Archive for the ‘green’ Tag

Single-image Sunday: Mossy Creek   8 comments

Springtime on Alec Creek: Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Washington.

Springtime on Alec Creek: Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Washington.

I found this mossy scene while exploring a creek in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Washington.  This is one of the most amazing of America’s National Forests, huge and full of hidden waterfalls.  The backroad I was on crossed over the creek and I decided it was time for some “creeking”.  Creeking involves getting up close and personal with a stream, looking for mostly small-scale intimate landscapes.  Mostly it requires scrambling over, under and around logs and rocks.  And your feet usually get wet.

In the Pacific Northwest, springtime means the color green will probably dominate the palettes of your photos.  While negotiating a section choked with huge logs, I found this mossy scene.  But it was impossible to shoot without getting very low.  The tripod was a possibility, but a simpler and easier method was just to plop the camera right down on a small shelf of rock on the stream bank, using small pieces of wood to prop the lens up.

The nearest moss was only inches away, so depth of field was a challenge.  I had to focus stack, shooting a few images with focus increasingly further away.  Then in Photoshop I stacked the images together so that in the end I had one with pretty much everything in focus.

In one respect it’s a picture with perhaps too much “stuff” in it.  But in a way it’s also a very simple composition.  It’s definitely not a very standard way to shoot a creek, from the side under a log, with an ultra-low point of view, and with super-close foreground.  I actually have no idea whether it will appeal to anyone other than me, so I’d very much like to know what you all think.  Thanks and have a great week ahead.

Gorton Creek’s Cascades   9 comments

A small falls along Gorton Creek in Oregon's Columbia River Gorge.

A small falls along Gorton Creek in Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge.

Gorton Creek tumbles down one of the formerly not well known little side-canyons in the Columbia River Gorge.  Now, like the Gorge itself, it is fairly popular with photographers.  This verdant place is even on many photo workshop itineraries.  That’s because it’s a short hike in, is very green, and has two lovely waterfalls that are not well visited generally.

Parking at the end of the campground just off the Wyeth exit, a 1/4-mile walk will take you to the first falls, which is so small it has no official name.  The second one, called Gorton Creek Falls, involves either scrambling up along the steep left side of the creek on a user-made path, or hopping rocks and logs along the creek proper, and probably getting your feet wet.  It’s only another 1/4 mile up the creek.

Gorton Creek Falls.

The second method is good if you want to get pictures along the creek, but it’s best to have shoes or sandals that can get wet.  The potential shots are more numerous when water is high, in late winter and early spring.  This year the water is fairly low, which means it’s easier to hop rocks up the creek but harder to get good creek shots (in my opinion).

In fact on this recent visit, for the first time, I didn’t do any creek pictures, only shooting the two waterfalls.  The bottom image is from a previous year, in high spring flow.  The more rain, the greener everything is.  So it’s wise to try and plan a trip to the Gorge during or at the end of a wet springtime.

A long exposure in gathering dusk of Gorton Creek's verdant little canyon.

A long exposure in gathering dusk of Gorton Creek’s verdant little canyon.

Single-image Sunday: A Green Spring   11 comments

Fall's Creek in the SW Washington Cascadesi.  I experimented with several different exposure lengths.  20 sec. @f/22, ISO 200.

Fall’s Creek in the SW Washington Cascadesi. I experimented with several different exposure lengths. 20 sec. @f/22, ISO 200.

 

The Friday Foto Talk this week (you know the one I posted on Saturday!) was about long exposure.  This is one more image, a very simple one I captured along Falls Creek in southwestern Washington’s Cascade Range.  A trail heads up this beautiful creek to a waterfall, one that attracts plenty of photographers & hikers.  It is quite an impressive cascade, even for these parts, during spring runoff.

The big shallow pool pictured is very close to the trailhead.  I stopped on the way up, spending nearly an hour exploring all the compositions.  My exposures were not very long, maybe 2-3 seconds at the most.  When I got back from the falls, the sun was low, and because it was also cloudy not much light was making it into the verdant canyon.  I decided to grab a few more shots, and because of the lower light it was easy to go longer on exposure.

This one was actually my last.  I had been shooting at ISO 100 and the light fell enough to force exposure longer than 30 seconds.  Since I was too lazy to wade back to the shoreline and get the shutter-release cable out of my pack so that I could switch to bulb mode and go longer than 30 seconds, I bumped up to ISO 200 and played with aperture to shoot a few at different exposure lengths.  This one at 20 seconds pleased me the most.  It gave a nice soft look to the water, but not quite as featureless as 30 seconds was.

