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

Friday, December 27, 2013


It sounds like today should be the last foggy day in our most recent weather system.  We were supposed to have sunshine this week, and I hear that it is sunny near the coast, but inland we are socked in with a foggy weather system inversion.  I'm not minding too awfully much though, because I think it makes for interesting photography! 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge

Well, I finally got out to the nearby Ridgefield Wildlife refuge!  I did try visiting here a while ago, but it was during the government shutdown, so the gate was locked.  I'm glad I finally ventured back out here.  So many birds, although I guess I really didn't photograph them in this shot (there are a few ducks sleeping on a log if you can find them in the fog!)  I'll plan to head on in clearer weather.  I think we might have the fog for a little longer though. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas

Wishing all my blog friends a very Merry Christmas from the foggy Pacific Northwest.  These red berries along the Methodist Church lot in Ridgefield really stood out today in the thick fog; I hadn't noticed them before.  Should be a good night for Rudolph!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Yolo Bypass

I was surprised by how much water there was in the Yolo Bypass area when I drove the auto tour there last weekend.  They must have gotten some rain when we got snow last week.   All the fields were flooded there, and so many of them were full of birds; it looked like snow geese but I couldn't be sure.  The birds are very good at staying in the fields not accessible through the auto tour!  Still there was plenty so see and photograph.  I liked this reflected plant life, especially the thicker plants, which reminded me of notes hanging on a musical score.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Under the Gingko Tree

I remember that the gingko trees didn't lose their leaves until December here in Sacramento, but this seems especially late!  Hardly any leaves have dropped off this tree, which is technically not on R St. but on the intersection with R (either 11th or 12th...Sacramento is not so creative in their street naming, but it does make it easy to get around!)  I guess it was the bright pink spray paint that made me take a look at these steps with their sparse collection of leaves.  A future renovation for sure; there was also a spray painted X, which I left out of the photo.  Guess I just liked that bright pink line.  It's not a color you see very often in construction!  I'll be curious to see how this area looks when I have a chance to visit again someday. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Gingko Tree

This photo was inspired by my nephew, Noah.  He's decorating his room with a collage of frames, six oriented for landscape and six for portrait, and he requested some photos for all these frames.  I had a lot of fun picking out different colors and patterns for this project, but I realized two things:  1. I rarely photograph in portrait orientation, and 2. I rarely photograph yellow and red.  It seems like I mainly photograph blue, orange, and green.  I even photograph purple more than I do red or yellow!  So when I saw this Gingko tree in Sacramento over the weekend, I decided to photograph portrait orientation.

Monday, December 16, 2013

R Street

I really like these old industrial building lights along the R Street corridor in midtown Sacramento.  R Street is one of my favorite areas.  It's an old industrial area that is being redeveloped, and some of my favorite shops are here.  (In case you were wondering, Rumpelstiltskin, Tea Cozy, and Shoki Ramen...hitting all three of these is the perfect Sacramento hat trick for me!)   This particular light is at the old rail building between Shoki Ramen and The Artery, which houses the other two shops.  I've posted lots of photos from this street over the last few years, all sort of abstract and industrial.  If you're interested in seeing the whole set, just click on the R St. link in labels, and all the posts will show up together.  

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Hello, Sunshine!

I had a short weekend trip down to my old photography stomping ground in Sacramento and Davis this weekend.  The cause for the trip was the member reception at Viewpoint Photographic Art Center in Sacramento.  One of my photos one third prize in their juried member show, which was fun and exciting, and also a little amazing and humbling because there are so many talented photographers there!  So fun to be back in the sunshine for the weekend, and even though I didn't do much photography while I was there, I tried to get a few photos at some favorite spots.  This one is on R St. in midtown Sacramento, just down the street from Shoki Ramen House.  I photographed this rusty old building light a few years ago when this metal building was still silver.  Now they've painted it white, which gives the photo a Greek Isles feel, especially with that crazy blue sky! Anyway, a few more Sacramento photos to share in the next few days...

Saturday, December 14, 2013

White Water and Green Rocks

So much rushing water and greenness around here, I have to remind myself not to become too complacent about the natural beauty of this Columbia River Valley. This photo was taken on my drive up along the Lewis River last week. It's just a small tributary, name unknown to me.  As far as the photography goes, I haven't quite mastered photographing these green and white scenes, although I'm not sure yet what it is that I would do differently. Luckily I will have no shortage of opportunities to practice!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Weather Nexus

All the winter weather from the past week met yesterday afternoon: last remnants of snow on the ground, fog still hanging in the air, and then came the rain. With temperatures hovering around 35 degrees, we just missed the freezing rain that was forecast.  It made for an interesting scene!

