Category Archives: Water

Water Drop Collisions

Creating water drop collisions keeps me entertained for hours. For the last year, I have been very busy completing and publishing the book, The Art of Macro Photography and my drip kit was neglected. So, I blocked a few hours and went to work in my make shift studio (spare bedroom). I kept the setup simple and started with single drops of water. I didn’t use any additives, just wanted to practice making drops and fine tune the timing of the flashes. After a successful single drop, I added the second drop.

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, 60mm, ISO 400, f/16, .5 sec.

In all the time I have been shooting water drop collisions, I’ve never seen the second drop hit next to the original drop as you can see in the image to the right. After several minutes problem solving, I tapped the valve and all subsequent drops collided. Why does this entertain me for hours? I love the challenge of focusing sharp and the varied final images. With a small change on timing of the flashes, I can achieve several different looks. The last image is of my setup for this series.

Stay tuned for more images next week!

 

Michigan, Week 2

Manistee Beach

Manistee Beach. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, 12-100mm, ISO 200, f/22, .5 sec., Singh-Ray 3-stop GND filter.

I’ll be honest, my trip to Michigan didn’t go exactly as planned. At the last minute, Rod had to cancel and I was ill prepared for a 2-week solo trip. You would think after a solo 10-week trip on the Pacific Coast, 2-weeks would be a cinch. It wasn’t. The Pacific Coast trip was planned out months in advance with extensive research and plotting of locations. For this trip, I scrambled to research all I could the night before each destination with limited phone service or Wi-Fi. After my first week in Munising photographing waterfalls and attending a workshop, I drove east to Grand Marais and then spent five days at a cabin in Manistee, Michigan. I learned to enjoy time alone and struggled a bit too.

Agate Beach rocks.

Agate Beach. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, 12-100mm, ISO 400, f/8, 1/100 sec.

Grand Marais

Sable Falls

Sable Falls. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, 12-100mm, ISO 400, f/22, 2.5 sec., Singh-Ray Bryan Hansel Waterfall Polarizer.

Grand Marais is a small community of about 400 residents and the only place to eat dinner after Labor Day was at the local Brewery. I dined on their famous whitefish dinner and chatted with a few locals. This Lake Superior town was cold, with a high in the 50’s and strong winds. I walked along Agate Beach looking for agates until my hands froze from the moist air and wind. With my pretty rocks, I returned to my B&B to research the next day’s photo destinations. In the morning, the B&B provided a family style breakfast with all the guests and I really enjoyed conversing with someone other than myself. I spent the morning photographing Sable Falls, Sable Dunes and hiking to a beach on Lake Superior before leaving the Grand Marais area for Manistee.

Manistee

Sand dune

iPhone photo of the sand dunes 1/2 down.

Lucky for me, my cousin Andy has a cabin in Manistee overlooking Lake Michigan. The five days in this small community with beautiful beach views and a historic downtown was peaceful. The cabin is a 15-minute drive south of Manistee in a small neighborhood of mostly summer residences and is a bit secluded, so it took me a few days to feel comfortable returning after dark. The highlight of his cabin is the view of Lake Michigan. The lake is a 100-foot drop from the cabin down a steep sand dune. I attempted many times to get to his beach, but only made it ½ way. I feared I wouldn’t be able to make it back up and was afraid of being stuck down there. The view was great from halfway down too!

Vogue Theater

Manistee’s Vogue Theater. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, 12-100mm, ISO 200, f/14, 3.2 sec.

One evening the clouds broke so I drove to the 5th Avenue Beach to capture sunset. I barely made it. I ran along the beach with my tripod looking for foreground subjects. After sunset, I sat in the parking lot to watch the bi-monthly Mirrorless Minutes Podcast on YouTube. The host, Jamie MacDonald is entertaining and after spending a few days on his Meetup in Munising, MI, I enjoyed the image share of our workshop. After dark, I went downtown to photograph Manistee’s historic buildings including the Vogue Theatre. It was quiet and dark and I took joy in capturing the brilliant lights of the theatre.

Ludington

Ludington Lighthouse

Big Sable Lighthouse. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, 12-100mm, ISO 400, f7.1, 1/800 sec.

Ludington is a town south of Manistee with a large state park and Big Sable Point Lighthouse.  Getting to the lighthouse required a 4-mile round trip hike that was relatively flat until I climbed a sand dune to capture a better angle of the lighthouse. Before I returned to my car the winds picked up. So, I made my next stop Stearns Park in Ludington to photograph choppy waves hitting the pier and river light.

