News from April 2009

Racetrack Playa Photos

Occurred April 14, 2009 (Permalink)
The Rocks of Racetrack Playa
The Rocks of Racetrack Playa

Jason and I headed to Las Vegas to make a second attempt at travelling to Racetrack Playa since we'd been turned back last year. Luckily the roads from Vegas are much better than the ones from California, so we made it there with only a single flat tire. The playa is indeed a big dried up lake bed with rocks that blow around when there's enough rain to turn the lake bed into mud. For the rest of the year the lake bed is a cracked mess like what you see in the "California's running out of water!" scare ads. I really like visiting the desert--seeing all the weird prickly trees, drinking in the dryness of the land, and generally getting away from the endless Western Oregon green. Also made some good to mediocre nighttime shots of the desert. Gallery. I'm hoping to get out to the Oregon desert a bit more this year for some practice; to enable that, I bought a tripod last week after I came back. We also got stuck in an elevator for half an hour after eating dinner in the Wynn buffet.

Tom McCall Point

Occurred April 18, 2009 (Permalink)
Balsamroot
Balsamroot

If you head east out of Portland on I-84, after about 75 miles you reach Rowena Crest, just outside the town of Rowena (= Cherries!). Above Rowena Crest is a sort of ugly spear of rock named Tom McCall Point, after the governor who got Harbor Drive in Portland turned into a park. I had started up this trail the last time I was out at Rowena Crest but it was hot that day and I never made it. Not so this time; for the price of a minor sunburn I hiked to the top and then further back into the trees until I reached some farmer's field. It was a good day for this sort of thing, as I had taken my camera and new tripod, and set about using them to record 360-degree panoramas. Regrettably it was a bit hazy, so the panoramas had to be cleaned up a bit before I could post them, but other than that I captured some marvelous views from the top of McCall point! After I was done with that trail I decided to follow the photography students who were embanked atop Rowena Plateau, and recorded some more pictures of green rocks and grey creeks. There was a girl there trying to take pictures with what looked like about a fifty year old camera that she had to peer into the top of to frame the picture. I sometimes wonder what I miss having forsaken the film age, but to be perfectly honest a digital SLR with hugin has enabled the sort of thing that is a major pain in the real world.

Snowpocalypse 2008

Occurred April 19, 2009 (Permalink)
Snow
Snow

Last December, Portland received the heaviest snowfall that it had seen in forty years. The city, being woefully unprepared for this, was covered in snow for days (insufficient snowplows) and our (then Mayor-elect) proclaimed that it made no sense to be ready to handle a 100-year storm (every 40 years). Anyhow, this yielded many opportunities to stomp around in the snow and photograph various things. Why am I posting about this on a sunny day in April? Because I got lazy and never bothered to put together the album!

Flower Crop

Occurred April 20, 2009 (Permalink)

It's April again, and that means that it's time for pictures of this year's flowers! I think it's largely the same variety of flowers that I had last year, only the tulips and daffodils seem to have propagated. Evidence that the flowers are working correctly, though if you could see the giant swarm of gnats, flies, bees and other critters that have been flying around the garden lately that much would be self-evident. :) (I'll post the tulips in a few days now that they're blooming.)

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