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

Mount Bachelor, in the upper third of the photo, blends into a flat overcast sky. The foggy forest and flat lake are also muted in color. The “stars” of the picture are the multi-colored rushes and sedges in the foreground. This photo has five layers.

Mount Bachelor

The swans in this Summer Lake scene are near the center line. The dust storm is in the upper third. Both elements are interesting. This photo has a lot of layers – sky, mountains, dust storm, rushes, water, shoreline (with white alkaline deposits), and greasewood shrubs.

Summer Lake sandstorm

The last picture shows a fallen juniper tree in the foreground and the La Sal Mountains in the background. The twisting branches of the juniper are in the bottom third. This photo has four layers.

I don’t always pause to compose a photo in thirds, but I think the last photo comes closest to meeting the rule’s guidelines.

Photo in thirds in Utah

Remember, it’s okay to break the rules! Be spontaneous when taking photos and edit later.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Rule of thirds

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

Delicate feather haiku: Weekly Haiku Challenge

delicate feather
propelled by whispers of wind
settles on snow drifts

Delicate feather

Weekly Haiku Poetry Prompt Challenge – Feather & whisper

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)

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

The next two pictures show the before and after images of the stage. Prior to the changes, shows set up a limited number of folding chairs and a set of bleachers.

Art at the Amphitheater , Bend, Oregon November 2018big changes at the amphitheater

Now, attendees that buy seats can sit in a couple semi-permanent structures. Many concert goers choose the less expensive option of standing.

Outdoor concert seating

I took this picture of the rules of the venue last summer. Last week they decided you cannot bring your own chair to any event. However, they’ll gladly rent you a chair!

Rules of the venue

During the concert season, food and drink carts are set up near the entrance.

Food carts in Bend, Oregon

They are currently in the process of shifting the trail’s location and building a new main entrance. This photo shows the construction in progress today.

Construction in Old Mill

The next two photos show a before and after view of the stage from across the river.

View of amphitheater in Bend, Oregon November 2018Big changes at the amphitheater

Do you see the dark shape on the rocks in the middle of the Deschutes River in the second picture? That’s an eagle that followed me on my morning walk. It wasn’t sure if it liked the big changes at the amphitheater and took flight in search of quieter environments.

Eagle in Bend, Oregon

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC) #185 – Change

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

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

The next photo shows Emerald Pool at Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. The contrasting colors around this hot spring make it one of my favorites.

Emerald Pool, Yellowstone

This photo is of a Cooper’s hawk right after she had a bath. This regular visitor to our yard is always entertaining!

Cooper's hawk visited me

Best History Photos

This is a picture of one of the passages in the burial tomb at Knowth in County Meath, Ireland. I wrote a short story to go along with pictures of this historic site.

Best photos Knowth, Ireland

This is a biplane located at the Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum in Hood River, Oregon. Black and white processing shows off the structure of this plane.

nose to nose with biplane

This picture shows an old farm truck parked along a rural road in Bend, Oregon. It’s parked along one of the 51 farm-to-market roads built in Deschutes County during the early 1900s.

Best photos old truck

This is a display of tail dresses at the High Desert Museum in Bend, Oregon. They’re called tail dresses because the deer’s tail is left on the cured skin. You can see them near the neckline on these dresses.

Tail dresses at High Desert Museum

This picture shows an old farmhouse and windmill at a ranch in Central Oregon. To give this a more aged appearance, I used a filter that muted the reds.

A home from the past in Oregon

Best Art Pictures

This is a close-up view of a bison sculpture by Greg Congleton, one of my favorite local artists. The name of this sculpture is Wooly Bully.

best photos bison sculpture

This is a sculpture of Sacagawea that’s located at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West museum in Cody, Wyoming. I admired how the artist portrayed her as a calm yet powerful presence.

Sacagawea sculpture in Cody

This is a close-up view of a mural located outside a computer repair store in Bend, Oregon. Born Again Babylan represents mysteries of the past and technology of the future. See the whole mural here.

close up of mural

I featured the next image for a haiku challenge with the words blue and world as prompts. This art piece is at Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, Ireland. It represents bubbles forming during the beer brewing process.

