Morning on the Mohawk

To say that I am anxious for the weather to change and the leaf color to come on would be an understatement.  I am so ready for it and it is all I can do to wait.  I went on a desperation morning outing up the Mohawk River above the town of Marcola just to see what I could find.  I had nothing  much in mind except I knew I wanted to stop at the Earnest covered bridge and found it to be freshly painted and looking so iconic.  Earnest_Bridge_MohawkThe river was very low and the sky was filled with some clouds and lots of smoke which darkened the scene.  There were a set of trees growing along the bank forming a reflection in the slow moving pool and I think it made for the shot I was searching for this morning.


Alter spending some time framing the above shot I was started back up the bank and just looked down into the small cobble making up the river bed.  Found a leaf that was colored bright red but I chose to develop it to B&W and I think it sets off the stark nature of the shot better than the color did.

Mohawk_Leaf_BWNice to be out and about but it did not fulfill my need to shoot aspen color.  Perhaps a few more weeks of cooling my jets.  Be sure to click on the images if you want a larger view.  They are sometimes better that way.

Another Favorite…

A couple of weeks ago I stopped for an evening shoot at one of my favorite places – Ray Atkeson Point overlooking the South Sister and Sparks Lake.  Today I visited another favorite — Proxy Falls.  As my friend Bruce McCammon once said “These places have been shot to death” and it is true and we both have contributed to that moniker.  Today for me the task was to find something unique or at least a different view from the grand landscape shots that take in the whole waterfall.  I was only partially successful.

I left town well before sunset – had to wait for Starbucks to open.  Driving up the Mckenzie River corridor is always such a treat and this morning I rounded a corner to find the newly refurbished Goodpasture Bridge lit up and glowing in the morning light.  I think I may enter this image in the Covered Bridge category of the Lane County photography contest.  Can’t hurt!Goodpasture_BridgeA quiet drive and an easy hike into the base of Proxy Falls left me reminding myself to not get taken in by the standard shots that seem to be everywhere.  I did however plan and managed to shoot a panorama of the basin with the lower part of the waterfall.  (I personally don’t care for the images that show the whole waterfall from top to bottom)  This is a big image – 40×12 and took 4 stitched shots to compose.  Be sure to click on the image to get a larger view.

Proxy_PanoI did spend some time looking for detail in the waterfall – so many options and the shot below is just one of many and I have to admit reminds me of many of my past shots.  Oh Well still a magical place.

Proxy_Falls_detailAfter an hour or so in which I managed to end up with wet feet – always a sign of having had a good day shooting waterfalls – I headed back up the hill and down the trail.  I came across the following old survivor in the lava flow with a casualty adjacent to it.  This was the kind of detail and ‘different’ I was looking for today and I think is my favorite shot of the morning.  I am finally beginning to be able to see in B&W when I am out shooting and I count that as progress on a long learning curve.

Survivor_BWPS:  No bigfoot sightings this morning!!


A Favorite Place

I was asked recently what my favorite place was to photograph and I had to say that I really do not have a single favorite place.  There are so many that I love going back to year after year and I hope to add many new ones in the years to come.  One such place is Ray Atkeson Point overlooking Sparks Lake and the South Sister and Broken Top.  Sunsets up here can be dramatic and I have seen, although never photographed, wonderful sunrise images from this location, as well.

After spending most of the day floating the Deschutes River with my niece and her family and then dinner at the Deschutes Brewing Company in Bend I headed up toward Sparks Lake hopeful for a good evening.  I began to notice these very interesting waves of clouds forming over the meadow adjacent to the lake and moving toward Mt. Bachelor so my first stop was along the Cascades Lakes Highway.  Gave me hope for a great evening.

Bachlor_wavesI walked down the trail to the overlook and was greeted with a very nice display of clouds working around the summit of the South Sister.  These clouds still had a bit of the wave action going on.  This was the first shot from the overlook last night.

SSister_Summit_wavesAfter about 30 minutes the cloud began to soften and I had high hopes for a lot of color from the setting sun but alas it just got less dramatic.  I have called this image “Dancing on the Summit”  – nice hip action!!

Dancing_on_the_SummitAnd finally the last image for the night – about 5 minutes later the cloud turned gray and that was about all there was for the evening.

Dancing_on_the_Summit2It was a nice evening and I got to share it with a very nice couple from Northern CA  who were so enthusiastic and committed to photography so I hope to maintain a correspondence with them.

