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

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Swiss Cheese

Maybe it's because it's almost New Year's Eve, and we always make cheese fondue to celebrate, but these alder leaves reminded me a bit of Swiss cheese. It looks like they were tasty back in the day! And they have arranged themselves in such a nice grouping, probably to ride out the winter.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Winter Light

Coming back from our annual Christmas tree harvest outing in Gifford Pinchot last week. The light was so perfect all day. No time to photograph with the whole family along, but I got a quick pit stop along the Columbia on the way home, just before the sun set. 

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Late November

Morning fog then sun, and lots of leaves still on the poplar or alder...not sure which. 
I'm really loving this month!

Friday, November 16, 2018


Fall seems to be lasting extra long this year, mild and on the dry side, which is the forecast I heard. Something about a warm water "blob" in the Pacific Ocean. Of course oak trees are notorious for holding their leaves, but it's not just the oaks. Lots of leaves yet to drop! I think we will be raking in December. This pretty little grouping of Oregon oaks is in a park along the Washington side of the Columbia. 

Sunday, October 28, 2018

On the Trail

 Hazel and I are finally venturing out a bit beyond our neighborhood.  She is still learning to walk on a leash, but she is much better about it when we are off the sidewalks and on a trail. Since trail-walking is my preference too, I'm alright with that for now. We have started doing my old walk with Clover, through a field and small woods not far from the house. As you walk through the edge of the wooded section, through some large fir trees, the lighting causes the leaves to glow like stained glass on the tree photographed here.  I photographed it once before with Clover, but didn't know what kind of tree it was. Since then we discovered hazelnuts growing on it. So this year I can report that these are Hazelnut leaves. Seems fitting. I can already see that sometimes Hazel is going to get that nickname, and I think it's a good one.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018


Sorry to not have any fall photos to be posting, but this little pup is keeping me pretty busy these days! A milestone day today, she is three months old and weighing in at 12 lbs.  And she learned fetch, which was a lot of fun and wore her out quite well! I got to practice with continuous auto focus to try keeping her in focus while she was running...not a camera feature I normally bother with. I love her earnest expression, which is typical for her. Hoping to get out for a walk in the woods soon, so maybe I will have something else to post this week. 

Friday, October 12, 2018

Here She Is!

I've had several comments asking for a photo of Hazel.
She's grown a little bit since this was taken,
up from 4 lbs a few weeks ago to almost 8 lbs today.
I don't feel I've quite captured her personality yet...
she's a good bit more spunky than this photo suggests.
But I decided I had better post this one anyway because she will probably 
outgrow her puppy cuteness before I get that perfect portrait! 

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Lazy Fall Day

I'm not hiking very far these days...
Sitting along the edge of the creek,
Watching the leaves fall,
While a tired little puppy naps at my feet. 

Sunday, October 7, 2018


Our puppy search is over! Our new family member, Hazel, is a German Australian Shepard mix. She's 10 weeks old and weighs 6 lbs right now. Yesterday she got her first taste of the beach with a short little walk along Cannon Beach. 

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Sunday, September 16, 2018


In recent years we've driven up to Indian Heaven Wilderness in Gifford Pinchot to pick huckleberries for a birthday pie. Last year we went up late in August. Picking was slim, but the leaves were starting to turn red. I decided to try a hike up here in the fall to enjoy the color, and we returned mid-October...only to find the entire area under two feet of snow! Huckleberries start growing around 3500-400 ft. so rain at the lower elevations can mean snow in the mountains. This year we hiked in September, trying to beat the rainy season. We did find some lovely shades of red, especially in the clearings. Hurray! I'd love to get up here again this season; with luck I'll make it back before it snows. 

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Familiar Places

Back to a familiar spot on the WSU trails...quiet, shady little Mill Creek. There's a little foot bridge behind me, and it's just a few steps down the bank before you can dip your toes in the water.  I used to stop here with Clover, especially on hot days so she could get a drink. This was my first trip here without her, which felt really strange. I'm realizing that I spend a lot less time outdoors and also a lot less time photographing since she passed away. It's starting to feel like it's time for a new puppy at our house.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Garden Mascot

Working in the yard today, and noticed this little guy.
Like the ladybug, the praying mantis is a sign of a balanced ecosystem.
I paused and gave thanks with him, then went and got my camera. :)
I tried front and backlit, but opted for the backlit 
because it made the day lily leaf so much more interesting. 
Plus I liked his wing detail and backlit body shape.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Morning Rush

The White Salmon River, originating near Mt. Adams and rushing down to the Columbia River, is a main white water rafting location in southern Washington. Not hard to see why! I was heading back from an early morning trip to Trout Lake and decided to stop at one of the staging areas to check it out. Lucky for me the morning light was making a beautiful reflection on the water! This is my kind of rush hour! :)

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Still Got It

Driving east I saw plenty of the big, newfangled windmills spinning on the hills overlooking the Columbia, but they just don't have the charm of this old guy, toiling away all by himself along the edge of the Palouse. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Mustard with Clouds

 I might have found the last Palouse canola/mustard field that was still in bloom! Other than the colorful patches this scene is little empty of subject matter...I was trying to stay away from the red barns, and guess I overdid it a bit...but this is mainly what you see driving through the Palouse so in that way it's quite a good representation of the region. Structures of any kind are very few and far between. Rolling fields and rolling clouds as far as they eye can see. 

