On a Clear day

Spent this morning in the McKenzie River drainage especially at Trailbridge Reservoir and at Clear Lake which is one of the sources of flow for the river.  I went today because the forecast called for a relatively clear and dry day and for the most part they got it right.  I was hoping to shoot snow covered conifers reflected in the still waters of Clear Lake but that was not too be.  There was snow on the ground and on the trail along the lake but it had been rained on and was just a crusty mess.

On the way to Clear Lake I noticed the scene below at a pullout near Trailbridge Reservoit.  Nice way to start the morning.

It was dripping rain when I got to Clear Lake but there was sun scattered through the clouds and it lit up portions of the bank and the lake.  I first thought the boat in the image below was a rental from the resort but it turned out to be privately owned.  Met the owner – he was out for some fishing – may be the last time this year as more storms are headed our way beginning tomorrow and continuing all week.  To me the boat added some nice interest to the image and I was glad I was there in time to include it.

Comments are always welcome and as usual you can get a bigger view of the images by clicking on them.


Halloween treats

A few years ago my Mom passed away on Halloween and so it has become a special day of remembrance for me and to top that off my nephew, Tim, and his darling daughter, Gwen, were both born on this day.

Over the last few years I have taken the camera out to see what treats Mom has in store for me that I can pass along to Gwen and Tim.  This morning I met my friend Leslie from Sisters at Big Lake up near Hoodoo Ski area.  We got there in time for sunrise – painting the sky and just casting a bit of light on Mt. Washington.  Very cold up there – Leslie said it was 17 when she left Sisters, it was in the mid-20’s when out shooting. That is a rim of ice along the shoreline.  I have noticed that one tends to forget how cold you are when framing up a shot – that is until you finish.

Thanks for the Halloween treat Mom.


Little Cat Feet

“Fog comes on little cat feet”

Carl Sandburg

fog has a way of softening a scene and at the same time adding interest making one wonder what is at the end of row of trees.  This morning I saw an image “Afternoon Tea” taken by David Brookover at Oak Alley Plantation, Louisiana.  David’s Black and White images are so well crafted and inspirational – so glad I found this current image as it nudged me to get out and shoot this morning in an old stand of deciduous trees out by the industrial park on the NE side of town.  The weather guessers predicted heavy fog in the valley this morning and they got it right.  I think the fog adds so much interest to this scene.  Converting it to Black and White was in my head all along.

I think I will print this image and I have some paper that I really want to try out – Murakumo Kozo Select Natural – hope I can show the print to Mika Aono after I get it matted.  As always click on the image for a larger view on your monitor.

FYI:  David Brookover has a wonderful gallery in Jackson Hole, WY that is such a treat to visit and I hope you can.

Local color

The town is just ablaze with color so I did not have to drive very far to find some pleasing shots.  We are blessed with many wonderful parks and this morning I decided to take my camera to the park along the running trails near Autzen stadium.  Used to run with my friends Peggy and Neal on these routes many times so sort of knew them well. The first image below is of a bridge we crossed many times and that connects to a whole labyrinth of trails.

Wandering along the canal that runs next to the footpaths I found this wonderful reflection.  I know — simple images.

Did not beat the rain and returned to the car pretty wet but delighted with the morning color.  Looks like we are in for some soggy days ahead so am glad I got out this morning.

Comments are always welcome and click on the image to get a larger view on your monitor.

Metolius autumn

I believe that all of the seasons have their own charms – not so crazy about summer especially after the hot and smokey one we had in Oregon.  Autumn, aka the Color Season, is my favorite and like many landscape photographers it gets our creativity flowing and finds us out on the land.  Such was the case for me today.

I noticed some color along the rivers and highways coming back from my autumn trip to Steens Mountain but it was not ready for the lens.  Got some guidance on conditions from my friends Leslie and Tim and headed out this morning.  The choice of today was fortuitous as it was overcast with a bit of drizzle at times – made for soft light – no harsh shadows.  Met up with Leslie at Camp Sherman and we headed for Wizard Falls with the idea of walking the river.  So much color and the river is gorgeous.  Aspen just starting, western larch about a week or so away from full yellow and bits of yellow and red along the river.  The drive over Hwy. 126/20 is spectacular from Mckenzie Bridge over the top so perhaps another trip is in the offing this coming week.