Time in the Studio…

Spent time on Monday in the studio shooting portrait and torso shots with a wonderful model, a good friend Demetra Kalams, and the help and gear of Paula Goodbar – a friend and phenomenal photographer whom I have photographed with in nature but never in a studio.  She has a wealth of studio experience and it showed.  It was real learning experience for me and I am grateful. My intent was to capture images that work in B&W.

I have one shot that I want to share with you.  I do not have a name for this image and sure am open to suggestions. Right now I am thinking of calling it ‘Contrast’.


Surreal Evening light

Dave Hill and I spent part of last evening at the wetlands west of Eugene.  The weather made for a very strange sort of evening.  With all the haze and smoke from the wildfires burning in the state the sky seemed almost ominous.  We spent about 2 hours out there and the images below are pretty much a timeline starting from when we first walked out the access road to the last shot just before we packed up the gear and headed for the car.  There is something sort of surreal about the color in the images – almost like the covers you sometimes see on a book of science fiction.

Just walking into the wetlands :

Sunset_first_HDRThe next two are about 30 minutes apart.  There was a short time when the sun seemed to almost disappear in the haze but then dropped down into a layer of clearing just above the mountains for a spectacular sunset.  At one point the sun got so strong just before dropping below the hills that it was painful to even take a glimpse at it.

Sunset_starburst_2_HDRSunset_starburst_HDRAnd the last shot before heading home.

Sunset_lastt_HDRReally nice evening and the wind helped to cool things off which for me was more than welcome.

To Escape the Heat

For the last few days and for the next ones to come the Willamette Valley has heated up to the mid-90’s and for us soggy souls that is a bit much to take.  To escape I headed for the Oregon Coast this morning following my workout.  I certainly was not alone.  Lots of traffic.

There was the promise of overcast sky in the forecast and that can often help to soften the images.   I went specifically to photograph using a 10 stop ND filter thus producing long exposure times giving what can often be a pleasing effect.  The 3 images below were all taken near the town of Florence, OR along the banks of the Siuslaw River.  They were all long exposure times — ranging from 30″ to 1’10”.  It is a bit tricky using this filter and it requires setting up and resetting a few times to get the shot you want.   I have a lot of useless images on the card but a few that turned out just as I had hoped.

{Prints are available for all three of these images.}

Siuslaw_upstream_LELooking upstream

Siuslaw_mouth_posts_LENear Cushman – sun just coming thru the clouds ( my favorite of these 3 – simple minds like simple things)

Siuslaw_mouth_dock_LERailroad bridge piling near Cushman

It was interesting to watch the car thermometer gradually rise from 57 in Yachats to 90 here in the Valley.  Think I will stay home and stay cool for the afternoon.   Some of you are probably saying I have never been cool in my life – probably true.


A Tour in B&W

Spent part of yesterday afternoon with Dave Hill out in the  Willamette Valley just west of Eugene.  There were some interesting cloud formations floating overhead and they are what drew me out.  I was thinking Black and White images the whole time – the black being as much of a shape as the white of the clouds not just a space or filler in between.  The 3 images below were taken using a 10 stop Neutral Density filter resulting in exposure times of around 45 seconds.  The was a wind blowing and that caused some diffusion in the clouds and made the scene a bit more interesting.  IMHO

The fist image was simply noticing what was in front of us as we drove along a cross road.

First_valley_pano_BWDave and I shot on different sides of the road so I am sure ended up with very different compositions plus he was experimenting with a camera converted to take Infrared images so be sure go over and visit his blog – link is included on my listings.

The second image was just a simple farm scene – access road, fence and nice cloud patterns over the fields.

Vallye_Farm_LE_BWWe ended up at a small access beach to Fern Ridge reservoir and I waded out into the water to compose this shot.  Felt good on a warm day!  The wind was moving both the water and the clouds.

Fern_Ridge_LE_BWT’was  a fun afternoon using gear that I normally don’t dig out of my bag – clicking and learning.

Little North Santiam River

I have traveled up this drainage in the past – when I was working as a hydrologist for the Willamette NF – but I had never gone up it with camera in hand.  There are little houses and old abandoned buildings all the way along until you reach the National Forest – it is at that point that you enter the Opal Creek scenic area and the road turns to gravel.  The road Y’s just before that area and I took the fork that lead me across the river and ultimately up and over the mountains and down French Creek on the south side.  I had heard a comment about the road not being for the faint of heart but to me it was fine – little rough in spots and you could tell where a fill had been lost during storms but overall it was nice dusty drive.  The view of Mt. Jefferson down the French Creek drainage would be beautiful as a sunrise shot but yesterday it was just clear blue sky and sunshine. Not very interesting.

