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A Month of Birthday

September 8, 2014

Steider Studios:  Sunrise 9.7.14_

As I stepped out the door I heard an owl call from the fir tree directly in front of me.  A second hoot responded from the neighboring fir tree.  Then a third owl joined in their conversation from the next tree over!  If I had not been in a race to meet the sun rising on the Columbia River, I would’ve grabbed a flashlight to seek them out.  My date with the sun would not wait so I left the owls conversing and sped down the hill to meet my sunrise at Mayer State Park.

Steider Studios:  Starling

My BirthDay is in September and I generally spend the entire month celebrating.  One of my birthday gifts was a NEW CAMERA!  So, after three hundred sunrise photos I headed to Lyle Point, a favorite birding spot to see how my new camera would capture birds.  I watched this pretty Starling sitting on a snag observing his world for a while.

Steider Studios:  Rusty Blackbird 9.7.14

There were tons of black birds at Lyle Point – I am including the speckled Starling because from a distance they look black.  I watched a group of them flying through a pine tree, having a little pine cone breakfast.  Trying to learn my new Nikon D-7100 while keeping up with the action was daunting at times.  I was thrilled to have this bird pose for a minute.

Steider Studios:  Ringed Turtle Dove Pair 9.7.14_

To our delight, we found a flock of Ringed Turtle Doves flying from tree to tree shortly after our arrival at Lyle Point.  It was such a beautiful morning, windless, warm and the river was crystal clear and calm.  By now, it is daylight and I can see all the buttons on my camera.  Trying to learn and remember each button and it’s function!

Steider Studios:  Red-winged black bird 9.7.14_

A Red-winged Blackbird landed on the top of a tiny tree and posed for just a minute.  I think he was saying ‘Happy Birthday’ to ME!!

Steider Studios:  Lewis' Woodpecker 9.7.14

To my surprise, one of my favorite birds appeared for just a moment, a Lewis’ Woodpecker!  I managed to get 3 shots of him before he skipped town.  I followed in his path, but to no avail – he was gone or very well hidden.

Steider Studios:  Brewer's Blackbird 9.7.14

I love how iridescent the wings of a Brewer’s Blackbird are.  This is another black bird that I was unfamiliar with.  We saw a lot of these, but they kept their distance and didn’t pose long.  Yes, I needed them to pose because my 150-600 Tamron lens is heavy; and I am trying to learn my new camera!

Steider Studios:  Brewer's Blackbird 9.7.14

I think this is a Brewer’s Blackbird coming in for a landing, but I think I’m starting to get all the black birds confused.

Steider Studios:  Brewer's blackbird, female 9.7.14

“This is a female Brewer’s Blackbird” she said as she put down her birding field guide to re-check her camera manual and re-read how to change the white balance and f-stop.  Again.

Steider Studios:  Crow Pair, 9.7.14

Although there were a few more black birds at Lyle Point yesterday, this is the last of the black birds I’ll show you.  For now.  A pair of crows.  I believe.  Thankfully they were not in flight.  Just posing on a snag for me.  Where was that re-play button on my new camera?

Steider Studios:  Cycle Oregon at Lyle 9.7.14

While we were in Lyle, we snapped some shots of the Cycle Oregon folks taking a break.  And I re-read page 6 “The Mode Dial”.

Steider Studios:  Cove on Columbia River 9.7.14

By late morning we found a cove on the Oregon side of the Columbia River.  It was a stunning spot – calm, peaceful, restful.  We took our time exploring.

Steider Studios:  Song Sparrow.9.7.14

We found a few woodpeckers but they were in dense forest.  Instead I focused on this sweet Song Sparrow taking a bath in the Columbia River.

Steider Studios:  Dragonfly.blue on rock.9.7.14_

A blue Dragonfly resting on a rock – I had my lens locked and by the time I unlocked it the dragonfly was gone so I only snapped this one shot of him.  A late summer picnic lunch, then we were off to our final destination for the day.

Steider Studios:  Cormorant in Flight 9.7.14

As we arrived at the Bingen Marina, a Cormorant flew by and I managed to grab this shot.  He was flying low and slow just for me.  And my new camera.  He landed on a piling and we meandered over to watch him and his friends bask in the sun.  I know it’s a matter of  ‘practice, practice, practice’ and my new camera will become as comfortable as my (barely) old camera, but I want to learn everything now.  Right now.  Today!

