Photo archive (partial)

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Sprague Memorial Fountain Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sited at the north end of the Capitol Mall in Salem, Ore., Charles Sprague Memorial Fountain honors the man who governed Oregon from 1939-43. The unusual fountain was designed by Weltzin Blix and completed in 1980.

Portrait shoot Monday, April 27, 2009

Saturday afternoon, I set up my lights in the basement of my apartment and found a convenient muse to pose for some portraits. The space is a little small and the wall behind the camera is a big mirror (they're slowly turning the space into a workout room) but it does have a nice neutral wall to shoot against. I'm pretty happy with the results. After I shot Perrie for a while, she turned the camera on me.

Music and band photography Thursday, April 23, 2009

For the first time in a while, I added some new content to my page.

I went through the concert photography and band/musician portraits I've made over the past year or so and compiled a new portfolio. For now, it includes images of Hayden, Great Big Sea, The Coast (right), and others. Click here to go directly to the new page.

Picture here Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Memorial Coliseum Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A few weeks ago, Portland was awarded a MLS (soccer) expansion franchise, to start play in 2011. The plan is to renovate PGE Park to add more seats to accomodate the larger crowds the team is expected to draw. That means that stadiums other major tenant, the Portland Beavers (AAA affiliate of the San Diego Padres), need a new home, in a hurry.

Recently, Mayor Sam Adams announced that Memorial Coliseum would be demolished to make space for a new baseball stadium in the Rose Quarter. Not surprisingly, this plan drew protest from a number of quarters,
including veterans and architects. Yesterday, the Mayor gave the former home of the Trail Blazers basketball team a week's reprieve to consider other options. There are pluses and minuses to all of the various proposals, and it's a shame that we really don't have time to give them due consideration.

As for Memorial Coliseum, while I was ambivalent at first, I've come to really admire the building. Designed in the late 1950s by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and dedicated Jan. 8, 1961, it really is a gem of its era: a seating bowl within a glass box. It is too small for the Trail Blazers today (the Rose Garden, right next door, seats 70% more patrons), and it seems silly for a city to have two arenas right next to each other. At the same time, it would be a shame to lose Memorial Coliseum (the Rose Garden is not going away anytime soon).

You can read more about the architectural merits of the coliseum, alternative suggestions for a baseball stadium and proposed uses for it on Brian Libby's Portland Architecture blog.

[update: if you want to keep an eye on the Glass Palace, I am making the top image available as digital wallpaper. For the next while, anyway, click the monitor size below to download it (WinZip file):


Tualatin Hills Nature Park, redux Monday, April 20, 2009

The weather was so nice on Saturday, Perrie and I decided to go back to Tualatin Hills Nature Park to see what it looks like in the spring (we first went in January). No newts this time, but we did see plenty of trilliums (or is that trillia?) (left) and four small snakes.

I'm no herpetologist, but I'd call all of them garter snakes. They had two different patterns, but apparently that's not a great way to distinguish the various subspecies. According to one taxonomy study I found, you have to consider the number of lower labials, length of the chin shields, and the shape of the internasal scales (and whether or not those are pointed anteriorly). If you know the number of neck dorsal scales and mid-body dorsal scales, that helps too.

I asked this 16-incher how many lower labials he had, but he wasn't talking. I suspect he (or she) is a Northwestern garter snake, thamnophis ordinoides.

Looking over the falls Thursday, April 16, 2009

On Monday, Stuart and I went for a drive into the Columbia River Gorge. Again, the weather was not particularly cooperative. It was dry some of the time and we could even see a couple of small sunny patches for a few minutes, but mostly it drizzled, rained, and hailed.

We drove along the historic highway from Troutdale out to Multnomah Falls, stopping at a couple of the other cascades along the way. Those are pretty impressive in their own right, but they pale in comparison with Multnomah's 620-foot drop (seen at left from the top).

[above] Water begins its descent over the main, 542-foot cascade at Multnomah Falls. With the drops before and after, the fall totals 620 feet. [right] Camera in hand, Stuart gazes in wonder at the majesty of Multnomah Falls.

The path to the top of the falls is only about a mile long, but the average grade is more than 10%. Most visitors stop at the Benson Bridge at the bottom of the main cascade.

I also brought my parents to the falls when they visited last September. You can see photos from that trip here.

[right] Bridal Veil Falls, east of Portland, is one of the most popular waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.

Coldwater Lake Tuesday, April 14, 2009

My brother Stuart came out here to visit over the Easter weekend (he works for the federal government in Canada, so it was a four-day weekend for him), so we did a bunch of touring around. The weather wasn't particularly cooperative—sometimes dry, but almost continuously overcast—but I tried to show him some of the best sights anyway.

[left] Some
40 feet (713 m) long and 370 feet (113 m) above its namesake stream, the Hoffstadt Creek Bridge is the highest and longest of the 14 bridges on Washington State Route 504, better known as the Spirit Lake Memorial Highway. The bridge was built in 1991.

The "big ticket" point on the itinerary was Saturday's trip to the Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. It is still a bit early in the season, but at least it was pretty quiet. The last seven miles of the highway and the two visitor centers closest to the mountain were closed. But we were able to park at Coldwater Lake and hike around there. Still, even though we were just 7 miles from the rim of the crater, we barely got a glimpse of the mountain through the low cloud cover.

