Thursday, March 31, 2011

Ages-old Chase

The other day, out at the Shoreline Preserve, I stood and watched as a raven pursued an immature eagle; and wondered how long has this been going on? Centuries, most likely.
Catching the birds in air does not allow much context to the photo, so by blowing out the background we get to see the shapes instead with only a little bit of detail. Detail really isn't needed here as the shapes provide the story - or at least the outline.

I would love to know what they were saying to each other right then!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mouse in a house!

Fuzzy is a premier mouse catcher; he is constantly hunting and often successful  The normal routine after catching a mouse is to bring the mouse into the house and play with it.  So the throw rugs get all messed up and - if we are in bed - it sounds like a herd of small elephants running around.  Then total quiet.
The other morning I got up after hearing this in the middle of the night, and Fuzzy had placed the now dead mouse in his food dish!  He doesn't eat them, just plays until they are dead and deposits them in his food dish!  Quite a sight for sleepy eyes in the morning!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Wonderful and wacky wildness!

Murph and I toured Antelope Island State Park Sunday afternoon.  There looked like a storm coming but if we didn't get any photos we would still have had a great time. BUT, we did get some neat photos and some funny ones.  The list of wildlife seen and experienced reads like a marketing brochure - buffalo, coyote, chukar, meadowlark, antelope, kestrel, jack rabbits, burrowing owls!  Plus a couple of good landscape big sky scenes which pretty much dominates everywhere you look out there.  Well worth the $9 entrance fee many times over.  Plus Murphy got to run and run and run - he ran so hard, he had to stand until he got his breath; he tried to lay down and couldn't get enough air!  I'm not sure he ever saw a rabbit, but I know he smelled them!!
Classic Chukar pose - they sure can run fast!

A pair of Burrowing owls - they are not very big!

Big sky

Goofy coyote ran a good mile in a big circle around us out on the mud flats.

Looking North

Antelope loping along.

Antelope threatening us - his front left leg is pawing the ground and he made noises!!

This guy let me see him, but not Murphy.

The ubiquitous Meadowlark - what joy and beauty in their songs!

The "Big Guy" with a little guy perched on him.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


I ate lunch today at an Asian restaurant downtown. The event was a kickoff lunch with 17 artists using the fortune cookie to define the topic of their creation for a show in October.  Much fun and I got to meet a lot of new and neat folks.  I took photos, first to document, second to have some for the show and thirdly to create something myself from the photos.
Here's the before photo:

After the storm

After the storm passed yesterday afternoon, Murph and I took a long walk in the flats west of the airport. We squished through mud and waded shallow streams just to see what was on the other side!  Here's a couple of ones I liked from that escapade.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Snowflakes in light

It's snowing here this morning, about 34 degrees and a little is sticking on the ground.  Funny, 'cause my lawn sprinkler repair guy is here getting the system in good shape and he's running around in the snow!!

Continuing my off camera flash experiments, I came up with 'Snowflakes in light" captured on the back porch.  I set the flash (bottom) on the deck and played with shutter speeds till I got what I wanted.  The specs are - 1/2000 sec at f/6.7, ISO 200, 82mm on my 18 to 200mm lens.  The flash is set on TTL and I pushed it to a +3.0 (max) to get full light.  Then in LR3,  upped the highlights, and lowered the shadows and darks to get a fairly black environment.  Interesting anyway.
For more on trying new things, click on the John Paul Caponigro link on the right.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


I have several photographic events in the next few weeks that will look better with off-camera flash; so continued practicing tonight.  I was fortunate to attend the Joe McNally/David Hobby Flashbus workshop last Sunday - what an experience to see such a pro working!
I picked on the orchid again, and like this one.  The floating in black is very appealing to me.  I also have a couple of Diana - she agreed to be a test subject for me- but I'm not allowed to post those :-)

On our back deck, we have a number of ornaments hanging from the tree.  A setting sun was the backlite for these two - and this is a composite.  These two do not hang this close together.  I like the shapes and colors.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Storm and sky - otherworldly at times

Tracks from a prehistoric monster bird greeted Murphy and I in the wet desert west of the airport today. Sun there was, but the wind was ferocious - 45 to 60+ mph gusts.  Parts of the clouds were torn up by the gusts and others were just clear and neat.  Murphy really enjoyed it; the wind seems to really wire him and he runs around "like a striped-ass ape" as my Dad used to say!

With all the light and dark I took the opportunity to work with the CS5 HDR (high dynamic range) processing, and see if I could get the emotion into it that the scene conveyed to me.  Still a ways to go, but slowly getting there.  You cannot be bashful in this type of venture!!

