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Danny Seidman
7,376 followers -
Pacific Northwest Landscape Photographer
Pacific Northwest Landscape Photographer

7,376 followers
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+Vinny Pickens  is a man who loves his Blueberry Redbull. He's been hooked since he started getting them at the Tully's near his work every day. Unfortunately for Vinny, a Tully’s in the eastern most section of Washington State is as rare a find as a bar in Ballard that doesn’t serve PBR.

This concoction consists of soda water, real blueberries and of course the magical ingredient: Blueberry Redbull. At his first suggestion that we stop so he could purchase this beverage, all in the car thought he was BSing.

“Dude, coffee shops don’t sell energy drinks. They sell coffee.”

However, the barista assured us that such a drink does exist, and not only that, but she could make him one right there in what suddenly became in our eyes the finest coffee shop in all of Colfax, Washington. It was probably the only coffee shop, but that’s beside the point. Vinny was going to get his fix all while hundreds of miles from home. Elated, we drove off with a newfound desire to explore every last hidden pocket of the Palouse. Life was good. The joy, however, was short-lived, as Vinny's expression suddenly turned to a mix of disgust and disappointment.

“This isn’t Blueberry Redbull! What the hell, man, it’s plain Redbull and she certainly didn’t add blueberries or even blueberry flavoring. And where’s the splash of almond syrup I asked for?”

+dene' miles, knowing that there would be much complaining ahead, insisted we turn the car around and go back.

 “Come on, you should return it. I’d rather you see if they can fix your drink so I won't have to listen to you grumbling for the next few hours about how to make a proper caffeinated beverage.”

 “No, I can’t. We’re going to the grocery store.”

Vinny, having to maintain his reputation of being the most laid back man alive had no choice but to resist Dene’s suggestion. This is the guy who earlier that same morning asked for coffee at breakfast, which to all of our amusement was delivered in a ceramic cup with a red lipstick print right on the rim. Jokingly, Vinny commented how awesome it was that he got to share his cup with some mystery woman. The waitress, blushing in embarrassment, asked if she could get him a new cup.

“No thanks, I can just turn it around and drink from the other side.”

“Umm, okay…”

In Vinny’s defense, he did eventually succumb to our judgemental snickering and the waitress’s insistence that he get a lipstick-free cup at about five minutes and two-thirds of the way through his coffee. By the time we left, he had made it through two and a half cups of coffee and he was only getting started.

Bringing a camera along on a road trip changes the whole dynamic from what would be a leisurely and relaxing getaway to an extreme test of endurance. Time for sleep often doesn't come until near midnight, and waking up at 4:00am is late enough to be considered an emergency, much like those times when you sleep through your alarm clock and without even having to see what time it is, you know that you’re already 15 minutes late for work. Fortunately for us, this wasn’t a problem, as we were getting up before 3:30 every morning. Now unfortunately for us, this made Vinny very tired. Vinny had made a habit of drinking several cups of coffee with breakfast, and then shortly afterward, making a morning trip to Rosauer’s Supermarket where numerous Blueberry Redbulls were purchased and subsequently pounded.

Now let’s fast forward to day 3 of the Palouse -- the day we were set to make the long drive home. We fully supported having an IV drip, or any other delivery method necessary to keep our driver going for all the hours it would take to get home. I had a suspicion that the Redbull would eventually build up to toxic levels in his body, in much the same way that critical mass is achieved when a minimal amount of fissile material is present to sustain a nuclear chain reaction.

On this particular morning, the day we were to head home, we awoke at 3:20am and spent several hours searching for new spots to photograph. Vinny maintained his constant diet of candy and Blueberry Redbull, which kept him going through the dirt back roads of the Palouse farmland all morning and into the early afternoon. Eventually the weather changed and it was time to pack up and head back to Seattle. With heavy rain falling, we made it to a rest stop at the junction of Highways 26 and 395, where he finally hit the wall. Here we were, stuck 203 miles from home with Vinny incapacitated due to a serious need to burp. In extreme discomfort, and due to the general fatigue the three of us were experiencing, we briefly tried to sleep at the rest stop. Vinny kept waking up every few minutes with vivid nightmares about Starbursts, licorice and, of course, the famed Blueberry Redbull that he had consumed in mass quantities. Knowing a nap was futile, given the terrible state of his tired, bloated, and over-caffeinated self, he figured it best to stand up and walk around. This was a mistake, as he could no longer even sit down. Now standing, he wished to let even the most miniscule burp out, anything to shrink his overly bloated stomach. It wasn’t happening.

