Land of the Wide-angle lens

Started the second day heading out of Burns at about 0530 with coffee in hand and a morning goal of shooting the sunrise from the Buena Vista overlook on the road to Frenchglen.

“Sunrise:  A feast for the eyes”  Dewitt Jones

I have started so many days at about this same time looking at the inside of a gym so it was a heart filling joy to be on this rim watching the sun greet the world.

After the light came up and sort of washed out the scene we headed for the Central Patrol road which runs thru the Malheur NWR and while we saw a number of birds and other ‘critters’ none seemed real inclined to pose for a picture but I have some images to sort thru before I give up.  There is one of Turkey Vultures on a watch tower that Dave Hill shot a few years back that I think is a delight and I was happy to shoot it.

Breakfast at the Frenchglen Hotel – on the National Register of Historic Places – very tasty and prepared us for another go at the washboard north side road up Steens Mountain.  We made some stops along the way – one in particular at a stand of rather mature and twisted aspen that seemed to be natural dancers.  I will spend some time with that image later today and may post it.

On to the next major stop — Kiger Gorge.  This is a 5 shot panorama so be sure to click on the image for a view that will hopefully show you how impressive that place is.

Next stop was the east rim near the very top at approximately 9,500 feet elevation.  That bright band out in the distance is the playa on the Alvord Desert.

Driving down the south side of the loupe road the next stop was a view that allowed a shot up Big Indian Gorge – so impressive, IHMO.

We moved on and stopped for a lunch break at Fields Station followed by a visit with John Simpkins at Andrews ( — fun to see him again – and a stop at on the playa.  I have a couple of images from the playa that I have not worked up that mite be interesting.  Learned today that my friend Rose was on her land near the playa but I did not know that – would have stopped for a visit.

Long drive back to Burns for dinner and a somewhat more restful night.  Drove home the next morning across the High Desert and stopped in Sisters for breakfast and a nice visit with my friend Leslie.

I still have some more or less random images to work up and perhaps post but this post and the one before will give you an idea of the beautiful country I spent some time in.

Just some final thoughts from some recent reading.

“It is a commonplace of all religious thought, even the most primitive, that the man seeking visions and insight must go apart from his fellows and live for a time in the wilderness. If he is of the proper sort, he will return with a message. It may not be a message from the god he set out to seek, but even if he has failed in that particular, he will have had a vision or seen a marvel, and these are always worth listening to and thinking about.” ~Loren Eiseley

“Photographers, I hate to admit, contributed a great deal to the perception that the experience of the wild can be reduced to appearances—to feats of geography and weather, to qualities of light, to visually interesting arrangements, to juxtapositions of colors and patterns and textures and lines and shapes. But such a perception is tragically lacking. Not only does it fail to convey other dimensions of the wild experience, but it fails in a greater sense to inform viewers who have not had such experiences that these dimensions even exist, let alone that they may possess greater powers to transform a life than any image or number of images can. But photography is not alone in such failures. Even the so-called conservation movement, advocating the preservation of the wild, fails utterly to acknowledge, educate, and campaign for the experience of wildness in all.”  Guy Tal

I honestly hope that these images do not result in more people coming to this corner of Oregon so that wildness continues to define the place and allow for an experience of solitude that allows one to look inside.


A Creative Cul-de-Sac

This past summer seems to have been filled with heat, smoke, closed roads and horrible fire news headlines.  I have to admit to being a bit down due to those conditions and wishing for rain that finally showed up in small quantities but we need more. All of this seemed to push me into a rather lethargic state.

I recently read an article by Erin Babnik a PhotoCascadia member, in which she talked about finding oneself in a creative cul-de-sac and I could really relate.  I know that cul-se-sacs are not totally closed – there is a way out and I realized that photographing my way out was the equivalent of pointing a car in the right direction and going forward.  Early escape schemes involved some local trips and a still life shoot or two but it was not until I started planning my yearly autumn outing to Steens Mountain that I really started to feel creative again.  Thinking of shots I wanted and where to get them.  Last year at the time of the Equinox the aspen leaf colors were amazing and while I know that one cannot expect the same conditions from year to year I still had hope.  I sent out an itinerary I had drafted to a number of folks and finally got a commitment.

We left last Sunday morning, checked into a motel in Burns, got a SUBWAY for dinner and head up the mountain.  The top of the mountain had 4-6 inches of fresh snow above the 9,000 foot level.  Sally Hill had told me a week or so ago that the color at Jackman Park was minimal but I hoped that some cold weather and snow mite bring out the color.  T’was not to be.

