Locust Tree Project

Champoeg State Park

Champoeg State Park, Oregon

Champoeg (sham-poo-ee) is on the south bank of the Willamette River, about half way between Portland and Salem. The State Park is in the Willamette Valley wine country, and is only about 30 min from my house.

We have visited Champoeg four times in June and July, with cameras and bicycles.  There are bicycle trails which run 4 miles to the Historic Butteville Store.  These trails are flat and paved, easy and fun.  Good if my wife has something fun to do while I hang around taking photos of tree bark for hours.

Oregon Encyclopedia Article on Champoeg

Oregon State Parks

Getting the Shot

The village of Champoeg was a trading post in the 1840s, and at one time was seat of the Provisional Government. But floods in the winter of 1861-2 washed away most of the town. There had been December rain and snow, followed by warm Chinook winds and rapid snow melt. The town was right on the river bank, and was swept away by rising flood waters. Somehow no one died, but the town was abandoned. This photo of myself next to a locust tree shows the high water mark of 1861.

Flood of 1861

Soft Foliage, Rough Bark

Black locust is not native to Oregon, but was planted across the West by early European settlers. Locust trees are interesting for the pinnate leaves, seed pods, arching branches, and textured bark. The locust grove at Champoeg is surrounded by knee high soft yellow grasses. My grandparents had locust trees along the driveway on their farm. A happy memory.

Black Locust from Oregon State University

Evening Light

Time blending is a technique to combine a series of photos taken from the same spot over a period of time.  The idea is to capture differing lighting patterns.  The light is often best at Golden hour, near sunset, but the light can change rapidly during this time, as the sun gets lower and the light fades.  

I set my camera (Nikon D810) on a tripod, and programmed it to take a photo every 2 minutes, and let it go from 7pm to 9pm. As the sun set, the light moved across the foliage, tree trunks, and grass, until finally all were in shadow. Later I selected three photos with varying lighting patterns, and combined them in Photoshop. The resulting image has very even lighting, without hot spots or deep shadows.

I really love the soft light on the leaves and grasses, with the graceful arching branches, and the rough textures of the trunk bark.

Arching Towards Sunset

Composite Images

While waiting several hours for the programmed series of photos every 2 minutes, I walked around with my 2nd camera Nikon D7500 and took photos of flowers, branches, foliage, and tree bark. 


I am learning to blend these in Photoshop to make composite images, like this one of sunflowers, pinnate leaves, and locust tree bark textures.  

I hoped to express the peaceful mood and deep feelings of the Locust Grove on a summer evening. 

Summer Evening's Dream

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