Archive for the ‘Articles’ Category

Shadows and Shade

Monday, July 25th, 2016
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By stepping into the shadow with your subjects—and exposing for shadow—you eliminate harsh shadows and take advantage of soft, even light as in this photo of Toddy and Kate. © David LaBelle

I love shadows because it means the sun is shining somewhere. Those long, deep shadows can be such wonderful helpers for revealing dimension and texture in your photos. They also can be useful elements to add life, scale, movement and mystery to your photos—great gifts in architectural photography.

As my artistic wife observes, “Shadows are free and fluid. A tree is limited, but the shadow of a tree is not; it is liberated and often better than reality.”

Like sharp relatives, shadows can be challenging and difficult to manage. Avoiding lens flare, loss of contrast and figuring exposure requires observation and thought.

There are three common mistakes I see when photographing shadows.

The first is the backlight flare that often occurs when you stand in sunlight while trying to make a picture of someone or something in shadow or open shade. If you are squinting while trying to make the picture, your camera is likely struggling, too.

The second potential disaster is the splotchy-skin look. Magical sunlight sprinkles through dancing tree leaves, creating hundreds of sharp light shards. Though pretty to the naked eye, the exposure difference between the spots of bright light and deep shadow can be a photographic nightmare. It pains me to think of how many “splotchy” and “speckled” midday wedding pictures I have seen made where bride and groom appear to be suffering from a terrible skin disorder.

The third is the accidental silhouette. Standing in the shade with your subject, your light meter reads the bright highlight and makes the exposure accordingly.

Here is my advice when it comes to photographing shadows or open shade:

  • Embrace shadows. Go on a shadow hunt on a bright sunny day—a fun exercise that just might yield some surprising photos. When photographing shadows, expose for the highlights around them and not for the shadows themselves.
  • Get in the shadow. When photographing subjects in shadow, stepping into the shadows with your subjects on bright, sunny days with deep or harsh shadows may be the most important tip I can offer.
  • Use a lens shade. I see a lot of folks with shades turned backwards, rendering them useless. Lens shades are made to block peripheral light, which minimizes glare and helps the contrast in your image. This may not seem like a big deal, but I assure you, it is. Warning: Be careful when using super-wide-angle lenses that you don’t capture the rim of the shade in your frame. Without getting too technical here, wide f-stops can help avoid this.
  • Make your exposure for subjects in shadow and not the highlight behind them, unless you want silhouettes.
  • Use flash. Shadows are great because they usually offer even light with less contrast and exposure variance. A little flash goes a long way to awaken those shadows with more lively color or even out light shards dancing through leaves. Not only will the artificial light open up those shadows, it will awaken colors that may be muted in the shadowy light. Once again, it is critical to step into the shadow when photographing. If you feel comfortable with your camera settings, try making your exposure for the highlight behind your shadowed subject and add light with a strobe/flash.
  • Use a reflector to redirect the bright sunlight and open up shadows. The key is to point your reflector at the sun, catch the light and redirect it onto your subject. The shinier the reflector—silver, bronze or white—determines the intensity of the light reflected. If your subjects are squinting, you might want to use white instead of a shiny surface.
  • Wear a hat. I wear one not only because I am follically challenged on top, but so I have an instant sun shade to block light that causes lens flare or dulls image contrast.

daveDavid LaBelle is an internationally known photographer, teacher, author and lecturer. He has worked for newspapers and magazines across the United States and taught at three universities. He applies many of the lessons he learned during his magical boyhood years in rural California to photography. For more information, visit www.greatpicturehunt.com.

Providing Comfort and Companionship

Monday, July 25th, 2016
Therapy dog Simon relaxes while his handler, George Sallee, delights a young listener with a story. Simon and George love reading to children. Photo by Greg Silsby/PhotoPoetica

Therapy dog Simon relaxes while his handler, George Sallee, delights a young listener with a story. Simon and George love reading to children.
Photo by Greg Silsby/PhotoPoetica

Therapy animals come in all shapes, sizes and types of service: miniature horses that provide love to patients in nursing homes and hospitals; dogs that listen patiently as children read to them; cats that purr and stretch when petted; and full-sized horses that help people build confidence and communication skills.

Some provide companionship or a sense of calm for people with psychological or social challenges. Others are trained to assist health professionals with occupational or physical therapy patients.

Washington-based Pet Partners has more than 14,000 teams of volunteers nationwide. After the therapy animals—mostly dogs—receive basic obedience training, they visit hospitals, schools, nursing homes and community groups.

George Sallee, 80, and his golden retriever, Simon, have made more than 330 therapy visits in the past two years.

“Kids who would never read out loud quickly volunteer to read to Simon when we’re at schools or libraries,” says the Washington man. “And he brings great joy to people in retirement homes who just like to pet him or scratch behind his ears.”

The two recently befriended a 9-year-old whose mother died six months earlier.

“I got Simon to take Jadon on as his handler, and you wouldn’t believe what a difference it’s made to this youngster,” says George. “He lights up every time he and Simon are together.”

Pet Partners offers training for people who want to become part of an animal therapy team with numerous species, including rabbits, birds, miniature pigs and horses, llamas and domesticated rats.

