New Year – First Shots

Starting a new year by going to mountains adorned with fresh snow is about the best way I can think of to begin a new year and that is what I did this morning.  I guess you could say my heart is in the mountains.

Forecasters have been predicting snow for the Valley floor for the last few days but I decided to take matters in my own hands and go out and find some.  The mountains surrounding the Valley are all rimmed with fresh snow – ~1,500 seemed to be the snow line.

I headed out with the intention of shooting up the North Fork of the Middle Fork of the Willamette River upriver from the town of Westfir.  The image below was the first one I took this year – seemed to say Snow Clouds.


As expected the further upriver I went the deeper the snow got until I could tell I was pushing snow with the front of the car.  I was determined to get to a small stream – a tributary – that I had photographed in the autumn a few years back.  So much different now – dark and cold but still a riot of sound as it moved its way downstream.


For those prone to comments on composition I purposely left in that small twig at the bottom center of the image – I like the whimsy.

After getting turned around which was a bit of a challenge but I did not get stuck.  Did not have my trusty diggers Paula and Dave with me so was careful.  Glad for that Subaru 4 wheel drive.

As I slowly drove along the road headed back the scene below just seemed to beckon. I parked and wandered through about 12 inches of snow to find what I was looking for.


As always you can get a larger view by clicking on the image and I sure do welcome all of your comments.

Twenty Sixteen last image

It was very dark and right at freezing when I left the parking lot at Spencers Butte this morning and headed up the trail aiming for an end of the year sunrise shot from the top.  Hiking with my headlamp is always interesting – trail seems endless as portion after portion are illuminated.

The trail – steep and icy in spots – and the surrounding forest suffered a lot of damage from the recent ice storm but I have hand it to the city workers – it was cleared and in great shape.  It had been a while since I hiked to the top and I had forgotten that it is a substantial hike – both going up and especially coming down.  Hard on old knees.  Sure did substitute for a morning workout at the gym.

I set up and waited – was little damp with sweat from the hike and the wind picked up on the top so I got a bit chilled but it was worth the wait.


(This image is so much better if you click on it for a larger view.)

Consider this my New Years gift to all of you and I wish you a wonderful New Year.


Last Spring I purchased a roll of 36 exposure Fuji Velvia color slide film for my little Canon film camera.  I carry it around in my car and sometimes I am so glad to have it with me.  Using it just brings back memories – shooting, waiting for developing, getting a box of slides which you then look at on a light table with an eye loupe and hope you got one good picture. Then sending the slide off to be printed and with great anticipation – almost like Christmas – opening up the package containing the print – maybe you got it; maybe not.

Today was the day I got my film back – had it developed and scanned to a CD so that I could spend some time with the images in my digital darkroom.  For the most part I did not get much but there were two that I ended up liking.   The first one was taken just east of town – a sunrise.  I had just left the gym following my morning workout and noticed the sky beginning to light up – the only camera I had time to get and use was my film camera.  I know this would have been a different shot with a digital capture but it was still fun.


Last month I was without my digital camera for a couple of weeks and so to feed my addiction I went out to a path along the Mckenzie River near Armitage Park film camera in hand.  The fog was still clinging to the trees and there was a bit of autumn color hanging on.  A path to some where that surely needs exploring.


Comments are welcome.  {The camera is now loaded with B&W print film}

Cold Fall Creek Morning

“pictures can be a lot like poetry, allowing me to express myself without having to be declarative about it. So essentially my photographs are attempts to communicate, and nature provides me with a beautiful vocabulary of sorts.”    

Erin Babnik

I love that quote.  Found it in an interview with Erin Babnik, a Photo Cascadia member, whose work I find very creative and inspirational.  I often struggle to find the right words that convey what I felt when I took the images I share with y’all on this blog.  I think for the most part I am only marginally successful but with practice I hope to improve.

Dave Hill and I headed up nearby Fall Creek this morning – beautiful and close to home.  The road runs adjacent to the stream and crosses it in a few places.  Alas no snow but there was frost and in some places icy bridge crossings.  I guess the almost-for-sure snow forecast was a bit off.  It is still supposed to get very cold on Tuesday night so perhaps if there is some moisture snow will materialize.

To me there is a mix of the gentle and harsh in the winter landscape.  The bare trees adjacent to winter flow in the streams make for what some would consider a stark view but I see rest and recovery for some,  passing for others and the overall promise of spring growth held tight in the closed buds.  This first image is of Fall Creek taken from the bridge at Bedrock Canyon CG.


Walking back to the car on one of the stops I came across a small runoff pond in which the surrounding vegetation was reflected in the still water and a single cottonwood leaf was entrained in the icy surface. Made what I have come to call a natural abstract and the cold solitary nature of the leaf spoke to my mood.  {Probably was not real good company for Dave} This image is certainly one  of my favorite images from the outings this year.


