Musings with Camera in Hand

Belinda Greb – The Photographic Journey


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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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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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Looking for Inspiration

 

Inspiration. I haven’t found it in the election cycle, the divisiveness of Americans, the Malheur occupation or subsequent acquittal of seven of the occupiers, the online reality world of likes and emojis, the difficulty in finding a common ground to discuss climate change or race relations. So I look for inspiration in the place I always do – nature.

touched-by-light

I’ve felt more tethered to home this year and a major part of this was my own doing: worry about a family member, worry about my old car, worry about expenses resulting in a general lassitude.

I’ve explored less and as a result I have felt somewhat like I’ve been treading water throughout the year, barely keeping my spirits afloat. The mini-trips to see wild horses in Eastern Oregon and Mount Rainier have been islands of bliss in an otherwise fairly dull  year.

family-of-horses

When I see the affection and bonds displayed in the wild horse families and bands, I wonder how so many can fail to acknowledge, value or respect that. But to constantly think about things like this is debilitating because I lose hope that human consciousness will ever evolve to a point where a majority of the people can think beyond themselves and do what is best for the world or can have the same compassion for others (including animals) that they have for themselves.

When I’m out in nature, I don’t think about these things. I just think how beautiful things are. I want my photographs to convey that beauty – to make people remember that there are things worth preserving for future generations, that there is a natural world that we can be inspired by and emulate. I can still find inspiration in works of art and literature, but it’s a lot easier to find it in nature. Here’s hoping mankind can remember we’re part of nature and not the overlords of it before we destroy it.

For more of my photography please visit: http://belindagrebphotography.com/


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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!


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Glacier National Park

A trip to Glacier National Park was on my wish list for 2015, but I had given up on the idea, as my calendar filled up and budget was depleted by some other great trips: Utah to see friends and travel to Arches and Canyonlands in Utah, and then Grand Tetons, and later to New York, Washington DC and Chincoteague Island in Virgina where I also got to see family and friends.

Yet in late summer, two other trips presented themselves, and despite worries about my expenses, something was  pushing me to say Yes, and so I did.  First in planning an October trip to Grand Canyon and Bryce Canyon this October to meet up and travel with my dear longtime college friend and her family, and then an unexpected and last-minute trip to Glacier National Park with a photographer friend I had never met in person, Jemmy Archer, but whose work I love.  Her photography can be seen here: http://jemmyarcher.com/.

I am so thankful I followed my gut! I am also incredibly grateful that Jemmy asked me along as it was a wonderful experience to see Glacier National Park and to hike and photograph with another photographer.

Smoke on the Water

Smoke on the Water – Lake McDonald, late afternoon, day of arrival

Smoky from Fires

On arrival the air was thick with smoke and I was wondering if I had made a mistake. The woman at the car rental place said it was smoke from Oregon, Idaho and Washington, and I thought that was weird to blame it those states as there were three fires right in or near the park.  However it had been raining (finally) when I left Oregon, and there was no rain in Montana at that point, and the next morning, the skies were much clearer, so the smoke had blown in from neighboring states.

Highline Trail

Glacier National Park is famed for its beauty. When I had gone to Yellowstone with friends a few years before, a park ranger had said that Glacier and Yellowstone were his two favorite national parks. I do think Glacier is visually the most beautiful.  There are these high steep cliffs and passes that the Going-To-The-Sun-Road runs through and everywhere you look the vistas are otherworldly beautiful. I don’t have the same feeling of expansiveness or freedom as I do in Yellowstone or Grand Tetons, and I think for me, that has to do with all the surfaces seeming to be uphill, downhill or valleys.

The first full day, we hiked Highline. I like to walk more than hike, but there are over 700 miles of trails in Glacier National Park, and reading about them made me want to do even the trails that were listed as difficult.  Jemmy is a much better hiker than I, and I worried about slowing her down, but as we are both photographers who pause to stop and take pictures, it wasn’t too much of a problem.

I’m not too afraid of heights, or narrow paths, so I did okay on Highline, where there is a hand cable to hold on to on a fairly narrow ledge, but going uphill is no friend of mine! And the whole week was chock full of uphill trails.  Luckily, on every trail, I can say the effort was worth it.

Rain was in the forecast, so even though we were hoping to make it to Haystack, we did stop and turn back just before that point as the skies were threatening.  Sure enough, they did open up just before we got back to the car but not enough to soak us.

Many Glacier and Swiftcurrent Pass Trail

We headed over to the Many Glacier area the next day, leaving while it was still dark in order to get an early start.  It takes about 3 hours to drive over there from where we were staying in Columbia Falls, and driving the Going-to-the-Sun-Road was no easy task. I didn’t have to drive as I had only gotten an hour’s sleep the night before – tell me I have to get up early and watch me not be able to fall asleep.