Blue worlds sculpture

The last picture shows an ornament on my Christmas tree. I have a collection of reindeer and I like this one because of its joyful expression. The ornaments are each like a tiny work of art.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Favorite images of 2021

Sunday Stills – 2021 in the Rearview Mirror

A Painted View: Pull Up a Seat Challenge

A painted view in the Painted Hills in John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, Oregon. Rainfall from a passing storm brought out the colors of this natural wonder.

A painted view
Painted Hills, Oregon

Pull Up a Seat Challenge

An old bench at Sahalie Falls: Pull up a Seat Challenge

This old bench at Sahalie Falls, Oregon stands in stark contrast to the new fences bordering the trail. It’s nice they preserved a piece of the past here.

Old bench at Sahalie Falls

It’s a short walk from the parking area to view the falls. Aren’t they spectacular?

Pull Up a Seat Photo Challenge 2021 – Week 42

Do you wonder when you wander?: LAPC

Do you wonder when you wander
Where the path will lead?

Up to mountains,
Where scattering clouds reveal the peaks of possibility?

Mt Shuksan, Washington

Down to deserts,
Where sandstorms expose the color of earth’s soul?

Blue Basin Trail, Oregon

Over to ocean shores,
Where waves create cryptic messages in the sand?

Do you wonder? Near Dingle, Ireland

Through dense forests,
Where trees of different character stand together as one?

Do you wonder - near Republic,  WA

Do you wonder when you wander
Where the path will lead?

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Keep Walking

Seeing things differently with photo edits: LAPC

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!

Farmers marketSeeing things differently kaleidoscope of veggies

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.

Sylvan Lake, WyomingSeeing things differently in Wyoming

Eliminating distractions

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Wonderful colors inspired by a song: LAPC

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.

Wonderful great blue heron

Here’s a picture featuring the power of red in an up close portrait of a hibiscus.

Close up of hyacinth flower
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Special photos from 2020: 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.

Nature Photos

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.

The tree people of autumn

I tried to turn my camera towards things in my yard more this year. Here’s one of my prickly pear cactus in bloom.

Prickly pear cactus with petals radiating Bend, Oregon 4June2020

We created a big vegetable garden this year. Some of our produce may not have won ribbons at the fair, but it was entertaining. 😊

Three-headed carrot Bend, Oregon August 2020
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Feather on the forest floor: Monochrome Monday

I found a feather on the forest floor in the Metolius Preserve, near Sisters, Oregon. This 1,240-acre Preserve, managed by the Deschutes Land Trust, includes pine, larch, and fir forests.

This feather is about 12 inches long – maybe from a large raptor such as a hawk or owl. The feather rests on a pinecone pillow and bed of ponderosa pine needles.

Feather on the forest floor October 2020

Sepia tone image with selective focus.

Monochrome Monday

Autumn kaleidoscope colors: LAPC

Rotate the autumn kaleidoscope lens to see summer’s verdant green fade

Green meadow at Sunriver Oregon June 2017

And mix with blades of rich gold.

Gold and green grasses in Oregon September 2016

Rotate the autumn kaleidoscope lens to see warm reds mute cool greens

Autumn's kaleidoscope red leaves among fallen trees in Oregon September 2016
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Someday in the future: LAPC

Someday in the future I’ll live on a street full of possibilities

Someday in the future, Road sign, Bend, Oregon 8February2020

Someday I’ll live where birds are the color of the sky

Scrub jay, Bend, Oregon 3June2017

And flowers are the color of the sun

Balsamroot flowers near the Columbia Gorge 15April2017
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Noticing the lines in a scene: LAPC

When I travel, I think about photographing what I see by noticing the lines. Your eye wants to follow where they lead you. Here a few leading lines from northern Oregon.

Noticing the lines on the way to Hood River, Oregon 10October2019
Fall foliage along Oregon Route 35
Passing by Mt Hood, Oregon 11October2019
Passing by Mt Hood
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With two you can… : LAPC

The Lens-Artists Photo Challenge this week is Seeing Double. Sometimes two heads are better than one.

With two you can share your wisdom.

With two you can share wisdom. Burrowing owls at High Desert Museum, Bend, Oregon 2016
Burrowing owls

With two you can have differences of opinion…

Ospreys nesting along the Deschutes River, Bend, Oregon 2018
Ospreys
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Wild Oregon-Steens to the Sea: LAPC

There are many wild Oregon places and this post highlights just a few of them. The ever changing skies can make familiar landscapes look completely different. Here are some portraits of Oregon’s wild places.

