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

I took photos of Double Arch while on a trip to Arches National Park, Utah. I’ll be showing how I processed this photo three ways with Corel PaintShop Pro 2021.

Prior to trying various effects, I increased the brightness, contrast, fill light, and clarity. Since this photo was taken from a distance, I also adjusted the sharpness.

The first two show the original image and the same picture with a Film and Filters effect. For this image I went to Effects>Photo Effects>Film and Filters. I selected Warm Earth Tones from the first pulldown menu and Warming Filter from the second one. The filter intensified the color of the arches and darkened the sky.

Double ArchWarming filter

The next two show the original image and the same picture with an Infrared effect. For this image I went to Effects>Photo Effects>Infrared.  This effect softens the edges and highlights the contrasting vertical lines of lichens on the arches.

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On distant trails: LAPC, WWP, & SS

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


Will falling water sing between rocky cliffs?

Multnomah Falls
Multnomah Falls, Oregon


Will earth show its origins in the soil?

Distant trails Painted Hills
Painted Hills, Oregon


Will wind turn wheels of history over parched plains?

Fort Rock
Fort Rock, Oregon


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

Sunrise over Bend
Bend, Oregon

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

Weekend Writing Prompt – Saunter (51 words)

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

A fruit-filled Friday: FOTD Challenge

I’m sharing memories of a fruit-filled Friday in Hood River, Oregon last fall. We took a trip to northern Oregon in search of fall foliage, but stopped to buy some tasty fruit in Hood River. These apples were at Smiley’s Red Barn, one of 26 stops along the Hood River Fruit Loop. Visitors can stop at fruit stands, orchards, wineries, and vineyards along this route. If you’re craving a good beer, check out some of the great breweries and pubs within a half hour from Hood River.

Flower of the Day (FOTD) Challenge

Memories of summer at Old Mill: Friday Flowers

memories of summer in old Mill

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

Friday Flowers

Some of my best photos from 2021: LAPC, SS

It’s time to share special photos from the past year. Please enjoy this selection of nature, history, and art photos from Bend Branches.

Best Nature Pictures

The first photo shows a scene at the Portland Japanese Garden. We visited in October, when fall colors were at their peak.

best photos Portland Japanese Garden

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

Grazing pronghorn buck in Yellowstone

We get spectacular sunsets and sunrises in our High Desert yard in Bend, Oregon. I wrote a two-line essence poem to go along with this image.

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

I saw this beautiful crane sculpture at the Portland Japanese Garden last fall. The colors of autumn cast a warm glow on this peaceful scene.

In Japanese literature, mythology, and art, cranes are often thought to live 1,000 years. They symbolize longevity and good luck.

I wish you good luck and much happiness in the new year!

crane sculpture

Sculpture Saturday

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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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

Emerald Pool in Yellowstone: WWE

I took this picture of Emerald Pool along the Black Sand Basin Trail in Yellowstone National Park. Emerald Pool is one of my favorite hot springs in the park. The bright colors in and around the pool stand out against a backdrop of forests and cliffs.

Emerald Pool, Yellowstone

The water temperature of this pool averages 136° F (58° C). The pool used to be more green in color, but drops in temperature have caused the color to darken.

Water Water Everywhere (WWE) #106

Observatory of the Past: LAPC

This observatory of the past is on McKenzie Pass near Sisters, Oregon. Dee Wright Observatory was built in 1935 by the Civilian Conservation Corps to showcase the human and geological history of this location. The round tower sits atop a small hill.

Observatory of the past

Here’s what it looks like when you approach it from the west. It’s one of the odder roadside attractions in Oregon but one that should not be missed.

Observatory of the past

The Observatory is constructed of local lava rock. The triangular-shaped rail supports look like rock cairns.

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Fall at the Japanese Garden in Portland: LAPC & FOTD

I have been patiently waiting for fall at the Japanese Garden in Portland, Oregon. Every day, I visited their Fall Color Status Update website. In mid-October, the site indicated good leaf color in their plantings. Off we went!

A brilliant rainbow of colors bordered the Flat Garden. The green Circle and Gourd Islands in the sea of white gravel represent enlightenment and happiness.

fall at the Japanese Garden

This nearby path is bordered by more subtle colors.

Path in a garden

The Garden limits the number of visitors, but they crowded around this maple tree with its bright red leaves.

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Streets lined with gold: Thursday Tree Love

These streets lined with gold are along the highway east of Mount Hood in Oregon. I was there a week ago and the colors were spectacular!

streets lined with gold

The golden leaves along this road are mostly on aspen and larch trees. Larch is a deciduous conifer. Yes, most conifers keep their leaves through the winter–not the larch. See my post Western larch – A beauty in gold for more about these trees.

Fall aspen and larch

We also saw pops of red from the vine maples growing along this route.

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After the rain in the Painted Hills: LAPC & FF

After the rain in the Painted Hills of eastern Oregon, the colors stand out in bold contrast. I live an hour and a half away from these strange geological features and patiently wait for the storms of fall to arrive.

The first image shows the view from the road to the Overlook parking area. The hills are located within the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument.

