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.

The Golden Rollin Hills

I love spending time in the hills just above the Valley floor and this morning found me on the road toward Fern Ridge.  I mostly wanted to check on the bloom status of a field of Camas Lily that I have photographed with good results in the past  Alas not much yet but on the way out there I passed a field on the corner on Royal and Fir Butte that just glows with bands of color – flowers  in the morning light.  Becomes a natural abstract especially as they blur a bit due to the wind and the slower shutter speed I was using.

Color_bands I drove over to Coyote Creek and really did not find much to interest me until I started up the hill to the east of the flats and found few wild iris in bloom.  Always a treat this time of year.  Not too many yet but they will be adorning the local road cutbanks very soon.  The image below consists of 5 separate images stacked.

Stacked_iris_5Coming down the hill I rounded a corner and found this small flowering tree with sweeping arms filled with blooms.  There is something very oriental about this sort of composition.  At least IMHO.

Flower_boughI turned and went up Crow Road and just after passing the first little hill I looked over to find a field just covered with small yellow flowers interspersed with purple Camas Lily.  The flowers, small stream and Oregon White oak trees just say Spring in the Willamette Valley foothills to me.  This image is so much better if you click on it to get a larger view.

Flower_field_stream_oaksIt was a great morning.  Hope to see some of you this evening at the Springfield 2nd Friday art walk.

(Click on the images to get a larger view and prints are available.)

Cemetery blooms

Got a tip via Sally Hill yesterday that there were lots of wildflowers in bloom on the grounds of the local Masonic Cemetery so at first light I headed up there.  There were big patches of Camas Lily and scattered clumps of Fawn Lily and Daffodils but only in the open spaces.  It is a well timbered hillside with lots of shade and the wildflowers seemed to opt for the open space – light and warmth.  (There are a lot of arranged bouquets on tombs as well but those flowers, while lovely, did not interest me much)

The first field I came to was on the southwest side of the park near the bottom of the hill and it was just filled with Camas Lily blooming under an open stand of white oak trees.  The first image below is a stacked image – made up of 10 individual images combined.   Click for a larger view.  It is better that way.

Camas_hillside Oak_camasI wandered on a bit more and found another shot that I liked.  This too is a stacked image – 14 individual images making up the one below.

Daffy_camasFinally I got a little artsy and converted a Fawn Lily image to Black and White and I think it nicely sets off the contrast of the white bloom against the dark hillside.  Photographing spring blooms is such a treat and I am sure there will be more to come – hope I don’t overdo it with y’all.

Fawn_lily_BWClick on an image to get a larger view and prints are always available.

A Light in the Forest

It has been a while since I posted something to my blog  – been using Facebook more – and I apologize if this is a duplicate for some of you.

It has finally begun to feel like Spring around here – wet and cool.  I went down to Skinners Butte here in Eugene and to my delight found some trillium in bloom.  Many of them were rather beat up from the recent heavy rain showers but after sliding around for a bit on the muddy trails I came upon a row of bright blooms leading up the hill into the forest.    It was a fun morning and I will probably be on the lookout for more of these wonderful blooms in the next few weeks.  As usual if you click on the image you can get a larger view and prints are always available.

I could not help but think of my friend Demetra – a wonderful watercolor artist – and what she could do in paint with this image.  Hope she does.   Trillium_row

Out of the Ashes

Spent part of the day in Sisters with my friend Leslie, who lives over there and is very familiar with area.  It was a lovely day – sunshine and nice cool temperatures and the mountains had a coating of fresh snow albeit there is very little snow in general at lower elevations.

A few years ago there was a major forest fire south of the town of Sisters and I remember driving through there on my way to meet family in the Wallowa Mountains.  You could  barely see across the street and it was eye irritating.  We drove up into that fire area.  There are big swaths of burned vegetation but to me the most interesting was the skeletal remains of the manzanita and ceanothus bushes.  They really did look like skeletons.  Natural abstracts.  The ones below were out in an open area and were back lit from the morning sun.

(Click for a larger view – Prints available)

Burnt_bush_skeleton1 Burnt_bush_skeleton2We drove up near the top of the ridge and there is a great overview of the Sisters but it was bit too “clear Blue Sky” today.  Being there for sunrise especially when the sun first lights up the peaks is certainly on my agenda for future visits.  A sunset would also be great under the right conditions and the location of the setting sun.

Along the way we found a burnt stand of rather large trees that had been killed in the fire.  I converted this image to black and white to emphasize the patterns and contrast.  There are some color ones as well that I may work up and post tomorrow on Facebook.

Burnt_boles_SQ_BWIt was a fun day and I thank Leslie for being my local guide.  Never would have found that place without her.



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