Election Meltdowns, Road Trips and Photography Goodness

The past couple of months have been busy, emotional, difficult, motivating and inspiring. Let’s get the difficult part out of the way first. The election results were extremely difficult for me to process. I, like many folks I know, were shocked with the outcome. I had a really strong and emotional response — it was unlike anything I had ever experienced before so needless to say, I was ill prepared on how to process the reaction. I think this comic sums it up pretty well.

I knew I couldn’t hide under the covers forever so I took a day trip with Cole to the coast to clear my head and regain my composure. After I failed to find my intended trailhead for the God’s Thumb hike, which has been on my “must hike list” forever, Cole and I ended up at Roads End State Recreation Site in Lincoln City and spent the day walking the beach, taking photos and chatting with a few people we ran into along the way — mostly though we were alone and that is exactly what I needed. During my walk, I came across a heart-shaped rock which seemed like just the sign I needed amidst my sadness, fear, anger, disappointment, and frustration. When I got back home that night, I did a lot more reading about logical things I could do in light of this new incoming administration. I decided to increase my monthly charitable giving so I could add in some new organizations that I feel will be more important now than ever to support. I also decided to get more involved in local politics here in Portland in hopes to be more informed about the issues locally and nationally and can take action if and when needed. I’m looking forward to attending my first Civic Drinks event at Portland City Club in just a few weeks. If you’re in the area, maybe I’ll see you there?  

Found at Roads End State Recreation Site

On the upside, I have been lucky to attend some especially great lectures these past couple of months at Blue Sky Gallery, the Portland Art Museum, and the Multnomah Arts Center. Rich Rollins‘ presentation at Blue Sky Gallery was a breath of fresh air to how photography can be approached, what it can mean and how it can be shared with others. The stars aligned the other month when I reached out to the gallery to become a volunteer. The gallery manager had been wanting to start a networking event for local photographers through Meetup.com but didn’t have the time to get it off the ground. Lucky for her, I have a successful history of leading Meetup groups and am happy to report I organized and hosted the first Blue Sky Photography Explorers Meetup event at the gallery as well as began my monthly gallery sitting shifts there the other week. The networking event was a success: it was fun, a diverse group of photographers showed up, and it seemed to be well-received by all who attended. I’m looking forward to resuming our Meetups in the New Year, after everyone is finished with the holidays.

I’ve been regularly attending the Portland Art Museum Photography Council Brown Bag lunches since earlier this summer and was lucky to be present for Charlie Haughey’s presentation in October. After Charlie was done showing his photographs taken during the Vietnam War and opened up the presentation for questions, we (the audience) all watched as a man from the audience stood up, announced which division of the the army he served during the Vietnam War, then held up a pencil and said “and I have a pencil here with your name on it”. Charlie squinted from the stage to see who the man was and shortly thereafter, recognized the man, called him by name, obviously surprised, and then asked him to join him on stage. The audience erupted with applause as the two men reunited with a hug on stage. Charlie said they hadn’t seen each other since the war (40+ years) and it was clear he had no idea the man would be there that day. Charlie shared with us the story of how they met in the army, how Charlie asked the man for a pencil, then erased his civilian job title from the documents that were completed during his intake that he was carrying. Charlie asked the man to write in “photographer” instead (so it wasn’t in his own handwriting). When the time came in Vietnam to determine what role he would play in his unit, after a slight misrepresentation of his professional background to his commanding officer, Charlie was given the role of army photographer and hence, the wonderful images he shared with us that day. It was such a special moment to be witness to.

Who truly most inspired me so far at the brown bag series was November’s presenter, Austin Granger. His choice of words, so poetic, give me hope that it is indeed possible to beautifully meld words and images into something spectacular — just like what I hope to achieve with a project I’ve been working on the past few months, the Spaces Between Collection. You can listen to Austin’s presentation here and above and I highly recommend you do. His words are like poetry and when combined with this images take the experience to a whole new level. I also purchased his book, Elegy From the Edge of a Continent, a selection of photographs from visits to Point Reyes spanning ten years as well as a collection of his essays. If you’re looking for a great gift for a friend who enjoys photography, this would be perfect.

Cottonwood Canyon State Park

On Thanksgiving day, in light of last years misadventure, Cole and I decided to give the whole holiday road trip idea another try and drove to Cottonwood Canyon in eastern Oregon to do some hiking. If you’ve been following along my journey here for some time, you may remember that I attempted to hike this park last summer but sadly, due to a poorly timed pulled back muscle, I only got to experience the park for the time it took to setup a tent, make a sandwich and then tear down the tent once realizing that camping, let alone hiking, was not going to cooperate with my back. I’m happy to report that this years visit was successful though and Cole and I thoroughly enjoyed exploring the canyon via a trail that runs between the John Day River and the edge of one of the canyon walls. The fall colors were spectacular and the desolation of the place was exactly the sort of thing I enjoy. That alone time to just be, to take in the sound of the wind and river and the smell of the grass. To imagine all the history that comprises the area — a place that predates civilization. It was a wonderful reminder of exactly why we need to preserve places like these.

Lastly, some shameless self-promotion! I currently have three photographs on display in the Portland Photographers Forum Annual Show at the Cedar Hills Recreation Center. That show goes through December 3rd so if you’re in the area, I highly recommend you check out all the great photographs on display and for sale there. While on the subject of items for sale, I also have 2017 calendars available for purchase. If you would like to order one, please shoot me an email. With the holidays just around the corner, I also have a lot of new prints available on my website, so please be sure to check those out, they make for wonderful gifts!

My photographs available for viewing & purchase
at the Cedar Hills Recreation Center

2017 Calendars $25/each

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