Michaela - Mountain Portrait Session

Well, by popular request, the blogging of portrait sessions recommences. If you've been around for a while you may remember seeing a lot more blogs for portrait sessions and model work. When I "re-branded" my website earlier this year I elected to take all those off and focus strictly on couples to help "maintain my brand image". I tried out one of those nifty new Instagram polls however and a whopping 93% of followers said they wanted to see more portrait work.

And what better way to kick that off again than by sharing some images from a recent fall shoot I had with Michaela. After shooting earlier this spring, she hit me up to do another session for her. I don't see myself getting tired of couples, but it was nice to shoot some more portrait/model ish type stuff like I used to do so much of. We drove out into the mountains and played around shooting those moody northwest vibes that we all know and love. Thanks Michaela for doing so great in this session and braving the rain. 

Caitlyn & Becky - Seattle Wedding

Last minute wedding round 2! Just 4 weeks ago I photographed Katelyn and Ryan's elopement. Joe, one of their close friends at that wedding, loved how the photos turned out and had some friends who still needed a photographer for their upcoming wedding. He referred Caitlyn and Becky to me and I'm so thankful he did. Shout out to you Joe for being so awesome and I'm glad we got to hang out again this summer!

And obviously a big shout out to Caitlyn and Becky! They are each really fun people to be around and I found myself laughing throughout the entire day. I'll fully admit I was a bit nervous for this one since I hadn't photographed a same sex wedding before. I'm happy to be able to cross that one off the list now. They not only were super easy to work with but also a ton of fun! Congrats you two!

Katelyn & Ryan - Forest Elopement

Tuesday night DM on Instagram. Saturday elopement. That's how this one all went down. Katelyn and I used to hang out back in high school, though admittedly lost touch for a few years as can happen when people go to separate colleges and then make the transition into full time "adulting". It was so good to hear from her though, especially with the news that her and Ryan had decided to truly elope last minute and wanted me to photograph it. 

Katelyn and Ryan were some of the most fun and probably the most easy going people I've ever seen on their wedding day. From getting the wedding dress, organizing, and literally changing the entire event location last minute (180 minutes to be exact) when the original place got double booked, everything seemed to come together wonderfully. I'm so happy for Katelyn and thankful I was able to come along and document it all. 

Heading North in November with Giana & Paisley

It's almost Thanksgiving already? Wait, how did that happen? Time has been going so fast, but I suppose that is the nature of things when you maintain a busy schedule. Thankfully I had the opportunity to shoot some more personal work this week with Giana and Paisely. I'm gonna start things off a bit differently this time, with a short video I put together of our day in the North Cascades.

I only half ass shot a few short clips so it's a bit repetitive, but I'm hoping to start doing more video work so be on the lookout for that and let me know what you guys think! I always appreciate feedback of any kind.

This waterfall is a pretty special one to me. I found it randomly exploring right after purchasing my first camera way back in the day and one of the first real outdoor adventures I went on. It's kind of sentimental to me for that reason and not many people know about it also. I've been wanting to shoot portraits here for a long time and I'm glad I was able to check that off the list.

Giana and Paisley have been friends of mine for quite a while. Paisley I've actually known since birth, so we've shot together before. Giana I've wanted to work with for a period of time and she recently began modeling as well so it worked out great. Paisley is a fantastic fashion blogger and model. She's been absolutely killin it lately so make sure to check her out here.

We had a nice mixture of the "more serious modeling" look and "playful lifestyle" shots. Since Paisley and Giana are longtime friends, their interactions were fully authentic and easy to capture on camera.

Not much beats a solid day of exploring with cool people.

I think we shot 3 total looks for each of the girls and I was stoked with how the styling came out. Working with fashion bloggers is rad.

Since we shot both individual portraits and the girls together, and since they were both doing so good, I ended up with over 100 edits from the day.

The North Cascades highway is arguably (or not even arguably, it is) one of the best drives in Washington. I've lost track of how many times I've been here over the years. 

