Sunrise Progression

Some minutes after the photos from yesterday; it was really interesting how quickly the sky and clouds changed color from gray, to blue, to bright pink, back to a purplish blue.

Sun peeking through


Break of Day


Bright Sunrise


I was not so happy to be awake early enough to catch the sunrise, but at least I got some beautiful pictures from it.


Columbia River under clouds

When Ryan was out visiting for his spring break, we took him out to the Columbia River Gorge, and although the latter part of the afternoon was rainy, we got a decent little hike in at Latourell falls.  Since he’d never been out to the gorge before, though, we stopped at the lookouts; Chanticleer Point, and Crown Point.  It was a hugely different day from last time we were out there!

Columbia River, with Clouds
Washington across the river:

Pastoral Washington under a Cloudy Sky


Photos from our hike tomorrow!

Tolstoy’s Photography Advice

On Monday, the sky was again full of clouds.  For a few weeks now, we’ve had empty, clear skies, which for some may constitute a perfect day … but I prefer clouds, for their beauty and for the interest they add.

(As Tolstoy wrote, “Every beautiful cloudless day resembles every other beautiful cloudless day, but each cloudy day is cloudy in its own way.”**

And it’s true!  The sunny cloudless days are beautiful, but are hard (for me) to photograph, since they look much the same as every other sunny cloudless day.  Of course, I am much more comfortable taking my camera out on those days than on any really rainy ones, not having to worry about it getting wet and destroyed, but it’s often more difficult to find interesting subjects to shoot.  Blue skies, green grass, and so on.  At least, they all look the same during any season, although each season certainly has its variations from the others.)

So I’m glad the clouds are back this week, a little.  Monday’s were tiny wisps here and there.

Each puff seemed to be leaving some of itself in its wake as it drifted along, very slowly.

And for some alliteration, and because it let me photograph it briefly on our Monday morning walk before viciously attacking me (I think it didn’t like the shutter sound) let’s throw in a wasp.

But back to the clouds: they floated about all day, still wispy at sunset, which was also beautiful.

**OK, it’s actually:  “All happy families resemble one another, but each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

And I’m not really trying to say he was slacking off by writing Anna Karenina instead of a story about a happy family – the contrast of these clouds vs. the previous cloudless days just brought the line to mind.  I think we’re all glad he choose the more interesting novel subject.

the sky was

can    dy    lu
        pinks shy
greens    coo    l choc


  un    der,
  a    lo
      tive      s      pout


e.e. cummings
No photo (that I’ve seen) can capture what I imagine when I read that poem, but photography is my medium right now…

A Sampling of Neighborhood Clouds

Now that the heavy rain clouds are (almost) gone for the summer, we’ve continued to have beautiful and interesting clouds in the sky.  (It’s a tremendous and welcome break from Austin, when sometimes we went weeks with clear, cloudless, oppressive skies.)  These are all from the last month, or so.

Finely-textured evening clouds with small airplane:

Flat clouds – they almost looked like cloud pancakes:

Reflected clouds:

Potential energy surface clouds:

Feather cloud:

Ryan’s Photos

Ryan took charge of my camera when I was driving him from Cannon Beach to PDX, and I really like some of the photos he took – so I thought I’d share.  All photos below by Ryan Kuck!

A freshly turned field:

The fields of Red Clover in the WIllamette Valley are very beautiful in May:

A field of Red Clover blending with the grass:

Birthday Morning at Haystack Rock

Friday morning, we woke up bright and early, in a not-so-great way.  I think the room started to become light around 4am – but thankfully we were eventually both able to fall asleep again.  Around 8, we woke up for good and headed back to the main street for breakfast, which a sparrow hoped we’d share.

John had planned a horseback ride on the beach as our morning activity, but sadly, the stables were closed in preparation of the upcoming high-volume weekend.  (This was the Friday before Memorial Day, and the town was quite empty – we were startled at how quickly it became busy and full over the next 24 hours.)  It was nice to have a walk to another part of town, though.  We saw another beach access point, and a Whale.

Since the horseback riding was a no-go, we decided to spend the rest of the morning on the beach – so I apologize for the potentially repetitive pictures, but it was so beautiful.  It was hard not to snap photo after photo, and equally hard to narrow them down to just a few to post here.

Haystack Rock is just peeking out around the corner…

It looked so close from where we stood, but it’s a monumental 235 ft tall and was much farther away than we expected.  Ryan called to wish me a happy birthday, and I figured we could talk until we reached the rock – but half an hour later, we still hadn’t arrived.  According to wikipedia, it’s just a mile and a half south of our hotel, but we were strolling slowly and enjoying the scenery.

