As I walked out of our bedroom this morning, I could see a bright orange glow on the living room wall. I ran (yes, ran) to the window to see a gorgeous sunrise peeking out under a dark, cloudy sky. I knew it would only last a minute or two, so I ran around the house- where is my camera (on the kitchen counter!)?, grabbed it (with MACRO lens attached, no time to switch), fumbled with the lock on the font door, and raced to the driveway in my nightgown and slippers to get about 10 shots, before the orange glow faded. No photoshopping- just a little brightening of the snow. This is what it looked like:
On Christmas Day, while the menfolk were absorbed with football, I went outside a couple times to take photos. The snow was deep-ish and the temperature was cold, so I never stayed out long. Since I so often take photos of the same scenes around my front yard, I quickly got the urge to experiment with alternative photography methods . The two photos below are both in-camera multiple exposures of a tree and snow. The snow added a texture to the photos- no photoshop involved. Fun to do- although the lack of control is challenging.
We were dreaming of white Arizona Christmas as we checked the weather apps each day. As the weekend approached, the forecasts kept showing a snowflake for most of Christmas Eve day- and they were right. It rained in the late morning, quickly turning to sleet and then snow- heavy snow that lasted all afternoon. We ended up with about six or seven inches at our house, and it is still here. Beautiful!
I posted this photo on Facebook- and then noticed the fire hydrant in the foreground, which I have since removed (fire hydrants and garbage cans are what cloning brushes are for!). After I took this shot, I walked toward the tree- and fell against the curb, cracking my lens hood and banging my arm and knee. Happy to report that the only damage seems to have been to the lens hood (which is a replacement for the one I cracked in Montana. . .)- the camera and photographer are just fine!
Our son-in-law took us for a drive over to Eklutna Lake, which was not yet completely frozen. The icy shoreline proved irresistible to kids and dog who immediately were running and sliding and having a great time.
I realized I haven’t posted as many black and whites as usual- and I do love black and white. So I converted today’s image into a monochrome, although I think I like it better in color.
I’m sure this won’t be the last- there were gorgeous views everywhere you looked!
This is somewhere near Palmer- I think.
Our boat trip along the Kenai fjords in Alaska was one of the most memorable travel experiences of my life. Despite the rain and fog and the constant rolling motion (4 foot swells in places, they said- is that unusual? I don’t know.) and sometimes rough waters, it was amazing! We spent most of our time on deck, except for when the rain became too much, and were constantly awestruck by the dramatic coastline and the opportunities to see whales, puffins, eagles, porpoises, seals, and sea lions. And oh yes- glaciers! My photos of the scenery include mostly gray shapes with water spots- not too many keepers, considering how many I shot.
Here is one of my better land/sea-scape shots- taken while the boat was in motion and there was little rain. I wish I could say exactly where on the map this was. The mountains seemed to rise right out of the sea- with snow and glaciers and clouds to round out the scene.
Yesterday we woke up to a couple inches of snow on the ground- which quickly became 4 or 5 inches at least, as it snowed steadily all day. It is super cold, as it was during and after our last snowstorm, so snow is still on the ground- unlike in our first two winters here, when it all melted away by noon. We are experiencing a real winter in the Arizona high country!
Around noon, my husband spotted this hawk sitting quietly on one of the birdhouses. It was snowing lightly at the time, and the wind was blowing. I’m not sure if he was just resting or was waiting for the birds that frequent the bird feeders in this part of the yard. I posted a shot of him on Facebook, and it was suggested he was either a Copper’s hawk or a Sharp-Shinned Hawk. I didn’t enter the debate (I have no confidence in this area), but I did read that even experienced birders have trouble telling them apart.
For the above image, I cloned out all the distracting branches and the rocks on the hill in the background, and then added a texture at low opacity to make the background less stark. Below is a more natural photo- with the branches and background clutter. Both photos were taken through a bedroom window, and he was definitely aware of my presence!
I couldn’t resist- here’s another image from our visit to Mammoth Hot Springs. . .
It has been a week and a half since our snowstorms- and I find myself marveling every day at the slowly disappearing expanses of snow that remain in my yard, not to mention around town. I took my Velvet 56 outside to capture a few bits of weeds and leaves peeking up here and there through the snow.
Icy branches in Yellowstone:
Ice by our driveway (a week after the snowstorms!):
It’s been over a month since we left Yellowstone, but I still am going through my photos. Here is a shot of the chapel with an elk grazing outside.
And below is a very early and very cold morning view of the Yellowstone Justice Center. Can you spot the elk in this photo? 🙂
It is almost a tradition with us to go out driving into the forested side of town on a snowy day to see what we can see. Although we live in a relatively small town, there are definitely microclimates within the town. Our neighborhood is definitely a high desert climate, but a few miles away (and a few hundred feet higher), it is more of a mountain climate. They get more snow- and it is really pretty!
I took this through the front windshield as we drove toward the Thumb Butte, which was shrouded in fog that morning. We only have patches of snow left at our house- but I would imagine there is still a lot of snow left in this part of town.
When we went outside last weekend, the melting snow on the evergreens sparkled in the sunlight- and I couldn’t resist going back in to grab my camera!
This is an early morning view from our driveway of the hills to the southeast of us. I posted the original photo on Facebook last week, but had fun playing with it yesterday, using two filters from Topaz Impression plus an added texture.