Clean dog to a dirty dog: LAPC & FF

How can your canine companions go so quickly from being a clean dog to a dirty dog?

Dog walking along flower border

I walked my dog recently along this trail bordered with flowers in the Old Mill district of Bend.

I often play fetch with her after we get home. The second picture shows what she looks like after she catches her ball a few times when we’ve had a little rain.

What a pretty girl! Can she sit on your lap? 😉

clean dog to a dirty dog

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC) – Opposites

Friday Flowers (FF)

Contrasts in places: LAPC & WPWC

These places show contrasts in voice, feeling, and appearance.

A place’s voice can be quiet or loud.

The quietness of a vast sandy desert

Contrasts of deserts
Alvord Desert, Oregon

And the pounding presence of a waterfall.

Multnomah Falls
Multnomah Falls, Oregon

A place can feel ethereal or slightly evil.

Snowy mountains floating above the heavens

Mt Rainier
Mt Rainier, Washington

And water churning in deep bowls on the edge of the underworld.

Contrasts of Devil's Punch Bowl
Devil’s Punch Bowl, Oregon

A place’s appearance can be obscured or shine bright.

Cool blankets covering the sharpness of winter

Snowy cactus
Prickly pear cactus in winter

And the glimmer of golden flowers in summer sun.

Prickly pear in bloom
Prickly pear cactus in summer

Contrasts are all around us, waiting for a lens to turn their way.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Opposites

Weekly Prompts Weekend Challenge – Glimmer

Morning clouds over Bend: Skywatch Friday

Morning clouds over Bend, Oregon last Fall in a dramatic High Desert sunrise.

morning clouds over Bend

Skywatch Friday

Northwest Mural Fest : LAPC & MM

In late August, while out exploring places along the Columbia River, we stumbled upon the Northwest Mural Fest in The Dalles, Oregon. Painters from all over the country met in The Dalles to create 15 murals in three days. Yes, it was a huge undertaking, literally and figuratively.

The Walldogs


The 200+ sign painters and mural artists who took part in the event belong to a group called The Walldogs. Imagine a “pack” of artists gathering in a town for a few days to create unforgettable works of art. The murals depict places, people, and products that have local significance. The murals attract tourists and give residents a sense of hometown pride.

Honoring the History


The artists working on this mural, by Anat Ronen, must not have a fear of heights. This mural portrays photographer Benjamin Gifford. He moved from the Midwest to Portland in 1888, and to The Dalles in 1896. His work highlights scenic views of the Columbia River and the scenic highway running beside it. Gifford also featured portraits of local Native Americans.

Northwest Mural Fest

The Benjamin Gifford mural is being painted on the back of the Clock Tower. This photo shows the building, built in 1883, from the front.

Clock Tower

This mural by Brad Johnson, completed in 2021, features Blanche McGaughey, a woman bronc rider and bulldogger. She was a pioneer in a field dominated by men in the 1910s. McCaughey had a job with the 101 Wild West Show and impressed the audience with her skills in roping, riding, and wrestling steers.

McGaughey painting

This mural, by Sonny Franks, Eric Skinner, and Russell Kelly, shows rancher Ben Snipes. It’s on the same building as the McGaughey painting. At one time, Snipes owned a herd of 125,000 cattle. His big claim to fame was moving 500 cattle 208 miles into Canada after riding 62 hours on a single horse.

Northwest Mural Fest Ben Snipes mural

This mural, by Jasper Andries, shows a portrait of Chief Tommy Thompson (Celilo Wyam). He tried to stop construction of The Dalles Dam on the Columbia River. It would destroy Celilo Falls, a prime fishing site. Though unsuccessful in his quest, people remember him as being an advocate for the fishing rights of Native peoples.

Chief Tommy Thompson

Northwest Mural Fest in The Dalles

Here’s a map showing the locations of the murals being painted during the Northwest Mural Fest by the Walldogs.

Northwest Mural Fest map

There were signs supporting the Walldogs throughout town. I liked this one in particular. Must be because it has a dog on it.  😀

Northwest Mural Fest Walldogs

Here’s a photo of the historic downtown area.

The Dalles

Brief History of The Dalles

You may not have ever heard of The Dalles, but it is an important town historically. The Oregon Encyclopedia notes, “The Dalles is one of the oldest permanently occupied places in Oregon, significant to Native people for over ten millennia and to Euro-American settlers since the 1830s.”

