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Fishing with Meadow Muffin

Columbia River Sunset

I thought that I would post one of the very first digital landscape photos that I made. Anything that I did prior to this was terrible due to the primitive cameras that I had. And the photo can’t be truly appreciated without a side story about Fishing with Meadow Muffin.

This photo struck me when I looked at it on the computer. This is before I was using any post processing software on my photos, and I certainly had not discovered raw files. I took this on Auto as a jpeg. But it stirred something inside that I have yet to recover from. I’ve been chasing digital landscape photography with vigor ever since. This is why I tell people that settings matter little. Go out and take pictures.!!

This photo was taken in September of 2003. I was fishing on the Columbia River near Sundial Beach with my good friend Ron “Meadow Muffin” McComber. We were sturgeon fishing. As we were coming back to the boat launch the sunset exploded in this amazing red. I had to get some photos of it. My life has never been the same since that day.

Some may question Ron’s nickname. Ron and I go way back. His family and my family were neighbors back when we lived in the little Columbia River Gorge town of Bridal Veil. Back then sturgeon fishing and drinking cans of Hamm’s was our favorite past time, both of which we’ve grown out of, well Ron still fishes but his Hamm’s days have passed. But either way, we all had nicknames for each other. We never called each other by our real names while we were fishing, and everyone that we went with had one. I can’t attest to how he got the name because I didn’t give it to him, but I can tell you how I got mine.

My nickname back then was Hairball. Yep… and back then I had short hair. The name didn’t come from my hair, or any hair for that matter, but it came from the first time that I tried casting a 12 foot bank rod with 100# test nylon monofilament and a glob of rag mop (pickled herring) and some earthworms on it. For those unfamiliar with casting with a levelwind the size of a truck winch, let me try to explain.

The first thing that you have to realize is that you have to cast wayyy out there. I’m talking a cast that’s about 20 or 30 yards or more, depending one one’s ability usually. For that you have to really have your technique down to a science to get the fishing rod to throw the bait that far. While you’re casting the line out of the reel you have to make sure that the spool doesn’t get ahead of the line that’s paying out because if you do you are liable to get the nickname “Hairball”. The line going out meets the line wrapping the other way and you end up with this huge ball of twine and a sore thumb.

That’s exactly what happened to me. Nobody warned me that the 100 pound monofilament line creates a lot of friction between it and your thumb while you’re trying to keep some drag on it. It heats up to somewhere a few degrees less than the sun, and when it did I picked up my thumb from the reel and all kinds of fishing hell broke lose. I had loops of fishing line flying in all directions until it all wound up in a knot the size of my fist.

Needless to say I had a mess to sort out. Luckily a sturgeon didn’t grab the bait or it would have brought me in… or most likely my friend’s fishing rod. I learned quickly why Ron had a crochet hook in his fishing tackle box. They come in handy when trying to disassemble a hairball in a fish reel.

I need to call up my buddy Meadow Muffin and see how he’s doing. We always have fun dredging up the past.

To learn more about Gary CLICK HERE.

Tedeschi Trucks Band Portland Oregon

Tedeschi Trucks Band

Tedeschi Trucks Band Portland Oregon November 3, 2017.

Low light, no flash, hand held photography is something that needs to be understood by any photographer of any genre or style. There are many times where one will need to get a shot but a flash or a tripod are not an option. A great way to practice this method is to take photos at a concert. If you can master photographing a concert, with bright lights and deep shadows, and quick movements you can skillfully photograph a wedding, for instance. The primary challenge is to get photos with a fast enough shutter speed to prevent blurring the subject.

The Grammy award winning Tedeschi Trucks Band came to Portland Oregon November 3rd to play to a sold out show at the Keller Auditorium. I was able to secure photo passes to the show which allowed me to move to the front to take photos of the band during their first three songs and to bring my pro level camera inside. Many concerts will not allow pro style cameras inside without a pass, but many others will so call ahead of time and ask what their policy for photos are. I’ve been able to bring my camera into smaller venues and clubs in the past. I’ve even used these techniques at informal live shows at backyard parties.

