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.
Views of Mt. Hood
and basalt rock geological formations which invite one to pause and
take 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.
Took a day off from the usual grind and headed to the three Capes, Kiwanda, Lookout, and Mears on the Oregon Coast. Being the middle of the week still in the off-season, along with overcast skies, I looked forward to a mostly solitary day of hiking in the Siuslaw National Forest. My body and mind needing to experience the wonders and joys of being with nature. I loaded up my photography gear in its backpack and headed out just before dawn to my destination at Cape Outlook.
I have wanted to do this hike for some time but held off due to what I had read about the trail traversing sheer drop offs, not a place for dogs or kids. Having been on a couple of other hikes in the gorge that claimed the same and they didn’t bother me I decided to take this one even though I have somewhat a fear of heights.
I arrived at the trailhead just as the morning light was penetrating the seemingly ever-present morning coastal fog. As I began my trek I saw early signs of spring, such as this delicate trillium wildflower. Amazing how such a little flower can thrive under the thick canopy of old growth forest.
The thick canopy of forest soon gave way to a spectacular view only blocked by sparse trees and shrubs, their roots clinging perilously to the face of the huge rock I climbed. I paused to capture the wonderful view stretched out below me, and since fear had not edged its way into my conscience I decided this was one hike I could do. It was the last image I dared captured on this hike.
Moving forward and up the sparse trees and shrub became sparser and the trail narrower. I pushed on even though the edge, a sheer drop off to the ocean below of several hundred feet, kept me up against the wall of the rock. The wind was picking up as I kept my head down looking at my path and concentrating on my breathing as I vowed to get past this section of the hike. I reached my limit when my tripod got hung up on a root embedded in the rock wall. This knocked me a little off-balance as I grabbed another root and flatten myself against the wall where I remained frozen while my mind went wild with all kinds of devastating events. Earthquake would knock me off the cliff, some mean person will come along and push me over, or I will simply slip and fall. I had to force myself to breath and eventually let go of my death grip on the root embedded in the rock, trying not to think why there was just a root. Finally fear forced me to move and I got turned around and headed back the way I had come. The wind gusting at my back.
Back under the canopy of forest I relaxed somewhat and told myself I had made the right choice for if I had seen something to photograph I probably couldn’t for fear had a great hold on me. I got back into my car at the trailhead and headed for the safety of the low-lying beach that offered a variety of things to photograph.
After a few hours walking the beach I headed to Cape Meares where I captured this view, from a much more manageable height, of the town of Oceanside and it’s coastline.
I then retraced my route to Oregon Islands Wildlife Refuge. This is just north of Oceanside and is a very interesting place to visit. To get to the beach below one follows a trail built, by the looks of it, by several different people over the years. Daffodils, pop their cheery blooms here and there. Thick lumber embedded into the hillside provided steps. Scrap lumber line the trail as a fencing and as benches to rest. One section of the path was completely covered with scrap lumber and underneath it things collected from the beach below, rocks, feathers, buoys,rope along with names carved in the lumber, a place much like shrine filled the area within. Quite interesting.
I continued my descent and finally reached a rocky beach filled with driftwood.
I found these all quite interesting. The swirl of the wood grain and the rocks embedded in them afford me time to contemplate nature’s design.
The misty rain, high tide and fog made photographing this beach a pleasure as I love photographing the rain, fog, rocks and water for it adds a punch to an image.
I continued retracing my route with a detour to Sand Lake. As the day waned the wind picked up in strength and I wanted to see if I could capture drifting sand at the dunes at Sand Lake. I wasn’t disappointed.
I left Sand Lake with my Yukon half filled with the wind-blown grit.
My original plan was to end my day at Pacific City sitting on the beach watching the sun set before heading home.
Fog and low clouds encroached enough on this idea that I knew there would be nothing to watch so I settled with a Bach CD and a leisurely drive home using the back roads to end another wonderful solitary day appreciating life and the surroundings I find myself in.
I had nightmares all night about falling off that cliff!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am so fortunate to have such a wonderful friend/editor as Sonia. A thirty year age difference is not an issue, our mutual interests and philosophy provide a bridge. We are a lot alike in many ways which surprises others. Neither of us are very social, thus we come across as rather aloof.
Periodically I will take a road trip photographing asking her to join me. She assists me in taking notes of the images I capture and points out subjects that catch her eye, providing for me, a different perspective. I deal with a lot of distractions so when I blog, I always run my final draft past her keen eye. After correcting any errors, she will read it out loud, her English accent and clear voice adding flavor to my written words.
Last Friday I planned another road trip Sonia and I had talked about doing for some time. It had been years since I had been to the northern Washington Peninsula and the shores of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. As a teen, our family enjoyed camping and clamming in the Olympic National Park. One of our favorite locations, Lake Ozette, a place promoting solitude, where only a short hike through old growth forest led to ocean beaches adorned with seastacks. Seals romped in and out of the icy sea waters of the Pacific Ocean, always entertaining to watch. I plan to return to this place in the near future but for now our destination, Port Angeles, is where we had reservations for a two night stay. The weather forecast called for a wet and stormy weekend, which has never deterred us.
Leaving Portland fairly early, the low clouds prolonged the lighting of the day, we took I-5 to Tacoma where we would exit and cross the Narrows. The rain we had driven through on I-5 abated as the clouds broke up allowing blue skies, lit by the sun, to appear. Encouraged by this break in the weather we took a side trip to Port Townsend. Incorporated in 1851, well-known for its preserved Victorian architecture, rich in history, art and annual festivals. We arrived to witness them setting up for the weekend annual International Film Festival. It felt good to really stretch our legs as we joined the locals and tourists alike taking in the interesting sights.
