Bison at Rest: Monochrome Monday

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.

Bison at rest

Monochrome Monday

The Meadow – A peaceful retreat: LAPC

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.

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Gentian in Yellowstone: 1-to-3 Photo Challenge

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.

Gentian in Yellowstonecircle editing of blooming 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.

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Dragons breathing fire – haiku: Haiku Challenge & MWM

dragons breathing fire
over magical snowscapes
on the edge of spring

Dragons  breathing fire

Weekly Haiku Poetry Prompt Challenge – Dragon and Magic

Mid-Week Monochrome #77

Deschutes River sights to see: LAPC

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.

Little Lava Lake
Little Lava Lake

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!

Kayaking on the Deschutes River 10Sept2016
North of Harper Bridge
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Labradorite up close: Macro Monday

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.

Labradorite up close

Macro Monday

What our pets teach us: Sunday Stills

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.

What our pets teach us - smell the flowers

It’s nice to share what you have with those you care about.

Dog sleeping on feet

Our pets teach us it’s okay to explore strange new worlds.

Dog at painted hills
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Hells Canyon Overlook views: Pull up a Seat Challenge

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.

Hells Canyon overlook view

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.

Scenic views in Oregon

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.

Wildflowers in NE Oregon

Pull Up a Seat Challenge

Plains Indian Museum, Wyoming: LAPC

Today I’m sharing pictures taken at the Plains Indian Museum section of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. This world-class museum has five sections focused on western history, culture, and the environment. It’s in Cody, Wyoming, a half an hour drive from the east entrance to Yellowstone National Park.

The theme this week for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge is “low light.” Museums and galleries often have challenging lighting for taking photographs. I used my Samsung phone to take most of these photos since it does well in low light conditions. I’ll share some of my tips for taking and editing photos.

The first image shows a war lodge. Warriors made these temporary structures in wooded areas to hide their presence in enemy territory.

There was a reflection of a large blue screen on the right side of the image that I eliminated with my editing program, Corel PaintShop Pro 2021. I also used a vignette effect to direct viewers to the most interesting parts of this structure.

Stick tee pee in Cody museum
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The heart of a river: WWE

This photo of the heart of a river was taken near the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River in Yellowstone National Park. I’m sharing this image created by Mother Nature with you on Valentine’s Day. Have a wonderful day!

the heart of a river

Water, Water Everywhere (WWE)

Winter aspen silhouette at sunrise: TTL & SF

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.

winter aspen silhouette

Thursday Tree Love #123

Skywatch Friday

A rabble of robins: SS & WWP

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…

a rabble of robins
A rabble of robins
More robins
More rabbles of robins
Cooper's hawk
The bird I’m feeding – a Cooper’s hawk
Remnants of a songbird
Remnants of a robin

Sunday Stills (SS)- Are you a bird feeder?

Weekend Writing Prompt (WWP) #247- Flummox (42 words)

Big changes at the Amphitheater: LAPC

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.

Art at the Amphitheater , Bend, Oregon November 2018

The new industrial-style stage is much larger and has a big open “window” space to take in the view.

Close view of stage
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Blue Jay – craft & art: First Friday Art

Today I’m sharing images of a Blue Jay in a craft project and an art one.

For these Blue Jay earrings, I scanned one of my pen and ink drawings and filled it in with blue color in a Corel program.

Jay earrings

I reduced the images and printed them on cardstock. First I tried printing them on decal paper, but the color didn’t transfer well.

I cut out the teeny tiny images with these crane-shaped scissors and glued them onto blank wooden earrings.

Crane-shaped scissors

The next picture shows a painting I did of an adult Blue Jay on a nest. I used watercolor paints to create this painting.

Blue jay in watercolor by Siobhan Sullivan 2015

I previously shared this image in Jay – A bird always in my life. Different species of these intelligent and adaptable birds keep appearing in my life.

The earrings are a “craft” project and the original painting is “art.” What’s the difference?

The main difference between art and craft is that the art cannot be reproduced whereas the craft can be. Art is the creative expression of one’s emotions and feelings while craft is the ultimate creative, tangible output from a particular talent.

