Lavender Peaks Photography: Blog en-us (C) Lavender Peaks Photography [email protected] (Lavender Peaks Photography) Tue, 20 Sep 2022 23:35:00 GMT Tue, 20 Sep 2022 23:35:00 GMT Lavender Peaks Photography: Blog 120 90 Cabin on the Klehini This is a short story I wrote based off an image I created and a dream I had.  The dream was of myself, living in a cabin on the Klehini River in Haines Alaska, living with my Bloodhound (no such dog exsists in our family, although we did have a hound mix).  Not much of it was remembered once I awoke, however I was inspired to write a little fiction.  The photo is from a camping trip on the Klehini River in May of 2016.

The whirring. It’s the damn starter again. The precise moment when the issue began eludes me but it must have been going on for months. The hammer on the floorboard is still there, ready to slam at the steel housing to free up the seized componets inside. That isn’t the issue this time. This time its stuck open, the constant grinding, screaming almost, an alarm to warn the world of my entrance. It’s not the ignition, it can’t be. Then the smell hits. Its sweet, and a little acrid. Not like a clutch, no, this is far more familiar. An everyday smell. The coffee pot. Suddenly I snap back to reality, and there I am in bed, with the weight of the 80 pound bloodhound head of my companion Lukas resting on my gut. Here I lay, free of the confines of that old Bronco but now teathered to the sheets by a large slobbering beast. That starter didn’t always act that way. After an eventful trip up Red Mountain in '02 something shorted out and never did act right.

I shove the cinderblock sized dog head off my now grumbling stomach, and begin the opening act of my day. Once dressed, and slippers adorned, I made my way to the book shelf and opened the small humidor next to my Brian Adams photo book (the Inuit photographer, not the Canadian Pop singer). Once the lid opens and the beautiful cedar smell hits, I can’t help but grin. The elation is promptly stifled when I realize the only cigars I have left are a few Backwoods I keep for fishing. What kind of asshole keeps Backwoods in a humidor? As I grunt and mutter to Lukas about the “damn stale cigars” I waddle towards the pantry, the heels of my slippers dragging with every step. Reaching for my tattered and chipped coffee mug, my shoulder tries to give out and I wince, an old hockey injury exhaserbated by life. Finally at the coffee pot I can pour in an ounce or two of Bailey’s and top off the mug. Lukas sees the smile return to my face as I take my first sip and with intention heads to the door, dancing as one does to keep the mind from thinking of the fluids building up in the body. I open the door to let the beast relieve himself while I throw on a hoodie. It’s late May, but there is still a bit of crisp chill in the morning air. I walk a few paces off my porch and call upon Lukas to stroll with me.

Walking along the shore of the river, the sun making a slow appearance and creating a light pink glow throughout the Chilkats. I turn to Lukas and smile, he looks up at me and with what I like to think is admiration in his eyes and a smile back. “How’d a couple of assholes like us get so lucky?” I inquired to my four-legged friend, and with a light “huff” he turned and splashed away into the river bank like a toddler jumping into water filled potholes.


[email protected] (Lavender Peaks Photography) Tue, 20 Sep 2022 23:33:47 GMT
November First Friday Capitol Lights

It all began Thursday after work.  I had to run home to change and gather my goods to be hung.  I only had an hour or so before the place closed so I was in a bit of a rush.  I came into work early so I’d be able to leave with enough time to change and get back to the brewery.  Waking up so early came at a price, steeper than just missing out on my precious beauty sleep.  Not only did I have to get up and deal with a bunch of kids, but I also closed the facility the night prior, so there just was not a lot of time for rest.  After work I was exhausted, but I fought through it. Gathered my photos to be hung as well as my bio and price tags, leaving the other hard goods, loaded the car and after a quick double check to make sure everything has been loaded, I was out the door and on my way.  Alas, in my over exhausted state, I left behind six of my bigger sized framed photos.  This was only realized after I had most of the photos hung and begun to organize and hang my price tags.  Thankfully I was able to rearrange some items to better prepare for the final push on Friday afternoon.  Price tags were doubly preemptive because Noe was able to come in clutch with my metal pano of Downtown Juneau.  Getting this photo finished was a task all on its own and until the 11th hour I thought it was just not happening.  The printer was unhappy with the way it was printing and did not like the varnish.  He was rather meticulous, not wanting to give me something that was not perfect.  So after a few weeks, more waste than he should probably have gone through, the print was done and I was stoked to be able to hang that beauty, although it was not too popular, and did not sell, it’s still one of my favorites and currently have one hanging on my own wall.

