Covid-19 has me nesting like nobody’s business.
At first I was okay with the hide inside on my cozy couch with a book approach. I started with Untamed.
Um. Read. This. Book. Please.
And then listen to every morning meeting Glennon has on Instagram. I’ve been a fan of this author from the beginning. She’s a thought leader. We don’t get many of those in our lifetime.
I also devoured the sweet chick lit escape Unhoneymooners. Not even on the same playing field as Untamed. But, hey, sometimes we need a little romantic comedy.
During quarantine I have also held solo dance parties while getting creative in the kitchen. I’m a bit hooked on Phoebe Bridgers. Funeral guts me every time. Hurts so good. Billie Eilish is my other guilty pleasure. Thinking I may need to dye these quarantine roots a neon color in her honor.
When I can’t shake my booty anymore, I succumb to the jigsaw puzzles on the coffee table. My Ravensburger Venice puzzle was a doozy. Now we are working on a puzzle made from my own portrait of Venice through Shutterfly. It looks super intimidating. But there are four rainy days in the forecast and plenty of time to spend analyzing those little shapes.
Despite these occasional rain delays, there is no denying that spring has sprung, I am excited to turn my critical eye away from the painted walls inside my home. I really absolutely did not want to paint that master bathroom. Now I can fully push that project aside and begin to refresh and cultivate beautiful spaces outdoors.
I began with “yard painting” (aka spreading bark dust).
While more back-breaking yard chores await, I have also started to look at our outdoor living spaces with an interior decorator eye. I noticed that my family often battles for seats with a view of the yard. I’ll admit that staring at the siding on the house or fence boards does lack a bit of zen. Everyone sitting in my outdoor living room deserves a good view. But theatre seating isn’t very conversational.
Metal prints to the rescue…
Printing on metal means we can put gorgeous blooms or a serene scene on our naked fences and patio walls. Every seat in our outdoor living spaces can have a 360 degree view.
Metal prints are stunning and sturdy. They can handle the elements. Even full sun.
I would love to help pretty up your personal or professional outdoor spaces. Choose an image from my art collection or let’s discuss a custom creation. No clue what to do? Send me a picture of your blank space and I can make a recommendation. Never seen a metal print? Check out this video from Bay Photo.
My good friend has an AMAZING home in Oregon’s wine country. And….
Is. WAS. For. SALE.
It was a blast to take on the challenge of framing up this beautiful space with my camera for their listing.
This home and acreage wasn’t on the market long. The property is a quick drive to town and a hop, skip and a jump to wine tasting at Blakeslee Vineyard among about a gazillion other tasting rooms scattered over the neighboring hills. The yard is something out of Better Homes & Gardens…an oasis of shade in the summer. I have used the backyard for multiple photo shoots. Want a a bird’s eye view of the “grounds?” Check out this super drone footage produced by Visual Concepts Northwest.
Portland’s Japanese American Historical Plaza is a scene of riotous beauty every spring. Fluffy, light-filled cherry blossom stretch along the city’s waterfront begging lovers to smooch and dance and celebrate the season hand in hand. The plaza is a spectacular stage for engagement portraits. Can you think of a more romantic scene in the Pacific Northwest for couple’s photography? Please leave a comment and share your ideas as I would love to check them out.
Social media can be a burden. Hours are precious. Daydreaming is a lost art as most of us admittedly need to cut back on our screen time.
But sometimes a little dose of social media can bring you joy. And isn’t that just the best way to start your day? A cup of coffee and a smile. Nice.
Instagram is my smile-a-day social media app of choice. No surprise I suppose since I am a photographer and it is all photos. I also love Instagram because it’s quick, simple and my Instagram community is so positive. I follow feeds that are happy, inspiring, creative, funny and beautiful.
I want to spread the joy and share my favorite Instagramers. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
Bev Weidner (@bevcooks): Oh, this food bloggin’ mama of twins is hilarious. I was already a fan of her recipes, but now I can’t take my eyes off her babies! You will laugh out loud at her photo captions.
Sarah Cornish (@my4hens): This lady has an incredible talent for capturing the beauty of the everyday with her kids. And, she’s an inspirational soul. Her words and stories to go with the photos are meant to lift you up and find the good in even the hard days.
Theron Humphrey (@thiswildidea): This guy is blessed. He travels in a pimped out FJ60 with a fabulous dog named Maddie and takes amazing pictures. Just how does he get Maddie into these stunts and poses? He captures her and the world with stunning creativity and skill.
Jane Samuels (@janesamuels): This UK artist showcases her eye-popping, color-bursting landscape photos on Instagram. They never fail to make me stop and just study the image and long for a hike into quiet and wide-open spaces.
I am just a teensy bit obsessed with hummingbirds.
Anna’s Hummingbirds hang out in Oregon all year round. They are my pets. I thaw their feeders in the winter. I make protect the weaker little guys by strategically placing feeders around my house. I have a male or two that think they own a feeder and run off those who dare to attempt a sip. I’ve even been known to turn on the sprinkler system on a hot day just because the hummingbirds like to play in the spray.
Spring is my favorite time for Anna’s Hummingbirds. The cherry blossoms send them into an out-of-control feeding frenzy and then the courtships begin. The males show off to the ladies by climbing up to 130 feet into the air and then swooping to the ground with a burst of noise that they produce through their tail feathers. It sounds a little like the fire alarm screaming “BEEP” when the batteries are low.
My annual Anna’s Hummingbird photo shoot takes place on my front porch that overlooks ornamental cherry trees. I wait for the sun to light up the trees in the late afternoon and shoot with my Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L Zoom Lens plus the Canon EF 2.0X III Telephoto Extender. It’s important to sit back and watch for where the hummingbirds like to hang out. Anticipation is key. My camera settings go between an F/6.3 to F/7.1 aperture and fast shutter speeds of 1/500 or higher. Adjust your ISO for the best exposure.
