Let ‘er buck! That’s the phrase that rings throughout the small town of Pendleton, Oregon during the second full week of September where over 50,000 people descend to watch or participate in the Pendleton Round Up Rodeo. This rodeo is unique in that since its inception in 1910 it has included a large Native American presence. Over 300 tee pees are set up on the rodeo grounds where members of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla gather to visit with one another and participate in displays of their culture. One of my favorite events was the Indian Relay race where members of several tribes compete in a bareback horse race around the track. It’s mind blowing to think that these athletes are able to ride at tremendous speed without the need for saddles, spurs or any of the other trappings of horse racing to which I am accustomed. On the Saturday morning of the big rodeo weekend, the tribes invite the public to come down to the grass field of the stadium and watch as the tribal dance competitions take place. There is drumming, singing and dancing where contestants are divided up by age and gender, then judged on their dancing skills. Below are some of my favorite images from the 4 days that I covered just last weekend. Enjoy and let ‘er buck!
Today my husband and I went to Portland’s Gay Pride Parade. Not only was it a beautiful day to be outside, I felt that, in the wake of the recent tragedy in Orlando, it was important to go and show our support for our LGBT community. The mood was celebratory and full of messages of love and inclusion. Here are some photos of today’s parade.
Recently I was assigned by National Geographic Traveler Magazine to photograph the process of making salt from sea water harvested from Netarts Bay, Oregon, at the Jacobsen Salt Company. The story has been published in the February/March 2016 issue of the magazine, which focuses on water-loving getaways. The idea for the project was to document the entire process of making salt – from sea water to the pure crystalline mineral. The shoot was scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, but when I saw the awful weather forecast, I left Portland early so that I could arrive Sunday to scout, and possibly photograph. Arriving a day early turned out to be a good decision because we ended up having a nice afternoon with sun breaks and an astonishingly beautiful sunset. The following two days were solid rain as a very large storm slammed into Netarts. Working under an umbrella held by a heavy-duty C-stand allowed me to continue to work outside, despite the deluge. I truly enjoyed working with Ben Jacobsen and his crew. They made it easy to get some great images, despite the typically challenging weather at the Oregon coast. Below are a few of my favorites.
All of the images were photographed with a Canon 5D Mark III with various Canon lenses. All of the images were shot in RAW and processed using Adobe’s Lightroom CC software. All photographs are copyright © 2016 Susan Seubert and may not be used in any form without prior written permission from Susan Seubert.
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For the first time, I’ve had the pleasure and privilege to watch a robin build a nest, incubate eggs and have a successful hatch just outside of our kitchen window. The American Robin is one of the most common birds found in urban settings and will often nest near, or on, homes throughout North America. I’ve learned a lot about the behavior of Turdus migratorius by observing, and photographing, them almost daily since the babies hatched around the beginning of this month.
I read that the the incubation ranges from 12 to 14 days, which was spot on for this mother of 4. Now we are eagerly waiting for the babies to fledge, as it appears that they are very crowded in their nest and their wing feathers look like they are well developed.
With so many chicks in one tiny nest, I wondered how the nest stays so clean. It turns out that in addition to feeding the babies worms and berries, the robin also “changes the babies’ diapers” by removing the waste directly from the bottoms of the chicks. This may not be the most appetizing topic, but I was amazed at how efficient the bird is at keeping house. Below are some photos from the last week. I built a “blind” in the kitchen in order to keep our peering eyes mostly hidden so as not to disturb the nestlings. There was plenty of glare which the blind reduced, but it was still challenging photographing through dirty glass. All of these pictures were made with the Canon 7D Mark II which has a beautiful sensor and a fabulous frame rate, which is what allowed me to capture such a fast and intimate moment. The RAW files were processed using Adobe Lightroom.
It has been an illuminating experience to watch how quickly these cute little birds grow and I will certainly miss them when they leave the nest.
Update on June 13, 2015
This morning, three out of the four nestlings fledged! There is still one in the nest and it looks very ready to leave. It’s preening and standing up to stretch its legs. What a wonderful experience this has been.
Update on June 13, 2015
The last robin fledged this evening. Sniff.