                Friday, we arrived about 3:30 and began the final set-up.  With a Pale Ale to start and keep me hydrated, I began the process of rearranging once more, and hopefully, for the final time.  There was a smaller table set aside for me to lay out other hard goods and take payments.  The placement of this table was quite nice, being closer to the beer tender.  As the place filled up and lines formed at the counter, more people were able to settle and take a closer look at the Calendars and Note Cards I had available.  Once everything was in place and finalized there were only two photos that did not make the cut.  A 16x20” frame with a print of an Eagle and the Chilkats in the background.  The final discard was a long exposure of Downtown Juneau I took back in 2011.  I’ve been trying to sell this print since then and it has not moved.  Not surprisingly, I should say.  Taken from the top of the library, at the time I thought it was fantastic, but over the last decade, it lost its thrill for me, and clearly others.  That one now resides on the bathroom wall.


Common Merganser

                The evening started slow, a few friends trickled in, a few randoms.  There was even one gal who came in just to see the Brewery Cat, Simcoe.  I was not offended, he’s a great cat really.  While chatting away with folks the place slowly started to pack out.  A larger line began to form behind the flowing taps and a slightly flustered beer tender kept the juices flowing and patrons happy.  As the night progressed, so too did the sales and the happy familiar faces.  Many friends came through to show their love and support, the sales picked up and the night was becoming very enjoyable.  With all the outpouring of support, it was a wonderful reminder as to why we fell in love with this town to begin with.  So many compliments and kind words, many of the favorites on the wall were also favorites of mine.  That is always a comforting feeling, knowing that my tastes are on par to what many others are looking for.  It was great to see so many people I knew from the “day job” and letting them see my true passion.  I’d much prefer to be known as “the fine art photographer” or just the photog who works at the ice rink, rather than “the ice rink guy”.  This was a great big step in that direction.  Eventually, I’d like to be the photographer who also drives the Zamboni part time.  That is what I call “early retirement”.

If you'd like to order a 2022 Calendar, or some note cards, please follow this link.


[email protected] (Lavender Peaks Photography) Fri, 10 Dec 2021 00:31:59 GMT
Eaglcrest 20/21 Season. In the White Room.


A couple of my favorite photos from this past season at Eaglecrest.  One from pre-season, one from later.


November Day 1Spenser Johnson with a deep turn.

It started out like most seasons do, November and on a splitboard.  The preseason really treated us this year.  We got a few good early dumps and by the time we were up for our first tour of the season we were being passed by Snowcats and Groomers.  The sun was trying to pop through the clouds so we decided it was a good time to try and find an image to create.  With the deep, preseason snow, lack of tracks due to no chairs spinning, we decided for a classic deep powder turn.  If you know Spenser at all, you know turning on snow is his favorite thing and he is by far, the best I know at doing just that.


April ShowersMark Rainery exits the white room for some fresh air.

With the season hitting record number snowfalls throughout we were maintaining deep snow, that was actually quite light, up through mid-April.  The constant refresh of blower type snow meant that the Ski Patrol and Avalanche control crews were kept busy.  Early mornings for that crew, including chair rides up the mountain with backpacks full of dynamite.  Thanks to their hard work, rewarded by first tracks in some of the best terrain, we were kept safe and able to spend a lot of time on the ridge riding amazing snow.  Due to all of these factors, this was the first season in awhile that I hiked out to, and rode Heavenly.  After a short twenty minute hike along Pittman's Ridge and a short jaunt down sidelines, we were atop our line.  There was a crew of maybe four or five of us, but three stayed behind at the genesis of our descent.  Rainery waited while us "media guys", Spenser on video and myself with my Nikon, to get into position.  Nothing really planned for this particular shot, but I just wanted to get some nice mellow shots of Mark as he rides down, maybe making a few big powder slashes on his way.  This, of course, was a result.  I've chosen this image because I think it sort of evokes and personifies the emotion we felt all season.  It was a battle, one of the best in my ten years riding here, but once you enter the white room, feel the buckets on your face, and ride on through, well...that's why we're here.


[email protected] (Lavender Peaks Photography) Fri, 27 Aug 2021 05:51:34 GMT
Letters to the Editors. Below are two letters that I've recently sent to the editors of the Anchorage Daily News, as well as the Juneau empire.

