Photography

A summer stroll in Oregon City

I had to go out to Oregon City last Friday for a fitting, so I asked my son, Calvin, if he wanted to come along and explore afterwards. He looked bored, so he came along on my mini adventure.

After the fitting was over, we headed over to the VFW parking lot where we started our walk on the historical path to the Oregon City Municipal Elevator Shaft. It was in the 90’s that day, so it was a hot walk with views of the run down, but still fascinating, Blue Heron Paper Company. It is no longer in use, but it’s an interesting eyesore, with lots of character, all the same. The Librarians filmed an episode in season two there.

 

Walkway near the Blue Heron Paper Company
Walkway near the Blue Heron Paper Company

 

Bench along the upper walking path in Oregon City
Bench along the upper walking path in Oregon City

 

The old paper mill
The old paper mill

 

Old spaceship
Old spaceship

There are a few historical houses along the path. Some of  them in better shape than others. Fun to see the old architecture, all the same.

Approaching the elevator shaft, I found myself thinking of The Jetson’s futuristic home because of the rounded shape sticking out in the air.

The photos are fun to look at in the viewing area at the top and in the tunnel at the bottom as they change depending on the angle you are looking at them. There’s always an elevator operator, too. Although, considering he just has to push a button to go up or down, I’m not sure why. He gets asked a lot of questions, so I’m sure he’s brushed up on his knowledge of the surrounding area so he can answer most of the questions coming his way.

We walked out into the town a bit, then turned around and headed back up the elevator and down the path to where we’d parked our car.

 

Futuristic curves and angles
Futuristic curves and angles

 

The tunnel from the elevator
The tunnel from the elevator

 

Willamette Falls
Willamette Falls

 

The elevator shaft in Oregon City
The elevator shaft in Oregon City

 

All in all, a fun day until I rear-ended the lady in front of me in stop and go traffic on my way home. Not a fun way to end my day, but my car looks like only the license plate is sticking out at a funny angle. Unfortunately, the other lady has an imprint of the before mentioned license plate on the back bumper of her only one year old car. I have a bit of whiplash on my neck on one side and down my back about mid-way, and I jammed my thumb into my steering wheel causing a bruise under the nail and banged my knee. Calvin seems to be totally fine.  So really, not a good ending to a good day, but I’m thankful it wasn’t worse.

 

Finding things to do in Mosier, Oregon

Where in the world is Mosier, Oregon, you’re probably asking right about now… Some of you who live in Oregon may remember the oil train derailment out there last June. Sixteen tank cars hauling crude oil from North Dakota derailed on a curve on the tracks in Mosier, Oregon which sparked a massive fire that burned for fourteen hours. The cleanup continued on for much longer.

 

Mosier, Oregon
Mosier, Oregon

 

Mosier, Oregon is 5-10 minutes down the road from Hood River and 15-20 from The Dalles. It’s a tiny little – population 435. Yep. That small. I went out there last week because my friend was taking a driving test in The Dalles and needed a car to drive for the test.

 

The Columbia River Gorge from Rock Creek Beach
The Columbia River Gorge from Rock Creek Beach

 

The question is: What is there to do out in Mosier, Oregon? The answer: not much. This is the sort of town where you have to invent your own fun. Not long after arriving, I took a walk down to Rock Creek Park with my friends step-daughter. Then we meandered through the tiny town looking at giant chickens, totem poles, flowers, a really old church and the super tiny City Hall. This did not take us very long to walk down to the park and then all around town.

 

Giant metal chickens
Giant metal chickens

 

Totem pole
Totem pole

 

Fly away
Fly away

 

Tulips against a deep blue sky
Tulips against a deep blue sky

 

Old church
Old church

 

You may find yourself hanging out at the Rack & Cloth in the evening. Or jumping on trampolines. Then there’s always giant chickens to ride on, or breakers on the path to jump over. Not saying we did any of those things, but, if you’re inventing your own fun, you may find those things interesting  to do to while away the time in a small town setting. You could always end your day in a hot tub or watching random TV series you’ve never heard about on Netflix because the thunderstorm knocked out your cable.

