This Born Again Babaylan mural, created by Bekah Badilla, is located on the eastside of Bend, Oregon. Bekah is a Filipina/White American who was born in Alaska and now lives in Bend.
The first photo shows a close up of Babaylan.
The second photo shows the entire 18′ x 44′ mural in the light of dawn.
The artist put a lot of thought into this work. Here is an excerpt from her site describing the Born Again Babaylan mural:
“In the piece, I combine symbols of past, present and future—making the linear construct of time obsolete. Melting out of the glacial ice is the spirit of a Babaylan, a matriarchal leader, spirit guide and warrior prevalent in pre-colonial Philippines. The Babaylan embodies both technology and nature, offering knowledge and guidance not through elitism and brute force but through spirituality, mysticism and ancestral strength.”
The third photo shows a close up of a young warrior.
The fourth photo shows a close up of circuit boards. This mural, sponsored by computer repair company, Mactek, is located in their parking area. Born Again Babaylan represents mysteries of the past and technology of the future.
Please visit Bekah’s website for more about this mural. She highlights the history of local Indigenous peoples. Bekah emphasizes the importance of social justice and equality in much of her work.
Here in the High Desert, things tend to last well past their prime. Though this old truck shows signs of wear and tear, chances are it still runs.
This truck is located on rural property along Deschutes Market Road. This is one of 51 “market” roads in and around Deschutes County. These farm-to-market roads were built following passage of the Oregon Market Road Act of 1919. Prior to their construction, farmers navigated many miles of bumpy, rutted dirt roads to deliver their goods.
A label on the truck’s door reads S & M, Land & Livestock. I’m not sure if this was a local company. There were many ranching operations in Central Oregon, large and small, in the 1870-1920 pre-Industrial period.
This old barn is located on Innes Market Road near where it intersects with Gerking Market Road. Roads were often named after nearby landowners. Though this building may look past its prime, it’s mostly intact.
An interesting thing about this barn is that berms of earth provide part of the structure. We have temperature extremes in this area, including the possibility of nighttime freezing throughout the year. The insulation provided by the soil helps keep livestock and stored produce at optimal temperatures.
You can see a peek of the Sisters volcanic peaks on the left side of this photo. Excellent views from this old barn!
Today I’m featuring views of Oregon mountains from afar. We’re lucky to have wide open views of these landmarks.
The first picture shows a view of the iconic Cascade Volcanoes west of Bend, Oregon. From left to right you can see Broken Top, South Sister, Middle Sister, North Sister, Black Crater, Mount Washington, Three Fingered Jack, Black Butte, and Mount Jefferson. Visitor can drive scenic roads, hike, rock climb, bike, go boating, fish, hunt, and nature watch around these peaks. This map helps you find the activities you’re looking for.
The second picture shows mountains east of Terrebonne, Oregon. The highest peak is Gray Butte, where I’ve seen lots of stunning wildflowers in the spring. At the base of the mountains, on the left side, you can find Smith Rock State Park. This park is a destination for rock climbers and hikers from around the world.
The third picture shows Steens Mountain, in the southeast part of the state. This fault block mountain is 50 miles long. At certain times of the year, visitors can drive to the 9,733-foot peak. It’s a trip well worth taking and the views are spectacular. You’ll see the pale sand of the Alvord Desert far below and stands of mountain mahogany and aspen near the peak.
The fourth picture shows the Painted Hills, north of Mitchell, Oregon. The stripes of red, tan, orange, and black in this photo record the effects of past climate change in this region. There are several trails in the Painted Hills Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. One of my favorites in the nearby Sheeprock Unit is the Blue Basin Trail.
Consider the weather when viewing Oregon mountains from afar
When you’re out exploring Oregon mountains from afar, check the weather conditions in advance. Did you notice the cloud cover increasing in each of these photos? Clear skies show off the Cascade Volcanoes along the skyline, but rainy conditions bring out the soil color in the Painted Hills.
I saw this impressive bison jump sculpture at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming. Free Fall, created by T.D. Kelsey in 2001, depicts a hunting method in use for hundreds of years. Hunters herded bison toward a steep cliff, where they fell to their death. As I’ve mentioned before, bison are dangerous and this is a safer alternative for harvesting them. At the base of this sculpture, piles of bones appear in a recreated archaeological dig.