I've wanted to shoot models at Diablo Lake, and the North Cascades in general, for a long time now. Definitely worth the wait seeing as I got to shoot with not only one, but two awesome people.

Posting a lot for this blog but...I'm really stoked on all keep scrolling. 

Color>B&W.....or....B&W>color....I don't know. I like both.

I had actually came up to the North Cascades about a month before this. There was some snow already, but this time the snow level had dropped a ton, which meant much more snow at the top.

Originally, I had hoped to make it all the way to Washington Pass to take photos. But we ended up leaving close to 3 hours behind our initial schedule and then detoured to the waterfall first. We were driving fast to try and make it there with enough light to shoot but then as I saw the temperatures dropping close to freezing, I thought it would be a bad idea to go blasting down the highway when there could be ice. And in all honesty, we wouldn't have made it there in time with enough light anyway.

Since Paisley is a fashion blogger, we shot a few photos for that as well. I'm not gonna share many of those though. Wait for Paisley's post!

Make sure to check out Paisley's content!

Website:                                                                                    Instagram: @paisley_noelle Youtube:

Follow Giana as well!

Instagram: @gianaamoretti

As always, thank you to the models and friends for this awesome day. And thank you to the readers who made it through this lengthy post. Get outside, take photos, and do awesome stuff. I know I will! - WM

Eastern Washington Canyons With Kirsti

Hey guys! I hope everyone has been enjoying the fall weather and slow transition to winter. I've really been able to take advantage of the colorful leaves sticking around so long this year and I'm thankful for that. On a recent trip to Eastern Washington, I was able to meet up with Kirsti and take some photos in the Yakima Canyon. This may be a shorter post but it is certainly worth sharing. 

Kirsti and I were connected through Instagram/a mutual photographer friend. I love the style of modeling she's been doing and knew we could work well together. Thankfully, she felt the same and we were able to make it happen. 

We ended up getting perfect weather for this session which was great. A cloudy drizzle created great light over the surrounding sage, orange colors of fall, and vast canyon walls. Along with all that, I was happy with how Kirsti styled the outfits. This was probably one of my favorite shots from the set. The sage brush made a great background and Kirsti's flannel colors were a great accent against the grey. 

If you haven't noticed by now, I have a thing for incorporating roads into a lot of my portraits. Overdone? Maybe, but they still always look good. 

In another post not too long ago, I got to shoot with Sydney in the fall colors of the north cascades. It was pretty great to be able to shoot the same, yet somehow also different, colors of fall on the other side of the mountains. 

Thanks are in order to Kirsti for another great shoot added to the books. Congrats again on her recent engagement and shout out to Jeff for doing such a great job on those photos. Be sure to give both of them a follow on Instagram. @ginger_spice & @sjencer.

Thanks for checking out the latest. See you guys next time. - WM

Lauren & Chad - Autumn Engagement

This week I had the pleasure of photographing an engagement session for an old high school friend of mine. Lauren was referred to me by her sister and she had some awesome ideas for taking photos that I'm excited to share.

Lauren had the idea to shoot at Bob's Corn. Since we originally planned on shooting over the weekend, we thought that it may be difficult navigating the crowds there. Due to a massive weather storm prediction and an extended forecast showing more rain than not, we spontaneously decided to rally and shoot our session midweek. With about two hours notice, but we made it happen. 

Lauren and Chad were so awesome to work with. Those who have spent time on either side of the camera know that sometimes there can be a certain amount of nervousness at first. It took very little effort or time to break the ice and get these two comfortable though. They were so playful on their own and did excellent being receptive to any suggestions I threw out. 

Our location was awesome and we really lucked out with great lighting conditions. Even with a decent amount of cars in the lot, Bob's Corn had so much space for us to get away and have our own area to shoot without interruption.  

I'm really happy with the amount of fall colors I've been able to incorporate in portrait shoots this year. I especially love this set where the orange continues from the background to the foreground with the leaves and pumpkins.

