a rainbow moonscape
dreaming of winter
This post includes photos of smaller-sized special somethings collected over the years.
Special somethings discovered
The first photo shows a radiator cap from a 1928 Pontiac. We found it buried in the forest where we used to live. The Indian brave sculpture is so detailed!
The next photo shows a picture of my favorite salt & pepper shakers. This pair was found in an antique store in Snohomish, Washington. I’m not sure what year these were made, but they look like Depression-era glassware.
Things from the earth
The next photo shows a piece of black obsidian. I found this piece at Glass Buttes, about an hour east of Bend, Oregon. This rock has radiating curves that developed as it cooled thousands of years ago.
The next photo shows a fossil gingko leaf. This was found at Stonerose Interpretive Center & Eocene Fossil Site in Republic, Washington. We took our family there to dig for fossils as part of our annual camping trip. It’s my favorite fossil I’ve ever found because I love gingko trees!
Special things with sentimental value
The next photo is of a mug and planter. These were purchased decades ago in Rhodes, Greece by my dad when he was in the Navy. I assumed they must be valuable, but recently found a set of three of these mugs for $45 on eBay. Oh well, I still like them.
The last photo is of a toy stereo. When I was a teenager, I asked for a stereo every year for Christmas. Our family was not well off financially and stereos used to cost a lot more then, relatively speaking. They bought me this one year and, even though it’s not in great shape anymore, I’ve kept it around to remind myself you don’t always get what you want. 😁
Here’s a photo of blanket flowers up close that I took last summer. These perennial flowers are big and showy. Their contrasting colors make them stand out as a star in any garden. These easy to grow plants are also drought tolerant. They attract butterflies and birds.
a colorful serape
muffles winter’s chill
Today I’m sharing pencil sketches I did of hummers in action. I’m also including a photo of a hummingbird hovering over a border planting in a garden. These very active birds are difficult to capture with a pencil or a lens.
Did you know their heart can beat faster than 1,200 beats per minute? However, when food is scarce hummingbirds go into torpor, which is similar to hibernation. Their heart rate drops to as low as 50 beats per minute. Hummers are amazing birds!
Do you have artwork you would like to share? Be sure to include the First Friday Art tag.
I saw this Northern river otter on ice a few days ago along the Deschutes River in Bend. If you walk early in the morning, as I like to do, you’ll get to witness magical moments such as this one.
It’s time to share special photos from the past year. Please enjoy this selection of nature, history, and art photos from Bend Branches.
Best Nature Pictures
The first photo shows a scene at the Portland Japanese Garden. We visited in October, when fall colors were at their peak.
This picture shows a pronghorn buck at Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. My following pronghorn post includes several pictures of these icons of the West.
We get spectacular sunsets and sunrises in our High Desert yard in Bend, Oregon. I wrote a two-line essence poem to go along with this image.
The next photo shows Emerald Pool at Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. The contrasting colors around this hot spring make it one of my favorites.
This photo is of a Cooper’s hawk right after she had a bath. This regular visitor to our yard is always entertaining!
Best History Photos
This is a picture of one of the passages in the burial tomb at Knowth in County Meath, Ireland. I wrote a short story to go along with pictures of this historic site.
This is a biplane located at the Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum in Hood River, Oregon. Black and white processing shows off the structure of this plane.
This picture shows an old farm truck parked along a rural road in Bend, Oregon. It’s parked along one of the 51 farm-to-market roads built in Deschutes County during the early 1900s.
This is a display of tail dresses at the High Desert Museum in Bend, Oregon. They’re called tail dresses because the deer’s tail is left on the cured skin. You can see them near the neckline on these dresses.
This picture shows an old farmhouse and windmill at a ranch in Central Oregon. To give this a more aged appearance, I used a filter that muted the reds.
Best Art Pictures
This is a close-up view of a bison sculpture by Greg Congleton, one of my favorite local artists. The name of this sculpture is Wooly Bully.
