This picture of an ammonite fossil up close shows their beautiful spiraling structure. In ancient times they were called “snake stones” or “serpent stones.” The stones were thought to have healing and oracular powers. Fossils of these once abundant, now extinct, marine molluscs are popular with collectors.
Here’s a pencil drawing I did of a peregrine falcon guarding its prey. I have been fascinated by falcons ever since I read accounts of Genghis Kahn hunting with them. Some of my earliest crayon drawings are of mounted riders carrying falcons. This site describes the 6,000-year old Mongolian tradition and features photos of falconers on horseback.
On our trip to Ireland in March 2020, we looked forward to participating in the Dingle Falconry Experience in County Kerry. Trained owls and hawks briefly perch on your gloved hand before flying to the next participant.
This photo shows their peregrine falcon feeding after its flight. The falcon was only handled by the trainer, Andi Chewning.
When I drove the highway west of Cody, Wyoming, I saw stories unfolding in rock formations along the road.
The short paved trail in the photo below takes you to a place of wonderment along the North Fork Shoshone River.
Stories unfolding from a distance
The rock formations along the ridgetop are a village of homes with a view carved by the common folk. At one time, the richest man in town lived in a round home atop the tallest tower. He bragged about his wealth to anyone who would listen. One day, he danced with glee around and around inside the house. It fell to the ground, but he survived. From then on, he lived a humble life in a square home and he never danced again.
Sheep Mountain is a distinctive landmark about 15 miles southwest of Cody.Continue reading
Today I’m sharing a photograph of a Lost Forest pine tree processed three ways. The Lost Forest is a geographically isolated forest in the High Desert of Central Oregon. A visit to this unique forest inspired me to write a short story.
I’ll be showing how I processed this picture three ways with Corel PaintShop Pro 2021. Prior to trying out the various effects, I increased the contrast and vibrancy slightly.
The first two show the original and the same picture with a box camera effect. For this image I went to Effects>Photo Effects>Time Machine>Box camera. I was pleased how this effect enhanced details of the tree’s structure.
The second two show the original Lost Forest pine tree and the same picture with a warming filter effect. For this image I went to Effects>Photo Effects>Film and Filters. I chose the Warm earth tones option with an orange warming filter. This effect made the tree’s red bark stand out. The puzzle-like bark of ponderosa pines is one of their most interesting features. This effect also highlighted the bare branches better than other effects I considered.Continue reading
This bridge with a view takes you to the entrance of the Portland Japanese Garden. The bridge’s glass walls bring you closer to the natural world beneath you. Straight lines contrast with the curves and textures of the surrounding forest. When you ascend the stairs and exit the path, you’ll enter the Cultural Center. With its minimalistic design, it stands out yet blends in at the same time.
Driving around the bend, visions of new worlds come into view.
Splashes of warm color, framed in cool blue, catch our attention.
Images pass by fast and vanish, remembered as a dream.
This is a beautiful piece of stilbite up close. Specimens like these, from the stilbite subgroup, can be found near Mill Creek, Polk County, Oregon. The crystals on this mineral are gorgeous, but I also like the parallel lines surrounding the cavity in this piece.
A gray fox blissfully basking in the sunlight on a log.
Zooming in a little closer to see the details of her coat.
Zooming in closer still to focus on her exquisite and intelligent face.
propelled by whispers of wind
settles on snow drifts
It’s time once again for fun with photos. Welcome to Photo Bloopers 5! This is what I do with pictures that don’t quite fit in or turned out weird looking. They needed a few words to make them more interesting. Hope they entertain you!
I did this Nanday Conure embroidery on a denim shirt for my brother when he had one as a pet. When I created this piece, I had never embroidered before so I used a running stitch throughout. Since the shirt was badly wrinkled when I took this picture, I dressed up the image by framing it. 😉
The next pictures show the birds in the wild. They used to be considered a type of parrot, but in 2005 additional research indicated they should be classified as a parakeet. They are also known as Nanday Parakeets or Black-hooded Parakeets. The Nanday Conure is native to South America but birds kept as pets and released are well established in parts of California, Texas, and Florida.
