Sweet Wednesday

With rain in the forecast for the next few days I talked Dave in to going with me for a morning shoot on Sweet Creek which is just 10 miles southeast of Mapleton, OR.  It is one of my favorite places to shoot in the Oregon Coast Range and is a short drive from Eugene.  I have photographed this stream in the winter, autumn and spring and they all have their charms.  Autumn is so colorful with painted  big maple leaves scattered along the stream edges.  Spring is a season of lush green and winter means high flows and stark vegetation. Today was lush.

Foot access is easy with a well maintained trail and some offshoots that lead down to the stream banks which in many places are bedrock and can be quite slick as we both found out, taking a tumble.  The flow today was about the best I have experienced in years of shooting these waterfalls.  Dave and I  stopped by last winter but the flow was extreme and was very difficult to photograph.

Leaving the parking lot you walk upstream and are met with a series of falls, pools and cascades all of which make for interesting shots.  The one below is the first one you come to and the succeeding ones were taken as we made our way upstream. (These images were all taken with a Canon 5D4 fitted with a 16-35mm wide angle lens equipped with a circular polarizer filter in order to cut the glare on the water.)

Just a short walk uphill and around a couple of curves you come to a streambank access trail that leads down to the channel bedrock.  Just doing that little bit of off trail walking allows for framing interesting shots.  IMHO

Up the trail we went to another small gnarly access trail and while you would think some embryo of discretion or simple common sense would have served us well but NO! – down the hill we went to again frame up what we hoped would be interesting shots.  The bedrock was steep, wet and slick in spots and we both took a spill.  I landed on my well padded butt which I am sure will be quite colorful tomorrow morning.  Dave went down also and I think damaged some camera gear, adding to the pain.

The image below is another in this series and is as far up the stream as we went.  There is a waterfall at the top that I do not find very interesting so with rising sunlight in a blue sky we headed downhill.

If you are looking for a beautiful and relatively easy walk I sure do recommend Sweet Creek and if you are in the mood it is an additional easy drive to Florence and the Coast.

As usual if you click on an image you can get a larger view.  I am grateful for any comment you wish to pass along.


Moon and Spirit

It was/is overcast and a bit moist this morning when I left the gym in time to hit the road at 0700 for a visit to set of waterfalls – Moon and Spirit – located up the Row River east of Cottage Grove on the Umpqua National Forest.  There was an article in the local paper a few days ago that got me interested in going back to revisit these beauties.  The last time I went into Spirit Falls there was snow on the trail and it made for tricky footing – today it was clear and well maintained but I think it got steeper since I last visited – hummm.  The waterfall drops into an almost grotto like setting and the greens of the vegetation on the surrounding cliffs really offset the water.

After a number of shots to assure myself that I had captured the grotto I concentrated on the detail and used a longer 70-200 mm lens to do that.  So much beauty to see if you look.

The hike out and UP was difficult especially with a camera backpack loaded with gear, lenses and a tripod.

The next stop was at Moon Falls. The walk in to the base was comparatively very easy.  What beauty.  Difficult to shoot – bottom in dark shade and the top open and relatively bright.  Took a lot of shots and a lot of processing to get it right.

Well I am sure I will have sore muscles tomorrow morning as I hobble my way back to exercise but this was a delightful trip that more than compensated for sore muscles.  It is barely over an hour from Eugene so not much driving for a couple of magic places.

Quiet Awareness

(If you are getting this on FB please swing over to my WordPress blog – link below – and click on the images to get a better view)

I hope all of you who are Mothers had a wonderful, connective and supportive day yesterday.  My own Mother passed over a few years back and as many of you mentioned in FB posts you miss and honor your Mother every day – me too, and I know my twin sister feels the same way and I am sure she was celebrated by her children and grand children.

“Whether in solitude, or in the company of like-minded friends, I owe some of my most fond and profound memories to these places and to my quiet adventures in them.”  Guy Tal

I got a wee tap on the noggin (thanks Mom) yesterday morning telling me that if I headed out into the mountains she may have left some treats for me and my camera.  All I needed to do was to be quiet and aware.  I headed up Willamette Pass and sure enough I came across this small stream tumbling down a cut bank – another one of those times when just noticing is not enough and turning around is required.   So much rain this year makes for images that are full of interest and in places I had never noticed before.

As I drove up Highway 58 fresh snow blanked the forest and meadows along the way.  I went over the top of Willamette Pass and stopped at Princess Creek CG which was closed. I hiked down thru the snow to the edge of Odell Lake.  The shot below is of Mt. Yoran and was taken with a 10 stop ND filter.

Past the Crescent Lake general store I turned off the LaPine cutoff and drove north on the Cascade Lakes Highway which I already knew was closed below Bachelor Ski area so I turned off and made my way toward Highway 97 and then into Bend. Along the way I crossed a major stream that runs between Crane Prairie and Wickiup Reservoirs and stopped to just explore not really expecting much but to my delight I found this natural abstract.  Seems like the log and its branches have formed a natural sieve and the water is very graceful, IMHO.

Looping back thru Bend and into Sisters for a quick visit with my friend Leslie and of course to pick up some Black Butte Gold coffee I snaked my way thru traffic to a planned stop at Olallie Creek CG only to be a bit disappointed with the condition of the dogwood blooms.  Still not full out and formed and probably will not be for a couple more weeks. There were a few areas and I did manage to get a of shot that I like – lights in the Forest.

I do love to have company when I am on the road shooting but there are some days when I want and need to be alone – almost a time of meditation – such was yesterday.  Hope I can connect with some others in the near future for a trip back to the woods and beyond.

