LoveBomb Go-Go, Portland’s Marching Band, in McMinnville Annual UFO Parade

02For the past fifteen years McMinnville, Oregon has held an annual UFO Festival. How this came about as an annual event and other captured images of aliens who attended and mixed with humans in enjoying all the goings on, I will post in my next blog.  Featured here is Portland’s Marching Band, the Lovebomb Go-Go, an accomplished group of musicians playing Pop and Glam Rock music, and dancers. Having a flair for standing out, costumes and makeup adding to their repertoire of entertainment, the band brought this and more to this years UFO Festival Parade.

01 04 05 110708091003At the end of their march all were left with a need to see and hear more of their performance.  After the parade they reassembled in the center of main street McMinnville to give an hour-long performance to everyone’s delight.  Pictures are worth a thousand words, thus why I love photographing.  So in this blog I will let the images I took tell the story.  For more on the LoveBomb Go-Go visit their website at  www.lovebombgogo.com

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Dee Browning, photographer/artist

 

 

 

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Ancient Ones

As I work on one of my many never-ending jobs of processing images for stock I came across the Petroglyphs I had captured at Columbia Hills State Park on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge, reminding me that progress comes at a price.

One such site, I and millions of others have benefited greatly from, is the loss of a canyon name “Tamani Pesh-Wa” name by the local Indians meaning “Written On Rock”,  and what locals called Petroglyph Canyon. Completion of the Dalles Dam in 1957 created a lake behind the dam named Celilo after the now submerged waterfalls of the same name.  The rising waters filled this canyon changing the surrounding landscape to what we see today.

This section of Federally protected National Scenic Area of the Columbia River Gorge, where one can see in the not too distant foothills, large agriculture grounds of wheat and wind turbines.

3388DKB-web  Views of Mt. Hood

3876DKBweb and basalt rock geological formations which invite one to pause and

3403DKB0-webtake in the open landscapes found in this area, a vast ecological difference from the more popular visited western section of temperate rainforest and multiple falls that cascade over majestic basalt cliffs.

Before the dam this section of the Gorge cut a deep path, known as Petroglyph Canyon, where the ancient ones “wrote on rocks”.  Oh how I would love to have been able to explore this canyon before the rising waters.  To imagine how these people lived while contemplating the Petroglyphs they left.  To ponder their reaction to seeing, what we see today, this area that was their home.  This is what draws me to capture what I call the art of being.  To try to become mentally a part of what I capture.   To ponder what inspired the ancient ones to leave their mark on these basalt cliff walls.  Was it just an artist applying a form of graffiti, or a group of etchings when observed as a group told a story, or something much more meaningful in reference to religious beliefs.  I run through such thoughts in my mind as I contemplate their existence and who the artist/artists were.

I am thankful that as progress continued on the Dam, an effort to preserve some of this ancient work from Petroglyph Canyon took place by cutting some from the walls of the canyon before the rising waters flooded the area.   Eventually these cuttings found a new home along a paved path where one can view them on a guided tour in Washington’s Columbia Hills State Park which I had arrived too late to join that day.  I will return for those seen from the parking lot, shown here, intrigue me and I long to see and capture more.

Dee Browning, photographer/artist 

Energizing Vibrant Spring Colors

This past winter I became re-aquanted with someone whom I had not seen nor talked to in at least fifteen years.  She had sent a friend request through Facebook.  It is truly a small world, as I found that she lived less than an hour away.   We decided to get together some time soon to get caught up in the happenings of our lives.  As with all good intentions, it was several months before this finally took place.  She lives close to The Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm, a popular place for viewing and photographing fields of tulips.  It had been years since I had visited this farm so I decided that I would stop there before meeting with her.

