Went to Yakima, Washington this past weekend for our annual October visit to Grandma’s, picked up lots of produce and tried out some new toys (thank you, UPS man!) Stopped at Jones Farm for some incredible pumpkins, butternut squash, gourds, Cinderella and albino pumpkins and to play in the maze, of course! Beautiful day in the hops capital of the world (and we all know what hops are for, don’t we?
The last camping trip of the summer is always bittersweet but was a great time with the family. We managed to get our favorite top-secret spot along the McKenzie River which afforded great river views of rafters and wildlife, such as this little visitor to our kitchen. I had to leave camp to shoot a wedding on Saturday so we didn’t do any rafting or kayaking, but the weather was great, and the time spent in nature was sublime!
The Trojan Nuclear Power Plant’s cooling tower was imploded this morning at 7:00:12. I got up at 3:30 AM, made a Thermos of coffee, then met up with another photographer buddy of mine, Dave Lutz, for the drive up and a battle plan. We decided on an ultra-secret road/viewing area that only a couple of hundred other people knew about also Got all the gear set up and fired away like madmen while the whole thing took about 4 seconds to come down. Right after, some guy in the crowd said “Well, back to bed!” and that about summed it up. It was an interesting collection of folks who left their cozy beds on a balmy morning to watch an extremely short historic event. We went back to Dave’s to view our take and then home to catch a nap before a long shoot this afternoon.
From large groups down to one little insect, meeting photographic challenges drives me on. This Stagmomantis Carolina, more commonly know as a Praying Mantis was discovered on my brother’s porch one afternoon. I quickly set up my tripod & camera, outfitted with extension tubes and a close-up lens and proceeded to compose my photo. Ever so slowly, the mantis turned its head in my direction, revealing either a dilated pupil or a contracted iris. Either way, it’s eyes were completely different! Shooting from the side, I could only see one arm as the far one was obscured in the praying position. I thought, if I could manipulate this pose, I may have a more interesting shot. So in what could only be described as a Zen moment, I grabbed a sprig of grass, and oh-so-gently and slowly raised the foreground leg to produce some separation. The mantis continue to hold this pose for 36 frames of slide film and was still looking at me as I left the scene. Being able to live stories like these are why I love photography so much!
Once the scene of Oregon’s record high-speed car chase at just over an incredible 150 MPH, the Astoria Bridge to Washington is long, straight and impossibly narrow. I have no height or bridge phobia but having to cross this one always makes me sit up and pay extra close attention. Returning home from a shoot in Illwaco, WA early Friday evening, I thought it might be nice to get some shots of the bridge in silhouette against the setting sun. But arriving too late for that, and not really wanting to scout out an eastern location visually free of telephone wires in the dark, I remembered an old Life cover of Three Mile Island by Greg Heisler. Before digital cameras, he used tungsten transparency film to produce a spooky blue-toned photo of the two cooling towers. Switching gears, I shot east instead, into the gathering night. Easily able to set my white balance to a lower Kelvin temperature with my Canon digital camera, I quickly shot several images with a similar look and feel, this one my favorite. As an added bonus, halogens from the nearby Cannery Pier Hotel created some nice highlights on the foreground pilings.