Winter Is Finally Showing

 Cold beers after a good day on the mountain.

Cold beers after a good day on the mountain.

As I sit here and write this I have spent the last dew days staring at the NOAA.gov forecast for Silver Mountain. You know what? It’s finally looking good. Colder temperatures, and lots of snow falling on the hill. Which is good to see. I’m tired of having to watch where I am skiing. Those little exposed rock and baby trees are getting annoying. That hasn’t stopped my friends and I from getting out there to make some turns.

 Last light on the mountain. Skier: Casey Winchel.

Last light on the mountain. Skier: Casey Winchel.

Right now Silver Mountain is only running on the weekends, but is going to seven day a week operation here in a few days. Last weekend wasn’t the best up there but it was a great couple days. Waking up late to head up and let the snow warm up on the groomed runs so they’re we’re less icy was our excuse to head to the bar before we started skiing. It was nice to start the days off with a Bloody Mary and a cold beer. Though my friend Casey and I have had a patch of bad luck with every time we order a beer we blow a keg. Hey, a partial free beer!

Watching all this snow falling around us is getting us even more excited to get that first deep powder day in. I don’t my friends and I can wait any longer. We looking forward to getting those fat skis and jumping off of everything we can find. With all this new snow falling in our mountains remember to ride with a friend and stay safe. Respect the mountains.

 When the snow is the best the sends are much more reserved.  Chair 4, Silver Mountain. Skier: Casey Winchel.

When the snow is the best the sends are much more reserved.

Chair 4, Silver Mountain. Skier: Casey Winchel.

 A little something extra on the ride down. Wardner Peak in the distance. Silver Mountain, Idaho.

A little something extra on the ride down. Wardner Peak in the distance. Silver Mountain, Idaho.

Campbell House Fundraiser - SFCC PAC

As some of you may know I am currently in my second year of the photography program at Spokane Falls Community College. In the end of my first year of it I was elected to be the President of the Photo Arts Club for my second year of the program. As part of the club we have to do community service. For our community service three of us from the club set aside time for spending our Saturday at the Northwest Museum of Arts of Culture. We spent the day taking photos for the Campbell House at the MAC. Essentially we were photographing for Christmas Cards for the families that bought a time slot. It was truly a great experience to be able to photograph inside of the Campbell House as I know that does not happen very often. Getting to spend the whole day inside photographing was something else. It’s something I wish I could do again. Maybe I can sneak in next year when the new leadership takes over and I can help them out.

Happy Holidays! I know I am little early for it. I’d rather say it now before I forget!

 Outtake from the Campbell House shoot.

Outtake from the Campbell House shoot.


Elsie Lake

This morning I woke and the first thing I saw was that it wasn’t raining. I’ve been in Kellogg the last few days. I knew I wanted to crawl out of bed, make a cup of coffee and head to Elsie Lake outside of town. The last few days have been nothing but a downpour here in the Silver Valley.

 Heading to Kellogg on Tuesday afternoon. Shot on DJI Mavic Air.  Fourth of July Pass, Idaho.

Heading to Kellogg on Tuesday afternoon. Shot on DJI Mavic Air.

Fourth of July Pass, Idaho.

After packing up my truck with some camera gear I headed toward Elsie. The drive up Burke road is always fun. After passing the mines and into the forest you follow Big Creek up the valley. It is one of my favorite fall drives. As you ascend you will start to see the changing tamarack trees in the distance. In the sea of green they shine in the sunlight. Even when there is a lack thereof. Finally after driving almost the whole way to the lake I rounded a bend on the forest road and there it was… Snow. I was so excited. It was the first snow I have been in this season. It immediately had me excited for the ski season. After a little bit more driving I made it over the ridge and down into the lake below. I pulled into the parking area and got my drone out before the rain started back up again. I took a few photos on the drone and a couple videos. The video is for a project that I am starting to work on with my friend Nathan. More to come on that soon. We need some snow first. That’s a little hint to what it is, but that’s all I will say for now.

 Looking down on the north side of Elsie Lake. Mavic Air.

Looking down on the north side of Elsie Lake. Mavic Air.

After burning through one of the batteries for my drone I decided it was time to get my camera out and photograph a little more. I shot a few frames to make a large panorama of Elsie Lake. The panoramic photo I made is made up of 26 photos of the lake. The photo was processed through CaptureOnePro and then stitched together in Photoshop. I’m not sure if this is final photo or not yet. I see things that I want to change on it, as any photographer does after they’ve worked on a photograph. I will take a short break from it, and then come back to it to make those changes.

 Elsie Lake, Idaho. Shot on Nikon D4 and Tamron 70-200 f/2.8. 26 Photos.

Elsie Lake, Idaho. Shot on Nikon D4 and Tamron 70-200 f/2.8. 26 Photos.

Waiting For The Snow

 Wardner Peak, Silver Mountain Ski Resort.

Wardner Peak, Silver Mountain Ski Resort.

As the seasons change and the leaves begin to fall I patiently wait for the snow to fall. The changing of the seasons is something I always look forward to. The first snow is always the most exciting time of year for me. There is nothing better than waking up and seeing that first layer of fresh snow and the silence around it.