Steider Studios:  American Coot 9.7.14

There were a ton of Mallards at Bingen Marina, but this Coot was a nice contrast and an interesting duck for me to practice with my new camera.  I’ll be out and about almost every day this month, so if you see me, stop & say hi.  I love my BirthDay month!  And my new camera!!  I have new photos from Ridgefield and Conboy Wildlife Refuges to show you too!  As soon as I process and ‘tag’ them in my still ‘new’ish’ LightRoom Program.  Yet another learning curve I’ve been playing with!

Thanks to all who voted for my image in last week’s Daily Depiction of Nature photo contest, I WON!!  Thanks for following my adventures!  And letting me know that you are noticing and enjoying nature and wildlife because of something I posted!!  I love nature and wildlife!  xoxoxo

Steider Studios:  Osprey Entering Nest

The Columbia River Gorge is filled with magnificent birds, but for today my focus is the Osprey.  I’m regularly watching ten nests dotting the Columbia River between Bingen and Lyle with an occasional foray over to Oregon’s side of the river to watch a few more.

Steider Studios:  Osprey Flying Overhead.6.9.14

Like most other things – the more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know.

For example, I had no idea they were hawks!  I wondered how much longer I would have to wait to see baby Osprey.  Did they mate for life?  These and other pressing questions led me to The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s All About Birds.

Steider Studios:  Osprey Nest over Columbia River

Osprey build their nests in open areas on tall snags, treetops or artificial platforms.  Most of the nests I’m watching are over water on channel markers and pilings or near the water on utility poles.

Steider Studios:  Osprey Still Building Nest

Ospreys build their nest with sticks – I’ve watched them carry sticks that look like branches.  The nests are lined with bark, grass and assorted findings to make a comfy abode for the family.

Steider Studios:  Osprey Bringing Fish to Family

Osprey eat fish.  99% of their diet is live fish.  They carry their ‘catch’ head first for less wind resistance.

Steider Studios:  After Splash

I’ve watched them pluck fish out of the river but didn’t know they can dive up to three feet to catch it!

Steider Studios:  Osprey FishingThis guy came up empty ‘handed’, but they average at least one catch for every 4 tries.

Steider Studios:  Osprey At it Again

They live 15 to 20 years and mate for life or until one dies.  Osprey lay 1 – 4 eggs that hatch on separate days, the first chick emerging up to five days before the last one.  The incubation period is 36 to 42 days and nesting period is 50 – 55 days.

Steider Studios:  Osprey Still Building Nest

Nesting Ospreys defend only the immediate area around their nest rather than a larger territory; they vigorously chase other Ospreys that encroach on their nesting areas.  I’ve also seen them chase Bald eagles away from their nest area!

Steider Studios:  Osprey Leaving for Nest Building

“After the 1972 U.S. DDT ban, populations rebounded, and the Osprey became a conservation success symbol. But Ospreys are still listed as endangered or threatened in some states—especially inland, where pesticides decimated or extirpated many populations. As natural nest sites have succumbed to tree removal and shoreline development, specially constructed nest platforms and other structures such as channel markers and utility poles have become vital to the Osprey’s recovery.”  To learn more about Osprey and other birds go to The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s All About Birds.

Prior to 1972, the average American consumer was told that DDT was safe to use.  There are many chemicals on the market today that we’re told are safe to use.  Over the last twenty years I’ve quit using any of them and my garden has filled with an abundance of birds, butterflies, bees and more.  If you want more colorful flying beauties in your life it’s simple to eliminate weed and bug sprays from your habitat.

Celebrating Summer

June 26, 2013

Steider Studios:  Wahkeena Falls

Wahkeena Falls

I celebrated the first weekend of summer, my favorite time of year with my East Coast ‘sister-cousin’.  We traversed the Columbia River Gorge waterfalls on our way home from PDX along the Old Highway.

Steider Studios:  Classic Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls

Most people stop at the huge parking lot in the center of Interstate 84 and only see the classic, Multnomah Falls.

Steider Studios:  Thimbleberry

Thimbleberry

We took our time, looking for wildflowers, rocks, moss and more.

Steider Studios:  Horsetail Falls

Horsetail Falls

As we hiked, we caught up on family news, made our plans for the weekend and simply enjoyed each other.

Steider Studios:  Columbia River

Columbia River

The sun was out on a windless day, making the Columbia River as still as a lake.

Steider Studios:  Oregon Swallowtail at Rowena Crest

Oregon Swallowtail at Rowena Crest

The following morning we bought from artists and farmers at Saturday Market, then a quick venture downtown Hood River for purchases including books, cards and souvenirs just as shops opened.  By 10:30 am we were at the top of Rowena Crest trying to capture butterflies and birds with our cameras.