As a lifelong Alaskan, I was elated to see the Forest Service announce it is finally ending old-growth, clear-cut logging in the Tongass. For far too long, we’ve taken our forests and the fish and wildlife it produces for granted. We need to care for the land, invest in sustainable economic opportunities, and conserve our salmon, deer and forests. The Tongass gives so much to our communities and our way of life. It’s long overdue that we give something back.

The Forest Service’s new Southeast Alaska Sustainability Strategy puts things on the right track by recognizing our communities and economy rely on a healthy forest. By restoring lands that have been degraded by past logging activities, investing in our communities, and managing the Tongass to help cope with impacts from climate change, we will all benefit.

Published online August 7, 2021

Sent to Juneau Empire August 10, 2021.  Not yet published.


As a life long Alaskan, and a resident of Juneau for the last 11 years, I was beyond excited to learn about the latest decision to return protections to the bountiful Tongass.  The importance of old-growth is often overlooked and misunderstood, but the impacts are immense.  Consider the biodiversity.  The Birds, Deer, Salmon, Bears, and Trees all rely on each other, and when they’re happy and fed and growing this only helps with the Economy here in Southeast.  Bringing in tourism revenue, jobs, as well as sustaining us with food, clean air and water.  The Tongass is recognized as being one of the greatest carbon storage reserves on the planet, holding roughly 8% of all carbon stored in U.S. National Forests.  While there is an argument for logging and the income it brings in, it really is responsible for less than 1% of the regional economy in Southeast Alaska.  Comparing that to the tourism and fishing industries which accounts for nearly $500 million a year.

The Forest Service’s new Southeast Sustainability Strategy is a step in the right direction with recognition that our communities and economy heavily rely on a healthy and thriving forest.  When we restore forests that have been scarred by logging, invest in the communities, and help the Tongass cope with the ever worsening effects of climate change, we all benefit.





[email protected] (Lavender Peaks Photography) Thu, 12 Aug 2021 21:47:44 GMT
Sub-Aquatic Sunshine Paris CreekParis Creek long exposure during an early March thaw.

Is there an opposite to a death march?  A parade?  I struggle to reason that what I was doing could be considered a parade. Walking alone through the snow, amongst the remains of a thriving city far gone. I can almost hear the voices of the lost miners, feel their eyes watching this stranger roam through their town.

Maybe a death parade?

Listening to the birds sing and the stream's melody, I get distracted.  First just a few notes ring in deep in the back of my brain.  So we sailed up to the sun, til we found a sea of green. That's when it hits. And we lived beneath the waves, in our yellow submarine. Full on marching.  

We all live in a yellow submarine
A yellow submarine, a yellow submarine.

I still have yet to find the trigger.  This melody which has not graced my ear drums in quite some time.  Maybe it’s my mind pulling me out to see.  SO I march.  I continue on, passing an older gentleman walking up the slush filled incline.  Each slow step assisted my his cane, his large wool overcoat keeping him warm.  His face was familiar.  Was this an old soul from the mines, passing by as if he doesn't realize he's passed on?  Or just a fellow. adventurer enjoying the fresh air and the incoming tide.  Next trip I will stop and ask, if out souls do indeed cross paths again.  Eventually the trail opens and leads to the mouth of Paris Creek.  A stream I have shot several times, during all seasons, and at various points of its journey she takes down Mt. Jumbo.

Panorama of Downtown DouglasDowntown Douglas, with Mt. Jumbo the tallest peak, front left.

[email protected] (Lavender Peaks Photography) Tue, 06 Apr 2021 06:21:10 GMT
Snow Test As a youth, punk skateboarder, at some point it clicked that I was not going to go pro, regardless of how bad I wanted it.  I had a few sponsors over the years, but nothing really came of them.  I loved the scene and wanted to stick around and be apart of it, so I got more involved in filming and editing.  It was late in high school that I got my realization, it was not just perhaps my lack of talent, but also location. Clearly living in Alaska is going to keep the opportunities low, nothing like sunny Southern California.  So I moved to Huntington to live the dream.  Or at least film others trying to live theirs.  Close enough.  I was fortunate enough to film at some very famous spots and met some amazing riders.  I met up with a group of folks that were part of Mimic Clothing (RIP) a small brand that some friends from Anchorage actual rode for.  Come to find out, the owner lived down the street from my apartment in Huntington, so we developed a working relationship.  That really just turned into a friendship and never really developed more into any kind of business, but I did learn a lot.

Front BluntMe, old dog, new tricks. Photo by Spenser Johnson.

