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

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Bedtime

Sunset building on the western edge of San Juan Island. That's Victoria B.C. on the horizon.
One thing about camping is that you tend to sleep and rise with the sun.
And that was especially true for the rising part, because our camping was done as a farm stay,
and the farm had three roosters...each with its own distinct crow
...and its own internal alarm clock.
The earliest riser started his crowing at 4am. so that sort of gets you stirring!
Also there was no campfire area, I guess because it is a working farm and so they are
worried about fires when things get dry in the summer.  That was the only bad part.
When it's dark, it's dark. Time for bed.
Of course this far north in the summer, the sun sets after 9:30 and it's not dark for another hour,
so all in all it was a pretty good bedtime.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Out Standing in My Field

Ok, so it's not my field ... and yes, it's an awful pun ...
but it is the field that drew us up to the San Juan Islands last month.
That's because I'm the trip planner at my house, and I happen to love lavender.
I don't have a field. I have a tiny hedgerow along my driveway.  
Actually...it's more potential than hedgerow.  
And I wanted to make sure I was shaping it up just right. 
So that it can grow up to be a hedgerow someday.
Mid-July was the Lavender Festival at Pelindaba Lavender in Friday Harbor.
As far as festivals go, it has a lot to learn! You need more than a bunch of craft booths and a band. 
I wanted to see a demonstration on extracting lavender oil, but we missed that, 
so all in all it was kind of a bust. Other than it smelled wonderful! 
And Bill got some lavender ice cream.
The photography was so so because it was hot and bright and the whole island is one big ball of glare, so photography after 8am and before 6pm is almost a waste of time. 
And we were glamping which was really fun, so I wasn't inclined to get up early with my camera ...
 the draw of fresh coffee on a camp stove! 
But we did get to visit the San Juans in July which wouldn't have happened otherwise!  

Friday, August 4, 2017

The Bright Spot

Sometimes you have to look a little bit,
but it's always there.
Friday Harbor at sunset.
Linking to Weekend Reflections.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Taking Shape

Mooring dophins for the ferries,
reflected in the ripply water,
waiting for the next ferry to arrive.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Friday Harbor

The Marina at Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, just before sunset.  
 It's a large marina, and completely open to the public which is rare, 
so we had a fun time wandering around and admiring the boats.
Marina water is always nice and still, good for reflections.
An occasional boat came in or out, and there was a harbor seal 
hanging around too. As an added bonus, we got those great popcorn clouds!
(They might show up again on the blog in a post or two!)
Linking to Weekend Reflection.

Monday, July 24, 2017

San Juan Sunset


Just before sunset on San Juan Island, this weathered Pacific Madrone with its cool red bark
is really lit up by the setting sun.

Friday, July 21, 2017

View from the Lighthouse

View from the Lime Kiln Lighthouse tower on San Juan Island. For a look at the lighthouse, see my post from Wednesday titled San Juan Island. I've got plenty more reflection photos from our trip to San Juan Island last weekend; it is an island after all, and I can hardly stay away from reflection photos as it is! But for today's Weekend Reflection I decided to go with the reflection on the wonderfully wobbly glass panes of the lighthouse tower. It's a bit confusing maybe, but intruiging to me. The sunset light is reflected, along with the smaller sized diamond window frame. The shoreline is visible through the glass in view. For more island reflection images, check back throughout the next week or so.
Linking to Weekend Reflections.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

San Juan Island

Lime Kiln Lighthouse on the western side of San Juan Island.
Historical info on the lighthouse found at this link: Lighthouse Friends.
I was interested to read that a Spanish explorer named the islands San Juan and Orcas in honor of his benefactor, a Mexican Viceroy by the name of Juan Vincente de Guemes Padilla Horcasitas y Aguayo (Orcas coming from Horcasitas, which suggests that Orcas whales are named for the island, where they can often be spotted, and not the other way around! 

