Signs

“Signs, Signs, Everywhere there’s signs

Blocking out the scenery. Breaking my mind

Do This! Don’t Do that! Can’t you read the signs”

Thank you Five Man Electric Band, 1971

My husband and I were just on vacation.  Traveling from the Southern Pacific Northwest of Oregon to the lands of South Dakota and back.  3950 miles in all.  This also included side trips and perhaps one or two U-turns.  I wasn’t driving nor was I navigating.  Had I been navigating, there would have been no U-turns.

I love traveling with my husband.  We talk a lot and I take a kazillion pictures through the bug smeared windshield and the side windows and sometimes we even stop to get a good picture!  He’s really good at stopping for me though.  This year was just as fun as those in the past. Although we spent more time driving this year than at our actual destinations.

We traveled through the barren lands of Eastern Oregon, took windy roads in and out of Idaho and Montana, and we took highways that I even wonder why they were on the map and who put them on the map!

But small towns are great. If it weren’t for these highways we’d have not seen the sights that we did.  At one time I am sure these small highways were major thoroughfares!  But now they seem off the beaten path.  Kind of reminds me of the movie Cars, where the new highway was built and the little towns slowly diminished.  Kind of like the old Route 66.  Something I would love to travel one day.

Small towns are proud.  We were traveling  on the 3rd and 4th of July.  The towns were abundant with patriotic colors and the flying of Old Glory down main street.

As we went through these towns that were off the major interstates, I decided to find a common theme to shoot.  I originally started out shooting water towers, but not all towns have them, and some of them were to hard to read. So I stuck with signs. All kinds of signs, from Diners, to Theaters and Motels and Bars.  They were old school.

 

Backroads Diner

Bllue Fox Theatre

They were colorful and then they were literally embedded into the buildings.

Baker MT

I wonder what happens to this building if they decide to close the Lake Theatre.  I guess it’s still a cool old building built in 1918 in Baker Montana.

I kind of wonder though, why the Busy Bee Cafe and Dining room has a horse on it.  Wouldn’t it make more sense  to have a bee?  Or was that to hard to find? Did someone have this horse in their garage just waiting for a place to put it?

Busy Bee Cafe Montana                           Perhaps the Busy Bee Cafe could sell it to the Mustang Motel.

Mustang Motel Montana

Speaking of Motels…

Roys Motel MT

I did not notice until looking at this picture that the answer to “do you have a vacancy” was either Yep or Nope.  Now, how confusing is this to a foreign traveler that only recognizes Vacancy or No Vacancy.  Well, they are in the “Wild West” of Montana, so maybe they do understand.  If you look at the bottom of the sign you can see the faint Yep and Nope.   Good Humor Roys’ Motel!

bbq bar and grillI am hungry, but now I am so confused.  BBQ is one way and Bar & Grill another.  Isn’t BBQ a grill?  And which way am I really supposed to go?

UPstairs MT

I do however, know that I need to go Upstairs to the Steakhouse and Bar in this town.  I really liked the ornate old fashioned look of this sign.

Central Hotel in Oregon

Central Hotel, somewhere in Central Oregon, is pretty old fashioned as well.  I am wondering if it was supposed to be an old telephone receiver, or just a cool way to get Central on the sign.  You can also have Chinese food and play the Oregon Lottery while staying here.

Signs are everywhere.  One of my most unfavorite signs of the trip.  “Road Construction Ahead”  We hit a lot of it.  I totally understand the roads need to be maintained in the summer because of harsh winters.  We went through some construction that literally was dirt and mud.  No road anywhere.  It was a twisty canyon that seemed to have some slides during the winter that may have wiped out the roads.  Once we made it back to asphalt and the pilot car started leading the other side of the road, I noticed there was a bicyclist preparing to make the trek through the construction.  Good Luck Dude!  I know how skinny bike tires like mud.  And there wasn’t a road so I have no idea how successful he was.  Maybe some nice person with room in their truck, helped him through the construction.

I attempted to capture the green signs as you entered a town, you know the one that says the name and the population.  But they came up to soon most times.  So I stuck with all the different kinds of signs that drew in your attention.

Most creative sign goes to the Pioneer R staurant.

pioneer

Not to be outdone by the Pioneer Cafe, where I can get some  Good Homestyle Cookin’ and Pure water for my coffee and tea.   Okay….

Pioneer Cafe Montana

 

Everyone knows that bars have unique signs.  We were traveling in the daytime, so you can’t tell how lit up the signs would be at night.  Guess we need to use our imagination. Some bars are straight and to the point.

