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Happy Earth Day

April 22, 2014

 

Steider Studios:  Northern Checkerspot Butterfly

Earth Day.  Spring.  A day to honor the earth.

Steider Studios: Spring Daffodil Garden

Plant something to make your environment happier, healthier, and more alive.

Steider Studios:  Purple Finch

Plant something to attract birds, butterflies and bees.

Steider Studios:  Dog Tooth Violet

Over the years I have created a lush colorful – dare I even say enchanting – garden.

Steider Studios:  Bumble Bee in Flight

It’s one of my favorite places to be – to just be.

Happy Earth Day!!

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 Studios:  Japanese Garden. Pink Flower

My plate is so full I needed a day of respite at the Japanese Garden in Portland.

Steider Studios:  Japanese Garden. Pink Flower 2

Today was their ‘Free Day’, so I picked up a friend and we headed into the city.

Steider Studios:  Japanese Garden.  Tree

Alas, so did everyone else.

Steider Studios:  Japanese Garden. Edgeworthia

We found a place to park but it was a good hike from the garden entrance.

Steider Studios:  Japanese Garden. Waterfall

Once inside the garden we decided to venture the opposite way as everyone else.

Steider Studios:  Japanese Garden. Koi

Not exactly what I pictured for a day of respite, but you know me … captivated by the surrounding beauty, everything but the garden and emergence of spring faded from my thoughts.

Steider Studios:  Japanese Garden. Tree 2

Until the troop of boy scouts going the wrong way in the one way zone, but even that made me laugh.  Three tall men leading a dozen or more little scouts across a narrow path with clearly marked arrows, maneuvered their way around the rest of us.

Steider Studios:  Japanese Garden. Waterfall 3

A quick trip, big crowds, but well worth it.

Steider Studios:  Japanese Garden. Pink Flowers 4

As my friend said with longing “The blossoms let me know that our spring is really just around the corner”.

Steider Studios:  Japanese Garden. Pink Flowers 3

I’m back in the studio this evening, working on a few things for a mini solo show at ‘The Nook’, inside Columbia Art Gallery.  My show will open the First Friday in March, I hope to see some of you there!

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Love my Lytro!

August 15, 2012

Exciting news, I was personally invited to take part in the first Lytro contest because of this photo of flags I took on Memorial Day.  Lytro published it on their Facebook page a few months back!  Click the link, wait for the photo to load, then click on different flags to alter the focus.

The butterfly photo above is the first of my Lytro entries and to help me win, you can vote for it at Lytro’s Photo Contest on Facebook.  You do want me to win, right?  You are entered to win a Lytro for yourself with each vote you cast.  You can only vote for each photo one time and only one photo per day.

What do I win?  Each week for seven weeks, five finalists will win a Lytro Accessories package (including new to the world accessories that are coming out later this year). One of those 35 finalists will win the Grand Prize – a Master Light Field Photography Lesson with Eric Cheng, Director of Photography at Lytro; plus FIVE cameras to give to my friends!

If you’re on Facebook, please help me win by voting here:  Lytro’s Photo Contest on Facebook  (at this time the contest is being held on Facebook, no other way to vote).  And, if you’ll share with your friends I’d really really appreciate it.  Your friends will also appreciate it if they win a Lytro!

We can enter photos daily and these are some of the others I’m considering.  If I were on WordPress.org instead of .com, you’d be able to click and refocus the photos here.  Alas, to do that you need to visit my Lytro Photo Page.

My Lytro was a Christmas gift, but I didn’t get it until April because they were manufactured and shipped slowly!  If you haven’t yet heard about it, go to Lytro.com for all the info, but essentially it captures the entire light field instead of a single plane.  The fun part is that you can refocus your photo after you upload it to your computer – and you can share it as an interactive photo online.

I hope you’ll vote vote for my Butterfly photo at the top of this post and as a result, I hope YOU are the winner of a new Lytro camera!

Teaching at Half Moon Creek Gallery in Palmer Alaska for the third time, we landed in Anchorage with a side trip to Homer  scheduled first.  Cloud covered, we could see hints of blue sky causing our spirits to soar.  Each previous working vacation has been rainy, cloudy, and generally stormy.


As the sun came out, we knew this trip – our third – would be charmed.

