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Wandering in Oregon (57)

I suspect that I am designating myself a wanderer, going from place to place, hopefully not in a totally aimless fashion. In this case, wandering throughout the state of Oregon - a place of endlessly fascinating views and vistas. Enjoy.

Updated Wednesday, June 11 2014 @ 09:41 PM PDT


 

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    A Very Busy Year . . .

    I cannot believe how long it's been since I've posted here - but I do have a lot of legitimate reasons. Honest. Back in March, my son and his girlfriend announced that they were getting married - at the end of April!!! That certainly changed the direction of our lives. And with the help of a lot of good people the wedding came off smoothly and the reception was one of the most relaxed I've ever attended. We had a cake made by a friend from church which was so good another friend tried to hire her for his upcoming wedding, And this same friend went to all of her neighbors to ask if she could cut their lilacs to decorate the hall. The hall smelled heavenly. Other friends donated their gifts of music. Still more took care of the food and punch so I could enjoy being the mom of the groom. We are told it takes a village to raise a child. That same village can come together to help that child get married. It was a wonderful day. Oh yes, we had friends who took care of the official photos so I could just take pictures without worrying if I was missing some important moment when I visited with friends and relatives.

    That took care of April - May began with a trip and a fall and a dislocated shoulder. Ouch. This is the third time I've managed to do this and it's getting very old - time to take the pledge to be more kind to my shoulder. But I still managed to find ways to take pictures using my cell phone when I couldn't handle much of any weight and then I got to move up my list of cameras until I reached the magic moment when I went out yesterday with my big camera and no nursemaid and got some fun bird shots. Yea!

    So what's next? Lots of photo opps as I do my summer job at a day camp and talk my husband into as many road trips as I can. Birthdays, holidays and festivals....and no more dislocating shoulders!!!!!

    Keep smiling,

    Mary ·
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    Spring has Sprung!

    There are flowers blooming, the sun is peeking out in between the showers - someone would think it was spring. Oh, it is spring! Cool. So I've started to add spring flowers to my albums. We had a perfect spring day last Saturday. Mark and I abandoned all home chores to drive down to the Capital Building in Salem and take pictures of the gloriously blooming cherry trees and the fountains and the building itself. No Oregonian needs to go to Washington, DC for the cherry blossoms. We have them everywhere but at the capital they are grouped together and it's wonderful to walk through a archway of the trees reaching up above your head. Anyway - I'm babbling. Enjoy spring!

    Mary ·
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    February Adventures

    Here we are at the end of February and I'm ready to take a breather. This has been a busy month here - my son got engaged to a lovely young lady which was the biggest event in our personal lives. Now it's time to get crazy with wedding preparations. Interesting thought: what will it be like to photograph a wedding while I am the mother of the groom? Have to ponder that one. Besides the sound of upcoming wedding bells, however, we had actual, measurable snow here in the Portland area! That grounded me at home for several days, but didn't stop me from getting a lot of pictures, Our hill is a designated sledding hill which means we had kids of all ages out in front of the house on sleds, saucers, snow boards and even some cross country skiers! You have to understand that snow in Portland proper is a rare event so everyone takes advantage when it happens. The last time we had sledders out front was in 2008! Snow is a big deal here although much more common when you get up into the Cascades & coast ranges.

    I also had the pleasure of photographing a production by the Elevation Youth Ensemble: A Mini Midsummer's Night Dream - the cast ranged from quite young up to the teens and they all did a fantastic job. They are directed by Angela Hughey and, if you are in the Portland area, well worth seeing when they put on their plays.

    And now we are approaching March and spring and the birds of the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden near Reed College are getting extremely active as the males show off for the females in their finest plumage. It's an exciting time to be out studying the birds. You should try it if you haven't already.

    Meanwhile - I've got to run. Cub Scout Pack Meeting tonight and I need to pick up balloons and cups and stuff like that. Have a great day and take lots of pictures - they are a wonderful way to jumpstart your memories.

    Mary ·
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    The season's over. . . .

    Hope everyone got through the holidays with health and a lot of fun. We had some fun but I was dealing with a pair of sickies - first my son, then my husband. Luckily I seem to have avoided it. (Knock wood) Anyway, I do have a confession - after all my brave talk on postponing any thoughts of getting a new camera and sensibly paying off bills, I fell right off the wagon and bought a Sony NEX-6 with an 18-200 mm zoom lens. Take my word for it, a person should never go "window shopping" when they're trying to resist temptation. Mark and I visited the camera shop and I got play with the camera. My resolve began to crumble. I sensibly told the clerk I wasn't making a decision right then and we got out of the store to walk around the block. And then Mark looked at me and said we should go back and get it. So much for strength of will. I do love many things about the NEX-6 - the feel of the camera in my hand is wonderful for one thing. I never would have guessed how losing the mirror from a DSLR would make such a difference in size. I get mostly good pictures but this will not replace my Canon 60D for action shots, at least not until I know it better. And I am working on that.

