Sunlit Afternoon at Sauvie Island
Winter in the Portland area is sometimes difficult for a photographer as we typically receive rain, drizzle, cold, mixed with an occasional day of sun. The sun is generally hit and miss, and when there is a break in the weather, one quickly must take advantage of the moment and run with it. This is especially true for outdoor photographers. It becomes more of a challenge when you must rely upon someone else to get you to where you want to go, then wonder if there will be facilities to take care of your needs should you need them.The task is also hard when you have to work photography in with other obligations.
This past weekend no exception. Saturday it was raining like a monsoon, and Sunday was mostly cloudy with a few sun breaks. We, Lloyd and I decided to take a drive with no particular destination in mind. We really gave little thought where we would go and ended up on Sauvie Island for an afternoon of adventure and shooting photos largely from the car; it seemed that the hunters were also taking advantage of the weather and were out shooting as well, instead of cameras they chose real guns. It was one of those times where you merely had to be there to see how chaotic and crazy our day became. Unfortunately for Lloyd, he received the brunt of frustration, as like I said, shots were being fired all around us. But, not many were coming from us. Our adventure was filled with laughs, frustration, and more laughs.
Over the course of the last few years I have become a master in the art of taking photos from a moving vehicle, sadly though this does not translate to me shooting moving objects. Two entirely different animals. Hope you enjoy the show.
As we passed over the Sauvie Island bridge our journey began. Generally, the Island is a mecca for photographers. But as we learned, not during the winter, or at least hunting season. I strongly dislike hunters, so I must think happy thoughts as I write this. There were indeed a myriad of sights, sounds, and adventures awaiting. From floating houses to broken glasses, from daggy uplands to lofty wetlands, from a hunter’s friend to the lonely oaks as their trunks bend. We saw nearly all in one brief afternoon. Beginning with ‘An Island Bridge’ our photo journey begins.
A mere 10 miles outside of Portland where tranquility embraces you the moment you cross the bridge. And with it, rows of homes. Floating homes. Remember ‘Sleepless in Seattle?’ That is what they were like, only without the warm fuzzy feeling. The water so calm, like glass. Its reflection perfect, unbroken like glass. I merely thought the homes were a part of the slums along the Slough. Little did I know that these slums came with boats, schooners, sailboats, yachts, a steamboat, even an airplane or two.
I only hope they have a good sewer and water system and no excretions of unimaginable origin floating by. Just saying…Erase that thought. The houses came in all shapes and sizes, all with a common theme – all were floating on platoons. For miles. The homes altered form between a house and a mast. Dozens, intertwining the shoreline of the Willamette Slough. A row of homes, a row of masts of sail boats. The air, a slight chill, still as the trees without a breeze, on a sheet of unbroken glass – ‘Reflections of Glass Boats’.
After having Lloyd abruptly stop the Trooper, we sat, as I shot through open window in wanderlust, a magical sight; the water like a sheet of glass or ice take your pick. No wind. The scene short-lived. Of course.
Through the ‘Shards of Broken Glass’ or like the beauty of a skater gliding across the ice, you decide, each share a mesmerizing sense of beauty. Either, alter the momentary transcendental notion of peace as the schooner glides as gracefully through the stillness as a skater’s body floats across the ice.
‘Gliding Gracefully’, the image forever captured with the lens of a camera. On the road again, I asked Lloyd to stop periodically along the way. It was hard at times as their were other cars doing basically what we were. We would stop for a short time. Rather like speed photography! Long enough to grab the shot and maybe catch the parade of boats as they one by one returned home. The show would soon end; my eyes gravitated to a line of masts and wonderful boats ahead.
Lines of sails, their masts bare as they peacefully sleep through the winter. The vision akin to ‘In Reflection.’ Only the sounds of newly arriving song birds would bring about a shuffle of the blue awaken the sleeping beauties. A shuffle of the blue canvasses, and the boats would be off on a blustery day. They are sail boats after all.
As I zoomed my camera a mere titch, the number of boats with blue covers was amazing…Originality is not common amongst sailors, so it would seem. I would choose red, merely to spice things up a bit. Let’s live! That is me. Just saying. This photo screamed, however, to be shot. In part was I kidding, but truly the gunshots fired as the hunters shot waterfowl residing in the adjacent wetlands and ponds along the slough, was menacing.
As those who follow my posts know I preferred black and white images. But, I shot to ‘Blue’ my interpretation in color, for those who prefer a bit of color in their lives.
As we passed the last of houses on water, I snapped another image of the burgundy boat as it returned to its place of origin. Some of the houses, like the one captured below is quite large, while others were small. It would be interesting living in a house on the water. You best be sure you don’t get sea-sick before moving in.
The wind non-existent. Nice for capturing fresh air and photos, not so great for sailors. Guys, did you not notice a majority of boats were still wearing their winter coats? I guess the brief bit of sun meant they were ready to brave the cold.
