Tuesday, December 29, 2009

December Photo Highlights


I've really been engrossed playing Medieval 2 for the month, and have barely managed to get out and take any pictures.  I did go out one evening when the clouds looked promising, and took some pictures from the Broadway bridge.  The clouds thickened up and I was disappointed, but the photos still came out OK.

Another evening, we had some fog.  This really is a rare thing for downtown... I don't remember having any fog during my free hours since last winter.  Anyway, I broke myself away from the video game to take some shots in the fog.  Although it turned out the fog wasn't all that thick once you got to the heart of downtown.  You'd think it'd be thicker by the river...

And I've thrown in a couple of Christmas photos as well, just because I can.









I doubt I will be breaking away from the game in January... it's still as addicting as the day I bought it last month.  I guess I should be happy, I'm really getting a great value for my $20, but at the same time I feel like an addict... thank goodness nobody is going to call 9-1-1 on me.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Some Long Overdue Photo Catching-Up


How is that for a clunky title?

I don't think it's any secret that I haven't been posting lately.  Most of my evenings are spent playing 'Medieval 2' with the occasional hour or two of online poker thrown in for good measure.  I've gone out and done a few photo shoots over the last few weeks, but haven't taken any time to put the pictures up here.  Hopefully I can correct that with this quick dump of some of the best photos I've taken over the last few weeks.



These first three are from an walk I did around Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge, which is sort of on the edge of Portland proper.  I used to ride my bike through here daily, back when I was interested in keeping in shape and somehow wasn't playing video games all the time.  Oh, it was that year when I didn't have a working computer.  Explains a lot.

Anyway, I had a nice little walk around there for an hour or so and managed to get a couple of nice photos.  Yay, wildlife areas!



The next couple are from a walk I took up to Washington Park.  I wanted to get out of the apartment, and didn't expect a lot of excitement from the photos.  And I was correct in my assessment: there was nothing exciting.  But a couple of photos worth showing, so there you go.



We've not had a lot of rain here (despite what you may have heard, it doesn't rain constantly in Oregon) but I did manage to get outside for one evening when it was dark and rainy.  I love the kinds of photos that can come from a good nighttime rain photo shoot, but of course they can be tricky to get.  I didn't last very long, I was cold and wet and wanted to get back to my beloved video games.



I don't think my post-sunset shots of the Willamette River and downtown need any sort of description.  So why am I typing here exactly?


Finally, last week I had Thursday off, and woke up before sunrise to head down to the waterfront and get some rare sunrise photos.  Which came out pretty much as I expected: pretty and sunny.  So there you go!  Hope you've enjoyed.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Novembers Photos So Far

Good timing on the drive home this particular evening. 


I love these fall skies... almost every night is a treat.  Lucky me, catching that plane.

You might remember this shot.  The last time I was here, I wasn't happy with my results because the skies were really clear or flat or something.


Much better this time, and I like this shot a lot more.

Yet another dramatic sky on my drive home.


It's great to be able to just stop and run down to the river and take pictures for a half an hour.  I'm enjoying it while I can.

Finally, some rain!  It was coming down pretty good the other night, with no wind, so I decided I should get out and enjoy it. 


And I did!  I walked through downtown and took pictures of the MAX on the new line, and did some shots from a whole new parking garage.  I was able to get some really interesting stuff, but for some reason this one really stood out.

On Sunday, I wanted to go for a  hike and enjoy the passing showers.  I decided to try something new, and drove up to Lucia Falls in Washington.  It was a nice drive and the falls are pretty cool.  I think they'd be nicer with a lower flow, as they are pretty short and were really churning yesterday.


As it is, the shot I took of the river heading down and around that island came out the most interesting.  I loved that mist coming off the trees, it only hung around for a couple of minutes.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Last Weekend at the North Coast


As you'll recall from my last batch of photos, I took a quick drive out to the coast last weekend.  The sunset was a pleasant surprise, the main focus was a quick visit to Forts Stevens and Columbia.  Those of you who have been following me for some time will recognize this sort of place, as I've taken many trips over the last few years to the many decaying military batteries lining the Pacific.


It's tricky trying to find new things to shoot, especially at Fort Stevens.  I think this was my fourth visit there with my camera... possibly my fifth.  It's a small enough space that there aren't many things I haven't shot already.


Once I figured this out, I realized I could try something different with the familiar settings.  Long-time fans will recognize this scene, a long-time favorite, but with a new twist.  I haven't really done any of these zoom-in shots recently, so I was happy that I thought of it while at Fort Stevens.


Across the river from Fort Stevens is the smaller Fort Columbia.  It's on a steep hillside overlooking the mouth of the Columbia River, the Astoria Bridge, and Astoria beyond.  All this, and somehow it has terrible views.  There are too many trees and fences to make any scenic pictures work.


