Well… Here it is, The Rainy Season In The Pacific NW Is Back… Keep Shooting — With Protection

Well, it was a nice summer, longer than normal for the Pacific NW, but now the first rains of the season are back. At least all the dust in the air will be washed out, giving us back that nice crisp air we miss.

With the rain, comes the need to protect your camera, doesn’t matter if you’re at home or on the road, traveling to fun locations. There are plenty of products on the market for protecting your camera from the elements, all have their plus’s & minus’s (hard to get your camera in, hard to get to controls, can’t use both hands, hands get sweaty inside the bag, etc.), most also take up more precious space in your camera bag, and cost a bit much for something that’s not going to see a whole lot of use.

Unless of course you’re shooting in a rain forest (which I may do this year, over in the Olympics), or like to do street photography in Seattle.

Or, as in this weekend, driving up to Anacortes and doing a World Wide Photo Walk with me in my home town. Those people that claim to be able to predict the future, aka weathermen, claim it’s going to rain pretty steady for us on Saturday. So, you might want to come prepared.

If it’s raining “cats & dogs”, we may have to alter our plans slightly. If it gets even worse (like hailing taxis), we may cancel, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. We get less rain in Anacortes, than the folks doing the Walks in Seattle will see.

So, with that, I’d like to share with you my cheap, home-made, reusable, takes up no room in camera bag, works great, very flexible to work with camera raincoat…

It’s simply a large ZipLock® bag. You’ve probably got a box of them at home already. If not, go visit your neighbor, have a chat, catch-up with what going on, and ask to borrow a large ZipLock® bag.

I cut a hole in the bottom seam of the bag, just large enough for my lens to fit through. Slide the camera into the bag, with the Ziplock® side at the back and the lens poking thru the hole I’ve cut. Cinch the bag around the end of the lens with a rubberband, slip on your lens hood and you’re set to go. It’s almost a perfect fit for a DSLR with medium zoom.

You can easily slide your hand inside to shot, easily slide the bag back to see your settings, easily slide the bag even further out of the way for those periods when it stops raining, and slide back into place when needed. Take a look.


Now, most any rubberband will work, instead of going out and buying a bag of them, I save the ones that come with the newspaper so I’ve always got spares. But the real good ones, like this big blue one here, are the ones that are on vegetables in the produce market. I think this came off of some broccoli.  Sometimes carrots will come with a nice big thick rubberband around them too.

Now, the good part… Here’s what it looks like when I’m not using it —


Fits right into one of the small pockets in my bag, ready for quick deployment. Try that with some of those ready made bags!

Granted, those “real bags” are much more rugged, look more professional (or at least make you look like a professional), and all that, but I like my solution, as it has worked great for me for many years of shooting in the rain around the Pacific NW. Besides, I’ve got a whole box of camera bags in the kitchen and a drawer full of free rubberbands too.

Hope you find this useful, thanks for coming by, don’t forget to go to my Facebook page and LIKE Tony Locke Photography to keep learning more abut this crazy little hobby/trade we call photography — https://www.facebook.com/tonylockephotography



The Road To Rainier — Mt. Rainier That Is

Turning a weekend of cat-sitting into a trip up Mt. Rainier in Washington (as it happened to be so close by). The largest glaciated mountain in the US.

Being Labor Day weekend, there were plenty of crowds that had the same idea — “Lets go to The Mountain!”

Which presents several problems for a photographer — Too many people crowding the scene. So, find locations that are off the beaten path, where the others aren’t.

Even shots like this, which is “On the road to Rainier”


Follow The Wind! See How Fast, When & Where It’s Blowing — Live!

Here’s a website that tracks wind speed around the US, all with an interactive real time display. Fun Stuff!

How’s the wind in your neighborhood? Click on the link to find out.

Wind Map

Small Town Fairs — Show Off Your Town

Small town fairs are a great place to practice your travel photography — Any given weekend, there’s bound to be a some type of street fair close by.

This shot is from this years spring Anacortes Garden Fair.

The painting on the right is a “Community Artist” painting — Any painter that wishes too, can come up and add their contribution to the painting.

And yes, I had a little fun some HDR technique on this, just to add some additional interest to the image.

