Why this blog?

To understand why this blog was created and where it got its name, start here

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Cherry blossoms

Photographers waiting for the cherry blossoms to bloom along Portland's waterfront were caught by surprise when the trees reached their peak splendor three weeks early this year - just another reminder of this winter's crazy weather that saw an unusually dry and warm winter here in the Pacific northwest while the northeastern U.S. was battered by record amounts of snow and cold.

Anyway, we're not complaining as we contemplate a beautiful spring.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Newport Oregon

One of the things I enjoy most about living in Portland is that the ocean less than two hours away by car. With spring-like weather in the forecast, I made a return trip to the Sylvia Beach Hotel, a somewhat rickety wooden structure originally built in 1913. The rooms are unique, each decorated according to a theme surrounding a well known author. Prices include a delicious hot breakfast and the hotel also offers a fixed price four-course dinner served family style where single guests do not feel left out in a room full of couples. It was my second visit this past weekend. You can see the attraction, this was the view at dawn from my window:
The hotel is a book lovers haven, featuring books in every room along with a reading library. It's also the site of occasional writers' retreats. I went the first time fully intending to focus on writing, but warring notions caused me to spend more time out walking and shooting photographs. This time, although I took my notebook, I ended up spending more time exploring tide pools, the marina, and the Yaquina Head Lighthouse.
I took a tour of the historic Yaquina Head Lighthouse, tallest on the Oregon coast. First lit in 1873, it was converted to electricity in the 1930s. The four inch halogen bulb casts a light that can be seen 20 miles away, thanks to the refraction of the Fresnel lens made in Paris.
The three full-time original lightkeepers spent their days polishing, cleaning, and repairing, as well as tending gardens and livestock. The cast iron staircase had to be repainted every year!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Brussels Atomium

Hmm, I'm not sure why this blog post from 2012 decided to pop up here again in 2015 . . . . Maybe because I was messing around with photos and labels?? Anyway, it was an interesting trip!  Have you ever heard of the Atomium which was built for the 1958 International Exhibition? The Atomium looks like this during the day:

And like this at night:

We had fun playing with the camera controls to get effects such as this:

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Photography class

Have I mentioned that I've enrolled in a photography class at the local community college? Although I've sometimes made disparaging remarks about the technical side of photography here, and while I do like to take postcard-style photos of pretty scenery, it is fun to learn new tricks to get more functionality from my camera.

I'm slowly starting to get the hang of concepts such as ISO, aperture, white balance, etc. I even bought a new tripod, remote shutter release, and filters for my lenses. Now I just have to learn to use 'em!

This week we've been experimenting with lighting and motion. And I do mean experimenting!

Today our class went to Portland's Saturday Market for a field trip. Our assignments: try new camera angles

 and more experiments capturing motion.

What fun!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden

I go out for a walk just about every day - even in rainy weather. It helps me clear my thoughts, clear my lungs, and justify the calories of my daily glass of wine. Besides, I usually take my camera with me to record the changing seasons.

With this week's exceptionally warm, sunny weather, I decided to dust off my bicycle which has languished in the garage all winter. As much as I love walking in nearby Laurelhurst park, I wanted to broaden my horizons and explore more of the bike trails that Portland is known for.

Yesterday I rode downtown, crossed two different bridges, and explored both the east side and west side riverfront parkways - perfect for a sunny (though windy) Sunday.

It felt great! But I'd forgotten how hilly Portland is. It's downhill from my house to the Willamette river that bisects the city, but that means it's uphill all the way back home! Even taking advantage of all the gears on my bike, my heart rate rose to levels I haven't reached all winter. No wonder I've gained a little weight.

Resolved to get more aerobic exercise, I got back on my bike today and rode to the Crystal Springs rhododendron garden near Reed College. It's still a little early in the season, but it was good for photos, good for my heart rate, and good for my soul.


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Winter in Portland

People often ask me how I'm adapting to winter in Portland - implying that I must find the short, gray, rainy days depressing. Au contraire. I am enjoying the mild temperatures and beautiful green foliage. It wasn't really raining, but the early morning fog leaves lots of condensation everywhere. I especially like the effect on spiderwebs

 and the bushes with berries that hang on throughout the winter

I was stunned to see trees that were starting to flower. Don't they know that it's only January? 

There were plenty of colorful characters in the park today. The tuba guy was practicing. His name is Patrick and he's been living in his car since October. (No room in the car to practice!) Right now he's preparing for concert that he'll be playing at the nearby old folks' home.

One guy was feeding the squirrels.
And several people were practicing tai chi or martial arts

The homeless guys were talking about the Superbowl. Go Seahawks!

As for me, I was just enjoying being outdoors.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Christmas in Portland 2014

Happiness is:

1. Living near Philippe and Rachel (with a visit from my Mom)
2. My cozy apartment

3. Special ornaments on my Christmas tree
4. Great scenery
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.