Over dinner in Burns, OR one evening I was reading an article about all of the tourist things that there are to see and experience in Harney County. The authors noted that if you wanted to see the sites you should be prepared to do a lot of driving. True enough. One does not want to leave Burns without a full tank of gas and while there are a few other spots on the back roads to fill up in case of need the establishments think highly of their product – be prepared.
One of the nice things about traveling across the desert and over the mountains are what I have come to call roadside bouquets. The first image is far from the desert. It was taken near the top of Santiam Pass at a spot I have been aware of and shot for some time and have never really scored a ‘good’ photograph. Shot this one on Friday morning on my return to Eugene – overcast, soft light and no wind.
Driving across the desert, especially in the autumn, the rabbit brush and the bitter brush are all in bloom – yellows of various shades against the gray/green of the sage and the dead stalks of plants at the end of summer. I found this small bouquet along the road between The Narrows and Frenchglen. Rain had brightened the scene and really made for nice contrast.
I posted on Facebook yesterday a color image of ferns that I found while out for a walk. I liked it but went back and revisited the image and converted it to Black and White. I like it even more. The following is from my Artist Statement that I use in shows and exhibits so some of you may have seen/read this but I think it really applies to this image.
I have been delving more and more into Black and White photography. Focusing on textures and patterns has allowed me to recognize the simple beauty contained in the natural world. By using Black and White for a lot of my current images I want to give the viewers a chance to experience the symmetry of the images without the distraction that color can sometimes inject. Nothing wrong with color – works for many of my images – but sometimes I think it gets in the way of experiencing the subject in an elemental way.
After almost nine weeks with no rain it felt great yesterday when cool marine air filled the valley – no real rain yet but the promise is in the forecast for later in the week and I am so looking forward to it. With a sky filled with clouds Dave and I headed up McKenzie Pass yesterday morning hoping the clouds would break and unveil the 3-Sisters.
Before that I took the opportunity to stop near MP39 along the highway to shoot an area I have driven by and noticed so many times. Went down a steep and rocky cutbank to photograph the scene below. Alders reflected in the slow smooth waters of a side channel. We are both thinking that with autumn color this area should be even more lovely.
After a rocky scramble combined with a spill coming back up the bank we loaded the car and headed for Scott Lake that according to plan was to be our first stop. We made our way toward the lake and campground over a potholed and dusty road to find a very full parking lot but optimistically packed up the camera gear and headed for the a lake shore. On the way down the trail I noticed some late blooming flowers that seemed to make a nice mountain bouquet. After a few shots of the mountains, still wrapped in clouds I went back to visit these blooms.
After spending some time composing the above shot I wandered back to the edge of the lake and found a stack of logs that ran out into the water and made my way out to capture the following image. The clouds were breaking up a bit and starting to get some character. Gave us hope for the rest of the day.
We did make a stop at a small lake along the road, Craig Lake, and thought about the first time we had photographed it along with Paula Goodbar. Perhaps another autumn trip – mid to late October. I still have some images to work on from this stop so perhaps a future post.
We went to the top of the pass – Dee Wright Observatory – walked bit of the PCT in the lava fields – hard on the feet and ankles and took many shots. I have a series of images that I will hopefully be able to work into a panorama. On the way down the pass we noticed the clouds breaking up and really gaining some character and another stop was called for. This was the last shot of the trip for me.
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.
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)
It has been a long learning curve for me to begin to ‘see’ in Black and White. I have found that it takes more that just a simple adjustment in Photoshop to create a solid Black and White image and I have a trash bin full of failures to back up that experience. You can make simple Photoshop adjustments but I find you get mediocre images.
First comes the need to ‘see’ in the field in Black and White – to visualize the final image and then there are the changes and adjustments made in the digital darkroom – lots of time adjusting and creating an image only to then go back days later and review it. (I am assuming you have a calibrated monitor of high quality or else all this is for nought) Then comes the actual printing and that effort is not simply turning on a printer and letting it go – many tries are sometimes necessary and I can assure you that there will be frustrations. Recently I have been printing B&W images on Hahnemuhle-Harman Gloss Baryta Warmtone paper and I find that it comes as close to traditional wet darkroom prints as I have seen in the digital world – and I have tried a lot of different papers.
The two images below were from an early morning ramble through the forests along the Coast Fork of the Willamette River in Mt. Pisgah park and while they are of the same grouping of trillium they are two very different images and developing and printing them was a completely different experience.
Thanks fo looking.
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. After 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.Once 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!! I 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. It 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.
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. One 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. Finally 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. FYI: 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 http://www.keystonecafe.com/ and I will be listed on their website soon.
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.
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.
I 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.
(Click on the images to get a larger view and prints are available.)
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.
Finally 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.