Musings with Camera in Hand

Belinda Greb – The Photographic Journey


Leave a comment

Yosemite in Spring

Early in April, I met my longtime friends for a vacation in Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks. It’s a lovely time of year to visit as tourist numbers are lower than summer, but the downside is that some of the trails and roads, including Tioga Pass and the road to Glacier Point were closed (seasonal weather closures).

I hadn’t been to the area since I was a child. We entered the park, and the famous tunnel view is a grand sight to behold.  Yosemite Valley area is splendid. I felt like I was in a long narrow amphitheater surrounded by these awe-inspiring views and granite cliffs. We had reserved rooms at Yosemite Valley Lodge, and I really enjoyed staying in the national park without having to spend the time driving in each day. It didn’t hurt that the Yosemite Falls was right behind our room. All the waterfalls were at high water levels due to the plentiful rainfall California had received that winter. At night I fell asleep to the sounds of rushing water.

Also, I enjoyed getting up in the early morning to take a walk around Cook’s Valley before cars lined the roads. The day was crisp and there were few people about and lots of water in the fields, so I was able to get some lovely reflective shots of the falls.

The weather was beautiful the first full day we were there, and we enjoyed the trail to Mirror Lake after we had let our fellow shuttle bus passengers move on past us. And that is the downside of Yosemite Valley: like Yellowstone there are tons of tourists, but unlike Yellowstone, at least at this time of year, they are concentrated into the much smaller area of the Yosemite Valley. This may not bother others as much, but now having acclimated to the less traveled terrain of my Oregon locale, it is a difficult adjustment having my nature intruded upon by so many other humans. I know I have to share. : ) It is a lovely trail that accompanies Tenaya Creek up to Mirror Lake, which is pretty small, although it used to be larger before a dam was built.

The next day I took a longer hike around the Yosemite Valley Floor Loop. While we did less than half the full 20 miles, it is an flat easy walk that gives some stunning views of El Capitan, Sentinel Falls, Cathedral Rocks and Merced River.

 

After visiting Yosemite National Park, my friends and I drove south to spend a couple of days at Sequoia National Park and one day it was even snowing. In the future, I would wait until later in the year to visit this park as some of the trails were snow-bound. But it was beautiful to see the majestic giant sequoias, including General Sherman, the largest tree by volume in the world, and also General Grant. These trees are among the oldest living organisms alive on Earth, with General Sherman estimated to be between 2300-2700 years old.

All in all it was a vacation filled with wonder and awe at the beautiful world we live in, and I loved being able to share the experience with my friends. And I also hope to explore more of these two national parks in the future!

To see more, please my Yosemite Gallery or Sequoia National Park Gallery .

 

 

 

 

 


Leave a comment

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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


Leave a comment

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.


Leave a comment

Mount Rainier

I had a wonderful short camping trip to Mount Rainier at the end of July. The wildflowers were in bloom and the weather was amazing. The first day we arrived in the afternoon and started a hike about 3:30pm. We meant to do the 5 mile Lakes Trail hike, but we missed the turnoff for the loop and continued instead on Mazama Ridge and then Skyline Trails. In the end, it was a wonderful mistake as even though it added an additional two or so miles to the hike, the scenery was amazing. The second day’s hike turned out to be almost 11 miles and although we were rewarded by the alpine meadows of Summerland, we all agreed the first day’s hike was our favorite as the hike was long, uphill, and grueling considering that I was carrying camera equipment. The first hike was more interspersed with beautiful views.

For more Mount Rainier images, please visit my national parks gallery . Selected images are also available on RadiancePhotos at Etsy and Belinda Greb Photography at Amazon Handmade .


