NW Photo & Video | Blog


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Welcome to Northwest Photographic Arts Blog.  Here you will get a behind the scenes look at some of the stories behind the works of art presented on this website. You will also find insights and tips on how to create your own fine art photography.


If you want an original Stevens, call (208) 777-1818 to schedule your appointment. We have no session fees.


Chad Stevens



Canadian Glacier

Framed - Alberta GlacierFramed - Alberta Glacier

Canadian Glacier

While traveling from Banff,

we drove our RV through some extremely

tumultuous weather.

We experienced lightning,
torrents of rain and hail.

Suddenly I saw a thick band of

dark black clouds hovering over the glaciers
in front of us.

“I’m stopping for this one, guys!”
I shouted to my family!
“This is what I have been waiting
for on our trip.”

I’ve always wanted a dramatic
image of this magnitude,
and I have always wanted to
create a large print of what I was
seeing for others to enjoy.

I got out of the RV and set up my tripod.

I watched and waited as the brisk changes

in cloud formations occurred with the

ever changing gusts of wind.

Suddenly I saw the feathering of the clouds

with a gleam of light illuminating the glacier.

I exposed only a few images.


The drama of the moment changed
with each passing second.

Without an extraordinary scene,
it does not matter if you have the most

expensive camera

or the best photographic skills.

You have to be there at just the right moment

to capture the glory of God’s marvelous creation.


We made one a 36 x 60 inch Canvas Print and

hung it in the waiting room.

Just before Christmas someone came in and

put a deposit on it.


The next day, they came in to pay the balance and pick up their

print. As they were paying at the cashier's station,

a woman was horrified to see the empty space on

our wall. She said: "What happened to the Glacier

picture! I wanted to give it to my husband for



I told her not to worry, because I would be happy to

make her one as well. So in one day, we sold two

36 x 60 inch scenic photographs.


[ If you would like this photograph for your own collection,

we can make it for you in sizes from 24 x 36 to 40 x 60 on

canvas or dye sublimation aluminum.


If you have any questions about our photography, please leave your

name, your question and an e-mail address and we will

add you to our e-mail list. ]


Taking Time Exposures

Vietnam War Memorial Time Exposure


Our family took a trip to our Nation's Capitol during a fourth of July weekend. I have always heard about the emotional power of the Vietnam memorial. Indeed it is powerful. My stepson's father is a Vietnam veteran who lost comrades in the war, and he has given us an even deeper appreciation for what it represents. I took some photographs during the day, but it wasn't nearly as inspiring as it was during the night.


I came back after midnight and saw many people walking through the memorial. I spent time studying it to find out how to best compose the subject.


Then I checked out the lighting to be sure the subject was evenly lit. In this situation, I could see the black granite walls were well lit by lights embedded in the stones below. As you observe the lights are shooting from bottom upwards. Then there are the lights above the memorial that are located on the street. These were perfect for illuminating the grass and the background.


Imagine for a moment that all the street lights were missing. The grass and trees would not be lighted. It would still be a significant historical monument to record, but the excitement of the image would be diminished.


For photographs done at night, one must have a camera that can expose a chip or film for lengths of time between 1 and 30 seconds in length. This calls for a camera with manual settings. A point and shoot camera will not do the job. One must also have a sturdy tripod.


In photographing the memorial I used a tripod with my camera at an ISO setting of 400. I set my camera lens at f/8 so that I would utilize the sharpest point of my lens as well as giving me sharpness from the entrance of the memorial to the exit. If I had set it at f/1.8, then the image would be sharp at some points but out of focus at others.


Finally, I set my exposure for approximately 6 seconds and utilized my self timer so as to avoid any camera vibration that might take place when depressing the shutter button. Then I looked around to make sure no one was going to bump into my camera setup while making the exposure.


When it was all clear, I pressed the button, listened to the beeps until the shutter was automatically released for six seconds.


When I viewed the image on the camera screen, it was too dark, so I decided to increase my time to 7 seconds. I kept changing the time by one second increments until I got to 16 seconds. At that point, the images were looking brighter and good enough to stop shooting.


When I got home to my digital darkroom, I was thrilled at the 14 second mark. It was just the right exposure, and I used Photoshop to enhance the image even further.


By studying the photograph carefully, you might notice that there is a woman sitting in the light of her cell phone. There are what appear to be ghosts around this memorial caused by people walking slowly in front of it and pausing for a moment. These brief pauses were recorded on the chip.