Native peoples often met here in large gatherings to trade and visit, especially during the fall and summer fishing seasons. Wasq’ó-pam people (Wascoes), the resident tribe known as the People of the Horn-Bowl, were primarily fishers.

Meriwether Lewis and William Clark noted the dangerous waters rushing through a long, narrow channel at this location in their journals. French Canadian fur traders gave the town its name, The Dalles, in recognition of this natural feature.

Fur traders and pioneers settled in and around The Dalles, beginning in the early 1800s. When emigrants traveling the Oregon Trail reached The Dalles, they either traveled by raft or boat westward along the Columbia or took the overland route over Barlow Pass. The Dalles was designated as the end of the Oregon Trail in 1906 by Ezra Meeker.

This mural, by Robert Thomas and Debbi Lunz, was painted in 1997. It portrays the Umatilla House, once considered the finest hotel west of Chicago and north of San Francisco. It was open from 1857 to 1930 and reconstructed twice after fires. Visitors included Humorist Mark Twain, U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas A. Edison, England’s Lord Litchfield, and Author Rudyard Kipling.

Umatilla House mural

When gold was discovered in the vicinity in the 1850s, the population increased significantly, as did the conflicts. Read more about the town’s colorful history here.

Other murals in The Dalles

The Dalles already had 12 murals in various parts of the downtown area. They created two more in the last couple of years. As of August 28, 2022, when Mural Fest ended, the town now has 29 murals.

Here’s a look at a mural created through Travel Oregon. They feature The Dalles in their Oregon Mural Trail project. The Valley Gorge Hub mural, by Blaine Fontana, was painted in 2018. I think it’s my favorite of the murals I’ve seen so far, but I’ll have to make another trip to find them all.

Magnificent mural in The Dalles, Oregon October 2019

Additional People to Recognize in The Dalles’ History

This mural, by Joe Diaz and Doug Haffner, shows glimpses of the Chinese Community in The Dalles in the late 1800s/early 1900s. Chinese laundries, restaurants, and stores were an important part of the community. Six hundred Chinese workers helped construct railroad lines in this region. They also worked the gold mines in eastern Oregon.

Chinese Community mural

During the Northwest Mural Fest, visitors could read informational signs posted near each work in progress.

Sign at Northwest Mural Fest

This alley shows several smaller murals in progress related to Thomas Condon. The murals, by Lili Lennox, will be moved to the library when completed. In the 1860s, he was a well-known frontier preacher of the Congregational Church. Condon began collecting fossils from the Painted Hills area and became an authority on them. Thomas Condon is Oregon’s first official geologist. Stop by the amazing Thomas Condon Paleontology Center if you’re ever out near Mitchell, Oregon.

Thomas Condon paintings

This mural, by Aaron Taylor, portrays author, H. L. Davis. Davis was a poet and novelist who wrote about the realities of life in the West in the early 1900s. He worked as a cowboy, typesetter, and surveyor. The landscape played a major role in his writings, and he won a Pulitzer Prize for Honey in the Horn (1935), an unflinching portrayal of Oregon homesteaders.

H. L. Davis mural

This mural, by Jennifer Thomas, shows dancer Eleanor Todd Moffett Borg. Borg began dancing to overcome polio. She taught dance from the age of 12 and eventually danced as a New York City Rockette. Borg enjoyed showing horses and taught horsemanship to many local children. She also served as an aviation cadet during World War II.

Eleanor Borg mural

When leaving town, we glimpsed this Sunshine Mill Artisan Plaza and Winery sign. Even the business signs in The Dalles are works of art!

Winery building

After seeing all these works in progress during the Northwest Mural Fest, I realized I’d have to come back to see the completed work. Maybe then I’ll have time to see the National Neon Sign Museum…

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC)- Urban Environments

Monday Mural (MM)

Seeing seaside sunset: LAPC

Seeing seaside sunset with my dog near Waldport, Oregon. She doesn’t like water, but felt comfortable taking in the scene from this distance.

seeing seaside sunset

The Lens- Artist Photo Challenge this week is Here Comes the Sun, but this is more like “there goes the sun.” 😉

In the Spotlight: LAPC

The pictures featured in this post focus on part of the picture being in the spotlight. A darker background increases the contrast and draws your eye towards the lighter part.