Crashing waves

Crashing Waves. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, 40-150mm, ISO 400, f8, 1/3200 sec.

It was easy to keep myself entertained during the day, but at night the woods around the cabin were dark and I felt very isolated. I spent more time than normal on the computer processing photos and reading a book I purchased in town. At the end of the 5 days, I headed south to South Haven to visit family.

South Haven

Lake Superior

Lake Superior. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, 12-100mm, ISO 400, f/10, 1/500 sec.

Several of my family members live in South Haven. Visiting this town where my parents went to high school has always been a special place. Now overrun by the tourism industry, it doesn’t hold the same memories for my parents, but I enjoy it nonetheless. Normally, I visit Sherman Dairy and Crane’s Orchard but I spent more time relaxing with my Aunt Lee instead. I did have the opportunity to visit Fenn Valley Vineyards with my cousins though! The only photos I captured in South Haven were for my aunt. She owns a rental cottage and needed a few new images. It was fun watching her straighten every crease in the curtains and fluff every pillow to capture the perfect image.

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, 12-100mm, ISO 800, f/8, 1/20 sec.

Before I left, we placed the new images in her brochure too. If you find yourself travelling to South Haven, check out The Retreat at Belvedere Beach!  https://www.retreatatbelvederebeach.com/

For the Photogs!

mushroom

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, 60mm, 16mm extension tubes, ISO 200, f/2.8, 1.6 sec.

Mushrooms are everywhere in the Upper Peninsula. I see some varieties in Flagstaff, but we don’t have the same moisture as Michigan, so there are far more mushrooms and fungi everywhere. While at Wagner Falls, I spotted this mushroom. I enjoyed photographing it so much, I went back on day two to perfect my composition. Here is an image of the shooting scenario and the finished image.

Me capturing the orange mushroom. PC: John Thomas

Taking Photos on a Family Trip

Hayden Trailhead. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, 12-100mm, ISO 800, f/4, 1/1600 sec.

Taking photos on a family trip can be difficult. Fortunately, my husband and children are artistic and enjoy nature themselves.  I travel alone specifically for photography but for family trips, I employ a few strategies to make photography possible. On a recent family trip to Telluride, CO for the Imogene Pass Run, I applied these three tips and the result was a win-win for all!

Tip #1 – Don’t plan to photograph everything

Austin at the start of the Imogene Pass Run. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, 40-150mm, ISO 1600, f/4, 1/500 sec.

After all, it is a family trip and when you are taking photos you are not engaged with the family. The Imogene Pass Run is a 17-mile run over Imogene Pass from Ouray, CO to Telluride, CO. These Rocky Mountains are stunning and the aspen trees had a hint of gold as they started their fall change. On race day, I had a schedule to follow but while waiting for runners to pass, I practiced “mental photography.” I scout where ever I go, knowing I can always come back in the future. At the start of the race, I hiked ½ mile onto the course to capture the runners and discovered Box Canyon. This canyon is huge with granite walls and a waterfall. I didn’t have my tripod, so, Box Canyon is now on my “to-do” list. I did

capture fun photos of the race both from the start and the finish.

Tip #2 – Divide and conquer

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, 12-100mm, ISO 800, f/13, .8 sec., Singh-Ray Waterfall Filter.

When the race was over, Austin was ready for a nap and I was ready for photography. So, my husband and I hiked up to Bear Creek Falls south of Telluride. This 2-mile hike offered scenic views of the rugged cliffs and the waterfall was spectacular. It was late in the day so we didn’t have as much time as I wanted so, I added it to my “to-do” list.

Tip #3 – Involve the family

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, 12-100mm, ISO 400, f/10, 1/125 sec.

Prior to the trip we discussed what to do the day after the race. Our son loves driving to Silverton so we added that to our plan. We also planned on finding a few spots with water for me to photograph. Austin did the research and took us to hot springs, mountain lakes, and waterfalls. At each stop, we all went exploring; me with my camera/tripod and them with iPhone’s.

The trip was a success. I didn’t capture the same number of photos if I had been alone, but it was a great compromise.

Bubbles. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, 12-100mm, ISO 400, f/5.6, 1/160 sec.

Water moving over textured rock. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, 12-100mm, ISO 400, f/16, 1/8 sec.

La Push

James Island, La Push. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, 12-100mm, ISO 200, f/8, 1/160 sec., Using high-res mode creating a 50 mp image.

