Tuesday, January 31, 2012

2012, Day 31 - Building bridges

Many cities look better at night when the lights highlight what you are supposed to see and the shadows conceal neglect and decay.  Portland isn't one of those cities; it is clean, well maintained and very nice to look at by day.  However at night it looks so much more like a city than what it really is, a large town.

I posted another panorama a couple days ago and this one was taken further down the river.  On the left is the Morrison Bridge and on the right is the Burnside Bridge.  I like that you can also see the Fremont Bridge under the center span of the Burnside.  If you know what you're looking for you can also see parts of the Steel Bridge and the Hawthorne Bridge in the distance.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
35mm, f8, 3.2 sec @ 320 ISO

Monday, January 30, 2012

2012, Day 30 - Spires

Yesterday I shared a colorful panorama from the Portland Photowalk so tonight's photo is a little more muted.  My goal was to help you feel the weather as you look at this image, the wind off of the river, the light rain, the slight smell of oil and fumes, that faint smell of iron that lets you know you're in an industrial area.

What I like about a good photowalk is that you aren't constrained by a set plan.  I wandered off early because most of the group was going to cross the Burnside bridge but I like the Steel Bridge better.  Once I made it to the Burnside Bridge on the opposite side of the river I met up with Brian Matiash.  Although I hoped to meet up with people I didn't expect it, just one of life's happy accidents.  At that point I had the photos I really wanted so we both set a decent pace and used a smartphone to hail a cab so we could collect our vehicles before joining everyone else for a drink, a snack and a chat.

Good times!

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
32mm, f11, masked layers of 1/2 and 1.3 sec @ 500 ISO

Sunday, January 29, 2012

2012, Day 29 - Photowalkin'

This afternoon was the first ever Portland Google+ Photowalk!  Although the weather was not cooperating there were over fifty people who braved the rain.  We made our way from Union Station to the Hawthorne Bridge and then on to Hair of the Dog for a few post-walk libations.

These kind of events are a lot of fun, you get to meet new people, catch up with old friends and take tons of pictures.  To make things even better we have a bunch of great prizes for a post-walk contest.  In the days to come we will be announcing the categories and I really look forward to seeing how many different perspectives fifty people can have when they look at the same things.

Well, I'm pooped, it is time for bed and dreams of adventures to come!

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
35mm, f22, 15 sec @ 320 ISO

Saturday, January 28, 2012

2012, Day 28 - Passage

There are certain events that we use to demarcate time like the rising and setting of the sun, the changing of the season, and today, for me, the day of our birth.  Yup, it is my birthday and I feel no different today than I did yesterday or the day before but we still celebrate and it is nice to get notes and calls from family and friends with their well-wishes.  The funny thing is that when I am asked my age I have to think about it, age is such an arbitrary thing, it give very little insight into a person's qualities so I often disregard it as unimportant.  It is a strange thing to measure but we like to quantify everything and everyone so I suppose it makes sense in a reductive sort of way.

Oh well, you can tell I am getting older because I am rambling.  Thanks for indulging me in this post and all the others that have come before and the countless posts yet to come...

Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 70-200/f2.8L IS Mark II
200mm, f8, 1/25 sec @ 200 ISO

Friday, January 27, 2012

2012, Day 27 - Flecked

Evening walks are one of life's greatest pleasures even if it on a chilly winter evening.  The sky is clear, my ears are cold, my cheeks a little wind burnt, but the air smells clean and crisp.  As I pass by street lights the rays reflects with crystalline clarity off evening frost.  Somehow the approaching steps of strangers resonate in the night air and the twisted naked trees look a little ominous.  Yet peace remains and the walk is refreshing.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 24/f1.4L Mark II
24mm, f1.4, 1/15 sec @ 1600 ISO

Thursday, January 26, 2012

2012, Day 26 - Lethargy

It was one of those days, running to keep up and a million things to do but the only thing I really wanted was to take a nap.  That didn't happen but I did get to see some sunshine which was a wonderful treat...

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 70-200/f2.8L IS Mark II
140mm, f2.8, 1/400 sec @ 1600 ISO

2012, Day 25 - Tuck

I love border collies, they are a wonderful breed, but I don't know I could handle that kind of energy.  Fortunately for many owners there are great sports like agility.  At the dog show last weekend more than half of the dogs entered in the competition were border collies and the amount of time and energy their owners have devoted is clearly apparent and what is even more evident is the focus and concentration that these dogs possess.  There are some that get over-excited and don't follow directions but most are keenly aware of their owners and their surroundings.  It looks like a lot of fun!

