Adventure to Antelope Canyon


Last month I visited Antelope Canyon which is located just outside of Page, Arizona. I’ve been wanting to photograph this canyon for a long time and the experience didn’t disappoint. These were some of the most beautiful rock formations I have ever seen. As we explored the canyon it felt like we were adventuring into the heart of the earth. It was an amazing experience and I hope to go back there again.

The day of the shoot, Casey and I got up early and drove to Page from Sedona.  This image was taken along the highway in the dessert.


Somewhere in the desert…

To visit the upper canyon you have to have a Navajo guided tour. We booked our tour with the Adventurous Antelope Canyon Photo Tours at the recommendation of Brian Matiash (my friend Mason introduced us during a photowalk in Portland). Before the tour began we were treated to a ring dance from a Navajo Dancer. I believe he said his name was Wesley but I can’t remember for sure. After the dance I spoke with him for a few minutes and he let me take this quick portrait before we left for the canyon.


Portrait of Navajo Ring Dancer

We were trucked about a mile out into the dessert in a 6 wheeled off road truck. There we met our awesome guide Roman. He was great, he had a great attitude and  seemed very knowledgable and gave us some basic starting tips about camera settings and vantage points in the Canyon. He also did a great job managing other visitors in the canyon by keeping them back while we were able to photograph empty spaces and corridors. It was awesome!


Our guide Roman. Here is was setting the ground rules from our group. We had more people than usual in a photo tour and we had to work as a team to get the photos we wanted.



Falling Sand: Sand flowing over the edge of the rock like a waterfall.

Antelope Canyon - Texture of rock and scars

I love the textures and tones of the canyon. This crack caught my attention. A scar cut in the smooth rock. This was one of my favorite images from the tip.


The Flame.

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Casey using a tripod for the first time with our Lumix GX7!


Casey took this of me while I was photographing the corridor with the logged wedged into the rock.



I shot the Canyon with the new Canon 11-24mm F/4 lens. This was a fantastic lens for the canyon. The ultra wide angle let me really accentuate the curves and shapes even in tight spaces. One thing that I had a bit of a problem with was the dust. I had to constantly wipe my lens down. When I shot upward into the light there were specks and marks all over my pictures. I would recommend having extra wipes and a blower if you don’t mind carrying it. My last tip is to take a moment to be in awe at the beauty of the Canyon. It’s easy to get in there and just go to town with photos and forgot to enjoy the moment and the spectacle provided by mother nature.



This trip wouldn’t be possible without my Wife Casey. She organizes and plans all of our trips. Special thanks for helping me take Antelope Canyon off of my bucket list. I took this photo of her at the edge of the parking lot back at the Adventurous Antelope Canyon Tour headquarters.


Favorite Images of 2015


2015 was a pretty interesting year. I got to travel to some amazing places. One of my favorite adventures was to Spain the birthplace of my great Grandfather. I got to go back to Iceland, one of my favorite places in the whole world. I finally got to photograph some local spots like Proxy Falls and the Bandon Coastline. Casey and I hit our 5th continent, Australia. We also visited New Zealand and the amazing Bali… (Images from that trip to come soon to this blog)

I branched out more with my photography. I spent some time trying to improve my skills with food photography and architectural photography. I also experimented with macro photography for the first time.

Casey and I ended the year by saying goodbye to our old condo and buying a new one. We are still in Portland and didn’t go far. Just about a mile North crossing Burnside Rd moving from a SW address to our new NW address. We spent almost a decade of our lives in our old condo. We now get to begin this year by moving into our new townhouse, and making it a home (a roomier home with a dedicated office space!).

Challenges of 2015: I probably spent only half as much time photographing in 2015 as I did in the previous year. However, the time I was behind the camera felt much more thoughtful and deliberate… I didn’t get out as much but I came away with more keepers.

One of the big challenges in my photography was moving from Aperture to Lightroom for all of my post processing and digital organization. For some this doesn’t sound like much. But for me it was quite a challenge. It took a number of months before I really felt comfortable with my post production. I’ve come away with this thought about the 2 programs. Aperture to me was a solid steady program from feature to feature. There were no outstanding tools.. but as a whole it was solid and fast. On the other hand Lightroom has incredible highs and incredible lows… some of the tools are outstanding… and others are terrible. I’m enjoying the highs… and trying to avoid the lows as I work on my images.

Best of 2015: As I do every year I go back through and look at my images and pick my favorites from the year. It is an exercise I learned from Martin Bailey. It is fun seeing what images made my final list. This year I had a more non-landscape images which was pretty interesting. I would like to continue photographing food and working on my lighting. I find the colors and tones in the images interesting. For the most part they are much bolder and earthier then in years past.

The following 10 images are listed in the order I took them with:


Portrait of my wife Casey. This was an experiment in lighting.

Howling Dog Sea Stack - Bandon Beach on the Oregon Coast

Howling Dog Sea Stack – Bandon Beach on the Oregon Coast

Morning window light streaming through a window in a room at the Nasrid Palace, Alhambra.

Morning window light streaming through a window in a room at the Nasrid Palace, Alhambra.


Iceland: Svörtuloft Lighthouse

Enlightened Waters

Enlightened Waters: Proxy Falls, Oregon

Edamame with Garlic Chili Sauce and Sesame Seeds

Edamame with Garlic Chili Sauce and Sesame Seeds


Boat traveling down the canal at sunset. Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



Giraffe poking it's head over the grasses

Experimentation with Macro Photography. This is Spot.


Casey standing below the tips of the Sydney Opera House and Sunrise.

Casey and I look forward to another wonderful year ahead. As we settle into our new home, we are starting things off slow with a few trips closer to home. I’m excited I get to photograph Antelope Canyon (a beautiful slot canyon in Arizona). After things settle we are going back to Italy and eventually hitting our 6th continent South America. This year has a lot of great things planned.

I wish you a wonderful 2016 ahead!

New Work | Food Photography Portfolio

Over the last few months I have been working really hard to improve my food photography portfolio. During the process I’ve tried to be really methodical about lighting and how the shapes, colors and textures play together in each of the images. These images were shot with a mix of natural light and also using flash photography.

The way I approach my food photography is by using real authentic food. The food in these images were consumed after the photo was taken.

(If you are on a computer / click images to enlarge)

Cast Iron Pan Fried Crispy Brussels Sprouts Rosemary sea-salt focaccia bread fresh from the oven READ MORE

Baby Charlie

I recently shot some portraits of baby Charlie. We shot a few images indoors and then finished in the park. Here are a few of my favorites from the shoot.

Baby Charlie - Newborn Photography - Nick Nieto PhotographyBaby Charlie - Newborn Photography - Nick Nieto Photography

Baby Charlie - Newborn Photography - Nick Nieto Photography Baby Charlie - Newborn Photography - Nick Nieto Photography Baby Charlie - Newborn Photography - Nick Nieto Photography Baby Charlie - Newborn Photography - Nick Nieto Photography20150609_NN_Final_001

If your interested in setting up a portrait session feel free to contact me as [email protected] or you can call at 541.941.0195

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