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Tom Kitten

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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 7,078

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The Old Mill and Willamette Falls

I said I was going to post some photos of the Blue Heron Mill/Willamette Falls site after I went on a tour there last week, but the process of editing them down (I took 238 photos, whittled them down to 100) and post processing (interiors were really dark with glare from windows, I had to adjust shadow/highlight and contrast on some of them) turned out to be quite time consuming. Then on Monday I felt a cold coming on and sure enough it hit, felt too poorly to sit at the computer very much, so I spent most of the past four days bundled up on the couch, drink hot spiced apple cider and eating chicken noodle soup (with lots of ginger!) But I feel better now so I can get back to posting!

I don't know where to start so why not at the beginning?

This is where we started and then turned left into the main former mill building. This is pretty much all the public could see of the mill at street level. This used to be part of Main St. in downtown Oregon City; John McLaughlin (founder of Oregon City and the "Father of Oregon"'s house was located here. The mill, then known as Publisher's Paper Company, gradually bought up all the land and eventually this part of Main St. was closed to public access.But the plan is to reopen it and make the whole area part of downtown again.
As you can see, it was a foggy and chilly morning.


The hole in the floor is where the milling machinery was, it's been removed. Below is the basement, very dark, damp, and musty!

We went through the building and out onto a platform where we caught a glimpse of the falls. The building on the right is a PGE hydroelectric plant, still generating power. There are fish ladders and behind it, the oldest multi-gate locks for ships in the U.S., now so rusted and decrepit they've been closed permanently.

These are remains of an old loading dock, it's going to be made into an observation platform. The bridge connects Oregon City with West Linn.

Looking across the river at the PGE plant and the West Linn Paper Company, which still operates. It produces glossy paper for magazines, catalogs, etc. The Blue Heron Mill produced newsprint (when it was Publisher's it was owned by the Times-Mirror Company).
If you see the horizontal line on the edge of the building at the extreme far left, that marks the high water point for the 1996 flood. Since this part of the mill is in the flood zone, re-using the buildings here presents problems.

This structure fascinated me...

Back inside, up on the second floor...

An office, unused since 2010.

Back outside, remains of the Woolen Mills, one of the first mills built here and torn down early last century. The foundations remain and will stay, they're thinking of a courtyard or open air market here.

A stream ran through here from under the arch but it's been blocked for who knows how long. It will be cleared out and restored to flow freely again.

We entered another building to go downstairs underneath the buildings themselves. Because the basalt bedrock is sloped, the buildings were built on stilts to make them level.

We didn't get to back there. Didn't really want to!

Water runs down here, too. The runoff is captured and processed to remove pollutants before it reaches the river. The rusted metal siding on most of the buildings releases copper and zinc into the water, which is harmful to the fish. A lot of these buildings will eventually be removed.

A few impressions...

Leaving the main mill site, we walk on the trail to the falls...old controls for the original dam and hydro plant.

Remnants and turbines from the old dam. The site of the first long distance transmission of electricity, in 1889.

Looking back at the mill

Finally we reach the Willamette Falls - the highlight of the tour! This viewpoint has been closed to public access for over a hundred years. They're looking to have the Riverwalk open in about seven years buut the entire project may take ten years or more.

These pictures don't have sound or movement! To remedy that, I shot a minute long video, to give perhaps a better impression...


If you want to see all 100 photos I posted you can see them here...



I wish I could say I took these while snorkeling off the coast of somewhere exotic, but that is not the case. I took these at the Long Beach Aquarium. I took a ton of pictures there and because the lighting was so low a lot of photos I took turned out blurry. So frustrating! I need to learn more and get a better camera. However these turned out OK, I guess. Luckily jellyfish are slow moving!

In the spirit of Halloween, how about some creepy... couches?

I noticed a recurring subject in some of the pictures I took of certain...well let's just say forgotten places off the beaten trail...I was all alone when I took these...saw no one...heard nothing but the wind and sometimes the occasional noise of something moving around...up in the rafters...

The Bottle Tree Ranch

One man's folk art. Located out in the Mojave Desert, on Route 66.

a rabbit hopped out to greet me.

A woman from Sweden, enjoying the place immensely...

Elmer, the artist, who's spent the past 14 years building this thing. He lives here, this is his land (2 acres)

I stayed until late afternoon to see the light shine through the colored glass.

There's 25 pictures in all I posted here, if you want to see more.

The sky was acting dramatic today

We had heavy rain showers this morning, then the sun came out. I was out driving, saw this and had to pull over and take these pictures.

Later, at home, I looked out the window and the sky was doing it again! I took the first through the window, then ran outside and took the rest.

Thinking of textures for October, I found these spooky pictures lurking...On my computer

I don't think I'll use any for the contest, though. I'd rather shoot something new, maybe something more light hearted.

