Thursday, January 31, 2013

They Love Those Free nuts

Yesterday afternoon I had about an hour free before I went to pick up Lenore and Annika. I grabbed a few walnuts and my camera headed to the photoblind in the backyard. I was once again hoping to capture some images of the elusive Mountain Quail. The walnuts were part of my back up plan in case the quail didn't show up.I'm glad I had a plan "B"because I ended up using it for the quail never showed up. I was treated to performance of watching a Douglas Tree Squirrel gather up the walnuts one by one and run off to hide them somewhere in the forest. I had a good time and I know the squirrel did too. God's love and blessings to all, chris

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Rise of the Morning Light

We rolled out of bed early to watch the ISS (Internationl Space Station) pass by on its orbit around the earth. We missed it due to the trees blocking its trajectory across the morning sky. Later on we watched morning light start to fill the sky.Fog filled the valley below and I was drawn to the redwoods poking their spires out of the fog. As usual I was drawn to Sherwood Castle. A large flat topped redwood on the St. Francis Ranch that has always reminded me of a castle rising up out of the fog.I have photographed it in many variations over the years.A great start to the day. God's love and blessings to all, chris

Monday, January 28, 2013

Gone Fishing

Today I went Steelhead fishing up on the Eel River. Like every other spot I have fished on the Eel this one involved the skills of a Mountain Goat to get down to it. The river was clear with a little color making it just fishable. You don't want it too clear and you don't want it too muddy. A new set of skills I'm slowly learning about Steelhead fishing. I had troubles with a snarl on my reel on the first cast.I told my friend Joe he was going to catch a fish now that I was out of the river and he did.Later I watched a steelie come out of the deep and grab my lure right in front of me and spit it out. That was my major excitement for the day as I didn't catch a fish. Joe caught and released one fish and had one on and lost it. Our friend Tom showed up and he had caught and released five fish.I love being on the river in nature with friends. God's blessings to all, chris

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Mossy Rock #2

Today I made another attempt at photographing the Mountain Quail that sometimes, I repeat sometimes come to my backyard. From my attitude you can probably guess that they didn't come.I was in the photoblind for almost three and a half hours which gave me plenty of other opportunities to photograph many of the backyard regulars. Western Gray Squirrel,Douglas Tree Squirrel, Spotted Towhee, Dark eyed Junco and Steller's Jay.Enjoy these beautiful creatures. God bless, chris

Friday, January 25, 2013

Lady Liberty

We awoke up to a slate gray day. I was catching up on the computer when I spotted a tarnished silver dollar that I had placed on the desk a few days before. Naturally I decided to photograph it. While I was working I was drawn to the the beautiful woman depicted on the worn coin.Who was she? With a little research I found out that she is known as "Lady Liberty".The coin is an 1896 Morgan Silver Dollar minted in San Francisco. It was designed by George T. Morgan an Assistant Engraver at the U.S.Mint. The model was an Anna Willess Williams who sat for Morgan as he designed it.I have questions still in my mind. How did he choose her? Did they have a contest? Was she his girl friend? A relative perhaps? This coin would be a great for a novel centered around the coin and all that occurs around it through its life. Oh, that's right they already did that with a Red Violin. God's love and blessings to all, chris

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Umbrella Required

Yesterday the heavens opened up and almost made it a no photography day.The wind blew and the rain came down. I spent most of the day doing the mundane chores of everyday life. Cleaning out the fridge, going to the dump and doing the recycling etc. When I went to pick up Annika from school I found my one chance for doing some photography. I went looking for someone walking with an umbrella. So here is my version of the iconic image of someone walking in the street with an umbrella. God bless, chris

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Done in by the Wind or Back to the Locals

