Impromptu Serendipity Down By the River
Monday 25 January 2016 — Category: Outings
The other morning I was sitting in my home-office recliner, pouring out my heart to Dear Diary, when all of a sudden, out of the blue, I had the desire to take a walk along the Willamette River in downtown Albany, about three miles from my home in the southwest corner of town. Perhaps the somewhat-uncommon break in Oregon’s nine-month rainy season had something to do with it. After realizing that I could combine the outing with a necessary stop at the grocery store, I put down Dear Diary, got my stuff together, and headed out the door.
After a ten-minute drive I parked at Monteith Riverpark, at the confluence of the Willamette and Calapooia rivers (pronounced: cal-uh-POOH-yuh). This is the same Calapooia that flows only 330 yards from my house a few miles upriver — more on that in a little bit.
Along the south bank of the Willamette (it flows basically west to east through Albany) is the 1.15-mile Dave Clark Riverfront Path, which has its western terminus at the Calapooia River in Monteith Riverpark. As I started along the Path, I was disappointed to find that it was somewhat crowded with dogs taking their humans for a walk. Fortunately I am a fast walker, and was soon able to leave the pack behind. Just because the rain had paused didn’t necessarily mean that it was sunny. During the first half of my walk the sun was stuck behind a cloud bank. When I reached the eastern end of the Path, on NE Front Avenue between Sherman and Oak streets, I turned around to head back to my truck.
Soon afterwards the sun rose above the clouds. Its glorious golden rays totally transformed the drab scenery into a magical landscape. As I was walking down the Path, I noticed my shadow on the trunk of a tree some yards off the Path. It was at this point that I was very glad that I had my pocket camera with me as usual.
The more I progressed down the Path, the more photogenic scenes I encountered as the sun continued to shine. I also kept noticing my shadow being projected by the sunlight onto trees along the Path. Not every occurrence was photo-worthy, but I did end up with four nice, artistic shadow-selfie-tree images.
It wasn’t until I got back to Monteith Riverpark that I really noticed how high the water level was. But still, it was a lot lower than four years ago, almost to the day, when I went down to the same park with my wife’s camera to photograph the 2012 Willamette Valley flooding.
As you can read in that article, the Calapooia River was flooding areas to its west, and was also creeping higher and higher up its eastern bank towards my neighborhood, just a few minutes’ walk from my house. Fortunately the water subsided before any flooding in Albany could occur.
Out of the 19 photos I took during my short walk, 13 of the best are on display in the new Down By the River 2016 album. I am very happy that I followed my heart and went on this impromptu walk, which I never imagined would turn into a serendipitous photo outing.
I was also very happy about the performance of my Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS50 pocket camera. This is only my second outing on which all of the photos were taken with that camera, because I almost always use my larger Olympus OM-D E-M5 Micro Four Thirds camera.
My first outing using the ZS50 exclusively was in Portland last August for the 20th annual Providence Bridge Pedal. Unfortunately I have not had time to process and post those photos ... that’s on my long list of things to do for 2016.
Of course, this outing was not the first time I had taken pictures along the Willamette in downtown Albany. In addition to the flood photos, I also took some pictures during the autumn of 2011 in Monteith Riverpark — see the article Monteith Park Photo Outing and the accompanying images.
Furthermore, in March 2015 I took a few pictures from the Dave Clark Riverfront Path — see the article Down By the River ... I Shot My Baby ... which includes links to the accompanying photos.
As you can see, even on the spur of the moment, close to home, photographic opportunities abound. Now, grab your camera, go out, and explore them!
On January 11, 2017, Wolfgang wrote:
Ha Ha Brian... It's so funny! You live in Albany Oregon and I live in Albany, NY! Love that Monteith Park autumn evening shot. Wolfgang