On the road with ‘fresh eyes’ – Part 2

July 31 is a special day for me.  One year ago, I filed my ‘dba’ (doing business as) with Douglas County.  Douglas County does not require business licenses, so the ‘dba’ process is used to protect business names and provide a vehicle for taxing a business (just filed my first ‘personal property’ report – waiting for the tax bill now).  If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, I hope you can see my personal growth as a photographer.  The journey is lots of fun and I am still enjoying the learning process.  Retirement is a wonderful thing!

A part of being a business owner is learning how to market your business.  I don’t know which is more challenging – learning how take a picture or learning how to market the business.  Both are important, as business owners well know.  That said, please forgive the following shameless plug for the business.  BUY MY PICTURES!  They are available in prints or on canvas, and as note cards.  Watch for a new page in this blog that will highlight new note cards – and don’t forget that the holidays are coming and my picture note cards are the perfect gift for that person who has everything.

I’m also learning how to blog more effectively, and have learned that I should use fewer pictures in my posts.  In this and future posts, look for references to specific pages for additional pictures.  Okay – let’s get into this week’s featured images!

The engineer in me can’t pass a bridge without giving a little interest.  Often, I have to pass it by because there is no easy way to stop and make an image.  On this trip, however, I found three bridges that sat still long enough for me to get some good pictures.  Please note that the weather did not cooperate with me during much of the trip.  The skies were overcast and, given the time of day I was trying to shoot, quite often appear washed out.  In future visits, I hope to have more cooperative skies.  For more information on each bridge, just google the name of the bridge.

Coming into Florence OR on U.S. Highway 101 from the south, one crosses the Siuslaw River on this bridge.  These images were made from the east bank (the town side).

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The view looking south. The steel portion of the bridge raises to allow ships to pass under the bridge.

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A detail of the bridge along the southern exposure.

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The southern exposure.

North of Florence on U. S. Highway 101, we find the Heceta Head Lighthouse (see part 1 for pictures of the Heceta Head Lighthouse).  South of the Lighthouse, we see the Cape Creek Bridge.  We drove under the bridge to access the parking lot for the Lighthouse.

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This is the most common view of the bridge, taken from the pedestrian trail to the Lighthouse. Some time, I’d like to hike upstream (we’re on the downstream side) to see what that view looks like.

In Newport OR, next to the Rogue Brewing Company Headquarters (great lunch and my sons tell me great beer!!) stands the Yaquina Bay Bridge.  My lovely bride ‘googled’ this bridge and found that it is one of the most photographed bridges in the world.  After seeing it in person, I’m not surprised.  I chose the absolute worst conditions  to shoot the bridge, and it shows.  In the famous words of Douglas MacArthur, ‘I shall return.’  Until then, this is the best I can offer.

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Yaquina Bay Bridge, notes for next time: don’t shoot in the middle of the day; don’t shoot in overcast conditions; move either upstream or downstream for a better view.

On the way home, we drove through central OR.  After fueling the car and ourselves in the quaint little town of Mitchell (one gas pump in a dirt lot – analog gauges in 10 cent increments; one great little café), we drove a few miles to the Painted Hills.  Here, the skies were awesome and the scenery gorgeous.  I loved how these came out.  (Susan took a picture of me taking a picture of the hills – it’s now my cover page on Facebook – check it out!)

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I thanked the photo gods for the great sky – and the cool temperatures from the rain. Go see this beautiful place!

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We will definitely go back to see this place again – hopefully in the evening ‘Golden Hour’ to catch some awesome light!

I hope you enjoyed this brief look into our vacation.  Please take a look at the ‘Vacation – July 2015’ folder for more pictures.

Enjoy – PHOTOROGR

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On the road with ‘fresh eyes’ – Part 1

A few days after my last post, my lovely bride and I loaded the Escape and headed west.  Our ultimate destination was south-central Washington state, to attend our grandson’s birthday party.  For a little extra fun, we chose to drive up the California coast and into Oregon before we headed inland.  This was not my first time on a coast but, having been born and raised in the high plains of a landlocked state (Wyoming) and currently living in the high desert (Nevada), seeing the vast expanse of water with nothing (figuratively, not literally) on the horizon was different and fun.  We also experienced an unknown phenomenon called ‘humidity.’  We’re told they have it there all the time – how very interesting.

One of my photography and Photoshop mentors (and very good friend) has been blogging about travel photography recently.  She and her hubby travel often, so she has vast experience and knowledge on the subject.  She encourages her readers to take lots of pictures when traveling.  Please forgive me, Katie, I tried but probably didn’t take as many as I could or should have.  The engineer in me just can’t take pictures just to consume pixels.  Someday I’ll get over it – I hope.

