Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011, Day 365 - Happy new year!

The sun has risen and set on yet another year of daily photos.  It is hard to believe that 2011 is already gone but what an amazing year!  I have been close to home all year but had the opportunity to explore so many of the wonders of Oregon.  Family has been a huge part of the year with my sister's wedding and my nephew entering his second year with us.  Life changes so quickly (as does my waistline, damn you tasty Portland food) and my love of photography has helped me to capture some of the most most important events this year.  Sadly, this has been the first full year without any of my grandparents but while they may be gone I think about them often and imagine how exciting they would find life's events.

I decided to take a leaf out of Jacob Lucas' book and share with you my photo statistics from the past year.  If you aren't a photo nerd it probably won't hold much interest for you so you can just skip to the next paragraph.  This year I took almost 30,000 photos; 22,231 with my 1D Mark IV and 7,605 with my 1Ds Mark II.  My most used lenses from highest to lowest were 70-200/f2.8, 100/f2.8 Marco, 16-35/f2.8 and 24/f1.4.  The vast majority of my photographs were taken between 200 and 800 ISO but heavily weighted at the lower end of the spectrum.

The photograph below was taken at Island Park in Springfield, Oregon last week as I made my way to California for the holidays.  As I approached Eugene the sky started to lighten and as soon as there was color I took the next exit and pulled over to get some help from my GPS to find a good vantage point to catch the sunrise.  There was a small burst of orange as the sun crested the horizon and the waters of the Willamette River below were kind enough to catch the light.

I hope that the new year has wonderful things in store for all of us!

Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
23mm, f11, merged layers of 0.6, 5 and 10 sec @ 100 ISO

Friday, December 30, 2011

2011, Day 364 - Winter herd

Hornbrook is such a gem, the pastoral scenes are just remarkable.  As I turned off the highway I decided to head towards the rolling hills rather than the valley in the opposite direction.  Less than a quarter of a mile away I found these horses grazing in a frost-covered field.  As I took their pictures a number of them came down from the hill to the fence to visit with me so the scene was constantly changing.  After about fifteen minutes my hands were suitably numb and I decided it was time to be on my way.

Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 70-200/f2.8L IS Mark II
140mm, f8, 1/500 sec @ 200 ISO

Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011, Day 363 - Crossing

More Christmas photos of my nephew!  He was so fascinated by the train set that my sister and I gave him, be liked some parts of it better than others and the bridge was apparently the most interesting part of the whole set.  I love the look of concentration on his face, he was totally content with one gift and, if you look in the background you can see all of his unopened presents.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 70-200/f2.8L IS Mark II
80mm, f2.8, 1/100 sec @ 1600 ISO

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2011, Day 362 - Windbreak

A panoramic reminder of home.  These oaks were planted as a windbreak decades ago and run parallel to a main street adjacent to my parent's house.  This want taken the morning of Christmas Eve as the sun was rising and slowly burning off a layer of fog and clouds.  If you look closely you might be able to see the furrows plowed into the field in the foreground as it is prepared for planting.

For me one of the most iconic images of California are the oak trees.  They have such amazing structure that is highlighted when they are seen in silhouette; it doesn't matter if they are bare or wearing a cloak of green/black leaves their shape is so distinctive.  Oddly, this is a scene I drove past thousands of times and it wasn't until I moved to Oregon that I really appreciated the beauty of the scene.

Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 70-200/f2.8L IS Mark II
200mm, f8, 1/1250 sec @ 100 ISO

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2011, Day 361 - Relief

The last ten days have been very stressful.  Yes, I know the holidays are stressful for everyone but I had an extra special source of distress, one of my dogs was hospitalized.  Stubbs, my sweet, gentle, shy boy had the misfortune of some kind of bite on his thigh, probably a spider, and the leg became so swollen he was having a hard time walking.  Greyhounds have huge thighs to begin with but the bitten one ballooned until it was over fifty percent larger than the other.

So I took my poor hobbling dog to see our veterinarian, a wonderful man who everyone calls Dr. Rick because his long last name is so difficult to pronounce.  Over the last decade I have become very well-acquainted with my veterinarian and he has taken phenomenal care of my dogs so he saw me as soon as he walked in to work (we arrive before the clinic was technically open).  At the time we weren't sure what the cause of the swelling was and because of the propensity to osteosarcoma in greyhounds I didn't want to mess around so after consulting with Rick I left him in his care and feared for the worst.  Any acute swelling is a bad thing...

After x-rays and a blood panel nothing stood out as an obvious cause of the problem although Rick, upon visual inspection, noticed an especially red spot and our best guess is that the cause of the swelling was a spider bite.  That by itself doesn't seem too bad but Stubbs has a bleeding disorder so with heavy antibiotics and sedation to calm his frayed nerves the swelling went down after about a day but as the blood flow returned to normal severe edema and substantial bruising set in.  The following four days were a race against reduced circulation, if his body didn't heal quickly enough the tissue would die and no treatment would be able to save him.  Things got worse before they got better and the edema and bruising spread to the adjacent leg.  It was so bad and greyhound have such thin skin that he was literally weeps fluid and blood through his pores.

