Friday, October 30, 2009

Fallen Leaves

Like so many coins at the bottom of a sacred fountain, these aspen leaves wink back alluringly to the viewer. They are woven together by brittle strands of pondorosa pine needles, creating a colorful mosaic carpet of geometric shapes, placed on an earthen background. On Wednesday, I posted a cool gray, solitary picture of a grove of the spindly, white and black- checkered parents of these leaves. These once verdant beauties, now barren, protruding from the ground like naked spears, have dropped their jewels to the floor and wait for the snow to fall and to hide their bounty within the cloak of Winter's grandeur.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Day is done, gone the....

This evening, as a friend and I left the college art building in Bend, Oregon, we were treated to this extraordinary view. We remarked how difficult it is to accurately photograph sunset colors especially the orange hue. Then our words fell away. It was time to simply take in the moment and feel its grandeur and not let thoughts get in the way.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Quiet moments in the forest

Every day this week I have managed to visit a favorite trail and experience it anew as it reflects seasonal change. Today I walked from Benham Falls to the Slough about 7 miles West of Bend, Oregon. This section is part of a longer trail which meanders along the Deschutes River, crosses a massive lava flow, and winds in and out of pine and aspen groves. The single-track path is popular with hikers, mountain bikers and folks on horseback, yet I saw no one on this cold, gray afternoon. I stopped at this stand of bare quaking aspens and felt its solitude. It was perfectly quiet, not even a breath of wind. I loved its peaceful feeling.
On Tuesday I travel to San Diego, then visit relatives over the weekend in Chicago, and next fly off for business in Pittsburgh. I guess I will be migrating from the lanai to the rumpus room, where I will experience a vastly different ambiance emanating from this amazing house.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pilot Butte to Lava Butte

Bucking a stiff wind this afternoon I plodded my way up Pilot Butte, an odd looking cinder cone, protruding from the the east side of Bend, Oregon. In the distance, looking southwest, is Lava Butte which is a higher formation, but similar in shape. I took the trail alone and listened carefully to my breathing for a while until I became lost to my inner voice which is imprecisely called thought. I was quite surprised when I reached the summit, having barely noticed the landscape or distance I had walked. Then, a torrent of icy northern air swirling over this dramatic 360 degree vista caught my sails, so to speak, and brought me about. I was at the top with a world out there to see and pictures to take.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Standing proud

Yesterday I posted about the upcoming Winter season in Bend, Oregon and showed a picture of a somewhat naked Mt Bachelor. Early this morning a huge storm from the Gulf ofAlaska blasted our area and brought buckets of snow to the mountains, allegedly as much as 18 inches of white stuff. When the skies clear later in the week, I may get a peek at the mountain and create an updated post. In the meantime, the town has been pummeled by rain and freshets, clogging drains and covering lawns, streets and walks with prodigious quantities of leaves. On my way home this afternoon, I spied this proud fire hydrant wearing an epaulet on its bright red uniform. Doesn't it deserve respect?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The wait begins

This week the ski shops in Bend, Oregon will be doing a brisk business as folks plan for the upcoming Winter season. It is a time to buy new skis or and get old ones waxed and tuned. Snowboarding enthusiasts as well need bindings and boards serviced.. Colorful weather-resilient clothing clog the aisles adjacent cluttered shelves of helmets, goggles and masks. The economy thrives on a good snow season. Coffee stands, hotels, restaurants and bars, clothing stores and the resort itself need the white stuff to fall long and often. Sometimes Mt Bachelor, pictured above, in some years, opens as early as Thanksgiving. At the moment there is only a light dusting on the summit. Soon this lovely ancient volcano, as tantalizing as a delicious vanilla ice cream cone, will host to an array of colorfully-clad guests from all over. I'll snap some pictures to share of this wonderland when the party begins.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

out in the open

Today I hiked again in Dry River Canyon near Bend, Oregon. About a month ago I reported I walked only part of the way and turned back, because I felt the presence of a mountain lion. This morning I completed the trail and came up out of the canyon and found myself in the high desert. There are some exceptional hikes to Indian mounds and caves with petroglyphs near here which I will be able to do when it becomes too cold and snowy in the mountains to explore.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Another look at Sparks Lake

Yesterday I posted several pictures of Sparks Lake near Bend, Oregon. Today I spoke with a friend who tells me that this is his favorite lake for kayaking. He shared with me that the lake is especially low right now and that, near the spot featured in this picture, there is an underwater drain where the water flows downward into a lava tube and runs under the ground for miles. Soon it will begin to snow and the lake will freeze over and be only accessible to cross-country skiers and snowshoe enthusiasts. The road to this lake sometimes does not open until late May and, by that time, after the thaw, it should be brimming to the top with fresh icy water from the high mountain run-off. I hope to return then and see this lovely place garlanded in wildflowers and picture perfect again.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Beyond Words

