"The business of art is rather to understand Nature and to reveal her meanings to those unable to understand. It is to convey the soul of a tree… The mission of art is to bring out the unfamiliar from the most familiar." –Khalil Gilbran
A few harbor seals chilling at the Yaquina National Wildlife Refuge near Newport, Oregon. A nice trip as we met up with my son and his family for a karate championship for my grandson, which, of course, was the highlight of the trip.
One of the side trips we took was to the Yaquina National Wildlife Refuge, and the lighthouse there. Much to my pleasant surprise we got to see quite a few frolicking harbor seals quite close to the shore. We also remember that these are wild animals, and as such do demand a safe distance, even if they might be used to crazy humans watching them from the shore. Always keeping a respectful distance. And why I’m generally using longer lenses to capture nature.
Part of the reason these seals are called harbor seas is because of their habit of frequenting sheltered waters. Female seals are referred to as cows, males as bulls, young seals as calves or, more commonly today, pups. A breeding herd of seals is known as a rookery.
One of the places I love to visit regularly is Ruby Beach. I’ll usually check the tides, because I like going in the spring when I can view the sea life, starfish particularly, waiting patiently for the tide to come back in. The beach is always littered with interesting artifacts from the ocean. More than one artifact reminding us the power of those magnificent, yet often deadly, Pacific Ocean waves.
The first time we discovered this beach, we were taking a drive upstate on an Easter sunday, and as we were driving home after a very long day of exploration, near sunset, we discovered Ruby Beach, and were witness to an amazing burst of color across the ocean landscape. We vowed then to return, to explore more carefully. and since that time, we have done so again and again.
A visit to a little known trail up along a windy lumber road in the Hoh Forest. In the middle of winter, we had a lovely sunshine-filled morning as we hiked along the trail. Thick forest growth allowed for moments like this, where streams of sunlight cut through the shadowy trail. Another one of those magical moments in nature. Hoh is one of the largest temperate rainforests in the U.S. and truly an amazing experience.
Silence and atmosphere in a cemetery is very different from being in the forest. As with anywhere I take photographs, or where I walk or hike, I step carefully, I listen, and I allow my instincts to direct me.
In a cemetery, there’s this undercurrent of human whispering, which you can sense in the wind as it blows through the branches, in the cool feel of a marble statue or bench, the hard edges of mosaic laid into the ground, the smooth edges of new tombstone, or the the roughened, weathered edges of one created a century ago.
History and lives lived cling closely to the experience of walking among the remembrances of the departed. It is a place that reminds one to live each day to the fullest, to live it mindfully, and not take life for granted.
Photography, for me, isn’t just about taking pictures, it’s about the experience created behind each photograph I take. It’s about the emotion brought forth. It’s all about the captured moment.
Living in the Pacific Northwest, another of my favorite subjects in the fall and winter are mushrooms. There are all shapes and sizes to be found almost anywhere you look.
There can be a magical and mystical element ever present when hiking or on a picture-taking odessy into the woods. I can be walking along, searching, and not see a one. Then, suddenly, I see one, just one. And then all of a sudden I can see them everywhere. It’s like this magical veil is removed from my eyes on whim from the fairie world, beyond our usual scope of what we see.
This can often happen for me in nature, because it feels like a whole other world beyond our fast-paced, technologically-savvy existence. It’s using different senses, different instincts. And it trully is magical.
The Northern Shoveler is somewhat of a dabbler duck. Favors broad, shallow marshes. Often found using its large bill to strain insects and seeds from the water.
Caught here at rest and contemplation, but often seen with bill to water ferreting out their prizes as they move with purpose. Interesting to observe as they have developed a rhythm of circling, bill immersed in water as they hunt. Like watching a syncopated dance on water, especially with a pair such as this.
The merry-go-round, a handsome carousel horse. Remembered moments from a childhood, from parenting, from magical moments inflused with laughter, gaiety, people, summer, and moments of shared excitements and spontaneity. That’s what photography is, to me. Moments captured, memories preserved. A precise moment, the scents and sounds and colors permeating the image, and the experience.
American Crows that landed nearby. Crafty and intelligent. The oldest recorded crow lived to approximately 16 years. Usually traveling in large numbers, unlike the raven, which will travel in pairs rather than larger groups. Murder of crows, the term used for large groups or flocks of crows, so known because of their scavenger-like nature.
Swallow. Not the action, but the bird. Known for aerial feed, as in grabbing food on the go, “swallowing” – the act – without landing. Can be quite a feat sometimes to photograph as the soar and dip and catching them on the go can be a challenge.