We were west of the airport and north of I-80; on the access road looking back at Kennecott property.  The traffic roared along, and you can see the edge of the clouds are whipped cream like - frothy!

The large cloud mass overhead was very disturbed.  This 7 shot combination, taken within a 2 second period, shows the movement of this cloud mass during that time and the software did not put it back together.  That stands against the clarity of the clouds over the mountains (Oquirrhs), that were not subject to the winds.  Intriguing contrast.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Cloudy morning

Well, a bit disappointing this morning as the somewhat clear skies gave way quickly to hazy clouds.  Not a lot to choose from, but got a couple of different views. 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Super Moon

Rain, snow and clouds tonight make it impossible to see the super moon from Salt Lake City - perhaps in the morning!  I had a chance to "shoot the moon" - so to speak - this morning.  Here's a couple of shots - I wound up shooting at a very high ISO 'cause I didn't plan in advance.  The moon is a very bright light source which I had forgotten.  So I achieved some definition in the moon by reducing the exposure and then painting back in in the weird looking one.  All done in LR3.
Hopefully in the morning I will get another chance - I hate messing things up like this.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Fine Art - Moments of Beauty

Today I want to share with you three photos, all of which represent to me moments of beauty.  While I have used Photoshop on two of the photos, the essence remains the same, and the core beauty that I saw when I took the photo is there.  For me, this is the direction I find my work going.

Raindrop from Heaven
Bulrush ethereal

Finally, the most wonderful expression of devotion a person might want to see (I know, a bit anthropomorphic)!

Monday, March 14, 2011

New Places

Murphy and I stopped by a new place yesterday and went back today - it is on the edge of the wildlife refuge and has a lake and streams running through it.  Ducks, geese, cormorants and fish - signs say that muskrats live there also although none in sight so far. It is a great walking place, although I have to be careful with Murphy as he has a tendency to go into the water by the fishermen - not a welcome event!
So here are some bird photos:

Murphy startled the mallards, above but they didn't go very far.  The colors you see when their wings are open are very vivid.

Some kind of geese that come quickly when someone brings out the bread!
Tricolored blackbirds are back and filling the air with NOISE!
Not sure why the white one is hanging out with all the mallards, but cute.  Sometimes you need to break the rules and try something different to get a visually exciting photo.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


A high of 55 today with sunny skies until late afternoon - wonderful day to be out and about.  I shot some spring shots and was amazed to find that honeybees are out already! 
The crocus' are always wonderful harbingers of spring, and their purple color with the vivid orange stamens a wonderful statement of life!

Then the morning sun lit these red leaves, framed by the bird bath.

And finally, Mr. Innocent, basking in the sun right under the bird feeder!!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Back to the Desert

Today dawned a bit blustery but warmed to 50 with scattered rains showers over the Wasatch and partly cloudy out in the west desert.  Murphy had not been out for an extended desert hike so we headed out past the second range of mountains and down into the desert. 
In the spring of wet years like this, the desert is not very dry in a lot of spots - including where we went.  But I had hopes of seeing a Sandhill Crane or such; no luck with them but did get too see a very curious Golden Eagle, several Red-tailed hawks (including one catching a mouse right in front of us), a horned lark and multiple meadowlarks - they have returned and the valley rings with their wondrous songs! (No photos tho').

Here's a few of the photos from today:

A wet and happy Murphy!

The horned lark!

A mouse in the grass.
A young Golden Eagle checking us out!

Red-tailed Hawk watching me closely!

Red-tail on the wing!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The eyes have it, part 2!

Remember Fuzzy's photo from a recent post - how piercing his eyes were? What do you think of Bailey's eyes here?  She is the daughter of neighbors and always just stares at me, often with a big smile!  Very hard to resist so I don't!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Second post

I wanted to share this composite with you - the sign, etc. are from the Shoreline Preserve and the Sandhill Crane is also from there, but was selected from another photo and placed in this one, then I lowered its opacity till it felt right.  The quote by Aristotle and the bird just seem to go together for me.
Please - click on the photo to truly see it.

March Madness

March is always a capricious month - one moment summer and one moment winter.  Last night it was winter - with a wonderful winter storm (wonderful as long as you didn't HAVE to go anywhere)! Here's a couple of photos of the back deck - Diana's winter evening garden.  The first one is at 7:30 pm Monday eve and the second is at 9:31am Tuesday morning.  Tonight all the snow on the lights and chairs has melted off!  I love the changeability - it offers so many opportunities for photos.