BeachDream Photography: Blog en-us (C) BeachDream Photography (BeachDream Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:41:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:41:00 GMT BeachDream Photography: Blog 80 120 I've moved! New blog. Just a quick note, that I am transitioning my blog to WordPress!  Read my future blogs here:

Thank you!

(BeachDream Photography) moving wordpress wordpress blog Thu, 30 Oct 2014 04:50:14 GMT
Up, UP and AWAY! Now that summer is almost over, I was reminiscing on this summer's Festival of Balloons.  It's one of my favorite events, even if I have to get up at o'dark thirty.  I always add event that to the online calendar as a get together for my photography group.  We meet up in the field at 5am, hugging our cups of coffee, watching the balloons getting taken out of the vans and laid out carefully on the field.  As soon as the first balloon goes up, it's a mad dash from one to another, watching them float gently up into the sky, with the morning sun coming up over the hill.  By 7pm, all the balloons are up in the air, with the lucky riders waving down at the crowds.

My photo group then heads off to breakfast, for more coffee, lively conversation and of course, pancakes!  My life would be incomplete without pancakes or waffles.  Especially with real butter and real maple syrup, mmmm... but I digress. 

I've had a wonderful summer.  It's my favorite season of the year and the weather is spectacular for getting out and enjoying the great outdoors.

(BeachDream Photography) balloon fesitval balloons festival of balloons hot air balloon hot air balloons Sun, 21 Sep 2014 22:30:00 GMT
Live, at Live Wire Radio If you've never been to a live, Live Wire podcast, I highly recommend it.  The show is hosted by Luke Burbank (Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, Too Beautiful to Live), and taped in front of a live audience in Portland and is aired on public radio stations around the country.  He cracks me up.   I also got to hang out in the green room with the artists and musicians, nibbling on tidbits and chatting with them. 

I want to give a shout out to Jennie Baker, photographer extraordinaire, who I assisted that night, at LiveWire.  I'll be posting a new blog coming up soon, from another LiveWire show last week, featuring Melissa Ethridge. 

On stage for this show, started out with Jason Padgett, a man that suffered a traumatic brain injury after a very bad mugging, and is the first case of acquired savant syndrome.  He was fascinating to listen to.  He has a book out called "Struck by Genius:  How a Brain Injury Made me a Mathematical Marvel."  What he talks about almost makes my head explode.

Also guests Joel Warner and Peter McGraw, authors of The Humor Code: A Global Search for What Makes Things Funny, comedians Nathan Fielder (creator  of Dumb Starbucks) and Andy Haynes (you may have seen him on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and Conan).  Christine McKinley, a mechanical engineer, musician, and author of the book "Physics for Rock Stars."  Plus the musical trio from Portland, Oregon, Swan Sovereign, and the band Holiday Friends, from Astoria, Oregon.

I can't wait for future performances!

Kaylee Rob, musician Backstage, in the green roomThe talent retreats back here, between sets, to rest and socialize

#kayleerob #livewireradio #livewire

(BeachDream Photography) Andy Haynes Christine McKinley Joel Warner Luke Burbank Peter McGraw jason padgett kayleerob live wire live wire radio musicians photography radio theater Tue, 09 Sep 2014 17:30:00 GMT
BBQ Showdown on the River Of all the BBQ competitions I participate in, this has to be one of the funnest events.  It's on private property set right on the river, under the shade of tall Western Red Cedars, in a "wild west town."  I've been privileged to have been there from the beginning competition 5 years ago, to this one--the newly titled "Pacific Seafood's BBQ Showdown at Juarez Canyon."  The weekend went by in a blur--starting with the sponsor night dinner, and live band.  The next morning, the BBQ teams start rolling in with their big smokers, and setting up camp.  We're there to greet them, with a hearty breakfast of biscuits and sausage gravy, and I made blueberry pancakes and banana macadamia nut pancakes with spiced whip cream.  I didn't make crepes this year, but I will next year.

Then it's three side category competitions that day--salmon, dessert and ground pork categories.  What's great is that most teams have leftover dessert, after they turn in their competition box to the judging table, so the extra is served at the buffet table for everyone to enjoy (the lemon/white chocolate cheesecake, and the double banana cream pie were big hits).  Then comes more music and dancing that night, along with drinking wine and beer, and even a conga line!

The next day its down to serious business.  The meat competitions, rated by the PNWBA judges.  Pork, chicken, ribs... At the top of the hour, the teams turn in a competition box of meat to be judged--but you better beat the clock!  If you're late, you miss that turn in.  You can find photos of the award winners, here:   At the top of the hour, multiple pans of competition meats go out on the buffet table for the public to enjoy and try, along with fruit salad, beans and coleslaw.  Once again, tickets for the event sold out in advance, with over 500 tickets sold or given away.

I was busy heading up the salsa and chili competition that day, then we opened it up for the public to enjoy. We even gave away an iPad Aire at the raffle table. 

Congratulations, also, to the Grand Champions--Bad Bones BBQ and Reserve Grand Champion--Lakehouse BBQ! Me announcing the winners of the Salsa and Chili competition   As they say in BBQ, "Keep calm and grill on" and "No one has friends over to microwave!"

Grand Champion--Bad Bones BBQ Reserve Grand Champion--Lakehouse BBQ Part of the Western Town

(BeachDream Photography) 2014 barbeque bbq bbq competition juarez canyon pacific seafood pnwba pnwba bbq competiton Fri, 05 Sep 2014 00:33:34 GMT
Drazzle (Rain and drizzle) at Canon Beach, Spring Art event The sun did peek out for a bit I spent last weekend in Canon Beach, for the town's "Spring Art Unveiling" event, a very popular weekend where many of the galleries and stores are open late--showing new art work, serving wine and hors d'oeuvres and having artist demonstrations.  Some galleries actually cover the new artwork, and "unveil" it over the weekend. 

