Some fog and a pond

We had a seriously thick layer of fog in the Valley this morning and those conditions always seem to make for interesting photography.  I went out to the River Road area north of town and right away noticed a line of trees in the fog. It took me quite a while to find a road that allowed me some access for shooting but finally managed.  The trees just were coming out of the fog and I loved it.

Foggy_tree_lineI drove on to Junction City and headed up High Pass Road toward some of the wineries that occupy the hills just to the west.  I stopped to shoot a stand of trees that were draped in fog and on my way back to the car I was just taken by a stand of trees with an access road running up a hill.  Converted it to Black and White via NIK software

Hill_roadDrove further into the hills and went up to Pfeiffer Winery – beautiful setting.  On the way back down the road I noticed a small pond nestled against a hillside with a magnificent house up on the hill.  I nervously drove down what appeared to be the access road to the home and parked by a small pump house.  A large Dodge RAM pickup quickly came down the road toward me and I figured I was just about to be run off.  Not so – the fellow/owner was so kind and so gracious and was more than willing to let me walk along the edge of pond and shoot.  The property is called Antiquum Farm and he was rightly proud of it.  The two shots below will give you a bit of an idea of how lovely this place is.

Pond_reflection_willow Pond_reflection1It was great morning.  As usual you can get a larger view of the images by clicking on them.  Comments are always welcome.


McKenzie Corridor color

It is raining here this morning following a really nice autumn day.  Dave Hill and I spent yesterday morning shooting color in the Mckenzie River Scenic Corridor.  I think neither of us expected there to be much color remaining following a couple of fairly heavy windy rainstorms but much to out delight we were wrong.  Color everywhere!

We started shooting at the old Forest Service Fish Lake Remount site with the aim of shooting color in the autumn leaves.  Dave especially was hoping to find red amid the black of the lava fields.  I too found a few images like that but overall was looking for subtle color in the dying vegetation.  I really like the simple image below of the leaves with the dying grass.

Red_vine_mapleGrass_Leaves Leaf_contrastWe moved back down the road to Clear Lake – a beautiful spring fed lake that forms one of the sources of the Mckenzie River.  It was stunning.  The winter bones of vegetation along the shore reflected in the clear still water of the lake was just magical and the changing color of the shoreline brush added to the beauty of this site.  Dave was really happy about what he was getting and I hope you go over to his blog site for a look.  See the links on my page.

Bare_Willow_reflectionClaer_bank_panoWe almost buttoned up the gear for the day when Dave suggested we drive up the Old Mckenzie Highway for a bit just to see what color we could find.  I don’t think we went up more that 4-5 miles and stopped at place we have shot before.  We got out of the car and were blown away by the contrast and the color just across the road.  I think this turned out to be my favorite shot of the day and one that I will put up on FB and probably post in Google+ as well.  If you click on the images you can get a larger view on your monitor.  Just says autumn in the Cascades of Oregon to me.

Fog_color_hillsideIt may have been the last trip up the Scenic Highway for this year as I am thinking snow and closed gates are on the way but it sure did cap off a nice autumn in the Cascades with a good friend.

A Sweet Morning

I try to apply colors like words that shape poems, like notes that shape music.

—-Joan Miro

Dave Hill and I had a e-discussion on the location for an outing on Tuesday  – Cascades vs the Coast Range and settled on a morning trip to Sweet Creek in the Oregon Coast range.  The weather forecast on Monday called for a dry day on Tuesday then cycling into almost a week of showers and rain.  I am not complaining – we need the moisture after a long dry spell.

Sweet Creek is one of my favorite places to photograph.  (Ran into a fellow photographer who had driven down from Portland after reading and hearing about it – I think he was impressed.) We both thought that the color would be almost gone or at least dwindling down to the point of being the odd, hard to find location.  Such was not the case and as we drove through the Coast Range toward Mapleton the color just seemed to get better.  Fog wound its way through the old growth conifers and along the Siuslaw River and made for even more interesting photo opportunities.

The trail head is about 10 miles up the Sweet Creek watershed from Mapleton and it too was a beautiful drive.  The hike was slow as we could barely go 100 feet with exclaiming on the beauty before us.  I for one really shot slowly and tried to compose the images as best I could.  The colors were still in great form but that may change with the coming weather.

There is an area along the stream that is bare rock and it was rather steep and slippery and demanded that we walk carefully to get to spots that offered what we hoped would be good locations.  The bedrock banks also offered wonderful scatters of colorful leaves as is shown below.

Boulder_leaf_scatterFalls_chute_HDRThere are numerous waterfalls and chutes visible along the trail and sometimes the adjacent vegetation seems to have purposely grown in such a way as to offer pleasing images.

