Air Force One

President Biden made a trip through Portland yesterday, and I didn’t even realize it until later in the day after I got done with work and looked at the news. There wasn’t much time left, but I knew exactly what I wanted to do: Grab my camera and my longest lens, and head downtown to get a look at Air Force One as it flew out! I had missed my chance to see it a few years ago, and if we hurried, I might get to see it this time!

We went down to the waterfront by McMennamins, which was on the flight path out, assuming the winds didn’t change. Other folks were gathered up and down the walkway as well, including a very enthusiastic little guy who was VERY excited about it and kept telling everyone!

For a while there was nothing but eerie quiet, because all flights are stopped for a half hour before and after. Normally it is very busy here. We could see lightning off to the east past the airport control tower.

The only thing in the air was this Coast Guard helicopter.

Little bird chillin out in the bushes on the bank.

Time to ponder whatever was going on down there. Looks like a big boat being worked on!

Finally some action, about six of these guys came roaring down the river!

Coast Guard, with guns mounted on the bow! I wasn’t expecting that! There was a fisherman out on the river who moved out of their way, and a big yacht that was heading out and didn’t seem to be put off by the Coast Guard, maybe they just had to stay out of the channel or something.

And suddenly, there it was!

It’s beautiful! I have a crush on the 747 anyway, it’s always been my favorite plane, so distinctive with that second-floor cockpit and four big engines! Listen to it whine! And this particular one with it’s special color scheme, and of course ferrying around the President and other important folks and journalists. Pretty exciting!

What a beautiful airplane!

And just like that it was gone. What a cool thing to see! And I wasn’t expecting the Coast Guard activity to escort it out. That was a pretty neat thing to experience. I’m so happy I got to see it before they retire the 747 Air Force Ones!

Crown Point, 2 Ways

Someone in a hiking group mentioned that for a few weeks a year, in late June/early July, the sun sets far enough North to light up the walls of Crown Point with Golden Hour light. I did not research their claim, but it sounded like a good excuse to go take a picture, and I haven’t picked up my camera pretty much since the pandemic started in March. Dave and I hopped in the car and headed up to the Portland Women’s Forum Viewpoint in Oregon.

Lots of other folks were there too, setting in for an eclipse that evening. We just wanted the sunset. We had stopped by Abby’s in Gresham and got a pizza, and settled in to wait until the sun was as low as it could get hoping for better color in the sky, but this nice peachy color was as good as it was getting, since there was not a cloud in the sky.

I’d say that’s a postcard perfect pic of Crown Point and Vista house, and the Columbia River Gorge stretching off into the distance. You can see Phoca Rock out in the river, and farther upstream you can see Beacon Rock in Washington state.

Crown Point

The next evening, since I was so happy with the outcome of that photo, we headed out to Washougal on the Washington side of the Columbia, and snapped another picture of Crown Point, this time with Mt Hood in the background. I liked this shot best. Even though the light was not on Crown Point as nicely as the evening before, the glow on top of the mountain was very pretty.

A7201665-Edit

So there you go, Crown Point, two ways, from two different states. Both are home to me, and I feel lucky to live in this beautiful place.

Lockdown in the time of Coronavirus

I guess we’ve been hearing about the virus in China for a month or so, but it has suddenly hit us hard. With the knowledge that this bad new flu is circulating, but without testing capability, and an already overtaxed medical system, we are now in semi-lockdown. The play we have been rehearsing for over a month (Much Ado About Nothing) is on hold until later in the summer, I’m working from home, and people are wiping out the grocery stores (glad I went to Costco with friends and stocked up a couple weeks ago). Crazy times.

I had just settled on a plan to expand my photography into family portrait work, and decided that this summer I would train and do any odd jobs I could get, and hone my craft. I bought a new (used) lens just for this pursuit.

2020-03-13 20.07.32

This is a Sony f/4 70–200mm. It takes really sharp pictures with nicely blurred backgrounds. I’m really happy with the few test shots I’ve done.

A7201526

A7201531

A7201544

A7201549

Combined with my full-frame a7ii, this is certainly a rig capable of producing high-quality images.

