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 – what to do?

A clear and bright winter day is precious since Oregonian’s slogan is ‘rain or shine, business as usual.’ We packed up our cameras and went on a birding drive. Within a 25 mins drive distance from home, we had great fun ‘capturing’ various flyers.

In Oregon, when you are out of the house, you are quickly stepping into nature. When the birds sing, you can hear it. When they fly, you can easily follow them around.  Western Meadowlark is about, but they are usually too far away for a clear shot. Just when I thought I finally grabbed him standing in the perfect light (and close enough), he suddenly turned his head, and my click sound scared him away. Luckily I was able to record their songs.

Spring lambs are out running after their Moms. The adults are hairy enough to be sheared.  The bird buddies enjoyed being cushioned on their backs. Here I see not only nature but also harmony among the creatures. Very often, I feel I am inspired and touched by mother nature. It is the life in Oregon that drives me to observe all these amazing things behind nature.

I live in the 3rd largest city Eugene where there might not have abundant job opportunities like Portland, but the work-from-home folks and people who are in public services still have plenty of jobs to pursue. Many private small businesses offer a family-like working environment where the task becomes a pleasure and co-workers like your family or friends.  With its central location, you can travel north or south to other big cities. Go west to the Pacific Ocean (the famous Oregon coast) and east to Central and Eastern Oregon, the high desert area where you go for recreational activities, e.g., hiking and skiing. *Oregon is unique for its versatile geological features, you see it all in one state. In addition to the 50 hiking trails within reach, there are 100 miles of biking trails. Imagine biking along the river…

Portland, including metropolitan areas, covers a significant ground. Obviously, it is the business and career central. However, unlike other big cities, Portland is beautiful, natural, and has easy access to the nature-enhanced living.   Columbia River Gorge, Willamette River, Mount Hood, and countless scenic sites by the river, on the mountain top, or solely around the city.

Salem is the 2nd largest city with the typical capital city ambiance, clean and organized. If you like to have steady government jobs, this is where you want to be. In fact, you can commute from other smaller towns with short driving distance. Usually, ‘downtown’ does not translate the pleasant feelings, but it’s enjoyable to hang out downtown Salem classic neighborhood and riverfront.

Eugene is a college town, cultural and intellectual. It is also a center of artists who create unique artwork and art pieces. I like the ‘just right’ population size, the easy and fast access to nature and the friendly residents here.

(Oregon Lifestyle – 3)

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)

 

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.

 

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.

 

Morning Inspiration

It’s a hint of rainbow colors, a subtle highlight of the background,  a natural phenomenon, a God’s covenant, a divine promise… whatever on your mind is whatever it should be. How you see it is most important.

It’s a bright early morning on a chilly day. With Sun included, nobody was anxious to rise and shine. This party of Mother and Boy inspired me to pull my head out of the stocking cap, and hands from the gloves.

Looking at either of the pictures, I feel energized and relaxed at the same time.

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.