Fine photos make great last-minute gifts, and feed the hungry as well

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Yachats Sunset, 30×20 framed, on exhibit and for sale at Blue Sky Bagels, Fairview, Meridian

By Ken Levy

There’s still time to get free delivery of my ready-to-hang framed images, which make perfect gifts for home or office walls.

I continue my tradition of donating 20% of the purchase of any of my images to the Idaho
Foodbank. Thanks to your generous purchases, the food bank got additional funds in time for the Christmas celebrations.

I like to keep this going year-round. Here’s how it works:

You get stunning photography for your home, office or as thoughtful gifts; each beautiful photo you buy also helps feed hungry people. I give 20% of each sale to the Idaho Foodbank.

I will deliver framed art free within a 50-mile radius of Boise, until Dec. 20.  Email me for details at ken@kenlevymedia.com

Visit any of my exhibits (below), and my web site, to make the perfect holiday purchase that gives twice:

FoggyTreesYachats1966At left: Coastal Inspiration, Yachats, Ore. 20×30 Framed, on exhibit and for sale at Blue Sky Bagels, Fairview, Meridian

  About my photos

These professional-quality images will add beauty and interest to every wall, including those of your friends, family and colleagues. You can find a huge variety of original art on my web site.

Keep an eye on my New Works page for updates to my photography, and stop by my Collector’s Editions  page to view some of my clients’ favorite works.

Email me for details at ken@kenlevymedia.com or visit my web site at http://kenlevymedia.com.

Consider making my images part of your holiday gift giving this year. Because no one should have to go hungry, and beauty makes a great gift for everyone.

 

Below: “Water and Ice.” Tiny stalactites dip their icy toes in the roiling water of Teton Creek. Framed 20×16 on display and for sale at Blue Sky Bagels, Chinden Ave., Boise.

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Photography road trip: Five autumn days in the heart of Oregon’s best

Here are some highlight photos from a quick trip across Oregon in early October. These images are truly spectacular when viewed hi-res.

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Paradise in Oregon lives up to its name any time of year, but especially in the fall, when the fog rolls in off the McKenzie River with a backdrop of golden leaves.

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I really appreciated the egret (near center of photo above) hanging around for this image of the Siuslaw River flowing through Mapleton, Oregon in early October.

 

I promised myself I’d egretfly5490get some egret photographs on this trip. This one was coming in for a landing on the far shore of Fern Ridge Reservoir at Perkins Peninsula Park outside Eugene, Ore.

 

 

 

 

 

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A gloomy morning barely allows a glimpse of idyllic, old town Florence, Oregon on the banks of the Siuslaw River before fog rolls in to obscure the scene. There is some incredible detail in this image, from the dock to the flag on the boat, the gazebo and the architecture.

 

 

 

Mo's Reflection, Siuslaw River, Florence, Oregon 5520

You’d have to agree the night entices us with her mysteries along the Siuslaw River in Florence, Oregon. Mo’s Restaurant is brilliantly lit from within, even as it is reflected from without, but what movement, what people, what secrets does this place keep, both inside and along its docks? One wants to peek in the windows like a peeping Tom… as the river flows rippling in the reflected light, shadows hide much more: the banks and the docks, and the river’s inevitable, invisible destiny.

Important news: My new exhibit is up at Blue Sky Bagel‘s newest location at 126 E. Idaho, Meridian, Idaho. (208) 887-5726. I’m now exhibiting at all four Blue Sky Bagel restaurants in Boise and Meridian, as well as the Center for Spiritual Living at 10464 Garverdale Ct, Boise, ID. Phone: (208) 375-0751. Visit my New Works: Photography page for new and extensive postings of fine imagery.

Contact me at ken@kenlevymedia.com.

Street photography and sweet architecture in Port Townsend

On the trail: Olympic Peninsula, part V

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Port Townsend, on the northwest corner of the Olympic Peninsula, is a busy ferry stop to Coupeville and Whidbey Island. But its old-town architecture and visitors’ delights make it a must-see on any visit to the Washington sea.

From elegant shopping to quaint used-book stores and 1950s soda fountain, old downtown Port Townsend is a joy for the casual visitor wanting a taste of all three.

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It’s also a great place to people watch and get a few frames of street photography to share.

Take in a movie at the historic Rose Theatre, which, according to its Web site, “opened as a vaudeville house in 1907. We’ve experienced the transition from live theatre to silent film, to talkies, to Technicolor, and now to digital projection across three unique screens. We endeavor to bring the people of the Olympic Peninsula not only world-class film, but also high-definition ballet, opera, classical music and theatre from across the globe…”

The popcorn is fresh, they say, and the butter is real. They even offer local brews on tap.

