Road Trip to Port Angeles, Washington

 

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.

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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.

_DKB7352_DKB7361Clouds 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.

Doing a test shot
Doing a test shot.  Why am I  leaning against the wood and stooped over?  Don’t know!  Must have tripped or stepped on something and lost my balance, at the same time I pushed the trigger release.  LOL
Trying different poses.  UGH
Trying different poses. UGH! and feeling stupid.

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Not quite so secluded, I even got a shot of myself acknowledging the presents of another.  How embarassing!
Not quite so secluded, I even got a shot of myself acknowledging the presence of another. How embarrassing!
So embarrassed and nervous, I rose and pretended to be looking for something in the sand.  Little did I realize, due to my discomfort I had kept my finger pressed on the trigger release button which was set for continuous release.  LOL
So embarrassed and nervous I rose and pretended to look for something in the sand.   Little did I realize, due to my discomfort, I had kept my finger pressed on the trigger release button, set for continuous release. LOL

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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!

To purchase prints of images taken that day of sail boats,sunrises,sunset and others   please visit my website     www.deebrowningphotography.com

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Experiencing Mental Fragmentation

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Recently my living environment changed as planned.  The moving and downsizing transition went fairly smoothly due to careful planning, but still left me feeling slightly fragmented mainly because of time lost in regards to my work.  For about two months, while this transition took place, my work as a photographer/artist took a back seat.   No amount of yoga or meditation could ease the stress created by the empty void of productivity in my creative work.  To add to the stress, my work PC crashed, thus slowing my progress of getting back to work.  Normally I would take this in stride as my, yoga and meditation keeps me realistically grounded.  Being absent from not only my creativity side, but the near daily postings to all my business links, keeps my business fresh.  This has weighed heavily on my mental state.

As I finally have become settled, I have learned to appreciate simple living even more. I have always striven to live simply, as I like order.  I believe that is why I am more drawn to the Asian culture.  I have learned a really important lesson in this latest downsizing.  Over the years, I have accumulated things given to me and me keeping those I felt of importance. This took a lot of room and some stress, on my part, for their care, especially in storing such items.  When we made the move to downsize, I contacted family and friends to tell them I no longer could store, nor had room to display, these items in our new home.  To my surprise, most did not want them, nor did they care what I did with them.  At first I was sad, thinking of my own works of art and taste in material things, possibly being tossed aside.   I then realized beauty, importance, and tastes, differ from person to person.  Thus keeping life interesting.  So the sadness lifted and these items became a donation to a worthy cause.  I felt this best represented the people who created and/or appreciated them at one time and passed them on to me.  I will remember this learned experience in our last downsize/move when it is time to retire, for it will serve my mental state well.

Back to my current situation of getting back into my work, purchasing a new PC, uploading and updating programs. Setting up a painting area for my work in acrylics and watercolors is nearly completed.  I am now working on refreshing my business links and postings.   I have tentatively joined a new photography group located near my new home, and am looking into joining an art group.  This will offer challenge and inspiration in seeing their works.  With having more time to do this is encouraging.

Experiencing Simplicity in Life is Most Rewarding.

Dee Browning,photographer/artist

www.deebrowningphotography.com

Energizing Vibrant Spring Colors

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. Tulips in multiple  colors

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.Lone purple tulip amongst pink

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.Pink and white tulips

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.Purple TulipsPrints Available at     www.deebrowningphotography.com

River Rock Tribe: Journaling In The Practicing The Art Of Being

First Published September 2012

DKB7713-webThere 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.

Camping with family at Silver Falls State Park  Clarence James Browning

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.

River Rock Village

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.