Especially when we saw a moose along the highway before we’d been in Alaska a full day!

As we pulled into Homer, it was a bit dark, but hey….it was 10pm!

We splurged and stayed at Land’s End Resort Hotel, the last building on the Homer Spit.

Our room had a fantastic view and I braved the cold wind, going out on our deck often to breathe in the sea and sky.

Our first full day was long and early, beginning with a halibut fishing trip for my better half.  I had booked a birding excursion, but my trip was cancelled due to high seas.  So I Looked for eagles birds  on land….

…found some seagulls in a parking lot at 6:30 am after dropping my hubby off at the docks, then decided to treat myself to a latte since most of the birds were still asleep.

At Two Sisters Bakery I found one of the best mocha’s I’ve ever had!  Took their shelter from the rain, a warm cinnamon roll and a little wi-fi.

Next I went on a guided hike at the Wynn Nature Center and since I was the only one at 10 am I had a naturalist all to myself for an informative and personalized tour.

The views from Skyline Drive on my way back into town were breathtaking and I still had time to use my plastic at all the galleries, gift shops and book stores in Homer.

Back to my tireless hunt for birds along the sandy shore of the spit…

…found plenty of seagulls….

…and finally….the following day on our way out of town….

…after countless blurry images, this guy decided to pose for a few shots.  He wasn’t happy about it, but he did and I was grateful.

Later that afternoon in Girdwood, we took a short hike at the Historic Crow Creek Gold Mine, ending at the creek’s edge.  We stayed at a B & B and our evening meal just across the street at Double Musky Inn was one of the best ever. Thanks to everyone who recommended it!

Girdwood hosts the Alyeska Resort with an Arial Tram that takes you to the top of Mt. Alyeska, 2300 feet up in seven minutes….. with astonishing views.  When we were here last year it was closed due to high winds, so I was really looking forward to going up.

Not wanting to break our record of clouds and rain in Alaska, this was the clearest shot I had of  Turnagain Arm from the top of Mt. Alyeska.  Exhilarating, nonetheless!

The Alyeska Hotel, viewed during the tram’s descent….which might be a bit scary if you’re in the front.  OK, yes I was scared, but only for a minute, and there were children onboard, so I smiled valiantly, held on tightly and loved every moment even though my white knuckles implied otherwise.

The gardens at Hotel Alyeska are spectacular….the roads in downtown Girdwood are under construction, so I just grabbed a latte and we continued our northern journey.

Almost to Anchorage we stopped at Potter Marsh, the southern end of the Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge with incredible views of Turnagain Arm.

Alas, I wasn’t having a lot of luck with my birding adventure this week, but I did find a few feathered friends to photograph.

The scenery was breathtaking … as it always is … in Alaska … despite gray conditions.

Our next stop enroute to Palmer was the Alaska Botanical Garden in Anchorage.  A lovely short hike with a warning that bears were in the area; but the only wildlife we saw were mosquitoes.  Fortunately I had citronella oil with me.

Can you tell I am completely enamored with the Himalayan Blue Poppy (Meconopsis)!  I’ve tried growing them to no avail, but here in Alaska they thrive.

With time for one more stop before arriving in Palmer, we chose to hike at the Eagle River Nature Center (you know I was hoping to see an eagle!).

We found baby swallows, but no eagles in sight.  The setting was gorgeous and we had a great hike!

My Powderology class is the reason for my being in Alaska.  Two days, ten students, 4 kilns filled twice, and a ton of fun at Half Moon Creek in Palmer!  Once again, I had a set of talented people unafraid to take risks, play and explore.  Does anyone in Alaska know what can’t means?  I think not!

A collaged collection of student work, I did not pick up my camera as often as planned.  We start having fun and I forget to document!  It was one of those magical classes where everyone connected, shared ideas, and laughed together.

And we all excitedly gasped as the kilns were opened in the morning!

Our trip to Palmer wouldn’t be complete without a drive up to Hatcher Pass for stunning views.  One last treat by our lovely hosts at Simon’s in Anchorage with a panoramic view of Cook Inlet, then back to our B & B to pack up.  All in all, the third time WAS a charm!  We loved every moment and want to again thank Half Moon Creek for offering another opportunity for an amazing adventure!!

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