After the rain

Though I’ve been here several times, I’d never hiked the 1/2 mile Painted Hills Overlook Trail. The easy trail leads you past this dramatic scene. Wow!

After the rain

Here’s a closer view.

After the rain

These hills are on the south side of the trail.

Painted Hills

There are four short, easy trails and a more moderate longer trail a short distance away.

This photo shows part of the Painted Cove Trail after the rain.

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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

Painted Hills – An origin myth: WWP

Painted Hills Oregon

Steep knife-edged mountains arose from the plains centuries ago. Over time, torrential rains wore them down into rounded hills. Though plants tried to take root on their soil, none survived.

The Wise One summoned the artists of her tribe. She asked them to paint the hills in sacred colors. Pale green colors, from crushed sagebrush leaves and golden rabbitbrush blossoms, and black and red, from sumac trees, filled their brushes. The artisans painted the hills with broad brushstrokes and veiled the skies with delicate dabs of white.

Weekend Writing Prompt #230 – Brush (87 words)

Landscape of Dreams mural: Monday Mural

This brand new Landscape of Dreams mural shows special sights you might see near Bend, Oregon. The mural is located in southeast Bend at the Bend Upstyle store.

The dream-like mural includes a landscape of volcanic peaks surrounded by towering trees and colorful wildflowers. A bighorn sheep ram gazes into the distance. Meanwhile, a longhorn bull, with a quail perched on one horn, looks directly at you. What’s the quail whispering to the bull as they drift through the landscape?

Landscape if Dreams mural

This rendering of Landscape of Dreams was created and painted by Kelly Odden of Kelly Thiel Studio. She was grateful for the assistance of her friend, Kristen Buwalda, for several hours.

Kelly, whose studio is in Bend, creates sculptures and paintings that include impressionistic portraits of animals and people. When I contacted her about the mural, she said the following:

“One of the best parts of working there was the folks who would stop by to chat, watch and ask questions! I had everybody from house painters to moms with sweet, disabled children come over to chat. It was wonderful to connect with others like that!” 

We are lucky to have so many special artists sharing their work in and around Bend!

Monday Mural

Rocky seating at Yellowstone: Pull Up a Seat Challenge

These photos show rocky seating at Yellowstone National Park. The Park Service constructed several types of places to sit that blend into the environment.

in the first picture, tourist gather to take in the dramatic views of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Young children are taking a brief rest with their family on a rocky bench.

Rocky seating at Yellowstone

The second picture shows a boulder sofa at the head of the trail. It’s unoccupied at the moment since everyone is drawn towards the waterfalls a short distance away.

Rocky seating in Yellowstone

Here’s a picture of the waterfalls. Can you see why people travel thousands of miles to sit on rough rocky seating to take in the view?

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

Pull Up a Seat Challenge – Week 39

Dam It! Beavers and Us: One Word Sunday

I’m always on the lookout for beavers when walking the river trails in the Old Mill District of Bend. I listen for the sound of a tail slapping the water and search for the silhouette of a rounded head breaking the water’s surface. Why look for beavers next to a shopping area? Because these industrious creatures found an ideal spot to build a lodge there. I’ve always wanted to know more about beavers, so I visited the Museum’s Dam It! Beavers and Us exhibition.

Beavers exhibit in Bend

This multimedia interactive exhibit offers visitors the opportunity to learn all about the North American beaver, Castor canadensis. Tall, cutout panels representing forest trees divide the room. Dappled light shines onto the imaginary forest floor. A re-creation of a beaver dam is tucked into a corner for kids to explore.

Beavers exhibit in Bend

In another corner, a large box suspended from a parachute drifts towards the ground—more on that later. An Oregon flag, featuring a beaver, flutters against a wall near the entrance. Video featuring the important connection of beavers with Native Americans plays in another section. A colorful animation featuring the life cycle of beavers plays on a large screen on the back wall.

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Oregon mountains from afar: LAPC

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.

Oregon mountains from afar

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.

Oregon mountains from afar
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Pines on pilings along Deschutes River Trail: TTL

I saw these lodgepole pines on pilings next to a bridge crossing the Deschutes River. I was hiking the trail to Benham Falls but had to pause to marvel at these little trees. Trout swam around the pilings, providing a little extra fertilizer for this odd nursery.

Who knows why the trees settled there. They certainly found a nice piece of waterfront property with a view. 😉

pines on pilings

Thursday Tree Love – 114

Golden Galway Stairwell: WW, LAPC, & LIC

Golden Galway stairwell

Wordless Wednesday (WW)

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC)- Looking Up/Down

Life in Colour (LIC) – Gold

Pretty as a picture in the West: LAPC

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.

Kiger Gorge, Oregon 28August2019

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.

Pretty as a picture at Morning Glory

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.

Weathered tree at Arches National Park in Utah. 3May2017
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Big Tree – Biggest Ponderosa Pine: TTL

This gigantic pine is Big Tree, AKA Big Red, the biggest Ponderosa pine, Pinus ponderosa var. ponderosa, ever recorded. It’s located in LaPine State Park, north of La Pine, Oregon. Though it lost 30 feet of its crown during severe storms, it is still the largest Ponderosa pine in circumference.

