Carneros Sunrise

Rolling hills and greeining up grass define the terrain of Greens Peak.

Just outside of Green’s Peak in a beautiful peaceful little lake called Carneros Lake. While it’s difficult to fish from the shore due to its shallow depths and many reeds, it is popular to launch a canoe and fish from its waters.

Reflections of sunrise at Carneros Lake
Reeds line the edge of Carneros Lake under stormy skies.

But we go for the peaceful allure, the sunset / sunrise from the water’s edge, and the numerous waterfowl that frequent its water.

Osprey catches breakfast
Osprey primps himself during a rest at Carneros Lake

We loved watching the osprey fish… diving from the sky, crashing into the water and pulling up fish. I should have brought my big lens, but got a couple shots I had to crop. I’ll have to go back with the big lens next time.

Chipmunk sits on a rock at Carneros Lake
Little chipmunk grazes in the wet ground at Carneros Lake.

When I wasn’t enjoying the osprey, coots, or blue heron I was entertained by the little chipmunks gathering pinecones.

Trees surround Carernos Lake at sunrise.

Carneros Lake is beautiful respite and peaceful environment with free entertainment to boot. I can’t wait to go back.

Reflections of sunrise at Carneros Lake

Babe in the Woods

The babies are back!

Our elk baby sightings have been fleeting since the Tinder Fire hit us two years ago now…. that is, until now.

I was so excited to see a herd of elk momma’s with babies in tow. Seeing their tired and beat up bodies, I wondered that their absence wasn’t so much the fire, as predators. One elk baby had a gash across her back that was bigger than she was. It’s amazing she survived whatever attacked her.

Watching their interactions and cute newness, was a real joy.

I hope they’ll be back, and bring their babies with. I can never get enough of these precious animals… they just make my heart feel good.

San Francisco Peaks

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I would consider myself a scattered photographer… some people would call it spray and pray, ok, there i said it.  My photography teacher in high school called me prolific.

Let’s just say I take a lot of photos of mixed variety.
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For me to take a single photo (omg, never), a solitary subject (why??), or a single place (ok, doable) is a foreign concept.  I like to wander around and take different perspectives to convey the ‘whole story’.
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In an effort to stretch myself and my photography I decided to shoot the San Francisco Peaks.  I love the fleeting snow and new green trees in her belly.. a sign of spring taking hold and summer on her heels.
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I wanted to take photos from a different perspective so we traveled around to the north side of the peaks to get a southern view, and camped out for sunset and sunrise to capture her beauty.
We were lucky enough to get some nice skies, and I am happy to be able to show off another beautiful icon of Northern AZ.

Fossil Creek

You may have seen my post here… https://kritterspix.com/2019/11/08/fossil-creek-nd/ regarding Fossil Creek.  I was pleased with the photos I got during that visit, so we decided to make the trek to do it again.

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After the long drive along the bumpy dirt road to get to the creek, there are several ‘entry’ points for one to ramble down the hill to walk along the creek.  We have been a number of times over the years, and enjoy the serenity of the water gushing over the rocks.

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It makes a wonderful place for a picnic to relax and let your troubles wash away.    (I know, I know, if only it were that simple.)  It does though provide a peaceful respite from our hectic lives.

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We did notice that Fossil Creek has become very overgrown and ‘scrubby’.  In taking photographs, I had a hard time cutting the clutter out of my pix.  You may notice that all these photos are tight knit to the horizon with no sky.  That’s because the horizon above the water was tangled and busy.

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Sometimes you just have to cut the clutter from our vantage point.