I also plan to dedicate any ‘hustle money’ I can make to my meandering Mustang project. But who knows when things will get back to normal, when I can start hustling, if I will even care about the Mustang when this is all over. Maybe priorities will change? Right now the poor Mustang is buried in the garage under shipping materials leftover from Christmas. The toy shipping season has stretched out significantly. Things are still selling now in March!

But I don’t mind working at home. I’m hanging out with my hubby and dogs and cats:

2020-02-18 22.40.26

2020-02-09 21.03.15-1

surrounded by all my craft projects I’ve been putting off. Like my ‘learn to paint’ project. I’ve got my paints, I’ve got my easel, all I need is time.

2020-02-29 14.02.07

I can FINALLY follow along with BOB!

2020-03-15 16.40.44

It’s actually kind of nice, but I’m only a few days in. We will see how it feels by the end of the month! I hope to sneak off for some fishing when the weather warms up next week. We will see how it all goes. I’m just hoping people handle this sanely, take care of each other, remember to be kind and considerate, and we will all ride out this strange time, stay healthy, and be back to normal sometime this summer.

Until then I’ll try not to spend too much time riding the range in Red Dead Redemption.

Red Dead Redemption 2 (13)

Winter Artwork

Wow, it has been a long, cold, boring winter. I don’t remember a winter that has been this cold, or snowed so many times. We usually barely get any snow, and usually get none at all. But this winter…well, at least the dogs enjoyed it!

DSC09779

DSC09767

Not sports car weather!

 

DSC09771

I do love it when the trees look like this, especially against a bright blue sky.

 

DSC09765

And I love the dramatic shadows cast by the low winter sun.

 

Tree Shadow

So I cleaned it up in photoshop and made a piece of art of it. That is actually a pretty nice way to pass the time when trapped inside by winter cold.

 

Mount Navi

Winter Navi.

We also went to a Winter Woolies horse show and took some photos. I love doing horse photos.

English Horse2

English Horse 4

 

And then for something completely different:

boats in the bay

This piece was made from a screenshot from Red Dead Redemption 2. I added the textures to make the sky-glow and painted it. I was really happy with how it turned out.

So that’s how I’ve been fighting the winter doldrums! Luckily it is almost over, and spring is on its way.

A ‘Me’ Party!

The Photo Club assignment for this month was to make a composite photograph, so I composited the heck out of that challenge! I set the camera up on a tripod and raced around changing clothes and setting myself in different scenes around the room, then merged them all together with a little photoshop magic, to produce a party of ‘Me’s hanging around the house with the dogs.

Multi-selfie

Trout Lake 2018

Over Memorial Weekend we took our annual trip with our Airstream friends to Trout Lake, to our usual campground snuggled under shade trees with a gorgeous view of Mt Adams. This year the weather was windy, but otherwise fine. I was a little worried about reports of ticks being bad this year, but we tried to stay out of the grass.

DSC06697

We set up the X pens in front of the trailer door to make a little yard for the dogs, and the door was pretty much open all weekend, so they could hang out inside or out, and watch all the goings-on around the site. Of course there were also lots of walks, including walking into town to get lunch at the hamburger/milkshake/gas station/coffeeshop (it’s a small town!)

DSC06632

Sunday morning I woke up at 5am and realized the trailer was lit up pink, so I pulled on clothes and grabbed my camera and went out to see what was going on.

DSC06635

Just a beautiful mountain sunrise. I was enjoying photographing it when I thought, what this picture needs is an elk.

DSC06650-Edit-Edit

Why, thank you very much! I was so excited to see the elk, I was almost shaking! How cool is that?!

DSC06698

The river behind our campsite was high, and I would have loved to fish it, but it was not open until a week later.

DSC06673

Everyday there was gorgeous. I just can’t believe we get to hang out someplace with this amazing mountain right there on the horizon, it is in the background of everything we do.

DSC06621

DSC06704

We had a tinfoil hat contest (Dave and I just watched):

DSC06678-2

DSC06679

Everyone was so creative!

And every night it was music and sing-along beside the fire.

DSC06711

DSC06715

DSC06718

Full-moon night-shot.

DSC06733

I brought a book to read on my kindle. Dave played a game of cornhole and got into a card game. Navi snapped at our friend Gary when he wouldn’t quit petting her. Barclay was chill as usual.

