Holly Davison Photography | Blog

Magazine Feature

July 31, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

Good day everyone! I'm so excited to be able to share the new issue of On Your Doorstep, a publication that is "using art to inspire the protection of nature." It was my pleasure to be able to contribute to this issue with an amazingly talented ALL female landscape photographer lineup! I have shared my recent work encompassing my Alaska adventure. Follow the the link to my feature starting on page 86 of On Your Doorstep. Then be sure to checkout the rest of the incredible work by my lady peers. It is empowering and a true honor to grace the pages of this magazine with so many accomplished female landscape photographers. 

Alaska Adventure

July 08, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

This spring we embarked on a trip of a lifetime following in the footsteps of many great adventurers as we traveled the Alaska Highway through British Columbia and the Yukon reaching Alaska this June. We spent 31 days on the road arriving back home here on Whidbey Island a little over a week ago. It has been hard trying to put the experience into words when I get asked, "How was it?" My standard reply so far has been, "It was incredible, amazing, stunning, vast, untamed grandeur. Oh the mosquitoes! I was ready to come home. I am ready to go back." I am hoping as I reflect on the almost 6,000 miles we traveled I will be able to put more sensible words down on paper. My intention is to fully blog about the trip, roads, locations, favor experiences. However for now I am just going to leave you with a few images of the expansive wild beauty we encountered along the way as I get lost in the memories.

Spring Flower Power

May 03, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

Here in the Pacific Northwest summer has the scent of strawberry shortcake lingering on the warm night air. Autumn has golden leaves fluttering along in a crisp, cool breeze. In winter, rain and wind bellow and an occasional snowflake falls while a fire roars in the woodstove. Then you have Spring. For me spring is about new life. The world comes alive right in front of our eyes with color and texture while the aroma permeates in the soul. Flowers blossom filling the gardens with a feast for the eyes. Nature is truly a spectacular experience. Whether deep in the damp forest or walking through fields plowed by the till of a farmer flowers Spring renews hope and feeds the weary winter spirit. Here are a few images from my wanderings through the flower gardens in recent weeks absorbing the essence of Spring.


Code of Ethics

April 12, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

Yesterday I created a new page on my website. This page is dedicated to my Code of Ethics. From fieldwork, to workshops, to outdoor adventure sessions this is the commitment I have made to preserve and respect these natural treasures. For you that follow my blog, here is a copy of my Code of Ethics.

Code of Ethics

Here at Holly Davison Photography, I strive to follow Leave No Trace principles and adhere to this comprehensive Code of Ethics put forth by the League of Landscape Photographers. Why? In 1971 Wendell Berry had the foresight to look at these beautiful places and pen these words,"...a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers, but borrowed from his children; who has undertaken to cherish it and do it no damage, not because he is duty-bound, but because he loves the world and loves his children…" There are many reason photographers should work towards reducing their environmental impact, but for me Mr Berry's words ring true. I do it because I love these natural places, they are my sanctuary, and I love my children whose experiences of these outdoor treasures are just as important as my own.


  • I inform myself about all rules and regulations relating to photography when visiting a natural area or public attraction.
  • I do not knowingly step onto private property without permission even if the property appears abandoned.
  • I stay on designated paths and trails. If there is no trail, I follow proper etiquette by educating myself on the principles of Leave No Trace.
  • I aim for authenticity by photographing plants and animals in their natural habitat engaging in their normal behaviors.
  • I inform myself about the plants and animals I intend to photograph. I avoid photographing them if they exhibit distress signals, and during times of physical strain or breeding seasons. If my presence is causing stress, I leave the area immediately.
  • I help to protect the environment by picking up trash I find when in the field.
  • I work to improve my photographic skills by using all my tools when making a composition. I do not move objects, pull plants or otherwise ‘tidy’ a scene. I move my position or wait patiently rather than attempt to influence an animal’s behavior or posture.
  • I refrain from baiting (including sound baiting), or placing attractants to entice wildlife or influence their behavior. Also, I remove all artificial attractants I find in wild places that were placed there by others.
  • I treat wild animals living in an urban environment, such as songbirds, with the same respect that I accord to those living in the wild. I consider their safety and well being before putting out seed. If I do, I research the proper natural organic food and follow proper procedures to ensure the cleanliness of the feeder to minimize the risk of disease. I locate the feeder to avoid cover for predators as well as potential in-flight collisions with reflective house windows.
  • I keep rare species safe and intact by not broadcasting the location of a fragile area, plant or animal. I remove GPS data from my images before sharing them with others.
  • I avoid stopping to photograph if it is likely to start a chain reaction resulting in other visitors crowding the area. I find another time or place to continue photographing.


