Photography

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.

It's Only Getting Better by Chance Keso

These last few weeks have been big storm after big storm. It’s been some of the best skiing of this 18/19 season so far, and it’s just piling more snow onto the mountain. Just recently we had a Saturday that started out slow. No snow in the morning but by 11 AM it started to absolutely dump snow. Come 2 PM it has snowed almost 6 inches. The Glades started filling up fast. It was refills as fast as we could ski back to them.

Ripping Through The Glades - Rider: Bridger Lambert.

Ripping Through The Glades - Rider: Bridger Lambert.

As the day went on we moved over into some other areas of the mountain. Hitting some of the secret stashes, getting face shots and knee deep snow. The bigger hits on the mountain are opening up to have safe landings and more room for error. Which is always a good thing. Hopefully have some videos coming soon of my friends and local rippers skiing here at Silver.

I have also added a few new photos to the Winter portfolio. Be sure to head over there and take a look.

Sunset - Rider: Jaelen Johnson

Sunset - Rider: Jaelen Johnson

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Winter Is Finally Showing by Chance Keso

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 since they were 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.

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.

Waiting For The Snow by Chance Keso

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 by Chance Keso

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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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