Friday, July 7, 2017

Bandon Sunset

Sun setting behind the rocks, with the light filtering through.
Beautiful ending to a beautiful day.
Linking to Weekend Reflections.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Sunset Perch

Our first sunset in Bandon, we headed down the beach toward Face Rock, arriving a few minutes before the sun would set. Fellow photographers were lurking around every rock. I especially appreciated this guy, scrambling up an outcrop to stake out a high ground position above the rest of us. He stayed there for as long as I was on the beach. His rocky compatriot, the seagull on a distant chimney rock, took flight just as the sun was setting. I thought the two of them made a great pair.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Footprints

Change of pace for today, something more abstract. 
This was from our first evening at the beach, walking to Face Rock just before sunset. 
The sun was so low in the sky that the light sand ripples looked like zebra stripes. 
I think the tracks are probably from a playful pup, maybe even my own dog Clover. 

Friday, June 30, 2017

The Legend of Face Rock

This section of the beach in Bandon is named for Face Rock, which comes with a legend: Many tribes had gathered at the beach for a big potlatch to honor the gods. The visiting tribes were warned of an evil spirit in the ocean. But the daughter of a mountain tribe didn't listen. By the light of the moon, she snuck to the ocean with her dog, and her basket of baby racoons (I've also heard kittens, but I like the idea of a basket of racoons).  She was enticed into the glimmering water, swimming out further and further in the moonlight, her dog barking frantically.  Suddenly a black shadow passed over the moon, and the evil spirit of the water grabbed hold of her, her basket of racoons, and her trusty dog. The next morning the tribes looked in vane for the girl. As the mist cleared, a series of rocks became visible in the water: the daughter, her face gazing toward the setting moon, the basket of racoons (there is a rocky outcropping just to the right of her, I hadn't heard the legend when I took this shot or I would have included it), and her dog barking on the shore (I'm not sure which rock this would be, but it doesn't looks like I got that one either). It's a good legend, I think, with all the proper lessons: healthy fear of the water, listen to your wise elders, and the moon has something to do with the tide. That's it in summary. If you're interested in reading more detailed (and better written) versions, an online search should provide you with some entertaining reading.
Linking to Weekend Reflections.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Doorway to Cathedral Rock

Cool passageway through this rock, with a glimpse of the much larger rock outcropping called Cathedral Rock. My son found a web of tunnels and passages through Cathedral Rock and had fun mapping it out during low tide. So much to explore at this beach in Bandon, Oregon.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Tide Pools

It was a half mile walk down the beach from our hotel to Face Rock, and because the labyrinth drawing always coincides with low tide (and we were heading to the labyrinth), we got to see lots of interesting tide pools along the way.  The biggest tide pools form around the rock formations, but these little pools had such an interesting pattern and texture that I wanted to include them in a beach scene. 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Dunes Grass

Our walk to the beach in Bandon included a short hike through the dunes.  This super soft, clean sand and dunes grass reminded me so much of where I grew up, on the southern shore of Lake Michigan.  So in addition to being a breathtakingly beautiful beach, it also felt a bit like a homecoming to me.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Back to Bandon

Just returning, relaxed and refreshed, from a family vacation in Bandon, Oregon. 
Warning: at a photo a day, this could be a long series!
For starters, Friday's beach labyrinth washing away with the tide.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Mt. Adams farmstead

Another view of Mt. Adams from my trip to Trout Lake last weekend, this time from the edge of an old farmstead. According to a sign at the entrance, the farm dates back to the turn of the 20th Century. I suppose the wetland area in the foreground is merely the result of heavy rains that came through a few days earlier and soil tending toward clay. It's probably all dried out by now. Glad it was there during my visit because it gave me a chance to frame a reflection of the mountain.
Linking to Weekend Reflection.