The rain kept its distance till we were well on our way to Port Angeles.
The next morning we were again blessed with only partly cloudy skies and no rain. We drove to Hurricane Ridge, in the Olympic National Park, where Sonia wanted see the vast vista of the Olympic Mountain Range. This place held a special meaning for her. Just recently her dear friend Bob passed away, and his wife and fellow hikers brought his ashes, as per his request, and scattered them near here. Bob, an adventurous outdoors man, loved the Olympic National Park, his hiking boots were left somewhere up here under a tree marking his favorite spot. Seeing the view from Hurricane Ridge we understood and appreciated his last request.
Clouds began reclaiming the space of blue, a sign of rain, soon to follow. As we drove down Hurricane Ridge, the clouds followed obscuring most of the lush, majestic scenery. The rain began in earnest pelting the Subaru in a side ward direction pushed from the increasing winds. As with all of our other excursions, when bad weather is predicted, we felt fortunate for once again we experienced a nice dry and partial clearing of the skies while we enjoyed the view.
Seeing blue skies to the east upon entering Port Angeles, we decided to drive back to Port Townsend. Our hopes were to beat the rain’s arrival and again enjoy the little town built on the shores of a bay with the same name. Hopes fulfilled, we entered Fort Worden where I helped Sonia set up on the beach with a view of the lighthouse, and the sounds of the small rippling waves coming ashore. While she took a power nap, I with camera in hand, explored the shore. Having lost my tethered trigger release on my last hike, I replaced it with a remote trigger release. It had just arrived the day before and I hadn’t had much of a chance to work with it. Being told several times that I need to update my self-portraits, something I loath to do mainly because I am not good at it, upon finding a secluded spot alongside of a pier, I made an attempt. I do not recommend this unless you have a good sense of humor, especially when directed at yourself.
After Sonia’s power nap on the shores of Port Townsend Bay, we again visited the more crowded streets of the town enjoying the many sites and different street wear of the locals and tourists. Heading back to Port Angeles, the clouds again opened up and again we felt fortunate that we avoided the down pour. The rain soon dissipated when we entered Port Angeles, affording us a wonderful view of the sun setting reflecting off clouds and the waters of Strait of Juan de Fuca as we ate dinner in a local restaurant. Life is Good!
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.
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.
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.
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.Prints Available at www.deebrowningphotography.com
Late in the day, my husband, friend Sonia, and I went to Pittock Mansion in Portland Oregon to watch the rising of the Harvest Moon. Pittock Mansion is a historical landmark here in Portland built-in the west hills. It’s vast grounds affords one a view of North Portland, Mt. Hood and last evenings rising of the Harvest Moon over the Cascade range. When we arrived a mass of photographers had already staked claim to prime spots so I had to contend myself to the left overs. The moon had already made its appearance by the time I got set-up. Shutters clicking and subdued voices were all one heard as all eyes/lens focused on the annual harvest show.
Though the day had been warm, fall is apparent in the soft breeze that developed as dusk descended, raising goose bumps on one flesh. Bringing only the moon into focus to reveal the craters that cover its surface softens the foreground of the Cascade Range. I love the dreamy effect this has on the composition, for the sky represents a dream scape for me. After I had captured this shot, I decided to see if I could get closer to the edge of the hillside to get an unobstructed view of the north section of the city below and Mt. Hood. A video-photographer had set-up a video and digital cameras on time lapsed in a prime location. Seeing me looking for a place to set up, he offered a spot next to him. After carefully avoiding all the cables of his equipment, I finally got set-up and took the shot I was after using my wide-angle lens, a Nikon 17-35mm, as the mountain and moon were too far apart for my telephoto lens. Satisfied with my captured image, I then turned my attention to the time lapsed equipment. I had a nice conversation with the photographer and his assistant while I watch the screen showing a live feed of the moon trekking an arch path into the sky. I assume this girl was his assistant though they looked good as a couple also. Could be she was both.
As the moon continued to rise I made my way back to where my friend and husband were waiting on a park bench, my progress slowed by conversing with fellow photographers. We are a strange bunch as we normally are quite shy and reserved. When working behind the lens we become energized as we strive to capture the scene that captivates us.
Viewing the harvest moon has me looking forward to the fall colors and salmon run.
It seems I have little time for blog writing these days, as my summer is speeding by. Family health issues are the top of my priority list followed closely by shooting events, shows and jobs. Because of this I have found myself falling further behind on some of my projects that don’t have time limits, this blog included. So, for the time being, my blog writing will be sporadic.
A couple of weeks ago, my friend Sonia accompanied me on a day trip to Central Columbia Basin as I wanted to photograph the harvesting of the grain. Grain fields near The Dalles, Oregon, are vast and planted on rolling hills with Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams in the background, perfect for landscape photography. Some of the fields were already harvested and some had already been burned adding texture and contrast for photographing. My goal of capturing images of large combines working three or more abreast, cutting the grain, was not to be as the only combines I found were being worked on or parked unattended on the edge of a field.
Driving through the rolling agricultural hills I came upon an old abandoned farm house. My mind conjured up a story as to why this once beautiful home was abandoned. Was it bad well water, foreclosure due to bad times, or the death of the last family member? The whole scene was forlorn as the skeleton of a large tree added to the sadness of the abandoned property.
I love all landscapes from coastal to high desert as each has it’s own special geography of textures and colors. I find photographing landscapes the most relaxing thing to do besides visiting a spa!