(mostly) daily photoblog

Posts tagged “Oregon

Can you feel it?

There it is.  Just in the offing.  Holidaaaaaaaaaays…

Sorry.  Tomorrow is Friday.  THE Friday.  The Friday before Christmas Holidays.  I’m a little happy about that.

Oh, and the beach photo?  I don’t know.  It just seemed appropriate.  We’re not going away to some place sunny.  It’s just that I’ve got that “happy-sunset-on-a-beach” feeling with the holidays coming up.

4 degrees and raining. I need some surf.

So, here is some surf.  It’s a shot I took in Oregon this summer.  I took whole bunch of shots along the beach so that on rainy, crappy days like today I could go to my photo files and feel the summer warmth.

Comfort from the past.


Thinking beachy thoughts

I’m sick.  That horrible, sore, head-achy, want to lie around on the couch while slipping in and out of consciousness kind of sick.  Besides the ginger ale and rest, I’m thinking about the beach, in hopes that the happy thoughts will help me feel better.

Here’s hoping.

Anyone feeling beachy? Beach-ish? Beach-esque?

I am.

Right now.

Anyone want to come with me?

I can leave before work tomorrow…really.

Today was the first day of school…here’s the beach

I went back to work, officially, today.  I’ve been in the school (I’m a teacher, btw) a few times already this year, for a 9th grade orientation that I run and to put some things together for the year, but today was the first day that all the students were in the school and classes kicked into gear.  

So…I’m thinking of the beach.  And how much I wish I was there.

It’s not that I don’t love my job.  I do.  I feel that teaching is my calling – it chose me as much as I chose it.  It is an incredible profession and most days I can’t believe that I get paid to have this much fun.  I do, however, wish that I was still on holidays, lazily enjoying the ocean breeze, desperately avoiding real life.

To that end, I present to you…driftwood.  A friendly reminder that only seven hours away from work is a beach.  A happy place, as it were.


Cue cheesy product placement…now!

For my wife and son, this may be the greatest reason to visit the north coast of Oregon: the Tillamook Cheese Factory.  I’ll admit, their ice cream is unparalleled and the tour of the factory, wherein one has the opportunity to watch fifty pound blocks of medium cheddar move on a byzantine labyrinth of conveyors, is pretty cool.  Even the cheese taste-testing, with its squeaky cheese and pepper-jack, is pretty great and the Peanut Butter Chocolate ice cream, and the Root Beer Float Ice Cream and…

You know what?  I think my wife and son are onto something.  I’d like to head to Oregon again.  Now.  Just for ice cream and cheese.  Anyone with me?




Low-tide pools

When dusk hits the Oregon Coast, at least where we were camping, the tide goes out and leave these nice little pools all over the beach.  Now, some of the slower, less intelligent organisms get left behind on the beach and in the pools.  Jelly fish, starfish, little shrimp, all left behind by the retreating ocean.  What this process does for the photographer is leave an odd, asymmetrical pattern that reflects the light of the sunset, which is beautiful.


The entrance to the Pacific: Cannon Beach style

Cannon Beach is a beautiful spot on the Oregon Coast.  It is one of the many “entrances” to the Pacific Ocean along the coast.

Its major landmarks are the rocks and the beach you see above. What you see is “Haystack Rock” and “The Needles”.  Needles and a haystack – get it?  If this view looks familiar to you but you’ve never been to the Oregon Coast, then you’ve seen films like The Goonies or Kindergarten Cop.  Both films feature Haystack Rock.

Kindergarten Cop hobbles together a bunch of scenes that are all supposedly in Astoria, OR, but in reality are three different areas – Cannon Beach, the highway to Seaside, OR, and Astoria itself.  The Goonies also purports that Cannon Beach and Astoria are situated right next to each other.  Astoria and Cannon Beach, in reality are twenty-five miles apart (40 kilometers).  It’s as though Hollywood producers figure that most people will never go to the coast and will never be able to tell.

Silly producers.

Here’s another, similar view of Cannon Beach.  It’s a panorama put together from four different photographs.  Click on it and you ‘ll get a much wider view of the beach.

Whose steps will you follow?

As my son walked across the sand in front of me, I wondered, “Who will he follow?”  Will he follow his friends and not make his own decisions?  Will he follow his parents into education?  Will he put others before himself?  Will he lead and not follow?

