Category Archives: Photography

Blankie Time?

by Kimberly A. Cook

The past two weeks family commitments have kept me busier than a popcorn fart, as my Dad used to say.  Nothing bad, just hectic. Plus given the news lately, sometimes I don’t even know what to write.

But here goes. Compassion fatigue is real. Back in the day we had three tv channels that went off the air at midnight, no cell phones and social media happened at the hair salon.

So feel free to unplug, turn off and give yourself a break. Take action to focus on family, friends, pets and neighbors close to you. What you can control.

Believe it or not, we are USAStrong. We’re a very big family, a dysfunctional bunch, but that is true with most families. So practice kindness and see what happens.

With that goal in mind, here are some of my favorite recent pics to focus on pleasant moments.

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The Fall colors are here. Gorgeous.

 

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A picnic lunch last week at Chinook Landing in Fairview to watch the Columbia River presented us with river breezes and the approaching storm front.

 

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This little guy was very busy storing snacks for the winter while we were on a neighborhood walk.

 

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After passing Mr. Squirrel we came upon this gorgeous view of Mt. St. Helens, our resident volcano, across the farm fields.

 

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One of my favorite roses, The Fairy, is still blooming in October. How about that magic?

 

And if you could use more happy moments, the Hallmark Holiday movies launch this weekend on their two channels. Get your blankie, eggnog and snacks and start training for the holiday movie/series marathons of your choice.

There’s nothing like a good jammie day to pick up the spirits!

 

 

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Got Secret Sea Lions In Your Camera?

by Kimberly A. Cook             (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

Sun fever. That’s my excuse for no posts the last two weeks. The bright orb came out for three days in a row, so I grabbed Mom and we bugged out for the beach. The Friday traffic was light, the sun kept shining; we were sure we’d get struck by lightning, but nada. Yeah!

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This is one of the coves on the North Point at Depoe Bay. You can see the city in the background along the sea wall.

 

Took my almost new Canon PowerShot SX530 HS with me to put it through its paces. This beauty has focal length from 24-1200mm with a 50x zoom and 16 megapixels for about $250.00. It’s my first foray back into larger body cameras after leaving my metal 35mm Minolta’s behind in 2006 to go digital with the Canon ELPHs. Sometimes you just need a bigger lens. Smirk.

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When I went full zoom from the same spot above, look who showed up? A faithful seagull subject. Thank heavens the clouds came in so his colors show up nicely and he/she is not bleached out.

 

Anyway, a big perk is the plastic body so it doesn’t weigh a ton like my vintage 35mms. When I worked on the newspaper I carried a 28 wide and a 100-250 zoom on two camera bodies and tried not to break my neck. Weighs less than a pound. This seems the best of both worlds, plus no film!

Of course, the manual has so many gadget settings it may take me years to figure them out, but I was out stalking marine wildlife and taking shots to test it. Much fun. Mom is working on her photo skills too, so we were girls on a mission.

One thing I did was make like a human tripod, since I didn’t bring one along on our walk. Both tripods were safe in the car back at the condo. I ended up leaning against a post and bracing my legs and then my elbows on my chest. It helps, really.

The clouds came over as a bonus since we were out at 2 p.m., not the best time for getting photos. But you take what you can get and go with it. When the wind picked up we scuttled back to the condo. Upon perusal of my many pics, I cracked up when I saw the ones of the buoy.

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One photo trick is to get the path to take the viewer into the picture. This one I used both the rope and posts on the left side and the path on the far right. Between trees three and four from the left, is where the buoy is in the next pic.  It’s a ways out there, trust me.

 

Surprise sea lions! The 50x was at its max zoom, I was concentrating on being a tripod and just trying to get the buoy in the frame, so imagine my delight to find sleeping sea lions in my picture, lounging on the buoy. You never know what might show up in your pictures.

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A tripod would have helped this exposure. As the “marine mammal editor” on the paper I was always mixing up the harbor seals with the sea lions. Harbor seals are like fat sausages and sea lions have the big flippers and small ears.  Sea lion on the right, I’m holding judgment on the other two.  Next time I’m taking both tripods!