Thursday, December 12, 2013


We saw the new Disney animated film, Frozen this morning, and really liked it.  The animation was so pretty and the freezing scenes were very mesmerizing, somewhat reminiscent of the Tchaikovsky scene in Disney's Fantasia, but with today's animation capabilities.  I won't give away the plot at all, except to say that it's an update on the classic Disney storyline as well.  So strange that when we left this was the scene outside.  I kept imagining the frosty tree outlines would grow like they do in the movie.  This frosty covering is left over from another strange weather event here yesterday, freezing fog.  We actually had a snow day, or more accurately, a freezing fog day.  I didn't even know such a thing as freezing fog existed, but as the name suggests, it's just fog that settles in and then temperatures that dip below freezing.  It left this frosty fog coating on all the branches.  Sorry I don't have a more vibrant example for you, especially those of you who have already seen Frozen.  This one is sort of washed out looking.  Still, it was pretty cool to walk out of the cinema and be greeted by a scene like this!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Black, White, and Red all over

This is definitely my kind of patterny scene, with those black pots sort of tesselating into the red branches.  It had an m.c.escher feel to it.  I'm going to update this post tomorrow with some more info.  I wrote down the name of this nursery, but can't find the paper right now, so I'm not even sure what kind of trees these are.  I'm guessing Sweet Gum, just because there is a young sweet gum right out my kitchen window with just this kind of thin red branches.  This nursery is only a mile or so from my house, so I'll drive by it tomorrow, and see if I can find out.  All our snow will be melted by then.  We've finally warmed up above freezing.  Not going to miss that cold weather, but I sure will miss the snow! *12-12 Sorry, no specifics to update.  It's a microseed company, but the phone number listed is no longer accurate.  So the mystery of the red trees continues...

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Beaver Dam

This was a lucky find, driving out past Woodland the other day.  Too bad it's not closer to home; I think beaver dams are so pretty, and I love all the birch trees in the background.  I'll have to stop back here again whenever I'm up this way. 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Ice Clouds

In the Central Valley, when there is a danger of a hard freeze, orange growers will water their orange trees coating them in ice to protect them.  It seems counter-intuitive, and yet it works.  Well it turns out the same thing is true for the saplings at this reforestation farm along the Lewis River near Woodland, Washington.  Fields with trees less than a year old received a heavy dose of ice this week, as did the two year old hemlock field that I photographed here.  I guess hemlock saplings are just extra sensitive to the cold.  After several years, these little saplings are sold to foresting companies to replant forests after logging.  As far as the photography goes, this sure made for a surreal scene!  I was imagining it like a forest in the clouds.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Purple Horse Coat

OK, I'll admit, I really like the ambiguity of the title.  But the thing is, I was really noticing these horse coats yesterday.  We have a lot of horse farms just out of town, and I was so interested in all the different colors the horses were wearing.  It's not something I've paid attention to before; I'm sure it was the snow that drew my attention to the colorful clothing.  I don't know how cold it needs to be for the horses to be decked out in their colorful coats (it is plenty cold here right now though with temps well below freezing all weekend!)  I"m curious about this now, so I'm going to start paying more attention to all these horses.

Friday, December 6, 2013


We got snow today!  We weren't supposed to, but we did!!!  No snow day, which was a little surprising.  I don't think they were expecting much accumulation.  In our little river valley area I'd say we got four inches, which is a lot around here because they aren't really prepared to treat the roads quickly and it's awfully hilly.  Of course I ventured out with my camera, so I'll have a few more days of photos to share.  For today though, how do you like them apples?!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Ecola State Park

Indian Beach in Ecola State Park is a great rocky beach for exploring tide pools.  This was the area where we saw the most tide pool life; as I mentioned in an earlier post, most of it was still under water because we came too close to high tide.  I liked the ripply beach pattern in the foreground of this photo.  The big rock outcropping near the center of the frame is just starting to get full morning sunlight.  Along the horizon near the right is Tillamook Rock Lighthouse.  I'm not sure how far off the coast it is, but not quite so far as it looks in this photo.  My framing really diminished it, but I did like the idea of including it in the image. 

