Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Simple Gifts and Giving Thanks

This past August, I met a young man who truly understood that gratitude is an attitude.  I was volunteering at a camp for at risk kids, many of whom face poverty on a daily basis.  On the third evening of camp, every camper receives a new pair of athletic shoes which are donated by a major shoe distributor.

The following morning, this young man arrived for class with a grin that extended from ear to ear.  As he showed me his new shoes, he excitedly said that his mom was going to be so happy that he got a new pair of shoes.  I think that he was too!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Summer Is Gone But Not Forgotten

"Everything has to come to an end, sometime"    L. Frank Baum

The transition from summer to fall is typically gradual on the north coast of Oregon.  It also offers some of the year's nicest  weather.  This fall however the transition has been abrupt.  It began to rain early in October and to date, my rain gauge has measured over 13 inches!

Several of the storms delivered high winds so my once beautiful garden has been laid flat and torn to shreds.  As I was cleaning out the garden plot the other day I was amazed how a hand full of seeds can grow into such an abundant crop of flowers and vegetables in less than four month.  In June, I sowed eleven corn seeds and by early September, I harvested two dozen ears of sweet corn.  I also planted one tomato plant and before the deer discovered it, we feasted on seven small but very tasty tomatoes.  

The garden also produced hundreds of flowers in a near endless array of textures and colors.  I grow the flowers because they add beauty to our year, and they feed the bees and the soul bees.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Labor Day Weekend

Labor Day weekend has always been like a bridge to me.  It no longer feels like summer but fall is still a few weeks off.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

The Garden Experience 2016

A tomato in the hand is worth two on the vine

To be a gardener, one must be a bit of an optimist.  If it were not for the dream of a bountiful harvest, few would bother to plant and tend a garden.  

This year is no exception; I began preparing the garden soil in late April with a liberal application of compost.  The third week of May arrived and the signs in the sky told me that it was time to begin planting.

Last year my humble garden produced a bumper crop of bell peppers which were enjoyed by us and several of our neighbors.  I threw caution to the wind and increased the number of peppers starts planted this spring with high hopes of repeating last year's success.  Disaster soon arrived; one afternoon the clouds opened and pelted the garden with hail stones the size of peas.  In less than five minutes, the pepper's tender foliage was tattered and torn.  My first instinct was to abandon the crop but it was still early in the season.  I was still filled with optimism.

About two weeks later, I noticed that the plants were shedding all newly developed blossoms which ultimately develop into peppers.  All of the signs and symptoms were there; my pepper plants were infected with the dreaded disease known as bacterial leaf spot. I quickly accepted defeat and with little sadness, I removed all traces of the peppers from the garden.

I turned my sights to the lone tomato plant that was growing in a five gallon bucket next to our house. My home town of Astoria is noted for many things, but a climate suitable for large scale tomato production is not one of them.  In the past thirty plus years, I have only attempted tomatoes maybe five times and never had more than one tomato ripen before the fall's first frost.  

This will be remembered as the year of the tomato because thus far, I have harvested three tomatoes. With a little luck, we might get at least two more.


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

A Wet Day At The Beach

My original plan for yesterday was to finish painting the front porch.  Upon heading outside just before sunrise, I discovered we had received significant precipitation overnight.  Rain during July and August is not the norm for our area so it was very obvious that painting was out of the question.

Just for the fun of it, I took a drive out to the beach to see how many hardy tourists were venturing out on this damp day.  As I reach the top of the sand dunes, I was stunned the find the entire beach deserted!  The only sign of life were a large group of brown pelicans foraging in the surf. Apparently the pelicans are not deterred by the rain!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Three Concrete Posts

"Now this is not the end.  It is not even the begining of the end.  But it is, perhaps, the end of the begining."  Winston Churchill

Monday, June 20, 2016

Clam Tides

Early morning clam diggers

It was a cool clear morning when I arrived at the beach for an early morning hike through the dunes.  I was surprised to find more than a dozen cars in the parking lot.  Even in the middle of the summer, the lot would be deserted at 6 AM.  As I crested the dunes, I realized that today's the low tide offered near perfect conditions for clam digging.  I was astonished to see just how far the water had receded.  I have never seen this area of the beach high and dry!

