Celebrating fall along the trail. 

Celebrating fall along the trail in the coast range late October, 2017. 

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Infrared Creek

Infrared photo of a creek and meadow in the high cascades. 

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Cape Kiwanda Sunrise, West of the Rock

Sunrise at sea, west of the rock, Cape Kiwanda. 

A new day dawns on the sleepy village still snuggled under its thick blanket of fog. But soon the sun will lift the fog and the beach will come alive with activity. We will add ourselves to the beach activity later, now it’s time to fish! 

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Cannon Beach and Tillamook Head

If you look closely you can see houses dotting the hillside along Cannon Beach, so named because they found a very old cannon there many years ago, and off in the distance hiding in the clouds, Tillamook Head. Beyond that, Seaside and Astoria. 

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Infrared River Bend

Here’s a nice infrared landscape of a river bend in the high country taken this spring. Near-infrared is light outside our visual range so in this shot we’re literally seeing “the world in a different light.”  


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Rough Country

A trip down memory lane turned into a wilderness adventure when I visited Osprey Point on Craine Praire Reservoir this Spring. 

Last winter the high Cascades received the heaviest snow pack in years and it flattened a good many of the young spindly pines that sprung up over the preceding mild winters, turning an easy hike into an obstacle course of downed trees infested by great hoards of mosquitos spawned in the bogs left behind by the melting snow. Yet in spite of all this discouragement I stubbornly proceeded onward into the brush, bogs, and bugs because I wanted to visit the memory of the last time I was there, about 20 years ago. A happy place in time that seems, looking back on it now, like one or two life-times ago. 

I’m not sure what Osprey Point would think of me now but I have to say, the years haven’t been kind to it. A dense thicket has grown up to completely obscure the view of the lake, and the interpretive signs that haven’t fallen down already look like they soon will. And while I didn’t see any Ospreys at Osprey Point this time around, I did hear a large number of geese honking and carrying on somewhere beyond the thicket. However none of that really mattered as I was just happy to be there once again, to remember fondly some earlier times and reminisce about how quickly years go by… all the while pacing rapidly back and forth to keep the mosquitoes at bay!

I took this by the bridge over the creek on my way back to camp. For fun on a hot summer day I waded across this creek those many years before, but not this time! The ever-present mosquitoes did their best to keep me moving but the late day colors were so wonderful I had to stop for a quick shot or two of the rough country before moving on once again. I wonder what it will look like in another 20 years? Somehow I think old Osprey Point will be just fine. 


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Infrared: Gathering Clouds Over the Cascades

After a few successful days Kokanee fishing we’d normally break camp and head for home with thunderstorms in the forecast, but this time we stayed to watch the gathering clouds. 

The “near” infrared (to distinguish it from “far” infrared or thermal imaging) is outside our visual range so you’re not always sure what you’re going to see in the photograph. Also, the heavy filter renders the viewfinder and exposure control useless so (with my kit) shooting infrared involves a lot of composition and exposure trial and error. I don’t recall seeing the patterns in the clouds when I took the shot and so it looks very different in infrared. Foliage also looks very different, leafy trees become very bright, like snow, in full light. Somthing about the wavelength being more penitrating and bringing out the density of the clouds, as well as the water contained in foliage. As I recall NASA uses it on their space probes to photograph / reveal the cloud layers of Saturn and Jupiter and the other planets of our solar system. 

Anyway, it’s an interesting technique and I’ll have to do more of it. 

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Neahkahnie Sunset

Some say there’s buried treasure on the Neahkanie headlands, while others say the ancient marks on the mountain are survey marks from early Spanish exploration of the Oregon Coast. 

A few miles south of Neahkanie it’s a documented fact that for years early settlers recovered large cakes of beeswax bearing Spanish symbols from the shifting sands near an old a shipwreck on Nehalem spit. Modern analysis of the wax and other scattered artifacts supports the conclusion that a Spanish Manila Galleon working the Philippines to Acapulco trade route was somehow blown off course and wrecked on Nehalem spit. 

Since the Spanish operated the Philippines to Acapulco trade route from about 1600 to 1800 the wreck must be from that time, and since the Spanish were using the vast gold and silver riches from their conquest of the new world to fund their Asia trade, it’s quite possible the survivors of the shipwreck actually did have something worth hiding on the closest available landmark; Neahkanie Mountain. 

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Wreck of the Peter Iredale and Cape Disappointment. 

Built in 1890 in Maryport England the 290 foot, 2,000 ton, steel hulled four-masted sailing vessel Peter Iredale ran aground due to poor visibility and contrary winds on October 25, 1906, four miles south of the mouth of the Columbia River, where she can be seen to this day at Ft. Stevens State Park. One example of the many fine ships lost in the “Graveyard of the Pacific” as the area around the mouth of the Columbia was known in the days of sail. 

Off in the distance you can see “Cape Disappointment” which marks the mouth of the Columbia River. It received its name from Captain John Meares when he failed to cross the river bar in 1788, a feat not achieved until four years later by Captain Robert Grey in 1792. Lewis and Clark were relative late-comers to the Cape, not arriving until 1805.  

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What’s your wavelength?

The general concensus is giant lens flares spoil nice landscapes, and in spite of how good smart phone cameras are getting to be these days they are still very much prone to it as you can see here. Especially when shooting toward the sun.

However in this case I think the colors and intensity of the flare makes the shot and the bolt of energy aimed squarely at the bench on the rocky point creates a powerful place to bask and contemplate the many mysteries of the photon, a paradoxically massless particle that transmits the sun’s radiant energy through the vacuum of space at the speed of light.

Some wavelengths of this electro-magnetic energy we see as color with our eyes while other wavelengths, outside our visual rage, we sense with our skin; infrared as warmth, ultra-violet as a tan or painful sun-burn!

We also use photons to communicate. Our smart phones exchange waves of photons with networks of nearby cell towers to bring us our calls, texts, photos, videos, and emails. I’m using photons right now to upload this post from my tablet to the web!

I imagine photons may ultimately prove to be the very basis of matter in the universe. As scientists crush subatomic particles into even tinier bits with increasingly sophisticated machines, the matter just seems to evaporate away as photons as it’s converted into energy. Einstien’s famous equation E = MC2 describes the conversion of matter into energy but I wonder if the reverse equation might also be true. Can photons be converted back into matter? And if so, does this mean matter is really just made up of coalesced photons? 

They say the gravitational field of black holes are so intense light itself (photons) cannot escape, and this is why they’re called black holes. And since we can’t look inside them who knows what’s going on in there? Maybe it’s the job of black holes to suck up stray photons and squish them back into matter. Gravity does weird stuff like that; its the force behind the fusion that powers our sun. 

I can’t help but wonder at the profound insight into God’s creation contained in Genesis: “Let there be light” and all the photons and electro-magnetic phenomena that implys, for without it none of this could be. How could people so long ago, people without particle accelerators or atom smashers, know that light was fundamental to it all.

Today science accepts the paradox and uncertainty of massless particles because it explains what they can detect and do with their instruments. Yet science still seems to disregard the evidence of a soul in spite of the undeniable and miraculous life force present in all of us. 

Massless particles transmitting energy through infinity at the speed of light. Sounds like soul-stuff to me! Seek the light!

Deeper video on the subject:

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