One last fun story from my trip. Throughout my trip I have spent many hours practicing the ukulele. Since I can now change chords quick enough to play a tune, I decided to practice on my last night while I waited for sunset. Normally, I practice when campers around me are away. As soon as I tuned the uke, my neighbor came out asking if I was a musician. Well, that is not what I would call my playing to be and I don’t sing. Well, he and his wife are musicians and they asked me to play with them. So, we had a jam session with a guitar, autoharp, concertina and my uke. Lauren traded off on the guitar and concertina (like an accordian), Shery played the autoharp. Good thing Lauren would tell me when to change chords. We played two songs and Lauren sang, he also kept the chord changes simple for me. Then, the fog settled around James Island and the sun began to set and I ran off to photograph my last sunset on the Washington Coast for now.

Enjoy this image from La Push, Washington. Oh, and one of the best meals from the entire trip was here in La Push at Rivers End Restaurant. I ate the Seafood Louie salad with shrimp, crab and smoked salmon along with a cup of clam chowder – delish. Excellent finish to an excellent trip!

Seafood Louie Salad. iPhone

Last Days Solo

Last sunset

Kalaloch Sunset, iPhone

Dry Hoh Rainforest

Dirt covered plants. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, 12-100mm, ISO 200, f/8, 1/8 sec.

My last days on the Washington Coast were at Kalaloch in the Olympic National Park and La Push just outside of the park on the Quileute Reservation. When I arrived at Kalaloch, I was eager to visit the Hoh Rainforest. Our family visited 20 years ago and it was spectacular. Of course, August is a dry month for the Hoh so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I didn’t expect to find 83-degree Fahrenheit temperatures and sunny skies. It was so dry all the ferns were covered with dirt and parking was almost impossible with the influx of visitors. I made a new plan.

Last Waterfall

Marymere Falls. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, 12-100mm, ISO 200, f/13, 10 sec., Bryan Hansel Filter.

The next day, I woke up early and drove to Lake Crescent in the Olympic National Park to photograph Marymere Falls before the sun came over the treetops. This was an almost 2-hour drive and it was worth it. Walking to the falls a fawn and doe greeted me on the path. They were within 10-feet and didn’t run off. I enjoyed the moment instead of grabbing the camera. Even when my foot slipped in the water, I just laughed. Luckily, I had dry shoes in the car. After the falls I went sightseeing in Forks and La Push – don’t blink or you might miss them! La Push was my next destination, so I was happy scouting the area. I walked on the

Marymere Falls

Marymere Falls. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, 12-100mm, ISO 200, f/18, 20 sec., Bryan Hansel Filter.

beaches and watched the fog banks come and go.

While driving back to Kalaloch, I thought about this trip from the first night in Tehachapi, CA to this point with only one last night in La Push remaining. It has been an amazing journey and as my stepmom said, “Empowering.” I can not agree more. Even though my seven-week (49 day) solo journey is complete, my sabbatical is just beginning. On August 20, 2018, I will not report to work at NAU but instead Boston with my sister. I will continue to blog about my travels and photo challenges as I continue to photograph water and waterfalls.

Things I learned:
  • last morning

    Kalaloch Beach, last morning

    How to build a fire with wet wood, thank you Firestarter.

  • Hiking alone is empowering and I don’t need to hyperventilate.
  • My only limits are when I limit myself
  • My husband is still my best friend.
  • Family still comes first and my future trips won’t be for this long away from them.
Things I will miss:
  • Doing what I want when I want. I only ate when I was hungry and didn’t plan for the next meal. Some meals were cheese and crackers, others more elaborate.
  • Taking naps when I’m tired.
  • The open road and all it offers. Many people asked me why I wasn’t traveling out of the country on sabbatical and I thought there are so many places near home I haven’t seen or photographed.
  • Being popular at campgrounds with the “cool teardrop.”
What I look forward to now:
  • Rialto Beach

    Rialto Beach. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, 12-100mm, ISO 200, f/10, 1/1600 sec.

    Showering without wearing flipflops and taking showers without hitting the button to reset my 30-seconds of water.

  • Changing clothes standing up instead of in a W5’ x L8’ x H3.5’ bedroom. And just being in a room larger than this if it is cold outside!
  • Not having to plan for charging camera batteries/laptop in the car when I drove (not all campgrounds had power).
  • Washing dishes in a sink and/or dishwasher.
  • Not buying ice every 4-5 days.
  • The remainder of the year to continue photographing water, studying imagery, reading, learning new photo techniques and teaching workshops.
  • Learning new strumming patterns on the ukulele and a few new songs. I almost memorized the ones in my book.
  • Eating Mexican Food.
  • Sorting my photos to find the ones I overlooked!
Water reflections

Reflections. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, 12-100mm, ISO 200, f/10, 1/5 sec.