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 70-200/f2.8L IS Mark II
200mm, f2.8, 1/640 sec @ 1250 ISO

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

2012, Day 24 - Skull and crossbones

This may be my last macro shot for a couple of weeks.  If you'll recall my macro lens was acting up right before Christmas so I sent it to Canon to have them check it out.  They returned it promptly but now it is, for lack of a better word, sticking.  When it tries to focus the mechanism struggles and there is a faint buzz like a motor is operating but it isn't getting the response it requires.  So after a call to Canon they are sending me a shipping label and will be repairing it at their expense thanks to a six month warranty on any piece of equipment serviced.

Anywho, my friend is selling his custom sterling silver wallet chain and wallet.  The chain is almost two feet of heavy solid sterling skulls and crosses made by a silversmith in southern California.  I volunteered to help him out by taking some pictures and this one shows the back of a skull with the words Silver King engraved on the back.  I wouldn't say this is an everyday kind of object but it certainly makes a neat subject.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f11, 1/250 sec @ 200 ISO

Monday, January 23, 2012

2012, Day 23 - Here lies...

I like the solitude of cemeteries, they seem like the perfect setting for contemplation of the world, of life, of our little woes, anything really.  It's hard to imagine that in Victorian England people used to picnic in cemeteries.  Most parks were reserved for society's upper crust so the more working-class folks used the well maintained and park-like cemeteries for their urban outdoor entertainment venues.  I suppose if I were dead and there is an afterlife it would be nice to have my home in a place of celebration, it would be depressing if it was only a place people came to mourn, I would have to do some serious haunting...

Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f2.8, 1/160 sec @ 500 ISO

Sunday, January 22, 2012

2012, Day 22 - Chaperon

I met up with Brian Matiash this afternoon to have a little photo adventure.  I say little because it is still raining quite heavily and while we have the equipment to deal with the inclement weather when you're shooting for fun there is no reason to get too wet.

Macro photography is one of my interest despite the ample room for improvement my macro lens is one of my favorites.  When Brian stated his intention to get more use out of his macro I decided to use mine as well.  Given the rain you have to choose your lens carefully because you really don't want to be changing lenses in the field.

I started out with closeups but quickly found the longer focal length great at isolating scenes that I liked so I ended up with more landscapes using a lens that is quite capable of the opposite.  The light was great and there was some decent shadows despite the overcast skies.  I used OnOne's Suite 6 to create a a dark and slightly soft vignette and upped the contrast a little.  The results I quite like and I am eager to see what Brian has to post from out brief outing.

Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f2.8, 1/50 sec @ 500 ISO

Saturday, January 21, 2012

2012, Day 21 - Siblings

For my more ardent followers it should come as no surprise that I have a strong affection for all dogs in the sighthound family.  They are, for the most part, gentle, sweet, lazy, and expressive.  The more elegant they look the goofier they are when away from prying eyes so Afghan hounds rate pretty high up there of the silly scale.  These two had already competed as puppies at the dog show and collapsed on top of each other while their person finished watching the adults.

The cardinal rule at dog shows is that you ask before making new friends.  The adult Afghans take hours, literally, to groom into show readiness so you don't want to undo someone's hard work.  But because these two were done competing and because they still have their puppy coat we got to visit.  The boy, on the left, kept trying to scoot across his sister to get closer without actually having to go to the effort of standing.  It's odd to think that such grace and athleticism is tempered with complete sloth but that's what I love about them.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 24/f1.4L Mark II
24mm, f2, 1/160 sec @ 1000 ISO

Friday, January 20, 2012

2012, Day 20 - Into Narnia

The last of my photos from our fleeting snowfall.  As I walked into the park someone behind me called my name and I turned to see Jeff and Stephanie, friends who live near the park.  I was a little surprised to run into someone I knew given that it was after 10 o'clock in the evening but, as I thought about it, I realized I should have expected it with snow being such a rarity in these parts.

