Editorial Photographer Susan Seubert Shoots for National Geographic Traveler

Summer is definitely on its way out as is evidenced by the fall magazines that are arriving in my mailbox.  The October 2012 issue of National Geographic Traveler landed and features a story I shot for their Road Trip section on central Washington State.  The adventure begins in Centralia then wanders over the Cascade Range, winding up with explorations through Yakima, Ellensburg and Prosser.  This is a beautiful area of the country, particularly at this time of year when the stone fruits of the Yakima Valley are ripening and everyone is getting excited for harvest.  There are some fine wines produced in this area, which also boasts the second largest hops growing area in the world.  If you decide to take this trip, I highly recommend staying at the Cherry Wood Bed, Breakfast and Barn where one can go on trail rides through the vineyards on horses that have been rescued and rehabilitated. While I was there, a pony named “Wild Bill” adopted me when I was shooting in one of the places where they keep some of the horses.  He was adorable!!!  Spend the night in a truly luxurious tee pee and take a bath under the stars in one of their outdoor tubs.  You can read the story on National Geographic Traveler’s web site here.

The opening image for, “Northwestern Exposure,” a story by Freda Moon about an adventurous road trip through Central Washington State. Photographs by yours truly.

Me on assignment, with the rescued pony, “Wild Bill.” My childhood dream of having a pony, if only for one night. 🙂

All the photos were made with Canon 5D Mark II cameras and a litany of Canon L Series lenses.  The images were processed using Adobe’s Lightroom software.

Multimedia Photographer Susan Seubert in Smithsonian

The current, (May 2012), issue of Smithsonian Magazine features an online multimedia piece about the meaning behind hula and I had a great time shooting the video and audio that comprise the bulk of the piece.  I had been assigned to illustrate a story written by Oahu resident and well known author Paul Theroux entitled, “Paul Theroux’s Quest to Define Hawaii.”  It was a pleasure to spend an afternoon with Paul, an extremely interesting and generous man. He’s always got a tale to tell and is engaging in conversation. I feel quite lucky to have now worked on two of his stories.  His story can be read here, the photo gallery can be seen here, and you can hear his thoughts, along with Kumu Hula Hinaleimoana Wong Kalu in the multimedia piece here.

One of the images made for the story, “Paul Theroux’s Quest to Define Hawaii” of the Waianae Mountains on the island of Oahu, Hawaii

All of the still images and video were made with Canon 5D Mark II bodies, Canon L series lenses and the audio was captured with a wireless Sennheiser mic system and the Zoom H4n hand-held audio recorder.  The stills were processed in Adobe Lightroom and Smithsonian’s in-house video editors compiled the raw material into the finished piece.  Go team Smithsonian!

Landscape photographer Susan Seubert on the cover of Smithsonian Magazine

It is with great pleasure to announce the best holiday gift ever : the cover story for Smithsonian’s December 2011 issue.  In early October, I was assigned by the magazine to cover a story about the crater of Haleakala, located on the island of Maui.  Also available online is a multimedia piece which was edited in Washington D.C. at the magazine’s headquarters.  I provided the raw video and audio and the good people at Smithsonian put together a video featuring the park’s superintendent, Sarah Creachbaum. There is also a slideshow online of some more photos here.

This adventure into the volcano was a test of both my technical and physical capabilities.  My assistant and I covered approximately thirty miles of rough terrain, dealing with gusty winds, yellowjackets and the occasional passing rain shower.  We spent three days and two nights shooting as much of the landscape and volunteer work as possible.  We also shot video and collected audio as we simultaneously tried to shoot stills and keep up with the volunteer group, who had allowed us to tag along and stay with them in two of the three cabins located within the crater.

The eastern flank of this erosional depression is a cloud forest, essentially the top of Hana, an area famous for its rainforests and waterfalls.  If time had allowed, we would have hiked farther into the Kaupo Gap, a lush area filled with native Ohia trees and the chirping of native birds such as the I’iwi and the Apapane.  We saw plenty of Nene, the Native Hawaiian Goose, mostly around the cabins.  Although it’s illegal to feed them, they clearly understand that humans are a source of food, as they would brazenly approach anyone eating a snack.  At the end of the three day hike, we faced climbing out of the volcano up the Halemau’u trail that has an elevation gain of just over 1,000 feet in under 3 miles.  That was a difficult task as we were pretty exhausted by that point, having covered so much ground in such a short period of time.  The most challenging part of photographing was attempting to visually describe the vast landscape.  This was indeed an assignment of a lifetime.  I encourage anyone, who is ambulatory enough, to take the shorter 11 mile hike down the Keonehe’ehe’e, (Sliding Sands), trail.  It’s physically challenging, but to partake in this landscape is to witness the earth at its most primal.  A hui ho!

The Keonehe'ehe'e (Sliding Sands) trail, as seen from near the top of Haleakala, below the visitor's center, featured on the cover of the December 2011 issue of Smithsonian 🙂

Pele's Paintpot, located within the crater of Haleakala, features several different colors of lava rock. Off in the distance, in the far left-hand corner of the image on the crater rim, you can barely make out the Visitor's Center.

All the images and video were shot with Canon 5D Mark II Cameras, the Canon 24-105 F4L IS USM lens, the Canon 70-200mmL IS USM lens, (plus various others), all the images were processed using Adobe’s Lightroom software.  The audio was captured using a Zoom H4n Handy Recorder with an Audiotechnica condenser mic covered with a dead-cat windscreen.

