A nearly perfect day

Yesterday found me waking in Cle Elum, Washington and looking forward to a morning out in the field to take photographs for the Forest Service.  Such a deal.  Meet with nice people and go out to wonderful country to take pictures of things that don’t move.  While I have little control over the light or locations I always enjoy being out in the woods and visiting National Forests in Oregon and Washington.  Yesterday was a nearly perfect day to do just that.

I met Tina at the District office and we headed out to the field to look at a site where the proposal is to move a streamside road up out of the floodplain and allow the floodplain to regain its natural function. As we left town the sun was shining, the sky was blue and cumulus clouds were everywhere.  I was impressed by the agricultural lands in the Teanway River drainage as we moved up onto public lands.  Beautiful pastures and hay fields.  Great light.

We got to Jack Creek and set to “work”.  We drove to the far end of the project area and I got a good idea of where the road would and would not be lifted to a higher elevation. The goal is to show how the project improves watershed conditions and aquatic habitat by dealing with a legacy of roads. We found several locations where we could see the problem (a road right next to the stream) and had a great opportunity to get photos of that road and floodplain from the location of the proposed road.  Usually something blocks the view but this project gave open views from the location of the new road so we should be able to show the new road, the treated old road and the stream/floodplain in the “after” shots. The weather was great.  Tina was fun to be around and did not push me to move on or hurry. We shot several different sites and built a library of “pre-project” shots.  It was a nice reward to work in such ideal conditions after a very rainy day on the Willamette weeks before. The camera and I both function better when not soaked.

My plans for the rest of the day changed when my friend Steve had to cancel a proposed portrait session in Pasco due a family emergency.  No big deal for me and I’m hoping that the situation is quickly stabilized for Steve and Suzanne.  I just changed my route and headed for home via Goldendale and the Columbia Gorge.  I drove up to Cle Elum via I-5 and Tacoma and once again reminded myself why I shouldn’t do that.  The route going back to Portland via the Gorge is about 15 miles longer and a bit slower overall but the views are better and the traffic is not so nerve wracking.

I paused long enough to photograph some of the wind turbines on the slopes of the Gorge. The shot below was taken from the viewpoint pullout just before you drop down to Biggs. The towers are on the Oregon side of the Gorge and a LONG way away.  The shot was made with the new 28-300 lens.  My goal was to show some blade movement in the photo (actually, more than I got) so I was glad to see the turbines working.  I dropped the ISO down to “Low 1.0” and stopped down to f/22.  This brought the shutter speed down to about 1/10th of a second and resulted in some blade blur.  I want more blur so next time I’ll be equipped with some serious neutral density to allow a shutter speed of 1-5 seconds. I know the image I want and now it’s up to me to create it.

I converted the image to black and white to allow some adjustments to make the towers pop as much as possible.  The scene was really quite bright even with the haze created by shooting such a long distance.  I’m happy with the image but know that I can create a different feel and a more dramatic result the next time I have time and am on the road home.

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One thought on “A nearly perfect day

  1. These wind turbines seem to breeding like rabbits out in the gorge! Traci and I noted how pretty they looked when we drove past them this summer. I would love to photograph them some day, they add such a nice accent to a landscape, as you have captured here Bruce.

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