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

Friday, November 27, 2015

Hood River Marina

Another view of the marina, also from last week. I had given up on photographing this marina after multiple attempts last year, but was drawn to the marina on Thursday by the lack of blue in the sky or water, which I thought was an improvement on the scene. I've got an ideal photo view of the marina in my mind, and I figure that if I drive out here often enough, I'm bound to see it in that perfect light one of those times!

Also, a blog format note:'Next month is shaping up to be a very busy month with our move starting on Monday. We are only moving a few miles away, but I know I'll be too busy to blog daily for a while. Right now my goal is to get back to daily blogging in January, and to post when I can in December. We are heading back through Hood River this weekend, and up to Gifford Pinchot National Forest for a Christmas tree. Hope I'll have some photos from that trip to share next week. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Clouds and Mist

 Another of my stops in the gorge, this time at Viento State Park. I love driving through the gorge in the winter months because it's often so misty like this.  Last year we stopped at a Starbucks for a cup of tea, and they had just switched their tea brands.  The new green tea was called Emporor's Clouds and Mist, and we thought that was the greatest name, because it was a cloudy and misty day, just like this one.  So somehow Clouds and Mist has stuck with me as a description of the gorge. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Misty Falls

Continuing with my photo pit stops as I made my way into the gorge last week. Wahkeena Falls are just west of Multnomah. I've read there are 77 falls in the gorge, mostly on the Oregon side, and I believe it! Very pretty on a misty day like this, and actually much more vibrantly colorful than my camera captured, especially the golds and reds.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Wet Leaves

We dried out over the weekend, but on Thursday in the gorge it was still pretty wet. This photo of big leaf maple leaves was taken from the same location as yesterday's Multnomah Falls shot: the parking lot.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Multnomah Falls in the Mist

A very misty drive into the gorge this week to finish setup of my photos at North Shore Cafe. I took a short detour on Hwy 30, including a stop at Multnomah Falls.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Cafe Scene

My 2016 calendar photos will be on display at North Shore Cafe in White Salmon, Washington through December.  If you're in the gorge, and looking for a place to eat, stop in here (across the river from Hood River).  Great organic food, fresh-pressed juice, and homemade chai with fresh-pressed ginger.  If you do stop in, I highly recommend the chai!  For a chai blog and photo, click the link here.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Avast, Me Hearties!

A cool old sailboat docked at Hood River Marina yesterday, 
and the waters were reflection still...almost. 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

A Dark and Rainy Morning

Such a dark, drizzly morning today, but the water droplets were glowing
on the little tree outside my kitchen window.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Old Farmhouse Orchard

I know I've been on a fall tree theme for a while now, and really want to switch to another subject, but I can't seem to keep away from trees! Not likely to change themes in the near future since I'm heading back out to Hood River and White Salmon later this morning. For today though, another view of the overgrown orchard at the old farmhouse near Woodland. It's a nice counterpoint to yesterday's photo. I appreciate the crispness and composition of today's view.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Through my Rainy Windshield #9

I took a wrong turn yesterday, and pulled into a drive to turn around during a spell of heavy rain. The drive led to an old farmhouse with overgrown orchard. Very colorful in the rain. I turned off the wipers and tried a rainy windshield photo for my series. I think it's too blurry, but I like the dark glow of a rainy fall day. Lucky to happen upon such a pretty spot for a turnaround.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Woodland Wonderland

Beautiful, glowing scene coming down the backside from the grist mill in Woodland over the weekend.  So many layers of leaves, and so much moss!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Fall in Washington State

When people think of Washington, they usually think evergreens, and we have our share.  But a typical fall scene here often includes moss, fog, and big leaf maples.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Cascade Locks 2

East-facing view of the Columbia near Cascade Locks. The stretch of river between Cascade Locks and Hood River is often the border between weather patterns, because the river bends here and it's right at the thickest part of the Cascade range.  Calm in one direction, choppy in the other; blue sky in one direction, clouds in the other. Dramatic clouds today reminded me of an impressionist painting.
Linking to Weekend Reflections.

Thursday, November 12, 2015


Wake on the Columbia, calm waters, and a very hazy day.
(Full color photo, believe it or not!)