Steider Studios:  View from Rowena Crest

Columbia River from Rowena Crest

I wanted to show my sister-cousin both sides of the river that I call home and she wanted to see as much wildlife, birds and wildflowers as we could find.

Steider Studios:  Seagull over Columbia River

Seagull over Columbia River

We were on a mission to find Osprey nests along the Columbia.  While searching, we practiced on other birds.

Steider Studios:  Osprey at Wind River

Osprey at Wind River

We found a nest at Doug’s Beach and listened to the osprey pair calling to each other.  A game officer sent us down the river in search of several nests but this one near Wind River was our lucky find of the day.

Steider Studios:  Two Ospreys in a Nest

Two Ospreys in a Nest

…or I should say it was the best find of our day.

Dog Creek Falls

Dog Creek Falls

On our way home we stopped at Dog Mountain Creek to photograph the falls.

Steider Studios:  Lorquin's Admiral butterfly at Dog Mountain Creek

Lorquin’s Admiral butterfly at Dog Mountain Creek

….and found this Lorquin’s Admiral butterfly flitting among the rocks and creek!

Steider Studios:  Wildflower at Cooks Waterfall

Great Hedge Nettle

…and some pretty wildflowers.

Steider Studios:  New Husum Falls

Husum Falls

Our last stop was Husum Falls to see how it looks after the Condit Dam removal on the White Salmon River.

Steider Studios:  Garden Chairs 6.22.13

West Bank Garden at Steider Studios

We arrived home in time to catch a few garden shots before our fabulous dinner at Romul’s in Hood River.

Steider Studios:  Mallow 6.22.13

Pink Mallow

Our final morning, spent in the garden enjoying bird songs and color.  I love my garden this time of year, filled with flowers, birds and butterflies.

Steider Studios:  Hidden Hummingbird

Hidden Hummingbird

My sister-cousin wanted photos of hummingbirds and I think she caught a few.  I’ve planted many flowering shrubs and flowers that hummingbirds like.

Rufous Hummingbird

Rufous Hummingbird

I already miss you sister-cousin, can’t wait until next time…..

Steider:  Eagles at Balfour Park

Happy New Year!  I look forward to sharing new adventures with you, starting with today’s!  My glassy girlfriends and I planned a hike up the Klickitat River in search of Bald Eagles.  This time of year they’re abundant along the Columbia River and it’s tributaries.

Steider:  At Dark Thirty You Can See Bald Eagles

At dark thirty an eagle’s white head absolutely glows.  We had the entire Klickitat River to ourselves – just me and my dog.  My friends bailed on me last night, but I can’t blame them – one was sick & the other was expecting a studio visitor today.  It was 22 degrees when I left at 7 a.m., 32 degrees when I arrived at the parking lot, but a balmy 40 down by the river!

Steider:  Klickitat River at the Confluence of the Columbia River

I hiked down to a sandy beach along the Klickitat River near the Confluence of the Columbia River to get as close as I could to the birds.  I am always inspired and invigorated when this close to nature and wildlife.  Even if it IS freezing outside!

Steider:  Geese on the Klickitat River

There were plenty of geese on the Klickitat River while I (im)patiently waited for bald eagles to become active.  They were understandably nervous about my dog being so close to them.

Steider:  Youthful Bald Eagle in Flight

A youthful bald eagle was the first to let me practice my ‘in flight’ photography.

Steider:  Youthful Bald Eagle Landing in a Tree Along the Klickitat River

He landed with grace and I managed to get 150 blurry photos of his skill.

Steider:  Another Young Eagle Lands in Tree

A second youth showed up right on his heels as I continued to snap away, getting as many practice shots of eagles in flight as I could.

Steider:  Ducks Landing on the Klickitat River

I think these ducks decided to take cover from the flurry of young eagles flying about.

Steider:  More Young Eagles in Flight

A third young eagle flew over shortly after the first two.

Steider:  Adult Bald Eagle Landing Above the Klickitat

This adult bald eagle flew in from the upper part of the Klickitat River and joined the five that I’d been watching.

Steider:  Geese Swimming to Shore

In the meantime, my new friends decided my dog wasn’t coming to the river’s edge after all.

Steider:  Bald Eagle on Tree Branch

I counted six adults and three young bald eagles this morning plus sighted one along the highway on my way home.

Steider:  Heron Flying Away

Oh!  Two herons burst out of one small creek and headed north along the river – they were thrilling to watch and I’m happy I caught one with my camera!

Steider:  Young Eagle in Flight

The young eagles put on a great show for me.  They seemed more active at 9 than they were at 8.  Think I’ll plan my next trip accordingly.