“Service animals have a lot of responsibility, and you certainly don’t pet a service dog because he’s working,” George says. “Therapy dogs can be a lot more laid back because they cheer people up. You’d better be ready to pet a therapy dog. They just love the attention and affection.”

Therapy with horses is used with autistic children to build their confidence, calm them and improve their physical condition. It also is used with Alzheimer’s patients, people with physiological impairments and those wheelchair bound.

“Equine therapy has been incredibly successful in a variety of situations,” says Nicole Budden, executive director of Oregon’s Happy Trails Riding Center. “A horse’s gait simulates walking for the rider and can be very empowering. When they get on a horse, all their disabilities seem to go away.”

Emmy Harrop, 18, has been riding there since she was a first-grader.

“She had a passion for horses from an early age, so we started with therapeutic riding,” says her mother, Linda. “She’s on the autism spectrum with social and behavioral needs. When she’s riding, she’s confident and very relaxed. It’s a place for her to fit in and to fulfill her dream of being around horses. When she’s riding, she’s totally happy.”

Therapy animals can be invaluable to help manage challenges from crippling psychological disabilities, says author and researcher Melissa Fay Greene.

“I’ve heard of people whose lives have been dramatically changed by their bond with dogs,” Melissa says. “Whether they’re affected by a physical disability, an intellectual or psychological challenge, people’s bonds with therapy animals and the effects these relationships have are very real.”

Carving Out A Life of Art

Monday, July 25th, 2016
Mel Blackburn of La Pine, Oregon, shows some of the items he has made and carved during a life of craftsmanship, including creations on display behind him.

Mel Blackburn of La Pine, Oregon, shows some of the items he has made and carved during a life of craftsmanship, including creations on display behind him.

The home of Mel and Nancy Blackburn is more like an art and craft shop than a residence.

Inside the front door, engraved leather holsters hang from the wall, engraved steel knives are laid out on the kitchen table and carved wooden airplanes hang from the ceiling.

Turn the corner into the living room, and only the couch and Mel’s chair are void of Mel’s handiwork.
On the floor are miniature cannons Mel built from scratch and engraved.

There are rifles with carved stocks and engraved metal on the walls. There is a wooden horse glider with real horsehair mane and tail, and a saddle and bridle the craftsman made. There are old clocks he has been given that he restores and touches up with his artwork.

Leather, metal, wood, ivory—Mel’s craftsmanship incorporates all those materials. He cuts, carves, engraves, scrimshaws, sands, paints and polishes.

“I call it my museum,” Nancy says of the many pieces of artwork that adorn the house.

She says she is not terribly bothered by her husband’s craftsmanship spreading throughout the house. That is especially the case in the winter, when Mel brings his tools and materials inside to the kitchen table because it is too cold to work in his shop.

“I don’t think there is a word to describe his talent,” Nancy says. “He’s a creative magnet.”

In addition to the artwork in the house, Mel has restored antique cars and enhanced them with his artistry.

“If it is fun for me, I’ll do it,” he says. “I’ve always had some artwork going on. Next to my wife, art is the love of my life.”

Mel, 75, has been an artist and craftsman since he was young. He was born and raised in Portland. At age 12, he painted a Christmas scene on a store’s front window. The artwork drew compliments. During the next five Christmas seasons, he contracted to do numerous windows.

Mel took high school classes in carpentry and cabinet making.

After graduation, he entered the military and was stationed on Kodiak Island in Alaska. There was little to do there in his spare time, so when somebody gave him an old hunting knife, he sharpened it and turned a piece of leather into a sheath for the knife.

“I don’t remember it, but everybody thought it was pretty neat,” he recalls.

Mel was encouraged to make more sheaths. Then he expanded to holsters. He took one of his first holsters to a store. After it quickly sold, he began to supply the store with more.

The success of his custom-made holsters led him to make leather purses.

In 1957, Mel was approached by a fisherman who wanted a pair of holsters. He had a walrus in his boat at the time. After some bartering, Mel agreed to make the holsters for the walrus tusks. He still has the tusks, which are on display in his home.

Mel says he doesn’t work much with ivory anymore because it is a complicated process that requires completing a lot of paperwork.

For his military buddies, Mel painted cartoons, names and scenes on the tops of their wooden footlockers.

“I never had an art class in my life,” Mel says. “It’s just comes natural for me.”

After his military stint, Mel was a contractor and then a cabinet and furniture maker in Portland.

During those years, he visited La Pine numerous times, calling it his weekend getaway. He built a cabin in the area and moved permanently to La Pine 40 years ago. He opened a shop called Custom Art by Mel.

“I would do anything you wanted if it was fun for me,” he says. “I did a lot of leather work, wood carving, engraving on ivory, metal, glass and customizing car windows.

“I try not to make anything twice. That way, everything is one-of-a-kind for whoever has it. Some things might be similar, but they won’t be exactly alike.”

John Henson owns some holsters made by Mel.

“He’s very talented—multimedia talented,” John says. “His artwork is just unbelievable.”
One of Mel’s upcoming projects is to help John build a cannon.

First, Mel needs to regain his strength after a series of treatments for prostate cancer.