Big Tree in Oregon

Here are some facts about this tree:

  • Circumference: 28 feet 11 inches
  • Height: 167 feet
  • Crown spread: 68 feet
  • Approximate age: 500+ years
  • Board feet: 25,000

LaPine State Park Manager, Joe Wanamaker, gave insights about Big Red in an article in the local Source Weekly. He thought it was spared from being logged due to evidence of fire damage. This may have affected the quality of the wood harvested. Wanamaker also pointed out this tree is growing in an ideal location where water tends to collect in the soil from the nearby Deschutes River.

A paved, ADA accessible, 1/4 mile trail leads to this unique sight. Foot traffic around this much-loved attraction caused soil compaction that threatened its growth. A protective fence was constructed around it in the year 2000.

In this map of the park, from Oregon State Parks, Big Tree is located in the lower right corner.

Thursday Tree Love – 111

Yellowstone Hot Springs-A great escape!: LAPC

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.

Yellowstone Hot Springs

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.

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Creatures of the mist – haiku: LAPC

creatures of the mist
graze in meadowlands of steam
whisperers of warmth

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Black & white

Alley Art in Bend, Oregon – Part 2: PPAC

Here are ten pieces of alley art you can view along NW Gasoline Alley in Bend, Oregon. I previously featured artwork decorating another alley in Tin Pan Alley Art in Bend.

This collection of artwork is part of a public initiative supporting local arts and culture in Bend, Oregon. The paintings take Bend’s outdoor lifestyle into consideration.

The people in Alley Art

The first piece is Firebreather by Avlis Leumas. This artwork serves to recognize the work of wildland firefighters in the past, present, and future. When it sells, half of the proceeds will go to The Wildland Firefighter Foundation, a group providing emotional and financial support to firefighters.

Alley art - Firebreather. Bend, Oregon

This piece, by Sheila Dunn, is a portrait of legendary Bend skier, Emil Nordeen. He moved here from Sweden in 1920 and was instrumental in establishing the Bend Skyliners Mountaineering Club. The group promoted local skiing as well as search and rescue and alpine climbing.

Emil Nordeen - Bend, Oregon
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Symphony in the skies: Monochrome Monday

Symphony in the skies

We witnessed a symphony in the skies over Shoshone National Forest. Spectacular cloud formations and landforms are common sights near Cody, Wyoming. Dramatic wispy clouds such as these often fill the skies.

Monochrome Monday

Norris Geysers – big & little: LAPC

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.

Steamboat Geyser

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.

Norris Geyser Basin

Here’s a view from the trail. There are geysers everywhere you look in the Norris Geyser Basin.

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Warner Wetlands-Wonderful throughout the year: LAPC

The Warner Wetlands of south central Oregon are beautiful throughout the year. I dug into my archives to find photos taken long ago there, supplemented with a few recent ones.

You can view wispy sunsets over the wetlands in the summer.

Warner Wetlands view in the summer

Moody cloudscapes over them in the spring.

Warner Wetlands in Oregon

Snow and ice covering them in the winter.

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Volcanic views from Lava Lands: Pull up a Seat Challenge

I recently hiked the Trail of Molten Lands at Lava Lands Visitor Center and paused to take in the volcanic views. The center is located within the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, a place with many recreational opportunities.

I took these photos from the Phil Brogan Viewpoint. On a clear day, you can see Mt. Bachelor, the Three Sisters, and other peaks in the distance. On this day, clouds covered them in soft shrouds. The visitor center reopened on May 20, a couple days after my visit. It’s a great place to learn more of this area’s volcanic past.

Volcanic views from Lava Lands, Oregon

Here are a couple pictures of the volcanic views from a closer angle.

Lava Lands, Oregon

This 1.1 mile trail winds through basalt lava flows surrounding Lava Butte to the viewpoint.

Volcanic views from Lava Lands

Pull up a Seat Photo Challenge Week 22

Spectacular sights seen in blue & green: LAPC

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.

Mini-micro tales

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.

Spectacular sights seen near Bend, Oregon
Paulina-East Lake Rd, Oregon

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.

North shore of East Lake, Oregon
North shore of East Lake, Oregon
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The façade of Newgrange – A short history: LAPC

The stone façade surrounding the 5,000-year-old Newgrange monument in County Meath, Ireland is impressive. However, I learned Newgrange’s façade is not what it appears to be.

façade of Newgrange March 2020

I liked the way the patterns in the wall changed from dark-colored stones to dark dotted with white…

Dark & light wall at Newgrange March 2020

To light dotted with dark stones.

Façade - Dark & light wall at Newgrange March 2020

The white stones over the entryway make it stand out.

Entranceway at Newgrange March 2020
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In the Oregon Outback: Monochrome Monday

Here’s a sepia tone view of Fort Rock Homestead Village Museum in the Oregon Outback. Twelve buildings built in the early 1900s were moved to this site. It’s one of my favorite roadside attractions in Central Oregon.

In the Oregon Outback March 2021

Monochrome Monday