We visited Steamboat Geyser at Yellowstone National Park in the early morning. The sun rose behind the scene, bathing the steam in light.

in the spotlight geyser

These two Northern River Otters at the High Desert Museum were in constant motion the day I photographed them. In this picture, sunlight illuminated both of their heads simultaneously.

Northern river otters
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Wyoming skyscapes as paintings: LAPC

I dip a dry brush into Titanium White and tentatively paint delicate wisps onto Cobalt Blue Wyoming skyscapes

Wispy clouds

Emboldened, I fill my brush and paint curving lines reaching towards the sky

Wyoming skyscapes
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Lens in my pocket photography: LAPC

Though I don’t have a favorite type of photography, I prefer to do “lens in my pocket” photography. I use a Samsung Ultra phone or a Panasonic Lumix camera that easily fit into a pocket.

Sometimes I like taking panoramas of scenes from afar with my phone, such as this photo of bison in the Lamar Valley of Yellowstone National Park.

Lamar Valley

At other times, I like a closer view of wild creatures. This Barred Owl in my backyard was photographed with my phone attached to a spotting scope. This is called “digiscoping.” The owl visited regularly last spring, feasting on the numerous Pacific tree frogs in our pond.

Barred Owl in Bend

I bought an inexpensive phone case and glued on a universal mount for digiscoping. You can quickly pop in a phone, attach it to a scope or binoculars, and it’s ready to go.

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Memorable moments from home: LAPC

Trying to choose only three of my favorite photos for this challenge was very difficult. I decided to focus on memorable moments from home.

The first shows a glorious fall sunset behind my juniper tree muse. I like the combination of color, lightness and darkness, and texture in this photo. The branches of the western juniper tree seem to be directing a symphony of clouds.

best photos dusk desert sky

The second is a close up view of a different juniper tree’s bark. Though some see western junipers as an unwelcome invader in sagebrush habitats, I’m impressed by their beauty. Their rough bark varies in color, as does their wood. Wrinkles add to their character as they age. The birds in my yard are grateful for the shelter and food these trees provide.

memorable moments with juniper bark

The third picture is of my “pet” Cooper’s Hawk. I’ve taken a lot of pictures of her. On this day, she took an extended bath and spent a long time preening her feathers. Her fluffed up feathers, piercing gaze, and stance are not the typical view you get of these raptors. It was one of those memorable moments!

Cooper's hawk visited me

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Picking favorites

Real or surreal? Strange sights seen LAPC & RDP

I’ve noticed odd plants, animals, and natural features recently and wondered if they were real or surreal.

I had an odd feeling when my flight flew over Mt Rainier a few weeks ago. Just as we passed over its peak, this strange creature emerged from its depths. Yikes! I was glad I was able to take a quick snapshot before it disappeared.

real or surreal

While exploring Crack in the Ground on a June field trip, I was overcome by a sudden feeling of peacefulness. I paused when I noticed a movement from the corner of my eye. This benevolent Picasso face emerged from the rock walls and smiled and nodded at me.

Picasso rock face

On a recent hot afternoon, I dozed off in my comfortable recliner. I was awakened by a strange noise. A few feet away, I saw a weird creature. It had the head of a ground squirrel and the body of a cat. Was it real or surreal?

cat with squirrel head
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The art of quilters in Sisters, Oregon: LAPC

When I was strolling down Hood Avenue on 9 July 2022, something across the street caught my eye. I was there to see the art of quilters at the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show. Though the event has taken breaks due to wildfire smoke and pandemics, it proudly celebrated its 47th year in 2022.

A WOW! quilt

Quilt show

I had to take a closer look at this quilt. WOW! I think it was my favorite of the whole show. The intricate stitching and subtle changes in color drew me towards it. There are signs telling you not to touch the quilts, but I really wanted to touch this one.

Art of quilters

I continued my walk and noted some of the interesting architecture in this western-themed town. This clock business was one of my favorites. I’ve always wanted to live in a house with a tower.

Clock store

Attention getters

Some quilts attracted a lot of attention and I had to wait for visitors to pass by before snapping a picture. Here is one of those.

Art of quilters
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More quilts in Sisters, Oregon: LAPC

Once again, I am sharing images of the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show on 9 July 2022. Today I’ll show quilts with critters, people, holidays, and places.

