Journeys in Color: Blog en-us (C) Journeys in Color (Journeys in Color) Sun, 09 Apr 2017 23:14:00 GMT Sun, 09 Apr 2017 23:14:00 GMT Journeys in Color: Blog 120 120 A California Spring A couple weeks ago, Lisa and I flew down to Los Angeles to visit her family in Ventura. After spending a few days with her cousins, we said good-bye and set off on a drive up the state to San Jose, where we'd be flying back to Seattle in a couple of days.

Entering the National MonumentEntering the National Monument Our original plan had been to drive up the coastal highway, however, all the recent rain had thwarted that plan; washed-out bridges and landslides had closed a huge section of the road to tourists. So instead we decided to drive up the interior of the state and visit the Carrizo Plain.

The Carrizo Plain is a long, wide valley through the mountain ranges of Central California which follows the San Andreas Fault. And in late March-- particularly late March, 2017 after a very wet winter-- the grass is green and the entire landscape turns purple and yellow with wildflowers.

From the town of Maricopa, it's a long, open, and empty drive through the Carrizo Plain National Monument, interrupted only occasionally by a historic marker or an old ranch. In the middle, there's a lone Visitor Center, with not much there except a small souvenir shop and some informational displays. From the Visitor Center, you can see Painted Rock in the distance, a prominent rock formation which is still used for ceremonies by the Native Americans of the area. It's off-limits to tourists except during guided tours, but those weren't available this time of year anyway, so we kept driving. Soda Lake and wildflowersSoda Lake and wildflowers

We drove for a time past Soda Lake, which most months of the year is a dry lake bed. Thanks to all the recent rain, it wasn't actually dry, and it and another nearby lake bed stretched on for miles like a huge mirror lying across the plain.

At one point we stopped at a short hiking trail and visited Wallace Creek, running downhill from the mountains and into the valley, and which is bisected by the San Andreas Fault. Wallace Creek, turned into a Z from fault activityWallace Creek, turned into a Z from fault activity Over the past 3700 years the movement of the fault has turned the straight creek bed into a Z-shape, so the downhill part of the creek is about 425 feet north of the uphill part.

Driving north from there, we kept following the plain away from the National Monument and into the emptiness of countless open pastures, occasionally driving by a herd of cows or a small cluster of ranch buildings, but all in all, it was some of the most remote driving I've ever done. The highway running through the emptinessThe highway running through the emptiness

We didn't pass a single gas station or store for many miles, until we found ourselves crossing the San Andreas fault again, marked by a tiny creek along the valley floor. And just down the road lay the tiny town of Parkfield (population 18), the earthquake capital of California.

There was a little cafe, lodge, and town park there, but very little else. After a look North American Plate to the left, Pacific Plate to the rightNorth American Plate to the left, Pacific Plate to the right around the town, we pressed on. The road got narrower and turned to gravel, and at a couple points we had to pull off the road to let a tractor drive by. One point-- several miles after the paved road had turned to gravel, and as we were winding our way up into some hills-- we were stopped by a farmer in a bulldozer, his dogs running alongside him. He warned us about a boggy section of road near the top of the mountain we were going up. We were in a rented SUV, but it wasn't four-wheel drive, and we weren't sure if we'd be able to make it, but since turning around would mean driving many miles to the nearest cross-street and finding a way around, we decided to  View across Central CaliforniaView across Central California keep going and see for ourselves.

Luckily, the boggy patch didn't turn out to be too bad, and after a series of increasingly spectacular views, we crested the ridge and continued our journey through the emptiness of central California. Several miles further, at the next crossroad, we decided we'd had enough of the emptiness and drove out of the valley, heading west until we rejoined Highway 101. We spent the night in the little town of King City, which wasn't far from our destination for the next morning: Pinnacles National Park. Trail leading up to the Pinnacles OverlookTrail leading up to the Pinnacles Overlook

Pinnacles National Park is an eroded remnant of an old volcano that once sat along the San Andreas Fault and was basically ripped in half by fault activity; the pinnacles are the remnants of the Western half of the volcano. The fault is now many miles away, but the Pinnacles remain, and are a spectacular feature of the natural landscape. They're home to many species of birds, including the California Condor, and have a lot of caves in the area as well, which are home to bats and other wildlife.

Lizard in the grassLizard in the grass We only had a couple hours to spend at the Pinnacles before we had to head up to San Jose to catch an afternoon flight, so we hiked a mile up a trail that rose straight into the heart of the Pinnacles, to an overlook surrounded by rocky spires. Turkey vultures and hawks soared overhead-- we didn't see any condors, sadly.

On the way out we stopped at an old river bed on the way out, where the fault line used to run a long, long time ago. Now it was full of wildflowers and lizards, and a creek meandering its way downhill from the Pinnacles still visible in the distance.

Flying over SeattleFlying over Seattle From there we pretty much drove straight into San Jose, with one final long stretch of scenic green pastures before we began to see civilization again. We returned the car, caught our plane without incident and headed home. When we reached Seattle, we got some nice views as the plane did a long slow circle above the city in order to approach the airport from the North for landing. It's nice to be home, but I do miss the California sun and the summery fields of wildflowers.

]]> (Journeys in Color) 2017 Andreas California Carrizo Carrizo Plain Carrizo Plain National Monument Fault Plain San San Andreas Fault Wallace Creek drive monument wildflowers Sun, 09 Apr 2017 06:24:39 GMT
An Eastern Oregon Road Trip ( Approaching Steens MountainApproaching Steens Mountain Better a few months late than never? This was actually written a while ago, but I got so busy this Fall that I forgot to do a final cleanup and hit "Publish" until now. Anyway, without further ado...)

It's become a tradition for us to go camping on the weekend after Memorial Day. Last year, we went to the Olympic Beach, and the year before that, we went to the Elwha River. This year, however, we had something a bit more elaborate in mind: a road trip to Steens Mountain, in the southeast corner of the state of Oregon.

Steens Mountain is an oddity if you look at it on a map; it's a long, fifty-mile stretch of branching and intersecting ridgelines, looking more like a landscape than a mountain. It's just to the southeast of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge (made famous by the "Y'all Qaeda" occupation earlier this year), a 300 square mile stretch of wetlands amidst the high desert of eastern Oregon.

Stars over East LakeStars over East Lake It took us almost two full days of driving just to reach Steens Mountain; the first night, we camped at East Lake, just south of the city of Bend, OR. That night, amidst the noise of (conservatively estimating) ten billion frogs along the waterline, we set up our cameras and tripods and did some star photography. Lisa had a new 400mm lens which was fun to try out, but all in all, I preferred the wider shots I got, including a panorama of the Milky Way over the mountain. There was a bit of light to the north (probably from the city of Bend, which was about twenty miles to the north), but still a heck of a lot darker than our home in Seattle. Dark skies may be my favorite thing about camping in general.

