On our walk along the rim of the Crooked River gorge, Mary and I looked over the gorge and saw some little colored specs moving on the shear face of Smith Rock. They looked like insects. First, out came the binoculars … no, they weren’t insects. Then, out came my big lens … they were people! We both shuttered at the sight of the climbers hanging on for dear life. Solid stable land beneath our feet is much more to our liking!
On another adventure earlier this spring, we went to Smith Rocks State Park along Highway 97 in Oregon. It a beautiful spring day during local school’s spring break. There was a huge crowd with the same idea as we had to soak up the rays and explore. We took a casual walk along the gorge rim. Others were hiking the steep trails and climbing the shear faces of Smith Rocks (way outside of our physical condition or skill level). It was a great day!
The following is one of the lessons that I have learned from who knows where: When you see something interesting in the background, find something else interesting in the foreground to add to it. The red hills in eastern Oregon caught my eye. I am intrigued by sagebrush. One plus one equals three. I can still smell the wonderful aroma of sage as I look at this image.
Above, a lone sagebrush and sun appear.
The sagebrush peers over the edge watching me.
The sun’s bright fire lights my way.
I have always been fascinated by the unusual geological formations in the eastern Washington/Oregon landscape. A few weeks ago, several college friends and I went exploring around Christmas Valley, Oregon. Our first stop was “Crack in the Ground” (see excerpt from Wikipedia below}. Most of the group scurried along the bottom of the fissure. I, along with a special friend, stopped, gazed around in wonderment, and photographed whatever jumped out at me. By the time the group had walked to the end, walked back to the start, and then walked back to fine us, we had only covered about one half of the distance. My mind and eyes wondered at every turn. I am a wondering explorer, not a hiker.
Crack in the Ground is a volcanic fissure about 2 miles (3.2 km) long with depths measuring nearly 30 feet (9 m) below ground level in Central Oregon, United States. The eruptions from the Four Craters Lava Field were accompanied by a slight sinking of the older rock surface, forming a shallow, graben-like structure about 2 miles (3.2 km) wide and extending to the south into an old lake basin. Crack in the Ground marks the western edge of this small, volcano-tectonic depression. The crack is the result of a tension fracture along a hingeline produced by the draping of Green Mountain lava flows over the edge of upthrown side of the concealed fault zone. The fissure is located at the southwest corner of Four Craters Lava Field in the Deschutes National Forest.
Crack in the Ground is estimated to have been created around 1,000 years ago.
A few weeks ago, a few of my college friends and I drove out to a remote area in Central Oregon to photograph the Milky Way. We had scouted the area on the previous day and thought it would be interesting to photograph the Milky Way rising out of Ft. Rock Crater. The bright object in the lower left is Mars. The bright object in the lower right is Jupiter. We were blessed with this interesting symmetry.
Mary Dahlin wrote this following poem about her experience observing the beautiful sight
The Milky Way over Ft. Rock, Oregon
Our galaxy plots a path from a crater in central Oregon.
Fort Rock, a grand and lonely crater,
looms coolly over flat ground, showing remnants
of what spewed forth a hundred thousand years ago,
short in geologic time but long in human time.
The Milky Way seems to jump out from the center of the crater,
billions of years the product of our Creator, and we look at it
with Mars on the left and Jupiter on the right. Much of this is a mystery.
We know it is a galaxy, but it is too great to fully understand.
The colors are green, blue, and bright yellowish white,
all colors of life, like the ocean, the plants, and the sun.
What is time, and how all-important are we, really?
These are questions too difficult to answer, but for a moment
we can accept the complexity of the universe and our own
and be filled with wonder.
I was in no hurry the last time I drove back home from Bend, OR. I pulled off Hwy 97 and drove through the back streets of Grass Valley. I found a jewel. Along side one of the streets were a line up of old trucks and a line up of old tractors. They were perfect for a vintage black and white photo.
I need to make a several day trip just to explore the area. There are so many treasures of a bygone era. Add to the “Bucket List”!
The skies were clear and dark with a new moon. We were out in a remote area in Central Oregon near the Prineville Reservoir. The skies were brilliant with stars shining everywhere. I had not been in such a site since I was in Boy Scouts over 50 years ago. I stared, stared, and stared, totally engrossed in the beauty and the enormity of the heavens above me. I dreamed about all the possibilities out there for other forms of life. It was a wonderful, amazing night that I will never forget.
This image of Oregon’s Painted Hills was taken from the main overlook. The overall scene was immense and beautiful. However, the bright mid-day sun made the image look flat. As I was surveying other images of the Painted Hills, I came across several dramatic images of the hills in late afternoon/early evening sun. I took the challenge to see if I could get close as I post-processed the image. Using a variety of adjustment layers and masks, I came up with the following image.
Driving up to Oregon’s Painted Hills, I saw this pastoral scene and stopped to capture the feeling. It was “high noon” and the sun was bright, but I still wanted to give it a try. To recreate the feeling I had, I processed the image in Topaz’s Impression and added a little texture in Photoshop. Who say’s you can’t make good images in bright noon day sun!