On this Thanksgiving Day, I’m grateful for my wonderful family, my dear friends, and especially the gorgeous world around me that offers me endless opportunities to share its incredible beauty.
El Capitan—Yosemite National Park—November 28, 2018, one year ago, today.
Smith Rock in central Oregon’s high desert juts high above the Crooked River and has been a lure for rock climbers of all abilities for the past thirty years. We watched two climbers ascend to a narrow ledge on the sheer face of the rock.
During a visit to Montana in July, we came across lots of old buildings, many in the middle of nowhere, that were abandoned and falling down. The buildings leaned every which way and you couldn’t step inside them because they were strewn with rotting timbers, floor boards, and parts of roofs. It was not possible to find a straight side on one of them This is one such building. Plants grow through what once was a porch. Panes are gone from window casings. Doors are rotted away. But these old cabins were charming and mysterious. Who once lived here? Why did they leave?
At Cape Saint Mary’s in Newfoundland, we watched Northern Gannets soaring above the waves in a seemingly endless ballet in the air. At times, we wondered if they did it for the sheer joy of soaring over the Atlantic. The steep cliffs, the crashing waves, the blue waters—what beauty to behold beneath their wings.
Northern Gannets in Newfoundland nest and roost on small crowded rock ledges that jut from cliffs and sea stacks in the Atlantic Ocean. This Northern Gannet seems to be quite pleased to be settled down on its little piece of the rock. It appears to be prime real estate with no other birds crowding close.
This past April, Moose Peterson invited me to join him and his wife Sharon at a fly-in for antique aircraft being held at an airfield near my home. I had never done any aviation photography and the experience was invigorating. I can see how easy it is to get hooked on aviation photography. The airfield had recently added a grass landing strip so the experience felt all the more authentic as the brightly colored biplanes and other flying antiques landed and took off on the grassy strip. I was able to photograph these airplanes as I stood just a few feet away from them on the edge of the airstrip. What a thrill. This is a 1944 Beechcraft Model 17 Staggerwing biplane.
In the fall, maples turn glorious bright reds, oranges, and yellows. But in order for their leaves to turn those gorgeous hues, the weather needs to cooperate. The weather conditions in the Great Smoky Mountains in mid October were dry and warm, conditions that kept the maple leaves from turning color. It looked like summer rather than fall while we were there. This maple has a few brown leaves and spots but is mostly bright green even though it was mid October and in other years it would probably be orange or red by this time. I think this tree is a Sugar Maple but it could be a Norway Maple and since my skills as an arborist are extremely limited, I could be very wrong. I was attracted to this tree because of its horizontal layers that seem to emerge from the forest and distinguish it even though it is not yet wearing its autumn coat.
We visited Yellowstone National Park last week hoping to see wolves but in the days I was there, we heard wolves, but did not see them. We did see Coyotes in their lush winter coats. I loved watching the coyotes hunt for voles under the snow. They either see or smell their prey, home in on it with an intensity, then, jump, jump, pounce. More often than not, they emerge from the snowbank with their target clenched in their jaws with snow covering their faces. This Coyote is starting to search for its next meal. The snow still on its snout and forehead from plunging into the snow after its prey is still prominent on its face.
When I visited the Great Smoky Mountains a couple of weeks ago, fall foliage was not at its peak and there were few red leaves in the park. One afternoon, we experimented with using a polarizing filter to remove reflections from water, so that the water surface disappeared. One of the few red leaves I saw that day was submerged in several inches of water at the edge of a stream. The leaf was barely visible at first because the sky reflecting on the water’s surface obscured it. Using a polarizer to remove the reflection caused the red leaf to suddenly “pop” and become visible despite being submerged.
Male Pronghorns have distinctive black horns that, when viewed from the front, sometimes form a heart shape. This curve of this buck’s horns isn’t quite heart-shaped but his horns are quite distinctive. Photographed just inside Yellowstone National Park near Gardiner, MT. Nikon D5, 500mm PF.