FEB: Long-Eared Owl.

’16 Calendar: Nature Calls (Again)

For the third edition of "Nature Calls," every image was captured in the state of Washington. Making calendars is not a business for me. I started a couple years ago because some friends asked me to. I make them the way I like them - spiral-bound with nice paper so the images pop and I can actually write on them. Also I use a printer I trust. So the calendar is expensive to produce. Mine are $30 each. I also learned last year that they cost a lot to send - I get sturdy containers to protect the calendars and the postage is ridiculous - so I need to charge $5 more for shipping. You can avoid the shipping charge if you can meet me for delivery at least as close to me as Columbia City. UPDATE: As of Dec. 10, I will accept orders for $36 each, and the calendars will be shipped only. Please be aware that shipping could take 5-10 days, depending on where it is shipped and when you order. PayPal is the best way to do this; my account is my email address: gnbuzz @ comcast.net (without the spaces, of course). Please include the address to which you want the calendar(s) … [Read More...]

Carla Körbes

Farewell Air Körbes

Carla Körbes (photo by Patrick Fraser) A sportswriter’s appreciation of a Jordan-like ballerina quietly retiring at the top of her game.   The first time I saw Carla Körbes dance reminded me of the first time I saw Michael Jordan play basketball. Jordan was a rookie for the Chicago Bulls and I’d watched him for about 30 seconds. He hadn’t taken a shot, and maybe hadn’t even dribbled the ball, but his looming stardom was abundantly clear. It was the way he moved, gliding over the Kingdome floor like a hovercraft. He had a presence, an “It Factor.” From then on, grace of movement and the It Factor were the two main criteria that I used, as a sportswriter and later an evaluator, to identify greatness in athletes. The day Sonic Coach Bernie Bickerstaff excitedly dragged me to view the teenager his team had just drafted, I watched Shawn Kemp for a few minutes and thought, “Yup.” When I was editor-in-chief at Scout.com, I saw Kevin Durant play in an AAU tournament, and immediately asked my basketball editor why we had him ranked second, behind Greg Oden, among prospects for … [Read More...]

New York Times Illustration by Dada Shin

Why are Our Parks So White?

This piece originally appeared in the New York Times July 10, 2015 SEATTLE — MOUNT RAINIER stands sentry over Seattle. On clear days, the mountain is the dominant backdrop, particularly in the city’s southeast, where its most racially diverse neighborhoods embrace their majestic setting with names like Rainier Valley and Rainier Beach. Michelle Perry lives in an adjoining neighborhood and travels to work on Rainier Avenue South. The looming mountain enchants and beguiles nearly the entire way. She knows she can keep driving south and visit Rainier and the national park that surrounds it. Ms. Perry, 58, an African-American, has an idea about what she’d find up there — mosquitoes, which she hates, and bears, cougars and wolves, which she fears. “The mountains are beautiful to watch,” she said, pausing for effect, “from a distance.” As it approaches its centennial on Aug. 25, 2016, the National Park Service says it wants to encourage people like Ms. Perry to visit. It has its work cut out for it. The national parks attracted a record 292.8 million visitors in 2014, … [Read More...]

Long-Eared Owls rarely range west of the Cascades.

Cuckoo Over Owls

It once roosted in a thicket the size of a two-car garage, amidst wetlands and diked agricultural fields near Stanwood. The brush was so thick, the Long-Eared Owl must have felt unassailable. Long-barreled photographic devices proliferated and trained at it like arms in a cold war. The birders and the avian paparazzi jostled and bickered and shoved like football fans queued for playoff tickets. With Mount Baker gleaming in the background, hunters boomed rifles, dogs sniffed and barked and, just across a flooded field, a battalion of construction workers jack-hammered and backed loudly beeping trucks. Yet, all the while, the object of everyone’s desire might crack open one of its impossibly large eyes but otherwise appear to not give … a hoot. The people did, for sure. The nocturnal birds of prey with the long, distinctive ear tufts prefer shrub-steppe habitat in Eastern Washington, making their presence on the other side of the mountains a “thing,” the way a new iPhone is a “thing.” The resultant mobbing of the Long-Eared Owls at one point regressed into panic that one literally … [Read More...]

Outdoors Buzz

Firefighters flee as the Twisp River fire advances unexpectedly near Twisp, Washington, August 20, 2015.  (Reuters/David Ryder)

Lost in the Methow Valley Fires

This piece originally appeared in High Country News, Aug. 21, 2015 This piece also appeared on Verticulture by Outdoor Research, Aug. 28, 2015 I am haunted by a scene from about a week ago of young U.S. Forest Service firefighters taking a break at The Mazama … [Read More...]

More Outdoors Buzz

More Buzz

Twilight at Second Beach.

Twilight at Second Beach

First Beach, also in Olympic National Park (Wash.), and not Second Beach, is one of the settings in Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight book series. People still hop off tour buses up the road, at Three Rivers Resort, to pose for pictures with cutouts of Bella and Edward. I stop there for the milkshakes. But none of this has much to do with today’s … [Read More...]

Little Hunter's Beach in Acadia National Park.

The Photographic Life is a Beach

As much as I’ve tried to drive home the importance of planning and preparation during the first three installments of this series, there are of course times to make the best of what you get. If you’ve been paying close attention, you’ll have noticed that, in addition to discussing a different scene in a different part of the country, I’ve been … [Read More...]

A male Wood Duck at Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge.

Duck on Branch (Be Prepared)

NISQUALLY, Wash. -- During winter, I usually am toting my long lens and often run into hunters. “Big lens,” many will comment. “Big gun,” I usually reply. Though a lot of birders and wildlife photographers bristle, I enjoy my encounters with hunters. After all, we’re both looking for the same thing, and we’re both going to shoot it, albeit … [Read More...]