Plevna MT Bar                                 I think the patrons are probably more lit than the sign.

A few unique bar signs in old towns.

Two Dot Bar Sign

Two Dot is an actual town in Montana.  It has one road in and out.  And a park and a convenience store.  I had always heard of  Two Dot, but never knew where it was, until we were off the beaten path!

Bison Bar MT                                               Every western town needs a Bison Bar

Buffs Bar Montana                              I wonder who Buff was. Maybe I don’t want to know.

Cannonball North Dakota                                 Three Cheers for the Saloon.  What pray tell is an Off Sale?

Iron Horse Saloon Montana                      This Iron Horse Saloon is in a railroad town in Eastern Montana.

Seven Devils                  To me the Seven Devils Saloon looks like a fake movie set.  I bet you can get a good charred steak!

Montana Bar                             You can pretty much tell, what state we are in with this sign.

Montana Motel Montana                                                                     Go Spartans!

Hotels, and Motels, and Inns.  I know there is a difference. But they all have the same things right?

Red Rock Inn MT

Parma Inn

Sagebrush MT                                 Not sure where the Sagebrush fits in on this one.

Sahara Motel                               Yay, they have in room coffee and obviously electricity!

The Plaza Miles City MT                                  I bet in its time this Plaza sign could be seen for miles!

In almost every old town, there is a theatre. Those signs always catch our eye!

Bllue Fox Theatre

Even if they’re painted on the side of a building.  Why not use the space you have on an old building for advertising. Whoever came up with that idea way back when, was pretty smart!

Sign on Building Montana

Selway Bar

You can’t get away from signs.  I like the old signs.  Classic old hotel signs.  Not your new franchise signs.  Everyone knows what McDonalds is without even seeing a sign.

Two LadiesThis sign hurt my eyes. If it wasn’t early morning, I wouldn’t have known what it said.

Riggins Motel             And the correct Font would be nice.  I wasn’t sure if it was Riggins or Piggins.

Give me a simple to understand sign.  One that doesn’t require a degree to figure out what you really want me to know.

The Griddle    I know for a fact I can get Good Cookin’ at The Griddle and I bet some great Flap Jacks!

Cattlemens              And without spelling it out, I bet I can get a good steak at the Cattlemen’s.

Granite MTN    I can get a Pepsi at Granite MTN cafe.  I think they didn’t want to pay to spell MTN out.

Lariat Bar Roxy Theatre Montana                After the movie at the Roxy I can head to the Lariat Bar for a night cap.

Riverdance LodgeYou can just hear the Celtic music at this Lodge.  All the river dancing going on after hours!  I imagine the River Dance Lodge was here before the craze.

Say When                              Very unique Nevada.  At least it doesn’t “Say Uncle”

There are simple signs as well that let you know exactly what you can get.

Snack Stop                             You can’t however, get chips here. According to the sign.

Muffys mT                              You can probably get your chips here if it’s convenient.

 

There are some signs you must read and you must follow the instructions.

I honestly hate seeing this sign.

Rattlesnakes

And it is something that you really need to pay attention too.  This was at a rest stop in South Eastern Montana.  While I was reading the sign, and mother was having her children run up and down the side of a grassy hill. Most likely not thinking about the fact there might be rattlesnakes.  She was probably trying to get them to get rid of some energy.  I just shudder at that thought.

Toro

Please, Please Please, watch out for Toro in Nevada.  You never know where he may be.  Good Job Nevada!  Most other states have cows. You have Toro!   Ole’

You have to have a sign to tell you where you are as well!

Welcome to SD

I know I am in South Dakota and I can see the presidents at Mt Rushmore!  Good Job South Dakota! Way to represent your state!

Welcome to ND

Welcome to Idaho

Dear North Dakota and Idaho, you need to step up your game.  I am not excited by your welcome!

My favorite sign of the trip?  Thats easy to guess

Welcome to Mt

Montana has many different signs.  They’re all cool, or perhaps I just think that because I am home.

It was another wonderful trip to put in the books.

When you are out and about, take a look at your town.  I have seen faded writing on the brick buildings in Klamath Falls, that indicate there was a hopping down town district.  And look for the dates on the old brick buildings!  You will be amazed what might be in your little town!

The best sign of the trip, really wasn’t a sign. It was the sound of our dogs barking as we pulled our truck into the driveway after a long trip.  Those dogs were saying Welcome Home!