T.D. Kelsey was born and raised on a ranch near Bozeman, Montana. T.D. Kelsey: Realist, Romantic, and Inspired Sculptor describes his background, including time spent as a rodeo cowboy, pre-med student, rancher, and airline pilot. With encouragement from his wife, Sidni, Kelsey eventually began working full time as an artist. His love for animals shows in this piece and other sculptures and paintings he created over the years.
Painting of buffalo jump
I’m also including a 1947 painting entitled Buffalo Drive, by William R. Leigh. This painting, located downstairs at the Center, shows the view from the top of a bison drive. Native people waved bison skins and sticks to scare the animals over the cliff. Later, they employed horses to move the animals. However, W.R. Leigh’s Buffalo Drivenotes they did not use the woman’s pack saddle pictured for this activity. Riders rode with only a pad for quick dismounts and mounts.
Born in West Virginia, W.R. Leigh studied art at the Maryland Institute of Art, Baltimore, Maryland, and the Royal Academy of Art, Munich, Germany. While in Germany, Impressionism was gaining popularity, but he preferred a more realistic style. In 1906, Leigh visited New Mexico and in 1910, he went on a hunting expedition in Wyoming. Inspired by what he saw, he began creating bold colorful paintings of the American West. William R. Leigh, Frederic Remington, and Charles M. Russell are regarded as pioneers of art depicting the West.
Bison jump nonet poem
Both of these works of art show a bison jump from different perspectives. I’m concluding this post with one more interpretation, a nonet poem I wrote on this topic.
Pushed across the plains by First Peoples Astride mounts, chomping at jaw ropes Triggering a stampede, Running from pursuers Herded together, Eyes wild with fear, Jump off cliff Escape Fall
In these portraits of creatures, the lighting is a major part of the scene.
In the first picture, a family of Sandhill Cranes struts across a meadow in the morning light. The lead bird, in the strongest light, keeps an eye out for predators.
In the next photo, a bull elk grazes in a grassy field. Bright fluffy clouds and dark forest trees are major parts of this shot. The elk, with its bright back fur and dark legs, blends into that environment.
In this photo, a northern river otter drifts through the water. Mid-day sun cuts through the water and dapples the bottom surface. A trail of bubbles emphasizes the otter’s streamlined form.
The gray fox in this photo is soaking up the warm rays of the sun. The bright sunshine highlights her silhouette and blissful expression.
This Red-tailed Hawk was not bothered by my close approach. It was too busy thinking about the young Robin in my yard to notice me. This photo, taken in the middle of the day, has limited shadows.
The last picture is of a mule deer in my yard. The shadows are lengthening as she looks for a place to settle down for the night. Her reddish summer coat shines in the early evening light.
When you’re taking portraits of creatures, you can’t always be there in the “golden hours.” Try to capture the spirit of the animal, no matter what time of day the clock says.
Sometimes you visit places where the landscapes are pretty as a picture. Here are a few places I’ve visited in the western states that feature picture postcard views. I tell a tiny tale about each of them.
Kiger Gorge on Steens Mountain, Oregon is full of drama. A giant serpent tunneled through here leaving scales of deep green. Wise ones believe the sweetest water can be found in shallow wells beneath these strands of greenery.
Morning Glory in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming is a glorious sight. The artist who created this landscape experimented with various colors. She could not settle on using a single color and discarded her pallet here for us to find.
This grandfather tree in Arches National Park, Utah often told tales of wild places to his many grandchildren. When he passed, they honored him by preserving the bones of his existence and planting golden flowers near his roots.
Herds of clouds collect over northern Nevada in the spring, deciding whether they will release showers in the upcoming seasons. If you listen closely, you can hear their whispers drift by you carried by the desert wind.
Do you see the largest sea stack in this photo of Ruby Beach in Washington State? I think it was a giant beaver who was busy eating and ignored the incoming tide. The beaver became stuck in the sand, unable to escape. She has been there for so long that a row of trees took root along her spine and grew to towering heights.
Do any of the pretty as a picture places you have visited have hidden tales?
When you travel the backroads in this part of the country, it’s not uncommon to see cattle herds movin’ down the road guided by cowboys. We saw a couple cowboys on horseback moving this herd near Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
You’ll see dust clouds long before you see the animals.
The cattle often stop in the road until they are pressured into moving. Watch for signals from the horseback riders to their dogs herding the cattle. Do your best to stay out of their way.
Slowly push your way through. They will move, but they’ll complain about it the whole time.
