Lisa's Pick: Seal Rock at the Oregon Coast

Seal Rock, OR

I love the Oregon Coast. I grew up there, and the Pacific Ocean will always have a special pull for me. As it turns out, it's one of my favorite things to photograph too. The sea and the shoreline are full of picture opportunities, from wide angle landscape shots of the beach, the waves, and the winding roads, to great wildlife photos of birds, starfish, and sea lions. It's a place where you can find something to photograph with just about any focal length lens. It's often misty (great for moody photos) or overcast (great for even lighting). But when it's sunny, watching the sun set into the ocean while the sky changes to a twilight blue is wonderful too. Have I talked about it enough yet? I could go on, but I won't. In this case we were at Seal Rock (we did not see any seals, so if you go there don't necessarily expect them) in late afternoon. It was sunny but not too harsh, and I took about a million photos. This was just one of the ones I liked, because I think you can feel the ocean a bit through it. Here are my settings:

Camera: Nikon D610

Lens: 50mm

Exposure: 1/1250

ISO: 320

Aperture: 8.0

White Balance: Auto

Watch out for more Oregon Coast photos, because I really do love it that much. I hope you'll consider visiting, because I do think it's a special place!

Lisa's Pick: Alpaca Farm


Eugene, OR

I recently visited Aragon Alpacas, an alpaca farm in Eugene, Oregon. There I found this lovely lady, who was as obliging as she was photogenic. Most of the alpacas on the farm were curious but liked to remain a safe distance from us humans, but not this sweetheart! She came right up to me and even sniffed (and drooled on) my camera. Thank goodness my camera is somewhat water resistant. She also made this happy face, which I thought was expressive of the alpacas' general sense of chill happiness. They were all really sweet and calm. Taking photos was quite easy, as the alpacas were used to a lot of visitors and tended to stay pretty still. The only thing that was challenging was not getting too many in frame, as that turned out to make for very busy photos. I was happy with this picture because the focus is on her eyes, which I think emphasizes her facial expression. Here are my settings:

Camera: Nikon D610

Lens: 50mm

Exposure: 1/640

ISO: 1000

Aperture: 5.6

White Balance: Auto

Look at her little smile! I'm a major animal person and I love wildlife photography, so this trip was great fun. I recommend making friends with some alpacas if you have the opportunity!

Lisa's Pick: A Streetcar in New Orleans

New Orleans, LA

I was in New Orleans taking pictures for this blog, trying to capture the atmosphere of the French Quarter. As we were just wrapping up, it started to rain. Taking pictures of a city in the rain is one of my favorite ways to shoot urban environments, so I was pretty happy. I really wanted a picture of a streetcar, and in order to get just the angle and setup I wanted, I had to cross this street and awkwardly hover along the streetcar line probably five times. I'm sure I looked like a crazy person, but I ultimately got what I wanted - the streetcar, the criss-crossing lines of the cables above and the tracks below, and a light dusting of raindrops. Here are my settings:

Camera: Nikon D610

Lens: 50 mm

Exposure: 1/800

ISO: 1000

Aperture: 8

White Balance: Auto

P.S. It starting absolutely pouring very soon after I took this. Just in time!

Lisa's Pick: Ducks in DC

Washington DC

I live in Oregon, so naturally I like the Oregon Ducks. I was pretty excited to find this shot on a trip to DC, partially because "Go Ducks!" but mostly because of the sense of perspective and the beautiful color of the reflecting pool. Of course I edited this in Lightroom as I always do, but the pool really was this moody blue/green/grey. In terms of subject, I enjoyed blending the everyday mundanity of the duck with one of the most instantly recognizable American landmarks, the Washington Monument (the Capital Building is peaking in there too). Here are my settings:

Camera: Sony A6000

Lens: 19 mm

Exposure: 1/200

ISO: 100

Aperture: 13

White Balance: Auto

I found that, as a visitor and someone interested in governance and policy (really), DC has a kind of magical quality to it. It's fascinating to be right where our highest levels of government operate. And outside those halls, life continues as anywhere else - people in the park and ducks in the reflecting pool.