A Travellerspoint blog

September 2011

The Wonders of Palouse Falls, Washington

Working the River, The Enjoyment of Revisiting Old Haunts, Palouse Falls Hiking, and Loafing

sunny 70 °F

I’m back in the lower forty-eight once again, working on the boat that sails up and down the Columbia, Willamette, Snake, and Palouse Rivers. It’s a good gig. It is fun to travel a river that requires a lot of nautical skill, vigilance, and know how to navigate it. Our watch officers are busy, and it’s good to see them ply their craft. Baja and Alaska aren’t nearly as navigationally interesting or challenging as our Columbia River trips.

As for me, it’s good work. Each week we travel just under a thousand miles, making our way from Portland, Oregon to Clarkston, Washington, and returning down river to Astoria, Oregon, and finishing the trip in Portland. I know it sounds like a lot of illogical travel, but it is a good route that I will be traveling for the next six weeks.
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One of the stops we make along the way is on the Palouse River. I’ve written about the Palouse Falls area before, just about a year ago in fact. Palouse Falls is one of my favorite places in Washington State, and I decided to take advantage and hike down to see the expansive canyon and falls once again. I really like revisiting parks and natural places I’ve been to before. It’s kind of like visiting an old friend. I like to see if there are any changes, and find new nooks and crannies or views that I haven’t discovered yet.
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I caught the zodiac to shore well before the guests disembarked, and had quite a bit of time to compose some images in the strong morning light. Most of the land was tan, faded grass of late summer, but in contrast, there were large bushes of yellow flowers and sunflowers blooming along the hillsides. We anchor near a rock outcrop named by the Palouse Indians of the region as the “Heart of the Beaver.” The rock sits high above the river, and makes for a nice backdrop.
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When everyone else arrived on shore, we climbed onto the school bus and made our way to the falls.
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I knew exactly where I was going, so while everyone else went straight for the tourist view of the falls, I headed left to the trail that would take me down to the lip of the falls. I was surprised by the amount of birds around. There were many songbirds, warblers, sparrows and the like, and they were all eating seeds from the sunflowers.
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I slid down the gravel talus pile next to the railroad bed. I more or less crouched down on one boot and skiied it, using my hands as balance when I needed it, and I was down in under a minute. Sometimes, you just have to let yourself go.

I walked the familiar trail downstream to the falls. It felt good to be hiking, and I was enjoying the warm sunshine, the sounds of the river, and excited to see what awaited me just around the bend.
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I brought my camera, of course, but I didn’t have any expectations of taking photos I hadn’t taken here on previous trips. However, when I reached the gaping canyon I found myself working new angles I hadn’t done before, seeing the falls, and surrounding countryside in new ways. I was inspired, and pleasantly surprised, by my excitement. I was once again in my element.
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I love this place. I can’t wait to come back again in the next few weeks. In a moment of inspiration, I climbed up the thin rock fingers that sit like an audience above the falls. I found some shade, I found a perch, and that was all I needed. I sat on my rock throne, twenty feet higher than the rocky slope that sits atop the sheer cliff of the waterfall wall. Perfect. I looked out at the surrounding canyon, and took in all my senses could offer me.
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It was a good morning, and I want to spend a couple of days at Palouse Falls, not just a couple of hours. I wearily hiked back to the parking lot, stopping at the upper falls to dunk my head in the water. It was cool and refreshing, and I thought about jumping in. The thought passed, and so did I.
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Back on top of the bluff, I looked over the canyon and found more gorgeous views. The compositions of the Palouse are quite fetching. I finished off my day by loafing. Loafing is a wonderful pastime. Lin Yutang, writes in “The Importance of Living” that, “The first thought that the jungle beast would have is that man is the only working animal.” And this is true! Too many of us work way too hard, and would be far better off lying flat on a cool picnic table in the shade of a large copse of trees that are filled with the songs of birds. I did this very thing at the park, with my backpack as a pillow, and the warm breeze as my blanket, I fell asleep to the chirping of the birds. As I lay there I had the thought, that I should just stay here, and sleep away the afternoon. This was the good life, and I was enjoying it.