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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.4004DKB-web

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. 4008DKB-web 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.DKB7729-web

To purchase prints of these and others taken that day please visit my website,  www.deebrowningphotography

Hiking The Scenic Westside of Mt. St. Helens

Previously posted in August 2012

It has been some time since I have posted but, I haven’t been idle.  Sir Clarence James is doing really well and this has allowed me to get out and do what I enjoy doing, hiking and photographing.  Just last week my son-in-law took me on a guided hike, of the west side of Mt. St. Helens.  I have looked forward to this adventure for some time.  Joel is a great outdoors man and I was grateful for his company as he came in handy when my back and neck started giving me heck on the return stretch of our hike.   He strapped my camera bag backpack, a good 30 plus pounds, to his and carried both the rest of the uphill hike back to his pick-up.  Did I mention that the weather that day was near 100 degrees!  He is a great guy to have your back.  In this case backpack 🙂

Me and my son-in-law Joel

We began the day at 4:00am for I wanted to catch the sun rising.  I love silhouettes.   Here near the trail head of Castle Lake, I used a strong filter to capture the sun rising over the crest of the Cascade Range silhouetting the crest and renewed forest growth.

Silhouette of Mt. St. Helens Sunrise

On the trail, my son-in-law frequently scopes the terrain for wildlife as the sun continues its rise in the east.  He is hoping to catch sight of a bear forging for food.   Sweet huckleberries, blue berries, and strawberries gave me no doubt of their existence.  The sun ripened fruit was so tempting we often stopped to gather small handfuls of these mouth-watering sweetness.  Later along the trail we came upon claw ripped wood, where the bears had searched for a meal of bugs, and bear scat both evidence confirming that we had indeed entered their territory.

Joel scoping for wildlife.

We never saw a bear but instead spotted  two herds of elks at such a distance away that made me long for a more far-reaching lens.  Who am I kidding, I would not have been able to lug one that size around while hiking :(. A large herd of elk quite a distance away.

Another herd on a knollSt.Helens erupted in 1980.  I flew over the crater as soon as the air space opened up, with my father in his Maul, a fixed winged airplane.   Seeing the destructive force of nature from that altitude made one aware of how insignificant we humans are.  I captured many film images that day and I only mention this because as I hiked past remnants of that destruction, as seen below, I remember those captured images and how even though it is taking many years nature is rebounding in this area.

Remnants of devastation from Mt. St. Helens eruption in 1980.

We came to a cross-road of trails and Joel headed down the Castle Ridge Trail.  Below is an image of him on the edge of a hill, a tiny speck,  overlooking a cavern where one can see and hear boulders tumbling down the west flank of the mountain.  One can track their descent by the trail of dust and the sound of their impact against other boulders resembling that of a rifle being discharge.  All very humbling.

Joel looking at the boulders crashing down the mountain.

To purchase prints of the images I captured that day   www.deebrowningphotography.com

Cheers,

Dee Browning, photographer

Mental Retreat: Journaling In The Practicing In The Art Of Being

0966DKBwebWe all have those days when we just need to escape.  Living in Portland, Oregon gives me an array of venues, each providing a different scenic and meditative place where I can immerse myself.  The northern Oregon Coast is one of my favorites as it provides an ever-evolving atmosphere for contemplation.  When my everyday schedule starts to get the best of me, I gather my camera gear and head out.  Rarely do I plan these trips as they are accessible day trips.  The night before decisions are the best as they offer me an earlier start.

The northern Oregon coast is a magnet to many, especially those of a solitary artistic nature such as myself, for there are many wondrous areas to appreciate the variable moods and actions of the sea. This particular trip found me traveling northwest on Highway 30, along the banks of the Columbia River.  A light drizzle traveled with me as I drove the dark highway with only the small passing town lights, and headlights of those heading into the city for work, lightening the predawn sky.  Tension in my neck and shoulders begin to recede as I draw nearer to where the Columbia River meets the sea.  My destiny close at hand, as is evident in the silhouettes of ships appearing in the beginning rise of the sun’s rays, as they light the peaks of the dark choppy waters of the mighty river on which anchored ships sit.DKB7408web Life is stirring as I drive through Astoria, Oregon, a town of antiquity and it’s four mile long Megler Bridge that spans the Columbia River.

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Arriving at Cannon Beach the rising sun rays have begun to dissipate the early morning fog.  I am in luck as the low tide is nearing its end, leaving a wide beach to stretch my legs.