The past six months have been a series of trying times, for several reasons.  I find myself stretched thin with obligations, chores and my work.  My favorite stress busters are painting and yoga. I had not had much time for either and I had begun to feel fragmented.  My decision to stop at the tulip farm turned out being a much-needed break in my otherwise rather tedious routine. Tulips in multiple  colors

The unknown weight upon my shoulders lifted upon seeing fields of brightly colored blooms under a canopy of overcast sky.  What an attitude adjuster!  It being a weekday and early morning I had arrived ahead of most of that days, daily visitors.  After parking the car, I retrieved my camera gear and headed to the fields. These days, everyone is taking pictures.  With the wide array of digital cameras, including those in cell phones, it is no wonder that places such as this are popular to anyone taking pictures.  A photo contest, advertised in the hand-out received when one pays the entrance fee, encourages this practice even more.

A crisp morning breeze heightens the feeling of mental freshness as I make my way towards the sea of color.  Well thought-out planting offered a blending of colors and contrast, drawing the eye to specific rows.  Mauve and pinks, reds and yellows, orange and peach,  whites and near black purples, as well as groupings of multiple colors, stood proud.Lone purple tulip amongst pink

Parents captured images of their young, posed amongst the color.  Couples sat on brightly painted benches with cell phones held in front of them for capturing self portraits.   Others would ask a total stranger if they wouldn’t mind taking a picture for them.  No request denied, for here in this magical spring setting life felt good.Pink and white tulips

I spent a couple of hours there, bending, laying down and sitting on the moist ground, taking several shots of the beautiful tulips, their variety and colors cheered me.  It didn’t matter that I was one in amongst a multitude of photographers that day, nor that my images would most likely not be unique   Participating in capturing the art that man and nature had created provided a renewed love of life.Purple TulipsPrints Available at     www.deebrowningphotography.com

Mental Retreat: Journaling In The Practicing In The Art Of Being

0966DKBwebWe all have those days when we just need to escape.  Living in Portland, Oregon gives me an array of venues, each providing a different scenic and meditative place where I can immerse myself.  The northern Oregon Coast is one of my favorites as it provides an ever-evolving atmosphere for contemplation.  When my everyday schedule starts to get the best of me, I gather my camera gear and head out.  Rarely do I plan these trips as they are accessible day trips.  The night before decisions are the best as they offer me an earlier start.

The northern Oregon coast is a magnet to many, especially those of a solitary artistic nature such as myself, for there are many wondrous areas to appreciate the variable moods and actions of the sea. This particular trip found me traveling northwest on Highway 30, along the banks of the Columbia River.  A light drizzle traveled with me as I drove the dark highway with only the small passing town lights, and headlights of those heading into the city for work, lightening the predawn sky.  Tension in my neck and shoulders begin to recede as I draw nearer to where the Columbia River meets the sea.  My destiny close at hand, as is evident in the silhouettes of ships appearing in the beginning rise of the sun’s rays, as they light the peaks of the dark choppy waters of the mighty river on which anchored ships sit.DKB7408web Life is stirring as I drive through Astoria, Oregon, a town of antiquity and it’s four mile long Megler Bridge that spans the Columbia River.

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Arriving at Cannon Beach the rising sun rays have begun to dissipate the early morning fog.  I am in luck as the low tide is nearing its end, leaving a wide beach to stretch my legs.

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Pools of salt water were left from the retreating surf around Hay Stack Rock, as crews begin to set-up informational signs about the tide pools, a signal to me that possibly a group of school children would soon be arriving.  Wanting more solitude, I returned to my car and headed further south in search of my retreat.0033DKBweb

South of Cannon Beach on Highway 101, I arrived at my destination, Arcadia Beach which is between Hug Point and Cannon Beach.   Hug Point was an old-passage way for wagons and automobiles, before 1940, so-called because the roadway hugged the shoreline contours as it connected Arch Cape with Cannon Beach.  With a trained eye one can see a piece of the abandoned section of this earlier roadway at low tide covered with colonies of anemones, mussels, starfish and sand.3662DKB

Visiting this area of the Oregon Coastline in the middle of the week during the off-season, offers a meditative venue of nature’s art, especially at low tide.  Massive rock formations, once connected to the coastline, stand separated by years of relentless pounding of the sea, evidences of such in the form of trenches, surrounded these Herculean pieces, trapping sea water and creatures alike.  I am not drawn to view the old passage nor to sea life stranded in the pools, instead I find myself captivated by the abstract art formed by nature and where it leads one’s gaze.

