Camping at Summer Lake Hot Spring, Oregon

By Neva Knott

I amble around the Pacific Northwest often. A recent Memorial Day, my friend Chandika and I took off on a suggestion from a coworker of mine to Summer Lake in Central/East Oregon. We stayed at the Hot Spring campground there; it’s a cool place–the owner has set up Airstream trailers as cabins and a tent area in a field. It was casual and friendly, so much so that he made us coffee in the morning, since we’d forgotten the French press.

These photographs were shot with my Holga plastic camera and film. If you’re not familiar with Holgas, the distortions and vignetting are part of the charm of the camera.

Beachscapes at Fort Stevens, Astoria, Oregon

By Neva Knott

A photography teacher once quoted a famous photog, whose name I’ve now forgotten, stating that photography has nothing to do with the beach. I disagree. The place where the sky meets water and water meets land is magical, mysterious, and abundant of life.

Footsteps, Fort Stevens, Astoria OR

Fort Stevens, Astoria OR

End of the beach, Fort Stevens, Astoria WA

Sea Lions in Astoria, Oregon

By Neva Knott

Sea Lions resting on the docks in Astoria, Oregon. Most, if not all, of these are male California Sea Lions, distinguishable by their darker color and dog-like bark, according to Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. This is a charismatic species; these lounging and napping sea creatures draw an audience when they’re in town. And, they cause an uproar with Astoria’s citizens who use these docks–the sea lions are noisy, smelly, cause damage to the docks, and take up prime mooring space.

As a naturalist, I’m on the side of the sea lions. They come in for the smelt run and stay for the salmon run. What people don’t understand is this: when we take up wildlife habitat, they will “invade” our habitat.

Whale Bones Memorial, Newport, Oregon

By Neva Knott

For me, this memorial is a visual connective element between humans and the circle of life. The enormity of the whale reminds that we are not the primary species on the planet.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Zihuatanejo Fishing Boats

By Neva Knott

Easter, 2011. I traveled to Zihuatanejo to spend nine days by myself on a beach. I wanted to hear another language. I wanted to feel a different culture. I was in graduate school and bartending and burned out. I stayed at a little place called Treetops in a little palapa of a cabin. I spent most of my days on a beach chair under a palm-front umbrella, reading and napping and watching the ocean roll along.

When I travel, I like to make photos that show the essence of the place, that narrate how life is lived there. While Zihuatanejo is just down the road from Ixtapa, a major tourist resort area, and is famous as the filming location of The Shawshank Redemption, it is also a fishing village.

Trees and Trash, Zihuatanejo, Mexico

By Neva Knott

Easter, 2011. I traveled to Zihuatanejo to spend nine days by myself on a beach. I wanted to hear another language. I wanted to feel a different culture. I was in graduate school and bartending and burned out. I stayed at a little place called Treetops in a little palapa of a cabin. I spent most of my days on a beach chair under a palm-front umbrella, reading and napping and watching the ocean roll along.

Every few days while in Zihuatanejo, I walked this mile-long dirt road from my beach cabin at TreeTops to get to the highway and bus-stop to go into town. The trash dumps under every tree stood in sharp contrast to the lush beauty of the flora. As with the tide-line trash I depicted in my previous post, this problem is not unique to Mexico.

This is my first sketch of an environmental photo story.

Tide-line and Trash, Zihuatanejo, Mexico

By Neva Knott

Easter, 2011. I traveled to Zihuatanejo to spend nine days by myself on a beach. I wanted to hear another language. I wanted to feel a different culture. I was in graduate school and bartending and burned out. I stayed at a little place called Treetops in a little palapa of a cabin. I spent most of my days on a beach chair under a palm-front umbrella, reading and napping and watching the ocean roll along.

Evenings, I walked the beach. One such evening, I followed the trash trail left by the last high tide and photographed it. The next morning the beach was clean again, the trash having been dragged into the sea. This problem is problem is not unique to Mexico–I found the same along the banks of the River Lee in Ireland when I ran there evenings in the summer of 2014.

Rhythm and Fade: A Night Walk in Cork, Ireland

By Neva Knott

The Ovens Bar in Cork on a Tuesday in July. Older couples, men and women who looked like they’d worked a day in their lives, sat side by side in booths, facing into the room, backs at the wall. Each he, a full pint of dark beer, each she, a half. The booths were red and the walls dark and trimmed with heavy wood. Eyes followed us as we entered. Low words marked our presence, foreigners in a common place at day’s end.

The nine of us took a table and struck up little conversations in clusters of twos and threes. The World Cup was on the screen. Two happy Irish men tuned, violin and banjo, and made ready to play music. A third man, younger, muscular, jovial, carefully unpacked his tap dancing shoes.

My eyes on it all–the projected energy of the game, the enthusiasm of the band, the constant smile of the dancing man, the contemplation of the drinking couples, the random conversations of my company, the movement at the bar. Unwilling to drink more and unable to sit still any longer, I knew I had to take my leave.

How to explain I had to go, to walk? Not wanting to appear rude or disinterested, but as I watched the soccer players run and watched the dancer click and step, I couldn’t keep my place on that barstool. It was late evening, the best time to walk. I told my friends good-bye and left the bar.

Outside, the city was aswarm. The sky was still blue. As I walked it began to pale to grey, but a brightness remained behind buildings, and the sun still projected light above the church-tops and shop roofs. I walked along Oliver Plunkett Street to the rhythm of footsteps, the beat of young couples going to the pub, of overly made-up girls going for a drink, of tourists seeking entertainment, of shop workers going home. Buildings and shapes and languages.

Two blocks up, a man with a red electric guitar. He was an aging rock star, dressed in hippy-style motley, a man whose musical generation was fading in the same way the light dropped behind the buildings. His guitar shone, the sound amplified down the side-alley and along Plunkett Street, and his voice–mellow and strong, clear and convicted, gave to the fading light the words of a ballad, “Stairway to Heaven.”

The notes from the red guitar, the familiarity of the song, and the walking beat blended into me. I wondered, what, for me, glitters with gold?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The rhythm of the city’s dusk carried me past the closed shops, past the pubs with the noise of the World Cup spilling out of each doorway, across the bus mall, and onto Washington Avenue. Half a mile down, the avenue began to parallel the River Lee. I could see the day’s end reflected on the cool glass of the water.

The street was quieter now, though still populated. Shapes and textures of the city took my eye–the glass-scapes of modern hotels layered upon stone-built old churches. The Records and Relics shop with its mannequins in a shoot ’em up western motif. The quick-mart, still open for snacks and liquor, the forgotten milk, cigarettes, a sandwich. Row houses with iron gates, mild-mannered graffiti on cement garden walls, the flora of the college grounds. The ever-present, soft-flowing River Lee.

I felt alive and part of it all; I was walking.

 

 

 

Sandy River Delta Pond Across the Seasons

By Neva Knott

I walked the same area of the Thousand Acres dog park on the Sandy River Delta and took photos of the wetlands ponds once a month for a year to show how wetlands shift and cannot be seen as static elements of the landscape. Wetlands are considered the kidneys of the planet. They filter sediment and toxins out of water before it becomes part of a river. The provide nutrients to soil and serve as habitat for wildlife. Wetlands are an important part of the earth’s hydro cycle, climate, and heat regulatory systems.

Too often, wetlands are filled by developers. When this happens, the full range of the ecosystem services provided by wetlands is not considered, nor is the flux of the wetlands system on a landscape.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.