My daily walk path is trimmed with thistles. Whenever I walked by, I thought to come out something different than what I’ve done throughout the years. I tried to use different lens and did it in the different time of the season. In all, I think the ice-laced version is probably my most favorite.
Thistles are created to provide the food for birds. Other than a bit green and lavender colors in spring, it is dry and plain. Who knows they can be charming in the winter.
2020 is not a peaceful year and perhaps 2021, too. I think we just need to cope with the challenges by adjusting our lifestyle. Goodness often comes out of Madness. If not for the ice storm, I would not enjoy photographing the thistles.
When I was back to my blog, I decided that I will say less and show work more frequently. My goal is to continue my photography journey and turn my pictures into paintings as my inspiration leads me on. I admit that I cannot completely ignore the shocking global and local news, but at the very least that I can keep my head down and my heart calm.
From earth Green to fashion Blue, Yellow is my new favorite color, only certain shades of yellow however. In the midst of working on the background texture and color, White tone kept popping up. I guess heavy snowfalls in the country bother me. I would enjoy snow lots more if there is peace on earth and kids are out freely bashing at each other with snowballs.
After a long silence, I have decided to move on and get back to my routines.
From considerably reduced outing to staying home, I have put aside my camera and picked up the stylus to paint using my photograph as the starting point. Never painted before, it is a brand-new challenge and endeavor for me. I hope to get better as I am learning and exploring in the process.
The world is undergoing unprecedented chaos and unease. Back to Nature is the way to breathe fresh air and preserve conscience.
Twenty-five years ago when I decided to move to Oregon, my whole family objected to the ‘crazy’ idea. I met a new in-law at the wedding. He earnestly shook my hands (happy to know you) and immediately lifted his eyebrows in uncertainty when Oregon was mentioned. “Oregon? will I ever go there?”
Oregon is close to my California siblings and a natural and peaceful place to be. That’s all I knew. Honestly, I also had my doubt and a small degree of uncertainty and fear. Having been traveling all over the countries on business in my youth, I was so used to be the minority. But living is not the same as visiting.
The proof is, I am still here after 25 years and I am still loving Oregon. Eugene is legally defined as a city. She might be a small town in the eyes of New Yorkers, but the size does not impact the growth of diversity. I smile whenever I see cultural integration, the Westerners are engaging in Eastern art.
It’s entertaining and joyful to see Caucasian kids dressed like Asians. Colors are always wonderful, but the traditional fan adds its magic. Not just for curiosity, more Caucasian kids are learning Chinese Kong-Fu which cultivates strength, resistance, and practical self-defense skills. And, for the photographer, the motion blur created by the dance and kong-fu performance is very interesting.
If not for the annual Asian Celebration (the 32nd), I won’t have any idea about the varieties of ethnic groups living in town. People are so friendly and neighborly here. I have never felt that I am a minority. I am simply part of the community.
My goal of writing these blogs is to unveil the mystery of Oregon living and share with you what we do, where we go and daily life in general.
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 hikingtrails 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.
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.
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.
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.
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)