2019—An Appreciation

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.


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.


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.

2019—Green, Green

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.

2019—Removing Reflections

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.

2019—Rocky Mountain Bighorn

What a marvelous week I just spent in Montana and Yellowstone National Park. Winter storms blanketed the area with snow and the temperatures dropped to the single digits and even below zero. One day, we were fortunate to watch as a band of Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep made their way down a slope, across the road, and down to the Yellowstone River to drink. They quickly acclimated to our presence and we were able to approach them without scaring them away. This ram posed for quite a while on the edge of the road. Nikon D5, Nikkor 500mm PF.

2019—Rocky Mountain Elk

The Rocky Mountain Elk has the largest antlers of all of the elk subspecies according to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. This Rocky Mountain bull shows off his huge set of antlers. We saw him a few times in Yellowstone National Park last week. It is hunting season now in Montana and we saw hunters each day on our way into the park. Hunting is prohibited inside the boundaries of Yellowstone Nzational Park but hunting is allowed on National forest lands near the park boundaries. As long as this magnificent animal stays within the park boundaries, we might see him next visit.

2019—Pronghorn Doe

Each day on our visit to Montana, we visited Yellowstone National Park. We drove along the Old Yellowstone Trail road that enters the park 8 or so miles north of the Roosevelt Arch skirting along the Yellowstone River in search of the Elk, Bison, and Pronghorn that live in and around the park. Late one afternoon as dusk fell, a small herd of Pronghorn, mostly does, crossed the road in front of us. This doe stopped in the middle of the road and stared at me as I took a few shots of her. Her expression of curiosity charmed me. After a few clicks, she continued across the road.

2019—Winter in October

Winter has arrived in Yellowstone National Park. There are already a few feet of snow at the higher elevations. The snowplows are busy keeping the roads clear. This past week, the temperture has fluctuated between an invigorating -10 degrees and a comparatively balmy 21 degrees. The critters in Yellowstone adapt readily to the cold temperatures. This trio of Bison graze on the grasses peeking through the covering of snow near Soda Butte.