Sunday, December 20, 2009

Winter Scenes

The illuminations and landscapes of winter have long been a fascinating season to capture & create images of. Over the years many artists have found the muse of winter knocking at their door. The response has ranged from quill & ink, to glossy photographs, from operas, to concertos, we of the northern latitudes have been inspired to all. Here is a brief look through my lens as the winter lightscape. A moody mixture of rendered images from my cameras and digital darkroom.

To start out there is an embedded video/slide show of winter scenes set to a tune by George Winston appropriately from his album entitled FOREST, the song itself is his FORBIDDEN FOREST number, which slightly haunting melody somehow merges well with these frosty photographs.

The plan for this posting is to have all the images from this slide show laid out individually with a brief descriptive text adjoining them. A task I hope to accomplish over the course of this winter solstice. But for now I hope you enjoy the slide show…

"Hmmm..." The quality that BLOGGER allows the MPEG to load leaves a lot to be desired. Given that I had already planned to post the images from the slide show here I'll leave not delete it (as I'd do if it was a stand-alone).

'Winter Way' is image number 1; whether it's a winding mountain road or a short driveway leading to a cozy cabin, I find this snow covered pathway inviting a ski, a stroll, or maybe a horse drawn sleigh...

One of the two bridges within the community of Curlew crossing the Kettle River. This is the Highway 21 bridge running north and south.

Looking off the Kettle River bridge in Curlew, there is an ice flow slowly winding downstream .

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Nautical Art from 2009 Cruise...

It has been a few months since I've posted to the FIREWATER IMAGES blog. Fire season has ended along with the passing of summer, an autumn, which distinctly has the feel of winter, has begun, and I've completed a month long cruise on my 30 sailboat. It is that cruise which has provided the images presented here.
I've been working in the FIREWATER blog and have posted the story of the cruise and many more photographs there. All told over 1,500 images were shot over the course of the month long cruise. About half of what I'd really like to have. The 12 part installments of the cruise used approximately a hundred of those photos. Here I offer the twelve photographic images, which through their composition, use of light, subject matter and energy, passed the test and can stand as independant photographs.
I was delighted to find this image in the camera. Of course I had taken a number of shots with this curious gull searching the docks. Patience paid off as the bird walked further onto the dock it's shadow appeared on the hull of CANNIBAR, the sailing vessel moored adjacent to us. The crisp lines of the vessels brightwork, white hull and triangle of blue water all add to the overall composition of this image.
If you've followed the FIREWATER blog and the cruise some of these images will be familiar but not this one entitled SUNSET OVER CANADIAN GULF ISLANDS. There was another photograph of this sunset with the Patos Lighthouse that I used in the story since it fit so well. Yet I knew this picture was special. It may be the best sunset shot I've had the pleasure of capturing. That warm, red glow almost kissing the water in the center of the image in the distance against a far island really makes this shot work.

This image SAILING THRU PEAVINE PASSAGE, SAN JUAN ISLANDS captured the feel of the late summer, early morning passage which we were making that day. There is a texture to the water, the mists, the landscapes and morning sunlight that inter-acts together rendering this image and setting it apart from the rest of the photographs of that day.

SCULPTED SANDSTONE OF PATOS ISLAND; again it is the textures that pull me into this photograph. Thousands of years in the making this twisted, contorted, scuplted rock is facinating subject material. Wind and waves over the course of time is the true artist here. I am fortunate enough just to have been there, seen it and taken the photograph.
The artwork of the Salish people has always facinated me. The recodring and telling of stories in such strong imagery...

TO BE CONTINUED SOON Saturday, 11.07.09 Foster

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Summer Series - Mountains...

Northeastern Washington firefighters know August as the RED SUN MONTH. Those of us in the fire community who live here know we live in a every old wildfire ecology. Dry pine forests, hot summer weather, frequent lightning storms have left historical burn scars upon the fuels & landscape for many thousands of years.
Often during August there is a major wildfire within or close to the Okanogan Highlands. It is at that time the valleys and surrounding mountains fall under a smoke haze. Especially during periods of weather inversions. The images presented here are from a recent intrusion of smoke from a very large fire near Kelona, B.C., Canada.
The first photograph, 'North Spur of Franson Peak, Kettle River Valley' was captured from the northwestern ridge of Tonasket Mountain, above the village of Curlew, looking west up the Kettle River Valley.

