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.

He's Just a Bird

The ospreys have headed south and left the eagles to fly alone over the river. They must fend for themselves now or dine on leftovers from the feasts of others. Trout still watch the skies for danger, but the eagle is not as an efficient angler as his winged cousin. Forays to the surface to dine on winter hatches are slightly less fatal with the ospreys on vacation.Their absence brings a silence to the canyon normally echoing with their haunting calls as they ride the unseen currents. In contrast, the eagle now sits silently above the river taking in everything. He rules the quiet canyon and few pay him much attention. He is a symbol around the world, but here he is just a bird. 

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.