‘Round Midnight

As so many of you know last night and early this morning there was a full lunar eclipse – called a Blood Moon.  I met Dave Hill up on Blanton Heights south of town a place we had scouted earlier in the day.  We both had been worried about the amount of cloud cover during the day but the night cleared at least for a couple of hours and we were able to get some shots.

This was my first try at doing this and after reading a few on-line tutorials sent to me from my friend and fellow photographer, Bruce McCammon, I set the camera up at home knowing there were lots of in-field adjustments to be made during the evening.  I started out with my Canon 5D Mark III set on Manual with a 400mm Canon L lens at f11 with a shutter speed of1/125 and an ISO of 200.  I ended up with a shutter speed of 1/125 at f5.6 and an ISO 2000 at the end of the evening.  The moon moved thru the sky much quicker than I had anticipated.  Everything was anchored with a tripod probably goes without saying but… earlier in the evening I came across a woman on Gillespie Butte who was shooting hand held with a flash – hope that worked out for her.   I processed the image below in Photoshop CS6 and Yes it is a composite.

Anyway this combination image covers about 2.5 hours and I would have stayed longer but the cloud cover came in and pretty much obscured the moon plus I was tired and cold. Sure hope I can try my hand at this again.  If you click on the image you can get a larger view on your monitor.



Favorite Blooms

I heard it said one time that “Easter is a time for springing from tombs” and after the winter we have had – albeit not nearly as difficult as some parts of the country – the sunshine was just so welcoming this morning.  I loaded up the camera gear and headed for the wetlands west of town and was greeted by fields of Camas Lily in bloom.  What a treat.  I love these flowers and seeing fields of them is something to be savored every year.

During a phone lesson with Nevada Wier one time she advised me to D-I-V-O-R-C-E my tripod and shoot handheld – liberation – at least part of the time.  That advice has stuck with me although I have been reluctant to do it.  Today was a day for letting go so I left my tripod, camera bag and alternate lenses locked in the truck of my car and headed out with just the camera, one lens (a 100 mm f2.8 Image Stabilized Macro prime) and my elbows and knees for a tripod.  I had a blast. Shooting like this you cannot do the image stacking routine that allows for a big depth of field.  For me the good news was that I was forced to compose the images more closely and take time to be sure all is correct.  If wet knees and elbows are any indication the human tripod worked OK.

I wandered around a big goose-poop filled loop road that skirted the meadows and found some of the blooms I was looking for.  This sequence runs from:  Still Tight in the Bud to a rather rare white bloom of which I only counted 5 in the walk around.

Camas_budThere was so much color in the fields

Camas_cluster Camas_fieldAnd finally the white bloom which I felt very lucky to be able to find and shoot.  I will go back this week and take the tripod and aim for come stacked image shots – I know that will be fun too.  (As always if you click on the image you can get a larger view)  Thanks for looking.


Here Be Hobbits

Started my morning with a solitary walk on the nature trail at Delta Campground up on the McKenzie River.  So quiet.  Had the place to myself.  Just the river bubbling in the background.  As I walked along I kept thinking that I would come across a hobbit or two because, as the biologists say, it seemed like prime hobbit habitat.

Old_growth_pathI walked on to the 2nd bridge crossing and waited for the sun to emerge through the timber – it came to me.  A morning greeting.

Sunburst_streamOne quick look around and I spotted a willow just breaking bud – over hanging the color reflected in the stream.  Was a lovely morning – church in the mountains.


Out in the Valley

I started my morning hoping for a nice sunrise but instead got a big bank of low clouds hanging off to the east.  Oh well.  Came home for some breakfast and decided to head up to Hendricks Park to see if it was in or nearly in bloom.  The flowers are not fully developed just yet but they were much further along than the last time I was there.

White bleeding hearts are some of my favorites and while this is not a great shot of them due to a lite breeze that made image stacking difficult I am sure I will be back soon to try again.  Perhaps even at night.

White_D_britchesA bit more wandering and I found this beautiful flowering bush.  Not sure I know what it is but I loved the simple nature of the blooms.