DSC06707

DSC06705

DSC06706

The trailer functioned perfectly – not bad for a 50 year old trailer. Basically a good time was had by all. In no time another fun long weekend was over, and we all went our separate ways, until next year.

DSC06734

 

A new home for my journal

DSC06637

Since 2007 I have had a blog on Google Blogger platform. This is my personal journal, a place to record our adventures and share my photography. Blogger has certainly been adequate, but it has always had it’s quirks, like issues handling media, and I do not like having my blog tied to a mega-corp that might change it’s policies, own my photos, delete my blog, etc. So it is time for a change, so welcome to my new blog on WordPress. I’m sure it will take a little getting used to, but I am hoping it’s ease of use will also encourage me to post more often. I have noticed lately that a lot of my effort has been put into sharing on Facebook instead of here, and that’s a shame, because this is the place I will probably still have access to years from now. Right now I’d like to wean myself away from FB as much as possible.

Also, I’d like to point out importing the old Blogger blog with all 11 years of posts and pictures was a snap thanks to the Blogger export feature, and the WordPress import feature. It was so easy I should have done it sooner!

 

Cruising around the Hood

Dave and I headed out to wander around Mt Hood. He had recently been on a drive for work that took him around the East side of the mountain, and I wanted to see it from that side too. We headed out to Hood River, but stopped first at Elowah Falls, since I saw it without him last time, and wanted to show off the crazy natural amphitheater it sits in. He was suitably impressed.

Then we headed on to Hood River, and up to Panorama Point, which has a beautiful view out over the Hood River valley (famous for it’s fruit farms), and the mountain.

After That we continued up Hiway 35 to Parkdale to see the Parkdale Lava Flow. Unfortunately it’s entirely on private land as far as we could tell. We could drive up close enough to see it, but not to actually get out and walk on it.

Eventually the highway wraps around the mountain, and we stopped to stretch our legs at this sno-park – now devoid of snow.

Continuing on around the mountain, we followed signs up to Timberline Lodge. We hadn’t been up here in ages, so figured we should swing by.

It was such a nice day we took a stroll around the lodge. The mountian looks so small from up there, like you could just hike up to the top, no trouble at all.

Actually, maybe it’s bigger than it looks…

From up there you can see way out into Eastern Oregon, where the green turns to brown desert.

And to the South you can see Mt Jefferson and Three Sisters.

After that we headed back down, with a stop in Gresham at Abby’s Pizza before heading home. Made a full day of it, and got to know our local mountain a little bit better.

__

Back to Trout Lake

This year was an unusual one at Trout Lake, because although we had the date marked off on the calendar, as we do every year, Dave had just started a new job (delivering lost luggage using our tow vehicle, the Flex), and he had to stay home and be on call. We considered just skipping it, but decided he could tow the trailer over there and leave me and it there for the weekend, while he went back home with the dogs.

So here we are with a couple of the neighbors for the weekend. The little silver one is mine. I had gotten it all prepared and tested at home, but the one thing I did not notice until I was here and living unplugged, was that my battery was dead! It wouldn’t hold much of a charge for long. So it was ok for the lights, because they are LEDs and don’t need much juice. A little tougher on the waterpump, because it is a power hog, but I can get by just fine without it by keeping a pitcher of water handy The fridge ran fine on propane. But it was pretty cold up there at night, and not having a heater was going to be a bummer. Luckily I had friends who brought over their generators and charged me back up to full every day, which was enough to get the heater running at night long enough to warm the place up, and I had a couple warm blankets too, so it wasn’t bad at all.

The mountain was jaw-droppingly beautiful, as usual.

And there was this weird cloud that didn’t even look real just hanging out that afternoon.

More happy Airstreams

No Airstream gathering is complete without flamingos

Jonathan was chopping wood…

So he could make campfire magic later. He’s a fire wizard!

Then the musicians start gathering

And a fine time was had by all!

I never get tired of the view.

