Monday, December 31, 2012

Last Light of 2012

Here is the last bit of light from 2012 shining on Snow Mountain of the Mendocino Range in Northern California. May God bless you and have a Happy New Year, chris

My Little Junco

I'll admit it. I slept in today. My son Jay had some friends over late last night and I stayed up even later to talk to them. I haven't seen any of them as they have all been off to college.This afternoon I got productive and worked on a new set up for bird photography in the backyard. After it was completed I had to try it out to see how well it was working.There were very few birds around and I found out why when a Sharp Shin Hawk came ripping through narrowly missing snatching a Junco off of a perch.No wonder they were so skittish. I did manage a few images of the Dark Eyed Juncos. This one was my favorite. God's love and blessings to all, chris

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Am I in Hibernation Mode?

The vast majority of today was spent indoors and it was a beautiful day outside. For some reason we all stayed inside and the day just slipped away. I did a little bird photography in he backyard in late morning. Then the rest of the day was spent researching an upcoming photography trip I'm planning. Late in the afternoon the dogs started barking at some turkeys out front. I pulled out my camera and tripod and gave it a go. I did a very slow approach until I was close enough to take a close up image of a turkey's head.They have an interesting head when photographed close up! God's blessings to all, chris

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Camera in Park

Today my camera sat all day parked in my office. It wasn't until this evening that I pulled it out to photograph the waning sunlight on Mount San Hedrin to the east of us. Yesterday afternoon it got more use photographing the Dark Eyed Juncos and the Chestnut Backed chickadees that were coming to the backyard feeders in the rain.With more broken weather in the forecast for this next week it should see a bit more use. God's light and love to all, chris

Friday, December 28, 2012

Sunrise on a Wet, Gray Day

This morning we were greeted by a bright, glowing sunrise. It was quickly replaced by a wet, dull gray sky.Now it is spitting snow. Not enough to make it interesting either. It stops and starts.Not exactly the best day for outdoor photography pursuits. I think I'll sit by the fire. God's love and blessings to all, chris

Monday, December 24, 2012

Stepping Out the Door

It was a bit brisk when I slipped out of the house this morning . Thirty degrees and foggy.I just wanted to photograph a few trees just below the house in the fog.The first find was some water drops on a madrone leaf right outside the back door on the deck.I expected them to be frozen but they weren't. Then I moved onward to photograph the trees. I was only out there about twenty minutes or so but it was cold enough to numb my fingers as I kept trading my hands back and forth between my tripod and my pockets. When I got back into the house to warm up and edit the images I thought about the upcoming Christmas and how truly blessed I am. I have a beautiful family, a warm house and good food to eat.I also have the best gift of all given to mankind two thousand twelve years ago. The birth of Jesus. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16. Something I need to think about a lot more in my daily life. God bless everyone and have a Merry Christmas, chris

Friday, December 21, 2012

Playing With Ice

Today was limited to indoor activities due to the pouring rain. I made a quick run outside during a break in the rain drops to grab an oak leaf. I tossed the leaf into a cake pan and froze it into a block of ice in the freezer. Later I took the block of ice and set it up onto the window ledge to photograph. Here are the results God's light and love to all, chris

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Gray Day

The weather report kept promising snow, snow, snow and I was really looking forward to it. I guess God had a different plan than the weather forecasters. All we have gotten is rain,rain rain! So today we are all indoors. Here are a few images from the indoors looking out. God bless, chris

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Toffee Time

The Hansen toffee factory has been in full swing putting out delicious squares of Peppermint Toffee this past week.It has been a lot fun chopping walnuts, crushing peppermints, stirring pots, spreading dark chocolate and sprinkling nuts and peppermint over the whole creation. It's become an annual tradition where I take over the kitchen for a few days of making toffee to give away to friends in celebration of Christmas.The recipe varies from year to year but the basic peppermint flavor with dark chocolate remains the same. If you want the recipe take a look here where I give step by step directions on how to make it. God's love and blessings to all. Merry Christmas! chris