Quilts on display

Buzzing bees on quilts

One of the groups attending the event had a bee-themed challenge.

More quilts

The one below was my favorite. It’s simple but complex at the same time.

Bee quilt

This “Phoebee” quilt had a lot of quilting stiches.

Bee quilt

This one had a more traditional design.

Bee quilt
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Outdoor Quilt Show in Sisters, Oregon: LAPC

The Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show is one of the biggest events in Central Oregon. You know it’s summer when you start seeing advertisements about the show.

Outdoor Quilt Show in Sisters

Set in the small town of Sisters, Oregon, this show “is internationally recognized as the world’s largest outdoor quilt show.” The show often displays more than 1,300 quilts. Visitors from all over the world gather in Sisters on the second Saturday in July to view the quilts.

The quilts shown include more traditional patterns.

Colorful patterns
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Double views in changing seasons: LAPC & WWP

Changing seasons bring double views

Shining cactus blossoms returning

double views of cactus

Mothers guarding their curious young

Cow with calves

Dramatic storms hovering over landscapes

Double views of Summer Lake
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GIANT thundereggs at Priday Polka-Dot Agate Beds: LAPC

North of Madras, Oregon, you’ll find giant thundereggs tucked away on a hilltop near the ghost town of Ashwood. Polka-dot agates and thundereggs occur naturally at the Priday Polka-Dot Agate Beds.

Agate beds

The thundereggs you’ll find here are amazing! You never know what kind of treasures you’ll find on the inside.

Close up of rock

Giant thundereggs
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Focus on the eyes: LAPC

When you focus on the eyes of your subject, you make a connection with them to share with others.

The intense golden stare of an alert Great Horned Owl.

Focus on the eyes

The ghostly ice-blue eyes of a dog with ancestry from frozen lands.

Close up of dog

The chestnut brown gaze of an immense grizzly bear in motion.

Grizzly bear
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Doors of Shaniko: LAPC & TD

Today I’m sharing pictures of the doors of Shaniko, Oregon. Once a bustling town known as “The Wool Capital of the World”, it later became a ghost town. Its current population is somewhere between 12 and 32, depending on the source.

The doors and doorways of abandoned and occupied buildings in Shaniko have a lot of personality.

From the curious…

doors of Shaniko

To the grand.

Old Hotel

From the rustic…

Blacksmith
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High Desert voices of the many and the few: LAPC

High Desert voices can be heard throughout Central Oregon if you just pause and listen.

Bold shouts of the many

High desert voices Abert Rim
Lichen-covered boulders at Abert Rim

Quiet whispers of the few

Painted By The Earth Summer Lake, Oregon 30March2018
Stones layered with calcite at Summer Lake

Raucous calls of the many

High desert voices Summer Lake
Waterbird colony at Summer Lake
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Petrified wood bits – Bear Creek: LAPC & Macro Monday

Last month, we collected petrified wood bits from Bear Creek, south of Prineville Reservoir in Oregon. The following pieces are one inch or less in size. Getting decent photographs of these tiny stones proved to be a challenge.

I set up a tabletop studio and tried a Panasonic Lumix and a Galaxy Ultra phone camera. I had to keep adjusting the spotlights outside of the studio. Each stone was given a quick spritz of water to bring out their color. After many unsuccessful attempts with both cameras, I finally got some good shots with the Panasonic.

petrified wood
Close up of wood
petrified wood
close up of rock
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Cars from the Golden Age: LAPC

The Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum in Hood River, Oregon has a large collection of cars from the “Golden Age of Transportation” – the period from the early 1920s through the 1940s. The Museum has a collection of over 130 vehicles from the 1900s to the 1960s. You can get more information on vehicles in the collection by year or manufacturer here.

Cars from the Golden Age and beyond

Artifacts from the time period are on display near many of the cars. Here’s a camping scene.

Cars from the Golden Age

Storefronts around the perimeter of the building add visual interest to the collection.

Antique autos

The color and design of the cars make them great subjects for photographs.

Colorful old cars
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Lower Crooked River drive – am & pm: LAPC & FFC

A couple days ago, we went on a Lower Crooked River drive. We were there early in the morning, attempting to avoid an incoming storm system. I remembered I had been there about a year earlier for an afternoon drive. How would the lighting differ in the photos taken on both trips?

