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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Mysterious Tracks In Snow

First I thought these were a small bird, but I quickly realized it was something different. I have seen a lot of different tracks in my career, and can usually surmise the source. This time, I am stumped.


Mole? I don't think so. The scale seems wrong and this creature was very active above the surface.


What makes the radiating pattern?


These were all over the place, in an open field right next to a bit of forest. It this is a small mammal (as I suspect), then it would be a prime target for birds of prey in this environment.


I need to call in the experts.

Friday, December 19, 2008

A Bull Elk Emerges From The Shadows

On a miserable, rainy night along the coast one of my remote cameras photographed a spike bull roosevelt elk (Cervus canadensis roosevelti) walking along a muddy elk trail.


One of the reasons I use remote cameras is because they allow me to take photographs where no sane photographer could possibly pull it off. I had the cameras in place for six days before these photographs were taken. The nights were frigid and dark, and yet the cameras waited patiently.


Water on the lens makes this elk appear as if it is emerging from the ghostly shadows of a nocturnal forest (above).

I pulled the cameras after they were in place for 10 days, primarily because of a massive series of storms moving in from the Pacific. The weather had already been bad, and I had experienced several technical problems, and near destruction caused by water in the past.

My remote camera system has new waterproof connectors, and better weather housing, but I wasn't quite ready to leave it in the flood plain of a small creek.

In one image, the elk passed extremely close to a camera placed very low.


Just inches from the muddy ground, the camera lens received a coating of muck.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Cold Snap

The entire continent has been put into a deep freeze, and Oregon has not been spared. I traversed the 80 miles from Portland to the coast recently, and found highway 26 to be covered in ice for most of the route. There were plenty of SUV's in the ditch as I poked along at 35mph.

I made a point of keeping my schedule open enough to allow time to shoot in the snow.


The Coast Range pass is only 1600 feet, and in a typical winter it will get a dusting of snow for a week or two.


Seeing the snow pile up is a visual treat.




It's still snowing too....

Friday, December 12, 2008

Terry Toedtemeier is gone

It has been a couple years since I last spoke with Terry Toedtemeier, the curator of photography at the Portland Art Museum. I first met him when he was my instructor at The Pacific Northwest College of Art, while I was working on my B.F.A. in photography. Terry became much more than just a teacher in the classroom, he became a mentor as I formed the ideas that would shape my direction in photography. He was a friend who always had sharp ideas about what made images interesting. Through his eyes, I learned to see the landscape with the scale of time, and the forces of wind and water that shaped it. He taught me about the craft of printmaking, and the history of photography.

These are deeply embedded in my mind, and Terry was instrumental in my appreciation and exploration of photography.

One of my favorite, and one of the best photography books in my library is "Second View – The Rephotographic Survey Project". Terry introduced this book to me once while we were shooting in the Gorge together.

In addition to a curator, a teacher and mentor – Terry was also an involved, and smart photographer who produced remarkable landscape images that were informed by his knowledge of the land. His work is in the collection of major museums across the continent, and he was celebrated in the photographic community for his contributions to the craft.

He died in Hood River just two days ago, after giving a lecture about a new book he edited about Oregon Photography: "Wild Beauty". He was a great guy, and I am saddened by his departure.


Terry Toedtemeier inspects a gallery of pictographs and petroglyphs in the Columbia River Gorge.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Red Saddlebags Dragonfly (Tramea onusta)

These dragonflies are deceptive in flight. When I first spied one at the Brackenridge Field Lab, I didn't recognize it as a dragonfly until I got a second look. The curious red markings on the wings make it look like a large fly with red wings until the transparent part of the wings are perceived – then suddenly a dragonfly appears.


This quality is not immediately apparent in this image, but place one against a bright blue Texas sky and your eyes can be fooled. This photo took all day to get.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Jump! Leopard frog (Rana pipiens)

Continuing with the frog theme: Another technically challenging image that was accomplished with
the help of my friend Dr John Abbott at the University of Texas. I was in Texas to photograph bats (more on that later) but how can you pass up a cute frog?


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Details About Me

Portland, Oregon, United States
Husband, Father, Student Of Natural History, Photographer