As the warm weather continues in Central Oregon, Mel expects to spend a lot of time with his tools working on his art projects. His wife is sure he will.

“He’ll get back to 8- to 10-hour days in the shop, I’m sure,” Nancy says. “He’s not one to sit around and whine about what is going on.”

While Mel has retired from taking his artwork to different shows in the West—something he did through the 1980s and ’90s—he still likes being a craftsman.

“I’m always building something, working on something, because it is fun,” he says.

Born for a Life of Service

Monday, July 25th, 2016
Service dogs receive as much as two years of training, learning to do hundreds of tasks for their handlers, including retrieving keys, above, and opening doors, below.

Service dogs receive as much as two years of training, learning to do hundreds of tasks for their handlers, including retrieving keys. The most popular breeds are golden retrievers, Labrador retrievers and crosses of the two breeds.

Man’s best friend serves as the eyes, ears, arms and legs of its handler

When she was in her 30s, Nancy Sawhney began having serious difficulty walking. Enduring seemingly endless medical tests and uncertain diagnoses for nearly a decade, the California woman struggled to use crutches, a cane and, at one point, a wheelchair.

Doctors declared she suffered from “unspecified neuron disease”—a condition that would gradually deteriorate. The diagnosis changed her life forever.

So did an information booth about assistance animals at the California State Fair in the early 1990s—and Josephine, a lab/retriever mix she called Jodi, which gave Nancy the chance for regained independence.

“That was the first time that I realized I could get a service dog to help me, and it just opened up my world,” Nancy says. “Until then, I never considered it a possibility. Now I don’t know what I would do without my canine partner.”

In the past 22 years, Nancy has had three more service dogs, including her latest, Battier, who has been with her since early this year.

“In just this short a time, Battier’s been more than I could ever have wished for,” Nancy says. “She anticipates my every need. She’s simply amazing.”

Nancy is one of many people whose lives are richer because they rely on their service dogs to be their eyes, ears, arms and legs. Organizations such as Guide Dogs of America and Canine Companions for Independence specialize in training service dogs.

By law, a service animal is a canine—or, in some cases, a miniature horse—that has been trained and certified to assist people with seeing, hearing, or other physiological or mental challenges. Service dogs undergo extensive training to assist their human partners.

The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits a person with a service dog from being denied access to a public place.

“There are big differences in service dogs and therapy dogs,” says Martha Johnson with Canine Companions for Independence, which is headquartered in northern California and serves eight western states. “Service dogs are working animals that are trained to perform specific tasks for their human partners that the handlers cannot do on their own.”

Dogs and humans have a long, intertwined history.

“Dogs have always lived among humans to the benefit of both species, and they co-evolved together over thousands of years,” says Melissa Faye Greene, author of the just-released “The Underdogs: Children, Dogs and the Power of Unconditional Love,” which explores the relationships of humans and canines. “There’s an ancient biological link, and science is proving that happy hormones are released by dogs like they are in humans.”

Twenty-first century studies have shown that when a dog and a person sit next to each other, their hearts begin to beat in sync, Melissa says.

“The whole miracle of cross-species friendship is amazing,” she says.

Canine Companions has a breeding program with golden retrievers and Labrador retrievers, producing full-blooded dogs and crossed breeds.

“These animals, because of their size and their personalities, are the most receptive to training and very adaptable,” says Nancy, who serves on the national board of directors for Canine Companions. “You can just see in their eyes how eager they are to please people. And even with their size, they are very loving and affectionate.”

From the time they are born, service animals are groomed for a life of service. They spend the first 14 to 16 months in the homes of trained volunteers to become socialized, learn basic commands and how to be calm in a wide range of situations.

Eric Peterson has been a puppy raiser for Canine Companions for nearly 14 years.

“The puppies come to us at about 8 weeks old, and it’s always so incredible to see how eager they are to learn, with their little tails wagging,” Eric says. “From the very day he arrives, he’s right there with me all the time, going to work, the grocery store, the airport, to the mall and movies, to family events and other activities.”

The pup wears a bright-colored vest identifying him as a service dog in training.

“This is one of the most fun parts because people come up to us, pet him and love on him,” Eric says. “It’s a perfect introduction to educate people about the amazing partnership between these dogs and their future handlers, plus it helps the dog become accustomed to being out in public.”

Eric’s latest charge is Artemis, a retriever/lab mix.

At nearly 1 year old, the dog has mastered nearly 30 commands, accompanied the family to restaurants, shopping and on vacations. He has learned to have his teeth brushed regularly and his toenails trimmed without wiggling, and to stay focused on the task at hand.

“From the very beginning, we’ve worked with Artemis by cradling him in our arms, turning him over on his back, rubbing his stomach and playing with his paws so that he’s comfortable, submissive and non-aggressive,” Eric says. “You’ll never see a service dog engage with another animal, even if it’s a larger dog that comes up to sniff it. He’s trained to lie down and to stay focused on his handler’s needs. Alpha dogs are not suitable as service dogs.”

Artemis has become a member of the Peterson family, at first wiggling, licking and nuzzling his way into their hearts, much like any family pet. But Eric knows the day is coming for the pup to move on to his next phase at a training facility.