This is a sculpture of Sacagawea that’s located at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West museum in Cody, Wyoming. I admired how the artist portrayed her as a calm yet powerful presence.
This is a close-up view of a mural located outside a computer repair store in Bend, Oregon. Born Again Babylan represents mysteries of the past and technology of the future. See the whole mural here.
I featured the next image for a haiku challenge with the words blue and world as prompts. This art piece is at Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, Ireland. It represents bubbles forming during the beer brewing process.
The last picture shows an ornament on my Christmas tree. I have a collection of reindeer and I like this one because of its joyful expression. The ornaments are each like a tiny work of art.
I saw this beautiful crane sculpture at the Portland Japanese Garden last fall. The colors of autumn cast a warm glow on this peaceful scene.
In Japanese literature, mythology, and art, cranes are often thought to live 1,000 years. They symbolize longevity and good luck.
I wish you good luck and much happiness in the new year!
I saw this herd of pronghorn near Prineville, Oregon last spring. I’ll be showing how I processed this photo three ways with Corel PaintShop Pro 2021.
Prior to trying various effects, I increased the brightness, contrast, fill light, and clarity. Since this photo was taken from a distance, I also adjusted the sharpness.
The first two show the original image and the same picture with a Film and Filters effect. For this image I went to Effects>Film and Filters. I selected Vibrant Foliage from the first pulldown menu and Warming Filter from the second one. The orange filter brought out the pronghorn’s tawny coats. The vibrant foliage filter enhanced blues and greens in this scene.
The next two show the original image and the same picture with a Hot Wax Coating effect. For this image I went to Effects>Artistic Effects>Hot Wax Coating. This effect gives an almost comic book-like effect with enhanced edges. The images appear to be coated in a thin layer of wax.
The last two show the original image and the same picture with an Aged Newspaper effect. For this image I went to Effects>Artistic Effects>Aged Newspaper. You can choose how old you want the picture to look. I chose 50 years. More recent options appear more black and white, while older ones have a more yellowed appearance. This effect slightly blurs the edges to make them resemble images in old newspapers.
This Mix Tape A & B mural, by artist Erik Hoogen, is located at Silver Moon Brewing in Bend, Oregon. Erik worked on this labor of love seasonally for two years. This large work of art is located in a narrow alley so instead of trying to show it in one photo, I took several.
I am so impressed by this mural! It’s difficult to paint with a monotone palette and Erik made it look easy.
He captured the essence of these musicians from different times and genres.
Many of the musicians are portrayed in iconic poses.
However, Erik also showed his sense of humor. Can you find a glam rock musician with his fingers in his ears in one of these photos? Did you spot the rapper drinking a Silver Moon beer?
He also incorporated powerful words to go along with the images. On one side it says,
A painting is music U can see. Music is a painting U can hear.Miles Davis
On the other side, it says, “One Love, Unity, & Respect” and “Cheers.”
There are small touches of color in this mural. Did you notice the orange butterflies fluttering among the musicians?
And what about that door? In reality, it’s just an ordinary exterior door. I love how he made it into something amazing!
For a peek at a mural inside Silver Moon, see Pub Art at Silver Moon Brewing.
Some of the codes restricting where murals could be located in Bend were eliminated in 2019. Mix Tape A & B is one of the many murals that have appeared in the past couple of years as a result of that change. Lucky us!
Wordless Wednesday https://wordpress.com/tag/wordless-wednesday
I decided to make a tumbleweed snowman from the giant tumbleweed I recently found in my yard. In my previous post, Giant tumbleweed in my yard, I tried to show the scale of this tumbleweed. It measured 7 feet 6 inches across!
Since it’s December, I thought I might as well have some fun with it. We tied it to a tree to keep it from blowing away. I added a smaller tumbleweed to make a head.
It’s kinda hard to see his face so I zoomed in. The branches are spaced far apart on the top tumbleweed so his face is held on with a few twist ties. Can you see his lichen eyelashes and juniper nose and smile?
