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. ๐Ÿ˜Š

Three-headed carrot Bend, Oregon August 2020

This fence lizard blended in so well with the bark of one of the western juniper trees in my backyard.

Western fence lizard on Western juniper July2020

We took more short trips nearby this year. I added to my collection of rocks and featured some of my treasures in my I Like Rocks! post.

I like rocks collection of various rocks in Oregon May 2020

I visited Ireland and Northern Ireland last winter, prior to the world locking down. This European eagle-owl at the Dingle Falconry Experience in County Kerry, was gorgeous.

Eurasian eagle-owl

History photos

In May, I stepped back in time four decades with photos illustrating my account of the eruption of Mount St Helens. Here’s the mountain before it blew it’s top.

Mount St. Helens, Washington March 1980

I showed a glimpse of local history with this picture of headdresses at the High Desert Museum in Bend. The craftmanship of these is amazing. This photo also includes a ballot box, something many of us made use of this year.

Headdresses from Oregon's past August 2020

I emphasized the many shapes and textures of artifacts in the Kam Wah Chung Heritage Site in John Day, Oregon. This site, built in the 1860s, was an important gathering place for Chinese immigrants. Doc Hay, the resident doctor, gave local people an herbal decoction during the 1918-1919 flu pandemic. Though some still became ill, all were able to continue working and not a single person died.

Kitchen at Kam Wah Chung October 2018

When I visited the Kindred Spirits sculpture in Midleton, County Cork, Ireland, I was touched by the story behind it. In 1847, people of the Choctaw tribe in America shared a gift of $170 with the Irish people during Ireland’s Great Famine. That action was reciprocated this year when people of Irish descent sent financial help to Native Americans suffering from the pandemic.

Kindred Spirits sculpture, Midleton, Ireland 5 March 2020

Art Photos

The world this year seemed to be full of disasters, but many of us found comfort in art. This was one of the interesting sculptures at Winterfest in Bend. See the guy photobombing my picture?

Lighting up winter nights at Oregon WinterFest February 2020

We created art in new ways. These are face masks I made from customized fabric. Who knew they would make a fashion statement this year?

Masks with customized fabric August 2020

I finally filled up an empty wall by creating a mural featuring characters in stories I’m working on. Can you see the pronghorn, ground squirrel, magpie, and badger? High Desert Mural features close ups of each critter and more on the creative process.

High Desert Hideaway hut in Bend, Oregon

After the local galleries were shut down for the monthly First Friday Art Walk event, I decided to share more of my own art under the First Friday Art tag. Here’s the first piece I shared in May. I created this feather on scratchboard during a scientific illustration course.

Leaping towards the future

I remembered sights seen on past adventures and look forward to future travels. This dolphin sculpture is in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. It expresses the joy many of us will feel at being able to travel once more.

Dolphins in flight, Kelowna, B.C., Canada July 1998

I hope you can venture out more in the upcoming year and that you’ll share special photos a year from now. ๐Ÿ˜€

Lens Artists Photo Challenge – Favorite Images of 2020

Sunday Stills – Your 2020 Retrospective

Birds on my Christmas tree: LAPC & SS

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.

Birds in my tree 19December2020
Mountain bluebird

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.

Whooping crane ornament December 2020
Whooping crane

Spotted owls swoop through a world full of uncertainties on outstretched wings. Finding the right course is not always easy.

Spotted owl ornament December  2020
Spotted owl

Cedar waxwing birds travel in groups known as an “ear-full.” Wearing ear-to-ear masks benefits everyone.

Cedar waxwing ornament December 2020
Cedar waxwing

Snowy owls have a “sit and wait” hunting strategy. It pays to be patient to reach your ultimate goal.

Snowy owl ornament December 2020
Snowy owl

Ring-necked pheasants have adapted well to living in a wide variety of situations. Roosting apart now, leads towards flocking together later.

Birds in my tree pheasant ornament December 2020
Ring-necked pheasant

Lens Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC) – And here comes the holidays

Sunday Stills (SS) – Lights

The softness of snow: MM, SS, & Six Sentence Story

Peering through a branch-lined portal at the softness of snow.

The softness of snow on junipers

Where frosty starbursts emerge from the desert soil.

Bunchgrass covered in snow

And wise elders rejoice, reaching to the sky with arms contorted by the years. Ancient trees collect the bountiful flakes falling from the sky to share.

Ancient juniper tree near Bend, Oregon

They tuck the next generation under downy crystalline blankets. When spring awakens them, they will change into new beings who will continue the cycle and share the softness of snow.

The softness of snow covering pinecones

Monochrome Monday (MM)

Sunday Stills (SS) – Winter Wonderland

Sunday’s Six Sentence Stories – Change

Igneous rocks up close: Macro Monday & SS

The following images of igneous rocks up close were taken in my yard near Bend, Oregon.

Igneous rocks Bend, Oregon November2020

What’s an igneous rock? Geology.com describes them as being “formed from the solidification of molten rock material.” For example, granite, gabbro, basalt, scoria, and obsidian are all types of igneous rock.

Igneous rocks Bend, Oregon November2020

You probably notice some of these rocks have round bubble-like holes in them. These “vesicles” form when gas is trapped within the melted rock at the time it cools and turns solid.

Interesting rocks Bend, Oregon November2020

As you can see, there is a lot of variety in texture and color in the igneous rocks in my yard. The rocks pictured are small enough to fit in the palm of my hand – the perfect size for collecting. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Interesting rocks Bend, Oregon November2020

Macro Monday

Sunday Stills – Texture

Finding Fall at Mount Hood – 4 haiku: LAPC, SS, & ST

This year I went on a quest with the goal of finding fall colors. Here’s a 4-part haiku story based on pictures taken on the Mount Hood Scenic Byway in Oregon.

