Powells City Of Books – Portland, Oregon


The gate to Nirvana. Exposure time: 5 seconds

It is Winter here in the Pacific Northwest, which leaves me with limited photography options. It occurred to me that I can show you one of my favorite places to visit in the winter, Powells Bookstore in Portland.

To say that I love this place is an understatement. For Powells, my love is turned up a notch, to 11. I mean really. Books. ALL OF THE BOOKS.  Do I really need to say more?


10 minutes in the Art Section.

The first time I visited Powells was before I lived here. We were in town to visit my husband’s brother. He was showing us around late into the evening. At one point he said, “I’ve got to take you someplace. Monica, you will love this.” He took us to Powells. When I walked in the door I heard a chorus of angels. I’d reached Nirvana. Book Nirvana.

Powells continues to be a kind of Nirvana for me. It is another one of my happy places. I love to come here by myself and get lost in the stacks and stacks of books. They have everything. And more. Find a section and browse and you will find books you didn’t know you needed to have. They also have the raddest rare book room as well.

My favorite place in the store is the place where they keep the local and self published books. They have a wonderful collection of zines and chapbooks and I LOVE pawing through them, most of them hand assembled by their creators.

What else can I say about this place? If you are in Portland (and a few of you will be in a week or so) you must visit it. Take your time there and enjoy. Get lost. Make sure you pick up a map at the front desk!


Pinholing my coffee and Powells purchase: quite possibly the most Portland thing I’ve ever done.



Powells Cafe selfie.


Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day – EUR1200 Gallery*

Malahide Castle - Pinhole

Last year I was lucky enough to be in Amsterdam for World Wide Pinhole Photography Day. It was great to spend a day with other pinhole enthusiasts. This year many people from the same group will travel to the pacific north west of the USA. My original holiday plans for this year included joining them but life has conspired against me and I will have to give the trip to the US a miss this April.

One of the great joys of shooting with so many people last year was that we had a common gallery on the WPPD website after the event that allowed us to see what each other had produced as our image for the day. I had feared that I would miss out on that this year. My fears were premature – fellow pin-holer and Amsterdam participant Danny came up with a great idea!

He has suggested that as many of us as possible should try and shoot at exactly 12:00 GMT this will give us a gallery of shots from people all over Europe. Participation is easy and I like the idea of a Europe wide pinhole snap shot. When you upload your pinhole photo tag it with the EUR1200 group.

*Originally posted over on my own blog awareofthevoid.com/

Zero Image 4×5 Pinhole Camera (Horseman 120 rollback fitted)
Film: Kodak Portra 160
Dev: Tetenal C-41 Kit
Focal Length:25mm
Exposure:8 seconds






Salmon River – Mt. Hood Oregon


river watching

Zero 4×5 + Arista 100 @ 2 min 32 seconds

Have you heard the expression “thin place?” I first heard of this 4 years ago when a Buddhist friend told me about them. Described as places where you can reach out and touch Heaven (whatever that is to you).

The Salmon River is my thin place. I first encountered this place a month after I moved to Oregon. As I hiked along the river I became mesmerized by the salmon spawning. Through the clearest of alpine waters I could see salmon laying on the bottom of the riverbed and I was touched when I thought about what it took for them to get all the way up here on the mountain so they could spawn. What a life they lived. There was something beautiful and also tragic about their story. I come back every year to this spot to watch them spawn and it never ceases to amaze me.

Salmon River 1

Zero 2000 + Ektar 100 @ 12 seconds


One day in the summer, A year after we’d been coming here regularly, we were hiking along the trail and a woman we ran into said, “Have you been to the secret island? You should go to the secret island! Turn right at the hollowed out tree.” So we went in search of a hollowed out tree and we found it! And we turned right. And there was, indeed, a secret island where, if you are lucky, you will have the best campground on Mt Hood with your own beach for fly fishing. It quickly became my my most favorite spot on the planet. Everytime we hike here I have to visit the Secret Island.

The secret island

Zero 4×5 + Portra 160 @ 5 seconds

Here are some other photos from along the trail, taken with various cameras at various times of the year.

Salmon River 4

Zero 4×5, 25 mm (graflex 23 roll back) + tri-x film @ 38 seconds



Salmon River 3

Zero 4×5, 25 mm (graflex 23 roll back) + tri-x film @ 38 seconds


Salmon River 2

Zero 2000 + Ektar 100 @ 6 seconds


This is my favorite place in the whole wide world. It is where I go  when the craziness of life gets to me. This beautiful place slows me down and makes me see what is most important. Sometimes the river will tell me its secrets, if my mind is quiet enough.

The Old Mill – Ward River


Originally I had planned to do a longer post about this hidden gem but events have conspired against me. I visited the old mill with a photo buddy Brian last July and it was great to see it again. I had spent many hours of my childhood getting up to mischief in this area and it was a real treat to re-visit it through the eye of the pinhole.  I shot one roll of film but the conditions were difficult as the light was rapidly changing as much of the valley is covered in tress and scrub.

