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

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


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


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


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

Friday, March 24, 2017


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


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


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.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Rainy Saturday

At least I got to try out my new camera rain cover. It worked great, except it kept sneaking into the corner of the photo without me noticing. That's what happened with this image, which was composed a bit differently than this, but it needed a good crop to remove the rain cover from the lower left. It was a learning experience. Still, fun to get out in the rain with my camera. Rain coat, rain boots, rain cover for my camera...only my knees got wet. :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Winter Mosaic

  Our mornings have been cold, with a hint of frost, 
but as the day wears on the temperature climbs into the 50s. 
 It still feels like winter, but it also feels like spring wants to begin.  
Maybe because weeds are starting to grow,
or maybe it's just wishful thinking.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Mountain View

We had the perfect combination of light fog and sun this morning for a beautiful pastel sunrise. I photographed from Felida Bridge at sunrise last month after our big snow storm, but didn't include Mt. Hood in that image because the sunrise was too bright. Today we finally got the perfect light. I regret not taking the few extra minutes to find the trail down to the water because there was a really great misty fog hanging over the water and it doesn't show up at all from my vantage point on the bridge. Next time...

Friday, February 3, 2017


Winter storm number 6 (or 7?) thankfully didn't materialize as forecast. 
Snow is so pretty, but for now I've had my fill.  
This image taken a few days after our big storm on January 11th.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017


2017 Pantone Color of the Year, aka winter in the Pacific Northwest. 
(I'm pretty sure one of these mossy tones hits the color exactly, or at least comes very close!) 
I'm glad they picked it; it's a nice fresh color.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Where Photographers Meet

Two mornings in a row I tried photographing Salmon Creek from Felida Bridge at sunrise after our snow storm. And both mornings I wasn't alone. Not many people out on these single digit mornings, but photographers are a bit crazy I guess. There's a great view of Mt. Hood from this viewpoint, and the easy access makes this bridge a popular place to photograph. I found the sunrise to be way too bright though, so a more closeup view of some of the snow and ice for the blog today.

Monday, January 16, 2017

In the Woods

Snow has been clinging to the sides and tops of tree branches for almost a week now, but that will end today as the temperature warms above freezing. I'll be sad to see the snow go, but definitely won't mind it being a bit warmer! 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Ice Sculpture

Snow melting and refreezing on this hilly sidewalk creates an intricate icy sculpture.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Salmon Creek

Our winter wonderland continues today, with temps not getting above freezing.  At least today the roads are clear enough that I can get out in my car. The thermometer in my car registered 11 degrees F when this photo was taken just after sunrise. Our snowy scenery should continue through tomorrow, then rain arrives on Sunday to wash it all away.
Linking to Weekend Reflections.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

North Side

Another look at one of my favorite trees along one of the campus trails. I photographed this tree during our first snow of the year (Whose Woods These Are). Much different light today, with the shadowy snow and the mossy branches in the sun.  Also a large tree fell across the path during the storm, probably from weight of the snow.  It was a very heavy snow!  And neighborhood consensus is that we got 14-15 inches. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Some Snow

We got some snow today! It's still coming down, actually. 
Our forecast was for 1-5in. So far I'd say we've got a foot. What fun! 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Elsa Was Here

We went out of town for a few days this week, and came home to a completely frozen pond!  Thawing a bit with our last two days of rain, but I expect it will completely freeze over again tomorrow with more snow forecast.  I tried photographing it in the completely frozen state, but it wasn't as interesting as this morning's partial freeze.  I think because the pond has a little layer of water on top, so it gives a good reflection, but also looks frozen with the tiny air bubbles.  Clover was sitting on the rocks above the pond, so I got to include her in the image.  Bonus.

Friday, January 6, 2017