“It’s one of the hardest things to deliver him to the training campus after all the time he’s spent with us,” Eric says. “It’s like a child leaving home for college, but by the time he is around 18 months old, he’s ready.

“We won’t see him again until his ‘doggie college’ is complete and he’s been matched with a handler, but he will remember us. I’ve seen it happen with every puppy we raised. At graduation, even though he hasn’t seen us in six months, his ears will perk up when he hears my voice, but he’ll mind his handler until she releases him. Then he’s all over us.”

At Canine Companion’s regional training facility, Artemis and dogs like him receive as much as six months of specialized training with a professional. He learns to respond to specific commands, such as “drink,” which signals him to fetch a bottle of water for his handler, and “light,” which prompts him to turn on a light switch.

Depending on the dog’s temperament and strengths, he may become a hearing dog or a service animal to assist a wheelchair-bound person.

Professionals constantly evaluate the dog’s abilities to make sure he will be able to perform his duties consistently for the six to eight years of his working life.

“Realistically, some wash out during puppy training, or ‘doggie college,’ as I call their time at the training campus,” Eric says. “If a dog doesn’t make the grade as a service animal, he is either trained as a therapy dog or adopted out to one of the many able-bodied people who are screened to be pet owners. As well-behaved and loveable as these dogs are, it’s very easy to match them with a suitable family.”

Handler candidates patiently wait for a call.

“Sometimes, the wait can be as long as two to three years to find the right dog for the right person,” says Nancy. “Once the dog is ready, candidates are brought in to meet their potential teammates and spend two weeks on one-on-one training with a professional to solidify their relationship and suitability.”
Graduation day is emotional as puppy raisers and their families return to see the dogs and their new handlers before they go to their new homes.

For Eric, it is bittersweet.

“I’m so proud of the puppies we’ve raised that go on to make a difference in someone’s life,” he says. “I always tear up as I see them leave for their new lives, but I know that’s what they’re trained for, and I’m just proud for the small part I played in it.”

Many organizations provide service dogs at no charge, although the financial and time investment can be several thousand dollars and months of volunteer time to raise the puppies. Once matched, handlers agree to pay for all food and medical care for the canine partner while in their care.

When the dog retires—usually at age 9 or 10—the handler has the option to keep the dog as a pet. If the handler turns the dog back to Canine Companions, the puppy raiser is offered the chance to adopt him. Otherwise, the dog becomes a pet for one of the approved people on the organization’s waiting list.
Nancy and her husband, Ramesh, opted to keep her second dog, Union, once he retired from service.

“He lived with us, even after I received my next dog, Becky,” she says, noting the two dogs became fast friends. “Union was a true blessing to our family, and we were happy to have him for the rest of his days. He was such a part of our family and our lives.”

Nancy credits Jodi with literally saving her life, even though she was with Nancy just a year.

“She was a great dog, but maybe a little too smart for the program, so she was returned to her puppy raisers to live a pampered life,” Nancy says of Jodi. “But if it had not been for Jodi and the wonderful dogs that came after her, I’m not sure what my life would be today.”

Outdoors 101: The ABCs of PFDs

Monday, July 25th, 2016
Most states have laws that require children younger than a certain age to wear life jackets when on a boat. In states without a children’s life jacket law, the U.S. Coast Guard requires those under the age of 13 to wear a certified life jacket. Inner tubes and other floaty toys are not considered certified flotation devices. Photo by Britta Kasholm-Tengve

Most states have laws that require children younger than a certain age to wear life jackets when on a boat. In states without a children’s life jacket law, the U.S. Coast Guard requires those under the age of 13 to wear a certified life jacket. Inner tubes and other floaty toys are not considered certified flotation devices. Photo by Britta Kasholm-Tengve

Personal flotation devices can be bulky, hot, uncomfortable and—for the vain at heart—uncool. But they are also lifesavers. A case in point: According to the U.S. Coast Guard, 84 percent of 2014 boating drowning victims were not wearing life jackets.

Life jackets not only provide additional flotation in the event of capsizing or an unexpected swim, but they also add a layer of warmth in cold water.

Here are the five types of personal flotation devices:

  • Type I, offshore life jacket. It is designed for extended survival in rough, open water.
  • Type II, near-shore buoyant vest. This is the “classic” life jacket. It is less bulky and less expensive than a
  • Type I PFD, and is designed for calm, inland water.
  • Type III, flotation aid. This PFD is similar to Type II vest, but it tends to be more comfortable and are available in assorted styles and sizes. However, they are not designed to keep an unconscious person face-up in the water such as Type I and II PFDs are designed to do.
  • Type IV, throwable device. This includes boat cushions and ring buoys.
  • Type V, special-use device. Special-use devices
  • includes hybrid vests, work flotation vests and deck suits.

Sizing is important to ensure the proper fit. For adults, it’s based on chest size, For children, it’s based on weight.

Some companies also make PFDs for pets. They are not USGS certified, but they have saved pet lives. They are available at many pet stores and outdoor stores.

The bottom line: Don’t just have a PFD onboard; be sure to wear it, especially if you are not a swimmer or are uncomfortable in the water.