Portland Editorial Photographer Susan Seubert on the cover of YES! Magazine

Greetings!  It is with great pleasure to announce that I’ve landed another cover this month for YES! Magazine‘s Fall 2011 issue.  The article is about people who said no to corporate jobs and features SoupCycle’s Jed Lazar on the cover of the book.  His business it delivering healthy, handmade soups, salads and breads via bicycle throughout the city of Portland.  It’s a brilliant plan for those busy people and/or families who want to have a simple, organic meal delivered fresh to their door without having to think about making dinner.  Plus, the bicycle delivery makes the dinner that much more guilt-free because it’s delivered without the help of fossil fuels – just Jed and his team on bikes!  Super yum.  If you live in Portland, sign up for a SoupScription.

Jed Lazar of Soupcycle on the cover of YES! Magazine

This photo was made with a 5D Mark II and processed in Adobe’s Lightroom software.  You can browse an online database of images from this shoot here.

Back Yard Barred Owl -or- Why We Live in Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon is an amazing place to live for so many reasons:  the food scene, the forward-thinking development, the great public transportation  but for me, our home is the reason we have firmly planted roots here in the Pacific Northwest.  Our house backs into the Marquam Green Space which is tangential to Forest Park, the largest in-city park in the United States.  If you can figure the maps, it’s possible to walk out our back door and join up with the Pacific Crest Trail.   The other great part is that literally steps, (with a little bush-whacking), from our back yard is the newly developed 4-T TrailTrail, Tram, Trolly, Train.  If you are a resident or visitor, this is one great urban hike and a fantastic way to tour the city for under 5 bucks.  Last year we began the process of becoming certified for Backyard Habitat, a joint program between the Audubon Society and the Columbia Land trust.  This program acts as a guide in transforming your property to a haven for urban flora and fauna.  Since our property butts up against the Marquam Green Space, it made sense to get on board.  We’ve removed the bulk of invasive plants and re-planted our back yard with native plant species.  Now the battle with bindweed, holly and ivy begins!  The great part is that we’ve already noticed an increase in the wildlife that visits us, including this Barred Owl who spent a good deal of time on a branch about 5 feet from my office window.  You can hear us whispering to the owl as it sits nearby…

Here is how difficult it was to photograph the owl 🙂

Wildlife photographer, in action!

In addition to the Barred Owls, we have regular avian visitors.  Tonight, while sitting outside having dinner, I noted the following species: Black-Headed Grosbeak, Spotted Towhee, Rufous Hummingbird, Anna’s Hummingbird, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Black Capped Chickadee, Steller’s Jay, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Lesser Goldfinch, Pine Siskin, Band-tailed Pigeon, House Finch, Red Shafted Northern Flicker, Downy Woodpecker, Song Sparrow, and to top it off, a mother/son pair of Hairy Woodpeckers.  Below is our regular summer set-up for dinner.  Bon appétit!

summer backyard dining

a steller’s jay joins us for supper

The video was shot with a Canon 5D Mark II and a Canon 70-200 f2.8 IS USM L series lens and edited in iMovie.  The stills were shot with a Canon 5D Mark II and a Canon 24-105 IS USM L series lens and edited in Adobe’s Lightroom software.

Portland Editorial Photographer Susan Seubert shoots for Smithsonian Magazine

One of the most interesting things about being an editorial photographer are the environmental portrait assignments.  Sometimes, the photograph is of a person I meet while traveling who is part of a larger story, but most of the portrait assignments are to illustrate a singular person. For this assignment for Smithsonian Magazine, I was to photograph Laura Kutner, a Peace Corps volunteer who rallied a Guatemalan community to turn plastic bottles and trash into building materials.  It’s recycling meets Habitat for Humanity.  You can read the story here.  For this summer’s Smithsonian Folklife Festival, which is part of celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps, Kutner will be recreating part of the project she led in Guatemala.

Peace Corps Volunteer Laura Kutner holding plastic bottles at a recycling plant in Oregon

Here's a blurry behind the scenes of our location. A small scoop is a very different term in an industrial recycling facility!

The shoot was done with a 5D Mark II camera, a Canon 24-105 IS USM lens, a Speedlight 580EX flash mounted to a lightweight Manfrotto stand with an umbrella and pocket wizard radio slaves.

Editorial Multimedia photographer Susan Seubert and Barbados

The assignment I shot for National Geographic Traveler Magazine about Barbados was the first assignment where I brought along some sound equipment and although, due to a very tight shooting schedule, I didn’t have much time to gather audio, there was one interview with a couple of local women who go every morning to Enterprise Beach, otherwise known as Miami Beach, to have a sponge.  From my hotel room, I’d hear people walking down the road at dawn towards the water so one morning I followed.  It was glorious.  All manner of locals just hanging around, talking and floating in the clear, blue water.  This went on all day, every day, weather permitting.  The people of Barbados are so friendly and these two women really expressed this warmth while discussing the water they visit for social and medicinal purposes.  I’ve posted a video about it on my web site and also wanted to put it up here.  I find their voices uplifting and it brings joy to my heart to listen to their passionate love for their beach, Miami Beach in Barbados.

The photos were all made with a Canon 5D Mark II and processed in Adobe’s Lightroom.  The slideshow was put together using Final Cut Pro.  The audio was gathered using an Audio-technica omnidirectional condenser mic with a dead cat wind screen and an Edirol R-09HR recorder.  I use Bose noise-canceling headphones while recording audio.