Memorial Weekend Road Trip

Okay, I finally got together some photos from my weekend. Some of these are snapshot quality, which I try to avoid in my blog, but I’ll get over it.

Early Friday morning, my friend Katrina and I headed south. This is just a typical Oregon scene.

I think Katrina actually took this one while I drove. This is how it looked over the pass. The roads were fine, though, thankfully.

I had to show a photo of Katrina to prove she was with me. 🙂 This is when we stopped for lunch at a Subway in Weed, CA. There was some snow on the ground here, which was also surprising.

Rainbowy semis.

We arrived in Yuba City around 2:30 and went our separate ways. I was so tired that I was very lazy at my parents’ house that night.

For dinner, my dad nicely cut the corn off the cob. He does it because I’m whiny about eating corn on the cob (too messy!), but I think he and my mom probably enjoy it off the cob too. 🙂 Come on, admit it.

Sorry if raw meat bothers you. I had specifically requested these steaks that my dad used to buy at Costco–they are all twirled up with stuff inside. But I didn’t realize my dad no longer has a Costco membership, so he made them himself! I just thought the fresh/uncooked version might be interesting to see.

And here they are cooked up. Deeeeeeeelicious.

Saturday morning. After asking my dad about whether he had purchased any new koi recently, he suggested we check out a koi farm about 30 minutes away (outside of Lincoln). These are all the pools with koi of various prices.

The man who owns the farm (a very nice and friendly guy who obviously loves koi) would scoop out our selections and other suggestions so we could examine them more closely before choosing what to buy. We bought two of these fish–the solid white one at the top we named Dovey. At the bottom there we bought that small yellow-headed one next to the larger orange one. I loved him so much! I named him Billy Idol. Aren’t all the fish so pretty? It’s especially apparent when you’re just focused on them in this blue bowl. Some have glittery backs and others almost look fake they’re so perfect and healthy.

We also bought two others–Creamsicle and Mexico–from a different pool, and I have a photo of at least one of them later on.

The scene near the koi farm.

After picking out fish, we went to lunch at Cilantro’s. I had the chicken sopaipilla. SO GOOD.

I like to go around taking photos of my parents’ yard, since they often have various flowers blooming.

One of their dogs, Rocky, likes to think this grass was planted specifically for him.

There were lots of hummingbirds.

Sorry for some of these repeats from the Instagram post!

There are lots of pond pictures because I was trying different times of day and angles. It’s very hard to photograph into water when you’re outside!

No, that’s not koi! It’s salmon, squash and more of that pinwheel steak. This was Saturday’s dinner.

You can feed koi several times per day in the summer.

Sometimes the birds use the pond for a bath.

This was a pretty shade of dragonfly!

Here’s one of the new fish, Mexico.

He’s the only one in the pond with blue on him (I think).

No, that’s not koi! It’s pork, green beans and cauliflower (my dad grilled it.. it was good!).

The jasmine smelled soooooooooooooooo good.

Thanks for looking through these! 🙂 Happy June!

Photo mix

Here are a few photos from the past month that I meant to post. This was a deer I saw at my place when I was really looking for beavers.

The next few are from work.

I’m a little obsessed with getting a good fern spiral photo. I think I’ll have to go to some old forest to find some really good ones.

I’m not usually into tilted photos, but I ended up liking this anyway.

Of course I had to use the rental camera on some hummingbirds.

A tad grainy, but that’s cropped down and the ISO is at 2500. It’s so nice being able to crank up the ISO!

Last hummingbird photo!

Switching gears (it always seems a little weird to mix nature and food photos, but I’m doing it anyway), here’s a crock pot dish I made the other day. It was fine and has potential, but there were various factors that hindered my enjoyment of it, most of them psychological (I was afraid I had left it out too long, that the salsa was too old, etc.). It’s a Thai peanut chicken dish, but I would like to try it again before I link you to the recipe.

And here were the Orange Creamsicle Cookies that I made for a couple of departments at work. I thought they were really good with a little tweaking. I added more orange zest, less white chocolate, and I let the dough hang out in the fridge for several hours so the flavors could marinate a bit. (Marie, I got this tip from that chocolate chip recipe you posted, which I still have yet to try.) Try them! They’d go well with tea. I wish I could make some right now.

Enjoy your week, everyone! Thanks for looking.

Project 52 (40) + Oregon Garden

I know that this is a poor photo, technically speaking, but it seemed like the best representation of “everyday life” that I had this week. Especially for kids this time of year. It all happened so fast that I had no time to adjust my camera’s settings (and then the frog jumped out of the girl’s hand), so there you go.

That was taken at the Oregon Garden yesterday, so I’ll put the rest of my photos in this same post.

This is the only photo I took of flowers. It was an unusual visit. I had a weird day, and due to the weather, many animals were out that I usually wouldn’t see, so I ended up just taking creature photos and not bothering with the rest.

(If you don’t like snake pictures, you’ll want to just skip this post.)