Tomorrow morning, I drive approximately eight hours to Spokane. Tonight, I will eat out at the only restaurant in La Push!

Ocean City

ocean city beach sunset

Cloudless Night. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, 12-100mm, ISO 200, f/20, .8 sec.

My tarp finally got rained on as I packed to leave Cape Disappointment. On the way to Ocean City, I drove through rain, fog and mist. It was beautiful. In Ocean City, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and it was only 80 miles from Cape Disappointment. What a difference. After setting up camp, I sat in the sun and read for an hour just to soak up some rays. The Ocean City campground was two blocks from the ocean so I shot sunset for two nights here. The first night without clouds and the last night with excellent clouds.

falls creek falls

Fall Creek. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, 12-100mm, ISO 200, f/8, 6 sec., with Bryan Hansel Singh-ray Filter.

Ocean City is a short drive to Lake Quinault, part of the Olympic National Forest and there are many waterfalls. I was so excited to photograph there, I woke up very early and was on a trail by 7:30am after the 1-hour drive. My first location was Falls Creek which is on the edge of a tent campground and I was very quiet to not wake up any campers. It was a pretty fall, but I struggled getting a composition I liked. So, I hiked to Gatton Creek Falls. It was a mile to the falls and a bridge crossed over the top. The only problem with this tiered fall was access to it. I could not find a trail I was willing to walk down without going swimming so I headed back a little discouraged.

Even though I wanted to photograph waterfalls, I reminded myself how beautiful the trail was and tried to find other things to photograph. I came across chicken mushroom and moss growing on the side of a tree stump and pulled out the macro lens.

chicken mushroom and moss

Chicken Mushroom and moss. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, 60 mm, ISO 200, f/9, 2.5 sec.

Mosquitos were buzzy around, but my deet must have worked as I survived without a bite. Capturing the macro shots reinforced my thoughts of the beautiful trail and improved my mood. I took off in search of more falls.

Waterfalls
willaby creek falls

Willaby Creek Falls Final Photo. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, 12-100mm, ISO 200, f/8, 5 sec., with Bryan Hansel Singh-ray Filter.

The trail to Willaby Falls was non-technical and I didn’t feel that I was going to fall in. I stepped off the trail slightly to get a better angle and had fun capturing images here. In the photog section below, I discuss the first photo upon arriving at the scene to my final photo. When I am photographing beautiful falls like this, I try to remind myself to look not only through the camera but with my eyes as well. So, often I will pause and just admire without looking for a composition or changing an aperture. I just take in the beauty.

merriman falls

Merriman Falls Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, 12-100mm, ISO 200, f/10, 8 sec., with Bryan Hansel Singh-ray Filter.

Lastly, I drove to Merriman Falls. The 40-foot drop contrasted with Willaby Creek Falls and required a different approach to capture an image. Next to the side of the road with only a pullout (no sign) this waterfall was magnificent. The entire falls were hard to photograph because by this time, other people were around. Another photog was there capturing couple’s photos as well, so I worked around them and captured small scenes of the falls.

Comforts of Home
Amy selfie

I’m waving hello! iPhone photo.

I watched Neflix! This campground had free wifi and I enjoyed it thoroughly: backed up photos, caught up on email and watched a few movies on Netflix. This was my first TV for almost 6 weeks. After six weeks, my car and trailer are dirty. Even though I was rained on, the dirt roads and sea spray have done a number on my car. It still surprised me when a total stranger said, “That is a dirty car,” to me at the gas station. Peer pressure worked and I drove through a self-serve car wash 15 minutes later. Of course, the sea spray hit again that night shooting sunset. After 4500 miles, what do you expect?

car on sand

Car on beach, iPhone photo.

Oregon’s beaches are public property and the state owns them. In Washington, it seems similar and they let you drive on the beach! So, I had get my Renegade on the sand. When I sent the photo home to Rod he was concerned that I would get stuck. But, I didn’t.

I spent an afternoon in Ocean Shores a few miles away and walked several miles along Damon Point. Damon Point has spectacular crashing waves, agates, shells and driftwood. I even found a marble that I’m taking home for our cats. I grabbed fried oysters in town to complete my west coast seafood checklist and headed back to camp to prepare for sunset.