Enjoy the rest of your summer!!!  Go outside and shoot some signs!!!

Make wonderful memories!

Happy Shooting

Tracy Lynn

 

Clouds

There are songs and sayings and poems written about clouds.  I originally searched for a witty saying but there were to many to choose from. But all in all I discovered “I really don’t know clouds at all.”

Clouds are mesmerizing.  They are wispy, fluffy, dark, mean and pretty.

Depending of course on the type of cloud they can be pretty.  I’m not much of a fan of dark windy tornado looking clouds.  I’ve seen a few and it was never fun.

I have my favorite clouds.  Flat bottom clouds.  (I heard you singing Fat Bottom Girls by Queen, don’t deny it.)

Not just any flat bottom clouds.  But my clouds from Eastern Montana.  Those are my favorite for two reasons, I’m home or I’m seeing a picture from being home.

Flat Bottom Clouds Montana                                     Eastern Montana clouds and the Yellowstone River

 

Flat Bottom Clouds Oregon                                  Southern Oregon clouds and the Klamath Basin Refuge

Here in Oregon, you know, the southern pacific northwest where we live, the clouds do resemble my Montana clouds.  Of course, it always makes me homesick.

There are a lot of memories in those Montana clouds.  One of my first blue ribbons at the fair was of a cloud and the sun after a good rain storm in Eastern Montana.

Last time when we were in Montana it was a beautiful day, the sky was blue and the clouds were gathering.  I remember hubby and I driving around taking pictures of my home town and the clouds.

One other vacation we were in Rawlins Wyoming touring the Frontier prison.  (It’s haunted)  we were in the courtyard and the clouds were so close and so big.  They were popping all over!  http://www.wyomingfrontierprison.org/

Rawlins Wyoming                                                                Rawlins Wyoming

I like rain clouds too.  Watching the rain stream out of a cloud, wishing it was over us instead of farther away.  When we were living in the desert of Southern California, it seemed the storms would almost always go around us.

Rosamond Rain                                     Rain just out of our reach in Rosamond California

One year, on the 4th of July the clouds were building up in the east of where we lived.  Our grandson and I kept watching the storm build as it moved closer to where we were. Those were some dark clouds.  Of course, the husband was certain that storm would never get to us because we never get storms from the east.

Rosamond Storm from East                                                 Something Wicked This Way Comes

Okay, you may be right husband, but guess what, that little storm was actually a tornado. I was shooting the clouds as they were forming over the house and after the storm passed and we had no power, I was looking at the pictures from our hotel room.  Low and behold, one of the pictures was of a funnel cloud.  It was indeed an adventure.

Rosamond Funnel Cloud                                                                             Uh Oh…

The grandson, the husband and I were muddy messes, because like any other storm loving crazy people we just had to be outside while the storm blew through our back yard.  Little did we know at the time of the storm, power poles down the street snapped in half. We had no water to clean up before going to the hotel. I bet the staff was frightened when we walked in.  We stayed in the hotel two nights.

So, not all clouds and storms are bad.  We did have some pretty great cloud and sunset opportunities in the desert.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA                                                Rosamond California Desert Sunset

But, I will always prefer the mountain clouds and sky scenes over the desert sky scenes.

Mountain Sunrise                                              Mountain Sunrise over Keno Oregon

Yet, the flat bottomed clouds are still my favorite.

You can be creative with clouds.  If you have the right programs on your computer, you can use clouds as fog, or add them to a picture that just seems to be missing something.

WIndmill no clouds                                                                    Before

WIndmill with clouds                                                                  After            Vya Nevada

The after picture was also turned into a water color using a Topaz Labs adjustment filter.

Grab your camera, or use your phone and go out and find some clouds to capture!  Try some different filters on your phone to make the clouds more dramatic.  Everyone has their favorite photo-apps!

Try some black and white filters to give them a different feel!

Wyoming Somewhere                                                       Somewhere in Wyoming

I guess the key is to Go Outside!  Enjoy your surroundings. Find new areas!    I love to be outside.  I would rather be outside than inside, unless of course it’s the middle of winter, or it might be blazing hot out.  But I also like to be inside when updating the blog!

Monument Valley Clouds                                                Monument Valley with a few clouds

This summer go outside and capture some great weather scenes!

Enjoy nature, enjoy the nice weather and enjoy life!

Be Safe

Happy Shooting

T Lynn

 

Every Picture Tells A Story

Sorry to steal the words from Rod Stewart, but indeed every picture does tell a story,  be it happy, sad, funny, or serious.  There is a story behind every picture that you take.  Why did you take it? Where were you when you took it?  Who was with you when you took it? What was happening at the time you took it?