Deep in the mountains
Mount Hood surveys the landscape
Anticipation

Finding fall on Mount Hood Oregon October 2017

Draped in mossy robes
Rooted in shades of autumn
Fallโ€™s gala begins

  • Autumn leaves on Mount Hood Highway September 2020
  • Finding fall in Oregon September2020
  • Along Highway 35 in Oregon September 2020

Cliffside rocks rejoice
Baring their columnar arms
Dancers cast in stone

  • Mount Hood Highway September 2020
  • Mount Hood Highway September 2020

Leafy confetti
Settling over the foothills
Autumn’s party ends

Finding fall leaves on Mount Hood Highway September 2020

To view another story I created from finding fall foliage, see The Tree People of Autumn.

Lens Artists Photo Challenge – You pick it!

Sunday Stills – Textures

Sunday Trees – 473

The tree people of autumn: LAPC, RDP, & SS

When the warmth of summer slips into the shadows, the tree people of autumn emerge. No one notices them at first. Their queen guides them concealed beneath a cloak of crimson leaves.

The tree people of autumn

The tree people camouflage themselves as creatures of the forest. Their colors shift as their power increases.

Sometimes they appear as deer, leaping through the forest with antlers of glowing gold.

Golden fall leaves reflected image

Sometimes they appear as butterflies, unfurling wings to capture the scarlet of the setting sun.

Red fall leaves reflected image

And when the tree people prepare to rest, the storyteller puts on his towering yellow hat. He raises his arms and tells tales that lull them into a deep sleep.

Green & yellow reflected fall leaves

So when you pass by a stand of falling foliage, remember the tree people of autumn. They will emerge again next year to amaze you with their color and power.

The tree people of autumn September 2020

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC) – Focus on the Subject

Ragtag Daily Challenge (RDP) – Shadows

Sunday Stills – Leaves

Varied thrush drinking: BWPC & SS

I took some pictures of a varied thrush drinking yesterday. I’m posting them for the Bird Weekly Photo Challenge and Sunday Stills challenge. My previous post, Backyard birding adventures, shows other birds in my yard.

One or two varied thrushes always visits us in the fall season. They travel with the American robin flocks.

Varied thrush drinking

You can see how they’re closely related to robins. To hear the eerie song of varied thrushes, scroll down this page to Songs and Calls.

Varied thrush & robins

Bird Weekly Photo Challenge – In Your Yard or Garden

Sunday Stills – Kinda Backyard Birding

Backyard birding adventures: BWPC & SS

We have a water feature in our yard so we have lots of backyard birding adventures. This summer I bought a special mount to take digital pictures through my spotting scope. This process is referred to as “digiscoping.” Unfortunately, many of the pictures I first took turned out blurry. I’m having much better luck with my brand new mount.

Here’s a photo of one of our California scrub-jays taken with my Google Pixel phone. Isn’t it a beautiful bird?

backyard birding adventures - scrub-jay near Bend

I used my point-and-shoot Panasonic Lumix camera for this one. It was a little tricky to hold it in place on the mount. This a European starling and an American robin.

Starling & robin

We get tons of robins at this time of the year and they chase other birds away.

American robins

This image is blurry but it captures a frequent visitor, a robin, next to an infrequent one, an evening grosbeak. Glad I got a quick glimpse of the grosbeak!

Backyard birding adventures American robin & evening grosbeak

Here’s another infrequent visitor, a hermit thrush, and, you guessed it! – a robin. Five different thrushes are in our yard at this time of year.

Hermit thrush & American robin

Mountain chickadees are a common visitor.

Mountain chickadee

Lesser goldfinches are also common. Here’s a group shot of these little lemon-colored birds next to a house finch. We also see American goldfinches occasionally.

Lesser goldfinch

Dark-eyed junco are frequent visitors. They aren’t afraid of the robins.

Dark-eyed junco

The pygmy nuthatches are a bit more shy.

Pygmy nuthatch

The house finches, on the left, and northern flickers, on the right, are not shy at all.

Backyard birding adventures - house finch & northern flicker

Backyard birding in action

One day I took a lot of pictures through the spotting scope (with the old mount) that didn’t turn out great. Google turned them into a GIF and I like how it turned out. It gives you an idea of how fast these birds actually move. ๐Ÿ˜€

Backyard birding Gif

I’ll share more of my backyard birding adventures as I get better at taking pictures through the scope.

Bird Weekly Photo Challenge (BWPC) – In Your Yard or Garden

Sunday Stills (SS) – Kinda Backyard Birding

Day breaks and clouds wait: LAPC & Sunday Stills

Sunrise over Bend, Oregon 15October2019

Day breaks
And clouds
Wait to reflect
Natureโ€™s glow

Day breaks and clouds wait sunrise, Bend, Oregon 15October2019

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC) – Morning

Sunday Stills – Mother Nature

Textures of Arches National Park

Textures of Arches National Park 4 2May2017

Crowded columns taking in the view

Textures of Arches National Park 3May2017

Carefully crafted by hand and built to last

Curving crowns of overarching rock

Textures of Arches National Park 3May2017

Chronicles covering events from long ago

Textures of Arches National Park 2May2017

Creased cracks pressed by time

Textures of Arches National Park 2May2017

Colorful cactus thriving and persisting

Sunday Stills – Texture is all around us