The shot above is one of the few on the roll that was successful and I have discovered today that my plan to  revisit this site to make more images is no longer possible. The building has been demolished and is now just a patch of level ground.

I have had eight months to go back and shoot this building again something that I had really wanted to do. So the lesson here people – do things when you have the chance as there may be no tomorrow.

Zero Image 4×5 Pinhole Camera (Horseman 120 rollback fitted)
Film: Kodak Tri-X
Dev: Adox Adonal
Focal Length:25mm
Exposure: 8 Mins



Little Crater Lake – Mt Hood, Oregon


Little Crater Lake, Zero Image 4×5 and Ektar film 5 seconds.


Oregon is full of haunted places and I am drawn to all of them.  I love the thrill of perhaps seeing a ghost on one of my pinhole adventures.

Last summer we camped at Little Crater Lake up on Mt Hood (not to be confused with Crater Lake,  also in Oregon but South of here) . Little Crater Lake is  haunted by the ghosts of three teenagers (one female and two males) who swim in the freezing lake and reach out their arms to passersby as if they want to be rescued. It is also haunted by a white cat that disappears when you try to approach it.

When we camped here it was September and on a Sunday night so we had the entire campground to ourselves. To say I was nervous about this would be an undstatement. I was flat out freaked out. There wasn’t even a camp host and the ranger was elsewhere. We were completely alone.


Inside the tent. Zero Image 4×5 and Arista.edu 100.

We tested fate by walking to the lake after dark, by the light of the full moon. We didn’t see teenagers crying for help. And we didn’t see a white cat. The next morning, though, we were visited by the weirdest birds. They don’t live down at the lower elevations, apparently, because they were not familiar to me. They kept creeping closer and closer to me in groups of three as I sat quietly, drinking my coffee, until I scared them away. This happened repeatedly.


Morning Coffee. Zero Image 4×5 and Arista. edu 100 film.

The “lake” is really a small alpine pool. The water is clear and very cold. It is considered a “geological oddity” and “they” think it was created by “artesian water forcing its way through soft volcanic rock.”


It really is a beautiful, quiet place. Once I made friends with the birds.

For more info check out the USDA website.

Boring, Oregon

With apologies to Martin Parr

Zero 4×5 (50mm) + Arista.edu 100 @ 30 seconds

A few years ago I was having a conversation with Brendan about photographers and photography and in the course of our discussion he sent me a link to a blog post that included a short documentary about Martin Parr. I was enjoying the documentary very much – it was him talking about his projects in his own words. But then he said the following words and I literally sat there with my jaw hanging open. I was completely stunned.

“I made a pilgrimage to Boring, Oregon.”

Did I just hear that correctly? I had to rewind the video to make sure. Indeed, he said, “I made a pilgrimage to Boring, Oregon.” He was in a phase of his photography where he was interested in the idea of “Boring.” As he studied the idea he discovered that there was a town called Boring in Oregon, USA, just outside of Portland.

I practically live in Boring.

(that’s not a metaphor)

I did some Googling and sure enough! There were his photos of little old Boring! He visited us in 2000 and took photos for his “USA. Boring Oregon.” project, which you can see here.

I asked around locally and not a single person knows that he was here. Not a single local person knows the significance of this. Some locals I told about this were actually a little irritated by an outsider making a joke of it. But mostly when I geek out about it their eyes just glaze over.

I thought it would be fun to take some pinhole shots of a couple of the places he visited.


Zero 2000 + Ektar 100 @ 18 seconds.

Boring Middle School

Zero 2000 + Ektar 100 @ 6 seconds

The Boring bears

The Boring Bears. Zero 2000 + Ektar 100 @ 44 seconds

The one above is not one that he took. I was just amused by the Middle School’s door mat.

Here is the documentary if you are interested:

From the Sally Gap to Lough Dan

Pinhole - Round Wood to Lough Dan

One of the wonderful things about this country is that you are never really sure where a small laneway or an open gate can lead you. One of my favourite walks in the Wicklow mountains is the stroll from where I ditch my car on the Sally Gap road and walk downhill towards Lough Dan.

The stroll is very pleasant and a steep enough downward amble most of the way to the Lough. At one point the path changes and you follow to course of the Cloghoge River. The mature river meanders past deer and open bog land before entering Lough Dan. The climb back up the hill is always a bit rough bit well worth the efforts.

All photos where taken with my Zero 4 x 5. The black and white shots are on Tri-X and the colour stuff is Ektar



Pinhole - Round Wood to Lough Dan







Zero Image 4×5 Pinhole Camera (Horseman 120 rollback fitted)
Film: Kodak Tri-X/ Kodak Ektar
Dev: Adox Adonal/ Tetenal C-41 Ki
Focal Length:25mm
Exposure: Various