All lives matter…

especially the ones who put their lives on the line for ours.

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“I sometimes wish that people would put a little more emphasis upon the observance of the law than they do upon its enforcement”

Calvin Coolidge

I am saddened by the events of this past week.

I hope that this image conveys my gratitude for the service of the five fallen police officers and others who serve world wide.

A thin blue line separates us all…

I can see your halo…

but did you know it could look different to the person standing beside me?

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Forests, lakes, and rivers, clouds and winds, stars and flowers, stupendous glaciers and crystal snowflakes – every form of animate or inanimate existence, leaves its impress upon the soul of man.

Orison Swett Marden

For me it’s not just about the image. The journey does not end with the click of the shutter.

I am always on the look out for the unusual. The shots that are transient and fleeting. While out kayaking I had expectations that my shots would be water based as we skimmed along the creek accompanied by eagles and osprey soaring overhead.

They were likely the reason that I glanced up at that moment and saw the formation of this 22 degree halo around the sun. Some of the clouds were similar to the ones that created last week’s image of the iridescent clouds.

I resisted the urge to dash home and research exactly what atmospheric conditions needed to align to result in this halo formation.

I learned that the circular halo is formed by not precisely aligned but by poorly aligned hexagonal crystals. Ironic how something poorly aligned could create something so precise. The halo appears darker in the inside because the smaller angles of the crystals don’t refract the light. The angle that it is viewed from can make it appear differently to each person and just like a snowflake each one is unique. The 22 degree halo is one of the more common halos.

A couple of notes…

The images that I share are shot in raw format with my Nikons. This image was taken with a point and shoot that I borrowed from my mother as the lens that I had on my camera could capture sections of the halo in greater detail but not the entire halo. While in a kayak I often limit my gear. All images are edited in Lightroom including this one but I always stay true to the image. If the image should be a double exposure or image overlay from my camera I will so state.

Be very careful not to look directly at the sun and especially not through the lens of a camera and don’t forget to look up!

Searching for inspiration…

might be as easy as looking back..

DSC_4957-2Nature always wears the colors of the spirit.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you’re ever at a loss for inspiration or direction I recommend spending some time thinking back on early childhood memories.

When I was very young I had one of those charts put out by The National Weather Service showing examples of different types of clouds. I find it as fascinating today as I did back then and over the past few years I have been slowly making my own cloud chart.

I woke up on this morning to a sky filled with what we grew up calling a mackerel sky. It was always an indication that the weather was about to change.

With these clouds came the chance that I might get one of the shots that I have been looking for…iridescent clouds. Conditions have to be just right for these to form; tiny ice crystals or water droplets causing light to be diffracted high up in these cirrocumulus clouds.

These were especially colorful as they moved in waves across the sky close to the sun’s edges and I remembered to take time not only to photograph them but simply lay back and enjoy them as they blew by.

Check! Next up on my list…mammatus.

The velvet cloak…

of darkness.

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Painting is a blind man’s profession. He paints not what he sees, but what he feels, what he tells himself about what he has seen.

Pablo Picasso

I can’t believe that there was a time when I was petrified of the dark. Like anything though you can always find ways to work your way through those fears.

I do get some pitying looks sometimes as I show up after the sun has sunk below the horizon and I begin to set up my tripod. Oh, you should have seen it 10 minutes ago! You missed it…

For me though the timing is perfect. I can still see enough of the landscape to decide on my composition and settle in to wait for that black canvas to reveal itself.

This is the time for rock steady tripods and long exposures that can gather the light. In a way it is more like shooting film. It’s more contemplative and I walk away with only a handful of shots due to the set up times and length of exposures.

On this night I had the pleasure of some company, a neighbor who shares in the joy and wonderment of looking at the night sky. I like those nights because it does free me from being as vigilant as I am when out shooting by myself.

One does have to be cautious when out at night and keep a close watch on their immediate surroundings. I always make sure to take frequent breaks to look around and listen for predators…four-legged and two! Close at hand I carry multiple flashlights, cell phone, and bear spray.

I like to light paint into these scenes using a torch with colored filters. Pablo Picasso painted with light in 1949 using a small electric light.

I waited for Mars to move into my shot on the left and gently painted the reeds with light. It’s an interesting feeling. Much more like you are actually directing the shot rather than simply documenting it.

Combine that with the sounds of nature and it becomes pure magic…So what I once feared has become one of my favorite times.

Step out of your comfort zone and you just might discover a new passion.

Turn off the lights…

so much is at stake.

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I often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day.

Vincent Van Gogh

In a new study one third of the world’s population cannot see the milky way galaxy while light pollution affects eighty percent, and for four out of five Americans light masks the milky way.

Why does this matter?

In ecosystems everything is connected and the effects of artificial light can be devastating to migratory birds, hatching sea turtles, nocturnal animals, and plants to name just a few. The International Dark-Sky Association has a wealth of information on the effects of light pollution and on ways that we can help to reduce it.

I’m one of the lucky ones. I can step outside on a clear night and see the milky way with my naked eye as it arches across the sky.

This image was taken from my backyard.

It is not just a feast for the eyes but for the ears!  It’s a nocturnal symphony in my little corner of the world when on any given night I can hear owls hooting, bullfrogs croaking, the haunting call of an occasional loon, and the coyotes howling.

It goes far beyond the sheer beauty of the night skies and speaks to the health of our planet.

As digital cameras advance its my hope that images like the one above will inspire people to think about light pollution and ways that they can reduce it.

There’s a lot depending on it…

The old truck…

and its soft patina of colors..

20160604-DSC_4324-2In visual perception a color is almost never seen as it really is – as it physically is. This fact makes color the most relative medium in art.

Josef Albers

On a day when I’m out just photographing what comes, I am often surprised at what becomes that days favorite image.

Was it the beautiful pond with trees reflected upon its still surface?

Perhaps the riot of peonies flaunting their pinks?

The orchard with budding fruit?

No, no, and no.

It was the old rusted truck. You knew it would be.

There is just something about old trucks and their curved lines and soft patina developed over time that pulls me in.

I didn’t fight it. I just shot it…from every angle.

I love those times when a subject draws me in. It’s almost meditative.

Namasté…

Water…

every drop matters.

20160525-DSC_3855Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.

John Muir

This time of year as we head into fire season I am grateful for every drop that falls. Memories from last year as smoke filled the air day after day from forest fires are still too fresh.

On this morning as I walked amongst the tall grasses in my pasture that sparkled from the night’s rainstorm I spotted this one drop.

Sheer beauty in its delicate heart shaped form and so transient in its nature. One breath of wind and it would be gone.

I have a friend who connects deeply to heart shapes that she finds in nature and it brought a smile to my face knowing how much she would love this one drop.

Click…its the little things that matter and yes, it’s (almost always) about the water.