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.

A few Hot Springs and the National Bison Range by Chance Keso


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.


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

#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.


Deer Park Campground - ONP by Chance Keso

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. by Chance Keso

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.