Since Mosier isn’t far from Hood River and The Dalles, there’s a lot of fun stuff to do in the area around Mosier. We didn’t get to all of the other fun stuff because a thunderstorm rolled in, but maybe another day I’ll explore the area further…

 

 

Learning to stop comparing yourself with others

I’ve been taking a bit of a break from the blog this past week as I started comparing myself to others and finding I didn’t measure up. I honestly felt like I just had nothing to give and nothing to say. I tend to do things with the tenacity of a bulldog sometimes. I just keep going at something without taking good breaks until I feel totally burnt out and then wonder how I got to that point. I’m trying to recognize those moments when they start to happen and allow myself to take a break when needed.

Comparison is something that most of us do at some point or another in our lives, but need to stop doing. I started comparing my blog to other peoples. Or people who should make a blog because they have a talent the world would love to see.

I’d recently been telling my friend, Silke, that she should make a public blog of for her cake decorating (you can view her Facebook page here: Silks’n’Sweets. I can totally see those wonderfully decorated cakes being repinned all over Pinterest. Then I started thinking about how I didn’t have any wonderful talent like that I could showcase in a blog. I started thinking about others I know that blog who have a specific area they are good in and concentrate on that in their blog.

My friend, Alison, has a food blog – Redhotcenter. And she can take good photos of the food she is making. Unlike your normal cell phone snapped photos people take of the food they are eating for every single meal and posting it on social media – driving the rest of us batty with having to look at yet another shot of your dinner, lunch, breakfast, snack, ect, Alison is a professional food blogger and knows how to take an artsy creative photo of food. She’s earned her right to showcase her food photos on all her social media. (In my opinion, only the food bloggers have earned the right to showcase all the food they are making because they are so good at it!) The rest of you all with your dark, blurry casually snapped cell phone photos of every meal you eat – please just stop already. Once in a blue moon is enough for those kind of photos.

Another friend, Amy, has a wonderful blog, Amy Lynn Andrews on how to get started blogging, and all sorts of social media and blogging tips. She’s good at sussing out all the helpful, pertinent, new up and coming social media tips and tricks. In fact, I turned to her blog for help getting started on my blog. She rocks the blogging, social media world with her tips!

I have another friend, Elissa, who doesn’t blog but is totally crafty and should blog about all the crafts she makes. Again, Pinterest would eat that stuff up! She would need to invest in a good camera, because cell phone photos just leave much to be desired when it comes to professional blogging. But, seriously, that girls got crafting talent!

Another friend, Michelle, writes about autism and neurodiversity on her blog, Michelle Sutton Writesand even has a book out about it. I have an adult child with autism and I couldn’t write a book or blog post about it for the life of me!

And then I took a good look at me. Hmmm. I like books, cats, photography, fashion and acting. I started my blog because I wanted somewhere to showcase my photos. I don’t have any particular cool talent. I’ve got nothing compared to all these gals!

So this past week I’ve been taking a break from the blog and trying to find my way again in the blogging world. I took a walk earlier this week looking for signs of spring. Signs of new life and a new beginning. New hope. And in this time of transition between winter and spring, I can see spring trying to come forth – even though we are still getting cold weather and bits of snow coming down now and then. This season will change. Spring will prevail. New life and new hope will come forth. And I will carry on!

 

Camellia blossom
Camellia blossom

 

Neighborhood book exchange
I was so excited to see someone in my neighborhood put up a book exchange library!!!

 

White flowers
White flowers

 

Deep dark red hellebore
Deep dark red hellebore

 

Pussy willow
Pussy willow

 

Purple crocuses
Purple crocuses

 

As I’ve been telling God my woes about not having any particular area of talent to blog about. This is what I am hearing:

Romans 12:4-8

Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if is is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

 

Happiness is found when you stop comparing yourself to other people.
Happiness is found when you stop comparing yourself to other people.

 

Know that you are enough. You are uniquely you. No one else could be you-er than you.

