Sunset in Glenwood

On my way back from the woods Wednesday evening, i witnessed this wonderful sunset over Mount Adams, from Glenwood, WA.

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Shoreline Community College

Recently I was able to visit my daughter in Seattle, And spend a couple hours wandering around Shoreline community college while she was working. It was a lovely day!

22 degree Halo around the sun
22° halo around the sun

Campus flowers
Bees 🐝 covered the Ceanothus, i managed to catch one with my cell phone!

Bee flying among Ceanothus flowersBee flying among Ceanothus flowers

Bee 🐝 on Ceanothus flowers[/caption]

While I was there i came upon this Memorial day celebration with some local veterans in rememberance of those who lost their lives in service to our country. I was honored to shake their hands and tell them thank you.

Veterans on Memorial Day

There is a pretty fountain sculpture on campus as well.

One more thing that caught my eye, signs around campus showing their policy of acceptance for all.

Leave No Trace

I have come to realize that my heavy tagging on Flickr in early years has brought a lot more people to places I love. This can be good or bad depending on how they behave!

There are now numerous hiking guides and photos on the Internet and detailed maps for most any place you want to explore. People are very influenced by a photo. Many see a picture that shows them exactly where some beautiful spot is, and it goes on their bucket list.

I have seen a huge increase in the number of people coming to my little spot on Trout Lake which was always kind of a local place. I know that I have a lot to do with that because I always tagged everything on Flickr for years, and people tell me that’s why they’re there. There’s good and bad to this, tourism is important to many areas economically but some locations can’t handle the extra traffic, and can actually be damaged.

Spirit falls used to be another local treasure, made popular first by kayakers going over the falls, and now tons of photographers from far away have it on their bucket list. It’s a fragile little location, and a very dangerous unofficial non-trail.

Someone pointed out to me that on the Internet you can find pictures and Maps for all these places, not to mention hiking guides people have written with detailed information. Some of the hiking guides were created with no respect for private property, leading to problems in areas like Spirit Falls on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge. The main access getting used down the boulder field was on private property and the owners finally cut off access so a new way in had to be found. Even the parking was on the private land, so burming and landscaping changes by the owners took that away. Now there’s not much more than a wide spot in the road now to park.

There is no real trail to Spirit Falls, just some boot tracks down a very steep dangerous slope. There are rattlesnakes and poison oak and rolling boulders to contend with, and the special little glen that contains spirit falls has a lot of moss that is damaged by heavy traffic.

It is sad to realize that our drive to get out in nature can also lead to the destruction of what we love. It’s one thing if the place has been developed to handle the extra visitors. It’s different if it’s a little known place that mostly just locals know about, and suddenly it gets flooded by people coming to get their picture and leaving again. Hopefully they at least interact with local businesses and help the economy while they’re there! In my opinion that is another responsibility of explorers in new territory. Be considerate of the locals who have in some situations created access to the special spots, and who have in many cases been taking care of them for years.

What I see is that better education about these facts is important. As photographers, I think we have a responsibility to pay attention to where we go and how we walk in fragile locations, as well as how we share locations and interact with new communities. Perhaps some places should be left undefined on social media.

Being responsible can be tricky though, since cell phones tend to automatically record GPS information, and make it so easy to snap a picture and upload it without even thinking. We get so excited to share what we found, but do we take time to consider the effect on fragile locations?

I know some landscape photographers that are switching focus because they are recognizing the impact they are having on those special spots, bringing other people there in droves.

The Internet has opened up the world. There’s no going back. Educating people about treading lightly on the land and respecting local communities and private property need to go hand in hand with the new easy availability of information.

I promote “Leave no Trace” both physical as well as virtual data ie: GPS data embedded in photos on the internet. Most people today take pictures with their phone and upload them to social media, often unaware that the photo includes GPS data automatically unless you tell your phone not to allow location info on photos.

Step back and look at the big picture. Look at the changes in your own life time in the wild zones you might love to visit. Places I went as a child that were wild and fragile have been irrevocably damaged after becoming well known. Our actions in how we share these things can have a lasting impact on the places we love.

Many photographers joke about all the people that come after them and try to use the same tripod holes. I like to encourage people to explore for themselves, find their own special spots, create their own tripod holes, and consider turning off their GPS on Photos. This can be done under settings/ location in most phones and cameras.

Leave no virtual trace to hidden, unique, fragile, and/or undeveloped locations. Once this information is out there on the Internet it can’t be taken back.

I would love any thoughts and discussion on the subject, please do share and comments your thoughts.