I did take this in October, but last year. Anybody see the movie "The Haunting?" (the original) The scene with the face in the wall and the murmuring? This reminds me of that scene. It's just a piece of plywood in a boarded up warehouse window, here in Portland. Just add some murmuring chants! Or some chanting murmurs. Feel free to scare yourself. It's on the house!

This one, too. I took this in San Francisco, at the Sutros Baths ruins. A big bank of soft orange rock carved with, graffiti, I guess you'd call it...

Let's take a closer look, shall we? The shadows seem to dissipate the orange here...

Don't be scared here! He's just a dummy in a rubber mask. One of those animatrons in a booth you feed coins too and tells your fortune. He's in Calico, CA. Sort of a restored "ghost town" or tourist attraction. Beautiful area, though.

From deep in the bowels of Alcatraz. I spent a day there earlier this year. A more oppressively depressing place I've yet to find myself. (No, I haven't been to Washington DC!) They say the place is haunted, too. I can believe it!

A study of some finely crafted brickmaso- wait, whazzat say?
I took this in Bombay Beach, CA, on the shore of the Salton Sea. Pretty much a modern ghost town. A remarkable place. I'm planning on posting some sets from the ghost towns and ruins I visited around Halloween time. If you're into that, stick around! This place was mind-boggling! And I went there...all alone.

From another, different ghost town out in the desert. This was in a (mostly, I think?) deserted motel compound. There was a newer model car parked nearby. Only unit without broken windows. I really wasn't into finding out if anybody lives there, though!

Some spooky stuff, eh?

Apologies in advance

Yesterday's Photo of the Day inspired me SO much that...

October 7, 2014

A Fishy Tale

Photograph by Tom Kitten, Unnatural Geographic My Shot

A sperm whale “waves goodbye” to DU member Tom Kitten, who had traveled to his kitchen hoping to wash some dishes. “While I did have some success with the dishes, it was the sperm whale that stole the show,” I write. I captured this picture toward the end of the six-minute operation. “It was early in the day and the water level was low as I dropped this small whale into the sink, and I did my best to keep quiet so as to not frighten her. This one started to dive as soon as I added soap, trying to get the dishes done. I knew she might be the last whale I'd encounter in the sink, and indeed, she was.”

Mr. Kitten added later that he found himself exhausted by the end of his encounter. "It was draining", he said.

I had an itchy shutter finger today

Weather was so perfect, and I haven't been taking many pictures lately (having issues with my camera - the result of my own abuse - like dropping it! Plus there's some dust specks inside the lens so if I zoom in close I get these infuriating spots)

I went down to the river to see how the new bridge is doing. But on the way there I saw this bicycle and had to get a shot of it...

The bridge- Tilikum (Chinook for People) Crossing- still a year away from completion. When it opens, no cars or trucks will be allowed. Light rail, the trolley, buses, bicycles, pedestrians and emergency vehicles only.

Walked down the river a bit, to OMSI (the science museum).That's the USS Blueback, moored there, in front of the new bridge.

Submariner's Memorial at OMSI (that's the screw from the Blueback)

Reflection in OMSI windows

Primary colors!

Walking back the sun was behind one of the bridge towers. I'm lucky I didn't get any sunspots!

That's all! Just static subjects for now. Tomorrow I'll go looking for October stuff. Maybe I'll see a ghost!

Dance Fire

I've finally gotten around to uploading some pictures I said I would share earlier. I've been hesitant to show these, it was the second day I had used my (then) new camera, and was just learning to use it. A little history, here. I used to have an SLR but it broke when I was standing on a steep riverbank just off the road and the earth gave way, dashing the camera against the pavement. Don't worry about me, though, I'm OK. I did suffer a deep abrasion on my knee and it did take a few weeks to heal. But that was in the 90s, and since then I had used one of those plastic cameras you get at Walgreen's (hey, free film refill when you brought it in for developing!). So I guess you can say I've been learning all over again. And I do mean learn! For one thing, I've learned photography and frustration do indeed go hand in hand.

These pictures were taken one month after what I learned was called the Dance Fire in and adjacent to Orleans, CA. It happened in July 2013 and was deliberately set. 577 acres and one home were burned. The entire town had to be evacuated.

It was just after Labor Day and 100 degrees the time I went there. The air was blue and hazy from several nearby forest fires. I was told about this remarkably colorful area of burned manzanita and madrone trees by my best friend's mother, who was born there. It was just off a road that climbed two hills and there was no way my car could make it up there, so I hiked up. I sure am glad I brought water!

This is what I saw.

Dance Fire seems strangely appropriate. Poor trees look like they danced in agony as they burned.

However, only a month later, there's already signs of new life! Does anybody know what these shrubs are?
Also, I'm sure everyone knows about simulacrum. I see a creepy face in the middle of this picture. Do you? The earth is mad at us and she is letting us know.