I was at Dragonfire gallery where my work is, each day for a few hours. I had many interesting conversations with people there to experience the event, plus some that didn't know it was happening and were pleasantly surprised.  My new piece was in the Zen Garden, with other artists.  The theme for the show was "Garden."

When I wasn't at the gallery, I was hanging out at this amazing rental house we found, ten of us ladies having fun, taking photos, playing the board game Apples to Apples, drinking wine and watching the Blazer game. 

Even though it was mostly a misty, drizzly weekend, we had a really nice treat in town, which is the hot chocolate at the Chocolate Cafe.  They sell chocolates there from all over the world, beautifull handmade chocolates, plus Mayan hot chocolate, which has a spicy kick to it, with a dollop of real cream on top.  But wow, those last few sips are really powerful!  Made my eyes water, they were a tad spicy!  I also like running next door to pick up some seafood and chowder at Ecola Seafoods.  Canon Beach has a lot to offer.  We went to Haystack rock on the beach, where the puffins were said to be, but bigger birds were keeping them away.  We also stopped at Icefire Glassworks.   If you love beautiful glassware, check it out.  They have amazing, unique pieces there that have incredible depth and color. 

All in all, a relaxing, low key trip.  I'll be back at the end of June for another festival there. These are taken with my iPad, and are a little blurry. Of all the things for a photographer to leave at the house--my camera!

(BeachDream Photography) canon beach dragonfire gallery drop haystack rock high speed photography mist misty rain photography puffins rain water waterdrop wine Sat, 17 May 2014 06:35:57 GMT
Gallery Show Just a quick thank you to all that showed up on First Friday, at the gallery, in downtown Vancouver!  It was a great turnout for my art  reception, and so good to see everyone!

My next reception will be in Cannon Beach, for the Spring Art unveiling event throughout town.  I'll be at the Dragonfire gallery. 

Have a great week, all!

(BeachDream Photography) drop first friday gallery gallery show photography vancouver water waterdrop Thu, 24 Apr 2014 02:23:05 GMT
The birth of a new series From the Trees of Tranquility series Last weekend, I spent some quality time with my water drops, trying to get one last photo for my "Life in the Pacific NW" series.  So I'm sitting in my darkroom, with all the lights off, except for one small red light and the glow from my iPod, that has my music on it, and pondering what to do.  I was working on the last photo in the series, which was going to be Camas, WA based.  I did get photos, but was not quite satisfied with how they turned out.  I'll probably revisit them later.  I knew I wanted to redo a photo I had done last month, that I loved the background, but felt a different drop shape would look better.  I wanted to convey serene, tranquility and peacefulness. 

So I re-shot to get that photo, with a different, rounder drop shape. The result is the photo shown here.  It took just over 60 photos.  The funny thing about this background, is with the straight lines of the trees, I can't have the music up too loud or even vibrations from the tv in the next room, or heavy footsteps.  It makes very, very tiny movements in the water, which makes for wavy, Dr. Suess trees!  So I wait a little longer in between photos until I can see the reflection is absolutely still.  I was able to get the shot I wanted, so I started thinking about more backgrounds, with simple clean subjects.  All the trees are blossoming pink and white right now, so I moved on to that background.  From that, the new series just evolved, I kept finding backgrounds of trees that I liked.  Hence, the new series I've started, titled "Trees of Tranquility."

To see the Pacific NW Series, "drop in" (drop in, get it, haha) and see me:  I'll be the featured artist of the month at Aurora Gallery, for First Friday Art Walk, in Vancouver, WA.  April 4th, from 5-9pm.  I will be there from 6:30-8:30.  Thank you, and have a great week!


(BeachDream Photography) drop forest green green drop green water drop high speed photography photography rain water water drop in the forest waterdrop Wed, 02 Apr 2014 02:03:20 GMT
Rainy day at the Coast Gallery  Last week, I dropped off new work to Dragonfire Gallery, in Cannon Beach.  Cannon Beach is two hours from my home, but a relaxing drive.  Besides dropping off prints from items that sold, I dropped off two new pieces:  "Multnomah Falls Drop" and "Soaring Free."

Multnomah Falls Drop is a photo I've had in my head for awhile, and this is actually "take two" as the first shoot I attempted with these I wasn't satisfied with the result.  The Benson Bridge pictured in this photo, at Multnomah Falls was shut down, Jan. 9th, of this year, after a boulder took out part of the deck and the handrail.  Multnomah Falls Bridge DropMultnomah Falls Bridge DropOregon's iconic Multnomah Falls and Bridge, taken before the rock damaged part of the bridge.
Open edition.
Repairs won't be done for quite awhile.

Soaring Free is from my new layered textures collection.  It seemed to perfectly mimic that days drizzly, gray overcast skies and turbulent water.  The town was quiet, with just a few tourists here and there.  There were several people on the beach, walking their dogs or just beach combing.  If you are ever in Cannon Beach, check out the Dragonfire Gallery, they have a varied and wonderful assortment of amazing artwork. 

(BeachDream Photography) beach cannon beach coast dragonfire gallery gallery multnomah falls multnomah falls bridge rainy day soaring free Mon, 10 Mar 2014 04:46:37 GMT
Don't You Give Me No Sass! So I had this idea, to do a Powell's books/coffee drinkers photo.  It would have books in the background, and a cup of coffee with a splash of cream. 

Lady in my tea water First I started with just water, to get the timing figured out and ready to switch to coffee.  Milk proved to have its own unique challenges.  For one, milk is a thicker density than water.  I got a lot of "blobby" drops, that looked like all sorts of creatures, for instance, like the white monster from the old cartoon, Scooby Doo (and did you know that the name "Scooby-Doo" comes from the last line of the Frank Sinatra song "Strangers In The Night?").

I also had a lot of lighting challenges with white porcelain, getting it lit evenly.  I ended up with two flashes for the background and hand holding one flash above the camera, to reduce shadows.  I also had to keep cleaning the sides of the cup.  Four hours later, I got a few drops I was happy with.  I did only small enhancements in Photoshop, besides adding the text. 