Alas, I didn’t make good on my pleasant thought (yet). Like the good american I am, I went back to work to live to toil another day.
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However, this little nap I had in the park has planted a seed of a plan in my mind. It won’t be long before it bears fruit, and this vagabond will be free once again.

Posted by Rhombus 18:14 Archived in USA Tagged landscapes waterfalls birds photography wildflowers Comments (0)

British Columbia by Water

An Ethereal Study of Reflection, Ocean Life and Fun

sunny 67 °F

These are my final observations of Alaska for the year.

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One: The Misty Fjords weren’t as misty as I expected them to be. To be sure, the morning was very misty, and very beautiful because of the vaporous water. Later in the day, they burned off, revealing the impressive rock faces that make up the landscape.
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Sometimes, incredible weather can happen in the most unlikely of places.

Two: Alaska was very good to me this year. Thinking back on all of the amazing things I have seen this past summer has been further encouragement, that I am indeed on the right path. Aye, life is good.

Three: I’m going to miss Alaska.
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Four: It’s been a fantastic trip. How lucky can one guy get?

These are my observations of British Columbia.

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One: British Columbia has amazing morning lighting, leading me to conclude it is an ethereal realm where the intense greens were mirrors on the surface of its protected narrow and winding waterways. Eventually, the mirrored images begin to form unique natural designs, and patterns. I was lost in brightness of the trees, the beautiful patterns repeating themselves, and the overall beauty of the mornings.
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Two: Kayaking is splendid activity to enhance the visuals of item one. I spent a morning floating on a placid surface, paddling hard when I wanted, but mostly taking it easy and exploring the intertidal zones along the shores of these lushly forested islands. I saw gigantic sea stars, and other invertebrates I hadn’t seen before. B.C. is a healthy place, the environments and ecosystems are strong, and flourishing.
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Three: The wildlife of British Columbia can be quite good. I saw pods of Orca, including a mother and calf pair that played in the tidal current lines just aft of our ship, not more than thirty feet away. We were out of gear of course and posing no threat to any wildlife. To find yourself surrounded by water mammals is a good situation to be in.
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To top it off, we found a pod of Pacific White Sided dolphins! There were several hundred in the group, and most of them were jumping in and out of the water with dolphin regularity. It’s hard to follow dolphins as they streak through the water. They are unpredictable. The best course of action is just to trust your instincts and keep shooting. For every fifteen bad pictures I take, there is usually one gem.
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The dolphins made my day. Just when you think there won’t be anything else to make a trip better, dolphins show up and spread that smile on my face just a little wider.
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Four: British Columbia has a lot to offer. Go check it out sometime. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
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I'm now back in the Lower Forty-Eight, about to spend six weeks travelling up and down the Columbia, Snake, Palouse, and Willamette Rivers.
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Posted by Rhombus 10:21 Archived in Canada Tagged trees reflections wildlife whales alaska canada dolphins photography orcas Comments (2)

An Evening With Alaskan Whales

A Beautiful Evening, Dead Batteries, Bubble Net Feeding, and A Remarkable Sunset

sunny 65 °F

On a placid evening in the midst of the most southern of the southeast islands of Alaska, a group of humpback whales came together for one of the most memorable whale shows I will ever see. They were working together to feed as one; bubble net feeding. I have described bubble net feeding in my entry on “The Feeding Habits of Whales and Bears”, so I won’t give you the full details of this behavior again. A short synopsis of the bubble net formation is thus: The whales dive in a row, blow a net of bubbles around a biomass of baitfish, and lunge through that net as a group, collecting mass amounts of fish in their gaping mouths.

It was a beautiful evening. It was calm, just before sunset. The light was warm on the skin, and brought out warm colors to the eye. The light was fantastic. We motored up on a large group of bubble net feeding humpbacks, and it was a good show. Everyone was on deck, setting up cameras, holding binoculars, or simply watching these magnificent creatures.

Notice the perfect circle around these whales. That is the bubble net percolating at the surface.
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I had ran down to my hook to grab my camera, and ran up to the lido (the highest deck of our ship) to get a good view. When I got there, I turned on my camera only to find, a low battery signal. I paid it no mind, and set up a perfect shot of the whales in the sun. Before I could snap the shutter, the camera died. Dead. I decided to run down and get my spare battery, before the next surge, and I found that this battery was dead as well. A photographer’s worst nightmare! I laughed. What else could I do? I put myself in this situation, and nobody but myself was to blame. So I ran down to my room, and put my batteries to charge, while I ran back up to the lido, to take in the evening.

