Landscape Photography with George Stenberg

Though there are many factors that come together to make a good photographer—gear, dedication, understanding of theory, etc.—the one elusive quality that boosts George Stenberg’s craft into the upper echelon is timing. This is often translated to photographers terms as patience.

Although many assume that being in the right place at the right time is happenstance, one look at Stenberg’s extensive collection suggests there’s something more sophisticated at play. Time and time again, he publishes jaw-dropping creations that not only make us fall even more in love with our own DSLRs, but with Hood Canal that continually provides these glorious moments.

Note: all photos featured in this post belong to George Stenberg.


Meet George Stenberg

He’s the man behind the image that makes you say, “whoa.” And rightfully so—his mission is simply in the right place. “The world is a wonderful, amazingly beautiful place,” he says, “look around and see for yourself. Let’s cherish it and take good care of it for those who come after us."

We caught up with him for a little Q + A.


What makes shooting around Hood Canal and on the Olympic Peninsula special?

I can’t imagine many places that can provide so many opportunities for a photographer. Where else could I go to see a beaver slapping its gigantic tail on the water or eagles feeding on salmon or duck, frolicking seal pups, or even an occasional orca?

I have a perpetual front row seat to boats and seaplanes coming and going, shores lined with oysters, starfish, and clam shells. Hiking trails that lead to vista points, and sunsets highlighting the towering peaks of the Olympics reflecting across Hood Canal. Amid majestic trees reaching high into the sky, lakes and rivers find their way to Hood Canal, all affected by seasonal changes in weather.

I’ve also cultivated a deep appreciation for the people of this area and the relationship they have with their homes. Capturing the personalities of locals in their surroundings is a great joy of mine. Frankly, the entire Hood Canal and Olympic Peninsula is a photographer’s paradise, and I’m blessed to call it home


What camera gear do you use to keep focused on what you do best as a photographer?  

My equipment is very modest. I use an Olympus E-3 DSLR with two Zuiko lenses, 12-60 f2.8 and 40-150 f3.5. I shoot in RAW files and develop the images in Photomatix and/or Smart Photo Editor.

The Photomatix works well when I use HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography to help me capture the scene as I remember it. The Editor software is for basic editing and enhancing to suit the image and my taste.



Which photographers influence your work?

Port Angeles landscape photographer Pat O'Hara has been a big influence. I purchased his book Washington—Images of the Landscape almost thirty years ago, and I still refer to it and am inspired.

The late great Galen Rowell has been another huge influence. Mountain Light is a must read for any inspiring photographer. If only I could emulate his technical understanding of light and his passion for photography.  

Also, Jim Brandenburg is an environmentalist and nature photographer and filmmaker based near Ely, Minnesota. Jim's work is nothing but spectacular in many ways. One of his books, White Wolf, is also a must read everyone who enjoys nature and particularly wolves.

Lastly, my Mom, Bonnie Stenberg, is another huge influence. I remember growing up with her taking pictures of us at all of our family events. Her photographs have accumulated in tons of scrapbooks and in frames filling the walls. She bought me my first camera when I went off to college. If only I had had the money for film and processing during those days.



Where is your favorite place to shoot around Hood Canal?

It all depends the on time of year and the time of day. During the summers, I work on the dock at Alderbrook in Union. Many of my favorite photos have been taken from that dock.

Lake Cushman is also a very beautiful place to take photos. I love to shoot from a special 3,000' ridge top with a sweeping 360 degree view of the Cascades and Olympics. But if I were to narrow my answer to one favorite place, it would be paddling in a kayak anywhere on Hood Canal on a warm summer evening. 


Do you know someone who delights in shooting the under-trodden nooks of Hood Canal? Someone who sleeps with a tripod and welcomes the sunrise DSLR-in-hand? Is this person you? We’re on the hunt for those who love to shoot the Hood Canal. Get in touch with us, and you might be featured as next month’s Spotlight Photographer.

 Until then, keep an eye out for photographic inspiration on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, and be sure to tag your creations with #wildsideWA so we can keep tabs on your travels about the Olympic Peninsula.