[right] Perrie poses at a viewpoint near the southwest end of Coldwater Lake. [below] Coldwater Lake was formed by the 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens when a landslide dammed Coldwater Creek. The hillsides around the lake are covered in the stumps of trees killed when the mountain exploded. Much of the timber in the blast zone was recovered by logging crews shortly after the event.

[right] Standing on a tree stump, Stuart photographs the scene inside the blast zone.

As we started our walk, we found a sign warning that there had been reports of a mountain lion in the area. It didn't take long for us to find evidence of our own (below). It was readily apparent why a mountain lion would be present, as plenty of elk clearly were as well. (below right). Soon enough, we had direct evidence of both creatures coming in contact with each other right beside the trail.

[left] Perrie and Stuart capture a nearly-complete elk skeleton found beside the Coldwater Lake trail. Almost all of the major bones were there, and the carcass was fresh enough that some cartilage and colour remained on the bones. [below] Perrie studies the animal's anatomy. [below left] The skull was missing, but the jaws remained.

[left] I believe this is a mark left by an elk rubbing his antlers against the tree. If you click on the picture for a closer look, you can see hairs trapped in the bark and sap.

(On the way back to I-5, we saw a herd of more than a dozen elk grazing on a hillside high above the highway. Too far away for a decent photo without my telephoto lens.)

Mother Mother interview online Wednesday, April 08, 2009

My interview with Ryan Guldemond of the Vancouver rock band Mother Mother is now up on Northwest CanCon. There's a link to a slide show of my photos from their concert at Berbati's Pan as well.

This portrait (from left, Jasmin Parkin, Ali Siadat, Molly Guldemond, Ryan Guldemond, and Jeremy Page) was shot in the club during Sam Roberts' performance. (There's a slightly better version attached to the interview.) I just wish I'd had a couple of stands handy to get my lights up just a bit higher. Still, not bad for a three-minute session.

Cherry blossoms Monday, April 06, 2009

Sunday, the temperature in Portland hit 70°F (21°C) for the first time this year—on a weekend, no less—and everybody was out to enjoy the weather. Walking, jogging, cycling, scootering, sitting, rollerblading, playing soccer, basketball, football ... just about any outdoor activity you can imagine.

After a picnic and some Frisbee at Blue Lake Park, Perrie and I wandered around the bustling Portland Saturday Market (which is open Sundays too) and then walked along the Willamette in Tom McCall Waterfront Park with seemingly half of Portland.

At the north end of the park, the rows of akebono cherry trees in full bloom were gorgeous.

From the archives ... Saturday, April 04, 2009

Franklin's Shoni Schimmel drives the basket Mar. 4 in the Quakers' 76-42 loss to Oregon City in the 6A girls quarterfinal match at the University of Portland. Schimmel, who sat out most of the season with a foot injury, led the Quakers with 21 points but also gave up 13 turnovers in the loss. It was the team's first appearance at the state tournament since 1988.

We're backtracking a bit in this post to publish some photos that didn't make it onto the blog last month during the girls basketball tournament.

One of the more anticipated games of the tournament was the quarterfinal match between Shoni Schimmel Franklin and Oregon City. For those of you not familiar with the story, let me recap:

Shoni Schimmel is probably the top-rated girls basketball player in Oregon today. In her first two years of high school, she carried Hermiston to the 5A tournament, finishing fourth and second in 2007 and 2008, respectively. Over the summer her family moved to Portland, and she and her sister Jude now play at Franklin High School, where their mother is now the coach.

However, Shoni injured her ankle early in the season and sat out most of the team's games. Fortunately for her and the team, Franklin plays in the PIL league, traditionally one of the weakest in the state. With a bunch of other players graduating or transferring out of that league this year, Franklin was virtually assured a berth in the state tournament.

Franklin's Jude Schimmel brings the ball upcourt in the Quakers' quarterfinal match at the University of Portland. The 2009 tournament was the sophomore's first real opportunity to show off her skills to a statewide audience. She shot just 1-14 in the game and gave up 10 turnovers as the Quakers were overmatched by Oregon City.

Oregon City, meanwhile, is a traditional powerhouse in girls basketball, holding more state titles than any other school. So when the two teams met in the first round of the state tournament, it was a chance to see whether Schimmel had recovered well enough to play 100% and whether her supporting cast was able to hold back the Pioneers.

As it turns out, this was not the case. Schimmel led the Quakers with 21 points (mostly from 3-point range) but cause 13 turnovers. Her younger sister Jude shot 1-14 in the game (including 0-10 from beyond the arc) and gave up 10 turnovers. Oregon City won 76-42, and three days later won their 11th state title in the last 18 years.

Hopefully Shoni Schimmel will be injury-free next year and show the state what she can really do on the court. And with more experience behind her, Jude should make that easier by giving the opposition something else to worry about.

Taylor Belmont of Oregon City (no. 31) puts in a layup in the third quarter of the Pioneers 76-42 win over Franklin at the Chiles Center.