While waiting to get through a herd, I often look at the unique markings of each animal and guess what their personalities are like. The cow and calf pictured above are big talkers, always willing to give their opinions. The one closest to us in the shot below is bold and sure-footed. She leads the others in the right direction.
A part of the Old West lives on in the present when you see cattle movin’ down the road, guided by riders of the range and their remarkable dogs.
On our recent visit to Yellowstone National Park, we took a side trip to Yellowstone Hot Springs. This attraction is located in Gardiner, Montana, about ten minutes north of the park.
An interesting history
In the last 100+ years, this site has passed through many hands. In 1899, French-Canadian immigrant, Julius LaDuke, staked a mining claim here and discovered it contained hot springs. He created LaDuke Hot Springs Resort to serve miners and visitors to the area. The resort included a large plunge bath and several smaller private baths. A two-story hotel was built nearby. LaDuke entered into a short-lived purchase agreement with William F. Cogswell. This was one of many setbacks in his life.
Visitors traveled by coach to Electric, later known as Aldridge, and then had to cross the 150-foot wide river to the springs. LaDuke employed barges, then a cable ferry, then a ferryboat, and finally a swinging footbridge for his guests.
Guests rumored to have visited LaDuke Hot Springs Resort include President Theodore Roosevelt and famous frontierswoman, Calamity Jane.
Meanwhile, Electric Hot Springs Company made plans to build a hospital and sanitorium one mile to the north. They employed Frank Corwin as their resident doctor. Since they needed to pipe hotter water to their site, they attempted to purchase LaDuke’s property but he refused. He sold it to John H. Holliday for $6,000 who sold it to Corwin 20 days later for $1. Corwin Springs Hospital operated from 1909 to 1916. An unexplained fire destroyed the buildings in 1916.
From 1922 to 1940, Eagle’s Nest Dude Ranch was located here. The current owners, Church Universal and Triumphant, acquired the property in the 1980s.
This historic site re-opened in March of 2019 after extensive renovations.
Yellowstone Hot Springs
When we visited in the first days of June, there were only about ten visitors. This site is well-maintained and inviting.
The unique characteristics of these pools, and their suggested health benefits, are highlighted on their website.
Two smaller round plunge pools are located within a larger pool. One of the plunge pools has water temperature warmer than the main pool, while the other has colder water temperatures.
Every day, staff posts the current water temperatures on a board near the changing rooms. The large pool averages 98-100 degrees Fahrenheit. The “hot” plunge pool averages 103-105 degrees, and the “cold” pool averages 60-65 degrees.
After lounging in the warm pools for a while, the cold pool feels much colder! 😉
The grounds are landscaped and clean with lots of places to sit and take in the views.
Even the changing/shower area is nice and tidy.
The entrance sits at the foot of scenic mountain landscapes. Yellowstone Destinations offers tent and RV sites right next door.
I have been to many hot springs in my travels and this was one of the better ones. We plan to visit again on our next trip to Yellowstone.
Photo editing is all about seeing things differently. I had fun with my Corel PaintShop Pro editing program in this post.
Making colors shine
I was impressed by the rainbow of colors at our local Farmer’s Market. This photo looked like it would be a good candidate for the kaleidoscope special effect and I was right. Wow!
The color or the structure?
I took this picture near Grizzly Peak in Wyoming and I couldn’t decide which edit I liked better — color or black & white? The blue sky in the background pops in the color version, while the structure of the trees gets your attention in black & white.
This week I’m featuring pictures of green, red, blue, and white. These are colors in What a Wonderful World, a song that brings back a special memory. Many years ago, I helped a kindergartner class with an art project related to the song. I assigned each student a color and let them paint anything they wanted. It was a “wonderful” experience!
Here’s my take on the colors from the song.
This picture shows the vibrancy of green foliage surrounding a great blue heron in Troutdale.
Here’s a picture featuring the power of red in an up close portrait of a hibiscus.
We just returned from a trip to Yellowstone National Park and the Norris geysers were spectacular, as always. Some of the geysers are big and showy; others are small but still impressive.
The picture below is of Steamboat Geyser. Gray stone, dappled with red and brown-colored rocks, surrounds the vent.
In 2020, this geyser erupted 48 times. Water shoots 300+ feet into the air, making it the tallest in the world. This year, once again, we just missed its latest eruption. It went off on May 31, 2021, the day we drove to the park from Bend, Oregon.
Here’s an overview of the basin. If you don’t have time to walk the trails, You’ll get great views from this observation area.
