Month: January 2015

Home of the woodpecker

High on the Columbia River Gorge, in the Mt. Hood National Forest, I found a number of standing dead trees that have been thoroughly scavenged by woodpeckers. Lovely place up here. Seven species of woodpeckers live in the forest, so I cannot say which ones may have hammered away here.

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Cormorants on the Columbia River

This is the last of my “photos in the mist” set that I published this week. I do like this one and the pure joy of watching birds being birds. You can listen to their calls on this web site run by Cornell Labs. I will anthropomorphize here and flat out say its an eery, almost haunting call. Click on the photo to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.

Kenton City, a Portland hood ready for prime time

 

I decided to visit Kenton City in North Portland after spotting the famous Paul Bunyan statue from the Max rail line. This is on the U.S. Register of National Historic Places, a giant slab of concrete reminiscent of miniature golf course art from the 1950s and 1960s. Across from Paul sits the stripper club, as Portland apparently has the greatest concentration of stripper clubs per capita after sin city, Las Vegas. Had a nice coffee at Posies, found a nice piece of large-scale sculpture, and generally enjoyed my brief visit. This place exists because of the large stock and lumber yards that thrived along the Willamette River in the late 1800s and early 1900s. I am guessing this spot will gentrify in about three to five years, max.

Port of Portland rail yard and grain elevator

My explorations of the industrial lands in north Portland uncovered some haunting images as the mist lingered for hours. I could photograph rail yards and shipping facilities forever, and the Port of Portland had some tasty visual morsels. I love the forms, the functionality, and total commercial nature of these places. They have one purpose, and that is to ship goods from one place to another. They represent commerce in its least packaged and purest form. You can see other photos I have taken of industrial forms on my web site. I also have documented a number of industrial sites in Portland on my blog.

This particular image is of the port’s Rivergate Industrial Park. The port’s web site reports Portland is the largest wheat export gateway for the country. (Click on the photo to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.)

Kelley Point Park Mist

I paid a visit today to Portland’s Kelley Point Park, a great fishing spot at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers near the industrial warehouse district that covers the old floodplains of northeast Portland. Sturgeon fishermen were casting lines, and a few drinking brews (hey, this is fishing). Best catch I saw was less than a foot, and it was all catch and release.

Alaska’s predators on display as hides and heads

A recent article in Slate magazine from October 2014 correctly noted that the hunting of wolves (and bears) by trophy hunters in Alaska has been a popular tool by GOP lawmakers to score local political points in one of the country’s reddest states, as measured by electoral outcomes and political attitudes. The article fails to mention, however, that guided hunts of wolves and bears can fetch $10,000 and more–and the state agency managing game is viewed by some critics as a rubber stamp for business interests who profit from this burgeoning business. I just checked and found out a brown bear hunt now can go as high as $11,500. I met a woman on an Anchorage-bound plane from Maryland once who told me she had spent $10,000 to hunt brown bears in Alaska, and she was extremely excited by the opportunity. Today, in Alaska, you can bait bears, usually with junk food, at bait stations and kill them during season legally in “game management districts.” Leaders who have spearheaded this change to expand the hunting of bears and wolves include former state lawmakers with close ties to state government. Aerial hunting planned six years ago pegged the number of planned wolf kills that year at more than 325. You can read the state’s “messages” that do not publish this other data talking about the business of hunting.

I shot this photo of two Alaskan men posing with a woman at the ceremonial start of the Iditarod in 2006. Pelts of killed wolves are sold here, and many trappers proudly show off their prizes with this head gear.

I shot this photo of two Alaskan men posing with a woman at the ceremonial start of the Iditarod in 2006. Pelts of killed wolves are sold here, and many trappers proudly show off their prizes with this head gear.

During the Fur Rondy events that precede the Iditarod, pelts and heads of killed wolves become commonplace sites in Anchorage, as displays at events and as products for sale on the streets. Trappers frequently wear wolf-cap headgear to pose with gawking out-of-staters. Here’s a shot I took from one of those events in 2006. Polar bears are legally hunted in Alaska’s North Slope and Arctic communities by Alaskan Native hunters, managed by treaty and regulations. This hide is likely from a legal hunt, and it is almost certain this wolf head is too. There are great differences between hunting for trophies and profit and subsistence hunting. I do support managed hunting, particularly for subsistence purposes by Native Alaskans and other groups globally. I do not support trophy hunting for profit, particularly hunting driven by political agendas that do not promote what I consider to be science-based conservation practices.

Working Portland, seen from Overlook Park

Portland’s riverfront, north of the Fremont Bridge (that big one seen in these photos), is utterly about work. Trains. Factories. Shipping and receiving facilities. Grain depots. Cement kilns. Factories. Fuel depots. The best perch to soak all that up is from Overlook Park. I took the photos from here, and also from another spot a block away at Overlook House. (Click on each photograph to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.)

Rose City Classic Dog Show, round two

I found a few more photos to publish of the utter bliss many dogs experience being the center of all that attention at the Rose City Classic Dog show in Portland. (Click on each photograph to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.)

Rose City Classic Dog Show, grooming time

 

The Rose City Classic Dog Show is a major Northwest event, attracting dogs and owners from a wide region and multiple states. The 2015 show took place at the Expo Center. It had some fabulous demonstrations of agility course athleticism. I would rather watch dogs jumping hurdles and running a slalom course than watch football any day. These are two pictures I took with my GoPro, which dogs feel comfortable with, since it is such a tiny camera. There were also some very sophisticated multimedia recordings going on, covering every participant in the agility shows, not to mention the photo booths that always populate shows.  (Click on each photograph to see a larger picture on a separate picture page

Missing those ubiquitous ski trails of Anchorage

 

Skate skiing used to be a part of my life in a major way in Anchorage, Alaska, for six winters. Now I have to drive 60 miles to some decent trails, which are not as well-groomed as what I had at my fingertips at one of the nation’s best cross-country ski areas–urban Anchorage. The Nordic Skiing Association of Anchorage is the major reason why Nordic skiing in Anchorage was always way, way, way above average. A lousy winter this year has put a damper on the ski community (it was 38 degrees F on Friday, Jan. 16). I do miss those trails living so far away. I took all of these photos with a consumer-grade point and shoot Canon–a tough little workhorse that was easy to slip in my pocket and snap quick pics during a ski outing. And there were many ski outings.

(Click on each photograph to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.)