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


It was really cold out this morning. I was on my way to the gym wearing shorts when I made a detour to photograph some of the frost on the floor of the Little Lake Valley below where we live. It wasn't the best clothing choice for the temperature but it sure was beautiful.It was worth the little bit of chill. God's light and love to all, chris

Monday, December 17, 2012

December Rose

I had thought that Lenore's roses were finished up a long time ago. When I looked outside during the snow on Saturday I could see a few blossoms gamely charging on. They were thinking. "Snow? What snow?" So here you have a December Rose. Stay warm and God bless, chris

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Today Didn't Go as Planned

For over a week I planned to go photographing mushrooms with some friends. I was really looking forward to spending some time with them and finding some great fungi to photograph. What we got was a good time together and a nice hike in the rain. They did find some nice edible mushrooms (Matsutakis and White Trumpets) but my camera stayed in the pickup. It was way too rainy and muddy to be crawling around on the forest floor to do any photography. On the return trip home we hit a little bit of snow. By the time we reached our front door there was about 3/4 of an inch of snow on the ground. I decided to spend the remainder of the afternoon photographing birds and squirrels in the snow. This Douglas Tree Squirrel was my favorite. God's light and love to everyone, chris

Friday, December 14, 2012


I was editing files today and I ran across an old favorite of mine. This was Mitzi my son Jay's dog. She was a family favorite as well.That dog had us wrapped around her little paws.Sadly she had a short life as she was killed by a Mountain Lion one evening right by our house.Even though this happened a few years back she is still missed by all of us. We do still have Sir Lance the Lab, Badger the Worthless Wonder Dog and Mango the Bearded Cat to keep us company. That's more than enough pets to keep us happy. God's precious love to all, chris

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Kickin' Back in the Sun

This morning was spent editing images. Too many! Early this afternoon I put up some firewwood for my Mom. In the middle of her wood pile was some poor squirrels winter stash. There was almost two gallons worth of acorns piled up in there between the logs. That's a lot of work for a squirrel! On the ride home up the mountain I spotted this deer just off of the side of the road sunning itself. "Just dying to be photographed." I thought to myself. I drove further up the road turned around and came back. The deer calmly let me photograph it. I don't think it wanted to lose it's warm comfortable spot. God's blessings and love to all, chris

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Birds in Joe's Backyard

My friend Joe Benoit is an excellent photographer.Our tripods have been planted side by side photographing many subjects over the years. The past few mornings I have been using my photoblind in his backyard to photograph birds.Thanks Joe. I was trying to capture some images of some Eurasion Collared Doves. I got a few images of them but they weren't that great.I'll try again sometime soon. I did get some excellent California Valley Quail,Spotted Towhee,Golden Crowned Sparrow and Western Scrub Jay. I really like the quail images.You can capture some awesome bird images in the backyard with a little bit of effort! Gods love and blessings to all, chris

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Journey's End

This morning I went for a short walk along Willits Creek. I spotted two female Chinook Salmon still digging out their redds (nests) in the gravel of the creek. Though there were no male salmon in sight in which to fertilize them.There was also one nice sized dead salmon lying in the creek bottom.It's amazing to think what that salmon survived in its journey make it this far in order to spawn. The Chinook Salmon that spawn in Willits Creek typically spend three to five years or sometimes longer living in the Pacific Ocean before they head upriver to spawn.They travel south up the Eel River a distance of over 130 miles up the river. When they reach Outlet Creek they hang a right and go another 20 miles or so. Upon reaching the confluence of Willits Creek they head southwest another five miles.By the time they have reached this point in their journey they are pretty beat up and bruised from all of the rocks and rapids they have fought their way up.The females find a spot in the creek gravel that meets their liking. They turn sideways and dig a hole in the gravel in which to lay their eggs. The male then goes over the top of the nest and fertilizes the whole nest. The female then moves upstream of the nest and covers it in gravel. She will guard the nest for a few days and then all the adult salmon die.Leaving behind another generation waiting to hatch,go down river to the ocean and start the cycle all over again. The end of a long journey God's blessings to all, chris

