For 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.
At 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
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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
On a recent balmy, damp Saturday morning Sonia and I boarded the train to Seattle at Union Station in Portland. The predicted downpour for the day had thankfully arrived early the night before leaving only puddles of water and low hanging clouds. A little disappointed that our train was not the new European style one, recently purchased by Amtrak, but pleased to find it clean and comfortable for I had heard since my last train ride that Amtrak had fallen behind in the upkeep of their trains’ interiors.
Settled in our seats we looked out the picture window, the sky growing lighter with the lifting of the low ceiling clouds allowing a nice view of the scenery passing by. As the train moved northward we noticed periodically leaves, from seemingly nowhere. were flying past our window leaving us to pondering their source. As we passed by the south end of the Puget Sound, we watched the choppy waves rolling across its vast expanse. It was then we realized how hard the wind was blowing and its strength is what carried the fall leaves from their unseen source.
As we drew nearer to Seattle, we began discussing one of our favorite artists, glass sculptor, Dale Chihuly, whose ‘Garden and Glass House’ exhibit we had come to see. Upon our arrival at King Street Train Station, again the wind made us aware of it’s strength as we ventured outside. Whirlwinds of fall leaves flew in our faces as they pushed past us and into open doors of shops as we walked, or rather pushed past. The next day, we learned due to the high winds, the floating bridge crossing Lake Washington closed, leaving cars abandoned as people walked off the bridge to safety.
We had on a previous occasion, a couple of years ago, visited Dale Chihuly’s Museum of Glass in his native home town of Tacoma, Washington. Enchanted with the Bridge of Glass, a 500 foot long pedestrian overpass that links the Museum in Tacoma to the downtown section of the city, a delightful walk with walls and ceilings showcasing his work.
Our first sight within the Garden and Glass House exhibit, in Seattle’s Center, brought a sense of calm as we paused to admire the Chihuly’s ‘Glass Forest’. I love light and its effect on a subject whether it be natural or created by man. Chihuly truly understands its importance as it illuminates and reflects off his sculptured pieces. A real treat to one’s eye and mind. Allowed to photograph his work, I captured a few of my favorites. These are very large displays set on a stage, its floor covered with reflecting mirrors producing an impact.
We moved on to the ‘Northwest Room’, a gallery of his glass sculptured Indian Baskets. Magnificently done, with Indian designs painted on the blown glass. His success revealed in his sculpturing the glass to the likeness of ancient Indian baskets with their slump and saggy forms.
Another gallery ‘Macchia Forest’, intrigued me as the shape of the glass sculptures captured and reflected the light directed upon it. Below I captured a section that really caught my eye. Subtle yet bold!
Further into the exhibit we came to ‘Ikebana and Float Boat’. The ‘Float Boat’ literally took my breath away. Full of glass blown floats the boat drifted upon an illusion of water created with mirrors. Other floats appeared to have fallen from the craft and been set adrift. I shot two different angles. This is a life-size boat.
The other side of this display is another watercraft filled with Dale Chihuly’s interpretation of Ikebana, a traditional Japanese art of flower arrangement.
As we moved slowly through the rooms, contemplating this man’s magical work, one enjoys the many themes displayed here besides those shown above. The ‘Sea life Room’, filled with sea plants, starfish, anemones, octopuses, fish, all intertwined, appearing as if moved by the sea’s current.
To our delight, we came to another ceiling gallery, ‘Persian Ceiling’, for we so enjoyed the one displayed at the Tacoma Pedestrian Bridge. ‘Mille Fiori’ another gallery, at the Glass House and Garden, is fifty-six feet in length and twelve feet wide, a garden of sculptured glass. Very colorful as most gardens are.
When we finally reached the ‘Glass House’. which sits at the base of the Space Needle, we marveled at the size of this sculpture. This piece has two thousand individual Persian glass forms fused together.
Below a closer view of the Persian glass sculpture in the Glass House.
We exited the glass house to stroll in the garden. At the base of the Space Needle ‘The Sun’, a sixteen foot in diameter sculpture in bright yellow, sits center stage above a platform of sculptured plants.
My favorite piece in the garden, as shown below, I see dolphins riding the surf. The garden, a fun enchanting place, is filled with Chihuly’s glass sculptures.
After our stroll in the garden we went to the Collectables Café . A cute little café with tables inlaid with shadow boxes, displaying items from Dale Chihuly’s personal collections. To our surprise the foods presentation at other tables evoked our reason for eating here,. We were not disappointed, it delighted our palates. I highly recommend it.
Though invigorating, we had fought the wind and mini-tornadoes of autumn leaves coming to this exhibit by way of city busses. With our time running short to catch the train back to Portland, we decided to take a cab. At the station as we departed our cab, the wind ushered us into King Street Station, along with dry crackling leaves,
With a little time on our hands we took in the architectural beauty of the building. Sonia commented that it looked freshly painted. I took pictures of some of the architectural design and when I got home I looked up the building’s history. Built between 1904 and 1906, over the years it endured many remodels, one that resulted in a lowered ceiling, leaving much of the original ornate interior hidden, till now. The restoration completed just this year reveals a very stately structure of classic architectural design.
