Simply Oregon

People are tired of staying home, but not all can easily get out of the house and enjoy the peace of quiet and solitude. But here, a 10-min drive will get you somewhere with greens, colors, wildlife, and nature songs like creek water and bird calls.

Came from a densely-populated city, this natural and wild environment is fresh air for me. When I left Taiwan 30+ years ago, the only bird I ever noticed is the sparrow and now ‘new’ birds are being added to my list of hundreds regularly.  Frogs are nothing uncommon but I have never seen 8 of them in a short walk, and, it’s my first time seeing a toad.

Back in April, the strawberries from the local farms are absolutely godly delicious. I don’t buy lbs or baskets, I bought flats (12 baskets) to enjoy them fresh, make fruit desserts and jams. Even in a gourmet store, you cannot find homemade jams with authentic (non-hot house) and fresh strawberries.

When the strawberry fever is diminishing, we have Blueberries to expect for July-Aug. Lots of organic farms as well as U-pick places. The large (kids call it ‘Jumbo’), juicy, and sweet blueberries are fearlessly tempting to kids and adults.

The United States is one of the main hazelnuts producers in the world and Oregon produces 99% of the American hazelnuts in the beautiful Williamette Valley. Not only possesses high nutrition value, but Hazelnuts also have a distinctive flavor that does not exist in other nuts.

A relaxing Friday, nothing dramatic, simply Oregon.

A Past-Due Post

It’s a summer July day. Sun is aggressively scorching the ground. I took a morning walk to skip the heat and now in the shade, being combed by the breeze and listing to the fountain water sound. Oregon summer can be hot but never been intolerable. Temperature ranges from high 50 to low 80 in a day is normal and this comfortable range lasts from June to September or even October.

I had my first real estate listing in March, sold the house on the second day of my first open house, the absolutely last weekend before the open house was banned due to coronavirus.  A second deal came to me while I was working on the first deal. As a result, first deal was closed in April and the second one in May.  Real Estate is a brand-new advendure for me and I’ve invested my mind and soul into it. An intensive couple of months plus the coronavirus spread have made me wander my second move.

Short-Earred Owl

Work has never bothered me, but days without camera were hard. I kept feeling that I missed something, I think, due to lack of creativity output regularly. Not pursuing perfect bird images, bird walks give me chance to easily stay in touch of my camera and the Nature. So we made a camping trip to the wildlife refuge. Have not camped for years, I was concerned that we might miss lots of essential items, but as it turns out, we have brought everything we need, had a great time and now in the process of planning any trip.

MacGillivray’s Warbler

Walking through the trail with birds flying, calling and singing from both sides of the trail is an amazing experience. For bird lovers, any discovery of a new bird is rewarding. So many targets are within the range and some of them are so colorful… at some point, I did not know where to aim my camera. Wablers are my favorite, but they are small, move fast and hard to be photographed.

Cedar WaxwingCommon Yellowthroat is commonly-known, but I have never seen one. Not until recently I began to identify their call and unexpected, I was able to capture a few shots. Besides Cedar Waxwing, this cute warbler has become my new love.

Common Yellowthroat

After a long pause, I am glad that I am back, blogging and sharing. More about Oregon Life to come.

Stay Home

Where do I begin… I had my first listing in Oregon. Oregon announced the first case of coronavirus… My birding trip was canceled… I had the first open house and accepted a full price offer on the second day of the open house… Eugene and Springfield area (where I live) had the first and second case of coronavirus earlier last week and both were dead!… Oregon announced the state of emergency last Wednesday, today re-enforced ‘stay home’  and I am now homebound and working from home.

It might be difficult for some people not to constantly connected with the family, friends and the social circle. Otherwise, it is a good time to simply relax, ponder and find a focus on something that you don’t normally do or something that you wanted to do, but have not had chance to do.

Sunrise at Crater Lake

Haven’t done a lot, but I always like black and white images from which you are drawn to focus your mind on fewer details than being overwhelmed by colors and details.

Spark Lake

Took a short drive to Spark Lake with my daughter and her family last year, I ended up with hundreds of kids’ pictures. My attention went to every single move of the kids. The scenery was ‘just’ background for the little ones. If I am not staying home now, quiet and calm, this image would not pop up on me.