Stronger than Cancer part 2

UPDATE 5/10/18:

Last night Erica and her mother were interviewed for KGW Channel 8 by Christine Pitawanich/KGW. The interview was aired on the late evening news.

Meanwhile on another front, our local Mt. Adams Chamber of Commerce executive director had emailed her connection with the Seahawks, Mike Flood. Mike replied saying they can’t really send a player out to take Erica to prom, but he is offering some other perks such as some tickets to a game. He is also coming this way later this month for other business and plans to bring Erica some official Seahawks swag.

– Darlisa

News Story from KGW channel 8 aired late evening on 5/09/2018,

following interview with Christine Pitawanich/KGW.

Original story below on the blog post, at this link:

“Stronger than Cancer”

Also Erica and her mom Elsa Spence could really use some financial assistance. Donations can be dropped off or mailed to:

(Make checks out to Elsa Spence. )

“Stronger than Cancer”

Donations For Erica Kuneki

Umpqua Bank

PO Box 67

White Salmon, WA

98672

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

To the SEATTLE SEAHAWKS, esp. Earl Thomas the third:

“I Am Erica Kuneki:

I am Stronger than Cancer! I Will Survive!

Will you go to Prom with me on June 2, 2018 at 8:00 PM?

Columbia High School, White Salmon, Washington. Please?”

Erica just turned 18. She also just had a total knee replacement as a result of bone cancer. She is a fighter, and her motto has become “Stronger than Cancer”.

She also has a dream, for a gift of time from the Seahawks. Senior prom is June 2 and she has no date. Can you help us reach out to Earl Thomas and the other Seahawks to see if any of them could help by escorting Erica to her prom?

Also Erica and her mom Elsa Spence could really use some financial assistance. Donations can be dropped off or mailed to

“Stronger than Cancer”

Donations For Erica Kuneki

Umpqua Bank

PO Box 67

White Salmon, WA

98672

The full story of Erica Kuneki and her battle with Cancer is posted on my blog along with a lot more pictures.

https://starlisablackphotography.com/2018/05/08/stronger-than-cancer

Thank you!

Darlisa Black

Stronger than Cancer

UPDATE 5/10/18:

Last night Erica and her mother were interviewed for KGW Channel 8 by Christine Pitawanich/KGW. The interview was aired on the late evening news.

Meanwhile on another front, our local Mt. Adams Chamber of Commerce executive director had emailed her connection with the Seahawks, Mike Flood. Mike replied saying they can’t really send a player out to take Erica to prom, but he is offering some other perks such as some tickets to a game. He is also coming this way later this month for other business and plans to bring Erica some official Seahawks swag.

– Darlisa

Original story below:

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

I would like to tell you a story about a girl named Erica Kuneki. She’s a very special girl, one that has always watched out for others. And she LOVES the SEAHAWKS! More on that soon ❤️😀. Erica and her parents are from the Klickitat tribe, part of the Yakama Nation. Their family is from the Husum, WA area, and her grandmother Elsie Thomas used to make the traditional split cedar root huckleberry baskets that are so prized in museums now.

Erica at her 8th grade graduation

Erica with her uncle

Erica at school

And in Drama, she was in a play in Hood river.

Last November, 2017, Erica started having severe pain in one leg. She was very athletic, involved in several sports. After much testing, she was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, A cancerous tumor in the bone below the knee. She was very quickly started on aggressive chemotherapy, which took a toll on her body. Often very nauseous, she lost weight and had a very tough time keeping up in school. With the help of teachers at the Cancer Hospital in Portland, she kept up with her schoolwork as best she could. Early this year, they did a total knee replacement including a length of bone from the leg below the knee. For a while there was a break from chemo while she recovered from surgery, and during that time Erica was able to go back to school here in White Salmon. One of her coaches was very supportive, as he himself was a cancer survivor, and when Erica returned to school he and the team honored Erica in an assembly, making her an honorary team leader.

Erica with her Coach Don

Recently chemo started back up again, along with the struggle to keep eating and hold food down. Occasionally the weekly hospital stay lasts longer when her body isn’t ready to get up and go home. Chemotherapy will likely continue up to a year total, perhaps less if all goes well.

Mom and Daughter at sports event

Through this whole experience her amazing mother Elsa Spence has been right by her side most of the time, and if she has to be working then generally Erica’s father Leon Kuneki spends the time with his daughter at the hospital. They never leave her in Portland at the hospital alone.

