Park–ed in the Rain

After watching a slide show on Art Wolfe’s blog about his recent trip to Japan where he was fortunate to arrive at the peak of the cherry blossom bloom I got the idea that I would head up to Hendricks Park here in Eugene and see what was in bloom along those paths and in the hills.  I am in no way comparing what I saw or shot to the work that Art brought back just saying that it was nice motivation to get out and shoot.  It was cool, overcast and raining most of the two hours I spent out there but worth every rain drop that went down the back of my neck.  Pretty much had the place to myself save a few city workers/gardeners. There are white iris as single blooms and in clumps along the hillsides. White_IrisOne of the things I took note of in Art’s blog writing and images was how he used the dark boles of twisted trees to set off the blooms and bright leaves.  I tried to find trees that let me work on doing that type of composition but was only partially successful. Twisted_boleTwisted_bole_closeFinally after a particularly vigorous rain shower I started walking back down the trail to the car and the sun broke through and the small amount of heat actually produced a bit of fog in the big trees and I got one of my favorite images from the morning. Fog_boles_bloomsFYI:  This is a new mailing list and if you should desire to be taken off just send me an email and I will be happy to do so.  Also thanks to all of you who wrote to say they enjoyed the posts and want to continue. The show is up at the Keystone Cafe http://www.keystonecafe.com/ and I will be listed on their website soon.

The Golden Rollin Hills

I love spending time in the hills just above the Valley floor and this morning found me on the road toward Fern Ridge.  I mostly wanted to check on the bloom status of a field of Camas Lily that I have photographed with good results in the past  Alas not much yet but on the way out there I passed a field on the corner on Royal and Fir Butte that just glows with bands of color – flowers  in the morning light.  Becomes a natural abstract especially as they blur a bit due to the wind and the slower shutter speed I was using.

Color_bands I drove over to Coyote Creek and really did not find much to interest me until I started up the hill to the east of the flats and found few wild iris in bloom.  Always a treat this time of year.  Not too many yet but they will be adorning the local road cutbanks very soon.  The image below consists of 5 separate images stacked.

Stacked_iris_5Coming down the hill I rounded a corner and found this small flowering tree with sweeping arms filled with blooms.  There is something very oriental about this sort of composition.  At least IMHO.

Flower_boughI turned and went up Crow Road and just after passing the first little hill I looked over to find a field just covered with small yellow flowers interspersed with purple Camas Lily.  The flowers, small stream and Oregon White oak trees just say Spring in the Willamette Valley foothills to me.  This image is so much better if you click on it to get a larger view.

Flower_field_stream_oaksIt was a great morning.  Hope to see some of you this evening at the Springfield 2nd Friday art walk.

(Click on the images to get a larger view and prints are available.)

Cemetery blooms

Got a tip via Sally Hill yesterday that there were lots of wildflowers in bloom on the grounds of the local Masonic Cemetery so at first light I headed up there.  There were big patches of Camas Lily and scattered clumps of Fawn Lily and Daffodils but only in the open spaces.  It is a well timbered hillside with lots of shade and the wildflowers seemed to opt for the open space – light and warmth.  (There are a lot of arranged bouquets on tombs as well but those flowers, while lovely, did not interest me much)

The first field I came to was on the southwest side of the park near the bottom of the hill and it was just filled with Camas Lily blooming under an open stand of white oak trees.  The first image below is a stacked image – made up of 10 individual images combined.   Click for a larger view.  It is better that way.

Camas_hillside Oak_camasI wandered on a bit more and found another shot that I liked.  This too is a stacked image – 14 individual images making up the one below.

Daffy_camasFinally I got a little artsy and converted a Fawn Lily image to Black and White and I think it nicely sets off the contrast of the white bloom against the dark hillside.  Photographing spring blooms is such a treat and I am sure there will be more to come – hope I don’t overdo it with y’all.

Fawn_lily_BWClick on an image to get a larger view and prints are always available.

A Light in the Forest

It has been a while since I posted something to my blog  – been using Facebook more – and I apologize if this is a duplicate for some of you.

It has finally begun to feel like Spring around here – wet and cool.  I went down to Skinners Butte here in Eugene and to my delight found some trillium in bloom.  Many of them were rather beat up from the recent heavy rain showers but after sliding around for a bit on the muddy trails I came upon a row of bright blooms leading up the hill into the forest.    It was a fun morning and I will probably be on the lookout for more of these wonderful blooms in the next few weeks.  As usual if you click on the image you can get a larger view and prints are always available.

