Early Fall In Montana

Ten years ago when I visited Montana, I was impressed by its majestic mountains and bold scenery. On the recent second visit, I found I am so in love of it.

The road to Logan Pass (from Avalanche to Jackson Glacier) was closed due to the freshly covered snow, we were just one day late. Fall colors inside the park have begun to pop on a big scale, beautiful, but not dramatic enough, a bit too early.  We missed out the drama, but no disappointment. It was misty and somewhat bleak; however, the view is no second to a sunshine and glorious day.

Due to weather condition, we decided not to hike any of the trails where I originally expected better photography opportunities. Particularly after my fall, I could manage to walk, but hiking was impossible.

The recent fire has taken away quite a bit of shine from MacDonald Lake. Without getting to the top viewpoints, this is the best I can get from the highway. The burn makes you sigh.

There are slight orange and red colors mixed in with the majority Yellow. Snow changed our itinerary; meanwhile, it provided us with stunning contrast colors. Nature simply knows how to present at its best in the different season and under various circumstances. Oh, Yellow, I have never been so attracted to the color, and so refreshed with its purity.

My dream shots around Lake Mcdonald cannot be fulfilled, instead, I snapped the one below that I love. Mountain, lake, cloud, snow, all colors, and reflection. In addition, this picture marks where I slipped and fell on the ice. I paid a fair price to take this picture. The outcome of my injury prevents me from sitting, but I am still anxious to share, at least some of them.

 

 

New York, New York (2) – Central Park, Skyscapers

New York is one of the ultimate destination for the tourists and photographers. I have been here numerous times, but the visit to Central Park is my first. Central Park occupies 842.60 acres, more than 5 times of Washington Park in Oregon. I entered the south entrance on 59th street and later discovered that I had to go out of the park and re-entered from 105th street entrance to access the north section of the park which ends on 110th street.

Thought to photograph some fall colors at Central Park, but prime time was over, and I don’t think the tree varieties here generate stunning colors as we have here in Northwest. For one thing, mountains are more superior than buildings as background. There are plenty of space and greens, but wherever you go, you are in the vicinity of the high-rise structures.  I guess it is not so bad to enjoy building/ vegetation mixed reflection which has a character of its own.

Wheather you jog along the reservoir or ice skate at Wollman Rink, you are looking into NYC ‘mountains’.  The shape and structure of the Bow Bridge are appealing. What I like the most is the walking steps wrapped under and hidden inside of the facade. In other words, you cannot see the steps from each side of the bridge.  Bethesda fountain angel statue is common, but it becomes interesting when I witnessed the flock of pigeons landing and forming that familiar sculpture…

You may have seen the giant bubbles at an amusement park or on a busy beach. I was amazed how the bubbles were formed and checked online. There are ‘recipes’ to make large bubbles, really. It is only in Central Park where I expected to see several groups of photographers filming broadcasting subjects.

Architecture in NYC is what interests me the most among the abundant resource of everything, vintage and contemporary. In Europe, we see classics, and here we get to appreciate both. The skyscrapers erect high in the sky and split the blue sky into chunks and strips. They are like a herd of horses sticking their heads up and racing to take up the sky. I meant to take more people pictures, but I could not resist the grandeur above.

Not only during the day, the night sky is also as charming as the day. When I looked into the night sky at home, I was aiming at stars. However, at this moment of time in New York City, I forgot about stars… I only saw the smogged cloud on the dark canvas and the mystical peace of the night.

Before this trip, I purposely avoided viewing other people’s pictures. Many excellent works of iconic landmarks are existing and very accessible online. I feel that I don’t need to jam in thinking that I can do better with these iconic shots. I cannot, particularly in a short stay roaming around town without a tripod.

Fall is a family photo season

Fall brings natural and stunning background for family pictures.  The soft glowing sunlight highlights the ambiance and dramatizes the result.On top of all the natural elements, this beautiful family was dressed so nicely that the colors of their apparels echo the colors of the environment.  It was a very enjoyable photography session.