Monday, June 19, 2017

On the Horizon

Well it's starting to look like summer in the gorge! I don't get to photograph Mt. Adams very often. It's barely visible from my town, and even then only from the higher elevations. Of the three volcanoes near the Columbia Gorge, Mt. Hood and Mount St. Helens are mainly what we see. But on Saturday we were in Trout Lake, gateway town to Mt. Adams, and the weather was 'picture perfect'! So of course I made time for some photography as we drove through. As an added bonus we had so much snow in the mountains this year, Mt. Adams is still almost completely covered, with summer only days away.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Standing Watch

Such a beautiful, weathered Ponderosa Pine along the bluff line at Catherine Creek. 
The morning light on the trunk is what caught my eye and stopped me in my tracks.  
What a lucky tree to have such a beautiful location to spend its days!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Mystery Plant

Also from my walk at Catherine Creek. This is mystery plant must have a larger clustered flower when it's blooming. The seeds caught my eye, because they are as big as sunflower seeds, and really pretty!  The plant has leaves like dill. Maybe some sort of wild dill or maybe fennel? It would help to have visited last month when the flower was blooming.  Or to have rubbed the leaves a bit to see if they had a strong scent. (I didn't think of that until now.) I searched on a great database-type website for Catherine Creek flowers, linked here. Any ideas?

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Busy Bee

An industrious little honey bee caught midflight as he pollinates bachelor's buttons (Centaurea cyanus) at Catherine Creek earlier this week.  It's a good metaphor for my month, so busy... I see I haven't posted since May 22nd!  But things are finally settling down again after a family visit, tons of yard work, a short but nasty spring cold, and a long overdue update to my website. It's not flashy, but I've done all the design and update myself so I'm proud of it.  As for the wildflower and honeybee image, it's one of several that I will share from my trip to Catherine Creek last week.  I made the visit on my way to pick up the 2018 calendars in Hood River.  Very exciting!  I'll get a new Amazon link for the calendars up this week. And in the meantime, I hope to get a little busier with the photography and blogging, and get caught up on all the blogs I'm following. 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Eight Mile Creek

Ok, no creek visible in this photo, but Eight Mile Creek cuts through the Dalles Mountain Ranch, and it's pretty easy to follow its route. Just look for the line of White Oaks and other trees supported by the creek as it meanders through the otherwise treeless terrain. 

Friday, May 19, 2017

Snag Reflection

I thought this was a pretty interesting tree snag reflection at Round Lake in Camas. 
I was thinking the photo might look too busy, but I have to say I don't mind it at all. 
Linking to Weekend Reflections.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

White Camas Lily

While I was still in the camas field, photographing the chocolate lily in yesterday's post, the same wildflower couple called to me to point out a white camas lily. They informed me that each year they have a competition to see who will find the first white camas. This year the wife won. If only I could photograph faster...I could have followed them through the park and photographed all their finds! 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Chocolate Lily

Fritillaria lanceolata (Perhaps) 
I wasn't even aware of this lily until a couple of wildflower hikers pointed it out a few weeks ago in Camas. I saw lots later in the week at Memaloose Trail in Oregon, but they were fading fast at that point. Next year I need to remember to look for them at Memaloose in late April. 

Monday, May 8, 2017

Razor Clam Dig

Taking a break from spring wildflowers to post a clamming photo from two weekends ago.  This was only our second trip clamming at Long Beach; the first time wasn't nearly this crowded.  This time happened to be the last open weekend of the season, coinciding with a clamming festival, plus an increase in max harvest from 15 to 25 clams per person. So the beach ended up crowded like a sunny summer day. We thought it would be a good idea to go during the festival because there was going to be a clamming demonstration (and we weren't that good at it the first time, so we needed some instruction!)  We never saw the festival demonstration though.  We didn't need it with so many demonstrations going on along the beach.  I'm happy to say we had success, although not nearly as much as the locals.  They all have a mesh bag hanging off their waist to hold their clams, so it's real easy to see how many clams someone has found.  The tool involved is called a clam gun. It's not really a gun, just a hollow tube with handles. Once you spot a clam (and this is usually a dimple in the sand that develops when you stomp or pound around), then you push the clam gun deep into the sand and pull it back out, extracting a tube of sand that you sift through, and hopefully find a razor clam inside.  It's a bit of work, especially on a crowded day like this when the beach is picked-over. But the clams are so tasty, and it's fun to work for your supper like that!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Balsam Root