I also had a polarizer on, but I rotated so that it was only partly reducing reflections from the water surface.  This way it was blocking maybe a bit less than one stop of light.  At the time, I was actually much more concerned with how the light and trees were reflecting off the water than with exposure time.  Composition and how much polarization I used were what I tried to get right, and the exposure time just happened.

But since the water was moving, albeit slowly, the longer 20-second exposure helped to flatten and make the water reflect the surrounding trees more nicely.  On the negative side, the longer exposure and incomplete polarization allowed the little rapids in the back to come out brighter than I really wanted.  A more thorough job on the computer using Photoshop would take care of it.  I can only spend so long on an image before I’m bored of staring at the screen.

It’s the kind of image I’m liking these days, since itshows the subtle beauty of the Northwest well (I hope).  I would appreciate your feedback.  And if you are interested in the image just click on it to get access to the full-size version, with options for print purchases, etc.  If you have any questions or want to work a deal, please contact me.  Thanks!

The Value of Kindness   35 comments

The first image made after the act of kindness, sunset along the Columbia near home.

The first image made after the act of kindness, sunset along the Columbia near home.

Believe it or not this is a photography-related post.  I was recently surprised with a loaner camera!  A person I met through my photography club, someone who went to the same college as I but who I don’t know well at all, saw my situation and took pity on me.  She loaned me her Canon 60D because (she said) it wasn’t really being used.

Now I know plenty of other photographers who have cameras much better than that as backups (they shoot with top of the line cameras).  And I have spent time shooting with these people.  None of them were coming forward after learning of my recent misfortune, losing my camera gear over the waterfall.  This is despite the fact that it would not have disrupted their photography.  This was her only DSLR, she didn’t know me very well, and she made the sacrifice.  That’s real kindness.

Springtime in an Oregon forest.

Springtime in an Oregon forest.

Elowah Creek in Oregon's Columbia River Gorge tumbles down the canyon below the waterfall of the same name.

Elowah Creek in Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge tumbles down the canyon below the waterfall of the same name.

You never learn about kindness except through acts like this.  If someone can afford to do something for another without being put out or inconvenienced; I think it’s nice of them.  But it’s not the same as this.  This is the kind of thing that humbles you and makes you think about your own decisions.  To go through life convincing yourself that you are kind and giving without ever doing something for another that causes you real inconvenience is the same as fooling yourself.

And now I’m searching too hard in my history for times when I have displayed real kindness.  I want to change this.  I want to be able to come up with instances right off the top of my head.  And I’m sure you do too!  The only way to accomplish this is to act when the time is right.  We all know that, but the thing we tend to forget is the happiness and joy that we derive from acts of real kindness.

Spring brings the water flowing down theverdant side canyons (such as Elowah Creek) of Oregon's Columbia Gorge.

Spring brings the water flowing down theverdant side canyons (such as Elowah Creek) of Oregon’s Columbia Gorge.

Pink bleeding hearts bloom in a green Oregon forest.

Pink bleeding hearts bloom in a green Oregon forest.

And so we go along making a flawed calculation; that is, focusing solely on how much inconvenience or pain comes from our decisions.  We forget about the payoff because we don’t experience it very often (if at all).  What I’m saying is that small acts of kindness that don’t cost us anything give us a good feeling, sure.  But it’s nothing compared to the feeling we get when we give something up in our lives in order to give something to another that will fundamentally change someone’s life.  My benefactor did not know me as well as other people did, but she knew enough.  She knew that I didn’t just lose a piece of equipment, I lost the ability to express myself and to share my love of nature and the world.

A spring rainstorm passes over the Columbia River Gorge in the Pacific Northwest.

A spring rainstorm passes over the Columbia River Gorge in the Pacific Northwest.

Spring flowers bloom on Rowena Crest in Oregon.

Spring flowers bloom on Rowena Crest in Oregon.

So she did two important things before the decision to give.  She figured out how much that gift would mean to me, and she ignored the fact that she would be putting aside her own passion for an uncertain amount of time.  When she saw my reaction I could tell right away it was worth it.  She was experiencing the benefit of a genuine act of kindness.  And this is an often-forgotten part of it’s value.  It doesn’t just benefit the receiver.

Most of us know this, but we have to stop and think about it.  We mostly act out of the belief that there are so many who need so much that we cannot possibly give enough.  Maybe if we won the lottery we could give to our heart’s content.  I say this because I know my own mind has fooled me in this way.  I am going to give back to this kind person in an effort to pay her back for her kindness.