 

There is no one alive that is youer than you!
There is no one alive that is youer than you!

Hats off to the wonderfully talented ladies in my life that had me comparing myself to them this week, but I refuse wallow in comparison any longer. I’m not you, I am me. Made in His image. For what purpose or plan, I have no idea, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out as I go along.

 

It’s official! I’m on @fineartamerica now!

So, it’s official, after years of thinking about doing something like this, I am excited to announce that I am now officially selling photos on Fine Art America. You can view my profile here

To anyone who has encouraged me to do this, a big thank you! …Thank you for believing in me and therefore instilling confidence in me that I could do this. Whether I fail or succeed in this endeavor remains to be seen, but at least when it comes down to it, I’ll know that I gave it a shot. And sometimes, when it comes to following your dreams, in the end you only regret the chances you never took; the dreams you never followed. So you may as well just get out there and give it a try, because you just never know where that may lead you.

I’ll be adding more images as I go have time to go back through all of my photos from the past year or so. I hope you enjoy them and take time to stop by and check out my gallery of photos!

 

Signs of spring
Signs of spring

 

California dreaming
California dreaming

 

A new look on life
A new look on life

And always remember:

 

Dreams don't work unless you do.
Dreams don’t work unless you do.

 

Bokehlicious Bokehs!

I do love me a good bokehlicious bokeh! I’m surprised I waited until so close to Christmas to decide I really needed to get some wonderful bokeh pictures, capturing all the holiday lights before they are gone. So off I went on a walk around the neighborhood. I had to play with my camera a bit to figure out what size I wanted my bokehs. Too big and the outline of your subject becomes a blur, too small and it just looks like you couldn’t commit to taking a totally sharp photo or just going for the bokehlicious bokehs.

You can laugh at the word bokehlicious all you want. It’s actually a hashtag on Instagram. To see more of my photos, follow me on Instagram!

This has been a tough year for me, so I thought I’d at least try and end it on a fun and whimsical note. To me, bokeh’s are a lot of fun, so I hope you like them, too. And if you’ve had a bad year like me, chin up, buttercup! There’s a new year just around the corner. Let’s make it a good one! Time to blur out the bad things from this year and turn them into beautiful bokehs!

 

Bokehlicious gingerbread house
Bokehlicious gingerbread house

 

Green and blue bokeh tree lights
Green and blue bokeh tree lights

 

Reindeer lights
Reindeer lights

 

Reindeer by the tree
Reindeer by the tree

 

And of course, there’s always the wonderful bokehs of the Christmas tree lights indoors as well. I didn’t get motivated to take those until Christmas day. Last year I was trying to do them as soon as we had the tree up!

 

Oh Christmas tree!
Oh Christmas tree!

 

He played his drum for me a rum pa pa pum...
He played his drum for me a rum pa pa pum…

 

 

Show me Your glory!

I was walking around through the ice a couple of days after the ice storm because I’d seen the sunshine come out when I was driving about that morning and I was bowled over seeing the beauty of the sun shining through the trees in all it’s glory.

But, I hadn’t had breakfast yet, so I thought I’d go home, eat, and then go out and take photos. In the meantime, the clouds came out and the sun was hidden. By the time I was ready to go, there was no sun shining down in all it’s glory through the ice. I was so bummed. So I waited a bit. Finally, I could see an edge to the clouds covering the sun and decided to just go out and walk around in the ice in hopes that the sun was going to return.

Just when I was beginning to think it wouldn’t come out of the clouds, I’d get a brief moment of sunshine. It elusively kept peeking out of the clouds, playing a game of peek-a-boo with me.

I walked over to a school nearby and it was cloudy when I got there. But I could tell the school grounds would be a magical winter wonderland if only the sun would come back out and play.

 

Ethereal world - through the portal
Ethereal world – through the portal

 

I found myself making my way slowly towards the back of the school grounds, all the while looking up at the sky and telling God to ‘Show me Your glory.’ I knew the sun was up there hiding behind the clouds. I knew it wanted to come out. It just needed a little nudge…

Then, finally, that moment where it came out from the clouds for longer chunks of time so I could see what a wonderful glistening wonderland the world was – all covered in ice.