Another bad photo (sorry, but it’s true!), but I wanted to remember this silly koi in the pond. It kept going around the edge and sucking at the rocks. I’ve never seen my parents’ koi do this. You could even hear the sucking noises from across the water. It’s a plecostomus in training, I guess.

At first I couldn’t see any frogs, but there were several tadpoles/pollywogs/whatevers.

After missing a photo op of a heron catching a frog, I was feeling grouchy at myself for not being prepared and sulkily walked back behind the pond where I found not one but two garter snakes hanging out in the sun. That sort of made up for my heron miss.

Then there was this woodpecker.

Later I saw a/the heron again. This time I was determined to get a picture of it catching a fish or frog, but gave up my resolve after standing there for like ever while it basically stood motionless.

I should note that the animals at the garden must be extremely used to humans, because I’ve never been this close to a heron. Instead of being skittish when someone walked nearby, it was like he thrived on the attention. For that reason, these photos seem kind of cheaty and less rewarding, like I was at a zoo.

There were plenty of red-wing blackbirds out.

Finally I started noticing the frogs. It’s one of those situations where once you see one of them, you better know what to look for and you see several that have been out all along.

I’m sure I’ll be going back soon to take photos of the actual garden areas. By the way, did you know there is a resort at the Oregon Garden? (Too bad about their website, though. :P) I learned only a couple of months ago, though I think it’s been around for at least a couple of years. It looks nice (I had to go to the front desk to get some passes). I wouldn’t mind staying there, even though Silverton is only half an hour from me.

Unrelated: last night I dreamed that I saw two pink and purple hummingbirds (I’m sure they exist, but not in Oregon). I kept trying to get photos but then would notice my camera was off, or it was backwards (?), or I couldn’t focus. Typical photography dream. But eventually I did get a couple of photos. I only wish I could show you!

More Deepwood

Yes, I still have more photos to show you. Sometimes I feel I lack blog material, and other times I have way more ideas than energy or interest in posting them.

Not a fantastic photo, but I love when I can catch the shiny coloring of the male hummingbirds. They have to turn their heads just right.

Mom, these are especially for you. These are the same birds that were eating from your hummingbird feeders, and now I know why! They also eat from the same flowers as the hummingbirds.

Oh hey, Robin. I only took a photo of him because it was so easy. Robins are kind of like Mallards–I feel bad about finding them mundane, and I end up taking pictures because they’re so willing to pose.

Okay get ready for several of these. I kept this one because it’s kind of funny.

I didn’t want them to go to waste. 🙂

Bees like these flowers too.

Here’s a closeup of the last photo. Hi, little girl!

Ookay, I have one more installment that’ll go up later this week. If you’re sick of hummingbirds, the good news is that it’ll just be flowers (as far as I can remember). 🙂

Project 52 (39) + a little about my week

On Easter evening, I went out in hopes of seeing some beavers, but just saw a bunch of salamanders instead. There are lots of them at the edge of the lake. For some reason, I don’t think I’d ever seen a salamander until a year or two ago. I’m sure they are in California, but I don’t remember seeing any growing up. We were more likely to find pollywogs and crawdads.

For funzies, here’s a bit about how the rest of my week went.

I took Monday off work (I really think it should be a holiday anyway), and used part of the time to go back to Deepwood Estate and try out one of the work cameras/lenses. I have become so used to bringing my own [Canon] camera for work purposes that I feel like I’m re-learning Nikon. It’s worth it, though, because we now have some equipment that’s better than mine (even if it is Nikon ;)). It’s fun to use some fancier stuff, and I’m hoping to take it out for practice regularly over the next several months.

I was happy that a male hummingbird was flying around and showing his nice coloring, but I wasn’t super happy with my resulting images. I need some practice with that heavy lens.

Tuesday, I went out to do some practice shots for a work photo session I had the following day. Hollie helped me out with light tests, because she’s very cooperative about stuff like that.  (NOTE: I’m really looking forward to doing another portrait session with her soon–we’ll take advantage of her old prom dresses!)

It was such a nice day, that on our way down the path we saw this little guy sunning himself. Hollie was not thrilled, but I count it a lucky day when I manage to get a snake photo at work. I think that’s only happened about 4 times in the past 6.5 years of working there. Someday I’ll actually get a decent photo.

Friday morning, I had a creepy dream and woke up early, so I headed back out to see if there were any beavers. Typically I watch beavers from my deck, but I’m more determined to get a photo of them up close. My ultimate goal is a good photo while they’re fully out of the water.

I did end up seeing three beavers swimming around, and even getting slightly up on shore, but the photos aren’t so hot. I love my camera (although, yes, I’d like to upgrade), but I’m not exactly set up to photograph distant moving objects in a darkish setting (R, you might be able to relate ;)). I’m going to use the work camera and try again soon. Fingers crossed!