Today I decided to walk at Sparks Lake west of Bend, Oregon. The 2 1/2 mile trail is named after Ray Atkeson, Oregon's laureate photographer. In the background is South Sister, an ancient volcano that I climbed and posted about in early September. It was late afternoon and I never saw any other people and it was perfectly quiet. It became abundantly clear why this spot has been memorialized. It seemed so perfect in its grandeur.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Moving on down the line

Late this cloudy, cool afternoon in Bend, Oregon, I decided to visit a favorite thinking spot and stroll down the Burlington Northern rails. I felt that I needed to sort out some troubling feelings and get some exercise at the same time. I spied this tumbleweed sitting against the track and a string of empty lumber cars parked on a siding, and considered, that the two elements together might produce a composition which reflected my present mood.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

returning home

Having been away from Bend, Oregon, this weekend, I didn't have the opportunity to shoot new refreshing pictures. On my return trip to this region though, I succumbed to taking yet one more sunflower picture, this time of a wilting cluster in front of a harvested cornfield. I enjoyed this shot because I felt that the color of the leaves complimented the sky and also the tan stalks of the background. Tomorrow I hope to embark on a new direction of pictures here, but at this point, I don't have a clue where my eyes will take me.

Friday, October 16, 2009

weekend repose

To all the wonderful City Daily Bloggers who have become friends and supporters of Bend Daily Photo, I am taking a break this weekend and hope to post again on Monday October 19th.
The best to you and your town. fondly, Lee

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Roadside Attraction

On a recent drive on U.S. 20 about 35 miles east of Bend , Oregon, I had to stop and take a photo of this highway sign. The Brothers' post office, established in 1913 is long gone, and so are the residents of the Three Brothers Sheep Camp. The Oregon Department of Transportation decided to credit Brothers with the elevation rather than report "Population Zero" or write in capital letters, "Nobody". I suppose they could have said, "A couple of Jackrabbits." to provide travelers some comic relief on this desolate road.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Leaving it behind?

Scattered leaves on a sidewalk in Bend, Oregon, is a simple Autumn scene designed to evoke a relaxed feeling. There are few demands here for the viewer other than to walk an uncomplicated path, tread gently and to "leave" responsibility behind.

Monday, October 12, 2009

There was a time

For the past week I have been showing Autumn scenes in Bend, Oregon. Somehow the above photo of a withered, fallen, giant sunflower is emblematic of the end of the season and the beginning of the next. Fall is a time to gather dried flowers and arrange them in a vase. Also, goals involving school or home projects are again taken in earnest. Even the crock pot is hauled out and last year's successful stew or soup recipe is retrieved from a folder or box for next week's menu.
On weekends in the cool grey air, where once verdant summer grass had been the domain of butterflies and is now the stage for Autumn soccer, a potpourri of parents watch progeny occasionally live up to someone's expectations. Fall is also a time when, inexplicably, the fortune of a town, city or state's football team can become the determinant of self-worth. The mutable October freshet strews loss and disappointment over the land like mouldering leaves and portends a long Winter or brings the warmth of joyous victory and a sense of well-being to those that care.
In this season, camera in hand, I wander the town like a detached weather vane, pointing at what I see and record; merely to enjoy my time, this time.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Beaming with Pride

As I traveled around Bend, Oregon this weekend, I saw Autumn colors everywhere. In this picture of some red leaves on trees along Wall Street, it reminded me of my childhood in Chicago, and living in the Midwest, with its well defined seasons. I recalled the huge variety of deciduous trees on my block, each wearing uniquely shaped colorful leaves, which then blew off and skittered and screeched along the pavement before being collected into piles for burning. Instinctively, I felt there was something good about such decorative leaves. I believed, I was fortunate to see them, although they were commonplace. Those delightful earth tones evoked a sense of joy in me that the natural world could be so pleasing. Today, I still carry within that child's pleasure. I look at this photo, watch the trees sway their crimson bounty and grin like a youngster in the Fall of my years.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

For Crater Lake's Sake

On Thursday, a friend and I rode our bicycles the 34 mile rim road in Crater Lake National Park, about 90 miles southwest of Bend, Oregon. We were fortunate to have tapirgal of Astoria Daily Photo along to chronicle our trip and drive a "support vehicle." It is her pictures that are on today's post.
The first photo, taken early in the morning in 30 degree weather, expresses the pristine quality of this amazing place. Crater Lake, the remains of an ancient imploded volcano, Mt Mazama, is over 1950 feet deep crystal clear blue water and is off-limits to boating of any kind. There is also no development in the park or along the lake. Due to the severity of the long Winter season, the park is usually open only from June through late October and, on this lovely day, amidst incredible Autumn colors, was practically free of tourists.

