Thursday, June 11, 2009

Guide Profile:Brian Chaffin

Brian Chaffin, 28, is an Idaho native via Cincinnati Ohio. Visions of the Wild West and and an undergraduate degree in Natural Resource Management lured Brian to the University of Idaho in Moscow where he fell in love with rivers and his wife Jenni.

Brian's animated personality, undying enthusiasm, musical ad-lib and harmonica-vibrato talents make him a campfire favorite.

Brian is following the path of past Rocky guides and will extend his guiding career another a few years by starting a graduate program this fall in Environmental Science with a specialty in water resources. Between classes this winter Brian and his lovely wife Jenni will find time to ski with their two malamutes Koda and Jack.

Guide Profile: Jim Schatz

Jim Schatz is a realtor in Pocatello, Idaho and does plenty of fly fishing, hunting, and rafting trips for therapy. Schatzie no only feels good but having on board makes everyone else feel good, too. Schatz is working three trips this season. Call us if you want to be on a trip with the Schatz.

Guide Profile: Jerry Myers

Jerry Myers, 54, recently accepted his first "real world" job in over 30 years with Trout Unlimited. As a regional resource coordinator Jer will work to restore wild Pacific-Northwest Salmon runs and bring wild salmon back to the Middle Fork.
Even with his new job Jer will join us for three trips continuing his Rocky guiding career which began in 1978. It is a joy to the guides and us to have Jer on the trips to share his knowledge of the Idaho Wilderness, fly fishing skills, his campfire poetry based on true stories, and his great sense of humor.

Guide Profile: Aaron Beck

What kept you busy last winter in the off-season?

I assisted for Boise-based commercial and landscape photographer Glenn Oakley, and drove a computer for a stock photography business in Boise, Idaho Stock Images. When storms rolled through Boise I drove up to the local ski resort before the chair lifts opened and hiked five or six runs before heading into work. I also carved out time for a Yurt trip in the Tetons, skiing with my Dad, some kite-skiing on the Camas Prairie, and I visited my sister (Emily) in Libby Montana where she was completed out-patient rotations for her third year of med-school. The highlight of the off-season was participating in the 2009 US Paragliding Nationals in California in April.

How long have you guided?

I started working on rivers the summer I turned 14. 1998 was my first season with Rocky Mountain and Dave and Sheila. I'm super excited to be back with all my good friends for the 2009 river season.

Guide Profile: Jim Slaugh

Big Jim Slaugh, 34, is our in resident singer song writer. We think Big Jim may have been born a couple generations too late because everywhere Jim goes flowers spontaneously spring skyward in his footsteps.

Jim's connection to the Middle Fork and perpetual quest to connect with the Great Big rolls from one season to the next.
Jim's never ending personal quest found him in India and Thailand last winter for five months of song writing, guitar building and yoga practice. Jim plans to become certified in Iyengar Yoga this coming winter.

Guide Profile: Telly Evans

Telly Evans, 34, started full-time with Rocky in 2001 and will work 12 trips in 2009. We love Telly's booming laugh and positive, friendly outlook.

Telly loves Idaho and Idaho fish. Whether zinging a fly line from a boat, working for the Idaho Fish and Game, or giving interpretive presentations about Idaho's anadromous fish Telly is our fish expert.

Telly researched Pacific Lamprey dam passage rates for the University of Idaho last winter, raised Chinook and Steelhead for the fish and game and will return to the U of I this coming off season for a fully funded Fall Chinook migration study.

Guide Profile: Todd Jackson

How long have you guided?

Todd Jackson, 39, moved to Montana to go to school, but was temporarily distracted with rivers and the ski bum lifestyle. Todd got his life back on track when he started guiding full-time with Dave and Sheila and Rocky Mountain River Tours in 2000. After completing a degree in International Business Todd moved to Yuxi Yunnan to refine his Chinese language skills where he met and married his wife Tao Ling.

After almost five years of owning and operating a cafe and restaurant in Yuxi Todd sold the business and moved to Shijiazhang to be closer to Tao Ling's family. When Tao Ling's visa comes through (hopefully this fall) Todd and Tao Ling will move to Montana, "I'm excited to teach Tao Ling how to ski and introduce her to the Yellowstone area next winter."

Better Landscape Photos on your Rocky Mtn. Vacation

Here are 3 ideas that can help you make better landscape images on your Rocky Mountain Middle Fork Salmon River Trip this summer:

1.  Bring a Tripod
2.  Go Manual
3.  Cut the Sky, Emphasize the Foreground

1.  Bring a Tripod.
Tripods conjure up visions of wild-haired photographers buried deep under the black cloth of a view camera, and with image stabilizing and vibration reduction lenses, a tripod might seem silly.  For most people who shoot compact digital cameras something as simple as the $6 Carson HandiPod Mini Tabletop Tripod might be all you need. 

Not only do tripods allow you to take group pictures on your Big Creek hike or shoot those uber cool campfire images at dusk, more importantly tripods force you to slow down and think about composition.  

One of the major advantages of digital is also a major drawback.  With no film to develop it is too easy to get snap happy and tell yourself that you will edit the rejects at home on the computer.  Wouldn't it be better to go home with fewer "throw aways" and more keepers?

Take your time, slow down, use a tripod, and compose an image that you would be proud to show your 10th grade design teacher.   

2.  Go Manual.  
Remember when you learned how to drive a stick shift vehicle?  You, the driver, were in complete control.  You decided when to up-shift as you merged onto the freeway, and when to downshift on a winter snow floor.

Take the control back with your images as well.  Put the camera in Manual mode and have complete control over depth of field and shutter speed decisions.  Dial in a shutter speeds of 1/10 of a second or less and reveal an abstract representation of the passage of time as the Middle Fork rushes past your campsite.

Dagger Falls on June 3, 2009:
Image Info: Canon 20D, 24mm t/s lens, ISO 100, 1/2 second at f22

3.  Cut the Sky, Emphasize the Foreground
For better landscapes cut out unnecessary empty sky space and find something interesting to place in the foreground, especially when shooting with a wide angle lens.

In the images below I limited the sky and emphasized the foreground:
The boulder and green grasses in the foreground keep the viewer's eyes moving around the image:

Stitch the two images together with photo editing software to get a more interesting panoramic image:

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