Eastern Oregon is a geology nerd's dream, with lots of evidence of volcanic activity-- both recent and ancient. Our campsite was near the Newbery National Volcanic Monument, and the next day we hiked around the Big Obsidian Flow, a huge lava bed full of pumice and chunks of glassy obsidian the size of small cars.

Most of the day, though, was spent getting the rest of the way to Steens Mountain, and in the afternoon, we finally reached the high desert around the Malheur Wildlife Refuge. From a viewpoint, we were able to look down on the wet marshlands of the wildlife refuge, incongruous amidst the miles and miles of desert. Even in the day, hundreds of feet above the marsh, there were a fair number of mosquitoes out and about, but I didn't think too much of it as we enjoyed the view and headed back to the car. In retrospect, it was an ominous sign of things to come.

That night, we stayed at Page Springs Campground, on the south end of the refuge. It was a lovely little area, crisscrossed by streams, with some nature paths Evening mosquitoes at MalheurEvening mosquitoes at Malheur leading out from the camp. But from the moment we got out of the car, we were swarmed by as many mosquitoes as I've ever seen. We quickly put on insect repellent, but every moment we were outside meant being accompanied by an incessant swarm of mosquitoes. While the Sun was out, it was possible to stay in the heat of the Sun and avoid the worst of them (they seemed to prefer the shade), but as the evening came on and the Sun began to drop, the mosquitoes got worse. We ate dinner in the car, and after dinner, rather than sit out amidst the bloodsuckers, we took a drive through the refuge.

Along the drive, we saw a few deer, and had some decent views of Looking toward Steens Mountain in the eveningLooking toward Steens Mountain in the evening Steens Mountain, although every time we slowed the car down the car was enveloped by unreal swarms of mosquitoes-- maybe drawn in by the carbon dioxide from the exhaust. Either way, we stayed safely in the car until we got back to camp, made a dash for the tent, then stayed in the tent until morning, at which point we packed up as quick as we could and fled.

In staying at Page Springs, our goal had been to go further down the road that loops close to Steens Mountain, however, the road was still closed. Wild horsesWild horses So we drove about twenty miles south down the main road to the other side of the loop road, and luckily, this side of the loop was open. Away from the marsh, the mosquitoes were no longer a threat, and we stopped the car several times along the side of the road to watch wild horses roam, or to go hunting for rocks amidst dried up stream beds.

After a while, the road began to go up, and we were able to get pretty far up the mountain, to the top of the ridgelines, before finally being turned back by a closed gate on the road. (We could see the snow at the very top of the mountain, and we had been warned at the ranger station the previous day that the summit is usually closed until late July or August.) Still, we were pleased with how high up we had been able to get-- and we ate lunch sitting on some rocks overlooking a spectacular valley.

The landscape at Diamond Craters Natural AreaThe landscape at Diamond Craters Natural Area After lunch, we made our way back out to the main road and up north to Diamond Craters, an area full of craters, basalt flats, and other volcanic features in a small area. We followed a dirt road past several sights, including far out along the rim of a crater, before finally the road got too washboarded and we had to turn back.

Camping near Mann LakeCamping near Mann Lake We wanted to camp out in the desert, so after Diamond Crater, we made our way up and around the East side of Steens Mountain, then south toward the Alvord Desert. The paved road came to a halt, and we continued down a dirt road until we reached Mann Lake, a little pond with a campsite managed by the Bureau of Land Management. We weren't quite at the desert, but the campsite was nice-- no mosquitoes-- and there was an outhouse nearby. Moreover, the view of Steens Mountain from the campsite was fantastic, so rather than keep going into the unknown desert, we stayed put.

Starry skies over Steens MountainStarry skies over Steens Mountain That evening, we wandered down to the lakeside where there were a few waterbirds scampering around, then later that evening did another round of astrophotography-- the stars out here were amazing. And except for the occasional car or horse trailer coming down the nearby road, we had the area to ourselves. Well, except for the hundreds of cattle in the nearby fields that made their presence loudly known through most of the night-- but it all faded into the background, mostly, and we were able to get some sleep.

The next day we left Steens Mountain behind and began to head north and west, back in the general direction of Seattle. Along the way, we drove through some amazing landscapes in Central Oregon-- it was a blazingly hot summer day, but despite the heat, we stopped at several places along the way to get out of the car and admire the view. We dropped in at the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, and after a walk around the Visitor Center in the very welcome air conditioning, we drove to the nearby Painted Hills, which were spectacular and more than lived up to their name.

That night, we stayed at the The Cove Palisades State Park on the Deschutes River, where we able to go for a swim in the evening-- after so much driving and walking around the desert, I had been craving a swim for days. Our campsite was nestled in under the cliffs, and we watched the vultures circling overhead from their nests around the cliffs as the final bit of daylight lit up the tops of the cliffs a vivid yellow-orange.

Our final day was spent driving back to Seattle, although we did stop in briefly at Mt. Hood along the way. Timberline Lodge, at Mt. HoodTimberline Lodge, at Mt. Hood Despite travelling the route several times, it's always been cloudy when I've passed by Mt. Hood, so we took advantage of the sunny day to finally see it up close and personal, as well as the Timberline Lodge, whose exterior served as the lodge in The Shining. (An episode of the TV show The Librarians was apparently being filmed while we were there, and there were lots of buses, trucks and trailers in the parking lot, as well as crew either standing around or directing traffic.)

After that, it was a quick jaunt up I-5, through Tacoma and Seattle traffic, and back home again, after a mere 5 days and 1500 miles.

]]> (Journeys in Color) 2016 Bend Malheur Mountain Oregon Refuge Steens Wildlife geology obsidian road trip volcanoes Thu, 24 Nov 2016 02:37:34 GMT
A Glamorous Doll This was a fun and very collaborative photoshoot. I met Nessa Boo through a Facebook photography group when she answered a model call for bodypainting shoots-- after some back-and-forth, we settled on doing a porcelain doll look. Nessa had a beautiful red mermaid dress she wanted to use, and I wanted to do a couple different looks with the makeup. We also enlisted Zina Curtean to help with hair and beauty makeup; I did the bodypaint, but having Zina along to help with hair and beauty makeup helped a lot. This was my first time working with a professional Hair and Makeup Artist, but this was also Zina's first time doing makeup on top of bodypaint, so we were all learning something new.

