This blog is filled with images that I’ve taken, so this page is about the photos — and the photographer! If you see an image on this photo that is uncredited (and not a historic image), then it’s one that I’ve taken. I don’t sell photos, but I do donate them to non-profits and public agencies, so feel free to send me a message if you’d like to use one!
My two great passions in nature are waterfalls and Mount Hood. Can’t get enough of either, and I am happiest when I’m out there trying to capture what I see and feel with photography. I especially like finding new (or slightly used) waterfalls that have never been mapped, or have simply been forgotten by the cartographers. It’s good therapy for the mind, and an essential counterpart to the more stressful parts of my life.
I caught the photo bug in the early 1980s with my old Olympus OM-1 (still works!) and Kodachrome 25 slide film. I’m strictly a weekend warrior, and use consumer Digital SLRs these days. My current camera setup is an Olympus E-M10 Mark III for setup shots and an iPhone SE 2020 that I keep on my pack belt for informal shots or potential Sasquatch sightings. I like Olympus cameras for their affordability, optic quality, history of innovation and especially in creating compact cameras tailored to the outdoors.
For the Olympus E-M10, I carry three lenses: an 9-18mm super wide angle for landscapes, a 12-50mm general purpose and video power zoom that is usually on the camera and 40-150mm telephoto lens for detail and macro shots. I also carry a multiplier, seldom used. For filters, I simply keep a polarizer on each lens almost all the time. It’s true that I lose a couple stops, but it’s also rare that I don’t have need for a polarizer in a given scene. I also carry a set of neutral density filters for shooting long exposures in bright light.
For accessories, I use a couple of different Slik tripod models: the classic, tank-like Slik U212 DX (that is nearly indestructable, though I’ve had three) when I feel like carrying a heavy tripod around and the lightweight Slik Sprint Pro for longer trips into the backcountry. Both are the right mix of quality and affordability.
On the processing end, I work on a Mac and have traditionally used the Adobe Creative Suite to process images. However, in 2020 I’m making a transition to Affinity Photo and Affinity Design for the images and graphics you’ll see on the blog, as I’ve finally decided to cut the cord with Adobe.
Okay, now that I’ve trudged through all of the technical details, I’d be remiss not to point out my anti-establishment philosophy on photo equipment: save your money! Buy affordable, quality equipment that will help you enjoy the outdoors, but not get in the way of it. I’ve seen many amateur photographers out there with high-end Nikon or Canon kits, and they spend a lot of time fiddling with their equipment, and not much time actually seeing the landscape. My advice is to go with consumer cameras (Nikon and Canon make those, too!) and enjoy the ride!
Happily, some of the best photos I’ve seen come from humble cameras that anyone can use. In the end, a photo is only as good as the eye of the photographer who took it! That part just takes time and practice – something I’m still working on, every chance I get.
Tom Kloster | Mount Hood National Park Campaign