I changed out the cups of coffee frequently, to keep the dark, rich brown color, as the cream kept diluting it to a caramel color.  I made 12 cups of coffee, drank one and photographed the rest!

I moved on to other projects after that, as I am getting new photos ready for the galleries.  So ten hours later, I called it quits, with quite a few images to upload the next day.  More on that, on the next blog. Strong Coffee



(BeachDream Photography) coffee cream cup of coffee drop of cream milk strong coffee Tue, 18 Feb 2014 07:05:51 GMT
Love and Drops I hope you all had a great Valentines Day!  For Valentines, I made this photo, and added text.  This time, I did a little Photoshop manipulation, to make a heart shape.  The drop above it was originally just round.  Ahhhh, the wonders of Photoshop. 

When I was first learning about Photoshop, I swore I never wanted to learn such a complex program.  "I'll get in right in camera," I said.  I started using the Adobe Lightroom program, more for enhancements, than just uploading photos.  I saw other photos my fellow photographers had done, using some Photoshop enhancements, and thought it looked quite nice.  "Ok fine," I said, "I need to learn a little Photoshop."  Fast forward to today, many hours and hair pulling later, to now experimenting with masking, layers, and textures in Photoshop.  How things change!  I'm still only using just the smallest tip of the iceberg, Photoshop does so many different things.

(BeachDream Photography) drop heart love red water water drop water drops waterdrop Sun, 16 Feb 2014 00:17:57 GMT
Serious Competition If you ever want to learn what the pros look for in judging a photo, attend a PMPA (Portland Metropolitan Photographer's Association) competition.  PMPA is the local branch of PPA, the Professional Photographers of America.  I recently participated in the last quarterly competition of the year, which was open to the public this time, and two of my photographs "merited."

The judges use the 12 elements below as the “gold standard” to define a merit image. Once a print has "merited", it can be placed in the International Print Exhibit at Imaging USA, which is the annual convention.

Twelve elements have been defined as necessary for the success of an art piece or image. Any image, art piece, or photograph will reveal some measure of all twelve elements, while a visually superior example will reveal obvious consideration of each one.

The Twelve elements listed below are in accordance to their importance:  Impact, Technical Excellence, Creativity, Style, Composition, Presentation, Color Balance, Center of Interest, Lighting, Subject Matter, Technique, and Story Telling.

Lights go down, windows are covered and usually three judges silently show the moderator the score they have given the photo (the photo is scored anonymously). Sometimes comments are made as to why a photo received the score that it did.  This is a great learning experience!  Every time I attend a competition, I learn so much.  I have been lucky to merit at each competition, which is not an easy thing to do.  I am humbled by the beautiful photos I see, and proud to be in the same class as these fine photographers. Above is a photo I took last month that merited in this recent competition.  The photo is titled "Solitary Beauty."



(BeachDream Photography) competition lone tree photo of a single tree photo of a tree photography photography competition solitary beauty solitary tree texture textures tree Thu, 05 Dec 2013 05:55:48 GMT
Layers upon Layers, Oh My! When I haven't been out enjoying these beautiful, sunny fall days and pretty tree colors, I have been working hard the past two weeks getting ready for next weekend's Stormy Weather Arts Festival at Cannon Beach. 

I have been experimenting more with adding layers to my photos of different elements.  The photo "Glorious Day" is made of 15 layers of textures, text, and enhancements.  This drop seemed, to me, to be a person standing tall, arms back, face to the sun, smiling and full of hope. It is about freedom, love and the start of a new day. A blank slate, where your dreams and desires can come true.

Here I've attached the original, single image capture and the finished, layered photo.  The two are quite different.  It has been challenging and fun to figure out what looks good to my eye.  What to add, what to take away, what I want the end result to be and what I need to do to get there.

If you haven't been, check it out the festival sometime.  All the shops and galleries are open, some later than usual, and they have live music, artist demonstrations, and wine/hor d'oeuvres.  I'll be at Dragonfire Gallery Saturday from 1-2pm, with my new work.  Maybe we will continue to have more of this fantastic weather, who knows!

Cannon Beach, Haystack Rock


  Glorious DayGlorious DayThis drop is a person standing tall, arms back, face to the sun, smiling and full of hope. It is about freedom, hope, love and the start of a new day. A blank slate, where your dreams and desires can come true.

About the process: I started with a single exposure image of the drop and Cannon Beach, and from there I added layers of textures, text, and color adjustments. It is a long creative process, where each layer has to look just right, until I feel that the photo is absolutely "done," or "complete."

(BeachDream Photography) Beach Cannon beach beach dream photography beach sunset dream drop fine art photography sunset tag water waterdrop Tue, 29 Oct 2013 17:00:00 GMT
Serving Up Style Recently, I had the pleasure of working with designers at the "Serving Up Style" event, at the Expo Center, sponsored by HGTV and Parr Lumber.  This is a two part event, half of the show is vendors for the Portland Home and Garden show.  Then there is the design portion, which is two dozen rooms decorated by fabulous local designers. There is also a contest for best decorated room, black tie dinner and awards ceremony.  The proceeds benefit Molly's Fund, which fights Lupus.

It was really fun to see all the different designs, and how creative they were.  I also want to give a shout out to Sharon of Designers Edge, and Jennifer of JMyers & Associates, two fabulous designers to work with!  Should you ever need design assistance, give them a call!

"Smell, Sip & Smile" by JMyers & Associates by Designers Edge "A Lair Fit for a Queen" by Art Institute of Portland and IKEAWinner of Design Contest "ColorBomb" by Garrison Hullinger Interior Design, Inc


"The Byre" by Manor Fine Wares

(BeachDream Photography) designers desinger home & garden show home and garden show room design serving up style Sun, 27 Oct 2013 20:27:17 GMT
Take 5--Got it! A while back I posted about my efforts to get a Cannon Beach water drop photo.  I am happy to say, after photo shoot number five, I finally got it!  This will be the newest photo in my "Life in the Pacific NW" limited edition. 