National Park Service Celebrates 100 Years
August 25 marks the 100-year anniversary of the National Park Service. That’s 100 years of protecting America’s natural, historical and cultural treasures.

There are more than 400 beautiful, historic sites covering more than 80 million acres consisting of approximately 18,000 miles of rails and more than 75,000 archaeological sites.
Source: National Park Service

Not Getting Enough Fishing Time?
Don’t leave home without your fishing rod. You never know when the mood will hit you or an opportunity to wet your hook will present itself.

What’s Special this Month?
August: National Catfish Month and National Picnic Month
August 25: National Dog Day
August 31: National Trail Mix Day

Reader Submission: Another Tip for Keeping Your Cooler Cool
Thermal mass makes your cooler stay colder. To maximize this principle, reader Charles Hayden suggests buying a case of water bottles and freezing them. Use them in place of ice to fill your cooler. When the ice inside the water bottles melts, it doesn’t make things soggy and the water doesn’t go to waste. They melt slower than crushed ice and are less bulky than block ice.

Got a Tip or a Whopper?
Send us your favorite outdoor tip, photo or story. If selected for publication, we will send you $25 for one-time use of the item. When sending a photo, identify people and pets, and tell us the story behind the picture. Email your submission to gro.etilarurnull@ofni.

24authMany of Curtis Condon’s fondest memories involve outdoor adventures with friends and family, whether fishing with old school buddies, backpacking in the mountains of the Northwest with his sons, or bird watching along the coast with his wife. He feels fortunate having the opportunity to write about the outdoors and other subjects for more than 30 years.

An Obsession With Collections

Saturday, June 25th, 2016
Mike Haley with the antique stoves and hard coal baseburners he collects with Jan Daggett. “Mike’s my best friend,” Jan says. “He finds the stoves, I pay for them and he fixes them up. He’s responsible for my addiction.”

Mike Haley with the antique stoves and hard coal baseburners he collects with Jan Daggett. “Mike’s my best friend,” Jan says. “He finds the stoves, I pay for them and he fixes them up. He’s responsible for my addiction.”

Whether motivated by sentimental attachment or potential financial gain, it is in our nature to collect

Whether motivated by sentimental attachment or potential financial gain, it is in our nature to collect

Some adult mother/daughter duos make it a habit to enjoy spa days, others shop together or sit down regularly to tea.

Lisa McDonald and her mom also had a ritual, albeit one that might sound surprising for two grown women.

Every Friday at noon sharp, the two dined at McDonald’s—on a hamburger Happy Meal, no less. Friday was the day the new Happy Meal toy was released.

Lisa’s mother kept hers for the grandchildren. Lisa kept hers for herself.

“I just started collecting them,” says Lisa, who lives in Milton-Freewater, Oregon, and has a cabin in Tollgate. “I didn’t have kids, but children came to my home for me to babysit, so I threw them in a basket for them. Then it got a little out of hand and I decided to collect for myself and not let the kids play with them.”

Today, her collection of children’s Happy Meal toys numbers more than 35,000.

Collecting is in Our Nature
Lisa is one of innumerable collectors who finds pleasure in amassing collections of a particular object.

“Everyone collects something,” says Meryl Starr, a New York-based personal organizer and author of “The Home Organizing Workbook.”

“People have been collecting forever,” says Meryl. “People collect materials to work on a project. People collect figurines, dishes and tea sets; stacks of newspapers, believe it or not; antiques, books, letters; things their children have made in school. It’s almost in our nature to gather and collect.”

A recent search on eBay for collectibles revealed categories ranging from advertising to transportation, with nearly endless subcategories for each.

Under “Breweriana and Beer Collectibles,” the curious could search 318,261 listings under at least 27 headings. Advertising collectibles numbered more than 1.6 million objects. Trading cards came in at more than 1 million.

Collecting often begins in childhood with marbles, dolls, stuffed animals and, of course, trading cards.

“Most children will put together collections of something,” says Randy O. Frost, professor of psychology at Smith College and author of “Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things.” “It may be tiny. Sticks. Early in life, people start this process. Some people continue and others drop out of it.”

Generally, there are two reasons for collecting: a sentimental or nostalgic connection or for investment purposes.

Collecting for sentimental reasons is different than collecting as an investment, though often the lines between the two become blurred.

Randy says collecting should not be confused with hoarding—an exaggerated form of collecting that can lead to unhealthy behavior.

“In collecting, there is the courtship process,” Randy says. “There is a lot of thought and preparation for the hunt. There is a specific object that is identified, an attempt to find it and to bring it back and incorporate it into the collection.”

Once acquired, behaviors involve organizing the collection and then displaying it, so the collection tells a story.

“It goes back to something that psychologists call essentialism,” Randy says. “The notion is that possessions have an essence that goes beyond physical characteristics—like a ticket stub from a concert. That ticket stub has an essence, and that essence is the connection to the concert. That essence is in your head. That is where the connection is. It is the essence of the thing that gives it meaning.”

From Hobby to Investment
People who collect purely for financial reasons do not have the same connection to the objects as sentimental collectors, Randy says.

“The connection is not so much the object, or that the object represents something else,” he says. “It’s a means to an end. The connection to the objects is different. There is not an attachment.

