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.

 

A Royal Re-visit

I visited and photographed Royal Terrace and Majestic Waterfalls in McDowell Park near Sweet Home a few years ago.  This morning felt just right for a re-visit and was my first real photographic outing with purpose for this new year.  I did manage to take a number of shots of the falls in the Park including Lower McDowell Falls and Royal Terrace.   The first image is a full on shot of Royal Terrace which is a large 3-step waterfall whose approximate height is 119 feet.  I was a bit worried that with rains etc. over the last few weeks that it might be blown out but I think it looks good.

Royal_terrace_fullFollowing the wide angle shots I got deeply into looking at the detail contained in the falls and spent most of the time trying to capture some of that amazing detail that forms in tumbling water.   The two images below are of that detail.  The first image is called Dancing on the Rocks and the second is Frozen Free Fall and I think has a bit of painterly feel to it – perhaps more like spilled paint!!

Dancing_on_the_Rocks Waterfall_detailI got a simple idea (from a simple mind) to see what I could do with some camera movement combined with long exposures and I managed to come up with two shots that I like and hopefully are not too crazy. The first one is of water and the second is of trail side vegetation.   Probably not to most folks’ taste but I like to experiment with images that are not just tack sharp.    As with most of these if you click on the image you can get a larger view.

River_abstractTrailside_abstract

 

A Quick Winter Outing

I joined friends and relatives gathered in Bend over the last couple of days and it was so much fun to visit with everyone.  Downtown Bend looks very festive but I have to say that Sisters at night is truly charming – the main highway through town is all alight and all the storefronts joined in with holiday decorations.   It was an easy trip going east over the mountains and was about 39 degrees as I topped the pass and started down toward Sisters.  The temperature dropped about 10 degrees within the first mile and the snags from the old fire seemed almost ghostly in the accompanying fog.  I stopped at one of the Sno-Parks and spent some time with camera in hand – charmed by the scenery.

Fog_snagsThe afternoon was spent at the Cascade Center for Photography (http://www.ccophoto.com) and browsing the shops in downtown Bend especially Patagonia, a.k.a.  Pataguicci.   After a dinner of hot spicy Thai and BBQ wings and a couple of beers at the Deschutes Brewery we continued to wander around downtown Bend – especially one toy store.  So nice to see people all bundled up on the streets enjoying the season in a vibrant downtown.

I headed back to Eugene early this morning – a bit concerned about the roads but  it was for nothing – clear and wet and no snow.  As I drove along Trailbridge Reservoir on the Mckenzie River I noticed the bare alder on the far bank reflected in the still waters of the lake with fog hanging in the forest above.  I managed to put together this little panorama of the scene.  Much better if you click on the image to get a larger view.

Trailbridge_reflection_panoSure looking forward to more snowy outings this coming winter.  All the best to all y’all for a wonderful holiday.

Happy Christmas!

 

Back Behind the Lens

I have not posted much on my blog for over a month and it has not been due to laziness as some of you may have suspected but a go around with a very nasty case of pneumonia.  Today was the first day in a long time that I felt a surge of the old energy that always motivated me to get out and about with the camera.  I did do a short walk in the wetlands a few days ago but it was still a struggle.  Glad to be back and feeling so much better.

After a gym workout and a bit of breakfast I headed up McGowen Creek which is out near the town of Marcola.  I spent some time up there last year and had a vague memory of some areas that might be worth looking at again.  The morning was wet, warm and rather windy and the shots I had hoped for just did not seem to materialize today.  There was one viewpoint that made for a morning light kind of shot and I think I like it better in Black and White.

McGowen_morningComing back down the mountain and headed back toward town I came across an old apple tree with some scraggly looking fruit just hanging on.  I love the simple nature of these shots.  Nothing dramatic.

Single_appleTwo_applesSure felt good to be out and about with lens to my eye this morning and I look forward to some time in the snow.

No Tricks….

“When gifts are given to me through my camera, I accept them graciously.” – Minor White

Spent Halloween evening at the West Eugene wetlands and it was a perfect night – No Tricks, just Treats.  After a few days of rain and low clouds it was such a treat to get out and shoot a bit.  There were big clouds pushing up against the mountains to the east but a clearing formed over the lake and the moon was out – a half moon.  The clouds were so creative in their formations and the lake was perfectly smooth  – no wind – so they reflected beautifully.

The two images below were taken about 30 minutes apart and you can see how the clouds shifted and formed an interesting sky.  Obviously one is B&W and the other color and I do not really know which I like best but welcome your thoughts.  Yes that small object in the upper left section is the moon. As always if you click on the image you can get a larger view.

Clouds_reflect_moon_BWClouds_reflect_moon_colorPS:  No Bigfoot sitings.

The Subtle and Often Overlooked….

“As I have matured as a photographer and observer of nature, I’ve come to prefer the challenge of discovering the subtle and often overlooked, of creating compositions out of a minimalist palette provided by nature”

Art Wofe, Earth is My Witness

I happily spent yesterday in the Cascades first driving up Willamette Pass then across the Cascade Lakes Highway through Bend and back home via Mckenzie Pass.  The weather was pretty stormy but I have found that conditions like that can make for some of the best photography.  I stopped at a number of places along the highway for short hikes and to just feel the mountain air fill my lungs.

Near Mt. Bachelor is a large meadow adjacent to Sparks Lake.  The clouds were hanging low and the possibility of shooting the grand landscape, aka, South Sister, Broken Top etc. just did not present itself.  I am as much of a sucker for the grand landscape shots as any other photographer but it just was not going to happen yesterday.

It was snowing lightly as I left the highway and walked out into the meadow.  The textures and patterns that presented themselves were fascinating to me and I spent enough time to get wet and cold trying to frame up interesting shots.  To me these are natural abstracts and I love wandering about searching for them.  These range from a wide shot across the meadow to the tree line in the distance to looking down between my feet.  I am sure they are not to everyone’s taste but they do find a place with me.

I read the above quote last night after I returned and it just seemed perfect for the images I managed to come away with.  Such a wonderful book.

Sparks_meadow_abstract

Color_textureMeadow_grass_colorLots of leaf color still left in the mountains and I hope you can get up and enjoy it in the next few weeks.

PS:  No Bigfoot sightings today.

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