This last shoot was rough.  I had a cable for my flash short out, which took a bit to figure out that was even the problem.  Luckily I had an extra that I was not using.  One flash fell partly in the water, then I spilled water twice, plus I couldn't get a sharp focus...There have only been a few people that have seen me work in my darkroom, and they are always surprised at how much work goes into these shots.  I tell myself, that if it was easy, every one would do it!

I have more new work coming.  New photos, but I am working with them, adding textures, layers, and art into the photos.  

This new photo will be displayed in Dragonfire Gallery, at Cannon Beach, starting Nov. 1st. New 10/11/13.  Name TBAThe Rock, Cannon Beach

Thanks for reading, have a great week!


(BeachDream Photography) Cannon Beach beach beach dream photography beach sunset drop fine art photography sunset tag water waterdrop Fri, 11 Oct 2013 20:45:16 GMT
The 20 minute tour that lasted two hours Just another quick post.  I photographed the Tyee Yacht Club Benefit and Luau on Sunday, and what fun that was!  A superb line up of performers all afternoon, an amazing Hawaiian lunch buffet, dessert, drinks and fun.  Even Elvis was there.  The judge really knows how to put on an event! 

After the show, a handful of us stayed to go on the 20 minute "tour" that turned into the two hour tour, on Johns' yacht, but was alot of fun. He even let Elvis drive!      Karen OvertonKaren Overton

More photos here:


John's yacht we got to take a long ride inJohn's yacht we got to take a long ride in Me and Elvis. Even photographers get their photo taken occasionally.Me and Elvis. Even photographers get their photo taken occasionally.

(BeachDream Photography) Elvis beach dream beach dream photography beachdream benefit concert luau tour tyee yacht club yacht club Fri, 04 Oct 2013 06:06:58 GMT
Rainy days and Saturdays won't get me down Silent Watch Here's how I spent my Saturday morning.  I went hiking in the Gorge this morning, along the Elowah Falls/Upper McCord trail, on a misty, rainy wet day with a good photographer friend.   I actually like the photos I took along the way, better than the photo of the falls.  It really was about the journey and not the destination! 

We came upon a great sea of licorice fern, as far uphill as the eye could see, and then on the downhill side of a steep cliff.  The layers of the forest always amaze me.  Bright green ground cover, like the ferns, then the spindly vine maple trees above them, vying for the sun, and the tall, tall Douglas fir trees reaching for the sky.  A great way to spend the morning, as shortly after that, the rains and the wind came in full force and we were glad to be indoors, wrapping our hands around a warm cup of coffee!

Leaves of ThreeLeaves of Three


(BeachDream Photography) beachdream photography big leaf maple columbia gorge douglas fir fern ferns fir tree forest gorge gorge hike leaf maple leaf photography rain rainy day river trees waterfall yellow leaf Sun, 29 Sep 2013 05:32:28 GMT
Milky Way--The zero calorie, guilt free treat The Milky Way at Stonehenge, Maryville WA--2The Milky Way at Stonehenge, Maryville WA--2 I love being in dry, desert like climates.  There is something about the crisp crunch of grass under foot, the smell of the air, the chirping of crickets and the complete darkness that appeals to me.  Last weekend I got to spend a perfect Saturday evening with my photography friends--first at the Observatory in Goldendale, Washington, then at the Maryhill Stonehenge memorial 15 miles away.  These tall, concrete giants are quite the sight to behold, and with great views of the Columbia River and the Gorge, it's a peaceful place to spend an evening.  We even had a coyote that kept howling and coming closer, then disappeared into the night. 

There is very little light pollution out here.  To have such an unimpeded view of the starts is a treat.  Who wouldn't be awe inspired?  Looking up at them, I cannot fathom how big the universe really is.  I feel I am but a teeny, tiny speck, in the grand scheme of things... 

A little history on the memorial:  The Maryhill Stonehenge was the first monument in the United States to honor the dead of World War I (specifically, soldiers from Klickitat County, Washington who had died in the still on-going war). The altar stone is placed to be aligned with sunrise on the Summer Solstice. Hill, a Quaker, informed that the original Stonehenge had been used as a sacrificial site, and thus constructed the replica as a reminder that humanity is still being sacrificed to the god of war. The monument was originally located in the center of Maryhill, which later burned down leaving only the Stonehenge replica. A second formal dedication of the monument took place upon its completion on May 30, 1929. Sam Hill, who died in 1931, lived long enough to see his Stonehenge completed.



(BeachDream Photography) columbia gorge maryhill memorial milky night photography river star stars stonehenge war washington way Wed, 18 Sep 2013 06:06:22 GMT
Photography Collection at SW Washington Medical Center I am very pleased to announce, that SW Washington Medical Center has purchased a dozen of my photographs, for their reception area, hallways and patient rooms!  I love that the hospital is supporting artists in the community!  My photos are of local landscapes, such as Hood River, Multnomah Falls, North Oregon coast etc. These will be hung up sometime in August, hopefully, so stop by the Neurology clinic and see them, if you are so inclined!  The photo below, was taken at Lake Sacajawea Park last Fall.

Lake Sacajawea, 3,Longview, WA

(BeachDream Photography) autumn center fall hospital landscape medical photography scenic sw washington Fri, 09 Aug 2013 21:45:00 GMT
Louisa and Mo's Wedding Recently I had the pleasure of photographing Louisa's and Mo's wedding.  They made my job so easy!  One thing I love about weddings is that I get to be close to the bride and groom, to share in their special, emotional time.  I feel honored to be included in this important, life changing event!  Here are a few photos.

(BeachDream Photography) and bride groom marriage wedding Thu, 08 Aug 2013 21:24:19 GMT
Sparks of Hope Charity Gala  

I recently had the pleasure of partnering with Angela, owner of Photography by Ajay, for "Sparks of Hope", 2013 benefit auction at the Convention Center.  Sparks of Hope is a non profit organization whose mission is to grant wishes to children that are sexual or physical abuse survivors.  Their wish could be anything from a new pair of shoes, to a birthday party, to a musical instrument to play.  I was very impressed with the organization, the people supporting it, and of course,  Lee Ann Mead, the founder of Sparks of Hope.

