Monday, October 29, 2012

Fall Favorites: Colour Is Where You Find It, Part 2

This will be my last installment of the "Greatest Hits of Autumn" posts for this season. A super bright full moon has risen and is more visible now, through the bare branches of trees up the hill from my house. It was about a month ago, under the last full moon, that I drove out to farm country to shoot the aurora borealis. I haven't said much about the auroa lately because the sunspots have been quiet and the Kp index has pretty much flat-lined. There were a couple of teasers which were popping off large flares before they came around to face us, but they soon went quiet...if you can be quiet on the surface of the sun!

There has been a steady fall of maple leaves on the street next to the house, but the trees on the opposite corner of the intersection are almost bare. The "garden club" folks across the street were once again picking up the debris from their chestnut tree, but most of the leaves have yet to let go. Now that the most of the maple leaves on the west side have dropped, I get late afternoon sun in a bay window, and it makes the plants happy...and me, too.

After a weak start, the colours came on strong and I'd say it was a good color season. For this year's "finale" I have picked out favorites from the favorites. They represent the colours found in Spokane and on trips throughout the region.

Banks Lake is a reservoir above Grand Coulee Dam. It is located at the bottom of the Grand Coulee, which is a mile-wide, steep-side canyon in north central Washington. The orange and yellow leaves of the cottonwoods are quite a contrast to the gray-green of the scrub on the coulee floor, and the dark gray rock walls. I have made a few sunrise trips out there, which means I have to set a very early alarm and drive 100 miles. It's nice to watch the sunlight hit the cliffs on the far side and work its way across the floor. The next three shots were taken on what looks like three different trips, but they look like afternoon shots.

A scan of a Kodachrome slide from the early 1990's, taken just south of the Steamboat Rock area.

Another Kodachrome slide, looking across the widest part of the Grand Coulee, east to west.

A recent shot, you can see the lake in the background and the west wall of the coulee.
The next nine shots were taken in and around the city of Spokane.

You have to catch the light just right in Browne's Addition, west of downtown. The neighborhood is open to the west, but there is a tall bluff out there, too, so you have to catch the sun before it drops behind it.

A beam of light comes through the red canopy to illuminate a patch of yellow.

Manito Boulevard, just south of Manito Park.

We had scattered graupel (snow pellet) showers on this particular November 30th. The water drops are melted graupel. I shot this one just like a "real" photographer, tripod and all! It is lit by a mix of overcast above and an orange streetlight, off to the left.

A hint that Christmas is just around the corner? Upper Manito Boulevard.

Flaming chestnut leaves near Finch Arboretum, west of downtown.

A colourful canopy at Finch.

A leaf cluster on a young maple, on the northern edge of Finch.

I don't know how I just happened to look at these berries, while on a photo walk in Riverside State Park. I call this one "Jack and His Friends."
Now we're going out of town, to points east...and north. First, to the east.

A colourful hillside on the east side of Kellogg, Idaho.

The Greenwood Cemetery, on the east side of Kellogg, Idaho

A wall o' Tamarack on the Montana side of Gold Pass, above St. Regis, Montana
And now to the north.

What Tamarack looks like from the other end, Frater Lake, west of Tiger, Washington

A dusting of Tamarack needles, Gillette Lake, west of Tiger, Washington.

Tiger Meadows, above, you guessed it, Tiger, Washington. The weather was not any good for shooting that day, but it did cut the traffic down to nearly nothing up there.
And finally, back in Spokane:

Happy Halloween!
Manito Boulevard.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Fall Favorites: Manito Park, Spokane, 2004-2008

When presenting the fall colours of Spokane, it is almost obligatory to show Manito Park, on the South Hill. The park and the boulevard leading out of it to the south give you blocks and blocks of leaf shuffling, but you have to get there before the city crews mulch the fallen leaves. This year the city is experimenting with mulching the leaves on site, rather than spending extra money to haul them somewhere else.

