Sea ice chunks float in the ocean on the Antarctic coastline

Abstract Landscape Photography

Whether viewing from high above in an airplane or up close with a macro lens, beautiful abstract patterns are found everywhere within landscape photography. One of my favorite ‘techniques’ or ‘exercises’ to keep inspired and in a creative headspace is to keep an eye out for visually abstract patterns while I am photographing in nature. It has become a fun way to challenge myself creatively and push myself to capture what I feel are unique images.

Abstract landscape photography of clouds reflecting in the ocean
Abstract landscape photography of clouds reflecting in the ocean
Aerial landscape photography of Factory Butte in Southern Utah shot with a drone
Aerial landscape photography of a desert shot in Southern Utah in America's Southwest with a drone.
Abstract photography of a massive king penguin colony on South Georgia Island near Antarctica
Abstract photography of a massive king penguin colony on South Georgia Island near Antarctica
Abstract photography of a massive king penguin colony on South Georgia Island near Antarctica
Abstract photography of a massive king penguin colony on South Georgia Island near Antarctica

These two abstract images of a large king penguin colony on South Georgia Island were completely unexpected. I shot these using a telephoto lens to compress the penguins together and let the repetition in their bodies be the abstract pattern.

Abstract landscape photography of patterns found in the sand on the Oregon Coast
Abstract landscape photography of patterns found in the sand on the Oregon Coast
Aerial photography of Iceland's braided rivers and glacial streams
Aerial photography of Iceland's braided rivers and lahar glacial streams
Abstract nature photography closeup of bear fur blue
Abstract nature photography closeup of bear fur

One of my favorite abstract landscape photography images I’ve shot is of Iceland’s glacial streams from high above in an airplane. As the glacial melt flows out into various streams, they become braided and create the most intricate patterns I’ve ever seen. Several years after photographing the glacial streams in Iceland, I shot a closeup photo of a bear’s fur. I like sharing these images side by side because to me, they have a very similar pattern and the bear’s fur is hard to recognize at first.

Abstract landscape photography of windswept snow patterns on a mountain in Antarctica
Abstract landscape photography of windswept snow patterns on a mountain in Antarctica
Abstract landscape photography looking down on a cluster of ferns and other plants in the forest
Abstract landscape photography looking down on a cluster of ferns and other plants in the forest
Landscape photography of abstract patterns found in a frozen creek on Mount Rainier in the winter
Landscape photography of abstract patterns found in a frozen creek on Mount Rainier in the winter
Abstract landscape photography of sea foam washed ashore on the Oregon Coast
Abstract landscape photography of sea foam washed ashore on the Oregon Coast
Abstract photography of patterns found on tree bark
Abstract photography of patterns found on tree bark
Abstract landscape photography of a glacier in Neko, Antarctica
Abstract landscape photography of a glacier in Neko, Antarctica
Abstract landscape photography closeup of an iceberg floating in the ocean in the Antarctic Peninsula
Abstract landscape photography closeup of an iceberg floating in the ocean in the Antarctic Peninsula
Abstract landscape photography of ice floating in the ocean in the Antarctic Peninsula
Abstract landscape photography of ice floating in the ocean in the Antarctic Peninsula
Sea ice chunks float in the ocean on the Antarctic coastline
Landscape photography of ice floating on the Antarctic Peninsula's coastline
Closeup macro photography of bubbles inside a frozen lake in Iceland
Closeup macro photography of bubbles inside a frozen lake in Iceland
Unique ice formations found in a glacier in the Antarctic Peninsula
Unique ice formations found in a glacier in the Antarctic Peninsula
Behind the scenes photography of Andrew Studer photographing abstract details in the sand on the Oregon Coast. Photo by Khalifa Al Misnad on assignment for Qatar Museum's 'Year of Culture'
Behind the scenes photography of Andrew Studer photographing abstract details in the sand on the Oregon Coast. Photo by Khalifa Al Misnad on assignment for Qatar Museum's 'Year of Culture'

Aerial landscape photography of Broken Top Mountain, North Sister and Mount Washington during sunrise in Central Oregon

Central Oregon Mountains Aerial Photography

After a successful aerial landscape photography photoshoot on Mount Hood at sunset, we flew east towards Central Oregon with plans to photograph the Cascade Mountain Range at sunrise and capture more images for Qatar Museum’s ‘Year of Culture’ assignment.

Over the years, I have spent a fair amount of time exploring and photographing the beautiful mountains near Bend, Oregon. Some of my favorite  memories over the past few summers were made adventuring throughout the Sisters Mountain Range, Broken Top, Three Finger Jack, Mt Washington as well as Mount Jefferson.

Seeing these mountains from above was truly a dream come true and helped me to fully appreciate more of the rugged wilderness that I’ve yet to explore on foot.