Leave a comment

The Need for Public Lands

God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and
a thousand tempests and floods. But he cannot save them from fools. – John Muir

Two American White Pelicans

Two American White Pelicans at Malheur NWR (©Belinda Greb)

Lately my heart and mind have been in Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, a wild gem of Oregon taken over in early January by armed militia. This takeover was in response to the arrest of Hammonds, two ranchers who intentionally set two fires that spread to public lands endangering lives, (in 2001 of the young relative who was instructed to set the fire and  in 2006 of firefighters who were in the area). Bundy and his followers purported to take over the refuge for the purpose of returning the land to the people – a ridiculous proposition since the land already belongs to the people, as in “We, the People”. They didn’t want the government to manage the land and instead unilaterally decided that they would be the ones to do so. Malheur NWR is one of numerous  public lands that have been set aside by our forefathers who wisely saw the need to preserve natural habitat and wildlife for future generations. I suspect most of us consider this a blessing, but sadly there are those that consider it an overreach of the government.

Falling Light on the Marsh

Fern Ridge Wildlife Area (Falling Light on the Marsh ©Belinda Greb)

Public Lands

In 1864, Abraham Lincoln ceded land around Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove Area to California for use as a state park in response to Galen Clark and Senator John Conness who argued that with the increased tourism since since the mid 1850s, unregulated commercial interests were becoming a threat to the area. This would set a precedent for establishing Yellowstone as the nation’s first national park, Meanwhile after 11 years of trying, Ferdinand Hayden, was finally able to put together a geological survey in to the Yellowstone Area. This resulted in an influential report, that included pictures by William Henry Jackson and paintings by Thomas Moran, and in 1872, Ulysses Grant signed the Act of Dedication which made Yellowstone a national park. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellowstone_National_Park)

Waiting for Wolves in Lamar Valley

Lamar Valley, Yellowstone National Park (Waiting for Wolves ©Belinda Greb)

There was opposition at that time to the establishment of the park. Local settlers in Montana worried that the economy would suffer from federal prohibitions and so numerous bills were put forth to reduce land-use restrictions. There were those that wanted the land for logging, mining, and hunting. Sound familiar?

The entities in charge of public lands need to balance the needs of interested parties while protecting the land. While hunting is not allowed in National Parks and many Wildlife Refuges, on other public lands, hunting is allowed. There are guidelines for the logging that takes place on public lands, and there will always be controversy about whether these guidelines are too strict or not strict enough. Ranchers were allowed to continue grazing their cattle on public lands and charged a nominal fee. Grazing fees per AUM (animal unit per month) was raised in 2015 to $1.69. Of course fees for grazing on private or state lands is much higher. In Oregon, the state fee is $5.60 in 2016. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grazing_fee) How many of you can feed your pet dog or cat for that $1.69 for even a couple of days?

William Finley Refuge

William L Finley NWR (William Finley Refuge ©Belinda Greb)

In addition, as opposed to owning the land, the ranchers are not responsible for the financial cost of purchasing the land, maintaining or paying taxes on it like other property owners would be. But apparently some of these occupiers, like Cliven Bundy, feel that they should not have to pay any fees at all, and for years he has gotten away from this, refusing to pay the fees or remove his cattle from federal lands. After a court order allowed officials to remove his livestock from federal lands in 2014, armed supporters advanced on collectors resulting in a standoff. The cattle were not removed by BLM due to their concern that employees might be harmed or shot. So now Cliven Bundy owes the people over $1 million dollars and continues to graze his cattle on public lands. If our society continues to give in to this type of behavior, we will have anarchy.

Flight of the Great Blue Heron No. 2

Seen at Fern Ridge Wildlife Area (Flight of the Great Blue Heron ©Belinda Greb)

There’s certainly a right to question how the land is being managed, but trying to bully your opinion across via intimidation and guns is not it. The government entities that regulate these lands are not above reproach, but they are trying to balance the rights of the community along with the special interests of ranchers along with the wildlife advocates and environmentalists. How can this be an easy task? And of course the administrators are also going to be have their own personal opinions and beliefs. But dissenters should take any issue with that management to our legal system or the media.

