Category Archives: photography

It’s Spring in Oregon

Having grown up in the Midwest, I have a real appreciation for the coming of Spring. Saying goodbye to the nasty cold, snowy winters and saying hello to Robin Redbreast and the first crocuses – that sometimes popped up through the melting snow – was always a joyous celebration. I’ve lived lots of places – from cold Minneapolis to HOT Phoenix – but this spring I am truly grateful for living in Oregon.

It’s February 22, and the spring flowers are blooming, buds are on the trees, and we’ve even mowed the lawn twice already. It’s been a pretty crappy winter for you brave souls in the Midwest and East, but this winter has been the BEST in Oregon since we’ve moved in…and it’s been 6 years since we set roots here. We’ve only had one day of snow. Yes, one day. It started snowing at about 2 in the afternoon. We got about 4 inches, and by morning, it was all gone. (Of course, I probably just jinxed us.)

I got out this weekend and took a few photos of “springness.” I hope these give you a little hope that spring is on its way!

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Abandoning Photography

Back in the day, I lived in a little town called Minneapolis. It was a simpler time. Newly married, little house (not on the prairie), new kitten, no kids, and lots of good friends. Where am I going with this? Not sure – sometimes my mind just wanders.

Oh, here’s where I’m going…back in Minneapolis, I have a good friend named John who I met when I was working for a small catalog/advertising company. I was the sole female among the 7-person copywriting staff, which wasn’t a surprise since the company specializes in motorcycle parts and accessories. John was, and still is, the head photographer for the company. He shoots a tailpipe like no one else! But on the side, he photographs some amazing landscapes.

Twin Butte School - Abandoned North Dakota by John Piepkorn

Landscapes is a bit confining for what John photographs because it is much more than that. His “specialty” is shooting abandoned buildings and ghost towns in the upper Midwest, mainly Minnesota and North Dakota. His family probably finds him a bit crazy as he ventures into abandoned, dilapidated buildings to document the odd, interesting stuff people leave behind. It’s quite fascinating, somewhat voyeuristic – and very beautiful.

Left Hanging - abandoned Minnesota by John Piepkorn

After spending an inordinate amount of time looking at his gallery on Flickr, I was thrilled when John agreed to sell me some of his prints. I love the idea of having original artwork. And I love the idea of having a friend’s original art in my home.

Hudson Police Cruiser by John Piepkorn

John has had his work recognized in lots of local publications and websites like the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Top Reader Pictures from 2009 (11th photo in the slideshow) and the City of Minnetonka’s 2008 Photo Contest (honorable mention).

If anyone is interested in adding John’s photographs to their collection, you can email him: j_piepkorn65 (at) yahoo (dot) com [sorry for the cryptic email address but spamming stinks] or contact him through Flickr (if you’re a Flickr member). He’s a great guy with a great eye!

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Nature, it’s all around me – So I have to take photos!

My husband always mocks me when I break into the The Samples song, “Nature.” “Nature, it’s all around me. Nature is so astounding.” There I go again.

It all stems back to when I was a camp counselor at Aloha Hive (I know, funny name) in Fairlee, Vermont. It was the summer after my freshman year in college, and I thought maybe I should be a crunchy, hippy-kind of chick. Far cry from the preppy girl that showed up at the camp. I later figured out that “crunchy” meant disheveled and kind of dirty. I ended up not liking that so much.

But anyhoo…I do love taking photos of nature. And I do love playing with my new favorite photo editing program, Picnik.com. Here’s a few of my latest creations.

Wooly Caterpillar using the Grainy and Cross Process features on Picnik

Dragonfly using the Cross Process feature on Picnik

Butterfly using the Fancy Focus feature on Picnik

Now if only I had more wall space in my house to print and frame all my photos. Perhaps a rotating gallery is what I need. I do have a set of three photos of Paris shop fronts that I took on our trip in 2006 hanging in the dining room. Maybe I could rotate photos there. Hmm. I feel an idea emerging. I’ll keep you posted!

Maybe a rotating photo gallery in the dining room?

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Summer Carnival

I’ve had some fun lately using the online photo editing site, Picnik. I love that you can upload your photos and do cool effects without the commitment of buying a program like Photoshop.

Here’s some of the photos I’ve taken over the past couple summers – enhanced with Picnik.

Swings at the Oregon State Fair

Chicago's Navy Pier

Motorcycle Ride at the Oregon State Fair

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Awe-Inspiring Photography

Sometimes I have these moments where I realize that I am really lucky. Maybe lucky isn’t the correct word. Sheltered. No. Modernized. Yes. Boring. Kind of. Where am I going with this?
I love watching Art Wolfe’s Travels to the Edge on PBS. He goes to these amazing places and takes these amazing photographs.

Today, I caught the “Ethiopia: The Omo Valley” episode. He traveled to some of the most remote country in the entire world. The lives of the villagers that he visited are so completely non-Westernized that it was said that the people in one tribe did not even know that they lived in a country called Ethiopia. It was truly amazing to see cultures so unlike mine. So primitive. So pure. So uncluttered. Where it warrants an elaborate celebration for a successful harvest season. Where men from different villages still battle each other for the hearts of the women.
Art said that he was not there to document the cultures like many photographers or anthropologists do but rather to document the artful body painting, body adornments and ceremonies. He made mention that these tribes have no museums or galleries or even living rooms to hang art, but it is on their persons that they derive art and culture. I don’t know why this struck me as so powerful, but it did.
The cultures are truly beautiful in my eyes. It’s that they know nothing different. And, it seems, if they do know different, they choose to live the way their ancestors have for thousands of years. Incredible. Interesting. Beautiful.
If you haven’t seen Art Wolfe’s show, you should.

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