The sunrise on the way over was beautiful, but the winds were crazy.  I nearly got swept away when I stepped out to fill the car with gas.  The woman at the Many Glacier Hotel information kiosk was not very friendly and very gloom and doom about that day’s and the week’s forecast.  If we had listened to her, we would have driven back to the timeshare and crawled back to our respective beds for the duration of the stay – Single digit forecasts, storm, etc.

Luckily the guy at gift shop was much more helpful. He suggested that Swiftcurrent (No. 1 on my list of hikes I wanted to do) would be a good hike as the first part of the trail is sheltered by trees. The winds died down very quickly, the drizzle stopped and it turned out to be a beautiful day full of beauty and wildlife.

Fischercap Lake has frequent sightings for moose, but we didn’t find any that morning, but a a mile or so past the lake, we nearly walked by a mother and her calf who were grain in the foliage.

Redrock Falls was also a highlight as was watching for mountain goats high on the mountain sides.  Then we heard that there were many Big Horn Sheep up at the head of Bullhead Lake, and that proved to be the case. The first herd was nearly camouflaged against the rock face of Swiftcurrent Mountain, but the second herd was very close as they were coming right down the trail.

The only misgiving about this hike was there was not enough time to make it up high on the pass.  I wanted to catch some of the view of Swiftcurrent Valley, so despite needing to head back, we did go up 2 or 3 of the switchbacks.  On the way back we were happy to see the mother moose and her calf again.

We did have a long drive ahead of us, but another moment of excitement came when we stopped as cars were stopped and a grizzly passed right in front of the car! It an amazing day that started at 4am and we didn’t get back to the timeshare until after 9pm, so very tiring as well.

Hidden Lake Trail

The next day was equally superb. We though Hidden Lake Trail would be a much easier and shorter hike, as it was less than 6 miles RT. The trail starts behind the Logan Pass Visitor Center, and perhaps it was due to the previous long day, or the third day of hiking, but we seemed awfully slow getting up to the Overlook.  I noticed that with the wind and the altitude, I was having a harder time catching my breath on the way up. The views at the Overlook are amazing.  The whole area is surrounded by mountains, but at the overlook you see Hidden Lake and Bearhat Mountain.

Despite the beauty of the surroundings, the pristine waters of the lake, the highlight of the trip was encountering first one goat with a tracking collar, whom we hung out with for nearly an hour and a half along with some other hikers. Then as that goat decided to head uphill and  we followed, we were soon met by 7 other goats, including two very young ones, and one that was quite old. The marmots were much less shy and there were three or four sunning themselves on rocks as they looked out towards the lake.

Two of the hikers were a couple from France who had been over here two years ago and been so amazed they came back to spend a month and a half, living out of their car, in order to see our national parks.  I felt so proud as an American that others in years past had the foresight to work to have these lands set aside and protected so that they could be appreciated worldwide. While sitting and watching that first goat, there was a shared period of awe felt by the six hikers that were there that was palpable. I felt and still feel so grateful for that day and being able to observe the goats in such close quarters surrounded by so much beauty.

McDonald Lake and Avalanche Lake – A Light Day

Rain was forecast for later in this day so we planned a fairly light day to give ourselves a chance to recover between hikes and before we headed back to the Many Glacier are the next day.

We did rise early to catch the sunrise at Lake McDonald, and where we saw a couple of beavers (I first thought they were nutria or coypu until one slapped its tail) getting in their last bites before heading off to bed.

We then headed over to hike Avalanche Lake trail. I had read that Avalanche Lake is regarded to be one of the most beautiful lakes in the park, and it did not disappoint.  One passes through a beautiful fir forest, which felt just like home to me (Oregon), except that Avalanche Creek as deep carved channels and an array of red, blue and gray rocks.

Once we got to the lake, I found it very cool to think that on the other side of Bearhat Mountain, was Hidden Lake, where we had been the day before.

Before we headed back, we were also entranced by mountain goats, a mother and kid, high on the mountainside above us, scampering up and down the rocks.

Grinnell Glacier

Reflection of Mountains - Glacier NP

Reflection of Mountains – The view from Many Glacier Hotel

The next morning we headed back to Grinnell Glacier.  It was lightly raining, and we stopped at the Many Glacier Hotel to see if more information could be found about the forecast.

This time the rain seemed to get worse rather than better, and  I was apprehensive about going on the Grinnell Glacier Hike when the day was so soggy.  Thanks to Jemmy for talking me into it and loaning me a rain poncho.