Pete French Long Barn No. 2

Malheur NWR (Pete French Long Barn No. 2 ©Belinda Greb)

Malheur NWR

Malheur National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1908.  The land was initially occupied by the Paiute Indians. Settlers then came in and took over much of it, relegating the natives to a reservation. How ironic is the world view that rages against the government but really isn’t talking about returning the land to the original inhabitants.

One settler amassed with his employer, Dr Hugh Glen, over 140,000 acres.  He also restricted access to water to other fellow settlers and in fact was murdered in 1883 by one settler whose access to water he denied. Not a pretty story.  Some of the land was sold to pay of company debts, and after being resold, nearly 65,000 acres was incorporated into the refuge in 1935. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P_Ranch)

Great-Egret

Great White Egret seen at Malheur NWR (Great Egret ©Belinda Greb)

In the late 1880’s bird populations were being decimated by plume hunters who used their feathers for hats or  vanity wear, as I like to say in regards to fur coats. In 1908, photographers, William L Finley and Herman Bohlman noticed both the diversity of birds and the horrible effects of plume hunting. Finley successfully personally lobbied President Theodore Roosevelt for federal protection for the area. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malheur_National_Wildlife_Refuge) The William L Finley National Wildlife Refuge, also in Oregon, was named after him in 1964.

I find myself getting so upset and angry by the Malheur occupation. First I’m angry at the nerve of other people coming from out-of-state with their guns, taking over the buildings, government vehicles, blocking roads, and causing so much damage, not least of which is the emotional damage done to the community around Burns. This is an invasion. There were threats to people and their families who worked for BLM or USFWS, and there has been a huge financial cost to the county.  I am also angered at this threat to a beautiful refuge and the wildlife that is there.

Private vs Public

If these protections were not in place, we would not have our system of: 58 national parks; 560 National Wildlife Refuges and 38 wetland management districts; 155 national forests and 20 grassland areas; and other state managed wildlife areas. These are open to people to enjoy, but more importantly to conserve natural resources and habitat for wildlife. How would these lands have fared had they not been under federal protection? Look around – how well have mining, privately owned logging companies, corporate farms served the land or the interests of the general population? In addition, there’s a wealth of information and recent discussion about how cattle grazing impacts environment and climate. Google it.

Cows

Cattle on Public Lands in Harney County (©Belinda Greb)

“Why should we protect this lands? How will it benefits humans, or really me?” some may ask.

  • Deforestation results in global warming. Trees absorb greenhouse gases and return moisture to the air. Once they are cut, the land will dries out quickly.  Clear cutting results in loss of habitat for many species – 70% of animals and plants live in forests. (http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/deforestation-overview/0).
  • Loss of habitat results in loss of species. Just think what would happen if there were no birds and how that would affect the insect population. How would that affect crops or the spread of insect transmittable diseases…and so on? What about the disappearance of a predator that helped keep the rat population in control? It’s all about balance. The loss of one species can result in the overpopulation of another. There is a fine balance between prey and predator. Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver is a novel that clearly explains this issue.
  • If there were no regulations, there would be no limitations on the type of chemicals that are used or other safety regulations that exist for a reason. Even with regulations, there are not enough controls and we’ve seen the impact of the chemicals on bees which are so important pollination and agriculture.
Surveil

Red Shouldered Hawk seen at Fern Ridge Wildlife Area (Surveil ©Belinda Greb)

If resources are not managed, there is no sustainability. This affects us directly in regards to food and shelter. Would you really trust Ammon Bundy who represents his own interests or the interest of like-minded individuals over a government department that while cumbersome is still subject to the interests of many, including: legislators, citizens, and businesses?

Those are the self-interested reasons for preservation and conservation.