Monday, December 10, 2012

Hidden Gems in Plain Sight

This morning I went photographing birds in my friend Joe's backyard. It was much better than last time. Right after entering the photoblind the birds started coming in and the action was almost non stop.He has a lot of Golden Crowned Sparrows! But my favorite image of the day was of a very common bird. It was a Western Scrub Jay. Far too often we overlook these beautiful birds.Partly because we do see them all of the time. We need to look past their raspy call and pushy behavior. Close up they have great markings and are a gorgeous bird.I think I know a few people like that. I need to look past their gruff behavior at the hidden beauty inside. God's blessings to all, chris

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Chasing Sparrows

My goal this morning was to capture some images of Collared Dove and California Valley Quail.When I arrived at my friends house this morning there were quite a few in the backyard. They took off in a flurry of wings as soon as I stepped into the yard. After I finished setting up my photoblind I sat down for a long cold wait of about forty five minutes before anything returned.Unfortunately for me the quail and dove never did return. Lots and lots of Golden-Crowned Sparrows in winter plumage came. When you are given sparrows well.. that is what you photograph. Perhaps another day! God's light,love and blessings to all, chris Thank you Ron LeValley for the species ID.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Simple Sparrow

Today I was working on a new birding set up. While I was setting it up there were quite a few (actually tons) of Golden-Crowned Sparrows in winter plumage coming into the feeders. Here is one of them. Have a great weekend and God bless, chris


Yesterday I set up a new photoblind at a friends house for doing some bird photography. He has got a number of bird species coming into his yard that I can't photograph at my usual spots. Before leaving to go down to his house I tossed my photoblind into the back of my pick up truck and literally threw a folding camp chair into the back as well. When I arrived and unpacked at his house I discovered a rather dazed Ensatina Salamander on the seat of the camp chair. It was not moving at all. I carefully packed it away into an empty seed container and brought it back home with me. Later I photographed it on a piece of lichen and moss covered bark before I let it go in my backyard. A marvelous beautiful find. By the way it seemed to have completely recovered and was acting like a normal salamander when I let it go. Poor thing. Now it has some wild stories that the other salamnders are not going to believe. God bless, chris

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Artist's Sunset

This afternoon I worked on getting more images for my book. I'm making slow but steady progress. Later on in the evening just before dinner Lenore and Annika arrived and exclaimed. "You have got to see the sunset! If you hurry you might just catch what is left of it." Abandoning the woodstove I was loading up I hurried outside to catch the remnants of a gorgeous pastel sunset. The fog and mist just softened everything. It was just beautiful. God's precious light and love to all, chris

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Following the Herd

Today was filled up with domestic chores that needed to be done around the house. Sometimes they are called "deferred maintenance". Tonight as a respite from chores I wanted to try something that I have seen a lot of other photographers doing. Burning steel wool in a chef's wisk while twirling it around your head.Crazy!! Tonight was just an experiment to just get a feel for what it is all about.First off I learned that you really,really need to take fire safety into consideration.Those little sparks go everywhere! That is why I chose a rainy dripping night.Secondly is that for personal safety a hat and safety glasses are required. The sparks sometimes land on the twirler or twirlee as well. My yard wasn't the most photogenic location for it and I look forward to trying in near the ocean or in a river where you could get something really creative going.The reflections would be incredible! God bless, chris

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Fabulous Fungi

Most of yesterday afternoon was spent crawling around on the forest floor photographing fungi. With all of the rain fungi have been popping up all over the place. My favorite fungi are the really small delicate ones that are only about an inch tall.They make me believe that they would be perfect little umbrellas for fairies of the forest. God's blessings your way. Have a great day. chris Please leave me your comments down below. I'd love to hear from you.