Prior to this session, I had been planning on shooting some fashion/portrait looks with a model in a corn maze. I'd definitely like to make that happen after seeing how great these turned out with Chad and Lauren.

I love when couples, or people in general for that matter, aren't afraid to act goofy, mess around, or be themselves. Even when I would tell Chad and Lauren to act playful with each other, the authenticity was never forged. They have such a great connection with each other and I think it's safe to say that can be seen in the photos.

It turns out that Lauren, Chad, and I are all die hard WSU fans. Bob's Corn has a murdered out Coug tractor so for our last shots before it became too dark, we most certainly had to get some in front of it. Shout out to Bob's Corn for doing such a cool job of representing my alma mater. 

Super grateful to be a part of Chad and Lauren's engagement celebration. Big thanks are in order to them. I've loved doing these engagement sessions lately and hope to continue with more soon! Thanks for reading. - WM

Autumn Mountains With Sydney

Fall definitely has to be my favorite season of the year. The deciduous trees litter the landscape of surrounding evergreens and mountains with impressive yellow, orange, and red color palettes of the changing leaves. The air becomes cooler and crisper. The fog and mist returns. The overall atmosphere creates a mood that can be enjoyed both indoors and outdoors. So I knew I wanted to get out and take photos as much as possible.

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I recently discovered Sydney on Instagram through a mutual photographer friend of ours. Right away I knew she was someone I wanted to work with. Both her fashion and modeling styles seemed to be quite analogous with what I've enjoyed shooting lately. After reaching out and learning she was interested, we set our plans and were able to make this shoot happen soon after.

We headed up to Artist Point in the North Cascades mountains. Tucked between Mt. Shuksan and Mt. Baker with 10/10 views in every direction, it's one of my favorite places in Washington. I've been wanting to shoot with a model here for quite some time so I'm really happy it was finally able to happen.

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The weather forecast called for overcast conditions during the morning we had planned. This is what I was hoping for. I was actually almost concerned that it would be too overcast, blocking the views or we might get rained out. As you can see in the images, this was totally not the case. We had little to no cloud cover and the harsh lighting conditions proved to be a challenge early on. I've encountered this so many times by now though it doesn't worry me. Even if it's not ideal conditions, I'm confident in my capability to roll with the punches and find ways to get it done.

If you live in Washington, I highly encourage you to take a trip to Artist Point. There's great elevation changes, twists and turns galore, massive open spaces, and stellar surrounding mountain views that will make you feel like you're straight out of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth.

The mountains ended up being more blown out than I had hoped due to the harsh light. I'm honestly still really happy with this set of images though and can always go back again in the future. Which I'm sure I will, because this place has so much potential. 

After we finished at the summit, we switched to look number two and started descending down the mountain to shoot in some shaded areas. I gave Sydney some general outfit ideas I was interested in and was beyond stoked with what she came up with. 

As it turns out, Sydney and I went to the same school for a while. So we got to spend time reminiscing about the past and figuring out the other mutual people we knew which was fun.

Even with the less than ideal lighting conditions, the views were insanely cool.

During the driving time when we weren't talking, we jammed out to some throwbacks.

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I'm usually so simplistic in my editing process that I hardly do any adjustments. But for this I tried desaturating some of the yellows and greens to mellow out the background from being too overpowering in the bright light.

Although most of the epic background was lost because of the lighting, sometimes you can have fun with it so I still enjoyed this spot.

On our way back down the mountain highway I spotted a gravel road offshoot. If you have the time and gas to spare, it's a no brainer to me. You always take the gravel road and see where it leads. This one ended up taking us to an epic lookout spot where I definitely will be coming back to camp. 

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Sydney and I also got to have some really good talks on topics like business, modeling/photography industry, Instagram community, relationships, life in general, etc. I love meeting and connecting with new people and that's just as much fun as the photo shoot itself to me. 10/10 conversation quality. 

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I don't think I'll ever grow tired of shooting beautiful girls with hats like these either.

After descending from the mountain peaks, we stopped along the mountain highway to shoot with the golden fall leaves. These only last a few weeks usually and I'm glad I was able to get some good portraits this year. 

