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!!


McKenzie Stars

“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to

stay out till sundown,

For going out, I found, was really going in.”

—–John Muir

My going out/in last evening had been in the planning stage for a while – checking weather and the Photographers Ephemeris.  The goal was to wait until clear sky and no moon were forecast and last night I hit it right on.  Nice when a plan works out!!

Went to the top of Old Mckenzie Pass, set up and waited for the night to unfold.  My friend Leslie from Sisters drove up and met me – so nice to have some company.  We both got more and more excited about what we were seeing and I was photographing, as the evening deepened and the stars filled the sky. It could not have been a more perfect evening.

I have been reading and practicing night photography and a recent article by Tony Rowell in Outdoor Photographer magazine was a technical help and a bit of a stimulus to search out time and place. The image below was shot with my Canon 5D3, a 16mm lens, f2.8, ISO 800 for 45 seconds – taken about 10:45PM.  I noticed that the exposure time was a bit long as I did get some star movement so next time –  hopefully the Perseid Meteor shower – I will have learned more and be able to improve.  However I am pretty happy with this image.  Be sure click on the image to get a larger view.


Home by 1:00AM with classical music on the car stereo all the way – seemed an appropriate choice of music to accompany a night filled with natural wonder.

A visit to the Playa

“The expanse of the playa reflects back the perfect combination of silence and possibility.

To be granted a stay here, held in the palm of this grace, is to restore belief in the self and the value of one’s artistic yearning.

There is no bigger silence than this one”

—Melanie Bishop (Resident 2012)

Early this morning I made coffee and headed east with the intent of paying a visit to the Playa at Summer Lake, OR.  Their wonderful brochure describes the purpose and the location much better than I ever could.

“On the edge of the Great Basin, PLAYA is a retreat for creative individuals who are committed and passionate about their work, and who will benefit from time spent in a remote location.”

One has to apply and be accepted by a review committee before being granted a Residency which vary from 2 to 8 weeks.  There is no fee for a stay.  Lots more information on their website:

After heading southeast toward Lakeview on the Fremont Highway I was more and more charmed by the landscape.  I saw Fort Rock in the distance but opted to continue down to the PLAYA and stop at Fort Rock on the way back. It is about 75 miles from LaPine to the facility. I got there pretty early but was still warmly greeted by Deb who I think is one of the managers.  We had a nice visit and she allowed me to wander down along a pond that is just below the main building.  I felt a bit intrusive but she assured me that it would not be a problem.  Interesting clouds forming from a weather front that was due to move in on Friday.

 Playa_pond_landscapeEven in the short time I was there the quiet peacefulness just seeps in.  I would guess that after a few weeks it would be hard to leave.

I took some of the farming back roads to Fort Rock hoping for an interesting landscape shot.  The weather front that was just touching the PLAYA was more pronounced and made for a dramatic shot.  (There seems to be a figure coming out of the clouds looking down at the top of the structure. You can see it better if you click on the image for a larger view)

Fort_Rock_cloud_burstIt was a bit of long drive from Eugene but sure worth it and while I doubt I would ever qualify for a Residency it sure is country that would be fun to hang out and shoot in this autumn —  rabbitbrush and bitterbrush in bloom against the sage – wonderful.

An impression

I went out to the wetlands last evening mostly to reconnect with myself and recharge my spirit after my photographic show in Springfield last Friday evening.  Being ‘ON’ like that takes a toll on me.  Being a true introvert I find that I recharge my batteries by being alone in nature and so last evening helped to fill that need. It was what Guy Tal calls “the siren call of solitude”.  I needed solitude last night even more than is normal for me.

There were big fluffy clouds forming west of town last evening and I went out with the hope of photographing their reflections in the open water.  Unfortunately it was also very windy and there was a moderate chop on the water so much so that the hoped for cloud reflections were not going to happen.  The winds were very gusty and blowing the tall grass around.  It seemed a perfect opportunity to capture that spirit/feeling of movement.  These images were both shot with a 6 stop NF filter.  Probably not to everyone’s taste but it is sometime necessary to get beyond the crystal sharp images that if find myself posting most of the time and experiment with the conditions presented to me.

Grass_wind_abstractGrass_thistle_wind_abstractNow off to the mountains for a day or so this coming week.   Comments are always welcome.  These images are best viewed larger so give them a click if you desire.


Alvord Adventure – Chapter 2

One of the fun things when camping in a remote area like the east side of Steens Mountain is waking in the middle of the night to the yipping of coyotes in the hills above camp.  That happened a couple of times during the night I spent at the Alvord Hot Springs camping area.  Helped to confirm the solitude of the place for me.

I left my little tent at 4:15AM – time to get down to the playa for a 5:30 AM sunrise.  As I started down the access road – just past the first fence row – I was welcomed with this image.  What a nice way to start a fresh new day.  The light was just beginning to come up and the tips of some of the vegetation were just catching it.  I was going to write about all the techie camera stuff that went with capturing this image but I decided that it bored me so — enough to just enjoy it.

