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. 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.
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.
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.
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