What I noticed about being on Sauvie Island was a bit like being stuck in a scary movie. I should have written a blog post back in October. I never get a warm fuzzy feeling about being there. Is it the men with guns hiding out in the bush for things to kill? It contains all the characters and even most of the props. From the moment one enters the Island, the lone bridge that allow visitors the lone bridge to the lone Oaks one sees more than people. The roads end randomly. Many of the people who inhabit the island live on boats? The lone bridge we used to enter the Island.
As we continued on our way my eyes captured a lone tree perched along the bank of the Willamette.
As the photos stay in black and white, so it would seem the light of the day easily turned into an imaginary world devoid of color and feeling. A deadened place of reality nearly like the deadened tree “Along the Slough”. This was not the only dead tree or sleeping tree we encountered rather it was one of many as continued on our journey.
This cormorant was one of about 20 that we saw around this dead long and others along the shoreline. Considering my inability to capture a moving objects, or perched objects, this was the only photo which was worth presenting. I must work on not shaking so much when shooting.
As we drove around the Island, I am continually amazed by number of solo oaks present in the sunken fields and along the banks of the Slough. Before Sauvie Island became a preserve and organic farming site, the Island must likely was occupied by more than a few stands of Oaks. Below ‘Oak of Rose and Wisdom’ gives one the idea that theory maybe true. They are so beautiful in the way they twist and turn as they grow, some graceful, others mysterious, while still others creepily until spring. Then like magic, the trees bud and soon transform into the magical green and gold leaves overlooking the crops occupying the land beneath.
While ‘Two Oaks and a Plantation’, provides a little insight to the number of oaks present in the fields. Their size along gives light at to how long these trees have grown in their homes. Many years. The Oak below sure could be a star. It provides an illusion it grows out in thin air.
Oaks are often used in horror movies, I prefer not to think about them in that light. It gives me the creeps.
Oaks as seen in this blog grow in varying forms and sizes depending on the species and nutrient content each uptake.
This stand of oaks occupy land near the old vacant farm house. One can see how tall and old, these oaks truly are.
I guess the owners need to sit and watch the farm on occasion so they put an old chair in the shed. Creepy. Seriously, however, It wasn’t the intention of this blog to focus so much on Boats, Oaks or old buildings, it rather took on a life of its own.
So as we pass by the Farm house we head back toward the wetlands which are pretty spectacular; I bet at dawn or dusk they provide the best show. Now however, it is a bit daunting with the gun shots echoing in the distance. The as quickly a flock of birds in the hundreds take to flight their only escape to this vicious sport they call hunting. I for one am against it. But, I do not represent the majority. Deliverance comes to mind.
Okay they really are in the clouds, I promise. You must look at the black blurps in the photo. I loved this photo because of mass of clouds and their structure and the sun trying so hard to force its way through, unsuccessfully.
This was the second time I actually capture a photo of the lone eagle. I looked up and saw him a few yards before me and had my camera out. Only I didn’t have the zoom turned on. Not the smartest of moves, but at least I caught him and he was in focus.
This photo finally turned out the way I wanted it to or at the very least close.
Most of the images now speak for themselves. I will let them do the talking for once.
The grasses that fill the slough photo above, most likely is comprised of reed canary grass. This grass is highly invasive and occupies wetlands of every type. Where ever it can, its rhizomes (roots), and their seeds from seed pods grasp hold and out compete native vegetation for resources. While it looks great and birds like it, it really isn’t a grass you want growing in the wetlands as it will inevitably out-compete with the native species – essentially wiping them out.
More of the Reed Canary grasses that occupy the slough.
Another Vantage of the Slough Pond.
This is the last photo taken of the wetlands. Hunters were out, remember, and never good idea to be out in the wilderness at the same time. Creepy. I hear the music again to “Deliverance” comes to mind again – and a stupid song. Argh!
This shot was on the way back from Sauvie Island. It looks to me of a ‘Horse Race’. In an abstract way that is what I have called it. In reality this is a photo of the filberts growing.
Found my filbert shot. (I thought that it had been deleted). I am certain you can see the filbert trees in the abstract version if you try hard enough.
As we complete our tour the last photo is a bridge. Go Figure.
This is an image taking while we were driving and happened to turn out okay. Surprise. I am getting pretty good of flashing my camera out and shooting a photo. My average, while is nowhere near perfect it is good enough to continue to do so.
My color version of Sauvie Island Bridge.
This building comes straight out of a horror movie. We are talking ‘The Shining CREEPY! No kidding. Lloyd decided to take this dirt road Highway 30, and ended up nearly in a face off with the security guard. I am flicking the camera in hopes of gaining a good shot. And not with the security dudes flock either. It was close, but we managed to turn the trooper around before the guard took us out. It wasn’t like there were a ton of signage around. There was.
As you get a closer look at the building, it reminds me of one of those old psychiatric hospitals. The following image is of the old wrought iron staircase that extends the entire side of the building.
The last images were taking, you guessed correctly from the car and out of the window are of the St. John’s Bridge. I prefer the black and white shot but I also took another image of the landscape of the image that is in color for those who prefer color.
And with the St. Johns Bridge that ends our day of adventures.
Hope you liked our photos.