A few months later, things and life happened, and I ended up back in Anchorage where I found myself back in the Camera shop.  This is where life takes a slight turn.  While working at the camera shop, I was fortunate enough to win a competition from Fuji Films.  My prize?  A Fuji S3 Pro DSLR.  A whole new world just opened up for me.  Now, as I am sure you must know, if you’ve found this writing, I am a photographer.  I still have the Fuji, I have retired it, but its got a special place on a shelf.

We know how quickly technologies advance.  Thanks to Moore’s Law, we know things will improve next year, if not, the following.  So of course video has made its way back into everyone’s lives and more so than ever.  We’ve all got a very high quality video camera in our pockets.  I am typing this on a large screen that can also act as a video camera.  Naturally clients are requesting more and more video work. So where do I go from here?

Monte Nix Switch kickflip 50-50Me on my gut shooting Monte while Spenser captures the whole scene.

When I got the call from my friend at one of the Conservation groups I’ve been providing photos for, to get them some b-roll video, of course I said yes.  This small project was more of kick start to get my mind back into video and find another avenue of inspiration, not to mention income.

This video was sort of a test, mostly to myself, to see if I had to patience to edit another video.  Even more important, if I have the technical and skill to make something worth watching.  So I fired up premiere pro, loaded in a bunch of past snowboarding clips and threw them together to try and get something that at least I would enjoy watching.  Going back to my roots, editing action sports, I felt right at home.  The opening photo of my dear friend David Boots is just another homage to one of my favorite people, one of my favorite activities, and when the two of those were combined, it was always a wonderful time.


Snow Test Video

[email protected] (Lavender Peaks Photography) Sat, 20 Feb 2021 01:56:09 GMT
2020 Favorite Photo It was a cool, crisp January evening with a soft and salty breeze coming towards the South.  The ripples in the Gastineau Channel were creating a beautiful scene.  The lights from Downtown and farther South provided a magnificent reflection rolling across the ruffled sea, stretching the lights like melting crayons.  The only cloud, dangling above Mount Juneau like a dissipating marshmallow, catches the light streaming up from the quite mountain town.  The only sounds coming from the easy breeze and the slow hum from the bustling port.

Downtown JuneauDowntown Juneau 5-shot panorama

Downtown Juneau.  5 shot panorama.


[email protected] (Lavender Peaks Photography) Tue, 26 Jan 2021 20:09:57 GMT
NiSi Saves NiSi Saves

10-stop Explorer

Long Exposure at Crab Harbor, Oregon

Long Exposure at Crab Harbor Oregon

After roaming the beach at Crab Harbor on the Coast of Oregon, keeping a close eye on the potential salty doom crashing just yards away, I find a few different compositions that are free of other travelers. We spent close to an hour, wandering down the beach towards the large set of three rocks that extended out towards the Pacific. As I got more comfortable I traveled closer to the rocks, attempting to find an image that might not be blown out from the very bright afternoon sun. While not ideal conditions for landscape photography, I had a secret weapon.

Days before departure I do a search online, I’m looking for a new filter for this trip. I’ve had my eye on the NiSi 10 and 3 stop filters for some time now. While trying to decide between the two, I find the 6 stop for a slightly lower price, so I jumped on it, and made my order through Adorama. Next day while checking on the status, I see that its now backordered. Well that does me no good since I am leaving town. Cancel said order and give up. Couple days later I convince myself to give it another go, I really want to play with this filter. Finally after doing some searching, it appears that most places are sold out. Then I see the Explorer series coming through and its even cheaper! Minimal reviews, but I watch a video where dude drops the glass filter over and over again, annoying and noisy, but wow. Clearly these are extremely durable, and with my anxious and rushed shooting style on the road, that might not be a bad idea. So I was able to find someone with a 10-stop in stock and able to get it shipped to me before leaving on the trip.

Once I felt like I had a few images worth while, I decided to gather the troops and continue our journey along the coast. While cautiously making my way back up the slick rocks, I had my Z6 still attached to my extended tripod, with the new filter attached. The final step to reach the railroad tracks was a large one and required both hands to hoist myself up. While struggling, my wonderful fianceĢ reached out a hand to take some gear. As I was raising the tripod up to her from the lower end of the legs, the weight of the camera making it highly top heavy, my exhaustion got the better of my grip and before Noelani could grab hold of the camera, in slo-motion it toppled, falling nearly six feet straight to the lens and filter.

