Category Archives: Photo shoots
We were invited to go on a photo walk with our good friend/ photographer Ken Powell. We chose the Eastbank Esplanade and spent an enjoyable early afternoon shoot.
Named after Mayor Vera Katz, The Eastbank Esplanade is a 1.5 miles long, floating walkway on the Willamette River, extending north from the Hawthorne Bridge, past the Morrison and Burnside Bridges, to the Steel Bridge with connections to east-side neighborhoods as well as across the river to Gov. Tom McCall Waterfront Park. At 1,200 feet, the floating walkway is the longest of its kind in the United States. Construction of the Esplanade began in October 1998 and was completed in May 2001.
It provides unique views of downtown Portland and the Willamette River in all seasons and is a must if you enjoy photographing cityscapes.
Shirleen found a segment on the Travel Oregon site that Grant McOmie does about the back roads of Oregon… We have wanted to do a road trip so we decided to follow in Grant’s footsteps and spend a day shooting wildlife and waterfalls along Hwy 30 with Astoria as an overnight stopping spot.
Our first stop was Sauvies Island, which is just outside of Portland as you head west. We have visited Sauvies Island many times before and this is a favorite spot for us to photograph. Almost immediately upon arrival we spotted a large flock of Sandhill Cranes …. and what is that large flock of white birds in the distance …and… and …
Sauvies Island is truly amazing this time of year, we spotted Sandhill Cranes, Snow Geese, Common Mergansers, cormorants, Bald Eagles, Canadian Geese and Red Tailed Hawks within the 90 mins or so that we spent on the Island and we only traveled on the south dike road. Because we knew we had alot of spots to photograph ahead of us we returned to Hwy 30 and headed west.
Next was the Trojan Ponds, home of the now mothballed Trojan Nuclear Power plant. Usually the ponds are a resting spot for Canadian Geese, Ducks and Tundra Swans that migrate through the area this time of year. We saw a couple of the Swans at a distance but the only thing close enough to photograph were three domestic geese…they were so tame that they would practically climb into your car if you would let them … oh well, on with the trip.
Next on the agenda, A little more than four miles past Rainier, just after you cross Beaver Creek, you stay to the right and take the old Hwy, now called Beaver Falls Road. This old winding two lane road crosses Beaver creek several times with lots of scenic old bridges. Keep your eye on the left side of the road and you won’t miss the upper Beaver Falls. It is a small waterfall, only about 10 feet, but its right off of the road and easy to take pictures of. A couple of miles later is the main attraction, Lower Beaver Creek Falls, a beautiful fifty foot curtain fall. I took this shot while standing on a 4 foot, frost covered guard railing, shooting over an eight foot chain link fence.(probably not the smartest footing to take with expensive camera gear) I could see no way of getting down to the base of the falls and I was glad that the foliage was gone from the trees or a large part of the falls might have been covered. All in all a pleasant side jaunt… Thanks Grant ;^)
The last suggested stop on Grant’s tour was 11 miles east of Astoria, the Twilight Eagle Sanctuary. With a name like that you would think it would be a haven for photographers. We have stopped by this place several times and have never seen any wildlife. Perhaps early in the morning or late in the day there might be more activity but it has never shown anything to us.
Astoria – not part of Grants tour but it turned out to be a fun end to our day. We stayed at the Best Western Lincoln Inn. Right outside of our room was a nice paved walkway along the Columbia River. on the land side of the walkway was an old boatyard with lots of old work boats in various stages of disrepair. After making sure there were no “No Trespassing” signs we spent the last hour of light wandering around these old boats taking pictures of them. If they could only tell their stories I’m sure that it would be fascinating.
The next morning we crossed the Columbia River and headed home on the Washington side of the river (HWY 4)…. But that’s a story for the next blog entry.
Each year, Shirleen and I, with as many of our family that can make it, travel to Sunriver, Oregon to celebrate Thanksgivings and the beginning of the Christmas Season. It’s a wonderful time for us grandparents, a chance for real quality time with our kids and grandkids that a person seldom gets in our everyday life.
Memory snap shots:
Great food, adult beverages, laughter and games are always going on around the dining room table. The garage houses a ping pong table that this year hosted hours of ping pong tournaments… (We’re all getting better ;^) and out on the deck is a hot tub, a favorite of old and young alike. One of my personal favorite memories are of evenings when we all gathered and watched a family oriented movie, Grammie and I each with a Grandson snuggled on our laps.
As usual, whenever we leave home we pack our cameras. The Central Oregon, Redmond, Bend and Sunriver areas are full of photographic Ideas.