Here’s a view from the trail. There are geysers everywhere you look in the Norris Geyser Basin.
I’ve been out and about more recently and photographed several spectacular sights seen in blue and green.
I thought the pictures deserved a story, so I made up a tiny tale to go with each one. At a virtual conference I attended yesterday, I learned a “micro-story” is a form of flash fiction with 300 or fewer words. I’m calling the following stories “mini-micros” since they range from 43 to 58 words. Not sure if they qualify as true stories, but they were fun to write.
A crowd of manzanita shrubs watches a shifting skyscape in awe. Their pink blossoms open in silent applause. Snow-covered Cascade volcanoes rumble in the background, taking in the show from a safe distance. Steam billows from their peaks, merging with the dancing clouds.
Clouds emerge from a crack in the ground on a chilly spring morning. They radiate outward from the ridgetop and tree branches stretch and reach towards them. Striated boulders celebrate by tumbling and crashing down a steep slope. An osprey drifting overhead crows in anticipation as another glorious day begins.
I’m always amazed by artists who collect seemingly unrelated bits & pieces of things and combine them into impressive works of art. This week I’m featuring War Paint by Greg Congleton. I have featured some of his other artwork on my blog since he’s one of my favorite local artists.
On a recent trip to Prineville, Oregon, I made a point of stopping to see this work. Greg created this piece in 2020. I decided to photograph the details of this sculpture more closely.
Here it is as you approach it from a distance.
When you get a little closer, you can see the attitude of the horse and the rider.
Greg is a master at showing expression in his welded metal sculptures. Look at the horse’s reaction to the situation.
I’ve been following pronghorn for years. They have much to teach us.
A restless past
In the distant past, I was always restless, bounding from place to place, relationship to relationship. Once I started sensing my roots taking hold, I would break free, fleeing restraints. I sprinted towards the next place or person. Like an animal being pursued by a predator, I found it easier to run.
One day I started thinking of pronghorns, those iconic creatures of the Wild West, differently. Maybe I could learn something from them. They are a one-of-a-kind animal, not quite fitting into any family. I felt that way too and I began following pronghorn.
One of the challenges of photography is capturing images of elusive birds. Sometimes certain species are not considered difficult to photograph, they only elude YOU. Here are a few of mine.
Intelligent & elusive birds
I have been trying to get a decent photo of a black-billed magpie for a long time. These intelligent birds usually take flight when I approach. I finally captured the essence of a magpie recently near my home. This photo shows its long, elegant tail, striking markings, and iridescent plumage.
Slide the slider to the left to see the type of photos I have taken in the past of magpies. This one was near Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park. It teased me by hiding behind the sagebrush.
Shy & elusive
I’m lucky because mountain bluebirds nest in my yard. When I visit Glass Buttes, an hour away, during the spring months, the bluebirds pop out ready to be photographed.
However at my home, the birds are especially shy, as you can see in the second shot. They somehow sense I’ve picked up a camera and fly away or turn their back towards me.
Last week we visited Crack in the Ground in Central Oregon near Christmas Valley. You may be wondering what exactly this place is. Well… it’s a huge crack in the ground in the middle of the desert.
I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was impressed by the crack’s picturesque angles and curved surfaces.
There’s a 2-mile trail inside that reaches a depth of ~70 feet below the surface. We took the left path that has a more gradual entrance. It’s in the middle of the picture below. This trail is relatively easy but if you go the whole length, expect to climb over boulders and through some cracks.
But how did this crack get here? It’s an ancient volcanic fissure. I learned in most climates, fissures fill up with soil and rock from erosion. Since it’s so dry here, there has been relatively little filling.
Crack in the Ground sits within the Four Craters Lava Bed. During the Pleistocene, four cone volcanoes were active here. A shallow depression formed when older heavier rock sunk. The fissure opened near the edge where there was tension along a fault zone. This Bureau of Land Management map shows the extent of the lava beds and the location of Crack in the Ground.
When I was a young child, my grandfather often told me the tale of the Lost Forest. Here is how he told it…
The people of the village disliked them for their beliefs, distrusted them for their appearance, so they fled. The villagers pursued them so they ran faster and faster.
They paused on a faraway hill and sought shelter beneath the sagebrush. The pursuers shouted in the distance. Unsure what to do, they became a part of the environment.
