Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Photography: Downtown Portland at Night

After our stay at the Oregon coast, we decided to stay one night in Downtown Portland, Oregon. Portland is quite a city, and from our 15th floor hotel room, I was able to get some interesting shots of the buildings and the streets below. I like the angles of this shot, and the repetition of elements (the cars and the windows) and how they line up. Sometimes I get the best shots when I'm not even looking through the viewfinder!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Jump Creek and Jump Creek Falls

Jump Creek Falls is an amazing place just outside of Marsing, Idaho. This spring, we were driving around and happened upon the signs for the falls, and decided to follow them. We were pleasantly surprised to find a nice trail that led along Jump Creek up to the falls, which is really like something out of a postcard. The only thing we really had to watch out for was poison ivy all along the trail (which is sort of a problem if you have dogs) but we came away unscathed.

We were lucky enough to happen along this gem near sunset and I was able to capture the red sky against the walls of the canyon. Spectacular!

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Mining City

This is another photo of a gallows frame that is right amongst the neighborhoods of Butte, Montana. I wish I could travel back in time to see the mines in all their glory, when they were operating 24/7. To see the miners walking to work with their lunch pails in hand; to see the men climbing into the hoists to be lowered into the mine. To see Uptown Butte bustling and busy, and all the buildings full... and to experience the splendor of the Columbia Gardens. Yes, I think that if time travel were possible, I'd transport myself back into Butte, Montana, circa 1924. Where's my DeLorean?

I took this photo in June 2009 with my Nikon digital SLR.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Mile High and A Mile Deep

Butte, Montana started out as a mining camp in the 19th century. The Butte hill is speckled with head frames or "gallows frames" and they are often right in the middle of neighborhoods. This head frame is from the Mountain Consolidated Mine, more often known as the "Mountain Con" or "The Con". Since Butte is in the Summit Valley (on the Continental Divide), it is a mile high in elevation.

The Mountain Con mine frame was erected by the Anaconda Company in the early 1920s. By 1964, the shaft had been sunk to nearly 5,300 feet -- making it a mile high and a mile deep.

This photo was taken with my Nikon digital SLR back in June during my visit to Butte.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Illustration Friday: Flying

My dog, Milo, has a one-track mind. He loves to play fetch. He would fetch all day long if he could. I drew this picture while sitting on the banks of the South Fork of the Boise River, and while I was drawing the landscape, Milo kept dragging all manner of riverside debris over to me to throw, so he could retrieve it. An osprey flew overhead just as Milo was dragging a large stick (which some people may have considered a log) to my feet. Milo looked intently at the bird, and I could almost read his mind.

This drawing was done in my Moleskine with colored pencil and India ink. Text was added in Photoshop.

Road Trip to the Coast: Newport, Oregon

(Click the photo for a larger view)

Newport, Oregon is a fishing village that was founded in 1882. It sits on Yaquina Bay and is the home of Rogue Ales (a microbrewery), the Yaquina Bay and Yaquina Head Lighthouses, the famous Yaquina Bay Bridge, and the totally awesome Oregon Coast Aquarium.

The Oregon Coast Aquarium was the home of Keiko, the orca used in the filming of the movie Free Willy. His tank has been converted into an exhibit called "Passages of the Deep" which has a clear tunnel that you can walk through, where you are surrounded by all manner of marine life, including sharks. I've visited it twice, and it's awesome.

We started out the day trying our hand at catching crab under the expert tutelage of my brother-in-law. I soon tired of that (mostly because it was quite chilly) and set off to have lunch with some other family at the Rogue Ale Distillery. We had amazing (and expensive) Kobe beef burgers and Dead Guy Ale. Yum.

Finally, we made it over to the famous Newport waterfront, where we visited seals, and perused the delightfully touristy shops, where you can buy anything from salt water taffy to shark teeth. All in all, it was a wonderful day.

Photos were taken with my Nikon digital SLR.

Road Trip to the Coast: Night Photography

Here are a few shots taken at night around our vacation house on the Oregon Coast. The first one is looking down from the patio to the porch below. I really like how the textures show up. The last two photos were taken from the front "yard" (basically the 30 feet between the front of the house and the beach cliff). All shots used a tripod with my timer, since I lost my remote on my trip to Montana earlier in the summer.

We had phenomenal weather for October on the coast. Normally it's rainy and a bit blustery this time of year, but we had sunny days in the 50s and clear nights. Back home in the desert, it rained. Now that's how vacation should go!

Stay tuned for some more shots of the coast, and then some shots of our trip to the South Fork of the Boise River.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Road Trip to the Coast: Playing on the Beach

Who doesn't love the beach? Our family trip to the Oregon Coast was classic... one evening everyone hiked ourselves down to the beach and enjoyed the sun, sand, and sea. I was the goofy one with the camera who had the privilege of capturing it all.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Road Trip to the Coast: Columbia River Windpower

If you love wind power, you will love driving through the Columbia River Gorge. There are hundreds and hundreds of windmills. Wind power is a rather controversial issue. A lot of people feel that the turbines are ugly, and that they interfere with the natural beauty of the areas in which they are placed. Walter Cronkite famously opposed the Cape Wind project in Nantucket Sound, but later reversed his position and supported the wind farm. I happen to love seeing the giant turbines against the backdrop of nature. I think they are rather beautiful. Maybe it's because I'm an engineer... who knows? I just think it's great that we can capture a free resource like the wind and use it to make power. That in itself is quite beautiful.

These wind turbines are part of the White Creek wind farm, and I took this picture while traveling from Zillah, Washington to the Oregon Coast this past weekend. I love the colors (the light was just awesome for photographs this weekend).

Friday, October 2, 2009


At my nephew's house in Washington today... this morning provided the most phenomenal lighting for photographs... so I took some pictures of their cows. Last year we bought a 1/2 beef from them. Not sure I can this year, since the cows are so dang cute. Yeah, I'm a "city girl." From Montana. Ha.

Interesting bit of trivia... my nephew is only 1 year younger than me. My husband is the youngest in his family, and his brothers are much older. One of those funny family stories to tell!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Butte, Montana in the Summer: The Continental Divide Trail

The Continental Divide Trail runs 3,100 miles from Canada to Mexico, along - you guessed it - the Continental Divide in the Rocky Mountains. The Continental Divide happens to pass right through Butte, MT; and I have to say, I had never really heard anyone talk much about the trail when I was growing up there. After reading Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods (a great book - you should read it) about his adventures hiking the Appalachian Trail, I became more interested in the Continental Divide Trail (which is considered part of the Triple Crown of hiking, along with the Appalachian and Pacific Crest trails). When I was in Butte this summer, we took a drive up into the Highland Mountains, and as we were coming back down, we crossed the trail and I snapped this picture. One day I'd love to hike at least the portion in Southwest Montana.

A really great book on the Continental Divide Trail as it passes through Idaho and Montana is Montana & Idaho's Continental Divide Trail: The Official Guide by Leland and Lynna Howard, who are brother and sister. Leland is a really great photographer and Lynna is a writer. At my previous job, I actually worked with their other brother, Gerry, and he is actually pictured on the cover of the book.