The Greek roots of the word photography translate as "writing with light." Welcome to my studio--a place to practice and illuminate good work using writing and photography.

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Watching for gifts on the Trail of Ten Waterfalls

Not since I waited with 200 other Yosemite travelers to witness a real rainbow over Rainbow Falls, have I been so excited about a . . . waterfall. Italy has hill towns. Oregon has waterfalls. Even if you're an avid hiker and love everything outdoors, waterfalls can become, I don't know, too familiar (and not fully appreciated every time). May in Silver Falls State Park in Oregon reminded me to keep watching deeply, as if the Universe will open and offer a gift to those paying attention.

The water thundered over all of the falls along the Trail of Ten Waterfalls that May day, rendering photos impotent to carry the power without sound. Upper North Falls was no exception, though it is one of the slimmest chutes on the trail. It is the third tallest, flows through a basalt crack opening at the top, plunges straight down more than 136 feet and crashes over a missile-shaped basalt column and into a large pool.

At the moment I picked up the phone to shoot this "mundane" falls shot, fickle light spilled over the basalt crest, and seemingly into the pool below.

Monday, May 23, 2022

Digging in the goo, 2

My first encounter with a mud-bathing butterfly featured a single California Tortoiseshell come to taste the nectar of the goo on the juniper sage grasslands of Central Oregon, where moisture is elusive, and one could hardly blame.

Here on the Canyon Trail in Silver Falls State Park, a 9200-acre rain forest in Oregon's interior, a kaleidoscope that appeared to be Margined Whites or Mustard Whites flitting in and out of a dank bath, confirmed for us they collect more than moisture and minerals. Based on the fervor, it has to be magic.

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Architectural invitation to explore Reed College

You may know of Reed College in Portland, OR as one of the most intellectual colleges in the country. It is known for its "high standards of scholarly practice, creative thinking, and engaged citizenship." As a kid growing up in Portland, it never occurred to me I might be smart enough to consider Reed. I've wondered about that since. 

But as a native resident, and avid walker/hiker I know Reed campus best for the trail in the canyon that separates its academic buildings from residence quarters. Located within a 28-acre watershed known as "The Canyon," Reed is in its midst of a riparian landscape and birders paradise.

Though the college was established in 1908 and the first block of residence halls was built in 1912, the first bridge built to carry those 1st year dormies across Reed Lake was a flat wooden one that wasn't constructed until the 1930s. The Arthur M. Churchill Memorial Bridge replaced it in 1959 (an interesting design with a canvas top), and the current Blue Bridge or Canyon Bridge was completed in 1992 via the Zimmer Gunsul Fresca Partnership (known now as ZGF Architects LLP). 

It's not surprising that this passageway that welcomes, this place designed to invite, with its curvy lines and hidden destinations, has attracted two movie scripts, is the go-to shot for catalogs and displays to attract students to the campus, and it serves as a meeting place and favorite location by students and faculty. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Lake Lytle morning

The morning has a very different feel on Lake Lytle in Rockaway, Oregon. The filtered sun pries at the clouds leaving them moody. Not like the afternoon before when the sky turned robin egg blue and the coots hung out and fished most of the day while the resident bald spied breakfast and then lunch from a perch on a telephone pole. It was the kind of day the locals recommend moseying kayaks beneath the bridge on NE 12th Avenue onto Crescent Lake, drawn in by "conk-la-ree!" trilling, and jerking and bobbing redwing blackbirds, in and out of riparian maternity wards, voicing their concerns of passers by, up to no good as far as they know. And certainly not like the afternoon that followed this grey morning when the wind howled and white caps stormed the surface, relentless marching from the south, daring the bald to find anything in the latte colored water, let alone accurately pounce.

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Cornus nuttallii


We had a major storm, complete with days-long power outages in January of 2021. The vegetation is still recovering. And so the beloved Pacific Dogwood we planted 3 years ago didn't bloom last year. I have to assume the winter was too much for the young tree. But it's back in full celebration in 2022.

I know I'm not the only dogwood fan. It's well known that both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson planted them at their estates. That is, after generations of Native Americans made medicinal teas from them, and desperate Civil War doctors used them as a quinine substitute. What I learned recently, though, is that the dogwood sap is poisonous, and was used on arrow tips to poison animals.

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Doting on does in the woods

 This small herd of mule deer greeted us on a switchback in Oxbow Regional Park near Portland, Oregon early on April 10th. It was breathtaking to have her stand and stare back at us, alert, but not panicked. It was peaceful to watch her and her companions grazing on new shoots in the meadow. So much more poetic than at home as we watch the white tails eating the tops off of Cathie's prize tulips.

The very popular forget-me-not

Did you hear the one about the knight walking along the river with his lady when he bent down to pick some blue flowers and lost his balance wearing all that metal, causing him to fall into the river. As you might guess, before being swept away, he tossed the flower to his lady on shore and shouted "forget-me-not." It's a popular tale about how the forget-me-not got its name. Come to find out, though, there are at least 4 versions of the story of origin, in 4 different tongues. “Ne m’oubliez pas,” "no me olvides," "non ti scordar di mé," and "vergessen Sie mich nicht," called the French, Spanish, Italian, and German soldier.