dot. Named places at intersections are always shown, even if they’re just a teeny-tiny little hamlet. Not all roads meet at named places, so there are intersections with no labels. Places that fall along a road between intersections are shown as a “tick”, and are included if they have a population of 1,000 or over (thanks, Wikipedia!). Obviously, some places are left off the map for clarity in very populous urban areas, especially if they are considered as part of a “greater” metropolis: I apologise in advance if your home town is missing. There’s still an incredible 4,385 named places on the map!

Having to show different types of roads on the same map meant that an additional level of complexity was introduced. I decided that stroke width was the best way to differentiate between two-digit Interstate Highways (the thickest stroke at 8 points wide in my working file), three-digit Interstates (6pt) and U.S. Highways (just 4pt wide). As before, bright colours were assigned to the “major” routes as defined by AASHTO: these are two-digit routes ending in “0” and “5”  for Interstates, and “0” and “1” for U.S. Highways. The U.S. Highways use a lighter tint of the corresponding Interstate colour to differentiate between them if they ever run in close proximity (this is rare, but it does happen: I-55 and U.S. 51 share the same roadway out of New Orleans, for example). Four different greys are then used for the “minor” routes, with cool greys being assigned to odd-numbered routes and warm greys used for even routes. Minor Interstates are represented in darker greys than the minor U.S. Highways to reinforce their higher position in the information hierarchy.

Roads that touch on the map while running parallel to each other are actually sharing the same physical roadway: in AASHTO-speak, they are “concurrent”. Because of the scale of the map, I can’t always show where a U.S. Route might leave a concurrent Interstate to serve a town and then rejoin again immediately afterwards.

Roads that run closely parallel without touching are not concurrent, but are sharing the same corridor. This often happens where an Interstate has supplanted a U.S. Route as the main highway through an area. While I’ve tried my best to show these corridors as accurately as possible, there are instances where the roads are on the “wrong” side of each other compared to the real world. This is especially true when a winding old U.S. Routes cross and recross a (much straighter) Interstate highway multiple times in a short distance.

But enough talk, here’s  an enormous scrollable, zoomable version of the map to peruse!

Needless to say, this map is physically huge. My working Illustrator file was a massive 144 inches wide by 88 inches deep and posters are half that size – the smallest they can be and still retain good legibility. So why did I make the map so big and insanely detailed? Why was it important that the individual states retain their actual shape? Because I’m also making posters of individual states and regions.

And yes, there are posters for sale! Check out both the USA map and the individual state maps in my secure on-line store.

Highways of the USA in the store
comment 0

Railing

Railing

Camera: Canon Digital Rebel XT (EOS 350)
Lens: Canon EF-S 17–85mm f/4–5.6
Exposure: 1/200
Aperture: f/14
Focal Length: 17mm
ISO Speed: 200

View on Flickr
Society6 – Prints from $16

This is the spectacular Seacliff Bridge in the Illawarra region of New South Wales, south of Sydney. The bridge replaced an old section of Lawrence Hargreaves Drive that used to hug the steep cliff face and was often closed by rock falls. Instead, this sweeping structure sits on the rock platforms away from the cliffs,  over the ocean. An amazing engineering feat, and an absolutely stunning sight.

I drove down from Sydney before dawn to just to photograph this bridge. I was hoping for some great early morning light, and couldn’t be happier with what I got. The sun rose over a clear ocean horizon, but with a layer of cloud above – meaning I had about twenty minutes of this glorious, hazy, yellow morning light bouncing off the clouds before the sun rose above the cloud layer and the day became grey and stormy. My timing was absolutely perfect and this is the result: one of my all-time favourite photos taken on one of those mornings where everything just seemed to work out perfectly.

comment 0

Lunar Eclipse, 2008

Lunar Eclipse, 20th February 2008

Camera: Canon Digital Rebel XT (EOS 350)
Lens: Canon EF 70–300mm f/4–5.6
Exposure: various
Aperture: various
Focal Length: 300mm
ISO Speed: various

View on Flickr
Society6 – Prints from $16

Composite image of the total lunar eclipse on the 20th of February, 2008 in Portland, Oregon. Photos were taken at five minute intervals from 6:13pm to 7:03pm US Pacific Time. Totality was achieved at 7.01pm. The yellowish tinge to the moon in the first few images is due to its proximity to the horizon at the time. As it rose higher, the yellow colour faded away, only to be replaced by the eerie blood-red of the eclipse.