  What a great mission they have, to help survivors, heal and eventually, thrive!  It was very inspiring to hear the stories and heartbreaking at the same time.  Events for the night included a silent auction,  gourmet dinner and dessert, along with special guests Amy Roloff of the show "Little People, Big World",  Timber Joey, and Mike Fourtner (from Discovery Channels’ Deadliest Catch), among other VIP guests.

Please support this fine organization, as they do great work!

(BeachDream Photography) abuse survivors amy roloff charity charity auction convention center gala event mike fourtner portland, oregon sparks of hope survivors Wed, 17 Jul 2013 06:15:01 GMT
Cannon Beach--Take One, Take Two, Take Three... Two sessions, and counting!  So far I have not been able to get the Cannon Beach photo I am envisioning.  I thought I would share some black/white outtakes with you.  My first shoot, it took an hour or so to get it setup, and I worked from 5-10pm, but I just could not get the shape I wanted to get!  I got a variety, but not the specific shape I'm looking for, which is one that matches the rock in the background.  I'm always adjusting the timing, and often, the water temperature.  I like to work with cold water, but as it comes to room temperature, the timing changes.  

The second session, two days later, and over 200 photos and counting, I got some different shapes, but still a no go.  I also want better sharpness for the background, so I will be improving that in my third session.  The photo above, that kind of looks like Saturn, shows what happens when I don't wait for the water to still--wavy rock in the background.  Also, my depth of field with these shots is vary shallow.  So much so, that I have to adjust the focus depending on what type of drop I'm getting.  If I want a "ball on point" or a "round" drop by itself, it is a different focus than if I am wanting a "collision", which is when one drop falls on top of the first drop and flattens out.  My depth of focus is 1/4, to 1/2 inch at most.

Thank goodness for keeping towels nearby, as one of my flashes took a dunk in the water.  I use multiple flashes for my photos to properly light the background and the drop.  Below, in color, is the background photo I used, that I took last April.  I'm off to Cannon Beach today, for several days, perhaps I'll take a shot to use when I get back. 


(BeachDream Photography) cannon beach drop haystack rock high speed photography photography water waterdrop Sat, 29 Jun 2013 18:00:57 GMT
Portland RAW--not a state of being un-cooked Recently I had the privilege of participating in a Portland RAW event, "Generations", which is a FASHION, MUSIC, ART, PHOTOGRAPHY and PERFORMING ARTS evening of entertainment! So what is RAW?  From their website:

"RAW:natural born artists is an independent arts organization, for artists, by artists.   We're a community made up of creative individuals across the nation.   Our mission is to provide independent artists within the first 10 years of their career with the tools, resources and exposure needed to inspire and cultivate creativity.   We welcome all genres of art including independent film, fashion, music, visual art, performing art, hairstylists, makeup artists and more.   RAW currently operates in 54 cities across the United States & Australia and counting ..."

It's held at the lovely Bossa Nova Ballroom in Portland, and events are packed.  I demonstrated some water drop photography and displayed some photography for sale.  This is event was great fun, I liked meeting new people, chatting with other artists, watching the models on the runway between music sets, and a drink or two at the bar! 

When you participate in a RAW show, you get a video interview for your use, head shots and other marketing goodies, plus they take no commission from sales AND you can be a part of another RAW show in any of the other 54 cities they are held!  If you know of artists that might be interested in this, here is the website:

Thanks for reading, and have a great week! 



(BeachDream Photography) RAW beachdream drop drops event high speed photography photography show tag water waterdrops Wed, 24 Apr 2013 05:33:28 GMT
Quick Update on Photo of the Year Contest My drop photo took 2nd place for Photo of the Year!  The awards banquet was a lot of fun.  Delicious appetizers; like bacon wrapped figs, plus wine and locally made beer flowed freely.  Framed photography up under lights, pretty dresses and dapper guys, a long table of desirable silent auction items, and a self service photo booth overflowing with a table of props.  Joe Donlon from KATU News Channel 8 was the MC extraordinaire for the evening.  I took full advantage of the photo booth, taking several pics.  Don't you just love photo booths?  Who has a strip of photos up on their wall at home?!   I hope the booths at the mall never go out of fashion, they bring out the fun, goofy side of people.

Here's the pic with me and Joe Donlon.  Wishing you all a little bit of fun in your week!



(BeachDream Photography) Fri, 08 Mar 2013 05:41:11 GMT
The Rose: Pacific NW Series For months, I have been mulling around an idea of doing a Pacific NW series of photos.  Finally, I am now starting this project.  In a nutshell, it is using photos from around the NW as a background, then matching the type of drop to what is in the photo.  As these are taken with a macro lens, the depth of field is shallow so the background will still be soft, not sharp at all, but still recognizable.  For example, Mt. Hood is a landmark that is easily recognized.

The past few months in my drop photography have been trial and error, as I've been disassembling my setup and moving things around, upgrading equipment (including a new lens), organizing, etc.  I did three water drop sessions in a row, where I didn't get a single print worthy photo! As I told myself at the time, "if this was so easy, everybody would be doing it!"

What is a "session?"  It is usually 3-5 hours long, sitting in a darkened room, getting one drop per photo (burst mode will not work for this type of photography) taking 200-300 photos.  It feels strange to sit in a dark room when it's a beautiful bright and sunny day out!   I get out my folding chair, my water jugs, measuring cups with a pouring spout, ice, put music on, and then really think about what photos I want to get, even meditate for a few minutes.  I find this helps tremendously, quieting my mind and organizing my thoughts.