I place myself and camera gear on the firm cool wet sand near a grouping of  massive sentinels.   My line of sight follows the artistic curve of the smooth-edged sand banks retaining shallow calm water that flowed slowly past the monolith sculptures of nature, each adorned with mussels, and sea anemones glistening in the sun’s rays.  This watery path lead to the more aggressive waters of the sea that were instrumental tools in the design of these statures.  As I contemplate each shot, I lulled not only by the beauty within my camera’s frame, but by the sound of the rhythmic waves of the reversing tide.  A feeling of well-being and clarity enfold me.   Relaxed, I am thankful for such an opportunity.0952DKB

Pleased at my early arrival for I was experiencing the solitude I so desired as I ambled over to Hug Point Waterfalls, while the tide is still low.  One must be ever so aware of one’s surroundings no matter where you are for various reasons.  Here though, because of the tempestuous nature of the sea at high tide, one can become trapped or at worst pulled into it’s icy turbulence without provocation, by what is known as a sneaker wave.  As in life nothing is as it seems.   Do not be fooled by the calm, for calm is the opposite of turbulence and the two go hand in hand as a balance, as is the way with nature.

Arriving at Hug Point Falls I reclined upon the now sun-warmed accommodating sand and reflect upon the sounds surrounding me.  This was the tonic I so needed.  Born on the cusp of Pisces and Aquarius, I feel this is why I am so drawn to water.  The source of arresting sounds of the fall of water over the small rise of Hug Point Falls and those of the over-lapping waves of the sea, allowed any remaining tension I retained, to completely drain away with each receding wave, as my mind and body became one with my surroundings.  What a gift to oneself.0949DKB-web

Distant voices interrupt my meditative state.  Opening my eyes I saw the source, as an older couple strolled along the tide pools heading my way.   Their beloved pet, of an indescribable canine breed, chased an occasional seagull and snapped at the items offered up by the waves of the incoming tide.  Again I take up my camera and begin capturing the beauty that surrounded me.

As I capture nature’s art and it’s intent, more people arrived to beach-comb or to enjoy a leisurely stroll.  Young adults were the last to make a trek along this beach, probably due to the previous late nights activities.  Their young athletic bodies, with agile limbs, transverse the rocks as they noisily explored their surroundings.  This did not perturb me for it filled me with adventurous thoughts of my own nimble youth and vitality. Though not as spry as I once was, I am grateful for these delays due to my age, for they afford me a more thorough exploration of my surroundings.   As I watch their youthful enthusiasm, I am aware that they are not being truly appreciative.  This will only come with time as I have had to learn.  Our lives are paths which we must all take and each brings about a new awareness.  We must not be critical of those who have not caught up or have surpassed our current path, for they have not traveled as far, nor have we traveled as far as those before us.

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People are friendly here, a nod accompanied with a spoken “hello” from a smiling face prompts an enthusiastic reply.  Some stop to chat about photography upon seeing my gear.  Others proudly display their finds and mention where they found them.  Children squeal as they run knee-deep in the icy waters, along with an occasional shriek when a wave pushes them from behind, soaking once dry warm garments.  I come alive watching and capturing the human interaction with nature.

Hunger forces me to return to my car and since I did not pack a lunch I’ve decided to head back to Cannon Beach for a bowl of clam chowder at Moe’s.  I enjoy this place for one can watch the goings-on along the shoreline.  The chowder’s warmth spreads through me as I watch those bundled-up souls braving the icy wind as they stroll and play on the beach.  A simple but pleasant meal break.

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Not wanting to retrace my route, I decide to travel south along the coastline to Tillamook on my return trip home.  More of nature’s art is seen in the wind sculptured trees that line the road, along with panoramic scenes of ocean waves, boulders and sandy beaches.  I turn east and follow the shoreline of Tillamook Bay, passing through tiny fishing communities their boats dotting the bay.