We headed up a very wash-board road to near the head of Little Blitzen Gorge, parked and headed down thru the sage looking for a location for a sunset shot (below).  It is a beautiful place and despite the cold and wind I found myself getting lost in the composition. Click on the image for a larger view on your screen.

Ended the night with relatively long drive back to Burns and what for me was a rather sleepless night.

We started early next morning aiming for a sunrise from Buena  Vista  overlook.  I will write more tomorrow about the 2nd day.

Solitary Wandering

Every time I read a blog posting or an article by one of my favorite authors and photographers, Guy Tal, I am motivated to find my way out to the fields and waterways near home and last night was no exception.  I had the wetlands to myself last evening.

I recently came across a quote by Minor White about shooting from the heart when you find that what you were after photographically is not happening.  I was fortunate to find the scene below just as I got where I wanted to be because after this shot everything sort of went downhill.  It can be such a joy to spend time out and about with a camera and to bring home and share simple gifts.  Thanks for looking and your comments are welcome

The above image was taken with a 10 stop ND filter which at times can be a bit of a crap shoot but this one worked, IMHO.



Fern Ridge Sunset

With the Valley cloaked in smoke – even made the front page of the local paper – I watched with interest as the sun moved thru the sky toward sunset.  A few days earlier I had made the same effort only to see the sun disappear in a blanket of heavy dark smoke.  Last night offered some hope for a sunset image.  As I drove out toward Shore Acres on the edge of Fern Ridge reservoir the sun waned and then glowed as it moved thru the various bands of smoke.  Periodically offered me some hope and then took it away.  As I set up I was delighted to see a red sun hanging in the smoke.  I took the image below with a 6-stop ND filter and I think it worked.  The light bands really helped to set off the image.

After about an hour of breathing smoke resulting in a clogged nose and watery eyes the sun began to set over the far hills.  (Sort of reminded me of slash burns and the forest fires of my youth)   The sun reflecting off the smoke just turned the water and sky golden.  Returned home with a bit of headache and really did not sleep well but am glad I went out last night.  Your comments are always welcome and please click on the image to get a larger view on your screen.


My intention this morning was to drive up the Old McKenzie Highway to the Linton Lake trailhead and go in to Linton Falls.  My thanks to Jackie Lindsay for a tip on this location as the waterfall does not even show up in my version of the Waterfall Lover’s Guidebook.

The further I went the worse conditions got – smoke filled the valley and obscured the tops of the hills.  There were signs along the road “Fire Camp” and trucks going by loaded with boxes that I am sure were headed for the camp in support of the fire fighters.  As I turned off the main highway I was greeted with a flashing sign – 3-Sisters Wilderness Closed.  Put a stop to my hiking plans that given the conditions would have been rather nasty anyway.  I did go up the road for a few miles to a delightful little waterfall that I have shot in the past.  Waited until the morning sun came thru the trees before getting the shot I wanted. Very happy with this one.

I packed up the camera gear and headed back toward the car but my attention was diverted  by this wonderful little tree posed against the old growth forest.  Unpacked the gear and got this shot.  Another I am happy with.  Both are better if viewed larger on your screen.

If you are headed out and about for the eclipse on Monday I wish you all the best – good viewing on you!

Comments are always welcome


Smoke and Sparks

Spent the last couple of days in the Bend/Sunriver area with my niece and her lovely family – catching up on what is happening in the family, hiking to a great waterfall, drinking beer and eating Fish Taco’s in the Bend Brewery and then for me an evening at Ray Atkeson Point overlooking Sparks Lake.  We had made a quick stop early in the day and I was delighted to see the little islands that are normally just green but lovely, decorated to the max with yellow flowers.  I have shot at this location numerous times and this is the first time I have seen those islands in bloom.  What a treat and I was very excited about coming back to shoot the sunset.

The whole area around Bend and Sunriver is thick with smoke from the nearby Whitewater fire and while I hoped that the smoke might provide evening color such was not the case.  There was one cloud hanging over the lake surface that offered some interest but the color never developed and 10 minutes after this shot was taken the whole area turned a thick, dull gray/brown.   The bands of yellow flowers made all the difference.

Being an eternal optimist I just ‘knew’ that the morning was going to be spectacular.  On site and hopeful at 0530 but ARGGGGH more smoke and very little definition in the sky.  Still the bands of flowers really helped.

Click on an image to get a larger screen view – they are better larger.  As always comments are more than welcome.


After weeks of getting up early to check on the possibility of a dramatic or even an interesting sunrise only to be greeted by empty blue sky and sizzling temperatures, this morning there was finally a sky worth going out for.  The heat down here seems to have broken after a few days above or near the 100 degree mark and I think most of the town is glad to see the temps moderate a bit.  But given it is summer I think we should expect some heat.