Aerial landscape photography of the Sisters Mountain Range in Oregon taken just before sunrise.
Aerial landscape photography of the Sisters Mountain Range in Oregon taken just before sunrise.

As we approached the mountain range, the pink band of the earth’s shadow began to appear and slowly reach the horizon marking the start of sunrise. I shot this wide aerial image of Broken Top Mountain in front of the Sisters Range with Mount Washington and Three Finger Jack in the distance. It’s incredible how many mountains fit into a single frame. After photographing this wide image, I quickly realized that using a telephoto lens and compressing the mountains together would be my preferred method for this shoot.

Shortly after putting on my 600mm lens, I realized that capturing closeups of the various mountains in front of each-other was something I had not seen done before. I was filled with inspiration to showcase the jagged peaks with other mountains in the distance.

Aerial landscape photography of Broken Top Mountain, North Sister and Mount Washington during sunrise in Central Oregon
Aerial landscape photography of Broken Top Mountain, North Sister and Mount Washington during sunrise in Central Oregon

As the sun began to rise. we flew towards Broken Top Mountain’s western face and I noticed the sunlight striking the mountain particularly well. The light from the rising sun interacted with the orange and red striations on the mountain’s jagged peaks.

Landscape Aerial photography of Broken Top Mountain in Oregon's Cascade Mountain Range during a beautiful sunrise
Landscape Aerial photography of Broken Top Mountain in Oregon's Cascade Mountain Range during a beautiful sunrise
Aerial photography of Broken Top Mountain during sunrise
Aerial photography of Broken Top Mountain, Oregon during sunrise.

One of my favorite aspects of using a telephoto lens while on an aerial shoot is that you don’t need to move far to get a vastly different image. From a zoomed in perspective, foreground subject mountain stays relatively consistent while the background mountains 20-75 miles away quickly change and align themselves at a fast rate.

Landscape photography of Oregon's Broken Top Mountain during sunrise
Landscape photography of Oregon's Broken Top Mountain during sunrise
Aerial photography of Broken Top Mountain taking during sunrise in Oregon's Central Cascade Range near Bend.
Aerial photography of Broken Top Mountain taking during sunrise in Oregon's Central Cascade Range near Bend.

It was incredible to see how different the mountain looked from each perspective and how quickly our view changed as we flew.

Aerial photography of the Sisters Mountain Range in Oregon
Aerial photography of the Sisters Mountain Range in Oregon with Mount Jefferson and Mount Hood in the distance.

Although I wish I shot it earlier in the morning with better light, I was pleased with this aerial image of the Sisters Mountain Range with Mount Washington and Mount Hood in the distance.

Aerial photography of Oregon's Cascade Mountain Range. Olallie Butte, Mount Washington, Three Finger Jack, Mt Jefferson, Mount Hood and Mount Adams can all be seen in frame.
Aerial photography of Oregon's Cascade Mountain Range. Olallie Butte, Mount Washington, Three Finger Jack, Mt Jefferson, Mount Hood and Mount Adams can all be seen in frame with low fog.

For me, the beauty of Central Oregon is told in this image. Here we see Belknap Crater, Mount Washington, Three Finger Jack, Mount Jefferson, Mount Hood and even Washington’s Mount Adams rising above the clouds all in one frame. This image also illustrates what is known as the ‘rain shadow’ effect where moist air comes in from the west and becomes blocked by the mountain range. It is what causes the dry and arid climate east of the Cascade mountains.

As the sunlight gradually became brighter and more direct, my eye went to photographing the light moving through the foggy forests below. I loved the way the forests looked as sunlight broke through the trees and created some stunning light beam effects.

Aerial photography of a foggy forest during sunrise
Oregon Aerial photography of a foggy forest during sunrise
Aerial photography of a foggy forest during sunrise
Oregon Aerial photography of a foggy forest during sunrise
Oregon Aerial photography of a foggy forest during sunrise
Oregon Aerial photography of a foggy forest during sunrise
Aerial photography of South Sister Mountain's glacier during sunrise in Oregon's cascade mountain range
Aerial photography of South Sister Mountain's glacier during sunrise in Oregon's cascade mountain range
Aerial photography of South Sister Mountain's glacier during sunrise in Oregon's cascade mountain range
Aerial photography of South Sister Mountain's glacier during sunrise in Oregon's cascade mountain range

We also flew over Central Oregon’s Sparks Lake which had dried up after a long, hot summer. The lack of water at Sparks Lake exposed these gorgeous patterns and it looked stunning from above!