Steider:  Young Eagle Flying Overhead

It was hard to get a clear picture as they flew overhead against the gray sky.  Most of my overhead shots are just silhouettes.

Steider:  Ducks Coming in for a Landing

I don’t know why I like this shot of the ducks landing, but it’s so full of color against the gray water that I decided to include it for you.

Steider:  Bald Eagle Sitting in Tree

This was about the closest I could get to the eagles in the trees along the river.  I need a longer lens!  I hadn’t wanted to carry it, but next time I’ll pack along my tripod.  After about an hour and a half I was frozen in spite of three layers of clothing.  We’re expecting freezing rain this afternoon, so I’ll stay snug in my studio for the next few days gearing up for shows and photographing the hundreds of earrings I made the last few months.

The Glass Craft & Bead Expo is just around the corner.  I hope you can take a class with me this year!  I’ll post more info soon!

You can see many of my photographs published as all occasion greeting cards in my Zibbet shop. Just click this link.

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A wildfire broke out near my studio on 9.5.12.  We’ve been anxiously watching its progress.

Today we are thrilled to learn its 40% contained.   Dry grass, steep terrain and heat made it difficult for fire fighters.

Fire crews from all over the NW came to help and we are so grateful.

My studio was never in danger as the fire is about 4 miles away but directly on the route we drive into town.

At this time, most evacuees have returned home and no structures are damaged.

Smoke drifted to Goldendale WA, Portland OR, and all points between.

Thanks for enjoying tonight’s sunset with me.  Smokey skies do make a gorgeous sunset, but we’ll be happy to have our clear skies back.

Chasing Eagles

January 12, 2012

When people ask “what inspires you?” I want to show them photos I’ve taken near my home in the Columbia River Gorge.    The Pacific Northwest is full of spectacular landscapes and abundant wildlife, but this area defines rugged awe-inspiring beauty.

Today I was awake, dressed and in town before sunrise, sitting in a parking lot along the Columbia River waiting for friends.   I was graced with pink skies as the sun woke up, framing Mt. Hood with a splendor that took my breath away.

What were we doing so early,  you ask?  Heading to the Klickitat River where eagles can be counted in the dozens on some days, we were hoping for a lively show this morning.

Last week I counted 16 in the same spot and watched in amazement as they soared overhead, singing to one another.  This morning there were only six, but we were thrilled to spot them in surrounding trees.

Did I mention it was 20 degrees?  We were cold, so stayed less than an hour before our fingers were too numb to push our shutter buttons.

Back in our semi-warm car, we drove to the head of the Klickitat River where it flows into the Columbia.

We counted five young eagles, but no white headed birds.  Four were sitting on a slag and the fifth was soaring over the sandbar.

Our next stop was Doug’s Beach, where I’ve seen eagles perched on tree tops next to the Columbia River.

We saw three bald eagles flying against the canyons, but my camera would not reach that far, so I shot photos of us instead.

We crossed the Columbia and traveled west to Meyer Park, another great eagle watching spot, but there were none to be seen on the Oregon side of the river this morning.

If you look close, you can see ice surrounding the inlet.

Our last stop of the day was the Hood River Marina where a flock of geese congregated on the expanse of lawn between the museum and DMV.  No eagles, but big birds nonetheless.

My friends tell me I need to upgrade my point & shoot to a DSLR.  They’re right, but if I don’t get back to the studio I won’t have anything to trade for the $$$ I need for that upgrade!

Take flight.  Get inspired.  Be creative.  Chase eagles.

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Fortuitous Day – 11-11-11

November 11, 2011

11.11.11.  Full Moon.  Veteran’s Day.  Fabulous Sunrise.  Any one of these could be the reason my heart is bursting with gratitude, creativity and joy.  It’s a powerful feeling.

This photo of the full moon setting on this special day was taken about 5am.  For some reason I clamored out of bed early and managed to see it through half-open eyes.  Three minutes later I was fully awake and using my point & shoot to capture it.

I want to share it with you.  As well as the ensuing sunrise.  Clouds rolling in from Portland over the Columbia River greeted me as light slowly took over darkness.

One last shot to share, the moonrise last night.  My neighbor’s deck light was on and the light from the moon over this lit stand of conifers was mesmerizing.  To make it more magical, the coyotes were howling from all directions.

I’ve worked for almost a month now on some new bracelets.  Many dozens of new bracelets.  Colorful, lively, FUN, new bracelets.  I’ve documented my progress, and will update you soon on these cool new bracelets.  Until then, have a phenomenal and fortuitous day, my friends.

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