“With the other stuff, we’re talking about an attachment. It’s part of their history, part of their identity, part of their self. It is about ownership.”

Some people—like Mike Haley and Jan Daggett of Sisters, Oregon—will tell you they understand the investment aspect, but feel a connection to their collectibles.

The object of their affection is antique stoves and hard coal baseburners. Jan bought their first in about 1992 after Mike introduced her to the old stoves, which he discovered as a young man. They nicknamed that large one—which is taller than Jan—“Gargoyles” for the elaborately carved dragons on its side.

“Most of the stoves were designed to heat two-story or three-story Victorian homes,” Jan says. “Baseburners were designed to burn hard coal. Anthracite coal. We also have some elaborate wood stoves in the collection. The ones that are very fancy are usually baseburners. They are covered in Eisenglass, which is made from mica. I thought they were gorgeous.

“I am a jewelry designer. I carve wax and cast it into metal. These stoves were carved in some other material and cast into iron. I think I was drawn because of the immense amount of detail and artistry in the carvings. Fundamentally, it’s the same process I use to carve wax and cast gold.”

The pair have sold stoves for $1,500 to $20,000.

They plan to expand Jan’s jewelry gallery to showcase and sell others.

“We appreciate their beauty, but we also know they can be an investment,” Jan says.

Memorable Moments
Whether for sentimental reasons or as an investment, the thrill of the hunt often leads to memorable moments and a chance to connect with friends.

“I just got back from a recent trip to Europe,” says Lisa. “I was traveling with my dad, and he made sure we made our stop at McDonald’s.

“McDonald’s is in 200 countries. There are a lot of toys from other countries. One of the guys I used to work with works only in the U.S. during tax season, and then he goes back to China. Every time, before he comes back to the U.S., he makes sure he stops at McDonald’s in China and brings me toys from there. I have a friend who has a son in Japan, and he does the same thing.

“I always thought it would be part of my retirement, but then every toy becomes a favorite and you don’t want to part with them.”

Seven Tips for Keeping Your Cool

Saturday, June 25th, 2016
The cooler wars rage on. Yeti’s dominance in the high-end cooler arena is being challenged by the likes of Rtic, Pelican and other worthy opponents. That is good news for consumers, as features and warranties improve and prices decline. For example, the 45-quart Rtic cooler is half the price of the 45-quart Yeti—$175 vs. $350—and the Rtic’s seven-year warranty is two years longer than the Yeti’s. Photo by iStock/Grafner

The cooler wars rage on. Yeti’s dominance in the high-end cooler arena is being challenged by the likes of Rtic, Pelican and other worthy opponents. That is good news for consumers, as features and warranties improve and prices decline. For example, the 45-quart Rtic cooler is half the price of the 45-quart Yeti—$175 vs. $350—and the Rtic’s seven-year warranty is two years longer than the Yeti’s.
Photo by iStock/Grafner

It’s hot out there, so keeping food and beverages cold on outings is more important than ever.

One of those fancy coolers from Yeti or Rtic would be nice, but it is hard for most of us to justify the expense. So we have to be content using the cooler we’ve got.

Not to worry. Here are seven tips that will maximize your cooler’s potential, whether it is a cheap one or a high-end, mega cooler.

  • Right-size your cooler. Keeping contents as cold as possible begins with the right size cooler. Don’t use a massive, 65-quart cooler when a 20-quart will do. Empty space means warmer internal temperatures and faster ice melt.
  • Pre-cool your cooler. That goes for contents, too, especially beverages. Avoid putting them in the cooler while they are warm. In the field, you can pre-cool the cooler or beverages by sinking them in the nearest stream or other water source before loading.
  • Load contents before adding ice. Then, let gravity and thermodynamics do the rest. For larger coolers, consider layering the ice, beginning with a layer in the midde and one on top.
  • Keep it in the shade. If shade is in short supply, wet a light-colored towel and drape it over the cooler. You will be amazed at the difference this makes.
  • Keep the lid closed. This is a no-brainer. It doesn’t matter if you have a $40 or a $400 cooler, the ice will melt much faster if you leave the lid open.
  • Use the right ice for the job. Block ice lasts longest, but it is not ideal for partial loads or when cooling warm, irregularly shaped items, such as bottled and canned beverages. Ice cubes work best for those items.
  • Retain melted ice water. The water you dump is colder than the air that will replace it. The only time you should consider draining a cooler is if contents are getting soggy and spoiled. A better solution is to repackage or reorganize items that might get soggy in a cooler.

Crank Up Your Summer Bass Fishing a Few Decibels
Bass fishing in summer requires a change of tactics. One option is to use lures that vibrate and make noise.

Bass get lethargic in hot weather and it sometimes takes something obnoxious to shake them out of their stupor. That’s why spinner bait and chatter bait should be included in your arsenal of warm-weather lures.

Outdoors 101: All Tent Pegs are Not Made Equal
Most tents come with general-purpose pegs that are adequate in most circumstances. However, camping on atypical terrain—such as sandy or rocky ground—requires pegs designed specificially for that use. A peg with lots of surface area so it stays in place even in loose soil works well on sandy ground, while a tough, hard peg that can take a lot of pounding is best on rocky ground.

