Today I was walking around town on my lunch break. The spring tree blossoms are going nuts! It won’t be long before they are all gone but I’m happy to get a few while I can even if it is just on my phone.
I was up early a few weeks ago, with nothing much to do that day. So I decided to go out looking for a nice photograph. The sun was far from coming up so I had time to go poking around on this unplanned shoot. I came to a meadow filled with cattle, but more impressive were the approximately 200 elk grazing on the early spring grass. There were about a dozen elk calves wandering around in a clump. I did shoot a few shots of them, but simply wasn’t prepared for wildlife that morning. Nothing to show for it. I did hang around for a couple of hours watching the light do it’s little dance across the horizon to the west, gradually creeping down the sides of the mountains. As the sun finally peaked over the hill in front of me, I clicked off a few shots, but nothing was really exciting my artistic eye. As the morning wore on I suddenly became aware of the cattle guard I had been standing nearly on top of for the past two hours. The sun was glinting nicely off of it, making it a magnet for me. The sun rose higher and happily the clouds grew more interesting. The result is nothing short of pure joy for me. I hope you like it, too!
This is an American Avocet (Recurvirostra americana) from the Camas Prairie in Idaho last May. I didn’t have a long lens with me, so this is a mega crop. I also didn’t have a fast lens, so my shutter speed was too slow. At any rate, I managed to get something. There are so many beautiful birds to see there for how far north it is. I was totally amazed! I’d seen this and another in a zoo in a special display, so I felt particularly honored to have seen them up close in the wild.
What is it about seeing an old country store that makes people want to stop and take pictures? Well, anything old for that matter. Every time I see something like this as I’m out and about I’m am just completely drawn toward it like a moth to a light. Perhaps it’s just me that likes this sort of thing so much. I suspect part of it is my love of history and digging around in the past. The future is unknown and as yet unexplored, but the past is known and can be very much explored through the remnant of what once was.
This store in the central Idaho’s Camas County has probably been photographed thousands of times. It is right beside a well traveled highway, en route to a very popular birding wetland. But whatever, the Grand Canyon has probably been photographed BILLIONS of times, but I don’t see that stopping any new shooters giving it a go. Here’s my take on the old country store.
If you don’t know what a Teasel is don’t worry, neither did I. It is the odd plant in this picture. If memory serves the prickly cone part is about 2-3 inches tall, so this is a fairly large plant. There were so many of them out there that I didn’t even pay much attention to them, but upon closer inspection I noticed just how beautiful they are. The ones shown here must be from last year as they are completely dried. It doesn’t take a keen eye to see this plant is very ‘pokey’, but at the same time is quite elegant with it’s long fingers wrapping gracefully up and around, embracing such an abrasive heart. Maybe that is how we humans are; we are mean-hearted and unkind but we cherish our sinful behavior by giving way to it and helping it to grow. But out of ugliness can come beauty as we see in this plant, and in what God can do in our lives if we only let Jesus in and let Him work.
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On my trip to Leslie Gulch we saw quite a few of these neat birds called the Chukar Partridge. Most of them were running around among the sagebrush and across the road, but I did get to see one of them scrambling up the rocky cliffs and calling. It was like a proud chief overlooking his land, or maybe just a contented nature lover enjoying the wonder of God’s creation. He was perched atop some high rocks and calling out (mating call?). As I was watching through binoculars, he too a running jump off into the abyss (about 60 – 80 ft) but I lost track of him. What a sight to see! Sadly, my images are out of focus and cropped tightly so they are quite small. Some day I’ll manage a long enough lens to actually photograph birds. For now I’m just glad I got to see them.
While hiking and enjoying the rugged beauty of Leslie Gulch, Oregon I had to get one last shot of the day, of course. On the way out, driving up the canyon, this perfect sunset silhouette of a little tree was an irresistible treat to end such a gorgeous day. Thanks to Ross & Jodi Giem for showing us such a great place to spend Sabbath afternoon. I was able to get quite a lot of great images while we were there and I’ll be posting them later on. Enjoy this finishing beginning of what is yet to come.
I went out to shoot the super moon in May 2012. I decided my best vantage point would be the top of a mountain pass between Horseshoe Bend and Eagle, Idaho. I got there exactly at the time the moon was to rise. I waited. And I waited. And I waited some more. Forty-five minutes passed and still no moon. I decided the mountains around were much too high and headed for home since the ‘magic’ hour had passed. At the last second I decided to drive up a dirt road at the top of the pass. After driving only 1/4 of a mile there it was, the super moon. And it was very super. I was stunned by the size and clarity of the moon and spent 20 minutes or more making different exposures in the freezing temperatures. It’s still cold at 4, 400 ft elevation.
The first shot of the dark sky was just to capture the moon. The second image is my attempt at incorporating the landscape. The third is a strange one because it makes the moon look like the sun and the sky and landscape day like, though the light is soft rather than sharp edged. Part of the reason is simply that it was a very long exposure, but another could be that the moon is so close. Either way, I like how it is a bit of a trick. The sun had been down for about one hour when I made these images. The fourth image shows the same scene as the third only I put an exposure in for the sky that was correct for the moon. It’s a really weird look and I don’t think I much care for it, but I thought you might like to have a look at it since I had taken the time to make it.
After a worrying drive home, looking at ugly clouds and wondering about tornado’s, I passed through a tiny bit of a hail storm. Much relieved I arrived home to discover I had experienced only a little bit of the storm that had happened at home. With the sun coming out and warming temperatures already melting the ice, I had to act fast to photograph these little balls of joy among the spring flowers. The images of both turned out to not be so compelling but the individual shots are quite nice, at least to me.