A couple of years ago I drove up to Washington state to visit some friends and wander around. On my way home, I drove through the Olympic Peninsula, spending a few days working my way back south. I camped some and I stayed in hotels.
As I drove one morning, I came upon a bit of state beach on a cool, foggy morning. The Girl and I wandered down the path to the beach, enjoying the cool, moist sea air. Once on the beach, we found a lot of driftwood piled up from recent storms. I supposed we wandered around the beach for an hour, interacting with some fishermen working the surf and making photographs.
On the way back to the rig, I came on this group of stones that someone stacked on a log. In many ways, it is a stock image. I have seen many similar captures. But there was something about being there on that Pacific beach, finding something that someone else left behind. The image was not staged. The fog provided a wonderful background.
The Girl and I love morning walkies. It is partly a ritual, partly exercise, and mostly fun. We have a few favorite routes — some are here in town and others require a short drive. All of them present opportunities to be outdoors, places to walk off-lead, and stimulation from a variety of sources.
Once off-lead, the Girl loves to roam out a bit, sniffing and hunting ground squirrels. She never ranges far from me, although she is not the brightest bulb in the box. She can become focused and lose track of me. Instead of using her “doggie-sense,” she looks for me. That’s not smart…
But, it doesn’t happen all that often and rarely on our in-town routes. When walking in more rural areas, I’m careful to keep track of her even if I’m looking for something to shoot (with the camera).
One of our in-town routes takes us past the old Carson City lumberyard flume. It’s not a linear park, where doggies are welcome, and a wetland. Cattails grow in the drainage ditch (disguised as a wetland) and there is water there most of the year. Blackbirds often frequent the place and I love their calls.
A hedge of rosebushes delineates the boundary between the park and the adjacent open lot. The green is pretty and the small, red and white flowers are visually interesting. There are few squirrel burrows in the hedge, which provides distraction for the Girl.
One morning last fall, I carried the Panasonic G3 with a cheap Fujian 50mm f/1.4 video lens attached. The lens is not very sharp wide open, but has a nice bokeh and is sharp enough when stopped down to f/2.8 or f/4. The color and background attracted my eye this morning, so I made a few captures while the Girl sniffed about.
We then continued walkies, where I found a few bees on the volunteer sunflowers downstream from this site.
On my trip to Washington state last year, I paused at Greenwaters Park along the Williamette River for a pit stop for both The Girl and myself. I got her out and we walked around the park, pausing at the river bank (or at least me) to watch the play of light on the water’s surface and to listen to the sound of moving water.
I never tire of the sound of moving water. I suppose I’ll never tire of the sight of moving water, either. Aside from the physics of flowing water, I just like it. I thought I should share.
A couple mornings ago we had a bit of sun. That made the daily walkies much more pleasant. Even if it was a little cool, the sun warmed me and made the walk very pleasant.
I often see raptors while on my daily walks. I carry a pair of binoculars with me on all walks now so I can see them (plus other birds). I would not call myself a birder, but I enjoy them and love to make photographs of them when I can.
I think this is a Coopers Hawk. They are very similar to the Sharp-Shinned Hawk and I am not yet adept at distinguishing them. In any event, with the good light I was able to get a sharp capture. I like this image quite a lot.
One of my favorite captures, either in-camera or just by observations, is a raptor. I see them often on walkies; sometimes in town but more frequently when walking near the Carson River.
One Sunday morning The Girl and I were walking over to the old state school (now a doggie park) and I noticed this hawk near the old flume. It flew up into the top of a cedar tree as we approached, then transitioned to this grove of willows near the DPS headquarters.
That gave me time to mount the 6-inch Wollensak on my Olympus. The Girl waited (mostly) patiently while I made the captures. Then snorted and danced when we moved on.
I have not written much lately. My time has been consumed by exercise (for me and The Girl), work, and playing a little World of Tanks (in the evenings after work and supper).
The energy used in working has not left much for writing of photography. Yet, I carry the camera along with me on walkies and sometimes find interesting things to capture. The pun title is a reflection of my recent thoughts as well as the disintegrating cattail The Girl and I found on recent walkies.
After experimenting with the Wollensak and Kern-Paillard 16mm movie camera lenses, I decided to retire the Panasonic Lumix G3 and replaced it with an Olympus OMD E-M10 I found on FleaBay. The Olympus was a surprising big upgrade in camera. The build quality is quite a bit better than the Panasonic. Both the rear screen and viewfinder are much better. The camera contains in-body image stabilization, which is the real upgrade for shooting legacy manual focus lenses.
The latter was my reason for upgrading this experimental camera. I have no intention of acquiring a lens system for it, although there are many excellent Micro-4/3s lenses. I might change my mind, but for now I prefer the Fuji glass for APS-size sensors and the Nikkor glass for full-frame.
I’ll probably write more about system decisions later. My system evolved substantially over the last couple of years.
I like the vintage image quality that the 16mm movie camera lenses bring. I have an Angenieux 20-80mm zoom that has an excellent reputation and needs to be used with the Olympus. As the opportunity presents, I’ll probably add a few more vintage movie camera lenses to the collection and use them to create some images.
