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 

Three Capes Outing

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.

Trillium Flower

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.

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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.

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Fog at Cape Lookout Beach
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Erosion of the treeline on the north end of the Cape Lookout Beach

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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.

Oregon Coastline view from Cape Mears.
Oregon Coastline view from Cape Meares.

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.  DKB7766

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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.

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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.

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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.

DKB7771  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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You can see these images and more on my website  www.deebrowningphotography.com

South Park Blocks Farmer’s Market

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.Autumn wreath and squash are displayed

Portland's Farmer's Market

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.Jars full of Jam for tasting at Farmer's MarketBagels At Farmers MarketMixed vegtables on a hot grill_DKB9451-webScent of lavender can still be appreciated though it is past its prime season.

Lady shoping at a lavender boothTasty Liquors and wine booths draws crowds even while the morning is still young.

_DKB9474-webWine Booth at Farmer's MarketHerbs, peppers, tomatoes, Bok Choi, Radicchio, leeks, broccoli, the list grows, are artfully displayed, their freshness clear.Hot Peppers at Farmer's MarketBasket of Red and Yellow Cherry Tomatoes_DKB9424-web_DKB9431-Edit-web_DKB9481-web_DKB9483-webVendors and patrons alike all in a festive mood, the experience memorable.

Farmer's Marekt Vegtable Booth

A wonderful start to the Autumn season!  Cheers!   Prints availiable for some of these images and many more at  deebrowningphotography.com

Street Performers

Street musicians and venders at Hawthorn Street Fair in Portland, Oregon
Whistler

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.

Street musicians and venders at Hawthorn Street Fair in Portland, Oregon Street musicians and venders at Hawthorn Street Fair in Portland, Oregon

Stilt Lady
Stilt Lady

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.

Street musicians and venders at Hawthorn Street Fair in Portland, Oregon Street musicians and venders at Hawthorn Street Fair in Portland, Oregon

I use my portrait lens as I can zoom in without invading their space which would detract from their performance.

_DKB8973 Street musicians and venders at Hawthorn Street Fair in Portland, Oregon

Variety is well-observed as one strolls by.Street musicians and venders at Hawthorn Street Fair in Portland, Oregon Street musicians and venders at Hawthorn Street Fair in Portland, Oregon Street musicians and venders at Hawthorn Street Fair in Portland, Oregon Street musicians and venders at Hawthorn Street Fair in Portland, Oregon Street musicians and venders at Hawthorn Street Fair in Portland, Oregon _DKB8999 Street musicians and venders at Hawthorn Street Fair in Portland, OregonLets not leave out ever-present Clown one can find in such surroundings…..

Street musicians and venders at Hawthorn Street Fair in Portland, Oregon Street musicians and venders at Hawthorn Street Fair in Portland, Oregonnor those other unusual intriguing sites…..

Street musicians and venders at Hawthorn Street Fair in Portland, Oregonthat makes life so fun and interesting!  This is what I refer to as overindulging in the “Art Of Being”

‘They Photoshopped that!.”

THEY PHOTOSHOPPED THAT!!!

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.

Sir Clarence James Supervises
My assistant, Sir Clarence James in my digital darkroom. Captured in RAW using only the available ambient light. He has his own blog if interested in checking it out.

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.

Shooting RAW allows the ability to bring out the the shadows without blowing out the water.
Shooting RAW allows the ability to bring out the the shadows on a dark rainy day without blowing out the water.  Again only the available ambient light

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.

Snow like a waterfall can be blown out loosing the details.  Here I was able to capture the details in the snow like the rows in the field behind the tree and the details in the tree and barn by shooting in RAW.
Here I was able to capture the details in the snow as in the rows in the field behind the tree, and the details in the tree and barn by shooting in RAW. Again only the available ambient light.

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.

Dale Chihuly Float Boat.  This was shown in a dark room with only the illuminus of the art work on a mirrored floor.  I was able to capture this image without a flash using RAW format.
Dale Chihuly Float Boat. This was shown in a dark room with only the luminous of the art work on a mirrored floor. Using only the available ambient light shooting in RAW.

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.

My grandson, only one blemish needed removing.  Shooting in RAW I was able to remove it without degrading the image.
My grandson, only one blemish needed removing. Shooting in RAW I was able to remove it without degrading the image and capture the skin with no blown areas. Using only ambient light.

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.

My dining room. Outdoor light is not blown out revealing the inviting garden deck area while no loss of detail in the darker areas of the room. Captured in RAW using only the available ambient light.
A real property marketing shoot I did. This had a mixed ambient light source. I shot it in RAW working with the ambient light only.

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).[1]

Garden and Glass House

Dale Chihuly Exhibit Glass House and Garden
Dale Chihuly Exhibit
Glass House and Garden

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.

Dale Chihuly's Glass Forest
Dale Chihuly’s ‘Glass Forest’

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.

Dale Chihuly's Indian Baskets
Dale Chihuly’s Indian Baskets

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!

A section of Dale Chihuly's Macchia Forest
A portion of Dale Chihuly’s ‘Macchia Forest’

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.

Dale Chihuly's Float Boat
Dale Chihuly’s  Float Boat’
Dale Chihuly Float Boat
Dale Chihuly’s ‘Float 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.

Dale Chihuly's Ikebana
Dale Chihuly’s ‘Ikebana’

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.

Myself and my editor, Sonia Picture taken by exhibits staff.
My editor, Sonia, and myself.
Picture taken by exhibit’s staff.

Below a closer view of the Persian glass sculpture in the Glass House.

My self and my editor Sonia In the Glass House.  Picture taken by exhibits staff.

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.

Dale Chihuly's "The Sun" sculpture
Dale Chihuly’s ‘The Sun’ sculpture

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.

7After 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.

King Street Station restored to it's original architectural design.
King Street Station restored to it’s original architectural design.
King Street Station restored to it's original architectural design.
King Street Station restored to it’s original architectural design.
King Street Station restored to it's original architectural design.
King Street Station restored to it’s original 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!