McKenzie Color

Woke this morning decidedly out of sorts but what brought me around rather quickly was coffee and the realization that I had a planned day in the mountains searching for color especially up the South Fork of the Mckenzie River.  The color is starting to come on here in Eugene so I was fairly certain that I would find great hues up-river.  The drive and views this time of year are amazing if you hit it right and I hit it right.  It is simply beautiful up there and I think it will hold for at least another week if not longer.

One of my favorite places to photograph along the river is Frissell Creek at the Frissell Crossing campground.  Today was perfect.  Morning light and low flows.  This first image was taken at the junction of two tributaries to the main Frissell Creek and should give you an idea of the abundant color.


After an hour or so I moved up the main road to an overview of Roaring River – a peek through the trees.  One of my favorite shots no matter the season.   A click on the image will give you a larger view.  Had a wonderful morning.  The roads were beginning to fill with traffic on my return so hopefully others are intent on seeing the westside Cascades in all their beauty.


Now for the RANT:  Seems like every stream I have walked in the past few weeks is littered with stacks of rocks – they seem to be everywhere.  I have no idea what they are for or what they mean but they are out of place.  I have walked hundreds of miles of stream and I can say I have never seen rocks from a streambed stacked like that.  It is out of place, certainly not natural and I do my best to knock them down.  Enough said from a cranky old guy.

Roadside presents

Over dinner in Burns, OR one evening I was reading an article about all of the tourist things that there are to see and experience in Harney County. The authors noted that if you wanted to see the sites you should be prepared to do a lot of driving.  True enough.  One does not want to leave Burns without a full tank of gas and while there are a few other spots on the back roads to fill up in case of need the establishments think highly of their product – be prepared.

One of the nice things about traveling across the desert and over the mountains are what I have come to call roadside bouquets.  The first image is far from the desert.  It was taken near the top of Santiam Pass at a spot I have been aware of and shot for some time and have never really scored a ‘good’ photograph.  Shot this one on Friday morning on my return to Eugene – overcast, soft light and no wind.

santiam_colorDriving across the desert, especially in the autumn, the rabbit brush and the bitter brush are all in bloom – yellows of various shades against the gray/green of the sage and the dead stalks of plants at the end of summer.  I found this small bouquet along the road between The Narrows and Frenchglen.  Rain had brightened the scene and really made for nice contrast.

desert_bouquet  Now to find some autumn color a bit closer to home – Eugene color is starting to come on.  As always click for a larger view and thanks for looking and reading.


The SE Corner

“A Vast Paradise in the Middle of Nowhere”

Rose Garacci

That simple quote just sums up for me the SE corner of Oregon near the Nevada state line.  Steens Mountain, Malheur NWR, the Alvord Desert, Frenchglen, Andrews and Fields are all names that invoke the wilderness wonderlands that make up this part of the state. In the autumn the yellow of the aspens mixed in with the greens of the conifers and the gray/green of the sage make for a wonderful mix of colors painted on the hillsides and down the gullies.  While shooting over there is not necessarily a solitary endeavor it certainly is much more ‘private’ than the dueling tripod situations at many National Parks. I only ran into two other photographers.   I can only hope that popularity avoids the High Desert.

My thanks go out to Dave and Sally Hill for a persuasive nudge to get over there in time to view and photograph the remaining colors.  After a morning workout I loaded the car and headed for Burns and then on to Steens Mountain for the evening.  I was chasing a rain squall on the way down to Frenchglen but noticed  that the clouds were breaking and the sun was bursting through in dramatic beams of light.  I thought to myself “Wow – these are rainbow conditions”.  Sure enough – I crossed the Blitzen River on Steens Mountain Road went around a few corners and topped out on a grassy flat just in time to greeted by the following image.   The dark clouds piling up against the mountains and a beam of light on the grass just made this image for me – Oh Ya – the rainbow!!

