Let ‘er buck! That’s the phrase that rings throughout the small town of Pendleton, Oregon during the second full week of September where over 50,000 people descend to watch or participate in the Pendleton Round Up Rodeo. This rodeo is unique in that since its inception in 1910 it has included a large Native American presence. Over 300 tee pees are set up on the rodeo grounds where members of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla gather to visit with one another and participate in displays of their culture. One of my favorite events was the Indian Relay race where members of several tribes compete in a bareback horse race around the track. It’s mind blowing to think that these athletes are able to ride at tremendous speed without the need for saddles, spurs or any of the other trappings of horse racing to which I am accustomed. On the Saturday morning of the big rodeo weekend, the tribes invite the public to come down to the grass field of the stadium and watch as the tribal dance competitions take place. There is drumming, singing and dancing where contestants are divided up by age and gender, then judged on their dancing skills. Below are some of my favorite images from the 4 days that I covered just last weekend. Enjoy and let ‘er buck!
Eugene, Oregon hosted the 2016 Olympic Team trials for track and field this past June and we were there to photograph coach and former Olympic competitor Dan Browne for USAA. Part of the U.S. Army’s World Class Athlete Program, Major Browne coached three runners into the games in Rio this year. We had a very short time to spend with him, but enjoyed having an opportunity to feel part of the excitement of the games. Below are a few images from behind the scenes. One of the athletes he coaches runs tomorrow in the men’s 5000 Meter. We wish Paul Chelimo the best!
This week I was given the keys to Smithsonian Magazine’s Instagram account. My home base is Portland, Oregon and I love this city because not only is it beautiful, the community here is full of interesting and engaging people. This week gave me an opportunity to share with the world some of the iconic people and places that I hold near and dear to my heart here in the Pacific Northwest. Below are a few of the images from the project. Please continue to follow me on my Instagram account @susanseubert
Have a beautiful summer!
Recently I was assigned by National Geographic Traveler Magazine to photograph the process of making salt from sea water harvested from Netarts Bay, Oregon, at the Jacobsen Salt Company. The story has been published in the February/March 2016 issue of the magazine, which focuses on water-loving getaways. The idea for the project was to document the entire process of making salt – from sea water to the pure crystalline mineral. The shoot was scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, but when I saw the awful weather forecast, I left Portland early so that I could arrive Sunday to scout, and possibly photograph. Arriving a day early turned out to be a good decision because we ended up having a nice afternoon with sun breaks and an astonishingly beautiful sunset. The following two days were solid rain as a very large storm slammed into Netarts. Working under an umbrella held by a heavy-duty C-stand allowed me to continue to work outside, despite the deluge. I truly enjoyed working with Ben Jacobsen and his crew. They made it easy to get some great images, despite the typically challenging weather at the Oregon coast. Below are a few of my favorites.
All of the images were photographed with a Canon 5D Mark III with various Canon lenses. All of the images were shot in RAW and processed using Adobe’s Lightroom CC software. All photographs are copyright © 2016 Susan Seubert and may not be used in any form without prior written permission from Susan Seubert.
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For the first time, I’ve had the pleasure and privilege to watch a robin build a nest, incubate eggs and have a successful hatch just outside of our kitchen window. The American Robin is one of the most common birds found in urban settings and will often nest near, or on, homes throughout North America. I’ve learned a lot about the behavior of Turdus migratorius by observing, and photographing, them almost daily since the babies hatched around the beginning of this month.
I read that the the incubation ranges from 12 to 14 days, which was spot on for this mother of 4. Now we are eagerly waiting for the babies to fledge, as it appears that they are very crowded in their nest and their wing feathers look like they are well developed.
With so many chicks in one tiny nest, I wondered how the nest stays so clean. It turns out that in addition to feeding the babies worms and berries, the robin also “changes the babies’ diapers” by removing the waste directly from the bottoms of the chicks. This may not be the most appetizing topic, but I was amazed at how efficient the bird is at keeping house. Below are some photos from the last week. I built a “blind” in the kitchen in order to keep our peering eyes mostly hidden so as not to disturb the nestlings. There was plenty of glare which the blind reduced, but it was still challenging photographing through dirty glass. All of these pictures were made with the Canon 7D Mark II which has a beautiful sensor and a fabulous frame rate, which is what allowed me to capture such a fast and intimate moment. The RAW files were processed using Adobe Lightroom.
It has been an illuminating experience to watch how quickly these cute little birds grow and I will certainly miss them when they leave the nest.
Update on June 13, 2015
This morning, three out of the four nestlings fledged! There is still one in the nest and it looks very ready to leave. It’s preening and standing up to stretch its legs. What a wonderful experience this has been.
Update on June 13, 2015
The last robin fledged this evening. Sniff.
From the North Pole to the sands of Hawaii, my cameras and I saw many incredible places.
Here are some of the highlights.