Elowah Creek, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

Elowah Creek, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

Oneonta Gorge is tough to access during spring's high water, but it's still my favorite time to visit.

Oneonta Gorge is tough to access during spring’s high water, but it’s still my favorite time to visit.

But I know one thing for sure.  Even if I did nothing for her she would still derive a fundamental benefit from her gift.  And it will make her more likely to do it again in the future.  (By the way, if you’re reading this V, I’m using the word “gift” in a loose manner; I promise to give back your camera!)   The only question for me is, will I pay it forward?  Believe me I’ll be thinking about it.  If the opportunity arises to give when it genuinely costs me something, I hope I’m ready to pony up.

I hope your weekend went well and you have enjoyed these images shot with the loaner camera.  I also hope you’ll consider giving to my campaign in order to speed the return of her camera.  Although I will be giving it back at some point anyway, both her and I would love it to be at the end of this campaign when I am able to buy a replacement for my lost camera.  Also consider re-blogging or otherwise sharing my post The Campaign.  Thanks for reading and thanks so much for your support for my blog.

Michael

Dusk falls over the Columbia River where it flows along the border of Oregon and Washington through its famous gorge.

Dusk falls over the Columbia River where it flows along the border of Oregon and Washington through its famous gorge.

 

Single-image Sunday: Punchbowl Falls   2 comments

Springtime in Oregon is a time of full rivers and waterfalls.

Springtime in Oregon is a time of full rivers and waterfalls.

During spring’s high water flows, it is necessary to get wet to get a river-level view of Punchbowl Falls on Eagle Creek in Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.  Later in the year you can wade up further toward the falls.  This spot is a 2-mile hike in from the trailhead (which is about 40 minutes drive east of Portland on I-84).

Spring Pastures   2 comments

Mount Hood rises beyond rural pastureland in western Oregon.

Mount Hood rises beyond rural pastureland in western Oregon.

Whenever I head out to the barn where my horses are kept I pass through a very pastoral stretch of countryside.  The pictures here are from an area southwest of Portland, Oregon.  It is what the rest of the city’s surrounding areas used to look like before all the development.  For instance, there is a mall and freeway now where in the late 1970s when I first moved here there was country much like you see in these pictures.  But this kind of beauty is still accessible.  You simply have to drive further from town now.

I hope you enjoy the images.  They are copyrighted and not available for free download, sorry.  If you click on an image you will be taken to the high-res. image where purchase of print or download, along with things like mugs and T-shirts, is simply a matter of clicking “add image to cart”.  It won’t be added right away; you will get the chance to see prices and options.  Thanks for your interest, and please contact me if you have any questions at all.  Thanks for visiting!

Khallie the filly enjoys some nice thick green grass.

Khallie the filly enjoys some nice thick green grass.

After a healthy grazing session, Gold Dancer finds all the new spring grass too tempting.

After a healthy grazing session, Gold Dancer finds all the new spring grass too tempting.

The area around Corbett, Oregon grows and glows under a spring sunset.

The area around Corbett, Oregon grows and glows under a spring sunset.

Oneonta Gorge   29 comments

Oneonta Gorge is a lush slot canyon in Oregon's Columbia River Gorge Scenic Area.

Oneonta Gorge is a narrow and verdant canyon in Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge Scenic Area.

This is a lovely canyon that lies not far east of Portland (Oregon) in the Columbia River Gorge.  Being lush, verdant and wet, it offers the kind of scenery and a feeling that is quintessentially Pacific Northwest.   It is Oneonta Gorge, and to explore it requires a bit of an adventurous spirit.

To get there, drive east of Portland into the Columbia River Gorge along Interstate 84.  Keep going past Multnomah Falls and take the next exit (#35, Ainsworth).  Loop around and head back west, turning left at the stop sign on the Historic Highway toward Multnomah Falls.  In fact, an alternative is to travel the Historic Highway all the way out from Corbett (see previous post) past Multnomah Falls and on to Oneonta.  If you take the freeway, all you need to do is drive a couple miles back west along the Historic Highway.  You’ll first come to Horsetail Falls on the left.  Keep going (or stop and take a photo!) for another quarter mile and you’ll see a small tunnel off to the left.  The road does not go through the tunnel.  Cross over Oneonta Creek on a small bridge and pull off at the wide spot just past the tunnel.

Logs are swept down Oneonta Gorge in Oregon during heavy winter rains.

Logs are swept down Oneonta Gorge during heavy winter rains.

