Thursday, January 18, 2018

Peace and Clarity

While others probed the emerald waters in search of chrome, I ventured east this weekend to find that clarity and peace I was seeking. The clouds had descended to shroud the canyon walls, hiding familiar features, but drawing attention to some unseen in the past. A basalt needle revealed by a background of fog had gone unnoticed for close to thirty years. Now it framed one of the residents prancing on the ridge line against the liquid sky. Colors and details muted by the weather still reveal the brush strokes of the master artist. This gallery there for all to see, if they so choose.

Focus is often on the river and the residents hidden beneath the shimmering surface, yet it is hard not to explore the ever-changing vista as you cast and wade. The mist sets the stage and mood for this show, tauntingly unveiling work several million years in the making. The light too changes to bring out details unseen before in the hundreds of visits to this very same place. A place familiar, yet new. Even in the fog, a place of peace and clarity.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Memories of the Year

This weekend we will mark the passing year in celebration with friends and family each of us in our own way. Reflection on the year fading and hope for the new one to come are the focus of this celebration. There are images in our hearts that will define 2017 when we choose to recall them from memory. New friends, adventures, milestones and accomplishments mix together as we write another chapter in our lives. The image above is my memory of the year. A small Trout in a small stream and the journey to find it were a highlight that will never fade.

My photography has always been the log book that allows me to revisit old chapters and refresh faded memories. Sometimes those images are too painful to view, a reminder of something lost. Others bring back the light of youth or an adventure that added to the story that brings me to where I am today. While some may write their tale with pen and paper I find more than a thousand words in each image. They hold the story for me until it can be written or left to fade away like the year passing.

May the New Year be filled with love and adventure for all of us.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Peace Returns to the Canyon

The canyon is quiet this time of year. Most anglers have turned their attention elsewhere as winter rolls in. There are still fish to fool, but only the dedicated wade these waters now. It's cold, wet and too far from home and hearth. Other rivers call and it will be months before their siren song releases them to return.

Now the wild things take over and come down from their perches high on the canyon wall. The warmth and water of the river draw them to feed undisturbed in the shadows of the canyon. My fascination with these creatures brings me here to photograph and simply watch them dance on the basalt stage. The stillness only broken by the sound of tumbling rock and clicking hooves.

These days are far too short and the light fades early here in the shadows. The camera cannot capture all that I see. My eyes are left to record the last images of the day and hold them until I can return.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Watching the Flames Flicker

The flickering flames of a campfire replaced the digital stimulus that has become far too encompassing. Three days off the grid this time of year has a way of putting things in perspective and breaking them down to the simple essentials of life: warmth, water, food and Steelhead, plus a few friends to share the experience with.

I was the guest and designated photographer for a John Day Steelhead adventure with my good friends, Marty Sheppard and Brian Silvey. I tagged along in my drift boat as this Dynamic Duo guided our guests down the upper reaches of the river. While Steelhead encounters were limited, the beauty of the canyon, the wildlife and the shared experience will undoubtedly remain a fond memory for years to come for all of us.

It will take awhile for the affects of the campfire flames to burn off so my productivity this morning is suffering a bit. It has nothing to do with rowing out against a frigid upriver breeze or being pelted by icy sleet as I put the boat on the trailer. Advil took care of the physical discomfort for the most part, and I awoke this morning far earlier than normal to make sure this Thursday tradition was completed. I'm just finding it harder to focus on the task at hand and have a strong desire to build a fire in the fireplace and just stare at it for awhile.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Power of Nature in the Land of Fire

This morning I wake under a moonless sky in the heart of Yellowstone Park. Business was the call for the front half of this journey, but today will feature no PowerPoint presentations or roundtable discussions. The power of Nature will be on full display here and the day is mine to explore.

The droning sounds of crowded conversations have been blessedly replaced with the call of raptors circling overhead while the earth hisses and bubbles. My early morning habit serves me well and I will not waste a minute of this day, or those to follow. While I am unable to share all of the images of today I will do so when I return to home and hearth. For now, adventure awaits and I have an adventurous soul.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Outfit and Explore

I tucked myself into my roof top tent on Saturday night in southern Oregon, grateful for the Pendleton wool blanket and heavy sleeping bag I carry with me as the temperature dropped to chilly. The down pillow was a nice touch too. I've become increasingly accustom to comfortable in my old age and wouldn't label my traveling kit as "light." Sure, in a pinch I can do without the cast iron dutch oven, but why?

I've moved beyond "travel light and fast" and find myself firmly intrenched in the "fully equipped and not in a big hurry" phase of life. Deadlines and a calendar filled with commitments drift away when you're on the water or exploring a new place. Cameras to record memories become as important as the fishing gear that inspired the trek. The realization that fish play only a minor roll in these adventures comes with time. I find myself turning down roads just to see where they lead and what lies hidden around the next corner. We all know that something special is always just around the next bend. Go see it.

Monday, July 17, 2017

A Life of Wonder Below the Surface

Beneath the mirrored surface is a world of life and wonder. It is hard not to stop and lose oneself in the drama playing out in the shallow pools among the rocks and seaweed. Minuscule crustaceans of many shapes and sizes scurry to hide as shadows pass overhead. Sea anemones wave their flower-like tentacles, filtering unseen nutrients from the falling tide pulled by the moon. An armored Mollusk slowly makes its way through this natural diorama of life in the sea nibbling on a garden of green and brown.

Distractions are everywhere in this environment for the angler raised on the cool waters of the mountains. Caddis and Mayflies are foreign here, replaced with a myriad of creatures whose place in the food chain is displayed in flashes or surface splashes as resident salmonids and pinnipeds dine on the abundance. It is a world of violent peace ever changing with the tides and seasons. A place where everyday is an adventure for the residents of this watery world and for interlopers like me.