Forgive me, father, for I have sinned….

That’s kind of what it feels like, cracking open the blog after a protracted absence. “And why is that, son?”

“Uh…I’ve been writing a play?”

Yeah, mostly. The thing’s called “An Actively Unoccupied House,” and it’s a two-act ghost story that I like a lot, and I hope is both funny and spooky. We shall see.

I would address politics, but the thought of it makes me want to slam my head in a dresser drawer. The bottom one. I can’t address the culture because I’ve been AWOL while writing a play. The thing I have been doing, besides scribbling, is taking pictures. Sometimes, I think I’m actually somewhat kinda sorta decent at it, or at least it’s pleasing me. It’s also been something to do while walking the dog (Dooley, our Shetland Sheepdog).

In fact, Deb and I will sometimes pick out part of the city, leash up the dog, and go on an “expedition,” checking out neighborhoods for pictures–in my case, mostly photographing old houses and buildings. (If you have any suggestions, let me know. The period that fascinates me runs from about 1850 to 1910 in Portland. I’ve been shooting a lot on the eastside, not as much in the west, excepting Downtown and Northwest Portland.) In a broad way, I am working on a series addressing Portland’s history, but it’s rather nebulous right now.

Anyway, here’s a picture taken on one of our expeditions. People seem to enjoy when I write about a photo and present it, so I’m going to go with that for awhile. You can see my portfolio, such as it is, a flickr (see the link below).

I shot this last year, in late summer. We were either in the Sunnyside or Buckman neighborhood, I’m not quite sure where. Let’s say the borderline. It was getting on into the evening, and we were getting the pre-sundown red shift. I was facing west when I took it, where the light normally is so intense that it blows your exposure and renders the image useless due to lens flare.

Here though, I had this beautiful canopy of trees to block the sun, but not the color. Remarkably, this shot has not been hugely manipulated. If anything, it’s a little less contrasty and saturated than the original scene, so at least there’s some shadow detail. This is one of those weird moments photographers trip over, where you think: I just have to point this thing in the general direction, and I’ll have a shot. Guess what? Not so. I shot a bunch of pictures of this scene. There’s the usual contingent that came out blurry from camera shake or have a lame composition or (if it’s Portland) there’s a recycling bin visible. Some were too much house, others were too much street. This is the Goldilocks shot.

Given the oak and evergreen canopies and the many, many gorgeous Craftsman homes, I’ve taken to calling parts of the city “The Craftsman Jungle.” I’m still a sucker for Victorians, though.



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