My year began in Birmingham for National Geographic Traveler for a story about the history of Civil Rights in the city, but from a traveler’s perspective. The assignment took me to the Civil Rights Museum and the inside of the 16th Street Baptist Church, both sobering experiences. Birmingham also has a fabulous food scene from down home BBQ to some seriously delicious high-end Southern Cuisine. The lively arts scene was a surprise, complete with small music venues and vegan restaurants.
The next great assignment came from the Smithsonian Magazine : photographing the Von Trapp children who have made Portland, Oregon their hometown. We spent time climbing trees and jumping on rooftops with umbrellas to get some wonderful images of these multi-talented youngsters.
From there, it was off to Baja, where I taught photography on board the National Geographic Sea Bird. We traveled throughout the Gulf of California experiencing all kinds of wildlife. Swimming with sea lions at Los Islotes, Orca whales bow riding at midnight under a full moon and huge flocks of elegant terns choosing their mates at Isla Rasita are just a few of the amazing encounters we had during our eight day voyage. The wildlife experts on board kept our shutters flying.
After a few loads of laundry and some face time with the kitties, it was off to Maui for the month of May, where I shot a story about Happiness for Prevention Magazine. We had fun making smiley faces on trees in the lush, tropical forests. We did street casting to choose our lovely models who expressed joy with their smiles and their feet. 🙂
From Maui, I flew directly to Quebec City for National Geographic Traveler where I spent ten days on assignment. The European vibe and French speaking Vieux Quebec made me feel as though I had crossed two oceans.
In June, I headed to Svalbard to work as the Photography Expert for National Geographic Expeditions on board the Explorer, a beautiful ice breaker. We sailed among the ice sheets, spotting polar bears and photographing the most incredible blues I’ve ever seen. The landscape around the North Pole cannot be properly captured in pictures, but we all did our best.
Teaching photography has been a focus of 2014. In July, I taught a group of aspiring young photographers through National Geographic’s Student Expeditions program in San Francisco. We explored Muir Woods, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the streets of San Francisco and magnificent Big Sur. Later in the year I taught two one-day seminars in L.A. and Portland for National Geographic on “The Travel Assignment.”
After wrapping in San Francisco, I photographed for several days on beautiful Bainbridge Island in Washington. The subject? Chickens. Chickens and their coops for Amber Lotus, a calendar and card company. Keep your eyes peeled for the 2016 edition of City Chickens and Their Coops!
It was off to Switzerland in September for two weeks covering 1000 miles of Swiss bliss. Every village and mountain peak was as picturesque as one would expect from this iconic country. One of the many highlights was visiting a small creamery in the Alps that makes Alpkäse, a traditional cheese made entirely by hand. I also hiked around the mountains, explored the country by train, car and boat, and (how could I resist?) sampled lots of chocolate.
What could be better than this? Crete. I flew directly there from Switzerland and was met by my husband — and my fixer. We proceeded to spend just over a week shooting the western half of the island. The food, people, landscape and architecture were outstanding. That story has already hit the newsstands in the Netherlands for the Dutch edition of National Geographic Traveler.
After Crete it was off to another island, our home on Maui, where we spent October and November surfing, stand-up paddle-boarding and, of course, making more pictures. This time the assignment was for me: to explore the underwater world with a Canon 7D and an SPL water housing. I photographed turtle after turtle, had a few octopus encounters and enjoyed a beautiful moment with a very large spotted eagle ray.
Thank you to all of my clients for sending me on such remarkable journeys.
You’ve made 2014 marvelous!!!
This week I was assigned by The New York Times to make an environmental portrait of a man in Yamhill, Oregon for a piece written by Nickolas Kristof, one of the Op-Ed columnists for the paper. My assignment was to cover a story called, “Inheriting a Hard Life,” and Rick Goff was the subject on which the premise of the article was based. My missive from the photo editor was to, “think Dorothea Lange in color.” The late Dorothea Lange is famous for her work as a FSA photographer, most notably for her image, “Migrant Mother.” So with some ideas swirling around in my brain, we hopped in the car and bee lined it to Yamhill because the deadline was virtually the same day we had to shoot.
We arrived at the location and Rick was ready for us. He had apparently already received a copy of the story and was prepared to start shooting. We spent about an hour working on trying to make some images that best illustrated the point – an attractive portrait in an environment that was a working man’s setting. Rick was in charge of expression. He already knew that this wasn’t necessarily a happy story. He was really good at facing the camera which made our shoot go very smoothly. We worked in several locations and as we were wrapping up, I noticed these great windows. Since the picture had to be in color and Ms. Lange’s images are all black and white I decided to work with the window area because the colors were very muted. The wood facade, the window frame, the background and Rick’s posture all came together. I instantly knew that this was the image they would run. It’s in today’s New York Times, and although it’s color, it’s very monochromatic. I’m pleased with the way the image turned out and, as usual, extremely happy to continue to receive interesting assignments from the Times. Here are a few outtakes as well as some behind the scenes pictures.
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