national forest

My Favorite Photograph by Chance Keso

For any photographer choosing a favorite image is always a struggle. It feels like it’s the next one that will be the best, or it’s the one that missed and could never get out of your mind. For me, I keep looking back at a photograph I made in 2015 at a lake in the Olympic National Forest. A place that near and dear to me. I couldn’t tell you how much time I have spent in that forest over the years. I’ve come to know where almost every forest road leads to and where it ends.

Over year’s I began to fall in love with a small lake located there named Spider Lake. I’ve spent many nights camping near the lake. The lake is nestled right next to a Forest Service road but as you drive along you would almost never notice it. It’s set deep behind a massive row of evergreen trees. As you head down the road you will see a small pull off. High up in a tree there’s a small sign that reads Spider Lake. Once you park there is a trail that heads straight down the slope to the lake and proceeds around the entire lake weaving in out from the shore and through an ancient grove of cedars.

Throughout the days I have spent there I always woke up too late or wasn’t there for the one photo I always wanted to make. I woke up one morning early and saw a small layer of fog sitting on the lake, and the water was perfectly still. There was a perfect mirror reflection. I took a photo with my phone but I knew that wasn’t enough. Over the course of a few months, I kept going back to the lake hoping to see that again. Finally, on a mild winter afternoon around 4 pm, I was hiking along the lake and the fog was back. After so many attempts I was finally able to make the photograph I had been wanting to make for months.

Spider Lake, Olympic National Forest, Washington.

Spider Lake, Olympic National Forest, Washington.

Spring Break by Chance Keso

Jessica at the lower falls.

Jessica at the lower falls.

Spring break has come and gone. I’ve settled into my final quarter at Spokane Falls Community College. I’ve been working on getting my A.A.S. in Photography as some of you know. Though, this quarter is going to be a bit more difficult. At the end of my spring break I was doing some spring skiing. I took a very hard spill and ended up tearing a piece of my shoulder, again. This is now my fourth labral tear in my right shoulder. Upcoming is my fifth shoulder surgery. That’s definitely adding a little more of challenge to the quarter.

For the gram.

For the gram.

Over the break I returned to my hometown to spend some much needed time with old friends. I was able to spend most of that time in forests and get back to nature a little. Something I have not been doing enough of over in Spokane. Being back out in them added a little more spark to my creativity. Every time that I return to the forests around Western Washington it reminds me of why I fell in love with photography in the first place. There is something about those forests that always call me back.

Overall it was a good break from life in Spokane. Seeing good friends, making new friends, and spring skiing. What more could I ask for?

No place I’d rather be.

No place I’d rather be.

Elsie Lake by Chance Keso

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.