What Day is It?
July 3: Stay Out of the
Sun Day
July 20: Ugly Truck Day
July 22: Hammock Day
July 28: Take Your Pants for a Walk Day

Got a Tip or a Whopper?
Send us your favorite outdoor tip, photo or story. If selected for publication, we will send you $25 for one-time use of the item. When sending a photo, identify people and pets, and tell us the story behind the picture. Email your submission to gro.etilarurnull@ofni.

24authMany of Curtis Condon’s fondest memories involve outdoor adventures with friends and family, whether fishing with old school buddies, backpacking in the mountains of the Northwest with his sons, or bird watching along the Gulf Coast with his wife. He feels fortunate having the opportunity to write about the outdoors and other subjects for more than 30 years.

Tuned in to Old Radios

Saturday, June 25th, 2016
Above, Marion Ormsby with the 1935 Zenith table-top radio that started her late husband Gordon’s antique radio collection. Below, Gordon works in his radio room around 2000.

Above, Marion Ormsby with the 1935 Zenith table-top radio that started her late husband Gordon’s antique radio collection. Below, Gordon works in his radio room around 2000.

Gordon Ormsby’s passion for antique radios was born in boyhood, and is carried on by his wife, Marion, through the approximately 100 radios that fill the family’s 1930s-era farmhouse.

“He was a Renaissance man, and radios are the more visible of his many interests,” Marion says of her husband, who died in February.

Gordon built his first radio from instructions in Boy’s Life magazine.

“When he was 12, his Uncle Bob paid him for a summer of lawn mowing with a 1935 Zenith table-top model he’d used in his cabinet-making shop,” Marion says.

Gordon was hooked.

“This radio has followed us our entire married life, from Pennsylvania to Oregon,” Marion says, noting Gordon removed the Mad magazine stickers he had affixed to it in his youth as part of the restoration process.

Gordon’s passion ran deeper than the radios themselves. They were a connection to the world of electricity—his chosen career field—and expanded people’s world in the 1930s as radically as computers did decades later.

Following a similar path as his father—who was a lineman at a rural electric cooperative in Pennsylvania—Gordon’s first two jobs as an electrical engineer were with Pennsylvania co-ops.

When the family moved to Oregon in 1978, Gordon worked as a power transmission line consultant and engineering company manager before co-founding Tri-Axis Engineering, which designs substations and transmission and distribution lines for public utilities in the Northwest.

“I was delighted to see the great satisfaction he got from researching the electronics and patiently, meticulously restoring the wooden cabinets,” Marion says of her husband’s hobby. “It was restorative and creative, and I appreciated that he was saving part of our history.”

Despite his training as an electrical engineer, Gordon relied on old volumes of “The Perpetual Troubleshooter Manual,” used by early repairmen, to coax sounds through the earliest glass tubes and tangles of resistors and capacitors.

“Fellow hobbyists clued him in on junkyards and sales,” Marion says. “When he’d come home with a pickup load of radio stuff, he’d find someone interested in the German WWII tank radio or antique car radios. Usually there was a treasure trove of tubes and miscellaneous parts, too.”

Dozens of old radios awaited Gordon when he retired in 2013, but brain cancer cut short his ability to work on them. Instead, he and Marion meticulously cataloged each one before his death at age 69.

Marion says the radio room now is the saddest room in the house for her.

“It speaks about all of his plans for a radio-filled retirement and unrealized dreams,” she says.

While most of Gordon’s radios work, Marion says she rarely turns them on.

“I usually use that ugly thing,” she says, pointing to a plastic one. “I don’t want to wear the parts out on the antique ones.

“He didn’t just collect them, he loved to refurbish every detail, inside and out.”

Fellow enthusiast Gary Marvin led Gordon through the intricate world of veneers, lacquers, grill cloths, wires, knobs and dials. Just before Gordon died, Gary finished a treasured piece Gordon had been working on before his diagnosis: a 1938 Grunow that had been in his Uncle Bob’s shop.
Marion says her commitment to the radios is part of her love for Gordon.

“I spent many a meal listening to his latest challenges with a wiring diagram or finding a specific knob,” she says. “For now, our children and I agree that we’ll keep the collection intact out of our love and respect for him.”

Collecting Pieces of His Past

Saturday, June 25th, 2016
Relics of a bygone mining era dot the 80 acres of Richard Billingsley’s home in east-central Arizona. Photo by Mike Teegarden

Relics of a bygone mining era dot the 80 acres of Richard Billingsley’s home in east-central Arizona.
Photo by Mike Teegarden

Richard Billingsley of Duncan County, Arizona, surely has ore in his bones.

Along with his parents and four brothers, Richard grew up in the house where he now resides. It is a modest home outside the town of Duncan, down a dusty road with a view of Steeple Rock—a volcanic butte in New Mexico, just across the Arizona border—where much of the area’s mining history was made.

The Carlisle Mine, one of several mines in the Steeple Rock Mining District, became famous in the late 19th century and was the most productive the mine in the area. Richard’s father, Benjamin Franklin Billingsley III, worked there in the 1930s and ’40s.

