Dee Morning

Started setting up the camera at 0500 on the observation path around Dee Wright Observatory at the top of the Old Mckenzie Scenic Highway.  That means that I left Eugene about 0300.  I do love driving at night with classical music on the radio and I was able to tune it in all the way up and back.  I read in a recent Outdoor Photographer magazine that most landscape photographers spend a lot of time alone – good news, back news – today was an alone trip.

I was not happy with the morning light on the 3-Sisters mountains – really pretty flat but there was a mildly interesting sunrise going on in the east.  Sun_pilar1I ran into a fellow photographer who was from Sisters and a member of the Sisters astronomy club and he told me that the bright object just to the right of the stand of trees was called a sun pillar.  Made the scene more interesting and I learned something new.

After the light came up a bit and the interest dropped off even more I packed up and headed down the road to Craig Lake.  Paula, Dave and I have all shot at this magical little lake.  For some reason creating natural abstracts always comes to mind when I am shooting there and today was no different.  These are done using a long exposure – 6 seconds in the two cases below and then moving the camera vertically while it is solidly attached to a tripod.

Craig_reflection_blur Craig_reflection_blur2When doing this you are never sure in the field what the results will be and it is not until you get back to the digital darkroom that you sometimes find one or two that portray what you were after.  Such are two above.

I also spent some time shooting reed patterns against the water.  The reflected color from the sky, trees and brush created a pastel pallet to shoot the reeds against and the sun just lit up the stalks.  I think this is my favorite from the morning.

Craig_reflection_pastel_reedsIf you click on the image you can get a larger view and as always prints are available.


Gooch (a.k.a. Gatch) Falls

The primary reason and goal for a trip up the North Fork of the Santiam River was to photograph wild rhododendrons as I got a tip that they were in bloom and abundant.   I could not find them save for a couple of scraggly bushes along Marion Forks road.  I drove up to Brientenbush Hot Springs and could not find any there and I saw only one bush on my way back down the mountain. However I did get some reasonably decent shots and hiked into a gorgeous waterfall that was new to me. As I slowly drove along the Marion Forks road looking for rhodies I noticed the morning sun pouring down into the old growth timber lighting up a vine maple.  Seemed almost biblical!! Forest_lightMarion Forks road is designated Road #2255.  To find the route into Gooch Falls you need to find a turnoff – poorly marked – designated #2255/850 about 3.5 miles from the highway junction.  About 100 yards up that road there is a substantial steel gate – you are not driving past it.  The trail to the falls starts about 1/4 mile up the road.  Pretty easy hike.  The trail is not marked at all and I found it just by wandering around a bit – plus I could hear the waterfall in the distance so when I did find a rough trail it seemed to be going in the right direction and off I went.  Pretty easy to follow.  When you get just above the overview there is a steep, slick from the spray section leading right to the edge of a cliff on which the overlook is perched – no railing of any kind.  Luckily some previous visitor tied a section of nylon webbing to aid going down and coming back up.  Bless them for that. The waterfall is gorgeous and huge.  It is at least 100 feet high if you count the  upper section above a cascade. Gooch_fullAfter a number o shots I got a little nervous about sunlight filling the canyon and blowing out all the great color so I concentrated on shooting the detail.  What fun.  The two below are of parts of the waterfall that caught my eye.  You can just see the light catching the edge of the water. Gooch_detail2 Gooch_detail1It was wonderful morning and I loved being out there – partially new country for me.   Now to find some rhodies. Comments are always welcome and as usual if you click on an image you can get a larger view.


I have been reading Jay Maisel’s book “It’s Not About the F-Stop” in which he says in the Introduction “Most instructive photographic books tend to dwell a great deal on technique and equipment.  This one doesn’t”   — that is probably why I was drawn to it. (Not for the techies and gear heads)  Additionally, I was walking down the street during the last First Friday Art walk and ran into a friend who told me about the retrospective show of images by Bill Anderson.  I stopped, looked, went on, returned and looked some more.  Wonderful simple images that were crafted with great care. Such inspiration.

So the two sources just seemed to mesh for me and I found myself out and about early this morning  – just looking  – as Jay suggests in one of his chapters.  “…., there is always something to shoot, you just have to be open to it.  It’s always there.”

I wandered over to a local mall and spent some time just looking – it was treat to do that – strong morning light, clear sky, hardly any other folks about. No two hour drives.  Here are a couple from the morning outing.   VRC_entrance_sliceVRC_HM_SliceThis last one is called “Waiting to Unload” VRC_waiting_unloadNow back to Bach on the stereo, more morning coffee and reading. (I know some of you may find these images odd and certainly different from my normal landscape images but I loved doing them and it felt like creatively stretching so I know I will be doing more. )