  • I ask permission before photographing an identifiable person.
  • I treat all people with respect.
  • I treat models with courtesy, repaying professionals with prints or fees for their work.
  • I do not reimburse people where to do so would take advantage of their social or economic position or unduly influence them to pose for my picture.
  • I am patient and courteous with non-photographers visiting a scene. I am creative and can adjust my expectations of the images I planned to make. I am open to new ideas as they present themselves to me.
  • I am aware of my position and how it may interfere with the ability of the photographers and non-photographers around me to enjoy a scene.
  • If someone wanders into my scene, I am courteous and will wait for them to move. I will consider adjusting my own position, or kindly asking them to move when they are ready.
  • If I see someone violating the Code of Ethics, I will consider talking with them about the possible effects of their behavior. I will only do so if I do not perceive any threat to my personal safety. As an alternative, and if their behavior is particularly egregious, I will consider documenting the situation and reporting them to the appropriate authorities.


  • I adopt this Code of Ethics and strive to adhere to these important principles.
  • I am an ambassador of ethical conduct in the industry through my own behavior and by sharing these principles with other photographers and the public.
  • I know and respect my physical limitations and keep myself out of harm’s way by avoiding situations where my health and safety or the health and safety of others could be put at risk by my actions.
  • I educate myself about the weather, terrain, culture and potential hazards before visiting a new area.
  • If I am leading a photo group, whether commercially or not, I ensure that the group members are informed about the Code of Ethics, potential hazards and other safety concerns, and that the group size is appropriate given the sensitivity of the place we are visiting.
  • I am always forthcoming about my post-processing and refrain from representing my photographs as something they are not.


League of Landscape Photographers

Artistry of Expression: Slow Shutter Speeds

April 05, 2018  •  4 Comments

Shutter speed, it is one of the variables in the exposure triangle. Aperture, ISO, and shutter speed work together to create a perfectly exposed image. Beyond exposure, each one stands alone to create a desired effect within the photograph. Photographing my kids I crank up my shutter speed and ISO to freeze the fast moving action. When I'm shooting landscape I usually want a considerable amount of depth of field and need extra light to compensate, so I grab my tripod and slow down my shutter speed. However, there is more to a slow shutter speed then just letting in extra light, especially when photographing water. Water has a playful side. Whether still or moving water is seldom not in motion. Water in a stagnant pond will often ripple from the breeze. Tides force calm seas to lap at the shore. Rivers rage as the rain continues to fall. At the ocean, a storm sends wave crashing onto the beach. From serene to turbulent there is an artist quality to how a photographer chooses to capture water. Before we look at examples lets discuss a couple of variables, the velocity of the water and the length of the shutter speed. Understanding how one impacts the other is vital to fulfilling your creative vision. When these variables are combined in an image they will produce different outcomes. Slow moving water photographed at 5 seconds maybe smooth and glassy with lots of reflection where as fast moving water might turn white with little texture. The same fast moving water at half a second may have a creamy appearance with bright and dark areas giving the water complexity and silkiness. Here is where the creative decisions begin. What is the desired effect the water is to play within the image? How does the look of the water enhance the composition? Will the water intensify the mood of the image?  Let's look at some examples.

Fast moving ocean water streaks at 1 second, but is not too long of a shutter speed to lose the texture of the bubbles.

Fast moving ocean water streaks at 1 second while retaining detail and texture in the bubbles.


This image shot at 1.3 seconds allows the viewer to see the different effects shutter speed creates with the water. On the right side of the image fast moving water of the Straits of Juan de Fuca generates a dynamic feel as it crashes against the rock. On the left hand side the water in the tide pools starts to smooth out reflecting the light from the sky.

Six seconds gives the swift incoming tide a polished feel without completely eliminating all the detail in the moving water.

The wild ocean waves begin to turn melancholy as this 8 second exposure slows down the action blending together the surging tide.

Shooting this image for 234 seconds (almost 4 minutes) results in a desolate feel merging details rendering the water featureless and flat.

Now let's take a look at this waterfall and the one below. Both of these waterfalls where photographed at .8 seconds. The results are different, but similar. By photographing the waterfall at under one second I was able to retain some detail in the water while still creating that silky, smooth appearance. 

The multiple channels of Sol Duc Falls take on a more substantial quality at 2.5 seconds creating solid, milky curves pulling the viewer beyond the logs in the foreground.

Running cool blue, the 8 second shutter speed slows down the river eliminating distractions allowing the eye to be seduced following the snake like form into the background of the image.

Both of these images where photographed at 15 seconds turning the water silky continuing the sense of peace that envelopes the viewer.

Restfulness comes to the water as this 30 second exposure turns the pond to glass reflecting the colors and shapes of the surrounding forest.

Pablo Picasso said, “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” Shutter speed is more then a corner on the exposure triangle. It is a paintbrush for photographers to express and create a vision within the images. By understanding how water velocity and shutter speed work together in a composition the image becomes a canvas waiting to be painted or better yet a photograph waiting to be made, not taken.