A string of battery-powered lights added some holiday cheer.
Hope you enjoyed my High Desert tumbleweed snowman. Happy Holidays! 😀
I found a giant tumbleweed in my yard after a big wind storm earlier this month. I took a photo of it, but it didn’t really show the scale.
Can you tell how big it is when I put my medium-sized dog, Shelby, and my large-sized dog, Tesla, in the picture? They were glad it didn’t tumble on top of them. 😀
How about if I stand behind it? I’m 5 foot 4 inches tall. Can you see me?
Finally, I decided to show the tumbleweed in front of my little blue Subaru. I wouldn’t want this thing rolling in front of me when driving down the road!
Can you guess how big this giant tumbleweed was? 7 feet 6 inches across. A whopper!
Once again, I’m sharing images of peaceful scenes near my home in Bend, Oregon.
Sahalie Falls, about an hour west of Bend, rewards visitors with this picture perfect view. Moss-covered rocks frame the rainbows floating over the river.
The next photo shows a few of my next door neighbors. This mule deer doe often jumped the fence into our yard to take a break from her fawns. 😀
Prineville Reservoir is about an hour east of Bend. I paddled around part of this large reservoir in my kayak last spring. The geological features surrounding the reservoir are so impressive!
The next photo shows a meeting of the minds near Burns, Oregon, two hours east of Bend. The double-crested cormorants appear to be having a peaceful discussion with the white pelicans.
The last photo shows several of Oregon’s Cascade volcanoes in the distance with manzanita shrubs in bloom in the foreground. This picture was taken near Paulina Lake, less than an hour south of Bend. The volcanoes pictured in this peaceful scene have been slumbering for many years.
blue worlds drift away
scattered by the winds of change
winter’s eve draws near
These reindeer on my tree are part of my reindeer collection. The great thing about a seasonal collection is that it’s only out for part of the year. It gives you something to look forward to.
Some of the ornaments, like the Fitz and Floyd one below, have value as a collectible.
Others, like this ceramic one, have a different kind of value. I’ve reattached the antlers more than once on this sentimental piece.
Some, like this wooden one, are more arts and crafts than fine art.
Others, like this leaping snowflake-studded one, portray the joyfulness of the season.
Some, like this clear one, sparkle and reflect the multicolored lights.
Others, like this graceful leaper, are brushed with touches of gold.
Though I have quite a few reindeer on my tree, I’m always looking for one more special piece.
I also like to display my small collection of plush reindeer. Can you find my cat, Motor, in this photo from my archives?
He found his happy spot. I hope you too find moments of joy over the holidays. 😁
I took this picture of Emerald Pool along the Black Sand Basin Trail in Yellowstone National Park. Emerald Pool is one of my favorite hot springs in the park. The bright colors in and around the pool stand out against a backdrop of forests and cliffs.
The water temperature of this pool averages 136° F (58° C). The pool used to be more green in color, but drops in temperature have caused the color to darken.
Here are a few pencil sketches of a red panda I drew at a zoo. These animals are most active at dawn and dusk and when they’re asleep, they appear to sleep soundly. It’s nice to draw a critter who stays in one place for long periods of time. 🙂
This endangered species lives in a relatively small area of western Nepal, east into China. As shown in my photos below, bamboo is one of their favorite foods. With their dense, colorful fur coats and “cute” features, they make quite an impression on zoo visitors.
Their biggest threats in the wild include habitat degradation, hunting, and poaching. For more about red pandas, and to donate towards their conservation, visit Red Panda Network.
Do you have artwork you would like to share? If so, include a First Friday Art tag on your post.
This larch in waiting photo shows one of their tiny cones up close. The western larch needles turn gold in the fall before dropping. The pompom needle clusters in this photo were just beginning to turn. This unique tree is one of my local favorites.