After shooting a more serious look throughout the day, we decided to wrap it up with some light hearted playful shots. 

And of course to end the day, nothing sounded better than burgers and milk shakes. So we headed into Bellingham and had our post-shoot lunch. Thanks Sydney for another great shoot to add to the books. Make sure to follower her @sydneystarkk because, spoiler alert*, she's gonna be up to some cool things soon. Pumped on all the images we ended up with and I hope to be back again with another set to share before too long. See you guys soon - WM

A Trip To Mt. Rainier

I was recently able to get together with Jordan to take some photos after being connected by a mutual photographer friend of ours. We set up a date and decided to shoot around Mt. Rainier. I had only been here once, about 5 years ago, in the winter. 

Most of the girls I've shot with in recent months have actually been fairly new to modeling. This was the case with Jordan as well. However she did a great job picking up on things quickly. 

It's the time of year when the wildflowers come into bloom near the mountain. This was one thing that attracted us towards shooting here so we took a lot of images that incorporated the flowers. 

This shoot actually turned out to be a bit of a struggle if I can be honest. With it being a weekend, traveling anywhere in Mt. Rainier National Park there were enormous crowds of people, trails were restricted, and areas to shoot were limited. We also had to wait for the sun to go down some before the lighting was suitable for the spots we had chosen.

We were limited to the trails nearby Paradise but we ended up finding a few spots to take photos and avoid the crowds.

The majority of Mt. Rainier was covered by clouds while we were shooting. This was a bit disappointing after the 3 hour drive to get here. But, you can't win em all right? The surrounding peaks and valleys were amazing and still made for some great photos. 

Mt. Rainier National Park has so many awesome areas that I still have yet to visit. I'd definitely like to get back here again in the future, perhaps with better preparation and at a time not during peak tourist visitation. 

One of my goals for the next few months is to get some photo books created. I'd like to include as much diversity as I can so I'm still waiting to complete shoots with more models I'm collaborating with. Those should be out and available to anyone who's interested by this fall. 

A big thank you is in order to Jordan for not only modeling, but for putting in the driving time and being patient with the challenging conditions. And as always, thanks to everyone reading. Back again soon - WM

Summer Evenings With Melissa

As I mentioned in my previous post, I'm working with a bunch of new people this summer so there will be new posts coming more often. I got connected with Melissa early in the summer and we finally got the chance to set up a shoot together. I'm pretty stoked to share these images because the session went really well.

Melissa started following me on Instagram and as soon as I checked out her profile I was intrigued. She's a super talented model who has worked with some great photographers and her photo feed speaks for itself. All her photos and her bio said that she was located in San Diego however so I didn't foresee us working together anytime soon. Not long after though, I saw her post that she was back home in Washington. I immediately shot her a message and we were both stoked to get together and take some photos.

We shot a local wildlife park along the Snohomish river. Ironically this is where I had my senior photos taken back in the day. Thankfully the park is big enough and timing was good so that we didn't have to work around many other people being there.

We made our way down to the river and we timed it just right with the lighting.

Melissa has a great style of modeling and it was cool to bring together both aesthetic styles and knowledge for this shoot.

After we finished shooting by the river, we switched to the second look and we made our way back up towards the fields.

The trail down to the river had a few massive clusters of logs and tall grass to get through. Thanks to Melissa for being such a champ and dealing with the unexpected obstacle course as well as me getting us lost through the bushes at least once haha.

This final round of images we got in the field are probably my favorite from the set.

I set up my 7D and shot a little bit of behind the scenes footage. There should be a short documentary film coming by the end of summer.

Model selfies for Snapchat are a must of course. 

Thanks to Melissa for another great shoot to add to the books. Hopefully her and I will work together again in the future. Hope you guys enjoyed this set and I should be back with another soon! Until then - WM

Storms At Deception Pass

Hey guys! As always, it's been ages since I last did a blog post. I'm gonna try and change that now though and in some new ways. In the past I have usually elected to save blogs for times when bigger events or stories have occurred. I have a lot of shoots planned with new models and new places this summer though. I would like to start doing shorter, and consistent, posts so that more images from each set get shared with everyone. So here goes.