In addition to birthday presents and our bags, I packed all the camera bodies and lenses for the trip.  My lovely bride expressed an interest in using a ‘big camera’ on this trip, so the Canon EOS Rebel XSi was hers to use.  I had to be on top of my game to explain the photography concepts I’ve been struggling to learn.  I enjoyed trying to put into words the actions/effects of and relationship between aperture, shutter speed, and ISO in making images.  The part I liked best, however, was her fresh perspective on photo composition.  Susan is a quilter and tole painter, and her artistic eye is vastly different from mine.  As expected, we took many pictures of the same subject, but our interpretations and capture rarely showed the same subject.  The wildlife photographer in me, combined with my engineering background, makes me work to get close to a subject, while she takes a broader view.  Not surprisingly, her images are very good, and I enjoyed the experience of learning to look at things differently.  I hope her influence helps me be a better photographer, in the same way that she helps me be a better person.

Let’s get to the pictures.  I’m still working on pictures from the trip so you won’t see everything in this post.  This first group are shots along the California coast – I don’t recall specific locations.

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Several days after I took this picture, I found a wonderful book on landscape photography. The authors recommend putting something in the image that helps establish scale, such as people. In this image, I have people and the added benefit of the road and stairs at the right to establish scale. Sometimes I get very lucky.

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I had seen this rock with the hole from a previous stop. My pictures emphasize the rock and Susan’s introduced a little vegetation in the foreground.

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This is Susan’s interpretation of the scene. Very nice!

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Long ago, I learned that you must look everywhere when shooting. This is the view in the opposite direction from the above images.

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These images created lots of discussion between us. I favor the wider view showing the end of the land mass at the upper left and the hint of the tree at the right…

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…but my lovely bride preferred more of the tree and less of the land mass. Both are very nice, I think. If you have a preference, please make a comment.

We spent the night at Ft. Bragg CA.  Our hotel was called the Emerald Dolphin and they had a miniature golf course, with a free round included with our hotel room.  After a long day in the car, a little mini golf was great.  Nope, we didn’t keep score, but I’m certain that my lovely bride took the trophy!

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Taken with my cell phone. The best camera is the one in your hand!

On our way out of Ft. Bragg, we stopped at Glass Beach.  The views were gorgeous, but we got caught up in the wildlife.  I am a wildlife photographer, after all.

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From the path above the ‘beach.’ It was overcast on most of the trip along the coast, which made for challenges while shooting. I wasn’t able to get those amazing Pacific Coast sunsets.

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The Harbor Seals were enjoying low tide. I think this is a young one.

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Another Harbor Seal. We decided that Harbor Seals are kind of homely when they’re just laying around.

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While shooting the Seals, we happened upon a Seagull nest with a little one. This little guy was very active and put on quite a show. The wildlife photog in me was ecstatic.

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I’m not sure if it was just stretching or checking me out…

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We’re not sure which parent this is. Both were present while we were there.

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In this setting, the Seals don’t move very quickly. Not like the wild horses and raptors I usually shoot.

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The Seals are barely visible in the top third of this image. I was struck by the rock on the bottom left…so similar to a Seal…

The last images for this post come from the Heceta Head Lighthouse in Oregon.  Do a quick Google search for Heceta Lighthouse and you’ll find lots of information.  This is one of many lighthouses built along the Oregon coast, and is currently owned and maintained by Oregon Parks and Recreation.  We took the brief tour and learned about the unique Fresnel lenses that concentrate the light, focusing it in one direction.  The landscape shots were made from a scenic overlook just south of the lighthouse.  The lightkeeper’s residence can be seen in the last image.  They were preparing for a wedding at the residence when we were there – what a fun venue for a wedding.

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Great view!

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This image represents another of those ‘fresh eye’ moments. Susan requested images of the lighthouse with the tree in the foreground. I wouldn’t have done it if she hadn’t asked.

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I worked hard to capture the light as it rotated around. I’d love to be there on a foggy evening to capture the beam of light sending its warning to ships on the ocean.

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Sometime, I’ll get a wide angle lens to remove some of the perspective. Maybe they’d let me bring in a ladder? Probably not.

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The view from the trail to the lighthouse.

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A wider view with the lightkeeper’s residence visible. Could you imagine living there and raising a family? We learned that they had a school on site for the children.

Well, that’s all for today.  There will be many more pictures in future posts.  After all, we visited an aquarium and a brewery, saw several great bridges, and more beautiful scenery.  Oh yeah – we stayed in a bed and breakfast that was originally a Sears kit house!

Enjoy – PHOTOROGR

Happy 4th of July!