(On a side note, when I asked Ryan if he had anything exciting planned for the long weekend, he deftly dodged the question.  “Well, I slept in until 10 this morning….”)

The clouds were perfect.  These pictures just do not do them justice.  (I probably should have uploaded them as full-size files…)

The tide had been going out all morning, and we found a beautiful spot where the rock was reflected in the still-wet sand….

I think Maxwell didn’t quite know what to make of the sand and the beach; he’d never been somewhere like this before.  But with the way his nose twitched and his ears wiggled, I think he was intrigued by the new sounds and smells, even if he was a little perplexed.

This may be my favorite photo of the morning; we walked to a spot where the clouds just perfectly surrounded the rock, as if it were itself emitting the vapor:

We’d both brought our binoculars, but it turns out that some organization sets out an array of binoculars and telescopes for passersby to use.  The rock is covered with nesting (and non-nesting?) birds – tufted puffins, terns, cormorants, guillemots, and gulls.  I’m not sure we correctly spotted and identified the puffins, but we did see all of the others….

There are also tidal pools all around the base of the rock, filled with various small animals.

I was amazed at how unregulated the area was.  There were warnings not to climb up Haystack Rock, not to disturb the birds, not to pick up any sea creatures except for mussels (for fishing bait), and not to venture too far out …

… and that’s it.  Many people were climbing out very close to the Rock itself.  (Slightly visible in 3rd photo above.)

At any rate, we craned our necks and peered at the birds and marveled at the size of the thing for a few moments, while attempting to keep Maxwell out of the water, then headed back up the beach for lunch.

We realized about halfway back that the beach was a leash-free zone, so we set Maxwell loose; being the good dog that he is, he trotted dutifully beside us the entire way back.  (I can’t remember if it was this beach excursion or another, but at one point he did catch sight of a seagull taking flight, and his predatory instincts kicked into full gear – he shot off after it heedlessly, and we realized that if he sets his mind to something else we definitely do not have him under voice control.)

I’ll leave you with one last shot of the beautiful birthday morning I’d been graced with….

It was so perfect, and unexpected.  Not quite a gray, rainy Oregon day!

Cannon Beach, Day 1

Two weeks ago, John and Maxwell and I headed out west to Cannon Beach, a little town on the Oregon coast that got its name when a cannon washed up on its beach.  John had gotten an extra two days off work (along with his entire group) that serendipitously coincided with my birthday, and had decided that he really wanted to go to the beach.  It wasn’t my top choice, but it was on our list of Places to Visit in Oregon, and it was John’s bonus vacation – so off we went.

The drive out is particularly beautiful – farmlands and forest – although 26 does pass through some areas of forest that have been clear cut, and look a little sad.  For the most part, we enjoyed the rolling clouds and the forests and the interesting sights we passed, like the bike-friendly places in which traffic speeds are reduced when cyclists are present, and the Tillamook Railroad.

I’m pretty sure Maxwell enjoyed the drive, also.

Since John had inexplicably been driven to vacuum and clean up the spare bedroom upstairs (where he normally keeps his clothes) before we headed out, we arrived in Cannon Beach just before dinner.  We checked in to a room that I think he picked specifically to match his eyes.

He may also have picked it because we could see the ocean from our little balcony!

But with the ocean so close, we didn’t linger in the room – we had to go closer.

We didn’t visit the beach, since we were hungry – instead, we headed a block east to the main street of town to look around and to find out what our dinner options would be.  Of course, I couldn’t not take photos along the way.  Here’s John, with ominously gray clouds looming overhead…

… and a cute little snail.

We ended up eating at Ecola Seafoods, which despite its somewhat disturbing name, had good reviews online and a tasty looking menu.

I had fish-and-chipped salmon…

… and since their bathroom door sported a sign saying “Friends Don’t Let Friends EAT FARMED SALMON” I can guarantee that this was troll-caught ocean salmon.

It was delicious.

The rest of our evening was spent in tired laziness – feeding Maxwell his dinner while playing fetch…

… and then after noticing that the sun was about to set …

… rushing down to the street to get a better look.

Maxwell was more interested in the other dog on the beach than he was in the sunset …

… although after realizing that we weren’t going to let him go down to the beach, became resigned to his fate.

He should have been paying attention to the view, though.  With those massive clouds rolling in, and the ocean and the orange sun, it was beautiful.  This photo doesn’t do it justice, by a long shot.

I feel like I’ve cropped the life out of the photo here, but you can see the sun a little better…

I still have my sights set on the 18-200mm Sony e-mount lens, even though it is relatively large and heavy.  I’ll probably have saved up enough in … fall of 2013, maybe?  Coming not-too-soon-but-eventually: photos captured on something other than my 16mm.  In the meantime, cropping works pretty well!