Technical Details: The camera was tripod mounted with mirror lockup enabled (the bright moon can create a reflection on the mirror that can ruin the exposure as the mirror flips up) and a cable release to minimise camera shake. I shot RAW files to give me more post-processing flexibility. Exposures vary from 1/60th second at ƒ/11, ISO 100 for the first image to one second at ƒ/11, ISO 800 for the final image — the moon is a surprisingly bright object and doesn’t need long exposures if you want to retain surface detail in your shots. I performed some minor exposure and white balance adjustment in Adobe Lightroom before final composition in Photoshop.

comment 0

Early Morning, Amsterdam

Early Morning, Amsterdam

Camera: Canon Digital Rebel XT (EOS 350)
Lens: Canon EF-S 17–85mm f/4–5.6
Exposure: 1/60
Aperture: f/7.1
Focal Length: 17mm
ISO Speed: 100

View on Flickr
Society6 – Prints from $19

Amsterdam’s Red Light District likes to party hard most of the way through the night, which means that you have the area pretty much to yourself if you get up early enough in the morning.

Exploring the beautiful canals in the soft morning light was a peaceful experience and allowed me the time to find and compose shots like this without hordes of people crossing my view.

comment 0

Sheet Metal

Sheet Metal

Camera: Canon Digital Rebel XT (EOS 350)
Lens: Canon EF-S 17–85mm f/4–5.6
Exposure: 1/125
Aperture: f/10
Focal Length: 68mm
ISO Speed: 200

View on Flickr
Society6 – Prints from $16

A detail shot of the exterior of the Frank Gehry-designed Experience Music Project (EMP) building in Seattle, taken back in 2006. What really stood out for me as I took this shot was the beautiful sinuous form of the metal cladding (especially the curve that runs through the middle of the composition), and the wonderful contrasting blue and gold colours.

comment 0

Fremont Bridge at Night

Fremont Bridge at Night

Camera: Canon 7D
Lens: Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6
Exposure: 60 seconds
Aperture: f/16
Focal Length: 15mm
ISO Speed: 100

View on Flickr
Society6 – Prints from $16

Portland has no shortage of fantastic bridges to take photos of, from the industrial (and unique) Steel Bridge, to this one: the graceful arch of the Fremont Bridge soaring high above the Willamette River.

For this photo, I used the “bulb” exposure setting on my camera and simply tried to get the longest exposure I could in order to smooth out the water as much as possible. Trial and error played a big part — hooray for digital photography — until I came up with the settings used here: a full minute of exposure at f/16. The different temperatures of the various light sources (including a pretty bright reflected street light glow off the clouds) certainly makes for an interesting image!

comment 0

Folds

Painted Hills - Folds

Camera: Canon Digital Rebel XT (EOS 350)
Lens: Canon EF 70–300mm f/4-5.6
Exposure: 1/125
Aperture: f/8
Focal Length: 280mm
ISO Speed: 100

View on Flickr

Without a doubt, the Painted Hills in Central Oregon is one of my absolute favourite places to visit and explore photographically. I’ve been back multiple times: each time, the light and the way it interacts with the ancient folds of the hillside has been completely different.

This abstract shot — zooming right in with my 70-300mm lens to focus on the details, including animal tracks down the slope — is from my first visit in December 2008. In my opinion, this is the best time of year to visit, because the low, southern winter sun makes fantastic, deep, long shadows. As summer approaches, the sun moves further north and shines directly onto the face of the hills, rather than across them, making for smaller, less-form defining shadows.

comment 0

Bike Culture

BikeCulture

Camera: Canon Digital Rebel XT (EOS 350)
Lens: Canon EF-S 17–85mm f/4–5.6
Exposure: 1/60
Aperture: f/5.6
Focal Length: 85mm
ISO Speed: 100

View on Flickr
Society6 – Prints from $16

Colourful bikes against a blue wall outside a bicycle tour business in Amsterdam. The bright, anodised colours are definitely what drew me to take this photo in the first place, and I framed my shot nice and tight to crop out any extraneous detail, keeping only the repeating patterns of the bike frames. Processing in Lightroom intentionally emphasised the image’s contrast and colour saturation.

Portland is considered a pretty “bike-friendly” city by American standards, and I commute by bike to work almost every day. However, we have absolutely nothing on Amsterdam: bikes are almost ubiquitous there, with fully separated bike lanes in many parts of the city, as well as giant, secure parking stations dotted around the city. Absolutely incredible!

comment 0

Polder

Polder

Camera: Canon Digital Rebel XT (EOS 350)
Lens: Canon EF-S 17–85mm f/4–5.6
Exposure: 1/160
Aperture: f/8
Focal Length: 44mm
ISO Speed: 100

View on Flickr
Society6 – Prints from $16

On a flight out of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport back in 2009, I was in a window seat facing towards the sun – a challenge for good photography, but very rewarding when things go right. Soon after take off, the plane banked slightly, and I could snap this photo of the long, narrow fields below. Filtered afternoon light, long shadows and those beautiful silvery/gold irrigation canals full of water created a shimmery delight.