 Mornings on the gondola.

Mornings on the gondola.

 Popping off the road near chair 4.

Popping off the road near chair 4.

With that first snow and the snows after it begins to pile up in the mountains. Which means its time to step into the fat skis for those deep days on the mountain. I don’t think there is a better way to spend a day. The feeling of flying down the mountain in the deep snow and shooting off natural features into the air. That time will soon be here. If you’re ever at Silver Mountain in Kellogg, Idaho feel free to shoot me an email. I’d love to go ski with you. I will be there a majority of the winter working on personal project with a friend.

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A few Hot Springs and the National Bison Range

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Our journey started out on a Friday afternoon where we headed out from Kellogg, Idaho on a mission to visit three different hot springs over the weekend. Our first day we had a late start and drove over to Lolo Hot Springs for the night. It was fun place to visit but we were only there for a short time since we arrived later in the day.

 Kettle House Brewing, Missoula, Montana.

Kettle House Brewing, Missoula, Montana.

Early the next morning we headed to Missoula to visit a couple breweries in town there. We popped by Kettle ouse Brewing and Tamarack Brewing. Both the breweries were incredible. Some of the beers are only available in Montana which I really enjoyed. Seeking out those new beers to try is a blast.





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After our time in Missoula we headed North to Hot Springs, Montana for a night. I couldn’t resist sitting in the springs for as long as I possibly could. After the first soak we headed inside for a few drinks and live music. The artist that night was Larry Hirshberg. You can find his music over at http://larryhirshberg.com/


 #86sqft in its natural habitat.

#86sqft in its natural habitat.

The start of our third day was a chilly one. I spent the night in the bed of my truck. It was a great reminder that I need to add some insulation to the bed to keep it a little warmer now that the colder months are back again. We warmed up our vehicles and hit the road to the National Bison Range. After driving for about an hour to get there we decided to take the longer two hour loop through the Bison Range. Which was well worth it. It was foggy and dark for the beginning of the drive. Slowly but surely as we drove the sun was making the fog burn off. By the time we reached the peak and began to head back down the other side the clouds broke.

 Road side snacks in the Bison Range.

Road side snacks in the Bison Range.

 Lost in the fog.

Lost in the fog.

As we descended back down the mountain we could see some of the bison off in the distance. Just a little too far away to get a photo of. Towards the end of the drive there was a great spot wide open spot that looked towards the mountains. There was about 20 bison in the field in front of us. Luckily one was just close enough for my 200mm lens to get a shot. Unfortunately the one nearest to us wasn’t looking too great. As you can see in the photo below. Before this quick trip I had never heard of the National Bison Range. I am beyond happy my friends showed me this place. It is truly gorgeous. I’m looking forward to making a trip back there and back into Big Sky Country.

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Deer Park Campground - ONP

Nestled high in the Olympic Mountains is a truly magical place. The Deer Park Campground is a small campground on Blue Mountain, just outside of Port Angeles, Washington. The views from the campground and the summit are incredible. On my last trip there it was slightly different. It was foggy and rainy day. Typically you would see across to Vancouver Island and almost all the way to Seattle. Being up on top of the mountain in the rain was a very welcomed experience. Especially after all of the wildfire smoke that has been sitting across the North West lately. 

Foggy days from the summit. 

Around 14 sites are at the campground. With a few walk-in sites tucked away by the Three Forks Trail head parking area.

This last trip I took up the mountain was to do a little work for a brand. It was a nice little solo escape for a night. I pulled in around 1 PM and proceeded to set up camp for the night. Well, the little bit I have to set up for camp. 

Camp all set up.

This past trip in the rain made me realize I need an awning or a tarp for the rainy days. Probably a tarp..

The rainy days are always a nice change for shooting up there. I was looking forward to that. I've been in a creative rut lately and I felt like being back in one of my favorite places would be just what I needed. When it rains so many of the small plants on the mountain begin to sparkle in the light that casts across them. 

Just a short hike out from my campsite is a large open field where you can almost always find a group of deer wandering. I only saw two on my walk to here off in the fog. 

Just up from camp is perfect spot to sit and relax. I personally like to sit here and watch the clouds roll by. On a clear night its a perfect spot to stargaze. There is also perfect spots right next to your campsite to set up a hammock and spend the day relaxing. 

The fog makes for an incredible time to be at Blue Mountain. There is just something about the quiet stillness of the place that is something I have not experienced anywhere else. I always look forward to my time there. I can't wait to go back there.

In the meantime I have to head over to Spokane as I get ready for this next school year to start. I am heading over a little bit earlier than I normally would. I think it will allow me to take one last little trip before school starts. The tentative plan is to head down into Stanley, Idaho. Stay tuned..

A summer of Colorado.

It's been about two years since I up and moved to Colorado on a whim for the summer. I was working a job I really did not enjoy. Stuck in the same routine every single day. I was growing tired of that. Out of the blue I had a direct message on Instagram from someone I haven't seen since 2012 when I was working at Silver Mountain.  It was from a family I had met while working there. The father worked as a general manger of Luxury Ranches that catered to the outdoor lifestyle. After meeting me he had offered me a job in Montana. A year later one in Moab, Utah. Then once again the summer of 2016. They were short handed and needed the help, and I needed to get away. Long story short I immediately took the job and left. 

