Loon

Most of my Alaska photography time last month was spent photographing the loons that swam peacefully around the lake. Often they would dive beneath the water for food and then surface with a spray of bubbly lake water. They were usually in pairs and would call to each other when they were separated, flapping their wings when the other was spotted. There was a pair with babies which I never saw, unfortunately. Next year…

Reflected

I think there’s nothing more serene than looking out at water, especially a still Alaska lake with reflections of the shore. This is NOT my daughter’s cabin, but I am now thinking I need to take my camera out in their boat and take a similar photo.

Monsoon Clouds

I can happily report that we are having a good monsoon season this summer. We have had many days where we got some rain, and have had several big storms. Today’s storm was dramatic and beautiful. We were awakened in the night by LOUD cracks of thunder, lightning, and lots of rain. In the morning it was clear and beautiful with white puffy clouds. We drove up to a good vantage point to see the beautiful sky over Prescott, and I took the upper left photo of Prescott, with the veteran’s hospital in the foreground, and the darkening sky over the Thumb Butte in the background. As I stood there, it began to thunder, and lightning bolts shot down from the clouds (no, I couldn’t manage to snag any shots of the lightning). We went downtown for lunch on the patio of one of our favorite lunch places, and the thunderstorm continued. The rest of the photos are from home. In the last photo, you can see the sky was darkening enough in the early afternoon that our driveway light came on. Later, heavy rain began, the storm continued, and flash flood warnings kept coming on my iPhone. I love the drama of a great monsoon storm!

Setting Sun

Some of my favorite images (and memories) come from last summer’s vacation in Alaska when we celebrated our fiftieth anniversary. I have a multitude of photos still to be processed, and I love dipping into the collection and finding new images to create. This one is two photos taken within minutes of each other and layered in Photoshop.

Dinnertime

During our “elder years” (I put this in quotes, because I haven’t quite accepted my role as an elder), my husband and I have taken to eating many of our summertime meals out on the patio while we to watch the birds. Last night, I was enjoying watching the goldfinches, when many more finches swooped in and crowded each other on one of the feeders. I was surprised to see the spotted towhee (on the left) join them; I’m used to see the towhees under the feeders, rather than ON them.

What a relaxing way to start our evening!

Exhale. . .

We have just returned from a week visiting our daughter’s family in Alaska. Most of the time was spent at their family cabin on a small lake. I can’t imagine a more relaxing spot- especially at sunset. This iPhone shot was taken after 11 pm, when the light was just beginning to dim. Ahhhh….

Swinger

We have a hummingbird feeder hanging outside our window by the kitchen sink, and nearby is a hummingbird swing. The hummer in this photo (a quick snap taken through the window glass) was not swinging for fun. He was guarding the feeder from a hummingbird who kept trying to come in for a drink. Never mind that there are three feeders- these aggressive little guys do not like to share!

Prickly Poppy

Every summer, I take photos of these prickly poppies, and I usually am not happy with them. This one was shot at the end of a walk at Watson Lake just as it was thundering and clouding over. A few raindrops were coming down, and the clouds softened the usually harsh noon light, which brought out the details of the petals.

Warning- these prickly leaves are sharp, which is why I’ve never succeeded in picking one of these poppies. Next time- heavy garden gloves and clippers!

Friday Flowers

If you seen eryngium, you might hesitate to call it a flower. It looks like a thistle, but is supposed to be an herb, common name sea holly. Although I took many shots, the one I like best is this multiple exposure with a bit of intentional camera movement on one layer.

Flutter-by

This butterfly has been fluttering by the windows that look out on our back yard, but it never seemed to land. Today, I caught a glimpse of it through the front window and saw it land on a bush at the edge of our property. I grabbed my camera and spent about 10 minutes watching and photographing it with my zoom lens- my first butterfly photo of the summer!

City Hall

Here’s one more building from downtown Manchester, Kansas, where my husband’s grandparents lived their whole married lives. Lonnie remembers the building as a church with a steeple and stairs in the front, but it appears to be the city hall. I don’t know if it is currently in use, because so many buildings in the downtown have been abandoned. It was a sad trip down memory lane.

Translucent

Here is another view of the hummingbird I posted yesterday. Although it’s not my favorite pose (the wings forward), I love how you can see the flower, sky, and part of the head through the wing as the morning light hits the front of the bird, its wings frozen in place with the high shutter speed I was using to photograph bees.

Lucky Day

It was my lucky day! First of all, I was trying out my new macro lens- a gift from my good friend, Carol of infocusdaily.com , who is changing out her traditional Nikon lenses for lenses made specifically for her Nikon mirrorless system. I brought a chair out to the front flower bed so I could sit by the lavender and try out the lens. My intention was to to capture some of the buzzing bees, but as I sat down and raised my camera, I was “buzzed” by this little hummer (likely a black-chinned hummingbird). It was not intimidated by my camera, but was letting me know I was in its territory. It continued sipping nectar out of the blossoms as I snapped these photos- and I was very impressed by how well my Nikon with the new macro lens was able to capture the details on this little bird, who was probably 6-10 feet away. It was all over within five minutes, but I felt very lucky indeed to have this wonderful new lens and to have its first subject be this sweet hummingbird! Thank you, Carol!

More Wild

I’m continuing to have fun with the native plants and weeds growing in front of our house. I love how the lightbox brings out the details, and how photoshop layers can create magic with this image.