This past weekend I had the opportunity to take some photos with Natasha. As with most connections, we were introduced through social media and soon made plans to shoot together. I was hoping for some overcast and somewhat drizzly weather because I love the moody atmosphere and smooth light in those scenes. As we met up early Saturday morning however, the rain was descending on us in pretty extreme amounts with the forecast showing no sign of relief. After contemplating it for a few minutes we decided to be bold and go for it anyway so we headed north. We arrived and took our first shots here at Pass Lake where the rain had dissipated enough to permit us. 

Next we made our way down to Rosario Beach. The rain started to pick up again as we were here and, despite the claims of being weatherproof, I'm usually pretty hesitant about having my 5D Mark II exposed to too much. We managed to grab a decent amount of shots here regardless though. 

Natasha didn't have much experience modeling prior to this. She picked it up quickly though and did a great job taking direction and delivering what I was going for.

It had been a few years since I last visited Deception Pass. One spot I was looking for, I couldn't remember how to get to. We stood at the overlook trying to decide whether or not to make the descent down. After driving all the way here and seeing the rain was subsiding we decided it was worth it. 

The beach was fairly crowded despite the weather conditions. I had to frame each shot with as little people cluttering the background as possible and cleaned up the rest in post. 

A few months ago I discovered a new way of editing my black and whites. I really have a soft spot for that now and I included a black and white version of most of the finals.

I'm making an effort to be more present on Snapchat now. Especially while I'm out shooting. Be sure to add me if you want to see more behind the scenes content in real time. - warrenmarshall9

After our hike back up from the beach, we drove back to the north side and checked out the views from beneath the bridge.

Opposite from our time down at the beach, there were no people in sight down on this hillside which made shooting and just taking in the views much more enjoyable.

The weather worked out, Natasha did great, and I'm pumped on the images we got. As I mentioned, I have a lot of new shoots coming up throughout the summer so I hope to be back with another post in the near future. Thanks for reading! Until next time. - WM

The Diversity of a Model

For those of you who have been following my work throughout this year, you may have seen me posting with Jasmine a lot. We were introduced through a mutual friend and while I was living in the Portland/Vancouver area. We got to shoot together 4 different times and in 4 different styles. I have yet to work with another model who has such diversity and it was a pleasure to collaborate with Jasmine. Each shoot we did turned out with so many post worthy shots. For the sake of not having this blog be too fatiguing, I will just include a few from each session. Be on the look out for me to come on my Facebook and Instagram though.

The first shoot we did was just a casual laid back fashion session. We met up at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site and took some photos in front of the rustic architecture. During this shoot, I was looking to get more of a dramatic type feel. Right from the get go, Jasmine was really good at embodying the type of mood we were working towards. In between photos though, it was all laughs and smiles the entire time. 

A few months later, we got the opportunity to do something neither of us had really done before. A giant studio shoot. I have a studio setup myself, but this time a photographer friend of mine let me use his rented studio space along with all his lighting equipment so I was able to shoot with much more extensive lighting setups than in the past.

I would say that I've developed a style of photography which consists of simplicity. I don't do too much editing to my images usually and try to create my images in camera through subject matter, composition, depth of field, etc. But it's good to constantly be expanding and learning new things as an artist and this is a concept that I'd be sitting on for a while. I wanted to do some sports/fitness themed composite images. So I shot Jasmine in the studio under dynamic lighting, then shot the background image separately and fused the two together later on.

I think the final result turned out pretty well, though there is always room for improvement. I've been collecting more background images throughout my travels and I hope to do some more composites in the future with some other people. Check out a few more we did below.

Shoot number 3. Boudoir. Once again this was a style neither of us had done before. I'm really happy with how this one turned out though. We shot at Jasmine's house and I'd say the whole setup was perfect. The color scheme of her room, decorations, furniture, lighting, etc. all created a really good atmosphere to work within. 