White_bloom_combo White_bloom_partial_comboOn the way home I noticed big fluffy clouds forming over the Valley and stopped long enough to grab my wide-angle lens and a bottle of water.  The Willamette Valley is so green this time of year and on a wonderful spring day filled with sunshine it is a treat to go out with camera in hand to find an image or two that displays that beauty.  I am going to The Palouse this year and this reminds me of images I have seen of that area the big difference being the lack of rolling hills like they have over there.   This first image below reminds me of a saying by Yogi Berra – do you know the one?

Y_filed Field_clouds_HDR

Simple Forms

“a happiness hardly expected”

by Nancy Newhall about Brett Weston

Such was the case yesterday morning when I once again went out toward the wetlands west of town not really expecting to find much photographically but looking forward to a morning walk with camera and tripod in hand.  The recent rains have flooded the area and it is always interesting to see what the different water levels provide if you take long enough to just stop and look.  I was greeted with a little godspeak over a favorite small pond and captured the following image:

Small_Pond_GodspeakOn the way back to the car I noticed how individual reeds cast reflections on the calm water in the ponds.  The one below was my favorite of the morning.  Hope you can see the drop on the end of the bent reed.

Drop_EndI explored a few side roads and found a small patch of Fawn Lily in bloom and while they seemed drowned and droopy from the overnight rain I opted to go back this morning and found this one group that I liked.  They are such beautiful flowers.

Fawn_groupFinally just a quick shot when walking back to the car.  A swirl of new growth.


Trillium Time

Every year about this time the trillium come into bloom on the north facing slope of Skinner’s Butte and I went up there today to check on their condition.  In the past the hillside is covered but after the storms of last winter and the subsequent cleanup there was only one area toward the west side where the blooms were abundant.  They are so pretty and such a harbinger of Spring.


Same flower just in Black and White

White_trillium_combo_BWRose_trillium_combo Red_trillium_combo White_trillium_combo2If we get a bit more clearing sky this week I think I will head back up there to see if I can capture more of field view.  Enjoy!


I spent the last couple of days on the Oregon Coast at a small town called Bandon.  I think I read on David duChemin’s blog one time that Bandon was his favorite place to shoot on the Oregon Coast and I certainly would second that statement.

I got there in mid-afternoon and after finding a motel – a very easy chore as there are seemingly hundreds of them which speaks volumes as to the tourist numbers in the summer.  This was certainly not tourist season except for the more hardy ones who love to experience a place on the edge during a bit of a raw time.  The wind was howling when I went down to the Face Rock overlook and I had to hang on to the tripod to keep the camera and tripod from going over the bank.  It was very bright and the reflection off the waves – which were pounding – was extreme.  I shot the following image using a 10 stop ND filter with a 7 second exposure.  Probably not to everyone’s taste but I think it gives a very interesting twist to more conventional surf shots.  (You can always click on the image to get a larger view)

Beach_LEI went down to the South Jetty and was walking back – not a good idea to turn your back to the surf – and got smacked with a wave bursting off the jetty rocks – coat, pants, hat and camera wet!!  The camera went nuts and I was freaked!!  I went back to the motel and went through a number of test routines and it was still not working correctly.  After dinner I returned to my room and worked on the camera some more and it came back to life.  So happy.  Headed for the beach and what turned out to be a very nice sunset.

The first image below was just about 30 minutes before official sunset so still early in the evening but the sky seemed to hold promise for nice things to come.  The wind was still howling and it was cold down there.

Face_Rock_tower_earlyI moved north just around the big sea stack you see in the image above and the surf was rocking.  I love the spindrift that comes with times like that.

Spindrift1Met up with a woman photographer who lives with her husband in Bandon and it turned out we have a mutual friend – Bruce McCammon – I have a link posted to his blog.  It is small world.  We spent about an hour wandering and shooting – mostly going in separate ways responding to what caught our individual eye.   The next shot is very near the last for the evening.

Stacks_sunset_HDR2I have to say that I was bit worn down when I got back to my room and it seems that I never sleep well the first night in a motel and last night was no exception.  However I got up early with the intention of getting to the Face Rock overlook in time for sunrise.  My experience in shooting at Bandon is that it is a better sunset shoot that a sunrise but the moon – about 2/3 full – reflecting on the beach sand made for what I think is a nice image.  NO WIND!!