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I can’t resist the Tillamook Cheese Factory, the true reason for this chosen route, as I am a lover of cheese and here you can sample to your heart’s content before you buy.  Let’s not forget the desert in the way of an ice-cream cone, dish or shake.  The stress released by my journey so far has prepared me well in the practiced art of patience as I become one of the throng of tourists who visit here.  Waiting in line I observe my surroundings and take in the many forms of human life.  I like to think up small life stories to attach to those that interest me.  It is a mental game I enjoy.

After purchasing my cheese and eating my one scoop of ice-cream in a cup, as I am always on a diet these days, I resume my drive towards home by taking Highway 6.  Dairies, their pastures filled with black and white cows, spread across the landscape.  Inland water-ways swell from the incoming tide as it reclaims its mark on the pillars of the piers and docks stationed along the banks.

The landscape changes even more as I make my assent up the coastal range, which is evident in the forest that grows there. Gone are the trees sculptured by the insisting coastal winds.   The trees here have chosen their own paths, some standing tall and wide, others succumbing to the soggy soil as gravity pulls on them, their roots slowly relinquishing their hold.  As I continue to follow the asphalt ribbon I have chosen, I feel the Pacific Ocean diminishing as I near the summit.   Instead of dread or sadness, I feel gratitude that I am fortunate to have experience what I have this day.

Having reached the summit I begin my descent, again I take in my surroundings as the forest gives way to farm land, orchards and vineyards.  Highway 6 connects to Highway 26, known to the locals as Sunset Highway.  Here the traffic grows in numbers as it becomes a multilane freeway.  The homeward journey lengthens as traffic becomes more congested when one draws nearer to entering the Portland Metro area.  With the masses, I traverse through the south-east blocks of the city, my chosen route to bypass the more heavily congested routes.  As I made progress I saw many things of photographic interest.   I found myself not thinking of the heavy traffic but instead of how I need to come and spend another day in the city to experience and capture images of the life here.

Leaving the city behind I continue my way towards home, on the far south-eastern edge of the great Portland Metro area, the distant Mt. Hood stays in my sight on this last leg of my journey.  It beckons me to visit it too soon, exploring it’s many trails with hidden alpine wonders to photograph.

I journal my experiences when photographing for they are such wonderful experiences of time taken to study ones surroundings.  When processing my photographic image files I often write thought-provoking phrases to go with a group of photographs.  Here is one from my experience that day.

 Ride the waves of life for they will recede.

To see more Sea Escapes visit my website

www.deebrowningphotography.com

©copyright 2011 Dee Browning   All Rights Reserved

Columbia River Gorge Flamboyant Sunset

I hope all enjoyed my assistant, Sir Clarence James, while I was busy with many other matters including my work as a photographer.  A little whimsical, he is always a source for entertainment.  If you are disappointed that you are not reading another of his adventures, rest assured he will be back.

With only a couple of weeks of summer left one wonders where it all went.  This year has been very un-summer like in regards to weather, as we here in Oregon have experienced below normal temperatures and an unusual amount of rain the first half of the year.  My garden, or an attempt at one, produced a few green beans and just a week ago the cucumber plants, less than six inches high, produced blooms and now are developing tiny cucumbers.  It seems so peculiar to watch them grow on such small plants.  If the weather holds in the nineties this week and next, as predicted, we will be harvesting tomatoes, and possibly cucumbers if those tiny plants can withstand the burden.  All other plants that I planted either did not come-up or died from lack of sunshine.

With the hopes of an Indian summer, I look forward to capturing the autumn colors, that is if the smoke clears from not too far away forest fires east of Mt. Hood.  Today the wind is coming from the east, filling our air with smoke.  With the return of  the warm weather, I find myself confined mostly indoors due to the smoked-filled air which irritates my lungs. I can’t complain as there are so many who have it so much worse as they deal with natural disasters throughout the world this most unusual year.

The haze of smoke in the air affords one the ability to capture some interesting sunsets and sunrises.   Last Sunday the winds from the south cleared the air allowing me to venture out without a mask.  Wanting to take advantage of  the forest fire’s haze, my husband and I drove to Vista House on Crown Point in the Columbia River Gorge.1906DKB  Here the Columbia River curves a watery path separating Oregon and Washington states,  affording one a ninety degree panoramic view of the south end of the Columbia River Gorge, to watch and of course capture the sunset.

