I spotted this old relic during our walk a few days ago. It might make for an interesting photo study, except for the fact that it sits at the very end of the 1.5-mile trail!
I keep thinking that this would make a decent black & white image, but I haven’t come up with a version I’m happy with. When I take the color out the tones are all the same and the image looks like a flat, jumbled mess. I’ll keep working with it to see what I can do, but in the meantime I like the color version just fine!
I recently posted a few reflection photos to Instagram, and it got me thinking about how much time I spend looking for reflections. My conclusion? Not nearly enough!
Photos of boats in a marina with still water are pretty low-hanging fruit. I need to remind myself that while I am looking for lines, pattern and shadows, to keep my eyes peeled for good candidates for reflections.
I had to wait until this morning to have my first sunrise opportunity of the year. The weather the last few days has basically been crap, but the forecast for this morning held promise. Rather than set an alarm I told myself that if I woke up in time I would head out to see what I might find. Usually when I try that approach I either wake up too early or too late, but this morning I woke up at 5:50 which was just about perfect.
I arrived at the boat launch area right at 6:30 and was treated to some amber city-lit clouds low to the horizon and a clear sky with clouds above. Pretty sweet! No fog this time, but that was good for better reflections. I got a few shots of that then aimed my camera at the causeway to catch some light trails. There is a lot more traffic on a Monday morning than there was on the Sunday morning when I last visited!
The parking lot was completely deserted when I arrived, but the first boater showed about about 6:45. He was well organized and put in quickly, but it was too dark to get anything usable. The second boater arrived about 7:15, took his time futzing around with this gear and finally left the dock just as the sun was coming up. That made for some good light on the boat as it putted through the No Wake zone.
The bonus though was that, all of a sudden, I heard birds, lots of them. Then overhead came a huge cloud of some kind of small black birds, probably starlings, grackles or similar black birds – hundreds of them! And that cloud was followed by another, then another. I have no idea how many of them there were, but there were a bunch. Fortunately I had my camera set up for a wide angle shot of the water and sky, so I was able to catch a few frames with the birds, even though they were a bit blurry. They were moving fast!
So in addition to a pretty sunrise I got an impromptu air show! All in all it was a worthwhile visit and I got a few shots to start off the new year. The weather looks like might deteriorate again the next few days but I’ll keep a lookout for another opportunity!
Kathy & I gave up covering our house with lights years ago, but still enjoy driving around nearby neighborhoods to check out other peoples’ efforts. Some people really get carried away!
Most neighborhoods we go through have few places to park or walk safely, but this particular spot in Huntersville has two houses next to each other, spectacularly decorated and with reasonable parking, at least when we visited. We were able to get out and walk on the sidewalks without worrying too much about distracted light peepers.
The forecast is calling for some interesting weather here for tonight and Christmas Day, but I don’t think we’ll see any snow. It sounds like a good day to stay snuggled up with coffee and a warm fire. Later in the day we’ll open the bourbon and wine!
We hope everyone has a good holiday this year despite all the mayhem. We are looking forward to lots of positive direction in 2021.
Another one of those historical place I learned about when I was a child was the story of The Transcontinental Railroad and The Golden Spike. The meeting of the railroad lines from the east coast and the west coast met at Promontory, UT on May 10, 1869.
As is often the case with history, the actual events leading up to and surrounding the eventual joining of the eastern and western routes is a lot more dramatic than we learned in grade school. Although the two railroads had agreed to meet somewhere in the western US, it literally took an act of Congress to actually get the tracks to meet. Instead, the two companies laid miles of track in opposite directions through the area, sometimes within sight of each other! Wikipedia has a pretty good summary and pretty much agrees with what we were told when we visited.
At the visitor center, replicas of the two original trains make demonstration runs. These runs often occur daily but the schedule varies seasonally. We planned our visit to coincide with the runs, since seeing the trains in operation was one of the highlights of being there. The trains don’t actually run at the same time, as the same engineer and fireman operate both trains. At the end of the second run, the trains are parked nose-to-nose in front the observation area, making for a scene that is reminiscent of the original, albeit with people wearing much more modern clothes today!
In addition to the trains, there is an auto tour route that traces a portion of the original railroad bed. The tracks are long gone, but there are places where the road travels through cuts made in the terrain to accommodate the tracks. In some areas it is easy to see both sets of parallel rail beds within sight of each other. Especially noteworthy is an area where 10 miles of track were laid in one day, in response to an unofficial challenge between the two crews to see who could reach the meeting place first.
Promontory is practically in the middle of nowhere in Utah, which makes it really out there! It was worth the time and effort, however. And it gave us a great way to document our visit to the state of Utah for our quest toward all 50 states!
For anyone wishing to see more photos, I have created a photo gallery on my Adobe Portfolio website.
Ever since I was a kid interested in airplanes, I remember reading about and seeing photos of Howard Hughes’ “Spruce Goose.” Officially known as the Hughes H-4 Hercules, the Spruce Goose was – at the time and for a while after – the largest aircraft to ever fly. The Wikipedia Page for the plane is a rabbit hole of more information for anyone wishing to delve deeper. After many stops on a long journey, the current home for the plane is the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in McMinnville, Oregon.
I didn’t realize that the Spruce Goose was in Oregon when we started making plans, but I came across a reference to it during our research. When I found out that we would be very close to McMinnville, a town in the heart of Oregon’s Willamette Valley wine region, stopping there was a no-brainer. Except…the museum had been closed during Oregon’s response to the Covid virus. Fortunately the conditions had improved enough for Oregon to allow museums to re-open shortly before we left home on our trip. Good timing – the state has recently re-entered a lockdown phase the the museum has closed again.
As you can see from the photos, the plane is simply enormous, dwarfing all of the other aircraft in the museum. For even more geekery, check out this article discussing the various calculations of “largest aircraft” along with a size comparison.
Seeing the Spruce Goose in person was a real treat. In fact the entire museum is really well done, with two separate buildings – one for aircraft and the other for space related displays. It was especially nice to have a good indoor thing to do, since all that haze you see in the outdoor photos is smoke. 🙁
When we left Cannon Beach we headed down the coast, hoping to catch some views of the Pacific Ocean scenery before turning east toward McMinnville, a town in the heart of Oregon’s Willamette Valley wine region. We didn’t get many long-distance views, but we did manage to see some interesting things along the way, including the ferocious prehistoric creature I posted about previously. 🙂
What looks like fog in these photos is a combination of actual fog and smoke from the wildfires farther inland and some drifting north from northern California. Thanks to the magic of white balance adjustment, these look mostly like fog, while the original files have more of an orangey-brown cast to them.
We spent a bit of time exploring the marina in Garibaldi, a small town of 800~ on Tillamook Bay along US 101. The marina provided us with some visual stimulation, and the addition of the smoke/fog allowed for some interesting photographs. Garibaldi is home to a scenic railway – which was not operating – a maritime history museum, also closed and a US Coast Guard station. It might make for a good destination on a return trip, as there appear to be a number of quaint looking inns nearby!
We had hoped to visit the Tillamook Creamery, but it had closed just prior to our arrival due to a combination of the virus and the heavy smoke. So we moved on to Cape Lookout (home of the dinosaur) and Cape Mears to check out the lighthouse before making our way to McMinnville.
Spent some time walking around the harbor at Shelter Cove this evening. An opportunity presented itself…others as well but this is one. The processing is perhaps a bit heavy but it seems to be none the worse for it. 😉