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.

Oregon lifestyle – why live in Oregon?

When I moved to Oregon more than two decades ago, one of my sales reps said to me, “What’s in Oregon besides Nature and Sports?” She said, ” Oregonians have nothing to do, and that’s why you go to the ball games.” I know it is our work relationship that she did not want me to leave California. And yet, deep inside, I was unsure myself if it was the right move. Then self-employed, I can live anywhere, why Oregon? Then self-employed, I could live anywhere. I was longing for peace and tranquility. Oregon is close to my California siblings. The green nature was calling.

I pulled my girls from their circle of friends and sustained their complaint, ” There are barely malls here and the boys all look so pale, no nurture of sunshine. ” Soon enough, they made friends in new schools and the comfort of mild weather bring them smiles.  The first thing I noticed myself moving here is the service quality offered by the retailers. The clerks are more caring and customer-service oriented. This is still true up to this day.

Oregon Coast

Here in Northwest, there are distinctive four seasons. You enjoy the mild spring and fall with the warmer and cooler pattern. Summer can be hot but dry, has never been scorching and sweating hot. The temperature all year round is within a comfortable range.  Speaking of Oregon, people often question about rain.  In fact, it does not rain all day long, and the vast green is a major reward. It may snow in wintertime, but very rarely and the snow does not stick for days. People here are actually longing for snow which will give kids a few fun days to walk on the snow and do a bit of sledding.

Four seasons :

Instead of going to the restaurants and shops, we go into Nature birding, camping, fishing, hiking, hunting, river rafting, rock climbing, skiing, and anything else Nature can offer.  Hiking and biking trails are around town and within reasonable reach. A healthy lifestyle comes natural living in the surroundings as such.

Trinity Lake

There is a reason why I become a photographer.  You may have heard that Oregon is the photographer’s haven. No shame to gain this name.  When my Taiwan college friends decide to have our reunion trip to Oregon, I was completely unsure of the outcome. To the end, I was confirmed and reconfirmed that the Oregon trip was an unforgettable one.  In the Northwest, we are granted a beautiful and natural living environment and have easy access to the mountains, rivers, waterfalls, creeks and even deserts. Geographic features vary from one region to the other within the State.

Sunrises at Crater Lake

The weather is nice. The scenery is awesome. The service quality is better. But how about Job opportunities? What to do here besides outdoor activities?  (to be continued)

 

It’s all about Kingfisher

It was 34 degree. The wind was blowing. A complete furnishing set of coat, scarf, stocking cap and glove is still not sufficient. I wondered where to find birds in this bleak weather and environment at first.

One red-tail Hawk perched on a distant tree and one Northern Harrier were digging something on the ground, but they were so distant that my longest lens could not do justice. On the way out, we spotted this Kingfisher on the limb (if you can find it in the picture) and Great Blue Heron down below. Apparently, they were aiming at the same target – fish. Far as it appears, this is probably the closest encounter I ever had with a Kingfisher. Closer but still not close enough. Considerable details are lost after cropping and zooming. Still, this is so far the best Kingfish picture I have. The quest for a BETTER bird picture continues…

However, if not for this picture, I would never notice the interesting white spots circled around its wing. And, do you know he raised his tail when he calls? (see the image below)

The weather was not encouraging. I expected nothing to begin, but now I have a closer look at my favorite bird, back, front and sides. How cool is that? I am a true believer of JUST DO IT and EXPECT UNEXPECTED.

Barely Fall Colors

Out chasing fall colors, but nothing but yellow and occasional orange and red.  Waterfalls are not one of my favorite subjects, but it is now my only option. Rarely I used my tripod but I did it this time except that the wind kept blowing and the dancing leaves appeared blurry…

Wanting some fall colors in the scene, but the gushing water was overpowering.

Not exactly what I came here for, but I accomplished one thing – took my tripod out of the trunk.

Joseph – a Jewel of Oregon

Walking down the street, I thought this fair lady is waiting to cross the street. I waited and waited, but she did not move…

I am afraid of mice since I was little. However, I cannot help not to photograph this cute guy. I have seen blackbirds and egrets on the back of a cow, but a mouse on the nose of a moose seems new. Their little chitchat is intimate and friendly.

Two simple traditional horseshoes plus a small coil of wire are turned into a cowboy roper who is furnished with a cowboy hat and bandana. A small piece of whimsical art like this makes me smile.

Joseph, one of my favorite destination, is located in northeastern Oregon, on the foot of Wallowa Mountains – the ‘Swiss Alps’ of Oregon. Aside from her picturesque landscape, this town is full of sculpture artisans who produce amazing copper sculptures.  No place is like Joseph where you are surrounded by beautiful copperworks and gorgeous landscape.

Hay Bales

‘Three Sisters’, Bend, Oregon

Mountains are beautiful, but I took the picture because of the sage green hay bales. Either they are squares, rolls or piles, I just like them to be my subject. Brown haybales are what I usually see and that makes these sage green ones special.

On a special project, I might not be as punctual as I used to.

 

Mount Rainier

It’s a majestic mountain under the sunset light. I enjoyed the peace, the colors and the layers.

So many iconic images created in the popular Paradise area. I feel that I don’t need to step into the already over-populated zone.  Played a little with my Lensbaby and came out couple favs. 

Almost everyone is looking into the mountain. I happened to see the charm of the lodge.

A simple path among the sea of the trees. Mountain does not need to be my subject. I found the casual pace of the visitors bring me calmness and inner joy.

Columbia Gorge

If you come to Oregon, you don’t want to miss Columbia River Gorge.

Broader view from Women’s Forum

Last September, a 15-year old teenager’s fireworks triggered a significant wildfire in Columbia Gorge area. I have often wondered how the damage impacted the view pointers like Multnomah Falls, Vista House, and Women’s Forum.

View Vista House from Women’s Forum

View from Vista House

Passing through two days ago, I am excited to see ‘business as usual’ and all three viewpoints are open to the visitors.