I first heard, then saw, three Swainson’s hawks flying over my house Easter Sunday afternoon. I was lazing on the patio with my crossword puzzle when I heard the cries of hawks. I ran in to get my camera and of course by the time I got outside and focused on them, they were no long directly over me but had moved on. Two of them stayed in my view for a few minutes but were soaring much higher than when I first saw them; then they were gone. I couldn’t at first identify them until I processed my under-exposed shots and cropped them. Two of the photos were in fairly decent focus and when I was able to compare the markings with my Sibley’s Guide to Birds, I could see these were Swainson’s hawks, a raptor I have never knowingly seen before today. These two shots are of the same bird.
This ancient Sanskrit greeting (I bow to the divine in you) seems to fit what greeted me and a few of my fellow Placer Camera Club photographers at Ananda Village, a 900 acre commune founded in 1969 in the Sierra Nevada Foothills near Nevada City. It is a very spiritual place and the grounds are serene and lovely. Ananda’s annual springtime tulip open house drew us there. It was stunning. We were there at midday, the sun’s zenith, and under normal circumstances the light would be harsh and forbidding. On the contrary, this day, the brilliant tulips glowed. Here are a few of my shots. Once again, I couldn’t decide which to choose. The first two are views of one of the gardens and the others are closeups that struck my fancy.