March 29, 2009


One of my favorite places to stop for a small photo respite, when working up toward Mt Rainier, is the Ohop Valley. Have had little time the last couple of weeks for posting. When I get caught up and have a chance, I'll describe the amazing restoration project planned for the water course running down the valley. Have a great week.

March 20, 2009

Antlered Creatures

Sometimes mother nature's sense of humor eludes me. For defence and attraction these antlers are helpful, but when it comes to seeing, balancing and holding their heads up, I always feel a bit bad for elk, moose, deer, etc. Nice of this fellow to share his with a side view.
This photo was taken in WA at NorthWest Trek.

March 15, 2009

Garden Zen

There were decades when gardening played a hug role in my off work hours. A healthy, soul enriching process I truly loved. Tending the garden can produce Zen moments. Fully alive moments. On the lake where we live there is a public park and in another spot a children's camp. During the growing seasons I would be working away when the scents of earth and plants, sounds of children and wildlife, sights of color and watered reflections, the feel of the sun, in and out of breath, beating heart and moist breeze graced skin would all blend, becoming a meditation. The weightless oneness of every living thing felt. No self. The gardens bounty, be it food or a feast for the eyes, seemed an added bonus.

Yeah, there were aching muscles, dirt-encrusted bodies, predators outsmarting organic methods, wonderful plants that didn't survive, and a ton of other pesky things that make up gardening. So why forge ahead? My grandparents would have said, "we work for what we need and want". My parents would have said, "hard work builds character". My take was, years of gardening builds patience and nothing with that satisfying a result comes easily. 

Today I am not as able as those days I had to be called in from the yard, hours after darkness had descended on me. Digging and planting is difficult when you can't see what you are doing, but not impossible. One year my husband gave me a headlamp for Christmas, deciding it was time to give up the idea that I was ever going to come in when called. That dawning took years so he gets points for patience too. 

These days the yard is bigger than I am and living proof that a forest can return to it's natural state if allowed. Not pretty by any stretch, but I can see it as it once was and remember the peace that came while creating and tending it. Now those meditative moments happen behind the camera or in other ways and places, though they aren't quite on par with that old garden zen. Hope you're finding those moments too! Dig a little.

March 13, 2009

Craving Wide Open

On the western side of Washington it's hard to go far without running into stands of fir trees, sometimes they go on for miles. Of course that is due in part to deep treed buffers along the roadsides, giving the impression there are endless acres just out of sight. I never tire of their beauty and am ever grateful for the air quality and habitat they improve, but...every-once-in-a-while, when an open field appears midst the stands, I get a little homesick. Spending the first half or so of my life in areas where you could see for miles leaves a mark. So, when I'm blabbing about how amazing I think Black Jack Valley looks dusted in snow AGAIN, read...craving wide open and found it

March 12, 2009

Walking Incentives

Walks on the California coast bring you in contact with so many great flowers that are not able to grow in Northwest WA zones. This particular purple flower was growing everywhere in Cambria, CA and they were stunning. We have similar varieties but they never get this big and bold. They make great walking incentives. I must be pining for spring. Soon, very soon.

Many Faces

Finding places to enjoy views of the Puget Sound is one of my favorite local things to do. It has many faces. The photo above was taken at one of my occasional Sunday morning stops; looking out from Manchester to the tip of Vashon Island and on to Seattle. It may have looked much like this yesterday as we had a cold but beautifully sunny day. As I write the morning darkness is just beginning to give way to what may be another beauty. Enjoy yours, where ever you are. 

March 10, 2009


In it's straight forward version, this wonderful structure is silver, glass panels clear and the water green. I'll show you another time. What you are looking at is the Chilhuly Glass Museum in Tacoma, WA and it has no good side. You know, the one models use most often in photographs. Not the museum, all it's sides are good and it will proudly show them to you. No shyness in the make up of this structure. If you are in the area, do yourself a favor with a visit to the Glass Museum and the near by State Historical Museum. Once there, these mirrored reflections will find you. Trust me.

March 6, 2009

Playing with Layers

I've been having a little fun this morning with Photoshop Elements and layers. I'm long on enthusiasm and short on knowledge. The base photo was shot in Monterey, CA from the wharf, directly into the bright early morning sun. Stark contrasts come from that, silhouettes, which I enjoy although considered blown-out by some. In this case the photo had characters and something going on, a story if you will. Of course one of the great aspects of digital photography and image editing software is being able to keep your original and create mayhem with copies of it. The end result in this case is too busy and contrived but I learned a good deal doing it. 

For anyone interested in layers, in short, this is a composite of six photos, or portions of them. As each layer (photo) was added it's opacity level was adjusted (made transparent) so that all the images can be seen. Once I was okay with the layers in total, they were flattened giving me a much smaller file. If you wanted to keep the layers flexible, you would do a "save as" and not flatten them.

If you have been reading previous blog posts or have visited my website you may recognize some of the photos used in this composite. Can you identify the different pieces that make up the image? Below is the original which in my mind already has plenty going on. Made a fun practice piece with all that white space.

A side note: One of the many things I love about this technology is the ability to enlarge images; a variety of sizes, no waiting and FREE. Sometimes those enlargements offer a look at things you didn't even realize were there when shooting. Sorry this isn't large enough to see the details of what I'm going to describe. If you look to the left of the pier in the water are two creatures. The one in the back is a floating bird. The closer, mostly submerged one, was the surprise. Any idea what it is? Enlarged it looks like a sea turtle but I don't remember them being around when I lived in that area years ago. The water is awfully cold. May be a seal, there were plenty around that morning. 

Enough musing from WA where a tad of snow is due again tonight and tomorrow. Have a great Saturday!

March 3, 2009

Increasing Depths

" You are not too old
and it is not too late
to dive into your increasing depths
where life calmly gives out
it's own secret"
Rainer Maria Rilke
This photo was taken along the 17 mile drive near Pacific Grove, CA.
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