Before the Tedeschi Trucks Band took the stage the crowd was fully warmed up by the Hard Working Americans, an American rock “supergroup”. The Hard Working Americans consist of lead singer Todd Snider and bassist Dave Schools from the group Widespread Panic, Neal Casal of Chris Robinson Brotherhood and guitar and vocals, Chad Staehly of Great American Taxi on keyboards and Duane Trucks who was also a member of widespread Panic and brother of Derrick Trucks on drums. The Hard Working Americans put on a powerful show with songs that were a mix of classic hard rock, blues and traditional roots Americana.

While the Hard Working Americans were on stage I took that time to make sure that my camera settings were correct before the Tedeschi Trucks band hit the stage. I used my Nikon D810 and my 70-200mm zoom lens for most of the photos. I set the camera on Aperture Priority with the aperture set to f/2.8 and Auto ISO with the max ISO set to 6400 and turned my Vibration Reduction on the lens to ON. Aperture Priority means that I set the camera’s aperture manually and then the camera sets the shutter speed for me. It’s semi automatic. Next my decision to set the camera to Auto ISO was to allow the camera to lower the ISO if possible and to not move past a set maximum ISO, 6400 in this case. I set my aperture to f/2.8 to allow the most light into the camera, which allows a faster shutter speed. The one drawback to a wider aperture is a shallow depth of field but this can be used to a certain effect by isolating the subject from others in the background.

Although I used a single lens reflex camera many consumer level cameras, and even some mobile phones today, will allow one to make adjustments to the aperture and ISO settings for better low light photos.

I shot the first three songs and then went to my seat, sat back, relaxed and enjoyed the show.

Once the Tedeschi Trucks band hit the stage, led by guitar prodigy Derek Trucks and his extremely talented singer and guitarist wife Susan Tedeschi, it was obvious their following and fans in the Pacific Northwest. The crowd was enthusiastic as the band played through a dozen songs, a mix of original tunes as well as classic covers from Sailing On by Toot’s and the Maytals and the country classic George Jones – Color of The Blues to I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free by Jazz pianist Billy Taylor and How Blue Can You Get? by the popular 1940’s and 1950’s African-American vocal group Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers. A diverse array of music brought together and played in the iconic style that the power couple, Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks, have developed with their extremely talented lineup of musical masters backing them up. They finished the show with a three song encore the included the classic Leon Russell song – Song For You, the traditional class Will The Circle Be Unbroken and the original song Bound For Glory.

Being able to be successful at taking concert photos, for me, enhances my concert experience, especially when my shooting time is relegated to the first three songs. The limit allows me to let the photos go and enjoy the rest of the show knowing that I have great souvenirs from the evening.

Tedeschi Trucks Band Portland Oregon

Hard Working Americans

Moonlit Mount St Helens

Moonlit Mount St Helens

Moonlit Mount St Helens with lupines in the foreground taken from Johnston Ridge Observatory.

Night photography is a lot of fun but can be a challenge, even on a bright moonlit night, but the results can be dramatic. The breeze made this shot a challenge, while the moon light threatened to shine too bright and cast too many shadows. I still had fun playing in the dark that night.

Moonlight and Flowers on Mount St Helens

Mount St Helens in the moonlight

Moonlight and Flowers on Mount St Helens

With about 50% moonlight I set up this shot at Loowit Viewpoint near the Johnston Ridge Observatory at the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. The clouds above the mountain created a great fan like effect.

I used a short tripod to include the flowers in the foreground. Because I couldn’t stop down to get my depth of focus I used two photos; One for the foreground and another for the background. Once blended I finished with brightness and contrast adjustments.

Moonlight Mount St Helens.

Amazing White River Falls & Celestial Falls Oregon

White River Falls Oregon

White River Falls and Celestial Falls Oregon

White River Falls in the background and Celestial Falls in the foreground on the White River near the town of Tygh Valley Oregon.

White River has its source on the southeast side of Mount Hood and its terminus at its confluence with the Deschutes River just north of the town of Maupin.  It’s located about 35 miles south of The Dalles.

At the base of the falls is an old abandoned hydroelectricity generation plant which was active from 1910 to 1960.

You can learn more at the Oregon State Parks website.

 

 

Panther Creek Falls Washington

Panther Creek Falls

Panther Creek Falls Washington during high water.

It was a great day to visit this waterfall. I had tried to drive to the trail two weeks prior and was stopped by fallen trees and unmelted snow. In the meantime the road had been cleared and so Darlene and I decided to drive up and give it a look. I’m glad that we did. With the high Spring runoff from the snow and the rain has made the creeks and waterfalls very full and powerful. This particular waterfall has areas to the right side of the normal fall that become a water curtain when the water becomes high. These were the conditions that I sought.