Row River outing

Cool, showery and overcast pretty much defined the morning around here and it really was perfect weather for an outing into the old growth forests of the Umpqua National Forest.  I went up the Row River to Brice Creek and ended my outing at Brice Creek Falls one of the prettiest waterfalls I have photographed in a while. As I was driving along an area of the Forest caught my attention.  I look for lines that lead a viewer into the forest and this was one of those situations. Forest_leading_linesAs I walked back to the car I noticed what I came to call a Fern Garden.  So many varieties in such abundance. Fern_gardenI went up Brice Creek with the intent of shooting Brice Creek Falls (I sure do thank the Waterfall Lovers Guide for directions) and hiked the short distance into the overlook above the cascade. Two views of Brice Creek Falls: Brice_Falls_landscape Brice_FallsEven using a Polarizing filter I was not able to full remove the glare on the water.  Perhaps another visit a bit earlier in the morning. Finally as I spent some time along the edge of the stream I noticed lovely displays of Maidenhair Fern on the river banks and was just taken with them (pun intended) River_GardenAs always if you click on the image you can get a larger view.

Mountain time

I have been wanting/needing to get into the mountains – spending some time with my camera and my thoughts  – a mountain meditation.  Today just seemed right to go east into the Cascades.

I headed up Willamette Pass this morning with no particular shooting spot in mind but as I drove by what appeared to be a big meadow adjacent to the highway – I have noticed it before and never stopped – I pulled off, parked, changed into my L.L. Bean boots – loaded up the camera and tripod and headed down the hill.  NOT EXACTLY a meadow – more like a willow bog – very brushy, very wet and very muddy and I came back to the car with dry feet but soaked and muddy pants.

I had no idea what to expect when I forged my way thru the brush but was delighted to find patches of Jeffery Shooting Star – one of my favorite wildflowers. Shooting_Star_clump1 Shooting_Star_clump2After rootin’ around in the mud for a while I made my way back to the car and along the way came upon what I think is a Penstemon but I am not sure.  I was attracted to the leaf pattern and the water droplets.   This is a stacked image that I may convert to B&W at some point.Penstemon_stackedOnce back on the road I found it hard to get my wet muddy britches into my new car but….  A few miles up the road I came upon a great view of Diamond Peak and Mt. Yoran.  Love the lenticular clouds over Diamond Peak.  Paula, Dave and I stopped at this location a few years ago on a similar trip – they got images, I got nothing!! Diamond_YoranI turned off Willamette Pass onto the Cascade Lakes Highway as I understood it was open and made my way up to the Sparks Lake CG area.  There were beautiful cloud formations over the South Sister and Broken Top and while color is nice for this I intentionally shot with an eye to Black and White.  The road is open all the way through and it is a great drive.  Also no snow on the road and trail leading to Ray Atkeson Point. SSister_BrokenTop_BWIt was soul reviving day for me and I much needed it.

As always if you click on an image you can get a larger view.

7th and Jefferson

In an earlier post I talked about working with a group of fellow photographers here in Eugene on a project called The Dignity Project to highlight and give names to the homeless here in Eugene.  We completed the photographic work for the most part, then selected and printed images as posters ready for display.  Paula Goodbar has lead this project and has done a wonderful job.  Over the last month or so she continued looking for a location where the posters could be displayed.  The local chapter of the Salvation Army on 7th and Jefferson near downtown Eugene came through for us and today we pasted the images on the north and east sides of the building.  So generous of them to give permission to do this.

Below is a shot of the east side wall prior to display – just a bit dull – hee, hee.

East_face_priorThe next image is of Paula working out some of the bubbles on the image that was posted on the wall above.

Paula_EastThis next image is pasting in action.  Quite a coordinated effort.

Pasting_ActionFinally here are two shots of the north facing wall – one with just 4 images and then a pano of the completed wall.  I know these will all get great attention from passers by on busy 7th and equally busy Jefferson.  Without compromising your driving I do hope you get a chance to view these shots.  This project was a joy to work on and I know opens many hearts and minds to conditions of the homeless.

North_wall_4North_wall_CompleteAs always you can click on any image to get a larger view.

McKenzie River Dogwood

I can tell that the dogwood blooms are lining the Mckenzie River corridor when my eyes start itching from the local pollen.   Not only that I noticed blooming trees last Monday when driving back from the early morning outing south of Sisters.  I have watched the weather forecast and today – actually the next few days – the forecast is for overcast, rainy and cool.  Soft light – perfect conditions.

I started by wandering about in Olallie Creek CG where I had photographed dogwood in the past but there were barely any in bloom – perhaps I am still a bit early.  However the stream and all the bright green newly emergent maple made for a very verdant landscape.  The two images below show that condition.  The 2nd one being a chute just before the stream enters into the main stem of the Mckenzie.

Olallie_panoOlallie_chuteAfter a very nice visit with a group of mountain bikers who were from Germany, Austria and Spain and were riding the Mckenzie River trail and had camped at Olallie Creek CG for the night I headed down river.  I stuck mostly to back roads and river views as a lot of the blooms I saw from the highway were really high in the tree tops making shooting very difficult.  Randy Dunbar noted this same condition last week.  Perhaps after another week things will improve.

As I made my way through the brush looking for dogwood I came across small groups of Wild White Iris.  Not sure I have ever photographed them like this before and certainly not in mountain conditions.