I could not help but think of my friend Demetra – a wonderful watercolor artist – and what she could do in paint with this image.  Hope she does.   Trillium_row

Out of the Ashes

Spent part of the day in Sisters with my friend Leslie, who lives over there and is very familiar with area.  It was a lovely day – sunshine and nice cool temperatures and the mountains had a coating of fresh snow albeit there is very little snow in general at lower elevations.

A few years ago there was a major forest fire south of the town of Sisters and I remember driving through there on my way to meet family in the Wallowa Mountains.  You could  barely see across the street and it was eye irritating.  We drove up into that fire area.  There are big swaths of burned vegetation but to me the most interesting was the skeletal remains of the manzanita and ceanothus bushes.  They really did look like skeletons.  Natural abstracts.  The ones below were out in an open area and were back lit from the morning sun.

(Click for a larger view – Prints available)

Burnt_bush_skeleton1 Burnt_bush_skeleton2We drove up near the top of the ridge and there is a great overview of the Sisters but it was bit too “clear Blue Sky” today.  Being there for sunrise especially when the sun first lights up the peaks is certainly on my agenda for future visits.  A sunset would also be great under the right conditions and the location of the setting sun.

Along the way we found a burnt stand of rather large trees that had been killed in the fire.  I converted this image to black and white to emphasize the patterns and contrast.  There are some color ones as well that I may work up and post tomorrow on Facebook.

Burnt_boles_SQ_BWIt was a fun day and I thank Leslie for being my local guide.  Never would have found that place without her.

 

Winter Wings

I got back about mid-morning from a couple of days in the Klamath Falls area thinking I could take in the Winter Wings Festival but I miscalculated the timing of the event.  Turns out it does not even start until Friday at noon so I spent my time exploring country that was relatively new to me in the hopes of finding some interesting birds and if not that some good landscape shots. I would  love to return and this time perhaps with some folks who know the area better than I.

The Klamath Marsh is so interesting and I spent an afternoon and early this morning (26 degrees when I left the car) looking for birds along the ponds and streams adjacent to the access road.  Within the first couple of miles I was greeted by an adult Bald Eagle and a juvenile Red Tailed Hawk.  These were both shot into the sky and as result I ended up with a very simple composition.  I think it helps to just show off the birds.  (Click to get a larger view)

Eagle_simple Hawk_simpleI spent time looking for and shooting a number of birds and still have what I hope to be some nice landscape type images but that will take me a while in the post-capture processing stage.

I did come across what I think are simply beautifully adorned birds – Tundra Swans – and while I had to spend a fair amount of time trying to get an in-focus shot – they swim very quickly – I did manage to get one in the water and then when they were on the bank next to a Canadian Goose.

Swan_singleTwo_Swans_rightI noticed a very attractive bird on day one but was never able to get close enough for a shot.  He/she was very wary and seemed to know when I was coming.  This morning I mentally told the bird that I meant no harm (hee, hee) and as I was leaving I slowly drove down the road and there on a post was this gorgeous bird.  A Rough-legged Hawk.  I dared not get out of the car and just machine gunned the camera  from the drivers’ window especially when the bird seemed to get nervous. I was able to capture one shot just as it took wing.  Made my whole morning!!

Harrier_sitting_postHarrier_wingsAs always you can get a better view of any of these images by clicking on them and they are all available for sale as a print.  Also I want to thank Dave and Sally Hill for all their help with identification – I would be lost without them.

An Afternoon in the Valley

It has been overcast, wet and just plain dull down here in the Willamette Valley as I am sure it has been on much of the west side of the Cascades.  Today I waited until at least the rain had lifted before loading the car and heading out for a few hours in the Willamette Valley just to see what I could find.  Really not much but there was one farm field stream in particular that I liked – the S-curves moving gently through the field.

I am learning – slowly – the art of Black and White photography and find that it demands a different eye especially in the field when capturing the images.  Still lot’s to learn but I had Black and White in mind when I took the two images below.  The sky lightened a bit so that helped so that helped provide some needed contrast.

BW_farm_streamThe image below is called Hung Up.  As always you can get a larger view by clicking on the image.

Hung_up_BWSome advice for photographers:  I feel way out of my depth giving advice to other photographers but I just wanted to share a situation that recently happened to me.  As you can tell from looking at the images in this blog I love to shoot images that contain a starburst.  This generally requires a f-stop of around 22 and positioning the camera into the sun to make most of the effect.  When I was at Bandon recently I shot a lot of these types of images.  When I got home I found that I had burst a blood vessel in my focusing eye and while it has healed I will be very careful not to do that again.  My advice would be to use LiveView rather than look directly or even tangentially into the sun thru the viewfinder.  I think my 6th grade nun told me not to do that.  Should have paid attention.

