Sunsets and Vibrant Color

copyright Karen Ulvestad

Sunsets and color seem to go together. It’s hard to show the character of a sunset in black & white.

The sun isn’t always yellow. The Earth’s atmosphere affects the color of the sun, and the colors reflected in the sky.

The photo above was taken on the Oregon coast looking out over the Pacific Ocean. I love how the sun came out with 3 main colors, the sky was such an intense orange, and the small clouds in the top left side of the image.

Each sunset is unique in color, cloud formations, and the color of the sun.

copyright Karen Ulvestad

Then, there is the pastel colors that can be produced at sunset. I love the pastel pinks in the photo above, and the way the color reflects off of the ferry boat. Adding a subject to the frame adds to the composition and interest in the photograph.

copyright Karen Ulvestad

My favorite time to photograph a sunset is after the sun sets. Usually, most photographers and people leave after the sun dips below the horizon. I find that the color may intensify after the sun sets.

I love the dramatic colors, and the ability to capture the stars / moon. Again, I added a ferry boat in the image above. I like how the lights on the ferry help define the boat, while maintaining to color of the sky.

Tip. . .under-expose sunset photographs. . .

Happy Shooting. . .Karen

Excerpt from Summer Photography: Beaches & Sunsets. EdCC Extented Learning Program РJuly 12, 19, 26, 2017. 

The Oregon Coast in Black & White


This workshop is happening the first weekend in July (1st & 2nd) on the Oregon coast. There is some classroom time, then it’s off to photograph the amazing coastline and wildlife.

Workshop description –

Capture the dramatic and rugged Oregon coastline in classic and timeless black and white. Whether shooting film or digital, the coast beckons to the dynamics of black and white photography. Layers of clouds and headlands, frenzied ocean waves or tranquil sand beaches offer endless possibilities for composition, exposure, and amazing images. This workshop offers a short classroom orientation, photo critiques at the end, and plenty of time in the field. Dress for the weather and walking/hiking.

As I write this, there are only 4 spaces left. To learn more or register, click here.



Visualize ~ Create ~ Evoke


Remember the Sky

copyright Karen Ulvestad

The sky is an important composition element. When included in the photograph, it can be a solid blue or grey, have texture from clouds, or have importance (depending on how much is included). Each of these composition choices affects the “feeling” of the photograph.

In the image above, the clouds are an important part of the composition. Their shape reflects the patchy snow on the meadow below.


In this photograph, the clouds come in two distinct textures. One is puffy and closer to the water’s surface. The others are higher in the atmosphere, and are linear. The puffy clouds mimic the headland, and islands (sea stacks). The higher clouds create a diagonal line, which draws the views eye through the image.

copyright Karen Ulvestad

In this last image, the sky is without clouds. The interest in this photograph is the flowers and building, without the sky competing with the subject for attention. A clear sky helps a specific subject stand out, or it simplifies the composition.

Happy shooting. . .Karen

Sandhill Cranes and More in Othello


I spoke this past Saturday at the Othello Sandhill Crane Festival in Othello, WA. It was an amazing experience! The room was filled at 9 am for my presentation Celebrate Birds Through Photography.

This festival is incredible in both its size and number of speakers/tours. It is well worth the adventure to Eastern Washington for the event.

It was interesting to discover how easy it was to see the cranes flying, but nearly impossible to see them in the fields. The photograph above is of a field with over 50 cranes amoungst the cattle.


Looking upwards, it was easier to see the cranes flying through in small groups. Thankfully, the sky was blue with white clouds. The cranes stood out against the background, and were easier to see.

The other amazing birds we saw were yellow head blackbirds. I actually thought they were blackbirds landing behind reflectors on the irrigation pipes. What a pleasant surprise when I discovered they were beautiful yellow and black birds.


Happy Shooting. . .Karen

Visualize ~ Create ~ Evoke

Port Susan Snow Goose Festival

Just a quick note. . .

The Port Susan Snow Goose Festival has been canceled for this year. My workshop is also canceled. If you are interested in an in-the-field workshop on that weekend, please leave a comment. I am putting together a small workshop on that weekend, if there is interest.

Thank you & happy shooting. . .Karen

Swans & Geese in the Skagit & Stilliguamish Deltas


Light is everything in bird photography! The time of day will affect the number and types of birds seen in flying overhead or feeding in the farm fields. The photo above is taken at dusk, and the birds are Trumeter Swans. Both Trumpeter and Tundra swans migrate and winter in the Skagit and Stilliguamish deltas.

During the hunting season, fewer Snow Geese are in these areas, due to hunters in the farm fields. During this time, there usually are many flocks of swans in the area. The easiest way to tell the difference is the length of the neck and color. Swans have longer necks, and snow geese have black wing-tips.

copyright Karen Ulvestad

The birds in the photo above Snow Geese. These birds fly in flocks of a few individuals to several hundred. Later in the season (March – April), they gather by the thousands as they prepare for the long migation back to Wrangle Island in Russia. Annually, about 60,000 to 70,000 Snow Geese winter in the area.

Stanwood holds an annual festival celebrating the Snow Geese. It’s called the Port Susan Snow Goose Festival. This year, the dates are Febraury 25 and 26, 2017. I will be speaking on Sunday morning with a following field trip (optional). It is free!

I’ll leave you with one more photo. . .

Happy Shooting. . .Karen

“The Art of Photographing Birds” Feb 26, 2017 at 11 am – 12:30 pm, Registration Required