They had their dogs with them and as they walked down the path I released the shutter to get a little context with the scene.  The single lamp post puts me in mind of the scene where Lucy meets Mr. Tumnus in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.  Despite the religious references it is a good read, especially in the winter.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
16mm, f2.8, 2.5 sec @ 500 ISO

Thursday, January 19, 2012

2012, Day 19 - At attention

Portland is a city that abounds with dogs but this week there are more than usual because it is the annual dog show.  Being the morning person that I am I got up early and finished a bunch of work so I decided to head to the show.  It doesn't hurt that I know some people who were showing today and although I missed their events I did get to manhandle a bunch of aspiring champions.  This guy was waiting patiently on a grooming bench for his final review before entering the ring.  I liked his profile and the simple uncluttered background.  He looks like he has the makings of a winner to me but I generally am more concerned that they don't hog the covers...

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 70-200/f2.8L IS Mark II
200mm, f2.8, 1/80 sec @ 800 ISO

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

2012, Day 18 - Snow day

I woke up this morning with proof that my decision to take pictures of the snow last night was the right one.  Overnight the temperature rose steadily and by this morning most of the city was covered in slush.  Sadly our snow didn't last long but fortunately I went out and took this picture last night at Laurelhurst Park.

There were a lot of people in the park, many with their dogs, and because of their furry companions their ghosting movement through the frame looked jerky so I have thus far opted not to use those shots.  I like this one because it conveys the tranquility while retaining some urban elements like lamp posts and picnic benches.  Although I didn't get the week of snow I wanted I am glad we got what we did.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
16mm, f2.8, 2 sec @ 200 ISO

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

2012, Day 17 - Crystaline

It is snowing in Portland!  Even as I type this the snow is coming down and it is sticking to the ground. I love how bright the world is, even at night, when there is snow on the ground.  The dogs love it, Hubert dances around me for blocks attacking the snow.  It was so pretty that I grabbed my camera and went to Laurelhurst Park to take a few pictures.  I am sure that it will still be there in the morning but it will probably melt quickly and I didn't want to miss my opportunity.

Probably my favorite photo from my brief outing is the one below.  I was getting ready to leave and I noticed a Japanese maple lit by a nearby light so I got down low and took a picture of the branches covered in snow.  I like how the reflection off the snow serves to highlight the structure of the tree.

I hope it snows for days and it lasts for weeks!

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
35mm, f4, 5 sec @ 200 ISO

Monday, January 16, 2012

2012, Day 16 - Pooped

It is amazing what energy the young have.  This time of year when the days are short and chilly I would really like to hibernate.  But life seems too short to sleep through it and there is so much I want to do...

Pictured is Ellie taking a break from playing with her siblings.  Of the eleven pups in her litter she is the most determined to have her way, she isn't pushy, just persistent but only with other dogs, she is a complete pushover with people.  After a hard day of taunting the other dogs there is nothing she likes better than to cuddle with anyone who will have her.  Soon she will be going to her new home in Germany so when next I visit she will be half a world away training her new people just like a good princess.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
16mm, f4, 1/2500 sec @ 640 ISO

Sunday, January 15, 2012

2012, Day 15 - Bridges

What is now Portland was once three cities, Portland, East Portland, and Albina.  Their divisions were based on the geography of the area with the major border being the Willamette River.  As such a number of bridges have been constructed to keep the different parts of the city easily accessible and to minimize congestion.  There are ten primary spans and in this picture you can see the Hawthorne Bridge on the right and the Marquam Bridge on the left.

I took this photo on my way home last night.  It has been a long day and I was reluctant to make the stop to take pictures but these sunsets can't possibly last and I don't want to be kicking myself over a fifteen minute delay in getting home.  As it turns out it was absolutely worth the brief detour!

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
23mm, f5.6, 1/30 sec @ 100 ISO

Saturday, January 14, 2012

2012, Day 14 - Winter glory

Last night we were treated to a particularly beautiful sunset.  As I was chatting with my friend Karen in her kitchen I happened to glance out the window and noticed the amazing colors in the sky.  Excitedly I excused myself, grabbed my camera and tripod, and ran out the door.  Having been to her property a number of times I knew there was a pond down in one of the pastures so I headed there first to try to get the reflection of the sky in the water.  With our recent cold snap most of the pond's surface was frozen but I like the texture it gives to the water.

After firing off a few shots I decided the do a vertical panorama so this is five photos stitched together with three masked layers at different exposures.  The reflection in the pond was darker than the sky and I wanted to be able to see the trees and the color reflected in the water.  I still am in awe of the successive days of colorful sunrises and sunsets.  Regardless of whatever else is happening 2012 has the makings of a great year for photographers!