But by Friday Stubbs' healing seemed to accelerated and on Saturday Rick called to tell me that he finally thought that my gentle boy would recover.  Christmas morning I had an update from Rick, he wanted to know when I would be back from California because he thought that Stubbs would be well enough to come home soon!  I told him that I would be back on Monday but probably wouldn't be able to pick him up until Tuesday.  "Perfect," he said and, true to his word, this afternoon Stubbs came home.

He is tired and a bit thin but happy to be back.  Johan and Hubert pestered him relentlessly when we walked into the house but Stubbs took it with good grace and has been napping on and off a few feet from me all evening.

What a wonderful way to finish the year!  I hope that 2011 has been as good to you as it has to me and that 2012 sees everyone's fortunes rise!

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 24/f1.4L Mark II
24mm, f1.4, 1/25 sec @ 1600 ISO

Monday, December 26, 2011

2011, Day 360 - Crystalline

The trip to see my family was a short one and this morning I drove back to Portland.  I had wanted to stop at some specific places along the way to take pictures but unfortunately there were some delays and I ended up running a bit behind schedule.  Despite that I did make time for a few stops and one was in Hornbrook, a small community not far from the Oregon border.  Although I didn't know it at the time I've stopped there before to take pictures because it is dotted with beautiful little ranches.  Plus the altitude is high enough that every time I've stopped there has been heavy frost or snow.

This morning it was only frost but I love how it mimics the barbed wire that it is coating.  Tiny little spikes of ice covered its length as horses tried to visit with me across the fence.

Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 70-200/f2.8L IS Mark II
200mm, f4, 1/400 sec @ 200 ISO

Sunday, December 25, 2011

2011, Day 359 - Fascination

It wasn't quite the Christmas I had expected but in many ways it was much better.  My day was filled with family, food, and photography.  This is the second Christmas for my nephew Onion and I think we had all hoped that he would show more excitement but, as ahead of the curve as he is, we forget that he's not even two years old yet.  Oh well, he was entertaining and seeing as it has been about four months since I last saw him the change has been remarkable.

The best part of the day was when I got a call from my veterinarian to let me know that my dog who has been hospitalized for the last week should be healthy enough to return home this week.  It was an incredibly close thing, he had what amounts to a rather minor injury but because he has a bleeding disorder it was life threatening.  But with the careful ministrations of my fantastic vet he is recovering nicely and, it was at his urging, that I was able to join my family for the holidays.

I hope you all got what is most important for Christmas, time with your family be they the ones you were born with or the people you chose for yourself.  Happy holidays!

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 70-200/f2.8L IS Mark II
145mm, f2.8, 1/100 sec @ 1600 ISO

Saturday, December 24, 2011

2011, Day 358 - Under the mistletoe

My nephew Onion is going through a phase where he loves cows.  They are possibly the most exciting animal in the world as far as he's concerned.  It is a good thing they live in Davis because the university has an amazing agriculture and veterinary schools.  They have their own herd of dairy cows and when I was out this morning I stopped to visit with them.

As an undergrad we used to visit the cows all the time, their barn is close to the dorms and the young cows are like big dogs, they want to smell you, lick you and, above all, they want you to play with them.  Well, the university doesn't really want you molesting the livestock but I did manage to time it so that I arrived just as they were being fed.  This big gal tried to give me a kiss while I was taking her picture despite the fact there was mistletoe nowhere near us!

Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
16mm, f8, 1/640 sec @ 200 ISO

Friday, December 23, 2011

2011, Day 357 - Lone oak

Today I drove down to California to see my family for the holidays.  Despite a number of hurdles I made it intact if for a shorter amount of time that I had originally planned.

Every time I drive through Redding I am captivated by the black oaks that seem to stand solitary vigil in fields of tall golden grass.  Today on the drive I had no canine companions so I was free to stop as often as I liked although being a holiday weekend I was careful not to delay too long lest I get caught in traffic.  While I am sure there are better vantage points I found this great gnarled tree just off the highway.

Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 70-200/f2.8L IS Mark II
200mm, f11, merged layers of 1/1250 and 1/320 sec @ 100 ISO

Thursday, December 22, 2011

2011, Day 356 - Crackled

It's amazing that you can walk past something time and again and not really see what it is.  This is the basement door to my neighbor's house, it is actually right at street level and I walk my dogs past, usually on the other side of the street, multiple times every day but I until a few days ago I never took note.  The colors and texture are great although it probably isn't good for the wood not to have any kind of protection but I suppose if they were more fastidious home owners it wouldn't be an issue.  Anyway, the moral of the story is to pay attention to your surroundings.

Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f4, 1/160 sec @ 400 ISO

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

2011, Day 355 - Copper

I was out in the yard this morning when I spied this leaf on top of an accumulated under a shrub in a hard to reach location so of course I just had to have a picture.  Sadly my 100mm macro is at Canon for repairs; this is the third time I've sent it in, not through any fault of the lens, but because I use it so often that when a lens gets abused it is a likely candidate.  I almost gave up on the idea but then remembers my extension tubes, Canon makes two and I have both of them but of course I couldn't locate the 25mm tube which always sits on my desk.  It was probably put some place clever where it wouldn't be in the way and where I could possibly miss it which is why I ended up using the 12mm tube after a half-hour of fruitless searching.

What drew my attention about this leaf was the color, the contrast between the areas riddled by decay and those yet untouched, and of course that perfectly formed beads of water.  It may not have the best composition and the magnification isn't what I wanted but I like it despite the flaws.