Walking towards the burial mounds of Knowth, in County Meath, Ireland, it’s easy to imagine they must have many stories to tell. The largest mound was likely created circa 3200 BC. This is part of the World Heritage Site of Brú na Bóinne. I featured another passage tomb nearby in The façade of Newgrange.
Each image tells a story on its own, but I created a Tale of Knowth to go along with the photos.
Tale of Knowth
“Go to the mounded land on the day fall begins.” Maimeó said to me weeks before her passing.
Once I found the 18 mounds, I didn’t know where to turn. I followed the curving trail around the largest mound. A cool gust from the north made the emerald grass covering the mound dance in the wind.
“Find the sunburst kerbstone. It will show you the way.” I remembered Maimeó’s words.
The sunburst kerbstone? I thought. Spirals, crescent, and other patterns covered the boulders encircling the mound. I wondered how I would find the right one.
I trudged around the perimeter of the mound, pulling my cloak close. Light snowfall drifted by me and settled in the characters carved into stone.
Why is it snowing on autumn’s eve? I thought to myself. I tried to keep warm by rubbing my arms and stamping my feet. Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted something.
“This must be it,” I said. I traced sunburst rays carved into an enormous boulder with my fingertip. The accumulating snowfall made the shapes stand out.
“How does this sunburst point me in the right direction?” I scratched my head.
Then I remembered something Daideó often said. “Look behind to find the way forward.”
I didn’t know what he meant then, but now I understood. On the back edge of the stone, I found a crude arrow pointing east. I quickened my pace and soon found a low doorway entering the mound.
Once inside, I found doorway after doorway. Where should I go next? I thought. Night was falling and the hallway of doors ahead of me darkened. I shuddered in the deepening gloom.
Suddenly, something strange happened. The light narrowed into a single beam shining through one door. I dashed towards the light.
A pale-colored column of stone reaching towards the ceiling reflected the beam of light. I remembered Daideó’s words again and reached behind the stone.
I felt a delicate chain and pulled it into the bright light. It held a golden triskele charm with three spirals connected to the center. If I wore it, I knew it would help me move forward in the spiritual world, the present world, and the celestial world.
After that day, I always wore my triskele and though I often stumble backwards, I find my way ahead.
More about Knowth
This fictional story contains elements of fact including:
- The kerbstones carved with images represent more than 1/3 of megalithic art in all of Western Europe.
- The kerbstones often had a type of megalithic art known as “hidden art” carved on the backs of the stones.
- The east-west alignment at the time of construction indicates Knowth was used to recognize the spring and autumnal equinoxes.
- Triskeles, or Triskelion, are an ancient symbol recognized in Ireland and other countries. This symbol can be seen at the entrance to Newgrange, another part of this Heritage Site.
Sometimes you experience memorable moments by following fall close to home. I’ve made a special effort to capture glimpses of the season in photographs this year near my home in Bend. Fall is my favorite season!
Autumn weather brings cloudy skies and spectacular sunrises that take your breath away.
Trees don their finest fashions and marvel at their reflections.
Some trees try to see how many shades of autumn they can pack onto one branch.
And when the leaves fall, they dazzle you like an ephemeral work of art.
If you listen closely, you’ll hear the leafless trees revealing stories layer by layer until they are clothed once again.
I went on a road trip near Mount Hood in October and took this photo of the mountain. I’ll be showing how I processed it three ways with Corel PaintShop Pro 2021.
Prior to trying various effects, I decreased the brightness, increased the contrast, fill light and clarity, and used the local tone mapping setting. I made these adjustments because the gray and white mountain blended into the cloudy gray sky. Cloud cover can block your views of Mount Hood in October so we were lucky to see it on this overcast day.
The first two show the Mount Hood original image and the same picture with an enhanced edge effect. For this image I went to Effects>Edge Effects>Enhance More. I like this image because it showcases the trees in the forest.
The next two show the Mount Hood original image and the same picture with a film and filters effect. For this image I went to Effects>Film and Filters. I selected Vibrant Foliage from the first pulldown menu, Cooling Filter from the second one, and increased the filter density. This effect’s blue filter highlights the sky more.
