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

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...

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Canola, or Maybe Mustard

I have to admit, I can't really identify any of the plants that grow in the Palouse.  It's not like the Midwest where I grew up, corn and soybeans are pretty easy to tell apart.  I don't know wheat from lentils.  I initially assumed that this yellow flowering crop was canola, but I read online that canola and mustard are hard to tell apart to the untrained eye.  I also read that if you plant one of these crops in a field than you can never plant the other, because they cross to form a plant known as rapeseed, which is evidently a very unwelcome crop.  When I was in the Palouse last week I wandered through the Moscow Farmer's Market, and there was a vendor selling something I believe he called Canolina Oil, which was made from a mustard seed, but not the same as the mustard oil you would find at an ethnic grocery.  I tried some and thought it tasted delicious!  He had a lot of statistics and data worked up by the WSU campus to show all the health benefits, but I was a little skeptical on how well it would store given that he compared it against flax oil which oxidizes so quickly.  Anyway, that's my wishy-washy experience with this yellow flowering crop, whatever it is.  Not exactly my most definitive post!  :)

Friday, June 5, 2015

Isolated Thunderstorm

I often hear the weather forecast mention isolated thunderstorms, but don't see them that much. Especially not in such a dramatic setting as the descent to the Snake River separating Lewiston, Idaho and Clarkston, Washington. The river is also considered the southern border for the Palouse grain-growing region. Bright blue skies and puffy white cumulus clouds in every direction but the Snake River canyon.
Linking to Skywatch Friday

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Palouse Study #3

Continuing my Palouse series with a cheery crayola scene... Visiting the Palouse, I got a sense of the region right away, but conveying that sense in a photograph has been tricky for me. I think it helps to have a subject in the frame; it still shows the vastness of the terrain, and in fact maybe even more than with just open field and sky. And as for subject, I always love a red barn!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Palouse Study #2

I visited the Palouse last spring during a college-shopping trip; that was my first chance to photograph this grain and lentil-growing region.  Then I tended to photograph in a more abstract way, which I have a habit of doing.  This year I decided to try to get a better landscape view and in fact I never changed my 17-55mm lens the entire time I was there, which is really rare for me because I love my zoom lens.  I struggled with the larger view though.  Over the course of the day I decided that a higher vantage point looking down was better, but I don't entirely object to a flatter view like the one photographed here.  There was certainly no shortage of rolling hills, shades of green, and puffy clouds for me to practice on!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Palouse Study #1

I've just returned from a beautiful weekend in the Palouse, and I have a series of photos to share from this grain-growing region in Eastern Washington and Western Idaho.  Saturday was warm and sunny, and puffy white clouds increased throughout the day, culminating in a dramatic isolated thunderstorm over the Snake River.  I decided to show my favorites in order, so the clouds will grow with each photo.  I stayed in Moscow, Idaho, home of the University of Idaho and in my opinion the cultural mecca of the Palouse, so my sightseeing starts in Idaho on a sunny morning under minimal cloud cover.  And in spite of the low cloud cover, the morning weather included a lot of moving cloud shadows, which show in this photo: a dark shadow in the background and growing shadow in the foreground, with the cute little tree in the bright sun.  Be prepared for a sunny, cheery week of photos!

Friday, May 29, 2015


At the far end of Lake Chelan is the town of Stehekin, and there are only three ways to get there. Boat, seaplane, or hike through the North Cascades.  Part of the charm is the remoteness. The first time we visited here in 2006 there was no outside contact except satellite phone.  When we were here over Memorial Day weekend there was some very limited wifi at the shop by the marina.  Until a tree knocked out power and the backup generator kicked in. No TV, no internet, no cell phones. Such a peaceful, idyllic spot to get away from it all!
*Background info update:* Lake Chelan is the largest natural lake in Washington. It's a narrow 50 mile lake bordered by the Cascade and Chelan Mountains, and it fills a deep underwater gorge, 1486 ft. at the deepest point. Stehekin is at the far northeastern point of the lake. At the other end of the lake sits the town of Chelan where you can park in the overnight lot and take one of several ferries uplake. This is the most common method of getting to Stehekin. On our uplake journey we took the Lady of the Lake II, a 4 1/2 hour trip which included multiple stops along the way to drop off hikers , including 70 Boy Scouts.  On the return trip we took the Lady Express and got back down to Chelan in 2 1/2 hours.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Lake Chelan

Lake Chelan is a narrow lake over 50 miles long, and the third deepest lake in the U.S. After Lake Tahoe and Crater Lake.  The name Chelan is a Salish Indian name for deep water.  The lake is nestled in the Cascade Mountains, with an underwater gorge extending up to 1486 ft. below the surface. This twilight view is from Stehekin at the far eastern end of the lake.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Little Boulder Creek

This little creek is one of many creeks and rivers feeding Lake Chelan from the North Cascade and Chelan Mountains.  It's a little marshy, but this is the view from the 'top' of the lake, just past Stehekin.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Rainbow Falls

A view of Rainbow Falls in Stehekin, where we vacationed over the weekend.  We rented bikes to ride to these falls, so I was traveling light with camera gear: just the lens on the camera and no tripod.  It was probably good for me because I tend to present whitewater in the same way each time.  A short shutter speed here is a nice change of pace.  As for the rainbow part, I'm told that if the sun shines on the falls, the mist creates a rainbow.  It was sunny on our ride, although you certainly can't tell it from this photo.  I wonder how often the sun shines on these falls.  Maybe we needed to be there earlier in the day.  I also wonder how many falls get the rainbow name.  Lots, I'm sure.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Lake Michigan with a Cloud Frame

One of many paths leading to the beach at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in Beverly Shores.  This one happens to be at the old Red Lantern. The lake was starting to shift to its usual blue-green color as the sun emerged from behind a thick cloud band. Some puffy clouds kindly lingered to frame my shot.  If this were a clear day (no haze), and I were using a zoom lens, a tiny Chicago skyline would be visible at the horizon line in the center of the picture.
Linking to Skywatch Friday.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Prairie Trillium

One of the varieties of trillium blooming now in Northwest Indiana, near Lake Michigan. Prairie trillium never seemed to be the dominant flower along any of the trails we walked, but it showed up in small patches throughout the woods. This trillium was blooming along the trail at the Heron Rookery.