This image was also the result of experimentation with luminosity masks.  It took a bit of trial-and-error and I might have gone a little overboard but I like the effect.  All these tools have a learning curve and for the first image to benefit (or suffer) from my experimentation it was a lot of fun and very rewarding.

Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 24-70/f2.8L with EF 12mm Extension Tube
66mm, f22, 1/2 sec @ 100 ISO

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

2011, Day 354 - Holiday travel

Brian Matiash and I were doing the hobo thing last night; walking along the train tracks looking to score some crack, to fight with other drifters, and to take a few pictures.  Unfortunately the first two goal bore no fruit but the third was met with reasonable success.  Seeing as the holidays are bearing down on us images evocative of travel seem particularly apt.

I think that all seasoned photographers whether they be hobbyists or professionals know that under the current state of affairs governments officials and their law enforcement personel are highly suspicious of anyone taking photos of infrastructure, especially when it is on private property.  There are countless stories of people being harassed and accosted by law enforcement offices around trains especially.  Did these cautionary tales deter us?  Not even slightly.  They did make us a little cautious but if you are too cautious it looks like you're up to no good.  The simple solution is to adopt the practice taught to me by my grandfather, pretend you know what you're doing and that you have every right to do so and people will be a lot less hostile when they call you out on your actions.

We were able to shoot for about forty-five minutes unmolested.  I was still shooting when security approached us and was in the middle of a thirteen second exposure so I let Brian talk to him to buy myself a little more time.  He saw the guard coming well before I did and seemed anxious but this being Portland I felt relatively confident that he would rather give us a friendly warning than go to the effort of getting confrontational.  It was a bit of a risk but most people out here don't see the point, especially if you are polite, apologetic, and do as you are asked.  As it turned out the guy was a complete gentleman, he reminded us that the railroad is on private property and that we would have to seek permission next time.  He even went as far as to tell us how we might go about obtaining the required permit.  We thanked him for his time and for how courteously he handled the situation and adjourned for some amazing rustic cornmeal crust pizza.

Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
33mm, f5.6, merged layers of 1.6 and 3.2 sec @ 200 ISO

Monday, December 19, 2011

2011, Day 353 - Tis the season

Another photo from my wanderings on Saturday.  Consumerism is especially evident this time of year as I walked downtown watching people clutching their purchases and striding down the street determined not to make eye contact with anyone else.  The stress of the holidays really gets in the way of sharing the holiday spirit.  When I saw this couple consulting their phone I liked the tender moment in a sea of tension and agitation.

Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 70-200/f2.8L IS Mark II
200mm, f5.6, 1/200 sec @ 320 ISO

Sunday, December 18, 2011

2011, Day 352 - Eyes

This photograph is about a month old, we had such a mild autumn of warm sunny days and dry weather but now it seems like a distant memory.  The leaf you're looking at belongs to a smoke bush and this is, apparently, how the fall color transforms it from a rich bright red to a to a beautiful golden brown.  It puts me in mind of the coloration on insects, fish, bird and other animals where they are meant to imitate eyes and frighten off would-be predators.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f4, 1/1000 sec @ 320 ISO

Saturday, December 17, 2011

2011, Day 351 - Tunnel

It had been six months since my last haircut so I made an appointment for this morning.  Unfortunately that meant making a trip downtown and given the time of year and that fact that it is a Saturday I knew parking would be a nightmare.  True to form I ended up parking about six blocks away so on my way I stopped to take some pictures.

Normally I probably would have had my 100mm macro on but I decided it was time that it saw a little spa treatment with Canon so instead I decided to take my trusty 70-200 zoom.  It is a beast of a lens which is why I don't often carry it but it also allows for a much different point-of-view.  Plus, given that the holidays are almost upon us I thought it would be a good choice for some street candids.

This particular shot isn't a candid, it is one of Portland's streetcars.  I love these things not for their utility but for their aesthetic.  Streetcars are very European and I feel like I am transported elsewhere when I see them, especially as they quietly glide down one of the tree-lined streets of Portland's downtown.  The only thing I could have wished for would have been a little bit of fog but I am happy with the results.

Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 70-200/f2.8L IS Mark II
200mm, f5.6, 1/400 sec @ 320 ISO

2011, Day 350 - Abstract

I went out to dinner with Brian Matiash and Nicole Young this evening and while waiting I took this picture by accident.  Actually, it wasn't an accident, I was taking pictures of Christmas lights purposefully out-of-focus to capture the bokeh but in this case I wasn't ready, I pressed the shutter release by accident and this was the result but I like it, I like the colors and the trails they've left.

Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
34mm, f8, 5 sec @ 320 ISO

Friday, December 16, 2011

2011, Day 349 - Romp

This little monster is Stanley, my friend Karen's puppy.  He is three months old and has just graduated to spending time outside so every moment in the wet grass is one of pure bliss for him.  I watched him run around for almost half and hour and he only stopped when he got bored with the yard.  Despite being soaking wet from racing under the trees and through the grass he apparently didn't feel the cold.  I wonder if puppy excitement is like being on LSD...