My first stop was at a little BLM recreation site named Canyon Creek on the banks of the Little North Santiam.  Since it was still pretty early the sun had not completely blown out the scenes and it was a quiet gentle morning along the banks.  This first image is a small panorama of 3 images stitched to get in the full width of the stream and you can see the wonderful reflected colors from the riparian vegetation.

River_light_panoI spent quite a bit of time just looking and found this simple reflection of bank rocks – there is something almost oriental about image – at least to me.

Bank_reflectionBy 0930 the sun was up and I found myself looking for shaded subjects.  I took some back roads under the timber that did not seem to be traveled all that much yet there were signs of dispersed camping all along.  I did stop at a recreation site named 3-Pools but there was just too much light for good shots but it looks interesting.  The parking area was a mess – trash every where.

On one of the side roads I found some well developed Foxglove – love the color in this wild version

Digitalis_combo Digitalis_combo_2Giving up on photography for the day I decided to drive Forest Road 2307 over the mountains and down the other side.  The basic idea was to scout for future outings and I found 1 or 2.   Coming down French Creek I noticed a small step falls and stopped and dug out the camera to see what I could capture.  For the most part it was in dappled shade.  There was a couple camped beside it – lovely spot for them.

French_Cr_stepfallsIt was a nice outing and I was almost sad to return to the heat of the Valley.

Purple Haze

I do believe there is an old Rock and Roll song or group or something by that name but last night it was a term that jumped into my mind in the lavender fields just north of the town of Harrisburg.

The wonderful folks at Camille’s Black Dog Lavender farm {} were kind enough to let Dave and I wander around their fields near sunset.  We left town about 7:30PM and got to the fields about 45 minutes later – time to set up and enjoy the sunset to come.  First of all however I will show you an image of this wonderful farm – idyllic.  They are open for lavender sales for the next couple of weekends and I think a trip up there would make a lovely outing for anyone especially families.


It was very windy last evening and I decided rather than fight it I would try to take advantage of it.  There is a lot to be said for crystal clear shots of these beautiful blooms and I have shot them many times like that but last night the waves of color caused by the wind plus a little purposeful camera movement gave me at least two shots that I like.  Not your standard photographs for sure.

I have always admired watercolor painters for their ability to go to the essence of a scene and I have rarely been able to produce similar results.  I’m just saying, but I think these next two ‘made’  images portray the beauty and movement that was in the fields last night.  By ‘made’ I mean that I had in mind the capture of the movement and color and used field techniques that worked toward that aim.  I think I got there.

Purple_wave_comboThis last one is my favorite from the evening.  If you click on the images you can see a bigger size image.


An Open Road

Every year it seems we wait for the snow to be cleared from Old Mckenzie Pass.  It opened to car traffic a little more than a week ago and a trip up there found its way on my agenda today.  First stop was Scott Lake – nice quiet morning with about a bizzilion mosquitoes attacking me.  They made it so uncomfortable to shoot that all I could do was to line up what I hoped would be a good shot and then run for the car.  Just getting in and out let in so many of them.  A strong indication of what was to come.

Scott_Lake_HDRThere is a small wet meadow just to the east of the Scott Lake turnoff and today it was filled with Jeffery Shooting Stars and Marsh Marigold.  I was lovely.

Marsh_marigold_spyder Shooting_stars1 Shooting_stars2_dropsOn the way up the road I noticed that there is an abundance of Beargrass in bloom – actually more in one place than I have ever seen in my time in the mountains.   These are just a couple of the images I made as it seemed one could point the camera anywhere and there were fields of them – actually they were under the old growth and seemed to just be like candles in the darkness.  There are many more that are not in full bloom and I am sure that after a week or two has elapsed a return trip would yield additional images.

Beargrass_HDR_CRBeargrass_2_HDR_CRFinally walking back to the car – the mosquitoes were still horrible – there was this lovely columbine growing by the side of the road.  Such a treat.  The beauty of the flowers more than made up for the annoyance of the bugs but it would be nice to have flowers without the bugs – probably too much to ask.

Columbine_combo (I put a couple of these images up on Google+ so if you follow that site you may have already seen them and I apologize for the duplication.)


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