Saturday, November 30, 2013


Since moving to the West Coast four years ago we have a new holiday tradition, which is to get a Christmas Tree permit from the National Forest Service and find our Christmas tree in harvestable land in the nearby national forest.  In California that was Tahoe National Forest.  Here it's Gifford Pinchot National Forest.  I had been wanting the check out the Lower Lewis River Falls, so we headed deep into road NF-90 and visited the falls before hiking around and finding our tree.  Actually the woods were pretty thick around here, so I'm not sure this was our best location.  Next year I think we'll try a different spot.  But the National Forest is pretty huge so we have plenty of options.  The idea behind the Christmas tree harvesting is actually to help the forest grow by thinning out areas where the trees are growing to close together.  So an acceptable Christmas tree is growing within ten feet of another tree and has a base that is less than 6 inches in diameter. Plus whatever else you like in a Christmas tree.  I like space between the branches so the ornaments can hang freely; this makes a woodland tree a perfect choice for us!  And it's such a fun tradition! 

Friday, November 29, 2013

On the Rocks

One of the things I really wanted to see when we visited haystack rock a few days ago was tidal pool life.  And since we showed up just after high tide, we were limited in the tide pools we could explore.  Ecola State Park, just down the road from Cannon Beach, has a very rocky beach full of potential tide pool activity.  I climbed precariously around on some of the rocks as the tide was slowly moving out.  I did manage to find a few anemone hiding deep in the shadowy areas of a few tide pools, but no starfish which I was really hoping to see.  This is why I really need to go back during low tide.  I keep reading about these wonderful tide pools, and I really want to see them.  For today, I've got some barnacles, which were the only tidal area life I found and photographed to my satisfaction. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Haystack Rock

Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach is an iconic Oregon landmark and tourist destination along the beautiful Oregon coastline.  Everyone had the day off school, so we made a short day trip out to Cannon Beach earlier today.  Such beautiful weather today too, calm and slightly foggy in the morning.  The tide had just started to ebb, and there was a great wavy pattern in the sand which left these interesting tide pool patterns.  If we had showed up later in the day, the tide might have been out past the monolithic haystack rock and we could have explored it closer up.  Next visit here, I will pick a day when we can show up at low tide. Still, I was very thankful for such a beautiful day along the coast!  Happy Thanksgiving to everyone tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Midday in Portland

Waiting in my car, and interested in the two very different scenes 
reflected off the sides of this glass building. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Starting Out Cold

I'm getting used to seeing this frost each morning.  We're in a pretty nice weather pattern right now.  Morning starts out cold and clear, blanketed in frost, and the rest of the day is sunny and pretty mild for late November.  Nothing like the weather reports I'm seeing on TV for the rest of the country. I wasn't out that early this morning; this is just a patch of ground cover in a parking lot near Anna's school.  It was still in the shade around 10am or so, and the frost was softening up but hadn't completely melted yet.  It was a contrasty scene, so I figured I'd try it in black and white.

Sunday, November 24, 2013


Something is fishy here...I think these brown twining branches and their reflection work together to make a fish shape.  And that dark spot in the middle reminds me a little of one of Eric's favorite childhood stories, "Swimmy," by Leo Leonni. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Sidewalk Squares

I was surprised to find this purple sidewalk glass earlier today when I was walking in downtown Vancouver.  I first encountered it during the Underground Tour in Seattle's Pioneer Square District.  In Seattle, the original street level was raised one floor, I believe to correct drainage issues.  Anyway, the original ground floor found itself underground.  And when the sidewalks were added, they included these purple prism lights, which funneled light down to the basement level understreet.  This was all done in the late 1800s.  I suppose these sidewalk skylights were installed at about the same time here in Vancouver.  I wonder what is under this sidewalk!  I think these squares are made with amethyst, but I"m not sure on that.  They're awfully pretty in my opinion, and really I think they've held up pretty well. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Horse Tail Falls

I'm feeling under the weather this week, and trying to take it easy, but I have this photo from my trip along Historic Highway 30 in Oregon earlier this month.  Horse Tail Falls is just one of many waterfalls between Portland and Bonneville Dam on this route.  This particular waterfall lands in a round pond at the edge of the road, so the viewing area is surprisingly close to the falls. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Test Drive

I'm always anxious on these driving beaches when the tide comes in because sometimes the water gets awfully close to parked cars.  I worry that the drivers won't notice that their cars are about to be under water, and so I have to scan the beach nervously, wondering if the car will drive away safely or be pulled out to sea.  The driver always pulls away just about the time I start noticing the car.  But this one was different.  The tide actually washed up over the wheels before the car lights came on.  I breathed a sigh of relief, and then to my surprise the car took off into the ocean and proceeded to drive very fast through the water!  I hurried to take a photo, but I wasn't prepared with my camera settings to shoot into the sun like that.  Still, the photo gives a pretty good idea of what was going on.  A crazy driver for sure!  I would NOT recommend doing this!!! When the car emerged and drove past us I noticed that it was a Land Rover.  I suppose this could be in one of their commercials or something...but still!

