Bare branches against a winter sky always catch my eye. Last week I was driving along the Interstate when I saw an interesting pattern on the Horse Heaven Hills. I took an exit to explore with my camera. After a little walk, I looked up and saw these tree branches against the sky. It gave me a cold, gloomy feeling. I couldn’t resist the opportunity.
Frequently I look out my window and see this American Kestral perched on a pear tree watching over the pasture below. This seems to be one of its favorite spots. This morning, I waited for the sun to rise a little and shine through the morning fog to silhouette the Kestral. It was a beautiful way to start the morning.
I was enjoying my morning cup of coffee, looked out the window, and saw this weird cloud formation. I dropped everything and rushed to get my camera. Luckily I had the right lens and was able to get a quick photo of this cloud spiral before it dissipated. A few seconds later it was gone. I have never seen such a cloud phenomenon. I have no clue what could have caused it here in Eastern Washington. I wonder if it was a mini cyclone???
The mysteries of nature engulf my imagination. The more I stop to contemplate what is going around me, the more wonder I see and feel. I feel grateful to witness such events and even more lucky if I have a camera near by. It is time to celebrate the wonderful world around me.
A few days ago we had a light snow. I gazed our from my kitchen window and became fixated on the wonderful piece of history in my backyard. The snow provided a nice contrast between the irrigation flume’s wood structure and the sagebrush speckled background.
This piece of history was built in 1892 to provide irrigation water to the Selah Valley. Over the years, much of the canal has been upgraded and the wooden flumes torn down. I am lucky to have one of the few remaining sections above my home. I currently get my irrigation water directly from this flume. Sadly, it won’t be for too many additional years. Plans are to replace this section with an underground pipe. So until funds are available, I will enjoy what remains of our little bit of history.
Does anyone remember the 1980 horror film, “The Fog?’ I had a remarkable spooky experience last weekend. As my friend and I were returning from a trip to Portland back to Central Washington, we decided to take a little side trip to the metropolis of Bickleton, WA. We headed up the Roosevelt grade from the Columbia River. I was expecting some very interesting scenic overlooks as we drove up the switchbacks, but is wasn’t meant to be. Quickly after we started climbing up the grade, a thick fog engulfed us. I could see only about 20 feet ahead of me. Curves on the switch back were difficult to see. We crept along going about 15-20 miles per hour following two large trucks. I was hoping that another vehicle would not race up and rear-end us. My driving partner was a little relieved, she could not see the steep grades sloping down toward the river. All we could see were the lines on the road. Our gas level was getting low!
We finally reached the top of the grade and drove into Bickleton. It was like a ghost town. The town’s few buildings were all closed up. There were no signs of inhabitants. No gas here, we decided to drive on. About 10 minutes later, without any warning, we jetted out of the fog onto a wide open plain. It was bright and beautiful. We drove a couple of minutes, then looked back and saw the huge thick bank of fog from which we had emerged. I quickly stopped the car, got out, and grabbed my camera to try to record the sight. Too, slow … the fog was rapidly coming toward us. It engulfed us before I could click the shutter. I felt that I was being swallowed by the creeping fog.
We drove several minutes more and emerged from the fog again. We drove a mile or two this time before we stopped to photograph “The Fog.” This time, I was able to capture a few images of the moving fog. We quickly got out of “The Fog’s” path before it could engulf us again.
P.S. We made it to the next little town, Mabton, got gas, and then made it safely home. It was an interesting drive!
A straight line is not always the best way to get from point A to point B. The path’s gentle bends direct my interest in multiple directions: a beech grove to the right, a crabapple grove to the left, and a Japanese garden forward. Each bend encourages a little side trip off the path for further exploration.
Over the years, I have taken multiple courses and attended many workshops to help me improve my photography skills. I have practiced, practiced, and practiced. I have experimented with many different techniques and processing methods. Many times my images are only examples of different techniques and processes. Many lack feeling or meaning.
This year, my focus will be to purposefully attempt to create the feeling/story that I am experiencing when I click the shutter. I will attempt to use the different techniques and processes that I have learned in the past to achieve the desired end result. I will think hard each time I click the shutter on what I am trying to accomplish. I will continue to play and experiment in order to see what works and what doesn’t for a specific image. I will continue to create sketch images to explore and find interesting ways to portray what is in front of my eyes. The difference will be that I will attempt to do the above in a much more purposeful way than I have previously.
The above image is from a walk I took on a brisk winter day in the Yakima Arboretum. My friend and I had the arboretum almost to ourselves. Walking along the oak alley, I wanted to record an image depicting the strength, shape, character and size of the oak trees. I took images of the grove from a distance. I took images of individual oak trees showing their overall size and shape. I took close ups of the sun shining on the bark and leaves. Then I looked directly above me and saw everything come together into a single image: a strong trunk, the remnant leaves on the lower branches, the delicate branches extending upward to the sky. I snuggled up to the trunk and shot upward with a wide angle lens setting. I was thinking black and white to match the brisk cool temperature of a winter afternoon.
Happy Belated New Year. I thought I had posted this entry, but I did not hit the publish button. Oh well!
I wish you all a Happy New Year full of new adventures, experiences, and opportunities!
This image recorded on a beautiful winter day overlooking Kalaupapa provides me the hope of a bright new future for the former leper colony on Molokai. Soon the old colony will be turned into a National Park. The park will focus on telling a history of the colony’s rather dark past. It should provide an insight for future generations to better care for our fellow mankind.