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A Study


This summer was packed full of travel. This is why my posts have been few and far between. I also decided to change focus and work on making my own work. I needed a break from teaching and the “How To” kind of work.

We kicked off our adventure with a road trip to Crater Lake National Park in Oregon.

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Our Path:

Day 1
  •  Drive to Winston Oregon (a slight detour) and check out the Wildlife Safari that works with endangered species and has a significant presence in the global conservation mission. Most animals roam free within the 600 acre park.
  • Head to our Air BnB Home in Chiloquin and check in- get settled
  • Panic because we did not buy our tickets early for the hike on Wizard Island (You need to do this)
  • Go to Crater Lake Rim Village and see the lake for the first time.
  • Buy the two tickets for the boat tour and hike of Wizard Island. This is the volcano inside a volcano and so worth it! In the future I would have just skipped the boat tour and only done the hike.
  • Dinner at Annie’s Cafe in the Park (Vegan burger option) One of only two places to eat in the area.
Day 2

Note: After Day 1, all other meals we had packed and did not eat out again.

  • Head back into the park. Take obligatory photo by the entrance sign.
  • Wait in line to get into the park.
  • Take East Rim Drive halfway around the lake with GORGEOUS views and get to the trail for the boat docks.
  • Hike 1.1 miles straight down into the Caldera at Cleetwood Cove and get to the docks. NOTE: You need to check in for the hike at the TOP of the trail ranger station with your receipt from the tickets. Thankfully, they were kind and did not make us go back up the hill.
  • Take boat tour around lake- stop for 3 hours at Wizard Island and hike straight up to the top and back to the bay. Panoramic views. Everyone who loves to hike should do it. Back on boat for the remaining 2 hours of the tour around the entire lake.
  • Hike back up the 1.1 mile caldera cliff.
  • Take the rest of the drive around the rim and stop at Cloudcap Overlook to watch the sunset
Day 3:
  • Easy morning. Pack up and start the drive back home.


Winston Safari

Crater Lake National Park

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When selecting the orientation of a photograph, it is important to consider what you want the image to say. Their is a major difference between portrait and landscape orientation and even more still with the square image. While this may be a short post, it is an essential one for the photographer.

Your life as a photographer is all about choices. You will decide in the moment or pre-plan. You decide how to arrange the elements in the plane and what message it is sending when you hit publish. One choice is the orientation of the camera and this should be a choice. This means your first step is to slow down a bit and start to consider the orientation if you never have. Soon it will become instinct for what looks more appropriate for the scene.

Landscape Orientation

This is a traditional orientation and mirrors that of classic 35mm film. The rule of thirds can easily be applied atop this in order to find a pleasing composition. This is also the orientation I suggest for Phone Photographers to use in order to improve their photography only for the fact that it reminds us of  a more professional look.

However, Landscape is not always the best choice- while professional it can look flat and often does not lead to dramatic engagement. Landscape photos also ask the viewer to be an observer and stand on the edge of the image looking in . This is what makes it perfect for shooting- you guessed it- the landscape.

It can also be one of the best orientation for sports. Any live action where the subject is moving could use the extra room to move that the Landscape orientation provides.

The sprawling nature and professional aura of the landscape orientation make it a positive choice, but let’s not forget about the portrait orientation.

Portrait Orientation

Portrait is appropriate for, of course, portraits. This is because it tends to be more flattering and elongates the human form or face- while a Landscape format can make it appear more “squatty”. You may also choose Portrait orientation for anything that is tall- even in landscapes and nature: such as a tall tree, tall heron, or a extensive waterfall.

Portraits have a different feel because they can ask the viewer to move from being an observer to actually stepping into the image. It is shaped like a doorway and can feel more inviting in some cases.

This frame can also lead to a dynamism that extends the basic elements and principles of a photograph.

The Square

The square is a more common orientation now- especially thanks to Instagram. While found in a classic Rolleiflex and later the Hasselblad  and circulating with photographer since around 1930’s. This format prospered until the 80’s and the rise of the 35mm camera that found its way into everyone’s homes. Then it was rectangles all the time- portrait or landscape format.

The square stayed beating with cameras like the Polaroid and Diana as a “retro” or “Artistic” look. It really had it’s comeback thanks to Instagram and is now a built in feature in many DSLR’s and Mirrorless cameras made today.

While some claim the square is rigid and confining- its perfect alignment allows for balanced and focused compositions. It asks for an entirely different approach to composition. The rule of thirds can still apply, but may seem a bit cramped.  It is often considered a style or trademark for photographers and is worth trying out if you have not already.

If you are fascinated by the Sqaure and it’s psychology you should check out this article by John Suler on the Image and the Psyche.

I have a series of small square black and white images called “A Study” that focuses on shadow, shape, texture and most importantly rhythm.It seems that the square likes to march together.  To see these go here.

A Exercise in Format

Beyond these three main choices- you have panorama and even the ratio of the rectangle itself. These can often be changed in your camera’s settings or in your phone using the swipe panel. As an exercise try to shoot the same location using all three of these formats.

What did you notice? Did one work better for the close ups?

What format do you gravitate towards? Tell me in the comments below.  


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I have been shooting small pieces of footage throughout the past 6 months while hiking and and exploring the Pacific Northwest. I am of course drawn to water and this is the culminating result of these clips. My very first study was in Black and White and full of shake as I learned how to do video.

I thought that this would be about shooting cinematic video. This is how most project start though: thinking it will be one way and turning out totally different. I soon lost interest in putting together a plastic and too polished video like what I had seen before. Instead I strived for rhythm and made it about my own personal experience. After all, I needed to consider am I making this for myself or for a client? Myself.

Striving for the authenticity, I hope you enjoy.

These shots are taken on my iPhone 7 Plus using the Osmo Mobile Gimbal (version 1) or my Tripod. For more about my gear I use check out this post and video here.

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Hello Friends!

I have been experimenting with video outside of the “How To” realm. This started with my “On the Road” series which will continue, however now I am starting to create  new series. These will develop overtime in 2018 and I already have a whole list of ideas.

These will be cinematic videos and all titled “A Study of ______”. I was inspired to explore this idea after I put together a small sequence of square black and white images titled “A Study“. This can be viewed on my Artists website bethanymccamish.com along with additional series.

For years photography as been used to capture both the real and imagined. It can be a close and intimate look at the photographers world. It can also be an objective assignment to gather data or document.  In my case it is always the latter.

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