morning on the Columbia


Went for a long drive into the Gorge yesterday with Dan, one of my buddies from onOne. The weather had been beautiful here in Oregon over the previous few days, and we had hoped it might hold. There was no agenda; we were just out for a day of shooting, and I thought we might get some decent shots of Mount Adams or Mount St. Helens in all their snow-topped glory. Unfortunately, the beginnings of a classic winter Pacific Northwest storm front moved in, and we were socked in most of the day with crappy skies.

Regardless of the weather though, there’s always plenty to shoot in the Gorge. I was also looking to test the off-road capabilities of my latest camera accessory, which we were able to do, although the mythical Trout Lake was nowhere to be found on the roads we traveled. (A lot of my summer motorcycle roads a currently snowmobile trails, so there wasn’t a lot of off-road opportunity either…)

It was a good day; we drove about 250 miles along both the Washington and Oregon sides of the river, and I got to explore a few new places that will get the ‘revisit’ tag. We shot quite a bit, but true to form, the things I liked the most were the first ones I took, early in the day, before the clouds blew in completely. I owe this shot to Dan, who saw something in the channel as we were driving in this area. I parked to let him hike down for his shot (under the railraod trestle in the distance), and then clambered up over the railroad embankment to steal a few shots of the Columbia. The river was magically calm as daylight arrived; by noon, the usual Gorge choppiness had returned. I’m not completely satisfied with anything I shot yesterday, but this is one take in the right direction. I’ll head back here on a day with the promise of a better sunrise.

where is this?

tulips {forced}


I’ve been off at the Portland International Film Festival for the past two weeks[1. Best movies so far? The Sapphires, Blancaneives and Renoir. I didn’t see Alien Boy, which Liz says is her favorite.
The worst? I beseech you: don’t go see Love, Marilyn.], and, while I have had my camera with me all the time, there haven’t been that many things to shoot or post (the previously posted photo, “flight,” being the exception).

However, in our kitchen there have been the most lovely forced tulips; a gift to Lee from her friend Betty. I don’t recall seeing forced tulips before, but I’m quite in love with them, and it’s been fun to watch them go from shoots of green to full flowers in a short time. They’re just about done, but I keep looking at them every night, and inevitably end up pulling out the camera to try another angle.

Below is one from a bit closer in. A couple of people have told me that they like this one better, although it’s a bit darker:


That said, as much as I love photographing flowers, the film festival ends Friday and I’m ready to get out and shoot something else.

On another note, my friend Duncan posted his review this week of the Sony RX1; if you’ve been intrigued by this camera, the review is well worth reading.[2. You can see a good representative sampling of my images taken with the RX1 over in this Flickr set. You could click the Sony RX1 tag above, but scrolling through the picks is better on Flickr, to be honest.]




I’ve been carrying the RX1 around with me everywhere; it’s such a delightful camera to put in my pocket, and I’m always looking for an excuse to shoot with it. Tonight, around twilight, Liz and I were waiting in line for one of the many Portland International Film Festival movies we’ll be seeing over the next few weeks. While we were there, a murder[1. Yes, that’s what they’re called. Poetic, I think.] of crows numbering in the hundreds swooped and cried around downtown. I loved the juxtaposition of the crows flying with the piano-style look of the museum’s building, and the light was just magnificent: moody, blue and mottled.

And the movie? Ginger and Rosa, from Great Britain. Good. Not great, but it was better than most, and Elle Fanning was very good.[2. Our favorite so far has been A Simple Life, a profoundly beautiful and touching film from China. Well worth watching, if you can find it. There was a write-up of it worth reading in The New York Times last year.] We’ve got two weeks to go — I’ll keep bringing my camera, just in case.

click above to see it bigger — it’s much nicer that way



The light this evening was just beautiful: it was shortly after a hard rain, and the sky was clearing, with alternating bands of sunlight, storm clouds and some blue sky poking through in places. I tried a couple of “straight” shots, but there wasn’t anything that screamed at me when I looked at them on the camera’s LCD.

In the end, I just opened up the lens and kept the focus on the water drops on the windshield. I do love the colors and tones in the result.

sauvie fog, study 4


With the sub-freezing temperatures and the lack of rain, the early-morning fog is back in Portland. This morning, I went back to this location, and spent a short amount of time shooting with both the RX1 and the D800. I got a few nice shots, but, going with the minimalism theme I’ve been working on lately, I give you this, which I got right before I (quite stupidly) almost dropped myself into the Multnomah Channel because I was looking through the viewfinder instead of watching for the edge of the ledge I was walking on.

The fog was a bit thicker than the last time I shot here, but I think I like this a bit more, even if you can’t really discern the opposite shore as clearly as you could in the previous year’s shots. (You can decide, they’re all viewable via this link.)

Regarding the square crop, I love the format, and it’s one of the few things I wish that the Sony and the D800 had as an option. I shot 6×6 twin-lens cameras for quite a while, and there’s something special to me about visualizing a scene as a square. (It’s one of the things that made taking photos with Panasonic’s GF1 and GX1 so much fun; you could pick a 1:1 aspect ratio as one of your shooting options.)

As always, you can see it bigger and check out the waterfowl cruising up and down the channel. He hung out with me most of the time; obviously preferring the photographer over the hunters taking aim at his kin on the north part of the island: it is hunting season out on Sauvie right now.

point of view {2}


Sunset out at the Women’s Forum overlook out in the Gorge. It was about 30°, although thankfully there was no wind. (Same place as this photo, a few months back.)

Shot with the Sony RX1, a camera with which I continue to be amazed. Its compact form, gorgeous lens, and overall usability make it a great camera to walk around with. I sold an old late ’40s classic camera to get this, and I haven’t had any regrets at all about it — the RX1 goes with me everywhere right now, and it’s a joy to use. (Duncan has been working on a review; stay tuned.)

And yes, these things are everywhere…