Shotgun Creek

Shotgun Creek is a small stream near the town of Marcola east of Springfield and this time of year the low water, exposed bed material and dappled sunlight combine to make soft and gentle images.  There is a lot of vegetation along the banks and that can make for cluttered images so I spent time standing in the middle of the stream in my TEVA’s and shorts trying to focus on just sections that would convey what I was feeling thru what I was seeing.   I think of this type of image as an intimate landscape.

I have been rather sick the last week or so with a nasty summer cold so this was a real treat to get out and exercise my eyes and my lenses and let my mind engage with nature.

Any comments are, as usual, more than welcome and I hope to continue recovering and getting out more and more this coming week despite the heat.  Click on the image for a larger view.

 

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Summer Doldrums

There are many references in sea going literature to being stranded in the Doldrums – very little movement and the protagonists wonder if they will ever move on – “all the boards did shrink”.  Such has been the case around here for a week or so and I have found little reason to head out with my camera – the sky was flat and featureless – looked like someone had ironed a sheet.  Kept myself occupied with exercise, lawn mowing, weeding, watering and cleaning my house – all of which needed doing.

To my surprise and delight yesterday afternoon the sky filled with some very interesting cloud formations.  I kept watching until evening and headed out to one of my favorite local spots to capture a sunset.   God Speak!  Me and a little golden lab spent time just enjoying the evening.  Finally his owner showed up in a panic to claim him and I loaded the car and headed for home.   Click on the image for a larger view and as always comments are more than welcome.

Intimate Landscape

“Solitude is the human condition in which I keep myself company.”
~Hannah Arendt

Went back and did some mining in a folder containing images from a trip last Winter thru the Warner and Pueblo mountains of southeastern Oregon.  I did this trip alone save for a few stops to visit some acquaintances along the way.  Ellen, John and Rose – thank you for the welcoming visits.

The image below is of a small stream along Highway 140 on the way from Lakeview to Adel, OR.   It was a lovely drive – little traffic, no radio or CD, and just the quiet of the morning filled the air.   It was very cold and had been for a few days and the stream was freezing over in places.  Morning light was just touching the streamside vegetation and was probably what drew my attention to the scene.  I have shot the grand landscapes such as the Tetons many times and will probably do so again but am more and more drawn to what I and others call Intimate Landscapes, this image is one such example.

I find that solitary shooting on such a morning is for me a big part of the essence of landscape photography.

I so look forward to another trip through these mountains – perhaps in the autumn (the color season) or again in the winter.  Comments are more than welcome.

On A Clear Day

With the thunderstorms moving thru overnight I was hopeful of finding some interesting remaining cloud formations along the top of the 3-Sisters as seen from Scott Lake.  Additionally I wanted to see the results of the fires that were in the area last year.  Well the fires were pretty spotty along the Scenic Highway and the road crews had done a very good job of downing the danger trees and opening the road.  However the heavy rain last night brought down mudslides on the east side and blocked the road from Dee Wright Observatory east.  They said the the cleanup mite be finished this evening.  I think the fire damage was much more extensive on the east side but I did notice some extensively burned areas on the west side further upslope from the road.

I stopped in at Scott Lake and all was well – not great for photography but nice to see no fire damage in the area.  The mosquitoes were quite healthy and hungry.  Still cannot figure out why when he had the chance Noah did not off those two on the boat!!

As I said the photography conditions were poor – aka – boring – but on the way out I happened to notice these wonderful strands of air born pollen and debris along the lake shore.  Made for some very interesting natural abstract compositions.

Always does me good to be in the mountains and it was fun shooting the abstracts in the pond.  Comments are always welcome.

Storm coming

The National Weather Service put out a warning yesterday about the threat of thunderstorms with possible heavy rain and even hail for this afternoon.  Sometimes, as such storms are coming in, the cloud formations in the Valley building up against the mountains in the distance can make for some very interesting images.  The image below was from this morning and it illustrates those conditions. .

It will probably be booming and raining this afternoon.  Always fun IMHO but I know it can be hard on pets.

Click for a larger view as this is a 7 shot panorama and is best viewed large on your screen.

 

Silence

“Silence cannot hide.  It reveals its diverse nature through masquerade.  It lives in the dawn, pastel and still, or through the breath of trees as they soundlessly reach toward divinity.”           Leslie Schwartz 

I have been reading and viewing the 2017 work by PLAYA residents and the opening words of this essay were running around in my head this morning as I woke early and drove toward Salt Creek near the top of Willamette Pass.  I was met with silence and it drove away any possibility of the loneliness that seems to have  followed me around a bit over the last few days.  Mountains will do that for me.