Darkness descended as we traveled south. Without the views to distract us we made acquaintance with some of our fellow passengers. One small group told us about eating at Ivan’s that afternoon, a well-known restaurant on one of the many piers along Seattle’s waterfront. This restaurant is a newer version of it’s former self, destroyed by fire. As they ate, the strong winds drove waves crashing over the piers. The rolling white-capped seawater, in clear view of Ivan’s vast picture windows, left one in their party feeling a little queasy as he tried to finish his meal.
We arrived on time back in Portland, though we didn’t get the opportunity to ride the new train, the comfort and cleanliness of the ones we rode in left us in good form. An enjoyable day, windy but no rain!
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
There are times when I find myself overwhelmed with negotiating everyday living, especially in today’s economic climate. I feel fragmented with the here and there of photography jobs, taking care of and maintaining a home and yard, making time, willingly, for loved ones and friends, and of course assuring Sir Clarence James reclining years are comfortable. He is doing really well and will write a blog soon.
He now has his own blog http://sirclarencejames.wordpress.com/
I feel I have been pretty successful in these tasks but find myself tense from the effort despite my near daily yoga and meditating rituals. My husband recently reminded me that I had not been out in some time practicing my Zen photography. This is where I go off by myself to capture images that fascinate me. It requires that I find a spot, whether it be in nature or a bustling city, and spend the day there. I do this to clear my mind and become more receptive to my surroundings. Children come by this naturally and I refer to it as “The Art Of Being”.
Early Sunday morning I drove to the Sandy River, one of many rivers near my home here in Oregon. Water draws and soothes me and not wanting to spend a lot of time driving, I had in mind a day spent along this river looking for great spots to view and capture images of the spawning salmon when the fall run is in full swing. This run has already begun but it is still too early to get much opportunity to capture some images. Planning ahead I will pick my spot and return at another time for ‘Nature’s Cycle of Life’ show.
Fed by glaciers on Mt. Hood, which has slowed considerably this time of year, the river’s water levels are quite low leaving wider beaches where one can explore. Due to recent years of floods the river has forged new paths removing trees and boulders from its banks. Massive roots of the down trees washed clean from the flood waters, then dried and bleached from the sun, litter the beach. Some of the exposed roots still linger in pools of water at the river’s edge providing a safe place for the spawning salmon to lay their eggs. This is the type of settings I am looking for.
Hiking high above an old landslide area, I look down along a stretch of beach and notice what looked like stalactites, those icicle looking formations one sees in a cave, only these were pointing up. Curious, I made my way to the lower end of the slide before slipping and sliding the rest of the way to the beach. What looked like stalactites from far above were river rocks stacked on top of each other. This beach was approximately a quarter of a mile long and covered with river rocks, none stacked more than knee-high. As I walked around taking in my surroundings, I saw that these stacked rocks represented people. To my delight I had stumbled upon a village of River Rock People! Retrieving my camera from my backpack I began immersing myself in capturing this amazing village. All alone on the beach with only the sound of the river rushing over rocks, my fragmented thoughts drifted away. I became more receptive to the spiritual feeling I was receiving from this mystical village. It had to have taken a long time to build this scene I found myself in. Had it happened over a time or had it been recently done by a large group of people? As the day moved on, I would soon get my answer.
With camera in hand I went about capturing this River Rock Tribe. There were families, individuals and groupings. I saw a Navajo Squaw I recognized from a painting by the famous artist Rudolph Carl Gorman. Others faced the water edges, in miniature form, like those giant stone monoliths, called Moai on Easter Island, looking out towards the sea. Another ancient culture entered my mind when I came across a group of stacked rocks that formed a circle. I became aware of how alive I was feeling immersing myself in this mystical world of river rock. Amazed by the fact that there are still people in this world of advanced technology that find enjoyment in nature’s simplicity and being creative in using her wares, such as this creation with the use of these rocks. It further more amazed me that they were seemingly left untouched, even though there were other signs of human trespassers in an occasional left behind soda can, plastic bottle and a flip-flop shoe.
By noon, distant voices drifted my way. Looking around I saw a small family making their way to the beach using the same route as me. The children squealing with delight as they descended the slide on their bottoms ahead of their parents, packing blankets and packs, as they side-step precariously down the sandy slide. I began to feel anxious for the River Rock People fearing the intruding humans would be the beginning of their demise. Realizing that I could not stop what fate they would be dealt, I returned to capturing what I could before it could be destroyed.
As the sun warmed the beach on this early fall day, more and more voices intruded my thoughts as more people arrived. Taking a break, I sat among the River Rock People and observed those of my kind as they enjoyed a day on the beach. I became relieved to see the young and old alike, instead of destroying the Village, were adding to the landscape by building more stacks of rocks. I finally had my answer. This special place had evolved over a time and was still evolving. I felt blessed to have found this mythical beach and to see its effects on others for it gave me hope for humanity. I hope to see this village soon for I will be returning in a couple of weeks for the spawning of the salmon.
If one allows our media, and doomsday Sayers to depress our mental being we are to blame only ourselves. We all need to set aside time in our hectic lives to practice “The Art Of Being” a spa for the mind.