Every time I see examples of our military in action, I give thanks and am grateful that at least some of our tax dollars are very well spent.
As promised, a shot from the outing at Watson Lake this afternoon.
Beginning December 1st the Ladders area along the Verde River will be closed for approximately seven months in order to protect the breeding grounds for the Bald Eagle
Sunday morning I flew down to Prescott to shoot the lakes from the sky … because the lakes are within Class D airspace for Prescott Love Field I chose to stay above the very busy airspace and shot mostly above 8,000’, with ground level being a little over 5,000’.
Two flights and two trips to Watson lake over the weekend … maybe another of each tomorrow.
There are all manner of life forms that make up our neighborhood and a multitude of them have wings … like all creatures, some of them just do not want to get along with each other, enter one of the neighborhood’s gang of crows who doesn’t want to share the trees or sky with this Coopers Hawk … the crow made numerous passes and on a couple of them there was physical contact; in the end the hawk remained to hunt for dinner and perhaps the crow received a sharp beak on one of the passes and broke it off.
It seems like every time I go to Watson Lake there are new species arriving with the fall migration and these Hooded Mergansers are among the new arrivals. Like Wood Ducks they nest in small cavities in trees and the newly hatched ducklings leave the nest within a day of being hatched … the first step is the biggest and it may be fifty feet or so; it is also the second smallest of the six species of Mergansers … you can read more about this beautiful creature at: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Hooded_Merganser/lifehistory .
I started shooting waterfowl when I was twelve and my Dad gave me my first shotgun, a Harrington Richardson, single shot .410 that took 2.5 inch shells and it was a folding gun with a relatively short barrel. I shot my first pheasant, duck and upland game with that gun.
As the USFS continues its Prescribed Burns, I believe it is fair to question the sanity of their policies of using fire as a tool in managing the forests, or at the least the way they are executing these policies.
Unique ... … that is the term that the USFS is using to describe the prescribed burns that we are going to be choked out by this week … in fact it is already underway and they are going to be igniting them with full knowledge that the smoke will be coming down into the valleys and tens of thousands of human beings will be forced to breathe the horrible pollutants that they are putting into the air.
I was as undecided as I could be about what to send out tonight, so it was just open a folder, rapidly spin the wheel and click after it started cycling images in the folder and this is where I landed. It is a photo I took last December on a flight up to the peaks after a nice snowfall.
After the last trip out to Watson lake on Friday I found a number of shots of Cormorants I took where the shots gave the appearance of an eyeless bird … closer examination shows that his head is rotated ninety degrees to the right … one eye down and one up.
It has been a very good day beginning with an early AM flight up to Red Mountain to get some more shots of it … no matter how good you already have, the absolute perfection killer shot is just waiting to be taken so you go back and do it again.
Green ... the color of life and summer … coupled with the mystical beauty that is Watson Lake.
Yesterday’s image was of the eagle soaring overhead and tonight is the view he would have if soaring the gap between Long Canyon and Oak Creek Canyon.
It caused 1,000 miles of travel and a man's death; the strange story told by a prospector:
This Cormorant seems to have that look as he launches himself into flight, the teal colored eyes staring down the watery runway stretching out before him.
There is beauty and there is life. We headed down to Watson Lake this afternoon, in and between, some fantastic monsoonal storms … after checking the weather radar apps we headed out on the lake, somewhat confident that we would be remaining between several large storms that were traversing the area.
What do you see ... … an image comprising roughly 95% of Sedona and all its various enclaves, more than that though, I see a community of people living in a place of incredible beauty.
It seemed like it was Wednesday night, but it wasn’t and no I’m not cutting back again … still four nights a week.
What a difference … twenty four hours can make, I have been continually trying to not limp today as eight months of constant hip pain has conditioned me to do so, crutches dispensed with and a new sensation of not hurting as I walk … YES!!! I can handle that.
A few days ago I was enjoying watching One in full predator mode … nothing was safe!
I actually got six hours sleep last night and didn’t wake up till 7AM … quick cup of espresso and out the door for the airport and by 8AM I was rolling down R21 at Sedona Airport.
Hidden … in plain view which pretty well tells the tale of Coal Mine Canyon … from the air the beauty is unparalleled and from the roads that go by it is barely noticeable.
I found this image of the SF Peaks which I took last November as I was going through the portfolio tonight looking for an image that fit my mood.
There is generally a meaning of finality with the term drawing a red line and with the USFS it is no exception. Instead of words they use aerial bombardment laying down redlines of fire retardant where they want to stop fire and not permit it to cross that line. I took this photo this morning and I was north of Hwy 69 looking to the SW, west of Mayer and the fire was the Goodwin Fire. You can see the redline laid down at the base and near the base of the mountains and some homes just on the non-fire side of the line that were saved from destruction by that red line of retardant … pretty cool stuff.
I flew this morning, but this time there was a lot of water vapor in the sky, some smoke and some ozone so that by the time I got to 12,000’ the landscape was getting hazed out. Spent some time cruising around Kendrick peak as they have lifted the TFR which had a floor of 12,000’.
Forever and … forever beyond that … a rainbow in the distance over the Painted Desert, low clouds embracing the NW faces of the San Francisco Peaks
TBO … also known as time between overhaul and it appears that this crow is just about at the limit with missing barbules in his feather structure structure …
I took this shot of Kendrick Mountain on October 1st of 2016 and it was a beautiful day to get the fall colors on the eastern slopes
A Zone Tail Hawk on the way home with a delicious meal securely in his talons.
I love anything that flies and found this shot from earlier this year; a Ring Neck duck fully engaged his take off run.
