Mount Shuksan Sufferfest

I had a battery mishap so all my photo taking ended prematurely. Anyhow, I like this one of my bivy site. The weather was pretty bad (this was taken during a moment the rain stopped) so we stopped and bedded down for the night earlier than planned. The clouds and rain cleared the following day but it was quite a long push to the summit and back down. 

Bivy site just below Fisher Chimneys, Mount Shuksan. 

Event time! Homeword Bound.

I took a brief hiatus from this thing due to excessive busy-ness but am back! I shot my first 'real' event a couple of weeks ago, a fundraiser for a community housing nonprofit that had several authors speak at it. Cheryl Strayed, author of New York times best seller 'Wild' was the headliner and was a great speaker. While the photos from the even aren't incredibly artistic, I think they sufficiently captured the night.


I've fallen off the yoga wagon lately, but I do love it. Being an endurance junkie, it took me years to try it, assuming that it was something I wouldn't enjoy.  I spent some time taking pictures for a friend Friday afternoon for some promotional materials for his yoga studio. The rest of the shots are in color, but B&W is always my fave. 

Horses are alright.

I watched a great Oregon Field Guide on the mustangs (horses, not Fords) of Oregon today and am determined to make the 8 hour drive to see them at some point. As it turns out, Oregon is home to 7% of the nation's wild horse population, which seems sweet until you watch the show and see the controversy and trouble involving this wild horse population. Regardless, the show reminded my of a horse I photographed in Wisconsin almost exactly a year ago. He was a special guy despite my general equine ambivalence. 

Playworks: 100 Days of School

I photographed an event titled '100 Days of School' for a neat national organization called Playworks with a location here in Portland. Playworks believes 'in the power of play to make kids, schools and communities stronger.' Isn't that awesome? It was an absolute blast to watch the kids in carefree and with loads of smiles and energy. My camera trigger finger was exhausted at the end. They wanted images to capture the spirit of the day...the activities, the smiles, and the interaction with the coach. High-fives are a large part of their positive play focus, so I made sure to capture a couple of those too.  Here are a couple of my faves. 

Center for a Sustainable Today: The Rebuilding Center

I have yet to post the blog I did for the Center for a Sustainable Today. It was a quick write-up on the Rebuilding Center, an awesome sort-of consignment hardware store. You can read the full post here. The interface for posting photos on their blog server is a little meh (it's no squarespace :) ) so I used the little four-square panel box from to ease my posting frustration. The outside of The Rebuilding Center is fantastically artistic and gorgeous and the place as a whole sums up everything I love about Portland.

The outside of the building. I love the owl so much that I tilted the photo so it would get the attention it deserves. 

American Birkebeiner: How many more k?

It was my second year in a row doing the American Birkebeiner (a 54 km cross-country ski race) and I got my butt kicked so much worse than last year. A rescheduled flight,  super bad roads, 3 hours of sleep, 2 meals of Micky D's in a row, slow snow, less training with the low snow year thus far in Oregon, a bad head cold, and persistent nausea from swallowing so much snot during the race. I almost quit about 80 times and am still shocked I finished. Here's a pic from the pretty finish line last year-- I was not in the condition to take photos this year.  Next year is my comeback! So much great small town support, friendly and enthusiastic skiers and some rowdy folks along the course (in the middle of nowhere) to cheer people on.

Dogs (and cats!): Take 2

Much easier time at the ol' pets and seniors shoot round 2. I was more prepared and had lots more fun pups. I had tuna fish and catnip with and, even better, refined technique. I learned most of the good stuff starts when all the treats and human revelry stop.

For sake's sake: SakeOne.

There aren't too many sake breweries in the US--6 per the world wide web--but there is one just outside of Portland in Forest Grove-- SakeOne. Some torrential rains last Saturday prompted me to finally head out that way give it a swirl (I don't think you technically swirl sake, but I'm not up on my customs.) It was surprising to see the unassuming building so lively, but we were served in no time. At the risk of sounding like some sort of wine cooler afficionado, I will confess that the pear and the lemongrass and coconut sakes were my favorite! My friend who accompanied despite the fact that he 'didn't like sake' even emerged a convert. Success. 

Mission Impossible: Crouching cat, Hidden Cat.