For the bodypaint, I skipped the airbrush again in favor of palettes of Kryolan Aquacolor, which I also used on my Mardi Gras shoot. Overall, I'm fairly happy with how it worked out. The application process was a bit slow, and it took a few layers for me to be satisfied, but we also had plenty of time and I wasn't rushing. While Zina was working on Nessa's eyes and face, I was working on her arms and body, and our efforts came together quite nicely in the end.

In the first phase of the shoot, we did some "normal" porcelain doll looks; in the second phase, I painted some cracks over her makeup and we did more of a broken doll look. We also added some lines down the sides of her mouth for some extra creepiness, and I experimented a bit with elbow joints-- but in the end, I focused on being the cracks on her face and body. I didn't want to overdo it, or go for anything too elaborate (like a spiderweb pattern in the cracks). I kept it simple, and in the end, I'm pretty happy with how it worked.

If I do something like this again, I'd like to do it at a place liked Spooked in Seattle, where I shot last year and is a great place for gothic/Victorian looks and creepy backgrounds. Instead, since we were in a studio with a white backdrop, I went for sparse, cleaner shots. With the cracked doll, I worked with color filters and gradients-- and considered trying to find some textures from the Spooked in Seattle shoot that I could utilize here-- but ultimately stuck with what I had. I feel like the shot to the right, for example, does a pretty good job of portraying emotion and that any more editing beyond what I already did might just be distracting.

You can see the full photoshoot in the set below. At the end, I also included a couple behind-the-scenes pics as Zina was helping Nessa put the finishing touches on her makeup.

]]> (Journeys in Color) 2016 HMUA Kryolan bodypaint brush doll glamorous makeup mermaid dress red white Wed, 20 Apr 2016 00:53:00 GMT
Mardi Gras Colors On Sunday, in lieu of watching the Super Bowl, I did a photoshoot to celebrate Mardi Gras (which is culminating today). Most of the bodypainting shoots I've done have been nude, but this time I wanted to do something a little simpler-- and also something we could go downtown and shoot-- so I picked up a cheap Mardi Gras costume dress, some bodypaint, a few props, and asked my friend Mala if she'd be interested in helping out.

After my airbrushing difficulties in my last bodypainting shoot, I shelved the airbrush and went with palettes of Kryolan Aquacolor. After a little experimentation with brush technique, I was able to get it to go on smoothly, and I'm pretty pleased with the results. The gold was Mehron powder, which I've always been very happy with, and it went on well... though on looking at some of the pictures I could have been a bit more careful with my brush technique, as it streaked in a few places. Guess I just need to do more shoots like this so I can get in more practice! :)

Nitpicking aside, I'm really happy with how this shoot came out. It was a lot of fun to take our colorful creation out on the streets and do some shooting in Pioneer Square, amidst the historic-looking street lamps and old brick buildings. (The shot where Mala is behind bars was taken at Waterfall Garden Park, and was a response to an online comment guessing that the theme of the shoot was "sad mime.") We even stopped in the nearby Diva Dollz store, where I had bought a few of the props we used during the shoot.

On the indoor shoots, we generally played up the doll aspect-- I actually thought of Mala for this shoot because when I met her, she was doing disjointed poses in her C-3PO cosplay. :) So we did some of that, used some green ribbon to do some marionette poses, and then broke out the beads and coins... necessary props for any Mardi Gras photoshoot.

You can see more pictures from the shoot in the slideshow below. And wherever you are, enjoy Fat Tuesday!



]]> (Journeys in Color) 2016 Mardi Gras Seattle bodypaint bodypainting clown costume doll jester makeup Tue, 09 Feb 2016 19:20:47 GMT
Hanna, Ship's Navigator A couple weeks ago, I met up with Air Bubbles Cosplay to shoot her Hanna, Ship's Navigator costume. The character is from Magic: The Gathering, where she's the navigator and engineer of the skyship Weatherlight. Going off the general theme of the illustration by Terese Nielsen (which you can see on the right next to our own not-exactly-recreation), I wanted to shoot somewhere with a lot of wood, and a general theme of old boats. I suggested we meet at South Lake Union Park, near the Center for Wooden Boats.

In the end, we didn't end up shooting much at the Center-- though we did do some portraits on the very end of the pier. Instead, we went to MOHAI nearby, where a century-old houseboat was open for public tours, and with permission, we were already to take some photos on the deck of this beautiful houseboat that fit almost perfectly with the general theme I'd been aiming for.

The furniture on the deck was fantastic, and there was a wheelhouse with a big wooden ship's wheel that was just what you imagine in such a setting... though I did have to photoshop out the modern marine radio suspended from the ceiling. There was also a small study with a really nice old desk, and just in general the whole look and feel of the boat was perfect. I love being able to find the perfect setting for photoshoots, and that definitely happened here.


]]> (Journeys in Color) Hanna Hanna Ship's Navigator MTG Seattle cosplay costumes costuming fantasy magic Tue, 09 Feb 2016 02:23:52 GMT
The Olympic Peninsula in Winter Evening on the water in Port AngelesEvening on the water in Port Angeles Over the three-day Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend, Lisa and I drove out to the Olympic Peninsula. Our first goal was to drive up to Hurricane Ridge, but we wanted to make the drive in the morning, so on Sunday night we stayed at a cheap motel on the outskirts of Port Angeles. That evening, we went for a walk along the waterfront, saw some dramatic clouds, and a few lonely ships anchored in the harbor.

The next morning was cloudy but free of rain; looking up toward the mountains from the motel parking lot, we could see a mass of shifting fog and cloud clinging to the upper summits of the mountains. We weren't sure if we would get any sort of view or not, but we had already come this far, so with tire chains in the trunk and ready to Hurricane Ridge, living up to its nameHurricane Ridge, living up to its name go if things got dicey, we started up the long, twelve mile road to Hurricane Ridge.

But the tire chains turned out to be unnecessary; the last few miles of the road were covered in snow and ice, but there were enough cars and trucks coming and going that the ice was rough and the tires were able to maintain traction. So after some careful driving, we reached the summit of Hurricane Ridge.

5,000 feet above sea level, Hurricane Ridge was busy living up to its name. The wind blasted up over the ridge, sending drifts of snow into our face, and we winced behind our scarves as we hurried across the parking lot to the Visitors Center. On the windward side of the building, snow had piled up into fifteen-foot drifts, right up to the second floor windows.

Sun, clouds, and snowSun, clouds, and snow We had considered renting showshoes and going for a short hike, but the stinging wind coupled with the expense of snow shoe rental (and the fact that neither of us had ever actually snowshoed before) made us decide to wait to try snowshoeing until another time, hopefully somewhere where the conditions were a little less extreme.

So we stayed near the Visitors Center, pleased that we had gotten a view despite the clouds, then headed back down the icy road.