Bandon in Winter

Dave Hill and I spent a couple of days in Bandon on the Oregon Coast hoping for a sunset and sunrise shoot amidst the sea stacks along the beach.  According to a number of people we missed the really spectacular evenings from the previous couple of days but I for one thoroughly enjoyed this trip.

On my last visit to Bandon I met Susan Dimock also shooting the sunset on the beach and through a mutual acquaintance, Bruce McCammon, came to find out that she and her husband Steve own and operate a lovely little boutique motel in the town of Bandon and that is where Dave and I stayed. The motel is called the La Kris Inn and is a charming alternative to the large chain types motels that can be found around town.  (http://www.lakrisinn.com/)  Additionally, Steve and Susan are both excellent nature and wildlife photographers.  Their images grace each room of the motel.  They graciously treated Dave and I to a extended, I am afraid a bit too long, evening photography conversation.  (http://www.susandimock.com  and http://www.stevedimock.com)

After checking into our rooms and getting some advice from Susan we headed for the beach near Face Rock.  There were some interesting clouds at first but they tended to dissipate as the evening went on, much to our disappointment.  The Black and White image below was almost the first shot of the evening for me and looks north up the beach toward Face Rock.

Face_Rock_BWHeading south on the beach we skirted the waves and the rocks and found a number of places to set up and shoot.  I have a lot of similar images to process but the one below is a rather typical shot from that location on the beach.

Beach_sunburstI had asked Susan for directions to what I described a spire and she told me that it was just to the left as you made your way down the stairs and that it was called The Wizards Hat.  I found it easily and set up to see if I could get a shot.  There was a gull standing on top of it most of the time I shot.  My name for the image below is “Standing on the Sorting Hat” – for all you Harry Potter fans.

SS_HatSunset came on and we headed to car, dinner and a glass of wine.  We chatted about sunrise opportunities and did check of the Face Rock area the next morning but opted for the South Jetty and the Bandon lighthouse.  After a bit the morning sun caught the lighthouse and it stood out nicely on the jetty.

Bandon_lighthouse_morningOn my wandering along the beach waiting for the sun to hit the lighthouse I found what I think is almost another natural abstract.  The pattern of the sand, pools and morning light really caught my eye.  As always if you click on the image you can get a larger view on your monitor.

Beach_pattern

An Afternoon at the Beach

Dave Hill traveled over to the Oregon Coast on Friday afternoon with the intent of photographing the sunset at Seal Rocks just north of Waldport.  It was a beautiful afternoon – warm and almost windless.  Seems like we got in just ahead of the next series of rainstorms.  Dave has a new large lens that he wanted to test out and I just wanted to be out and about on the beach and I think it worked for both of us.

The first image below was taken at a Sand Smelt beach where we stopped just to check on the surf as we had a couple of hours before sunset.  The surf was just OK but I had a lot more fun shooting the patterns of the waves and foam as it ran off the beach.  Natural abstracts.SS_Foam_abstractAfter a quick refueling stop at a local grocery store we headed to Seal Rock as we could see some very interesting clouds forming over the ocean.  The image below was taken using a 10 stop ND filter.  I set up near the top of the bluff leading down to the beach and I think this is my favorite shot from the afternoon. (As always if you click on the image you can get a larger view)

SR_overview_good_CRThe next shot was taken about mid-way through our time on the beach.  I liked the wispy clouds forming around the sun and the surf breaking on the rocks.

SR_mid_shootWandering around I looked at edges of the sea stacks and became enthralled with the color and patterns in the rocks.  It reminded me so much of the Native American rock art in the Southwest.  Certainly much different in so many ways not the least of which was that people here had carved their names and hearts in the stone – not very artfully.

SR_petro1As we started to lose the light we wandered further south on the beach and found some remaining light.  Last shot before hiking back up the hill and heading for home.

SR_last1Seal Rocks is such a lovely place whether you are photographing or just wandering on the beach.

 

First Sunset

I have spent many an evening and for that matter morning at the wetlands just west of town.  Some evenings are graced with spectacular sunsets filled with color and drama and others are rather drab.  Last night was in between.  When I first arrived there seemed to be the potential for one of those evenings of great color and pattern and to some degree that did happen.  Below is the first shot I took upon arriving at the overlook.  (Click on the image for a larger view)

2nd_shotAfter waiting about 30 minutes and with sunset coming on strong I moved further up the path and managed to find a second shot that liked.

First_shotThe clouds kept coming and I noticed on the glass smooth surface of the lake the tiny ringlets that could only mean that rain was coming.  I could watch it move toward me and I stayed long enough to capture one more image before heading to the car with a wet coat and camera.

Rain_comingOverall it was a great way to spend the early evening – not a soul around save the birds which kept me company with a nice melody.

 

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