Walk back towards the tunnel and you will see a small set of stairs that drops down to Oneonta Creek.  Depending on the time of year, you will either be able to hike up the creek a short way without getting wet or you will quickly get your feet wet.  In either case, in order to proceed very far up the narrow gorge, you’ll need to scramble over a large log jam (be very careful) and then wade up the creek.  Bring old sneakers and wool socks with either shorts or quick-drying pants.  It’s cool in the canyon so warm clothes are a good idea.

The walls of Oneonta Gorge in Oregon are covered in moss and other plants that are kept wet by the constant water seeping from above.

The walls of Oneonta Gorge in Oregon are covered in moss and other plants that are kept wet by the constant water seeping from above.

You can wade up the gorge only about a half-mile before you come to a waterfall, which will halt your progress.  The walls along the sides of this narrow canyon are covered with moss and ferns.  During the wet season (winter and early Spring) you will likely not get all the way to the falls, and you can even be stopped at the far side of the log jam in high water.  In hot summer months you will be able to wade all the way up.  But since this is a very popular place during the warm season now, definitely go during the week.  Better yet go up when the weather is cooler and you will probably have the place to yourself.

The Oneonta Gorge in Oregon narrows to a point where not much light makes it down to the creek bottom.

The Oneonta Gorge in Oregon narrows to a point where not much light makes it down to the creek bottom.

Over the past week I’ve gone up twice.  The first time the water was much too high to continue past the log jam, but on my second visit I saw that the water had dropped quite a bit.  So I waded upstream in the icy water (brrr!).  The last section to the waterfall passes the narrowest and deepest part of the creek, so that was as far as I got.  If you were to swim, you could get all the way.  But it would be a cold swim!

The narrows of Oneonta Gorge in Oregon were created over uncounted years by the creek's frequent flooding.

The narrows of Oneonta Gorge in Oregon were created over uncounted years by the creek’s frequent flooding.

In Onenta Gorge, Oregon, the approach to its waterfall is guarded by deep water in spring's high water flows.

In Onenta Gorge, Oregon, the approach to its waterfall is guarded by deep water in spring’s high water flows.

Hope you enjoyed the photos of this incredible canyon.  I’m sorry these images are not available for free download.  The versions here are much too small for use anyway.  Just click on any you might be interested in to gain access to the high-resolution versions.  Then click “add image to cart” to go to a tabbed price list.  Your image won’t be added to the cart until you see the prices.  Thanks for your interest and cooperation.  See ya next time!

The Columbia River flows west toward the sea in deep evening as the moon shines above.

On the way back from Oneonta Gorge, wet feet didn’t keep me from stopping along the way and admiring the evening glow on the Columbia River with the moon and Orion’s Belt glittering above.

Puttin’ on the Green: Happy St. Patrick’s Day!   7 comments

 

The O'Flaherty Castle in Connemara, Ireland.

The O’Flaherty Castle in Connemara, Ireland.

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!  This post will be a bit short on words but very long on green.  I love all the colors found in nature.  I’ve been blessed to admire the crystal blue of a clear sky, the deep brown and ochre of rich earth, the impossibly-pure white of fresh snowfall, the vibrant fuschia and magenta of a desert sunset; even that most fiery of red-orange in flowing lava!

But there is something about the color green that speaks to all of us.  It is the color that means life.  I make my home in a very green part of a green state: northwestern Oregon.  Also, I’ve traveled to lush and very green places in the tropics all over the world.  But I believe that when I visited Ireland about 6 years ago, I saw the most incredible variety, the most luminous shades of green that I’ve ever seen in my life.  This is where my ancestry lies, in the Connemara region of western Ireland.

If you’re interested in buying any of these images either framed or in high-resolution download form, just click on those you like (except the top one).  All of them are copyrighted and not available for free download, sorry.  Enjoy the green!

A mother giant river otter leads her babies across a plant-covered pond in western Venezuela.

A mother giant river otter leads her babies across a plant-covered pond in western Venezuela.

Rice paddies surround a small village on the island of Lombok, Indonesia.

Rice paddies surround a small village on the island of Lombok, Indonesia.

A green frog floats in a green pool in Namibia's Naukluft Mountains.

A green frog floats in a green pool in Namibia’s Naukluft Mountains.

A fern-filled grotto in western Oregon's Columbia River Gorge.

A fern-filled grotto in western Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge.

A capuchin monkey peers down from the rainforest of the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica.

A capuchin monkey peers down from the rainforest of the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica.

In the foothills of the Andes in Colombia, a cloud forest seems a great place to hide leprechauns.

In the foothills of the Andes in Colombia, a cloud forest seems a great place to hide leprechauns.

