Musings with Camera in Hand

Belinda Greb – The Photographic Journey


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Silver Falls State Park – Waterfalls

Late Spring and early June, I returned to Silver Falls State Park to take the Trail of Ten Falls Hike. Last year, I had my dog with me, and this particular trail does not allow dogs, so I was excited to finally be able to see the beautiful waterfalls on this 8-9 mile trail.

This hike does not disappoint.  It is relatively easy and there are plenty of beautiful waterfalls throughout the hike. I did took one wrong fork so I ended up on Maple Ridge Tail missed the Lower South Falls. I ended up with two uphill sections, in order to see South Falls, but it was well worth it! Also, there were lovely wildflowers about, the weather was perfect, and there was plenty of water in the falls!

These pictures and much more can be find at my main website – BelindaGrebPhotography.com. See the sidebar for other sites. Next month I will be featuring my trip to Alaska where I was blown away by the beautiful scenery and excited by my encounters with moose, brown bears, Humpback whales and much more! I hope you are enjoying your summer.

Behind South Falls

Behind South Falls

South Falls During Spring

South Falls During Spring

At the Foot of South Falls, No. 2

At the Foot of South Falls, No. 2

At the Foot of South Falls

At the Foot of South Falls

Splendor at South Falls

Splendor at South Falls

Lower North Falls

Lower North Falls

Double Falls

Double Falls

Middle North Falls

Middle North Falls

Looking Out From Under North Falls

Looking Out From Under North Falls


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Back to Burns, Malheur and the Wild Horses

If I had the time and money, I’d make the trip to Burns at least once a month.  My heart is so attached to the wild horses that I see out there, in addition to the wide variety of birds to be sighted around Burns and at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.  It’s not a huge trip for me, four hours, but long enough to require at least one night’s stay, and better with two, since once you get out there, the driving doesn’t stop.  South Steens Mountain is about 50 miles south of Burns which will take you through Malheur NWR and the small historical town of Frenchglen.  To really see all the area has to offer is to take forays down gravel roads and I have even ventured at times onto deeply rutted dirt roads where I prayed that my car had the clearance to pass over boulders and ridges.  This last May trip, I also did a bit of walking by foot to reach the wild horses as the dirt road became impassable by my passenger car.  One note: I do try and stay at a respectable distance.  The horses will be aware of me from quite a distance, but I don’t want them to be uncomfortable with my presence.

This Spring the area looked generally much more lush than last year.  I stopped first to see the Palomino Buttes horses which are west of Burns.  I was looking forward especially to see a favorite, more approachable band, that as of Fall last year, consisted of the Palomino Stallion (some locals call him a Dunalino), his primary mare, Bella, two of her sons, Pallaton and Traveler, from prior years, and a filly from last year.  Also there was a bay mare and her colt, and another bay mare that had joined them sometime during the Summer or Fall.  (Some of the horses are named by the locals.)  I didn’t see any horses initially.  Then I spotted white spots on a very distant hill (both Pallaton and Traveler were white/light colored palominos).  When I walked out, I saw it was my favorite band with some significant changes.  Pallaton was not with the band.  This isn’t such a big surprise, since as a three year old, he would start to have conflicts with his father.  I was surprised this hadn’t started happening last year, since Pallaton had already started chasing fillies in other bands.  Instead, he and his father seemed to work as a team, protecting their band from another stallion on the couple of occasions I observed.  I also observed that when the band was on the move, Pallaton would the lead while the stallion brought up the rear; this year Traveler took the front spot.  Though Pallaton’s absence was expected, it was still a blow, as the bonds between the family, especially he and his mother, and he and Traveler, were affectionate and playful.  Even the bond with his father had been a special one.  I still don’t know whether the bay mare and her colt were with the band. I think so, but the horses coats change so much from season to season and this time I wasn’t in close enough to compare other markings from my earlier picture.  There were also two new foals and at least one other horse I don’t recognize at all.

Though I hadn’t made it over to Burns until May, I did see some Sandhill Cranes still in the area, one pair with two colts (what the “chicks” are called because of their long legs), along with various other birds.  I didn’t even see the colts until I reviewed the images on my computer.  The birds weren’t as plentiful as they would have been a few weeks earlier but they were much more plentiful than they had been last May.

