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Monday, October 29, 2007


An Associated Press article by Brian Skoloff indicates that thirty-six states will “face water shortages” in just five years from now. The reasons for these shortages are listed as a combination of, “…rising temperatures, drought, population growth, urban sprawl, waste and excess.”

Autumn leaf at light-rail construction site

Bruce Lieberman of the Union-Tribune writes that we are in the process of changing the chemistry of the oceans (they become more acidic as they absorb carbon dioxide) threatening the viability of plankton, the bottom of the food chain.

Remember when dying oceans used to be a science fiction premise? Back in 1973, the movie Soylent Green depicted an overpopulated world that depletes its ocean resources by 2022 and is forced to resort to an interesting food-source alternative.

Brian McLaren, in his new book Everything Must Change suggests a metaphor for what we humans are doing to the world. He writes, “When the social, political, and economic machinery of a society gets out of control, or through some flaw of design or operation begins to destroy its creators and intended beneficiaries, then it has become a suicide machine.”

Mr. McLaren ( is careful to point out the limitations of metaphors, but suggests that the ‘suicide machine’ metaphor might help us visualize, “…the way several facets of contemporary life connect, gear in gear, to destroy good and living things, devalue what is precious, overvalue what is worthless, foul up the results of millions of years of evolution, and so desecrate and frustrate what I believe is a sacred and ongoing work of the Creator, in us, among us, and through us.”

Used car lot on 82nd Ave.

Another used car lot on 82nd Ave.

Streets paved with gold

…social, political and economic machinery…

Beautiful sunrise off the right shoulder of Mt. Hood

What struck me about this image is the artificial ceiling of wires and how they manage to go un-noticed most of the time.

Fortress-like buildings line the busy thoroughfare

Construction in process for Portland’s North/South light-rail line along the I-205 corridor

Characteristic response to a river

“For the wind passes over it and it is gone, and its place shall know it no more.”

Anticipated housing project on Mt. Hood (approximately 2022)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Kelly Point Park, Smith & Bybee Lakes and Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge

Mt. St. Helens from Kelly Point Park

Gentle wavelets disagreeing – at the bank of the Willamette River

A Ship taking on grain as night falls.

Rhymed couplets

Portland pulls on its winter blanket

The sky reminded me of these ripples. I guess that’s why they call it a jet ‘stream’.

Smith and Bybee Lakes is just down the road to the east of Kelly Point Park – about 5 minutes. By means of a water control device, Metro takes pains to mimic nature’s definition of seasonal wetlands. The acreage here has not yet filled up with winter rain and deer take advantage of the lush grasses and plants that spring forth from the rich sediments exposed to the sky.

The trees here seem to lag behind their higher altitude brethren when it comes to changing color.

Funeral bier at Oaks bottom Wildlife Refuge

Why do these things have hair?

I receive an invitation as I approach the Oaks Amusement Park.

Sunday, October 14, 2007


It’s a paradox. Bars and fences and various gates are clearly intended to keep people out. So why is it that they tend to look like invitations? They scream, “Hey! There’s extremely interesting valuable stuff in here!”

I glanced over to the Monkey-cam and shrugged, “Might as well check it and see if it’s really locked.” But it turned out it was really locked.

Just around the corner was an abandoned work shed with one of the most intimidating danger signs I’ve ever read.

“This,” I said, turning toward the Monkey-cam, “looks like a job for the Monkey-cam.”

The Monkey-cam studied my face. I could almost hear the little wheels spinning in his head. He looked at the mine shaft again, looked at the danger-sign graphics, and reluctantly reached into his pack for his crash helmet while doing a nervous little potty dance.

Trembling, the Monkey-cam cinched his chin strap. I couldn’t keep a straight face any longer. “I’m joking, you little dork.” I finally confessed.

We went back to peer through the gate into the depths of the mine shaft, but it was dark and we couldn’t see anything.

I reached into my pack for the safety matches and pretended like I was going to strike one on the side of the box to light it. The Monkey-cam took one look at the matches, dropped his back-pack and was one-hundred yards away within six seconds. That’s when I realized he could read.

(click on image to view larger version)

We spent some time exploring the falls below the rickety old work shed.

We found gold

And emerald

And molten water

The trees donated their gold to the local eco-system.

Sometimes, when an old friend dies, it is hard to let go.

(Note: Usually, my camera is way smarter than I am and it does an O.K. job of exposing pictures, but after reviewing the picture on the left, I was disappointed to see that in order to properly expose the tree, the background got washed out. I thought maybe if I used the flash as fill, I might be able to capture the light in the background filtering through the forest canopy from the rising sun, but I’m not sure I like how flesh-like the tree turned out.)

Along the road, there is deserted mining machinery - wheels, gears, chains, boilers, and sections of rail – cast off and forgotten like autumn leaves.

By the time I got to Sawmill falls (at least I think it was Sawmill falls), the sun was finally rising above the hills and poking fingers of light into the valley.

I liked how the sunbeams highlighted sections of the falls.

The lazy October sun haphazardly set about drying the ancient forest here and there.

Under the sun’s gaze, dew-laden webs dried and returned to functional invisibility.

The understory illustrated.

The under - understory

The falls above Opal Pool

There’s that rock again.

A scene from Opal Pool

I set up the tripod and took a long exposure looking down into the water of Opal Pool. The orange-brown streak at the water’s surface in front of the red rock is the path of a leaf headed downstream (admittedly, it's hard to see).

Looking downstream from Opal Pool

The business part of this bridge is a single tree with the ‘top’ side flattened a little. The fuzzy effect isn’t due to a Photoshop filter. Evidently, if I hold my camera while I’m hiking in cool weather, I create a temperature differential that causes some condensation problems with the UV filter on the front of the lens.

On the path to Cedar Flats, I encountered an area rich with understory and I spent some time trying to catch an image that would depict the delicate calligraphy-like structure of the sheltered yellow canopy of deciduous leaves. It was hard because there isn’t anything obvious to focus on. Even worse, in the dim light of the ancient forest, the depth of field is so narrow that almost nothing is in focus anyway.

Frustrated I turned away only to find this giant cedar watching. To my lasting shame, I didn’t manage to get this picture in focus either.

Ultimately, underneath the pines and cedars, underneath the deciduous understory, underneath the bushes and ferns, lies the forest floor, covered in a rich shag layer of moss.

Cedar Flats

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