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

Saturday, January 31, 2015

White River Falls

I saw an article about these falls in the Oregonian, and thought it sounded like a fun day trip, so Bill, Clover, and I headed out here last Sunday. The newspaper said the falls are on the east side of Mt. Hood and I was imagining the usual rugged falls at the end of a thick evergreen forest hike. But in fact I was surprised to discover that these falls are in the high desert east of Mt. Hood, and fall in several tiers through a butte. They were too difficult to photograph in the bright sun, so I came back today with Clover to try again. This time the weather was overcast and slightly foggy at the top of the falls, and it was also difficult to photograph.  I'm not planning to try a third time, but I would recommend the park as a nice day trip destination with picnic tables near the top of the falls and a nice little hike along the river at the bottom. The park is technically closed for the winter, but visitors park outside the gate and walk in. 

Friday, January 30, 2015

Sturgeon Season

The little pier from where I was photographing Hood River was pretty busy this morning with one fishing boat after another heading out into the gorge. When I asked what the were catching, the answer was invariably sturgeon. Sturgeon season on this stretch of the Columbia runs January and February.  Just down river at the Bonneville hatchery they have a tank holding a giant sturgeon, Herman the Sturgeon, weighing in at 425 lbs, 10ft. long and over 60 years old. I have to admit, this doesn't make me think tasty fish. I've never had sturgeon, but it does seem like there must be something to this fish given all the boats heading out. And for the bridge reflection, this is again the Columbia River crossing connecting Hood River and White Salmon.
Linking to Weekend Reflection

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Rest Stop

A rest stop doesn't get much prettier than this vista view looking east on the Columbia off Highway 14 in Washington.  I actually had a hard time photographing around the fence (except for this photo of course!) and was just thinking about how fences and guardrails in scenic locations are less common in the western states.  They have more of a enjoy-at-your-own-risk mentality it seems, and they don't like to obstruct the view.  It's quite a drop off after the fence line, so a fence is a very good thing here.
Linking to Good Fences

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Sunbreak in Blue and Silver: Columbia

Nocturne: Blue and Silver - Cremorne Lights
James Abbott McNeill Whistler  1872
I'm continuing to work my way through the list of artists ahead of my class this week.  Another painter who interested me was James Abbott McNeill Whistler.  He had a series of beachscape and harbor paintings where he placed the horizon pretty high up on the canvas, and mainly just painted variations in the water tone.  I thought they were really pretty, and when we were driving along the Columbia on Sunday we came upon a turnout where the light was especially beautiful on the water.  So I tried photographing the scene with the land high in the frame.  Now that I'm reading about Whistler a little, I can see that the paintings that interested me are in a style called Nocturne; he was trying to represent light at night.  I definitely wasn't trying to do that, but I do like the composition he uses. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Back to Hood River

Ok, I admit it.  I'm a little fixated on the gorge right now, and especially on this marina in Hood River.  Bill and I were actually heading south of the Dalles yesterday, but I did time the trip for driving through Hood River just after sunrise.  It was sunny right up until we got to Hood River and then the fog got pretty thick.  I was actually hoping it would clear a little behind me so the sail masts could be white instead of black, but the sky didn't fully cooperate.  Anyway, I think it's an interesting comparison to the marina photo I took a week or so ago.  And for good or bad, I can say this won't be the last photo of this marina I will post this winter.  One thing I love about the Pacific Northwest is how quickly the weather changes.  The light is constantly shifting, and it makes photography so fun.  I'm looking forward to some future trips down the gorge to check out the light and this marina, and of course to pick up an amazing cup of chai at North Shore Cafe.  (And a bit of blog foreshadowing...more on the chai later in the week!)