[ If you found this blog helpful, leave a comment. If you would like more information about how to take better photographs, send me your questions and your e-mail address and I will put you on my mailing list.


 If you would like to own this photograph of the Vietnam Memorial, contact me for sizes. We offer 16 x 24 through 36 x 60 on Canvas or Dye Sublimation Metal.


If you are looking for Fine Portraiture of yourself, office associates or your family, call for an appointment. (208) 777-1818. ]


Silver Mine

Framed Osburn Silver MineFramed Osburn Silver Mine


Silver Mine


Next door to Northwest Academy

of Music’s original location is

a marvelous company called

Computer Restore.


On the north wall of their

store is a famous pen and ink sketch

of the abandoned Silver Mine.


While living in the Silver Valley,

I noticed that Mc Donald’s had

similar sketches decorating their walls.


I scoured the Silver Valley in search of

this mine and accidentally discovered it

when I made the wrong turn and

ended up in a cul-de-sac.


Straight ahead of me was a driveway

leading to the entrance of the mine.


A chain link fence bordered the

vast mining acreage making it impossible

 for anyone to get close to the

abandoned structure,

but by strategically placing

 my lens next to the holes of the fence,

I was able to capture the

picturesque  nature of

the scene.


In Photoshop I removed large pine trees

and cleaned up ugly debris that

further blocked this

amazing sight.


Using impressionism techniques,

that I created in Photoshop,

it was transform from a

run down Industrial complex

into a work of art.


[ If you would like to purchase this photograph,

call (208) 777-1818. Available in

full frame format on

Canvas or Aluminum.  ]

Mat & Jessi

Mathew & JesseMathew & JesseSan Jose, California

During a major California earthquake in 1989, a nationally known photographer’s
brick studio was leveled.

The Professional Photographer’s
Association of America put on
a full day benefit class where
this photographer would
teach us his miraculous
trade secrets

I loved his work and memorized
his techniques and applied
them to all my client

At that time in my career,
my studio was in the middle
of my living room, and I used my
newly acquired skills on these two
seriously cute cherubs within months of marrying their mother.

Mat was three and Jesse was five.
They patiently put up with
a host of poses and
different lighting
modalities until
this image

I surprised my wife with a Canvas
Wall Portrait, and she loved it!
She said, "You captured their
sweet innocence."

For Christmas, we made one for
"Mommy Grandma”, and she cried!

Mat & Jessi


During a major California earthquake

  a nationally known photographer’s

brick studio was wiped out.


The Professional Photographer’s Association of America

put on a one day benefit where this photographer

agreed to teach us his miraculous techniques.


I eagerly memorized his materials and techniques

so I could apply them to all my future

client sessions.


At this time in my photography career,

my home studio was in the middle of the living room,

and I used these newly acquired techniques

on these seriously cute cherubs

within months of marrying

their beautiful mother.


Mat was three and Jessi was five.

They patiently put up with a

host of poses and

different lighting

modalities until

this image



I made a canvas portrait

of our children for my wife.

My wife loved it, she said,

"because you captured

their sweet innocence".


“Mommy-Grandma” got one

for Christmas .  .  .  .  .

and she cried!


[ If you want an original Stevens Wall Portrait

call (208) 777-1818 to schedule your appointment.

We have no session fees.


You can get our free e-book with tips for making better photographs

by clicking on the comments tab and subscribing

with your name and e-mail address. ]


Silent Night

Framed - Silent NightFramed - Silent Night


Silent Night

Potato chip size flakes of snow were

drifting down.


I grabbed my camera and tripod

and began walking around my

tiny town looking for a

picture opportunity.


As I marked each step with my

size 14 snow boots,

the sun began setting

and I was losing light.


I walked up the viaduct and

spotted an old bordered up,

abandoned house

on the second level.

Snow covered cars and dotted the street

and it looked like a scene out of Norman

Rockwell's Americana.


So  .  .  .  .  .  I took it!


I spent many months meditating on how to

present this image in its best light.


While processing it in my computer,

one evening,

I decided first of all

 to remove all the cars.


I transformed the plywood boards in

front into windows with amber

colored light flowing through.


After several more hours of artwork

it was translated from an ordinary

photograph to an impressionistic

 art piece.


[ If you would like to purchase this photograph,

call (208) 777-1818. Available in

full frame format on

Canvas or Aluminum.  ]

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