In 1906, the Peter Iredale, a four masted steel sailing vessel ran aground as it attempted to enter the mouth of the Columbia River during a storm. There were no casualties and apparently minimal damage to the ship, but continuing inclement weather thwarted attempts to refloat the ship and it became embedded in the sands where its skeletal remains are still visible after more than 100 years. It is now a part of the Fort Stevens State Park. I used a 10 stop Neutral Density filter to create an 80 second exposure to blur the water surrounding the rusting ribs as the tide rose.
Cape Disappointment does not disappoint. At least in this day and age. Located at the extreme south western tip of Washington State where the Columbia River crashes into the Pacific Ocean, it was dubbed Cape Disappointment by Captain John Meares when his expedition failed to cross the river bar in 1788. In 1856, the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse was built to guide sailors into the treacherous mouth of the river. In the winter, storms can create huge waves that crash over top of the lighthouse. On our visit there this past week, the storms had calmed from the previous week. But even without the spectacular waves, it is still a gorgeous place to visit. I took his photograph with more than two stops of negative exposure compensation to darken the image. The photograph was taken about 9 in the morning and when the sun disappeared behind a cloud, the dark exposure suggested a moonlit night instead of daytime. Adding the lighthouse beam in Photoshop completes the illusion.
Astoria, Oregon was once known as the salmon-canning capital of the world. By the late 1870’s, the Astoria area, located at the mouth of the Columbia River, was home to 17 salmon canneries. The Columbia River system was the largest producer of chinook, coho and sockeye salmon and steelhead trout in the world. A century later, most canneries, including Bumble Bee, the largest salmon canning company in the world, had closed. The Hanthorn Cannery Museum at Pier 39 in Astoria preserves the history of the canneries and its workers. On the back dock, the aging cannery building proudly exclaims “Salmon for All.” The salmon hued glow of the sunset reflects in the windows and on the sign.
Winter is the time for drama on the Oregon Coast. We’ve had lots of rain, ball snow, and pea-sized hail. We stayed a couple of days at the Silver Sands Motel in Rockaway Beach. One of the great things about our accommodations was that our rooms looked out onto the Pacific Ocean. Just behind the hotel, a sand dune separated us from Rockaway Beach. One afternoon, I walked over the sand dune onto the beach as this squall approached. It was a sample of the kind of weather soon to come. In the distance at lower right, the Twin Rocks sea stacks, south of Rockaway Beach. Nikon Z6, FTZ, 70-200mm f/4.
Early on a December morning at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, the rising sun begins to color the New Mexico sky. The clouds and the small hills and shrubby trees that define the horizon line at one of the larger ponds, reflect onto the still waters.
The gorgeous colors of the New Mexico sky at sunset silhouette this pair of Sandhill Cranes as they soar between the clouds on their way to their nighttime roost.
One of the reasons I love photographing birds is that it is mesmerizing to watch them in flight. Capturing that flight in a photograph is a thrill for me. This pair of Snow Geese seems to be floating on air last month in Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Their moves seem effortless. Nikon D5, Nikkor 500mm PF.
The water in the Track Pond at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge was agitated by the Snow Geese and Northern Pintails paddling around the pond. The lines at the top of this image are the wakes from the feet of a Northern Pintail that swam toward this Sandhill Crane as it took off one morning this past December. Instead of a perfect reflection in the still waters of the pond, the crane’s reflection is broken by the movement of the water.
The colors at sunrise and sunset in Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge are nothing short of spectacular. The intensity of the reds and oranges reflected onto the ponds and filling the skies is gorgeous. Many of my favorite images from my December visit to Bosque were silhouettes of birds in the sky or on the water with the intense colors surrounding them like this one, as a family of Sandhill Cranes prepares to roost for the night. Nikon D5, Nikkor 300mm PF.
Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge has lots more to offer than Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese. Of course the main attractions are the Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese but winter is a time to see lots of other birds there. At the refuge’s visitor center, just outside the main entrance, there are opportunities to see lots of other birds, drawn to the area by water features and feeding stations. This White-crowned Sparrow posed for me for quite a while while Gambel’s Quail scurried beneath in the brush.