Taking candid shots have been my favorite thing to do. Including wedding and family portraits, I am in favor of simultaneous moments and natural expressions. Just let the kids play is my preferred way to snap their pictures. I never asked kids to ‘cheeze’.

 Can you imagine how much fun the kids can get out of the piles of fallen leaves?

It was great fun to photograph this lovely family. Beautiful people, beautiful color, and beautiful light. I did the very minimal adjustment. The environment elements do most of the work.

Note: These pictures are posted with the permission of the family for your eyes pleasure only.                     Please respect the copyright.

 

Blur

Everyone wants to take sharp pictures, not necessarily me. I do want the details of my flower images to be crisp and sharp. I think the facial expression of the portraits should be clearly illustrated. Otherwise, I really love shallow depth of field with that blurry or fuzzy backdrop.

I am still playing with Lensbaby lenses. This one has a slice focus that I love. I can get more blur using a larger aperture, but that small slice is certainly hard to aim.  Tripod makes the focus easier, but not for the moving subjects I am more interested.

Born without drawing talent, I was also born with impatience.  Hand painting is a mission-impossible endeavor for me. And that’s when the photography came in. It satisfied me when my photograph resembles a painting or painterly like. You know, we always desire something we don’t have.

You saw the trees, a small piece of yellow, a park bench, and this dedicated runner in the col;d morning. It’s a bit story-telling shot, I thought. Fall is stepping in. I love to see the color change. I cannot wait for fall colors. (Above image is a regular lens panning.)

Standing by the entrance of the bridge, I pointed my camera at the bridge and snapped whenever someone with colored clothing came through. In that case, nobody (except the photographers) would think I am taking their pictures.

Autumn Rain Brings Fall Colors

 
Eugene is a nice and decent size town, but it is not as resourceful as I like it to be. Driving on the freeway is not my favorite thing to do, but I have often been going back and forth between here and up north to procure what’s missing here. It is surely not fun to drive on freeway particularly in the rain. In fact, it is very dangerous. 
My driving history is not as long as the regular folks here. I don’t have any breaking record to be proud of, but I did have a few very scaring experience. The most recent one was just less than ten days ago. It rained so hard on the freeway that I could not see the car ahead of me not mentioning the cars behind.  My windshield wipers worked as hard as they could, but still not fast enough to give me a clear view. I thought to pull over, but I could not see far enough to make any move.
I saw rainbow, double rainbows actually. The rainbow colors turned extremely bright at some point when the background color is light and then dimmed down when they hit the dark mountain range.  The scene was so dramatic and so unprecedented that I desired so hard to make a stop somewhere and snap a shot. But I knew it is a mission impossible and I should not even take my eyes off  the road… Rain diminished and so were the rainbows. But that glory-like moment is still in my mind.
Rain washes, cleanses and wipes the grasses green. Acres of green fields, sea of trees with fall colors, rivers and lakes and the reflections on them have composed a breath-taking landscape. The scene of Willamette Valley that I saw from the airplane is absolutely stunning!  On this note, I think it worthwhile to exchange for falling short of resources here.
Autumn rain brings fall colors. I ran out of the door with my raincoat and camera rain jacket when I saw the trees spotted with fall colors. I have been waiting for the leaves to turn colors and these few colors are enough to get me out of the house. There are many shades of red and this red looks so fresh and so clean that it stands out among brown tree barks, evergreens and the beige house in the background. It was a cloudy day, a better day to portrait autumn in many ways.

Inside the white fence is a large piece of property with a house sitting far away from the road. The wide open field is just right there, I guess, to be the barrier between the house and the street. It looks like a horse property, but I have never seen any horse (or even people) around. The owner must like the secluded living.  I have always had my eyes on this place because of the open space, the row of the trees and the white fence. I cannot tell you why I like white fence. Maybe I wish I have a horse and can ride my horse at my own property. And, I would love to live in a place like this. Quiet, secluded, open and surrounded by nature.