Balsam root flower
hiding in a field of grass
favored by the sun.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Sunrise

First light on the balsam root flowers last week at the Dalles Mountain Ranch.
It took surprisingly long from the actual sunrise to the time the sun finally hit these hills. 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Here Comes the Sun

A beautiful sunny day last weekend at Dalles Mountain Ranch, where the lupine and balsam root are blooming on the hillside along the Columbia Gorge.  It's finally starting to feel like spring.
 Very glad to finally warm up at bit and feel the sun on my face!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Windswept

My attempt at photographing the wind.
Balsam Root and Lupine whipping around in the 30mph wind gusts at Dalles Mountain Ranch.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

The Early Bird

 Guess it's true what they say about the early bird getting the worm.
This little bird perched on a fence post just before sunrise at Dallas Mountain Ranch yesterday.
Which makes me an early bird too, although it was so very windy, windy at the ranch that I had to wonder if my early morning efforts were worth it. I drove into the gorge to photograph wildflowers. Not so easy in the wind. Reminding myself that getting up early and watching a beautiful sunrise is its own reward. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Avalanche Lily

 Avalanche Lily (Erthronium montanum), such a delicate little flower blooming 
deep in the woods at Lacamas Regional Park in Camas. 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Good Girl

Clover on a hike, ready for her closeup.
She's been on enough photo shoot hikes to know to wait while I'm photographing.
So she gets a great sense of 'Mission Accomplished' standing guard for me.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Paper Pulse

Hybrid Cottonwoods leafing out at a tree farm in Clatskanie.  
It's a six year cycle from seedling to paper pulp.  
Trees as a renewable resource are big business in the Pacific Northwest.

Friday, April 14, 2017

A Beautiful Spring Day

We've got some perfect spring weather today.  Our forecast calls for showers throughout the day.  That means sunglasses, and an umbrella, and probably a few rainbows. 
 A great day to celebrate the 7th Anniversary of 45 Journal!
Linking to Weekend Reflections.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

In Balance

Won't be long until these woods are covered in leaves,
but for now they look like an early spring barcode.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Harbinger

 Grass Widows (Olsynium douglasii) blooming on the bluffs overlooking the Columbia Gorge. 

Friday, March 24, 2017

Skyview

Drove through downpours the entire way into the gorge today.  We were dressed for the weather; rain boots, rain coats, camera cover.  But as often the case around Hood River, the weather changed.  Ah, sunshine!  I almost forgot what it felt like! (At least the rain boots came in handy!)
Linking to Weekend Reflections.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Bright Side

We've been blessed with an abundance of rain this year, and the moss is at its greenest. 
Hopefully this will mean a bumper crop of wildflowers this spring too. 

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Forest Veiled View

What an Interesting web of wispy green branches 
in the understory of this Douglas Fir-Big Leaf Maple forest.
 And so many of last year's maple leaves caught in the web, suspended mid-fall. 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Origami

Snow yesterday! Hard to believe, but big flakes starting falling in the morning, and at the point that they started sticking, I figured that Clover and I should hurry to the park to photograph the witch hazel. I have a strong suspicion it was blooming during our January snows, branches in the bottom right of the image we're done blooming at the point I found the tree, and I was sorry to miss seeing the blooms covered in snow. Of course by the time I got to the park, the snow had ended and a drizzly rain began. I decided, based on my recent idea that this witch hazel is a Japanese variety (Hamamelis japonica), to try for an image that looks like a floral origami paper. So that's the theme today.