Magical clouds over ‘Sleeping Beauty’

Stars over the mountain at night. So many stars I don’t even know what I’m looking at. That’s Cassiopeia over the mountain. I guess the skyglow is from Seattle? We’re a long way from it, but it’s in that direction.
More music. We never get tired of music.
The electronic devices come in handy when no one can remember the lyrics!
(not my trailer – that’s Gail’s trailer, which is very similar to mine)
The last morning. What a beautiful morning! Dave came back and hooked up our little trailer and we headed home. It was great to see everyone, as always, and we missed our friends who couldn’t make it this year. Trout Lake is always the best kickoff anyone could want to the camping season.
_

Mt St Helens and Windy Ridge

We decided to head out for a day of exploration around the backside of our favorite local volcano – Mt St Helens.

Mt St Helens sits on the horizon where we live. It is something we see every day (along with Mt Hood and Mt Adams), and everyone took it for granted until 1980 when it started huffing out clouds of smoke and eventually exploded in an eruption that gave us all a very graphic example of what the word ‘devastation’ really means. Ridge after ridge around the mountain was cleared down to bare rock or covered in ash. Some of the ash even rained down over our homes. When we went to see it a few years after the eruption, it was like a desert where once a beautiful forest had stood. Now when we look at the mountain it’s flat top reminds us at a glance that we have a real live volcano in our backyard.

For many years we took an annual trip from Yakima up to Windy Ridge, often with our Miata friends, and admired the view looking down into the crater. We have also come in on the West side to the observatory. It’s an amazing place to visit, from either direction. This time we decided to wind up the backroads to Windy Ridge and see how it was doing. So we packed a picnic lunch, grabbed the camera, and headed out for a day of adventure.

Driving around the backside of Mt St Helens takes you through woods that were pretty much untouched by the blast, except for creeks and rivers that were flooded by the sudden glacier melts that occurred, causing mud flows to tear down the canyons and valleys. Everything is recovering so well though, that it is hard to see the damage anymore, even at overlooks that were established for people to stop and admire the changes in the landscape.

Then you come to the Muddy River at Lava Canyon

 Can you see Dave on the rocks looking over the canyon?

 We added a rock to a cairn we passed on our way along a trail that took us to another vantage point of the muddy river. Too bad the clouds were hiding the mountain at the other end of the canyon. We should have realized then that this just wasn’t going to be our day for viewing the mountain itself.

 On to Lava Canyon, where water has carved a steep channel through lava rock.

 Very cool place, with lots of signs warning you that if you fall in that water, you will die and they will never find your body, or something to that effect. That was the take-away, anyway. That water was fast and furious as it disappeared into the bulbous lava forms sticking up out of the forest.

We backtracked out of the Ape Canyon / Lava Canyon area, and continued heading East towards Windy Ridge. We stopped along the road at this still wiped out canyon and ate our lunch while enjoying the complete peacefulness of the forest. I don’t think a single car drove by while we were enjoying our lunch. It was just us and the birds in the trees.

Further up the road we stopped at a wide spot to enjoy this overlook of  what I think was the Clearwater Creek drainage. What an amazing view!

Our sturdy Flex made the ride nice and smooth over the terrible forest service roads, which had a lot of broken pavement. It was the right choice for this trip! The Miata would have been beat to death.

 Finally we arrived at Windy Ridge, with it’s amazing view of…clouds. Lots and lots of clouds.

 Beautiful view of Spirit Lake though. We had a lovely panorama of the devastated area.

The devastated area has recovered considerably. There was a time when this was all just covered in brown ash. The effects of the eruption are still clearly visible in the three zones. Zone 1 – the ridges were blown clean down to bedrock. They are still bare of trees, but starting to show a cover of green.

Then there is the zone farther out where the trees were all knocked down, and still lay pointing away from the source of the blast. More baby trees are popping up in this area. 

In the third zone the trees were killed by the heat of the eruption, but remain standing. This area is recovering even better. It’s amazing to see how one ridge is in the blowdown zone, and the next the trees were left standing. 

That is Mt St Helens for you – such a beautiful, amazing place. We stopped at another overlook on the way back from Windy Ridge and enjoyed the peacefulness of the scene, the little pops of color from wildflowers appearing on the hillside. We waited a little bit, but the mountain remained hidden in the clouds. It was just one of those days.

 But we had a great time anyway, as we always do when out adventuring together.

_