The biggest surprise so far, in doing this series, is my rose photo.  For all of the other photos so far, I had an idea in mind of what shape of drop I wanted to get, and the water was ever so cooperative (yes!!!).  For this photo, I put one of my rose photographs in the background, but was stumped on what shape of drop to aim for.  However, the water knew!  On my third photo, I got a flower shaped drop!  I was astounded.  Amazing!!  It knew what I needed before I even knew!  I love it when things fall into place like this.  I think we could all use more of that in our lives!  

(BeachDream Photography) flash photography high speed photography photography rose rose photograph rose photography water drop waterdrop Mon, 28 Jan 2013 23:45:00 GMT
A Milky World I took a break from water drops, and did some milk photography. 

Is milk photography easier than water drops?  It depends.  Milk has it's own challenges.  I use a piece of glass for the milk to land on.  The problem is, glass reflects every piece of dust and swipe from the cloth.  I am tempted to take everything else out of the room, just so there will be less dust!  It is maddening how much dust will just fall on the mirror between shots.  One of the things I use most is a small LED flashlight.  I can see the dust particles, literally, falling down through the air!  The problem with dust, is, it shows up so readily in your photos, especially in macro photography!  I come armed with a can of air, which helps. Windex, several rags, paper towels, chocolate covered espresso beans... 

Keeping the glass scrupulously clean in between every shot, is crucial but a pain.  I spend much more time cleaning and setting up than actually taking photos.  Before my shot, I'm asking myself "where is the drop going to land?  How do I find this spot each time?  What do I pre focus on?"  Auto focus won't work for these shots, as the drop falls much too fast to focus on, so you have to pre focus where you think the drop will go.   The first drop of milk that falls always does an unimpressive "splat".  That's it. Definitely not exciting.  They look like UFOs to me.  I have many white UFO photos, but I delete them as I go.  Having less photos to upload and delete later, works better for me.

I usually add in a little food color. Consequently, my fingers are blue.  I look like I'm turning into a smurf!  I hope this wears off eventually.  Even my lens cleaning cloth has blue spots now.  Whoops. I like to add color, because white milk doesn't have any contrast.  It's just milk.  Solid white is hard to photograph.  I stay away from photographing white flowers, for the same reason.  The highlights are easy to blow out, if it's all white.  Fun for a night, but now it's back to dropping water tomorrow night...


(BeachDream Photography) high speed photography milk milk crowns milk photography photography spilled milk Sun, 27 Jan 2013 23:30:44 GMT
Photo of the Year Finalist! I was so excited to learn yesterday that my photo was chosen in the top 10 for PHOTO Of The Year Contest, sponsored by Pro Photo Supply and Canon!  It made my day!    I don't normally enter contests, very rarely, so this was so nice to be chosen as a finalist on my first time entering this contest.  I imagine it was a lot of fun to be a judge, seeing so many great photos, since they had over 1000 entries!  Wow!

The judges work is done--it's up to the public now to vote.  Mine is in the  "Professional" category.  Voting ends Jan. 26th, and I will find out the results Feb. 9th.

Have a great day y'all and thanks for reading my blog!

(BeachDream Photography) Mon, 14 Jan 2013 23:25:49 GMT
That Floaty Feeling Recently I had my first float session.  This place has large, enclosed salt water tubs in private rooms, where you "float" in the water and relax.  Oh, and there is no light or sound.   At least, at first there isn't sound.  Then you realize that you can hear your own blood pulsing, and your heartbeat. 

I didn't know that "floating" has been around since the 70's.   "Floatation is a special kind of bath. Floating in a Himalayan salt solution, enclosed within the tank, is an extraordinary experience. Liberated from time, you travel deep into your innermost self.  While floating, you are completely isolated from the outside world because the tank insulates you from all external stimuli. Additionally, the enclosure in which you are floating and the tank itself, maintains the same temperature as your body, so it doesn’t have to provide its own energy to balance the temperature," Dr. Barbara Hendel says.

Besides lowering your blood pressure, heart rate, and anxiety, what I found interesting is that floating stimulates Alpha & Theta brain waves (associated with the creative process and meditative states).  There are many artists that frequently do art after floating. Art that comes from these sessions is usually so unlike what we normally do.

I found awareness.  I found muscles tense, that I didn't know were tense.  It is very strange to feel weightless and float like oil on top of water.  Almost like an astronaut, but in the water.  Stretching takes on a whole new meaning as there seems to be no boundaries.  Afterwards, I felt a sense of calm that is hard to put into words.  I can only describe it as a deep, peaceful quietness.  Some compare the one-hour floating session to a vacation, because we return from the experience totally relaxed.  I think we could all use more of that! 

(BeachDream Photography) Tue, 27 Nov 2012 06:46:58 GMT
Bowling on my Mind?  

This is the drop I got the next day after bowling.  I find it interesting that it looks like a bowling pin!  I like bowling.  Each time you're up there it's a chance to get a strike, a fresh start.  It's always fun to go with friends and family, especially when you cheer each other on.  The anticipation, the crack of the ball against the pins, the cheers when you do well.  It just feels good!  

It's like life.  Some times you win some, some times you lose.  But every day is a fresh start.  How important it is to give positive encouragement to others.  I don't bowl often enough. I don't give enough positive comments.  I get caught up in the race of life and forget to slow down and enjoy the ride.  I'm considering this a little reminders to get me back on track...

(BeachDream Photography) Wed, 18 Jul 2012 06:27:04 GMT
Dances with Smoke Dry Ice is pretty cool.  Literally.  At -69 degrees Fahrenheit, the "fog"  sinks, rather than rises.  It floats along the surface of the water like some ethereal, kindred spirit.

I can see why performers use it in their acts, and movies use it in scenes where I normally hide my eyes.  Except I don't watch scary movies.  The first one I watched was "Amityville Horror" when I was young, and that night I slept in the bathroom with the light on!  I'm a big wimp.

The fog reflects flashes in interesting ways.  Sometimes, more frustrating than interesting, but different, none the less.   I guess that is the same reason we don't use our high beams when driving through fog?!  

