The Avenue of Giants

©Shireen Nadir 2014

Water and rocks may be where my heart is, but Tito loves giant trees, so a trip along the 101 Coastal highway would not be complete without a visit to see the giant redwood forests.

©Shireen Nadir 2014

We stopped at the roadside attraction ‘Trees of Mystery’ with its giant Paul Bunyan statue and bizarre tree formations, then drove through the ‘Avenue of Giants’ alternative route that follows the 101.

©Shireen Nadir 2014

We even made a little diversion to the tree that you can actually drive through, and saw the world’s biggest cathedral tree (trees that grow together as one from the stump of a fallen tree).

©Shireen Nadir 2014

To stand beside these trees, and to touch them, to witness the sheer mass of them, is truly an awesome and profoundly spiritual experience.

This is the root system of a fallen tree that is 3000 years old!

This is the root system of a fallen tree that is 3000 years old!

Here’s a quote from the “Trees of Mystery” website:

To someone who has never seen one, a Redwood tree must seem to be something from a tall tale. Averaging eight feet to as much as twenty feet in diameter, and some as tall as three hundred and seventy five feet. That is a tree taller than the Statue of Liberty, from base of the pedestal to the tip of the torch. A tree larger around and through than a Greyhound bus. Absolutely the largest living thing on earth. A typical Redwood forest contains more biomass per square foot than ANY other area on earth, and that includes the Amazonian rain forests.

©Shireen Nadir 2014 ©Shireen Nadir 2014 ©Shireen Nadir 2014 ©Shireen Nadir 2014 ©Shireen Nadir 2014 ©Shireen Nadir 2014

TFA Gem – A Palindrome Weave


Another diversion from vacation photos to show you the beauty I pulled off the loom a few days ago. After finishing my first palindrome scarf in one of Tanis’ old multi colour ways, I went on a hunt through Ravelry destash to see if anyone else was hoarding an old skein that would work as a palindrome. I managed to get my hands on Prism, Gem and Glacier.


This one is Gem. Gem lends itself nicely to the palindrome technique because the colour runs are nice and long (Prism, you will soon see, has very short colour runs. This means that trying to line up colours in the warp is a short-cut to a drinking problem.).


The weft is a 100% tencel hand dyed skein that I picked up in San Fransico (more on that store soon!) The colours in the tencel were a perfect match for the Gem.


In both skeins, the colours are intense.


This resulted in a stunning, and very intense scarf. These photos were all taken on a dull day, down by the lake with a dull wooden background. The scarf needed no assistance to really pop.


My next experiment will be with a skein of Sweet Georgia that is similar to Gem but with more intense purples. The weft will also be tencel–I really love the shine and texture of it!

DSCF0063 DSCF0024-2 DSCF0021-2 DSCF0026-2

Bandon Beach

Bandon Beach was one of those places that was high on the list for Oregon; I’d seen photos of the amazing rock formations and was really looking forward to shooting there, especially during the dusk, and at nighttime, where I was hoping for great sunsets and stars with low light pollution.

Unfortunately that wasn’t to be–we shot all day in a gorgeous, blazing blue sky and picked up a motel room right on the beach, but thick clouds came in by evening and the blue hour was a bit of a bust. We shot for a few hours anyways, but returned cold and wet a lot earlier than we’d planned to.

What can you do, right? You pays the man, and you takes your chances ;)

©Shireen Nadir 2014 ©Shireen Nadir 2014 ©Shireen Nadir 2014 ©Shireen Nadir 2014 ©Shireen Nadir 2014 ©Shireen Nadir 2014 ©Shireen Nadir 2014 ©Shireen Nadir 2014 ©Shireen Nadir 2014 ©Shireen Nadir 2014 ©Shireen Nadir 2014 ©Shireen Nadir 2014 ©Shireen Nadir 2014 ©Shireen Nadir 2014 ©Shireen Nadir 2014

Sunset Yachats

Just a few shots of the sunset in a small coastal town called Yachats. Yachats is off the 100, just north of Cape Perpetua, and it’s where we stayed while we were shooting Thor’s Well.

The colours in these shots are straight out of the camera. I am using my Lee Filter system with a .6 graduated ND filter, and then a .9 hard ND filter on top, to keep the sky from over-exposing while still getting detail in the rocks.

©Shireen Nadir 2014

©Shireen Nadir 2014

©Shireen Nadir 2014

©Shireen Nadir 2014

Bullards Beach OR

©Shireen Nadir 2014

I was going to bundle these pics in with the photos of Bandon Beach, but when I looked them over I realized they deserved their own post-the landscape is so very different.

©Shireen Nadir 2014

Bullards Beach is an area that we passed through while looking for Bandon Beach. It’s white and sandy and sunny and that’s where all resemblance to a nice beach stops.