Strolling along the water in Port TownsendStrolling along the water in Port Townsend With most of the day still ahead of us, we decided to go to Port Townsend, on the very northeastern corner of the peninsula. It was about an hour's drive from Port Angeles, and when we got there we had lunch at a little diner on the water's edge. We walked along the water for a bit, where it was almost as windy as Hurricane Ridge, but at least the wind wasn't accompanied by gusting snow.

From there, we drove to nearby Fort Worden, an old army base from the early 1900s. Now the main fort along the shore is an old, spooky derelict that would make a good setting for a horror film, and you can still walk through the dark hallways. If you pretend, you can listen to the echoing screams of the hyperactive children scampering around and pretend they're poltergeists.

We walked along the shore to the nearby lighthouse and Point Wilson, and once we felt thoroughly windblown, headed back to the car. We caught the ferry home to Seattle just as the remaining daylight faded from the sky.

]]> (Journeys in Color) 2016 Hurricane Ridge Olympic Peninsula Pacific Northwest Port Townsend Puget Sound Road Trip Washington beach mountains travel Fri, 29 Jan 2016 01:31:05 GMT
Bodies in Color, #6: Merry Christmas At the beginning of this year, when I did my first "Bodies in Color" shoot, I set a goal of doing at least one bodypainting shoot per month. However, between switching careers and moving apartments, I stayed busier than expected, and ended up well short of my original goal of twelve shoots. But with this shoot, I did manage to make it to six-- one every other month-- and I'm fine with that. It's still far more than I've done in any previous year.

For this particular shoot, I originally wanted to do a Harley Quinn theme, but with Christmas coming up, I decided to put Harley on hold and do something a little more seasonally appropriate.

My model was Kebechet, who I also painted green earlier this year. She came up from Portland for the shoot, but thanks to avalanches on the highway, wasn't actually able to make it to Seattle until the following day. That meant instead of starting at noon, we actually started at 5 pm the next day, because of my work schedule.

I'd gotten some new Kryolan makeup that I was looking forward to trying out-- I've used Kryolan before to good effect, and was hoping it would be a bit more even and stay on better than the Mehron liquid paint I've used in the past. However, as it turns out, I had a great deal of difficulty with the white liquid paint-- I couldn't get any decent flow rate through my airbrush, despite cutting it with more and more barrier spray and water.

It's possible that my airbrush was having issues, but after trying two different airbrushes, I gave up and used a regular ol' brush with white Mehron paint for the white. As a result, the white doesn't look as good up close as I'd hoped.

The red, on the other hand, worked well-- I had palettes of Kryolan Aquacolor which I brushed on with a sponge, and that went on very well-- to the point where Kryolan Aquacolor palettes may end up being my go-to makeup in all future bodypainting. I'm kind of fed up with airbrushes in general-- I feel like I'm getting worse, not better, at using them. Maybe with brushing and sponging I can actually concentrate more on the painting than on getting the damn airbrush to work and the paint to flow.

Anyway, airbrush complaints aside, the late start time also meant that by the time the bodypainting was done, we were all getting tired, and couldn't quite spend as much time on the fine details and face makeup as I'd originally hoped. I had gotten some false red eyelashes that I thought would go well with the theme, but those had their own issues, and after about ten minutes we gave up on those. I had also gotten some pink blush for cheeks and facial highlights, but I completely forgot about it while trying to get the real experiment to stick-- the tinsel.

I'm actually really happy with how the tinsel turned out in the end. It stuck easily on her arms-- not quite as easily to her legs, probably because the sections of tinsel were larger. I used prosthetic adhesive-- Spirit Gum is another product that I've pretty much given up on-- and that's okay, because the prosthetic adhesive worked quite well. With a little more time, I might have liked trying to use more tinsel, but ultimately I just went with small bands on the arms and legs, and used silver paint to highlight the rest of the borders of the painted costume.

One other lesson learned: if you're going to do bodypainting in the winter, get a space heater. (Sorry about that, Kebechet.)

Despite all the difficulties, and the bad luck with the scheduling, I'm pretty happy with the results, especially the tinsel, and the candy cane stripes on Kebechet's legs. I wasn't sure about the yarn wig at first, but after trying a few shots with her natural dark brown hair, we decided to go with the wig, and I'm pleased with the way the red wig ties everything together.

You can see more of the results below. (I may add a few more pictures to this gallery over the next couple weeks.)

]]> (Journeys in Color) 2015 Bodies in Color Christmas bodypainting candy canes holidays red tinsel white Sat, 26 Dec 2015 21:50:50 GMT
Journeys Around Seattle, #65: Browns Point Back in September, Lisa and I went on a drive to visit Dash Point State Park, north of Tacoma and west of Federal Way on the shore of Puget Sound. The park itself was on a small bit of shoreline, sandwiched between private property on both sides. The day was gray and chilly,and the shoreline wasn't particularly impressive on its own, but there was a small creek running into the Sound, and I spent quite a while next to the tiny cascade of water. I found myself more than a bit mesmerized by the bubbling and splashing of the water as it fell down the rocks and into Puget Sound, getting ever closer shots with my telephoto lens, until they turned into little more than abstract patterns of bubbles, a moment of chaos frozen in time. 

Even after leaving the stream behind, I found myself pointing my camera at some of the smaller things around the park, including a piece of driftwood, a toppled-over toy, and a few spiders.

After spending some time at the park, we decided to keep exploring, and headed out further west toward Browns Point, the very tip of this particular promontory along the Sound. There's an old lighthouse there, Browns Point Lighthouse, and a little park where lots of kiteboarders had set up their equipment and were taking turns riding across the water on the gusty breeze. They made for great photographic subjects, despite the gray day, and after spending a while taking pictures I talked to them for a bit about the weather and the best places to go kiteboarding around the Sound.

We walked around the rest of the park, past the Keeper's House, but again, it was a fairly small park bordered on both sides by private property. So, having gotten a decent and varied share of photographic opportunities for the day, we called an end to our exploration for the day and headed home.


]]> (Journeys in Color) 2015 Browns Point Dash Point Dash Point State Park Journeys Around Seattle Puget Sound Tacoma kiteboarding ocean waves Wed, 18 Nov 2015 23:32:47 GMT
Journeys Around Seattle, #64: Whidbey Island Last weekend was a grey, rainy weekend, the kind of dismal weather Seattle is well-known for. It's a reputation that, in the winter months anyway, is well-deserved. Lisa and I were going stir-crazy, but the weather wasn't nearly good enough for any sort of hiking (at least, any sort of enjoyable hiking) so we decided to make a day trip up to Bellingham, 90 minutes north. However, to get there, rather than take the straight shot up I-5, we followed a coastal route up the shore of Puget Sound.