A Foggy Morning

We should stay home away from the crowd, but we don’t need to stay away from nature. This pond is only 15 mins drive away from my house.   I can come here to listen to the bird’s chirp and watch the ducks play.

Oregon Lifestyle – 2

On the recent trip to California for a family matter, I saw California is not as brown as it used to. The snowfall has passed down south, and water enriched the land.  Interstate 5 is the primary channel to connect California and Oregon. I barely used my camera inside California, but when the scenery began to change, and I constantly had the urge to raise my camera, I know I am closer to home in Oregon. This time instead of going all the way I-5 north, we decided to take Hwy 97 north… and pretty soon, my camera battery was exhausted.

Born as a Chinese and cultivated as one, I have a strong tie attached to the culture and am so easily attracted to that smokey and dreaming ambiance in a traditional Chinese brush painting. We could not stop at the freeway, and the windshield is filthy. The wind blew hard, an attempt to open the sunroof failed. So I began to shoot through the window.

I like things to be natural, authentic, and less man-made.  The above picture has a blue hue out of the camera, and the image below is almost black and white.

It came the sunset time, the golden tone was coated on everything. So pure and so original.

We love to photograph birds because Oregon has so many of them. The region we drove by was frozen solid, but Raptors are aggressive predators, and they were almost the only ones around besides a couple of Bald Eagles whose white head stood out on the snow.

I hang out with many seasoned birders, but I have to confess that I don’t make efforts to identify the birds or keep track of the bird count. I simply enjoy them and care mostly about how the image turns out.

Simple but Not

Red-wing Blackbirds are so common in the wildlife refuges. I usually don’t pay much attention to them.  But when they are there  in flocks and flying around. I felt I need to do something about it and this something can not be a ‘Just a blackbird’ shot.

First and an easy one, press the shutter when the bird sings.

Even better, when the bird flapped its red wings. It looks like a King-Kong in this pose.

And, it took off in that split second and I captured it ! Can be better if it was not cloudy, but hey, this is my first.

Birds of the Week

Wet and cold winter linger. Except a few early blooms, colors are sporadic and barely visible.  Bird activities seems to usually start in February and that’s where my camera goes.

In my continuous pursuit of Western bluebirds, I found them in more places. They are around, but if not for the luck, they are usually too distant to reach. I desired a clear shot with their gorgeous feather fully shown, but whenever that opportunity popped up, they were in the shade.  It seems to me that their natural instinct teaches them the risk of fatal attraction.Black Phobes are common here. They don’t have dramatic outlook and thus can enjoy their freedom everywhere.  We all want to be unique and outstanding, but being ordinary is not necessarily a bad thing.

Cedar Waxwing is one of my all-time favorites. I have enough of their pictures, but I can never get tired of taking more.

I am not a serious birder. I am in for good images (and the satisfaction of seeing), not for number counts. However, I am happy to add a new bird to my list. This Oak Timouse finally came closer for a shot, but it’s an early morning of a cloudy day…

I thought this is a new bird, but they are juvenile Western Bluebird.

They wear red caps like Acorn Woodpecker, but Nuttall’s Woodpeaker has striped outfit.

Thriving trees and shrubs are in the vicinity, but Acorn Woodpecker is doing his woodwork on somebody’s house.  If your house is aged, be aware.

Enough of birds, I am longing for spring colors, or, more new birds.

 

Sunshine Act

Nature provides me inspiration. Sunshine brings me energy. Nature was my comfort zone and now I am chasing sunshine. Not only me, birdies are more active when they have more choices of berries and seeds. At least I have not seen a gold finch hanging himself upside down till now.

So hard to capture a warbler. They are so fast-paced that chance to have a clear shot depends purely on luck. When the light is good, success rate increases. I have not photographed them from this angel.

And guess what, sunshine brought me a golden opportunity to capture my favorite bird, another Western Bluebird:

Bluebird

Completely unexpected, I ran into a small flock of bluebirds. I may have seen one from distance in the past. This first closer encounter has made my day. Though he hid himself in the shade, I am content with what I got. You know I will continue to pursue that perfect shot particularly such a gorgeous creature.

Bewick’s Wren is not uncommon, but a clear shot in the right angle does not come easy. Two favorite birds in a shoot, I call it a good day.