Besides learning that I needed to use gloves just to handle it (which they told me at the store), I discovered a few things at home.  I added a few more things to my darkroom.  Hammer, check...Ice chest and towel, check...Gloves, check...  The hammer is to break up the ice into manageable chunks.  Unlike Sharon Stone in the movie "Basic Instinct", I don't own an ice pick.   I also discovered that bigger chunks and/or warmer water = more "fog".  I frequently had "too much fog", which obscured too much of the drop.  Getting those delicate tendrils of fog to show up in the right place, is hit or miss.  I figure that if I have to explain that the photo is not hazy, that it is dry ice, then it's not distinct enough. 

It's fun to see ice "boil" under water and bubble.  Sadly, it doesn't last long enough.  I think I will just have to make more trips to the store, as this is one challenge I am going to conquer!  Wish me luck!

Photo above:  "Set the Night on Fire"

(Named after the Jim Morrison song "Light my Fire")


(BeachDream Photography) drop dry ice photographers photography smoke tag water waterdrop Sun, 24 Jun 2012 04:35:13 GMT
A Watery World, the Movie Do what you love.  How many times have you heard that phrase?  I pondered that yet again today.  I am doing what I love.  It's a truly beautiful thing. And I'm getting better at it.  As I sifted through four years of water drop photos, I could see a lot of improvement from my earlier photos.  And I'm sure that as I look back on today's photos, it will be the same way.  It's a trip down memory lane. 

From these files, I compiled a 4 minute slide show of drop pictures, with early photos to most recent ones.  When deciding on music for this movie, one of the first pieces of music I came across was Robert Miles "Children"  Dream version, from the DreamLand Album.  I kept coming back to it.  When I finally decided on it, I bought it from iTunes and played it.  This was when I discovered that the version I first listened to and liked had the first 10 seconds missing.  Ironically, the first 10 seconds are sounds of rain and thunder!  Perfect for water drop photos! It also has "Dream" in the title, the same as my company, "BeachDream Photography".   I had to smile.  It was meant to be.


(BeachDream Photography) dreams drop photography water waterdrop watery Tue, 15 May 2012 23:50:28 GMT
Wedding Daze      Professional wedding photography is not for the faint of heart.  Really.  Most photographers I know will not attempt weddings.  Not only are you expected to capture every special moment perfectly, but you must have varied photographic talents.  Universal talents!   You are not only a people photographer, but a landscape photographer (the grounds and the church), a macro photographer (details of dress, shoes, rings, decorations...), a candid photographer (capturing emotion in the bride and groom and guests), an action photographer (guests dancing, bouquet throw, bride and groom sprinting down the aisle...), a food photographer (cake, meal, champagne toast), etc. etc.

    Recently I had the privilege of photographing Kim and Mike's wedding with a fellow photographer.  Being a photographer you get to be up close and personal with the wedding couple and you are right there to see and feel every emotion.  You are just a few feet from them as they go through one of the most important days of their lives.  It's happy, it's stressful and it never goes perfectly.  It goes by entirely too fast.  So for most couples, capturing that moment in photographs is of utmost importance, and rightly so!

     Good rapport between the photographer and the client is vitally important to capturing those incredibly special moments.   A couple that is flexible and has fun with their wedding day,  makes all the difference.  I had great fun with Kim and Mike, and their wedding went beautifully.   I was able to capture several tender moments, that made for wonderful photos that they can be proud of.

    So in closing, I write this to Kim and Mike:  thank you for letting me be part of your special day!  And to all those reading my blog out there:  give your local wedding photographer a hug, it's a tough job! 




(BeachDream Photography) big day photography professional wedding Fri, 04 May 2012 23:34:19 GMT
Left of Center      Last night's shoot was what I call "left of center".  Often times I start out with specific photos in mind that I want to get, and I quickly find out that it's just not going to work!  For instance:  I can't capture a collision drop (where a drop falls on top of another drop), or I'll get strange reflections, or the timings not right, etc. 

     Rather than getting frustrated, I change tactics and go for something completely different.  The photo above is what I call a second phase  drop, which makes more of a "mountain" shape, than a "column".   I don't often try to get these.  Second phase is a later drop, that happens after a whole set has occurred:  drop, crown, column, ball, back down into ripples then to a second phase.  It's also smaller, and often slants to the left or right, rather than straight up and down.  This column is pointing "left of center". 

  For inspiration, I always ask myself, what would happen if... And I choose something different from what I normally do.  This photo is the result of putting together colors I wouldn't usually pair together.  I like the effect though, it works for me.

  Sometimes life is just a little "left of center!"  You never know what paths it will take you down...





(BeachDream Photography) drop left of center photographers photography tag water waterdrop Mon, 09 Apr 2012 02:26:18 GMT
Obsess much?

     Earlier today, I was looking outside my kitchen window at a steady rain falling on the cement.  Each drop makes a ring that expands to a larger ring,  then another drop falls and makes its own ring.  Over and over.  My photography has changed how I see the world.  When waters coming out the faucet, I see the columns that rise up.  In a split second it's gone.  Pouring milk in my coffee has me equally fascinated.  It happens so fast that most of the time my brain doesn't even register it.

     I know photography is in my blood.  Every time I go somewhere, anywhere, I see photos.  I see curved lines and repeating patterns in the taco shells, line up like a big shell mountain.  I see a rainbow of colors in the displays of precisely spaced vegetables, laid out at the grocery store.  I see perfect, puffy white clouds in the sky and think what great clouds for a photo, if only I had a good foreground!  How the late afternoon sun streams in the windows onto our daughter, perfectly highlighting her hair, so that she looks like an angel.  Or the way the fog winds its way through the layers of forest, as I'm standing on the hill above my parents home in the country.  There's a quote that I always think of when I'm there-- "where the forest touches the sky, that's my kind of country", by Louis L'Amour, famous author. L'Amour's birthday would of been next week, as he was born on March 22, 1908, in the days of the American Frontier. 

