eclipsed

I went down to a friend’s farm to shoot the eclipse the other day, along with Hudson Henry and his eclipse workshop students. We had a blast hanging around all morning, waiting for totality, which was so worth getting up at 4:30 in the morning for.

(I posted this on Instagram and Facebook, but those sites really compress photos, so I decided to repost it here. Click on the photo to see it larger.)

morning on waldo lake

waldo-lake-reflections

Part of our travels this past September included our annual trip to Waldo Lake. East of Eugene and south of Bend, Waldo is one of our special places, and it is remote enough that there is no cellular coverage, which suits us fine. This year, we spent a week there with the Casita, living off the grid, hiking, chopping firewood, and enjoying the forest.

I love photographing the lake, especially at the beginning of the day, when the overnight winds have calmed, the mists are clearing, and portions of the shore become bathed in sunshine while others linger in the shadows.

Next year, I need to figure out how to get the tree on the left a bit further into the frame without reducing the left side of the image to a mush of trees (which is what it is).

Click the image to see it larger. You can find last year’s Waldo Lake photos here; the group includes one of my all-time favorites–and a rare black and white photo from me.

 

sunset, hart mountain

hart-mountain-sunset

Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge is a rather unbelievable place, 422 square miles of wilderness tucked deep in the southernmost part of Oregon, at 4,000 feet. It is primitive and magnificent, and we were fortunate to spend a week there in September, among the antelope, coyotes, birds, jackrabbits and more. It is definitely a place worth exploring — and revisiting.

I took many photos, but few of them seem to capture the raw beauty of the place.

(There’s a little more about the trip over on our trip blog, if you’re interested.)

 

 

susan, at the hot springs

On our recent travels, Susan and I visited hot springs both at Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge and the Alvord Desert. The springs at Hart were pretty crappy  — they looked like they hadn’t been cleaned in, like, ever — but the Alvord Hot Springs (good info here, on SoakOregon) were quite delightful. So wonderful, in fact, that we went a couple of times.[1.If you look at recent comments on the Web about the Alvord Hot Springs, you’ll see plenty of people complaining about the fact that the new owners of the springs charge $8 for a soak (24 hours of access to the pools, actually, or free with camping on their site). I never visited the old springs, but there were lots of old complaints about them being dirty and disgusting. Today, these springs are hot, clean and peaceful. It was worth the $8, in my opinion.]

I love this shot of Susan, looking out on the desert landscape, with my iPhone, once again. I have a bunch of good ones that I shot inside the springs, but this is my favorite.

The photo reminds me that part of our purpose when we set out on our travels this year was to find a few special places and new experiences. It’s been a great year, and I’m glad to have this memory (and the photo) as part of it.

An edited version this photo appeared in my Instagram feed a bit ago…

(As always, click the photo to see it larger.)

yet another larch mountain sunset (panorama)

larch-sunset-2016-panorama

One of my favorite places in the Portland area is Larch Mountain. I’ve been photographing there for years at all hours of the day, and one of the things I love is spending a sunset atop the mountain. Despite the small platform at the summit, Larch often has a party atmosphere at sunset, especially during the summer. That’s where my pal Duncan and I first met the wonderful Hudson Henry, and I’ve witnessed marriage proposals, champagne toasts, and what seems like a million photographers while on the mountain.

When I first went to Larch, it bugged me that this big rock got in the way of the sunset, but once I discovered the wonder of the silhouette, I was hooked on looking west at least a few times while shooting Mt. Hood off to the east. And, despite the fact that a silhouette is a silhouette is a silhouette, I keep seeing different sides to them, as with this shot.

This is a three-shot panoramic merge of an iPhone 6s photo, and it’s better than anything I shot with my Sony A7RII that evening. A lot of tines, the phone will blow out the highlights in a sunset, but I seemed to get the light at the right time, while playing with the exposure.[1. While framing your image, click and hold to lock focus and exposure on the brightest spot, then drag down to lower the exposure a little bit.] I’m continually amazed at how many of my favorite shots from the past year have come from that pocket camera. (I’ll have another in a day or so.)