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

November Sky

A red, white, and blue theme for today to showcase some fabulous November clouds.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Monday, November 9, 2015

Forest Bathing

Shinrin Yoku, as it's called in Japan.  There are health benefits to spending time in the woods, according to Japanese studies; it reduces stress, anxiety, sleeplessness, and depression.  I've been super interested in the concept of Earthing this month, and wonder if this "forest bathing" benefit isn't partially coming from the fact that the trees are grounded and create an umbrella of grounding for us as we walk through the woods.  Synthetic shoe soles don't ground us to the earth, but walking barefoot, especially at the beach, does. I always feel so great after walking along the beach. Walking in the woods feels good too, but for me not quite the same as barefoot at the beach.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Bridge View

A slightly different view of the mill; usually I'm photographing from the bridge,
but for today a view of the bridge as well.

Saturday, November 7, 2015


I walk past this property every day with Clover.  An old abandoned house and barn on a beautiful lot. The house has all the stickers usually associated with a foreclosure, but nothing has ever come of it, which seems strange to me, because it's a good location and nice sized lot. I suppose it's the added cost of removing the rundown old home. The driveway is lined with overgrown apple trees, but they are quite healthy and produce and abundance of apples each year.  Earlier this year I saw a lady park in the drive and get out with a laundry basket to collect the apples.  I've considered doing something similar myself, but I think I missed my chance for this year.  Unfortunately the old barn got some graffiti a few weeks ago, the emperor Zorg from Buzz Lightyear; an unlikely graffiti subject! So for the time being, Zorg will watch over this property too, and see if anyone buys it and fixes it up. 

Friday, November 6, 2015

Cascade Locks

Calm waters on the Columbia near Cascade Locks, 
along with a nice break in clouds, 
made for an interesting framed reflection.
Linking to Weekend Reflections.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Mt. Adams from Hood River

Working my way around a panoramic view from my afternoon in Hood River.  Pear tree facing south, rainbow facing west, and now Mt. Adams facing north.  This also came as a surprise to me.  The elevation changes so much that at any given time you could see no volcanoes, one, two, three, or on rare occasion four.  From this view in the hilly blueberry field, you can see Mt. Adams to the north and probably see Mt. Hood to the south, but the southern view was completely clouded over, so I'm not sure. Love all the snow on Mt. Adams!  I'm sure Hood and St. Helens will look the same once we get a clear day.  I missed seeing these snow peaks during out hot summer.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Hood River Valley

I took a little ribbing yesterday for not eating that pear, so I feel like I should put my location in context.  I was heading up the foothills along the edge of the Hood River Valley (aka the fruit loop), on a tiny named road that was really a driveway to what looked like a family compound at the top. Pear orchard to my right, and blueberry field to my left, slowly scanning the orchard for photos.  When I got to the top and turned around at the family compound, what a surprise to find a patch of bright rainbow in the valley!  One of the things that makes rainbows so wonderful is their unexpectedness, and especially at a time like this, when it wasn't even raining where I was.  I spend a good bit of time on this rainbow, and also another scene which I'll probably blog tomorrow.  So when I drove down the hill, I had forgotten all about the pears, and felt completely full from the great luck I'd just had finding a rainbow in a valley.  A rainbow photo has been on my bucket list since moving back to the Pacific Northwest, and even though rainbows are more plentiful here, I had never been in a photo worthy location when one popped up.  Hopefully someone will eat that pear though.  It did look pretty yummy! 

(One technical side note on this photo.  I used my polarizer, and it made a huge difference in how vivid the rainbow looked.  This is how it looked to me, but without the polarizer the camera captured it more washed out.  I was not imagining I'd get such good results, mainly because I don't like using it in water reflection shots, since it takes away the reflection.  So this was a learning photo for me.  Polarizer and rainbows: good)

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Left Behind

One lonely pear, 
still on the tree.  
Looking really ripe, too! 