Saturday, June 30, 2018

White Barn

I was out visiting in the Palouse a few weeks ago.  From my few early springtime trips, I have come to know the region for its green fields and red barns.  And for mid-June it was actually still quite colorful, with fields in all stages of growth and harvest.  But there were also plenty of fields like this one, prepping for another round of planting.  I don't typically pay attention to the bare fields, but this one caught my eye with the graphic white barn and telephone poles.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Easy on the Eyes

Well, here's a new salad at our house!  I've got hanging baskets of nasturtiums on my front porch this year, so I didn't have to venture far to clip these edible flowers to garnish our salad today. I learned that nasturtium blossoms (and leaves) are edible, and that they are a good source of lutein which is protective for the macula.  So these flowers are not only cheery and beautiful to look at, but they are actually good for your eyes as well!  Of course to get the amount of lutein provided in one 45mg capsule supplement, you would have to eat 100g or about a 1/2 cup of blossoms. But they are still a fun addition to the table, and pretty tasty too! Flavor opinions varied in my family, but we all thought the first flavor you taste is somewhere between lettuce and cucumber, and they finishing flavor is more peppery or like a radish. 

Monday, May 28, 2018

The Bee's Knees

Here's an up close look at a Bachelor's Button with a busy little bee, taken with my macro filter and 50mm lens set to f/1.8.  I did crop a bit off the top... I did an awful job framing it because the tiniest movement makes a huge difference and my face was maybe 6 inches from the bee. All the bees were so busy, and they couldn't have cared less about me, but still I felt tense. When I try a closeup like this in the future, I need to remember to use a higher f-stop. It would have been nice to get the whole bee in focus, not just his knees.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Wildflower Season

Bachelor's Buttons are blooming all over the gorge right now.  I visited Catherine Creek a week or so ago, and the fields were full of flowers. Plus, from the looks of this photo, many more on the way.  In between the photo shoot and my finally getting around to looking at the images I visited family in Nashville.  Looking at all the photos this morning makes me feel like I should hurry back out there for another walk early this week.  The blooming starts at the lower elevations by the Columbia River, and continues up in elevation over the course of the spring and summer.  Lower elevation walks are the easiest...otherwise there is a long drive involved or a difficult hike with elevation change. 

Monday, May 14, 2018

Wild Rose

Beautiful wild rose bush on my walk this morning! And by a lucky fluke I had my macro lens in my camera bag. I never carry that lens anymore, so I took it as a sign, and searched for the prettiest flower to photograph.

Friday, May 11, 2018

White Camas

One more camas lily closeup from my trip to Lacamas Park in Camas. 
The rare white camas. I spotted four in all the fields, this one being the prettiest. 

Friday, May 4, 2018


Two spring lilies that I like to photograph. 
I've never seen them blooming right next to each other before! 
Camas Lily and Avalanche Lily. 

Monday, April 30, 2018


These Oregon white oaks grow along the edge of Eightmile Creek, which is fed by a freshwater spring in the hills above the Dalles Mountain Ranch. The ranch, otherwise open fields and rolling hills, has occasional ribbons of trees running through it. I didn't realize that the creeks that feed these trees are fed by springs, but it makes sense because the rain here is seasonal and the creeks would run dry in the summer without the springs. 

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Back to the Ranch

Balsam Root and Lupine are blooming this week at the Dalles Mountain Ranch in the Columbia Gorge. And this year, the wildflower season happened to coincide with a warm spell and almost no wind. Last year I visited several times, and was nearly blown off my feet by gale force winds each sunny, mild, and 75 was a real treat!  I walked a loop near Eightmile Creek that wound through some of the thicker patches of blooms. The flowers are fickle, tending to cover some hills and leave others bare, and that has caused me some trouble with wide-angle landscape photos in previous years. I decided to really focus on landscape shots during my trip.  And maybe I overdid it a bit, because I realized once I got home that I actually don't have a single close-up photo to show for my shoot. I do like this scene though, because it shows the rolling hills and patches of flowers, and the beautiful weather.