I had to put up with my chief engineer Clay, give me shit about Nikon cameras (I’m a Nikon guy, he’s a Canon guy), but I didn’t let him bother me. I had whales to watch.

We were dead still, our mate didn’t dare move the boat as the whales had followed the herring balls right next to our boat, and they dove near us, heading in our direction. By law, we have to stay 100 yards away from all wildlife, but we can’t endanger the wildlife by moving if they come at us, so we held still. The whales had dove down, and as I looked over the edge, the tell tale circle of bubbles began to appear, making a small arc on top of the water. Then, there they were, not more than 100 feet away, bursting through the surface with their enormous mouths gaping open with herring pouring out of the sides of them. The seagulls were going crazy. Nine Whales had surfaced devouring a vast amount of herring in a single surfacing. It was AMAZING, it was AWESOME, and I’ll probably never see a better whale show than that in my life. It was a top five life moment, and the best part was, I had no distractions. My camera was safely tucked away on my bed, and I could simply live the moment. Sometimes things work out better than you could ever plan.

Forty-five minutes later, as the sky had turned pink in the west, and I was finally off shift. I grabbed my camera with a moderately charged battery and went back up to the lido to try to get a few shots before the light went away, and we continued on our way. The whales gave me several chances, but the light was bad.

Meanwhile, more whales had joined the nine, and they broke up into three separate groups of bubble net feeding humpbacks. It was fantastic! You could time them, and there was constant herring carnage going on. One group would erupt, and then another, then the last, but they had good timing so I didn’t have to wait long before the next group burst through the surface.
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I looked to the east, and the moon was rising through the scant cloud cover. It was beautiful atmosphere, a rising moon, to a setting sun, and a good spectrum of blue in between.

Finally, with my last chance, the whales and lighting cooperated; they were off in the distance, a couple hundred yards away. Behind them, the rich pink of the sunset afterglow was vibrant. A nice band of spruce from a nearby island formed well with the sunset. I waited, watching the seagulls begin to swarm to the surface. Seagulls are great indicators of where the whales will appear, as they want the stunned herring the whales leave.

They broke the surface as one, and I tracked them to the apex of their momentum, taking the photo you see here.
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I knew they would probably dive once again, and I composed the back ground so that I could time a whale fluke for my last picture of the night, once again they cooperated, and the shot perfect.
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I am a lucky man. In pursuit of my happiness, I keep finding in just around the corner.
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This marks the last of the Alaskan whale shows for the year for me. Next time, I’ll talk about my journey through the Misty Fjords, and the ethereal world of the inside passage of British Columbia.

Posted by Rhombus 11:18 Archived in USA Tagged whales alaska sunsets life photography humpbacks Comments (0)