Monday, November 18, 2013


In spring and fall, the Washington coastline is full of these migrating shorebirds.  They flock together in the thousands, and amaze bird-watchers with their intricate aerial maneuvers.  It's the pattern of striped upper wing and white under wing that is so mesmerizing to watch as the birds twist and turn in flight.  I was so happy to see small flocks of these birds dart back and forth along the coastline during our visit to Ocean Shores, Washington last week.  I read that a small number of these birds overwinter in Washington.  Lucky for us!

Sunday, November 17, 2013


It's pretty common, walking along the beach as the tide goes out, to see crab shells, but I've never seen a live crab like this before.  I'm not sure how he got here, but it wasn't a good sign for him.  He was surrounded by hungry seagulls when we approached.  The seagulls were lurking in the background waiting for us to leave.  I'm not sure what happened after we headed down the beach, but I think this little guy turned into breakfast. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

On Cloud Nine

Beach-combing at Ocean Shores, Washington.  This was the closest I got to photographing Clover and Anna walking along the same vertical plane; a little of Anna's feet show.  She was blissfully searching for sand dollars.  Clover was blissfully tagging along. 

Friday, November 15, 2013


Growing up along the shores of Lake Michigan, I've always been partial to the sand there, soft, off-white, and very clean.  But I have gained an appreciation for some qualities of this Pacific Northwest sand as seen here in Ocean Shores, Washington.  This sand is much dirtier, darker, and finer-grained, packing almost like clay, which is why people can drive on the beach here.  As water washes up onshore at Lake Michigan, it sinks almost immediately through the sand.  In Washington, a thin layer of water sits right on top of the sand as the waves recede, leaving this expansive reflection.  Add to that the fact that small tide waves move so much further up the beach than waves on the Great Lakes, and I think this combination makes for a surreal scene, part seascape, part cloudscape.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Ocean Shores

We got away for a few days over Veteran's Day weekend.  A short trip to Ocean Shores, Washington.  This town hosts several kite festivals during the year.  No festivals during our visit, just a few kites flying in the wind.  This particular kite was up both days.  I wish I'd talked to the owner, barely visibly at the back of his SUV.  I wonder if he was just out for the weekend, or if he flies the kite daily.  And I wonder how big this kite measures.  When we arrived on Sunday he was just finishing up, so we got to see him packing up the kite which was quite an ordeal, folding it just so with a strong wind blowing.  I was glad when he returned on Monday so I could get a photo. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Orchard Row, Revisited

I worked on a series of photos last spring at a blossoming almond orchard in California, and when I saw this row of pear trees in Hood River last week, I was curious to see how these fall colors would compare in a similar composition.  One of the things that really fascinated me about the almond orchard in Capay, California was the slight variation in blossom color between the rows, with some rows blossoming white and others pink.  The same thing was going on in this orchard; some rows of pear trees were leafing yellow and some red.  I think the trees are spaced a little closer here, so the overall effect isn't as striking, but overall it's got a nice fall color.  If you're curious to see the blossom photos from springtime, the links are here and here.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Access Road, Pearl's Place

This orchard in the Hood River Valley is closed for the season, but the access road through the orchard still looks so inviting.  I'm not sure what variety of apple grows on these trees, but I was drawn to the pretty Granny Smith green leaf color. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Just Out of Reach

Maybe it's just the time of year, but pears like this one always remind me of Christmas.  Just looking at this pear makes my mouth water.  It's so high in the tree that it was out of reach at picking time, so it just hung there...mocking me.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Pear Trees and Mountain Ash

These red berries are hanging from a large tree in the front yard of an orchard farmhouse, and it was the bright red berries that made me stop and take notice of this scene.  I'm sure I've photographed a pear orchard in the background; there were plenty of pears still on the yellow-leaved trees for me to figure that out.  I'm a little less sure of the Mountain Ash.  I did an internet search, and I feel like I've identified it, but if not I'll have to change my title later.  If this is Mountain Ash, then it looks like the tree will keep these berries all winter, which would be really pretty!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Fish Ladder

I traveled east along the Columbia River Gorge yesterday, and one of my stops was the Bonneville Dam.  The fish ladder wraps partially around the visitors center, and funnels salmon up and around the dam.  I can't say I saw any salmon heading up the ladder when I was there.  I think I missed the main time when they run. I liked the colors though; the weather was overcast and the water looked so green.  I was thinking the lines and colors might make an interesting abstract so I tried to photograph the greenest area of the water. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