While I loved the views, this was my hardest hike.  Our plan was to try and catch a boat on the way back as the articles had said the first part of the trail was fairly easy.  It might have been my tiredness, but it didn’t feel that flat or easy to me, unlike Swiftcurrent’s first four miles.  And once we hit the switchbacks, they seemed endless. I felt like Sisyphus, who for eternity was damned by Zeus to roll a huge stone up a mountain only to watch it roll back down once he reached the top. My camera bag substituted for the stone and my pauses to catch my breath were not even as long as the time it must have taken the Greek King to walk back down the mountain. At one point I felt like crying – when hikers returning from the glacier told us we still had another hour. I resented the young and old who seemed so easily to sprint by me. It’s true, I will admit it, I was feeling in a bit of a sulk, but trying not to whine too much. So again, thanks to Jemmy for urging me on. In hindsight, the pain of the effort is forgotten while the beautiful views and feeling of grace to be able to experience that sight is not.

Grinnell and Salamander glaciers are truly awesome. Sadly Grinnell Glacier is shrinking at an alarming rate.  At a worse case scenario of carbon emissions, the park will have no glaciers by 2030.

We did miss the boat though, literally, on the way back, but going downhill, for me is easier, although it still seemed d%(& long!

I can tell you that last week, I went to see Everest, and that yearning to climb a peak is a yearning that I lack.  I can understand it a bit in the abstract, but being cold, carrying heavy stuff and going uphill – no way.

Many Glacier and Two Medicine

We had made arrangements to spend the night at Many Glacier Hotel, which was an expense well worth it to save us the drive back again. The Hotel was opened in 1915 and has a charming sense of the past about it. The location is just ethereal, and I also enjoyed the food at the restaurant.

The next day was also rainy, so we just concentrated on seeing more wildlife.  We returned to Swiftcurrent and did catch the moose this time at Fischercap Lake.  There also were some guys who set up scopes and were letting people look at a grizzly on the side of the mountain.  Through the scope, I could see the bear very clearly, while with my bare  eyes, the grizzly was just a speck.  After breakfast at Swiftcurrent Lodge, where we had another great meal earlier in the week, we headed back along the road.  We had seen a black bear a couple of times high up on the mountain before, and this time, there was not only a cinnamon black bear, but apparently the grizzly that we had seen in the scope was making his way eastward at an astonishing fast clip (although he was just walking).

After a while, he disappeared, but we expected him to make his way to the other side of the mountain, so like others, we drove to the other side and waited.  Sure enough, after a half an hour, he appeared on top of the ridge in and a matter of 15 minutes, had made his way from top to bottom. I was amazed at his nimbleness on the steep rock face of the cliff.

Getting a photograph of a grizzly had been on my bucket list, and while I still would love to get closer photographs, this was a thrill to see one in action. The ranger was concerned that animals are losing a natural fear of humans. The bear did seem very blasé about the roughly eight photographers nearest it, pausing to look at us while still on the lower part of the mountain then veering to the right away from us before it crossed the road to make its way to the creek.

We took a south route back so we could see the Two Medicine area and did take a short hike in that area as well. Using the app on my phone, we did an average of about 10 miles a day (my phone said 9.44 but I had forgotten to take it one hike, so the average was above 10 miles), and it was great to be able to hike in this natural setting.

We were always alert on these trails for a possible encounter with bears, and we were relieved not to have had that experience (especially after seeing how fast they can move). We had been lent a can of bear spray from the car rental place and we would shout out, “Hey Bear” when we rounded bends or when visibility was poor.  The fact that there were fewer berries than usual was probably the reason we did not encounter any bears on the trails, especially on Grinnell Glacier or Swiftcurrent trails, as around this time they are trying to eat as much as they can before hibernation.  We did meet a couple of hikers who had seen a couple of grizzlies on their hike to Cracker Lake, also in Many Glacier.

I just read something that was very upsetting as I was trying to remember the word hyperphagia to write about how much bears eat at this time (during September they eat 4x normal summer amounts). This year in Yosemite, 33 bears were hit by cars.  In one year. I guess this is one advantage of Glacier Going-to-the-Sun-Road, that drivers cannot drive too fast.  I saw many people speeding in Yellowstone and it makes me sick that people would want to go to an area to see wildlife and then not respect it. SLOW DOWN MORONS!  It’s bad enough seeing roadkill near where I live. It breaks my heart knowing that most of those wild lives could have been saved if people were even just going the speed limit. In a national park it’s that much more painful to think about.