The Best Day in Glacier Bay National Park

The John Hopkins Glacier, Sea Scapes, South Marble Island, and Sunset

sunny 72 °F

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The day began innocently enough. When I stepped into the daylight, my first sight was that of the Margerie glacier. It was a good first look at the world, its jagged ice face holding fast in the early morning light. It was beautiful, but not in a picturesque way. It was beautiful to stand in the cold open air looking at the glacier still deep in shadow holding absolutely still, in muted pale blues of early mountain light. It was like standing alone in a beautiful ice temple, or standing knee deep in a forest watching the snowfall; it left me feeling good about everything.
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The day only improved from there. We motored across to look at the John Hopkins Glacier, which is one of the few glaciers in the world that is actually expanding. This was the first time I saw the John Hopkins, as thick sea ice blocked our passage earlier in the summer. The John Hopkins is connected to the eastern edge of the Gilman Glacier. The faces of the glaciers were lit up in bright morning sun, while the hanging glaciers high above them were still in cloud.
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The combination of sun, swirling mountain clouds, glaciers, mountains, and sea were a dynamic force to reckon with this day, and though I didn’t know it at the time, it was a reoccurring vision that made me very happy to be alive. This is my last trip into Glacier Bay for the year. The landscape and seascapes combined with the variety of wildlife made this among the best days I’ve ever had in Alaska. It was a splendid farewell, a final reminder to come back and explore again sometime, that Alaska is still wild and will forever be.
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Now, before I get lost into trying to weave poetic justice to the indescribable beauty I hold in my memory, I’m going to let my images speak for me. The point is, it was a beautiful day, and I’m glad I was there to live it. If I never see Alaska again, I’ll still have this trip to Glacier Bay National Park to hold dear.
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I saw four different glaciers. The Marjorie, the John Hopkins, the Gilman and the Hoonah. The Hoonah was probably my favorite, as it was high up nestled under the shoulder of a high mountain. The swirling clouds were sunlit white behind the piles of jagged ice. It was an easy composition and one of my favorites.
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As we cruised along, we saw a brown bear and a wolf sharing the same beach. They were both poking along the waterfront looking for food, or looking for fun, who knows? I focused my lens on the wolf, as this was the only wolf I’ve seen all year, anywhere. It was though it wanted to pose for me, and he walked out to the end of a small spit of rocks and held still, looking off into the distance, before poking around some more and disappearing into the woods.
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The sky was putting on a fantastic show of its own with playful variations on cloud, color and light. The sky would change its dynamic every twenty minutes, bending light through the heavy clouds, creating a masterpiece of living art. In every direction I looked, another seascape demanded my attention. I was in my element, in the elements, and loving every second.
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In the late afternoon, we sailed up to South Marble Island, and I don’t think it’s ever looked better. I’ve talked about the Marble islands in past entries (June 10th to August 6th), but my last views were my favorite. I loved seeing the crowded, noisy and stinky sea lion covered rocks and pastel skies one last time. The birds were still living there, the puffins, cormorants, gulls, jaegers, among many others flying in groups through many of the photos I captured. As we left, the sun came out, backlighting the most southerly outcrops in glinting sunlight, offsetting the heavy cloud cover off to the west. Intense sunrays burned through the gaps in the clouds giving the scenes even more layering than I though one scene could handle. In a word, gorgeous.
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Then as we traveled further south in the setting sun, the Orca showed themselves and we were able to match their pace as we cruised south. A male and female were traveling as a pair through the placid light blue water and with evening sun behind me, the whale and spruce covered island made for good memories.
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We docked into Bartlett cove for a couple of hours, and I took the time to finish my day with a little exercise. My buddy Luke had his slack line, so I borrowed it and set it up on the dock. We took turns practicing our craft, focusing on balance in the cold night air. Balance is the correct term, for as we walked the line, the sky turned golden orange in the west, the strong afterglow of the sunset. In the east, just peaking above the tops of the dark spruce trees was the pale yellow moon rising through the dark indigo sky.
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It was one of the best days I’ve ever had in Alaska, a cornucopia of landscapes, wildlife, oceans, visions, photography, and life. It had it all, and I hope there are more days like these in my future.
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Posted by Rhombus 20:30 Archived in USA Tagged wildlife whales ice alaska clouds glaciers photography portland wolves Comments (0)

The Dusty Vagabond's 100th Entry Extravaganza

Some Thoughts My Blog, Thirty Pictures of Adventures Past

all seasons in one day 60 °F

This entry is somewhat special to me, as it marks one hundred small chapters I have had the pleasure of presenting to you. My blog has surprised me. I never expected it to be as fun as it is to write, or how many people I’ve been able to reach with my twisted, yet well-timed views of this universe.

When I started writing about my travels way back in November of 2009, I didn’t really know what I was doing. I didn’t know if my writing would be like so many of my other “projects” that I’ve been intensely interested in, only to let them fall by the wayside. I’ve had a variety of doomed projects such as: learning Hawaiian, Spanish, and German (I‘ve a short attention span). I‘ve also given up ice skating (for good) bottle collecting, volunteering, golf, ventriloquism, and geology among many others. However, at the time I really wanted to start writing again. I had been to some cool places, and I had plans of going to many more. I knew I was leading an interesting life and I wanted to share it with others. At the time, I didn’t quite know where I fit into the whole scheme, but in time, I knew I wanted to inspire people to go play outside and see the world for themselves. I also wanted to show off my photos, a gift that I’m quite happy in sharing with you.