Every spring I get the renewed urge to travel. I took a month-long road trip around the US when I was 19, and so often I wish I could repeat it now that I’m into photography. Back then we just had a few film point-and-shoots. My daydream is to travel around taking tons of pictures, blogging regularly, and also stopping to see friends around the country to do portraits of them. I have several friends all over, due to moving, friends moving, online interaction, and college. It would be so fun. How can I make that happen?

Well, this is probably the most I’ve typed here in awhile. How are you? What are your traveling daydreams? (PS I also want to travel more outside of the US, but that’s another post.)

Deepwood Estate: Hummingbirds

The other day I decided to go out and take pictures at Deepwood Estate (here in Salem, OR) and I was really excited to finally get some hummingbird photos where they are not eating from a plastic feeder. 🙂 Sorry for so many similar pictures, but I couldn’t seem to narrow them down any farther.


I also took some other bird and flower photos that I’ll be posting in the next few days. Have a great week!

Just Thursday

I am thankful for things, but this post will just be pictures. Like this one of a bunch of geese flying around.

Then there’s this vulture flying around.

He’s still flying.

Here are some flowers that are just staying on the ground.

It rained a tad.

I have some cute baby bird photos, but they’ll be on my Project 52 post this weekend. You can hang out on the edge of your seat for those.

Birds and snow

Here’s part two of my snow photos. Most of these aren’t really about the snow except that when the sun came out the day after it had snowed all day, it brought with it lots of birds and activity. It was so fun to take half an hour outside to enjoy them.

How adorable is it to see duck and bird tracks in the snow?!

This photo is here mostly for my amusement.

This was pretty exciting. Remember how these Violet-Green Swallows circle the lake, but it’s hard to catch them actually perching. Well, there was a branch extended over the water, and they kept resting there in my perfect view for lots of photos. I love these birds!

Unfortunately this little guy seemed hurt. 😦 He kept jumping and flying a few feet only to land again. He was on the other side of the fence. I made up a story, to console myself, where someone found him and took him in until he heals and then flies free again. 😀 Let’s pretend that’s what happened.

LOVE the little buggy eyes of the one on the right.

Just a funny catch that I thought I’d include.

This couple was quacking up a storm, suddenly, and then flew off frantically as another one was landing. Must’ve been a bully.

I’m hoping to do another redesign soon. I’ve been kind of sick this weekend and haven’t felt like working on it. Anyway, have a great week! I think I need some caffeine now.

Some ducks

I thought I’d post a few photos from the past week or so. It’s been very ducky out in the lake!

For instance, there are many wood ducks, and they’re even swimming closer and not as skittish as usual! So I’ve gotten some decent shots.

Married ducks.

Talking duck.

A couple of Common Mergansers in front of wood ducks.

I even saw this female Hooded Merganser the other day! That’s only the second time I’ve seen this type. I’ve never seen them put their hood up, though. (Sorry that photo is horrid.)

Don’t forget about the mallards! Actually, last week I saw two males that were somehow attached.. I don’t know if there was a string, or what, but they couldn’t swim farther than about one foot apart. It was sad. These are NOT those ducks, but at first I thought maybe they were.

A ring-necked duck that came nice and close for me.

Also, the violet-green swallows are back. They rarely perch, and you have to be quick to catch them. Later I’ll get closer photos.

The cormorants still hang out on this tree. One or two of them at a time.

And even though it snowed (!) again yesterday, spring is coming.

And I still cook things, and sometimes take food photos. This was a hot bean dip that I got from Kathy’s blog. I made a half-batch and used it as a burrito filling and sometimes on rice (it lasted several meals, obviously!). It was delish! Though I forgot the olives.

Then I baked some snickerdoodles.
Have you made any delicious recipes lately? Seen any interesting birds? Those two topics go together so well.. maybe if you made a duck dish, it would be perfect. (And kind of sad.. don’t cook wood ducks. :()

Mom’s visit

My mom visited me this weekend, and I was just telling her how today has been very satisfying in a Simple Pleasures sort of way.

After church we visited the nearby wildlife refuge and saw some funny American Coots and various other birds.

Then we came home and watched the second half of my favorite movie, Pride and Prejudice, with the heater going and pillows and blankets on the couch. It was very lazy and relaxing. Oh and we ate Girl Scout cookies. 🙂

After the movie we saw wood ducks swimming around and eventually saw two young deer behind my place.

Finally, we cooked a lobster dinner! I had purchased two lobster tails on a great sale, and I had never made them before. We read some instructions and worked together to figure them out. I made some rice pilaf and zucchini to go with them, and I finally opened the bottle of grape juice my dad bought me at the Spruce Goose museum.

I need to post wedding photos (and NM trip photos!), and I will soon. I’m about halfway through them, making basic edits and narrowing them down. It’s a process. I just figured I’d stop in with a few quick photos from the day since I haven’t blogged in awhile.

This mallard was jealous of all the photos I was taking of wood ducks and deer, so I thought I’d give him a little recognition. They may be common, but they’re still pretty!

Have a wonderful week. 🙂 I think Mom and I are going to watch my butterfly documentary now. It’s been a DVD-y weekend for me!