Every Saturday afternoon and Wednesday night, there’s a Farmers Market too — More opportunities for great “Home Town Travel Photos” — Show off your home town to the world!

Get out there and shoot!

“Adventuring to Princes Louisa Inlet” in BC, Canada – The book has finally arrived and is ready for delivery!

Betty Wright & I have been working on this book for almost a year. She with her great story telling and anecdotes culled from journals written during her and her husbands travels, along with pictures and slides taken from 1957 to the present, and my graphic design & Photoshop work in taking those photos and text into assembled pages – Comes a fun and unique travel book, documenting not only her travels, but also where to go, how to get there and what navigational aids and hazards to be aware of.

Betty Wright, teacher, photographer, and writer, brings a wealth of cruising information woven into an adventurous tale of cruising with her husband in 1957 in a 16-foot boat from Anacortes, Washington, through the San Juan Islands in Washington State, and intoBritish Columbia waters, through the Gulf Islands to Nanaimo, on Vancouver Island. Cross Georgia Strait with them in their small boat and cruise to Pender Harbour, and to Sechelt Rapids in Skookumchuck Narrows, to Malibu and Beyond Malibu, and then on to Princess Louisa Inlet.

Their trip was repeated in 1958 and 1959, again in their own boat, followed by charter tour boats in 2002 and 2005 from Egmont. She stresses safety in cruising through the important use of official nautical charts, tide tables, current tables, and learning how to protect yourself with a vital understanding of the weather. She brings the reader up to the year 2011, showing current facilities throughout the area. Her delightful narration, 257 splendid color photographs, and hand drawn charts (for enjoyment only), make arm-chair cruising fascinating. As she states, “The dangers of cruising are there, but the beauty shouldn’t be missed.” Most importantly her support is strong for the preservation of wild places, particularly Princess Louisa Inlet. Cruise with Jim and Betty as the magic of five-mile long Princess Louisa Inlet unfolds, culminating in the grandeur of Chatterbox Falls.

Learn the story of James F. MacDonald who purchased the head of the Inlet in 1927 for $420.00 and held it in such high esteem. His vision was that the entire five-miles of the pristine Inlet should be protected from all development. Realize the importance of the Princess Louisa International Society, founded by boaters in Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia, to protect the world famous Inlet. Individuals, who know the importance of protecting this Inlet, as well as major donors, have contributed to the Society so that, today, 50 times the acreage of Mac’s original purchase has now been protected.

There’s still much land needing to be preserved. Contemplate joining thousands in the non-profit Society who promote protection of the entire five-mile long Inlet. Thrill with the many photographs showing the inspiring beauty of the Inlet. Learn a way to easily visit this magnificent place, inaccessible except by boat and float plane. It’s relatively untouched by man. It’s nature’s greatest show.

Go to http://www.armchair-cruising.com/ ( sorry, the link button doesn’t seem to be working today, as WordPress makes changes) or look up Armchair Cruising on Facebook and hit the Like button to learn more about the book and how to order one for yourself.

Travel Workshop to the farms of “The Palouse” region in Eastern Washington & Western Idaho.


We just completed a fun-filled, 4-day photography workshop that we hosted in The Palouse. This is a region in Eastern WA, which is home to rolling hills of mostly wheat fields, along with a couple of other corps too. But the most interesting features are the rolling hills and how the shadows play across them during sunrise and sunsets.

To make the workshop even more interesting, instead of lodging at your normal Best Western type of small room motel, we had all of our students stay at a working Bed & Breakfast Ranch, complete with lots of dogs, cats, horses and cows on the ranch, along with birds, deer & coyote around the valley near the ranch. Luckily no one had any allergies to animals. The hosts were a very friendly working farm family.

We had perfect weather, in the mid-90’s mostly, dropping to the mid-60’s at night. We all arose at 4-4:30am everyday for sunrise shooting, then came back to the ranch for a big farm style breakfast served by our host. Then more travel/exploration during the day, and then we stayed up past 9-10pm to shoot the sunsets. By the end of the 4th day, though we were all pretty worn out – We all had big grins on our faces too.

Here’s a couple of the images I captured during the trip. There will be more coming up on my Flickr site soon  – I’m still trying to play catch-up, not only on my images and work, but sleep too!

