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!

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.

DKB7734web

DKB7733web

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

Landscapes of Central Columbia River Basin

It seems I have little time for blog writing these days, as my summer is speeding by.  Family health issues are the  top of my priority list followed closely by shooting events, shows and jobs.  Because of this I have found myself falling further behind on some of my projects that don’t have time limits, this blog included.  So, for the time being, my blog writing will be sporadic.

2107DKBA couple of weeks ago, my friend Sonia accompanied me on a day trip to Central Columbia Basin as I wanted to photograph the harvesting of the grain.  Grain fields near The Dalles, Oregon, are vast and planted on rolling hills with Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams in the background, perfect for landscape photography.  Some of the fields were already harvested and some had already been burned adding texture and contrast for photographing. 2188DKBMy goal of capturing images of large combines working three or more abreast, cutting the grain, was not to be as the only combines I found were being worked on or parked unattended on the edge of a field.

Driving through the rolling agricultural hills I came upon an old abandoned farm house.2134DKB  My mind conjured up a story as to why this once beautiful home was abandoned.  Was it bad well water, foreclosure due to bad times, or the death of the last family member?  The whole scene was forlorn as the skeleton of a large tree added to the sadness of the abandoned property.

I love all landscapes from coastal to high desert as each has it’s own special geography of textures and colors.   I find photographing landscapes the most relaxing thing to do besides visiting a spa!

Prints available at   www.deebrowningphotography.com

Time Flies

Oh my! Fourth of July was over a week ago, and I had so planned to upload a couple images of the fireworks seen from our front deck. Our home is situated on a hill providing a view, though distant, of the firework displays of those downtown Portland and at Oaks Park, and of those in our area.  As usual this blog writing was put on the back burner as more projects developed and awaited my attention, one being Hughes Water Gardens Annual Water Lily and Art Show.005DKBweb

My first encounter with Hughes Water Garden began after we had purchased our home here in the Portland area after relocating from southern Oregon. Having had a Koi pond at our previous home, I wanted to check out water garden nurseries in the area. Hughes Water Gardens and Nursery owned by Eamonn Hughes, a renowned water feature designer, so enchanted me that I asked and was granted permission to photograph elements of the gardens. I spent a few hours photographing and enjoying myself in the tranquil setting. I don’t remember how it came about, but I was invited to display my work at their annual Art Show! I have taken part in this show ever since. It has grown to include over 30 regional artists featuring art of different mediums, many inspired by the gardens.

I have restricted my involvement in many shows due to my busy schedule and the lack of purchasers due to the current economy. Hughes Water Garden was my first ever showing so I feel I must continue participating in this annual event for it is in my blood now and is good for showing my more recent work, not to mention being able to mingle and be inspired by other artist including landscape designers. Anyone in the Portland Metro area reading this who loves art and tranquil settings, I encourage you to attend the ‘Gala In The Garden – Opening Reception’ Friday evening July 22nd 6:30 – 8:30pm. Art will be displayed throughout the nursery, and artists will be giving plein air demonstrations. Appetizers, music and wine-tasting enhances the overall experience, so give yourself a mental retreat and join in the festivities at Hughes Annual Art Festival ‘Gala In the Garden’. If you are unable to go that evening there are two weekend events following the open reception, ‘Weekend In The Garden’, July 23rd and 24th and July 30th and 31st. All events are free and open to the public. They do suggest that you bring a two can donation for the Oregon Food Bank Food Drive. Looking forward to seeing you there.

Here are a sampling of what you will see there of my work in photography plus some watercolors I have done.0162DKBweb3592DKBweb0017DKB-RGB-web4114DKBweb

Nataraja-Asana-Virisik-Asana

Prints of these are also available on my website   www.deebrowningphotography.com

©copyright 2011 Dee Browning

Lincoln City Annual Kite Flying Festival

This last weekend…Whoops!  That was two weekends ago!  My busy schedule of other projects that I needed to complete, one being a fun shoot of a beautiful girl and her horse, interrupted my writing of this blog.  These interruptions to my well laid plans happen often.  I can honestly say I am never bored! Photographers have many projects! Priorities taken care of I now must re-write the beginning of my blog.  

My husband and I along with our dear friend Sonia, spent Saturday, June 25th at Lincoln City enjoying their annual ‘Kite Flying Festival’.  We have endured the first half of this year of unusually wet weather.   Our bodies deprived of vitamin D began to re-energized at the lack of clouds in the sky.  The exposed blue sky provided a wonderful background for the colorful  kites that flew as an opening act above the assembling crowd of people staking out their individual piece of beach. 