Today, I was scheduled to do a photo shoot with senior citizens and their pets...just some keepsakes for some community housing residents. I pictured myself shuffling small 'granny dogs' (and maybe a lab and retriever or two) on and off laps of sweet old ladies. My mental picture sounds pretty awesome, right? Well, none of the seniors wanted their photos taken, but they did want pictures of their pets, which all happened to be CATS. Now, don't get me wrong, I love cats. I do. However, coming in as a stranger into the space of a 'one person cat' (with a camera) results in a cat supreme panic attack...followed by coaxing out from behind beds, couches, chairs, etc. and then more darting and more coaxing. We did it, however, I'm pretty sure most on the cats look quite tormented in their, ahem, portraits...or maybe they just have the internet-popularized resting bitchy face.  Next time around (yes there will be another time,) 1. More one-on-one time with the scaredy cats, 2. No crouchables, 3. A feather toy, 4. Knee pads and elbow pads. 

Temporary respite in cat photography. This guy loved me. 

A family for every child: Danny.

I took a couple of photos today for A Family for Every Child, an organization that helps find placement for foster children. Danny, a lively and interactive 10-year-old, was my willing subject and kept me laughing with all of his jokes. The weather actually cooperated a bit, so we were able to take some pics in his backyard. I left him with some slime to play with which he was pretty pumped about. 

Miss Whitney is a model.

In some Saturday super-rainy-and-it's-too-cloudy-to-go-see-the-spectacular-northern-lights-show desperation, Miss Whitney (and Miss Mille) served as models for some flash practice. To bait the pup, I used salty licorice that I picked up at the Dutch Import store (more about that in a later blog) today. Surprisingly, she LOVED it. The cat was tough but ultimately succumbed to the sound of crumpling paper. 

Pungent and boozy: Whiskey mustard.

Yeah, I just made my first ever mustard. Turns out it is SUPER EASY.  It takes a couple days to sit and let the seeds soften up, but the total active time is maybe 10 minutes. I substituted whiskey for the cognac in the recipe because that what I had on hand (because that's what I love.) I'm making some meatballs to accompany them. Meatballs and mustard. Take that Valentine's Day. Recipe here

A dedication to my dad in the kitchen.

My dad's life is chronically stressed by trips to the grocery store to pick up random ingredients that my mom is missing for things she is concocting in the kitchen. He frequently laments the innumerable choices that he is forced to make. It's just so hard to figure out! Anyways, this quote made me think of him. The toughest part for me was finding a good lookin' winter tomato. 

Artsy adult inventive mini-golf?!? Yes, Smash putt.

There's a pop-up mini golf show in town! Think dive bar/haunted house/traveling circus with some serious creativity...and golf balls of course. Slurp cocktails while you shoot golf balls (literally SHOOT,) take scratch and sniff challenges, duck under lasers and skee ball your ball to its place. Moving obstacles and hydraulics included. Gimmicky? Yes, but also kind of fun and clever. 

At this particular hole, you had to move the car up and down with a fancy hydraulic system to roll the ball into the car and then into the hole.  The room was really this red. 

Homemade happiness: Coffee liqueur

Yes, you can concoct your own coffee-flavored liqueur (dare I say Kahlua) at home. All it takes is cheap vodka, expensive vanilla beans, sugar, and a couple weeks of steeping and, voila, you're done. I used this recipe. I was a little skeptical about the fact that it called for instant coffee (I used the still-sketch instant espresso,) however the final result is delicious. Just add milk and a couple ice cubes and go plop yourself down in front of The Big Lebowski. I'll make it with cool brew some other time just to compare. My curiosity is killing me! 

P.S. I'm doing this to arm myself with something to bring to whatever future potluck arises. Somehow I always end up short on time to make things for actual events and can't always just show up with a bottle of wine. 

The final product. I picked up these fancy bottles at Whole Foods for a fraction of the price I saw them for on Amazon (for once in my life.)

Ice climbing Crown Jewel

When I first visited Crown Point (via car on the road) back as a tourist to Oregon in 2008, I never imagined that someday I would return to it via the ice route below it, which, 1. I didn't know existed, 2. I NEVER dreamed I'd do. Fast forward 6 years, one big move from Louisiana and a ton of time outside in between, and today I got there via ice (and with a relatively fearless leader to drag me up it.) The roads were terrible, so sadly I didn't get to see all the tourists at the top to make the nostalgia complete. Ice was thick at the bottom, and the top was much like climbing a slushie with a hose running down your, uh, fun. We opted for the walk off because the rappel off seemed a little dubious, although in retrospect I probably would've taken it instead because the trash-filled steep snow gully got kinda old (however, I do know where to get a used shopping cart now.)