Tuesday, December 16, 2014

And... we're back! Later, Stupids!!!

I recently had issues with stupid Microsoft.  They made me mad, so I uninstalled Windows 8, and added Ubuntu as my current OS.  I was a little worried, as I use certain applications for photo processing, but apparenlty, the ones that are out there for Linux, work quite well.  I really wish I had given in, much sooner, at this point.

I could go on a long tangent about WHY Windows pissed me off, but I'd rather show you some pictures that I'd taken just before my hard drive died, and I didn't get a chance to process.

Currently, I am using Darktable, and Gimp.  While I really had to make a sizeable adjustment to using Gimp, I've actually been slogging along for about a year with it, after I lost Photoshop... the first time my hard drive failed.  Apparently, you can only install Photoshop so many times, before the keys no longer work.  I really, truly, hate that, but whatever.

And truth be told, I always found someone to borrow it from, but worried that I would use up THEIR keys.  Then, things got harder to work around, altogether, so I was afraid to ask anyone.  Now, they just want you to pay $10 a month.  Forever.  Uh... it seems small, but that adds up, over time, especially when you are like me, and only really use Photoshop to resize and add a watermark.  I really don't need to pay a subscription fee for that.  Formatted the way it is, and not in a local way, I also wonder about who might have access to my files, etc. 

Just... no!

I'm going to shout from the rooftops that you can, indeed, find programs out there, that will work nicely, and you won't have to worry about who can see what you are working on, either.  I know, I know... it may be fine, but it also might not.  I'm a fairly private person, and I don't like the idea of my programs coming from anywhere other than my computer, or anyone having access to what I might be doing.

Here.  Take a look at some photos we took at Pittock Mansion, before the leaves were all gone. 


Monday, November 10, 2014

City views at Pittock

I decided this view of the city needed its own post.  Council Crest used to be my favourite lookout spot.  Now?  It's got some stiff competition.  Hm...

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Mr. Hed's 40th Birthday party, at the ranch!

 There was quite a party thrown for Mr. Hed, this past weekend.  I broke out the camera at one point, but didn't get as many shots as I would have liked.  There was quite an epic fire, and fun, had by all, though.  I was pretty hopped up on antihistamines, truth be told, but when have I not broken out the camera?  It had to happen.

Whomever decided to break out the stick horses, was winning.

Mr. Hed was pretty drunken, here. 

The beautiful Isis.

Isis and Shelly played together.  This was something I had never seen Shelly do, with another dog.  They were quickly buddies, and played well together, all weekend!

Elizabeth's fire-lit profile.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The worst house I've ever seen.

I've taken pictures of this house before, but it's worse now.  I decided I'd better go out with my camera and get more pictures of it before it completely falls over.  Although... upon further examination today, I've discovered that not only is it being held up by one tree on the side, but there are more trees growing inside of it. 

Big trees. 

Had I been alone, without my cranky children, I would have switched lenses for further emphasis on this.  I'm guessing though, with this extra bit of knowledge, it may stand a bit longer, and has probably been in similar condition, for quite some time.  The tree growing inside of this house is BIG! 

Anyway, without further adieu, I give you:  The Worst House I Have Ever Seen!

If you look closely, you will see a rather sizable tree trunk, growing right through the center of this house.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Gas And Coke. Pfoyfa...

This building housed the administrative offices of Portland Gas and Coke.  This site was purchased in the 1880s.  It was up and running by 1913, and continued in this location until 1957, when natural gas arrived.    At that point, gas and coke was no more, since it was an incredibly filthy energy source.  (Honestly, I can't imagine a clean way of converting coal into gas.)  And... really, they were pretty damn sloppy.  They didn't seem to care at all about what happened with the waste they generated.  From 1913, to 1925, all of their waste was dumped directly into the Willamette.  They even separated tar from waste water, in settling ponds.  By 1956, about 30,000 cubic yards of coal tar had settled in the ponds.  These ponds were buried in 1973, by about 10 feet of fill.  There were also a few other buildings.  Those were torn down in the 1960's.

Hearing about the extensive damage this company caused, I'm just shocked.  Still.  I haven't even listed everything, because the list goes on, and on, and on, to the depths of 70 feet in the river.  It's just... really... bad.  To this day, this site is considered highly polluted, and is still a superfund site, on the Willamette.

One of these days, I'd love to gain permissions and actually enter the grounds.  Although... after being about 50 yards from the site, the smell sort of got to me.  It reeks!  I have also heard from a few people, and even actual reporters that it is just not even possible.  Many have tried, and they all get slapped on the knuckles with a ruler.