Oregon is an inspiration. Whether you come to it, or are born to it, you become entranced by our state’s beauty, the opportunity she affords, and the independent spirit of her citizens.

Tom McCall, former governor of Oregon
Steens Mountain 1May2017
Steens Mountain
Wild Oregon - the Painted Hills 26October2018
Painted Hills
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Showing less can reveal more: LAPC

When focusing on only parts of a scene, showing less can reveal more.

Fox at Yellowstone 7June2018

This fox didn’t pause to smile for the camera, but this image of her running across a sun-dappled meadow captured her spirit.

Peaceful pond 25July2018

This image doesn’t include any wildlife or colorful flowers but it conveys peace.

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Viewpoints of Oregon: Photo Challenge

The challenge on Travel with Intent today is Viewpoint.

Here a few viewpoints of Oregon from places I’ve visited. Some are from places labeled as a viewpoint; others are taken where people stop to see a special view.

Viewpoints of Oregon, the Painted Hills near John Day 26October2018

The Painted Hills in eastern Oregon

Viewpoints of Oregon, great horned owl nest south of Burns 6April2018

The view of a great horned owl nest south of Burns

Viewpoints of Oregon, the view of Mt. Hood from Highway 26 14October2017

The view of Mt. Hood from Highway 26

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Fun photos: Photo Bloopers 3

Fun photos

It’s time for some fun photos to go along with the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge theme of Just for Fun. Here are some of my photo bloopers for your enjoyment. This is what I do with some of my photos that don’t turn out quite right.

Fun photos: Grizzly & ravens, West Yellowstone, MT October2018

Grizzly bear and ravens at West Yellowstone, Montana

Fun photos: The Three Gossips at Arches National Park, Utah October 2018

The Three Gossips at Arches National Park, Utah

Fun photos: Swallows at Summer Lake, Oregon October 2018

Swallows at Summer Lake, Oregon

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Visiting Sunriver Nature Center

Learn about the natural world by visiting Sunriver Nature Center

Sunriver Nature Center & Observatory is a great place to learn more about the natural world. This small interpretive center is on the west side of Sunriver, Oregon. It’s in an area that includes pine forests, meadows, and the meandering Deschutes River. The “edges” between these habitats are good places to see wildlife.

You can observe local wildlife by walking the trails on your own or going out with a guide. The Sam Osgood Nature Trail winds around the property. In the spring and summer keep an eye out for trumpeter swans. Guided bird walks take place every Saturday morning in the spring, summer, and fall. I have been on several of the walks. You’ll see waterfowl in the pond, raptors flying overhead, and songbirds along the walk. Great gray owls have been spotted in the area occasionally. You never know what you might spot on one of these walks.

There are also programs for families and kids. There are Kids Nature Camps for kids 4-10 years of age at certain times of the year. Family programs might include offerings such as Family Birding, Aquatic Explorations, and Eco Bike Tours. During the school year, staff travel to nearby schools to give presentations.

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The Toad Queen: FOWC

Emerging from the earth

Spadefoot toad emerging from the earth 4May2018

The Spadefoot Toad Queen

The ground trembled beneath a stunted sagebrush shrub. The Toad Queen emerged from her burrow to a changed world. Clouds of smoke hung over the land from a wildfire. The spadefoot toad gazed at this new world through golden slitted eyes. Sand tumbled down her spotted back.

A purple larkspur plant stood near her burrow. Its head of flowers tilted toward the earth, wilted from the blistering heat.

The Toad Queen heard a meadowlark singing nearby. The song stopped abruptly, interrupted by a fit of coughing.

“What happened while I slept in my burrow?” She glanced around at the desert landscape.

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Patterns in water: Lens-Artists Challenge

Hard and soft patterns in water

To me, this image of patterns in water looks like the chiseled profile of a white-frosted creature from another world. The shape is echoed in the shoreline across the stream.

Patterns in water Amber Echoes 2June2018

Amber Echoes

This image looks like an alien planet where worlds float on pale greenish-gold islands anchored by strong strands of green. Once the worlds are full, they detach from their moorings and float away.

