Monday, June 29, 2009

Leo Longtail

Leonardo Longtail is our only cat at this time. He's a neutered male that has to be outside so he comes in to eat and then perch in this big bowl and sleep! Then he is off for the evening to wherever he goes. We see him all around the neighborhood, including a block or two away at times. Occasionally there is a catfight outside the window and it wakes us up early in the morning, but mostly not.
He comes by in the morning when I get up - slowly walking up the path from the garden, usually, and then in the house, announcing his presence to all. Food is his primary desire at that time, then some lap time and petting, then into the bowl. He is a beautiful cat and he and Murphy get along very well.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Herons at the rookery

Out at one end of the Farmington Bay wildlife refuge, there is a heron rookery. The herons love it, having and raising their young here, and just hanging out in a safe place the rest of the year. When the herons are gone, the snowy egret's will hang out there at times.
This shot, taken on Sunday, June 21, was highlighted by the sun coming out briefly after a rain cloud had passed by. More rain clouds are behind the rookery, and the tall structure in the background is the control tower at the airport - interesting what telephoto does to compress distance.
I've taken many shots of the rookery and this is my favorite - the light on the side plus the dark cloud in the back just make it sing!!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sun on a rainy day

Here in Utah, we've had an exceptionally wet June. Today, the official first day of summer, it was 49 degrees this morning and raining.
So I went looking for some sunshine to provide an offset to the gloom out side and I found this shot. I took it on a trip up to the Northwestern part of the Great Salt Lake. The country there is vast and open and beautiful, with all kinds of wildlife if you are patient. The only 'wildlife' in this picture is my buddy Murphy, but you can get a sense of the vastness. The interplay of light and shadows is fascinating and I can sit and watch it for hours.
I worked this photo in Lightroom, trying different settings until I arrived where my eye remembered how it looked.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The 'Bee Whisperers'

Saw the most astounding thing today. I was moving the garbage cans from the street to the house and these three kids were standing by the flowers on our front strip making funny sounds. So I listened closer. They were saying "bzzzz, bzzzzz,bzzzz" then they would cup their hand over an ear to listen to the bees and see what they said back to them. One of the boys said "they don't ever say anything back!"
What beauty and innocence! And a joy to watch and listen to.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Nature Photography Day

Today is Nature Photography Day - and the North American Nature Photographers Association (NANPA) encouraged all their members "everywhere to use a camera to explore the natural world. A backyard, park, or other place close by can be just right. And by walking, hiking, or riding a bike to take photos, people won't leave a carbon footprint behind." I found a lot of great photos in my backyard as the sun set. But the one I submitted I took on the way home from work. It was one that I've seen a lot of variations as I drive home - sun and shadows on the Wasatch mountains.
This one is an HDR image using Photomatix to create the HDR from 5 different exposures, then accented a bit in Lightroom with clarity and blacks. While perhaps a bit 'over the top' the beauty of the mountains ia always a 'bit over the top' in its own way and reminds me - after living here close to 30 years - how incredible the mountains really are.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sunshine trip to the refuge!

Hey - the sun shone this morning and it was very nice!!! So Mom and I and Murphy went out to the wildlife refuge to see what we could see. Right now the valley is socked in and it is raining - gray skies and water and it never seems to end.

Anyway - at the refuge we saw a lot - these ducks chasing one another are a blue-winged teal chasing a cinnamon teal! Then the bullfrogs - well, they love to tease Murphy and he loves to jump in after them with a big splash! Mom watches all the antics and seems to enjoy it.
The iris we saw on the way out of the refuge and it was like they were shouting at me to take their picture. Yellow on green is fantastic.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Happening's in the Hood!

Our long-time mailman, Kevin, retired after 31 years; he's 47. He has been a watchdog over the neighborhoods that he serviced, plus being a down-to-earth, real guy. So we threw a party for him Friday evening, and all had a great time. We met people that we knew from other places but had no idea that they lived in our neighborhood. Plus old folks, young folks, all different religions (and non-religions, which is not always easy to do in Utah), barbecue and lots of stories of people that had grown up in the area and played in the 'gully' (a stream runs through a wild area behind several houses). We also met a true Irish lass and had a good talk with her about Cork and other places in Ireland.
Much fun and helps us feel a bit kinder towards each other. Here's a couple of photos - the long-haired guy is Kevin; Timble is the name of the little white dog looking for snacks, and then a general shot! It didn't rain on the party, but there were threatening clouds as we go into our second week of Oregon-type weather!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Murphy and I went for a hike today up at his favorite place by a pond. Actually, I think his favorite place is wherever he can run free and smell a lot of smells!
Anyway, the rain clouds were coming in and the sun was going down over the mountain but we had a good hike and got some good wildflower pictures. Here's a couple of the one's I like the best.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Fishing with a shoe!

One of our neighbors has 3 boys, and they are continually trying to catch the fish in our pond. No luck, of course, but their creativeness continues.
The youngest, Jacob, heard his older brothers talk about possibly catching fish with a shoe! So he showed up at the front door with an extra shoe to go fishing with!! And here he is!
Jake is a special needs boy and is a joy to spend time with! He just hangs out with us, low-maintenance and lots of fun to be with. His brothers tease him that he likes me so much, but that doesn't seem to bother Jacob. I remember being a young kid and adults were kind of scary; I try to be as friendly as I can because of that.