Good Morning Ted and Jody:
Today is Halloween and I should be writing to you about that, which presupposes you have overlooked stocking up on candy for the marauding hoard of disguised extortionists living in your neighborhood. However, Halloween here is a complete bust. Nery a recalcitrant elementary school delinquent nor toddler being taught to extort by doting pirates of parents to pound on our door and demand booty. As you know from the layout here, we are 300 feet down a dark and pot hole laced drive with brush on either side, no lights—not even inviting for the most courageous villains. So, I buy only the candy I can consume in a year and proceed to do that in a day or so.
No, what I want to write about today is Saturday, October 29, 2016. It was the day right after the day that was supped to be the only day with no rain in October-Friday, October 28, 2016. Unfortunately the 28th did not come through as dry as predicted with 0.04 inches of rain gracing us. The 29th was to see the incursion gallons of rain (no mere inches). But, the sun came out and someone or something put a cork in it—no rain all day, the entire day, none. However, the frontal clouds maintained a steady presence and enticed me to sally forth with camera (OK, cell phone) in hand. Never mind I had fallen and bruised up myself a few days before and could barely walk. Never mind that my normal aches and pains were giving the new and I hope temporary ones a run for their money. Never mind I was ingesting ibuprofen at a rate to send the manufacturer’s stock through the roof. There were cloud formations hanging over bodies of water, and landscapes to be captured and immortalized on a digital sensor. I was off.
The first stop is at the head of my drive, a whole 300 feet from the garage. There I can pick up the newspaper (except on Monday, when there is never enough news for them to justify an edition since everyone had Sunday off, including the newspaper folks) and the mail. That stop also affords a landscape with trees and a field in a southeasterly direction, or junk cars in a north-easterly direction (that neighbor, I am convinced is filthy rich and moved into a rundown house and strategically places junk cars around to give the impression of dank poverty so no one will realize he is really ripe for a home invasion and art theft running in the millions, but we will keep these suspicions to ourselves). So, I shoot primarily to the southeast unless I shoot high cutting out the ground clutter hoping that someday I will find a suitable cloudless scenic view I can “photographically” paste under those beautiful clouds. I could stay there all day, as he clouds continually change (my mother used to ask me if I had ants in my pants as I couldn’t stay in one place for very long. I suspect the clouds have ants in their pants, but I can’t see the pants). However, staying there limits me to shooting in only one direction. For to the west is a forest so thick one can’t see the trees which must be tall because the ones on the edge reach all the way up to the sky blocking my view of anything. So I move on to greener pastures (a lake, actually).
Several hundred feet west of where our road intersects WA 504, and about a quarter of a mile from our drive, the road crosses a section of wetlands on either side. The wetlands are, technically part of Silver Lake. There are guard rails on both sides for about 50 feet. At the west end of the guard rails on the west bound side there is a place where I can pull off the road and tuck the car into a space about as big as a parallel parking slot in town. I say about, for on the passenger side, anyone getting out will get wet. On the driver’s side, all but the mirror and door handles are clearly off the road (over the line so to speak). This spot is at the end of a curve, so it is a bit dicey getting out. However, if one rolls down the window and listens, and one has one’s hearing aids in, one can hear any oncoming cars and thus time one’s egress from one’s vehicle appropriately and not lose a door, arm or leg.
Now it is at this point that I regret not having put on my yellow safety vest at the head of the drive when I was well out of traffic. But, I didn’t. I never do. I am not that smart when I have photographing cloud fever (which I always have when there is the front edge of a weather front moving through). However, I am smart enough not to take it off until I am back at home or stop for lunch or otherwise doing “not photographic things”. The vest is Nancy’s idea. She feels a lot better about my getting hit by a car, log truck or kid on a bicycle when I wear it. Somehow, getting hit is less my fault if I wear it. From my point of view, it gives drivers something bright at which to aim. However, in the broad scope of battles to attempt to win and those not worth fighting, I wear the vest. (I’ll let you know when I find a battle worth attempting to win.)
As with all sites with a scene worth shooting, it is on the other side of the road. So, I had to cross the road. Unlike the site, we pulled over the morning you with me, Ted, and we stopped at a place similar a mile or so west of this site. So, I took the shot and then moved to my second stop.
The second stop is by the RV Park which owns the pier and building on the end of the peer that is in so many of the photos I take of the lake. Fortunately, they have removed the commercial sign they had in the lake selling floats. Again, I cross the road to take the shot. However, I still have my bright yellow target jacket on. From there I drive about a half mile to near where we stopped, but on the other side of the road from where we stopped. Here I get a broader length of the lake and the dock and building are in the left side of photos I take from this spot, if they are in it at all.
The third stop is at the boat landing a mile or so around the lake. Here I can walk out on the dock and do not have to cross a street. It is all parking lot and dock. Usually the boats being put in and hauled out of the water are pulled by vehicle driving less than a mile an hour. However, pedestrians are far from the concerns of their drivers at this point. So while lower, there is still vehicular risk (then too a speed boat could decide to imitate a James Bond or Police Academy shot and try to attack from the water). I took the shot.
The fourth stop was past the visitor center on WA 504 about 5 miles west of I-5, There is a wide shoulder on the north side of the road where I stop. Often I see log truck and vehicles pulling trailers off on this wide shoulder messing with the equipment. I have often suspected they use that stop to take a quick photo or drink. The lake is on the south side of the road—a guardrail land two feet delineate the road and lake at this point. So I cross the road, still wearing my yellow target vest, and lean against the guardrail to take the shot. In the past I have gone over the guardrail and stand on the two feet where cars are less likely to get me. However, since my fall last week, I eschew that maneuver and just stand as close to the guard rail as I can. I took the shot and waited for a few dozen cars to go past before getting back to the car.
The fifth stop was at Lion’s Park on the south edge of Castle Rock on the business loop through town (it should be labeled “antiques and odd stuff loop.”) There is a pull off, drive actually, through the park with facilities. I was in no immediate danger of traffic while I took that shot.
After a break for lunch with Nancy and picking up some fuel, I went to my fifth and sixth stops across the Columbia River by the Lewis and Clark Bridge and a mile or so west on US30 in the Oregon Bluffs (my name for those foot hills on the Oregon side of the Columbia) which were view points on US30. These are at five to seven hundred feet above sea level and provide vista shots. Off the road and protected by a wall from falling, I took my shots and went home exhausted.
All of this was occasioned by the sight of well-defined and glorious clouds in the sky when I left the house some sixr hours earlier; for, you, see, I can’t take just one shot and have to walk around and see if I can get a better one at each stop. I am not what you would call a fast walker,
Warmest regards, Ed
PS. It is raining, so Halloween is going to be a WETTER washout this year than normal so I had better get started on my annual consumption of all that candy—a dirty job, but someone must do it.