Susan Seubert photographs Jacobsen Salt for National Geographic Traveler

 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.

Jacobsen Salt Company in Netarts, Oregon, USA. The salt is harvested from sea water pumped from Netarts Bay in to their facility located on the shore of the bay. Jacobsen Salt was founded in 2011 by owner Ben Jacobsen. Their main products are flake and kosher sea salts available for sale in their store in Portland, Oregon. Contact Ben Jacobson sales@jacobsensalt.com or 503-473-3952. Pictured here is Jacobsen Salt.

Jacobsen Salt Company in Netarts, Oregon, USA. Their main products are flake and kosher sea salts available for sale in their store in Portland, Oregon. Pictured here is Jacobsen Flake Salt.

Jacobsen Salt Company in Netarts, Oregon, USA. The salt is harvested from sea water pumped from Netarts Bay in to their facility located on the shore of the bay. Jacobsen Salt was founded in 2011 by owner Ben Jacobsen. Their main products are flake and kosher sea salts available for sale in their store in Portland, Oregon. Contact Ben Jacobson sales@jacobsensalt.com or 503-473-3952. Pictured here is salt being sifted in order to grade and separate the salt.

Jacobsen Salt Company in Netarts, Oregon, USA. The salt is harvested from sea water pumped from Netarts Bay in to their facility located on the shore of the bay. Pictured here is salt being sifted in order to grade and separate the salt.

Jacobsen Salt Company in Netarts, Oregon, USA. The salt is harvested from sea water pumped from Netarts Bay in to their facility located on the shore of the bay. Jacobsen Salt was founded in 2011 by owner Ben Jacobsen. Their main products are flake and kosher sea salts available for sale in their store in Portland, Oregon. Contact Ben Jacobson sales@jacobsensalt.com or 503-473-3952. Pictured here is the salt being harvested from the evaporation pans using specially adapted shovels by facilities manager Tom Gibson

Pictured here is the salt being harvested from the evaporation pans using specially adapted shovels.

Jacobsen Salt Company in Netarts, Oregon, USA. The salt is harvested from sea water pumped from Netarts Bay in to their facility located on the shore of the bay. Jacobsen Salt was founded in 2011 by owner Ben Jacobsen. Their main products are flake and kosher sea salts available for sale in their store in Portland, Oregon. Contact Ben Jacobson sales@jacobsensalt.com or 503-473-3952. Pictured here is the land that divides Netarts bay from the Pacific Ocean

Netarts Bay, Oregon, where Jacobsen Salt Company harvests its sea water in order to make flake salt.

Jacobsen Salt Company in Netarts, Oregon, USA. Pictured here is owner Ben Jacobsen.

Jacobsen Salt Company in Netarts, Oregon, USA. Pictured here is owner Ben Jacobsen.

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.

Thank you for visiting my blog!

Susan Seubert Photographer: Learning by Observing

Four American Robin Chicks in their nest outside our kitchen window

Four American Robin Chicks in their nest outside our kitchen window

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.

American Robin, nesting in a camellia bush in Portland, Oregon with 4 chicks

American Robin, nesting in a camellia bush in Portland, Oregon feeding her chicks blueberries

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.

The Kitchen Window Blind: Baby Robins in their nest in a Camellia bush

The Kitchen Window Blind: Robin chicks in their nest in a Camellia bush

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.

A mother American Robin removing the excrement from the bottom of one of her chicks

An American Robin removing the excrement from the bottom of one of the chicks

A mother American Robin removing the excrement from the bottom of one of her chicks

An American Robin removing the excrement from the bottom of one of the chicks

A mother American Robin removing the excrement from the bottom of one of her chicks

An American Robin removing the excrement from the bottom of one of the chicks

A mother American Robin removing the excrement from the bottom of one of her chicks

An American Robin removing the excrement from the bottom of one of the chicks

A mother American Robin removing the excrement from the bottom of one of her chicks

An American Robin removing the excrement from the bottom of one of the chicks

A mother American Robin removing the excrement from the bottom of one of her chicks

An American Robin removing the excrement from the bottom of one of the chicks

A mother American Robin removing the excrement from the bottom of one of her chicks

An American Robin removing the excrement from the bottom of one of the chicks

A mother American Robin removing the excrement from the bottom of one of her chicks

An American Robin removing the excrement from the bottom of one of the chicks

 

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.

The last to fledge

The last to fledge

 

Susan Seubert Photography in 2014 : An Amazing Year, in Pictures

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 Wales Window at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama

The Wales Window at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama

The Bottletree restaurant, which offers vegan cuisine, and music venue located in the Avondale district of Birmingham, Alabama.

The Bottletree restaurant, which offers vegan cuisine, and music venue located in the Avondale district of Birmingham, Alabama.

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.

The Von Trapp children in Portland, Oregon

The Von Trapp children in Portland, Oregon

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.

