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 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) + 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

Haystack Rock – Oregon Coast


Haystack Rock 2

Zero 4×5 (25mm), Graflex ’23’ 120 rollback + Ektar 100 @ 5 ish seconds.

“Three rocks, I know it. I’ve got a feeling about this one.” … “You always have a feeling, Mikey. Every time you have a feeling you get us in trouble.” – The Goonies.

Haystack Rock is a sea stack located on the Oregon Coast in Cannon Beach. It was made famous in the movie The Goonies. It is the most recognized geological monoliths on the Oregon Coast. Haystack Rock IS the Oregon Coast. It’s shorthand for “Oregon Coast.” According to some, it is the third largest free-standing sea stack in the world.

It was created by lava flows 10 million years ago, (along with several other rock formations along the coast).

Another fun fact: William Clark landed here during his expedition with Lewis in 1806. Of the view he stated:

“…the grandest and most pleasing prospects which my eyes ever surveyed, in front of a boundless Ocean…”

Haystack Rock 1

Zero 4×5, 50mm configuration + Arista 100 @ 5 seconds.

Indeed. The view is pretty spectacular.

Mullaghmeen Forest

Zero_Ektar_866Mullaghmeen forest is one of those wonderful places that is nearly impossible to find and even harder to describe. It sits in the middle of extensive farm lands at the Coole end of the Bog of Allen and borders counties Cavan and Westmeath. Its the largest planted beech forest in Ireland and that give the woods a very open feel. The light streams past the spindly tress to wash the forest floor with daylight. It give the woods an enchanted air and I can’t remember ever strolling through a place like it before.

As well as the woods there is a few little points of interested dotted around, including a Booley Hut and famine walls. We were just tipping into the Irish winter when I visited so I have have added it to my list for a spring/summer revisit.

Self Portrait at MullaghmeenZero_Ektar_868 Zero_Ektar_870

Zero Image 4×5 Pinhole Camera (Horseman 120 rollback fitted)
Film: Kodak Ektar
Dev: Tetenal C-41 Kit
Focal Length:25mm
Exposure: Various…I have notes…