Tuesday, 25 October 2011


Lighthouses like reflections are probably the most photograph objects near water.  That being said, there is still a romantic notion, a sense of history and adventure associated with these wonderful landmarks along the Oregon coast. 
Our photo workshop location was strategic to 3 of these landmarks which gave ample opportunity to test our compositional chops on these familiar landmarks.
Unfortunately, the Heceta Head lighthouse was closed for renovation.  We were still able to shoot from a distance, across the bay to get some “overviews” of this historic landmark.
Heceta Head lighthouse
We managed to get up close and personal with the Yaquina Head lighthouse.  What a treat!  A classic lighthouse design open to the public and the weather was perfect.  The only “fly in the ointment” a colloquial phrase that was so literally appropriate, was that hundreds of flies that saw us photographers and tourists as interlopers to their territory and were quite aggressive.  When I say aggressive, in your mind’s eye think of insects that would grab your tripod and bang you over the head with it.  So the pictures you see came from the blood and sweat of your intrepid team who would not be deterred from getting that one special shot.

We also visited the Yaquina Bay lighthouse but it required climbing a bunch of steps and after giving up so much blood, none of us were up to the climb.  Besides, no one could assure us that the flies didn’t follow us.  Nasty little buggers!

Yaquina Bay lighthouse

It was still a thrill to see these wonderful buildings and to spend additional hours exploring coastal Newport, Oregon.  Using the time we didn’t use climbing to the lighthouse, we explored portions of Newport and found wonderful murals all along the waterfront near the bridge.  Check our blog in a few days, murals are next on the agenda.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Words Not On A Page

Another advantage of digital photography is the freedom to snap pictures of anything of interest to us.  In the days of film, we would be too stingy to record things like words, phrases or signage that interest or humor me.

The hotel Elliott, located in Astoria is a 1st rate hotel that from a marketing perspective, has kept their eye on the ball by announcing to the world from 7 stories up, that they have wonderful beds.  Cool.  It was a bright but heavy overcast day that played havoc with exposure control.  Decided to use a post processing vignette to reduce the distracting white, featureless sky.

We didn’t get to meet the barber of Astoria, but we absolutely love his sense of humor. 
Note the footnote on his price sign, “Mayan calendar predictions apply.”  So, if the world doesn’t end, prices could change in 2013.
This barber has great hours.  We call this “Texas Time.”  What initially caught my eye was his writing, “be back quick,” written on an old record sleeve.   To us this is as irreverent as writing in a book. 

The tag, “Perseverance” is the name of the boat owning this part.  However; it could also relate to the patience of the corrosive sea water on the metal or perhaps that the metal still functions in spite of the corrosive sea water.

Hmmmm…Is there something about the air that turns children into zombies, or do the ghosts of this old fort have a fondness for children. 

Now here is a parking sign that attacks your ego.  Well done!

Reflecting on Reflections

It has been a couple of weeks since we spent a week on the Oregon coast.  In that time, Texas temps have dropped from 100+ to a more moderate 85 degree days.  Even nicer is the nighttime temps dropping into the great for sleeping sixties. So with the first good nights sleep in months, I’m sitting in the patio reflecting on the reflections seen in Oregon.

Like lighthouses, reflections on water are the obligatory subjects of photography whenever you see them.  The challenge is making a striking image of an often interpreted subject.

Elena used tight composition to give us new perspectives on many familiar waterfront scenes.  I love her images because they are atypical.  They cause the viewer to take a second look to study the reflection sources…or in my case, I say, “Okay, how the heck did you do that!”

My offerings in this posting, although technically okay, lack that “Wow, how was that done,” but what the heck, I like them.  Hope you will also.

Shipwreck at Fort Stevens

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Tuna head

During our “Photo Exploration” workshop, each afternoon we would meet at Carol’s house for a show & tell of the days photographs.  One afternoon, Ira presented his GEORGEOUS SHOT of a Tuna head.  His picture was perfect at so many levels, perfect color pallet of purple/grayish on a yellow background.  Great composition and focus.  Just so perfect that I almost started to bite my elbows…how could I miss this great opportunity?  We were shooting as a group, Ira saw a shot that escaped us all.
The next day, I wanted to get a great fish head shot.  Well I got a shot but it wasn’t quite what I envisioned. 