Shooting in the morning was a perfect time to utilize the big window in Jasmine's bedroom. With some overcast weather outside, the lighting was great. I think we did a good job keeping our shoot classy as well. From the outfits to the poses, we were able to create photos that were sensual but still somewhat tasteful and not overly trashy. It was a good one to check off my list and I'd love to experiment shooting in this style again in the future.

Last but not least, shoot number 4. I had gone exploring in the Columbia River Gorge area and found some spots that I knew would be really cool to shoot at. We wanted to get epic morning light so we met up super early and headed east on the Oregon side of the river. 

After hitting some places on the Oregon side of the river, we crossed back over into Washington to shoot at Horsethief Butte. We didn't really have too much of a concept for this shoot. We just decided to go explore the landscapes and see what we came up with.

It was great working with Jasmine so I'd like to thank her for all the fun and great photos we got. I have some other shoots coming up in some cool new areas as well. Until then, I'll leave you guys with a few more from this last session with Jasmine. Thanks everyone for checking out my latest post. I'd love to hear some feedback from my followers on what you guys think of my photos/writing so please feel free to get in touch with me. Until next time - WM

Spring Adventures

It's been quite a while since I last did a blog post so I'm excited to share some stories and photos of some adventures I was recently able to do. Over the course of about eight or nine days I traveled thousands of miles which included hiking snow capped mountains in Washington all the way to exploring vast desert canyons in northern and southern Arizona. I also had the opportunity to shoot some fashion portraits with both new friends and old. 


Saturday I drove from Vancouver to my family's in Snohomish. Along the way the rain let up so I decided to stop in Seattle and take a short detour to shoot some photos of the skyline. It's always so refreshing to visit the city once in a while and it certainly does feel like home. Sunday, my plans got rained out by a never ending downpour. That was ok though because I helped do some work around mom's house and got to spend time with the family. 

On Monday my friend Jake and I met up early in the morning to go hike to the historic fire lookout at the peak of Mt. Pilchuck. We had hiked many times on Pilchuck but we had never had the chance to make it to the summit. I'm really glad we were finally able to make it happen. There ended up being a healthy amount of snow throughout the entire hike which was really enjoyable since there really hasn't been snow around the northwest this winter. Unfortunately the clouds had surrounded us by the time we reached the top and, although it did make a cool atmosphere, there wasn't really much to see or take photos of. I was able to pause and take a few images such as these on the way up though.   

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Tuesday was a day spent with friends. I was able to have coffee with Danyelle in the morning, lunch with Chelsey during the day, and then drinks with KayeLee in the evening. I'm so thankful for all the great friends I have. I took this photo at the Kirkland waterfront after KayeLee and I had some St. Patrick's Day drinks. 

Those first few days weren't boring by any means, but I'd say here is where the adventure really began. Wednesday morning I drove up to Bellingham to meet up with fashion blogger Breanna Sankey. We had been communicating online about shooting together and an opportunity came which I'm super thankful for. Her fashion blog is awesome and I encourage you guys to check it out. She recently accepted an internship at Nordstrom and I'm super excited to see stuff from her in the future. 

Also shooting with us was Breanna Marie Photography. I've been friends with her online for quite a while but also had yet to meet in person. I reached out to her knowing she was also in Bellingham and it turns out they both were friends and had worked together before. Small world right? Breanna is an amazing photographer and if you haven't seen her work, you should definitely take a look. 

Although it was a fun and casual get together, the two Breannas were shooting for Madwell's spring clothing line. I let Breanna try out my 85mm lens and got a few behind the scenes shots of her in action. 

I'm super thankful to have gotten the chance to meet up and work together. They are each incredibly talented and kindhearted girls and I'm excited to hopefully shoot with them again in the future. 