The second photo pays homage to tapirgal's skill with the camera and to memorialize the kindness she showed us riders. If you look carefully at the sunglasses worn by the exhausted bicyclist, namely me, you see that this is a group photo. In the left lens is friend Steve and, in the right, is the photographer with a beautiful shot of the lake in the background.
The last photo is a classic shot of "phantom ship" and the west rim. There are so many breathtaking vistas that I urge any of you to visit at least once in your life. However you might think twice before seeing it on a bicycle. This ride is no picnic. Many a guidebook or bike shop advisor describes the road in terms likened to jack-o-lantern's mouth. The grades are long and quite steep, and, on the downhills, the rider can reach truly death-defying speeds. Aside from the satisfaction of completing the course through this unique landscape, at the end there is the pure pleasure of easy chairs before a fireplace and delicious food and drink at the historic Crater Lake Lodge. I know that, unlike so many mundane days in life that disappear from memory, this day will stand out as one of the finest.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

twilight time of day

After a stellar Autumn day in Bend, Oregon, I went out on my back deck to take in the twilight-cooled, dry, pine-scented air. After living on the coast for so many years and accustomed to the feeling and sound of the ocean's moist breath, this environment has its own particular flavor. The ground is tough, rocky and decorated by withered needles that fall almost invisibly from supremely proud-looking evergreens. A fine dust, the remains of once terrifying volcanoes or eroded desert sands, paints surfaces and sky with an ochre and sienna tinge.
For me this place is new, neither better nor more magical than living amidst the seagull's call, but for now, bathed in this early evening radiance, I am fortunate to call this home.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Sign of the Times

At first, I liked the message along the river walk on the edge of the Deschutes River in Bend, Oregon, alerting the public of an ecologically sensitive area. Then I became anxious by the strong foreboding instruction at the bottom of the sign. The expression "No Trespassing" felt out of keeping and more suited for a construction site with a high chain link fence and a junkyard dog nearby. It might have as easily said, "Please, stay on the walkway" and accomplished the same result and been in keeping with "feel-good" community-spirited green philosophy.
Then again maybe a maintenance supervisor thought toughness was required to prevent yahoos from "tearing it up"with dirt bikes. Whatever its genesis, this sign reminds me of the adage "that you get more from honey than from vinegar" and, whenever possible, to promote an attitude of vigilant kindness.

Monday, October 5, 2009

wet and wonderful

Near the summit on the west side of the Cascades about fifty miles from Bend, Oregon, at a campground, closed for the season, I wandered in a dense grove of old growth fir trees and big-leaf maples. In this region, thick, billowy clouds billet after a long march from the Pacific, and then sleep on the high granite peaks. This grey soggy cover creates rainforests in the canyons below. In the above picture, thick curly moss gathers on tree branches like wet wool. Sparse droplets of capricious light squeeze through the canopy and illuminate a few fortunate leaves fleetingly and then moves off to other secret spots. Here, the cool, highly oxygen-loaded air inflates my lungs with fresh vibrant energy and causes me to tick with ideas. Among such grandeur, and where the tune of nature's life-affirming lovesong chimes so melodically, I sense a renewal of spirit and a tenacious desire to prolong life as long as possible.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Snow body's business?

It had been my intention, as I stated in yesterday's post, to show some Autumn pictures I took on Saturday near Bend, Oregon, but it has been a strange day, to say the least. After a week of temperatures in the upper 80's, well above the average for this date of 74 degrees, a Winter storm blasted in, dumping some locations with over 7 inches of snow. Many of the deciduous trees, still laden with bright green leaves, could not endure the weight of all that white stuff and collapsed, like this unfortunate aspen on my front lawn. Driving was amazing. There were no sand trucks to be seen and, even some of the cameras on the mountain passes, designed to show hazardous conditions, weren't operational yet. Tomorrow there will be chaos at the tire centers for mounting and balancing. There will be a run on chains, scrapers, gloves, battery chargers, and stocking caps. People will recall the taste of a hot rum and begin to jabber about new skis, snowboards and expensive lift tickets. The kayak's days are numbered and is soon to be stashed again in the garage rafters above the fishing gear and golf clubs.
Amidst the excitement of the day, I consulted the weather report. A massive warming trend with mild days are predicted. Maybe a person ought not be too hasty. Sandals, shorts, and t-shirts for me, that's my mantra. I love Winter, but not yet. December is soon enough.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

still life

This afternoon, as I neared Bend, Oregon , I stopped in the mountains near the Pacific Crest Trail along the upper Santiam River. Although I took a whole series of photos of Autumn colors, which I will share this week in subsequent posts, I was struck by a composite of colors and shapes, I spied on the ground. Nestled amidst fronds of sword fern, moist wood sorrel and fallen big-leaf maple leaves, a fresh white and pink mushroom has found its place. Rather than elaborate on this scene, it is my desire to be without agenda and let this simple, picture impact the viewer's thoughts and feelings peacefully.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

cooling down

A cool low pressure system from the Gulf of Alaska has brought moist unstable weather into the Pacific Northwest sending a blast of Arctic air over the region. A few snow showers have fallen on the Cascades, giving a prelude to the approaching winter's weather. This shot, taken from Wickiup Reservoir, about 30 miles Southwest of Bend, Oregon seems suitable for Skywatch Friday. The air has become brisk and brown and withered leaves dance erratically along the ground. Lost in thought, I stuck my chilled hands in my sweatshirt pocket and recalled how, just last week, I clutched a chocolate shake in them. Tomorrow I'll look for my ice scraper and be sure it's in the car.