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

Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 Year in Review

My 'Top 10' personal favorites for 2017,
plus my usual New Year's blog resolution:
Get out more and take more photos in 2018!

1. Lucky Shot
My favorite of the year because it has so many interesting elements to it, and especially because the heron took flight just as I clicked the shutter release.  I'm not a patient photographer; this was shear luck, and made me very happy!

2. Origami
I obsessed over this old Witch Hazel tree once I stumbled upon it in bloom at a park near my house.  So much so that I bought one of my own (a much newer cultivar) and planted it in my front yard last spring.  I still plan to try to root a branch off this lovely old Japanese variety (Hamamelis japonica). So beautiful that it can bloom in the snow, and I'm currently on watch for when it will start blooming this winter.  

3. Some Snow
One of the beautiful Oregon Oak trees behind my house during our big snow storm last winter. 
I love the fractal patterns in all these branches. Why didn't I use this photo in my 2018 calendar? Maybe I thought it was too abstract? Today I'm really loving it, and I think I'll add it to the short list for 2019.

 4. Creekside
For a babbling brook in Gifford Pinchot, which is a pretty rugged place, this one was especially idyllic. And I love the butterscotchy shade of orange on the trees. 

5. Bandon Sunset 
I like how the light is filtering through the rocks.
Plus this one reminds me of my favorite vacation spot from 2017.
I think Bandon will be an annual trip for us!

6. The Bright Side 
The best shade of moss green I've found.  Electric, almost.

7. On the Horizon
I don't have a lot of opportunity to photograph Mt. Adams, so I was happy to find it in such a pretty vista (and happened to be in search of yellow flowers that day anyway). This was taken close to noon, which is not an ideal time to photograph, and there was a lot of glare, so I used a polarizer. I'm happy overall with how it came out given the harsh lighting I had to work with.

8. Good Girl
My favorite photo of Clover, taken during an early morning hike at Columbia Hills. She paused on a hilltop, just after sunrise, and made that great profile pose. She's so happy to keep me company on photo shoots, and proud to wait patiently as I photograph.  

 9.San Juan Island
 Our other vacation in 2017. I guess I like the composition of this one. And just that it captures the feel of the San Juans so well, from the extra blue light to the lighthouse, to the sailboat and kayaks in the distance. 

10. Field of Dreams
 This slightly windy abstract from Catherine Creek has such a dream like quality to it. And I absolutely love the shade of blue/purple on the Bachelor's Buttons!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Christmas Snow

What a great surprise! We actually got some snow over Christmas!
It started snowing Christmas Eve, and turned a bit icy overnight.  
Luckily we were all home safe and sound, and didn't need to be out driving.
Christmas morning Clover and I went for a walk along our usual route.
Here's my favorite view, frosted with an inch of snow.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Winter Palette

Nature never hurries, yet everything is accomplished. ~Lao Tzu
This quote showed up on my herbal tea tag this week and it seemed like a good reminder for me,
as I was rushing around finishing up Christmas gifts.
Today (even though I was hurrying), I finally got all the gifts in the mail!
And one frosty morning earlier this week, we almost had a beautiful sunrise.  
The sky had a little band of pink, nothing fabulous, 
but it reflected nicely in Salmon Creek.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Waterfall Season

It's that time of year when waterfalls start springing up everywhere.
This unnamed waterfall at the edge of Gifford Pinchot drains into Canyon Creek,
and originates south of Merwin, but we were so close to Merwin at this point
 that it doesn't seem possible for all this water to keep pouring over the edge.  
Where is it all coming from? 
Never ceases to amaze me.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Over the River and Through the Woods

Back when I was a kid (before smart phones and video players in the car) we amused ourselves on long car rides in 'old fashioned' ways, like singing old songs that my mom taught us. 'Over the River' could be sung anytime of year, but of course it got special attention on Thanksgiving Day, as we drove to both sets of grandparents' houses to celebrate.

Over the river and through the woods,
To Grandmother's house we go;
The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh,
Through the white a drifted snow.

Over the river and through the woods,
Oh how the wind does blow! 
It stings the toes and bites the nose,
As over the ground we go.