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Pools of salt water were left from the retreating surf around Hay Stack Rock, as crews begin to set-up informational signs about the tide pools, a signal to me that possibly a group of school children would soon be arriving.  Wanting more solitude, I returned to my car and headed further south in search of my retreat.0033DKBweb

South of Cannon Beach on Highway 101, I arrived at my destination, Arcadia Beach which is between Hug Point and Cannon Beach.   Hug Point was an old-passage way for wagons and automobiles, before 1940, so-called because the roadway hugged the shoreline contours as it connected Arch Cape with Cannon Beach.  With a trained eye one can see a piece of the abandoned section of this earlier roadway at low tide covered with colonies of anemones, mussels, starfish and sand.3662DKB

Visiting this area of the Oregon Coastline in the middle of the week during the off-season, offers a meditative venue of nature’s art, especially at low tide.  Massive rock formations, once connected to the coastline, stand separated by years of relentless pounding of the sea, evidences of such in the form of trenches, surrounded these Herculean pieces, trapping sea water and creatures alike.  I am not drawn to view the old passage nor to sea life stranded in the pools, instead I find myself captivated by the abstract art formed by nature and where it leads one’s gaze.

I place myself and camera gear on the firm cool wet sand near a grouping of  massive sentinels.   My line of sight follows the artistic curve of the smooth-edged sand banks retaining shallow calm water that flowed slowly past the monolith sculptures of nature, each adorned with mussels, and sea anemones glistening in the sun’s rays.  This watery path lead to the more aggressive waters of the sea that were instrumental tools in the design of these statures.  As I contemplate each shot, I lulled not only by the beauty within my camera’s frame, but by the sound of the rhythmic waves of the reversing tide.  A feeling of well-being and clarity enfold me.   Relaxed, I am thankful for such an opportunity.0952DKB

Pleased at my early arrival for I was experiencing the solitude I so desired as I ambled over to Hug Point Waterfalls, while the tide is still low.  One must be ever so aware of one’s surroundings no matter where you are for various reasons.  Here though, because of the tempestuous nature of the sea at high tide, one can become trapped or at worst pulled into it’s icy turbulence without provocation, by what is known as a sneaker wave.  As in life nothing is as it seems.   Do not be fooled by the calm, for calm is the opposite of turbulence and the two go hand in hand as a balance, as is the way with nature.

Arriving at Hug Point Falls I reclined upon the now sun-warmed accommodating sand and reflect upon the sounds surrounding me.  This was the tonic I so needed.  Born on the cusp of Pisces and Aquarius, I feel this is why I am so drawn to water.  The source of arresting sounds of the fall of water over the small rise of Hug Point Falls and those of the over-lapping waves of the sea, allowed any remaining tension I retained, to completely drain away with each receding wave, as my mind and body became one with my surroundings.  What a gift to oneself.0949DKB-web

Distant voices interrupt my meditative state.  Opening my eyes I saw the source, as an older couple strolled along the tide pools heading my way.   Their beloved pet, of an indescribable canine breed, chased an occasional seagull and snapped at the items offered up by the waves of the incoming tide.  Again I take up my camera and begin capturing the beauty that surrounded me.

As I capture nature’s art and it’s intent, more people arrived to beach-comb or to enjoy a leisurely stroll.  Young adults were the last to make a trek along this beach, probably due to the previous late nights activities.  Their young athletic bodies, with agile limbs, transverse the rocks as they noisily explored their surroundings.  This did not perturb me for it filled me with adventurous thoughts of my own nimble youth and vitality. Though not as spry as I once was, I am grateful for these delays due to my age, for they afford me a more thorough exploration of my surroundings.   As I watch their youthful enthusiasm, I am aware that they are not being truly appreciative.  This will only come with time as I have had to learn.  Our lives are paths which we must all take and each brings about a new awareness.  We must not be critical of those who have not caught up or have surpassed our current path, for they have not traveled as far, nor have we traveled as far as those before us.

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People are friendly here, a nod accompanied with a spoken “hello” from a smiling face prompts an enthusiastic reply.  Some stop to chat about photography upon seeing my gear.  Others proudly display their finds and mention where they found them.  Children squeal as they run knee-deep in the icy waters, along with an occasional shriek when a wave pushes them from behind, soaking once dry warm garments.  I come alive watching and capturing the human interaction with nature.