 

Sunshine on ice
Sunshine on ice

Sometimes, we have moments like that in life ~ I’m having a year like that right now ~ where you know there are good things coming for you and you are just waiting for God to show you His glory. Do you stop to look up towards God and ask him: ‘Show me Your glory’?  I may have been tromping around demanding it like a little kid in this instance. I could see the sun right near the edges of the clouds, just waiting to come light up the ice and snow all around me. I wanted the world to sparkle and shine all around me. I was impatient. I was demanding. I was persistent in my silly little request for the sun to come out as I traipsed around in the ice and snow.

 

Winter wonderland
Winter wonderland

 

But then I think, am I that persistent when it comes to the big things? My mom’s cancer? My low income this whole year? My worries about the future? Hmmm. Am I that demanding? Like a little kid knowing there are good things coming and demanding that they just hurry on up and get here? Or am I just politely asking, well, mostly begging when it comes to my mom and the cancer. Not really asking about the other stuff much. If you know there are good things in store, why not just look up towards heaven and tell God to show His glory in your life?

Because it seems childish? But doesn’t the Bible tell us “Let the little children come unto me. Do not stop them. For the kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14

 

A glistening world
A glistening world

In a moment of childlike wonder out in the ice and snow – while anticipating the beauty I would see when the sun shone through all the ice making the world glimmer and shine – I found myself demanding God move those clouds the rest of the way out of the way and show me His glory. And eventually he chose to answer my request. Probably to shut me up. He didn’t need to. I could have walked all the way around the school grounds without the sun lighting up the winter wonderland before me. But he knew my repeated request was coming from that childlike sense of awe, wonder and anticipation for good things to come. As adults, I think there are very few times we come to God in that state.

 

Sunbeams through the ice covered trees
Sunbeams through the ice covered trees

This Christmas season, I hope that you are able to find that childlike wonder and that God responds by showing you His glory.

 

.. And the glory of the Lord shone around them.
.. And the glory of the Lord shone around them.

 

Why we love black and white photos

What is it about black and white photos that we love so much? There’s just something about them. I have a board on Pinterest devoted to them! I believe it’s the drama of a black and white photo. You can take an ordinary moment and transform it into a much more dramatic view just by changing a color photo to a black and white. Don’t get me wrong, I love color, and colorful photos, too, but sometimes I take a photo and I can just tell it would be better as a black and white photo. Most of my photos I leave as color ones, but certain ones will just jump out at me as being good candidates for being transformed into a gorgeous black and white.

I feel like I’m at a stage in life where I’m coming out of the dark. I hope. Every time I take a step or two forward, I take another back so I feel like I’m not making quick progress, but progress is being made in coming out of a dark time in my life. And I probably just jinxed it by saying so.

(Do you ever feel like you’re going to jinx things if you say them out loud? I feel that way all the time, so most of the time I’d rather wait until something has happened and then talk about it. Of course, I also work in the acting world, and that world is a very fickle world, so most of the time you’re better off not talking about things you’re doing until they are done or they really may not happen and you’re just going to look like you don’t know what you’re talking about.)

But, in the process of embracing the dark stage I’m in right now, I thought I’d post some of my favorite black and white photos. They are dark and dramatic, but in every black and white photo, just as it is in life, you don’t have the darkness without the light to contrast it.

 

Rose drama, Portland International Rose Test Garden
Rose drama, Portland International Rose Test Garden

 

Al fresco dining in Portland, Oregon
Al fresco dining in Portland, Oregon

 

Chinese restaurant sign, Portland, Oregon
Chinese restaurant sign, Portland, Oregon

 

Rapunzel's tower (Church tower in Portland, Oregon)
Rapunzel’s tower (Church tower in Portland, Oregon)

 

Angel at the entrance to the Rose City Cemetery
Angel at the entrance to the Rose City Cemetery

 

Black and white stairway
Black and white stairway