White_iris_goodI did manage to find some dogwood blooms that were accessible.  I love the simple nature of these flowers and work hard to find equally simple but elegant compositions to set them off.  Only partially successful I’m afraid.

(If you click on an image you can get a larger view)

Dogwood_spray Single_dogwood_bloom


The Dignity Project

I feel so honored to have been one of the still photographers asked by Paula Goodbar to participate in this project.  She lead the effort by setting up and arranging for us to go into the sanctioned homeless camps here in town and photograph and video tape residents who volunteered to Tell Us Their Story.

I have to admit to being rather reticent to do this at first.  As some of you  know I am not much of a people photographer – but with held breath, empty flash cards and a fully charged battery I went into the project and am so glad that I did.  The participants were inspiring and touched my heart in so many ways.

We have been photographing weekly for a couple of months – every Monday for a while and ended up visiting 4 separate camps.  Paula picked images from the ones we all supplied to her and they were printed as posters and will be displayed around town — Springfield and Eugene.  Additionally there will be a presentation on May 30th of the images and the video.  Please see the post I put up on Facebook about time and location.

This whole project, for me, came down to giving a name to these folks – their real names – not ‘Homeless‘.   The mix of sadness, joy and optimism that often surfaced during the interviewing, photographing and video taping was just amazing and will stick with me for a long time.  I hope some of that comes through in the photographs.

The images below are just a few of the ones I provided to Paula  – not even sure any of these were selected to be a poster.  They are all unsigned – it is about the residents – not the photographers – and the ones that were selected are no longer ours but become part of a larger effort – The Inside/Out Project.   For me it is a simple contribution to a really worthwhile endeavor.

You can click on an image to get a larger view and move thru them as a slideshow.

My thanks go out to Paula for her faith in me and for leading this project.  And to my fellow photographers – you inspired me.  It was great.


Spent yesterday afternoon and this morning in the Columbia Gorge National Scenic area.  I want to thank my friend Randy Dunbar for the heads up tip on the status of the Balsamroot bloom on the bluffs just east of the town of Mosier, OR.  I went up there after dinner in Hood River and it was a wonderful evening.  So often it is blowing like crazy in The Gorge but last night was dead still up until the last five minutes of light.

I learned that the earliest arriving photographers get the best knob to set up on – I think there is another bird/worm related adage dealing with that – humm.  Last night it was myself and another photographer from Portland who first wandered into the blooms.  We both did a lot of looking around for a spot and when we settled it was like stacking a claim.  About 30 minutes before sunset the photo mob arrived and there ended up being about 25 photographers in the field, some of whom would circle around the two of us either looking for a spot or hoping we would abandon ours.  One set up right in front of me and I gently went down and asked her to move – “You In My Frame!!” She seemed annoyed but moved.  One of  the downsides of arriving early is that you have a longer wait for the light to develop but I think it was worth it and I had a nice chat with the other early arriving photographer.  The shot below was just as the sunset started to catch the mountains. If you click on the image you can get a larger view and it makes the scene all the better, IMHO. Sunset_blooms_starburstI headed back to Hood River for the evening – I was delighted by what I was sure was going to be a good set of images.

This morning following a very mediocre breakfast but a nice chat with the waitress  I started back to Portland with the goal of stopping at Wahclella Falls for a morning light shoot.  The hike in was a little more difficult that I remembered but following along Tanner Creek made up for the up/down grunt. Tanner_Cr1After about a mile I got to the bridge which crosses the outlet channel just below the falls and got the following shot.  It is tricky to shoot this waterfall – lot’s of angles and different light.  However, it sure is beautiful and so distinctive. Wahclella-_Falls1 Back to the car and back to home via the freeways – never my favorite thing to do but it was easy going and quick.

Park–ed in the Rain

After watching a slide show on Art Wolfe’s blog about his recent trip to Japan where he was fortunate to arrive at the peak of the cherry blossom bloom I got the idea that I would head up to Hendricks Park here in Eugene and see what was in bloom along those paths and in the hills.  I am in no way comparing what I saw or shot to the work that Art brought back just saying that it was nice motivation to get out and shoot.  It was cool, overcast and raining most of the two hours I spent out there but worth every rain drop that went down the back of my neck.  Pretty much had the place to myself save a few city workers/gardeners. There are white iris as single blooms and in clumps along the hillsides. White_IrisOne of the things I took note of in Art’s blog writing and images was how he used the dark boles of twisted trees to set off the blooms and bright leaves.  I tried to find trees that let me work on doing that type of composition but was only partially successful. Twisted_boleTwisted_bole_closeFinally after a particularly vigorous rain shower I started walking back down the trail to the car and the sun broke through and the small amount of heat actually produced a bit of fog in the big trees and I got one of my favorite images from the morning. Fog_boles_bloomsFYI:  This is a new mailing list and if you should desire to be taken off just send me an email and I will be happy to do so.  Also thanks to all of you who wrote to say they enjoyed the posts and want to continue. The show is up at the Keystone Cafe and I will be listed on their website soon.


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