Learn how to fly ... … one of my favorite songs from the Fifth Dimension and I used it in a short video clip I put together this afternoon which includes a flight Jason and I took on Saturday and one I took on Sunday.
I’m in the process of uploading some of my favorite composites to Getty iStock Photos and in the review process I came on this one which I did in May of 2013. 2013, was kind of a rough year; I lost my brother in January, early in May, Cork was put on Hospice Care and the day I took this shot we lost Q,, One’s predecessor and in November I lost Cork.
Get a grip … on life … the beauty that is everywhere … and people who matter in your life.
Beauty surrounds us and life abounds and continues without thought as most species go about the business of living and fulfilling their purpose. Thanks to Eric for the opportunity to shoot birds and critters in his backyard this morning. I love the beauty of Cardinals and generally find them a hyper species and hard to get good shots of, so was very pleased when this guy chose to spend a few minutes in the area. A nice day … busy and I may have actually accomplished something although what it is eludes me. For sure I enjoyed the day, seeing friends and talking with more on the phone; a couple of appointments in the afternoon and home to One and a quiet dinner which qualifies as reasonably healthy too; not something I always do. A friend sent me a definition of Taoism in response to my use of TaO on the cover of the calendar with the note that it describes the life One and I live: Taoism: “We are the breeze, No dam ever stops our flow, No net ever captures our essence, We always flow to the truth of our life. Live kindly and fully.” Thank you Mary, I like that. Another day is waiting to begin and be lived … first some sleep and then the usual shots of espresso and then life can resume. Have a beautiful day, smile and share your joy … someone’s life will be blessed by your presence in theirs … back Monday morning. Cheers Ted And in this journey over a thousand hills and valleys called life, he is wisest who is patient where the way is hard, has faith when he does not understand, and carries into the dark places the light of a cheerful heart. Max Ehrmann
As the sun sets, the atmosphere is filtering out the higher temperature wavelengths (blue) of the sunlight and we are left with the cooler rays which happen to be the reds, and they bathe the red rocks with a more intense color and cast long shadows accentuating the rocks facing the sun.
In a few texts with my girls tonight the “Lusty Month of May,” from Camelot was brought up as one of their favorite songs as we move into the month of May. I loved that play, so I loaded the original music from the Broadway Play and cast up in my Amazon music library and have been enjoying the music all night.
While every day is great, some are just a wee bit better than others and today was one of those.
Mystic days … and today was one of them … we hiked the lava trail at Sunset Crater this morning and I got shots of some fabulous wood … add to that the incredible setting at the base of the most recent volcanic cinder cone in the San Francisco Volcanic Field and the wonderment of what happened about a thousand years ago and the imagination runs wild. I have shot this log before, but today the colors were special… add to that a little Hubble imagery and an Osprey cruising the firmament and as Max is wont to say, we see all as one. Later this morning a friend and I are off in search of a medium size juniper tree that is reputed to be covered by hundreds of thousands of lady bugs. It is located in four wheel jeep country and we’re not sure where exactly it is … a great adventure whether we find the tree or not. A friend told me about it and he has seen it and this is the month that they swarm this one particular tree. One of my favorite endeavors … in search of. One got her outing this afternoon, but after chasing something into a neighbor’s yard she made a sudden high speed dash for the house and had no interest in going back out. Perhaps a creature a wee bit larger than she and this time it did not flee from her charge? So far she has not spoken of the fearful encounter. A terrific dinner at Vince’s in Cornville and home for a little time spent on stones and photos. Have a beautiful day, smile and share your joy … we have life! Cheers Ted For a few hours here in the still morning I wash myself clean of civilization, and purge myself of things and the accumulated rubbish of time. I see all as one, and nothing repels me, as this new day climbs noiselessly out of the valley of the night. Peace lies over the world and over the world of my soul. Max Ehrmann
It is that time of year when intense beauty is released everywhere … the Iris’ are making their debut.
Launch ... … this is one of the more difficult waterfowl shots to get … the very instant that the wings are forced into the water along with a major kick with webbed feet to propel the duck nearly straight up into the air. You can see the enormous energy being expended as this hen mallard is erupting from the surface of the water
So this is what I went down to the Lake Pleasant area to shoot yesterday
The last thing that many tweety birds will ever see is the ferocious appearance of this Sharp Shinned Hawk swooping in for the kill
Unleashed … then there is my real passion in compositing and that is creating new realities from old realities and this is the art I most enjoy in compositing
The Argentine Giant Cactus produces one of my favorite blooms and reminds me of the Singularity in Greg Bear’s book Eon … it just goes on forever and as you gaze into the bloom you have to wonder, does it end? Or does it keep going?
Had some fun when I flew last Thursday, there was a lot of smokey haze in the air from all the wood burning stoves and fireplaces in the valley so no long distance shots possible.
After covering another fifty or so feet from last night’s shot our friend the Great Blue Heron had arrived at his fishing ponds, he arched his back, swung his legs forward, increased the angle of attack of his wings (angle relative to plane of flight) and spread his wings wide which has the dual effect of braking his speed and stalling himself out of flight and his right foot has just come into contact with the floor of the pond.
Light … and shadows … the light was pretty harsh when I flew this afternoon so spent my time shooting the ground. I took this shot on the plateau a few miles from the edge of the rim. Kind of a fun shot and nice to be back in the air and a repeat tomorrow. Had to be home by three this afternoon so it was less than an hour in the air, but nice.
The sun was warm and otherwise gray rocks glowed a warm and rich color … the mountain cast its shadow as far as the eye could see and clouds that were not blocked by the mountain picked up rich colors as well … volcanic cones were in the shadow of the peaks as well.