Okay. Breathe Belinda. But to me, being in our national parks is akin to being in a spiritual setting. And it makes my heart hurt that in these places, set aside so that we can preserve wildlife, there are such careless people who enter it with such an absence of conscience.

This has been one long post. But Glacier National Park is a treasure to experience.  I still have more photographs to process and I already want to go back, even to hike some more, not for the sake of hiking uphill (believe you me) but to have the experience and privilege of being able to see and photograph the amazing life and beauty that is here.

Thanks to Jemmy for inviting me, her kindness and the great experience of getting to know a wonderful person and photographer in person.  Please visit see her photography website: http://jemmyarcher.com/ and for more of my Glacier NP photographs, visit here: Belinda Greb National Parks Gallery.  Peace.


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A Slow Down

I returned from my trip back East at the End of May and went through a flurry of processing images. At the same time, I was dealing with the start of a few technical glitches in my process.  First my tweeting software interface provider stopped working, so I had to switch from Tweetadder who I loved but who was shut down by Twitter. This entailed a lot of tedious work to get back and running on Tweet Jukebox, but after a week or so everything was sorted out and I’m very happy with the new provider. Then after getting through that, during the last week and a half, I encountered more technical issues – a whole slowdown of my computer which I’ve tried to fix by resetting prams, permissions, etc, backing up files, and I am now waiting for some software on a flash drive to arrive that hopefully will fix the problem before my computer crashes. (Wasn’t the Mercury in Retrograde supposed to be over?) Not fun.

Photographically I felt I was returning to my old stomping grounds – local woods, local birds, and remaining blossoms.  Not exciting yet still they are a faithful and true pleasure that I am learning to appreciate afresh.

I even resorted to returning to the zoo – always an exercise in conflicting my emotions.  I love photographing animals, but not as so much when they are behind glass or bars. It pains me to think of their imprisonment, and yet some conservation is being done in zoos which does have value – breeding programs and exposing people to animals so they might care about them are two benefits. Does it counteract the wrong that is being done to thousands of individual animal lives? I don’t know. Our world is such that their natural habitat is being destroyed – often the primary cause or one of the top causes for the animals on the endangered list or near threatened list.

A side effect of photography is that I learn while researching the image’s subject in order to write about it for an upload.  While I was working on some of my zoo animal photographs I was freshly horrified to see that some of the animals have a conservation status is either threatened (vulnerable or endangered) or near threatened. I decided to do a series that shows the conservation status so people are not only seeing an image of an animal that we don’t normally see in  our day to day lives but also realize that future generations may not have the opportunity of seeing that animal live, even if it’s only in a zoo.

This series will be a work in progress as I get better photographs of some other endangered species (the glare and dirt on the glass windows at the Portland Zoo wasn’t so great for getting  good pictures). These also were done before my computer had its slowdown and lately I am trying to to stick to things that have a straight ahead post-processing as my Photoshop CC is crashing a lot – from the Nik plugins which it never used to do.

The slowdown is frustrating, but maybe it’s good as well. I’ve decided to spend more time off the computer although when I’m on it every thing takes twice or three times the amount of time, so I’m not sure how that’s working out.

Anyway, another photograph I processed with multiple exposures before the slowdown was this one of a bird in my sister’s yard – a Black Headed Grosbeak.

The recent excitement I’ve had was seeing some new life in the form of some Indian Runner ducklings that my sister and brother-in-law added to their family and the birth of some Ospreys in the area.  I’ve been watching three nests.  One is atop a tall fir tree so the nest isn’t too visible, but the ospreys can be seen hunting and finally the young one was seen once it could fly.  The second nest was the one I photographed last year.  Only a few days ago the young in that nest made their appearance and this year there appears to be three offspring, which is the same number it had last year.  The third nest I visited today and while the mother is clearly there, I did not see any sign of offspring yet.

I posted the one photograph of the osprey family to Facebook and a friend remarked that the young osprey looked scary, and they do look pretty fierce. The ducklings on the other hand were cute and cuddly.  The Indian Runner Ducks are domestic ducks that stand upright like a penguin rather than waddling like a duck.  It was hard to photograph them as I was using my telephoto and one kept running after me and out of the focal range of my lens.

Sometimes while doing these blog posts, I like to find a theme, if only for the purpose of titling the post. I chose “Slow Down”, because while it doesn’t feel so great being forced to slow down, perhaps there is some reason for it that will make itself known. I’ve been moving around with a sense of urgency for the last six months and this may the universe’s way of saying, pause, look around, and reassess. Or it may not be the universe’s message, but just the universe’s glitches, but it really doesn’t matter as I don’t have a choice in the matter, so I’m accepting the slowdown.