As I walked the trail I came across a simple clean image of a fresh Sword fern frond and took 9 images that stacked into a single one.  Click on the image for a larger view.

Frond_stackedWe hiked further on along the elevated walk ways and found a place that seemed to sum up what we had experienced, IMHO, and headed back to the car.  We shot for over 2 hours and probably did not hike more than a mile.

Last shot of the morning for me.

Colorful_riffleI still have images to process and may put them up on FB later today or tomorrow and I suggest you go over to Dave Hill’s blog (see Links) for what I am sure are great and different shots from mine.  Thanks for looking and Stay dry!!

Morning in a Foggy Valley

“One should not only photograph things for what they are but for what else they are.” – Minor White

Yes it was dark and foggy in the hills surrounding the upper Willamette Valley this morning as Dave Hill and I made our way toward the map dot of Alvadore.  We drove around to a few locations we had photographed before but it was not until we turned around and moved back toward the hilltop that we saw images that at least to me described the still quiet of the morning light with the fog touching the timber.   First a small panorama of the hillside and then a small section of that panorama.  I liked the rolling dip in the field. Morning_panoMorning_hill_rollWe moved up to the top of the hill and morning in the small valley was laid out in front of us.  Another small panorama with just a bit of remaining autumn color.

Plowed_field_panoThese all need to be clicked on and thus enlarged to get a better view of the morning we found.

The Rockies — Part 2

Just a few more images from the trip to Yellowstone NP and Grand Teton NP.  One of the big treats for me on this trip was getting to spend time with my Grand Niece, Suki, both us with cameras in hand.

The one below was taken in early morning light — the Upper Canyon of the Firehole River.

Firehole_Rv_Canyon_BWDetail in Gibbon Falls on the Gibbon River headed toward Norris Geyser basin

Gibbon_Falls_detailLiving and Dying on the edge of a fumarole in the Norris Geyser Basin.

Living&Dying_poolVivid colors in Grand Prismatic Spring on the way to Old Faithful.


Sunset from the Mormon Barn area – Tetons in the background.


A finally a shot I took on the drive home – early morning light on the High Desert of Central Oregon about 70 miles east of Bend.

HD_Sunrise_RbrushComments welcome.  Click for a larger images on your screen.  Prints are also available.

Time in the Rockies

I think many photographers anticipate and plan an autumn trip to the Color Hot Spots around the country.  Certainly true for me. This year was a trip to Yellowstone National Park to meet up with family and then down to the Tetons and Jackson Hole, Wyoming and then back thru Oregon looking for color in the Cascades.

I got to West Yellowstone early in the afternoon and since I knew I could not check into my motel for an hour or so so I headed up into the Park looking locations for a morning shoot.  I came upon a serious traffic jam and a parking lot full of photographers pointing long lenses at a herd of elk wandering around in a meadow but it really did not interest me much and I moved on.  I did come across a herd of buffalo along the road and this one guy was looking at me hard.  So magnificent.

Buffalo1The town of West Yellowstone was a bit of disappointment as it seems these days  to be little more that a series of tacky T-shirt shops, motels and restaurants overrun with loud and rude Chinese tourists.  However by leaving early in the morning I was able to have so much wonderful alone time to compose and shoot.

First an early morning shot of the Upper Madison River with a morning star.  Then an image that was taken at the mouth of the Canyon of the Firehole River with morning light just coming onto the cliff faces.  I then moved up to Firehole Falls – the steam – river warmer than the surrounding air. Madison_morning_starFirehole_Rv_CanyonFirehole_FallsBreakfast was calling which meant a drive back to town to meet up with family – what a treat to spend time with them.  On the way I crossed the Gibbon River and the morning light was filling up a meadow.  As I set up for this shot the elk started bugling – made my morning.

Gibbon_River_meadowSo as not to overwhelm you I will stop now and warn that there will be more posts from this trip – a few more critter shots, geysers etc., morning sunrise, and color in the Cascades.

Thanks for looking and as always comments are more than welcome. If you click on an image you can get a larger view.

An Old Friend

Going back to Ray Atkeson Point over looking Sparks Lake and the South Sister is for me like re-visiting an old friend.  I seem to make the journey up there every year – at least once and sometimes twice.  Last night was the first time I have been back this year and it was not only a treat for me but I got to introduce my friend Dave Hill to the place as well.

I do not think I have ever seen the lake as low as it was this trip.  The lack of rain and the low snow pack last winter combined for very low water conditions.  It is interesting to see the lake at various levels – almost like a different personality – and I think last night may have marked an end point.  At least I hope so.

Dave and I got on-site about an hour before official sunset and while there were some interesting clouds over the mountains there was also an annoying array of contrails.  They just don’t look natural – Hee Hee.