Go to my Flickr site to see more images from the trip, along with other things I’ve been up to lately.

To see an interesting and very challenging HDR panoramic shot (3 rows of 4 images, times 3 exposures per image for 36 image to merge together) of the amazing Palouse Falls, go visit my Photography Tips site to learn more. If it’s not up right away, check back in a day or so to give me a chance to finish it.

Thanks again for visiting


Keep Your Eye Out For Things That’ll Make You & Your Viewers – Smile!

As you venture further down this photographic road of discovery, you’ll find that you start noticing more & more things that you used to (and your friends still do) just walk on by and never notice.

Most notably is the color of light, especially during a sunset. Are you finding yourself catching how often the colors of a sunset are lighting up everything around you? Not only the clouds overhead, but the trees, buildings and landscape and flowers.

Something else you’ll start noticing, or may need to start practice noticing, are those little things that just make you Smile!

This image is just one of those instances with the same sunflower from above. I’m out for a walk along the fisherman’s dock at the marina, where it’s normally just rocks and fishing boats, when Anne, a fellow photographer that’s walking along with us points to this lone sunflower “I just love this little sunflower, out here all by its self.”

Then she had to bring up the fact that it probably got there via some bird poop. But hey, that’s why trees have fruit and tasty seeds, so the birds will spread the circle of life. It’s nature’s way of keeping things growing.

So, next time you see something unusual, out of the norm or, just anything that makes you Smile – Take a picture of it!

For some of the other pictures I’ve shot this week, as part of my Focus52 challenge’s Prompt of “Smile”, go to my Flickr site.

Also, don’t forget to go to Tony’s Photography Facebook and click the little “Like” button to keep up to date on what’s happening – Such as how we’ve got only one or two slots left for this weeks Workshop In The Palouse (Eastern Washington and Western Idaho farmlands), with accommodations and meals at a Dude Ranch instead of your normal boring motel. Go to Alternative Focus Workshops to learn more.



Travel By Water & Looking For A Lighthouse To Buy?

I recently took two trips on a local whale watching boat. Luckily I know the owners, and, I just installed a new sound system on-board so that the guests could better understand what was being said by the Naturalist (in my previous life, I used to own a company which designed and built large-scale audio & video systems for everything from touring concert sound to churches, auditoriums and military command centers). So, of course, this new sound system needed testing and the crew needed training while out on the water for a day – or two.

Along the way, not only did I get to shoot a lot of whales, I was also able to shoot two of the lighthouses in the area, which is always fun. There are several books, and many photographers, which are dedicated to this type of photography. Me, I’m not dedicated to it, but do enjoy it too, shooting one everytime I get the chance.

Lime Kiln Lighthouse on San Juan Island, WA

Burrows Island Lighthouse, Burrows Island, WA

Merry Island Lighthouse, BC Canada

The problem now though, is that many of our lighthouses in the US & Canada are now automated, some are abandoned, in disrepair and many are needing someone new to take them over and show them some love.

Lime Kiln Lighthouse is currently in use by (I believe) the Park Service as meeting room/interpretive center for the Park Rangers and volunteer park guides. While Burrows Island Lighthouse is seeking funds by a historic society to provide for it’s restoration. I don’t have the full story on Merry Island Lighthouse, as I was just there last month on a trip up to Princess Louisa Inlet, BC and didn’t have time to learn more about it… Yet. Stay tuned on the story about that trip, and the book that we’ve published about it.

There are several lighthouses around the US  that are up for sale, for literally next to nothing, if you (or your group) agree to restore the facilities, maintain them and make them available to the public for their enjoyment. If someone or some group does not take advantage of this great deal, they are then put up for auction, which from what I understand, allows the highest bidder to do as they like with the property. Granted, I haven’t fully studied all the the ‘small print’, but that’s the main gist of what’s happening to our historic lighthouses.

To learn more about which lighthouses are up for sale, and how you can help save them. Visit this website from the GSA & National Park Service


– http://www.nps.gov/history/maritime/nhlpa/noas2011.htm

To learn more about lighthouses in general visit here:


And of course, to learn more about photography, come back and visit any of my sites too, which are listed on the top-right of the main page under “Blog Roll.”