Friday, April 20, 2018


Well, I'm finally coming out of hibernation...such a long absence on the blog!  My last photo was snowy, and this scene in eastern Washington (somewhere between Richland and Walla Walla) looks like early summer.  We're actually still in spring here, and it's been an overcast, rainy, and colder than usual spring which is why I've not been out with my camera much.  I think that's about to change because we've got sunshine all week so wildflowers should really start blooming soon!  As for today's photo...I can't resist an occasional puffy cloud, cheery sky photo.  And when I was in eastern Washington earlier this week it was still gloomy and drizzly west of the gorge, so this sunshine was something to savor! It also happened to be super windy, which shows a bit on the crops that are all bending in the wind.  Sorry to not know what is growing here; I forgot to take a close look. At the time I was more interested in the wheat growing along the edge of the field; leftover from last season, and the fact that the "soil" seemed to be mostly sand.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Sunrise Moulton Falls

Another angle of the Lewis River (north fork) at Moulton Falls, taken on the snowier day. This one gives a better idea of how the river moves, swiftly through the small canyon it is carving. The river bend at the footbridge (90 degrees to my left) is a rather sharp S-shape, and a large portion of that S curve is fairly shallow, the river having cut more deeply on one side than the other. This allows for the outer bend to give off a nice glassy, reflective surface. I had a hard time with this shot. I think it comes at you a bit too much, but the canyon is narrow here, and I had to frame it that way to get the sunlight reflection on the tree tops. So it's a bit extreme, I think. But it's got a nice frosty feel to it.  When we get snow, it tends to be a warm, wet snow that clings to branches, with temperatures hovering around 32-33 or even slightly higher. So it wasn't really that cold of a day, even at sunrise. The frostiness is a bit deceptive; unless our temperature dips into the 20s (a rare event) it's always more damp than cold.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Moulton Falls, Version 2

So this is the other Moulton Falls photo, which was taken after our first snowfall. We got several inches, and so I headed out to Moulton Falls mid-morning thinking that the roads would be cleared. The driving was still pretty slow because Lucia Falls Rd. runs along the river so it's damp and shady. And even though the elevation is rising as you drive, for some reason (which I still can't figure out) the snow cover got lighter and lighter. And once I got to the falls there was hardly any snow on the ground! Still, the morning light was really nice. I've tried photographing here in the fall and the morning light is harsh and the fall color not great. This light was really ideal. Soft and clear. I love the glacial blue water on this day, and the softer, more painterly light. I redid the trip after our second snowfall because I heard that the snow was heaviest in this area, and because I didn't like where I had placed the little foreground tree. I thought it intersected awkwardly with the bridge. So when I went back on the snowy day, I moved further to the right (which required that I literally be a tree-hugger to get the composition for the snowier version). Now I'm not sure which composition I prefer. 

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Moulton Falls

Finally, we got some snow! And just when I was starting to think we weren't going to have a winter this year. I had two local spots I've been waiting to visit in the snow if it ever came. One was the Witch Hazel blooming in the park, but turns out it's done blooming already (it is practically spring here; crocuses blooming, daffodils about to bloom, the forsythia even starting to bloom), so that one was a strike out. The second was the foot bridge at Moulton Falls, which thank goodness was successful (bridges being a good bit more permanent than winter blossoms!). I have a few different versions of it, because we've had several little batches of snowfall this week. This one is the snowiest, and maybe the prettiest. I'll post another version tomorrow. Moulton Falls is northeast of Battle Ground, heading up the back side of Mount St. Helens. Falls is a bit of a stretch, but the river moves swiftly in the winter and spring. This is the north fork of the Lewis River.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Three Arches

Almost sunrise at Netarts Bay on the Oregon coast. In the distance, sunlight hits the top of Three Arches, and just to the left of the rocks my crabbing boat is visible. They were laying crabbing traps while I was photographing.  I wasn't intending to include the boat in my photo; I didn't even see it at the time. There were four different boats laying traps, and one of them was quite close to me, starting and stopping as they dropped the crab traps, and sending an interesting wake my way. That's what I was focusing on when I took this photo. I'm super happy that my boat got included though. Once the traps were set, then we spent the rest of the morning (slack tide time) checking one pot after another, keeping male crabs that were large enough, throwing back female crabs and crabs that were too small. (Small crabs were measured against a guide, and if their shells were wider than the notch in the guide we could keep them). Each licensed crabber can keep 12 crabs, and since I got a weekend license our boat of four could keep up to 48 crabs. We got 45. Not bad for a morning's work!

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Netarts Bay

Last weekend I had the opportunity to go crabbing at Netarts Bay near Tillamook. The thing about crabbing is its dependent on the tides, and given the tidal conditions on this day I had to get up at 3:30 in the morning! At least that got us to Netarts before sunrise, so that gave me an opportunity to do a little photography while the traps got set. I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed in the uninspiring sunrise light (for the 3:30am effort!) but at least the water was calm, and it was nice to have some sunny weather on the boat.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Winter Lace

Just before sunrise at Netarts Bay near Tillamook, Oregon.  This was my first time out with my camera since before New Year's, and it felt good to get out.  I'll post more about this trip to Netarts in coming days. Today, I want to write about my dog, Clover.  If you've been following my blog for a while, you know that Clover has been my trusty companion on photo shoots. Well, her health began to fail just after the new year, and sadly we lost her this week.  She passed away peacefully, after twelve really great years with our family, and I'm sure going to miss her! If you don't know Clover, you can see her photo in the right-hand side bar (scroll a bit), and also in my top 10 shots of 2017.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Fresh Start

Much as I love the holiday season, I'm always so glad when the new year comes.
I'm not big on resolutions, but I do love the idea of a fresh start...
reassessing, cleaning out, adjusting, and moving forward. 
2018, full of possibilities!