It’s a June weekend and the weather is finally getting nice so I want to escape the city.But so does everyone else – the hiking and nature spots within an hour of Portland are busy.Trailhead parking is full by 11:00am.I am an early riser so getting ahead of the crowd is not a concern.I just want something more quiet and peaceful.
I head instead to a little known wildlife refuge in SW Washington.Conboy Lake Wildlife Refuge is about an hour north of the Columbia River and is a wonderful oasis of animal and bird life.I arrived late in the day relatively – it was 10:00am but the early birds were long gone, but I still had a wonderful easy hike on the edge of the refuge.
There is an historic log cabin next to the parking lot which I explored.The interior walls are lined with newspapers from the early 1900’s.Was this for insulation or decoration?
The approximately 4 mile hike was easy, flat and I didn’t see another soul.Even though the bird life was scarce – there were plenty of wildflowers to photograph and enjoy.Next visit I will get an earlier start to the day and I hope to catch some of the 25-30 Sandhill Crane pairs that mate here every year.Now that would be something special to see.
My love of photography started young, and like many of you, studying National Geographic issues for hours. My Dad sent me my first camera when I was 15.I remember riding my bike 13 miles to the Pahoa, Hawaii post office to get it.
That was 40 years ago and I recently reengaged with photography. Learning digital cameras and new techniques has been challenging.Youtube and all the creative learning websites provide an ocean of opportunity.But nothing beats face to face learning so I signed up for a May photographic workshop with Hudson Henry.It was a financial and social leap for me – I’m a poor introvert!
It was a great experience.Like camp for creative adults.I learned so much from Hudson and from the other 9 participants who all brought a different vision and skill set.We had folks from as far away as the Yukon in Canada and South Carolina.We became friends and learned and laughed together.We got up early and stayed up late to capture sunset and blue hour.
If you have been hesitant to take a leap like this, I strongly encourage you to take a chance. If you already have I would love to hear about it. Thank you for stopping by…
For a couple of Sundays now I have been getting up early and heading east into the darkness of pre-dawn.The camera and tripod loaded up to catch sunrise pictures in the eastern Columbia Gorge. Being outside, far from the city, as the day begins and the sun breaks the horizon – that is my happy place.
One of my creative inspirations is the YouTube channel by Thomas Heaton.He is a photographer from England who produces fantastic videos about his adventures in photography, near his home in England and all over the world.
He is collaborating with the BBC on a project called #realhappiness.In a nutshell – encouraging all of us to get up early and get out in nature.Thomas’s involvement is soliciting photographers (that means you) to submit sunrise photos from their happy place to the instagram hashtag #realhappiness.Check out this short video and be inspired.