I loaded up my Yukon and off I went down to Crawford, Colorado.

 One of my favorite things about being in Colorado was the roads were always so much fun. They also took you somewhere fun. Like Needle Rock Road, it was the road you took into the Luxury Guest Ranch I worked at. 

 Others took you deep in the forest and surrounded you with aspens.

 Another one of my favorites that was just a short distance from the ranch took you into Black Canyon of The Gunnison National Park. Which is by far one of the most impressive places I have ever been. The massive rock walls that just drop straight down into the Gunnison River below. In my time there I was able to hike down into canyon for a day. I only took a few photos while down in the canyon since I was taking a guest down into it for the day. 

In my time there I truly fell in love with the state. The mountains, the trees, the people, the lifestyles. There was so much to enjoy and I only was able to get a small taste of it. The fly fishing stood out here. I went as often as I possibly could. When I was able to have two days off I would pack up my SUV and head north to the Grand Mesa.  The Mesa is a truly gorgeous place. I still have so much there on the Mesa alone that I want to see. 

 I made friends and connections there that will last a lifetime. Sadly I really only had photos of just a few people. I spent most of time photographing the landscapes and the details of it. I regret not taking more photos of the people around me. 

As my time in Colorado dwindled, the seasons began to change and winter began to arrive earlier than expected. Something I would never complain about. Seeing the landscapes around slowly begin to have blanket of snow made me even more excited for the coming winter in the North West. 

I'll be back for you Colorado. It's been too long. 

It's been awhile..

Well, I'm sorry for my absence. Life became hectic, and I was all over the place. Never in one place for too long. For now I'm back in my hometown until I head back to Spokane in a few short weeks for school.

I haven't really been shooting too many photos at all this summer. Which is really bothering me. I just have not had the time to do it. I recently forced myself to just go walk around the garden a little bit to see what I can find and force myself to see photographically again. I shot everything on my Google Pixel 2XL instead of walking around with my DSLR like I normally would. I needed to change it up. The only shots I really did over the summer were some social media content work for Deschutes Brewery. That was pretty cool to say the least. I also have more content creation work that I am working on right now but that is a story for another day.

Okay, the last one isn't from the garden..  It was near Spider Lake in the Olympic National Forest. 

Place: Silver Mountain

For one of the last assignments in my Photo 112 class I was to photograph a place that mean something to me. For me that means Silver Mountain in Kellogg, Idaho. It's a place I can indulge both of my passions. Skiing and Photography. 

I shot most of the assignment over one day of skiing at Silver.

It started out like any other ski day. Waking up and taking a peek out the window to see what the weather is looking like. From what I could see it was going to be a good day. 

After heading up the mountain it was time to head down into locker room and get ready for a day in the snow.  

Once geared up it was time to out and onto the mountain. 

After that it was time to make a few turns. First off we head to down the bottom of Chair 2 and head up to the top of Kellogg Peak. Making a few quick turns to get down to the chair we could tell it was going to be fun. 

After getting to the top we took off to the left and headed to one of our favorite stashes on the mountain. The snow was deep and the level of fun was high. Who could complain about an epic powder day? 

After a hard day of skiing it was time to head back to the Mountain Haus to grab a beer and head down the mountain for the evening. Then wake up the next day and start it all over again. 

A Downtown morning in black and white.

One morning my class met in Downtown Spokane for a morning of photography. We met at the Rocket Bakery and Coffee shop then headed on our way around a small portion of Downtown Spokane. One of the first sights that caught my eye was a small parking area with kegs behind the fence.. I felt lucky to get this shot with the train passing by.

As we walked on I saw a fairly tall apartment building with such interesting repeating lines all the way up it. I couldn't help but stare at it. I found it funny that the only spot that the patterns were ever really interrupted were by a satellite dish on some curtains. 

One last photo I took was of a parking area with the sunlight beaming down into the area. It felt so cinematic when I first saw it, and it was my favorite photo from the morning spent wandering downtown. I could just imagine some sort scene being filmed there under the light that was there. 

I was going to end on the black and white photo but I had another version of this photo that I processed in Capture One to kind of have that more slightly cinematic feeling to the photo. 

A walk around the SFCC Campus

The day started with arriving to school and heading to the classroom to hear my professor speak before heading off to take photographs around school. 

 After heading to class my professor spoke for a little while then sent us on our way go look for photos to make. For too long I have always focused on the big picture and this day I wanted to try to focus my attention to the smaller details around me..

One of the first photos I took was that of the snow with the rocks and one single leaf sitting there by itself. 



As I continued my walk I remember the art wall that is on campus. I have always really enjoyed it. Especially from a distance. For once I finally walked up to it and really looked it over and looking at the small details of the wall and the art on it. When I took a few photographs of it I wanted to try focus on the details and abstract qualities of it. 

Last but not least my personal favorite photo from the day showing the ice along one of the pathways of the campus. I personally liked this photo the most because I love the look of how ice forms in all different shapes and sizes, along with the reflections of the trees in it.