    We're having an unusually dry and foggy winter here in Portland and until last night I mostly just sighed, knowing that my photo chances would be few in comparison to snowy days or sunny ones. Then I decided to embrace the fog. Sounds weird, doesn't it? But I had been doing a portrait shot indoors for some friends and when I came out the fog had deepened as the day turned to night. I decided to see what I could get in a heavy fog and was pleased to see that the fog can be interesting. I'm adding a folder of the shots. Check them out. I think you'll see what I mean.

    Meanwhile, enjoy the new year, take lots of pictures and share them.

    Keep smiling,

    Mary ·
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    'Tis the Season

    Jingle Bells and ho, ho, ho - it's that time of year again. Don't get me wrong. I love Christmas. This is truly one of my favorite seasons of the year. But it's also one of the hardest to deal with. Why? Time is an obvious answer and is part of the problem. There's never enough of it to get all the activities that sound so very tempting done. But that's not my biggest problem. Neither is the decorating, baking, or shopping for others, although I do wish my husband would give me a better idea of what he wants. (Some day I may take him seriously when he says that all he wants is for all of us to be happy.) Nope - my biggest problem is keeping my own 'wants' down to a reasonable, ir budgetary, level. It seems like every year someone comes out with a new camera, lens or flash that I desperately want to add to my collection. Or maybe it's a new plug-in or program that will make my photographic life easier if only I come up with the big bucks to buy. After all, it's Christmas. Don't I deserve a wonderful gift too?

    Well the answer to that is, yes, of course I deserve it. The roadblock is: can we afford it? For example, after our trip to Brazil in October I realized that the big DSLR is awkward when walking around in many places. (I've run tino that feeling sometimes here in Portland, too.) I wound up using my Canon G12 almost exclusively and I got good pictures, but not as good as I would have with the big camera. So now my heart is set on a whole new camera body and lens-set: mirrorless. They are smaller and lighter and have gotten great reviews, but are not truly in our budget this year. Does this stop me from whining or whimpering? No, of course not. My will power is good, but not that good.

    So the challenge will be for me to be a mature, reasonable adult and enjoy the season without the new toys I desperately crave. I do have a lot of blessings including the fact that my son is home from his 2-year church mission to Brazil. So my Christmas wish is that I be mature enough to be happy even while craving gear that I can't have . . .yet. 2014 is another year. Who knows what might happen.

    Tchau, Mary
    Happy Thanksgiving! ·
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    Where'd the time go?????

    How did we get from August to November so quickly? When I was a kid the weeks stretched on so very slowly - would it ever be Halloween? Christmas? My birthday? Now I turn around and months have flown by. This year I have a better excuse than most for neglecting my blog since we were making all the arrangements for our trip to Brazil to get John and see a hint of the world he's lived in for the last two years and then that busy, happy week while we were in Goiania with John and then back home to the beginning of the holiday season. Yikes! I want to slow down the world just a tad so I can have the time to savor what I'm doing at any one time. I'll bet you all do too. More later, though - I've got to dash off to the next project.

    Mary :D ·
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    Too much summer

    You really can have too much of a good thing. For example, this summer has been sunny, dry and very long. We've had nearly two months of almost perfect summer weather and I am now saying, 'enough!' I want a week of Oregon drizzle not the almost non-existent squirt in the dirt we've had. I want the skies to have a multitude of changing clouds, all kinds of clouds from soft white & fluffy to periods of gray. I want an end to dust on everything. And I want bright, glorious colors which show up naturally in the spring and fall. Heck, I want to start an album here called "Wandering through the rain." Thank you for letting me rant. The changes will come in their own good time. I know that, but every once in awhile I have to just rant a little.

    Meanwhile - I've added a few more pictures to the summer album including the brief moment when I was rained upon this summer. (it was heavenly!) There's a gorgeous sunset and a little bit more.

    And before I head off looking for yet another sunset - a reminder - in a few months I will probably be complaining about too much rain. We humans are natural complainers after all.

    Keep smiling,

    Mary ·
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    Wandering through my summer

    Hi world! Life's been extremely busy these last few months, so I'm afraid posting here got neglected. Desculpe! You may have noticed that was in Portuguese - one of the things making me busy is getting ready for a trip to south-central Brazil. Yikes! Did I really say that? I did and it's true. My son has been serving a mission in Brazil for the last two years and my husband, Mark, and I are going down to see that part of the country, not to mention, bring John home with us! It's hard to plan all the things we need to take - and I'm not really talking the clothes. I'm talking cameras, maybe a laptop - We want to travel light, but not miss this opportunity to take pictures in a place we had never expected to visit. More on that later. I was talking about this summer.

