July 30, 2017 Bend, Oregon

Balloons Over Bend
Balloons Over Bend

Balloons Over Bend Festival

Until I saw them coming my way during my daily walk around the hospital loop road, I was unaware that this weekend Bend was celebrating it’s annual Balloons Over Bend Hot Air Balloon Festival. Since recovering my energy several weeks ago, I make it a habit to walk the roughly one mile long perimeter loop road of the St. Charles Hospital every morning before the traffic rolls in, so I am out there around 6 or 7AM daily … and that, of course, just happens to be the same time that balloonists favor for their flights.

Balloons Over Bend
Balloons Over Bend

This morning, as I was just approaching home, I watched as the pilot of this balloon carefully set down on the paved parking lot amongst several tall street lamps, just across from where I am camped on the hospital’s loop road. As I walked by, the chase team arrived and as they were hauling out the protective tarp to collapse the balloon on, I hurried the short distance to the motorhome to grab my camera for some shots and managed to get this one of the balloon just as it was being deflated.

Balloons Over Bend
Balloons Over Bend

A little later, another balloon came along the same route, but this one continued on across the hospital campus to the north.

Balloons Over Bend
Balloons Over Bend

Two more balloons show up after coming over the top of Pilot Butte.

Balloons Over Bend
Balloons Over Bend

As you can see from the image above, the hospital camping area had a front row seat for the show this particular morning. Note the non-interested spectator ( Sam ) in the motorhome, keeping an eye on Dad, not terribly interested in the balloon activity.

Balloons Over Bend
Balloons Over Bend

 

Another Way to View Balloons Over Bend
Another Way to View Balloons Over Bend

There were others getting a very close, and I imagine, a very interesting perspective on the activities.

Balloons Over Bend
Balloons Over Bend

 

Balloons Over Bend
Balloons Over Bend

 

Balloons Over Bend
Balloons Over Bend

 

Balloons Over Bend
Balloons Over Bend

Another Completed Acrylic Painting

"Maine Harbor Reflections" 18'" x 18" Acrylic
“Maine Harbor Reflections” 18′” x 18″ Acrylic

This makes three completed paintings since I have been waiting out my treatment schedule. Learning a little bit more about these acrylic paints with each completed painting and may eventually get the hang of how to use them.

Nothing much new to report on the health front. Chemo continues and results are all going in the right direction. My oncologist has set up a referral for me to go to Portland and meet with the specialists who will do the transplant procedure ( if that is the way they recommend going ) sometime in the next week or so. He also wants their input on perhaps truncating my chemo regiment since I have had such a rapid positive response so far. This means I may get this over with a little sooner than originally expected.

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July 20, 2017 Bend, Oregon

Denali Caribou Acrylic on Canvas 18" x 24"
Denali Caribou Acrylic on Canvas 18″ x 24″

New Acrylic Painting

I managed to complete a second acrylic painting this week and am sort of pleased with the result, although there still is a lot of room for improvement. Spent the better part of week painting and repainting the foreground and finally left this version since I want to move on to another subject. If interested, you can right click on the image and see a larger version of the painting.

When I was doing watercolors several years ago, I always struggled with foregrounds and I guess that will not be changing now with acrylics. The one obvious advantage of working with acrylics rather than watercolor is that you can paint over your mistakes and try again, not so with watercolor. This scene is a composite of two photos I took in Denali National Park two summers ago. The caribou, the most magnificent specimen I have ever seen, I encountered on the road into the Teklanika Campground where I was camping. The mountain in the background, of course, is Mount McKinley, as viewed from the park road halfway into the Park.

I may well redo the foreground for the about the tenth time at some point in the future when I have a better handle on exactly how to handle these ( new to me ) acrylic paints, but for now, I will call this done and move on to my next painting, a couple of Great Egrets in breeding colors, involved in an aerial territorial dispute.

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July 10, 2017, Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

Crater Lake National Park
Crater Lake National Park

I had been waiting quite a while to revisit Crater Lake National Park here in Oregon, located about 100 miles south of Bend, where I am currently staying. First visited way back in 1993 on a month long excursion up the west coast, I had been wanting to return since the loop road around the lake had been closed due to snow on my first trip up there.

What's Left of 548 Inches of Snow
What’s Left of 548 Inches of Snow

So, sitting here in the Saint Charles Hospital camping area, I have been online checking the road conditions in the park for the past two months, waiting for the all clear before doing the 200 mile round trip. The park’s website said that the north entrance road would finally be open around the 6th of July, so I waited until the Monday after the holiday week to make the trip.