Pediaa.com

In other words, I could make multiple copies of the earrings created from a print, but I could never paint the exact same painting since my internal thoughts and feelings will be different.

Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.

Henry Ward Beecher

Do you have artwork you would like to share? Be sure to include the First Friday Art tag.

First Friday Art

Double Arch, Arches NP: 1-to-3 Photo Challenge

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.

Double ArchWarming filter

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.

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On distant trails: LAPC, WWP, & SS

I saunter along distant trails, not knowing what wonders nature will share with me.


Will falling water sing between rocky cliffs?

Multnomah Falls
Multnomah Falls, Oregon


Will earth show its origins in the soil?

Distant trails Painted Hills
Painted Hills, Oregon


Will wind turn wheels of history over parched plains?

Fort Rock
Fort Rock, Oregon


And when I return home from distant trails, will fireworks light the skies?

Sunrise over Bend
Bend, Oregon

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC) – Travel has taught me

Weekend Writing Prompt – Saunter (51 words)

Sunday Stills – The power of the elements: Earth, air/wind, fire, & water

It’s a Boy! Pine tree: Thursday Tree Love

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! 😀

Its a boy pine tree

Thursday Tree Love -122

Along the Mud Volcano Trail: Monochrome Monday

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.

Mud volcano

Here’s a closer look at the cracked mud around the base of Mud Volcano.

close up of cracked mud

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!

Stairs on Mud Volcano Trail

Monochrome Monday

Cooper’s Hawk taking a bath: LAPC & SS

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!

Coopers hawk taking a bath
Hawk bathing
Hawk bathing
Coopers hawk taking a bath
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A fruit-filled Friday: FOTD Challenge

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.

Flower of the Day (FOTD) Challenge

Special somethings around the house: LAPC

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!

Special somethings radiator cap

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.

Depression glass S & P

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.

Special somethings black obsidian
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Memories of summer at Old Mill: Friday Flowers

memories of summer in old Mill

This photo of memories of summer at Old Mill shows one of the many colorful plantings bordering the trails. This border is located along the Mill A Loop trail, one of my favorites in Bend, Oregon.

Friday Flowers

Seeing red near Mt Jefferson: Wordless Wednesday

Seeing red vine maples
Seeing red vine maples near Mt Jefferson in Oregon
Fall color near Mt Jefferson
Fall foliage in Oregon’s Cascade Mountains

Wordless Wednesday

Blanket flowers up close: Macro Monday

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.

Blanket flowers up close

Macro Monday

Diaphanous strands haiku: OLWG, LAPC, WS

diaphanous strands
a colorful serape
muffles winter’s chill

Diaphanous strands of clouds

Online Writers Guild (OLWG) – #242 – A colorful serape

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC) #181 – Double Dipping

Weekend Sky (WS) #51

Hummers – sketches & photo: First Friday Art

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.

Hummers in action

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!

Hummingbird 14Aug2016

Do you have artwork you would like to share? Be sure to include the First Friday Art tag.

First Friday Art

River otter on ice: Monochrome Monday

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.

River otter on ice
River otter on ice

Monochrome Monday

Some of my best photos from 2021: LAPC, SS

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.

best photos Portland Japanese Garden

This picture shows a pronghorn buck at Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. My following pronghorn post includes several pictures of these icons of the West.

Grazing pronghorn buck in Yellowstone

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.

best photos dusk desert sky
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Crane sculpture, Portland Japanese Garden: Sculpture Saturday

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!

crane sculpture

Sculpture Saturday

Pronghorn near Prineville: 1-to-3 Photo Challenge

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.

Pronghorn near PrinevilleWarming filter

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.

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Mix Tape A & B Mural: Monday Murals

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.

Mix tape A & B

He captured the essence of these musicians from different times and genres.

Musician mural

Many of the musicians are portrayed in iconic poses.

Mix Tape A & B
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Reindeer tryouts at Malheur NWR: Wordless Wednesday

Santas reindeer tryouts
Reindeer tryouts at Malheur NWR, Oregon

Wordless Wednesday https://wordpress.com/tag/wordless-wednesday

A tumbleweed snowman: Sunday Stills

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.

 A tumbleweed snowman

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 crazy snowman
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