Another little trick I wanted to try was playing around with my flashlight in a shot.  So I did!  I thought it might make things look haunted or something sweet like that, but instead it looks like I played around with a flashlight.


Another of those zoom-y photos.  Intense!  Did I mention I was there on Halloween?  It's true.  Too bad the place isn't really all that scary.  At least both of the bases were almost completely empty, I think I ran into eight other people at both parks combined.


This would be a great place to visit in the fog.  It's a shame it is two and a half hours away, I don't know how I could plan out such a visit, since the weather is so unpredictable.  One of these damp and cool weekends, I'll have to get a hotel in Astoria so I can at least double my chances.


While I was there shooting, I kept thinking about how I wasn't really finding any good shots.  Just this doorway and that hallway and some window and broken rail... of course when I got  home I looked through the photos and found a ton of them that I loved.  I had a hard time paring them down, as usual.  There are a few bonus shots on Flickr that everyone can see, if you feel like the eleven here aren't enough.


As I mentioned, Fort Columbia doesn't have much of a view of anything, and when I saw the potential for a beautiful sunset I decided I had to cut my visit short and head back down to Fort Stevens.  Twenty minutes later, I was at the beach and getting ready for the sunset.


The sand kind of got the best of me, as my tripod tended to shift without me noticing.  Many of these shots are slightly crooked, but there are a few that are way off!  And I really need to get that sensor cleaned, as the dust spots are just awful.  You can't see them in these, of course, but they're very obvious in the shots I took at f/22.


As usual, thanks for taking the time to look at my pictures!  I hope you've enjoyed.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Some Recent Photos

As I've probably mentioned, I am taking part in a 365 project this year, which involves taking a photo every day. Although I've always been a prolific photographer, this once-a-day thing is a great experience for me, and is helping me in a lot of ways I wouldn't have considered.

As it is, the time spent on daily pictures tends to take away from the time I spend actually posting on my (other) blog, so I don't share them as often as I'd like. So, without further ado (or interesting narration) here are some of my favorite 365 shots from the last time I checked in.







Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Fall Colors at Silver Creek Falls


I know a lot of you consider fall to be the best time of the year.  I'm not quite convinced that any time of the year is better than any other, but I'll allow that fall is beautiful and has a lot to offer.  I think it's probably the best season for photography, since it offers great colors, more rain, and a much better selection of evening skies.


Since Fall is really kicking in here in Oregon, I decided last weekend to head down to Silver Creek Falls.  It was supposed to be raining all day with no wind, so I figured it would be perfect for some great wet shots of the trees and creek and whatnot.


It rained for a lot of the drive down, which was fine. I like driving in the rain, I feel so warm and comfortable in my car, and it's always like "Take that nasty weather!  I'll show you."  I'm not sure what I am showing, other than my ability to make a car payment.


I always seem to think I can find a better way to get to Silver Falls, and inevitably I end up getting lost.  There are a lot of back roads crossing the valley between Portland and Salem, and it seems like I have determined that I will drive down each one of them.  On this trip, I wanted to replicate a drive I had taken the last time I visited, and planned out with a map before I left.  I was to take Hwy 213 from I-205.  It's so simple, I didn't even need to write it down.


I'm not really all that familiar with the exits on I-205, since I basically only use a small section of it to get around town.  So I was trying to pay close attention, in the rain, in somewhat heavy traffic.  Suddenly there was a slew of highway offerings.  212.  224.  So many to choose from.  But no 213?  I must be confused and need 212.  224 is too big.

Then, as I get off the freeway onto 212, I see a sign for 213, just the next exit up... since it's about impossible to get back on the freeway, I figure I can just drive south on surface streets.  Ah, to be so optimistic...


I won't bore you any more than I already have, suffice it to say I spent a half an hour longer than I wanted driving around some very pretty back roads before I finally found my way back to 213.  It was beautiful and frustrating at the same time.  I didn't arrive at Silver Falls until almost an hour after I had planned, and of course by then the rain had all dried up.


I quickly revised my plans for the hike based on my late arrival.  It didn't really change much... I've hiked along the North Fork of Silver Creek plenty of times and know how far I can get in what period of time.  I also know all the spots from which to take photos, so it didn't require a lot of critical thinking on my part.  I just had to hustle.


So I hurried down the path and made it to my turnaround point at just the right time.  I know I keep mentioning it, but 365 has really shaped the way I think through my photography, and I found it second-nature to make specific plans for each of my shots as I was walking down the path.  That was really cool.  All of these were planned out as I passed through the first time... and they all came out!


I even learned from previous trips and made it to the north end before it got too dark for any photos.  As you should be able to see, it was a close call!  I probably should have moved a little more quickly, or skipped one or two of the more boring shots.  I think there was one vantage point from which none of the shots made the final cut.  Should have skipped that I suppose.


As it is, I was very happy with the results.  I hope you are too!  Happy Fall!