Friday, January 31, 2014

Heading Home

Well, we got the word that the smog was gone so we headed back home. A songbird bid us adieu as we loaded the truck; and since we had not stopped at our favorite place Worthington Gallery we spent some time there before getting on the road. As Diana walked through the gallery she commented on how many of their artists we have purchased items from.  Wind sculptures by Lyman Whittaker are everywhere and we bought one many years ago when he was just starting out.
They had several masks so real they felt alive! And the large plate is now in our house!

We had planned to take Hwy 89 back home but the weather changed our minds - thankfully we left early enough to miss any really bad weather as well as the I-15 closure at Nephi due to the police action. It still feels a bit weird to go through a highway patrol radar scan at 80 and not worry!

The road looked like this from Cedar City to Provo - wet but not icy.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Touring Zion

There are very few tourists around the park - many of the business are either closed completely or closed and doing remodeling. Our day stayed pretty simple, breakfast at Oscar's (special was carrot cake pancakes), a 3+ hour drive through the park, lunch on our deck in the sunshine and a nap!
In the park we traveled very slow, stopped a lot, enjoyed being surrounded by the rock, the sound of water and the quiet. Deer and turkeys came along to say hi and the sun came out for a little while.

As a photographer visiting Zion National Park, I think about how can I tell my own story of my visit here in one of the most beautiful and photographed places in the country? Well, I shoot the beauty I see and later, in review, decide what to post. I did some snapshots, some postcards, and some real beauty captures. Some photos are just for history - we were  here.
The winter light, especially today with minimal sun, created some challenging conditions, but you go with what you have and work with it.

Good morning from ZNP

We are taking a quick break from the smog in Smog Lake City down here in Springdale by Zion National Park. The air is clear and the stars light up the night!
Here's a couple of enticing photos from a morning stroll around town to make you think about coming down!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Raptor education

What raptor's name means 'Wanderer' and can dive faster than any other bird of prey (or other bird)?
This one!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Be Ready!

Several times over the last few days, a bird has been flying towards me - I've either stopped the truck or otherwise gotten prepared and it has paid off!  The earlier eagle shots were done that way as well as several raptors.
Today - the harrier came right at me, then swerved and dived and came up with a vole!  Off to eat! The GBH was going to fly away so I prepared for it and was fortunate to catch it's clumsy-looking landing. The harrier circled me and then landed - posing for me on top of the brush pile.  Be prepared, think ahead and have the camera ready to go - track the bird even if you don't shoot a lot of shots and you will often get a surprise.

Did I mention the coyotes were out today?  What a great surprise - we could hear them talking and then there they were!

Curves and light

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Still wandering

Very sunny at the refuge yesterday, with several rough-leggeds, a red-tailed and a couple of kestrels to keep us company. The eagles and GBH's were way down the dike and not very approachable; pheasants ran in the fields showing off their colors, and a bald eagle buzzed me on his way to sitting on the ice.  The merganser remains in her place with the grebes altho' a couple of duck buddies she had there on Thursday have disappeared.
The road is pure ice from vehicles and melting - you do not want to slide off because you will not get back on the road very easily!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

My boy, Murphy!

Murphy has recovered from both his ACL operations and removal of a lump on his neck - his black hair grows out and he is more beautiful and elegant than he was before.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Smog Lake City

Today was very smoggy and tomorrow is supposed to be worse - baddest air in the country and our political leaders have no backbone to deal with it!

The birds were pretty quiet today at the refuge - except for the gulls who never seem to stop coming and going. A few bald eagles out on the ice and a bunch of GBH's around the running water looking for fish. The light was absolutely weird today if you included the sky in any photos - which I did very little of.

Looking around, a female Common Merganser was consorting with a bunch of Pied Bill Grebes, a GBH was hiding in the rushes, Murphy drooled on me when I laid down under some of the grasses, hoarfrost everywhere, a gull checked us out and gave me some more panning practice..all in all a very satisfying day.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Surrounded by beauty

Keeping with my perpetual theme that we are surrounded by beauty, here are a couple of examples.. First, a photo through the kitchen window of Fuzzy staring hard at the birds in the tree above him. I accuse him of waiting for them to fall in his mouth!
Secondly, sitting on the couch with Murph this afternoon, watching the sunlight highlight the flower arrangement on the dining room table. Friends brought the flowers last night for a birthday party for Diana.
Look around...take a moment to see the beauty around you.

Sunday, January 19, 2014


PotpourriA combination of incongruous things!

Today's photos are just that, a combination of incongruous things, just like life!

Arches National Park at sunrise

Steam from coffee maker

Robin Redbreast!

Friday, January 17, 2014

More Adventures

Murphy came with me today back out to the refuge - and enjoyed a couple of nice walks. The adventures began on top of Goose Egg Hill, when an American Kestrel (small falcon) attacked a mature Northern Harrier Hawk (good-sized hawk) and drove the hawk out of his tree. As I was tracking the hawk with my camera the kestrel attacked again and voila! they both are in the shot! Compare the size of the birds and you see the inequality - but the kestrel did not care.
Later down a dike, I was tracking what I thought was an immature bald eagle - very dark but still big - when bingo! into the viewfinder flies the mature bald eagle to attack this other bird! Looking at the photo I now wonder if the other bird was a Golden Eagle - will do research on that.
So two shots and four birds - doesn't happen all that often but I love it!
Along the way a Harrier posed for me, ice crystals made an unforgettable shape, gulls buzzed us to see if we had any food, and there was no breeze - still as a mouse - so had to capture the still water!

This guy is obviously lost - all his buddies have already gone south and he is still hanging around!

Heron tracks in the snow

Still waters!

Fascinating ice on the edges of the streams.

Gulls make good practice for panning with the camera.

Here's the two eagles - darned if the top doesn't look like a Golden Eagle.

I'm a sucker for shapes and forms and light and color.

Kestrel and Harrier - what a size difference!

Northern Harrier.