I got to the trail head and down to the lower viewing area in time to catch the first light skirting the edge of the grotto that Salt Creek Falls empties into.  I was not aware of the roar of the falls and it seems that silence still filled the air.  The hike back up the hill with a full camera bag and tripod was a good substitute for my normal gym workout.

This is a bit of a long exposure due to the darkness still hanging in.

One more thought I had on the road up was that the wild rhododendrons may be in bloom.  I was a bit early for them to be fully out but there was certainly a promise of greater flowering to come.  Perhaps a week or two. I love the way the blooms stand out against the darkness of the old growth forest.  Be sure to click on the images for a larger view and as always comments are more than welcome.

 

Local time

“One should not only photograph things for what they are but for what else they are.” – Minor White

This will be a short post on a very common subject so you are probably saying “Why is he bothering?”  – good question and my only answer is that I just need to get out sometimes and spend some time looking thru the camera. Just thought I would share what I saw with you.

Found this wonderful colorful barn yesterday on the road to Marcola and did a rather poor job of shooting it so went back at sunrise this morning to have another go at it.  This barn reminded me of one I shot near Joseph, OR a few years back except that one had the gorgeous snow capped Wallowa Mountains in the background.  Be sure to click on the image for a larger view and as always comments are more than welcome.

Mountains Please!

Word hit the street on Friday that the Cascade Lakes Highway was completely open so in order to get back into the mountains; take advantage of the weather forecast that predicted increasing clouds over the Cascades; and to get out the horrible grass pollen that is filling up the Valley I headed East.  Great drive in beautiful country.  I made a couple of stops along the way but the main goal was the Ray Atkeson Viewpoint over looking Sparks Lake.  I have shot from this location many times – posted an image on FB the other day from a couple of years ago and while the scene before me that developed yesterday was not nearly as dramatic it still was a wonderful view.  The increasing clouds streaking across the mountain and the lenticular clouds forming over the tops of the adjacent hills all confirmed that the weather was coming in.

I shot this image with a black and white conversion in mind and I think it worked out.  Be sure to click on the image to get a full scale view.  It is a large panoramic  image.

Comments are always welcome.  Love to hear from you.

High Desert and the Great Basin

Took the new Subaru out for its first long drive yesterday.  I love it.  Quiet – road noise is at a minimum – and comfortable.  Have to admit that there are a number of buttons and items on the various screens that I have yet to comprehend and that I am not sure I need.

Heading over Willamette Pass I took the Crescent cut-off to Highway 97 then north to LaPine where I hooked into the Fremont Highway, OR 31.  Out into the High Desert Outback of Central Oregon.

My first planned stop was at the Cowboy Dinner Tree.  I have heard about this restaurant for a number of years but never stopped.  It is located about 3 miles south of Silver Lake – got some good directions at the local store and thus it was easy to find.  Advice if you are going:  You need reservations. When you call they ask you if you want a 32 ounce steak or whole chicken – those are your choices (not a Vegan in sight),  comes with the full meal of bread and salad and dessert etc. and you cannot split one between guests – each person gets their own.  Be prepared to take home the leftovers.  I have heard of people eating for a couple of days on the leftovers.  http://cowboydinnertree.homestead.com/main.html

I have a couple more images of this charming place yet to work up and I will share them if they have any merit.

Next planned stop was Picture Rock Pass about 10 miles south of Silver Lake.  I  stopped here last winter and wandered about looking for the promised petroglyphs with no success. Got some local guidance and found at least one set of them but am lead to believe that are others in the rocks above the highway.


Once over the top of the pass you enter the Great Basin and my initial idea was to shoot all the way along with my most southern stop being  Playa at Summer Lake.  The desert is still in bloom resulting in my stopping many times in the numerous pullouts along the highway.  Not much traffic and so quiet that tripping the shutter almost seemed like an invasion of that peace.

Following a quick nip into the Main Office at Playa and to once again take in a bit of the solitude and grace that pervade that location I headed back north.  It is so interesting to see compositions that you missed because you were looking the other way.

It has been repeatedly confirmed that I cannot draw even a dot and thus am so impressed with artist friends and their skill.  I have looked at a number of watercolor paintings this Spring – especially those of Sotoko Motouji who created the backdrops for the EBT presentation of Peer Gynt and those of Demetra Kalams.  Anyway I had the colors, textures and patterns from their work in mind and so with camera in hand I started looking for images that combined the playa, open lake water and reflections of the surrounding hills.  I think the one below is as close to what I was looking for – a natural abstract.  There are many more to work up.

Click on an image for a larger view and as always comments are more than welcome.