Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach reminds me of Carmel by the Sea; only it’s about eight hundred miles to the north. A little more unconventional, perhaps, but that’s a good thing.

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Cannon Beach
The view of Cannon Beach from Ecola State Park

Actually, this is a view of Crescent Beach with Cannon Beach in the distance; but the whole area is known as Cannon Beach. I drove here to Ecola State Park from Portland in the morning, and getting an early start was vital. After I returned from a hike, the roads and parking lots were full of holiday travelers. The July temperature is in the upper seventies.

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There used to be a direct path to Crescent beach from here, but it got washed out in a storm. The alternate trail is about a mile and a half and is rather arduous. Even so, it was worth it, and because it was harder to reach, there were very few people. So I walked the whole beach, took plenty of photos, and skipped the crowds.

Emerson Point

To get here, you walk through a jungle trail, and it’s easy to get a bit disoriented. That is until you pop out from the brush at sunset.

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Emerson Point Clouds
Looking out to sea from Emerson Point

The image I took here is similar to one I did from the same spot a half dozen years ago.

The clouds and weather ensure each image will be different, and I never tire of it.

more from Emerson Point

Due to the full range of light and the difficulty of shooting into the sun, this is a combination of at least five photos. I combined the images with AuroraHDR and then parts of it re-layered in Photoshop. In some respects, this is a painting, in that the light was blended to create a picture. That creative process I find satisfying, even if it is the same scene on a different day.

Scott Lake

Scott Lake was a detour of a detour I took while driving through Willamette National Forest. I took so many detours its surprising I made any forward progress at all.

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Scott Lake
A remote lake in Willamette National Forest

I figured as long as I had gas and some trail mix I was probably not going to have problems. The only real dilemma was deciding when to turn back. If I didn’t need sleep, I’d have driven all night, and that would have been just fine.

more photos featuring the color green

I could see setting up camp here and exploring for a few days. As its the pacific northwest, I’d half expect to see a bigfoot. This area is so big and untamed that it would not surprise me in the least. At least this is where I would be if I were a bigfoot.

Forest Path

A few days ago, I walked through a forest in Oregon’s Ecola State Park. It was a nice break from the regular everyday routine.

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Forest Path
The trail to Crescent Beach

It was my first time visiting Oregon, so I toured both the mountains and coast to get a sense of things. There was no real plan other than drive, observe, and take photos. I’d see something intriguing, and follow it until I had to turn around.

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In this case, I was near Cannon Beach, which is a famous resort town. This particular trail leads to the isolated Crescent Beach, which bears no resemblance to the beaches in Florida. It was a good change of pace.

Sisters, OR

Imagine living in a town called Sisters; how cool would that be? The name comes from its proximity to the Three Sisters volcanic peaks in Oregon.

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Sisters, OR
The town of Sisters in Oregon’s Cascade Range

The good news is that Middle and North Sisters are dormant. The maybe-lousy news is the South Sister is showing signs. I took a detour to see the fifteen-hundred-year-old lava flow and, as lava flows go, it’s a big one. Here is a shot I took of the lava flow, but it doesn’t do justice. It’s about five miles wide.

The lava flow of South Sister in Oregon

Here is the Wikipedia page.

Anyway, I was just glad to be here and out of the Florida summer heat for a few days. Oregon in summer is a mild climate, not too hot, not too cold. Goldilocks would approve. After visiting the lava flow, I ended up in this mountain town. If South Sister ever decides to come back to life, this place will have front-row seats.

Brain Games

Here is one of the trails at Emerson Point that I recently explored. If it weren’t for that they are well-marked, I’d still be in there somewhere.

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Brain Games
A boardwalk at Emerson Point Preserve

When you look at this photo, something might seem a little off. The path appears level yet distorted. Can you guess what it is? Spoiler, …the boardwalk ascends a hill, it’s not level. Once you know this, the sense of distortion disappears.

more photos from Emerson Point

Our brain is the most complicated thing known to science. But neuroscientist can do all sorts of little test like this to point out the contours of aspects we are only beginning to understand. Check out this short demonstration of the blind spot which we have that the brain fills in. Most of us never even know we have one. I certainly didn’t until a few days ago.

River Reflections

The reflections along the Hillsborough River are entirely peaceful. That is until you realize alligators lurk just below the surface.

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River Reflections
Along the Hillsborough River in Florida

But if I was an alligator, this seems like the perfect place to live. I’m living in a state park, I don’t get harassed, there are plenty of turtles to munch, and I don’t have to get stuck in someone’s pool and have my jaws taped shut.

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In reality, alligators have it hard. Only a small percentage make it to maturity. The most energetic, most intelligent among them live out their full lives. And the luckiest of those are living here in these beautiful parks.

Hollow Cypress

multiverse

Check out this amazing video by Hiroshi Kondo

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The hollowed out Cypress tree is along a path I was exploring recently. I’m pretty sure this is a nightly meeting place for gnomes.

Hollow Cypress
A gnome home in Hillsborough River State Park

The fun thing about a path through the woods is you see different things in each direction. I walked about a mile-and-a-half in one direction but missed this completely, then found it on the way back.

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The little stubs grow up from the roots and are known as Cypress Knees. It’s thought their purpose is to provide stability to the swamp floor or, extra oxygen to the Cypress during times of flood. These are the best guesses of the scientists, but no one knows for sure. However, if you look closely, you can see they are actually sleeping gnomes. And I didn’t need science to figure that one out.

Lower Path

There are two paths along the river; one higher up and one lower down at the bank. The alligators prefer the lower one.

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Lower Path
Along the lower path in Hillsborough River State Park

The problem with the higher path is there is too much growth to get a clear shot of the river. So every fifty yards or so I’d make my way down here to set up for a photo. It’s amazing how the sense of hearing becomes heightened at such times.

A sign between the upper and lower paths

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I’ve been in Florida for a while, so I’ve become familiar with some of the animal sounds. I also carefully scan the water and banks all around to ensure I’m not disturbing them. Alligators don’t want anything to do with us, and if you’re mindful and steer clear, there will never be a problem. With this knowledge and care, I spent much of my time on the lower path.

Path Metaphor

A winding path is a metaphor, but in photography, it’s a leading line — kind of like a leading lady, only more mysterious.

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Path Metaphor
A path through the woods in Hillsborough River State Park

We are influenced by symbols all around us. For me, a leading line like this describes something to come or, returning home. Anyway, whenever I find something with direction, I look for ways to incorporate it into the scene so that it hopefully resonates at an emotional level.

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I took this photo inside Hillsborough River State Park, which is just north of Tampa. It is somewhat typical of the parks we have in Florida, lush, full of vegetation, and with lots of trails that lead to mysterious places. Metaphorically speaking that is.