Today, there were men working at the adjacent area, and would not even let me cross the railroad tracks, saying that it was too dangerous, in case a train came along... because apparently I'm blind and deaf, and also stupid.  Whatever.  There were signs that said "No Trespassing", and I didn't really want to deal with whatever consequences could have resulted.  So... I worked around it as well as I could, within the confines I was dealt.

I did climb up onto the side of the highway to get a few shots, and may go back sometime to get a few more.  I have a feeling this would be an incredible shoot on a foggy morning.  Stay tuned.  It is a really interesting building.  It is hard to say whether or not it will remain there though.  There has been talk of clearing it out, recently, as well as talk of renovation.  (I'd be wont to avoid whatever did go in there, though.)

Ah well, let's get to the pictures, shall we?

The gates were open, but that guy sweeping was serious about my whipper-snapper status, and those railroad tracks!  I wonder what he would have done, had I just run past him and climbed up onto the roof.


There are ferns growing on this roof.

I'm not entirely sure what that is on the roof.  I'm guessing it had something to do with ventilation.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

I drive through her streets, 'cause she's my companion. I walk through her hills 'cause, she knows who I am...

So, you're kinda not feeling all that great, and you are hot, and cranky as hell.  What do you do?  Take to the hills, of course!  Oh, and don't forget that camera!

The kids and I were bored the other day, so we decided to see where the bridge at SW 12th street went.  I think, when I lived in these hills, about 12-14 years ago, I did explore this once then, too.  But I was a still kind of a kid then, and I think I was more nervous about driving my new car through there, and getting hit.  (The streets really only allow for about a single car width.)  But last year, we discovered Gleall Castle, and we have been fascinated with it, since then.  I told Ladybug to look for it, since we have been doing a bit more exploring as of late, and she spotted it, on the bluff, just to the left of the bridge we were on!

The adventure was set.  It was on!  We HAD to find that damn castle, from that side!   Without a map!  And without GPS, because GPS gets all kinds of fucked up when you are trying to find things in the hills.  Lord... I could write quite a story about that, and may, some day.

Last summer, when we did this, I went up SW Broadway, and took a very confusing, and also quite narrow series of switchbacks up to the castle.  It was still semi-intimidating, because the streets are very narrow, and very curvy, and some people do drive fast on them. 

I also learned the hard way, not to take Broadway back down.  They (sort of) have a system for that particular intersection, but it is still a bit daunting if you aren't used to it, and you have to really pay attention to two mirrors, as well as a flashing light, to get out safely.  Conversely, there are also lights that flash for oncoming traffic, when a car is waiting to turn onto Broadway from there, but my experience has been that no one pays any attention to those flashing lights, so... well?  You really have to.  It is up to you to watch both mirrors, and that damn light, simultaneously.  I'm guessing this is probably a lot like what Amelia Earhart went through, and why she was never, ever found.  There are some wackadoo intersections in Portland, but I think this may be the absolute worst one I have ever seen.  I wish I had thought to get a photo of it.  It really must be seen, to be believed, and it probably also might need to be staged properly, so you can understand the full wonder of it.

Good times... I digress.

Anyway, the first time we tried to find the castle from the bridge, it was a fail.  Why?  Because I was convinced that the castle was still up hill from a particularly narrow crest on SW Rivington.  This crest... oy!  If you fail to hit it right, your car could very well get hung up on it by the undercarriage.  It really is that steep, and that narrow.   I just did not believe the castle was on the other side, and so I took Myrtle.  Sadly, that just looped around stupidly.

We decided to just consult a map, later, and discovered that yes, indeed, you must stay on Rivington the entire time, and it just becomes Buckingham, where Gleall is located. 

So, about a week later, we set out again!  Lo, and behold!  Success!

I also noticed a few very cool vistas that I hadn't, before, because I was so intent on finding that goddamned castle, and staying safe on those wacked-out streets.

Anyway, today, I felt like exploring even more, and while at first, I thought the photography portion of this trip would be a bust, (it was really crowded up there, and I could not find a good place to park,) I decided to loop around and see where the roads took me.

Turns out, the connectivity on the hill is pretty glorious.  I found my way to SW Vista, and then back down Montgomery Dr.  And then I tried again.  I just parked in one spot, and we walked all over the place.  Found lots of neat things to photograph, and not everything ended up being vista-related.

Well, without further hyperbole on my little hill adventures, here are some photos!

Fremont Bridge

Broadway Bridge

Tilikum Bridge

As I walked through here, the sun hit the blackberries, and it was just intoxicating.  I wasn't sure if they were sprayed though, so I didn't eat any.  Sigh...

Damn, Spider!

Sumac trees.