Sunday, December 30, 2007

My favorite images from 2007

The Amgen cycling Tour of California zipped through Davis, CA in February and it marked the end of my 20-year tenure at the Sacramento Bee. In May I documented the Sacramento Ballet on it's first-ever foreign tour to Shanghai and Beijing, China. As soon as I returned home Diane retired from the University of California at Davis and a great party was held in her honor by her colleagues. Her three sisters came for the event but it was the unannounced arrival of her brother Bill that completely surprised her. After our move to Oregon we attended another surprise 50th birthday party in Portland for Randy Olson, then to Louisville, KY in July for Jesse and Carmen's wedding. They visited us in September with Alton and we took a a "little tyke" hike on the Metolius River. The dramatic weather changed in October and through the end of the year and photographing that was fascinating.

Friday, December 28, 2007


Got a flu shot in October. Got the flu today. No sympathy necessary. I've got nowhere to go, snow is piling up outside and there is non-stop football on t.v. This too shall pass.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Enchanted forest

The Monday morning snowstorm subsided leaving a blanket of pristine powder. Allison and I drove out to Camp Sherman and along the Metolius River. The wind in the trees kept blowing the snow off the branches and with the sunlight filtering through to the forest floor the scenes were magnificent. I'm still getting used to the fact that I live in an area where the environment is in constant flux. I was hoping to photograph the full moon and got up very early for two days only to have the cloud cover obscure everything. Yesterday was the reward for perseverance. Here's to a Merry Christmas from central Oregon.

Monday, December 24, 2007

White Christmas

Snow has arrived for Christmas. Allison came from Sacramento yesterday and was disappointed that it was only raining so she is excited this morning waking and looking out to the white forest from her upstairs bedroom. Last night was the annual cookie baking event. Several of the cookies were unaccounted for and presumed lost in the operation. We are going out later this afternoon on a photo expedition. Allison is taking a photography class and will get an individual tutoring session.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Winter solstice

After leaving a friend's home last night following a winer solstice dinner I couldn't resist grabbing the Canon 5D and a wide angle lens to make a photograph of the night sky. The moon is not full until the 24th though the photograph makes it appear full. I had plans to go out this morning to photograph the moon setting over the Cascades from a spot called Cline Buttes. However, in the 5 hours since I made this image the clouds rolled in and obscured the sky. If you want to see the picture larger just click on it and it opens up.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Songs of the season

Photo by Henry Dilz
The holiday season brings out all the traditional symbols including all the music you only hear during this time of year. My head and heart have been full of songs but not "Silent Night," I'll Be Home For Christmas," or..., well you know them all. Instead, I'm hearing all the songs of Dan Folgelberg, the singer and songwriter who produced twenty great albums from 1972 to 2003. The leader of the "soft rock" generation died last Sunday at his home after battling prostate cancer. He was 56. I've been playing all his songs constantly for the past few days to hear the quiet simplicity of his voice and the eloquent lyrics that still choke me up. I'm saddened again as I was when other music artists I've enjoyed over the years have died too early: John Lennon, George Harrison, Jim Croce, John Denver and Kate Wolf. I wanted to hear them write and sing about the changes in their lives as they got older and wiser in order to help me along my own aging path. What we are left with though is no small gift. The music of Dan Fogelberg and all the past great artists is there to hear anytime and the truths in the songs will not change. Unfortunately, there is no season especially for the musicians I think of as kindred souls. This year "fa la la la la" and "pa rumpa pa pum" don't resonate. I prefer this song in particular to describe this season of music for me:

"Only The Heart May Know," a duet with Emmylou Harris:

Silent sea
Tell this to me:
Where are the children that we used to be?
Silent sea:
At picture shows
Where nobody goes
And only the heart can see.
Starry skies
Soft lullabies
Where do they go when their melodies die?
Starry skies:
To a day
Far, far away
That only the heart may know.
Friends we knew
Follow us through
All of the days of our lives
Love we shared
Waits for us there
Where our wishes forever reside.
Falling tears
Memories' mirrors
Where are summers
Oh, where are the years?
Falling tears:
Carried far
To a wandering star
That only the heart may know.
Friends we knew
Follow us through
All of the days of our lives
Love we shared
Waits for us there
Where our wishes forever reside.
Starry skies
Soft lullabies
Where do they go when their melodies die?
To a day
Far, far away
That only the heart may know.