Snorkeling with California Sea Lions at Los Islotes in Baja California Mexico

Snorkeling with California Sea Lions at Los Islotes in Baja California Mexico Photographed with a GoPro Camera

Elegant terns and other sea birds gathering on Isla Rasa, Baja California Mexico

Elegant terns and other sea birds gathering on Isla Rasita, Baja California Mexico

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. 🙂

A tree in the forest on Maui with a happy face made of natural materials.

A tree in the forest on Maui with a happy face made of natural materials.

pink flowers with a happy face in the grass with bare feet, Maui, Hawaii

pink flowers with a happy face in the grass with bare feet, Maui, Hawaii

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.

Street scenes from Vieux Quebec, the only fortified city in North America north of Mexico, Quebec City, Canada. Rue Saint Louis lighting up at dusk

Street scenes from Vieux Quebec, the only fortified city in North America north of Mexico, Quebec City, Canada. Rue Saint Louis lighting up at dusk

Lower Vieux Quebec, also known as Quartier Petit Champlain, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada

Lower Vieux Quebec, also known as Quartier Petit Champlain, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada

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.

A polar bear with her cub on the pack ice in Svalbard, Norway

A polar bear with her cub on the pack ice in Svalbard, Norway

Austfonna Ice Cap on Nordaustlandet, Svalbard, Norway

Austfonna Ice Cap on Nordaustlandet, Svalbard, Norway

Ice floating in Svalbard, Norway

Glacial Ice floating in Svalbard, Norway

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.”

Our group portrait with all of the National Geographic Student Expeditions at the Sutro Baths, San Francisco, CA

Our group portrait with all of the National Geographic Student Expeditions at the Sutro Baths, San Francisco, CA

Our dusk shoot at the Golden Gate Bridge with Student Expeditions where we experimented with light writing and a group portrait

Our dusk shoot at the Golden Gate Bridge with Student Expeditions where we experimented with light writing and a group portrait

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!

Chickens and their Coops Calendar coming out in 2016, but it's not too late to get your 2015 copy!

Chickens and their Coops Calendar coming out in 2016, but it’s not too late to get your 2015 copy!

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.

A Swiss cheese-maker working on a batch of Alpkäse by hand in the traditional manner in a giant copper kettle over a wood burning fire at their cheese-making hut above Wengen, Switzerland

A Swiss cheese-maker working on a batch of Alpkäse by hand in the traditional manner in a giant copper kettle over a wood burning fire at their cheese-making hut above Wengen, Switzerland

A Swiss cheese-maker working on a batch of Alpkäse by hand in the traditional manner in a giant copper kettle over a wood burning fire at their cheese-making hut above Wengen, Switzerland

A Swiss cheese-maker working on a batch of Alpkäse by hand in the traditional manner in a giant copper kettle over a wood burning fire at their cheese-making hut above Wengen, Switzerland

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.

Street scenes in Chania, Crete, Greece

Street scenes in Chania, Crete, Greece

Evening street performers in the village of Paleochora on the southern coast of Crete, Greece, Europe

Evening street performers in the village of Paleochora on the southern coast of Crete, Greece, Europe

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.

A spotted eagle ray at the reef at Black Rock in Kaanapali, Maui

A spotted eagle ray at the reef at Black Rock in Kaanapali, Maui

A large, male Hawaiian green sea turtle swims peacefully over the reef at Kaanapali, Maui

A large, male Hawaiian green sea turtle swims peacefully over the reef at Kaanapali, Maui

Thank you to all of my clients for sending me on such remarkable journeys.

You’ve made 2014 marvelous!!!

 

Editorial Portrait Photographer Susan Seubert shoots for the New York Times

The published image in the New York Times of Rick Goff

The published image in the New York Times of Rick Goff

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.

Another one of my faves

One of my faves

Another one of my favorite outtakes from the shoot

Another one of my favorite outtakes from the shoot

Loving my 50mm f1.2 - trying out super shallow depth of field

Loving my 50mm f1.2 – trying out super shallow depth of field

On assignment for the New York Times, using a log chair.

On assignment for the New York Times, using a log chair.

The best images come from working in odd spaces

The best images come from working in odd spaces

Thank you for visiting my blog!  Have a great day!

Travel and Lifestyle Photographer Susan Seubert shoots Manzanita Oregon for National Geographic Traveler

Beautiful clouds mimic the breaking waves at Neakahnie Beach in Manzanita, Oregon

Beautiful clouds mimic the breaking waves at Neakahnie Beach in Manzanita, Oregon