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Base in Sequim for north Olympic Peninsula explorations

On the trail: Olympic Peninsula, part IV

Below: Moonrise over the John Wayne Marina, Sequim, WashingtonMoonriseJohnWayneMarina1434

You’ll pronounce Sequim wrong. The name, pronounced “skwim,” is derived from the native S’Klallam tribes, and means “a good place to hunt.”

Although that refers to the abundant wildlife in the area, it’s also a great place to base yourself for northern Olympic Peninsula adventures.

Here, you’ll find the Dungeness National Wildlife Area just north of town, with access to the Dungeness Spit, the longest — at 5.5 miles — natural sand spit in the nation, leading to the New Dungeness Lighthouse in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. It’s a fascinating hike out to the lighthouse, but do it at low tide.

A segment of the Olympic Discovery Trail runs through town, over the historic Dungeness River wooden bridge listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The trail runs from Port Townsend to La Push, and is a great way to explore the north peninsula on foot or bike, if you have the time.

And, if you love quiet coves for your sailing craft, you’ll want to dock in the beautiful and upscale John Wayne Marina. The land was gifted by the late actor, and it’s a full-featured marina with docking, fuel, restaurant and public access beach.

While there, make reservations at the tiny but exquisite Dockside Grill. We shared a beautiful appetizer of crab in a very tasty sauce with Parmesan toast points that was so generous that Lana got at least one more meal from it.

For the main course, Lana opted for a perfectly prepared cedar-planked rib-eye steak, rubbed with coffee and spices and served with jalapeno garlic butter, with potato and veggies, a huge tender cut that got her two more meals as well.

I had cedar-planked salmon topped with a generous portion of Dungeness crab, cooked to absolute perfection with triple-citrus Riesling butter. Both meals were prepared using the very finest ingredients, the highest quality you can get, and the tastes were magnificent, tender and delightful. A fantastic meal, the best one we had on the coast, in fact on the entire trip, and the price was exorbitant to say the least: with tip, this feast topped $160.

More about Sequim and the northern Olympic Peninsula in my next post.

To shining sea: Kalaloch

On the trail: Olympic Peninsula, part III

Below: A golden-red sunset glistens on the ocean and sands of Kalaloch Beach.

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One of the most beautiful coastlines I’ve ever encountered can be found on Washington’s southern Olympic Peninsula, at Kalaloch and its neighboring numbered beaches. Miles of huge bleached driftwood offer a stacked backdrop for crisp sandy beaches that glide you to a welcoming ocean of pristine beauty.

At Beach 4, low tide will take you to one of the greatest tide pool viewing opportunities in the world along its rocky coastline.

You’ll find a virtual universe of sealife at low tide, from anemones to barnacles, mussels and so much more. Happily, this area is protected as part of the Olympic Coast National Marine SancMUSSELS Barnacles Beach 4 Kalalochtuary, and should remain as pristine as when it was first discovered.

Left: Notice the intricate details and formations of this crowded section of tide-pool rock at Beach 4.

The beautiful Kalaloch River winds its way to the ocean near the lodge that bears its name. The lodge and nearby campground offer some of the only lodging along this stretch of the peninsula,forestsunsetkalaloch and should be reserved well in advance of any trip.

The beauty of this area translates whether you’re down on the sand or where the forest meets the sea.  At right, sunset in the coastal forest offers a magical fantasy land of strange beauty.

More about the unique beauty of the Olympic Peninsula in the next installment.

You can see the latest updated images from my ongoing series on my web page at New Works: Photography. I update the page with new images as often as possible.

Stinky, Stinky: Lilliwaup, and the freshest oysters anywhere

On the trail: Olympic Peninsula, part II

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Oysters served up steaming fresh at Hama Hama Seafood Co., a private oyster and clam farm in Lilliwaup, Washington on the Olympic Peninsula.

 

If you’re a true oyster aficionado, make plans to visit the Hama Hama Seafood Company in Lilliwaup, WA on the tide flats of Hood Canal just south of the Hamma Hamma River and Bridge on Hwy 101.

Yes, they’re spelled differently on purpose, according to an HH staff member. The river and bridge names allegedly mean “stinky, stinky,” supposedly derived from the language of the Twana tribes, referring to the smell of salmon that run the river to spawn and die.

There’s no such smell at Hama Hama. It’s a fifth-generation family-run oyster and clam farm that grows the crustaceans in the tide flats of the river. They raise beach-grown Hama Hama and tumble-grown Blue Pool oysters, and take care of the watershed by stewarding a forest upstream and using natural shellfish-growing methods without any artificial anything.