Dad and Daughter times

Elsa is a caregiver by trade, working for Klickitat County Seniors. She helped take care of my sister Nora for several years. Her boss Norma Pickett has been so good with her, scheduling work around Erica’s medical appointments, as much as possible. Norma also helped run a fundraiser to get Elsa a working car after her old one broke down. Various bills are still a struggle, between lost work hours and the long drives to Portland. Elsa is the primary wage earner of the household, and I know from personal experience that caregiving in rural areas is a low paying job.

Through all the struggles with cancer, these Gals have done an amazing job of keeping their chin up and moving forward with a positive attitude.

Erica has frequently cheered up and encouraged others in the cancer ward and at home. Erica has a wise old soul, while also young and silly. She and her mom laugh together over so many things, and their laughter is contagious.

At the same time, both of them can be very serious, have a great deal of respect for their elders, and often reach out to help others. Both Elsa and Erica are very empathic, often sensing when those around them are troubled or in pain. Recently, A young patient at the cancer center passed away in a nearby room. The mother’s cries of loss carried through several wings, and Erica left her own room to go out and give hugs to the family. She brought them tissues and encouragement.

A year earlier, after I had lost my own sister, Erica would often stop by my house after school to check on me and make me laugh.

She never fails to brighten my day when I see her. Tonight i was on the phone with Elsa, and I could hear Erica in the background making us both crack up with laughter, and she had just come home from the hospital after more chemo.

Recently on two separate occasions, Elsa and Erica ran into KGW Channel 8 newscasters out on a mission. They talked each of the reporters into a photo, never even mentioning the cancer to the reporters!

Erica is really rocking all this!

TO THE SEATTLE SEAHAWKS: One thing that Erica is sad about is that no one has invited her to her senior prom which is June 2, at 8:00 pm. . Her cousin Shaneeta Bly came up with the idea of trying to reach out to the Seahawks, especially to Erica’s favorite player Earl Thomas, to see if he or any of the team would be willing to help fulfill the dream of a cancer patient. Erica just turned 18, and will hopefully be graduating soon from Columbia High School where she has participated in several sports including her personal favorite, basketball. She and her family are long time hard core Seahawks fans, with the Seahawk emblem painted on her father‘s truck and several birthday cakes that have had the Seahawks written on the cake.

Dad and Daughter, on Erica’s 18th birthday in April. There was no money or energy for a birthday party this year, but great hopes and plans to save money and have a combined birthday/ graduation/ end of chemo party in a few months.

Seahawks thru and thru!

Any acknowledgement from the SEATTLE SEAHAWKS team would be bound to uplift Erica and her family unimaginably, and an actual escort to prom, especially from Earl Thomas, would bring over the top joy for Erica. She also loves wrestling, her favorite wrestler is Dean Ambomore, and her favorite singer is Lil Pimp.

Please share this and help bring joy to this amazing young lady and her family!

My Erika Kuneki: I am Stronger than Cancer! I Will Survive! Will you go to Prom with me on June 2, 2018 at 8:00 PM? Columbia High School, White Salmon, Washington. Please?

To the SEAHAWKS:

I Am Erica Kuneki:

I am Stronger than Cancer! I Will Survive!

Will you go to Prom with me on June 2, 2018 at 8:00 PM?

Columbia High School, White Salmon, Washington. Please?

DONATIONS: if you would like to help Erica fix her car (est cost $4,000); help her family pay their monthly bills, and help them plan the celebration party, here is how:

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Drop by or send a check to

“Stronger than Cancer”

(Donations for Erica Kuneki)

Umpqua Bank

PO Box 67

White Salmon, WA

98672

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

This way the money all goes to the family and not to one of the online fundraisers.

Thank you,

Darlisa Black

Starlisa.com

Spring Storms

After spending some lovely time trying and failing to catch some lightning in Southern Washington Cascades May 6, i finally gave up on that and just enjoyed where I was standing. Hope you enjoy it with me!

Soft, Springy Earth

“What a joy it is

to feel the soft, springy

earth under my feet once more,

to follow grassy roads

that lead

to ferny brooks

where I can bathe my fingers

in a cataract of rippling

notes.”

~ Helen Keller

Taking the long way home

Don’t be deceived by those lovely red bushes… Those are spring time poison oak. They certainly do make some lovely color this time of year! However it’s very difficult to walk around in the scrub oak savanna without rubbing against it.

Catherine Creek Earth Day

My journey continue today after the previous post with a walk at Catherine Creek. It was truly so pleasant, and I took the opportunity to play in the grass quite frequently :-). I felt such a peaceful simple joy laying in the grass, in the sunshine.

Enjoy!