“I can’t drive anymore, I feel like I’m falling out of my body, man.”

“I don’t even know what that means but be careful. I’m getting a little concerned.”

Stranded at a highway rest stop situated in the middle of flat, uninteresting farmland, in a dark and depressing rain storm hundreds of miles from home, we listened to Vinny mutter about how he'll never drink a Redbull again. Pacing back and forth, unable to burp at a rate high enough to keep up with his ever-expanding gas-filled stomach, he contemplated a finger down the throat to release the demon with wings from within. We observed with pure amazement.

Eventually, acknowledging resounding defeat, he was able to regain composure, and as uncomfortable as he may have been, we headed for home. We didn't even have to stop at an emergency room along the way to get his stomach pumped. Friends, please drink responsibly.
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Photo by +Justin Reznick 
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After having gone a couple weeks without taking any pictures, I was itching to get out again. The weekend was quickly approaching yet I had no idea where to go. All I knew was that I wanted to photograph fall color at the upper elevations while still possible since there is only a short window of time during which color there is at its best. Weather forecasts were showing rain for the entire weekend all across the Northwest. After carefully evaluating the pros and cons of hikes I had only read about, it seemed that the Alpine Lakes Wilderness was the best bet for catching the beautiful subalpine larches that grow in the granite basins and hillsides throughout the region. This was a hike I have had on my list for years and if the weather didn’t cooperate for photographs, at least I would get a chance to see and experience it.

The three of us – +dene' miles, Orion Ahrensfeld, and myself – arrived at the trail head at 2:00 AM. Shortly thereafter we were on our way. For three and a half hours we trekked uphill through cold, rainy, and windy conditions. We were thoroughly drenched and freezing but kept pushing on, despite the low expectations that we held for the view awaiting us at the top.

The rain didn’t let up as we hiked, but from time to time there were patches of clear sky above revealing the stars on this moonless, dark night. It’s hard to be optimistic while hiking in the rain through an unfamiliar, aphotic landscape, but the stars gave me hope that the clouds would part just enough to give us a sunrise to remember. After hiking up the side of a mountain for what felt like an eternity, we finally reached the top. Given the conditions, our intended destination which remained another mile and a half down trail, seemed impractical so it was decided that we would search the basin for compositions instead. In the focused dim beams of our headlamps, we could barely make out our sought after larch here and there alongside the trail. In short time the eastern horizon began to grow brighter than the surrounding terrain and sky, indicating a horizon free of clouds. I began to grow increasingly excited at the prospect of the sun rising directly down canyon and illuminating the clouds from beneath. I took a few test exposures at high ISO and long shutter speeds to try and gain a sense of what my surroundings looked like. Looking at my camera’s LCD screen, I was stunned to see an entire valley of golden larches beneath us – something I couldn’t yet make out with my eyes. The massive 9,415-foot Mt. Stewart was mostly hidden above the low cloud deck but I wasn’t concerned.

After patiently waiting with frozen limbs, the sun began to rise. I ran from spot to spot, trying to find the best composition and settled on this place as the sun’s reddish-orange arms extended across the valley, sprinkling golden light on the granite cliffs behind me. Wiping rain drops from the lens after every few exposures, I kept clicking the shutter to ensure that each shade of rapidly changing color was captured in the scene before me. The undersides of the low clouds were illuminated by direct rays from the sun, giving deep saturated colors, as the larches beneath glowed golden. The color was so intense that even the rain-soaked rocks of the foreground reflected reds from above. Seconds later, rain and fog descended into the valley from the north, killing the color and turning everything to gray. The glorious sunrise was over in an instant but knowing that it had been recorded to my flash memory card, every bit of the miserable conditions we had to endure suddenly felt worth it.
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I spent this past weekend at Cape Kiwanda and had some great light to work with! It's amazing how much there is to shoot there. I'm definitely going to have to return sometime in the near future.
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The wildflowers weren't all that bad this year.
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Finally got out to catch a beautiful sunset in Seattle!
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I know there are a million photos from this vantage point floating around here but I'm posting mine anyway. I just recently got around to reprocessing this shot even though it was taken a few years ago. +Ron Coscorrosa and I were lucky enough to get a great sunset but I didn't feel like I had done the scene justice in my previous try at editing. Hopefully this one is a little better.
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A vibrant display of wildflowers spread across the meadows above Paradise.
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