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At the HH Oyster Saloon, which looks out over the tide flats, I ordered the grilled dozen-oyster sampler. The fresh little boogers are served in three different butter sauce combinations (I eschewed the spicy one). Lana can’t stand looking at the snot-like seafood, but I love ‘em. They’re also offered on the half shell raw, or you can get steamed clams in white wine, crab cakes and smoked salmon chowder. For those who don’t like seafood (blasphemy!) you can settle for a grilled cheese sammy.

Next time: Beaches and tide pools on the Olympic Peninsula.

At right, barnacles glom onto rocks jutting out into the ocean at low tide. Beach 4, in the Kalaloch area, is said to have one of the best tide pool viewing areas in the world.

Refreshment comes in many forms: Hood Canal, Washington

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En route: Barn swallows fuss incessantly for their breakfast at Champoeg State Heritage Area, Oregon. We started — and ended — our camping excursion here, before and after making the great Olympic Peninsula loop. More about Champoeg in another blog.

On the Trail:
With all the intense heat and smoke assailing southwest Idaho this summer, finding relief meant relocating to cooler, softer climates. Our 25-day Olympic Peninsula jaunt couldn’t have come soon enough.

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The odyssey began with a journey to the Hood Canal area, on the southeastern corner of the peninsula. Filled with lush forests, cool waterfalls and wide waterways, the region is relatively sparse with people, and a quiet vacationer’s dream.

We based ourselves near Hoodsport, at Skokomish Park Lake Cushman. This is  a nicely-treed full-service camping area with hiking trails in deep woods right on the lake. There are several other campgrounds nearby.

Temperatures rarely climbed above 75 degrees in mid-July, with gentle breezes and many overcast days to keep things mellow. The deep, earthy smell of forest and river welcome you on the multitude of lightly-used trails. You can swim, launch your motor- or sailboat, and rent tubes and kayaks. Away from the campground, you’ll find numerous coves and secret segments of the 8.5-mile wooded lake in which to immerse yourself.

LanaStaircaseRapidsTree3103Staircase Rapids, just nine miles north, offer dramatic vistas of the North Fork Skokomish River as it swiftly tumbles through huge rock formations. Inside Olympic National Park, the river’s dramatic vistas and huge western red cedar, hemlock and Douglas fir trees along it can be seen on the loop trail that bears its name, along with many more hiking opportunities.

The Hood Canal region is home to the Skokomish (“People of the river”) tribe, which was originally comprised of Twana Indians who were devastated by smallpox after the arrival of Europeans in 1792. The largest of the nine Twana communities was known as the Skokomish, or big river people.

Explorations

With Hoodsport as our base to explore the southern canal area, we visited the nearby communities of Shelton, Union, Belfair, Lilliwaup and more. We started with a short drive to the Little Creek Casino Resort in Shelton (little-creek.com). You can stuff your face with crab and Dalby Creek Waterwheel Union Wa 759oysters in their Creekside Buffet or dine fine in the Island Grille or Squaxin Island Seafood Bar. At Creekside, I gulped down beautiful oysters Florentine and cracked crab til my fingers got numb.

In Lilliwaup, north of Hoodsport following Highway 101, you’ll come across the stinkiest place on the canal, and you’ll be glad you did.

More in my next blog.

Family perfect: Water’s Edge Resort

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With four generations of family joining us, we hosted our Second Annual Family Campout at Water’s Edge RV Resort in beautiful Cascade, Idaho.

Situated along the banks of the Payette River, it’s the perfect little haven for family camping, fun and relaxation.

Yet it’s still quiet enough even for more seasoned RVers.

Along with our RV site, we took the tent camping site next door for the families with little kids. And those little kids had some laughing good times, with plastic canoes and play boats available to float the serene flatwater of the Payette River. They carved new landscapes in sand along the beach and gawked in awe as a pair of osprey dove into the river for fresh fish.

eFamilyCamp9224Fishing opportunities for humans abound, too, with anglers plying the waters from the Cascade bridge and from shore for native trout and other species. And you’ll find over 90 lakes and more than 165 streams within 50 miles.

Bird watchers and photographers are rewarded with great sightings of pelicans, osprey, Canada goose, ducks and other winged critters. We saw deer and fox both nights we were there.

Our hosts were gracious and anxious to please. We inquired in person about a month before the camp, and made reservations for both sites without a deposit required. Friendly staff came by offering firewood, and tickets to the resort’s specialty: a sumptuous Sunday breakfast served al fresco.