    Most of my wandering has been within the confines of Camp Discovery, a Cub Scout day camp in the Portland area. I work there as the first aid person and use my free time to take pictures of the kids, staff & the beautiful property. But Mark and I also managed a photowalk in Albany, Oregon to celebrate the second anniversary of Google+. The photowalk was on a very hot summer Saturday so our ambitions withered a bit, but, the Albany Carousel Project was awesome! (Thanks, Pat Kight for introducing us to this marvelous spot!) The people of Albany are creating a carousel - one critter at a time. They are designing, carving & painting wonderful carousel animals: llamas, horses, cows and more. There is a giraffe on display in a restaurant window but as wonderful as he was, I fell in love with the llama and plan to ride him when the carousel is finished in a few years. This is definitely a long term project. We also went to a wedding. I was not the 'official' photographer, but I had my small camera with me and had a great time getting the shots I wanted to get, not just the ones I would have been required to get if I had been the hired photographer. It does make a difference, don't you think?

    Of course, the summer is only half done so I will undoubtedly add more photos to my wandering through summer album as time goes on - enjoy the rest of your summer. I plan to enjoy mine.

    Keep smiling,

    Mary ·
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    Spring Break Wandering

    I had a lot of fun during spring break even though my son is grown and my wandering was with friends or alone depending on the day. I got to the Oregon Zoo and spotted a number of very cool critters: a baby elephant, , flamingos (not the plastic kind!) and an adorable screech owl. A bunch of others too but while I did see lions, and cheetahs, I can't break into the chant from Wizard of Oz: Lions and tigers and ...well, you get the point. But at the end of the day I clicked my ruby.. well, black tennies and went on home. But this was not the end of my wanderings. You see, the weather was warm, sunny and dry - unheard of for spring break here in Portland, so I ran away from home a bit more and got to visit the Rhododendron Garden here and Portland before we wound up the week with a drive up into the Columbia River Gorge. Just this once we skipped the waterfalls at the west end of the Gorge and crossed over to the Washington side of the River passing through Stevenson on up to Carson and then crossed back when we were opposite Hood River, Oregon. And instead of returning to Portland on the Oregon side of the river, we drove up and around Mount Hood itself where we saw the remains of winter snow.before we dropped back to the very warm Willamette Valley.

    If I had to pick a favorite part of the day I would have to say it was the time we spent prowling through an old-fashioned antique store in Carson, WA. This was definitely not an antique mall, all neatly arranged. This was an old building stuffed to the gills with lots of stuff from many eras scattered around. There were some attempts at order, but mostly you had to go through the whole place to be sure you weren't leaving a treasure behind - this trip I focused on Scout memorabilia: badges, belt loops and old magazines. Man that was fun.

    Keep smiling, Mary ·
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    Excitement without leaving home

    Normally my excitement levels rise when I'm holding my camera in any of the wonderful places we visit here in Oregon or elsewhere. Not so this last month or two. Oddly, I have had three encounters with bald eagles all within five miles of my home - twice from the foot of my driveway. First of all, I live in the city of Portland, OR. Not all the far from downtown as the ...eagle flies...sorry, I had to say that. I have lived in this house for 21 years and until this year have never seen anything bigger than a hawk in the neighborhood, and more generally our largest birds have been crows & Canada geese. Then on January 17th, thanks to a woman who was parked at the foot of my driveway, I spotted a pair of bald eagles in the top of a neighbor's evergreen tree. The eagles courteously waited while I ran in the house, got my camera, fitted it with our best lens and ran back outside to get some great shots. After awhile the birds grew tired of posing and flew off. I thought that would be the end of my close encounters with eagles.

    I was wrong - on February 15th we had another gorgeous day and I grabbed my camera and went to the Rhododendron Garden here in SE Portland, just a couple of miles from my house. It's a great place to get pictures of various ducks, geese, coots and other birds. Even a cormorant or two. But as I wandered the garden, I looked up and spotted what looked like a bald eagle swooping over the pond. I hurried over and was rewarded by the sight of an eagle teasing the geese, swooping down close the smaller birds, then flying off again. Once again I was certain that I was done with eagles locally.

    Wrong again - Last Thursday (2/28) I was working upstairs in my house when I heard a huge commotion. I went to a window that overlooked my backyard and saw 20-30 crows congregating in a huge tree in a neighbor's yard. They were screeching, taking off a few at a time and then coming back to roost. Wondering what was up, I ran downstairs, grabbed my camera (have you detected a pattern yet?) and went out back. Saw nothing but the crows. I had no idea what had stirred them up. After a moment I went back through the house to the front for another view and found the subject of all the noise - a single bald eagle was back in that evergreen tree again. Only this time the crows were taking turns dive-bombing him, trying to get him to leave. He stayed for quite awhile again, then spread his magnificent wings and flew away. The crows dispersed and the neighborhood quieted again. Yikes!

    After all this I am not ready to say I won't encounter an eagle again in the neighborhood. I guess we'll just have to see. And remember that you can find pretty amazing things in your own backyard.

    Keep smiling,

    Mary ·
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