One by one, they stood still and extended their arms with palms tilted upward. Long green needles sprouted from their fingertips. Puzzle-like bark crept over their skin. They wiggled their toes and pale white roots snaked their way into the soil. A shudder ran through their bodies and branches poked through their buckskin clothing.
And then they grew. They shed their human form and grew taller and taller.
During the chilly winter months, I sometimes think of the steam-filled landscapes of Yellowstone National Park. I wish I had a natural hot spring in my backyard. The thermal activity beneath Yellowstone is always producing steamy white clouds.
This view is from the Artists’ Paint Pots trail. Lots of contrasting colors and great views of the steaming basin from the top of the trail.
This is a hot spring near Morning Glory Hot Spring, one of my favorite sites in the park. See the ravens enjoying the warm water?
Grand Prismatic has rainbow colors, layered soil, and lots of steam. Did you notice the bison tracks in the foreground?
The bison spend time near the hot springs throughout the year. Here’s a pair grazing near a boardwalk trail.
I like using digital magic to bring out the best in my photographs before I post them. I use Corel PaintShop Pro, a less expensive alternative to Photoshop.
Clean up an image
This is a slide I kept in my tent during fieldwork and tiny spots of mold had grown on it. They couldn’t be removed physically so I used a digital scratch remover and cloning tool to erase them.
Crop an image
I took this picture of a pair of burrowing owls at the High Desert Museum. There was a lot of glare on the window of their enclosure. I cropped the photo, and in the edited version, they look like they’re in a natural setting.
For me, it was a rocky start to photography. As I mentioned on my About page, I dropped out of Photography class in High School. I was failing the class. My focus was still unclear during those rebellious years.
College and beyond
In college, everything changed when I roomed with two Photography majors. In one of the places I lived we converted a bathroom into a makeshift darkroom. I spent a lot of time in that room, unrolling spools of film in semi-darkness and immersing prints in sharp-scented fixatives.
I also served as a part-time muse since the college required Photography program students to take one roll of pictures a day. The infrared picture of me below, dressed as a lion, was taken by my roommate Jill.
During one winter break, we left our rented house to spend time with our families. I arrived back at the house days ahead of everyone else. A catastrophe greeted me. Unbeknownst to me, my out-of-state roommates neglected to pay the electric bill—they assumed our rent included electricity. The electric company turned off our power when no one was in town, and the house was ice cold. The pipes had broken in the ceiling, releasing a steady stream of dripping water. My first thought was, “Her photos!” I scrambled to salvage my roomie’s pictures from her drenched room. String zigzagged from wall to wall and I hung up the saturated prints.
Today I’m featuring images portraying oceans of emotion from a trip last year to Northern Ireland and Ireland. The images reflect the eight basic emotions defined by psychologist, Robert Plutchik.
Northern Ireland ocean views
Anger – Winds at the Giant’s Causeway were reaching 80 miles per hour. As each wave crashed upon the shore, froth shot out of a hole on the left side of this picture. It was as if Mother Nature was foaming at the mouth.
Fear – The incoming storm frightened most of the tourists away from Carrick-a-Rede. It shut down shortly after we crossed due to high winds.
Today I’m sharing close up photos of marvelous malachite. According to geology.com, malachite is a “green copper carbonate hydroxide mineral.” The site also refers to its striking green color and that’s why I collect it.
This first piece has a rough texture and interesting shape. For scale, it measures 1.5 x 1.0 inches.
The second piece is opposite of the first – rounded shapes and smooth textures. It measures 3.75 x 1.5 inches.
It’s time to share special photos from the past year. Please enjoy this selection of nature, history, and art photos from Bend Branches.
One day, while playing around with editing effects, this mirror image of autumn leaves sparked my imagination. I saw a woman wearing a crimson cape in the photo below. The short story I created, The Tree People of Autumn , is based on edited photos of trees.
I tried to turn my camera towards things in my yard more this year. Here’s one of my prickly pear cactus in bloom.
We created a big vegetable garden this year. Some of our produce may not have won ribbons at the fair, but it was entertaining. 😊
Many of us won’t be celebrating the holidays with close relatives, but we’ve grown closer to bird “families” in our yards. Interest in birding is soaring and people are flocking to this activity during the pandemic. I’m sharing the joy of birds in these photos of ornaments I’ve collected over the years.
Bluebirds capture the essence of the sky in their plumage. I’m hoping we have more bluebird days to look forward to soon.
Flocks of whooping crane birds fill the landscape with their unique “unison” call. Maybe people can heed the call towards unison in the upcoming year.