Over the river and through the woods,
Trot fast my dapple-gray.
Spring over the ground like a hunting hound,
For this is Thanksgiving Day!

Over the river and through the woods,
Now Grandfather's face I spy.
Hooray for the fun! Is the turkey done?
Hooray for the pumpkin pie.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Before The Drop

I liked this maple in my neighbor's yard walking Clover the other day, partly because the woods behind it were such a pretty yellow.  But also because just the right amount of branches were showing.  Really the tree was pretty full of leaves still, but I focused in on the trunk and branches.  The next day when I walked by, all the leaves had dropped!  Funny how some trees lose their leaves so slowly and others drop all at once!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Bread and Jam

I happened to stop along Dog Creek Trail on my way down from Mt. Hood a few weeks ago,
and found it a really lovely little trail!  It's just outside of Mt. Hood National Forest, and the trail is maintained by a mountain bike group.  Not too surprising once you start on the trail; I imagine it would be fun to ride on with lots of good hills and turns for mountain bikers. I of course did most of my photography at the creek. 

Friday, November 17, 2017

Mountain River

I just watched this really great Oregon Experience on PBS titled "The River They Saw...", featuring the works of late-19th and early-20th Century photographers as a way to show how the Columbia used to look, especially before the dams, but also just before so many people were here.  It was absolutely mesmerizing for a photographer, and I know I will watch it a few more times (at least!) Several of the photographers worked in a style popular back then called 'painterly', and this photo of Trout Creek on a misty early morning sort of lent itself to that style. I admit it's a little weak on reflection, other than that great painterly light on the water!
Nevertheless, linking to Weekend Reflections.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Subtle Sign

It's not the strongest rainbow ever, 
but all signs point to a pot of gold in that old barn.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A Good Day

 ...for staying inside and getting things done.
And if you must go out, don't forget your rain boots!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

The Red Leaf

I've commented in previous posts about the fall Vine Maple color in Gifford Pinchot.  I couldn't help noticing that the leaves deep in the forest were a bright yellow,  while the leaves at the edge of the forest or in clearings turned red.  Of course for every rule, there is an exception, and this red leaf (Big Leaf Maple?) was pretty exceptional in my opinion!  Yellow leaves as far as you could look in any direction, and then this one red show off! Just doing his own thing. A true nonconformist.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

It Was November

It was November,
the month of crimson sunsets,
parting birds, deep, sad hymns of the sea,
passionate wind-songs in the pines.
-Anne of Green Gables

Linking to Skywatch.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Big Leaf Maple

Big Leaf  Maple leaves hamgimg on
in a little Poplar grove in Gifford Pinchot.
And another bonus image for reference...
my hiking boots (ehem) women's size US10.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Trout Creek

Trout Creek in the Rain
I'm breaking with my usual protocol today to post before and after images from hikes along the Pacific Crest Trail in Gifford Pinchot. The first was taken during a steady rain, and I ended up cutting the hike short because I was waterlogged and my camera rain cover was all fogged up. I wanted to return as soon as possible, because the fall
Trout Creek After the Rain
color was at its peak and extra vibrant this year, but we had heavy rains and gusty wind for several more days. I came back once the weather cleared, and photographed the same location, and I'm including that 'after the rain' image because the comparison is interesting I think. The second image was taken with a different lens, so zoomed in a bit. Only the two largest mossy boulders are visible in the swollen creek. The Y-shaped tree above broke off, probably struck by that large trunk now lying along the bank. And of course, notably less colorful, especially the reds. Just a few days later, and a completely different scene!

Friday, October 27, 2017

Lucky Bird

A light fog was still lingering over the Lewis River this morning,
perfect feeding time for this heron,
who graciously decided to take flight right as I clicked the shutter release!
Lucky :)
Linking to Weekend Reflections.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017


Such a cute little creek in the Gifford Pinchot forest.  
Last week it was mostly rocks, 
but after a few inches of rain over the weekend 
all the creeks and streams are full.

