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

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Class Assignment

Josef Sudek
Well, I'm taking another photography class this spring.  This week our assignment was black and white, particularly looking at photographs by Josef Sudek.  He's got some pretty moody images; things I'd love to work on if we were in our foggy season, and he's also got lots of still life images.  My absolute favorite is the one I've included to the right side of this post: the drinking glass and egg reflection.  I have no idea how he got it looking like this! I tried, but couldn't even come close.  So I ended up working on another of his subject matter with water bubbles on the side of a vase.  He gets a lot more detail without making the lighting quite so harsh as I did.  My heart wasn't in this one.  Maybe if I were house-bound for a while, it would be something to experiment with more.  Anyway, class is tomorrow, so I'll have a new assignment for next week.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Hood River Valley

Ah, spring!  Beautiful view of Mt. Hood
 from one of the orchards in the Hood River Valley.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Path to the Goose Pen

Fabulous view down on of the orchard rows at Draper Girls in Hood River Valley. Peaches or plum? I'm not sure, but I think maybe peaches. I read an online article on telling the difference, but after my visit, and I didn't take any close up shots so I can't get a good look at the blossoms. Either way, lucky geese to have such a lovely and fragrant spring view!

Saturday, April 2, 2016


I'm in love with this off-the-beaten-path waterfall, just down the road from Multnomah! We discovered it this week, and pretty much had the entire falls all to ourselves. We hiked in, under a mile, easy trail but a bit rocky. The trail enters a steep canyon from the top, and descends to the bottom of the gorge through a series of steep switchbacks. It's hard to take the scene in visually, and I found it impossible to capture in a single photo. Even this shot, taken after a scramble down to the water's edge, uses my wide angle lens but to me it looks like I've zoomed in. The falls, visible in the background, drop over 200 ft, and the trail with small footbridge crosses just below them, so you feel the enormity of them, and get pretty wet from all the spray. 

Friday, April 1, 2016

Tulip Town

I feel like I've gotten to know most of the tulip fields around La Connor and Mt Vernon in the past few years, so I was surprised to stumble upon this large commercial viewing field called Tulip Town. It rivals Roozengarde in size, and like Roozenbarge it charges admission. But Tulip Town fields seem really to be planted for show, with tight rows and alternating bands of colors, and no signs warning visitors to stay out of the fields. The large farms have a carnival atmosphere. Along the horizon line you can see trolley car pulled by a tractor, taking visitors through the fields. I wanted to come back to this field later in the day when the sun wasn't so bright, but unfortunately they close at 5pm and have a big gate they can lock up. Oh well. Also one thing that neither of my Skagit Valley photos really shows is how muddy the fields are this year after all our rain. I was so glad that I keep my rain boots stored in my trunk because they were really necessary for wandering around the fields!
Linking to Skywatch Friday

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Daffodils and Snow Geese

This past weekend was our annual Skagit Valley Easter trip. It was an early Easter this year, but luckily an early spring as well. The daffodil fields were just passing their prime, and the snow geese were still in the area. A huge flock can (sort of) be seen at the center horizon line. They could certainly be heard! We chased after them for a closer view, but couldn't find their location. The elusive snow geese! Photography was a little rough overall on this day; I was happy to have the morning clouds clear a bit, but the sun was blindingly bright. Guess I forgot how to photograph in sunshine after our long, gray winter! :/ Ok, no complaint though. The sunshine was awesome!!!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Layer Cake Bluffs

Finally a break in the weather!  We had some sunshine over the weekend, and actually had already planned a trip to Goldendale just to get on the sunny side of the gorge.  On our way back, we stopped for a hike at the old Lyle Cherry Orchard trail.  No orchard visible here, although I read there are some old cherry trees at the top of the trail.  We only made it part way up because we didn't allow enough time to do the entire trail.  We got through the steepest climb, and the part way up the remainder of the climb along the plateau, which my guide book called the "Layer-Cake Bluffs".  Pretty view, with the grass greening up a bit, and the powdered sugar clouds covering the sky.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Horsetail Falls

An abundance of water heading over all the falls in the gorge this year. We've already exceeded average yearly rainfall totals for 2016 (measured by our rainy season, starting October 1, 2015 through September 30, 2016).  Very green and very soggy! 

Saturday, March 12, 2016

More Moss

I love all the moss and (I think) lichen in this scene. It was the orange that caught my eye. I'm assuming it is some sort of lichen along a cliff wall near Oneonta Gorge.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Spring Weather

Signs of spring all around, including in the skies. Weather patterns are rolling through quickly this week, rain then sun then clouds, etc. Rainbow weather. I could see a sheet of rain falling yesterday afternoon, even though we had sunny skies, and thought that someone was getting a fabulous rainbow. It wasn't my lucky day though. 

Monday, March 7, 2016

Rowena Plateau

The Tom McCall Nature Preserve trailhead begins at the Rowena Plateau, shown here, and continues up to Tom McCall Point. I was hoping to capture a panoramic view of this plateau overlooking the Columbia. This ended up being my favorite image, but it doesn't really show the Columbia, so that's something to work on for my next visit. It does show the cliffs and plateau, and according to my instructor, this geology is one of the features that makes the Tom McCall Preserve one of the more pristine wildflower locations in the gorge. The geology made this area unfit for grazing, which apparently introduces non-native and invasive species into the fields. At the entrance to the trailhead there is a boot-scraping device with a sign requesting visitors to clean their shoes before and after hiking in order to keep seeds or pests from spreading into the fields.

Sunday, March 6, 2016


A wider view of the Sisyrinchium from my wildflower field trip yesterday at Tom McCall Nature Preserve. Not sure how this flower got the name Grass Widow; it was by far the most common flower we saw, carpeting stretches of the plateau. This flower will continue blooming in the gorge at higher elevations each week. As a rough estimate, 500 feet of elevation change equals a week's delay in bloom time. We were at the lowest stop, Rowena Plateau, with an elevation of about 600'. The trail continues up to Tom McCall Point at an elevation of 1500'.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Grass Widow

A change of scenery on the blog today...I signed up for a class this month called Wildflowers in the Columbia Gorge, and today was our first field trip to see what is blooming.  We visited Tom McCall Nature Preserve in Oregon.  Lots of flowers in bloom already.  I didn't know this one was called Grass Widow until I got home and consulted my field guide, because our instructor always refers to the flower by its scientific name.  Sisyrinchium douglassii, in case you were wondering!  It's the more common variation, and probably the flower that we saw the most.  Purple, blue, pink, or white.

Friday, March 4, 2016


Pond grass pattern
Oh am I ready for a change of color! 
Linking to Weekend Reflections