This photo comes from the same day as the three recent ones with a bright red sky, reflections on the water, and black pilings in the foreground. I took this one as I returned to my car. It's quiet and peaceful and the brilliant color has faded. I thought it was a fitting end to the beautiful display. The earlier posts are located here, here, and here.)
A spot of orange on a gray day is always welcome, as is a closeup look at any of the pilot boats. I rarely see the Columbia this far up the river, as it docks in Hammond and transfers pilots on the bar rather than at Astoria (the latter being the job of the smaller pilot boat, Arrow 2). The Columbia, like its sister boat, Chinook, is 72 feet long, and of a similar design (as far as I can tell) with a few differences. I didn't find a lot of information on the web about this boat, maybe because the name can be confused with the river and other things, so if you have a good link, I'd be happy to include it. There is also a pilot boat in Holland with the name name.
Winter is the season when bufflehead ducks come to live in our river, and I always enjoy seeing them. Their range is huge, covering most of North America, but I don't remember seeing them until I moved here. I also posted a photo of the buffleheads on January 29, 2010. All of the ducks in today's image are females, but in last year's post you can see the distinction between the genders, as the male has a lot more white on the head and lower body. I love the peaceful feeling of the water as the ducks slip and glide over the small swells when the river is calm along its banks.
When, in a blog comment, Woody expressed surprise that I could get close enough to Gunderson's and Number 10 Sixth Street to take these pictures, I explained that I'd been standing right up against the chain-link fence with my phone camera. As you can see, the River Walk and trolley are still available for use, and the fencing keeps people out, but not that far away from the buildings. I hear that this is a prime subject for photographers these days.
Speaking of sad stories and buildings, or in this case institutions and the quality of education in our area, I've just heard the news that St. Mary, Star of the Sea School (which I posted here and here the other day completely coincidentally) will be closing at the end of this term after a history of one hundred and thirteen years.
I have heard only excellent things about this school. Kids seem actually to enjoy attending. (When is the last time I heard that about a school, or maybe I'm prejudiced from my early years? I had many good teachers, but I felt restricted. When I hear that kids are loving their school, I have to think that something special is going on.) We had comments on this blog's Facebook page about people who had attended in years past and loved the school. The classes are held to about 15 students, and kids have a good time learning. The issue, of course, is money. I know one 10-year-old who is greatly upset by this announcement.
I took a lot of photos on a long walk last January when Francisca was visiting. For some reason - maybe the lighting - a lot of them were usable. Here's a pretty home on a large piece of open land just before you go into the forest on the way to the top of Coxcomb Hill to see the Astoria Column. There was plenty of filtered sun that day. This was one of the cloudier moments, as I remember.
I went out without my good camera today, so I bring you phone pictures of the burned-out remains of 6th Street Pier and a corner of the adjacent Number 10 Sixth Street building. They're behind a chain link fence, and for a good reason. Naturally, people want to explore, but it's dangerous. With parts of the floor missing and structures occasionally still crashing down inside the buildings, it's not a safe place to be.
I have not been close to the buildings often since they burned, but one day I saw a crane barge pulled up next to the pier, and I assume they dismantled parts that could easily be hauled away. I don't know if anyone is sure at this time whether there will be rebuilding or demolition, but when buildings are this old, there are additional aspects to consider, such as heating systems that may be so out of date that "not up to code" is a totally inadequate term. Word on the street is that it will be awhile before much can be done, and there is still investigating and planning before significant changes can be made. Speaking of investigating, once again, the word on the street is that the cause of the fire is still not certain. The most likely scenario is that an accidental electrical fire in the Cannery Cafe (above) spread quickly across the pier to Number 10.
There were many, many people and businesses affected by this fire more than I was affected, but I wanted to mention again how sad it feels to me personally to see this mess. This pier has been a destination on many of my walks over the years, and I enjoyed coming here for other reasons. Pictures of this pier encouraged me to choose Astoria over several other locations when I moved here in 2001. Important buildings, and indeed the entire downtown area, have been taken out by fires over the years. It is an aspect of Astoria's history that seems doomed to be repeated in a town where we love our antique Victorian wood buildings, but it is always devastating to someone. We will see what the future brings to 6th Street and Number 10. I'll keep you posted. I will also post some pictures from better days when I come across them.
The other day it happened again. I've seen this before. I glanced out my window to notice three ships about to converge. The orange ship in the center is anchored. The one on the left is heading to the right, and the one on the right is heading to the left. They passed each other - not quite all lined up in the center of my view - and then the swells from their movement came crashing onto the shore. The swells are not large, but I can often tell from hearing them that at least one ship has passed or that the pilot boat has gone out or come back in. The river ranges from almost completely calm as in this day's rain and low tide to waves that pound constantly when the wind is blowing.