Monday, October 23, 2017

A Yellow Wood

I mentioned in my previous post, Looking for Red, that the Vine Maples I've been seeing this fall in Gifford Pinchot National Forest are turning red where they are getting more light on the edges of forests or in clearings, and turning yellow deep in the woods where there's less light. Here is an example of yellow, on a section of the Pacific Crest Trail, which threads its way through Gifford Pinchot. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

Looking for Red

I was on a quest for red leaves this past week, driving up to Indian Heaven Wilderness in search of some red huckleberry leaves. No luck there, because snow set in before the leaves could turn. But in the lower elevations the vine maples, which tend to hide in the understory of fir and hemlock forests, are all exceptionally bright this year!  Yellow, deep in the forest, and red along the edge where they get more sunlight. This little guy is growing right on the edge of the forest, all by himself, in order to stand out better I suppose.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Panther Creek

Another version of 'Deep in the Woods', this time in a section of forest just upstream
from Panther Creek Falls (for a post showing the falls click here).

Monday, October 16, 2017

Deep in the Woods

Looks like it's going to be a colorful fall in Gifford Pinchot this year.
Hope the rain coming this week won't spoil it,
And won't bring snow to the mid elevations yet!
We went to Indian Heaven over the weekend, in search of fall color,
but it's already under a few feet of snow :(
And barely driveable in my minivan.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

And Just Like That It's Fall

Sort of unusual for summer to linger into October, but that's the lucky weather we've been having in Southwest Washington this month.  Last week we woke up one day, freezing around the house all morning, before figuring out we needed to turn on the heater!  So sunny and 70s in the day and low 40s at night is how the week has gone.  And yesterday, we even had a little fog!  Exciting only because it's fresh right now.  (I'll be so sick of fog by the end of winter.) Clover and I walked to the little creek on the campus trails to see how it looked in a thin fog.  This involved hat and gloves, although I shed them before the end of the walk.  I liked the light; a thin fog adds just the right amount of diffusion for a photo with some depth.  I'll try this spot again once the Big Leaf Maples really start turning yellow.  (Plus I'm intending to get out with my camera a few times a week, so hopefully more active on the blog this month and next.)

Friday, September 22, 2017

I Spy

A cool snag reflection in Round Lake.
I was looking down on the water from this point.
I think my angle foreshortened the branch and elongated the reflection.
That's why the shapes are so asymmetrical. 
Linking to Weekend Reflections.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Cute Kitten Post

(A.K.A. Low Hanging Fruit)
Look deep into my eyes...
I am so cute. So adorable...
Pay no attention to my mousing practice; my scratching of your furniture and curtains...
My incessant need to try to eat the buttons off your shirt...
Because I am cute beyond belief...
Listen to me purr....(purr, purr, purr)
Love me! Love Me! LOVE ME!

Monday, September 11, 2017


One of the dahlia varieties at Swan Island Dahlia Farm in Canby, Oregon.

Sunday, September 10, 2017


View down the rows at the dahlia farm in Canby, Oregon.
Walking down the long aisle between rows
was so much fun...a seemingly never-ending variety of dahlias!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Huckleberry Patch

It's the end of the season for huckleberries in Gifford Pinchot National Forest.
We found the most berries in this patch, but getting to be slim pickings.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Shadow Play

Hundreds of little eclipse shadows filtering through the trees, as the moon starts to get out of the way.  I read that the tree leaves are working as a pinhole camera, and that this is not unique to eclipse lighting; that we are always seeing little suns in effect, filtering through the tree light, but they show up as round spots which seems rather nondescript.  Could be.  It's something I will try to pay more attention to.  At the very least I would say that whatever light normally filters through the trees looks so usual as to not attract any attention at all.  For me at least. These eclipse shadows were something that we noticed when my family observed a partial eclipse in California a few years ago, so we were looking forward to observing it again this time.  The other thing we noticed, which was also repeated in last week's eclipse, was that you can see individual hairs on your head in shadow.  I wanted to photograph that too, but it seemed like I could only see them as I was walking.  Every time I stopped to take a photo, the detailed shadows disappeared. 

Monday, August 21, 2017


The view from WSU-Vancouver.  I think we were at 99% coverage, 
but the effect was really cool in my camera!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017


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.'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.