Northeast of Redmond is Smith Rock, a rock climbers paradise. Take a telephoto lens, it doesn’t take long to spot the climbers spread eagle on the rock face inching their way up one of the hundreds of bolted routes (Even from a distance it makes me nervous). Or take a hike through the Crooked River Canyon where you might see Golden Eagles, Prairie Falcons, Mule deer or River otter. West of Bend the horizon is set off with the sharp snow-covered Three Sisters Mountains in the distance. On a clear winter day it’s hard not to want to pull off and snap this beautiful panorama from several spots along Hwy 97.
This year we spent part of a day east of Bend visiting friends who were spending their Thanksgiving camping and riding dirt bikes in the Millican Plateau area. This area with its low rocky hills, sage brush and twisted Juniper trees has a beauty all of its own. Add to this scene motorcycles with top speeds only governed by the rider’s ability to hang on. We took several shots but probably the best way to capture the true feel of this activity is with one of the new light weight Go-Pro helmet cams. The HD wide angle videos produced by these cameras are a very good and gives you a real sense of being there.
Keep your camera handy in Sunriver too. You need to look no further than the back yard for wildlife… its common to see deer feeding just out the back window and the trees are full of squirrels and birds. This area of Oregon is part of the High desert, but with the generous sprinkling of rivers and lakes and abundant wildlife it’s hard to think of it as a desert.
South of Bend is the Newberry Crater, a dormant volcano, home to a couple beautiful high elevation lakes. Paulina Lake and East Lake are famous for their Brown Trout fishing but they are also beautiful photography spots in the early winter if you can get in before the snow gets too deep.
If you have never been to this area in Central Oregon we would recommend it….if you have been there you know of the beauty that we are talking about.
We Hope that your Thanksgiving provided you with as many memories as ours did.
For more photos from Central Oregon see this album
Our whole adult life we have enjoyed camping in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Some of our favorite camp grounds are Panther Creek, Beaver and Paradise creek, the three closest to Carson, Washington. One of our favorite pastimes have been visiting the local water falls in the area. Until this year we didn’t know about this waterfall. What a pleasant surprise. Set in a stand of mature fir it seems to be the poster child of what a healthy creek should look like.
From Portland-Vancouver Drive east on Hwy 14, turn onto Wind River Road (about 3 miles east of Stevenson). Travel on Wind River Road to Carson’s 4-way stop. Continue straight for 4.7 miles to the second of the “Old State Road” right turns, also signed for Panther Creek campground. Turn right there, then immediately left onto Panther Creek Road. Travel 7.2 miles to the falls. Look for a large gravel/dirt pull-out on the right hand side at the base of a large rock cliff. You’ll find the trail on opposite side of the road about 50 yards back. It’s a hidden gem that few people know about. The well maintained trail is only a couple hundred yards to a wooden viewing platform perfectly perched above this unique waterfall. Allow plenty of time to enjoy this gem of a waterfall.
Each spring, hundreds of thousands of shorebirds stop to rest and feed along the pacific beaches and the river estuaries of the Washington coastline on their migration northward. The peak in migration typically occurs the last week in April. This concentration of birds offer people the chance to view and with a little luck photograph several species.
With this in mind we headed for the Washington coast last weekend. Grays Harbor hosts a shorebird festival each year (this year it will be May 4-6th) which typically draws large crowds. We thought it would be wise to avoid the crowds and go a week or two early so we rented a motel room in Ocean Shores and planned to visit the Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge a little before high tide the next day.
The day started great, nice weather and high tide not scheduled until early afternoon. We had a time to sleep in, have a nice breakfast and drive down the coast. When we arrived at the refuge things started going bad… first it was too warm to leave the dog in the car and he couldn’t go into the refuge so Shirleen decided to stay out in the parking area with him. I started off a brisk pace towards the Sandpiper Trail. Everyone I met had a long face and it didn’t take me long to realize why. There were no shorebirds to be seen that day. None… not any… a few seagulls so far out in the estuary that they were just white specks. Either the migration was starting later this year or all the birds were somewhere else. I returned to the car after a warm, fruitless walk around the refuge totally bummed. The only plus that afternoon was that Shirleen had gotten several nice shots of a Marsh Wren when she was walking the dog.
Low and behold on the beach right in front of our motel there was a flock of shore birds feeding.
Now on this part of the Washington Coast cars are allowed to drive on the beach and there were a lot of people walking their dogs, kids running, kites flying and well …. what do you think the chances were of us getting anywhere close enough to the birds to take pictures before someone scared them all away?