     But, I digress.  It's more than the forest, sky, drops or my family.  When I capture a moment in time, that one picture that makes me catch my breath and smile, I know that I am hooked. 




(BeachDream Photography) camera drop forest highlight photographers photography sky tag water waterdrop Wed, 21 Mar 2012 04:59:48 GMT
The Hidden Messages In Water


     One thing I have always found fascinating is how the water has a mind of it's own. I get unexpected results all the time.  At a friends store last week, I found an interesting book  titled:  "The Hidden Messages in Water" by Masaru Emoto.   In his experiment Dr. Emoto used about fifty different water sources varying from glacial water in Japanese mountains to filtered water from a faucet.  He then attached different messages to each water sample and even had a Buddhist monk bless some of them.

     Some of the messages were: "Love and Gratitude," "Thank you," and "You make me sick." He included a variety of positive and negative thoughts. He then froze the water samples on Petri dishes in a freezer at -4 degrees Fahrenheit for 3 hours. His stated results showed a strong correlation between the message and the formation of the water crystals, and then he photographed the crystals. Water samples with optimistic messages on them created "nice-looking" crystals and the ones with pessimistic messages created "ugly" crystals.

     I found it all very fascinating.  Water has a frequency, a vibration?  I believe there are a lot of things that we can't see that we have yet to know and come to understand. So I did my own experiment.  I attached a message "love, joy and peace" to the tray of water, and I sent good thoughts to it.  This is one of the resulting images.   I have never had this shape before in a collision (where one drop hits the top of another drop).  Also, to Jeff, thanks for pointing out the smiling face in the column!

     I think that's kind of cool. I like unexpected surprises like this...




(BeachDream Photography) beginning camera drop heart hidden love messages photographers photography tag water waterdrop Sun, 11 Mar 2012 20:28:35 GMT
Watery Beginnings

     Going through my files, I found one of the first photos I had taken of a drop, in March of 2008.  I started thinking about the changes I've made since then, and how different my photos are now.  For one, my equipment has changed.  I went from one on-camera flash to FOUR off camera flashes. I am on my third drop system now, an electronic timing device.  Although it's not foolproof or simple by any means,  I do get more consistent results with it.  I changed backgrounds, added gels, upgraded my camera, and I shoot In RAW format now, instead of JPEG.

     I also changed location:  from a tiny bathroom (no window, so I could get the dark room that I needed), to a full size room with room darkening shades, chair, desk, supplies, and various lights.  I work in total darkness when the camera shutter is open.  One thing that has been consistent is the wonderful help of my significant other.  When I get stuck or I can't get the results I'm looking for, there are many times I peek my head around the door with the same words "can you help me figure something out??"  Two heads are better than one!  He has a more engineering approach to my creative approach.

     When people say, "how long did it take to get that photo?"  Well, I started taking photography very seriously, around 2006.  Before then I took pictures, but mostly of just family, vacations, personal events, etc.   The long answer would be: "it took me $10k in equipment, numerous college and professional classes, six years of consistently taking photographs on a daily or weekly basis, being away from family and friends, getting up before dawn to get that shot when I would much rather be sleeping in, and basically living/breathing/thinking about photography eight days a week.  That's all that led up to that shot".  

     Die hard photographers are a funny bunch, we take it quite seriously and put a lot of work into it.  We "collect glass" (buy lenses) and can discuss at length the merits of which lenses to buy.  We're up to date on what new cameras are coming out and lamenting that now ours seems "obsolete" now.  When one of us says "I'm going to take a picture over there" we know that they don't mean just ONE picture.  We are much more comfortable BEHIND the camera, than in front of it!   I belong to four photography groups, and I'm the assistant Organizer of two of those.  We get together for monthly meetings to talk about photography, and we go out on many photography outings to take photos.  Now everyone in the group  knows that if you get down on the ground or in a precarious position to get THE photo, that SOMEONE in the group will be taking a photo of you, to post on the internet later!!  No one in the group even blinks an eye when we say that we've taken over 100, or even 300 or 500 photos at an event.  Because they have too.  We go shooting in the rain, cold and even ice sometimes.  Our Christmas lists are things that fit in our camera bags, not stockings.  And sometimes it's even a new camera bag itself!

      Now when people ask "how long did it take to get that photo?"  I just smile and say, "do you want the short version or the long version?"


(BeachDream Photography) beginning photography camera drop flash photographers photography tag water water drop photography waterdrop Sat, 25 Feb 2012 06:43:32 GMT
Experimenting with Milk

     Milk is a fun medium, if not messy!  I stayed up late last night experimenting.    The color is from bakers food coloring.  There are a few challenges.   Milk and food coloring are fairly splashy and little tiny drops went further than I was expecting.  I quickly learned to take measures to cover up all surfaces that would stain!   I take one shot then spend more time cleaning up surfaces than taking photos.  I end up turning on my flashes in between all the photos, because they have timed out before I am done cleaning up.  The surface I'm dropping drops onto must be scrupulously clean, as any streaks, spots, or tiny fibers will show up in the pictures.   I'd rather get it right the first time than get a great photo but have to spend a lot of  time in Photoshop cleaning it up!  Now a bottle of glass cleaner occupies some of my work space!  I also have to be careful not to use cloths or paper towels with too many

     I got a few surprises that were quite interesting.  One drop with green food coloring flattened out; it looks like a flattened jesters hat to me.  One milk drop that had pink food coloring, made a little heart shape, that was fun.  Another is when I moved to trying double drops of milk:  these created an effect I can only describe as "fractured."  They have long tendrils of colored milk reaching out of the frame.  I also thoroughly flush out all droppers and such, as dried milk in them would not be a good thing!! 

     There is always music in my studio, it keeps me awake and is fun to jam out to.  It takes me probably a half hour or so to set up and just as long to clean up, so my photo shoots are 3-4 hours usually, sometimes I do an all day shoot though if I'm getting good results.


(BeachDream Photography) drop drop photography food coloring milk milk drop patriotic Wed, 22 Feb 2012 02:05:15 GMT