I’ve always been a better photographer than a writer, so to those of you who simply enjoy or review the photos I thank you for your time. For those of you who waste perfectly good minutes of your day and actually delve into the text and struggle through my invincible wall of typographical and grammatical errors, you have my respect, both of you. I can only imagine the fun you have trying to understand my awkward metaphors. At times, I have to try hard to get what I want to say written correctly and sometimes words fail the imagery I’m trying to relate.

Here's what I find interesting. People from the US, Canada, Great Britain have visited my site the most often. People from Afghanistan, Estonia and Zimbabwe have spent the most time reading the entries. I’m quite surprised and delighted at who has read about my travels. It has truly stretched across the globe, and I’m excited that strangers from around the world can read what a rambler like me is doing with my life. The planet is smaller than ever thanks to electronics.

I’m going to look back at some of my old photos and entries to reminisce and think of my past excursions. This is a good self-analysis of my craft more than anything else. I will repost thirty of my favorite photographs from the last one hundred entries, and tell you a bit more about each one.

Above all, I want to thank all of you who have taken the time to listen to what I have to say. I have had a good run, and an author is useless without an audience. In particular, I’d like to thank the good people at Travellerspoint (www.travellerspoint.com) who’ve put together a fantastic travel website free of charge. They also have taken notice and featured my blog (five times), photos, and have answered my questions. They’ve opened some doors for my craft that otherwise probably would’ve remained closed, lost in large pile of other traveler’s stories.

For those of you who want to know more about Travellerspoint, it is a website designed by travelers for travelers. It has well over a quarter of a million members, and offers free blogging, mapping, and photography. They have a featured blogs, travel photos, a travel forum to discuss anything travel related, a travel guide written by members, and an accommodations page to help you plan your travels. It is a fantastic site, and one I’m damn glad to be a part of.

Thirty of my Favorite Places

Rain and Sun
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I was leaving the Hoh Rainforest in Olympic Nat‘l Park. It was February. The campground was freezing cold, deserted and lonesome. I grew restless. I was hopped up on the high-powered coffee that I had been drinking all afternoon. As I drove out, the heavy clouds broke apart briefly in front of the setting sun lighting up the road and the intense rain shower I was driving through. I stopped the van, and took this photo out of my driver side window. Sometimes you only have a split second to decide if you are going to go for the picture or not. My advice? Shoot first. Drive later.

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I love the City of Rocks. It was late afternoon, and I had just finished bouldering for the day. I was setting up some climbing shots when I experimented with my shadow on the rock. I stretched my lanky frame and tripped the shutter.

Diving into beautiful Lake Superior
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This photo had perfect timing. I took it on the first attempt, looking at my watch and guessing when I should be airborne. At the time, I was shooting film and didn’t know if I had the shot or not, so I took half a dozen takes. Luckily, my guess was right on.

Sunrise and Ice
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Excerpt from my journal:
“I started my day with a debate. ‘Should I go out and take in the sunrise, or not.’ It's not an easy discussion to have with yourself. I decided to set up a system of rewards; a.k.a hot coffee and a muffin upon my return. Outside: cold, snow crunching, slicing wind. Protected by 1970's big green jacket, I find the atmosphere awash with an intense orange quality that sparkles magnificently on the ice. Like a 10 minute wink, the eye of the sun opens briefly, then is gone. Satisfaction. I find my rewards, listen to Yo Yo Ma play some Bach (appropriate), and happily plunk myself in front of my cheery fire. Good morning.”

Bull Elk at Dawn
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I’ve always wanted a good elk shot. Up until this point, I had many pictures of the ass end of an elk, which was somewhat awkward to both the elk and myself. Finally, one magical winter dawn in Yellowstone Nat’l Park I was driving east from Mammoth to go Nordic skiing when I saw two elk on side of the road. I used my van as a blind and took this photo just as the sun crept over the side of the distant mountain.

Madison Valley and Rocky Mountains
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Montana is awesome. This is taken just off the highway near and is a fine example of Montana’s alluring wide-open spaces.

