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The T3sk3y Defenestrator

Three Days with Jon Cornforth – Part Four

(Note: This is a long overdue travelogue wrap-up from my landscape photograph seminar with Jon Cornforth back in April, 2008.  Details fade over time.. but I’ll do my best!)

The last day of our trip started just as the others did – very early.  Ross and I rolled out of our beds in the cabin and met Jon for another attempt at sunrise pictures.  Once again, the weather turned out to be too nice for interesting landscape shots.  The sky was bright and clear with not a cloud in sight.  Because of this, we stayed right on First Beach for the sunrise.

Okay, it wasnt really that dramatic.

Okay, it wasn't really that dramatic.

Amazingly, a small family of whales spent just about the entire morning frolicking in the surf only a hundred or so yards offshore.  I think we spent the better part of a couple of hours watching them and trying to get a photograph with the ‘big glass’ (i.e. Ross’ 100-400 with the 1.4x extender attached).

Once we tired of that, we had some breakfast and reviewed our personal photographs with Jon.  The feedback was great – I just wish I had brought more pictures along.  I’m so reliant on online photos that I’m at a loss when I get point people at my SmugMug site.

We packed up the trailer late morning and started the long journey back to Seattle.  Our plan was to stop at Hurricane Ridge on the way home and shoot the sunset above the cloud line.  We got to Hurricane Ridge late afternoon and climbed up through a bunch of pea soup fog & clouds.  At the top, we shot the next ridgeline while we waited for the sun to set.

Trees poking through near the top of Hurricane Ridge

Trees poking through near the top of Hurricane Ridge

Of course, the fabulous sunset shots weren’t to be.  After climbing up a ten foot snowbank to get on to the glacier, we were shooed off by the ranger who informed us that they were closing the road BEFORE sunset.

We had some tasty fast food Mexican on the drive home and made it back to Seattle at around 10:30 PM.  Ross and I said our goodbyes to Jon and checked in to our hotel for the early flight home the next day.

To wrap all this up, I’ve got a few final thoughts and impressions.

What was my biggest takeaway from the trip? Undoubtedly, it was an appreciation of the process that professional landscape photographers undergo to capture great images.  The ‘how it’s done’ lesson was fantastic.

Would I do it again? Yep – look for some great pictures from “Cornforth Alaska Cruises” in the coming years.

How was Jon as a teacher? In my opinion – I thought he was great.  He had a great mix of information, patience and feedback.  If you are looking for a formal classroom experience, you may want to look elsewhere.  Jon will take you out, get your boots muddy, get sand in your tripod, make you miss lots of sleep (and a few meals) – and come home with some great images.

Favorite part of the trip? From a trip perspective, the first night at Second Beach is probably the most memorable.  From a personal perspective – spending a weekend with a good friend and a new friend taking pictures was priceless.

Check out all of my pictures at SmugMug right here: Olympic National Forest 2008

Jon’s website and seminar information is here:

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