steens_rainbow_fullI went up the road with the idea of shooting the sunset near Fish Lake however my memory of an earlier trip  did not serve me well and as I got closer to the Fish Lake CG I realized my error and kept on up the road looking for remembered terrain.  Finally found what I was looking for near Jackman Park.  I loaded the camera gear and headed down the hill to a rock outcrop that looked like a perfect location for a sunset shot.  The sky had partially cleared and my hopes were up there for a decent shot.  I stayed for almost two hours – forgot my coat in car, not good – but stayed and kept shooting until the following image presented itself.  I was thinking the whole time “Don’t mess it up!!”  I think I did OK.steens_sunset_drama_hdr

It was one of those magical evenings that will remain with me for a long time – fills up my spirit.  To be able to capture this image seems like such a blessing to me and I am grateful.

Be sure click on the images to get a larger view.  I did post the sunset image on FB so you may have already seen it but the two mailings I use do not completely coincide thus the duplicate. I have many more images to process from this trip so I will post again and probably again as the images come round.

Thanks for looking and as always your comments are welcome.

Ferns – Black and White

I posted on Facebook yesterday a color image of ferns that I found while out for a walk.  I liked it but went back and revisited the image and converted it to Black and White.   I like it even more.  The following is from my Artist Statement that I use in shows and exhibits so some of you may have seen/read this but I think it really applies to this image.

I have been delving more and more into Black and White photography. Focusing on textures and patterns has allowed me to recognize the simple beauty contained in the natural world. By using Black and White for a lot of my current images I want to give the viewers a chance to experience the symmetry of the images without the distraction that color can sometimes inject. Nothing wrong with color – works for many of my images – but sometimes I think it gets in the way of experiencing the subject in an elemental way.

Fern_pattern_BWThanks for looking and reading.  Click on the image for a larger view.

Autumn: It is Coming

After almost nine weeks with no rain it felt great yesterday when cool marine air filled the valley – no real rain yet but the promise is in the forecast for later in the week and I am so looking forward to it.  With a sky filled with clouds Dave and I headed up McKenzie Pass yesterday morning hoping the clouds would break and unveil the 3-Sisters.

Before that I took the opportunity to stop near MP39 along the highway to shoot an area I have driven by and noticed so many times.   Went down a steep and rocky cutbank to photograph the scene below.  Alders reflected in the slow smooth waters of a side channel.  We are both thinking that with autumn color this area should be even more lovely.

Streambank_aldersAfter a rocky scramble combined with a spill coming back up the bank we loaded the car and headed for Scott Lake that according to plan was to be our first stop.  We made our way toward the lake and campground over a potholed and dusty road to find a very full parking lot but optimistically packed up the camera gear and headed for the a lake shore.  On the way down the trail I noticed some late blooming flowers that seemed to make a nice mountain bouquet.  After a few shots of the mountains, still wrapped in clouds I went back to visit these blooms.

Mountain_meadowAfter spending some time composing the above shot I wandered back to the edge of the lake and found a stack of logs that ran out into the water and made my way out to capture the following image.  The clouds were breaking up a bit and starting to get some character.  Gave us hope for the rest of the day.

Scott_lake_mtnsWe did make a stop at a small lake along the road, Craig Lake, and thought about the first time we had photographed it along with Paula Goodbar.  Perhaps another autumn trip – mid to late October. I still have some images to work on from this stop so perhaps a future post.

We went to the top of the pass – Dee Wright Observatory – walked bit of the PCT in the lava fields – hard on the feet and ankles and took many shots.  I have a series of images that I will hopefully be able to work into a panorama.  On the way down the pass we noticed the clouds breaking up and really gaining some character and another stop was called for.  This was the last shot of the trip for me.

Sisters_clouds_panoAs usual if you click on the image you can get a larger view on your screen. Also comments are more than welcome.


Birthday Stroll

Went over to Hendricks Park this morning after I did my ‘chores’ just to take a bit of a contemplative walk on my birthday.  Not much going on in the park – mostly just green vegetation waiting for the color season.

I have ID’d myself in the past as an introvert, for me meaning that I recharge my spirit by being alone and quiet. Such was the reason behind my solitary walk this morning.  A couple of grounds keepers were about clipping and manicuring but for the most part I had the place to myself.