While in the vicinity of Malheur I was excited to capture a couple mammals I had not photographed before in the area, including, not one, but two hares.  Last year the ones I saw had proven too quick for my reflexes.  I also saw the first marmot I had seen in Oregon as well – a yellow-bellied marmot.  These critters spend most of their time in their burrows (80%) hibernating or otherwise, so I was lucky to capture this one.  I had seen a flash of one about an hour earlier than this, so apparently the beautiful Spring day was too enticing to pass up.

I also saw the usual suspects, mule deer and pronghorn antelope.  Mule deer are distinguished from white-tailed deer as their tales are black, their ears are larger, and antlers fork rather than branch on the males.

Just past Malheur NWR, is the small historic town, Frenchglen, population 12, and continuing on Hwy. 205 you will find the south entrance to Steen Loop, a gravel road that loops around the mountain.  The road will usually be blocked at some point during Spring due to snow as the mountain rises over 9000 feet, although it does it in a fairly non-dramatic way.  If you’re lucky you will be able to view some of the wild horses in South Steens herd.  I’ve been lucky to see multiple bands together on two occasions and on other occasions, a small band by itself.  This time, I was not exceptionally close to them but it was wonderful to observe them – some playing, the more mature grazing or resting along with the foals.

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Is it hard to see why I’m in love with this place?  If you travel out there, don’t expect luxury. You will get the most basic of accommodations and a very limited assortment of restaurants.  In fact, you will need to be sure that you fill up on gas before you leave Burns to go exploring.  During summer, the temperatures can get quite high, so it would be advisable to carry water for both you and your car.

I’ve hoped you’ve enjoyed this post.  To see more of my work, please visit Belinda Greb Photography for all of my published work.  My next post will be on some of the beautiful Oregon waterfalls I’ve visited in mainly Silver Falls State Park.

 


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A Day Spent Along the Columbia River Gorge

My niece and I drove straight to Multnomah Falls in the morning to try to grab a parking spot before the crowds -Success! However, the trail was closed due to icy conditions. We were able to view this most stunning falls from the bottom.  This is the highest falls in Oregon and 2nd highest in the nation, totaling 611 feet in two steps.

We next headed to Latourell Falls. I loved the basalt rocks that surround the falls (lower). The hike is lovely and fairly easy and will take you to the upper Falls and then loops back to the parking lot, passing some lovely views along the way. The best view of the (lower) Latourell Falls is accessed from a path that leads to the base of the falls. Beware if you are photographing, there is a lot of spray. Keep your lens away from the direction of the spray until you are ready to shoot and bring a wipe. Once the water level has receded, the spray level is probably not as bad.

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After the hike, we had a delicious lunch at Edgefields in Troutdale and then went back to Triple Falls for another short hike. However, after about 1/2 mile up the  Triple Falls Trail, perhaps as a result of the meal, we proved to have less motivation to deal with the steep, snowy and narrow trail and decided to leave that hike for another day.

To see more of my photography, please visit me at http://belindagrebphotography.com/ or one of my other sites!

Bridge over Sky

Bridge Over Sky – Along the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Highway


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This is Our Home, Resist and Protect

This has been a pretty bleak winter on all fronts with a lot of cold, rain and anxiety. But on the days where the weather has permitted I have tried to get out to take advantage of the beauty the winter season can bring to our natural areas and to get away from the news.

icicles-triptych-w

Icicles Triptych w

I have recently been reading Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring – and this book should be a must read for anyone who would like to visualize the world without the regulations that so many have fought for over the last 60 years and that are now being threatened. These regulations not only protect our environment and wildlife but us as well (higher-ups on the food chain but still subject to it).

winter-lamb

Winter Lamb

Call your congressmen and tell them you do not approve of repealing regulations that have protected our wildlife, environment and you and your family in exchange for corporate profits. Our future, your child’s future should not be for sale. This site (back online 3/6/17) will help you track environment subjects –Click Here

All of these landscapes or nature images in the slideshow below (except the last composite image) are from areas that are our public lands – either federal or state. We start off from a heron landing in the marsh at Fern Ridge Wildlife Area (state); Willamette National Forest in Oregon (federal) including Carmen Reservoir and Fish Lake, then to the Neptune Scenic Area and Cook’s Chasm along the Oregon Coast above Florence (state). The last image is a composite of some woods and deer photographs I had and is entitled “This is Our Home” and meant to be a reminder that we share the planet with wildlife and flora, and I would hope we can learn to respect that.

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My next post will show some images from the Columbia Gorge Scenic Area up near Portland, Oregon.