Hunger forces me to return to my car and since I did not pack a lunch I’ve decided to head back to Cannon Beach for a bowl of clam chowder at Moe’s.  I enjoy this place for one can watch the goings-on along the shoreline.  The chowder’s warmth spreads through me as I watch those bundled-up souls braving the icy wind as they stroll and play on the beach.  A simple but pleasant meal break.

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Not wanting to retrace my route, I decide to travel south along the coastline to Tillamook on my return trip home.  More of nature’s art is seen in the wind sculptured trees that line the road, along with panoramic scenes of ocean waves, boulders and sandy beaches.  I turn east and follow the shoreline of Tillamook Bay, passing through tiny fishing communities their boats dotting the bay.

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I can’t resist the Tillamook Cheese Factory, the true reason for this chosen route, as I am a lover of cheese and here you can sample to your heart’s content before you buy.  Let’s not forget the desert in the way of an ice-cream cone, dish or shake.  The stress released by my journey so far has prepared me well in the practiced art of patience as I become one of the throng of tourists who visit here.  Waiting in line I observe my surroundings and take in the many forms of human life.  I like to think up small life stories to attach to those that interest me.  It is a mental game I enjoy.

After purchasing my cheese and eating my one scoop of ice-cream in a cup, as I am always on a diet these days, I resume my drive towards home by taking Highway 6.  Dairies, their pastures filled with black and white cows, spread across the landscape.  Inland water-ways swell from the incoming tide as it reclaims its mark on the pillars of the piers and docks stationed along the banks.

The landscape changes even more as I make my assent up the coastal range, which is evident in the forest that grows there. Gone are the trees sculptured by the insisting coastal winds.   The trees here have chosen their own paths, some standing tall and wide, others succumbing to the soggy soil as gravity pulls on them, their roots slowly relinquishing their hold.  As I continue to follow the asphalt ribbon I have chosen, I feel the Pacific Ocean diminishing as I near the summit.   Instead of dread or sadness, I feel gratitude that I am fortunate to have experience what I have this day.

Having reached the summit I begin my descent, again I take in my surroundings as the forest gives way to farm land, orchards and vineyards.  Highway 6 connects to Highway 26, known to the locals as Sunset Highway.  Here the traffic grows in numbers as it becomes a multilane freeway.  The homeward journey lengthens as traffic becomes more congested when one draws nearer to entering the Portland Metro area.  With the masses, I traverse through the south-east blocks of the city, my chosen route to bypass the more heavily congested routes.  As I made progress I saw many things of photographic interest.   I found myself not thinking of the heavy traffic but instead of how I need to come and spend another day in the city to experience and capture images of the life here.

Leaving the city behind I continue my way towards home, on the far south-eastern edge of the great Portland Metro area, the distant Mt. Hood stays in my sight on this last leg of my journey.  It beckons me to visit it too soon, exploring it’s many trails with hidden alpine wonders to photograph.

I journal my experiences when photographing for they are such wonderful experiences of time taken to study ones surroundings.  When processing my photographic image files I often write thought-provoking phrases to go with a group of photographs.  Here is one from my experience that day.

 Ride the waves of life for they will recede.

To see more Sea Escapes visit my website

www.deebrowningphotography.com

©copyright 2011 Dee Browning   All Rights Reserved

Miksang

0027DKB-RGBI started this blog with the short story I wrote describing what I experienced on a photographing outing. I am now attempting to write a little about me, not my favorite subject, as a way of introducing myself. I am a very private person blessed with a full life as a wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, and friend. I love to create artistic spaces in my yard and home that flow together providing little retreats for me to go to when I need to clear my mind. I have an aging cat, named Clarence, you can visit his blog  http://sirclarencejames.wordpress.com/    who supervises my office here in my home from his lofty perch over-looking my digital darkroom/desk. I don’t know what I will do when he will no longer hold this position, as he keeps me on a schedule of much-needed breaks with his persistent demands of attention when I have had my nose to the grindstone too long.

