I was scheduled to help the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation and the US Forest Service install a camera to do some time lapse photos of a restoration project on Meacham Creek last Thursday and I decided to make it into a photography road trip. I was lucky to coordinate time to see my friends Caty, JD and Stacia in Athena, OR Wednesday night. I laid out a series of photo opps enroute to Pendelton and headed out early Wednesday morning. I hoped to find an eagle nest near Multnomah Falls but that didn’t work out as planned. I moved on to take a look at the river flowing into Hood River but nothing moved me too much although the view of Mt. Adams was wonderful. Some nice cumulus clouds were forming and I headed to Rowena Crest. The light was bright when I got there (well past ideal) but the flowers were looking really good and the clouds were so nice they reminded me of Montana a few weeks ago.
That’s an osprey looking like a small speck on the cloud near the top of the photo. I waited for about an hour for the group of 3 osprey to fly over the balsam root flowers and with the clouds in the background. I wanted the bird to be MUCH larger in the frame but I ran out of time.
Dianne and I had seen the group of bighorn sheep east of The Dalles when we went to Bozeman recently but there was no stopping our progress at that point… baby waiting. I was lucky enough to see them again this trip and feel very fortunate that they were in an area where I could safely get way off the Interstate. My best shot opportunity happened when I was trying to get out of the car, get the camera lens mounted and the tripod set up. A large group of rams ran right next to the fence beside the road… close enough to make a really nice photo. I did manage a couple of shots before they headed up the hill but the fence and my spastic preparation did not combine to produce a good image. I switched to the long lens and spent the next 45 minutes watching the rams move around the slope before bedding down. I got to see and hear 3 different times when two rams exercised their right to be males and clashed heads… ahhhh, Spring. The shots were pretty distant but I am happy with them and glad that they are sharp enough for a moderate size print.
I headed on to Pendleton and got checked into the motel. Then I was off to Caty’s place in Athena. We had a nice dinner and they indulged me with a showing of the images from India before I headed back to Pendelton for the night. Thursday morning Caty and I joined up with Mike and Keith from CTUIR and headed out to put the camera on a ridge above the project site. It was not really a long hike to the site we chose for the camera but the phrase “steep as a cow’s face” does come to mind. I was pleased that I got up and down the hill with no real problems and no injuries. The camera install went pretty well thanks to some creative rock piling and the crew that Mike had brought along.
After Caty and I returned to Pendelton I headed directly for Terrebone to meet up with my friend Deigh and an evening shoot of some nesting bald eagles we had seen a few weeks before. After a dinner in Terrebone we drove to Smith Rocks and hiked through the bivouac camping area to the rimrock near the nest. We visited and played with the fading light until we concluded that the eagles were not going to show up. We drove back to Redmond and discussed morning plans. Deigh wanted to see the sunrise on the Three Sisters but I opted to pass on the 03:30 departure in favor of some sleep. We agreed to meet in Sisters at 07:00 for breakfast. After a quick breakfast at the Gallery we headed into the Wizard Falls area of the Metolius River. I had not been here in years and was pleased to see that it really has not changed substantially. It is still one of the prettiest rivers I know and any time on the river is a gift. We grabbed our cameras and set out to play. I see that Deigh has posted some images from his collection and I now know that we were both looking at the abstracts formed by the colors and flow. Hey… we’re a couple of retired hydrologists… what do you expect?
We parted ways after the shoot and headed for our individual homes. I tinkered around with some reflections on the way home but didn’t come up with anything that is worth sharing. I marveled as I drove through Detroit, Salem and up I-5 about how blooming fortunate I am to have the opportunity to make a trip like this and that I have friends who are willing to give me time with them. It was a jam-packed 3 days… all good. I look forward to future trips like this when Dianne can be along.