The last two show the Mount Hood original image and the same picture with a glowing edges effect. For this image I went to Effects>Artistic Effects>Glowing Edges. The various shapes stand out in strong contrast highlighted by a touch of color. It’s one of my favorite effects!
the wisest ones wait
impatient trembles of green
longing for fall’s kiss
gold whispers, orange laughter
autumn’s fleeting love
I saw these marigolds up close in a park at the end of July. These vignettes show orange, yellow, and white flowers that were growing in a border planting. Marigolds are an easy to grow annual that blooms for weeks during the summer months.
This observatory of the past is on McKenzie Pass near Sisters, Oregon. Dee Wright Observatory was built in 1935 by the Civilian Conservation Corps to showcase the human and geological history of this location. The round tower sits atop a small hill.
Here’s what it looks like when you approach it from the west. It’s one of the odder roadside attractions in Oregon but one that should not be missed.
The Observatory is constructed of local lava rock. The triangular-shaped rail supports look like rock cairns.
But what can you observe from here? You get excellent views of some of our local volcanoes, including North and Middle Sister, pictured below.
You’ll see panoramic views of lava beds bordered by volcanic mountains. On the left you can see the top of Mt Washington. Mt Jefferson is in the middle of the picture, shrouded by clouds. On the right you get a partial view of Black Butte.
Here’s a closer view. See Mt Jefferson hiding under the clouds?
An observatory of the past – Geology
This sign highlights part of the geological history. The lava flows that covered this landscape are young, in geological terms. If you have time, walk the 0.50 mile interpretive trail at the site.
From the inside of the structure, you can peek out of square and rectangular windows to see the peaks. Labels are below each window.
On top of the building you’ll find a peak finder.
Here’s a closer view.
Old Wagon Road
This area served as a route for wagons to get across the Cascade Mountains in the late 1800s. It must have been an incredibly rough ride.
If you visit this area…
- Consider traveling the 82-mile loop McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass Scenic Byway. We drove it in September while searching for fall foliage.
- Note the road to the observatory closes during late fall and opens again in the spring because of high snowfall.
- The winding, narrow McKenzie Pass Highway does not allow vehicles over 35 feet in length.
- Watch for bicyclist traveling along the 38-mile long McKenzie Pass Scenic Bikeway.
For a little more about this observatory of the past, see my previous post – Dee Wright Observatory.
These bonsai trees in the Portland Japanese Garden were living works of art. We visited the garden in mid-October, when the colors of autumn were beginning to put on their show.
The first tree is a Japanese maple and it’s 35 years old. This variety’s foliage changes from green to shades of golden-yellow and red. This maple’s reddish bark intensifies in color over the winter months.
The second tree is a vine maple and it’s 75 years old. This type of maple is common in Pacific Northwest forests. Those growing in shade tend to have yellow fall color, while those in direct sunlight are more likely to turn orange and scarlet.
The third tree is a trident maple and it’s 30 years old. This maple is native to China, Korea, and Japan. It gets its name from its three-lobed leaves.
The fourth photo shows a miniature forest of Japanese maples and it’s 35 years old. These trees already dropped their leaves for the season.
The sixth photo shows a Japanese beech that’s 30 years old. This species only grows in parts of Japan – it is an endemic species. Its copper-colored leaves stood out from the rest of the bonsai trees.
The seventh photo shows a winterberry and it is 45 years old. Winterberry are endemic to a province in China. Their distinctive red berries let you know they’re related to holly.
The eighth picture shows a dwarf Asian pear and it’s 25 years old. This pear is native to China and Vietnam. This was one of my favorites because I admired its twisting branches.
Thursday Tree Love
When I saw this woman in a cape pass through an arch, it looked like she entered a portal in Portland. I imagined her entering a distant mystical land. Infrared processing enhanced the mystical theme I attempted to capture.