Sunday, June 5, 2016


I awoke this morning at four-thirty and decided to try and catch the sun rising over the river.  Upon my arrival at the park, I was greeted by a swarm of mosquitoes whose appetite could only be described as voracious.  

It's been over a month since my last visit to the park, so I was determined to "out last" the blood suckers and enjoy the sunrise!  

Besides numerous mosquito bites, I came home with a few images.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

"Is the spring coming, he said?  What is like?  It is like the sun shinning on the rain and the sun falling on the sunshine ...."  Frances Hodgson Burnett

Spring is a time of transitions, especially for the weather.  I left for the beach this morning as the sun was shining,  By the time I arrived, twenty minutes later, the clouds had thickened and quickly began dumping rain.  I soon realized that today's adventure in photography was going to be about the falling rain.

Today's image is of the Astoria-Megler Bridge as seen from the front front seat of my truck during an intense downpour.  Spring, you have to love it!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Leftovers Again

One of my favorite places to hike is through the sand dunes along the beach.  Many unimproved trails pass near this cross and over the years, I have photographed it countless times.  All of my previous images were made from a distance and from approximately the same perspective.  

This past July, I decided to return on different days and find an "altered perspective".  This image was selected from over 100 made during a three month period.  

This exercise reminded me that your first camera position may not make the strongest image.  I also discovered that when you think that you have "the best camera position", take two steps forward and then make your image.  This rule applies unless you are photographing near the edge of a cliff.

Thursday, February 11, 2016


Parsley Going To Seed

I love leftovers, especially if they involve pizza!  I was cleaning out my Lightroom catalog recently and found a couple of images made in 2015 but were never posted.  So for the next post or two, leftovers are on the menu.

Gardening has been an interest of mine since childhood.  Until this past summer, I had never grown herbs so at the urging of my lovely wife, I gave it a try.  During a visit to the garden center, I purchased three large clay pots chive, parsley, and basil starts. Apparently, the three herbs chosen are easy to grow and are abundant producers.

As it turned out, the parsley also served as a handy photographic subject one September afternoon.  Who would have guessed!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Reflecting On 2015

Trees Reflection On Water

Looking back on 2015, I would have to say that it has been a very good year for both my lovely wife and me.  We remained healthy and celebrated our 29th year of marriage in December.

It was also with great joy that the remodel of our rental apartment was completed in April.  There were days I wondered if the project would ever end; the last 5% of the job took forever.  The owners of the local building supply store had tears in their eyes when I announced that the job was finished.  If you have never remodeled a house, you are missing out on one of life’s great experiences.  The rule of thumb to remember is that it always takes twice as long as you planned and will cost a whole lot more than you budgeted.

I enjoyed my many hours volunteering as a docent at our local maritime museum this past year. When doing tours for school kids, we now divide them into groups of seven to ten students.  It is so much fun to be able to interact with them one on one; their insights and enthusiasm never fail to amaze me.

Astoria continues to be visited by ocean going cruise ships in the spring and fall.  As a member of the local cruise host organization, I spent many hours greeting visitors from all over the world. Could there be a better job than standing on a street corner and telling people where to go?

I am looking forward to many new adventures in the New Year.

Friday, January 8, 2016

My Favorite "Go To" Place

South Jetty Fort Stevens State Park

Today we received a welcomed break from the wet and wild weather that has been a near constant companion this winter.  Despite the sunny skies, there was a brisk wind blowing from the east and the temperature hovered just above forty degrees.  Monte, I know that you are chuckling, but for us that’s a bit on the cool side!
I spent time with the camera watching the waves crash into the South Jetty, my “go to” place,  I never leave there uninspired!