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Many feel that a photographer just goes out with camera in hand and takes lots of pictures then uploads them on to a computer, then puts them on a website and/or prints them out. That is only a small part of our work.  Photography demands, like other professions, a dedication and passion to sustain being a photographer. In my blog one will not find the technical writings that involve how to use a camera or the technical details of a workflow. I feel this subject has been successfully covered by those much more capable than I.  Like all serious photographers I spend more days in my digital darkroom/office than I do looking through the view-finder of my camera. With the ever-present sorting, culling, processing and adding metadata to all the images I have captured, to the updating and maintenance of a websites and now this blog/s, all this keeps me very busy in my office. I know members of my family and close friends just sigh when they hear I am working in my office as that seems the norm for me.  I am often asked when will I get caught-up?  I reply, ‘Hopefully soon.’ The reality is, this sometimes grueling work will never be ‘caught-up‘, mainly because I keep taking photographs!  I have wasted some of my time on the writing a blog as I often fine myself fretting over what to write about.

After writing ‘A Mental Retreat’ and starting a painting inspired by a photograph taken on that day, I realized I possibly had my blog figured out. All my life I have always had a deep-seated passion for creative writing, photography and art.   Now I have found myself combining the three.  I will not call myself a professional artist in regards to applying color on a canvas or paper, but I do feel it plays an important part in who I am as a photographer. When painting, I have a better understanding of color, contrast, texture and composition, thus allowing me to look at my subject through the view-finder of my camera, as an artist would.  As all artists, there are times when I feel disconnected from my work, and I find myself in a slump.  When in this mental fog, writing about a good photographing experience is a much-needed mental boost.  Allowing all three of my creative sides to work together has a meditative effect upon me, thus allowing all my senses to heighten, to become one with all, allowing me to see things I ordinarily would not see.  I aspire to lead others towards what I have learned.  To experience their enthusiasm and pride when they point out discoveries in their surroundings. Their discoveries bring to me a different perspective and more appreciation of what others perceive when using all their senses within the same surroundings.  A photographer needs to capture what others don’t see.

“Miksang” a Tibetan word meaning good eye, is a term used regarding my work.  It comes naturally for me, something I took for granted, until others began asking about it. In writing about my experience in capturing an image, I realized that it is because I become one with my surroundings and look at it in it’s entirety and thus develop ’Miksang’ so to speak.  Writing about this, I feel others will begin to see that photography is a very personal and solitary experience which sets all of us photographers apart in regards to our work. To write about how I use my senses, when photographing, I feel I can lead others to do the same. I hope to share with those who aspire toward photography, how to slow down and allow not only their eye, but their other senses, to absorb the space that surrounds what captured their eye, thus capturing a more interesting image. To be good at what you do, you must have passion, for it is that passion along with your own perspicacity is what comes through in an artist’s work. You can take several photographers and ask them to photograph the same subject and you will get different, though similar pieces of work, much like a room full of artists painting the same model. No pieces of work will be the same for we, as individuals, are different and perceive things differently. Knowing the technical side of photography, like operating a camera and processing film or files, is not what distinguishes a photographer’s work from others but the way one uses this knowledge to capture images that appeal to their individual senses. That in itself is a form of art, and like art, some will appreciate it and others will not. Artists come in all forms using all kinds of tools and canvas. There are painters, sculptors, writers, designers, the list goes on. To a photographer, our lens determines the size of the canvas. Our camera settings and equipment are our brushes and paints. Because I spend so much time photographing a subject, many ask, “Doesn’t this bore you?” Just the opposite! I find myself in awe at how time just slips away, and the added thrill in discovering a new subject in the same area to focus my lens on, or a different technique that would have been over-looked if I had not taken my time. After a shoot, I feel on top of the world.   I find any anxiety, self-doubt and/or worries I might have experienced at the time,  dissolved with ease as I immerse myself into my work experiencing a ‘mental retreat’.

I hope you will continue to journey with me as I add to my blog what inspires me to press down on the trigger-release and take a shot. As I wrote these three lines, “To share a mental perception.”  I realized that this was my goal.  So, the purpose of art whether captured or created is ‘to share a mental perception;.

To see more of my captured images and paintings

www.deebrowningphotography.com

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