Now, this where my newbie naivety shines bright! I definitely learned a lesson here. My camera has a paint function so I switched to that. Make your photo look like a painting! I'm an artist so I was down with that. The pictures on my little viewfinder looked great! However, viewing later full-size on my computer was a different matter...

These two turned out OK, I guess...

However, most turned out like these. I'm posting these two as examples of what not to do! I learned digital photography has this thing called the halo effect, you can see it clearly here! It is practically impossible to fix. Through my former job I have Photoshop experience going back to PSD 2 on Mac OS8 or whatever back in the early 90s and I spent hours trying to "fix" these pictures and I gave up. Not worth the time and effort, and it's futile anyways, so beware fellow neophytes!

That's not haze in them there hills, that's the halo effect! Trees aren't that that blue, anyways. (I think I zoomed in on that one)

This could have been a nice picture, but trees don't have a white glow around them like that. Needless to say, I don't use that function anymore! I do learn quickly. Welcome to the world of digital photography, you amateur! (I'm talking to myself here)

Well there you are. I do think I took some good pictures, and I have gotten better since. And I am ready for an upgrade to a better camera. Sorry for the wordiness, but I enjoy sharing!

It's early Monday morning. How about a new Cat thread? (warning: cat pic heavy because Cats!)

These are pictures I took of cats I cared for or met on the road the past year.

This is Coco, my sister's cat, the main (indoors only) cat I cared for while house sitting. My sister heard her crying, and found her in a bush at a busy intersection in the LA area, maybe 6 weeks old at the time. No sign of mama cat or siblings anywhere. Now she is 3, has a luxurious long fluffy black cat (and brown if the light hits her right) and weighs a whopping 7 pounds (she's just a small cat). She loves to play and be brushed, but does not like to be picked up except by her owner.

She was sleeping and I guess I startled her when I called her name...hence the wide open eyes!

This is Gray Lady, Coco's housemate but she does NOT like to be indoors and is very skittish. After feeding her for 2 months she finally got around to not bolting for the hills when I opened the back door, but then it was time for me to leave! I'll be doing the same this winter and the whole cycle will probably have to start over...
This picture is blurry but she was probably just starting to run away when I snapped it.

This is "Murray" (that's a name I gave him) a cat that hangs out and takes advantage of the free food and water. He also runs off when approached but now sleeps on the back porch. He might decide to stick around, but it's hard to tell with cats. He is very handsome, don't you think?

Here he is at the food dish.

This is another cat that sometimes hangs out at the feeding station. We don't know her name but she belongs to someone in the neighborhood.
I caught her attention here...Love the green eyes!

This is a cat I met at an antique store in Oro Grande, California. He was friendly and let me pet him.

After awhile he jumped down under a table. I looked down and he had a friend!

When is a Calico cat not a calico cat? When he's a gray and white cat and lives in Calico, California! This guy lives the life of Riley. He lives at the snack bar!

Another shot of him...

And here is Edgar, a beautiful black long haired cat I met in another antique store. He kind of looks like Coco...He let me pick him up though. In this picture it looks like he is expecting it!

And Pistachio, a grocery store cat. Kind of a sly look on his face!

The Cats of Rome.
I met these ginger kitties in Rome, Oregon, which is more like a frontier outpost than a town, located on the Owyhee River, way, far away from anything. The one on top was especially adorable, but they would run away if I approached. Then they would come back. Must have been curious. A stranger! But maybe he has food?

A closer photo of the one I thought was really cute. What eyes!

On the other hand, this kitty was not shy at all. He let me pet him and he purred. Maybe a sibling to the others?
He also looks like Coco but he has tufts on his ears! Maybe part lynx?
I wish I got a better photo but this is all I've got...

Several hours and hundred miles later I stayed at my friends near John Day, Oregon. A couple of cats (obviously brothers) had decided to adopt them and I was surprised! They looked like grown up versions of the 2 kitties I saw earlier that day in Rome. Their names are Scruffy and Bob and both are good at catching rattlesnakes. (4 so far!) Bob is still very skittish (they were feral cats) but Scruffy is very affectionate. These are lousy pics but it was dark, sorry about that!
Scruffy on the left, and Bob on the right...

Scruffy likes to play. That streak in the middle of the picture is actually his favorite purple feather toy. He looks a lot like Felix, my cat for 18 years...

Back home, while I'm at it, I have to share a photo of my friend's cat, Mittens! She is 14 now, a sweet ball of fur.

Mittens can't stand her new neighbor, a kitten named Otis. Another ginger tabby! He is very friendly and likes to play. Here he is doing what kittens do best...

So there you have it. Cats galore, all different, but basically the same! I hope you enjoyed!
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