©Shireen Nadir 2014

The wind was ferocious and, despite the sun, very cold. The beach itself is desolate, deserted, a graveyard of driftwood… no, not driftwood, entire trees have washed up here to be bleached and polished by this unforgiving spot.

©Shireen Nadir 2014

I loved it. I found it scenic and lonely and lovely. However, the cameras (and Tito) did not love it. because it was cold and gritty and stinging and the wind was so high we could hardly hear each other.

©Shireen Nadir 2014

Shortly after Bandon we entered an area of Oregon that was all massive desert-like sand dunes. Just another reason why I love that state, the breadth of landscape is unbelievable!

©Shireen Nadir 2014 ©Shireen Nadir 2014 ©Shireen Nadir 2014 ©Shireen Nadir 2014 ©Shireen Nadir 2014

Handspun FO – Viola Viola

I thought I’d take a break from trip stuff today to share some pics of my first FO since coming home (does a skein of handspun count as an FO?).


A few weeks back, Rayna and I went to the home of a friend of hers, who was destashing an impressive amount of gorgeous stuff. Among the many gems that we dug out and brought home was an unexpected treat; a braid of Viola Viola (based on a quick Ravelry search I think this is either ‘Ghost’ or ‘Dew Drop’).


Viola Viola, before she took a break from dyeing to travel to England, was second only to Tanis Fiber Arts for gorgeous yarn. I loved her bases, her colours, and I hoarded everything I owed from her after she stopped dyeing. So to find this partly used braid sitting loose at the bottom of a fiber bin was like striking oil.


Unfortunately, as I complained to Rayna afterwards, the braid had suffered from its time in the bin. The spin was slubby and tough, and the fiber blend was a mystery since it was without a label.


Because my spinning skills are not developed enough for me to spin something end-to-end yet, I pre-draft relatively thin before spinning, which means that the colours all faded out to a fairly neutral grey instead of preserving some of the blues and purples that you can see in the first photo (that little bit of green has almost disappeared entirely).


However, when it was done and plied I was happy that I stuck with it. I suspect it’s merino-silk or something like it; the yarn is incredibly soft and bouncy with great shine. I’m thinking it might make a small cowl, or perhaps a woven scarf. Using my own handspun is so gratifying!


Cape Perpetua and Thor’s Well

Isn’t that a great name?

A few years ago I found a place on Pinterest called ‘Thor’s Well’. Thor’s Well is a sea cave that caved in on itself leaving behind a 20 foot deep hole, and it’s on the Oregon coast. Then and there I decided that I had to visit Oregon and shoot that formation, and that was the genesis of this trip.

Cape Perpetua ©Shireen Nadir 2014

Here’s the place where I talk about what a champ Tito is. These photos were the entire reason for going to Oregon in the first place, and every other gorgeous thing we saw was just icing on the cake. Accordingly, I was even more obsessive than usual about getting the perfect shot.

Cape Perpetua ©Shireen Nadir 2014

Thor’s Well is not easy to shoot. I thought other photographers were exaggerating, but I was wrong. The well is 20 feet deep, with a tunnel that goes out to the ocean. Sea water comes in from the top and the bottom, filling the well and turning it into a natural geyser that erupts back out. The most spectacular shots are that of the water pouring back down into the hole. It looks like a gate to another world.

Cape Perpetua ©Shireen Nadir 2014

Add to that the fact that it’s best seen at high tide, eg. when it’s the most dangerous. There is a strong back current when the water is being sucked back down again that can pull you forward (and down!). You can’t really run easily if a rogue wave comes because it’s all uneven volcanic rock, and it’s tough to keep your footing, let alone run. Finally, you have to be willing to get wet. You risk salt water damage to your gear, and while shooting you’re being constantly salt-water-showered by the spouting horn that’s just to the right of the well.

Cape Perpetua ©Shireen Nadir 2014

To quote a scene in the latest Batman:

Christian Bale: Am I supposed to understand all that?

Morgan Freeman: No. I just wanted you to know how hard it was.

It gets more challenging. The weather was not interested in my goals. The crazy fog was out in full strength again.

Cape Perpetua ©Shireen Nadir 2014

Cape Perpetua ©Shireen Nadir 2014

Cape Perpetua ©Shireen Nadir 2014

We ended up going back to the well not once, twice, or even three times, but 4 times. The last time required Tito to make a U-turn on a narrow, winding road because the fog cleared and the sunset showed up out of nowhere and I knew I had to go back. Love that man.

So this was the shot.

Before Sundown

Before Sundown

And this:

Empty well, in between waves

Empty well, in between waves

Right after the well filled up

Right after the well filled up

Right at sunset

Right at sunset

It was the highlight of the trip, no contest. I think it’s one of the best shots I’ve ever taken. Thanks baby, for understanding and being willing to humour my little shutterbug heart. To me, it was all worth it.

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