From Seattle, we headed north to Mukilteo, and caught the ferry to Whidbey Island, a long island at the north end of Puget Sound and the largest island in Washington state. From there, we skirted the shoreline, stopping occasionally at parks and viewpoints along the way. The day was gray, but the sky was an ever-changing patchwork of clouds, and the light and water gave Puget Sound a restless feel on this moody winter day.

On clear days, we would have seen hundreds of miles from here to the Olympic Mountains, the Cascades, and even the Canadian Coastal Range; we had none of those views, except some brief glimpses of Mt. Baker. Instead, we got turbulent gray skies and water, and occasional almost mystical glimpses of sunlight as it broke through the clouds and shone on distant patches of water.

At the north end of the island is Deception Pass, which is often fogged in, but not today. Instead, we walked across the bridge, looking down to the cliffs and sea caves far below. The tides were changing, and we could see tiny whirlpools form and disappear in the water below. Occasionally a boat would pass under our feet, its wake spreading out across the water and providing a sort of symmetry to the clouds overhead.

There are a lot of nooks and crannies along the edges of Whidbey Island, and its neighbor, Camano Island; both Lisa and I agreed that we need to come back and explore the island more throughly one day. But for now, we kept heading north to Bellingham.

The rest of the trip was pretty uneventful, at least from a photography perspective... and I've blogged about Bellingham and its environs before. So for now, have a slideshow of Puget Sound and Whidbey Island on a gray, lovely, moody winter day. (And if that seems like a contradiction, you really do need to visit the Pacific Northwest.)

]]> (Journeys in Color) 2015 Journeys Around Seattle Puget Sound Whidbey Island clouds weather Tue, 10 Nov 2015 06:18:39 GMT
Bodies in Color, #5: The Golden Girl With the newest James Bond movie, SPECTRE, coming out this weekend, it seemed as good a time as any to pay homage to one of the original Bond Girls-- Shirley Eaton, who suffered an unfortunate demise at the hands of Auric Goldfinger way back in 1964. Eaton's famous look later made the cover of LIFE.

So fifty-one years later, with the James Bond franchise still going strong, I messaged my friend Ashke to see if she'd be interested in doing a photoshoot along those lines. She agreed, and soon after our mutual friend Mad Morrigan Cosplay agreed to come along to help with hair and makeup.

So this ended up being the first entry in my "Bodies in Color" photoshoot series in which I didn't do most of the makeup myself. (Actually, that's not quite true... in #3 Stephanie did a fair bit of her own makeup as well, but this was the first time I didn't really have anything to do during the makeup phase.)

I had planned to do standard brush-and-sponge painting, rather than airbrush painting, but Morrigan is a master of the airbrush and was carrying her own airbrush in her car, so that's what we went with. It actually worked better than I expected; I was afraid the metal powder would clog the airbrush.  But the paint looked fantastic at the end. The one downside was that it was a longer process, and because I hadn't brought a box fan (which really helps with ventilation for airbrush painting), the hotel room was covered in a very fine layer of golden dust by the end.

By that time, we were all ready to start taking photos. I had chosen the hotel room based on Expedia pictures, and while I was fairly pleased with the setting, I did inevitably run into problems. The nice wooden headboard, which had looked cool and classy when booking online, was actually incredibly reflective and glossy, and shone under the light of the flash like it was a mirror. There was also a painting with a reflective glass surface that had been glued to the wall; both of these things gave me headaches as I tried to get the lighting right.

But despite a few hiccups, I'm pleased with the pictures we got. I got the shots I really wanted to get... the silhouetted legs in the vaguely reminiscent style of a Bond opening sequence; lying on the bed, the victim of Auric Goldfinger; and of course, we did a nod to Shirley Eaton's cover from the November 1964 issue of LIFE.

You can see some more pictures in the slideshow below; I may add some more in the coming days. I also added a few behind-the-scenes of the makeup process at the very end. Many, many thanks to Ashke and Morrigan for helping make this shoot happen!

]]> (Journeys in Color) Bodies in Color Goldfinger James Bond bodypaint bodypainting gold golden makeup Sat, 07 Nov 2015 01:43:22 GMT
Journeys Around Seattle, #63: Chasing the Lunar Eclipse On September 27, a lunar eclipse happened simultaneously with a supermoon, a confluence which only happens once every eighteen years or so. Lisa and I had gone chasing a lunar eclipse a couple years ago, however, thanks to Seattle's frequently-cloudy weather the best we were able to do was a few good views of the skyline.

But the forecast for September 27 was clear, so we decided to see what we could find. In a bout of optimism, I even rented a 400mm lens with a 1.4x teleconverter for the occasion. Since our photo target was the moon, we figure we didn't need to get out of the city to see it, and decided to head to West Seattle to try to get some shots of the moon rising over the skyline-- on the West Coast, the moon was due to rise with the eclipse already underway.

On the shore of West Seattle, there was a line of photographers and sightseers stretching for miles, eyes and cameras trained on the skyline across Elliott Bay. However, as the moonrise time passed with no sign of the moon, we began to wonder if we'd miscalculated in some way. Finally, I was able to see the moon through the camera, but barely-- the lunar eclipse had dimmed the moon so much that it was only barely visible as it rose over CenturyLink field. Perhaps we'd have been better off getting out of the city after all.

As it rose over the haze in the eastern sky, the moon grew more visible, but it soon became clear that by the time the moon grew bright enough for good photography, it would be too high to get the skyline in the shot as well. So we packed up and headed to our next destination, an overlook near the top of Queen Anne, to see what kind of view and photography we could do there.

By the time we got there, the sky had grown fully dark and the eclipse was bright overhead. The lower edge of the moon was already starting to lighten as the eclipse neared its endpoint, but I was able to get some decent shots of the eclipse from this vantage point. There were quite a few helicopters hovering over the city-- whether for news organizations or private flights I couldn't tell-- and occasionally one of them strayed into my shot, which I actually didn't mind, as it made for some interesting light patterns in the photo.

After hanging out on Queen Anne for a bit, we headed for Gasworks Park. By the time we got there, the moon was already emerging from the Earth's shadow. Trying to photograph it, it was interesting to see just how much darker the eclipse was than a standard full moon-- if I metered my photo so you could see the now-partial eclipse, the bright part of the moon was too washed out to see anything but white, and if I metered for the bright part of the moon, the eclipse was too dark to see.

So I took a few photos, then moved my camera to get some photos of the moon through the pipes and metal railings of the Gasworks. We watched the moon until it had just about fully emerged from the eclipse, and I snapped a final photo of the regular ol' Supermoon before we headed home to bed.

