Tag Archives: Team Hymas
A Road Trip??
An acquaintance and fellow photographer Mike Kipp was talking to us one day and mentioned that he had seen and photographed Moose at the Turnbull Refuge. This seemed like a good outing for us so we set out on a couple day road trip. We stayed near the Spokane airport about 20 miles north of the Refuge and were up and on the road before full light. Signs were good on the way to the Refuge, we spooked up a flock of wild Turkey along the road, and a small flock of Geese flew over the car just a few feet up.
We arrived at the Refuge Just after full light and was greeted almost immediately by a beautiful doe, then everything seemed to stop… a few chipmunks and a squirrel or two were all that came within range of our cameras for the next four miles of the auto route. I was becoming very disappointed; we had spent the better part of the previous day driving to see a couple of squirrels??? Then just as we were driving down into a small gully with willow thickets on either side I noticed something large moving in the brush.
We had come across two young bulls that were feeding in the willows near the Southern end of Swan Pond. They didn’t seem to be concerned with us clicking away like mad and kept feeding. At one point (just like a couple of teenagers) they started head butting each other …neither seemed too serious but it was very exciting to watch. After a few minutes (and a few hundred shots) they walked across the road behind us and off over a low hill where we could no longer see them. This encounter made it all worthwhile.
We went on to see some Trumpeter Swans (and their almost adult young) and truly enjoyed the day. The Refuge is well maintained and has some beautiful hiking trails, but everything including the ponds is dry this time of year. I would recommend visiting this refuge during the spring migration. We spoke to a local bird watcher and she told us there is a lot more activity during the spring.
Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge is located approximately twenty miles southwest of Spokane. The refuge has 2,300 acres designated for public use. The refuge has abundant marshes, ponds and wetlands which makes it a high quality site for breeding and migratory waterfowl. Visitors are encouraged to experience Turnbull via the five and a half mile auto tour route and the many miles of hiking trails within the visitor use area.
Jutting into the Pacific Ocean, Yaquina Head is battered almost year round by waves, wind, and a fair share of rain. The headland is a lava flow of basalt rock which refuses to be worn away as quickly as the surrounding sandstone and other rock. The bordering sandy beaches have receded, while Yaquina Head endures.
Yaquina Head Natural Area is located at the north end of Newport, Oregon. This headland provides visitors with one of the most accessible wildlife and ocean viewing locations on the Pacific Coast and is visited by hundreds of thousands of guests every year. A couple of manmade highlights of the headland are the Interpretive Center and Lighthouse. The Interpretive Center features exhibits on Seabirds, marine and intertidal life, as well as human history on the headland. The Lighthouse was constructed in 1872 and is the tallest Lighthouse on the Oregon Coast – soaring 93 feet in the air… 114 steps in the circular stairway. Open for tours, daily. Check for times, as the tour times change with the seasons.
The real show for us was the wildlife. Spring brings 65,000 Common Murres, Brandt’s Cormorants, Pelagic Cormorants, Pigeon Guillemots, Western Gulls, and Glaucous-Winged Gulls to Yaquina’s bluffs and offshore rocks.
Of course this concentration of birds attracts the raptors. Bald Eagles and Peregrine Falcons enjoy an all-you-can-eat buffet! Early in the morning, Eagles and Falcons can be observed dining on seabirds near the Lighthouse. The California Gray Whale is commonly sighted just off shore and Harbor Seals were sunning on the rocks on the South side of the headlands the day we were there. If you time your visit during a low tide the tidal pools are accessible and full of life…. Sea Stars (Starfish), Green Anemones, Purple Sea Urchins, Mussels, Barnacles, Turban Snails, Hermit Crabs, small fish called Sculpins and many more.
Final thought, come…. bring your camera….enjoy.
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
Winter in our northwest is a real challenge for photography. Most days the weather forecast is for sprinkles, showers, rain at times, or heavy rain. The sky is white, gray or dark gray and the streams and ponds all reflect those dismal shades. The skyline is mostly leafless trees, dark branches silhouetted against the gray skies. Light? what light? there have been days in the last couple of weeks that the street lights have stayed on until 10 o’clock in the morning and come back on by 3:00pm that afternoon. everywhere you look muted shades of gray, brown, yellow…. Stop. this is even making me depressed.
So what is a photographer to do?
Sometimes you just have to brave the weather.. a few years ago we went to Alaska on vacation. Even in the summer you cannot expect blue sky’s so we took turns holding an umbrella for each other. it was cumbersome but we still managed to bring back a lot of fun photographs and memories.
If you enjoy photographing wildlife the best time of the year is in the fall/winter/spring when the flocks of cranes, swans, geese and ducks migrate through the area. With these large flocks also come the predators that prey on them… eagles, hawks, falcons and coyote. It’s truly the best time for the wildlife photographer in this area.
