Life and Death in the Backyard

My husband spotted this beautiful hawk in the backyard this evening. He was perched on a low birdhouse- and was eating prey. I took photos through a window, but he was behind branches and, was, well . . . eating. I ended up sneaking out the back door and brazenly going out on the patio with my camera. He heard the door and flew to the top of one of the shepherd’s poles we have in the back. He looked at me, but didn’t seem to recognize me as the source of the noise. He looked all around, and I slunk back into the house. He is gone now.

My bird app tells me this is an immature Cooper’s hawk. I hesitate to post this, because I have had commenters argue back and forth about Cooper’s hawks vs. Sharp Shinned hawks. I will say we have had Cooper’s/Sharp-Shinned hawks in our yard many times over the years, but this is the first immature one I’ve seen.

Winter is Coming

Actually, winter is HERE- as most of the country can testify. Arizona has escaped the bomb cyclone of snow and below freezing temperatures, but rain and snow are now hitting the high country, with just rain here (so far). Fingers and toes crossed that the Phoenix area (where we will be meeting our kids) will be warmer and drier.

Good thoughts sent out to all those stranded due to flight cancellations!

Duck Hunting

We saw them! I’ve been reading about the two Mandarin Ducks spotted at Lynx Lake here in Prescott and went out just before Christmas (on icy trails!) to see them. No such luck. We had seen some in Alaska a few years ago, but this would be a first for us in Arizona. Today, thanks to some Phoenix photographers I met up with on the trail, we were able to find them and take photos. They are such pristinely beautiful birds!

Winter Solstice 2022

We were in Flagstaff last week- AFTER the big storm- for my annual knee replacement checkup. We took some time after the appointment to drive up to Snow Bowl to see how our favorite aspen viewing area looks in the winter. There were signs posted along the road to NOT STOP, but on our way back from the ski area there was absolutely no traffic going down the mountain, so we were able to pull over so I could take some shots out the window as we slowly drove by.

Today we celebrate the returning of the light- a huge thing for our Alaska family who will be joining us next week, along with our Southern California family. We will spend time in Scottsdale, which we hope will be light and relatively warm for our escapees from the dark and snow!

Happy Solstice!!!

Crow’s Fall

A huge step outside my comfort zone! A couple months ago I joined an online group of expressionist photographers run by Valda Bailey and Doug Chinnery (both of whom are idols of mine). I had doubts about doing it, because I knew I would be in WAY over my head But I am so intrigued by this genre and in so awe of these artists that I just took the big leap and did it- and am so glad I did! I still have a big case of “imposter syndrome” (who am I to be in this group of REAL artists etc. etc.?), but I am learning a lot and experiencing photography as art in whole new way.

For example- December’s assignment was to create an image in response to the poem, “Crow’s Fall,” by Ted Hughes. I thought I knew who Ted Hughes was (Sylvia Plath’s husband), but knew nothing of his work. If you are interested, the title above is linked to the poem. I had an instant reaction to the poem and submitted the above image. Yesterday was the critique, and I was thrilled to get a positive response. Whew! I’m still treading water in this group, but am feeling so inspired by the teachers and other photographers.

In case you are wondering- I am in FIVE photography groups now, if you count our quarterly Ladies Zoom Party!

And yes, my interpretation of the poem was political. I try to be sunshine and light on my blog, but this poem brought up some darker feelings in me.

Village of the Tin Man

When we were driving across Kansas a few months ago, I was taking iPhone photos out the window as usual when I spotted this row of silos. I get excited for any silo or grain elevator- but to see a whole ROW- wow! I snapped a few shots and told my husband it looked like the Tin Man’s village (we were in Oz country after all…).

We stopped at Liberal to walk around and photograph the grain elevator and saw signs for an Oz museum. It was closed, but I took some shots of a giant tin man statue. And thus an idea was born.

My photo group always comes up with ideas for topics for the assignments. I suggested FANTASY for the final- and used my Tin Man composite to create the book cover below. So much fun!

And now back to real life!