Below you can see a few of my favorite photos from the evening. At the end, you can also see two photos from the next morning, when I managed to take a few photos of the full moon in the sky before it set in the western sky. I'd gotten up early in the morning to take advantage of my rented lens to go out in search of wildlife-- mostly to no luck, sadly, but at least I got to see the supermoon one last time.

]]> (Journeys in Color) 2015 Gasworks Park Journeys Around Seattle Seattle West Seattle astronomy eclipse lunar moon Tue, 06 Oct 2015 01:16:09 GMT
Journeys Around Seattle, #62: Mt. Rainier - Mowich Lake & Spray Park In my explorations of Mt. Rainier, until now, I'd only been to Paradise and Sunrise. These are the two most popular visitor areas, on the south and east side of the mountain, respectively. For this hike, though, we were headed to the north side of the mountain, entering via the Mowich Lake entrance, which follows an increasingly rough gravel road for several miles until finally passing into the fee area of the national park.

The weather was overcast and cooler than we'd expected, and we were almost shivering as we started down the trail-- after a couple weeks of steady temperatures in the eighties and nineties, the cooler temperatures had caught us off guard. But we got warmer as we hiked, and the Sun began to peek through the clouds here and there.

A couple miles down the trail we took a side branch to Spray Park Falls, which both Lisa and I agreed was the most beautiful waterfall we'd ever seen. It was a tall, intricate cascade over a broad rock face, with lots of little outcroppings and crevices that added to the beauty and complexity of the falls, which seemingly got even more impressive as we got closer and could see more and more of the falls. The trail followed a scramble up the hillside right to the base of the falls, and had the day been warmer, I might have wandered into the cavern behind the falls, or explored the pools a little more closely.

But I was still chilly, so I settled for admiring it from a distance, and resolving to come back on a warmer day, and also to bring a tripod.

We headed back to the main trail, which ascended steeply over rough terrain for the last mile before getting to Spray Park, which is a patchy network of open meadows on the slope of Rainier. The wildflowers were out in full bloom-- in fact, the wildflower cycle appeared to be near its end, unlike normal years when the wildflower season might have just started in early July. We had lunch and took some photos of flowers and bees, then explored a bit and found a side trail that led us to the best views of Mt. Rainier we'd had all day.

Clouds still obscured the upper slopes, and didn't appear to be going away anytime soon, so we headed down. On the way back, a viewpoint at Eagle Cliff, which had previously been socked in by fog, gave us some more views down the length of the valley and up toward the rocky landscape high up on Rainier-- though the mountain's summit was still hidden.

All in all, it was a good hike, and we'll almost certainly be back, to Spray Falls, at the very least. At the parking lot, we walked down to Mowich Lake, and explored the shoreline a bit before heading down the bumpy gravel road back to civilization.

]]> (Journeys in Color) 2015 Journeys Around Seattle Mt. Rainier Spray Park hiking mountains waterfall Thu, 23 Jul 2015 00:15:49 GMT
A Weekend Trip to Bellingham View south from Samish OverlookView south from Samish Overlook Over Independence Day weekend, Lisa and I drove up to the seaside town of Bellingham, about an hour and a half north of Seattle, to stay with some friends and explore the area. We'd been hoping to get out of town to go camping, but the 90+ degree heat wave that hit the area made the prospect of camping and dayhikes somewhat less appealing.

So instead, we packed our cameras into the air-conditioned car and headed north. Among the highlights from the weekend: a visit to Whatcom Falls Park, in which we saw Whatcom Falls at maybe a tenth of its usual volume. (Did I mention it's been a hot, dry year?) To escape the heat, we went for a swim in a nearby swimming hole-- there are actually several swimming holes in the park-- where the water was still deep enough that people could jump off a cliff into the water, if they were brave/stupid enough.

The San Juan IslandsThe San Juan Islands On Saturday, we drove around the countryside, including going out to a local game preserve and wildlife refuge at Lake Terrell. In the evening, we drove up a rough dirt road into the nearby hills to Samish Overlook, from which we could see south across farmland and west across the San Juan Islands.

One of the San Juans, Portage Island, actually had a small wildlife, which is visible in the photos if you look for the low, small island to the left of the photo that appears to be covered in a blanket of fog. Between the Portage Island fire and the fires further north in British Columbia, there were several layers of haze on the horizon, and the Sun turned blood red as it sank below the horizon.

The next day, we drove out to Mt. Baker, specifically to Artist Point, at the very end of the highway. I'd been to this area once before, on Labor Day weekend in 2011, when we weren't actually able to get to Artist Point because even in September, there was still too much snow on the mountain.

Mt. Baker vistaMt. Baker vista This year, Artist Point opened to visitors in May, and by the time we got up there in early July, there was no snow to be seen anywhere near the parking lot, except for a few small remnants tucked in shady cervices. It was hazy, too-- the photos of Mt. Baker have been post-processed with Adobe Lightroom's new "Dehaze" functionality, which worked pretty well, although it added some noise to the sky.

All in all, it was a good weekend, and we're already making plans to come back and do some more substantial hiking in the area... once the weather's cooled down a bit, anyway.

]]> (Journeys in Color) 2015 Bellingham Mt. Baker San Juan Islands hiking mountains road trip sunset Thu, 09 Jul 2015 00:04:40 GMT
Journeys Around Seattle, #61: Ravenna Park Despite having lived in Seattle for almost five years now, I hadn't ever walked through Ravenna Park, a large forested park not far from Greenlake. Its most prominent geographic feature of the park is a large ravine, at the bottom of which is Ravenna Creek, and a surprisingly large network of trails.

The park itself has an interesting story. For much of Seattle's history, the ravine had been ignored by farmers and loggers, so that even by the early twentieth century it was a haven of old-growth trees and forests. That had unfortunately come to an end by the 1920's, when most of the trees disappeared under mysterious circumstances, although you can still see a few remnants of that old growth forest today.

For much of the twentieth century, the ravine and its surroundings were neglected and unprotected, and in the 1960s, the ravine in adjacent Cowen Park was filled with leftover dirt from freeway construction. However, in the 80s and 90s, the community banded together to preserve Ravenna Park and its creek. Today it's a beautiful little oasis of nature, isolated by the ravine's geography from the surrounding city-- you can almost imagine you're walking through remote forest sometimes, except for the steady stream of joggers and the street-level bridges that frequently loom overhead as you walk the length of the ravine.

Today, Ravenna Park is a surprisingly lush little oasis, and a good place to go if you need to escape the hustle and bustle of north Seattle a hundred feet or so overhead. The creek is picturesque, and there are a few little ponds, with a lot of interesting plant and insect life if you look close. Ferns and horsetails line the path, and the trees overhead provide a shady, cool canopy from the heat of a summer's day.