I processed this photo of a bison at rest in sepia tone. This process highlights the details of this bull’s fur. The thick, rough fur on his head, shoulders, and front legs stands out in contrast to the short, smooth fur covering the rest of him. In this view, you can see every wrinkle on his hide on his hindquarters.
For more than 25 years our family camped in a place we called “The Meadow” in northeastern Washington state. Though this site didn’t have luxuries like running water or restrooms, it was a peaceful retreat.
The first three pictures show different views of The Meadow. Stands of aspen and mixed conifers border the large grass meadow. This site is at an elevation of around 4,500 feet and hosts a wide variety of wildlife including three kinds of grouse, moose, deer, bear, cougar, and probably wolves. I had a memorable experience one day when a great gray owl drifted over me on its whisper quiet wings.
The next three photos show a couple of our pets from the past and a pest. Can you see the chipmunk silhouetted on the pine tree trunk? The chipmunks and camp robber birds would steal food right off your plate if you weren’t watching. In another picture you can see our dog, Keyah, walking in front of a place we called “Big Rock.” The kids loved climbing on top of this massive boulder. The other picture shows our dog, Leto, resting in front of the campfire. This boulder was a perfect backdrop for our fires.
I’m sharing photos I took of fringed gentian in Yellowstone National Park last June. We like to visit in the spring so we can take pictures of the wildflowers in bloom. This gentian can be seen on the trails overlooking Old Faithful. It’s the official flower of the park.
I’ll be showing how I processed this picture three ways with Corel PaintShop Pro 2021. Prior to trying out the various effects, I increased the brightness and sharpness slightly.
The first two show the original image and the same picture with a geometric effect. For this image I went to Effects>Geometric>Circle>Default>Wrap. It makes it look like a delicate ornament surrounded by more flowers.
The next two show the original image and a vignette effect. For this image I went to Effects>Photo Effects>Vignette. I darkened the frame slightly. This a great effect to use for flowers since you can blur out the background and sharpen the main subject.Continue reading
dragons breathing fire
over magical snowscapes
on the edge of spring
Today I’m sharing Deschutes River sights to see. Since the river, located in central and northern Oregon, is 252 miles long, I’ll show just a few of its riches. At the end of this post, a map shows these locations.
Where the Deschutes begins
The first picture is of Little Lava Lake. This is a more peaceful place to kayak than the much larger Lava Lake. The spot below shows where the Deschutes River begins.
The next picture was taken on another kayaking trip near Harper Bridge in Sunriver. The waters are calm on this part of the river, but get much rougher when you get to Benham Falls, a class V section. I got out well ahead of the falls!
Here’s a picture of a piece of polished labradorite up close. This feldspar mineral has a unique appearance. Its iridescence catches your attention and is referred to as “labradorescence.” I like holding a piece with a lot of color and tilting it to see different colors in the light. The parallel lines of color within the stone, the twinning surfaces, reflect the light.
We don’t always pay attention to what our pets teach us. Here are a few things my pets have taught me.
Sometimes you need to pause and smell the flowers.
It’s nice to share what you have with those you care about.
Our pets teach us it’s okay to explore strange new worlds.
These Hells Canyon Overlook views were taken in the Hells Canyon Recreation area in northeastern Oregon. Though more people are familiar with the Grand Canyon, Hells Canyon is the deepest river gorge in North America. He Devil Peak, on the East Rim, stands 8,043 feet above the Snake River, at the bottom of the gorge.
You can learn about this unique geological feature at the Hell’s Canyon Creek Visitor Center in Imnaha. When we visited in June a couple of years ago, the road to the center was still closed due to snow so check ahead of time.
Visitors seeking Hells Canyon views in the spring and early summer are rewarded by a wide variety of wildflowers in bloom at the scenic overlook. See Hells Canyon in the Spring for closer views of these beauties.
A winter aspen silhouette with a dramatic sunrise in the background photographed in Bend, Oregon. Spring is making an early appearance here in the High Desert and trees may be starting to leaf out soon.