I had visualized the image below for a couple of days and it took me a while to ‘find’ it, set up, take a few deep breaths, check camera settings, ask the sensor gods of assistance so as to not mess it up and begin shooting.  Slowing down has really helped me and while I may come home with fewer images the ones I do tote to the card reader seem to fit what I went after.

The image below is just upriver from the bridge at Wizard Falls.  I have a number of images remaining to really look at but am happy with this one.  My thanks to Leslie for the company and Tim for the advice.

Click to get a larger view on your monitor) Comments are always welcome.

Land of the Wide-angle lens

Started the second day heading out of Burns at about 0530 with coffee in hand and a morning goal of shooting the sunrise from the Buena Vista overlook on the road to Frenchglen.

“Sunrise:  A feast for the eyes”  Dewitt Jones

I have started so many days at about this same time looking at the inside of a gym so it was a heart filling joy to be on this rim watching the sun greet the world.

After the light came up and sort of washed out the scene we headed for the Central Patrol road which runs thru the Malheur NWR and while we saw a number of birds and other ‘critters’ none seemed real inclined to pose for a picture but I have some images to sort thru before I give up.  There is one of Turkey Vultures on a watch tower that Dave Hill shot a few years back that I think is a delight and I was happy to shoot it.

Breakfast at the Frenchglen Hotel – on the National Register of Historic Places – very tasty and prepared us for another go at the washboard north side road up Steens Mountain.  We made some stops along the way – one in particular at a stand of rather mature and twisted aspen that seemed to be natural dancers.  I will spend some time with that image later today and may post it.

On to the next major stop — Kiger Gorge.  This is a 5 shot panorama so be sure to click on the image for a view that will hopefully show you how impressive that place is.

Next stop was the east rim near the very top at approximately 9,500 feet elevation.  That bright band out in the distance is the playa on the Alvord Desert.

Driving down the south side of the loupe road the next stop was a view that allowed a shot up Big Indian Gorge – so impressive, IHMO.

We moved on and stopped for a lunch break at Fields Station followed by a visit with John Simpkins at Andrews (http://www.johnsimpkins.com/) — fun to see him again – and a stop at on the playa.  I have a couple of images from the playa that I have not worked up that mite be interesting.  Learned today that my friend Rose was on her land near the playa but I did not know that – would have stopped for a visit.

Long drive back to Burns for dinner and a somewhat more restful night.  Drove home the next morning across the High Desert and stopped in Sisters for breakfast and a nice visit with my friend Leslie.

I still have some more or less random images to work up and perhaps post but this post and the one before will give you an idea of the beautiful country I spent some time in.

Just some final thoughts from some recent reading.

“It is a commonplace of all religious thought, even the most primitive, that the man seeking visions and insight must go apart from his fellows and live for a time in the wilderness. If he is of the proper sort, he will return with a message. It may not be a message from the god he set out to seek, but even if he has failed in that particular, he will have had a vision or seen a marvel, and these are always worth listening to and thinking about.” ~Loren Eiseley

“Photographers, I hate to admit, contributed a great deal to the perception that the experience of the wild can be reduced to appearances—to feats of geography and weather, to qualities of light, to visually interesting arrangements, to juxtapositions of colors and patterns and textures and lines and shapes. But such a perception is tragically lacking. Not only does it fail to convey other dimensions of the wild experience, but it fails in a greater sense to inform viewers who have not had such experiences that these dimensions even exist, let alone that they may possess greater powers to transform a life than any image or number of images can. But photography is not alone in such failures. Even the so-called conservation movement, advocating the preservation of the wild, fails utterly to acknowledge, educate, and campaign for the experience of wildness in all.”  Guy Tal

I honestly hope that these images do not result in more people coming to this corner of Oregon so that wildness continues to define the place and allow for an experience of solitude that allows one to look inside.

A Creative Cul-de-Sac

This past summer seems to have been filled with heat, smoke, closed roads and horrible fire news headlines.  I have to admit to being a bit down due to those conditions and wishing for rain that finally showed up in small quantities but we need more. All of this seemed to push me into a rather lethargic state.