While certainly not the most dramatic evening I have experienced up there there was some nice subtle color toward the last of our time and that combined with interesting textures in the clouds produced a reasonably nice image.   Sort of seemed to match my mood – nice calm evening.

Subtle_Sparks_sunsetIt was nice to have company on the drive home and we made good time along almost empty roads.  Dave made for a really competent deer watcher.

Comments are more than welcome and if you want a larger view just click on the image.

Waldo Lake morning

Started my day yesterday at 0430 on the road to Waldo Lake near the top of the Cascades.  The lake has been described as 6,000 acres of distilled water.  I believe it ranks as the 4th purest large lake in the world – certainly puts Crater Lake to shame.  I drove into the Shadow Bay area with the idea of shooting at a place  called The Point.  I bet your figured out that it extends out into the lake.

The parking lot was relatively full but I only saw 2 other people in my time spend there – quiet, peaceful morning.  Probably way too early for most folks even if camping.  There was a lot of smoke in the basin from nearby wildfires.  The light was very different due to the smoke but I thought it provided interesting images.

I followed the trail down to the lake shore and The Point and started my day shooting this scene.  (Click for a larger view)

Walso_PointI wandered around the lake shore for about an hour and came upon a scene that I really liked.  There was a small semi-vegetated island that was isolated in the big lake.  I spent a lot of pixels trying to get this right but am still not convinced I did a great job.  Time for another visit.

Island_bush_close Island_weedsI have heard it said that what you concentrate on determines what you miss and I almost missed this wonderful natural bonsai tree on the lake shore.  Spent some time circling it with tripod and camera and determined I liked the view that set it off against the lake with the Cascades in the background.  Given the size of the trunk I would think this beauty is very old.  Seems like it is right out of a Japanese woodblock print.

Waldo_BonsaiStill praying for rain and no more fires.  Sending good thoughts to all the Washington State folks dealing with the fires.

Meteor search

I have not put up a post in a while so I thought I would share a couple of images from last week. Mid-week was the height of the annual Perseus meteor shower and I found my way in the middle of the night to Dee Wright observatory at the top of Old Mckenzie Pass.  Not much light pollution and that is what was desired.   Over the course of the evening there were about 12 other photographers that came and went.  I stayed about 6 hours and managed to get 2 images that I sort of like.  Don’t look too close as there are many ‘issues’ with these two.

Mt_WashingtonThe one above is looking north from the observatory and the pointy mountain silhouette is Mt. Washington.  The next image was taken later in my stay – just when the morning light was beginning to touch the 3-Sisters.  I was not able to capture any meteors – you have to have the camera open and pointed in the right direction and meteors are sporadic at best.Sisters_night_WB

I have a lot to learn about this style of photography and a bit of noise removal software to purchase as the one I purchased separately from the NIK software package works well to remove noise but is such a heavy treatment that it tends to blur detail.  There are parts NIK Dfine – the advanced options that marginally work – but I am ready to explore some other tools.  Recent reading has pointed me to some better options and some solid techniques.  Now to get them to work in the field.

It was a long day with lots of road time and not enough coffee but I love being out in the early morning when the world is just waking.  You are always welcome to join me – bring your tripod and a cable release.


Brownsville morning

I was reading Art Wolfe’s blog yesterday and he mentioned that he had taken the participants in his Palouse Workshop into the town of Palouse on a clear hot sunny afternoon and told them to go out and shoot somethings that they normally don’t do.  I got to thinking about that this morning and realized that the town of Brownsville up in the Valley – about 20 miles north of Eugene – held great potential for finding interesting subjects way out of my normal landscape shots.

I teamed up with Dave and Sally Hill and I think we had a wonderful morning just wandering in this charming little town.

I came across a bright eyed figure sneaking a peak out the window across the street.

Maniquin_lookWe kept on roaming about and I found a set of old rail cars.  The rust and staining from years of weathering made for what I found to be interesting abstracts.

Railcar_siding_abstract_color Railcar_siding_abstract_color2We packed up the car and headed out for a leisurely drive home starting with a cruise around the back streets of town and came across a house that was so eclectic and whimsical it demanded a stop for some shots. What fun!!  This image is what I think is the front door.

Eclectic_Door_BWWe headed out into the valley on the backroads and I noticed a field of sunflowers in bloom with booming clouds in the distance.  Almost did myself in getting out of the car and setting up the camera to get this image. (Click on the image for a larger view which helps a lot.) This is a 15 shot panorama.  Just topped off a wonderful morning.  The Willamette Valley is tough to beat.   As always comments are welcome.  (Again my thanks go out to Dave for the loan of his spare camera or I would not have been able to capture any of this shots)



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