A Rainbow and Passing Storm
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I was staying at Bruneau Dunes State Park in Idaho when a very powerful storm rolled through. The intense storm packed a punch and the rain pounded the van. It was a fast moving squall however, and sunlight soon lit up the clouds that had passed by. I jumped out to take advantage of the beautiful lighting. I was busy taking pictures of the trunk of this tree and its shadow when a rainbow appeared. I took this photo, set up for another, and my battery died.

Crab in Death
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I was biking on the hard packed sand of Cape Lookout State Park in Oregon when I came upon this crab sprawled out in a good dramatic death pose. I put my lens very close to it, crouching down in the wet sand. I wanted to convey the crab as my subject, yet show the expansive beach and surf at low tide. I still like this photo.

Moss Coverage
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I worked hard to get the angle just right for this photo. There were a lot of distracting sticks poking out of the water that I wanted to eliminate. After ten minutes of fussing, I finally found it.

Sitka Landscapes
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I went for a bike ride out to Jablonski Island one evening in early May. I was heading out to John Brown’s Beach when the sun cracked with intensity through a small window in the cloud highlighting the fishing boats, town and Spruce in very warm color but leaving the mountains in heavy gloom.

Devil’s Club and Waterfall
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I really love the intensity of the green of the Devil Club, and surrounding brush compared to the whiteness of the waterfall. If you like green, go hike through the temperate rain forests of Southeast Alaska to see the wide varieties of Earth’s most common color.

Embracing Alaska
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This is still one of my favorite photos and the best example of what I am all about. I had hiked up to Beaver Lake near Sitka, Alaska with a friend of mine. We found the rowboat, bailed it out, plugged the holes as best we could and rowed out onto the lake. I spied this log sticking out of the water and inspiration struck. I had her row me over to it, so I could climb up on it and pose while I shouted to her how to compose the photo. What you don’t know is that my finger on my right hand is painfully numb and bleeding profusely as I had sandwiched it between the bow of our rowboat and the log before I climbed up.

Free Spirit in North Dakota
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I found this field of rapeseed (horrible name) near my campground at Devil’s Lake, North Dakota. It made a beautiful backdrop, and it was easy to set up this self-portrait. I was thinking of how damn good it was to see the Great Plains in color for once, and how free I felt.

The Caboose
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This caboose sits silently near the small town of Poplar, Wisconsin. I passed it one afternoon as I was driving by and stopped and turned around. Too often in the past, I had blown by scenes that intrigued me. I often regretted it. Not this time, I stopped, left the van running, ran over into the clover and buttercups, got low and took the photo. Everything was perfect, and I haven’t seen this caboose in such conditions since.

Playing with shadow on an untouched beach
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It had been raining all day, and I had sat inside through all of it. Bored, I decided to go watch the sunset down on the beach. I was surprised when the low angled sun broke through the dark clouds and lit up the sand and forest. I set up a self-portrait and posed as to give myself a long, funky shadow.

Cloud clearing in Sitka
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I was trying to sneak up on some blue herons that were feeding in the estuary, near Sitka. I was bumbling around on the boardwalk as loud as I could, and the herons had all flown away by the time I “snuck” up on them. Disgusted with myself for not being quiet, I walked around to the front of the river when this scene unfurled in front of me. The clouds briefly cleared in front of the mountain peaks and the sun showed bright through the high clouds lighting up the meadow and river beautifully. No herons this time, but I captured one of my favorite Alaskan memories instead.

A Vibrant End to Autumn
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This was the only photo I took on this day. I was walking in my mom’s yard and these maple leaves struck me as being particularly vibrant. I started thinking about the last leaf of autumn, and a short story formed in my head about it.

Oak Leaf and Wave
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A quiet Zen moment of early winter.

Moonset
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I had been watching this full moon all night. I had just gotten off work, and I had a few minutes to grab my camera and compose this shot before the sun came up. It was a magical morning with moon on one side of us, and the sunrise on the other. I preferred this moon.