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 24-70/f2.8L
24mm, f3.5, 1/250 sec @ 800 ISO

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

2011, Day 348 - Gremlin

If you're an astute follower of mine you're recognize this cherubic face as that of my nephew Onion.  The holidays are always a mixture of stress and excitement because you, hopefully, take some time off and visit with your friends and family.  Now that I have a nephew the holidays are that much more exciting.  Onion will be two years old this spring but I think this year he will be able to enjoy the food, the family and the gifts.  Since he is the only get of any of my siblings I suspect he will be rather spoiled but as long as we get to see the excitement on his face it will be worth it.  The countdown has begun...

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 50/f1.2L
50mm, f1.4, 1/125 sec @ 800 ISO

2011, Day 347 - Primary colors

I am continuing back through the year to look for photographic warmth.  This picture I took back in July just before the wheat was harvested and I vowed that next year I would take more early morning drives in the country.  There are so many bucolic scenes to capture, the only problem is that sunrise comes so early and getting out the door quickly with a house full of dogs who want to be walked and fed first is near impossible.  Ultimately, like so many artistic endeavors, it takes planning so my general photographic spontaneity is murdered by responsibility.  Oh well, it is probably best to get into the habit of planning things anyway...

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
27mm, f5.6, 1/800 sec @ 200 ISO

Monday, December 12, 2011

2011, Day 346 - Bursting

I've been shackled to my computer for most of the day so finish up my sister's wedding photos and I can proudly say that I am done!  Hooray!  Now I have to get them all assembled into an album which is not the speediest process but it is a bit less work than editing.  With a little luck I will get it done tomorrow...

The past few days have been odd for me because I haven't taken any pictures.  Last year I posted a picture daily that was taken on the same day but this year I am working under no such constraint.  Yes, I post a picture daily but often I can shoot once or twice a week and use that material for ten days or more.  Unfortunately I have been really busy with a number of projects and while my camera is going with me everywhere I haven't been taking any pictures.  That is unlike me, I usually take a few pictures every day at minimum and most aren't worth keeping but I try nonetheless but I have had a hard time trying with this mountain of work.  Hopefully next week things will return to normal because even though the holidays are almost upon us if it doesn't get done this week it probably won't get done until the new year anyway.

Sometimes it is nice to know that even failure to complete all your goals will still be rewarded with a break :)

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f5.6, 1/160 sec @ 400 ISO

2011, Day 345 - Pinwheel

It was another day that hovered around freezing here in Portland so I decided that we deserved a little visual warmth.  This was taken at Old House Dahlias a few months ago and now that the flowers are gone, the leaves are covering the streets and the the skies are filled with clouds a little color seems like a wonderful thing.  I sometimes forget how muted colors are when the sky is full of clouds even though I can vividly recall my excitement in the spring when the bulbs begin to emerge.  Every season serves to remind us why change is good, without change we would appreciate the diversity of life.

Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f5.6, 1/400 sec @ 320 ISO

Saturday, December 10, 2011

2011, Day 344 - Almost mine

This is Preston, he was almost my dog...

Last year I lost my greyhound Boo.  He was a wonderful dog and a complete pain-in-the-ass.  After a couple months of living with me he developed severe anxiety when he was left at home with the other dogs.  Boo hated to be apart from me and would get so worked up he would lose bladder control.  It took months to get him calmed down so that I didn't always come home to a puddle.  In that time we learned a lot together and because of all that hard work I loved him all the more.  A little less than seven years later he passed and the house was out of balance.

Because I volunteer with one of the greyhound adoption groups I get to see all the adoptable dogs and I had my eye on this handsome guy but when my friends told me they wanted to add another dog to their family after losing one of theirs months prior I was excited to help them find a good fit.  They told me they preferred a girl and one at about four or five years old to be a companion for their four year-old boy.

I showed them three nice girls and while they liked them there was no real connection between the dogs but one of them would have been a decent fit.  Before making any decision they asked if there was any other dog I thought they should see so even though I was getting ready to take Preston home I brought him out; a year-and-a-half old boy.  The bond was almost instantaneous and I knew that I would have to start looking for another dog for myself.

Ultimately I am happy for Preston.  He has a tremendous home with people that adore him where he is spoiled rotten.  My missed opportunity worked out fine, about a month later I brought home my boy Johan.  Nevertheless I love this boy...

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 24/f1.4L Mark II
24mm, f1.4, 1/60 sec @ 1000 ISO

Friday, December 9, 2011

2011, Day 343 - Pot of gold

A little flashback this evening to my trip to Bend a couple months ago.  At the time I wasn't thrilled with this image, I had five brackets none of which looked like a decent basis for a final image.  I admit, I am lazy, so I didn't want to put in the effort to save it.

Now, today, I was looking for a reason to procrastinate.  I've been working on my sister's wedding photos this week in almost all of my spare time and I wanted a reason to look at something else so back into the archives I went and decided to take another crack at this scene.  Ultimately, I  am happy with the final product given the constraints of the images I had at hand and more than anything I wanted to share a photograph that felt warm on this cold frosty day.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
16mm, f5.6, merged layers of 1.6, 3.2, 6, and 13 sec @ 100 ISO

Thursday, December 8, 2011

2011, Day 342 - Crystals

Life through a macro lens looks so different.  When I was at Mount Talbert earlier this week to try to get some picture of the nonexistent fog I was able to get some interesting pictures of the morning frost.  This was my favorite, the large crystals of ice that enveloped the moss growing the the crevice of a large rock.  I liked the way the light hit the ice and how it reflected the lights in a hundred little places that show up as flare.

Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f5.6, 1/60 sec @ 200 ISO

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

2011, Day 341 - Highlighting

There is something very primitive and primeval about moss and ferns; when I am in a setting like the one below I am always on the lookout for leprechauns and velociraptors.  I am pretty sure the two are related but one is good luck and the other is very bad luck.

I like how the rising sun illuminates the moss and the ferns so that it takes your eyes a minute to see the rest of the image.  In art you only have so long to make an impression so the hope here is that the bright colors will draw you in and the longer you look the more you see.  Dinosaurs may be hard to miss the leprechauns are pretty sly, can you see the one pictured below?

Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
22mm, f8, merged layers of 1/40 and 1/10 sec @ 160 ISO

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

2011, Day 340 - Relax

Yesterday was one of those days where nothing works out as planned and I had to spend the whole day chasing people with a pointy stick to make them do their job.  Today was entirely different, I was able to get a lot of work done, I had breakfast with a friend and I had the pleasure of visiting with Dawson and his buddy Preston.

For those people who haven't been following my antic, I volunteer with a greyhound adoption group and one of my favorite couples had recovered from their recent loss enough to bring another dog home.  So I made arrangements for this handsome guy to come to the Pacific NW from Oklahoma.  The last leg of his trip I drove from Portland to Seattle and back in a very early morning.  On the way he wiggled his goofy way into my heart.

When Dawson's father became a temporary single parent and stressed by a morning of hectic activity I was asked if I could come by to check up on him and his buddy Preston.  Why wouldn't I?  Dawson I adore and Preston I was about to take home when my friends decided they were ready for another dog so both these dogs are some of my favorite hounds.  So I got to cuddle with the two goofy guys for about an hour between other obligations and then had the mandatory sniff-down when I got home and my hounds could smell that I had been snuggling with other dogs.  Good thing my boys are the understanding types :)

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 24/f1.4L Mark II
24mm, f1.4, 1/125 sec @ 1000 ISO

Monday, December 5, 2011

2011, Day 339 - Rays

This morning Portland awoke to a heavy layer of frost, dense fog and sub-freezing temperatures.  I am sure that most people were worried about their morning commute when they saw the weather but I called my friend Julie while I was walking the dogs to see if she wanted to go out shooting this morning.  The way that trees look when blanketed in fog is just beautiful in that kind of surreal otherworldly kind of way.  Julie was eager to go out to take pictures but, unfortunately, as we neared Mount Talbert (a convenient middle ground) the fog burned off almost completely.

All was not lost, because of the heavy fog we got a late sunrise which led to some great high contrast landscapes.  This one appeals to me because I like the way the sun behind the trees silhouettes their shape and how it catchs the small branches with a bit of rim light.

What you can't feel in the photograph is the cold air in your lungs and the way your whole body constricts to try to minimize your contact with the icy morning breezes.  The light burn of freezing air in your lungs with the sweet smell of the evergreens and the moist rot of the leaf litter all over the ground. You can't feel the sun as it warms your face when you emerge from under the canopy or from behind a thick growth of trees.  It was an invigorating morning which made a nice start to a rather hectic day of people failing to do as they either promised or instructed.  Oh well, tomorrow is a new day with new adventures.

Canon 1Ds Mark IV, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
27mm, f8, merged layers of 1/30, 1/15 and 1/8 sec @ 160 ISO

Sunday, December 4, 2011

2011, Day 338 - Lucky Penny

For better or worse I know my veterinarian and all the people in his office very well.  Life in a multi-pet household means regular visits for routine and not-so-routine issues.  Last week I was in twice, just to pick up a refill and then again for something I forgot.  It is like visiting family and one of the biggest personalities in the office is Penny, the chihuahua that belongs to one of the vet techs.  She comes in wearing a darling sweater and has free run of the office to tell off the bigger dogs if they get a little too interested in her as a delicious morsel.  One of her favorite things to do is to cuddle up to a bigger dog that is under anesthesia to keep warm and to watch over them during surgery.

When I went in there wasn't a patient on the surgical table but Penny was happy to perch there where no one could miss her as they walked by.  A few weeks ago when I picked up Dawson from his neuter Penny felt neglected so she walked right in front of us.  Dawson, you have to understand, is a greyhound less than two years old who weighs about seventy pounds, probably almost twenty times what Penny weighs.  Nevertheless she wanted attention and when he went to sniff her she let out a low growl which he responded to with a big sloppy kiss.  That took the wind out of her sails and she allowed us by after I gave her a quick pat on the head.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
16mm, f2.8, 1/160 sec @ 320 ISO

Saturday, December 3, 2011

2011, Day 337 - Nemesis

One of the Google+ themes for Saturday is #Caturday.  I have no cats, I have dogs that do cat impression by napping in sunbeams  on cool days like today, so instead I used Nicole Young's cat Fuji again.  He was looking out the window see is his nemesis, Black Cat, was back to taunt him.  Joining Fuji in his suspicion is none other than Brian Matiash who seems to be sharing Fuji's mistrust of Black Cat.  I think that Brian might be more agitated than Fuji is by their occasional visitor.

Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
16mm, f2.8, 1/125 sec @ 640 ISO

Friday, December 2, 2011

2011, Day 336 - Docked

Another flashback to Alaska from four years ago.  These are the docked fishing boats at Cordova Harbor on a cloudy morning.  It had been raining for most of the trip so we fished in cold downpours in rivers choked with mud churned up by the storms.  We had little luck those days but the day before I took this picture the weather broke and we had some nice days of scattered sunlight that proved very fruitful.  The vignetting you see is the natural effect of the clouds, it is amplified only slightly in the upper right to create a sense of visual balance.

I am hoping that I will be able to go back next fall to fish and to explore Cordova a little more.  In retrospect it looks like a tonemapping dream come true.

Canon 1D, Canon 17-40/f4L
17mm, f4, 1/1250 sec @ 200 ISO

Thursday, December 1, 2011

2011, Day 335 - Time travel

I've actually thought about this and other photos from this trip recently.  This was taken in Cordova over four years ago and in that short time my ability to process a RAW file has improved dramatically.  If I recall correctly this is a fish processing facility but what caught my eye was the clouds, the signs of neglect, the rust and the fantastic backdrop; essentially there is a lot of texture in this image so it is a visual feast.

Sadly I have not had time to return to Cordova in the intervening years.  My father goes annual to fish for salmon and 2007 was the first and last time I've been even though he has been generous enough to invited me every year since.  It was a lot of fun and because the fish are so plentiful it doesn't take much skill which means that it is still quite a challenge for me.

It is always worth looking back into your archives at photos that you might have forgotten about.  This one is a gem, one that I remembered fondly but like even more now that I have had a chance to rework it.  What amazes me most is that this is a single image, one that was really well exposed by pure luck.

Canon 1D, Canon 17-40/f4L
26mm, f4, 1/800 sec @ 200 ISO

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

2011, Day 334 - Nearsighted

Sometimes it is fun to try something new.  This is a photograph a took a couple week ago and I purposefully have the focus way off. You can see the bridge and the water and the lights of the city but you have to fill in the detail with your mind.  In a way this is rather like a book, all the fundamentals are there but you fill in the details for yourself.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
35mm, f4, 3.2 sec @ 320

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

2011, Day 333 - Arrowhead of gold

The native sword ferns are practically indestructible, freezing weather doesn't seem to affect them but there are other ferns native to the NW that are not so hardy.  Some turn lovely shades of gold as their fronds die back and re-emerge only with the arrival of warmer weather.  These fair-weather ferns are not nearly as common as the evergreen sword ferns but they are just as beautiful and really add to the fall landscape.

Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
16mm, f8, merged layers of 1/6 and 0.3 sec @ 200 ISO

Monday, November 28, 2011

2011, Day 332 - Needle in a haystack

This morning there was a blanket of fog covering the city so I decided to try my luck at Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge.  Unfortunately the fog wasn't heavy enough to create a dramatic effect but I did find some trees that hadn't yet suffered defoliation at the hands of the storms that have been tearing through Portland over the last week.  That was really the highlight of the outing and this is perhaps the best photo. I like the winding path and the darkness around the trail, there is something very Little Red Riding Hood about it...

Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f8, merged layers of 1/50 and 1/25 sec @ 200 ISO

Sunday, November 27, 2011

2011, Day 331 - Ewoks

Mount Talbert is getting a lot of love from me recently.  Yesterday was my second time out there in the last month and every time it is amazing.  The sun sets pretty early this time of year in the Pacific NW so even though it was probably only about 3:30 the sun was already getting low in the western sky.  I am usually a morning shooter so this gave me an entirely different view of the park and this area I really enjoyed.

To get this shot I was seated in a little circle of rocks with the heavy carpet of leaves shielding my butt and bare legs (I thought it was shorts weather yesterday) from their abrasive edges.  So I sat in my nest with my tripod almost in my lap as I framed the image in my head and then through my viewfinder.  I liked the way the light hit the ferns making their fronds glow in the late fall sun and the rich tones of the fallen leaves.  While I waited for my bracketed shots to fire it occurred to me that the scene was not dissimilar to that of Endor, the Ewok home world in George Lucas' epic Starwars trilogy.

I tried the image as a black and white, both have their merits so I figured I would share both and let you decide which you like better.

Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 16-35/f2.8L MarkII
16mm, f8, merged layers of 1/60, 1/30 and 1/15 sec @ 200 ISO

Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 16-35/f2.8L MarkII
16mm, f8, merged layers of 1/60, 1/30 and 1/15 sec @ 200 ISO

2011, Day 330 - Farewell to color

This afternoon my friends Julie and Rinda both contacted me individually and asked if I wanted to go out shooting today.  At the time I hadn't really considered it as I was content to have a lazy day but when the second request came and then Brian Matiash posted a reminder to make time for photography I felt that I had no choice but to give in to popular demand.

Both Julie and Rinda live in semi-rural suburbs southeast of Portland so I suggest Mount Talbert as a venue seeing as it is between where we all live.  It was mid-afternoon when we arrived which is not my typical shooting time but with the scattered clouds and occasional sun there were a number of different opportunities.  Unfortunately our heavy showers and high winds of the last week have denuded many of the trees but there is still some color left.

Even though we officially have a bit of fall left I am pretty sure that its unofficial end is marked by the last leaves falling.

Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
30mm, f8, merged layers of 1/15 and 1/8 sec @ 200 ISO

Friday, November 25, 2011

2011, Day 329 - Drops

The joy of macro photography is that it is always about the little things. Sometimes you are out exploring the world and it looks so familiar and boring but when you look a little closer there are amazing things to discover.  Today I found this leaf while I was waiting for some friends.  When you have a camera with you there is no reason to be bored!

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f9, 1/80 sec @ 320 ISO

Thursday, November 24, 2011

2011, Day 328 - Tree fungi

I never realized that there are so many mushrooms that pop up in the fall.  They're everywhere and these I discovered on the side of a tree as I was walking the dogs this morning.  Once all business was successfully conducted I went back to take this photograph.  To get the effect I wanted I did some not-focus stacking.  Two pictures were taken at different apertures, one at a small aperture to get a greater depth-of-field on the mushrooms and another at a large aperture to get the nice background that I wanted. I wonder if these could be used to make vegetarian gravy for my mashed potatoes.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, merged layers of f/4 and f/13, 1/40 and 1/4 sec @ 200 ISO

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

2011, Day 327 - Rosemary's baby

On Sunday I was waiting for an inspector to do his thing at a home my clients are buying so I grabbed my camera and explored the backyard.  It had been raining heavily about an hour earlier but the rain abated and the sun managed to break through the clouds for a few minutes.  During that window I found this rosemary in bloom.  It is clear that the plants and trees are still confused, rosemary is usually done flowering in October so for it to still be flowering with such vigor in mid/late November is unusual.  If it weren't for the gale force winds there would be a lot more leaves on the trees as well.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f8, 1/100 sec @ 320 ISO

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

2011, Day 326 - The mountain

This dignified looking gentleman is Fuji.  I suspect the name is in tribute to the Japanese film giant and camera maker but he puts me in mind of Mount Fuji with his substantial size and enormous personality he is a very charming guy.  And, like the mountain, if you are in the wrong place he will completely obstruct your view of what is going on around you.  When Fuji wants attention you'll know it because he will stand in your lap and use you as a giant scratching post as he kneads you with his catcher's mitts. I suspect he is going to be a super happy guy soon because his mom is returning from her trip to Vietnam this weekend.  Nicole, I am holding him hostage for a good bowl of pho, I hope you picked up some cooking experience on your trip!

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f2.8, 1/50 sec @ 3200 ISO

Monday, November 21, 2011

2011, Day 325 - Leading lines

Another photo from my waterfront wanders of yesterday.  Too bad the clouds disappeared by this time but after the soggy weather today I am ready for them to leave again even if it makes my skies a little less interesting.  As I said last night, I generally don't walk this far north and the city looks rather different from this angle, you can't see the hills and because I am on a bridge the other interesting bridges are too far distant but I still like it.  The little detail that ties it all together is the sign with the graffiti, it is the cherry on top of the sundae!

Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
16mm, f6.3, merged layers of 3.2, 6 and 13 sec @ 200 ISO

Sunday, November 20, 2011

2011, Day 324 - Infrastructure

This evening I went out to play along the chilly waterfront.  Normally I get lazy and don't walk too far but this time I had to try to impress Brian Matiash with my athletic prowess so we walked a bit further.  The waterfront takes you underneath a section of Interstate 5 and I liked this perspective especially because you can clearly see the Steel Bridge in the background.  The age of industry clearly evident in the Steel Bridge and the modernity of reinforced concrete of modernity.  I prefer the lacework of steel in the old bridge over the rather graceless aesthetic of efficiency.

Regardless it was a fun night of shooting and it didn't get too cold until the end when Brian had to break my fingers off the frozen leg of my tripod.

Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
16mm, f8, merged layers of 13 and 25 sec @ 200 ISO

Saturday, November 19, 2011

2011, Day 323 - Hansel

I am as yet undecided about the new TV series Grimm.  The storyline is rather generic, the acting is okay, the effects are pretty good but what I like best about it is that the story takes place in Portland and they actually do some of the filming in town.  A few times I have walked through the crew setting up for filming and, unlike in Los Angeles, the people are friendly and make an effort not to inconvenience you.  When I was last in LA the people are downright hostile and I am sure it is born of their experience but it leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth.

Back to my point...  I like that Portland actually looks like Portland.  I recognize some of the neighborhoods, the parks, the city certainly, and even the actors.  The last is really not important to my point but there you have it.  To my eye I think that they show the city as the charming place that it is and there are times when I am reminded of fairytales as I am off on my adventures.  This is another photo from Mount Talbert, probably the last that I will share from that outing, and it puts me in mind of the story of Hansel and Gretel.  If I were going to lure children into my gingerbread house I would probably build it in these woods.  I like the sense of stillness, the cool bite to an almost imperceptible breeze that stirs the fog and brings the rich scent of earth to your nose.  Mmmmm, German forest children...

Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
31mm, f11, 1/6 sec @ 200 ISO

2011, Day 322 - Angel lost

I was running around today and as I got out of my car on an errand I saw this dead gull and was struck with a sense of sadness.  There were other birds around the lot, pigeons and gulls mostly, but they were keeping their distance so this single bird was left alone and abandoned on the asphalt.  Despite my grief for their bird's loss of life there was something beautiful about it, the pale blue-gray against the blackness.  I am not a religious person but I immediately thought of an angel that had been struck down which seemed a bit incongruous given that gulls are loud birds with an unpleasant cry that we associate with stagnant beaches and trash heaps.  Still, it does not diminish the marvel of evolution that produced these amazing creatures.

Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 24/f1.4L Mark II
24mm, f2.5, 1/5000 sec @ 200 ISO

Thursday, November 17, 2011

2011, Day 321 - Feathered forest

Although I have lived in Oregon for ten years never do I get tired of the landscape.  Everything is so lush and green, I always thought that ferns were delicate plants that liked warm shade but I am now completely disabused of that idea.  There may be some that need a warm environment but the native ferns survive with little light in nutrient poor soil and winters that always include frost and often snow and ice.  Somehow these plants manage to be as resilient as the people and they don't need beer to survive the winters either :)

Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 24/f1.4L Mark II
24mm, f1.8, 1/50 sec @ 320 ISO

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

2011, Day 320 - Floor fungus

This morning, in the Oregon drizzle, I stopped in the woods to take pictures of the trees in the rain and fog.  It didn't work out as planned but as I was wandering I noticed, amongst the debris, mushrooms.  There were all kinds sprouting in the rich floor under the evergreen canopy.  Many were peeking out from moss and pine needles, partially hidden under skeletal maple leaves in the dense shady parts of the woods.

Recently I've been using small apertures to achieve a greater depth-of-field but for the mushrooms I decided to shoot closer to wide open for a number of reason that resulted not only in this shallow depth-of-field but also faster shutter speeds so I didn't have to set up a tripod.  In fact, my camera was on the ground with the left side of my face pressed into the moss to get this shot.  When I stood up my knees were sodden and I had to brush pine needles off my face.  This was the second shot, it was so dark and I wanted the rich colors that I underexposed by over a stop.  I want to take more pictures of mushrooms now but there is only so much time you can spend in the rain in wet trousers before you've exhausted your endurance.

Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 24/f1.4L Mark II
24mm, f1.8, 1/50 sec @ 320 ISO

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

2011, Day 319 - Misty morning

I love happy accidents.  In this case I was running out to the country this morning on an errand and the whole city was covered in fog.  Once I got outside the city and started making my way down the country roads it became patchy.  Right before reaching my destination I came upon a Christmas tree farm with only saplings.  In front of the baby trees there was a buffer from the road that was grasses and the remnants of wildflowers and behind the holiday icons there was a wall of fog lit by the rising sun.  If you look closely you can see some morning dew on the plants as little points of light.  Sometimes images that seem simple capture more than can be seen at first glance.

Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
16mm, f4, 1/2000 sec @ 200 ISO

Monday, November 14, 2011

2011, Day 318 - Baby hippo

Today I helped my friend say goodbye to her baby hippo, Ingrid.  It is always hard to lose a companion and Rachel had Ingrid for less than a year.  Given that it was such a short amount of time it would be easy to be bitter, we rarely bring home a pet and expect such a short time with them, but Ingrid was almost 10 years old when Rachel took her home from the animal shelter.  For a rottweiler that is already old but Rachel didn't care, she knew that not many people would consider a dog of her age.

It was obvious that Ingrid had been cared for but that she had not been exposed to much.  Initially many commonplace things startled her or made her unease but as the weeks passed she became more comfortable.  Ingrid loved almost everybody and was good with children of all sized.  Despite her substantial size that garnered the nickname "baby hippo" Ingrid was a surprisingly spry old gal.

Sadly she started to limp a few days ago and when it became worse the vet took an x-ray and confirmed the worse, Ingrid had bone cancer.  The cancer eats away at the bone compromising its integrity and creating the possibility of a catastrophic break.  With this type of cancer it is always best to say goodbye a day too early than a day too late so a little before noon Rachel called to tell me that today was the day.  I threw on my coat, grabbed some cookies and was out the door.  Ingrid was the type of girl who made a lasting impression and if I could give her a little comfort (and maybe some to Rachel too) it was the least I could do.

So I ask you all to give you pets a big hug from me in celebration of Ingrid's life.  No matter how it began I can guarantee you that it ended as one full of love and happiness.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
16mm, f2.8, 1/320 sec @ 400 ISO

Sunday, November 13, 2011

2011, Day 317 - Gnome habitat

I wonder if this what the world looks like to a gnome.  We all know gnomes exist and that they live in the woods in homes made of mushrooms kind of like smurfs except not blue or, you know, animated.  I expect that they don't have this kind of field of vision; if you had peripheral vision like this it would be good to avoid predators or assassins but most of us have more of the latter than the former which is why we all employ ninja bodyguards.

Well, that is probably enough of my insane ramblings.  This is another one of the photographer I took while hiking at Mount Talbert.  I enjoy the satisfying crunch of fall leaves underfoot and the mild musty smell they give off.  In the spring they will have decomposed into a rich mulch that will give birth to new ferns, wild orchids, fungi, and especially trillium.  For now we are bless with their rich colors and their gentle descent from the canopy to the forest floor.  Like the bear these maples are shedding their leaves and slowing their metabolism in preparation for the long, damp, dark winter ahead and when the world beings to warm again their buds will mark the approach of spring.

Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
16mm, f11, merged layers of 0.6 and 1.3 sec @ 200 ISO