 

So keep taking pics and being surprised. It’s part of the adventure!

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After The Easter Bunny? Spring?

by Kimberly A. Cook                      (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

Recovering from my chocolate Easter egg binge, so thought I would share some sights of the holiday celebration. All the candy seems to be gone; cannot figure out how that happened.

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This year I decided to pull some of my favorite bunny figurines out of the china cabinet and mix them with some new Fairy Rock Garden items. Loved the look it gave the table.   

 

The day before Easter I met with my fabulous writing support group and my buddy Martha gave me a bouquet of her award-winning camellias. Then her husband gave me my very own bloom picked fresh from the plant. Gorgeous!

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How gorgeous is this pink and white beauty? I’m drying the petals as they fall off to see if I can preserve them for resin jewelry.   

 

When I got back home from the writer group it was time for final preparation for family on Sunday. Got the items together for setting the table, put the flowers in a grand spot and made bunny candy bags.

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The single picked bloom floating in water. Takes my breath away.

 

Hope you had a nice weekend and are making plans for when the sun returns for good and Spring really kicks in this year. In the meantime, it’s finally time to move the fuchsias out of the garage. I think.

Maybe if I put parkas on them just to be safe…… Happy almost gardening!

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Spec Ops Cat helping with the table setting. Not. The bunny and flower wall did not keep him off the table. P.S. Got the bunny napkin ring holders at Goodwill for pennies. Bunny bargain!

 

 

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Ready For Any Sun Break?

by Kimberly A. Cook              (Twitter@    WarriorTales)

It’s March. It’s still raining. In buckets. There’ve been some limited reports of seeing sun breaks, but they are few, like leprechaun sightings. Gray is the current outside color. So besides buying bright spring color clothes I can’t wear due to the cold and wet, thought we might all like to be reminded of what the sun looks like.

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Sun on Suttle Lake.

 

There is also a request from my gardenia bush. I moved it into the garage to protect it from the cold for about a month, then finally put it back outside. It’s requesting to go back in the garage; it’s accusing me of waterboarding. Not me, Mother Nature!

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How cute is this sleeping baby alpaca in the sun? Cuddles!

So to give us all a perk up, here are a few favorite past photos which actually contain sun. Try to identify it!

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Heading out on the road again to the thunderegg beds! Luckily I’d just put new tires on Subie. Gorgeous scenery.

Sun in Eastern Oregon above, outside of Madras. They are under a Winter Storm warning right now. Sigh.

And last but not least!

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Sugar Beach, Maui, Hawaii. A vacation favorite.

Sun on my favorite beach in Maui. I checked and they have sun right now. With showers. But it’s 81 degrees! Let’s go to Maui. If only in our minds.

Might be time to start looking for some green beer. St. Patrick’s Day isn’t far away! Happy almost Spring?

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Can Warm Memories Fight Snowmares?

by Kimberly A. Cook                  (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

Mother Nature is cranky. We just got a Special Weather Statement predicting another snowstorm and possible freezing rain. Weather Service says small accumulation, tv stations say two to four inches; last time they both predicted that we got a foot of snow followed by ice. Sigh.

I’m sure the ice cream and chip rush is on at the grocery stores, especially with Super Bowl this weekend. Snacks rule! Since December when this weird weather started, I’ve cleaned out my bathroom cabinets and drawers, my pantry, three stacks of old newspapers and started my taxes. At this rate my house will be spotless by May, a rare occurrence.

So to perk us all up, I’ve decided to recycle some of my favorite photos. I need to remind myself there is a warm season when my toes can run naked in sandals, I don’t have to wear four layers of clothes and there are actual rose blooms in my backyard. Note to self, must get busy on more Fairy Rock Garden building plans….

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My favorite place on the planet, my lawn swing. Nap heaven.

 

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The Double Delight. A favorite rose in my back yard.

 

 

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Chipmunk hijinks! This Batman and Robin pair in Eastern Oregon gave me a run for my money to catch their pic.

