Painting is just another way of keeping a diary ~Pablo Picasso

Friday, August 28, 2015

Kite Festival Reflection

Another view of the Kite Festival last week in Long Beach, Washington.  I keep holding onto the idea of a reflected scene with kites, trying this shot both last year and this year. And somehow it never comes out how I am imagining it. I think this photo is sort of interesting, but just fell short of my expectations, and I'm not sure what conditions should make it workable as a strong photo concept. Maybe if the shoreline were at a different angle to the festival, or if the shoreline and sun angle were different. Here that would mean closer to sunset, and it would also need to be low tide. So maybe I haven't given up on this shot yet, and I'll try again next August...
Linking to Weekend Reflections

Monday, August 24, 2015

Kite Festival

No shortage of kite festivals up and down the coast during the summer months.  The Washington State International Kite Festival in Long Beach is one of the larger ones, encompassing two weekends in the week long festivities.  We headed to Long Beach on Saturday to enjoy the beach and the kites.  Beautiful weather in the 70s and the water was warm (relatively speaking).  The winds were out of the northeast that day, which really blanketed the entire western part of the state in smoke from all the fires still burning in central Washington. 

Sunday, August 16, 2015


During our boat tour of Crater Lake, I was interested to learn that the lake is fed almost entirely by rain or snow in the caldera basin (this little waterfall was the only one I saw on our boat trip.)  The average snowfall at Crater Lake is 43 feet.  That's AVERAGE!  Last year they only had 21 feet of snow, which still seems like an awful lot.  The lake drains out slowly through an underground pumice section on one wall, so there is very little fluctuation in water level.  Given its confined water source, the lake water is extremely pure.  In fact, when the tour ended we filled our water bottles in the lake before our hike back up to the rim!  It's this clarity that helps give Crater Lake its trademark blue.  Water, without any sediments, algae, pollution, etc. can absorb all colors of the light spectrum except blue. And with 4.6 trillion gallons of water in the lake, there is a lot of blue to reflect!  The area photographed here is in one of the few shallow sections near the shore.  Our boat tour stopped here to talk about the water clarity, because it was so easy to see the lake bottom for a bit before it plunged over 1000 ft.  Crater Lake holds the record for clarity.  They measure it with a secchi disk, which looks like a pie with four alternating black and white slices.  The disk is attached to a rope and lowered into the water.  And the record for viewing the secchi disk is at a depth of 134 ft!

Thursday, August 13, 2015


One of the highlights of our trip to Crater Lake was the ranger-guided boat tour around the lake.  This photo, taken during our boat tour, shows the section of the mountain, Llao, thought to be the origin of the eruption 7,700 years ago.  It also shows the fabulous shade of blue that Crater Lake is known for.  More on the shade of blue tomorrow.  For today, Llao.  According to stories passed down by the Klamath tribe which resided in the area at the time of the eruption, Llao, the god of the underworld became unhappy with the tribe, beginning roughly 300 years before the eruption.  The tribe tried a variety of things to appease Llao, but he wasn't to be calmed.  They appealed to Skell, god of the sky.  Skell descended to Mount Shasta in Northern California, and Skell and Llao had it out.  Skell was victorious, burying Llao forever beneath the volcano.  Before the eruption, Mount Mazama stood at over 12,000 ft.  After Llao was buried, the height of the mountain was halved, and the deepest lake in the US was born.  Crater Lake sits at an elevation of about 6,000 feet, and extends over 1,900 feet below water level. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Crater Lake Sunrise

We're just back from a fun camping trip to Crater Lake National National Park.  This sunrise photo was taken our first morning in the park.  Crater Lake is the deepest fresh water lake in the US.  It fills the basin of a collapsed volcano, which erupted and emptied its magma chamber over 7,700 years ago.  At an elevation of roughly 6000 ft, it was a brisk 46 degrees at sunrise!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Mount St. Helens

Mount St. Helens, looking a little apocalyptic in a haze created by the Lake Chelan fire currently burning in eastern Washington.  Last year we visited here as the wildflowers were starting to bloom.  This year we overshot, with the main bloom of prairie lupine already past.  Too early, then too late.  Next year I hope to get it just right!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Mel's Zingy Jam (Plum Cardamom)

Companion photo to last week's still life with all the plums.  It took me a while to boil the plums down to jamminess, and I opted not to use pectin, although near the end of the process I did add some sugar in a moment of weakness.  (The jam is pretty zingy!)  I found a good homesteading website called Northwest Edible Life that had pectin-free jam-making info, and they suggested flavor zings for different fruit.  For plums, the dry zing was cardamom, which is a favorite of mine. I can get green cardamom pods at Natural Grocers, and I grind them up for super fresh cardamom!  The wet zing was port wine, which would probably be a good choice too, but I opted to leave it out.  Once I had pitted all the plums I counted the pits, and I had used 127.  It boiled down into 11 half pint jam jars worth.  Now I just need to work on my designer labels :)

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


The daily haul from a little plum tree whose branches hang into my backyard.  I guess it's been our California weather this year, but I don't remember this little tree producing quite so many plums last year.  The branches practically touch the ground, they are so full of fruit, and each plum so perfect and sweet!  I managed to give these plums away at an event we attended in Portland yesterday.  For today's plums I decided to explore making some sort of jam without sugar, if I can find a recipe.  If I don't pick them daily, they drop into the yard and split open. I'll have more again tomorrow, then the supply will taper off. And I almost forgot to mention, I included my tile project in the photo.  I purchased these cute handmade tiles on Etsy earlier in the summer, and fixed up my old bistro table.  Shannon Cunningham Studio is where I got them.  Very cute and festive!