We all take pictures and in this day and age more and more pictures are taken with mobile devices.  I think its kind of sad really.  I understand that not everyone can afford a digital camera, or not everyone has a way to download their digital photos.  I totally get that.   I have had a conversation with an older lady that said she refused to stare at a computer to look at her pictures.   I understand!   But how long before you can’t replace your film camera?  I miss the days of dropping off the film and waiting two weeks for your pictures to come back.  That was the longest two weeks ever!  And then, you had to nervously open up the envelope and see which pictures actually turned out!  I remember many stores having a “Goof Proof Picture Policy” where you didn’t have to pay for the blurry ones!  This day and age, the blurry ones go in the trash can.  My trash can is getting full!

I have mentioned a couple (or more) times that my favorite thing to do is to go out shooting with my husband.  Sometimes he has a camera, and sometimes he uses his phone.

So what’s the story behind this picture?

4931 His

Where are we? Why the heck am I on my knees and how the heck am I going to get back up?  Who is going to help me up? What was I trying to capture at this very moment?

T A Moulton Barn

This was the result of that on the knee photo!  The T.A. Moulton Barn in the Grand Tetons of Wyoming.  This barn is one of the most photographed barns in America.

https://www.nps.gov/grte/learn/historyculture/mormon.htm

We were on vacation in 2012 and neither one of had ever been to  Mormon Row.  We had been in this area but before we were “us”.   Dear hubby even hiked and camped in the Tetons in his younger days.

This was one of our stories.

2068 His

What more can you say about these gorgeous mountains?  We spent hours driving through Grand Teton National Park.

2068 Hers

Grand Teton National Park, Jackson Wyoming

We had an amazing day in the park.  I think there are still photos that I haven’t even touched.  I shot a lot of HDR back then.

Fast forward many years ahead and hubby and I still have a wonderful time where ever we go with the cameras.  I might add, we don’t need the cameras to have a wonderful time.  But there are stories behind everything we do!

1234 His

No.  I am not a fan of being in front of the camera, and the spouse is quite sneaky at times.

1234 Hers

Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge

But it’s kind of fun to see what I was taking a picture of when he was taking a picture of me taking a picture.  Whew!

Finding two photos that matched up before I wrote this blog was an adventure.  The times are off on the cameras so a couple pictures are off by an hour or two.  So if you are thinking I am making this up.  I am not.  The EXIF data is a wonderful thing.  It is the data behind the picture.  Date, time, settings, and other information I don’t know what I would do with even if I knew what it was!  Even your cell phone has this data.  And with cameras and cell phones, you can turn on the GPS information and you and the rest of the world will know exactly where that photo was shot.  Sometimes it’s a good thing, most times its not.

If you are an avid social media poster and you are gone from home, sometimes the bad guys can know you aren’t home.  There are always things to be cautious about, and that is one of them!

9366 his

Husband and I find adventures where ever we go.  We can drive into town and make it an adventure by taking a dirt road we hadn’t been on before.  Life is indeed what you make it!

9366 Hers

Oregon Skies, Medford Oregon

I for one, want to make it count!

I want my pictures to tell a story long after I am gone.  Someone will see something that will remind them of me.  Where was I when I took a picture that reminded them of me?  What was it about that certain photo?

9809 His

9809 Hers

A view from our Mountain

Have you ever taken the time to look through the photo albums from your parents or older siblings?  It is really kind of a neat thing to do.  I have my mother’s photo albums and one from my father.  Seeing them at a young age, seeing what they looked like and where they went were really kind of cool.  And then seeing their photos once they got together!  All those photos tell a story of their life. Life before they met and after they met.  After they met the photos were of my older siblings.  Explore your family history!  Read their stories in those pictures!

9845 His

 

9845 Hers

Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge, Tulelake California

Remember to make your pictures count!  I don’t mean all those millions of selfies that are posted everywhere.  I personally don’t quite understand the self absorbed love that some people have for bathroom mirrors!  But then again, I am of a totally different generation.

No matter what generation you are from.  Take sometime to make some memories and write your own stories!

You will never be finished writing your story as long as you are still waking up in the morning!

And at the end of the day.  Kick back, put your feet up and plan a new story for tomorrow.  Or reflect on your story of the day!

Photographer no camera

North Rim of the Grand Canyon

2 photographers taking in the view

Happy Shooting!

T Lynn