The Palm Springs of Collaboration

Last week, I met up with photographer Matt Dempsey in Yakima, Washington for a collaborative shooting session. He and I met in person back in July for the first time, and the outcome of that photo session was a lot of fun and a handful of photos that we both shot and processed in our own way. Here's one of the photos I took. You can see it and the rest we captured side by side, further below.


When Matt recently told me he would be driving from Bend, Oregon back to New Jersey, I suggested we meet up once again. He figured out a route and we landed on Yakima as our meeting point. This was doubly exciting for me because I hadn't been to Yakima in about a year and was itching to do some night photography there. I knew Matt would dig it, as well.


Welcome to Yakima - The Palm Springs of Washington

I geared up with my Sony A7iii, GFX 50S, tripod, and a large cup of English Breakfast and drove out Wednesday morning. With a couple of stops the drive time to Yakima extended from 2.5 hours to about 3.5 hours. Matt, having been on road from Bend since 3am, arrived much earlier and was catching some sleep in his car.


After chest bumping (kidding) and checking in at a hotel, we hopped in his car and drove around the city to shoot and scout for shots. The opportunities seemed endless from where I was sitting, but after a couple of hours of looking and passing through an area that smelled like hops, we needed a cold beverage. Beeeeer...


We stopped at Cowiche Canyon for dinner and ordered a couple of hazy IPA's each. Over the food and drinks we talked about our work, discovered additional parallels in our backgrounds, Instagram and our hope for a replacement service, creative approaches, and beer. [Side note: I like beer. This probably won't be the last time I mention that. Anyway, the hazy IPA style was new to me, but not Matt. Per him, it's an east coast thing making its way west. I've since discovered how many local breweries are making this now. I guess I missed the introduction because I've had my face stuck in ciders that past couple of years.]

Matt with his camera

Following dinner we stopped by the hotel and grabbed our gear and returned to photo hunting. One of our first stops was a favorite of mine because I was able to recreate a day time shot that I took about two years ago.


For a few hours we stopped and grabbed different shots. A few of the places we scouted during the day were poorly lit at night, but we stumbled across some other great locations as we went. Overall, it was a blast shooting with Matt and I ended up with a handful of photos that I'm pretty happy about. I look forward to seeing what Matt captured, produces and shares. He'll no doubt create something visually...hoppy.


I just missed this whole scene being pink and purple

The next morning, I woke up just before sunrise to capture some shots between Yakima and Ellensburg. Unfortunately, I was just a hair too late for a couple of potentially spectacular photos over a pond, but still made use of my time getting a nice panorama of the sunlit mountains down the road. I ended up driving back to Ellensburg where I puttered around for about an hour before deciding I needed to get back to Yakima for more day shots. I finally departed around 2 or 3pm with a few more images and made the trek back home.


I've just started to process the photos from our night session and haven't touched the day time work, yet. Until I have something more to share, here are the shots from our initial collaboration in Bend, Oregon.


Left: Darren Ellis | Right: Matt Dempsey

Left: Darren Ellis | Right: Matt Dempsey

Left: Darren Ellis | Right: Matt Dempsey

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All rights reserved. All photographs are the intellectual property of Darren Ellis. No use without consent.