One of the best places on the Oregon Coast is the town of Manzanita.  It’s only about two hours from Portland and Neahkahnie Beach, which fronts this beach town, is one of the best beaches in the state.  The beach is 7 miles long and very flat, making it ideal for walking, throwing a Frisbee, or finding a nice piece of driftwood on which to sit and watch the gorgeous and powerful Pacific Ocean.  It never feels crowded here, yet there’s always someone walking a dog or playing with their kids, or even riding horses! The town of Manzanita has an amazing grocery store with a fantastic deli for a picnic lunch as well as a marvelous bakery where you can get hot cinnamon rolls and a great cup of coffee along with hand-made bread. On top of all this there’s the Cloud and Leaf book store, so if you are there on a rainy weekend, you can pop in and find a good read.  With its Bed and Breakfasts and lovely little restaurants, for a weekend getaway at the ocean, Manzanita is hard to top.  I was very excited when I received this assignment because I have spent many weekends and day trips here, so I know the place well.  However, being able to frame my adventure with a photo assignment gave the trip an added dimension.  Since the story wasn’t simply about Manzanita but part of a larger story about Great American Beach Towns, it was a way for me to demonstrate my Oregon pride.  I moved here from the Midwest in 1988 and never looked back, largely because of the natural beauty Oregon has to offer, from its grand beaches like Neahkahnie, to the Cascade Mountains, the wine country, the high desert, the Painted Hills, Crater Lake and the Columbia River Gorge.  Manzanita is a perfect example of what makes living in Oregon so wonderful.  I hope that this story inspires you to visit Oregon.  You can see the online gallery of pictures from National Geographic Traveler’s American Beach Towns here.

Dennis and Peggy Awtrey entertain guests at their hillside B and B in Manzanita, Oregon

Dennis and Peggy Awtrey entertain guests at their hillside B and B in Manzanita, Oregon

Chef Brian Williams stands outside of his restaurant The Big Wave Cafe in Manzanita, Oregon

Chef Brian Williams stands outside of his restaurant The Big Wave Cafe in Manzanita, Oregon

Editorial Portrait Photographer Susan Seubert shoots National Geographic Travelers of the Year

Last year, I was lucky enough to be assigned to photograph two of the 2012 Travelers of the Year for National Geographic Traveler Magazine.  I wrote about it in a previous post, and a lot of what I said then remains the same today.  The most interesting part of my job is having the privilege to meet and photograph many interesting people. This year was no exception.  The stars aligned and it turned out that two of the nominees happened to be in my hometown of Portland, Oregon, so I ended up photographing two of the 2013 Travelers of the Year for National Geographic Traveler Magazine.

The first assignment was to photograph a couple – Seth McBride and Kelly Schwan who were preparing to leave on a year-long, 10,000-mile bicycle adventure from Portland, Oregon to Patagonia in Argentina.  The most amazing part of their story is that Seth has quadriplegia and must travel using a hand-cycle.  Meeting and working with these two was incredibly inspiring.  We tried a couple of different approaches to making pictures of them and both of the locations ended up in the story – in print and on the web.  The print version (below) shows Seth and Kelly biking on a country road outside of Portland.  We got the shot by hiring a truck so I could make pictures of them while they were cycling, which was a great way to illustrate in picture precisely what they are about.  You can follow them on their epic journey online via their blog, www.longroadsouth.com.

Seth McBride and Kelly Schwan, National Geographic Travelers of the Year for 2013

Seth McBride and Kelly Schwan, National Geographic Travelers of the Year for 2013

The second photo-op turned out to be another couple who are referred to in the article as the, “New Pioneers,” and their portrait ended up being the opener for the print version of the story (see below).  John Ellis and Laura Preston ditched their jobs in New York City, got an airstream trailer and started on a journey that seems to keep on going.  They “crowd-source” their itinerary and wound up just outside of Portland in a small trailer park along the river.  John and Laura are taking advantage of being able to do their jobs on the road – they are both web developers – so they can work while exploring America.  It’s an inspiring story, filled with the romance of chasing dreams while traveling and earning a living.  You can follow their journey online at www.thedemocratictravelers.com.

2013 National Geographic Travelers of the Year John Ellis and Laura Preston

2013 National Geographic Travelers of the Year John Ellis and Laura Preston

Editorial photographer Susan Seubert on cover of final issue of MIX Magazine

It is with a heavy heart that I write this post.  MIX Magazine, a food magazine published by the Oregonian, is publishing its final issue this month and they chose one of my images for the cover.  MIX was so much fun to work for, not only because the assignments always focused on my favorite subject, food, but also because of the great editorial staff with which I had the pleasure of working.  The photo editor I worked with on my projects was the illustrious Mike Davis, now the Alexia Foundation Chair for Documentary Photography at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.  He gave me complete freedom of approach to every story and also followed up with terrific feedback.  The writer I most often worked with was Martha Holmberg, former food editor for The Oregonian, who is now busy writing cookbooks, teaching, giving talks and continuing to pursue all things food.  Martha and I worked on several stories together, including one about Nick’s Italian Cafe in McMinnville, as well as another about how to make your own Nocino with green walnuts from the back yard, (and throw a neighborhood party in the process).  “Hope springs eternal,” I often hear, so my hope is that I not only get to continue to work with Mike and Martha on other projects in the future, but that another food magazine based in my hometown of Portland, Oregon will spring forth in the near future.

I raise a glass to the fine people at the Oregonian and MIX!  May our paths cross again in the very near future.  Cheers!!!

The October 2013 cover of MIX Magazine, image by Susan Seubert

The October 2013 cover of MIX Magazine, image by Susan Seubert