Wildlife photography can be extremely challenging sometimes.Yesterday afternoon I was feeling really confident that I could get another Mountain Quail image. The quail have been coming in sporadically and I have a pretty good set up that works for them. What I didn't factor in was the wind! I could hear the quail coming up from the forest and I was anticipating some really nice images in my mind. That's when a big gust of wind hit the photoblind and pushed it forward about two feet. The quail scattered and didn't return.What remained was to photograph some of the other locals that weren't so skittish. I got some nice Spotted Towhee images along with Juncos, Steller's Jay and the always cute Douglas Tree Squirrels. So it was a very productive afternoon. God's precious light and love to all, chris

One Frosty Morning

The inland valleys in Mendocino County for the past couple of weeks have been dropping into the twenties. Combine that with clear nights and you get some great frost in the morning. Not what a lot of gardeners want to hear but it's great for photography. Annika and I went in search of frost along Willits Creek over the weekend and we found it in abundance. This morning I got around to catching up on processing some of the images from our adventure. God bless, chris

Monday, January 21, 2013

Glass Beach

Today being a federal US holiday Martin Luther King Day we decided to head over for the Mendocino Coast for a short adventure. We went to Glass Beach which is on the northern edge of the small town of Fort Bragg. It is the site of the old town dump. As a consequence of that there is beach glass galore on the beach from all of the old bottles that were disposed of the many, many years ago. It wasn't the best day for photography because the weather was too good. It was a glorious day with not a cloud in the sky and it was close to seventy degrees out. No jackets, sweaters or coats needed.We had a good time looking at the sights and then we headed back into Fort Bragg for a quick lunch at Cafe One and we were back in Willits by three thirty. God's precious love to all, chris

Sunday, January 20, 2013

One Mountain Quail

One of the hardest birds to photograph where I live are Mountain Quail. There aren't very many of them and the ones that are here are extremely wary.I can't count the times that I have sat waiting in the photoblind for them and they never appeared. This afternoon I went out to the photoblind in the backyard just a little before three o'clock. I waited and waited. After about an hour I reached for my tripod to pack it up when I heard their feeding call coming from the forest down and to my right. About three minutes later they popped out of the woods onto the patio.For the next five minutes I succeeded in chopping off numerous topknots in my images. Those darn feathers are way too tall compared to California Valley Quail.It took awhile to get my lens adjusted to make sure it was fully included. I made about two more frames and moved my lens just a little too much and they were gone. God's light and love to all, chris

Finding Beauty in the Details

A passage from Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself" I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars, And the pismire is equally perfect, and a grain of sand, and the egg of the wren, And the tree toad is a chef-d’oeuvre for the highest, And the running blackberry would adorn the parlors of heaven, And the narrowest hinge in my hand puts scorn to all machinery, And the cow crunching with depress'd head surpasses any statue, And a mouse is miracle enough to stagger sextillions of infidels. -Walt Whitman Annika and I took a walk along Willits Creek looking for things to photograph. It's amazing what you can find when you start looking around you. On the walk back I was fascinated with the colors and patterns of the rocks in the creek bed. Incredible beauty can be found in the simplest things that God provides. God's light and love to all, chris

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Squirrel,Bird and Sunset

I got off to a really late start this morning spending a leisurely morning indoors. It ended up being a beautiful day. This afternoon I did a little bit of photography in the backyard photoblind. I spent some time photographing a Douglas Tree Squirrel and a Dark Eyed Junco. Today concluded with watching a colorful sunset over the Pacific. God bless, chris

Friday, January 18, 2013

I Think the Fog is Chasing Me!

I should have known it would be foggy! Today I drove Jay back up to college in Arcata,Ca. As soon as we got past Garberville on Highway 101 it turned foggy. Jay and I had a great time talking, visiting the Arcata Marsh and going out to lunch etc. After dropping him off at his dorm I decided to check out the Eel River bottom lands around Ferndale on the way home. In the past it has always been a great spot for birds. The fog was actually far worse there. I did get one great opportunity to put my camera to use, I parked the car to look at some shorebirds and a flock of Tundra Swans flew right by in the fog. I just love that sound! God bless, chris