Just south of Prineville, Oregon, the Lower Crooked River Back Country Byway winds its way along the Crooked River. The 43-mile long road meets up with Highway 20 to the south.

This post highlights the 8-mile section between Prineville Reservoir and Castle Rock. See map at the end of the post. On this drive, the curving lines of the road and river contrast with the straight lines of geological features.

A morning drive

As we drove north from the reservoir, shadows covered the east side of the road. The morning light cast a warm glow over the canyon lands.

Canyon views

Basalt columns looked pretty in full light…

Columnar basalt

But took on more character in the shadows.

columnar basalt
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Photo in thirds? Bending the rules: LAPC

When taking pictures, you might want to think about composing your photo in thirds. What?

According to the Digital Photography School, the rule of thirds “is a compositional guideline that breaks an image down into thirds (both horizontally and vertically) so you have nine pieces and four gridlines. According to the rule, by positioning key elements along the gridlines, you’ll end up with better compositions.”

While browsing my photos, I realized horizontal layers are more important to me in composition. Do my pictures always follow the rule of thirds guidelines? No, it’s okay to bend the rules.

SLR Lounge notes, “Of all the “rules” in photography, the rule of thirds is one of the easiest to successfully break.”

My photo in thirds examples (with layers)

This sandhill crane is in the upper third corner, but the differing textures and colors of the plants catch your attention. This photo has four layers.

Photo in thirds

This pronghorn is near the lower third of the picture. I could have cropped it more, but I didn’t want to cut out the misty mountains in the background. This photo has five layers.

Pronghorn at Yellowstone
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Thermophile color – Nonet poem: LAPC

Thermophile color blooms near Earth’s core
In bouquets of startling brilliance
Fertilized by extreme heat
In caldera water
Where few dare to tread
The Archaea
Find a home,
Warm and
Safe

thermophile color at Yellowstone
Close ups at Yellowstone
Artemis geyser
Thermophile color
Hot spring colors
Grand Prismatic

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Colorful Expressions

Focus on what is important: LAPC

Focus on what is important and blur the distractions.

Burrowing owl

Magnify the delicacy of Nature’s architecture.

Apple blossoms

Find subjects that stand out from the herd and capture their strength.

Focus on what is important - bison

Focus on the palette of colors used to create distant masterpieces.

View from Gray Butte

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Bokeh

Stories unfolding in the rock in Wyoming: LAPC

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.

Stories unfolding in rock

Sheep Mountain is a distinctive landmark about 15 miles southwest of Cody.

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Driving around the bend-Sijo poem: LAPC, TTC, SWPC

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.

Driving around the bend near Sisters, OR
Sunset near Sisters, Oregon
Painted Hills Oregon
Approaching the Painted Hills, Oregon
Fall color McKenzie Pass
Fall color on McKenzie Pass, Oregon

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC) #191- Curves

Three Things Challenge (TTC) #862- Color & fast

Sijo Wednesday Poetry Challenge (SWPC) – Blue

Gray fox basking in the sunlight: LAPC

A gray fox blissfully basking in the sunlight on a log.

Gray fox

Zooming in a little closer to see the details of her coat.

gray fox

Zooming in closer still to focus on her exquisite and intelligent face.

close up from High Desert Museum

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC) #190 – Close and Closer

Fun with photos – Photo Bloopers 5: LAPC

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!

hawk photos with FumFum
Harris’s Hawk at Dingle Falconry Experience in County Kerry, Ireland
Burning Man truck
Truck featured in Burning Man exhibit, High Desert Museum, Bend, Oregon
Carousel horses
Carousel horses at Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum, Hood River, Oregon
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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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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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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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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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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

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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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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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

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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Peaceful scenes near Bend, Oregon: LAPC

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.

peaceful scenes - Sahalie Falls
Sahalie Falls

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. 😀

Mule deer and fawns
Mule deer doe and two fawns
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Reindeer on my tree

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.

Reindeer on my tree

Others, like this ceramic one, have a different kind of value. I’ve reattached the antlers more than once on this sentimental piece.

Ceramic ornament

Some, like this wooden one, are more arts and crafts than fine art.

Wooden ornament
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Knowth-Fiction & Facts: LAPC & TTC

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

Knowth, County Meath, Ireland

“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.

Kerbstones
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