After shooting with the girls, I hung out with my sister for a while before I had to head to the airport. We walked around Western Washington University and she gave me the tour of where she goes to school. It's a gorgeous campus and I'm sure it would be fun to shoot at. Ice cream in downtown Bellingham with your sister is a necessity. 

After ice cream it was time for my sister to drop me off at the Bellingham airport and head out to Arizona. I was able to fund nearly the entire cost of this trip after doing a print sale. So a big thank you goes out to all of you who bought photos from me and helped make this possible. 

I have to extend an enormous thank you to my dear friend Michelle who was kind enough to invite me to come visit and host me. Close friendships really mean more to me than just about anything and I'm so thankful that we have been good friends for a number of years now. 

Michelle had to work during my first day there so I decided to go explore on my own. For personal reasons, I wanted to visit the Arizona State University campus. So I took the bus to Tempe and probably did about six miles of walking between there and Scottsdale. 

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After Michelle got home from work and I returned from Tempe, we decided to go do a little sunset exploring. Another photographer friend of mine had recommended Papago Park in Scottsdale. Michelle had never been either and it was only five minutes away so we went and did a short hike and took a few desert portraits. 

Two nights in a row we went and explored old town Scottsdale as well as Tempe. Ate awesome food, got some ice cream, and took in the sights. I don't think I could live in a desert environment, but I liked the vibes of the southwest. 

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We had planned to go explore antelope canyon and horseshoe bend on Saturday only to find out the night before while at dinner that scheduled tours were the only way to visit antelope canyon. And...the only one that had space available was for 8am. So what did we do? We rallied and got up at 2am and drove four hours from Scottsdale to Page to make sure we were there by the 7:30 check in. It was kind of an exciting adrenaline rush and so worth it. 

Unfortunately, we weren't able to take the extended "photography" tour so I wasn't allowed to bring a tripod nor given much time. All the below images are hand held but I'm still so happy that I made it to this amazing place I'm not gonna complain.

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After we toured antelope canyon, we went to horseshoe bend for a while. We weren't able to visit either of these locations when the lighting was very good but like I said, I'm so incredibly thankful to have been able to visit both of these iconic landscapes. Now I will just have an excuse to go back as well. 

I've certainly become incredibly addicted to traveling. I love what I do and I hope I get to go explore again as soon as possible. Thank you for everyone who's taken the time to check out my blog and support my work. Until next time - WM

Conquer The Northwest

If you've been following me for a while you'll know that I've been planning a road trip through the northwest United States to photograph the great landscapes they poses. I'm very thankful that 2 weeks on the road and 3,564 miles later through 4 states that trip was able to happen. I felt it was necessary that I write up a post to share some of the stories and photos with you guys. Originally, this trip was one that I had planned to take alone. At the last minute however, a buddy of mine asked if he come come along and of course I agreed.

The last blog I posted was about my car buddies and I at Waterwerks in Portland earlier this summer. They were all heading down to Portland once again, and on the same day as our departure. So we met up with the boys and after hanging out for a while, we rolled down that direction with them. The first day of our trip was supposed to be exploring waterfalls in the Colombia River Gorge in northern Oregon. Since we ended up heading south later in the day however, we decided to spontaneously head out to Mt. Saint Helens and camp in that area. We didn't do much hiking but arrived just in time to catch the sunset.

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I'm sad that my Volkswagen got totaled right when I was starting to get happy with how the build was going. At the same time though, I can be thankful because I got the experience of being in the slammed car scene and now I get to experience something else. The car I ended up getting as a replacement is a 2002 Subaru Forester. I'm really stoked on this car now and it did awesome on this trip. AWD and decent clearance made it possible to go "off roading" and find some pretty sweet camping spots where probably not many others had been. It was also surprisingly comfortable sleeping in with two guys and a dog. Whenever I say we camped, I mean we found a place off the beaten path where no one would find us and slept in the car. 

On day two, we left Mt. Saint Helens and crossed over the river into Oregon. We hiked to several waterfalls and climbed some epic cliffs. Some of these photos of us were taken on an Iphone 4s. We also got several funny clips on our phones as well as some footage I shot on my 7D which I may compile together into a video at some point. 