As it turned out, our chances were great. The flock seemed to be in a feeding frenzy, as you approached them they would run or fly away just enough to keep a safe 10-15 foot distance from you and then go back to feeding. We approached slowly taking pictures as we went and the birds just sort of flowed around us. It didn’t take us long to get right in the middle of the flock and shoot pictures to our hearts content. We were both shooting with 100-400mm telephoto lenses which worked out well, we could pull back to the 100mm to get groups of birds when they flew and zoom out to the 400mm range to get close-ups of the birds feeding. The late, warm afternoon lighting made for some great shooting and we came away with literally hundreds of pictures. Here is a few of our favorites.
If any of you make it to the Grays Harbor Shorebird Festival we would love to see your pictures and hear about your experiences.
Recently we decided to use the frames from the photographs that were hung in our bedroom to be used as framing for a traveling photo exhibit. So all of a sudden we have a whole wall with nothing on it … like a big blank canvas ready to accept something new. Shirleen (head decorator of the Team Hymas abode) requested something big … like 5 feet by 3 feet…. “you know …..one big something instead of a bunch of little some things.” We spent the best part of an afternoon deciding on a picture that would be peaceful and the right color scheme. (That discussion could fill a blog post by itself.) Finally we agreed on one of a foggy morning at the Refuge.
A short look at the sizes offered for poster prints came up with a common 20 in by 30 in… not nearly as big as I wanted so early on I decided to try this tiled approach. The trick is to break up a picture so that each tile will be a common print size. We decided that if we printed on 11 X 14 landscape borderless prints, for a 4 X 3 print pattern we would end up with approximately 56” by 33” picture, much closer to what we wanted size wise.
This is how I set up the picture for print.
The first step is to crop the picture to the 56” by 33” that we needed to end up with. Start by opening the highest resolution version of the picture that you want to use in Photoshop.
In the Image drop down menu select “image size”. Make sure that the resample image check box is unchecked and the measurement drop down is set to inches. Set the width to 56 inches and click OK. You can’t control both the width and height here because if you try to change the height then the width will change to keep the picture in the correct proportion.
To set the height, in the image drop down menu select “canvas size” make sure the measurements are set to inches and set the height to 33 inches. You can control what part is going to get cropped off by clicking the middle, top, bottom or center square in the anchor grid. Click “ok”. Photoshop will warn you that some cropping will occur. Accept it. Notice that Photoshop did round the height up .002 of an inch but this is not a problem.
Ok, now all we have to do is slice this picture up into 12 equal pieces.
From the tool bar select the slice tool. Right click on the picture and select the “divide slice” option. Set the slice tool for 3 horizontal slices and 4 vertical slices. To save the slices as separate images click on the file drop down menu then choose “save for web and device” you might get a warning about the file being bigger that what the tool was designed for but answer “yes” to continue. After a few seconds it should ask where you want to save the files. I suggest putting them on your desktop so that you can easily find them when it comes time to upload for printing. Photoshop will store your files in an images directory.
I uploaded my pictures to Costco to print. They charge 2.99 (plus tax) for an 11 x 14 print for a total cost of 38.82.
Please note that you need to turn off the auto correct feature when you order your pictures. If you leave it on each picture will be auto corrected individually and it can cause some drastic tonal differences between parts of the whole picture as you piece it back together on the wall.
This is the final product
2011 is just about in the record books… for us it was an exceptionally good year. We had the opportunity to travel to some very good photographic locations. Each location offered us its own unique photo opportunities.
In February we did early morning drive to Sauvie’s Island hoping to catch a few shots of the nesting Bald Eagles that we have been fortunate enough to spot there before. The morning was foggy, limiting our visibility. Not to be stifled by the fog we started shooting pictures of the looming Oak trees silhouetted against the bright white sky and wildlife that allowed us to get close enough to photograph in the poor conditions. We were driving on the south side of the Island along the Multnomah Channel when the fog began to rise. This lighting only lasted a few minutes but Shirleen was able to capture this picture of the boat houses across the channel with the lingering blanket of fog hanging over the channel. It has remained one of our favorites throughout the year.
Early April we were invited to attend the French Quarter Festival in New Orleans, Louisiana… ohhh Bourbon Street, Cajun food, good music and lots of people having fun. Great fun but the frosting on the cake was a trip to Avery Island… alligators and thousands of white egrets nesting… our cameras were busy all day. If you ever have the chance to go there in the spring time we highly recommend it.
In early July we headed north for a few days stay on Whidbey Island in the Straights of Juan de Fuca. Memories of outstanding photographic spots that come to mind from that trip are Deception Pass, Admiralty Head lighthouse, the small picturesque town of Langley and beautiful sunsets each night. We spent one day at the Annual Highland Games and Celtic Festival held in Mount Vernon, Washington. There were lots of unique picture opportunities there just recording the Highland games.
September took us on a loop through Oregon as far south as the Burns area where we spent a couple of days in the Malheur Wildlife Refuge. This is a must for any serious wildlife photographer.