Acorn Woodpecker

William L. Finley NWR (Acorn Woodpecker ©Belinda Greb)

Being a photographer, and spending a lot of time observing animals, I am on the side of the wildlife. We do not occupy this land alone. We share it with animals and flora. We have already created an environmental imbalance that threatens not only our future, but the future of all living beings. We have used our lands and water as a huge trash can that we think we can keep pouring our waste into without consequences. Those consequences are catching up, and it is the poor and the animals who will suffer first.

These public lands are also important in that for many that is the only place that many will see life in a near natural state. The beauty and understanding that come from being in nature to those that are open to it can give one a profound respect for life, its vulnerability and its resilience. Nature can make us better human beings by connecting us to the the larger natural world that contains a multitude of life outside the “me.” It can teaches us that life is not ego-centric but all-encompassing.

Love your public lands and protect them.

Resilience-w11x14

Wild Horse seen in Harney County (Resilience ©Belinda Greb)

Photographs taken at: Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and Harney County, William Finley National Wildlife Refuge, Yellowstone National Park,  and Fern Ridge Wildlife Area (run by Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife). belindagrebphotography.com

 

 

 

 

 


Leave a comment

Grand Canyon Series, Part 1

This year’s been wonderful for me as I’ve gotten the opportunity to visit and revisit a few of our nation’s treasures – our national parks.  In October, I got to meet up with my dear friends and spend a bit of time in Arizona and Utah.  While the weather wasn’t optimum I am still grateful not only to see my friends, but also to get a chance to see Grand Canyon since I haven’t seen this since I was a young girl. I will now have to go back to see it in better weather and different light.

For this series, I will just be posting more frequently with just a couple of images and fewer words.

It may be October and the kids are back in school, but there are still crowds, at least by the Visitor Center viewpoints.  Walk around the rim, and you will find peace and quiet! Such a beautiful place, I was sadly disturbed to find cans thrown over the edge. Too steep to retrieve, but perhaps the park services has a long extension pole. Why come to see beauty and then leave such an ugly mark that is also dangerous to any wildlife? These parks, more than money or commercial items are our real treasures, a million years in the making.

The same image, in black and white.  Black and white photography, to me, always seems to add a timeless quality to the image, highlighting texture, light and shadows.

More to come.


Leave a comment

Leaving Room for Opportunities

This month has glided by so quickly, that I find myself thinking what have I done?  My pace in taking photographs  and processing them was definitely slower, and it was done purposefully to change up my day to day.  While I can’t resist running and getting my camera for the splendid scenes of nature that come my way, I’ve also been trying to focus on finding a new way to get my work out there.

Now That I'm up Might as Well Fish

Now that I’m up might as well Fish – Love nature scenes like this, a mother mallard tried to grab a nap, but a couple of her offspring got up and started swimming around.

Bobbing for Fish

Bobbing for Fish – A closer view of the clarity of the water and momma mallard hard at work.

I’ve joined an artist collective that has a gallery down in Eugene, Oregon, called the New Zone Gallery.  It’s great to be able to print out my work and see it hanging someplace and know that others are viewing it full size, the way it was meant to be seen, as opposed to 2-3 inches wide. It’s also wonderful, although a bit out of my comfort zone, to be able to meet new people and see how they are expressing themselves. There are many talented artists, including painters, ceramicists, basket weavers and sculptors, and you can see some of their work here: NewZoneGallery.org.  The gallery has First Fridays and they are quite well attended.  I’ve been there since early August, and just this last weekend was happy to hear that a framed and matted print of Feldspar and Ohanzee had been sold.

I’ve also been trying to get out and get more exercise.  I find I’ve been taking far fewer hikes that tend to be shorter than in years past with the unpleasant but expected results of a weight gain and stiffer joints. Part of the reason is that I was getting tired of my usual haunts that are drier than usual due to the drought we’ve been having. One day I drove out to the coast and took the Hobbit Trail down to a beach. It wasn’t that long a trail, but it has a bit of charm and my dog, Maisie, got to play with a couple of other dogs whose paths we crossed.  Afterwards, I also stopped by the Heceta Head Beach Area.