Chilly winds, which is typical of the Northern Oregon coast, kept most under cover by way of jackets, blankets and beach tents.   A few, mostly the young, could be spotted in their more revealing attire, exposed skin red from sun and wind, as they strutted and swayed in the human way of attracting the opposite sex.   I hoped at that age I wasn’t so obvious as these youthful beings, but I fear might have been.  Those younger still, also scantily clothed, in the way of shunned jackets and bare feet, ran and hopped about, kicking up sand and squealing with delight at the kites overhead.   Many with hand-made kites of their own ran with a hand-held high clutching a short string attached to their kite, that soared and dived erratically behind them, their youthful energy fueling the warmth they needed.  Dogs of all shapes and sizes greeted each other in their doggy ways showing signs of excitement in being in this festive environment   Nearer to the waves, leash free, they
played in the surf then sprayed a shower of salt water droplets freed from wet fur, on to those close by.   I observed all this as we set-up our spot among the throng of fellow beings practicing the
Art of Being’.  How invigorating!

After staking out our section of sand, I ready my gear consisting of two lens, a wide-angle, and small telephoto, both great for using in what I refer to as shooting from the hip.  A tripod in such instances is not practical.  To capture excitement and wonder involving an event such as this, I needed flexibility and quickness in my positioning.  After taking a couple of test shots to satisfy myself of my basic camera settings and I wandered off to integrate my camera and I with those of my subjects and objects, leaving my husband and friend to enjoy the festivities from their camp chairs and warm blankets on our little piece of beach. 

Children fascinate me for they are the true artists in the ‘Art Of Being’, for their minds have not been molded with constrictions of responsible thoughts that plague adults.  As I watched their expressions of wonderment and excitement, though tempted, I avoid singling them out to photograph, as it makes most parents uneasy and rightly so.  Instead I observed what captivated them and with their expression in mind I attempt to capture an image that will get the same reaction of wonder and excitement from those who view it. 

Walking the outer edge of a ribbon-made fence, set-up to discourage the masses from entering the area where they anchored the big kites , one kite-man caught my attention as he held an instrument up over his head.  I soon learned he was measuring the winds as he announced they were at 16 knots.  He kept checking his anchor and the taut lines leading skyward to a tethered bright red octopus kite dancing in the winds, its tentacles break dancing in time to the frequent gusts.  A large colorful blow-fish swam the air currents only a few feet from the sand, dwarfing all that ventured near for a closer look.  I did envy those who had video cameras as I attempted to capture the synchronized flying of six kites handled by six people to surreal music.  It was a
beautiful sight to see but difficult to capture.  I finally relinquished this effort and settled myself on a nearby drift log to enjoy the show.  

I see you are another Nikon-er.”  stated a voice interrupting my semi-meditative moment with the synchronized flying kites.  That was when I became acquainted with D. Deane Ingram, a fellow photographer who started his profession shooting the Vietnam War.  He told me of his job travels all over Europe.  How he and his German wife, Ingrid, finally settled in Portland until his recent retirement to Lincoln City.  Still photographing, he proudly shared with me some of his work that he carried with him in his gear bag.   Our conversation veered toward the digital world of photography and the pros and cons of being a pro-photographer in that field.  It felt good to share my love of photography with a fellow photographer. 

I ambled back to our spot only to find two famished people who had patiently awaited my return to enjoy the food we had brought with us.  I placed my camera in my bag and settled down to eat, all the while scanning for more picture-taking opportunities.  Our picnic consumed, a need for a restroom trip delayed, as Sonia and I giggled like  young girls over an incident we found ourselves in.  Our chairs had sunk deeply into the sand making it extremely difficult to get up.   As we tried to hoist ourselves out of our seats her chair tilted as it went deeper into the sand on one side, nearly dumping her into my lap.  John was of no help as he found himself in the same predicament.  Laughter is  the best medicine except when you have to use the bathroom!    

As the events of the day drew to a close, we loaded ourselves with our belongings and  trudged back to our vehicle.  As we walked, a scene had unfolded before us requiring that I again take out my camera.  Now I fully understood, the vigilance, of attending to the anchored kites.   A kite measuring eighty-one feet long had broken away from its anchor on the beach.  It had entangled itself in a tree and power line that edged the beach-front road.  Six frustrated men worked to gently untangle the $5,000.00 kite from the tree limbs, wires, and its own tethered ropes.  I did not envy their work nor the loss of investment if they were not successful in their endeavor.  My need to capture this unfortunate scene satisfied, I was not surprised to find our vehicle with my husband and friend inside driving towards me.  They, already loaded-up, had come to pick me up.

The drive home was pleasant as Sonia and I noticed places of photographic interest.   My husband focused only on his driving and our destination, could not bother with the scenery we passed, allowing Sonia and I to relax and enjoy the landscape, knowing our eyes and reflexes are not needed to assist him when he is behind the wheel.

With my other current priorities taken care of and my blog completed, a little later than I had planned, I can now return to reviewing and reminiscing that day on the beach at Lincoln City Annual Kite Festival.   

©copyrighted
by
Dee Browning