Be sure to click on the images for a larger view and your comments are more than welcome.

Personal Favorites — 2016

Below are my personal favorite images for 2016.  Thanks for sharing this journey with me. The images are arranged somewhat in chronological order by month.  Not every month is represented and one or two have multiple selections.  Additionally I still have a month left in 2016 to gather an additional image or two if I am lucky.  If you click on an image you get a larger view and can operate the view as a slideshow.

Fresh Snow!!!

Headed up Willamette Pass this morning looking for fresh snow dropped from the overnight storm.  Along the way I stopped at what I thought would make a nice image of a waterfall that I could see from the highway.  Such was not the case as the trail I was hiking was perched way above the falls which were in a very deep canyon.  I hiked up what was called Lawyer Trail – not sure where they came up with that name – the trail crossed the stream feeding the waterfall and I stopped for this shot.lawyer_trail_creekI have shot so many Northwest streams but I find them all so unique and never seem to tire of being behind the lens with a cascade in front of me.

Moving up into the mountains I entered the Snow Zone, ~4,000 feet elevation.  Lots of fresh snow and access was still relatively easy.  Thanks to the plow operators for opening the road that lead down toward Salt Creek.  The image below may look like it is Black and White but it really is in color.

salt_cr_ab_fallsOn the hike back to the car I saw this relatively young tree draped in snow and watched over by some old growth guardians.  At least that is what I am choosing to believe.

forest_guardiansIt was so nice to be out in the snow again – gloves, warm hat and a down jacket – wonderful morning.

My Thanks…

As we approach the holiday season I just wanted to send out a Thank You to all of you who take the time to view and read this blog – much appreciated.  I especially want to thank Kirsten at Art Counselor, INC. and Kristina, Eric and Kendra at Framin Art Works for all the counsel and help in presenting my images in such a professional way.  They make me look good and I need a lot of help. Finally I want to thank Dave Hill for all the thoughtful comments made on this blog and in FB.  I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving and a wonderful Christmas.  I am so grateful for the beautiful world I am lucky to capture with my camera and I hope to go on a bit longer.

Hawking the weather over the last few days I noticed that a clearing window was predicted for last evening and I headed for one of my favorite spots close to town – the Eugene Wetlands.   When I got there – about 20 minutes before official sunset I was greeted with the image below.  I think the Magic Hour really does come around sometimes and I was fortunate enough to be there to shoot it.  wetlands_combo1After about 1/2 hour there was a slight break in the clouds near the distant mountains and the sun broke thru and lit up a bright lens of light on the glass smooth surface of the lake.  Not long after it was dark and I wandered back to the car and home — a happy camper.

wetlands_combo_lastI have been shooting with my new camera — A Canon 5D4 — and I simply love it.  I think the image quality is great.  As usual please click on the images for a larger view and comments are always welcome.

Final leaves

The leaves have pretty much dropped here in the Valley and thus the color has gone with it.   I went out this morning to Armitage Park along the Mckenzie River and spotted a stand of London Plane trees a.k.a. Sycamore that still held some beautiful color.  Decided on the drive back in to put up a time line – from glorious profusion of leaves and color to the last remaining bits as the older fallen leaves decayed.   Given the storm that is forecast for the next few days I think these hangers on will be gone – rebirth a few months away.

Click for a larger view and as always comments are welcome.


Last Trip

A group of fellow photographers had planned for a number of weeks to gather on Oct. 24 and spend the day shooting in the Cascades.  Unfortunately the 24th proved to be rather soggy and we opted to try to find another day that would work for all of us.   Sure hope that can still happen.

I headed out anyway this morning as dry sky was predicted.  I sort of thought we would be pushing the remains of the leaf color on the Old McKenzie Pass Scenic Highway.  True enough.  There is some remaining color at the lower elevations but after driving a few miles up the Old Highway there was nothing left but bare branches.  Rather disappointing.

I had arranged to meet my friend Leslie from Sisters up on the highway.  We stopped at the top to photograph the North and Middle Sister coated in fresh snow.  The light was very flat and I am not real happy with the image I got up there. After some time spent shooting in 35 degree temps with some light wind we moved east.

n_m_sister_sunburstLeslie had driven up the from Sisters and commented that the aspen trees in Cold Springs CG were really beautiful.  We loaded up the gear in the campground parking lot and hiked up the trail that runs along the stream that flows adjacent to the campground.  She was so right – the aspens were beautiful.  Stunning yellow against the white boles of these big aspens.

aspens_bole_leavesThis last image is my favorite of the outing.

Coffee at the Sisters Coffee Company and an easy drive home capped off the trip.

cold_springs_aspen_standClick for a larger view of these images on your screen and comments are more than welcome.