We were able to get some of the best pictures of hummingbirds right outside the refuge office. The Western Grebes along the road that bisects Lake Malheur seemed fearless and allowed us to get close enough to get full frame portrait shots.
We were lucky enough to get seats that were only 2 rows back from the arena, straight across from the chutes where the cowboys came out riding the untamed horses. Sunshine to our backs … it couldn’t have been better to catch the action. This was one of the first shots that I took and the style reminds me of a Norman Rockwell painting that might have come from the cover of an old “Saturday Evening Post”. We came home with so many good rodeo pictures.
Fall …the time of the year when the light starts to fade but the trees make up for it with a red and gold show. One morning photography trip to Lake Sacajawea (foggy again) as the fog lifted I was able to bring back several good shots of the west end of the lake.
And last but not least… one freezing foggy morning Shirleen spotted these frozen spider webs draped over one of our bird houses in the back yard. She went back into the house, got her camera and took several shots from different angles. We posted this shot on Flickr and within a week Getty Images had sent us a request to handle the licensing for it. It was a nice ending to a very good year. (and it’s not over yet)
We are looking forward to what next year brings!
This time of the year, late October – early November is a prime time to go outside and photograph nature as it changes from summer greens to the reds, golds and browns of Fall. It’s definitely the most colorful times of the year. We here in the Northwest are blessed with many scenic areas to photograph.
A couple of our favorite fall places are:
Lake Sacajawea in Longview, WA.
This is a beautiful man made lake in a residential area, surrounded by deciduous tress, park benches and pathways that beg to be photographed.
Ducks and Geese dot the water, some native to the lake and others there because this is the time of the fall migration. Several bridges span the lake and ornamental concrete lookouts at several spots along the shoreline offering perfect vantage points to shoot from. On a calm day the lake is a mirror reflecting this photo rich environment. We have had our best luck early in the morning from the south side of the lake. If you give this location a try we would be interested in your opinion (and favorite spot to shoot from)
The Columbia River Gorge
The Gorge is beautiful any time of the year, but with the fall colors in the mix it really gets…. Gorg-ious
If you have time take a day trip. Start from Troutdale Heading east along the old Scenic Highway stopping along the way at the Women’s Forum, Vista House and several of the waterfalls along the Oregon side of the river. They don’t call the road the Scenic Highway for no reason … every mile has something beautiful to view.
Eat lunch overlooking the Columbia River at the Columbia Gorge Hotel in Hood River then cross the river to the Washington side and meander west on Hwy 14 towards Vancouver. Be sure and stop at Beacon Rock and climb at least part of the way up to get some stunning views then continue west to Cape Horn where you can see most of the area that you have traveled today, and get that last picture of the day. Enjoy!
For more ideas of fall photography
in Oregon: http://oregonfallfoliage.wordpress.com/
In Washington: http://gonw.about.com/od/attractions/ss/foliagetrip_5.htm
We recently had the opportunity to go to the Pendleton Roundup. We were newbies….well not anymore! :) We are so glad we went! The sites, the sounds, wonderful seats and the beautiful days spent at the Rodeo couldn’t get any better. Everyone was in a festive mood, ready for the promise of an amazing rodeo to come and boy oh boy that’s exactly what happened!! This is a big rodeo with professional riders from all over North America coming to compete.
We were there for two days of exciting Bareback Riding, Calf Roping, Steer Wrestling, Team Roping, Steer Roping, Bull Riding, Barrel Racing and Indian Pony Relay. Plain and simple non stop action. Yee haw!!!!
It wouldn’t be easy to pick a favorite event here…… The Ladies Barrel Racing, how they rounded the barrels with their horses nearly laying down, the speed they left those barrels, amazing!
Bareback Riding, 8 seconds would be a loooooong time to stay on these wild horses with one thing on their mind, throw the rider off with any means they had! The brutality to the riders bodies in those 8 seconds, when they manage to stay on it’s a testament to their strength, skill and tenacity to not let the horse win this time.
The Indian Pony Relay was something we had never seen before. The Indian’s use wild horses they have captured and trained to race in this event. It is done bareback with only Halter and Reins. The speed they race is unbelievable. Four teams, one rider per team who changes horses at completion of each lap without hardly stopping to dismount and mount again. You want to hold your breath when this happens as there is a HUGE chance of collision when the exchanges happen. This is a thrilling event.
During our time there we became immersed in the Cowboy culture. If you have an ounce of Cowboy in you, you owe it to yourself to make it to the Pendleton Roundup!
As they say …….. Let’er Buck!
for more information visit the Pendleton Round-up site.
For more pictures see the Roundup Gallery