Click on the image above to see it bigger. See my other Larch Mountain shots.

cathedral in the forest

canopy

Spent a beautiful afternoon hiking along the Salmon River (outside of Welches, Oregon) last week. The trail, part of the Mt. Hood Wilderness, meanders along the river through a forest full of old-growth trees, something you don’t see a lot of out here. All afternoon, I was taken with the dance of sunlight and shade above me, and spent most of my camera time shooting directly up.

waldo sunset (nos. 1 and 2)

630-pm-waldo-lakeSusan and I went back to Waldo Lake this past weekend with the travel trailer; she in need of a connection to one of her sacred places, and I in search of foliage, woods and water. (We also wanted a good shakedown cruise with the trailer before winter sets in.) It was beautiful most of the time we were there, and with evening temperatures in the low 30s, we were glad for the heat and comfort of our new little house.

Photographically, I didn’t find much: we were at 5,500 feet, and most of the trees were evergreens, although there were stretches of vividly colored scrub brush sprinkled around the lake. In addition, the wind also kept the lake fairly choppy, which was disappointing, given how calm it was when I was there in late August.

I lucked out the last day we were there, as the winds died down and the late-afternoon skies had the promise of a spectacular sunset. Ultimately, however, the infamous “Kloskowski effect” wiped most of the clouds from the skies at about 6 pm. (“Damn you, Matt!”) Not long before the sun dropped below the horizon, I thought about returning to camp, but I told myself that it was worth the exercise of composing and exposing. It was also a beautiful night, regardless of the photo op, and when I did go back to the trailer, I came away with two images that I liked, taken about 30 minutes apart.

The first one was taken at 6:30, and there were some gorgeous pinks and blues in a small group of wispy clouds that had remained on the horizon (to the left of the setting sun). With the calm lake in the foreground, I underexposed a stop, to get some deeper color, and I ended up with what you see above.

I liked what I saw on the screen of my camera, and I kept shooting, but the best shots were still those first ones, so I started packing things up a little bit before 7 pm. The clouds had dispersed and there was only a fairly generic yellow glow where the sun had gone down, but the lake was still calm, and the blues of the skies were starting to contrast quite beautifully with the greens (and colorful scrub brush) of the pines along the shore. I ended up taking this shot (below) at 7:03, overexposing slightly to pick up some of the color in the trees.

7-pm-waldo-lake-2

 

It always amazes me how much the skies can change in hue in the space of an hour (or less) at sunset, and it was good that I kept at it. I’m not sure which photo I like better, but I am glad I at least stuck to my guns: I walked out of the woods with something.

clearing mist, waldo lake

waldo-lake-original-pano-bw

Recently, Sue and I spent some time camping at one of her favorite places, Waldo Lake. It’s a lovely part of Oregon, and we had a few beautiful days roaming around the lake. On this morning, the lake was beautiful and calm, with a gorgeous sky, albeit one with many contrails from the planes overhead–we can’t seem to miss that.

This two-image panorama was stitched in Lightroom CC and processed in black and white in the new ON1 Photo 10 app, which is coming soon. (Click on the images to see them larger.)

The color version is below. The panorama was exported at 6,000 pixels wide, but the iPhone shots are the originals. What’s interesting to me when I look at them is how painterly the leaves on the trees are. from a distance, the image looks very sharp. Close up, however, the leaves aren’t that at all. I don’t think this makes the image any less good; it’s just an interesting perspective.

waldo-lake-original-pano-color

 

 

 

larch sunset (2015)

larch-sunset-2015Sunday was my first time up Larch Mountain this year. It’s always a lovely thing to do, that 14-mile ride through the forest, followed by the short, slightly steep walk up to the top of the mountain. A lot of nights, it’s like a party, especially with a beautiful sunset like this one.

Of course, as much as I love the silhouette shots, it really makes me nervous to see the kids scampering up on the rocks, especially when they appear to have been imbibing (or smoking) something. One of the days, I fully expect to hear about a mishap up on Larch.

Click the image to see it full-size. And don’t forget about this guy, who I met first atop Larch back in 2012.

sunrise, hood river overlook

sunrise-ruthton-overlook

I’ve been shooting this vista for a couple of years now, and have long wanted to get out there at sunrise. I’ve had this mental image of the sun kissing the tops of the trees in the orchard, creating a magical light that would provide a lovely contrast to the river and the sky.

I was also pretty sure it wouldn’t really be like that, and when I finally was able to get out there, it turned out the sun was coming from completely the wrong angle at this time of year. And, there wasn’t much of a sky. Or, at least an interesting sky.

Somehow, though, there was something there to shoot. It still might not be the right shot, but it didn’t turn out half bad in the end.

where is this?