I think these are pretty universal conundrums faced by parents everywhere.  I did not anticipate, before becoming a parent, that I would be that worried about how my children would turn out.  But now that my daughter is ten going on fifteen and my son is seven and a perfect combination of anxiety and over-confidence, I think about these things.  I think it was easier for me when I was their age because I was in the middle of it.  My parents, however, must have thought the same things I am thinking about my own kids.

I guess I’ll continue to influence them as much as I can and hope for the best.



A spot on the beach…I think it’s a girl

Photo Friday’s challenge this week was “Spot“.  When I was in Oregon last week I spotted this woman on the beach far below the viewpoint that Oregon nicely provides to travelers.  This beach is situated between Cannon Beach and Arcadia Beach.  Both are beautiful beaches and in order to get to the area that you see above you have to walk from either of those two beaches.  There is no direct route to this beach.

It looks like the perfect place to take a walk, doesn’t it?


Sunsets are always nice

I learned something about how my photographic habits have changed since switching from film to digital.  I took my Pentax K1000 with me to Oregon and snapped off a roll and a half.  I took my film camera up onto the dune and down onto the beach and snapped off some lovely photos.  And then there was this sad moment…

I snapped off my first photo and felt the familiar “chunk” of the camera’s mirror snapping back in place and then I pulled the camera from my eye and looked at the back of it to see how the photo turned out.  On the LCD screen.  That doesn’t exist on the back of the camera that was produced in 1976.  Hmm…that was an unforeseen stupidity on my part.  I chastised myself for having become reliant on technology to tell me that my photo was good.

I snapped another photo and once again looked at the back of the camera.  Twice stupid.  Yeesh…

Another photo.  Another look.  Oh, for crying out loud.

Over the next few days I snapped off the rest of the roll and must have looked at the back of the camera at least ten more times.

Oh.  The photo above was snapped on one of the evenings on my K1000.  Nice sunset, I think.  And below, that’s what I kept looking at expecting to see an LCD screen. Ha.

All right kids – voting time!

I took my Pentax K1000, completely manual, old-school camera and my Pentax K20D, super digital, 14.6 megapixel camera with me to the Oregon coast.  The diptych above shows the difference between the two cameras.  The photo on the left was taken with my K1000.  It was shot on Kodak 400 Ultramax film.  The photo on the right was taken with my K20D.  It was shot on a CMOS digital sensor.  I adjusted the contrast slightly on each in Photoshop (I had the film transferred to a CD); otherwise, these two photos were taken in the same place with Pentax 50mm f1.7 lenses on two separate cameras.

So, which one do you like better?  The one on the left, or the one on the right?  Film, or digital?

If you’re stuck and want to see them bigger, click on the photo for a larger version.

Would you save a starfish?

I teach student leadership.  There’s a story that I tell my students when they start to feel a little down about how much impact they’re making in our school.  It goes like this:  Many starfish washed up on shore.  A young boy started picking them up and throwing them back into the ocean.  Someone saw what he was doing and told him that it was pointless, that there were too many to save, that it wouldn’t make a difference.  Throwing another starfish into the sea, the little boy responded, “It makes a difference to this one.”   I’m sure you’ve read this story before, or heard it told by someone who was encouraging you that your small efforts were making a difference.  There are also many more elegant versions, but the idea is the same.

While I was watching my kids on the beach in Oregon, I watched my daughter, with all of her innocence and curiosity, trying to figure out what would happen to this little starfish as the tide went out.  It left itself stranded in a tide pool and Hannah wandered over to me and asked, “Should I move it?”  I told her it was up to her.  She did and I hope that she’ll continue to make a difference in even the smallest creatures as she grows up.

Oregon Coast: a love story

I just got back from spending five days on the Oregon Coast.  It is the second summer the Family B has visited the Oregon Coast and we’ve fallen in love with it.  It is easily the most beautiful, natural area I’ve ever vacationed.  The triptych above (just for you, Karina – triptych) shows you the area where we camped.  The town of Manzanita is at the foot of Mount Neahkahnie (seen in the bottom right) and the beach extends out from the cliff-sides down to a spit of land that ends where the Nehalem River meets the ocean.  Our campsite was about halfway down the beach you can see in the photo on the left.