(On another note, if anyone is curious what the yellow marble-looking things are in the third and fourth pictures, those are from the side of a light pole on the park's perimeter.)


]]> (Journeys in Color) 2015 Journeys Around Seattle Ravenna Park Seattle walking Sat, 27 Jun 2015 00:31:52 GMT
Journeys Around Seattle, #60: Mt. Rainier - Paradise This week, Lisa and I paid a visit to Mt. Rainier National Park. Our target hike was the Bench and Snow Lakes Trail, an easy 2.5 mile round trip on the south side of Mt. Rainier near Unicorn Peak, in the Tatoosh Range.

We drove to Paradise Visitor Center first, stopping at a few magnificent view points along the way, which afforded great views of the Nisqually River-- though the Nisqually Glacier that feeds it has retreated far up the mountain. 

We stopped briefly at the Paradise Visitor Center to grab lunch at the overpriced snack bar there and to check out the exhibits; the area is more built up than the companion visitor center at Sunrise, however, the hiking immediately around Paradise isn't as good. It is the most common starting point for climbing to the summit, however, the upper reaches of the Mountain were definitely not on our agenda today.

Instead, we hopped back in the car and continued down the road a few more miles to the trailhead, stopping briefly at the aptly-named Reflection Lake along the way.

The trail itself was relatively easy, although it still had plenty of ups and downs as it wound it way toward Unicorn Peak, through mountain meadows where Indian Paintbrushes were already starting to bloom. We passed an overlook which afforded views of a small pond and the valley and peaks beyond, then made our way to Bench Lake, which was offset from the trail a ways and down a steep path.

So we decided to continue on, and before long had climbed over the last hill before Snow Lake. We could hear the rushing of the outflow creek as we drew closer, and soon we could see the water through the trees. We walked along the path to the far edge of the lake, where a small creek flowed down into the lake from the glacial cirque that loomed high all around us, with Unicorn Peak towering far above. The creek was full of tadpoles, and we watched them darting around in the water for several minutes before the mosquitos started to get to us before we headed on our way.

We circled back along the trail, following the turnoff to where the Snow Lake campsite is located, and stopped there briefly to dip our feet in the water and admire the view before heading home. We were already thinking about returning with backpacks and a tent.

To get home, we continued driving west-to-east around the south side of the mountain, eventually doing a loop around the whole of Mt. Rainier. This allowed us to stop at Box Canyon on the way home, in the southeast corner of the park, where a glacial creek has carved a narrow, 120 foot deep canyon with sheer walls. From the wayside overlook we could actually see Mt. Adams in the distance; then we followed a trail a short ways to a bridge over the canyon, from which we could look straight down into the narrow drop.

By that point, it was getting late, and we embarked on the long drive home, circling the rest of the way around the mountain and heading north back to Seattle.

]]> (Journeys in Color) 2015 Journeys Around Seattle Mt. Rainier Paradise hiking mountains Fri, 19 Jun 2015 07:55:29 GMT
Journeys Around Seattle, #59: Big Four Ice Caves On Thursday, Lisa and I drove up to Big Four Mountain, a couple hours north of Seattle in the Central Cascades. I've done photo expeditions in the area twice before, once to Darrington and once to the abandoned mining town of Monte Cristo. However, despite driving past the Ice Caves multiple times, I had never had the opportunity to stop and hike up to them, until now.

The Ice Caves are a short, relatively easy hike from the parking lot, over a mile-long gravel trail up to the base of Big Four Mountain. Over the course of the winter, lots of snow and ice fall down and collect in a sheltered corner at the bottom of the cliff; then, as the summer progresses and the snow and ice melt, caves are formed in the ice.

Often there are no visible caves at all as a snowfield persists until mid-summer, but this year's warm dry winter meant that the ice caves were already well-formed, looking in early June the way they might look in late August on a typical year. I wouldn't be surprised if they disappear entirely by the end of the summer.

The Ice Caves are also quite dangerous; several people have died while exploring them, crushed by chunks of snow and ice falling from the roof. Visitors to the area are strongly warned against approaching the entrance, and cautioned over and over again to stay on the trail. However, we saw more than a few folks get pretty close, and a couple people actually entered the cave itself-- as for me, I stayed well back and contented myself with the views I could get with my long zoom lens.

To me, the towering cliffsides, with their striations and crevices and countless tiny waterfalls making their way down from the rapidly-thinning snowbanks on the upper slopes, were even more impressive than the caves themselves. As we approached, the cliffs felt more like a matte painting or a movie special effect than reality-- it was a reminder that even though I've traveled to some amazing places recently, like the Himalayas of Nepal, I'm lucky enough to live in an area where there are some world-class natural wonders close to home, too.

]]> (Journeys in Color) 2015 Cascades Ice Caves Journeys Around Seattle Seattle hiking mountains Sat, 13 Jun 2015 02:03:48 GMT
Backpacking on the Beach Last weekend, Lisa and I drove out to one of the most isolated parts of the Washington state coastline, on the Olympic Peninsula near Lake Ozette, for a weekend backpacking trip. After waking up early enough to catch the ass o' clock ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge, we drove along the north side of the Olympic Peninsula, through increasingly small and isolated towns, until finally we turned onto the final empty twenty-mile stretch of road that took us out to Lake Ozette.

You can find Ozette on a map, however, there's no actual town there, only a ranger station and a general store that services the campground on the edge of the lake. From there, it's a three mile hike out to the beach, along a fairly even path that turns into a boardwalk in places where it crosses marshy ground-- not that there was much marsh to be seen while we were there, after this year's relatively dry winter. The day was warm and overcast, and after an hour's hike, we found ourselves at the campsite-- Sand Point, right on the edge of a rocky headland with all sorts of fun tidal pools.

That afternoon, we explored the tidal pools, which were full of snails and crabs and anemones. There was a pair of bald eagles in the area, as well as a deer living in the campsite, who became something of a constant neighbor throughout the weekend, grazing in nearby campsites and frequently sited along the trails and even on the beach.

Later in the afternoon, after having set up camp and wandered around the area a bit, we walked two miles north to Wedding Rocks, where some ancient petroglyphs had been carved into the rock by the Makah tribe that used to live in the area. Luckily, we had stopped to talk to a woman who was actually carrying a map of where the petroglyphs were, which I took a photo of; still, even with the map, the petroglyphs were hard to find, and trying to find the man-made markings among the natural wear of the rocks sometimes felt like looking for shapes among the clouds. But nevertheless, we were able to find quite a few petroglyphs, including the one for which Wedding Rocks was named.