For the Photogs!
willaby creek falls

Willaby Creek Falls First Photo. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, 12-100mm, ISO 200, f/10, .8 sec.

When I photograph waterfalls, I like to start with a sample image once I am setup. I often use aperture priority mode and take a sample shot to help me view the scene. Once I take a shot, I am more successful on composing by analyzing if that is the story I want to capture. I say to myself, “what can I do to make this better.” With the image on the right, there is a lot to do to make it better. At first, I shot from the trail with the tripod above a bush. Then I noticed a dirt path off the trail and I examined what would be the best location to capture the photo. If your tripod isn’t as tall as you, make sure you view the scene the same as your camera. I often pull out my iPhone to “view” the scene at different heights to determine where to setup the tripod. Once I was away from the bush, I put on my Bryan Hansel filter from Singh-ray. Yes, I love this filter! I played with horizontal and vertical orientations until I found just the right composition. I knew before I captured the photo I would crop a small portion from the foreground because there was a distracting reflection that I could not avoid otherwise. View the final Willaby Creek Falls photo above in this post.

Ocean city beach at sunset

Ocean City Beach. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, 12-100mm, ISO 200, f/10, 1/80 sec.

Cape Disappointment

Cape Disappointment Boat Launch. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 12-100 mm, ISO 400, f/18 @ 1/640 sec.

Cape Disappointment
Light house

North Head Lighthouse. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 12-100 mm, ISO 400, f/16 @ 1/500 sec.

It was a relaxing 40-mile drive from Astoria to Cape Disappointment. I ran a few errands on the way out of town (ice, food, gas, etc) and arrived at Cape Disappointment in time to check in and set up my trailer. Fifteen minutes later, I was ready to explore. The ocean was a short walk from my campsite so I checked it out. The view included the North Head Lighthouse but the weather was cloudy, and a lighthouse in the clouds wasn’t working for me, so I drove around the park to scout other areas. Slowly, I sunk back into a discouraged photographer. These clouds were not what I wanted to capture. So, I bailed on photography (sort of). I went to town, sat in a McDonald’s parking lot and streamed my favorite Mirrorless Minutes podcast from the McDonald’s wifi. Normally, I listen to it from iTunes, but this was their 100th episode and I watched it live. Karen, one of my friends from Phoenix was in the podcast chat too. I felt a little more inspired.

After the podcast, I got a text from Karen. Thanks to some fun discussions about photography and what to shoot, I flipped the switch to wanting to take photos and couldn’t wait to get back to the beach. Without phone service at the park, I talked to myself the entire time on the beach. Once I took a shot, I would ask myself how it could be improved. Initially, I thought I would photograph macro subjects that are perfect for cloudy weather. But as I looked at the sky, I noticed clouds with highlights and shadows. I saw definition in the clouds. Maybe it was there all along and I wasn’t noticing…either way, I was ready to capture images. I rotated between wide and long lenses capturing reflections on the wet sand. The tide was heading out, so I continued to creep up on the waves. My final images are abstract and I like them. Thanks Karen for the inspiration. The lesson I learned: there is always a picture to be made.

Cloudy Reflections

Cloudy Reflections. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 7-14 mm, ISO 200, f/16 @ 1/10 sec.

World’s Largest Frying Pan!
frying pan photo

Largest Frying Pan! 14 ft tall.

Day two at Cape Disappointment was spent sightseeing. I went to lighthouses, beaches and Long Beach. Long Beach had many unique finds: Cranberry Museum, Marsha’s Free Museum with Jake the Alligator man and the largest frying pan in history! How have I lived almost 50 years and not known where the largest frying pan in history was located? I found a taco bar and had a halibut taco – it was yummy! I took the evening off from photography and read a book. All in all a great day.

Cranberries on the vine. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 12-100 mm, ISO 400, f/8 @ 1/200 sec.

My days are relaxing but lonely at times. I don’t over talk to people like I did my first week (good thing) but often want to talk more. Other than my daily conversations with my sister and husband I often don’t speak. Hopefully, this doesn’t have a negative side effect on my vocal chords….otherwise my family won’t recognize me when I get home.

My next stop will be further up the Washington Coast in Ocean City.

For the Photogs!

In case you are looking for a great solution to transfer photos to iPhones or iPads, a workshop participant told me about Sandisk’s iXpand. It is a usb drive with a usb on one end and lightning on the other. So, I save photos to it, put the other end in my phone and transfer images instantly. Works like a charm, thanks Pat!