Thanks Dan.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Dancing with the clouds

I live in a Ponderosa forest, the sweet spot between the juniper covered high desert and the Cascade mountains. The majestic peaks are just out of view for the most part. I can walk out to a spot on the road bordering my home where a peek-a-boo view of North Sister is sometimes visible. So, if I really want to see the mountains I have to get out and away from the trees. Today, I had some errands in town and on the way in (all of three miles) I could see the cloud and mountain dance in full swing. I turned around, returned home, got the cameras, and headed out to a location I know to watch an approaching storm front from the northwest make it's way over the peaks. Three-Fingered Jack on the north, Mt. Washington, then North, South and Middle Sister and Broken Top on the southern end of the panorama dealt with the clouds in their own way. Diane has been suggesting I get out to photograph the mountains for several days and I kept saying that although they were striking with blue skies the visual potential wasn't there yet. No drama in the sky. Today the grandeur of Central Oregon reminds me once again of the special place I live.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Sixteen years of holiday images

I began making personalized holiday greeting cards to send to family and friends in 1992. I had a good selection of seasonal photographs from Yosemite National Park since completing my book "Yosemite, A Landscape of Life" in 1990 and I continued to add to that body of work over the next few years. For the 1999 card I chose a photograph from a Sacramento Ballet performance of the Nutcracker and entitled it "Dancing With Glee Into The 21st Century." So far it has been the only image of people. Some years have been hard to select an image, mainly due to my old residence in Sacramento where winter doesn't look very nice. A rare snow event in the Sacramento Valley saved the 2003 edition. Diane accompanied me on a snowmobile for the 2000 and 2001 photos and also alerted me to the incredible rainbow which became the 2004 image. Allison was with me for the 2005 and 2006 pictures made near our home here in Sisters. The moody image of Mt. Jefferson above the fog was quite unusual as the region was covered in an ice-fog but for just a moment the clouds moved and the mountain was visible. This year's photo was another lucky break when the geese became airborne as I approached the flock with my camera. The process of making the cards has become one of the most pleasant parts of the holidays for me and now that I live where future images will be easier to find I'm excited about continuing the tradition. To see larger images of all sixteen photographs move your mouse pointer over the lower right-hand corner of the slide show and click on the link to the Picasa web album. Happy Holidays to all!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The holiday cat

The tree is up and our little wild one lost no time in claiming the apron as the new best place in the house to hang out. I think I need to get out of the house more regularly.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Goodbye little friend

Our oldest cat, Gracie, a companion for 16+ years, has been in the final stage stages of her life in recent months. Although she would have hung on, we knew it was time and did not want her to suffer. Our littlest friend is gone.

Gracie came into my life in 1991 in Sacramento when I found her at an animal shelter while on a "pet of the week" photo assignment. She was 10 weeks old and all gray so I didn't know she'd turn out to be a calico. I named her "Gracie."

Gracie was always as much Allison's cat as mine. She loved to sleep on Allison's bed throughout the day and kept her company while she did her homework. Gracie was quite playful in her early years and constantly tolerated my playing "cat hat" with her. When we acquired our other cats, Noire and Puss, she became somewhat jealous and mischievous. It was her way to tell us she was the queen of the house and we'd best not forget it.

It is hard to see an animal decline in health knowing the outcome. The vet looked at her and said we were right in our decision. We held her and stroked her head and ears as we said farewell. We kept telling her she was a good kitty.

Cute sweet Gracie, you are in our thoughts and memories tonight and forever.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

A minor anniversary

Six months ago on a hot June morning we unloaded the 26' U-Haul and the cat-transporting Subaru at our new home. A long list of home repairs are completed, we've entertained visitors and family, traveled a bit and now enter the holiday season grateful to be here. Our home is comfortable and peaceful. Stringing the lights in sub-freezing temperatures, however, was a bit challenging. Such is life in a four-season environment.

One of the predominant factors of life in Central Oregon is the weather, like it or not. In summer there is always fire danger; in winter its snow, rain and ice. It's been 21 years since I live in a place where snow is guaranteed. While Sacramento had it's share of weather issues, snow was not one of them. What was peculiar was mowing grass in January. The most interesting aspect of the weather is watching the storms try to get over the Cascades immediately to the west. The "rain shadow" effect caused by the mountains gives us our dryer and colder environment. Last week was typical with the clouds and mountains performing their meterological pas de deux.

Yesterday I went out to the Metolius Preserve where members of the Deschutes Basin Land Trust were cutting trees for their holiday celebrations. For a $10 donation people wandered out into the forest to find "wild" trees unlike the "farmed" variety. The most heard comment was "this really begins our holiday season." Although our house has been decorated, we still don't have our tree yet. Maybe today...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

With temperatures hovering in the 20's during the day and the teens at night I've been thinking about the nature of change. It's actually quite reassuring to see seasonal changes even if it makes life a little uncomfortable. One simply adds more layers of fleece and uses the Jotul stove more hours in the day. Change on other levels is harder to understand and more difficult to accommodate. Two areas are on my mind: health, which is personal, and the current state of American newspapers which all seem to be in free-fall toward demise or irrelevancy.

Follow this link for a good read: (you may have to plug in a username and password). If you can't open this link go to and search for Howard Kurtz and his commentary about changes at the San Jose Mercury News.

I concern myself with these topics because both have impact on my life. Health, obviously, is what determines how comfortable retirement is and will be. Newspapers, because they defined nearly all of my professional life and I still have many friends in the industry who will be affected by the rapid changes occurring daily. Neither of these topics are as predictable as the weather outside. So for now, cold days are of little importance.