We came early as I wanted to capture the east end of that vista as the sun began it’s most westerly descent casting shadows from trees and craggy cliff edges.

Soon others with the same idea began arriving on this pleasant warm evening to witness and celebrate an end to a wonderful day.

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A young man settled himself on the rock wall surrounding the Vista House and began playing a guitar.  His music fitting as it glided smoothly on the ever-present air currents found in the Columbia River Gorge.   Some brought picnic suppers which they spread out on the concrete steps.  Cameras from cell phones to the big guns, made their presence known as their owners captured the smoldering orange-red ball as it descended in the west.1937DKB

After I had taken the eastern images of the Gorge while the sun was beginning it’s descent, I then readied my camera with my Nikkor 17-35mm 1:2.8D wide angle lens and added a graduated ND filter.  With my trigger release cable attached and camera mounted on a tripod, I set-up facing west and framed my shot to include a lamp-post as a silhouette.  I then metered my shot.  I took different stages of the sun’s descent while enjoying exclamations of those around me and the lilting music of the lone guitar.  Young couples kissed the sun silhouetting their features.  Older couples such as my husband and I drew each other closer while facing westward, relaxing in the warm rays of the setting sun.1974DKB

I thought of those close to me who are dealing with life and struggling with what it throws at them.  I wanted them to witness this beauty of nature with me.  I wanted them to receive from this event what I was receiving.  To have hope and faith for when bad things happen, in this case a forest fire, to know there is light at the end of the tunnel such as this wonderful sunset .  My heart and prayers goes out to them as they negotiate their way through the turmoil while I can only be there for them in the form of support as I have no control over what they must endure.  My photography I hope brings them moments of mental relief from their daunting tasks when they view my captured images of the beauty that surrounds us or read the whimsical writing of Sir Clarence James!

So, go out and enjoy the sunset for it not only represents the end but also the beginning!  Life can be good if you want it to be.

Prints available at   www.deebrowningphotography.com

Lincoln City Annual Kite Flying Festival

This last weekend…Whoops!  That was two weekends ago!  My busy schedule of other projects that I needed to complete, one being a fun shoot of a beautiful girl and her horse, interrupted my writing of this blog.  These interruptions to my well laid plans happen often.  I can honestly say I am never bored! Photographers have many projects! Priorities taken care of I now must re-write the beginning of my blog.  

My husband and I along with our dear friend Sonia, spent Saturday, June 25th at Lincoln City enjoying their annual ‘Kite Flying Festival’.  We have endured the first half of this year of unusually wet weather.   Our bodies deprived of vitamin D began to re-energized at the lack of clouds in the sky.  The exposed blue sky provided a wonderful background for the colorful  kites that flew as an opening act above the assembling crowd of people staking out their individual piece of beach. 

Chilly winds, which is typical of the Northern Oregon coast, kept most under cover by way of jackets, blankets and beach tents.   A few, mostly the young, could be spotted in their more revealing attire, exposed skin red from sun and wind, as they strutted and swayed in the human way of attracting the opposite sex.   I hoped at that age I wasn’t so obvious as these youthful beings, but I fear might have been.  Those younger still, also scantily clothed, in the way of shunned jackets and bare feet, ran and hopped about, kicking up sand and squealing with delight at the kites overhead.   Many with hand-made kites of their own ran with a hand-held high clutching a short string attached to their kite, that soared and dived erratically behind them, their youthful energy fueling the warmth they needed.  Dogs of all shapes and sizes greeted each other in their doggy ways showing signs of excitement in being in this festive environment   Nearer to the waves, leash free, they
played in the surf then sprayed a shower of salt water droplets freed from wet fur, on to those close by.   I observed all this as we set-up our spot among the throng of fellow beings practicing the
Art of Being’.  How invigorating!