Monday, November 2, 2015

Meandering Creek

Cedar Creek meandering back toward its natural path just after the grist mill.  The water is surprisingly lazy-looking at this point.  The white path is a little deceptive; it's not white water, but actually is caused by some sort of foam that develops in the chute.  I was wondering why the foam would be there at all.  The mill is in a very rural location, and I can't imagine much upstream that would cause any sort of soapy foam.  Maybe it forms naturally, but I had always assumed it was soapy pollution.  Anyway, the white foam took a path, which I decided to highlight with the long exposure. 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Rainy Day at the Grist Mill

We headed out to the grist mill yesterday for the annual cider pressing event. (Grist mill photo just to the right of this's the cover for my 2016 calendar.) I was expecting scant crowds because of the weather, but boy was I wrong! The line for cider extended from the mill across the covered bridge, shown in background of my photo from under the cedar tree. We got 2 inches of rain, which is a lot for one afternoon in drizzly Washington. An umbrella rain, as we say. We wimped out, skipped the cider, picked up the fresh ground winter wheat for our long-ferment, gluten-neutralized sourdough, and headed home. I'll pick up some cider at the store later on today.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Friday, October 30, 2015

Change of Pace

A different scene for today...sort of. This is another view from the horse trails, which is an easily accessible hike for me and Clover. I absolutely love walking out here, but have the hardest time with photos. The woods are just so thick and overgrown, and busy for the camera. I liked this photo though, because just as I was taking it, a lady and her dog walked into the scene. I really like leaving people out of photos, as a general rule, but she offers a nice sense of scale, which I'm happy to share.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Staying Balanced

Always a good idea if you can pull it off!
My apologies for the repetitive subject matter this month. I usually try to make the blog topics more varied in content, just because I think it's probably more interesting to the viewer.  But I'm awfully busy this month, and really am curious to do a more in depth study of some photos.  Today's photo...balance.  I definitely like the compositional balance here, but the depth of focus is really a frustration, so I'm going to focus on that (technical info to follow...) One thing I've learned doing this blog is that if I use my 80-200 lens and I zoom to 200, then I can pull the depth of field to almost nothing.  I've used this to my advantage for the most part, but sometimes it's really a double-edged sword.  Here is a perfect example.  The leaf on the left is annoyingly out of focus.  From the image, it looks like it's closer to the lens, although I'm not exactly sure what the difference in distance is between that left balancing leaf and the three on the right (where I focused the lens).   I'm at 105mm focal length, which is about half of what this lens can do.  The distance between leaves can't be more than a foot and is likely about six inches; this just isn't that big of a tree. I'm at f/9 which should be a pretty good depth of field, and my estimate for the leaf distance is probably five feet.  How can the depth of field possible drop off that much when I'm only zooming to 105mm?  Why can't I pull all the leaves into focus?  I don't really want to slow the shutter speed down because it's such an awkward camera angle.  Technical help welcome!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Looking Up

An informal study of a favorite tree of mine.  I photographed it last week (and last year, and the year before), but just feel like focusing on it this week.  I'm reserving the right to change my mind, but for today it seems like a nice theme.  I like the idea of looking up, because this month is really kicking my butt.  And I like the idea of a narrow focus, because...same reason.  Plus we're moving in a month (mind you, just a few miles away on the other side of the highway), but it's not likely that I'll return to this tree once we've moved, so that's about it in terms of excuses.  Looking up this week...I like the large heart-shaped leaf.  I considered bringing all the branches to the end of the frame to give it more of a grid feel, but I liked the open space on the right better.  Big-hearted view for today.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Aimless Wandering

You are lost the instant you know what the result will be.  ~Juan Gris 

Sunday, October 25, 2015


A rainy day, finally!  Time for a reprieve of the "through my rainy windshield" series.  Today, the ginkgo; I couldn't help noticing the yellowing ginkgo trees in the grocery store parking lot when I was running errands.  The ginkgo is such a cool tree.  I love the leaf shape, and how the leaves sprout out like fur along every branch.  I think it's got a pretty unique shape for trees. Turns out it's a very ancient tree, native to China, with fossils dating back 270 million years.  Common in the US for several hundred years, I mainly see it along easements and in parking lots. 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Forest Floor

Look what I found on the forest floor this morning.  Even though we haven't had much rain yet, I'm starting to see mushrooms popping up.  I love mushrooms, but know nothing about picking them.  Maybe someday I'll take a class.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Settling Pond

There are settling ponds at the end of every street in my neighborhood. Lots of care taken here in the Pacific Northwest for protecting wildlife habitats, and especially for the salmon. This tiny pond is next to a newly constructed playground behind our subdivision.
Linking to Weekend Reflection.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Familiar Scene

A favorite neighborhood tree of my, revisited on the blog again this year.  This is my third year photographing these branches for the blog.  The last two were the first week in November, at the point where I publicly proclaim my love for the month, and when there are only one or two leaves left.  This year I guess I thought to look up a little earlier.  For a view of the previous photos, I'll include links for 2014 and 2013. I have to say, I like the more barren branches better, and probably 2013 is my favorite.  Maybe I'll try this shot again in a few weeks...

