The show of light and mist at Hurricane Ridge

While planning our photography trips we take into account multiple variables: the distance from the hotel to the shooting location, accessibility, weather, time of the sunrise/sunset, direction of the sun and even the likely number of tourists.  

Before leaving for Olympic National Park we knew that Hurricane Ridge would be one of the locations we wanted to cover. However, this plan created a dilemma for us. While most places on our list are on the coastline, Hurricane Ridge lies in the north-east part of the park. The best solution was to spend the night at Port Angeles, photograph Hurricane Ridge in the morning and then drive west. Since we had arrived at Olympic National Park in the late afternoon, we wanted to photograph Second Beach at sunset first. We knew we would be tired afterwards so we opted to spend the night at the coast in La Push, wake up early and drive to Hurricane Ridge in the morning.

Since the sun rises around 5:20 AM, we had to leave our hotel around 3:30 AM for the one-hour drive. Fortunately, we arrived just in time. We had never been there before, so we had to go with our instincts as to how to position our cameras. We knew that there were many spots along the route up to the top that would cry out for our attention but we didn’t know which one would be our favourite.

While driving up the ridge, there were patches of intense fog, always a good sign. Just as we arrived at the top, the morning light started hitting the mountain peaks and we indulged in stopping to look at the beautiful sight.

As soon as the sun appeared and the fog melted away, we decided to jump in the car and head down, hoping we would encounter some remaining patches of fog. Since the fog was moving quickly we went along with it, driving up and down and taking advantage of every visual spectacle.

Why are we telling you all this? Because so often I see photographers arriving at a location, setting up their tripod and spending the entire time in one place. Yes, there is always the risk of missing changes in light when you move but most of the time taking the risk pays off. If we had stayed at the top all we would have seen were sunny skies but by driving down the ridge, we were able to capture the best images from this trip.

Most images were shot with the X100S and Fuji X-T1 paired with the XF 56mm F1.2. Before the sun came up, we used a tripod but as soon as we had enough light and a shutter speed of 1/125 or faster, we started shooting handheld. Our relationship with a tripod has always been thorny – we only use it as a last resort. We are well aware that with such a belligerent attitude we are bringing the wrath of the pixel-peeping community down on our heads. Well, so be it – it’s a small price to pay for some great creative moments.

P.S. While processing some images we used the new LR6 control ‘dehase.’ It works really well but this tool must be used in moderation. Look for more about this in our upcoming posts.        















Next time…


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2015 © Kasia & Olaf Sztaba Photography. All rights reserved.

Olympic National Park with the X-Series

Olympic National Park with the X-Series

We gaze at the mountains in Olympic National Park every day but do we go to visit them? No, not until now. The park is just across the border but you know how it is – you never visit the places in your own backyard.

Exhausted after three days of waking up at 4 AM, travelling and shooting until 10 PM because of the long summer days, we have come back with rings under our eyes and a lot of great memories and exciting material.

Over the next few posts we will be sharing images from this trip along with some commentary. For now, we would like to share a few – a teaser of sorts.

All images were taken with the Fuji X100S and Fuji X-T1 paired with XF 14mm F2.8 and XF 56mm F1.2, some JPEGs, others processed in LR6.

We started very early at Hurricane Ridge. In fact it was so early that we found no company but fantastic light.


Fuji X100S, Fuji Velvia

Neah Bay somehow drew us right from the beginning and we are glad we drove there.

Fuji X-T1, XF 56mm, F1.2

Near Neah Bay.


Fuji X100S, Fuji Velvia

Cape Flattery was one of the highlights of our trip.

Fuji X-T1, XF 14mm, F2.8

Then we decided on the Second Beach at the Quileute Reservation. We had to visit it twice to get the light we wanted.


Fuji X-T1, XF 14mm, F2.8

We didn’t want to miss the remarkable Rialto Beach at any cost.


Fuji X-T1, XF 14mm, F2.8 

And here is the image Kasia took near our resort. It immediately became one of my favourites.


Stay tuned for much, much more.



Copyright 2015 © Olaf & Kasia Sztaba Photography. All rights reserved.

Photo Summer Bits

We have had a lot on our plate in the last few weeks. We worked on a few commercial assignments, which provided us with a little break from our usual travel/landscape/documentary regimen.

Now our summer and autumn travel calendar is filling up quickly. Next week, we are heading to Olympic National Park. Hopefully, the weather will cooperate and provide us with some stormy/cloudy skies. Then, in the following weeks, we plan to photograph the Columbia River Gorge, the Vancouver Island, take a trip to Cuba and in the autumn head to Montana. In between we are aiming at other amazing places but the timing and details are still in the works.

Heading into late 2015 we look forward to a brand new Fuji X-Pro2, which we hope to take with us to Death Valley. Of course, the release date for this highly anticipated camera is still a matter of speculation but let’s hope for the best.

That’s it regarding our plans. As some of you know from time to time Kasia and I take on portrait photography or commercial assignments. Here are a few images from our most recent photo shoot with Dorota and Jedrek. All images are taken with the Fuji X100S (first image) and Fuji X-T1 coupled with the XF 56mm F1.2. Most of them are JPEGs; some are processed in LR5.










Copyright 2015 © Olaf & Kasia Sztaba Photography. All rights reserved.