Photo #2, 'Mountain Meadows' is a typical landscape of this area of the Okanogan Highlands on the western slope of the Kettle River Range in Ferry County.
"Northern Kettle River Range' is what I call photograph #3. Taken from the summit of Klondike Mountain above Republic, WA. Looking northeast with Copper Butte as the backdrop. The Kettle River Range are a subrange of the Canadian Monashee (or Midway) Range of British Columbia.

I'll close this series of Summer Mountains with a view of one of my favorite peaks; Mount Elizibeth seen looking southwest from the Tonasket Creek drainage, near Curlew. I find these combinations of open meadows intermixed with timber stands to be engaging landscapes both scenically and photographically. Hope you enjoyed them too.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Summer Series 2nd Photographic Post 2009

This newest '09 Summer Series will focus on the Kettle River Valley, located in Ferry County, Washington state, U.S.A.

The series starts off near the Canadian village of Midway B.C. where the Kettle River enters the United States. At this point the river is nearly 100 miles from it's headwaters.

I am using this Google Earth image to set the stage for the upcoming images. In this overview of the river valley we are looking from an elevation of 15,000 above sea level. The river valley at this point is 1,900' above sea level. I have added some landmark notations in red to orient the interested viewer. The following photographs were taken from the spot on the Google map marked X-1. Double click the image for a larger view.

The Kettle River is unique in that it enters the USA from Canada, flows in a big bend from west to east and then turns north and enters Canada again. We will explore downstream in other posts. For now here are a couple of images to get this series started.

'Meyer's Bend' the first of several big bends in the river, named after a German farmer who raised cattle in the green fields inside the bend. Henry Meyer was a farmer, rancher, miner and good, solid man as well.
'Downstream from Meyer's Bend' I nearly named this one Westlake Acres as the photo looks south toward a small farm area bearing that name. I enjoy this image with the dark shade of the cool cottonwood trees in contrast to the hot summer day. The Kettle River offers many clean & delightful swimming holes.
Short & sweet. That's what this introduction of to the Kettle River Valley is. I've many more images in 'the can' and hope to update this series every few days. Please check back soon...

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Summer Series 1st Photographic Post

Time passes to quickly during the temperate, north summer. Thankfully we have long twilit days, stretching until late in the evening. Here are a few images I recently captured during those twilight hours between hot summer days and short, dark nights...

Kettle River Range on a pre-dawn summer's morning, smoked in from a Canadian wildfire. That mystical time between the dark of the short northern night and the coming of dawn.
Bald eagle fishing in the late moments of the fading afternoon sun. A gravel bar on the Kettle River forms the backdrop of this majestic bird. My riverhome is fortunate to have the company of eagles all year long.
"Kettle River - Upstream Curlew" is the title for this the third and last of this brief series. That beautiful, late summer twilight is descending in the wake of a hot day. The coolness of the river is inviting not only to humans but whitetail deer wade the shallows occasionally wading or swimming across the stream. Nighthawks appear in the hundreds swooping in pursuit of evening insects. Tis a fine time of day to watch the river flow by.
Hope you are enjoying your summer time...

Saturday, April 11, 2009


A truth must be told before beginning this series titled Wildlife. I am not a wildlife photographer. I rarely shoot with a telephoto lens and if a good wildlife image is captured I consider it more luck than skill. The main thing is I carry a camera at all times and make the effort to use it. Of course this coincides with the premise advocated in this blog - get that camera out and enjoy it!
That said here is my meager contribution to wildlife photography...
This photograph, #1 is titled 'Bighorn Ram, Winter Snow' again a matter of luck that as the other males of this group ran off into the bush, this lone fella' turned to take one final look. I'm glad he did!
'Blue Grouse Mating Dance' is photograph #2. This male in full display is courting a nearby female. This form of display is also seen when another male ventures into the territory of a suitor.
Ranging throughout much of North America the subject of this photo, #3, titled 'Raccoon on Ponderosa Pine' is a well known creature. Seen here along the banks of the Kettle River in NE Washington state.

A rare, full daylight sighting of this Great Horned Owl, photograph image #4 was another stroke of luck. I've often crossed paths with owls in the twilight hours or after dark, generally times when getting a spontaneous photo is not really likely. In this case I was delighted to find this creature in the full, late afternoon, setting sun.

