Friday, December 31, 2010

Favorite Photos of 2010

Okay...another new tradition. Each year I will publish (or perhaps re-publish) some of my favorite images of the past year. What makes them my favorite? A couple of key things: the images need to be unusual, technically good and pleasing to the eye. The image should also convey some message or meaning for something I did or a place I travelled over the past year. It may also be whimsy on my part. It is also a sort of "Year in Review" for me.

This is a Wood Duck, taken in the spring at Crystal Springs Rhododendron Gardens in SE Portland. Apparently there are only a few places one can see these ducks, and this was one of my first expeditions with my new telephoto lens (Nikkor 70 -200mm f2.8 for you photogeeks)

Another bird shot. This is a Great Blue Heron that I had to stalk for quite some time before he/she allowed me to get close enough for this image. Apparently the prospect of a meal overcame a fear of me, and I was able to get a photo in flight with a snake in it's mouth. Late spring of 2010, near Vancouver Lake.

In April I went to Oklahoma for a business trip. This is oil fact, this is perhaps one of the original oil patches since it's close to Texas. This of course is an oil well pump, also called a "pump jack" or a "nodding donkey" (thank you, Wikipedia). These are scattered throughout the countryside, next to the highway or nestled in the midst of wheatfields. At any given time I could see dozens as I drove to my destination (Anadarko, which also happens to be the name of a large oil company). There is some whimsy in this photo as well...I grew up in oil country when my father worked for Royal Dutch Shell, so seeing one of these elicited some memories for me.

This is Oklahoma City's memorial to the 168 who died (including 19 children) at the Alfred P Murrah Federal Building bombing that occurred in 1995. There are two arches like the one in the distance, separated by a reflecting pool. One bears the time immediately before the bomb went off (9:01) and the other one moment after (9:03). On the right one can see chair sculptures that represent those who died. Seeing the smaller chairs representing the children who were in the daycare and who perished was particularly moving for me.

Each year, near Woodburn (which is about an hour south of Portland) there is a tulip festival where one almost feels one is in Holland. There are acres upon acres of brightly colored tulips of any color imaginable. This is a dark purple one, taken while almost laying in the mud.

I love birds. Spring especially brings opportunities for delightful images such as these goslings pecking away on a lawn near my office in SE Portland.

We occasionally like to escape the city and visit the Oregon Coast. This is a seabird posing for me at the aviary at the Oregon Coast Aquarium near Newport, Oregon.

Also in Newport, one can wander along the old waterfront area and see sea lions and seals who have taken up residence on various rocks, floats and docks. These two are vying for a good sunny spot...I guess. Maybe it's a mating ritual? We didn't wait to find out.

During the Portland Rose Festival in June, one can watch Dragon Boat Races on the Willamette River. This is as close as I could get, even with a good telephoto lens...but I love the colors of the boats and the intricacies of the carvings. The person sitting on the head leans forward as the boat races to a bouy to grab the flag. First one to grab of course is the winner.

This is perhaps my favorite photo of 2010. I chased this monarch butterfly from flower to flower to capture this image. Taken while we were in New York visiting our son and his girlfriend in July. We were in the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, near their home. You can see more of our trip at my other blog:

I'll call this one "Ladybug on an Artichoke", taken in our garden at our house. (Both this photo and the butterfly in the previous shot were taken with my antiquated (pre-digital) Nikkor 28-105mm zoom lens. Not bad for a 18 year old piece of glass, eh?)

This is an old, abandoned hydroelectric powerhouse in central Oregon, south of The Dalles and around 2 hours from Portland. I think this was originally built around 1910 and ceased production in 1960 when the big The Dalles Dam on the Columbia River was completed. Pictured is the remains of a turbine and generator on the right, and a governor in the center. Over the years weather and vandals have stripped most of the smaller pieces leaving just the hulks. Portions of the roof have fallen or blown away, allowing the light to come in as you can see in the photo.

These last two images were taken on one of our explorations...part of a series entitled Off the Beaten Path. This is an old gas pump at an abandoned gas station along the highway in central Oregon.

An old McCormick Deering tractor, part of the detritus of a vanishing rural life in central Oregon. This was taken in the town of Shaniko, which used to be a center for sheep ranching but became a ghost town in the middle of the last century. Recently there have been efforts to restore the hotel and some of the businesses but the economy has taken its toll and this once-thriving town may yet again slide into a ghost of a former life.


Norman said...

Wonderful photos Paul. Very sharp. I look forward to hearing more about your shooting.

Robert Speed said...

Thank you for the wonderful photos of the OKC memorial