Our winter is coming in dibs and dabs this year. This was taken at Granite Basin Lake after our end of the year mini-snowstorm.
Walking at one of the lakes and taking in the peaceful beauty of nature has become our refuge from the conflict and stress of our world these days. On New Year’s day, we spent an hour or so walking along the shore of Watson Lake watching ducks, swans, blue herons, and a pelican, all seemingly untouched by the political and pandemic news of the day.
Below is an impressionistic view of a heron fishing in the shallows.
As I was rinsing my cereal bowl one morning last week, I looked out the window and saw this guy! We’ve never spotted any type of woodpecker in our yard, so this was a major event, birdwise. I grabbed my camera and took a photo through the glass. A few minutes later, it flew away. I sent a photo to my bird photographer friend, Carol, and she agreed with my quick identification from Sibley’s- a Northern Flicker. However, there is a possibility it may be a Gilded Flicker- so, not being a birder, I will just say it is a Flicker. Or a big bird.
2020 may have left us battered and bruised, mourning our losses and maybe our innocence as we come to the end of this terrible year, but we can still find hope and inspiration in our heroes, the resilience of the human heart, and in the beauty of our world.
Moonrise- the last full moon of 2020
We had a light snow Monday night- our third of the season. We got tired of waiting for a proper snowstorm for picture taking, so yesterday morning we headed out to see what the rest of town looked like. We eventually headed up to Granite Basin Lake and saw gorgeous scenes of snow-capped trees along the snowy road. The frozen lake surrounded by bare rock formations made a beautiful scene- and, best of all, no one was there!
On Christmas Day, we went for a leisurely walk at Willow Lake and watched a heron and egret fishing for an hour. We are used to seeing the heron slowly wade through the shallows looking for fish- an example of patience and perseverance. The egrets are normally farther away, but this day we were lucky to be able to watch one close to where we were walking. It was less patient (maybe more hungry) than the heron and was constantly moving along the shore, eventually ending up in a little area by the rocks. This photo was taken as he spotted a fish, which he caught a moment later.
We had heard mentions of the Valley of Lights display in our neighboring Prescott Valley and somehow had the (wrong) idea that it was a neighborhood of decorated houses. We went last week and discovered a long line of cars snaking along a road through magical archways of lights with over a hundred I’m sure displays of lights sponsored by various area businesses. It was a wonderful treat and so well done. There was everything from an animated fishing Santa to wild west scenes to fairytales to Noah’s Ark to patriotic tributes. Very impressive!
We climbed up the hill at the back of our property with two chairs, two tripods, one long lens, one short lens, binoculars, one flashlight, and two iPhones. OK, Lonnie climbed up with all that- I carried one tripod. We did this after sunset while it was still light and stood, wobbling, on the uneven rocky ground inside our property line and waited until we saw it. Lonnie spotted it first, much higher in the sky than we expected, especially having watched the two planets from our back yard the last few nights. I eventually moved down the neighbor’s gravel driveway (near the Private Property sign. . .) to be able to get photos that included the house and the Thumb. The photos I took with my long lens were not as detailed as I expected, and I much prefer the photos below which are little pinpoints of light. You will have to ZOOM WAY IN (upper right in the house photo and upper left on the Thumb photo) to see it. I took some iPhone shots, which I’ll post later, that give a wider view of the scene. Despite all the stumbling and bumbling around, it was ultimately a thrilling experience to see this astronomical event- a sign of hope as we approach Christmas and the New Year.
This is the third in my series of roofline abstracts and was not taken on a photo trip like the other two. This is a multiple exposure, multi-layered image from photos shot from my own driveway. Since March, I have missed trips to Alaska, Minnesota, and southern Arizona- as well as several likely California trips, so it’s up to me to find (or make) photo opportunities where I can. Unlike many others, I have not suffered during the pandemic- but I am getting eager to experience some new places beyond home.