Thanks again,


As I mentioned in my last Post – One big Rule of Travel/Adventure Photography… You don’t have to leave home!

Here I am, back again finally.

As many of you, who may live in the Pacific NW may know – It rains a lot here!

Here it is mid-July and it’s still rainy days and grey skies. Not real inspirational for photography – Unless of course, you happen to live in an area where all this rain produces beautiful rain-forests to hike in, all within a couple minutes to maybe a few hours of my home.

A couple days ago, I did just that. Here, on Fidalgo Island, which is about 1.5 hrs or so North of Seattle, I’ve got many places to go hike and explore without ever having to leave the island. We also have this nice little thing called Mt Erie, which you can either drive to the top, or hike up and/or all around it’s rain-forest for as long as you’d like, all within 10 minutes of home. Bring a map though, as many have gotten themselves turned around and lost their car.

So, as mentioned earlier, it’s still raining here. The only difference between now and January, is that the rain is warmer and there are more bugs to deal with (I had a tick hitch a ride home with me a couple weeks ago). But, being a photographer and avid hiker/mountain climber, with only about an hour or so to play – I head to Mt Erie every chance I get.

Part of growing as a photographer is to take challenges and risks – If for nothing else, just to learn what happens when you go outside your comfort zone. You may surprise yourself and find something new to explore. Or, you’ll find something new that you don’t actually like, but would have never known if you didn’t try. And again, even though this new blog is for “Adventure & Travel Photography”, that doesn’t mean that you have to go half-way around the world for photographs, or have the most expensive gear to capture them.

One challenge I bring upon myself every couple weeks is my “One Lens Challenge.” I leave home with my camera and only one lens. Now, I know many of you think that’s easy, I’ll just bring one of my zoom-lens and have everything covered. Well, yes, you can do that too. I’ve got Canon’s great overall 28-135mm IS lens, which is perfect for that. It’s my “street lens” for those days that I’m just going for a walk. No, to make it a challenge, bring a prime lens, whichever one you have. Mine’s a 50mm f2.5 macro that I picked up used via Craigslist, for about $60 or so (don’t remember exactly). Some of you may have a 24mm, 100mm, etc. If not, go ahead and take your zoom, but set it to about 50mm and tape it down so you won’t be tempted to use its zoom.

Just put on that lens and get going. The 50mm is a great inexpensive lens to work with. Here’s a few images I’ve shot during these hikes.

So, go out and shoot. If you don’t know where to go, or don’t happen to have a rain-forest in your backyard, maybe you have beaches, lakes, mountains, farmland, desert, prairie, whatever’s near you. Even a strip mine can be photographic. I’ve been there too. Nice layers in the dirt and unique trucks and tractors. For another challenge, go somewhere you either have never been too, or haven’t been too in a long time, especially with a camera. Get out a map, point to something new on it and just go there to see what you find, not only once you get there, but along the way too. Keep your eyes open, keep your schedule loose if you can.

Get out there and show the rest of the world what they’re missing by not visiting your part of the world!

The point is, get out there and shoot something – Even it’s still raining , like it is in the Pacific NW, while the rest of the country is enjoying Summer, and many of you in the Mid-West are sweltering in heat (which I cannot handle)- Go out and shoot!

Thanks for visiting, pass the word to all your friends/fans/contacts to visit too,


First Rule of Travel Photographer – You Don’t Have To Travel

This new blog is for a specialized type of photography – Travel and Adventure.  While my other photography site is about camera techniques in general.

I know, I like to travel as much as you do, but you and I can’t always make that work.  Luckily, I’ve got plenty of places within a short driving distance for some great photography adventures. And, I’m sure, if you thought about it, you probably do too.

But think about it, others like to travel too. And, to many of them, your home town is actually their travel destination!

So, become a tourist in your own home town. Just imagine – If a tourist came up to you today and asked, “Where are the good places to see (photography) around  here?” What would you tell them?

Go to these places and revisit them as a tourist, not as someone that lives there. How would you shoot it if you were that tourist, seeing them for the first time, what places of interest or adventures would a tourist enjoy?

There’s your assignment – Go out and shot as a tourist in your own home town!

Thanks for visiting my latest home for new ideas, don’t forget to bookmark it, LIKE my facebook page and tell your friends.