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
35mm, f8, 1/2, 1 and 2 sec @ 200 ISO

Friday, January 13, 2012

2012, Day 13 - Princess Buttercup

This bundle of fuzzy sweetness is Princess Buttercup.  She's all wiggly love and today she return to the home where she was born so that she could get reacquainted with her remaining littermates and to work out some of her energy.  After a month-and-a-half in a home without other puppies she was initally overwhelmed but soon rediscovered the joys of playing with dogs whose energy levels matched her own. Every time she thought the play was getting too rough she would run to someone and hide between their legs.  Apparently she learned that with the bigger dogs she normally plays with they can't follow her through (I hope that they never try either).

After about an hour of almost constant play the pups were tired which meant that all they wanted to do was be held.  Babies cradled in our arms we took them back into the house for some much needed rest.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
16mm, f4, 1/2000 sec @ 640 ISO

Thursday, January 12, 2012

2012, Day 12 - Morning sun

I awoke to high winds and a temperature near freezing so I donned by long underwear before heading out to walk the dogs.  Despite the cold I was grateful for the clear skies and sunshine, an oddity in Portland that time of year.  Still, I couldn't help but think back to a new short months ago when they days were longer and we still felt the occasional kiss of summer on our faces so when I was looking through unprocessed photos this one caught my eye not because of the inherent warmth but because I liked the starburst of light coming through the fern fronds and illuminating the leaves littering the ground.

Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
16mm, f11, 1/13 sec @ 200 ISO

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

2012, Day 11 - Brewing

The meteorologists are saying that we may get snow this weekend!  I know what you're thinking, they're wrong about 90% of the time, especially when it comes to snow, but I really would like to see some in town this year so I am going to hope that they're right.

This frosty photo was taken in northern California as I drove back to Oregon from spending the holidays with my family.  I like that it looks moody and cold, that you can see a stormfront coming in and a scattering of low clouds against the mountain.  Most of all I like the memory of the sound the frost-covered grass made when I stepped on it and it gave a satisfying crunch, sharper than when you walk on fallen leaves, more like how I imagine it would sound if you were walking on snail shells, but cleaner.  That is the magic of photography, it takes you back to the moment and you recall sounds, feelings, textures, all of the things that triggered your senses, not just the visual.

Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 70-200/f2.8L IS Mark II
70mm, f5.6, merged layers of 1/6400, 1/800 and 1/200 sec @ 200 ISO

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

2012, Day 10 - Arcs

Another photo from Union Station.  Given our often wet climate the building have plenty of covered areas for people to wait for friends or family to come retrieve them.  Almost all of the building in original and the texture of the wood in the soffits shows its age.  I like the lamp posts and the buildings in the background, it is illustrative of the greater context.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
24mm, f2.8, 1/125 sec @ 640 ISO

Monday, January 9, 2012

2012, Day 9 - Solitary

There is a cemetery in Portland's west hills that is dotted with trees standing completely on their own.  In the summer and fall the trees are often backlit by really amazing sunsets but today it was just mildly cloudy.  Although there is some texture in the sky I decided to play with some of the effects in the new OnOne Suite 6.  We all spend time trying to remove stray dust from our sensors but in this case I used their ground glass effect.  It really does put me in mind of all the time I used to spend in the darkroom back in the days of film and the beauty of imperfection.

Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f8, 1/500 sec @ 200 ISO

Sunday, January 8, 2012

2012, Day 8 - Life renewed

Life is different when you look at the details.  The year is still young and the nights are chilly but the camelias are already blooming.  It seems like only a few weeks ago that the trees finished shedding their leaves and we already have color returning.  If things keep up this way we're going to have a rather disappointing winter for the skiers and snowboarders but I wouldn't be at all opposed to a nice mild winter given that the rain seemed endless last year.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f5.6, 1/60 sec @ 320 ISO

Saturday, January 7, 2012

2012, Day 7 - Forest of fungi

I found this collection of gnome homes in a pile of old birch logs that were stacked in the corner of an old crumbling brick patio.  The looked so vibrant and I liked all the contrasting textures so I grabbed my tripod got down low in order to achieve a partial profile.  There are little pools of water in the cups of these funky fungi which seems the perfect place for a little gnome laundry.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f11, 1/10 sec @ 200 ISO

Friday, January 6, 2012

2012, Day 6 - Chiaroscuro

Last night I had the ever dubious pleasure of retrieving Brian Matiash from the train station.  I lie, I don't mind running people to and from the airport or train station, they're both relatively close and I am staunchly opposed to the idea taking a cab in a city where there are so few that they cost a fortune.  If you want to repay me you can always buy me a meal, I'm a cheap date.

