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

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Home Sweet Home

I was so excited to see this little chickadee checking out the wren house just feet from my kitchen window.  If he moves in it will be only the second time that I know of that birds will have nested in this house which I painted a very long time ago. (1993?)  I took a Bavarian painting class when we were first stationed in Germany, so this was one of my little projects.  I always wondered if something about the paint kept the birds away early on.  Just last week I tried turning it to more of a south-facing angle, and I'm thinking that has helped make it more appealing.  Keeping my fingers crossed for some new neighbors at the kitchen window this spring!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Blueberry Field

Green and red, but no blue in this photo; yet the red is the edge of a large blueberry field in McMinnville.  Blueberry fields are pretty common in Oregon and in Southern Washington, and I absolutely love the red color but I've been struggling with how to photograph it.  I'm on the lookout for a field in rolling hills because the red line pattern is so pretty, and it's just too hard to see photographed on a flat landscape. The rows aren't visible from this side angle, just a sea of red.  I liked the fence though, so for now I settled for this graphic composition with the fence line zipping the scene together.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Hazelnut Orchard

When I first started seeing the hazelnut orchards yesterday near McMinnville I thought the yellow color was coming from last year's leaves still hanging on the trees.  But after talking to some local farmers I learned that the hazelnut trees are actually in bloom right now.  The yellow are the tassel parts of the bloom.  The trees require cross-pollination to bloom, so I guess there are different varieties planted in the same field, and they rely on wind for the pollination.  Very windy yesterday, so maybe they'll get a bumper crop this year.  I ended up liking this orchard near the top of Dundee Hills, backlit in the early morning light.  Although I have to admit, I was a little disappointed to learn that this was what hazelnut blooming looks like.  Guess I'll have to drive back to the Hood River Valley apple and pear orchards this spring if I want some orchard blossom photos this spring.

Thursday, January 23, 2014


Wow, are we getting the weather!  Sunny and warm until next week.  This morning I did a recon of the area around McMinnville, and as far as winter days go, I sure picked a pretty day to look around.  I saw a PBS special on the Pinot Nior region here and thought it looked like a fun place to go with my camera.  The vineyards were of course dormant, but in addition to vineyards I scouted out two other crop fields, blueberry and hazelnut.  Definitely looking forward to getting back down here in the springtime!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Northridge Loop

Well, fog seems to be the predominant weather system here this winter.  I'm not sure if this is always the case or not, but definitely the inversion pattern is the default pattern this year.  We had this in California too, especially in the valleys, so I'm used to it, but not this often.  Anyway, I took a break from some other projects I have going right now to take Clover out on this horse trails this morning.  I was thinking the green moss might be especially vibrant in this dense fog, and it didn't disappoint!  To help set the mood, it's important to know that it was 35 degrees and of course very damp.  Bone-chillingly cold actually.  It was almost completely silent, except for the constant drip of water hitting the leaves on the ground, and the echoing calls of some very large birds.  They sounded like cranes, but I couldn't tell for sure, and of course I couldn't see them.  I had another trail I wanted to try out as well but I was getting cold, and I'm confident in our weather pattern continuing so I've saved it for another day...

Monday, January 6, 2014

Sunrise Over Salmon Creek

We've been getting these beautiful pink sunrises lately on days that we don't have fog.  I've been noticing them from my bedroom window as I slept in over the winter holiday.  Today was the first day back to school, so everyone was out the door before sunrise.  No fog, so Clover and I headed over the Salmon Creek for an early morning walk.  I wasn't expecting the creek to be partially frozen like that because it warms up quite a bit during the day, but I think the icy pattern is awfully pretty.  Mt. Hood is barely visible in the background behind the trees.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Hitting the High Notes

A simple melody from a little flock of winter birds.  I wonder why they like to sit on that particular power line.  Do they like the thinner line?  The fact that it's higher up?  Is it warmer?  Cooler?  Whatever the reason, this was the staff line of choice for these musical little birds.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Rose Hips

We had a foggy weather pattern for the start of 2014 yesterday, a holdover from our late December weather of thick fog in the morning.  Today I was greeted with bright sunshine as I read the newspaper at the kitchen table.  One of the things I love about the Pacific Northwest is how quickly the weather changes (or how much weather we have!)  Looking forward to all the different weather conditions that will greet me as I photograph here in 2014.  I hope everyone had a Happy New Year, and that 2014 will bring much happiness and good health!