Oh, I am thankful for S-P-R-I-N-G. After a long, colorless winter, the pops of pink and purple and yellow are exciting. I take my camera everywhere this time of year.
With the uncertainty of the honey bees in our world today, I am so thrilled when they arrive at my little farmette in Sherwood, Oregon. I have buzz-zilions of the little darlings going to work in my cherry trees. And then, my California lilacs. And then, my herbs. And then, my lawn. I always joke that if you want honey bees, leave some weeds. You’ll never find a patch of clover without a honey bee in it. My lawn has just a little bit of clover. Hey, it’s for the bees!
These photos were taken with my 70-200mm lens with the 2x extension. A mighty lens combo to wield at a little bee. But, I love the pink bokeh and the honey bees backlit fuzz.
Absolutely love my Akebia vines. They are beautiful, always healthy and can ferociously take over a trellis.
Try planting two, cross-pollinating varieties in your yard. Your vines could produce giant, neon-purple potato-sized fruit. I was lucky enough for this to happen just one year. I’m so hoping I see it again.
The Akebia vine’s Spring blossoms are teeny tiny but fascinating to behold…especially with my new 100mm macro lens. I’m having so much fun with this close-up-larger-than-life photography. I feel like a little kid pretending to be a scientist. I creep around the yard, discovering an amazing miniature world with a magnifying glass.
My friends asked, “What was the best part of your trip to Mexico?”
They said “Mexico” because no one dares the attempt to pronounce “Zihuatanejo” (zee-watt-a-NEH-ho).
For many vacations, that question would be hard to answer. But not this one. It was easy.
Las tortugas marinas, the sea turtles, were the highlight of my stay in Zihuatanejo.
I’ve always been in love with sea turtles. In Hawaii I have accidentally bumped into one under a waterfall on the Big Island and followed them (at a distance) while snorkeling on Maui and Kaua’i. I’ve also body-surfed alongside them at Brennecke Beach on Kaua’i. Amazing creatures.
Playful. Ancient. Wise creatures.
I was beyond excited at the prospect that we might actually be able to watch sea turtles out of the water in Zihuatanejo. And even though I knew our hotel, the Viceroy on Playa de Ropa, was the place to be, part of me thought it was too good to be true. I was prepared for disappointment.
It turns out that our timing was excellent in early December. While it was technically “late” in the season for the turtle mamas to come ashore for egg laying, we saw just it a happen our very first night in Zihua. We were eating a late dinner on the beach at the Viceroy. We notice a man with a flashlight and a bucket and my husband says something like, “there’s your turtle.” I deserted him at the table while he signed the bill, and then we watched.
We watched as a mama turtle struggled and heaved her heavy body up to soft sand, dug a hole one flipper at a time, became incredibly still, laid 80+ golf-ball sized eggs, filled in that hole, packed in sand with a slap of her belly, scattered sand to erase the evidence she’d been there, and then slowly made her way back to the ocean.
It all looked sooo hard. And beautiful. And, yeah, I teared up a little (a lot). It truly was awesome.
Once on the brink of extinction, olive ridley sea turtles (golfinas), are loved and protected in Zihua. You actually need a license from the Mexican government to disturb a turtle nest. The license gives turtle conservationists the state’s blessing do so to save eggs by reburying them in safe spots. When the eggs hatch, turtle keepers feed and care for them about a week, so that the babies can grow and mature before facing the big ocean and all its dangerous inhabitants.
Early December was the tail end of the laying season, but also the beginning of the hatching season!
Not all of the turtle eggs are re-located. So at random times along the beach, a baby would pop up out of the sand. Some were gently coaxed to the sea but powered by their own determination. Some were carefully carried to the water.
Once we learned to recognize baby turtle footprints, we were able to track the little darlings. We also watched as an entire nest was discovered in the shade of a beached catamaran. We watched as the hotel “entertainment” director ran for a bucket, scooped up probably 100 little tortugas and put the bucket in shade. They were to be released at night to avoid the complications of heat and predators.
I loved my time in Zihuatanejo….for many, many reasons. But I absolutely have to get back there to show my kids the turtles. For now, the images will have to do. You can see larger views of the turtles and more of my trip to Zihuatanejo in my web gallery.
If you are interested in reading more about las tortugas of Zihuatanejo, here are some articles/sites I’ve enjoyed:
“Labor of Love” article on Viceory Hotel and the turtles (aka Tides)
Plant a tree, start composting, recycle EVERYTHING, grow a garden, help remove invasive plants…
If you are in Sherwood, a fun way to get started is to attend the annual Raindrops to Refuge Spaghetti Dinner and Silent Auction this Friday, April 20th at the Rebekah Lodge.
Raindrops to Refuge is a small non-profit organization dedicated to helping local citizens learn how to be responsible citizens of their watershed. They restore impaired wetlands and waterways; and they protect our watershed from the hazards of pollution from our everyday practices and from rapid development.
You can keep it simple and just join this fabulous group for a fun meal and to bid on some great auction items (including a canvas of my Red Currant image). Or, you can find out how to be a part of some of the great planting and clean up projects that are sure to be scheduled in the coming months.
I feel great after a morning planting. And I feel even better when I go back a year or two later to see the transformation. In fact, a Stella Olsen Park planting is what inspired my new “Native is Beautiful” photo series.
Wow, it felt so good to be warm.
And, to my delight, Spring had sprung in the desert. My youngest son and I had a blast taking pictures of all of the new places and plants and animals.
My favorite bloom of all was the Joshua Tree. This photo makes me feel warm, dry and happy…even though it’s nasty, wet and cold outside.