Playa_morning_firstI drove down the road onto the playa and found a place to set up and wait for the morning light and full on sunrise.  I put on the warmest coat I had – actually think it was warmer than that awful sleeping bag I had.  It was not all that cold but there was a fairly stiff breeze that made it feel much colder.  I found myself retreating to the car from time to time in search of warmth only to turn around and see the color and cloud pattern developing in the sky.  Those are times when you forget you are cold.

The image below is about the full development of the morning color.  When the sun did pop over the distant hills things washed out pretty fast.   (If you click on these shots you will get a bigger, and I think better view on your monitor)

Alvord_sunrise_goodAfter the sun filled the sky and the color dissipated I headed back to pack up camp and think about heading down the road.  I stopped at the store/hot springs for one more view of the Killdeer egg and to bum a cup of coffee from Rose who was so gracious.

After a while I said Good-bye and headed south with the intent of stopping at Andrews which is the site of an old school that served the residents of the Alvord area, I think back in the 30’s.  Have to do a bit more investigation.

After seeing an episode of Oregon Art Beat on John Simpkins, a fine art painter, who lives at Andrews, I hoped to be able to connect with him and see his work.  As I cautiously turned into the driveway I found he and is co-worker sitting on the steps of his house, morning coffee in hand.  I was a bit nervous just driving up on a place like that but they were so welcoming and kind and we struck up a fun and wide-ranging conversation — painting, photography, poodles, winter existence over there and how one gets supplies – they have Wi-Fi and UPS drives by almost every day but grocery stores are a long drive.

The link below is of the Oregon Art Beat episode featuring John and his life and work at Andrews.  It has been nominated for an Emmy award.

When I walked into his studio – the old one room school – my first reaction was “This would bring tears to my friend Lillian’s eyes”  – a huge space – 5>6 times bigger than her studio – outfitted with a wood stove, a bed, tubes of paints,  huge work tables, north light and rows of prayer flags.  He paints large canvases but most were rolled up so I only got to see the one he was currently working on.

I headed back south on the road toward Fields Guard Station and then around the loupe and back north to Frenchglen and breakfast.  Following that I slowly drove down the Central Patrol Road on the Malheur National Wildlife refuge hoping to capture a few bird images.  I am such a terrible bird photographer.  I did see many common birds such as Red-wing Black birds etc. and took a few shots.  I did manage to find one that was a bit unusual and I stumbled my way into a reasonable image of it.

PheasantBack to Burns for the night and then early the next morning I headed west over the mountains after a short stop in Sisters to see my friend Leslie.   (lite snow in the trees on Santiam Pass – that was fun)

Alvord Adventure – Chapter 1

It had been a couple of years since I made a trip to the southeast corner of Oregon to take in the beauty of Spring on the east side of Steens Mountain.  I was not disappointed by the trip this week except of a very lousy new sleeping bag from REI.  It is going back.

It is a long drive from Eugene to the Alvord Desert and then down to Fields Guard Station near the Nevada border.  Once past Burns on Hwy. 78 you turn south onto the gravel road that  becomes the wonderful High Desert Scenic route —  lined with flowers in many places with the snow capped Steens Mountain in the distance.

Into_the_Mountains I have been reading “The Immortal Irishman” by Tim Egan.  He talks a bit about ‘the browning’ of the land in the West as it drys out in the summer months and while I am sure that happens here as well as Nevada, Colorado and Wyoming right now the hills are lush and green and painted with wildflowers.

I made my way down to the Alvord Hot Springs where I had planned on camping for the night.  Things have changed a bit since I was last there – for the better.  Now there is a small store, a bathroom and camping facilities all managed by a remarkable woman — Rose.  As I got out of the car and looked around from behind me I heard a cheerful greeting – Yup – Rose.  She showed me all the improvements and I paid my minimal camping fee, set up my tent and was ready for the night.  We walked down to the hot springs and she showed me something I would have walked right by – a Killdeer egg — so well camouflaged.  However, it is right along the trail leading to the pools – hope no one inadvertently steps on it.  This is about as good as I can do when it comes to bird photography.

Kildeer_eggFollowing a soak to get off the road dust and a sandwich for dinner I headed for the playa hoping for a sunset.  The moon had risen mid-afternoon so I was not hoping to get much help there but the playa is so interesting – some would say lonely but for me it is a wonderful feeling of solitude and warmth that just seems to wrap around me.

Playa_moonAs the evening shadows of the mountains played out on the playa I started looking for some details and patterns.  I like the color blocks and detail in the cracks of the following image.  Last one before heading for my camp.

Playa_beach_patternChapter 2 coming along tomorrow.  Thought I had better stop here rather than risk boring you even more.




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