But when you don’t want to face the elements…
- Bring your photography indoors. you don’t have to have a fancy studio to enjoy indoor photography. open the curtains wide, let in the natural light and supplement it with natural light fluorescent bulbs. backdrops can be as simple as a sheet thumb tacked to the wall. Now is a great time to photograph that family pet or practice your portrait skills on family members.
- Visit your archives… now is the time to go back through all those photos that you took last year, delete the multiple shots that you took of that waterfall and only keep the best. It’s easier to have a more balanced eye after some time has passed and You will find new treasures (I always do). while you’re there keyword you photos so that you can find them again.
- Improve your post processing skills. Google “photo editing software tutorials”, there are lots of 5-10 minute tutorials out there on the internet on how to post process photos … perhaps one that adds just the finishing touch on that favorite waterfall!
Wait.. I see a break in the clouds… some blue sky…. the sun is shining… sorry, got to go.
A rainy weekend… Time to put together a video of the Highlights of the 2011 Pendleton Round-Up Rodeo…
Hopefully you will enjoy viewing this as much as we did photographing it.
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
Both Shirleen and I have Canon 100-400mm L IS lenses, they are our primary telephoto and Wildlife lenses. I have found that these lenses are a great way to shoot close-ups of what most people consider macro subjects(bees and flowers). The results are not true macro shots, but you get a very nice close up of the subject and usually some of their habitat too.
- Use a tripod or monopod. The built-in image stabilization on these lenses works well to keep the picture steady. However, I find that my arms tire fairly quickly waiting for that perfect shot
- Make sure that the focal length slide on the side of the lens is set to the shorter 1.8 side.. this helps the lens find focus faster at shorter ranges.
- Set up about six to eight feet from the blooms that you are going to photograph. With the lens at full extension (400mm). Try to focus on the nearest flower. if you successfully get focus move closer and retest until you get as close as you can and still focus.
- Shoot on a sunny day with the subject slightly backlit. Honey Bees abdomen will give you a nice golden glow with this type of lighting.
- My last attempt with this type of photography I use a TV setting (time value 1/1000 – 1/2000) trying, but not succeeding, to stop the wings in mid-flight. I have also used AV ( aperture value of F8) to produce some very nice still shots.
For more photography of this type see our flowers and little things gallery
One of our favorite destinations in Oregon is along the Central Oregon coast. The area between Rockaway on the North and Pacific City on the South is a quiet scenic area that has become one of our favorite destinations for family outings offering a large variety of photographic opportunities.
Just off of Rockaway Beach is two large haystack type rocks-Twin Rocks, part of the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge. During the summer months you can see flights of brown Pelicans flying low over the surf hunting while they go to and from their roosting spots on the rocks.
Just south of Rockaway is the town of Barview. There alongside Highway 101 are several tall rocks topped by nature made Bonsai trees. Late in the day these are the favorite roosting spots of Cormorants. More that once we have spotted Bald Eagles dining on fresh caught fish in the upper branches of these trees.
Traveling south from Bay City into Tillamook, veer right following the Three Capes Scenic Route, keep right and follow the signs to Cape Meares. This will take you along the southern edge of Tillamook Bay where large rafts of duck and geese can be seen during the winter migration. Watch for the bay/ocean dike road on the right. We seldom drive this dike road without spotting wildlife, Great Blue Herons, Egrets, ducks, Yellow Rumped Warblers and Kingfishers. All are common here during different seasons. Cape Meares State Park offers scenic ocean views and don’t forget to stop at the Cape Meares Lighthouse.
Continuing south be sure and stop at Oceanside. The town is built on a steep sided cove with beautiful views of Three Arch Rock National Wildlife Refuge. Spend some time on the beach here… there is a tunnel through the headlands on the north side of the beach that takes you through to what is called “Tunnel Beach” or “Lost Boy Beach” which is dotted with large rocks and is one of the most scenic beaches on the Oregon coast.
Just south of Oceanside take the Netarts Bay road. Pelicans, Crab Boats, and Blue Herons compete for your attention during the summer season. Netarts Bay Road turns into Cape Lookout road as you travel south. If you are a hiker be sure to take the Cape Lookout trail out to the headlands, the views are spectacular.
Cape Lookout Road crosses the edge of Sandlake, a fun place to take pictures of all the Dune Buggies and 4×4’s that are climbing the sand dunes.
Just past Sand Lake watch for a turn to the right that will take you into Pacific City. It is a pastoral drive that delivers you to Cape Kiwanda. Here you can watch the Dory fleet coming and going. It is a favorite place for surfing and we have seen hang gliders launching from the high dunes behind Cape Kiwanda. While here enjoy some food and a beer at the Pelican Brew Pub and watch the beach.
If you have done half of what I suggested here, you have had a very busy day ;^)
A short trip through Pacific City and you are back on Highway 101 ready for your next adventure.
See you there.