Clouds with details

Clouds with details. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 7-14 mm, ISO 200, f/18 @ 1.6 sec.

When I saw the details in the clouds, I also thought this would make a strong black and white. So, using Nik Silver Efex Pro, I did just that.

Back to the Beach

Stacks in the fog

View from Indian Beach, Ecola State Park. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 40-150 mm, ISO 200, f/16 @ 1/20 sec.

photo of Amy

On my hike to Crescent Beach.

As soon as I arrived in the Cannon Beach area, I went to Ecola State Park. It was a gorgeous day, wind was blowing and the sun was just breaking through the marine layer. Ecola offers many hiking trails, so I chose the one to Crescent Beach. This 4-mile round trip hike took me through an old-growth forest and to a beautiful beach only accessible by hiking. I returned to this park several times for early morning mist, paddle boarders and low tide. I also visited Hug Point Wayside. Hug Pont was quiet and calm even during the weekday. First light guaranteed minimal people on the beach so that’s when I went. The beach is full of many monoliths similar to the image above from Indian Beach. At low tide I was entranced with lines in the sand instead of the sea stars.

Lines in sand

Lines in Sand. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 7-14 mm, ISO 200, f14 @ 1/25 sec., processed in Nik Silver Efex Pro.

Walking along the beach, I spotted a sand dollar. This was quite a find because there have been so many broken ones along the beaches for the past 4 weeks, it was fun to find a complete one. The solitude of the beach and the time to relax has been unforgettable.

Not uncommon for this time of year is a lot of fog and mist. Midday the blue skies appear, but evenings and mornings are gray. This can be a little discouraging, but I knew this coming into the trip so I am making the most of each location. A real problem though: I wish I could overcome craving Mexican food. We eat a lot of Mexican food at home and I’m not sure restaurants in the Pacific Northwest will prepare the best chili relleno.

Campground

Between Seaside and Cannon Beach is Circle Creek RV park, I checked in to spot #10 and parked. I don’t want to brag, but this was my best parking job yet and the trailer was straight too. As I got out of the car I saw #9 on the post. I parked in the wrong spot! Will I ever get this right? So, I moved to my spot and within minutes my neighbors arrived in spot #9. I met Spud in this campground too. Spud is a cat with a harness on a leash. The owners trained him starting at 4 weeks old to wear a harness and he sits by the back door waiting for a harness to go out. He loved being outside with the family at the campground. It sure looked funny though.

Zoo
Haystack Rock

Haystack Rock. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 12-100 mm, ISO 400, f/10 @ 1/400 sec.

Did I say zoo? Well, that is synonymous to Seaside. I couldn’t be in the area and not check out the town, so I went on a week day (thankfully), parked, walked to the beach and then left. Seaside is otherwise known as a tourist trap. The downtown area is full of arcades, ice cream shops and the like. Not my kind of place. I checked out Cannon Beach, a cute little town that was nice to walk through early morning before the Corgi Festival started. There were easily 100 Corgi’s on the beach! The crowds, people and Corgi’s don’t inspire me but I did capture my obligatory Haystack Rock photo and then returned to camp to join my neighbors for dinner.

The two “rigs” next to me were travelling together from Seattle. John & Lu, Joe & Cindy welcomed me and we hit it off instantly. Lu and John know how to cook corn on the cob! I spent two evenings eating dinner with them at the campground and it felt like family. Reminded me how much I miss my family. We had a great time chatting, drinking wine and sharing our adventures. They are finishing a 19 day trip and I have 2 weeks remaining on mine but after talking to them about the remainder of my trip, I decided to visit them outside Seattle and then see Snoqualmie Falls. (And possibly another glass of wine…)

Tomorrow I head up to Fort Stevens for my last days in Oregon.

Riders on horseback

Horseback riders on Cannon Beach. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 12-100 mm, ISO 400, f/10 @ 1/640 sec.

Locked In

I almost forgot, leaving Barton Park in Portland several days ago I got stuck in the shower. These showers were one-person rooms with a deadbolt on the inside. When I finished showering, I flipped the lever to unlock and the door would not open. It wasn’t the door handle, it was the deadbolt. I tried again and again. Then I started to get nervous. This was one time I didn’t have my phone – after all, why would I need my phone in the shower? After several more attempts, I started beating the door and yelling. A person heard me, but it sounded like they were in another shower. I went back to the lock and slowly rotated the lever to lock it and after an ¼” turn, the door released. I yelled to the person in the other shower that I was free and reminded myself to always carry my phone. The next morning, I heard another person trying to get out of that same shower. I talked them through rotating the lock correctly and she reported the issue to the park hosts.