I took this picture to compare with the other one I took last year in a foggy day (see my previous blog “GotCha Fog”. Can you believe how different it is when two pictures are taken at the same spot at two different time of the season?

Not having to drive on the freeway, local park is my other place to shoot fall colors. When the colors are intense and there are many colors, I feel like to paint over them and turn them into something more artistic. However, I just came back from a trip and did not have time to play with them. Instead, I used several different preset to give all images a bit of painterly look.
My corn flower is still blooming since I got it six months ago. New growth is still popping. It is not influenced by cool weather and rain at all. I have taken many and decided to take another shot today.
The flower colors are still as vivid and bright as they have been that is truly amazing.  No post processing was done. What you see is what it looks. Although they are not your typical fall colors, but I count them fall colors because they are the colors that I see in this cold days.

It is the rain that brings all the beautiful fall colors. I like to believe it and I like rain.

Fall color or Make your own color

 
We wore shorts and short sleeves 75% of the time while in Italy. In just a few weeks, autumn weather is here at home. I was hoping to catch the last glimpse of remaining flower blooms in my yard, but they had way passed the prime.  I guess I can always shoot something from what’s left, but I cannot bear to observe the desolate look. Winter will be long, but I absolutely want the best of them in my photo library.
We are blessed with a mild summer. Sunshine is still pouring lavishly in September and even in this October morning. I have seen red maple leaves spattered on the ground in the neighborhood, but it is not quite the same at local parks. It has something to do with the elevation.

I was looking for some colors, but Fall has not put on her wardrobe here. I was happy when these two people walking into the scene and heartily greeted me like I am their old friend.
 

Enjoyment is to walk the golden path with a good friend in good rhythms and hand in hand. Thankfully and unexpectedly became my subject. One wears red and the other blue like they know exactly what I want.

My personal preference is to have my trees and plants neatly trimmed and organized. Trailing flowers are charming sometimes if they are ‘groomed’ and not overly intrusive.

This flower plant grows on the long and stringy stems which are very coarse and intertwined. Erecting upright from the ground, they still look like weeds to me. I don’t dislike them, but I think they need a make over.

This morning I snapped a monochrome shot and thought I like it much better than its original colors (purple flowers and green stems). Better yet, I added slight texture and pour some red wine on it.  Suddenly I saw rhinestones sparkling on a dual tone velvet robe. So I dreamed it along…

 
Married to someone who does not complain has taught me to turn the claim and complaint to improvements and inspirations. If I am not pleased with what I have or what I see, I work out a way to ease and please myself particularly now camera is my loyal friend to help me in the process.
 
I attended a worldwide Photowalk last Saturday. The event is aimed to support Kenya Orphanage. On that note, I was gladly to get up 5:30am in order to meet up with the group in Lake Oswego according to the schedule. Nothing is more fulfilling to hang out with the group of people with common interest and passion.  We started our walk at Farmers Market, a very nice one which is surrounded by park, nice restaurants and shops.  
It rained before our arrival. Outside seating was still covered with large water puddles and drops.
I was taking reflection pictures, but I did not like the building reflections. When the image was downloaded and brought in close, I saw ‘etched glass’.  Sunny side color is lighter and shady side darker. Taupe and Mauve, not natural fall colors, but why not? To take it to the next notch, I threw in some fall colors that I just took along the road pretending that I saw fall colors through the reflections.

 

Art has no rules.  Colors, impressions, inspirations are all in our mind. As long as you open your mind, you would begin to see things. I don’t want to play your mind either. I am just writing what’s come to my mind.
Two week’s indulgence in farm fresh Italian food,  my eyes were on organic vegetables and fruits. I cannot stop thinking about the juicy tomatoes and crunchy pears we had there. I am dragging to buy hothouse tomatoes or the fruits that were harvested way before the maturity and have been refrigerated before they hit the marketplace. 
People in this market want volume and therefore, the merchants figured out the means to expedite the fast and mass production. We consumers either have to deal with chemicals or ‘organic’ prices. The good news is, farmers market is becoming more trendy and popular.