One of spring's colts gambles across a green pasture in eastern Oregon.

One of spring’s colts gambles across a green pasture in eastern Oregon.

A waterfall in the jungle on the slopes of Mt Rinjani on the island of Lombok, Indonesia.

A waterfall in the jungle on the slopes of Mt Rinjani on the island of Lombok, Indonesia.

A river flows through remote jungle in southwestern Costa Rica.

A river flows through remote jungle in southwestern Costa Rica.

A moss-covered bank overlooks a small rapid on Hood River, Oregon.

A moss-covered bank overlooks a small rapid on Hood River, Oregon.

Home in the Jungle: Life on the Rio San Juan, which flows along the border between Costa Rica and Nicaragua.

Home in the Jungle: Life on the Rio San Juan, which flows along the border between Costa Rica and Nicaragua.

Big sky and rolling green plains grazed by roan antelope define the pristine Nyika Plateau of northern Malawi.

Big sky and rolling green plains grazed by roan antelope define the pristine Nyika Plateau of northern Malawi.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eagle Creek & Punchbowl Falls   4 comments

Blue sky alert!  When you live in the Pacific Northwest and there’s been a grey roof hanging low over your head for months on end, it’s a little disconcerting when that roof is abruptly lifted to reveal nothing but blue above you.  All of a sudden you feel a little insecure, as if somebody just removed the roof of your house.  That’s what happened yesterday when our dreary weather broke and a clear & breezy day dawned.  I cured the unsettled feeling by going for a hike in the Columbia River Gorge, knowing that the moist stuff would be back soon.  I didn’t have to wait long; the clouds returned in force today.

The Eagle Creek trail crosses aptly named High Bridge.

The Eagle Creek trail crosses aptly named High Bridge.

Eagle Creek is one of the Gorge’s most popular hikes.  And so a free weekday represents a great opportunity to do the hike.  It can literally be mobbed on nice Spring weekends.  I corralled  my retired uncle and invited (forced?) him along.  He is not a photographer but is a great conversationalist (which is much more important).  Though patient he is also human.  I would not wish on anybody a hike with me and my endless dawdling with tripod and camera.  My uncle is patient, but he’s also human.  And so I forced myself to avoid photography until the return hike, at the verdant Punchbowl Falls.

Eagle Creek is a canyon hike only 40 minute’s drive from Portland, Oregon.  The trail heads up a side-canyon of the Columbia River, traversing cliffs with crazy drop-offs and passing spectacular waterfalls.  If you have a serious fear of heights, use this hike to challenge yourself to face it.  HA!  You thought I was going to say avoid this hike.  Not a chance!  Of course you have a fear of heights.  That’s just good sense.  Now don’t let it stop you.

The narrow gorge of Eagle Creek in Oregon is green in the wet winter season.

The narrow gorge of Eagle Creek in Oregon is green in the wet winter season.

A common day trip is to walk the 6 miles up to Tunnel Falls (where the trail passes through a tunnel behind a big waterfall!) and then return.  Just over two miles in you come to Punchbowl Falls.  There is a great view of the falls from the trail, and you can also scramble down a steep trail to a view at the lip.  None of these viewpoints will get you much more than snapshots or partial shots of the waterfall.

To get a really nice shot you have to be more creative.  There is a nice easy trail down to the creek (which is more like a river this time of year), but it leaves you downstream just out of view of the falls.  In summer’s low flows you can walk upstream, possibly not even getting your feet wet, to the alcove that holds the cascade.

Deep green Eagle Creek and Punchbowl Falls are accessed by a trail in Oregon's Columbia River Gorge.

Deep green Eagle Creek and Punchbowl Falls are accessed by a trail in Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge.

But it is definitely not summer now, and the water is high.  So in order to get all but the top shot, I needed to wade up to my thighs in swift, achingly cold water.  I could not get too close to the falls, because of the fast water.  I’m willing to hike back to the trailhead with sodden, numb feet.  But I’m not into killing my camera and experiencing a near-drowning.  So the shot I got was not what I ultimately want for this place, but it is definitely a good start.  I might ultimately need a rubber raft.

All of my images are available for purchase in various formats, from download on up to large, framed and ready to hang.  Simply click on the image you’re interested in.  The versions here are too small for use, but in any case they are copyrighted and illegal to download without permission.  Thanks for your interest, and thanks for reading!

Punchbowl Falls on Eagle Creek in Oregon lies in a classic lush alcove.

Punchbowl Falls on Eagle Creek in Oregon lies in a classic lush alcove.

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