For the Photogs!
sand dollar

Sand Dollar from Indian Beach

When I returned to camp with my sand dollar, I placed it on mat board to capture the photo. I brought a 16×20 piece of two-sided (black/white) mat board for this occasion. Since it was cloudy, I set the board on my picnic table and started capturing images.

Columbia River Gorge

Tamanawas Falls

Tamanawas Falls. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 12-100 mm, ISO 200, f/9 @ .6 sec., Bryan Hansel ND/CPL filter.

Columbia River Gorge
Teardrop blocks

Teardrop blocks

It doesn’t seem possible, but I am at the halfway point of my solo journey. Rod flew into Portland, so I drove inland and we spent four days in the Columbia River Gorge. Hauling the teardrop through the Portland Airport worked better than I expected and when we made it to the campground, I was anxious to show Rod how well I setup camp. Of course, this campsite was VERY unlevel so I enlisted his help to use the risers that were unused so far. Rod showed me the trailer had feet stabilizers on the back end too. Hmm… I did fine without them so far, I will probably continue without them.

Art of Macro Photography book

Amy and the book sample

With camp settled we drove 30 miles to Hood River to meet a friend and fellow photog, Sharon, who graciously accepted delivery of the final bound pages of our Macro Book. The printer overnighted (from China) two sample books for us to confirm the page order. Mail is not easy to receive when on the road, so Sharon agreed to sign for it and we met her in town to get the box. Book looks great and is in binding now ready to put on a boat August 7th. Our mid-September distribution is still on target. If you want to reserve your autographed copy for the first shipment, order it here: https://www.horndesigns.com/Books

Waterfall Alley…or Not
Tamanawas Falls trail

Cold Creek. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 12-100 mm, ISO 200, f11 @ 4 sec., CPL filter.

What should have been waterfall alley, wasn’t.  Don’t get me wrong, we found many waterfalls, but since the Eagle fire last summer, most of the gorge is off limits. Including 2 feet outside our campground. We had to pass security every time we drove to our campsite. I know it was for safety, but this communication was lacking on the website or I would have booked a different campsite.

Our first morning in the Gorge, we drove an hour to Tamanawas Falls near Mt Hood, Oregon to capture images before the sun beat down on the creek and waterfall. The two-mile hike was beautiful and we stopped several times on our way to the falls. At the second stop along the creek, I realized I forgot something.

Rod and Amy by waterfall

Rod and Amy in front of Latourell Falls

Luckily, Rod was up for a run and he ran back to the car to get my new filter adding an extra 1.5-2 miles to his hike. In the past few weeks, I discovered the Bryan Hansel Waterfall Polarizer filter by Singh-Ray Filters. It shipped to the house and Rod brought it but I forgot to put it in my camera bag that morning. This filter combines a polarizer and a solid ND filter giving 3 to 5 stops of neutral density with a polarizing benefit too. I love it. We stopped many times on the two-mile trail capturing images along the way. When we arrived at the falls, there were only 3 other people there so capturing images was pleasant. I enjoy having a nimble non-photographer with me (Rod) because he helps me get to places I might not carry my gear by myself. When we headed out, the crowds came. It really pays off to wake up early for the best light and avoid people in your landscape image. We had a lovely dinner in White Salmon at Sharon’s house with wood fired pizza and wine. It was great swapping stories with her and Steve and enjoyed their beautiful view.

Crown Point State Scenic Corridor in the Gorge was open to vehicles, so we spent a day checking out those waterfalls and short hikes. I didn’t worry about getting images, just enjoyed my time with Rod. After all our hiking, we had lunch at White House Gorge Winery where Rod sampled ciders and I sampled wines. Very relaxing, but hot with temperatures in the mid 90’s.

Starvation Creek falls

Starvation Creek Falls. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 12-100 mm, ISO 200, f/10 @ 1 sec., Bryan Hansel ND/CPL filter.