Sunday, July 5, 2015


Just one example of the beautiful wildflowers blooming near Mt. Adams this summer. Before my hike at Bird Creek Meadow I had only seen the red-orange version of Indian paintbrush. Along the meadow trail both the red-orange version and this more pinkish rose-colored version are common. At first I thought this flower was not Indian paintbrush, but after exploring a little on the internet I've learned that varieties of this flower bloom in all sunset shades including purple and gold.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Gorge-ous Sunrise

After at least a dozen sunrise drives up the gorge in the past year, I was finally rewarded with a colorful sunrise! And in summer, no less! We left later than planned on Saturday so I thought I would miss the twilight and sunrise times, and I did. But maybe because of the heatwave we're going through, there was a surprising amount of haze in the air, and the sun rose weak and red, and the sky glowed a great peachy orange. A short backtracking detour to the westbound vista point near Multnomah Falls got me to the vantage point photographed here. Lucky, lucky timing!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Bird Creek Meadow

Flower Field in Litzlberg  (1905)
  Gustav Klimt
A snapshot showing the variety and abundance of wildflowers blooming last weekend along the Bird Creek Meadow Trail near Mt. Adams. Flowers, bees, and butterflies were everywhere, and although I didn't hike far enough to come upon a large meadow vista, I did want to capture all the colors.  Last week I  was thinking back to the artistic photography class I took over the winter, and how much I got out of the assignments where I had to photograph in the style of a famous artist. I figured I could continue to work on that myself, and randomly checked out a Klimt Landscapes book. Even though the lighting on the hike was a little bright for my liking, this particular photo does a passably good job of replicating Klimt's mosaic-like, detailed foliage style of painting...but not his composition, so I'm going to keep working on the photo.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

2012 Fire

Seems like lots of wild fires burning along the west coast this summer. We've got an unusually hot and dry summer this yeR in the Pacific Northwest. Driving up to Bird Creek Meadow just north of Trout Lake, Washington, you pass through remnants of a forest fire, which I believe burned during the summer of 2012.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Bird Creek

I made a little stop at these falls along my adventurous drive to Bird Creek Meadow.  A very minimal bridge crossed this creek, and just after the bridge was the first tiny turnout on my route.  It turns out that this unmarked creek was none other than Bird Creek, which maybe seems intuitive, but the number of rivers and creeks flowing from Mt. Adams is quite numerous, so I wasn't making any assumptions.  Especially since I drove maybe 3 or 4 miles past this creek to the trail head.  The area around the small falls and turnout was surprisingly inviting, given the ruggedness of the drive thus far, and it seemed to me like a marvelous spot for a picnic table.  Lots of inviting flat rocks around though, so I'm imaging this as a nice little rest stop the next time I venture up to Mt. Adams.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Mt. Adams

Well...after a pretty long break, I'm back posting, at least for a little while.  I have to say I've enjoyed the time off, and as much as I want to be out with my camera again this is a hard time of year for my photography.  The sun rises so early and sets so late, and when it's up, the light is so harsh.  But over the weekend, Bill and I got up super early to head to Mt. Adams country.  He was participating in a bike tour there, so I dropped him off and headed up to Bird Creek Meadow, which I read was a beautiful wildflower hike near Mt. Adams.  It was beautiful, but as it turns out I didn't have quite enough time for it.  I had to drive only 11 miles up a gravel then dirt road to get to the trail head, but the road was in such poor condition that it took me an hour to drive that stretch.  Then I hiked for another hour and a half, which got me to the point where I took this photo.  Lovely, lovely, overwhelming number of wildflowers the whole way, but I don't think I quite made it to the large meadow before I had to turn back.  And even though we got up at 4am for this trip, by the time I got to this almost meadow section of the hike it was 11am and way too bright for photography!  I'd like to try this hike again, but logistically I need to figure out how to make it work.  In the meantime, I've got a few more photos to share in the coming days.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Chai with Anna at North Shore Cafe

It's been way too long since I've been out with my camera and away from the blog, but I have  been practicing with another hobby I picked up this year. Over the winter I checked out and worked my way through Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards.  So a variation for the blog today...a sketch of Anna from our trip to North Shore Cafe for some chai. She did her writing thing, and I did my sketching thing. I was out in the Hood River area working with my printer on the various proofs for the 2016 calendar, and I'm so happy to say that I approved the proof yesterday, so the calendar has gone to print...and I am moving on to 2017! Also I'm working on a few weekend day trips to both beach and mountains, so hopefully I will be more of a regular on the blog soon...