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Winter poetry in rime

December 15, 2011

Thick rime hangs from a pair of oak acorns in the foothills west of The Dalles, Oregon. Mark B. Gibson photo

Rime, n. White frost; hoarfrost, congealed dew or vapor. Webster’s Dictionary, 1950

For over a week now, broad reaches of the eastern side of the Cascade Mountains in Oregon and Washington have been wrapped in fog, with temperatures well below freezing. The effect is caused by an inversion of the normal air temperatures: Cold air is trapped at the surface by warmer air above. Below the cap, icy cold air sits almost unmoving.

In the Cascade foothills above The Dalles, Oregon, fog has moved in most nights for the past week. It’s cold, dense and etherial. It freezes on whatever it touches, forming long crystal streamers of ice, jutting out at odd angles that reflect the almost imperceptible air currents. Horse hair, caught in a fence, looks first like thread, then string, as the crystals grow night by night on every strand. Along open fields and on hillsides, trees exposed to the fog become whiter every day, accentuating their individual shapes.

Unfortunately for photographers and poets (but not so unfortunately for those with cold toes), the cold air inversion is forecast to end today as a new weather system moves through the region. Softened by snow or melted by rain, the hoarfrost will be gone.

Thick rime hangs from an oak leaf and branches in the foothills west of The Dalles, Oregon. Mark B. Gibson photo


The David Thompson Brigade, summer 2011

October 30, 2011

Two hundred years ago, in 1811, explorer/cartographer David Thompson led a company mapping expedition down the Columbia River. This audio slideshow features the David Thompson Brigade, which passed through The Dalles, Oregon in the summer of 2011.

In describing weather conditions I’ve used some images that were taken in the following week: Wind and river remained virtually unchanged for some time. The moving images are actually still frames captured at about 6 frames per second. Photographs illustrating native culture were taken in the mid Columbia region.

I interviewed two men of the brigade at Maryhill State Park in Washington. They lead re-enactments, and had recently completed a canoe journey along the water trade route to Hudson Bay. I arrived just before dinner.

I was unable to get any “footage” of the canoes on the water… I should have gotten more precise information and had a look at the charts, but the salmon was coming off the grill and I could see that they were hungry. The Columbia between their camp and The Dalles is a region of islands and cliffs, and the next day I saw them only once, far away hugging the Washington shore. I crossed and waited, but they pulled out at a launch I had forgotten.

Just in time for Halloween

October 30, 2011

This audio slideshow introduces a spider that I found in an outside crevice of my window. I believe it is a bola spider, a species of spider featured in the David Attenborough/BBC video “Life in the Undergrowth.”

These spiders position themselves on the underside of a leaf (or window frame), dangling a string of silk with a sticky ball on the end. They then attract moths with pheromones or chemical scents that attract the moth. When a moth comes close enough, the spider swings the ball in hopes of attaching the moth to the sticky ball.

In summer, our windows attract a lot of moths, perfect habitat for a bola spider.

The Butterfly Dance

August 28, 2011

Members of the Confederate Tribes of Warm Springs, Oregon, from the southern edge of Wasco County, perform the Butterfly Dance at the Wasco County Fair in Tygh Valley. Produced, photographed and edited by Mark B. Gibson.

Osprey overfly

July 23, 2011
flying osprey

An osprey fishes along the shoreline of the Columbia River at The Dalles Dam. Copyright Mark B. Gibson/FlyingCrowPress

Columbia high water newsreel

June 9, 2011

The Columbia has been running heavy all spring: The reservoirs are filled to capacity, and just a bit more: Channels that have been dry for years are flooded. The river for a time has less resembled a series of lakes, taking instead the character of a mighty and powerful… even scary… river.

Most of these clips were photographed with a “Flip” video camera. I use only the “wide” lens setting, to avoid digitally cropping the image. Sound was recorded using a “zoom” brand recorder.

The segments that appear “jerky” in their flow are an experiment: The first day I ran to get the video camera and it was not in my bag. I decided to see how the six-frames-per-second motor drive on my still camera would translate into video. I imported them into the video at 4 frames of video for each frame of still. The result reminds me of early film footage. I haven’t decided if I like it, but in an emergency it worked very well.

Game show

May 28, 2011

Fitting audiovisual or multimedia work into a newspaper workflow and mindset is no easy task. An event becomes “old news” in the print media within hours or at most a day or two. By working my still photography into a quick audiovisual presentation, I can add an additional component to my work that can be turned out quickly.

The best shot is in the middle, but alas… it didn’t run in the paper because its the wrong team. The slideshow features both sides, and is simply chronological.

I would like to add audio: Game sounds, radio game coverage etc. This will likely double the editing time, but may add even more to the final presentation.