Patterns in water Floating Green Worlds 2June2018

Floating Green Worlds

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Patterns

 

Scooby Doo & Calypso Too: TWI – Dwarf mini

A dwarf mini with big attitude

We used to have two miniature horses. One, Scooby Doo pictured on the left, was a dwarf mini. He stood at only 27″ at the withers. His pedigreed companion, Calypso Blue pictured on the right, stood at 32″.  Calypso was calm and even-tempered. Scooby had a lot of personality and let you know it.

Scooby Doo & Calypso too Dwarf Mini and Mini horse 9January2002

When it was time to move, the farrier who trimmed our horse’s hooves took Scooby. He had worked with a lot of horses in his days and could see that Scooby was a big personality in a small package.

Travel with Intent – Dwarf

New About page on Bend Branches

About page story

About page pronghorn sage 31May2018

Yes, that pronghorn is kind of bossy, but I hope you’ll take a minute to look at my “new and improved” About page. Thanks for visiting!

Bend Branches About page

Canutts Gems and Rockshop – Lotsa rocks!

Cool rocks – inside and out

Do you ever drive by a place a million times and think to yourself, “I’ve got to stop there one day.”  This rockshop, south of Redmond, Oregon, was one of those places for me. We finally stopped last summer.  The shop has hundreds of carefully labeled rocks inside and out.

Canutts Gem and Rockshop display room 31August2017

Canutts Gem and Rockshop display room

There are a wide variety of rocks in Central Oregon and this shop displays some of the beauties collected over the past 42 years by the owner. Owners Mel and Jerry Lindbeck obviously have a love of rocks. Mel shapes some of the rocks into spheres, bookends, and display pieces.

Canutts Gem and Rockshop 31August2017

Canutts Gem and Rockshop

Lovely displays of rocks

We have been to plenty of rock shops over the years but this one displays them in lovely ways. The front room has a couple display cabinets, a table with small rocks, and windows lined with slices of semi-transparent agate.

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Otter Bench hike near Crooked River Ranch, Oregon

The Otter Bench Trail gives you some breathtaking views of the Crooked River. The trail head is near the town of Crooked River Ranch and the trail goes along the base of the cliffs bordering the river. We walked a couple miles in, stopped for lunch, and then headed back. There is little elevation change on the section we hiked but if you decide to head down to the river, it gets steep.

Otter Bench hike, Crooked River, Oregon 17April2017

The trail goes through juniper and sagebrush habitat and along rocky talus slopes. If you go off the trail a little ways, you can walk to the edge of cliffs that enclose the river far below. If you have a fear of heights, don’t get too close to that edge. A turkey vulture flew by at eye height when we were close to the edge. Hope it wasn’t waiting for a meal!

You get a good view of some of the geological forces at work here. The basalt columns in the lower cliffs are part of the Deschutes formation. Above them you can see light tan colored tuff. Far above the tuff area you will see more columnar basalt and it is part of the most recent Newberry formation.

There is a small dam on the river a few miles from the trail head.

There are golden eagles nesting on the cliffs and you can see how easy it was for them to find a nest site here. The Horny Hollow Trail forks off from the main trail but it’s closed seasonally when the birds are nesting. It was closed when we were there but I saw eagles flying above the highest cliffs in the distance.

I heard and saw quite a few songbirds on this hike in April. The list of species seen includes Townsend’s solitaire, black billed magpie, mountain chickadee, Brewer’s sparrow, and western meadowlark. It was nice to hear some of these songsters again.

As temperatures begin to warm up, the high desert starts its wildflower show. We saw big showy arrowhead balsamroot, purple phlox and rock cress, delicate pink prairie stars, yellow fiddleneck, larkspur, and white miner’s lettuce. After a particularly hard winter we were grateful to see these bursts of color.

This trail passes through Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Crooked River National Grassland, and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife land. There is no fee to use the trail and there’s a good parking area at the trail head.

Here is a BLM map that shows the Otter Bench trail:

Here are driving directions from BLM:

Directions to Otter Bench Trailhead from Highway 97 From Highway 97, just north of Terrebonne, turn left on to Lower Bridge Road (Sign with left arrow says “Crooked River Ranch”). After 2 miles turn right on 43rd St. After 1.7 miles turn left on Chinook Dr. After 5 miles (including a steep descent), go straight on to Horny Hollow Rd (do not take Chinook back up the switchback) Go 1.7 miles to the end of the pavement and park there.