This week I was assigned by The New York Times to make an environmental portrait of a man in Yamhill, Oregon for a piece written by Nickolas Kristof, one of the Op-Ed columnists for the paper. My assignment was to cover a story called, “Inheriting a Hard Life,” and Rick Goff was the subject on which the premise of the article was based. My missive from the photo editor was to, “think Dorothea Lange in color.” The late Dorothea Lange is famous for her work as a FSA photographer, most notably for her image, “Migrant Mother.” So with some ideas swirling around in my brain, we hopped in the car and bee lined it to Yamhill because the deadline was virtually the same day we had to shoot.
We arrived at the location and Rick was ready for us. He had apparently already received a copy of the story and was prepared to start shooting. We spent about an hour working on trying to make some images that best illustrated the point – an attractive portrait in an environment that was a working man’s setting. Rick was in charge of expression. He already knew that this wasn’t necessarily a happy story. He was really good at facing the camera which made our shoot go very smoothly. We worked in several locations and as we were wrapping up, I noticed these great windows. Since the picture had to be in color and Ms. Lange’s images are all black and white I decided to work with the window area because the colors were very muted. The wood facade, the window frame, the background and Rick’s posture all came together. I instantly knew that this was the image they would run. It’s in today’s New York Times, and although it’s color, it’s very monochromatic. I’m pleased with the way the image turned out and, as usual, extremely happy to continue to receive interesting assignments from the Times. Here are a few outtakes as well as some behind the scenes pictures.
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One of the best places on the Oregon Coast is the town of Manzanita. It’s only about two hours from Portland and Neahkahnie Beach, which fronts this beach town, is one of the best beaches in the state. The beach is 7 miles long and very flat, making it ideal for walking, throwing a Frisbee, or finding a nice piece of driftwood on which to sit and watch the gorgeous and powerful Pacific Ocean. It never feels crowded here, yet there’s always someone walking a dog or playing with their kids, or even riding horses! The town of Manzanita has an amazing grocery store with a fantastic deli for a picnic lunch as well as a marvelous bakery where you can get hot cinnamon rolls and a great cup of coffee along with hand-made bread. On top of all this there’s the Cloud and Leaf book store, so if you are there on a rainy weekend, you can pop in and find a good read. With its Bed and Breakfasts and lovely little restaurants, for a weekend getaway at the ocean, Manzanita is hard to top. I was very excited when I received this assignment because I have spent many weekends and day trips here, so I know the place well. However, being able to frame my adventure with a photo assignment gave the trip an added dimension. Since the story wasn’t simply about Manzanita but part of a larger story about Great American Beach Towns, it was a way for me to demonstrate my Oregon pride. I moved here from the Midwest in 1988 and never looked back, largely because of the natural beauty Oregon has to offer, from its grand beaches like Neahkahnie, to the Cascade Mountains, the wine country, the high desert, the Painted Hills, Crater Lake and the Columbia River Gorge. Manzanita is a perfect example of what makes living in Oregon so wonderful. I hope that this story inspires you to visit Oregon. You can see the online gallery of pictures from National Geographic Traveler’s American Beach Towns here.
It is with a heavy heart that I write this post. MIX Magazine, a food magazine published by the Oregonian, is publishing its final issue this month and they chose one of my images for the cover. MIX was so much fun to work for, not only because the assignments always focused on my favorite subject, food, but also because of the great editorial staff with which I had the pleasure of working. The photo editor I worked with on my projects was the illustrious Mike Davis, now the Alexia Foundation Chair for Documentary Photography at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. He gave me complete freedom of approach to every story and also followed up with terrific feedback. The writer I most often worked with was Martha Holmberg, former food editor for The Oregonian, who is now busy writing cookbooks, teaching, giving talks and continuing to pursue all things food. Martha and I worked on several stories together, including one about Nick’s Italian Cafe in McMinnville, as well as another about how to make your own Nocino with green walnuts from the back yard, (and throw a neighborhood party in the process). “Hope springs eternal,” I often hear, so my hope is that I not only get to continue to work with Mike and Martha on other projects in the future, but that another food magazine based in my hometown of Portland, Oregon will spring forth in the near future.
I raise a glass to the fine people at the Oregonian and MIX! May our paths cross again in the very near future. Cheers!!!