Weekly Photography Challenge: Landscape

Landscape seems like a really simple subject – almost anyone would know immediately what “landscape” means. However, almost any photographer has probably got a lot to choose from, maybe thousands of images of many kinds of landscape, so choosing what to share is a problem once again!march 2011 041 (Large)

Just south of where I live, there is a view of the ancient Grampians (Gariwerd) Range in Western Victoria. On the evening on which I took this photo, the mountains were almost obscured by smoke from farmers burning stubble (a practice that has surely had it’s day).march 2012 100 (Large)

The tourist village of Hall’s Gap huddles between the ranges with their rock-piled peaks. The landscape in there is wild yet intimate, no less spectacular for the constriction of space.DSCF5112 (Large)

We like to visit this spot for it’s view of the Grampians (which are invisible from our house). The mound of earth is man-made and a challenge to scramble to the top, but well worth the effort.IMG_1278 (Large)

North of the Gramps, the landscape becomes very flat, with vast paddocks sown to crops such as this canola field. A blooming field of acid-yellow flowers is irresistible to a person with a camera, which is why we stopped on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere for me to take pictures!sept 2011 1246 (Large)

And now for something completely different, as they used to say on Monty Python – a riverine landscape with a lot of built elements, taken from a bridge over the Hoquaim River in Washington State several years ago.sept 2011 680 (Large)

On the same trip, we went to Johnson’s Ridge to see Mt St Helens, which even after she blew her top off is much, much higher than our Grampians, and the whole landscape up there is on a vast scale. I hope we get back there again before we a too old and creaky to explore some of the trails we didn’t have time for last trip!

Just Sayin’… a Travel Tale

Aberdeen (Bus) StationHis hair was still dark, as was his moustache, but his hands had that knotty, bony look that comes with age. He was small and wiry, limber, and exuded a confidence that drew my eye. He boarded the bus in Montesano, and again a few days later in Hoquaim, dressed simply in jeans and sweatshirt.

The day I saw him in Hoquaim, we were on our way back from Ocean Shores, an elongated and not very successful holiday resort on the Pacific coast. It had rained on and off (mostly on) for most of the day, and we stayed in sight of the long, windswept beach just long enough to take a few photos, before retreating to a Taffy shop for coffee. Anyway, this fellow boarded the bus in Hoquaim, and apparently the driver took a slightly different route back to Aberdeen than what he expected, and he entered into a conversation with the driver about this ‘stop’that he thought had been overlooked.I couldn’t really hear what the driver had to say, but got the impression that there was no oversight as far as he  was concerned. The traveller, however, was unconvinced, and repeated that he thought there was a mistake, ending with the words “Just sayin’.” I’d never heard the expression before, but I have since. And every time I do, I remember the man on the bus in Aberdeen, who knew more about the route than the driver.Aberdeen from Hoquaim bridge

Montesano, Aberdeen and Hoquaim are in an area of great natural beauty, with an unfortunate reputation for perpetual rain. We only passed briefly through Montesano, just long enough to note the grocery store where Buzz Osborne, of the Melvins, once worked, and where, allegedly, Kurt Cobain was introduced to Punk Rock. Hoquaim and Aberdeen were once thriving, and still boast wonderful old buildings, including the 7th Street  Theatre in Hoquaim, and the Driftwood Playhouse in Aberdeen. Like the Gold rush towns of central Victoria, the glory days were brief and spectacular, and followed by population decline, as workers moved on. The timber boom was driven, oddly enough, by the San Francisco earthquake, and subsequent fires, which created an enormous demand for timber as that city was rebuilt. It was demand that ran out, not supply.

Driftwood Playhouse, Aberdeen

Aberdeen has frequently been portrayed by ‘the media’ (in the context of discussing the life of  Kurt Cobain), as “depressed” and generally down-at-heel. Some locals also feel that it is over-run with beggars and drug users, but from what I saw, it is no worse than any other small town. Maybe unemployment levels are a little higher, which is more to do with mechanisation of the timber industry than spotted owls. Besides which, America’s social security system is hardly world’s best practice – not that Australia’s is anything to boast about either. Just sayin’…

Weekly Phoneography Challenge: Lunchtime

Apparently it’s a very adolescent thing to do., photographing your lunch.

That’s what my kids said when I showed them photos of  some of my meals in America…hot dog emp

I may never eat a hot dog at the Experience Music Project in Seattle again. Of course I took a photo!

brownie empAnd of the brownie that came next.Lunch time

Lunch time in the Seattle Center on another day – soup and sandwiches. The soup was broccoli and cheese – a method of turning a healthy vegetable into a potential heart attack – delicious. We are Australians. We didn’t eat those pickle spears.Oregon blackberries.

Lunch one day in Portland, at one of the Farmer’s markets. A punnet of blackberries…Divine Pie

and an aptly named Divine Pie, sufficient reason in itself to want to return to Portland asap!Mason Jar lunch

Next stop, Olympia. We found the Mason Jar, a quirky Diner entirely staffed by nanas, across the carpark from Safeway, and had a delicious , home-style lunch.Indian at the Farmer's market

Another day in Olympia, we went to the Farmer’s market, where the local Indian Restaurant does lunches. Heaven.

I want to live in Olympia, just to go to the Farmer’s market every day.Susie's cakes

Not exactly lunch, but Susie’s Cakes had the best pecan baklava! We went there on the way back to Aberdeen from Hoquaim, and I’m not sure which town we were in – they kind of overlap.

pizza in Ocean ShoresThe day we went to the coast – Ocean Shores – it rained in proper PNW fashion, and we took refuge in a pizza joint, more or less until the bus was due to take us back to Aberdeen. We were ravenous, and ordered far too much food. Junkyard fries

None of the other photos were phoneographs – I didn’t have a camera phone. But when my son took me to Misty’s Diner in South Melbourne for an American-style lunch, I had to get the phone out and take pictures!

That’s Junkyard fries, above. Yum.Chili

My chili. I’d already eaten quite a lot. Can you tell?milkshake

Alex finished off his lunch with a gaudy milk drink. I settled for coffee.

If you are ever in Melbourne, and really hungry, track down Misty’s Diner! You’ll be glad you did.