We returned yesterday from Alaska- arriving at 6:15am in Phoenix after a smooth but excruciating overnight flight from Anchorage. It was a smooth flight with the potential for a good night’s sleep in the darkened cabin, BUT. . . the lady behind us had brought her CAT which yowled continually the entire time! Sleep was beyond reach for me- I watched a movie and tried to calm my frazzled nerves by playing a meditation album on my iPhone and taking photos out the window. Lonnie actually managed to sleep for a few hours.
None of the above diminished the joy I felt from our wonderful reunion with our daughter and family and our 50th anniversary vacation within a vacation! It was perfect!
I’m posting an iconic Alaska photo first, because previously I had managed to travel to Alaska at least 5 times without capturing a moose image! It was raining lightly as we drove along the Seward highway as we were leaving Anchorage. We spotted a small group of moose, pulled over, and managed to get a shot of this young moose before he turned back to resume eating. The others had already disappeared into the brush. I love the look in his eye as he spotted us!
The last few days I have finally gotten around to editing more of the photos I took at Bearizona a month or so ago. I had fun playing with textures and some new brushes in photoshop to create somewhat painterly looks.
Friday night, we learned from Facebook that there were swans out at Willow Lake! We are accustomed to seeing ducks, geese, eagles, hawks, herons, egrets etc.- but this is the first we’ve heard of swans. So on Saturday morning we headed over to see what we could see. This would be my first walk in nature since my knee surgery, so I was pretty excited- so excited, in fact, that when we spotted the swans, I realized I had left my zoom lens on the kitchen counter! And what was on my camera, you ask? My macro lens! So I watched the swans as a hawk perched above them in a tree and a heron stood intently searching the water for his breakfast and tried to content myself with occasional macro shots.
After my genealogy meeting in the afternoon, we drove over again. The swans were starting to tuck their heads under their wings, but eventually all four swam around where we could see them in the late afternoon light. I haven’t gone through all the photos yet, but here is a shot of three of them.
This morning I was out with my macro lens, trying to capture the early morning light on the flowers when I became aware of some movement across the street.
It was a javelina!
He seemed on a mission and continued up the hill and up the driveway of our neighbor’s house, where I lost sight of him.
We have lived here almost three years and, although herds of javelinas can be seen throughout Prescott, especially in early evening, we had never seen a javelina in our neighborhood until today. I know from neighbors that they are around, but they seem to avoid my camera. In fact, last month something rooted up all our bulbs in the front flower bed- and damaged some of the drip system. And now I have a potential suspect!
Unfortunately, my 80mm macro lens was on the camera, so I wasn’t able to zoom in on our visitor. The first two photos are cropped.
FYI, javelinas are collared peccaries, not boars or pigs. They are usually in small herds or family groups and can be aggressive.
And they sound like this! http://www.desertmuseum.org/books/audio/javlina_medley.mp3
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? 🙂
Every time we made the short drive from Yellowstone to Gardiner, Montana, we would see bison gathered at the river munching on the grasses. The steam rising from the water gives a misty appearance to the scene, contrasting with the icy banks. We stopped several times to take photos; I never get tired of this scene!
I had fun with some creative edits on the above two shots using Topaz Simplify and textures.
The one below is probably my favorite edit. I used both Topaz Simplify and Impression, as well as textures. I desaturated the bright blue sky to create a monochromatic look, which is more pleasing to my eye.
On Monday, I mentioned here that I photographed one of my “bucket list” animals while in Yellowstone last week. Well, here it is- a Big Horn Sheep (or Sheep Horn Sheep, as Henry calls them)!I have been coming to this part of Yellowstone 2 or 3 times a year for five years, and this is the first time I’ve been able to get a photo like this. It has become somewhat of a joke in our family- we drive by the sheep area every time we go into Gardiner, and I never see them. I’ve seen a few blurry sheep tushies scrambling up the rocks and once a ram walking quickly away- but never anything that I could really photograph. And they are there most of the time- just not when I’m there!
So you can imagine how thrilled I was when my son-in-law spotted this guy conveniently posed atop the rocks by a pullout! And he’s a beauty- look at those horns!
I’m very grateful to my eagle-eyed son-in-law for finally getting me this shot!