We stayed in a yurt (Year-round Universal Recreational Tent) that was a five minute walk from the beach.  The sand is soft and light and completely enveloped my foot as I walked in it.  The ocean gently lapped at the beach all day and night and lulled me to sleep.  There is virtually no light pollution, so I got to see all the stars I remembered from when I was a child. I nearly cried the first night I looked up and was met by billions of lights while being serenaded by the constant sound of waves crashing on the sand.

Playing with my kids on the beach and in the water tops the vacation cake.  There’s nothing in the world like this.

I love this place.

Oh, and I was so in love with this place that I had to post today, even though it was the second post of the day.  Whoo!

My body’s in the game, but my head’s on the Oregon coast.

Tomorrow is the third full day of teaching for me in the 2010-11 school year.  It is the beginning of my 11th year in Abbotsford, BC.  It is an exciting year, as the student leadership program that I started at my school has really taken off and the next three weeks will test how well I’ve done my job as a student leadership teacher and I’m so proud of what my students are doing.  But…

My head is on the Oregon Coast.  Nehalem Bay State Park, to be precise, as in the photo above.  I had such an amazing time with my wife and children on the Oregon Coast this summer that I find my head, my brain, drifting off during downtime in class to the beach, the dunes, the camping.  I’m not sure how much longer this brain-drift will happen, but I’m having a great deal of difficulty staying on task.  Any advice?

Small children flying through the air

Two very excellent professional photographer acquaintances of mine (Jason and Darcy at Revival Arts) are a huge photographic inspiration to me.  I am in awe of the shots they think of, let alone take.  While we were on the Oregon Coast, I thought I might try emulating some shots I’ve seen on their blog (which you should totally check out – it’s over there, on the right).

What do you think?  Did they work?

That’s Ben.  At first I was sure this was going to be a remake of White Men Can’t Jump because Ben could not get off the ground.  He managed this shot pretty well.

And this is Hannah.  I set the camera on high speed continuous shooting and managed to pull out a couple of good frames.  She was game to keep jumping, but I think that may have been because she was so psyched to be at the ocean.

Portland Tourism owes me for this one.

On the way back from the Oregon Coast, which was beautiful and cold and wet and not very sunny at all, the Family B stopped in for a couple of days in Portland.  My ulterior motive, knowing that our stay would be short and mostly centered around the kids and their interests, was to get to Powell’s Books.  Specifically the City of Books on Burnside in downtown Portland.  I love this place.  You can look up the history, because it is really interesting, but to me it’s just a gigantic bookstore.  I am a bibliophile to the point that I buy books that I don’t even read because some day I’ll want to read it and then it will already be in my bookshelf.

On the second day in Portland we took the kids to the Oregon Zoo and then the family indulged my wife and we went to see Pittock Mansion.  This house has four floors and about 4000 square feet of floor space on each floor (the perfect summer cottage – ha!).  The extravagance of the house is offset by the facts that the Pittocks, who built the house, only spent their last years in the house and Mr. Pittock spent his entire life amassing the fortune that would allow him to build such a house, only to die within four years of moving into it.  Sad story, amazing house.

Happy bookstore, sad mansion, fun family vacation.

A little more Haystack Rock. This one with more girl power.

My daughter, above, and I have had some fun during this holiday.  She is certainly becoming a big girl and I’m a lucky dad.  I just hope that, years from now, we’re still best friends like we were this last week.

The shot above was taken at Cannon Beach, Oregon – Haystack Rock is in the background.

Pentax K20D; Pentax DA 18-55mm AL II; f11; ISO 100; 1/320 sec.

Haystack Rock; or how I started my Oregon Coast vacation

The B Family is almost done a week-long run along the Oregon Coast and I thought it would be appropriate to share a religious moment:  Haystack Rock.  See, when I grew up there were these two movies, Goonies and Kindergarten Cop, wherein Haystack Rock featured.  The image of this rock, and its accompanying “needles”, has been burned into my wife’s and my brain to the extent that we both squealed when we came off the US 101 highway and first saw Haystack Rock in the distance.

As we giggled and grinned at each other our kids looked at us, then each other, and had a good laugh at us.  When we tried to explain to them why this rock was making us silly, they stared at us with even more wonder.  They were impressed with the beach, but our strange fascination with the rock, well I don’t think they will ever get that.

Pentax K20D; Sigma 70-210mm; f11; ISO 100; 1/200 sec.


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