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Piet Mondrain, Revisited

Tableau I
Piet Mondrain  1921
Absolutely gorgeous weather here in Washington today.  It started out inspiringly foggy and ended up beautifully warm and sunny.  Bill and I were out for a Sunday drive and hike through the gorge, and happened upon a fun antique/junk store in Carson, Washington.  I think it was called a Trading Post.  Maybe because I had just blogged about Mondrain, the colorfully arranged glass jars in their geometric boxes brought his images to mind.  So, here's my version of his later works, along with a reposting of Tableau I from yesterday.  I have to say, I don't know much about the development of his Neoplasticism style (beyond what I've read on Wiki), and I suppose he's just looking to achieve interesting balance, but I like to imagine that he has looked at a landscape scene and reduced it to rectangles, shades of white, and dominant primary colors. If this were the case, then I'd love to see a picture of what his abstract paintings are representing. That would be interesting to me!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Tree on the Columbia

Evening: Red Tree
Piet Mondrain.  1908-1010
Tableau I
Piet Mondrain 1921
I'm still working through the list of artists in my Artistic Photography class.  I'm not really sure I'm photographing "in the style of" Piet Mondrain (see below); so far I feel like I'm just trying to copy a painting, but I suppose it's a good place to start. Mondrain's Evening: Red Tree caught my eye, and something about my tree against the Columbia had a similar feel.  The tree painting is one of his earlier works.  He was around as cubism was taking hold, and later went on to develop a style he called Neoplasticism, which is represented here by Tableau I.  For me, the general feel of all those later paintings is the side of the Partridge Family bus.  I like his earlier stuff much better. He was still simmering a painting down to the few essential elements, but hadn't oversimplified yet.  I love the red color in his tree, and I'm disappointed in how mine looks next to the painting.  I think that color variation between warm and cold is possible with a photo; I especially see it when the sun, low in the sky, breaks through the clouds after a rain.  Then the subject is warmly illuminated and the background sky is rendered a cool dark blue by the camera.  My day on the Columbia was just your plain old overcast day. Overall though, I'm happy with the shape of this tree and how it fills the photo, and I'm especially happy with the variation in blue that the overcast Columbia provides.

Friday, January 23, 2015

View from Underwood

Lately I've been really loving this midsection of the Columbia River Gorge, and I'm getting a lot of opportunity to cross the bridge between White Salmon, Washington and Hood River, Oregon. It's one of those narrow metal grate bridges where you hug to the center of your lane like crazy, never sure if you're about to scrape the guardrail or the oncoming vehicle. But it's just so pretty along this stretch of the river, that I suppose I'll be a pro at that bridge crossing soon!
Linking to Weekend Reflections

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Riverfront Security

You never know where you're going to find a fence!  This security fence separates a small public park  on the banks of the Columbia River from the private property next door. At first glance it doesn't seem all that secure, but I suppose it's enough to deter. That water is cold!
Linking to Good Fences.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Farm in Vancouver Winter

Farm in Normandy Summer Aka Hattenville  1882

I started an artistic photography class this week, and for my first assignment I have to photograph in the style of a famous artist. We were given an alphabetical list of several dozen artists to study, but I didn't make it past Cezanne before heading back to the old orchard down the street to photograph it through my rainy windshield.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Hood River Marina

A misty rain was just starting to blur the reflection at Hood River Marina yesterday. I was so happy to stumble upon this marina, because it's just what I've been imagining photographing.  Mind you, I've been to Hood River at least half a dozen times, so I don't know how I've missed it.  But lately we've been crossing the bridge to visit White Salmon, Washington, and this picturesque marina is located just under the bridge.  I'm looking forward to getting more photos here throughout the winter...especially because the North Shore Cafe in White Salmon makes the best chai!
Linking to Weekend Reflection

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Quay Point

Our side of the gorge was incredibly windy, but all was quiet and calm once we neared the Hood River side of the gorge earlier today.  This fence runs the length of the pier at the Hood River Marina.  I'm not sure it's purpose, but it made a pretty reflection in the calm, overcast waters.
Linking to Good Fences

Friday, January 9, 2015


One last photo from Zigzag River. I liked all the snags because they almost seem to spell out zigzag. I think this is a bit of a stretch for a reflection shot, but posting it anyway for Weekend Reflection.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Fresh Start

Happy New Year to all my blog friends!  I'm starting the new blog year out with another Zigzag River photo taken after a nice coat of snow on the 29th. We went up to Mt. Hood for another hike on the 30th (our anniversary), and this time we brought along the tire chains which of course we didn't need.  As far as photos go, I might be slightly partial to the less snowy scenes, but I have to say that walking through the woods here was magically beautiful!  Cold but calm, which is why the snow was still on the branches during our visit.  (Also, Linda, I did see your note about the sno-park off of 35.  It sounds nice, and I will get up there soon, I hope.  Thanks for the tip!)  :)