“Wake up on Sunday mornings to a delightful mountain eFamilyCampTim9140breakfast grilled outside just for you and our other guests,” their web site chimes. “The aroma of grilled ham, sausage patties, grilled potatoes and onions, French toast, pancakes and scrambled eggs will guide you…”

Those who come for the weekend but like to sleep in on Sundays won’t be left out: You get a free, fresh-baked cinnamon roll Saturday mornings at riverside.

Dinner time at our camp sites featured family favorites, with burgers and Beddar Cheddars with all the fixings, right down to the S’mores with fire-roasted marshmallows for dessert.

But the day didn’t end with dinner. A couple of us found a night sky stuffed with stars, following a foot path away from the campground. Beautiful night skies can be seen from a bend in the river just downstream from camp.

You can bend an arm making long passes during impromptu games of football, or just relax, watching the kids play by the water in this quiet, dream-come-true family campground. There’s badminton, volleyball and horseshoe pits ready for you to  play.

And lounge chairs by the water,  ready for you to chill.

Visit http://watersedgervpark.com/index.asp for more details.

If you go:

Water’s Edge RV Resort is about 80 miles north of Boise on Highway 55
Address:
P.O. Box 1018
620 North Main St.
Cascade, ID 83611
1 (800) 574-2038
info@watersedgervpark.com

 

Follow us: Summer travel routes set

Follow our adventures on the road this summer, when we’ll be traveling the better part of 10,000 miles (or more) across the continental United States and back, dragging our little 15-foot trailer the Winchester State Parkwhole way.

Our journeys take us through Hood Canal and the Olympic Peninsula in Washington for most of July, followed by a cross-country trek to see family in Massachusetts. We’ll visit Cape Cod, New Hampshire and Maine before heading to Liberty Harbor, in sight of the Statue. Ferries and other public transportation will shuttle us to, through and around Manhattan.

More family in Ohio and Pennsylvania, friends in Delaware, and thence…who knows?

We’ll visit with folks from roughly 25 states and tell their stories..ALJOCampChevy.and those of the land and traditions that make these places home for them.

Look for photos and stories from these travels on this blog, whenever time and connections allow us to update.

Got some suggestions for what to see? We’d love to hear your ideas for don’t-miss, out-of-the-way places that offer intimate glimpses of true American life. email me at ken@kenlevymedia.com.

An unexpected stop for tired traveler

Weary car campers who find themselves without a planned sleep stop on the road often settle for rest areas along the way. They catch some shuteye, maybe gobble a sandwich and a Coke, and brush their teeth in the public restroom before trying to sleep.SandStationSunset8321-2

Trying is the best word for this, as anyone who’s slept in a rest area can tell you. Besides traffic pulling in and out constantly, there’s always the glaring lights over the parking area and the sharp grumble of idling truck engines to try to sleep through.

Every once in awhile, however, we’ll find an ideal, unexpected spot where we can conk out for a few hours.

An ideal spot means easy access, clean and relatively uncrowded, with a table and fire pit and maybe a body of water to sit beside while gulping a burger. There should be at least a pit toilet onsite.

And the place is free, or at least cheap.

I found myself in such a situation recently on an extended road trip that included a sunrise photo shoot at McNary Wildlife Refuge outside the Tri-Cities area of Washington. With many side trips en route, I had driven nearly 500 miles before realizing that I needed to get some sleep if I was to be ready to photograph at sunrise.

Driving west on Highway 730 on the Oregon/Washington border, I came across a little turnout into a place called the Sand Station Recreation Area on the Oregon side.

It’s situated virtually on the banks of the Columbia River in an area known as Lake Wallula. The lake is actually the reservoir behind the McNary Dam and is on the Columbia River.

At first the site appeared to be little more than a parking lot with picnic tables, and I passed it by thinking I couldn’t spend the night there. But swinging in from the other direction, I discovered eight sites with fire pits, tables and overhead shelters for RV and car campers. Tent campers could set up in several shady spots on the grass near the banks.

Except for a pit toilet, there are no services here. But it’s relatively quiet, and you can camp right by the beautiful Columbia, do a little wading by the shore, maybe even fish a little, and enjoy sunset with a moon-rise later in the evening.

Walking along the serene shore near sunset, I watched as dozens of tiny fish suddenly leaped into the air simultaneously for dinner. They kept at their frenzied leaping for quite awhile. Apparently the recent hatch of gnats meant a good feed for the sparkling silver fish, which seemed to glow in the late afternoon light as they leaped.

The sunset was quiet and magical, with a gentle breeze pushing the clouds away from the sun as they took on brisk colors. The site was mostly empty, except for a few campers who relaxed in the approaching sunset.

Best of all, it was free. Operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the site isn’t listed as a campground online. It’s first come, first served.