As always comments are welcome and if you click on an image you can get a larger view.

on Landscape Magazine

I recently submitted 4 images to the Subscribers 4×4 Portfolio section of a British publication called on Landscape magazine and am please to find out that they were selected for inclusion.  Since this is an e-magazine and is subscriber based I am pretty sure you will not be able to see them unless you are a subscriber.  The 4 below are the ones that were used.  (Click on an image for a larger view)

This is the commentary that accompanied the images:  This set of images runs from a morning view of Mt. Jefferson taken north of the town of Madras, OR, moves down to Antelope Canyon in Central Oregon. Image #3 is the view of the Alvord Desert and Steens Mountain when entering from the north and image #4 is of a strong autumn storm draping the southern portion of Steens Mountain near the ghost town of Andrews.

Moon over Jefferson



Mid-morning buildup

The local weather folks are predicting possible thunderstorms for late this afternoon so depending on how that all develops I may head back out to the West Eugene wetlands this evening.  The blooms are abundant and the fields are full of color so I think having them set against a dramatic sky such as can develop after thunderstorms could be great.

However I went out there this morning mostly on a scouting trip mostly to check on the blooms.  The humidity was extreme and the buildup over the coast range was already in progress so it appears that we may be in store for some storms.  Could be fun.

Not really expecting much I was delighted to find the following image.  I have shot this little tree before but with huge white clouds in the distance and smooth water in the foreground that allowed for a nice reflection it just was too good to pass up.

I hope you all have a nice STARWARS DAY — May the 4th be with you!!



Tales by Light

I saw a notice yesterday on FB about a new season of Tales by Light which is essentially an Australian production featuring photographers at work around the world and as far as I know can only be seen in this country on NETFLIX.  I watched the first episode of season 2 this morning and just like the ones in season 1 was amazed.  The episodes are about 25 minutes long.

You have to sign up for NETFLIX but the first month is free and  you can cancel at any time and still get the first month free which is what I did.   I do hope you can find the time to view some of the episodes in the current and past season.  Worth your time I guarantee it!!  Especially on dreary rainy day.


Now on to Season 2, Episode 2.



Finally Out…

I know it has been some time since I added a post to my blog and it has been even longer – 3 years – since I connected with my friend Paula Goodbar, executive director of the Emerald Art Center, for a day in the field behind the lens.

As many of you know we have had a cold, damp and dreary winter and such was the case again as we headed up Santiam Pass yesterday morning.  There was a Winter Storm advisory posted for the west side of the Cascades from Blue River to the summit but we intrepid photographers carried on.  Oh my! can’t believe I wrote that!! :~)   The roads got a bit icy and snowy just above the map dot of Mckenzie Bridge but the plows were doing a great job and travel was easy.  As we drove along we came to a section of road that parallels Lost Lake on one side and the remains of the B&B Complex fire on the other.  The fire blackened boles were adorned with fresh snow and made for simple compositions that – as Paula said – look like sketches.  We turned around and then around again to get safely off the road and got out in the snow to shoot.  I love these kinds of compositions.  As usual if you click on the image you can get a larger view on your screen.

We moved on and jockeyed around the snowplows until the road cleared on the east side of the summit.  We had planned to meet up with my friend Leslie, who lives in Sisters, at the turnoff for Camp Sherman.  We waited about a minute and there she was.  We headed out hoping to find interesting shots along the main river below Camp Sherman.  Despite being a spring creek the river was high and a lot of the detail in the flow was washed out but with some careful camera work I think I was able to capture some of patterns that formed in the higher flow.  The shot below was taken at Wizard Falls I used a 4-stop ND filter and a f-stop of 22.   It was still a bit overcast and cold but so nice to see a bit of blue.

After photographing the main river for a while I concentrated on some of the detail that was found along the banks and came across a fresh growing clump of False Hellebore lit by morning light with reflected colors of the trees on the bank across the river.


On we went to Sisters.  Sisters Coffee Company, for a bag of Black Butte Gold, is a required stop when in the neighborhood!  We headed out to a view of the 3 Sisters on a mountain south of town – temps in the low 30’s and a 30+ mph wind howling across the ridge.  Brutal shooting – interesting though how when you are actually composing images you forget about the cold – that is until your hands no long work and you run for the car and gloves.  Images from this part of the shoot are not worked up yet.  Stay tuned!

We headed to town and met up with Leslie for lunch at a wonderful gallery/restaurant called The Open Door.  Delicious food and wine and some very nice art.  What a great day with great friends.

(Comments are always welcome and prints of the images are for sale)

Coastal Dunes

It  doesn’t have to be a great vista, though those are my favorites.
It can be a simple leaf or flower.
But when I allow myself to find peace in a landscape,
I begin to find it in myself as well.  

– Dewitt Jones

(These images are best viewed larger – click on the image)

Standing on top of a large dune in the Oregon Dunes Recreation area just south of Florence, OR I felt that peace that Dewitt found come over me – manifested by quiet and a certain intensity and concentration.

As I looked down at an expanse of sand punctuated with clumps of grass and tracked by previous visitors I began to compose images that turned out to be what I have come to call Natural Abstracts.  The morning light was soft still  enough to cast pastel colors on the sand and I spent time framing up shots that I hope present that soft gentle morning.

The movement of the sand and the play of the light sure do create visual interest and that is what I was going for in the above image.

The sun began to climb in the almost clear blue sky and I began to think in Black and White.   I think the texture, pattern and line found in the dunes can be really accentuated in B&W.  There is stand of wind blown trees along the top of the dunes that really help to set off the images and give one an idea of the scale of the dunes.  In their own way I love the simple direct manner of Black and White images.

After an hour or so the sound of motorcycle/dirt bikes was beginning to increase and it seemed that it was time to leave.  It was a much needed excursion after so much rain and cold weather.  Standing under clear blue sky, albeit a bit chilly, with wonderful dune patterns all around made my Sunday.