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Let’s not forget the berry bounty! Before baking it looks fabulous. After, not so much. More practice needed.

 

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And a sunny summer day at Depoe Bay, Oregon. Break out the flip flops!

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Winter Photo Wrap Up?

by Kimberly A. Cook                 (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

Optimistic headline at best, but I can dream can’t I? With another potential snowstorm heading in to the Portland area tonight, wanted to share some more pics of the season. One of the few things I’ve been able to achieve these two months is taking photos.

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Clear, crisp and sunny. East wind enough to rip your lips off. So pretty.  

 

A quick trip to Mom’s place on Jan. 7 featured clear views of both Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens. Besides the East wind blowing my skin off my face and my eyebrows turning to ice, it was lovely. Trees were in front of Mt. Hood, but got this shot of Mt. St. Helens across the farm lands.

She was such a pretty mountain before she blew her top off on May 18, 1980. She looked like a pile of sugar before, now she has a flat top. A volcanic buzz cut so to speak. But the snow still makes her shine.

The next day another snowstorm hit. I’d done my duty by refilling the birdie food, putting out the suet block and making sure the bird bath heater was keeping their water warm; a balmy 33 degrees. When it is 14 degrees out before the wind chill, bath water matters. This little feathered friend appears to be ready to throw himself in the middle of the pile of food. I do not judge.

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Since this was taken through a window, not as clear, but the bird doesn’t care. If that was kettle corn popcorn, I’d throw myself in there too.  

 

Last but not least was this pic I took on Christmas Eve. Spec Ops Cat and I were watching the Hallmark Channel’s Yule Log presentation with Happy the Cat and Happy the Dog. SOC became quite interested in Happy the Cat. Think he thought there was an invasion.

When the kittens showed up for Happy the Cat to play with, SOC had to go investigate. He even went so far as to look behind the flat screen tv to find one of the kittens. Stealth kitten was not to be found. Once SOC was sure there were no additional felines in the house, he cuddled up for a long winter’s nap.

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Spec Ops Cat always on perimeter patrol, in case Happy The Cat tries to invade from the tv.

 

No idea how long this crazy weather is going to last all over the country, but we can be sure Spring and Summer will come again; not soon enough for me!

Happy winter photo taking. Wear your mittens!

 

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Got Fun Snow Pics?

by Kimberly A. Cook                            (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

For the three people in the lower 48 states who don’t have snow at the moment, I wanted to send along some photos to get you in the holiday mood. For the rest of us who’ve about had it with the ice/sleet/freezing rain/snow debacles, maybe these will give you a smile.

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This little hedgehog guy was a gift from a friend and graces one of the impatien pots in the backyard. Thought I’d rounded all the critters up and put them in the garage, but I missed this cutie. He appeared out of the melting snow. Got to love that smile!

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Always on the job, farmer bunny is still hard at work trying to remove snow when he’s not pushing around posies during the summer. He’s got quite a good crop of snow in this picture. Bun also insists on wearing his overalls without a coat, even in this cold weather. Iron Bun!

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Ever alert, the gnome guard at the Fairy Rock Garden stayed at his post and kept up surveillance during the storms. He must have gotten wind of the mouse family who invaded the garage and isn’t taking any chances. Even though the fairies have not yet moved into these cottages, they are still under construction, he is on the job keeping their future homes safe.

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Of course the only things left behind by these invaders were their tiny footsteps. Or claw prints to be exact. They all seemed to be right around the pile of bird feed put out before the storms started. Not sure I can get an ID on these perps, but bet they have feathers.

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This little guy doesn’t have any snow on his feet, but I bet he’s the lookout for the bigger gang. He found time to bask in the short sun spot, like I’ve done when it shows up.

If you’re up to your keister in snow and sick of it, try taking some fun snow pics or at least coming up with new swear words. I tried both yesterday while I was scraping ice off the front sidewalk. The ice won!

Wishing you all happy holidays, warm homes, holiday cookies, eggnog and may all your tv and tech devices stay on!

 

 

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