Tag Archives: travel

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.

Spokane

Spokane Falls

Spokane Falls. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, 12-100mm, ISO 200, f/18, .4 sec., Singh-Ray Waterfall Filter.

Clock tower at Riverfront Park

Clock tower at Riverfront Park. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, 12-100mm, ISO 200, f/16, 25 sec.

Spokane is a city I visit often, after all, my sister lives here. I arrived a few days early from my big trip in need of people to talk to, a place to call home and to cheer her on in her 1.2 mile open water swim at Coeur d’Alene Lake. The first three days in Spokane were relaxing as I caught up on photos, played ukulele with my nephew (him on guitar) and became addicted to Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu. I guess I should binge all the seasons before I go home since I don’t have Hulu?

Back to Work
Spokane Falls

Spokane Falls. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, 40-150mm, ISO 200, f/11, .4 sec., Singh-Ray Waterfall Polarizer.

When the weekday rolled around and everyone went to work, so did I. I spent hours photographing this beautiful river city. I went hiking in Coeur d’Alene with a friend from my days as a high school teacher but the smoke from summer fires around the state made landscape photography difficult. Most of my photographs so far are from the downtown area including Riverfront Park, Spokane Falls and downtown neon lights.

When my sister went downtown with me to photograph neon, I was in the middle of the street to capture an image of the street lights. She told me the road was closed to traffic. Well, when the bus came around the corner at me I realized she was wrong! I got the shot then cleared out of his path quickly.

Spokane's Thomas Hammer Coffee Roasters sign

Thomas Hammer Coffee Roasters neon sign. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, 12-100mm, ISO 200, f/13, 2 sec.

Even though I have been to Spokane before, I haven’t always photographed it. So, I went to Google like I do in most cities. My sister drove me around to areas she thought would be strong subjects and then I added a few from my Internet searching. These scouting times are easily done in midday sun. I have one last morning to capture images and I can’t wait to go to High Bridge Park and Manito Gardens.

Downtown lights

Downtown Spokane Lights. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, 12-100mm, ISO 200, f/9, 2 sec.

For the Photogs!
Spokane Falls

Upper Spokane Falls. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, 40-150mm, ISO 200, f/11, .6 sec., Singh-Ray Waterfall Polarizer.

When I am out taking photos, I love to look for textures and colors. That is what prompted this photo. Part of Spokane’s Upper Falls this riffle stood out to me from the opposing textures and color. I was on a bridge looking down at the water and used my 40-150mm lens. If you take photos off a bridge, watch for other pedestrians or runners. Every time one would cross the bridge, the bridge would shake. I waited until they cleared the bridge and stood very still myself when I took the shot. Like all my water images recently, I also used the Singh-Ray Waterfall Polarizer, Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, 40-150mm, ISO 200, f/11, .6 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.

Gray Skies

clouds, fog and fishing

Clouds and fog at Coffenbury Lake. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 12-100 mm, ISO 200, f/11 @ 1/40 sec.

Clouds depress me. It must be from growing up in the Phoenix area and not seeing them often. Here in Astoria it’s been cloudy and misty/rainy for most of the time. I’m never sure which it is, rain or mist, but it is moist. They sky is gray without definition and I’m not inspired. Insisting I would “get over it” I went out shooting anyway. The images are nothing I plan to post, but it did relax me. Fog excites me. My first day here was sunny and clear and I hung out on the beach photographing sandpipers and waves. As evening settled in, the campground filled with fog, so I took off with my camera. Coffenbury Lake, near my campground, was covered in mist and fog and the icing on the cake came from the young men fishing. After that evening, it has been undefined clouds without fog.

fog and clouds

Fog on Coffenbury Lake. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 12-100 mm, ISO 200, f/11 @ 1/125 sec.

Campground Etiquette
people in campground

iPhone photo of visitors through my camp.