After staking out our section of sand, I ready my gear consisting of two lens, a wide-angle, and small telephoto, both great for using in what I refer to as shooting from the hip.  A tripod in such instances is not practical.  To capture excitement and wonder involving an event such as this, I needed flexibility and quickness in my positioning.  After taking a couple of test shots to satisfy myself of my basic camera settings and I wandered off to integrate my camera and I with those of my subjects and objects, leaving my husband and friend to enjoy the festivities from their camp chairs and warm blankets on our little piece of beach. 

Children fascinate me for they are the true artists in the ‘Art Of Being’, for their minds have not been molded with constrictions of responsible thoughts that plague adults.  As I watched their expressions of wonderment and excitement, though tempted, I avoid singling them out to photograph, as it makes most parents uneasy and rightly so.  Instead I observed what captivated them and with their expression in mind I attempt to capture an image that will get the same reaction of wonder and excitement from those who view it. 

Walking the outer edge of a ribbon-made fence, set-up to discourage the masses from entering the area where they anchored the big kites , one kite-man caught my attention as he held an instrument up over his head.  I soon learned he was measuring the winds as he announced they were at 16 knots.  He kept checking his anchor and the taut lines leading skyward to a tethered bright red octopus kite dancing in the winds, its tentacles break dancing in time to the frequent gusts.  A large colorful blow-fish swam the air currents only a few feet from the sand, dwarfing all that ventured near for a closer look.  I did envy those who had video cameras as I attempted to capture the synchronized flying of six kites handled by six people to surreal music.  It was a
beautiful sight to see but difficult to capture.  I finally relinquished this effort and settled myself on a nearby drift log to enjoy the show.  

I see you are another Nikon-er.”  stated a voice interrupting my semi-meditative moment with the synchronized flying kites.  That was when I became acquainted with D. Deane Ingram, a fellow photographer who started his profession shooting the Vietnam War.  He told me of his job travels all over Europe.  How he and his German wife, Ingrid, finally settled in Portland until his recent retirement to Lincoln City.  Still photographing, he proudly shared with me some of his work that he carried with him in his gear bag.   Our conversation veered toward the digital world of photography and the pros and cons of being a pro-photographer in that field.  It felt good to share my love of photography with a fellow photographer. 

I ambled back to our spot only to find two famished people who had patiently awaited my return to enjoy the food we had brought with us.  I placed my camera in my bag and settled down to eat, all the while scanning for more picture-taking opportunities.  Our picnic consumed, a need for a restroom trip delayed, as Sonia and I giggled like  young girls over an incident we found ourselves in.  Our chairs had sunk deeply into the sand making it extremely difficult to get up.   As we tried to hoist ourselves out of our seats her chair tilted as it went deeper into the sand on one side, nearly dumping her into my lap.  John was of no help as he found himself in the same predicament.  Laughter is  the best medicine except when you have to use the bathroom!    

As the events of the day drew to a close, we loaded ourselves with our belongings and  trudged back to our vehicle.  As we walked, a scene had unfolded before us requiring that I again take out my camera.  Now I fully understood, the vigilance, of attending to the anchored kites.   A kite measuring eighty-one feet long had broken away from its anchor on the beach.  It had entangled itself in a tree and power line that edged the beach-front road.  Six frustrated men worked to gently untangle the $5,000.00 kite from the tree limbs, wires, and its own tethered ropes.  I did not envy their work nor the loss of investment if they were not successful in their endeavor.  My need to capture this unfortunate scene satisfied, I was not surprised to find our vehicle with my husband and friend inside driving towards me.  They, already loaded-up, had come to pick me up.

The drive home was pleasant as Sonia and I noticed places of photographic interest.   My husband focused only on his driving and our destination, could not bother with the scenery we passed, allowing Sonia and I to relax and enjoy the landscape, knowing our eyes and reflexes are not needed to assist him when he is behind the wheel.

With my other current priorities taken care of and my blog completed, a little later than I had planned, I can now return to reviewing and reminiscing that day on the beach at Lincoln City Annual Kite Festival.   

©copyrighted
by
Dee Browning