Morning_moon_reflectionBreakfast at the motel, pack the car and head for home.  The sun was just lighting up the channel that runs by the town and the Bandon Lighthouse caught the morning rays.  I pulled into a gravel lot set up quickly and am so happy I did.  This shot says Oregon Coast to me.

Bandon_LighthouseOff to clean lenses and charge batteries and put my kit in order.

Thanks for looking.

Studio work….

Artist’s studios do not look like galleries, and when an artist’s studio does, everyone is suspicious.

Allen Kaprow

I got to spend part of my morning with Lillian Almeida shooting her studio.  She is a very talented painter – probably one of the best on the west coast and certainly in Eugene.  http://www.tavee.us/AlmeidaStudio/Lillian_Almeida.html  I was thrilled to be allowed in to shoot and was just taken by the space – there is a joyful feeling about it.  There are works in progress all around and some just spoke directly to me about the skill and insight of the work. I loved it.

The first couple of shots below were taken with a 15mm fisheye lens and capture, I think, the charm of the space.  At one point she told me that the floor was the most interesting part – maybe.

Lillian_pano_singles Lillian_single_HDRThere were so many intriguing collections of paints and brushes so I just found a few that I came to call Tools of the Trade – including the last one of this set of three.

Lillian_TOT2 Lillian_TOTLillian_footwareFinally I will leave you with a few images of her work – not gallery ready but they certainly caught my eye.  Look for her next show at The Maude Kerns Art Center here in Eugene and she will be part of a new show at The Gallery at the Watershed on April 1. (http://tgatws.com/)

Wire_head_single Wire_head_duo Single_Male_headThe wire figures are two of my favorites. My thanks go out to Lillian for this opportunity and I hope I did the studio a bit of justice.

Any Kindness Helps…

I have been collecting this set of images for the last month or so and I just wanted to share them with you – more to come.  It is new photographic ground for me and I was out of my comfort zone much of the time.  I told a few people that I was doing this and the reaction ranged from support to almost shocked astonishment that I would take a risk like this.  I have to admit that I approached the first guy with a lot of trepidation but I found that with all of them a simple smile, perhaps a donation, and a polite inquiry of their condition and for permission to take their photograph certainly helped to alleviate some of the tension.  All of the shots were taken on the street corners of Eugene.

Some of these images – OK all of them – go straight to my heart and I can’t help but feel real empathy for these people.  Many had canine companions and one of the images was of a family – I purposely did not include the child.  Many of the signs said “Anything helps!” but one said ” Any Kindness Helps” and I thought how true that is for all of us as we go through our lives.

I shot these images using a small Canon film camera loaned to me by Dave Hill and loaded with Ilford Delta Black and White film at ISO 100.  I had the film developed to a CD and then worked up the images in Photoshop. I found that using the small camera, hand held, was an advantage – not nearly as intimidating to these folks as my big Canon 5D3 would have been and the small camera allowed me to connect with them much easier.  I think you can see that in some of the shots.

Below is a Gallery of the images and if you click on one and bring it up full screen you essentially enter a slideshow mode and can click through the others.   As always comments are more than welcome.

Eugene Sunrise

Dave Hill and I had a few face-to-face and phone conversations yesterday trying to decide if a morning sunrise shot from the top of Gillespie Butte – which is located about 5 minutes drive from my house – was worth the early morning effort and finally after looking at the Weather Channel we decided to just let it go as the forecast was for early morning clouds.  I think we were both wanting to get out but when I looked outside at 0500 it seemed awfully cloudy.  Nevertheless I loaded the camera gear in the car at about 0600 with what appeared to be a bit of interest in the sky and headed for the Butte.  I got there and noticed a sliver of light on the horizon and called Dave.  He seemed groggy when I called but quickly grabbed his gear and headed out.  I would say that within 15 minutes he was standing with me on the Butte and we were both treated to a magnificent sunrise.  It did not last all that long – maybe 20 minutes – and when it was gone – it was gone – but speaking for myself I was delighted.

GB_3_HDRThere is a time in early to mid August when a full moon rises and is positioned right over town and Gillespie Butte now seems to me to be a great place to try and capture an image during that time.  Let’s hope there is no smoke from forest fires.

Off to finish up making Potato/Leek/Pancetta soup – should be a great lunch for a rainy afternoon.


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