It is so funny what people talk about in campgrounds. I’m not trying to eavesdrop, but some voices really carry in a campground. At one site, I learned how allergic a person is to Benadryl. At another, I heard a couple fighting about what they cooked for dinner. In Bodega Bay, two young girls walked right through my camp site to take a photo of themselves on the sand dune. The entire campground was full of sand dunes, why my site?

A few mornings ago, I woke up to a dog squeaky toy at 6:15 am. I couldn’t believe these owners would let their dog have a toy like at that time of the morning. Squeak, squeak, squeak. Then, I realized the squeak was a consistent pattern and stopped suddenly. I don’t think it was a dog squeaking…..

Bunnies

Bunnies in a Sroller

The campground I am in is the largest campground East of the Mississippi with 536 sites. That is huge. I didn’t see pet cats this time, but a woman came around with a stroller and her three bunnies! I heard the neighboring kids talking about bunnies and didn’t believe it until I saw them. They sat so still they looked stuffed. Apparently, they were raised to be show bunnies and sit still for long periods of time. Notice they are dressed in clothing.

Seeing some of these camping setups is funny. From the Instapots to the RC cars and plastic toys from home, and the monstrous RV’s to my little bed on wheels…I don’t know if this is camping or glamping? I know I sure enjoy a shower and my electricity to charge my laptop and camera batteries.

Waterfalls
Waterfall

Barefoot selfie in the middle of the river.

With the lack of sunlight, I did find a waterfall outside of Astoria to photograph. Youngs River Falls is 10 miles south of town and again I was the only person there. Luckily, I am much more comfortable with arriving alone. The 60-foot waterfall was gorgeous but lacked the foreground I hoped for; the rocks were bland and without moss. I took a few photos but kept searching out a better angle. Then I saw the “shot” would be from the middle of the river. I left my water shoes in the car, so I rolled up my pant legs and kicked of my shoes and socks. In I went. I was right, the best shot was from the middle of the river.

waterfall

Youngs River Falls. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 12-100 mm, ISO 200, f/18 @ 1.6 sec., with Singh-ray Bryan Hansel Waterfall filter.

After all these weeks and looking at what there is to shoot at each location, I realize I am most excited about photographing waterfalls. So, I went to the library to research my Washington locations and compile a list waterfalls, beaches and creek. When I booked my campgrounds, I created a rough list, but I like to refine it as I approach the towns. Since Washington will be more remote, I did most of the work today and if all goes as planned, I will photograph 6-8 more waterfalls!

Astoria Column with clouds

At the Astoria Column.

With the cloudy weather, I did seek out another waterfall 30-miles east of Astoria. But when I got 5 miles from there, the clouds broke up and I was in direct sunlight (not what you want for shooting waterfalls). I figured I would go look at the falls anyway, since I was so close. My book resource didn’t tell me this was a spring and autumn run off falls….and in summer the fall is not present. There was a trickle at most. Discouraged, I drove back to Astoria and ate a late lunch (fish and chips) at Bouy Brewing while sampling one of their small run beers. Of course, I had to walk up 164 steps to the top of the Astoria Column too.

Making Music

One positive note to the cloudy weather, I printed more ukulele music and practiced for an hour last night. Ever since Rod visited, my practicing has been more regular. I’ll be ready for the jam session when I get home. If you aren’t aware of our ukulele interest, Rod has been building ukes for a few years now. He started production of six and has finished two. The remaining four are very close to production. These aren’t your run of the mill ukeleles either, these include custom wood with detailed inlays and precision construction.

Rod's ukelele's

Rod’s six ukulele’s early in production

For the Photogs!

Don’t forget to take a day off. Sometimes it is hard. I didn’t do that well at the start of the trip, but I have found it doesn’t do me any good forcing a photo. So, when I am tired, I take a break and then I have more energy when I get inspired. Even doing a load of laundry revitalizes me. It has been enjoyable doing some of the touristy things too. I often take my big camera to these touristy locations but sometimes only my phone and I just enjoy my surroundings.