Manito Park was established in 1904, so photographers have had plenty of time to take all of the standard shots. I like to walk the park and see what catches my own eye. During the autumns of 2004 and 2005 I was in-between careers so it was handy to be able to go to the park away from peak hours. At this time of year on the weekend you're practically tripping over families who are posing for portraits.

While I'm on that subject, if you want to do any advanced or professional shooting in Spokane city parks, you might want to read up on their permit requirements. I don't shoot portraits but I'd still need a permit to shoot leaves...according to the rules...because I have a photography business license. I am pleased with what I have already shot there so I'm not too concerned about jumping through all the hoops to go back and shoot more of the same. Now I can relax and enjoy the colors as a spectator...but I may keep the point & shoot camera in a cargo pocket...

Thumb-sized leaves on an old stump.
On top of the bluff above the playground.

On top of the bluff above the playground.

Experimenting with small apertures on the east side of the park.

A meadow near the main parking lot for the Japanese Gardens.

The upper part of the bluff above the sledding hill.

On top of the bluff above the playground.
More fall colours to come!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Fall Favorites: Cannon Hill, Comstock, and Corbin Parks, Spokane, 2004-2008

Here in the Inland Northwest if you want "traditional" fall colours, or the colours more common on the East side of the Mississippi River, you'll have to look around your town. Here in Spokane, some of the older neighborhoods and south side parks offer up more of a variety of colour, due to the planting of non-native species. The South Hill offers many old tree-lined streets and you can take various combinations of them for a colorful afternoon drive. The older north side neighborhoods offer pockets of colour, which you can see from Pioneer Park, which overlooks downtown.

These photos were taken in three parks, Comstock and Cannon Hill being on the South Hill, and Corbin Park, just below the North Hill. The Corbin Park photos were taken in the evening after work. Since the days were getting so much shorter, I only had enough time to get to one park per trip. Another reason for the time crunch is that once the sun got down too far, the surrounding trees would block the light and I had to call it done.

Three shots from the Cannon Hill Park area.

Three shots from Comstock Park. didn't fall this way!

The remainder were shot in and around Corbin Park. The road around the park is an oval, lined with beautiful historic homes. The park was the site of a racetrack from 1887-1899. had good light on it!


As found...this time.

The inside of the road around the park is lined with young maples. I believe the park used to be surrounded by elms, until Dutch Elm Disease took its toll and they all had to be removed.

More fall photos to come.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Photoshop Silliness

This is what happens when you give a guy with a strange sense of humor Photoshop, and too much time on his hands. Many of these go back to my first years on a comuter, shooting digital and working with Photoshop 4. In some cases I'd get an idea when I saw something along the road, and would go back at a later date to shoot the background shot. Aircraft shots are stock photos from the USAF image library.
I wasn't trying for perfection here, but I did try to match shadows and lighting when possible.

A coworker had a cat named Oreo, which I believe may have weighed as much as 26lbs at one point. I think he was down to 21 when I took the shot. Towboat in the Back Bay near Keesler AFB. While I'm here...why do they call it a towboat when it pushes the barge?
My imagined AC-5 gunship, the gun being an image of an A-10 nose cannon, "upscaled."
Some test fixtures at work assembled by a student. I replaced the plain head with the head of a friend's daughter, and placed it outside the building.

"Kaylee Bunyan" roams the 9 Mile area of Riverside State Park.

Two photos of the same RF-101 static display, "back in action" inside Wolfe Hall.

When two jets aren't enough...? P-51 prop added.
Well, the sign does say to watch for aircraft operations...
Fellow photographers from Canada who don't like being photographed. I told them their Canons had a cloaking device.'s a "caution light," right? The Biloxi, MS lighthouse, plopped into the middle of a country road.
So it's a wheat trawler...what's wrong with that?
Give a photographer crap...and you never know "how" you'll show up in an inter-office email.
A coworker's truck with added armament...and a cat behind the wheel since he doesn't like cats.

Some of this silliness does have a practical purpose. It comes in handy when you have to retouch scenes or remove distracting objects...and make it believable. The rest of the time it's just good for a laugh.