A Sandy World at Her Feet

A Sandy World at Her Feet – The beach that Hobbit Trail, complete with flora tunnels, leads to.

Convergence

Convergence – Cape Creek finds the ocean.

Two unexpected opportunities then arose back to back mid-month.  The first was an invitation to join a fellow photographer on a trip to Glacier National Park at the end of this month as circumstances had required that her husband stay at home. My initial instinct, given the short notice, was to say no, as I would need to make arrangements for my dog, make my travel arrangements, find a way to budget the expenses. But It was so enticing and a trip I had wanted to make this year, but had put on the back burner since I went to the Grand Tetons again in March. Since I am trying to change my more cautious and shy nature, and live life in the moment, I decided to say Yes and figure out a way to make this happen. I am looking forward to sharing a photographic adventure with another photographer whose work I admire and experience the beauty of the park.

The Jewel at the End of the Trail

The Jewel at the End of the Trail – the McKenzie River flows underground due to a lava block until it reemerges here. There are falls at certain times of the year; otherwise the water comes up via a spring to this pond. Gorgeous color, I believe is due to minerals/lichen.

Forest Flow

Forest Flow – The hike is not so much steep as the footing is uneven. Very popular with the University of Oregon students, it is more peaceful a hike during the late fall. This day was busy, and my dog remained leashed.

The upcoming trip, however, precipitated a desperate attempt to get into shape as some of the hiking opportunities in GNP seem to require that. I decided to hike up to Tamolitch Falls since I hadn’t been there in a few years.  Although this is listed as easy, I find the trail to have uneven footing due to rocks and can be narrow in parts, especially when you have a dog and there is traffic on the trail. The hike was about six miles, and shared by hikers and bikers. I did fine, with my one heavy lens, a tripod and having to keep my dog on the leash (probably the hardest part since the trail was pretty busy that day). The forest is beautiful, but I have to say, I enjoy it more when there are fewer people.

Peace as a Pastime

Peace as a Pastime – Seen on a five mile walk that included big hills (which I hate) and air pollution from smoke that was blowing in from the fires 100 miles away. Upon reviewing this image on my computer screen, I was surprised to find the palomino horse had a very nasty scar on its blaze. While I’m unaware of the circumstances, I am glad it now seemed to have a beautiful pastoral setting and companionship.

The second unexpected opportunity was the chance to be interviewed by Jay Gaulard of IndustryDev.com. He had seen my Twitter feed and asked to interview me.  His website explores web design and development as well photography. I enjoyed being interviewed and if you are interested, you can find the interview here: Interview.

All in all, this has been a month where my usual habits have been broken up, and that is probably a good thing, since I can sometimes get chained to my habits. Although I feel a bit “less productive” not sticking to my normal process, the slowdown has given me time to review some past archived raw material and find some gems (maybe I’ll show some in a future post); make time for some much needed exercise; and leave myself open to opportunities, both looked for (artist collective) and unexpected (GNP trip and interview).

Juvenile Peregrine Falcon

Young Raptor – formerly identified as Peregrine, now surmised to be either a Merlin Falcon or a Red Shouldered Hawk juvenile.

I’ll leave you with two unexpected photographic finds: the first is a painted lady butterfly (I hadn’t seen one before and didn’t know they were in my area) and this raptor, either a Merlin Falcon or a juvenile Red Shouldered Hawk.

One evening my dog went to investigate a rustling in the bushes and a bird flew out and perched overhead.  At first I thought it was a crow flying towards me because of its size, but the coloring confused me as did the dark eyes.  My phone app suggested a Peregrine, but a twitter follower of mine didn’t think that was right. After sending the image to the Lane County Audubon society, the helpful members were also unsure except that it’s not a Peregrine. However, whatever it is, it was to me an example of one of life’s treasures that catches you off guard and gives you one of those special moments not to be forgotten.