Palouse Red Barn

A couple of weeks ago I spent a week in The Palouse - an area of eastern Washington state known for its rolling hills, old barns and general old-world rural Americana. A beautiful part of the country. What with catching up with work, and filing my taxes, I haven’t had time yet to go through the 830 shots I took, but here is one from the first morning. Click the image for the full screen version.

Whale Watching in Monterey

It’s taken a while for me to get to this, but here goes.

In May I visited Monterey California, to do some whale watching. Well, we did see one whale, so I suppose technically I can’t complain. The photo below is of a humpback. Also we saw a pod of Risso’s Dolphins leaping out of the water. The scars on this one’s body are thought to result agressive interactions with other dolphins in the pod.

Also, a picture of some Harbor Seals at Point Lobos.

Buzzards in my back yard

Actually my neighbor’s fence. Behold, the California Turkey Vulture. Beautiful plumage.

Looking out the window, I saw several of these birds circling low and figured they had probably detected a dead animal nearby. They are pretty common here in California, often seen effortlessly soaring the skies on thermals, but you usually don’t see them close to the ground unless they’ve found some carrion. So I quickly bolted the 100-400mm onto the camera and shot outside to see what they were after. It turns out they were just having a rest on next door’s fence.

At 2½ feet tall and with a six foot wingspan they’re quite big. Not the most beautiful of birds, but they serve a purpose by clearing the environment of rotting dead meat. It’s called the Turkey Vulture because its bald red head resembles that of a turkey, not because it’s especially closely related to one.

Crescent City, Califiornia

I cut my Oregon trip short by one day because the rain had started again (and was forecast for the evening and next day too). Almost as soon as I crossed back into California, the rain stopped and the sun came out. I stopped in Crescent City, the most northerly town on the CA coast, to snap the picture below with the new Sony 100-400 mm lens. Click the image for a full screen version. This lens is sharp!

Burney Falls

On my way up to Oregon, I decided to break up the journey by stopping at Burney Falls in northern California. The trouble is, I hadn’t been able to find any information about the best time of day (morning? afternoon?) to photograph it. Well, as I discovered, the falls face virtually due east, and so evening (when I was there) is not the best time as (1) the falls are in shadow and (2) the sky showing above the top of the falls is so bright it is mostly burnt out.

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Unfortunately, early morning isn’t much good either. This is because the falls are in quite a deep gorge (see where I took the above photo from) and so the falls are in shadow first thing in the morning too. My guess is that mid morning (say 10-11am) would be the best, as the sun would be high enough to light the inside of the gorge. I wouldn’t know, as I had to leave early, so I just took these two snaps with the iPhone.

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The young woman below was having some photos taken for her portfolio (so one of the photographer’s assistants told me). I’m not sure exactly who she was supposed to be, but it was different. I hope the pro shots work out for her.

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SS Red Oak Victory Ship

The SS Red Oak Victory is one of the last surviving World War II "Victory ships" which were built to carry supplies and troops. She is docked at Richmond, California, where she now serves as a museum ship. I took the tour. I recommend it - very interesting.

Although I took many pictures of the ship, I think the surrounding area (the former Kaiser Richmond ship yard, where the SS Red Oak was built) produced more interesting shots. The black and white conversion seemed to fit the mood of the place.