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After we finished hiking to waterfalls in the gorge, we traveled through Mt. Hood National Forest and camped up in the hills above Trillium Lake. Although it was extremely packed with people the evening before, there were only a few people other than us watching the sunrise early that morning. This was one of the most calm lakes I've seen. The water really was just like glass and, as you can see, the reflection was great. 

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Rarely will I elect to convert a sunrise/sunset image to black and white. The high contrast and still waters of the landscape create a whole different mood for the photo though when the color is removed and I love it. 

After sunrise at Trillium Lake we continued through Oregon and began heading south. We traveled through several national forests and then arrived at the beautiful Painted Hills. I've never seen geological structures with colors such as these. They were amazing to witness in person. The sun was about at its peak in the sky during the time of our visit so I didn't have the best lighting. I would have really liked to shoot here during golden hour. One of the goals of this trip was to have no restrictions and take our time. To stay and wait for sunset here though would have left us with nearly a day and half to kill in central Oregon, and we were anxious to reach our next location.

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Lots of long straight road pictures like this were taken and thrown up on Instagram. During the stretch from the painted hills to our next location we saw maybe two cars in three or four hours. We drove through the middle of no where and started getting nervous about the level of gas in the tank. When we arrived in the nearly ghost town of Fields, Oregon we filled up at a super cool old retro gas station which had already closed. But thankfully the girl was still there to help us. 

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That next location I mentioned was here. The Alvord Desert. Most of the areas I chose when planning this trip were mountains, forests, and lakes. These are my favorite places to hike and explore by far. Because the Alvord Desert is so different from anywhere I'd ever been before, I was really looking forward to exploring the vast salt flats that continue for miles and miles. We arrived there right at dusk after the sun had gone down. There were clear skies and a full moon that night though which allowed me to capture this beautiful landscape by moonlight.

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The salt flats go on for miles and you are able to drive out wherever you want and camp which is pretty damn awesome. Not only was it a full moon that night with good visibility, but temperatures stayed in the low 70's for quite a while before it got cold. I decided I had to do something super epic so me and Piper, my puppy, went for a midnight run through the desert. We ran so far we had to find our way back to the car. 

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There were many mornings where I woke up early to photograph the sunrise. After missing sunset the previous evening I was determined to catch the sun coming up. When I initially ventured out and got set up the clouds were blocking the entire horizon. I waited patiently and took some shots as it continued to get lighter but eventually gave up hope for any color in the sky and chose to return to my warm sleeping bag. As I laid there though I saw the sky begin to really glow. So instead of getting more sleep I grabbed my camera and went out for another try. I'm sure glad I did seeing as I got to watch the desert floor light up and get the shot I was looking for.

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The salt flats of the Alvord Desert met and rose above my expectations. I'm pretty pumped on the photos I was able to get there and I know I will definitely return. This was to be the last stop for us in Oregon. 

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A gravel highway road which continues for 45+ miles brought us out of the salt flats and towards the Idaho border. We decided to get a cheap hotel in Boise so that we could rest up and shower. We pretty much just chilled there other than going to a movie. Movie for $3 = win.

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When we left Boise we traveled through Boise National Forest and even went swimming in the freezing cold Payette River on our way to the Sawtooth Mountain range. This was one of several places we would end up swimming.  

I only ended up shooting star trails at one location on this trip. Looking back, I wish I had done it more. This ridge was where we blazed our trail and camped our first night in the Sawtooth Mountains. I was never really worried about being harmed by wildlife but as I collected my camera from shooting the stars, we listened to howling wolf packs making their way closer and closer to us. I made sure to not linger out in the dark for too long. 

Day two in the Sawtooth. We hiked across the valley and up the ridge onto some boulders. The Stanley Basin area was probably one of my favorite places I've been. It was a place that provided a strong sense of serenity, yet felt truly wild. There was a serious lack of human contact and that's always a plus in my book.

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Old things in black and white rule.