There were a few small white blooms punctuating the green so I attempted to get a few shots.  The B&W is a stacked image consisting of 7 shots and the color was purposely shot with a very shallow depth of field in an attempt to capture some sharpness in the edges of the two blooms.  Both shot in deep shade.

White_bloom_squareTwo_white_bloomsT’was a nice way to spend a birthday morning.

Sending love to my twin sister – always been a joy to share our birthdays and our lives.

(Click for a larger view of the images)

Coastal Dunes

“Taking a photograph is an act of possession, a way of making something visible while simultaneously freezing it in place, locked in time”

Olivia Laing

Five-thirty on Thursday morning found Dave Hill and I on Highway 126 headed west for a set of coastal dunes south of the beach town of Florence.  The highway is normally busy even at 0530 but with an on-going overnight re-paving project conditions were a bit tight and at times slow.  The highway intersects a portion of Fern Ridge reservoir and is a turnpike at that point – really only one place to safely pull over, mount up a camera and shoot the sunrise.  Just happened to look in the mirrors as we sped along and said “Oh that is really nice”  The turnout was perfectly placed for a stop.  Serendipity!! This is what I captured.  Precursor to a hot day.

Sunrise__Pano_croppedOn the Way West

The dunes I had in mind are about ten miles south of Florence – a boardwalk, trails and a nice visitor facility.  When one envisions going to the beach, images of people frolicking on the sand come to mind.  Such is not the case with these dunes.  They are very steep and while they may firm up at various times in the year right now the sand is deep and loose and as a result makes for very difficult hikin loaded down with camera gear.  We did not frolic — we floundered – 1 step forward and 2 steps back!!

Despite hiking conditions the sand was un-tracked, lined and contoured from the ocean winds and I think very interesting.  We went our separate ways open to what presented itself to us.  At times like this I try to think in terms of abstract images – made up of texture and line and the three below are what came from this ‘seeing”  exercise.  It was very foggy and the first image I think portrays those conditions.

Dune_blocksSubtle color blocks in the sand

Dune_lines_BWUnbroken intersecting lines.

Dune_ripplesInterrupting the flow

After some time spent wandering I started back up a very steep and unstable dune with my head down — looking at the sand — and what should present itself to me but a natural sand painting.

Sand_circlesCircles in the Sand

(if you click on any of these images you can get a larger on-screen view)

We headed back to Florence for a bit of coffee and a morning breakfast treat and then on to home via Highway 34 which wends its way through the east side of the Coast Range thru such little towns as Deadwood and Triangle Lake.  I think we may have found a place to shoot autumn color as the streams were lined with deciduous trees – alder and maple – and the streambed was punctuated with large boulders.

Comments are always welcome.


Looking closely

“…all photographs are self-portraits.” – Minor White

I received Art Wolfe’s newsletter yesterday and it was promoting a trip/class to Astoria to shoot abstract images.  There was an accompanying slide show and I realized that so many of them were of old and weathered paint on buildings and ships etc.  Inspired me to get out this morning and see what I could find in one of my local parks.   If the above quote is true – YIKES!!

There is a row of old and charmingly fashioned lampposts throughout the park and they were what I concentrated on.  I shot the detail in these lampposts a few years ago but decide to return and see how time and weather had altered them and how my eyes were seeing the detail differently.

I made a triptych of my favorites.  Click on it to get a larger view.  I do have all of the individual shots as well in case you would like one.

Pole_rust_triptychHope you are enjoying your summer.

Autumn Photography Exhibition, 2016

I received notification this morning that the image below was selected for the Autumn Photography Exhibition, 2016 at the Emerald Art Center.  The image was taken last September in Yellowstone National Park.  I shot it early in the morning in the Firehole River Canyon and converted it to Black and White using Photoshop CC and NIK software.  I do not expect to win as I am sure there are many wonderful images – this is a national juried show. I will let you know when the reception is but the show will be up most of September.  I am a happy camper!!