Yesterday it was 73 degrees F here! Our high temperatures are usually in the mid-30s to 40s at this time of the year. We are having a weird, mild winter.
A rabble of robins settles in my backyard. Five species of thrushes often pause for a quick drink, but I’m flummoxed by the American Robins this year. There are hundreds! Plentiful food, a mild winter, or enchantment in the water? Who knows…
There have been some big changes at the amphitheater in Bend, Oregon. I featured the art in and around this venue in a post in June 2020. At that time, it was called the Les Schwab Amphitheater. It was named after a local entrepreneur who developed a thriving national tire business. Now the site is the Hayden Homes Amphitheater, named after a local home builder.
This site, the largest outdoor music venue in Bend, hosts concerts as well as events like Brewfest. Live Nation, the world’s leading live entertainment company, will partner with Hayden Homes in managing events. This page lists events scheduled for 2022.
Before and after views of the big changes
Today I’ll turn my lenses toward some of the changes at this site.
The stage before was small with whimsical art on the front and back. Here’s the artwork that was on the back of the stage. I loved the raven in this mural.
The new industrial-style stage is much larger and has a big open “window” space to take in the view.
I took photos of Double Arch while on a trip to Arches National Park, Utah. 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>Photo Effects>Film and Filters. I selected Warm Earth Tones from the first pulldown menu and Warming Filter from the second one. The filter intensified the color of the arches and darkened the sky.
The next two show the original image and the same picture with an Infrared effect. For this image I went to Effects>Photo Effects>Infrared. This effect softens the edges and highlights the contrasting vertical lines of lichens on the arches.Continue reading
I saunter along distant trails, not knowing what wonders nature will share with me.
Will falling water sing between rocky cliffs?
Will earth show its origins in the soil?
Will wind turn wheels of history over parched plains?
And when I return home from distant trails, will fireworks light the skies?
I saw this “it’s a boy” pine tree along the trail to Big Tree, the largest ponderosa pine of its kind, in LaPine State Park, Oregon. I may have walked right past this odd tree, but I noticed two teenage boys laughing loudly and pointing at it. They took multiple pictures to share with their friends. Their reaction to it was almost as funny as the tree itself! 😀
These are some of the sights you’ll see along the Mud Volcano Trail in Yellowstone National Park.
Here is Mud Volcano, located at the base of the trail. It used to have a 30-foot tall volcanic cone. Albert C. Peale, a member of the 1871 Hayden Geological Survey, noted, “The trees all about this place are coated with mud showing that it throws out mud sometimes to a considerable height.”
However, sometime prior to the area being designated a National Park in 1872, the cone blew up in an eruption. This area is still worth a visit. The rumbling sounds, smell of sulfur, and various thermal features make it a treat for the senses.
Here’s a closer look at the cracked mud around the base of Mud Volcano.
The 0.7-mile trail includes these stairs that take you up to Black Dragon’s Cauldron and the Sizzling Basin. They certainly came up with some interesting names for these thermal features!
About a year ago, I watched this Cooper’s Hawk taking a bath in my backyard. She is a regular visitor but this day was special because she stayed for two hours. We get a lot of songbirds at our water feature and the hawks think of it as their all-you-can-eat-buffet and spa.
On this day, the Cooper’s Hawk taking a bath stood in the chilly water for 40 minutes before perching in a nearby snag. I’ve shown pictures of her preening and fluffing her feathers after her bath in a previous post. She is a gorgeous bird.
As you can tell by my pictures below, this Cooper’s Hawk has a lot of personality!
I’m sharing memories of a fruit-filled Friday in Hood River, Oregon last fall. We took a trip to northern Oregon in search of fall foliage, but stopped to buy some tasty fruit in Hood River. These apples were at Smiley’s Red Barn, one of 26 stops along the Hood River Fruit Loop. Visitors can stop at fruit stands, orchards, wineries, and vineyards along this route. If you’re craving a good beer, check out some of the great breweries and pubs within a half hour from Hood River.
a rainbow moonscape
dreaming of winter