Brussels sprouts is not necessarily the popular vegetable because of its bitter taste. But if the cooking is done right, the taste will actually grow in you.  At least that is my experience. Avocado is not an Asian vegetable and I have never tried it till just about ten years ago and now I love it.

Just about done with the last segment of the Walk, I discovered this Anemone. It is one of my most favorite flowers for macro shots. Unfortunately I lost my two plants in the last snow storm. Below is a quick snap without a tripod. I amplified the background and painted a little.  Temperature seems to be quite a bit lower today. The cool tones seem to illustrate the mood by itself without me even thinking about it.

Fall, Fog, Frost – thoughts in the walk

Sunshine is still beautiful but the temperature is way down. Fall chill is definitely here.  There have been many foggy mornings.  The fog was so dense that I could only see one car ahead of me, not further.  This reminds me of my days living in Sacramento in winter time.  The density of the fog is so intense that I had no clue what’s in front of me driving on freeway.  I wanted to get off the freeway, but I could not find the exit. Traffic signs and exit entrance were completely fogged. Other than that, I love fog, particularly in colorful fall days.
I have tried to catch a right moment to go out and take some foggy shots. Being a computer addict, it is so easy for me to forget time. One moment I think the fog is too dense to shoot anything and the other moment I am too late. Finally I just took off early in the morning and I am so glad that I did.
The smoked and fogged woods bring me to think of traditional Chinese painting, the understated style. Maple leaves are more a burgundy color, but they look orange under morning sun. Maple tree is the focal point, the attraction. If not for the fainted background, the orange won’t look so distinctive.
I read a book titled Quiet. It does a thorough analysis on introvert people and how our society functions with both the introvert and extrovert. Introvert tends to think more and more resistant to act while extrovert is inclined to talk more and more daring to adventure. So there are thinkers and there are adventurers. We need the introvert to plan and we also need the extrovert to act. I think it is our Creator’s work of art to piece two together.
Asian immigrants are often categorized as introvert, the quiet background. Native speakers are generally the extrovert, the center piece. I think it has definitely something to do with the comfort level of being an ESL (English as second language).
It is hard for me not to brag about Oregon. But if you can look at what I got in a simple and short morning walk in the park, you will be with me.  Everything is supposed to turn yellow, dry, faded and scattered, but I am seeing colors, life and vitality in a subtle way.
I walked by the river path. Steaming fog on the river created a milky background. If it is just a regular sunny day, these trees would never catch my eyes.
Ducks are everywhere here in Eugene. I stopped taking their pictures since last year. But when the fog layered fallen leaves on the pond, I saw this ducky sitting on an embroidered fabric. He was of course lifting his head and wondered why he suddenly became my interest.  He is free and lucky to be here.  If he lives in a China country town, he may sit motionlessly on a gourmet dining table now.
Speaking of embroidery, how that tiny spider weaves this intricate thing is beyond me. The frosted webs look like a superfine crystal necklace. I have learned again and again, not to ignore a small existence around us. There is a reason why they are co-existing with us. Either they are teaching us a lesson to be persistent and industrious or simply provide me a chance for a shot.
If not for the fog and the frost, I would not frame this shot for my simple pleasure. It is the variety of the elements make the image interesting. The vitality and energy of our society come from the combination of our differences and our co-existence. I am no longer thinking that I want to get out of the background. It is just fine to be wherever I am, there is always a purpose for whatever turns out to be. 
I have set myself a goal to dive in Photoshop and be able to share what I learn in my blog. But not until I am there, I don’t want to make any promise. I am the Quiet and I would rather speak when I am ready.