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 love attending the Farmer’s Market, in downtown Portland’s South Park Blocks, during the Fall harvest. Daytime temperatures, still pleasant and usually sunny, allows one the opportunity to really appreciate the artistic Autumn displays, by the vendors, while shopping.
The market covers three city park blocks or more,starting at Portland State University, every Saturday from March through December.
As I went about capturing images that caught my eye, I began to think of Thanks Giving, a full two months away. The colorful harvest colors and the aroma of fresh bagels, tasty jams, pungent cheeses and other foods being ready in food booths put me into the spirit of the up and coming holidays.Scent of lavender can still be appreciated though it is past its prime season.
Tasty Liquors and wine booths draws crowds even while the morning is still young.
Herbs, peppers, tomatoes, Bok Choi, Radicchio, leeks, broccoli, the list grows, are artfully displayed, their freshness clear.Vendors and patrons alike all in a festive mood, the experience memorable.
A wonderful start to the Autumn season! Cheers! Prints availiable for some of these images and many more at deebrowningphotography.com
I decided to shake it up a bit, from my normal photography venue, by photographing street performers. This involved stepping out of my comfort zone of capturing serene images where I give a lot of thought and time, processing my composition, before pressing the shutter release button. I tried being inconspicuous as I mingle with the crowd of sightseers, vendors, shoppers, and performers, not an easy task for attached to my camera is my portrait telephoto lens.
People fascinate me. I would love to shoot more, but my shyness holds me back. Being behind the lens helps me in that area. My decision to capture Street Performers is because they do so in a very public venue.
I use my portrait lens as I can zoom in without invading their space which would detract from their performance.
Variety is well-observed as one strolls by. Lets not leave out ever-present Clown one can find in such surroundings…..
nor those other unusual intriguing sites…..
that makes life so fun and interesting! This is what I refer to as overindulging in the “Art Of Being”
This is a term I hear from time to time in regards to my work and others as photographers. I don’t know why anyone would say this in terms of degrading our work except that they have no knowledge behind their statement. You either like our individual work as photographers or you don’t. The same with any artist’s work. How we produce that work is really irrelevant, though it is important that we know how to use our tools and do so correctly. Because of this I have decided to write a blog on this subject. Not my normal blogging, as I prefer writing about being immersed in the moment of a shoot when I express what I saw and felt, so others can see and feel what I experienced, when looking at the results of my work.
Most people have heard of Ansel Adams and have seen his beautiful images of our nation’s National Parks. A well-known photographer, first known to heavily manipulate his images in the dark room. His famous statement, “The negative is comparable to the composer’s score and print to its performance”. In the digital world, the negative is the RAW/DNG file. This file is full of information captured by the photographer in full control of the camera. Just as in the darkroom of Ansel Adams, that file has to be processed in the digital darkroom to perform. A digital darkroom consists of color calibrated monitors and programs such as Lightroom, Photoshop and others.
There are three groups of digital cameras; the point and shoot fixed lens camera, the dSLR with less than a full sensor, and the Pro-dSLR with a larger full frame sensor. Both allow the photographer more control and artistic flexibility, the ability to shoot in low light without a flash and both RAW and JPEG images. A Pro- dSLR, which I use, allows me, the photographer, an even greater ability and flexibility, such as capturing more light in a dark situation without a flash than that of the smaller sensor dSLR and has more control options. It is more durable and has a higher price tag.
I shoot in RAW almost exclusively, which allows me to keep all the recorded data from the sensor giving me the highest quality files to work with. With a much wider dynamic range and a larger color space, I can push the image further bringing out hidden details in the darkest shadows and/or brightest highlights, without blowing them out and boosting color without oversaturating, which can affect the quality of print. This is Artistic Flexibility! In JPEG files this type of detail often gets tossed away and lost forever by the camera’s JPEG conversion process.
Point and shoot cameras use JPEG exclusively and the camera does the processing. Most times these look great, for the camera makes all the adjustments for you. It is like sending a roll of film to the photo lab to develop your images for you. With JPEG images, you can edit and retouch afterwards, but you will be working with an image that has already been processed with permanent changes, and further changes you make will only degrade it. This is why you always work with a copy of a JPEG file so that the original stays in good shape.
When comparing a RAW file and that of a JPEG file of the same image, the JPEG will always look better. Why? Because it has been processed by the camera. The RAW file appears dull in comparison for it has not been processed. RAW files take up a lot more space on your disc as it is such a huge file packed with information. When closely looked at, the JPEG image may not show the detail in shadows that you wanted to show, because the camera made adjustments by darkening the overall image to compensate for an overly bright sky. Those shadowed details are gone, tossed out by the processing. When processing the same image in the RAW format, one can bring out the details in the shadows and tone down the light in the sky without losing detail in either, if exposure is captured correctly, because nothing was tossed.
To further explain digital processing, one must know before they shoot an image how they want the final output to look. So time is taken to set the camera’s aperture, shutter speed, ISO and white balance, along with numerous other settings required to capture a well-balanced RAW file with tons of data to process later in the digital darkroom. Ansel Adams did this well. A person who does not know how to do this will not be able to produce the image they are after, for they will lack the necessary data required to do so.
Many photographers will shoot portraits and weddings in both JPEG and RAW. The RAW file is so very important for the photographer to use, if need be, to tone down an overly bright cheek, chin or forehead, remove a blemish or anything else that would otherwise make a less than perfect picture to cherish forever without degrading the image. I have had to remove blemishes, spots on clothing, and sometimes those spots that show up from lint or dust on the lens. One thing I do not do is alter one’s appearance. When I work with a person, I will shoot from many different angles, pose them in many different positions and place them in good lighting to capture them at their present best. Teenagers worry about breakouts and since those are not permanent I will “Photoshop” them out as any professional will. If you have wrinkles, they stay but I will position you where they are not so prominent. I strive to capture the best of a person in their true form, including those awful ones of myself. LOL! Like most people I do not like pictures of me, so I let my husband decide which ones to show others.
When shooting real property, RAW is so important in capturing an indoor image of a home that leads to an inviting outdoors. The interior lighting and outdoor lighting comes from different sources. Having a full frame sensor is imperative as it captures more information. Having the knowledge how to process these files correctly is also important for it must represent the true property being captured.
So yes, I “Photoshop”. In reality I use Lightroom and Adobe CS6 Photoshop. When someone uses the word “Photoshop” in a derogatory way, we professionals know they are far from being knowledgeable in the profession of a photographer. So… when you look at a photographer’s work and you think “Wow that is a nice picture!” Appreciate it! Be inspired by it! And by all means BUY IT! LOL! We are artists too and how we use our tools to achieve what we see and interpret, is no different than that of an artist with a brush or other various tools. Unless you have the original file to compare it to, there is no way of knowing how much manipulation was applied beyond the normal process.
Dee Browning, photographer/artist www.deebrowningphotography.com
AMBIENT LIGHT IN PHOTOGRAPHY: available light or ambient light refers to any source of light that is not explicitly supplied by the photographer for the purpose of taking photos. The term usually refers to sources of light that are already available naturally (e.g. the sun, moon, lightning) or artificial light already being used (e.g. to light a room).
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!