Thanksgiving has been a great time with Jesse, Carmen and the perpetual motion child Alton. Diane and I howl at his antics and admire the absolute unconditional love that Jesse and Carmen have for him as young parents. I understand more intimately now why child rearing is one of those great life tasks one gets to do at an early age. Participating as a grandpa is exciting, tiring, and comforting to see Jesse and Carmen raise Alton. The great pleasure and pride only a grandpa can feel is the best. I'm also glad to have been there done that.

I hope your holiday season is off to a great start. Cheers!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Fall is struggling to hang on. A sunny day is followed by rainy one and each succeeding nice day is cooler with temperatures barely reaching 50 degrees. The Metolius River is running steady and cold and late afternoon light plays on the Ponderosas in the forest. Yet it is refreshing to get out on the bike and see the magnificent Cascades covered in fresh snow. A week or two more and the rain that comes now will be snow later as the snow level drops. Now it's around 5000'. We're at 3100'. Thanksgiving is next week and we're anxious for Jesse, Carmen and Alton to come for the holiday.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

I made my first return trip to Sacramento last week since relocating to Oregon. The main purpose was to photograph the dress rehearsal by the Sacramento Ballet. This year begins Ron Cunningham's 20th year as Artistic Director and he choreographed "A Woman's Journey: The Tamsen Donner Story" for the season opening. The Ballet uses poems by Ruth Whitman she gleaned from Tamsen Donner's diary during the disastrous Donner Party journey to California. The ballet recounts the journey and it's fateful end in the Sierra. Ilana Goldman was amazing as she danced the role of Tamsen Donner.

My friends Renée Byer and Paul Kitagaki lent me their guest bed and it was a little strange sleeping in a town where I used to live. Paul and I rode up the American River bike trail on a balmy afternoon. We sat on a bench and watched a Red-tailed hawk sit at the edge of the trail totally unfazed by cyclists whirring by. On another day Randy Pench rode with me up the trail again. It never gets boring.

There isn't too much I miss about Sacramento, certainly not the traffic, city noise, congestion. I definitely miss my few close friends, Paul, Renée, Randy and former neighbor and cycling partner Brian Taugher and of course my daughter. The bike trail can't be matched anywhere. While cycling in my new area is challenging and amazingly scenic it doesn't have the comfort of no vehicle traffic and constant smooth pavement.

Allison and I had a dad-daughter date night with dinner at a great Thai restaurant and then the opening night performance at the ballet. She had just been to Sisters for a visit the previous weekend after attending her grandfather's 80th birthday party/family reunion in Portland. Still I wish I could have had more time with her.

I made the absolutely bucolic drive from Sacramento to Geyserville on CA 128 through the hills around Lake Berryessa and then through the Napa and Alexander valleys to Geyserville to visit my friends of 34 years, Ed and Ann Howard. I stayed the night and then went to Geyserville the next morning with Ed to a pancake breakfast sponsored by the volunteer fire department. There was a fall festival complete with an antique/rare car show. Ed drove his 1956 Austin Healy down to the show.

I left Geyserville and made the 8-hour trip home, i-pod constantly pumping out the tunes. It's good to be home.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Sisters High School Outlaws played their home opener against the Madras White Buffalos Friday night. On the opening kickoff the Sisters' field goal kicker was injured making a tackle. His mother came out of the stands to comfort him. That's the way it goes at a small town high school. Cory McCaffrey (shown talking to the quarterback Jarred Hasskamp) scored 4 times in the first half and the Outlaws were ahead 42-0 at halftime. The final score was 60-20. The social scene in the stands among the students was really laid back and the cheerleaders were having a hard time finding fans to volunteer to try to kick a ball through the goal posts during intermission. This was the first high school game I've attended in many years when I wasn't working. It was pleasant to wander around photographing another element of my new life in Oregon.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Before I ever understand spaces between leaves, which will likely take the rest of my life, there are other spaces that demand more immediate contemplation. The spaces between the cedar boards on our deck were full of decaying pine needles, dirt and debris from twenty years of neglect. The boards were sun-baked and had turned gray years ago. Our last big project of the summer was to refinish the back and front decks. This required several days of replacing boards, some with dry rot, getting all the squeaks out with over 750 screws and then two days of sanding with a large machine from our local equipment rental store. We finished sanding late yesterday and then overnight a weather front moved through and rained. We are glad for that because we could legitimately rest for the day and breathe a little easier for the firefighters trying to get a handle on the forest fire still going strong near Black Butte Ranch five miles away from us. The deck will dry in a couple of days and then we'll apply the stain and know intimately about spaces between boards.

Friday, August 31, 2007

A forest fire began this afternoon in the Mt. Washington wilderness west of Sisters. Initially it was a 30-acre blaze but high winds caused the fire to grow rapidly and send a stream of smoke eastward over the region. We've had a quiet summer, fire-wise, and everyone was hoping that the season would wind down without incident. No homes or property are threatened as of now. Tomorrow may be cooler and less windy.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Sunday, June 10, 2007

This weekend was the 67th annual Sisters Rodeo, the biggest little rodeo in the world. It was nice to just go and have fun shooting without the pressure of deadlines. I spent Friday evening shooting, Saturday walking around and simply watching and then Sunday shooting more from ground level.