Anyway, while the train was inevitably late I took some pictures around the train station.  This is the first that I took and I like it because it is gritty and industrial and you can see a little light from the lamp post above bleeding over the edge so there is some definition to the night sky.  There is something about iron and rivits that puts me in mind of the glory days of US heavy industry when we built everything out of steel and the thicker the steel the better because that meant it would last forever.  I guess it is something that brings about nostalgia for a past I know only through my study of history.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
20mm, f2.8, 1/40 sec @ 640 ISO

Thursday, January 5, 2012

2012, Day 5 - Flashpoint

Another amazing sunrise.  So far 2012 has bless us with amazing morning skies of orange, pink, and purple.  That has to be an auspicious sign, right?

I think this year I need to work on making photography more social.  There are a number of people I've gone shooting with last year but it is, primarily, a solitary pursuit.  That isn't a complaint, I enjoy my time alone because it allows me to time to think not only about photography but about life and its infinite mysteries.  However there is a kind of excitement in photography that is contagious and any number of people can look at the same subject in a much different way so I don't worry about ending the day with duplicates of the images created by other people.  In making photography a social hobby it also greatly increases the chances of learning new things and there is always room to grow in any art form.

Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 70-200/f2.8L IS Mark II
200mm, f4, 0.3 sec @ 200 ISO

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2012, Day 4 - Straining

I admit it, I am like a kid I am so excited to have my macro lens back!  This afternoon I had to go meet a contractor and while I was waiting I found a pile of old bricks covered in various kinds of moss.  Unfortunately I didn't have my tripod with me but I have to go back on Friday and the travel tripod is already in the car.  Next time I am going to try for a greater depth-of-field but for now I am happy with this glimpse into a world we rarely see.

Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f5.6, 1/20 sec @ 400 ISO

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2012, Day 3 - Droplets

My 100mm macro lens is back from Canon and as good as new!  I took it  out for a test drive today found these lovely ferns growing from a crack in a retaining wall.  It was quite early in the morning and the rain from the night before still clung to the delicate new growth.  Given the mild weather this morning it seemed very much like spring but I fear that winter isn't done with us yet, she is luring us into a false sense of security and is going to take a running kick at our collective groin when we least expect it.  Until then I am going to enjoy the unseasonably warm weather...

Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f5.6, 1/80 sec @ 400 ISO

Monday, January 2, 2012

2012, Day 2 - Schooled

This photo features my sweet boy Frankie, the white dog with the blue eye on the left.  When I say that he's my dog it's true but my friend Karen, who he lives with, just doesn't know it yet.  Actually, Frankie's brother Sand should be coming to live with me soon, but that's another story.

Yesterday I went out to Paul and Karen's house to get molested by their dogs and to help the practice some of the pups on the lure to see if they will run.  I was hoping Frankie wouldn't because then he could come straight home with me and Sand, but run he did although not especially well.  After they had their practice we let four of the dogs just play and in this photo Frankie is being chased by Apache in the foreground and Hillevi in the background.  You wouldn't know it by looking at him but Apache is almost ten years old and Hillevi is six years old but poor Frankie is just ten months old and his more seasoned buddies decided he has to be the rabbit so they could chase him.

The truth is that Frankie likes being chased and he has a great time but even though he is much younger his legs are still something of a liability when he is running flat out.  Karen did notice that whenever the action died down he came running to me; I've liked him ever since he was a puppy and I won't rest until the little monster is on my sofa.  What a great way to start the new year!

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 70-200/f2.8L IS Mark II
200mm, f4, 1/2000 sec @ 320 ISO

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012, Day 1 - Genesis

The sun has already set on the first day of 2012 and it is time to write the inaugural post for the year.  I am going to continue posting at least one picture every day and expect that I will follow last year's format.  In 2010 I was posting a new photograph daily but the catch was that it had to be taken that day.  Some days ended with me scrambling to find a worthy subject and often the compromise was one that I wasn't happy with whereas when I shifted gears last year to a new photo daily I allowed myself to save images from shoots to post at a later date.  The only problem is that sometimes I would forget about photos I really liked and only rediscovered them much later.  Oh well, it is the risk I take for quality content.

Happy new year!

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
30mm, f4, 1.6 sec @ 200 ISO