I read somewhere that the park received more than 548 inches of snow this winter, a little more than normal, thus the later than usual opening of the north entrance road, the south entrance, I believe, is always kept open.

Crater Lake National Park
Crater Lake National Park

The loop road was still partially closed, only 9 miles on the northern end of the lake was open to traffic. If planning a trip here this summer, or actually anytime in the next three years, be aware that there are some pretty long construction delays you will encounter due to heavy road work scheduled over that period.

Crater Lake National Park
Crater Lake National Park
Crater Lake National Park
Crater Lake National Park

The lake has some of the purest water found anywhere, being fed entirely by rain and snowfall only, no rivers or streams enter the lake.

Crater Lake, That's Water, Not Sky Behind the Rocks
Crater Lake, That’s Water, Not Sky Behind the Rocks

You pretty much have to see it to believe it, the blue of the water is something to behold, due to water clarity and extreme depths, this is also the deepest lake in North America. The shot above is taken looking down on that rock formation and that is the lake in the background, not the sky. I have experienced nothing but blue sky days like this every day for the past six weeks, no clouds, no rain, just sun and blue skies every day. Boring, but beautiful.

Crater Lake National Park
Crater Lake National Park
Pollen Patterns, Crater Lake National Park
Pollen Patterns, Crater Lake National Park
Pollen Patterns, Crater Lake National Park
Pollen Patterns, Crater Lake National Park

Surrounded by coniferous forests, the surface of the lake today was just covered by pollen in places along the north shore.

Nothing new to report on the health front, now in my third four week round  of chemo and still suffering no side affects with weekly test results still running very positive, leaving me more optimistic about the future every week. Keeping my fingers crossed!

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July 5, 2017 Bend, Oregon

 

Bend Fireworks Display
Bend Fireworks Display

Happy 4th of July

Saint Charles Hospital Camping Area
Saint Charles Hospital Camping Area

The shot above is of the small, eleven site camping area on the Saint Charles Hospital Loop Road where I have been camped for a month and a half now. In the background is Pilot Butte, and it just so happens that the city of Bend launches it’s 4th of July fireworks program from the top of the butte.

Lucky me !

Bend Fireworks Display
Bend Fireworks Display

This was the first fireworks display I remember viewing since way, way back in my working days where we did a nice program at the resort I managed.

Bend Fireworks Display
Bend Fireworks Display

As a result, this also was the first time I have ever attempted to photograph fireworks, and there are some unique challenges.

Bend Fireworks Display
Bend Fireworks Display
Bend Fireworks Display
Bend Fireworks Display

My main problem was that the action was just too darn fast and furious. Being new to this, I wanted to be able to check the monitor on the back of the camera to see how I was doing with my settings, but the fireworks just kept on firing every few seconds for the short duration of the show, so I had to just keep shooting and hope.

Bend Fireworks Display
Bend Fireworks Display
Bend Fireworks Display
Bend Fireworks Display

The other thing was that I had nothing but my neighbor’s trailer to include in the shot to provide some sense of place, just nothing of interest for a foreground.

Bend Fireworks Display
Bend Fireworks Display
Bend Fireworks Display
Bend Fireworks Display

And, of course, the very bright lighting over the camping area, reflected off the bright white sides of the neighbor’s truck and trailer also created problems.

Bend Fireworks Display
Bend Fireworks Display
Bend Fireworks Display
Bend Fireworks Display
Bend Fireworks Display
Bend Fireworks Display

But it certainly was an interesting first attempt and now I guess I’ll have to look for, and then manage to stay awake, for some more fireworks displays when I hit the road again.

Bend Fireworks Display
Bend Fireworks Display
Bend Fireworks Display
Bend Fireworks Display
Bend Fireworks Display
Bend Fireworks Display
Bend Fireworks Display
Bend Fireworks Display
Bend Fireworks Display
Bend Fireworks Display
Bend Fireworks Display
Bend Fireworks Display
Bend Fireworks Display
Bend Fireworks Display
Bend Fireworks Display
Bend Fireworks Display
Bend Fireworks Display
Bend Fireworks Display
Bend Fireworks Display
Bend Fireworks Display
Bend Fireworks Display
Bend Fireworks Display

Nothing new to report on the myeloma front, having just completed round two of chemo, with this being my week off from treatments before starting round three. Feeling good with no side effects from the chemo, energy is back and I have resumed exercising, well actually just walking the hospital loop a couple times a day, roughly two miles a day. Working on a couple of new acrylic paintings and trying to stay cool inside since it has been in the 90’s now for a week or so.

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