Richard’s great-grandfather, Benjamin Franklin II, owned a mercantile in Duncan where he did business with the Carlisles in the 1890s.

Richard’s father also built the Ontario Mine, which is part of the Steeple Rock District, in the 1930s.

“Our family was living there in 1946 when I was born,” Richard says. “Off and on through the ’60s and ’70s, all of the family worked in and about the Ontario Mine.”

Richard, who turns 70 this month, and his older brother Les own majority interest in two patented mining properties in the Steeple Rock Mining District: Jim Crow Mine and Billali Mine. They acquired ownership of both properties in the mid- to late-1980s.

The brothers have developed the mines by sinking shafts, driving tunnels, declines and raises to explore for and block out ore zones.

“Over the years, we have erected several head frames with hoisting machinery and other surface plant structures and equipment,” Richard explains.

Production is currently at a halt due to lack of funds for production.

“It takes a lot of money to do anything,” Richard says.

As the mines sit unworked, it is on Richard’s 80 acres of property where his fascination with all things mining is evident. He has acquired more than 60 years’ worth of tools and equipment, much of which is on display and visible from the road in front of his house.

Among the countless items are a rocker shovel, 1-ton and 3-ton ore carts, ore buckets, a blacksmith’s forge, a man-powered drill press, a pneumatic drill and a drifter drill for drilling blast holes in tunneling. There are battery-powered locomotives to pull ore car trains underground, a rock crusher and a water pump recovered from the 200-foot level of Jim Crow Mine. It had been under water for 100 years.

An anvil—which, despite being heavy and hard to carry off—is bolted to the post it stands on to keep it from being stolen.

Richard didn’t start his collection with intention. He found many of his pieces in the mining operations he explored and cleaned out.

“It just kinda came about,” Richard says. “We’d say, ‘We oughta hang onto that’ for nostalgic reasons.”

The tallest piece in Richard’s collec-tion is a 60-foot headframe—the structural frame that sits above an underground mine shaft—still short of its eventual 90-foot stature. It is a project 25 years in the making.

Richard and Les took a contract at a copper mine in Christmas, Arizona, in 1991. Their job was to dispose of machinery. The disassembled headframe was among the trash.

“We asked what it was, and decided we’d better see if they’d sell it,” Richard says.

For years after the sale, the pieces sat in a pile on Richard’s property.

“I decided if I don’t do something with that, someone would take the parts for scrap,” Richard says.

The brothers are reconstructing the headframe in case they want to put it in service or sell it. Some pieces are missing, and they will have to buy more steel to finish the job.

“We don’t have plans or pictures,” Richard says. “It’s kind of like a jigsaw puzzle.”

People have asked to buy some of Richard’s collection, but he has turned them down.

“It’s getting harder and harder to find things,” he says.

Although much of the machinery collection sits dormant, some of the machinery is functional. The town of Duncan has borrowed ore carts—as well as one of three old fire engines parked on Richard’s property—for local parades.

“I just love old iron, whether it’s vehicles or what have you,” Richard says. “They’re just not making them like that no more.”

A Fourth of July Tradition

Saturday, June 25th, 2016
Vehicles decked in bunting, American flags and other patriotic decorations follow a parade route that has been used by friends, families, neighbors and visitors at the Smith family’s remote Cottonwood Ranch annual Fourth of July celebration in northeastern Nevada. Photo by Alecia Maxey

Vehicles decked in bunting, American flags and other patriotic decorations follow a parade route that has been used by friends, families, neighbors and visitors at the Smith family’s remote Cottonwood Ranch annual Fourth of July celebration in northeastern Nevada.
Photo by Alecia Maxey

Every Fourth of July, a flash mob of patriotism erupts at the remote Cottonwood Ranch in northeastern Nevada with an impromptu parade and musical program—cowboy style.

In 2005, ranch owners Horace and Irene “Renie” Smith launched the star-spangled idea at their fifth-generation cattle, horse and guest ranch.

“We’re 30 miles from the nearest paved road and 70 miles from the nearest town,” says Renie, “so we decided to have our own parade and program.”

Only one rule is enforced for their family, friends, employees and guests who come from throughout America and the world: “No one is a bystander,” says Renie, who estimates there have been more than 80 participants at times. “We make floats with whatever material is around, and drive our trucks, wagons, tractors and four-wheelers, or ride our horses.”

Another unwritten rule is to cast aside political differences for a day.

“We’re all Americans,” says Renie. “It doesn’t matter what your political affiliations are. We live in a wonderful country of freedom and liberty.”

After Horace died in 2014, Renie, 86, began leading the parade as grand marshal. Driving an all-terrain vehicle along a sagebrush-lined route from the lodge to a meadow, she flies a flag presented to the family during a military funeral for her father-in-law, Emery, a World War I veteran.

In the meadow, they pause to honor veterans, including Emery, Horace—a Korean War veteran—and Horace and Irene’s son Agee, who served during the Vietnam War.

Gathering in a circle, they sing “The Star Spangled Banner,” “Home Means Nevada,” “God Bless America” and “America the Beautiful.”

With the fifth generation of Smiths helping to run the ranch, “they’ll make sure our parade continues to be a tradition for all of us,” says Renie.