Sunday, October 18, 2015

A Yellow Wood

A more colorful section from yesterday's walk.  This is Northridge Loop in the horse trails.  It's a well-tended path; I can always see plenty of foot and hoof-prints along the walk, but don't usually see anyone on this trail.  Still I always keep Clover on the leash because the trails are really for horses, and I'm always worried that she'll chase them.  Yesterday we saw four horses on our loop! I guess it won't be too long, and these leaves will be trodden black, as the poem goes.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

A Little Bit of Color

I decided to try to get out to the horse trails at least once a week this fall, to follow the progression of color change. Not a lot of potential for change in this particular scene, but I did like what was going on and the light was nice.  Peaceful as always on this path. It's a quiet forest, and often the only sounds are birds chirping and water dripping from the branches.

Friday, October 16, 2015

I See You!

Heading out to pick some tomatoes from my garden this morning, I was startled by this little toad trying to blend in on the arm of a patio chair.  He didn't think I could see him, I suppose, because he let me come in real close with my 10+macro filter.  I got about a dozen shots, but this one had the best focus on his eye.  (I love that his eye looks like a copper coin from some ancient civilization!) He never budged the entire time, except for that breathing flap under his chin.  Eventually he figured out I could see him, and he hopped into the tomato bush.  I'll pick the tomatoes later on this afternoon.
Linking to Weekend Reflections.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Thin Slice

Right now I'm listening to the audiobook Blink by Malcolm Gladwell, and he's just discussed the concept of thin slicing, which is a way we gather a lot of information in a very small slice of observation. It's quite effective for the most part, but of course doesn't always work. The drive to the campus today was just one of those times. Patchy fog was lingering. Lots of elevation change in this area, and it was such a thin layer of fog that it was sunny and clear both below by the highway and above at the campus. The thin little band of fog gives a very deceptive view of our weather, but it did make for a nice range of value in such a small space!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Lacy Duck Pond

Today I found a new parking area to access the Salmon Creek Trail. This little pond sits adjacent to the creek along the trail. I was eyeing it on my way out, the algae a bright green and the water reflecting the trees on the far side, but didn't stop for a photo. On the way back though, the back lighting made for a ready-made black and white. Guess I just liked how the algae looked like lace in this light.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Setting Goals

Coming back to the blog after a summer break, I set a goal for myself: to post everyday for the next few months at least.  Even if my photo is just a quick snapshot like today.  I can see it will be challenging, because I've gotten myself busy with some other projects, and now (drum roll...very exciting news) we've purchased a house!  I'm sticking with my goal though.  At least for now.  I like the self-discipline of it, and the habit-creating potential for me, and the fact that eventually I'll have to make time for a few photo field trips.  I've got some busy months ahead of me, so as for the photo goal, one day at a time.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Late Bloomer

Caught between seasons here.  It's starting to feel like fall, but it still looks a lot like late summer.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Reading the Leaves

Falling leaves were making interesting patterns on the pavement when I was walking Clover and Georgie yesterday. I was imagining it as some sort of code, like reading tea leaves. If there was a message to be found, then maybe they were warning me that a downpour would arrive once we reached our furthest point from home.  I was totally unprepared; no rain gear. One good thing I learned though: my camera fits in a doggy bag! 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Quite Time

Nothing like a nice quiet walk in the woods to refresh the spirit! 
I was expecting more fall color by this time in October, especially given our extra dry summer, but I'm glad that our recent rains have greened up the moss a little.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Turning Over a New Leaf

Or rather, an old leaf revisited. It's been building for a few weeks now.  My break from the blog is coming to an end, and I'm feeling really good about it.  Refreshed, inspired, ready to learn again, to create, and to connect. 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Mirror Lake

One of many Mirror Lakes, I'm sure.  This one reflecting Mt. Adams,  near the Bird Lake Meadow trail head. The photo was taken during my hike in late June, and lost in draft mode on my blog.  I think I was saving it for a weekend reflection and then forgot.  After a really hot summer, it has cooled off a bit here, and we've had some rain, so Mt. Adams happens to be looking about this snowy again.