Monday, March 6, 2017

Torii


Thinking some more about the witch hazel plant I found in the park last week, in my post Witch Hazel (2-25-17). First, I did buy myself the Chinese Witch Hazel (Hamamelis mollis) plant for sale at Yard and Garden Land.  It's nice, and blooming beautifully, but I can tell that it's not the same as the witch hazel in the park.  My little plant has smaller blooms, downward facing, straighter branches, and is faster growing. It got me wondering if the tree in the park was a Japanese Witch Hazel (Hamamelis japonica), and that got me thinking about an old gate not too far from the witch hazel plant.  I think it's a Japanese torii, Shinto gate, and was part of the old homestead that used to be on this land.  I think the witch hazel, the gate, and a small dammed up pond are all that is left of the original home.  I searched around the area for a foundation but can't find anything or even guess where the home would have been located.  But given that the gate is Japanese, that also makes me think that the plant is Japanese.  One thing is for sure, Japanese or Chinese, it's a very old cultivar, and not one that can be purchased in nurseries these days.  I took a small cutting, and bought some rooting hormone, to try to propagate it.  Evidently witch hazels are not the easiest to grow from cuttings, but I'm following the instructions carefully, and I'll know in a few months if I succeeded or not.  In the meantime, my next step is to check the county records to find out who lived here, when did they build, when was it torn down, etc.  To be continued...

Monday, February 27, 2017

Water Colors

One of the things about a really rainy month (I'm pretty sure we've broken the local record for rainiest February) is that things look more colorful when they're wet. I normally see February as a very uncolorful month, just dark green, rust, and the peridot color of our moss in winter. But this year with our nearly constant rain I can't help noticing all the subtle colors that I've been overlooking. Tree trunks, branches, and underbrush have been an ongoing motif this month as I've explored this color theme. Today's image wasn't made in the rain, but on a very foggy morning this weekend, and the fog really softened all the colors so it reminded me of a watercolor.  I've probably photographed this group of trees on five different occasions this month, but the very cold, damp, and foggy light on Saturday gave me my favorite palette.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Witch Hazel

I stumbled upon this fabulous yellow blossomed tree in the park this morning.  Blooming several weeks before the Forsythia, and based on the flower, my first guess would have been Witch Hazel, except I thought it bloomed in late fall.  Some sleuthing ensued.  First at the NatureScaping plant sale, where the park environmentalists guessed some sort of Chinese ornamental.  I told them it was growing in the wild, and they told me that this area of the park was reclaimed from an old home, built in the early 1900s, that was sitting in the flood plain.  So the tree, or maybe its ancestor, was planted at this home a long time ago.  On my way home I made a stop at Yard and Garden Land for some supplies, and sitting at the entrance to the nursery was my little yellow blooming tree: Chinese Witch Hazel! Mystery solved.  As of this morning I'm obsessed with this plant. I want to go back and buy it.  I love the idea of cheery yellow blossoms in the winter. But where to plant it?  I should wait this year and give it some thought, maybe...

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Green Around the Edges

 
A hint of green, mainly along the edges of this creek which has spilled over its banks with all our rain this month. I'm anxiously awaiting the arrival of spring right now. Snow is forecast again for tonight, but I'm skeptical; after the meteorologists missed our big storm in January, any possibility of snowfall is overhyped. If I wake up tomorrow and there is snow, I will be really surprised. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

More Rain

So far this month we've had over 9in of rain, which is about 6in above average. I read in the paper this week that our February record is 11in, so I think there's a chance we might break the record. Guess that's good news for practicing with my camera rain cover, which I got to use again today. The cover is shaped like a capital letter T. The camera zips inside, with an opening at the bottom of the T stem for the lens and openings at either ends of the cross bar for your hands to fit in and operate the camera. It's a bit clumsy to work with, but a lot easier than trying to hold an umbrella in one had and work the camera with the other. It turns out there is a Velcro strip around the lens opening, so it can be secured snugly, so I had no trouble with the cover wandering into my shots today. This scene is from the edge of the "field" near my house where Clover and I walk. It's wooded at one end, and this portion includes an interesting double row of cedars planted tightly together, and is nearly overrun with ivy. I don't know the history of the plot, but suspect the cedars were planted around the border of an old homestead, and the ivy was perhaps planted along the edge of the home. Purely speculation. Ivy is horribly invasive, but I have to say I always think it looks pretty in this little woods, especially today completely waterlogged with all our rains.