There's quite a lot of litter and detritus along the Ozette beach, including tires, shipping container panels, boxes, and various odds and ends. Quite a few of the larger pieces of debris had Japanese writing on them. We also passed by the decaying carcass of a large sea lion, probably about nine feet long, although thankfully there wasn't much of a smell. We saw the bones of a few fish laying around as well, and the skeleton of what may have been a raccoon not far from our campsite.

On a more cheerful note, we also saw some gray whales off the coast, as we were taking a break near the Wedding Rocks. Whales can be hard to spot on this stretch of coast, even though they're fairly plentiful, simply because of the huge number of offshore rocks that create dark shapes far out in the water, constantly registering in your brain as false positives. But the distinctive puff of water from their blowholes was unmistakable, and we watched them for several minutes before losing track of them.

Despite the litter and the occasional creepy set of bones, Ozette was a beautiful place, with very much a wild feeling to it. That night, we were one of only three small groups of people spread out across the large campground, which probably contributed to the feeling of isolation. 

The next day, we did one more exploration of the beach, then packed up and headed out, retracing our steps back to civilization. Since we'd caught the Seattle-Bainbridge ferry on the way over, we took the Kingston-Edmonds ferry across the Sound on the way back, where we saw quite a few cruise ships steaming out of Seattle on their way to Alaska and parts north.

It was definitely a fun trip this weekend-- Ozette is a place both Lisa and I want to go back and explore more of in the future.

]]> (Journeys in Color) Ozette backpacking beach camping hiking nature Tue, 02 Jun 2015 21:06:37 GMT
A Haunted Photoshoot Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in a photoshoot at Spooked in Seattle, a local museum and tour company that specializes in ghost stories and real-life haunted areas around downtown Seattle. While I don't particularly believe in ghosts myself, the museum was nicely atmospheric and well set up for some cool photoshoots. Plus, the museum connects to the Seattle underground, the original ground level underneath what is now Pioneer Square. If there do happen to be any ghosts in Seattle, this is where they'd be.

It turned out to be a fairly large photoshoot, with quite a few photographers and even more models, and I had the opportunity to work with a wide variety of people. The gallery below is just a small selection of the images I took. By and large, the shots (particularly in the underground) came out pretty atmospheric all on their own, though I also took the opportunity to toy with the tools in Adobe Lightroom and create some antique and black and white images. The gallery is a mix of both.

Particular thanks for this shoot go to Joe Teeples and Dan Morrill, who helped organize the whole thing, as well as the makeup artists who did a wonderful job on everyone: Don Warner, Tiphfennie Lynn Lunk, and Kenyada Magnificent Marjani.


]]> (Journeys in Color) 2015 Seattle Spooked in Seattle Underground creepy ghosts haunted spooky Wed, 27 May 2015 21:14:32 GMT
Bodies in Color, #4: Mystique A couple weekends ago, I met up with a friend of mine to do a bodypainting shoot. I had previously shot photos of her Emma Frost cosplay, so we decided to keep with an X-Men theme for this shoot as well and do Mystique.

As usual, I used liquid Mehron paint cut with barrier spray so it could pass through an airbrush. Unfortunately, the last time I did an airbrush shoot, back in March for "Orion Boudoir", it took a long time-- four hours for a simple solid-color bodypaint, which felt way too long for airbrushing. So prior to painting Mystique, I broke out my older single-action Paasche airbrush, and managed to get it working again. I noticed that even with my air pump working at the same PSI, the air pressure from the Paasche single-action felt much stronger than the airbrush from my newer Iwata double-action, which I've been using for the past year or so.

Testing with paint seemed to confirm that the Paasche would be better for full-body shoots. I'd never done a side-by-side comparison of the two, but until now, I'd always made the assumption that they were roughly equivalent, in terms of flow... but apparently not. So I packed up both airbrushes-- the single-action Paasche for the full-body coverage, and the double-action Iwata for the finer detail work that I wanted to do with stencils.

My plan was to do a hybrid of the comic book and movie versions of Mystique; I wasn't going to do any latex or prosthetics to mimic the movie, but I did want to try to emulate some of Movie Mystique's skin texture with paint.

Unfortunately, despite all my testing, the bodypaint still took about four hours, even with the Paasche. Moreover, the makeup began to wear away pretty quickly after it was applied, even when using barrier spray as a final topcoat-- that was disappointing. (I had that problem a bit with the Orion shoot, too, and also with the Leopard shoot, though to a much smaller degree.)

I find myself wondering how some cosplayers manage to get their bodypaint to stay on through a whole day of con. I suspect part of it may be by using different bodypaint. I've considered Ben Nye and Mehron to be roughly equivalent brands, but I may try Ben Nye again. I'd also like to do more with Kryolan, though it's a bit more expensive. Unfortunately, with both Ben Nye and Kryolan I have to order them over the Internet, whereas there are a couple of local costume stores that carry Mehron.

But enough with the negative parts of the shoot-- all in all, I'm happy with how the photos came out. The stencils worked better than I expected-- by holding them an inch or two over the skin, I was able to get a fuzzier, more organic look than something with crisp, exact lines, and by flipping the stencils around in various ways, I was able to get a wide variety of patterns. I do wish we'd used a slightly darker color on her lips, but I was able to tweak that a bit in Photoshop.

Speaking of Photoshop... in the process of editing these photos, I was also teaching myself how to use it. in the past, I've used GIMP and other open-source alternatives, but now I've switched to Adobe Creative Cloud, and gotten Photoshop along with an upgraded Lightroom. I'm glad I did, and I'm pleased with the results I was able to obtain. I'm looking forward to experimenting with it more in the future.

You can see all the photos of Mystique below-- insert usual obvious warning here about nudity, etc. And many thanks to Julia for being a patient and tolerant model over the course of the five-hour shoot.

]]> (Journeys in Color) 2015 Bodies in Color Mystique X-Men airbrushing bodypaint cosplay Wed, 27 May 2015 01:22:21 GMT
Journeys Around Seattle, #58: Magnolia Park Magnolia Park is a narrow strip of greenery that runs along the top of the bluffs at the south end of the Magnolia neighborhood. The views overlooking Puget Sound are extraordinary, especially on a clear day, stretching from the Olympic Mountains in the west to the city skyline in the southeast.

The park itself isn't particularly noteworthy. For most of its length, it's pretty much just a narrow bit of greenspace, with a sidewalk following its length and benches scattered throughout, sandwiched between rows of steep bluffs and the well-landscaped houses of Magnolia. On the southern end there is another section of the park, with a picnic area and swingset, but too surrounded by trees for any sort of view.

The final view of the Seattle skyline in this set is from Ursula Judkins viewpoint, a small patch of greenery just east of the park itself.

]]> (Journeys in Color) 2015 Journeys Around Seattle Magnolia Park Seattle Tue, 21 Apr 2015 10:16:08 GMT