Cactus, Kayakers and the SeaBird
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I often compose the desert landscapes of Baja with the surrounding sea. I had just descended a high mountain peak on Isla Danzante when I noticed two kayakers about to cross the small cove. I saw my composition, setting up a leading line of cactus, kayakers, and the Seabird in the distance. I waited for them to separate a little and snapped the shutter.

An Arc of Dolphins
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I took hundreds of dolphin shots down in Baja, but none of them were as well timed as this one. For every hundred shots of the spray of where a dolphin had just been airborne, you might get one nice one. Luck was with me this day.

The Coyote
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This coyote passed within 4 feet of where I was standing on the ski trail in Yellowstone Nat’l park. I will never forget it.

Standing man statue
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I went for a bike ride in La Paz, Baja California Sur. As I headed back into the sun, this shadow and statue caught my eye. Luckily, I had the sidewalk to myself. I was in the right place at the right time, and took my opportunity.

White fences of Idaho
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While biking along “The Trail of the Coeur d’alene” I biked by these brilliant white fences and barns of a horse ranch. Since it was winter, and the world was drab, I turned to black and white to help contrast the scene, and let the fences be my leading line.

Water colors at dawn
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I love this kind of water. This is as brilliant and colorful as I’ve ever seen it. It was just before dawn in the Sea of Cortez, and the sky was fiery orange and pink with a wonderful sunrise.

The end of the earth
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Cabo San Lucas is home to a tip of land made of majestically carved rock called the end of the earth. Because the entire city of Cabo is a blown up little America, and the cape is beleaguered by tour boats and chaos, I was lucky to compose this shot without anything manmade appearing in it. I like this shot, because I was able enough to eliminate all the hubbub of the place and capture a quiet and compelling moment when the cape was quiet just before dark.

Strong-armed cactus landscape
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This Cardon Cactus was unique. It looked like to me, that a man was buried to his waste holding his hands straight up. I was wandering among the unique boojum trees found only in this part of Mexico when I stumbled upon this cactus.

Ame and Thom’s album cover
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We had gone for a stroll down by the Santa Cruz lighthouse and there were huge concrete forms used to protect the light called riprap. I had been playing around on them while Ame made a phone call. When she was done, I had her come and join me for a photo. She perched up high, and I sat low and the shot was perfect. Part of what makes travelling special is the people you meet along the way. I've met a lot of good people, I would never had met if I had stayed home.

Ice detail
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I’ll never forget this iceberg. It was the most uniquely colored berg I’ve ever seen, and I was mesmerized by blue. This berg wouldn’t look nearly so vibrant under a sunny sky, and fortunately we had a foggy drizzle to witness this masterpiece.

Islands in the mist
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The mists of southeast Alaska are amazing. When they begin to break up and dissipate, it creates beautiful land and seascapes where the mists mingle with mountain, islands, sea and sky.

Brown bear fishing
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I had been hoping to see a brown bear up close all year. In August, the salmon begin to run up the small streams of the islands and the bears come in for the feast. This bear was one of three who were fishing in Pavlov cove on the day we visited. I had just woken up, and the chief mate asked me if I wanted to go and look at the bears. I grabbed my camera hopped in a zodiac wearing shorts, light fleece and flip-flops. We rode up the small stream where we could see the bears. I hopped out of the zodiac and walked up the shore to the join the mob that watched these bears fish beneath the falls. I took this picture, caught my ride back to the boat and ate breakfast.

The Ohio and Erie Canal
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I love how grown in and swampy this picture looks. This was once a viable shipping canal running between Cleveland and Akron. It’s good to see nature reclaim its territory after man abandons their work.

The next one hundred entries begin once again in Alaska. I’ll be back aboard the NGS Seabird sailing south on a two week photo trip through Alaska and British Columbia. I’ve been looking forward to this trip for a while, and so I here I go again.

“We were curious. Our curiosity was not limited, but was as wide and horizon less as that of Darwin, Agassiz or Linneaus or Pliny. We wanted to see everything our eyes would accommodate, to think what we could, and, out of our seeing and thinking, to build some kind of structure in modeled imitation of the observed reality.” The Log From the Seas of Cortez, by Steinbeck.

Posted by Rhombus 16:08 Archived in USA Tagged travel mexico usa canada photography philosophy blogging Comments (5)

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