As I approached the falls the view through the trees was breathtaking as it appeared as a soft, bright diffused veil of water past shadows from the trees. When I broke through the trees and walked down to the water’s edge the mist was soaking. I had to cover my gear to keep it reasonably dry. The rocks were very slippery and because I was down there alone didn’t push my limits much.

The compositions from there are a little bit limited but conditions make a big difference, and this amazing curtain of water at the right side of the main falls, which is not there in normal water flow, was pretty incredible and made a unique photo for this location. The sun and the mist would play on each other as each one changed in time.

Just a quick word about photographing this location. Be aware that there’s a viewing platform at the top of the falls that most folks view this scene from. The more adventurous and capable can take a steep and slippery slop to the bottom, but please beware if you attempt this, especially when it’s wet.

 

Oregon Rain Forest

Oregon Rain Forest

The Oregon Rain Forest – This photograph speaks of what Oregon means to me. My earliest memories are of sitting at the edge of an Oregon creek fishing for trout with my father and the smell of the forest and the sound of the creek as it tumbles over the top of mossy rocks and logs. It hasn’t mattered where I have been in the world in my life Oregon was still home to me. These creek side memories had a lot to do with my yearning to return home. They’re a peaceful place and make wonderful landscape photos.

This photograph was taken in the Mt Hood National Forest near the little town of Rhododendron Oregon. It was made on May 21st of 2016. This shows the lush green moss covered forest at it’s Springtime prime.  It’s a time of the year that the forest is the most alive. It’s as if everything that lives there is celebrating the warmer weather and the passing of Winter. Everything from the smallest insect to the largest bear, moss to trees they all are reaching for the light. It’s the lushest and the greenest. The creeks are full and the leaves fill the voids of every corner and every gully. I love photographing the forest in the Spring time.

This shot was made with my Nikon D810 with a 24-85 f/3.5. The exposure was 0.8 sec at an aperture of f/20 and 800 ISO. I used a polarizing filter to reduce glare. Raw conversion was in Lightroom with basic exposure and contrast adjustments, lens correction, CA correction and basic sharpening and NR, and the processing was then finished in Photoshop with a thin Orton layer and final sizing and sharpening.

Contact me for photography instruction including private workshops for camera operation or processing.

 

The Painted Hills in The Darkness

Painted Hills at Night

The Painted Hills in The Darkness.

As we drove away from this amazing place after a beautiful sunset. I had to stop and look back on the hills one more time.

Come back and look at this photo at night time if you’re viewing in a bright room to see all of the rich colors and details.

Nikon D810
Nikon 70-200 @ 135mm
1.6″ exp
f/2.8
200 ISO
Handheld steadied by the roof of the car.

A Cabin in The Woods

Gary Randall Real Estate Photography

Could you feel comfortable in a cabin in the woods like this?

This is just one of the rustic early 20th Century cabins that are situated in the forest around Mount Hood. This particular cabin is in the little town of Rhododendron.

Located in the Mt Hood National Forest you are guaranteed that you won’t have a condo built next door. A long term lease comes with the contract when one purchases a Forest Service Cabin.

This particular cabin was built in 1936 and was most likely board and batten construction. It still has the original stone fireplace thought to have been constructed by a local stoneworker George Pinner. Through the years an addition was built to the back which contains the kitchen, bathroom and a bedroom which increases the livability of this vintage cabin. The way that it’s configured now it has a master bedroom and two lofts with beds.

The cabin is positioned above a year ’round creek the sound of which can be heard throughout the cabin. It has a deck, part of which is covered, that allows one to enjoy the view in any weather. It’s accessible in the Winter and is within a short distance to the small town of Rhododendron and the village’s store and restaurants, yet still removed from evidence of the hustle and bustle of the real world.

The cabin is also within a short walk to amazing hiking trails that take you deep within the Mt Hood Wilderness Area. It’s also a short drive “up the hill” on Highway 26 to the ski resorts in the Winter or the high alpine hiking trails on Mount Hood.

In this busy world I’m sure that I could feel comfortable in a cabin in the woods like this.

Anyone that’s looking to purchase a vacation cabin in or around the Mt Hood National Forest contact my friend Blythe Creek.

Contact me for your real estate photography needs.