Also, I have put together a sampler of some of my photography over the last few years.

I do rely on sales to further my photography journey. My photography is for sale at: Belinda Greb Photography (via Fine Art America); Radiance Photos (Etsy); Belinda Greb Photography at Amazon HandmadeBelinda Greb Photography at Society6 or in the UK at Belinda Greb Photography at Photo4Me. Some of these sites offer various products in addition to frames, matting, canvas, metal or acrylic prints. I fulfill the Etsy and Amazon Handmade site prints and offer prints up to 16×24 (signed on the back). Thanks for your views and patronage.


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Remember Who You Are

This piece was inspired by my recent fretting about our public lands and the wildlife that inhabit them at threat from “short-sighted” men who would seek to sacrifice land and species for immediate gain. First, I feel a defiant and courageous spirit is needed by those willing to fight on behalf of our environment and to protect the other sacred life forms we share Earth with, and secondly, there is my belief that there must be some eternal aspect of what is wild and free and God-formed that will not be bound by the small petty materialistic greed of those who would seek to dominate nature. I call upon that spirit to help us preserve what can be owned by none and should be shared by all, including the future generations that follow.

Do you believe you are a spirit who has a purpose more meaningful than amassing material goods and living in gold plated houses? Or are you here to think only about yourself? Do you respect life in all its forms? If so, join the resistance.


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Close to Home

My family went through a scary time in March when after my mother had a few transient ischemic attacks it was discovered that her left carotid artery was blocked and she had a brain aneurysm on the other side. So they operated first on the immediate problem – the blockage of the carotid artery with clot, and in early July, they will go back in to take care of the aneurysm.

She was fortunate that the TIA’s did no damage and acted as alerts to the underlying problem. In spite of having gone to her GP with my mother in December and questioning what could be causing her lack of energy and despite having two different blood pressure readings on her two arms, there was no followup treatment. The doctor just said the stress test that I had to insist upon seemed fine for someone her age (this was relayed over the phone in January).

Later we found that oftentimes a blocked carotid artery is missed because the GP does not listen to the blood flow in the neck. Two months later my mother was airlifted to Portland, so please advocate for yourself and your loved ones. Thankfully, the ER doctor did the proper tests and got her to a hospital that could deal with the serious problem.

It’s been a roller-coaster of emotions for us. Each family member reacts in a different way to immediate stress and fear about the possibility of loss. Trying to decide what path to take when the options are each fraught with risks is hard enough but more difficult when we have different opinions and our emotions are on edge. Lots of old family dynamics crop up. All I can advise to anyone in this position is to try to be calm and forgive yourself and others when you or they lose it. I am grateful to the friends who had an open ear when I needed to talk things out, outside the family. It helps if one has faith, but it is still like staring into an abyss and praying you don’t have to fall yet.

My mother is recovering. Initially I believe she dealt with depression at finding herself suddenly without any energy when before she was amazing for her age.I often say, my mother usually had more energy than me! It was also difficult for her to realize that my father (who is 8 years older and has some early signs of dementia) had a more limited capacity for understanding (and emotionally responding) to what was going on. But she is slowly getting better. She is back in her beloved garden, (although she wears out much faster than before), and is learning to know her limitations. Most importantly, in the last couple of weeks her spirits have improved.

Spring is flying by, and I long to be hitting the road, but for the time being my road must be one that is closer to home. So I’ve been rediscovering the beauty in spots I’ve been before and others that I can discover that are within a more finite reach. These are my limitations I must accept for the time being. And with that acceptance, I am trying to remain conscious of all the beautiful blessings my family and I have had and still have and to feel gratitude.

Violet-green Swallow

When I’m feeling restrained, and fearful, it’s not easy. I tend to get frozen or want to take flight. I feel full of deep sadness that like a black hole absorbs all of my light and energy. Instead I have to breathe, and find a spot within me that like the beauty of nature encompasses all joy, all suffering, challenges, truth, endurance, and the faith that our spirits are indomitable.

 

 


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Grand Canyon Series, Part 2

These are two more images from my short visit to Grand Canyon.  You’ll see the same ridge in both, but from a different perspective. The first is a close-up which I love as you get a closer view of the rock detail. I often like a cloudy sky (as long as there is some contrast to be had) as it adds drama and interest to the scene.

The panorama is 2 to 1 ratio – so on the smaller size, and only two exposures with some overlap.

More to come. Thank you!