That was a waste of time and money, I thought. I wonder if this can be claimed under my equipment insurance. I thought I just broke my new camera and filter because I was too lazy to properly secure it before hiking back to the car. I was in a rush, for no reason really. When the tripod was recovered and the damage inspected we were all shocked and elated, other than a small dent on the filter holder, everything was fine!


[email protected] (Lavender Peaks Photography) Mon, 02 Mar 2020 22:37:24 GMT
WTF Am I Doing? WTF Am I Doing?

A brief glimpse into the first 5(ish) years of running my business.

Self PortaitSelf Portait
Self portrait

I don’t know what I am doing. I’ve learned a lot, but not nearly as I should have. I’m in debt. A lot of debt. But I am living a fulfilled life, and am happy. For the most part. The appeal of working for yourself, doing whatever you want whenever you want, just sounds too good to not go for, but how the heck do you get successful? Clearly photography is not the answer. Sure, I own my own home, truck, boat, tens of thousands of dollars worth of equipment. But remember that part where I said I’m in debt? I’ve had to work a full time job to keep up with this, on top of running a business. This has its own set of issues. Clearly, 40 hours of every week is already spent at my “day-job”, which means that’s 40 hours a week that can not be spent on my dream. I am lucky enough to have a fairly relaxed and flexible job that allows me to spend a bit of time on my craft, but the main goal is to be free of the constraints of a “day-job” and be able to focus more on what makes me happy, and thats creating images.

Over the last few years I’ve had few hard-times (thanks to the day job) and fewer successes. The latter I could easily blame the day job, but the truth of the matter is its my own laziness that has held me back. And I am hoping that by writing this out, and presenting it publicly, I can make a change in my habits that can make my dreams become closer to reality.

On the subject of successes, they come few and far between. One to note would be getting published in an international snowboarding publication. That feat alone was spectacular, but for the fact that going into that season our goal was to do just that (more about this adventure to come). Another was something that I finally decided to do this year, a calendar. Neither of these made me wealthy, or even really put a dent in my ever increasing debt. Maybe even more importantly, they did give me another boost in my drive and desire to continue on this path of self employment.

I mentioned the successes are few and far between. Thats because for now, thats all I got. Those are the two that stand out the most. Of course there have been other great things that have come from this lifestyle, but those are the two that stick out the most at the time of writing this. So what about some of the bigger mistakes? I say bigger, because I have made plenty of them and I could write for weeks on that subject, so to keep this light, I’ll mention a couple.

First would be bad investments. One of the dumbest things I think I’ve spent money on was radio ads. Now before you laugh too hard, or count me as a complete moron, let me quickly explain my reasoning. We live in a small town and I have found that getting your name out and being known takes some time. This is because when I moved here there were a number of photographers who have already been established and have careers in similar fields that I love to shoot. This made me think that perhaps getting the business name heard on the radio, it might spark some interest in folks and the phone would be ringing none stop! Well that didn’t happen. It was nice to go check the local news sites online and see a photo of mine with the logo on their front page, as well as having friends tell me they saw and/or heard my ads. Great, but I need more traffic than my friends.

One of the other problems I find is in todays digital age, everyones a photographer. With the easy accessibility of cameras, and living in such a photogenic place, its not hard to take a nice picture. But then, what makes a nice picture!? There’s too much that can be discussed on this topic alone, that I am not even going to dare. Amongst this over saturated market are the free- shooters. Keeping in mind I’ve shot plenty for free, more than I should have I am sure of it, but there’s always a lesson to learn, and as I’ve continued to chase this dream of mine, I’ve slowed down the free work. However, I have been affected by others giving their work for free, and I can’t help but wonder if its my karma coming back to me.

We’ve begin a new year, and with a fresh start this year I am going to focus more on the business and try to make it a bit more sustainable for my lifestyle. Try to make an earning in the areas that I am passionate about, but knowing that I will likely have to take those less desirable jobs. This, all in a quest for “living the dream”.

So, what the hell am I doing? Chasing a dream. Hoping to live my best life, and in this, I hope to leave this world a little better, and hopefully enrich the lives of those closest to me, and maybe even a few far far away. And with this, I hope you come back to read a bit more of what I’ve got to say, and I hope that I can inspire you in one way or another.


-Jeremy Lavender

Mendenhall AuroraMendenhall Aurora

Aurora over the Mendenhall Glacier

[email protected] (Lavender Peaks Photography) Fri, 10 Jan 2020 21:57:04 GMT