Lest anyone thought we were finished with the sunset pictures from January 19, we are not. Here's one more. The first picture was the color shot. The second was intriguing showing the drawbridge on a red background, and it began to show a subtle play of lights and reflections in the water. The colors in today's image are more muted, but look at what's going on it in the water. A person could get lost here: a piling field, a drawbridge, a fading sunset, lights, columns, a pampas-grass-type plant, some ducks, and the surface of the bay perfect for ruffled reflections. Which is your favorite of the images?
For those who do not know Astoria, this is the drawbridge over the mouth of Young's Bay where it empties into the Columbia River. The bay is on the left, the river on the right. This image is another take on the sunset from January 19th.
Depending on where I looked and how I directed the camera in that amazing red glow, different elements showed up. Here you can see the blue-gray line that indicates ripples on the surface of the water. You can also see vertical lines of light paralelling the pilings and the bridge columns. These are actually the reflections of the headlights crossing the bridge. I'm not sure how the angle of the light from the cars could make this happen, but I watched as each vehicle produced the light on the water, and the light moved with the vehicle. I love the time of day when the intensity of the light in the sunset somewhat matches the intensity of the electric lights. There was so much going on here, it was one of those evenings that makes your breath come fast and want to share the moment.
For more Weekend Reflections, visit James and participants from around the world at Newtown Area Photo.
I hope you enjoy the new, larger format. You can still click to enlarge the photo somewhat, but in most cases you won't need to any longer.
After a week or more of almost nonstop rain, Astoria was treated to this glorious sunset. As the intensity turned to more muted colors, interesting things began to happen around the piling field and beneath the columns of the Young's Bay Bridge. This is one of the color shots, and it does help to enlarge it. You can see some of the reflections already in this photo, and wait until you see what happens as the colors change (coming soon). I don't know what caused the striking arch over the bridge. I hope it wasn't a sign from McDonald's.
St. Mary, Star of the Sea School (see yesterday's post) also has an unusual doorway. Below is another photo of the facade from a more typical angle. The blue strip on the top of the lintel says, "For God and Country."
December 21 being another gray day (no, not here!), my attention was captured by the bright flags and banners at the front and back doors of Fernhill Glass on Exchange. I've shown the back door first, because I like the view down a level to the back of the Astor Hotel on Duane Avenue.
Here is the banner and sign at the front door on Exchange. I didn't go in, but I've heard reports that the glass blowing is quite fun and you can take home brightly-colored creations for your window sill.
Astoria, Oregon ~ November 3, 2010
Guest Photographer: Alex aka B.G. Owens
Alex wrote: "I happened to be at Safeway this past glorious Wednesday (November 3rd.) and spotted artists on the other side of the tracks near the trolley stop. Unfortunately I didn't have my camera with me but, I did have my cell phone, so I snapped these shots thinking what a fabulous November day we are having. Then thought, if any of these pictures turn out, what a great way to remember Astoria in the Fall."
I think we will all agree, as we enjoy the pouring rain today, January 12th. Thanks for the memories, Alex!
I glanced out the window yesterday in time to catch a rare sight - two or three kayakers on the river in the middle of winter. By the time I got my camera, the person (or persons) in front in the bright yellow parka(s) had gone behind the building. I checked the temperature, and it was 39 degrees F. Brrrrr.
The crab catcher f/v (fishing vessel) Tempest on the Columbia River. It has a different look than most of the boats we see on the river. I'd be interested if anyone would like to comment or send e-mail about this type of fishing boat. Anyone who has watched Deadliest Catch will recognize the big lighting rig on the front and the boom for lifting crab pots. I finally rented some of the episodes last month and found out what the TV show was about and where many of the boats go that we see in Astoria's calmer waters. I don't have cable, so if it's not on DVD, I don't see it.
For those not familiar with Astoria, Pier 11 is one of the town's most recognizable buildings. It sits on the water at between 10th and 11th Streets. In fact, the entire building is over water. The River Walk and trolley run between the railing and the building, and in real life you can see the water lapping down in the dark space on the right. The windows look pretty when you can see the sky on the other side, but at least one of the suites is no longer empty. I featured Malama Day Spa and the view from aloft in an earlier post, and Riki Fleischmann and her spa are featured this week on the cover of Coast Weekend. Speaking of windows, note that there's an unusual item displayed in one of the downstairs windows: a motorcycle. The location houses a restaurant (Rollin' Thunder BBQ), and the owner loves bikes.
I thought I'd post a bright color on this very gray day. You can't get much brighter than this. I featured the Lady Rosemary before along with a couple of other fishing boats in the dock . . . in this post.
Theme Day (the first of each month) is a big event at City Daily Photo. Although Astoria Daily Photo is a member web site, I don't often remember to participate in theme days. The theme today is, "Photo of the year 2010." Although we've had beautiful contributions from guest photographers this year, I decided to choose among my own for theme day. I think I chose the above photo as the standout for first place because it has a surreal quality unlike any of my other photos this year, a Classical quality with the arched window - and of course, I love the subject of the bridge and the Columbia River.
May you all have a happy, healthy and prosperous 2011. And my fondest thanks to all blog-visiting friends and everyone who helped Astoria Daily Photo grow this year!