I recently read an article by Erin Babnik a PhotoCascadia member, in which she talked about finding oneself in a creative cul-de-sac and I could really relate.  I know that cul-se-sacs are not totally closed – there is a way out and I realized that photographing my way out was the equivalent of pointing a car in the right direction and going forward.  Early escape schemes involved some local trips and a still life shoot or two but it was not until I started planning my yearly autumn outing to Steens Mountain that I really started to feel creative again.  Thinking of shots I wanted and where to get them.  Last year at the time of the Equinox the aspen leaf colors were amazing and while I know that one cannot expect the same conditions from year to year I still had hope.  I sent out an itinerary I had drafted to a number of folks and finally got a commitment.

We left last Sunday morning, checked into a motel in Burns, got a SUBWAY for dinner and head up the mountain.  The top of the mountain had 4-6 inches of fresh snow above the 9,000 foot level.  Sally Hill had told me a week or so ago that the color at Jackman Park was minimal but I hoped that some cold weather and snow mite bring out the color.  T’was not to be.

We headed up a very wash-board road to near the head of Little Blitzen Gorge, parked and headed down thru the sage looking for a location for a sunset shot (below).  It is a beautiful place and despite the cold and wind I found myself getting lost in the composition. Click on the image for a larger view on your screen.

Ended the night with relatively long drive back to Burns and what for me was a rather sleepless night.

We started early next morning aiming for a sunrise from Buena  Vista  overlook.  I will write more tomorrow about the 2nd day.

Solitary Wandering

Every time I read a blog posting or an article by one of my favorite authors and photographers, Guy Tal, I am motivated to find my way out to the fields and waterways near home and last night was no exception.  I had the wetlands to myself last evening.

I recently came across a quote by Minor White about shooting from the heart when you find that what you were after photographically is not happening.  I was fortunate to find the scene below just as I got where I wanted to be because after this shot everything sort of went downhill.  It can be such a joy to spend time out and about with a camera and to bring home and share simple gifts.  Thanks for looking and your comments are welcome

The above image was taken with a 10 stop ND filter which at times can be a bit of a crap shoot but this one worked, IMHO.



Fern Ridge Sunset

With the Valley cloaked in smoke – even made the front page of the local paper – I watched with interest as the sun moved thru the sky toward sunset.  A few days earlier I had made the same effort only to see the sun disappear in a blanket of heavy dark smoke.  Last night offered some hope for a sunset image.  As I drove out toward Shore Acres on the edge of Fern Ridge reservoir the sun waned and then glowed as it moved thru the various bands of smoke.  Periodically offered me some hope and then took it away.  As I set up I was delighted to see a red sun hanging in the smoke.  I took the image below with a 6-stop ND filter and I think it worked.  The light bands really helped to set off the image.

After about an hour of breathing smoke resulting in a clogged nose and watery eyes the sun began to set over the far hills.  (Sort of reminded me of slash burns and the forest fires of my youth)   The sun reflecting off the smoke just turned the water and sky golden.  Returned home with a bit of headache and really did not sleep well but am glad I went out last night.  Your comments are always welcome and please click on the image to get a larger view on your screen.


My intention this morning was to drive up the Old McKenzie Highway to the Linton Lake trailhead and go in to Linton Falls.  My thanks to Jackie Lindsay for a tip on this location as the waterfall does not even show up in my version of the Waterfall Lover’s Guidebook.

The further I went the worse conditions got – smoke filled the valley and obscured the tops of the hills.  There were signs along the road “Fire Camp” and trucks going by loaded with boxes that I am sure were headed for the camp in support of the fire fighters.  As I turned off the main highway I was greeted with a flashing sign – 3-Sisters Wilderness Closed.  Put a stop to my hiking plans that given the conditions would have been rather nasty anyway.  I did go up the road for a few miles to a delightful little waterfall that I have shot in the past.  Waited until the morning sun came thru the trees before getting the shot I wanted. Very happy with this one.

I packed up the camera gear and headed back toward the car but my attention was diverted  by this wonderful little tree posed against the old growth forest.  Unpacked the gear and got this shot.  Another I am happy with.  Both are better if viewed larger on your screen.

If you are headed out and about for the eclipse on Monday I wish you all the best – good viewing on you!

Comments are always welcome