I spent the majority of 2016 transitioning from being in the military and living in Hawaii to being a regular broke person living in New York City who didn't have much time for travel or photography. Luckily, I managed to squeeze in a few adventures and Milky Way shoots here and there, but nothing was constant. However, I was hired at a large camera store in the city that allows employees to take lots of time off and I made a big image sale that has given me the chance to upgrade gear (proud owner of a 5D Mark III) and plan some solid trips for the next few months. First, my buddy and I will be heading out to Portland, OR to explore the Columbia River Gorge/Mt. Hood area in April. There are a ton of waterfalls in a few mile stretch and they all NEED to be photographed, not to mention all the beautiful lakes surrounding Mt. Hood and the killer hikes (we will summit Mt. Hood) there and in nearby Washington. If we have time, Crater lake and Boardman State Park will be on the list, as well as the Boardman Tree Farm if it is still there (RIP).
My style of editing has changed as well. I'm moving away from HDR/bracketing/highly planned & edited shots in favor of more spontaneous, darker, "moodier" photos. I think it's a move that I've always been kind of reaching for but just never really tried to make. It's a big part of why I made the switch from Nikon to Canon as well. Working at a camera store gives me access to pretty much every system on the market, and I've spent a few months testing everything from Leica to Fuji to Sony to what I have now. I decided it was the right choice after seeing the differences between each system's color palette, dynamic range, rendering, and resolution. Build quality and the ability to handle bad weather was also a big part of the decision process and Sony's crappy environmental sealing scared me right away. Leica cameras are beautifully built and their image quality is amazing, but I can't imagine myself trudging through a soaking wet slot canyon with $thousands worth of hand-made German camera gear that isn't made to handle a few drops of water. Nikon seems to be more interested in making money than building tough cameras since they moved their manufacturing center to Thailand where they can most likely pay their workers way less and cut corners. The D810's steel lens mount is screwed into a plastic frame! WTF! It's too bad because the D3-era bodies were so tough that you could throw them against the wall and you'd probably just break the wall. Aside from being extremely well-built and beautifully engineered, the Mark III has a certain quality that is hard to put into scientific terms. It just has soul. It makes dreamy pictures. It has "it." I don't know if "it" is because the camera has a lower resolution sensor than what's currently on the market, or if it's because the sensor noise resembles film grain, or if it's the way the camera renders color, but whatever they did when they made this camera, they did it well. I'm excited the take it along with me and to use it in all these crazy awesome new places.
ALSO, I'm planning a shot in the Harlem area that I'm 97% certain that no one has taken before (unheard of in NYC) and is going to look ridiculously awesome when done. It's slightly dangerous to get to, but nothing that can't be done without proper planning. I'm going to leave it at that.
Lastly, I'll be updating this site a lot more and adding some how-to posts and videos because I want to be more interactive with the people that have been so supportive of me and my work over the last two years. Thanks to all of you, btw.