If you are wondering what you’re looking at in my photo collection. You’ve come to the right place.

Fallen Lantern – Skunk Cabbage, also known by its poetic name Swamp Lantern, blooms a bright yellow spathe in March. This attracts insects for pollination and sometimes bears. (if you’re unlucky enough to run into a particularly hungry one). If you are inside the dark canopy of a temperate rain forest and you come across a swampy area, created by slow moving or backed up water from a stream, you can see them dot the landscape, giving the forest a bit of a science fiction feel. This spadix and spathe had been uprooted, most likely by a human intruder (like me) and laid gently upon some very happy, wet, and sunny moss.

Earthscape – I took this photo with my camera upside down of one of the pools  located at the Oregon Garden. The sky is the reflection and the reflection is actually the sky. You can tell the difference between the plant life that’s underwater  or reflections (on top) and the non-reflected plant life if you look closely.

Game of Thrones – When Mt. Saint Helens blew on May 18, 1980, tall firs who had stood for hundreds of years were snapped off like toothpicks, leaving trunks with the mark of being torn instead of rotted or felled by logging. This stump is in direct line of sight of the the volcano. Behind it and below sits placid Spirit Lake, who holds the remaining skeleton of this once king tree along with others who once ruled the forest.

Grendel – A victim of the 2003 forest fire which engulfed Santiam Pass in Oregon State. This tree only had its outer bark burnt. I am guessing the marks which make up the facial features are burnt sap.

Soft Fluorescence – This photo was taken 100 yards from the ocean. There are a few springs so close to the Pacific Ocean that the water coming from them doesn’t ever reach a river and falls in miniature waterfalls to the beach or directly into the ocean. To avoid erosion, pipes and gutters guide the trickle of water over the soft soil sitting on top of hard, ancient volcanic rock.  On a small footbridge, placed over a gutter, on a site that had massive erosion and was recently fixed, I held my camera underneath the bridge. What I came up with was an upside-down view of the gutter, the sun on the bottom and the trickle of water of the top. What I like about is the plants look as if they are growing towards the water and not the sun.

Forest Rash – The Pacific Northwest is a rainy place. Perhaps, not as rainy as some people think, but nevertheless it can rain a bit. To see this rain in its beauty, I travel to the Columbia River Gorge, where the rain clouds bump into the Cascades, spilling what they have left over from making it over the Coast Range Mountains. However, this is not rain you’re looking at. Well, it is and it isn’t.  During a stretch of rain, streams and rivers swell. Once dry streambeds become alive, so alive that they intrude upon highways and in this case a trail. What you’re seeing is me standing underneath a rock formation while an impromptu waterfall decides to make its home on the Eagle Creek trail. I am looking out over the valley. Below, Eagle Creek rushes with wildness, a few miles before melding with the deceiving slow moving Columbia River.

Vulnerability – This is a photo of the inside of a tree that has had its insides burnt out. All that remains is its charred bark. All of the trees in this condition, left from a forest fire in 2003,  have cracks in them, where the sun, blazing on a warm day, make searing cuts into the little cavern of colors found inside.

Reincarnation – In 2003, the Santiam Pass in the Cascade Mountains experienced a large forest fire. Hiking along the Pacific Crest Trail either north or south of Highway 20 places you inside a forest in the midst of regrowth. With tall bear grass and wild lilac spreading under the ghosts of giant, burnt deciduous trees make the scene otherworldly. What you see here is a burnt tree on the ground lying in an endless meadow of flowers and ferns, while other tree victims stick out like headstones.

Life Form – In late summer, the Lewis River has lost a lot of its volume. In parts, you can walk across it upon boulders. Some of the falls, such as Middle Falls, flow over large boulders and formations.  One can walk right up and stand next to the the top of the waterfall with about an inch of water underneath your shoes. This photo is a close up of underwater moss that sit right at where the water starts to fall over Middle Falls. Along with a few leaves and other forest debris. It truly is a life form that has been able to grow with plenty of water and sunshine (reflected off the water on the right hand side of the photo)

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