Can you believe that it’s July?  The calendar year is half over, but the business year is not.  Next month will be one year since I decided to become a full-time photographer.  Am I making lots of money?  No, but I’m having a lot of fun and my knowledge of photography and photo editing is growing by leaps and bounds.  You’ll see some of that growth in this post.  For the business year – It’s time for me to report my business assets to the County Assessor for tax purposes.  I think I can get everything together and look forward to the tax bill.

But first, an update on the wild horses.  Until last week, I have been photographing four bands in the area.  The studs are Blue, Blondie, Socks, and Shorty.  Please also recall that we have a group of bachelor studs, the ‘Boys’ Club,’ waiting for their turns to establish a band – Sampson, Jack, Little Socks, and Skip.  In a major power move, Shorty stole all of Socks’ mares so Socks is now a bachelor.  When I see him, he appears very lonely and forlorn.

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A very lonely Socks!

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He won’t even look at the camera.

I have a theory that Socks cut a deal with Shorty to look after the family while he took a little break.  I’m told that’s not a viable theory.

Here’s an image of Shorty’s band taken yesterday, with all of Socks’ mares and foals in the group.  Please don’t ask me which mares formerly belonged to Socks.

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They were enjoying a lazy day, just relaxing and not too concerned as I approached on foot.

And my buddy Blondie – remember the butt shot from my last post?  Well – late last week I found his band, parked, and approached on foot.  Blondie didn’t like that in the least!  For the first time, he ‘challenged’ my approach, actually running towards me.  He stopped when he could see me and I was never in any danger, but it made me a little more wary than usual of where he was while I made my images.

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Blondie keeping a very watchful eye on me!

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I only made a couple images due to Blondie’s obvious ‘discomfort’ with me being there. I like this one – I think it’s Little Scarlett and Mama.

Yesterday, Blondie’s band was across a small valley from Shorty’s band.  As I approached in the PHOTORANGER, Blondie gathered everyone up and off they went.  I’m not sure what I did to make him mad.

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Blondie’s band moving off. Horse butt pictures aren’t really exciting, but I like the pattern created by the numerous rears as they walked away.

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And Blondie, walking away – keeping himself between me and the band.

And what about the Boys’ Club?  Some of my friends have pictures of Socks with the Boys, but I don’t have any as yet.  I found the Boys close to some of the houses, just being boys.

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Our temperatures have been high the last couple weeks, with intermittent rain and thunderstorms.  We have a fire south of us that has burned 18 square miles.  Thankfully, the wind has blown the smoke away (and my power bill likes that!).  Since I melt at about 85 degrees (figuratively, not literally), my shooting time is short, leaving me lots of time to stay indoors and work on my editing skills.  A really BIG SHOUT OUT to my Photoshop mentors (you know who you are!!), who helped me over a giant hump in learning a couple techniques.  Here are a couple of images I edited this week – see if you can identify the changes I made!  Hint – they’re very subtle.

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This is Little Jo with Mom, Dad, and several other members of the band. The exposure is way off and there is the horse at the bottom of the shot who just doesn’t belong.

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Through the magic of Photoshop, I removed the horse at the bottom of the picture and rescued my poor shooting. The result is very pleasing, I think. Oh yeah, Blue is facing the camera behind the black horse. That’s not him on the left.

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During the winter months, the Raptors migrate through the Carson Valley. Photo opportunities are everywhere. I caught this juvenile Red Tailed Hawk last February at one of the local ranches. Exposure has been one of my greatest challenges, and lately I’m getting a better handle on it.

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I think the image works better with him facing right instead of left, and I fixed my poor exposure and got a little closer.

The night skies have also called to me.  The sunsets have been gorgeous and I’ve worked on my ‘low light’ shooting while I’m out there.  Temperatures are much better when the sun goes down, so why not?

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I made this image from my backyard while we still had a hint of smoke from the wildfire.

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Another from my backyard, through the trees. The smoke is gone, but the storm clouds made gorgeous light!

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Same evening – different vantage point.

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…and a little to the right…

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A look at the Pergola in our backyard. This is looking northeast, so the evening light is much different.

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One final night shot. This is looking southeast from my front yard. My neighbors very thoughtfully built this beautiful scene in the front corner of their yard. I photograph it often.

And I’ll close this post with a couple images of the PHOTORANGER in action.  This little truck has been a great addition to the stable, and I continue to be impressed with its performance in the field.  I took my father-in-law out to look for the wild horses yesterday.  He was impressed with the truck, but said he preferred the ‘softer’ ride of the other cars.  I understand completely.

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Enjoy – and have a wonderful 4th of July!  God Bless America!  PHOTOROGR