November Rain

Or Through My Rainy Windshield #2.  After a very sunny October, our weather pattern has turned and given way to a drizzly November.  Today is another big errand running day, but I managed to take a little detour in between a drop off and pick up this morning to explore the countryside north of Camas and continue the "through my rainy windshield" series.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

On the Road

It seems like all I do these days is run errands.  This scene captured my errand-running mood today, looking down in the parking lot as I got back into my car.  I decided I'm blocking off a day later this week to head out with my camera! 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Gourd Tree

I happened past this gourd tree yesterday and had to stop for a photo.  The photo doesn't do the scene justice though.  The tree is old and spreads across the entire yard, and the gourds continue like this the whole way around.  Hundreds, I'd say.  It was quite a sight, and the family that lives here definitely appreciates having such a lovely old tree. I was already smiling when the little gourd with the painted face spun around and smiled at me, but that sight really made me chuckle.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Welcome November

I couldn't imagine a more perfect day to usher in my favorite month: overcast and cool.  Very colorful with plenty of leaves still on the trees today, although not so much for this little tree that caught my eye when I was out walking with Clover earlier this morning. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Bridge to Astoria

We always look for a seafood restaurant when we're at the coast. I can't say we made the best choice this time, but there's no denying the view from the restaurant was beautiful! We were right up against a little boardwalk with trolley tracks, and had this pretty view of the bridge connecting Astoria, Oregon and Washington State. The sunset was a bonus. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


I was so fascinated by the incoming tide patterns near Astoria, Oregon this past weekend.  I think we got there at low tide, and every few minutes a gentle wave would try to extend its reach a little further up the beach. And what interested me most was the white outline on each of these waves. 

Monday, October 28, 2013


The steel skeleton of the Peter Iredale is all the remains from this barque, run aground in 1906 on its way to the mouth of the Columbia.  It's so rusted and barnacle-encrusted that it doesn't look all that sturdy, but it is.  And of course it draws a curious crowd.  It's not that safe of a playground, but that doesn't stop the adventurous from climbing around and exploring. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Jumping Ship

We were out at the coast today, at Fort Stevens near Astoria.  This rusty and barnacled old shipwreck from 1906 draws a lot of attention along the beach there.  Eric and I worked our way around the ship trying out different photos, and finally settled on this action pose for fun. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Down the Road

I thought this scene was so pretty when I was driving yesterday.  It was almost noon and the fog was finally lifting.  I think it looks sort of washed out in the photo though, and not quite as pretty as what I saw.  Oh well.  I might try again; it's on the way to a wonderful country fishmonger that I recently discovered, so I'll be on the lookout for better light when I drive this way in the future.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Tree Line

We got invited to a Fall Harvest Party at a CSA farm in Hillsboro last weekend.  This tree-lined field is the view from the front of the beautiful old farmhouse there.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Plum Trees

Draper Girls Country Farm doesn't just sell apples and apple products.  Right now they are also selling pears and other seasonal crops.  I didn't see any plums for sale, but there must have been earlier in the season.  I found a plum under these trees, and did an internet search for plum trees in autumn; my detective work indicates that I was standing in a row of plum trees.  Who knew they turned so yellow in the fall?  I wish the light weren't so harsh on the lower right side.  I should have visited at a different time of day, I guess.

Monday, October 21, 2013

View From the Orchard

Spectacular view of Mt. Hood from the back of Draper Girls Country Farm on the Hood River Valley's "Fruit Loop."   It's a similar view from almost every orchard in the valley; such an idyllic setting to grow and sell fruit!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sweet Gum

Always one of my favorite trees.  I love the color variation in the fall, and the prickly fruit.  No fruit/seeds visible on this little tree.  Beautiful color though. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Finn Hill

Well, it was the last cross country meet of the season for us today.  The Finn Hill Challenge, not far from the Venersborg School that I photographed a few weeks ago.  I thought this area was a historic Swedish community, but now I'm thinking it's Finnish.  The name Finn Hill could have given it away, but it didn't occur to me until I read the Finnish quote on the runners' tags: SISU- Finnish word for "not only great insurance, but the determination not to stop."  One thing I love about cross country meets is they're always at a beautiful outdoor location. Today was no exception; we were at a very pretty park and the fall weather was perfect.  The park had a pond with a gentle ripple, so of course I gravitated to the reflection and photographed the race from this more abstract perspective.  I'm sorry to see the season end, but have to admit I'm happy for the change in schedule too.