Aerial landscape photography of Sparks Lake in Bend, Oregon during sunrise
Aerial landscape photography of Sparks Lake in Bend, Oregon during sunrise
Aerial photography of Sparks Lake at the base of the Cascade Mountain Range in Central Oregon
Aerial photography of Sparks Lake at the base of the Cascade Mountain Range in Central Oregon
Morning light hits a forest and casts long tree shadows across Sparks Lake, Oregon
Morning light hits a forest and casts long tree shadows across Sparks Lake, Oregon

With the light becoming less ideal for photography, we began to make our way back west and into Portland. As we flew away from the Central Cascade Mountain range, I was able to capture a few additional aerial photographs of the mountains.

Aerial photography of Belknap Crater and Mount Washington above the clouds
Aerial photography of Belknap Crater and Mount Washington above the clouds
Aerial landscape photography of Three Finger Jack and Belknap Crater rising up above the clouds
Aerial landscape photography of Three Finger Jack and Belknap Crater rising up above the clouds
Three Finger Jack Mountain in Central Oregon shrouded in fog and low clouds. Photographed from an airplane.
Three Finger Jack Mountain in Central Oregon shrouded in fog and low clouds. Photographed from an airplane.

Mount Hood Aerial Photography Collection

The day before photographing this collection, I was on Mount Hood putting together a similar aerial landscape photography gallery.

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Aerial landscape photography of Mount Hood, Oregon rising high above the clouds taken during sunset

Mt Hood Sunset Aerial Photography

While on Assignment for Qatar Museum’s Year Of Culture, I had the opportunity to photograph this collection of aerial images featuring Oregon’s Mount Hood.  Accompanying me on this flight was my go-to and trusted pilot, Christian Walker as well as my good friend and Qatari counterpart for the Year of Culture photo assignment, Khalifa.

The following images are a small portion of what was created for a collaborative gallery between myself and Khalifa called “Light & Shadow: A Visual Journey Through Oregon” which is currently on display at the Qatar Institute of Culture in Washington DC. Special thanks to photographer Michael Shainblum for curating the gallery and for producing!

Closeup aerial photography of fog at the base of Mount Hood
Closeup aerial photography of fog at the base of Mount Hood

Our first photography flight was out to Oregon’s Mount Hood in the early evening. Once we took off and reached a higher altitude, we were finally able to see the mountain that was masked in clouds below. I started the shoot off by  using a telephoto lens to focus on various portions of the mountain. I liked how doing this made my images appear to be more abstract and harder to recognize.

Closeup aerial photography of fog at the base of Mount Hood
Closeup aerial photography of fog at the base of Mount Hood
Aerial photography of Mt Hood, Oregon above the clouds during sunset

I also noticed Mount Hood’s Sandy Glacier through the clouds as it was catching some beautiful light from the setting sun. We moved closer to the mountain so we could photograph looking down on the glacier. I enjoyed photographing these telephoto closeups of the glacier’s jagged and abstract patterns. Having a birds eye view aerial perspective was a really special way to view the glacier as well as photograph it!

Landscape aerial photography taken of Mount Hood, Oregon from a small plane
Landscape aerial photography taken of Mount Hood, Oregon from a small plane
Aerial photography of a glacier on Mount Hood, Oregon
Aerial photography of a glacier on Mount Hood, Oregon
Closeup aerial photography of a glacier on Mount Hood, Oregon
Closeup aerial photography of a glacier on Mount Hood, Oregon
Aerial photography of the setting sun illuminating Palmer Glacier on Mount Hood, Oregon
Aerial photography of the setting sun illuminating Palmer Glacier on Mount Hood, Oregon
Aerial landscape photography of a glacier on Mount Hood during sunset
Aerial landscape photography of a glacier on Mount Hood during sunset

Time seemed to move so fast. Even though we had already been up for about an hour and a half, the sun began to set and the final moments of golden sunlight on Mount Hood was stunning. Paired with the low clouds hugging the base of the mountain, the remaining images of this flight were some of my favorite aerial photographs of the mountain I have ever taken!

Aerial landscape photography of Mount Hood, Oregon taken during sunset
Aerial landscape photography of Mount Hood, Oregon taken during sunset
Aerial landscape photography of Mount Hood, Oregon rising high above the clouds taken during sunset
Aerial landscape photography of Mount Hood, Oregon rising high above the clouds taken during sunset

The light quickly faded and we made our way east towards Central Oregon to focus on photographing the Central Cascade mountains at sunrise the following morning.


A person stands on a cliff on the Southern Oregon Coast during sunrise at Samuel H Boardman State Park

The Untamed Coast - (Oregon Coast Aerial Drone Film)

From the massive forested seastacks in the south to the dramatic cliffsides in the north, The Oregon Coast still maintains several stretches of coastline that give off a rugged and ‘untamed’ feeling. I shot this aerial film over the course of several roadtrips out to the Oregon Coast with my drone in hopes of sharing its raw beauty and how I interpret its dynamic landscapes. Thanks so much for watching! I really hope you enjoy the film and see why I find this relatively small stretch of coastline so compelling!