 I went back to the previous day and I sorted my pictures from fishing dock, clearly my focus was not on tuna’s heads. 

But wait a minute, what if I extract the tuna head from this picture and apply some photomontage magic.
Here you go, a couple hours later I have my dream shot:

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Waldport predawn

Waldport is one of the favorite ports for gathering Dungeness crabs.  Also often seen are red rock crabs.  Individuals are permitted up to 3 crab traps and up to 12 Dungeness crabs a day. 

In Waldport, we visited the public crabbing dock which is open for private crabbing.  Actually we visited this location twice.  The weather was perfect for great sunrise photography and access is so remarkably open, we could explore every corner of this area.  The first morning, we arrived just as the sun was rising and light values were changing by the minute.  The second morning, we got there early, real early, and it was worth the effort.  Even though we were up before the coffee brewers arrived at their kiosks.

We got a chance to set up tripods and try our hand at longer exposure technique.  When it was dark, we had streetlamp lighting which gave our pictures a warm glow.  As the predawn sky lightened, our challenge was to blend the light sources and keep up with the fast changing light values. 

It was fascinating to watch visitors and locals arrive with their crab pots, small boats, and the ever present thermos bottles of hot beverages.  Every generation was represented and there is an unique camaraderie of optimism among us all.  “Today is the day we are getting that great crab or that great photograph.”  It seemed that all of us had great success. 

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Ropes & knots.

One of the many new experiences of our photo seminar was visiting the docks in Waldport & Newport to get up close and personal with the fishing and crab boat fleets.  The photo opportunities were extraordinary because we were able to go right up to the boats, the gear storage yards and walk through the commercial activity. 

 Specifically, the ropes and knots caught our eye.  This group of images are our view of this colorful integral part of shipboard fishing activity. 

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Tip of the hat to Conde McCullough

Carol Leigh through her fabulous photo seminar, created an environment where those in attendance gained access to exciting photo opportunities located along the central Oregon coast.  Cameras “at the ready” from pre dawn to post sunset, we marched with our tripods, cameras, filters and constant encouragement from Carol to see the common with a new perspective and the uncommon with the excitement of a “newbie.”

Of the many new photo experiences, one that really struck Elena and I was the beautiful coastal bridges in central Oregon.  A little research, (travel brochures & Google” taught us that much of this beauty was created by Conde McCullough.  Mr. McCullough was the embodiment of the “American dream.”  Born in South Dakota in 1887, Conde supported his family after the premature death of his father but still managed to get a civil engineering degree at age of 23.  He worked for a bridge company in Iowa for a year prior to taking a position with the Oregon Agricultural College.  In 1919 he took a position as head of the bridge division of the Oregon Department of Transportation.  This was a good time because highway 101, the coastal route, was being created. 

During his career, he designed a substantial number of beautiful bridges, many featuring Gothic, Art Deco & Romanesque features that added substantially to the beauty of his bridges.

We offer these images as homage to the timelessness of these great designs.

Yaquina Bay Bridge, Newport 1936

The ever present cormorant, Yaquina Bay Bridge, Newport

Bridge geometrics,
Siuslaw River Bridge, Florence 1936

Bridge geometrics,
Yaquina Bay Bridge, Newport

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Back from Oregon

Yaquina Head lighthouse

It has been a while since we last posted on our blog. 30+ days of 100+ degrees of heat, and little incentive to take a picture or even leave home. Fortunately we opted out of Texas for a few days at Coastal Oregon. Our dear friends Carol and Chris were hosting a photo workshop and we eagerly anticipated a change of scenery, unique photo opportunities and time with incomparable Carol and Chris.
What a great trip. We started in Waldport and spent 4 days exploring the coast to Astoria and finally we hung a right to Portland for a day before returning to Texas.
Elena and I have taken so many pictures that frankly seem pretty interesting. Now embark on post processing adventures to get the best out of these pictures.
Check in from time to time and see what you think.