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

 

 

Long Days

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

After three weeks of sunrises before 6am, sunsets around 9pm, and scouting or hiking in between, I am tired. I took a few days with less photography and recouped. I napped, went to the library, ate in town and hung out by the campfire with my neighbors – two teachers from Boise. The highlight of this area was definitely Luna Sea Fish House. Rod and I ate there last year and it is still the best clam chowder so far and the halibut and chips are outstanding.

View from the top of Cape Perpetua

For these three nights camping, I did not have a campground chosen, the one I wanted didn’t take reservations, so I lived on the wild side. I ended up at a different campground then I had planned and it was better. Leaving it to fate worked. Cape Perpetua forest service campground is lovely with a creek next to every camp spot and endless trails around. I hiked the St. Perpetua trail to the top of the Cape, a 600ft elevation climb in under 2 miles. With clear skies, the view was astounding. I also hiked down to the tide pools and photographed crashing waves. At the end of the day, my phone said I hiked 77 stories and completed almost 20,000 steps. No wonder I was tired!

Cape Perpetua

This area is known for its beauty and crashing waves. It does not disappoint. Although I was tired part of my stay, I enjoyed the tide pools, crashing waves and patterns in water. There are never enough sea star images! Every sea star has a personality, whether they are “cuddling” with others or look like they are “dancing,” I smile at the sight of them. Low tide was a negative tide early in the morning, so very few people were there, it was an ideal time to photograph them.

Messages in Water

This water is almost whimsical. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 12-100 mm, ISO 400, f/6.3 @ 1/4000 sec.

At one point, my husband Rod asked me, “Why photograph water? What interests you?” I have thought about this a lot. As I capture images of water, I love how emotions can be expressed in water from raging mad to serene and calm. As I came to this conclusion I started a new book I purchased a year or more ago and haven’t had time to read, The Hidden Messages in Water. In the book, Masaru Emoto, studied water crystals and how they formed differently depending on their environments. When the water was subject to classical music beautiful crystals emerged, when subject to hate words no crystals formed. Then, he makes the relationship to humans being 70% water. No wonder water makes me feel emotions. After starting this book, I recognize water energizes me and brings me different emotions. It sure is fun photographing.

This crashing wave causes concern. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 12-100 mm, ISO 200, f/5, 1/500 sec.

Teardrop Travels

My Renegade and teardrop trailer in Yachats, Oregon.

So many people are curious about the teardrop, so I thought I would share it with you. This bed on wheels has a queen mattress, battery with 10 volt and 110, stores camp chairs and REI folding table, with a back hatch to cook out of (or I cook at any given picnic table). We have a tray on the front of the teardrop that holds our “bear proof” cooler and with two bags of block ice, I keep my items cold for 5+ days. Not to mention, I can make a U-turn and if my parking is so dismal, I can disconnect and move it myself since it only weighs 1000 pounds! I keep one box of food in my car, mostly nuts, easy to boil Indian food and rice and Austin’s suggestion – mashed potatoes. I often eat rice cakes with almond butter and honey for breakfast or settle for a Lara bar.

Bottle wine is better than box wine.

Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 100-400 mm, ISO 400, f/8 @ 1/1000 sec.

One of my past conversations with my sister was about wine. Not an uncommon conversation between us and when I told her I was buying a box of wine to have on the trip because the box would store better and easier when drinking from my plastic tumbler. She said, “You are in Oregon get a bottle of Oregon wine.” So, I bought both. And without a doubt, bottle wine is better than box wine. Now, I need to find a wine glass to replace the tumbler.

For the Phototogs!

Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 12-100mm, ISO 400, f/16, 1/320 sec.

One thing I have been serious about is cleaning my gear daily. Wiping it down with a damp cloth to remove sea spray and using a blower and wipes on the lenses. The sea spray gets everywhere! If I am not wearing my gear, I keep it in the car, covered or in a tub. After a few days rest and a shower, I am ready to tackle on Newport, Oregon.