I set up this morning in a field near the new hospital and waited for the sun to pop over the far ridge. The first image below was taken about 20 minutes before official sunrise and it took a bit longer before the sun topped the ridge.  Color was just coming on and painting the clouds.  I have shot this scene in the past and these are certainly not the best images I have captured but it sure was nice to be behind the lens once again.

When the sun finally did make an appearance a light ground fog covered the meadow and I think helped to make for a more interesting image.

Click on either image to get a larger view on your monitor and as always comments are more than welcome.

An aside:  Wandered through the Eugene First Friday Art Walk last evening and saw the wonderful hanging sculptures created by Lillian Almeida that formed a backdrop on the music stage and then wandered into the Oregon Contemporary Theatre and got to watch the InstaBallet group work on a new dance that will be included in a ballet with the musical group Pink Martini.  It was great fun.  I hope you check them out and perhaps attend a performance.


… is a high quality thrice yearly magazine that displays the work of established and accomplished photographic artists.    The current issue highlights the work of Chuck Kimmerle who lives in Casper, WY.  The monograph, #10 in the series,  is in Black and White (which Chuck currently shoots almost exclusively)  – beautifully composed simple images of interior west landscapes.    It is certainly an inspiration and a motivation to me.  (

On the way to the Oregon Coast yesterday I passed an abandoned warehouse situated between the highway and the Siuslaw River near the map dot of Cushman.  I had to drive a bit down the road, turn around and come back to find a place to park that was somewhat safe and off the heavily traveled highway.  The access road was blocked with some serious sized rocks so I just walked in.  I love looking for abstract images in old and decaying buildings and this one presented me with lots of subjects.  I opted for Black and White image processing and really had that setting in mind when I took them.   There are 4 images below.  I wish I could say they even came close to the images in LensWork but I am grateful for inspiration.

The first image was a separated wall on one end of building that was brightly lit against the darkness of the interior of the warehouse.

The next image is of the struts holding the ceiling etc.  I was attracted to the pattern.

That roof does have a few holes – sort of decaying skylights.

Finally as I wandered about the building I just noticed a simple pipe against a corrugated steel wall that sort of stood out for me due to its simplicity.  You can click on any of the images for a larger view which I recommend and as always I welcome your comments. Thanks for looking.


Weather calling…

I have been in a bit of a creative slump and I am sure the dull blue sky we have had for days and days here in the Valley has added to that feeling.  The weather report was for clouds and possible rain on the Coast so after my workout I headed for Yachats and then up to Seal Rock.  Not expecting much but it was sure nice to get out and turn on the windshield wipers for a bit and focus the camera on a landscape.  As the day moved forward the front passed and while it was not great light – sort of flat – it was good enough to get me down to beach at Seal Rocks.  As I said the light was rather flat but a circular polarizing filter helped to bring out some detail and improve this image a bit.  This is a much different view of Seal Rocks than I have shot in the past.  Always experimenting.

One of the things I like a lot in this new era of photography is the abundance and variety of photographic papers that can be used on a good home printer.  I learned yesterday in some reading, about a paper called Awagami Kozo Select Natural Fine Art Inkjet Paper made by Epson.  According to the article it is a a hand made Japanese paper that will work in modern printers.  I am always up to try a new paper so I went on-line to B&H to see if I could find it and order a small amount for testing.  It has been back ordered. Drat! The article recommended simple not color rich images so I thought I would see what I could come up with while over at the Coast.  I will try the image below when I get the paper.

Hope you are all enjoying summer and as always Comments are welcome.

Briggs Hill morning

I have been a bit frustrated with the acres and acres of blue sky lately and thus in need of getting behind the viewfinder.  Mid-day light was just not doing it for me so I resolved to rise very early and get out into the hills south of town.  Official sunrise this morning was 0545 so in order to get out there and find a spot that I thought would capture the morning light just coming over the hills and also show a bit of the valley along Briggs Hill Road I left the house at 0430.  Perfect timing.  Found some fog in the valleys and low spots  – always adds some interest – and got to where I thought I had to be in order to get the image I was after.  I have read that the term for this sort of action/thought is pre visualization which seems to me to be a redundant term but the idea is getting an image in mind and going out with the hope of capturing it.

The image below is from the Briggs Hill Road area and was shot just after official sunrise.  I am happy with it and it met what I had in mind.

If we are connected here and on FB you undoubtedly have seen this image and if so I apologize for the duplication.  Comments are always welcome and if you click on the image you can get a larger view on your screen.