Umbrella Creek Falls

Umbrella Falls. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 12-100 mm, ISO 400, f14 @ .4 sec., Bryan Hansel Filter

We spent another day hiking around Umbrella falls and Starvation Creek Falls. We thought we were hiking 2 miles to Umbrella Falls, but somehow, it was only .25 miles which gave us plenty of time to view both. Umbrella falls were very exposed to sunlight, so I concentrated on small trickles of water instead of the big falls. Starvation Creek was a great location: large falls, small falls and most of it in the shade. Of course, I am still waiting to see if the poison oak I brushed against breaks out on my skin! I could spend more time in the gorge capturing images of waterfalls, but I would prefer to go in the spring when it isn’t so hot.

Margaritas & Ukuleles
Rod with his ukelele

Rod on our last night

Rod brought his ukulele so each evening, we had a ukulele jam session! During the past weeks, I would practice during the day after my camping neighbors checked out and less people were around. But with Rod, it was more fun and I wasn’t so worried about what the neighbors thought (probably because he plays much better than me!) We ate Tillamook cheese, local smoked salmon and drank 24oz margarita cans! It doesn’t get much better than that. Although I am enjoying my solo trip, it is much more fun sharing it with others. Before he flew out, we spent the day in Portland at the Japanese Gardens and Powell’s Bookstore. Now, back to the ocean!

For the Photogs!

When photographing waterfalls, keep the lens cap handy and a dry lens cloth. In between shots, wipe the lens and put the cover back on to minimize spray.

If you are curious about the difference in what filters can do for a waterfall image, here are four examples. I kept the aperture and ISO the same in each photo, notice the difference in shutter speeds and the reflection on the leaves.

Gorge Filter Samples

 

 

Cape Lookout

man in fog

Cape Lookout. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 12-100 mm, ISO 250, f/16 @ 1/250 sec.

Lookout

Teardrop with tarp

Three very peaceful days at Cape Lookout State Park. Weather was varied and still no rain. The first night the sea spray was so heavy I put up my rain cover tarp off the back of the teardrop. As you would guess, the spray still found its way to me. The next morning was foggy and windless so I immediately went to the Cape hiking trail for beach and foggy tree shots. Only one other person was walking the beach and I was able to add him to my photo. While I hiked the trail, I found dew covered thistle stalk with a small spider web and spent an hour or more capturing this image.

Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 60 mm macro, ISO 250, f/3.2 @ 1/160 sec., in-camera focus stack of 8 images.

After I returned to camp, the sun came out and without the wind this was the best beach yet! I put down the camera and sat on the beach for part of the afternoon. Although soaking in the sun was great, it was too mellow for me and I took off for a walk down the beach. There were many washed up jelly fish on the shore and I think they are moon jellies. Austin asked me if I tried throwing them back in… I did not. After texting one photo to Rod, he pointed out that I was not looking at a jelly but a plastic lid. I hated admitting it, but he was right. All the others were jelly fish though! Here are two photos, one of a jelly and one of the jelly like lid. Hopefully you can see why I was fooled by the lid.

Moon Jelly. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 40-150 mm, ISO 200, f/3.5 @ 1/1250 sec.

Burn Ban

Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 40-150 mm, ISO 200, f/6.3 @ 1/8000 sec.

Little did I know this might be my last campfire. The dry summer has hit Oregon and Oregon State Parks started a burn ban. At least I won’t smell like a campfire anymore! My second day was full of touristy locations Munson Falls, Tillamook and Cape Meares Lighthouse. While in Tillamook, I drove by the creamery intending to stop but the crowds were thick and I decided to bypass the bustle. Instead, I bought Tillamook cheese at Safeway. Wasn’t that a cheesy excuse? The afternoon was again sunny and I walked the beach with camera in hand. This adorable little girl jumping the waves drew my eye. My only regret is that I was too relaxed (lazy) to talk to the parents and offer the photos.

It’s interesting how different the waves look at low tide vs high tide and from one beach to another with comparable tides. Here are two of my favorites.

Low Tide. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 40-150 mm macro, ISO 64, f/16 @ 1.3 sec., 8 stop ND filter.

Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 40-150 mm, ISO 200, f/22 @ 1/5 sec., ND filter.

For the Photogs!

Sand Dollar Shell. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 60 mm, ISO 200, f/9 @ 1/60 sec.

With the calm winds at Cape Lookout, I used my macro lens more. The first night, I brought shells and a broken sand dollar to my camp. The cloud cover provided a perfect softbox and I setup my table top tripod to capture the images.

Here’s a tip when photographing around salt water. Don’t forget to rinse off your tripod. When I capture the wave images, I often step into the area were larger waves flow up the beach. I watch to avoid splashes, and make sure I rinse the sand and salt off my tripod each night.