Image #5, 'Northwest Squirrel in Pines' is of a creature also referred to as a Douglas Squirrel. Another prolific creature covering much of the northwest where there are places a squirrel can travel tree to tree for hundreds of miles and never touch the ground.
Photograph #6, 'Bald Eagle in Cottonwood Snag' is an image rendered through the digital darkroom process and finished in a manner representing more a wildlife painting than photography. I am fortunate to live in a place where the eagles gather in late winter & early spring to feed & mate.
Photograph #7, 'Nocturnal Flying Squirrel' is another visitor to the pine forest banks of the Kettle River. These are an unusual little creature, which I've been fortunate enough to see in 'flight'. Flight in this case actually being leaps from sometimes over a hundred feet above the ground and a very rapid controlled glide onto the base of another tree. In this manner these nocturnal squirrels can cover distance very fast.

Photograph #9 is titled 'Sand Piper's Nest. When I walked near these young fledglings they mistook my rustlings for the return of a parent. They peeped for a moment and then opened their mouths as wide as possible for the anticipated treat, providing a great photographic moment.

First off I was captivated by the song of this 'Yellowheaded Blackbird' in image #10. Then it posed for this photograph. I couldn't ask for more...

Photograph #11, 'Tiger Swallowtail' was another unexpected treat. I had visited a friend's garden with the idea of photographing flowers when all of a sudden another subject appeared.
I'll close out this series of wildlife photography with one of my favorite images titled 'Nightwings'.

Hope you've enjoyed this show...

Sunday, March 29, 2009


Experimenting with a new look to the pictures posted on FIREWATER IMAGES. The photos will most definitely view better slightly enlarged, which you can do by double left clicking on the photographs themselves.

We'll start this series of Coastal & Shoreline off with one of my favorites...

This image above, #1 of this series, is titled 'Roper Cove Mists'. Taken early one October morning from the foredeck of the sailing vessel Aquila while at anchor in Roper Creek Cove, Lake Roosevelt, WA. An over night had just passes and the eastern sky held promise of a clearing day.
Staying on Lake Roosevelt, that 130 mile long body of water behind the Grand Coulee Dam, this rendered image, #2, is 'San Poil Arm, Lake Roosevelt'. Rendered in a manner representing a water color painting this landscape is located where the Keller Ferry crosses southern Lake Roosevelt, allowing state highway 21 to span this expanse of water. The San Poil river enters the lake from the north (top) of this image.
Remaining on Lake Roosevelt a little longer, these next two rendered photographs (image #3 above & #4 below) have historic significance in that while it is common to see Hayes Island during seasonal draw-downs of the lake, it is very uncommon to see the top of Kettle Falls, a magnificent waterfalls spanning the upper Columbia River before the completion of the Grand Coulee Dam. There is still controversy between Colville & Spokane Tribes, the Bureau of Reclamation, National Park Service, the local communities, Washington State Fisheries and sportsman groups regarding the management of the lake. None of which will I delve into here.

As a final shoreline view of Lake Roosevelt I'll give you image #5, below, 'Passing Twilight Thunderstorm'.

Moving right out onto the 'big pond' (a cruising sailor's term for the Pacific Ocean) rendered image #6, below, is titled 'Mother, Mother Ocean'. All you Jimmy Buffett fans will know the tune.
And speaking of sailors, I threw in this one called 'Departing Smuggler's Cove' as image #7 below.

For image #8, below; I chosen 'Mount Baker, Rosario Strait' photograph taken from the eastern slope of Orcas Island in the San Juan Island group, Pacific NW. In this rendition I enjoy the soft pastels and rich, dark textures of the final image.

Sunrise breaking through a dense, multi-layer cloud cover in Desolation Sound, B.C. creates the stage of light for the passage of this fishing boat in photograph #9 entitled 'Kinghorn Island, Desolation Sound'.

The image of 'Moonlight Sail' represents that juncture of photograph and digital darkroom. It is a highly rendered image but finally after many tried and much contemplation I truly enjoy the final product. As in any form of art some things flow quickly and easily, some things take much longer and somethings, try as we might are never meant to be.

Leaving the coastal waterscapes behind for the end of this posting in the final image, #11 below; we change locations to a small inland pond, Cochran Lake, where the trout fishing is good and the neighborhood usually quiet. There's a certain magic in the air of this piece of photo-art. I hope you agree...
P.S. Speaking of moonlight sailing; here's a link to a profile I keep on Cruising World's Community Site. The link will take you to a video vignette of sailing in the moonlight which won Cruising Worlds Autumn 2008 video contest.