These lenses are less sharp and bring less contrast than modern lenses. They are mostly 50-years old or more. Optical technology changed quite a lot during that period of time. But they bring an interesting quality to the captures. The results are less sharp, contain less (raw) contrast, and are subject to flare. But they are interesting.
So this will be my area of photographic exploration for awhile. I’m looking forward to working a little less in 2018 and having more time to work on personal projects. That will include writing and photography, which I will share here.
The end of the year approaches. With it will come my annual period of reflection and thoughts for the coming year. Even though there is sadness that Wife is no longer here to share the season, I look forward to remembering the birth of the Christ and the celebration of an ending and a beginning.
A couple of days ago we got out early enough in the evening that there was still a little light. On our way around the old state orphanage, I came across a few “hangers-on” — a few roses that the frost has not killed. They’re distressed, but hanging on. I thought the combination of light and color was interesting, so I made the shot with the Switar 25mm f/1.4 I picked up a couple of weeks ago.
I’ll have to post a photograph of this lens. It’s really rough on the exterior and has a funky slip at a certain portion of the focus helicoid, but the glass is good and the aperture works fine. It’s a classic 16mm movie camera lens that produces interesting images. If I’m ever at a loss for things to do, I’ll disassemble it and clean the helicoid. I think that will fix the focusing weirdness.
Nonetheless, the image is worth sharing. The roses have not yet given up.
We walked later than usual on Friday. I decided to do the strength workout before walking, so after taking care of some work and feeding us, we left the house about 1100h and headed for Silver Saddle Ranch. I really enjoy walking the Mexican Ditch Trail.
We parked at the usual staging area and humped down the hill through the ranch complex. I noticed an North American Kestrel that I first saw a few days ago, sitting in a tree. He flew off down the lane a hundred yards and perched on a fence post. As we continued walking the lane, he spooked and flew off across the hayfield. That made me smile and I spoke to him as he flew away.
I so enjoy seeing birds along the walk. I carry binoculars in my kit so I can watch them. I have an application on my iPhone that helps me identify them. My logging of my sightings is used by the Cornell Ornithology Unit to track populations, I’m certain.
I also identified a Northern Flicker as we walked the trail. I often hear woodpeckers working as we walk, but they are furtive and do not want to be seen. But Friday I spotted one and was able to observe him long enough to get an identification. His call confirmed my identification. He didn’t stay on his perch long, however. But I also spotted a female at the same location, and she was very spooky. She used her camouflage to hide against the bark of a cottonwood tree she occupied. I was amused and thankful for seeing both birds.
There was a lot of flow in the Carson River that afternoon. I supposed we had enough rain and snow in the mountains to raise the flowrate substantially. We paused at the dam to watch and listen to the water flowing over the weir. I noticed some red buds or berries on some scraggly brush along the Mexican Ditch, so we paused a few minutes for me to make an image.
There we met Linda and Austin. Linda is a tall, slender woman about my age. She’s clearly taken care of herself. Austin is her rambunctious black dog. Austin teased and irritated The Girl until she chased him. They were a hoot to watch. We all shared the path back to the ranch buildings and then parted ways, each on their path.
It was a good day. The walk did me good. The birds provided some intellectual stimulation and joy. The exercise is always good. A tired dog is a happy dog. So is a tired old man.
The weather turned wet and gray yesterday evening. On our last walkies of the day, we drove over to the old orphanage doggie park and walked a circuit. It was spitting rain and the wind blew. While not cold, it wasn’t the best weather.
But The Girl is good so long as she’s moving. She’s hates being wet (but loves the snow), so I heard her shake now and again as she sniffed around. It’s a good sound and I enjoy.
The windproof hoodie I wore was enough to keep me warm. It was dark when we got out, but not bad with a light. So I enjoyed the outing and the time with The Girl.
I had to make a grocery run, so we drove to store, did the necessary reprovisioning to keep us fed, and returned home. It began raining not long after. I was glad to be home and have provisions for the next few days.
This morning is gray and rainy. I need to get out for a walk, so I’ll probably grab the M65 field jacket, put on my base layer bottoms, and get The Girl out for a walk. I really want to go walk the Carson River again today, so I think we will. Maybe there will be a photo-op out there. It will be a very different look from the recent walks.
But I was reminded of the wonderful hike we made up Deadman’s Creek Trail Sunday afternoon. While at the gazebo that overlooks Washoe Valley, I paused to make a panoramic image of the view. The fall colors are so warm and contrast so well with the cool colors of lake and sky. There is more water in Washoe Lake than I recall since we moved here in 2007. It is good to see.
It is a good. It was a good weekend. Now I’m off to go walk before the rains get started again. Life is good.
Well, here is the last of my images from the fall Riverview Park hikes. The leaves are almost gone now and the trees are all dressed in their winter clothes. While there will be many days of hard blue skies and warm sunshine, the warm colors of summer and fall are gone.
But it is good. The change of seasons reminds me of changes of life. There is no constant; it is always dynamic. Sometimes the changes come so fast they take breath away, leaving one aswirl in thoughts and emotions as the changes are absorbed, if not understood or accepted.
At other times there is a slower ebb and flow to life, during which we ride those waves. The seasons remind me of those times as I walk daily the trails and watch the change in the position of the Sun and the change in the living things around me.
The slower times provide opportunity to reflect and process the times of faster change. It is good. Life is good.