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My Best Landscape Photos of 2019

Every year, I like to take pause to reflect on my year past, both in terms of what we have done, where we have gone, and what we have accomplished – but also in terms of my best shots.  Reflecting on what I have done, helps me to see where I came from, to help me consider where I want to go.  I will keep these to Top 10 to force me to choose those I most liked.  Feel free to weigh in…

So without further ado, in no particular order:

  1.  Runoff outside of Workman’s Creek, AZ_40A9287_IR.jpg

2.  Mogollon Rim, through the fog_MG_0013_IR.jpg

3. Milk Ranch Road, Sunburst_40A1550_IR.jpg

4.  Blue Ridge Reservoir sunriseWaters Edge Hort_IR.jpg

5. Hawley Lake sunrise_40A4341_IR-2.jpg

6. Smoke Burst, Mogollon RimTreeBurst Vert_IR.jpg

7.  Blue Ridge Reservoir, FallBlue Ridge Fall Sun_IR.jpg

8.   West Fork Trail, SedonaRedRoot_IR.jpg

9.  Fossil Creek, Fall falls_40A0077_IR.jpg

10.  Fossil creek_40A0044-HDR_IR.jpg

That’s it.  I’m comforted knowing that I left out some additional good shots to pare it down to these 10.  Life’s about choices, and these are mine, and I’m sticking to it.

Check out my best wildlife photos of the year here….https://kritterspaw.com/2020/01/09/my-best-wildlife-photos-of-2019/

 

From Sun to Snow

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Hard to believe a week ago we were enjoying the coast of CA… and now we are enjoying snow at home in AZ.

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We’re happy to get whatever nature gives us.  The snow is good for our forest and our trees.  Besides, it was nice to have a white Christmas.

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We got about 12″ out of our two storms.  Let’s hope there is more to come.  : )

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Big Horn Herd

A funny thing happened to us on the way home from Vegas… we ran into a herd of big horn sheep!

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There must have been 2 – 3 dozen of them, walking down from the hills to graze in the grass.

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They were beautiful to watch as they grazed and played.

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I spent hours trying to catch their activities.  They didn’t seem to mind that I was there, and posed for me… though it was hard to get their attention, as they were keen on the lush grass they came for.

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A ewe after my own heart – it’s all about the food!  :)

Check out more pix from our trip here… https://kritterspaw.com/2019/12/22/sea-critters/

 

Snow Critters

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This last storm met the predictions of the weathermen who projected 2′ of snow.

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With it, brought animals looking for food.

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It was great fun to see this little baby deer enjoying it’s first snow.  It reminded me of Journey when we get snow, as she runs around and loves to ‘snorkel’ in it.

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There is something so pristine and beautiful about the new fallen snow… apparently the animals think so too.

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I suppose the cold white stuff is a novelty for them, something they don’t see often… so it’s new, fun, and refreshing as they walk through the cool stuff.  Like a new toy, it’s invigorating and exciting.  Whatever it is… it’s a pleasure to see happiness at any time or place.  Bring it on.

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West Fork Trail, Sedona

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We went to Oak Creek to see Fall Colors, but we decided that during our visit and goal to see Fall Colors we should include West Fork Trail.

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We have never done West Fork Trail.  The crowds and lines to get in have always been just terrible.  It seems to be like so many over-touristed places that become overcrowded taking away from the entire experience.

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So we got a hotel, went out to a nice dinner, and got up early to hit the trail before anyone got there.

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I can tell you now from experience … that is absolutely the way to go.  We were the very first one’s there.  We arrived at 7am, and took one of maybe 5 parking spaces outside the gates that don’t open until 8am.

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We had the trail to ourselves.  We had 2 people pass us going up, (after they caught up to us).  It was great to not have to bob through people – which is what we did on the way back down.

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We felt like salmon swimming upstream as we had to side step the hoards of people once the gate opened… and we were headed back down the trail.

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We thought it would be difficult to get out of our parking spot way up front… but cars were more than happy to make way for us to get out as we pulled out into traffic, and passed an impressive line of cars waiting for a parking space to get in.

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Proper planning yielded a great day and a beautiful hike.

Oak Creek Fall

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It’s Fall, so we are on our mission to collect Fall Colors pix.  When we think of Fall Colors in AZ one of the first places we think of is Oak Creek in Sedona.

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Anytime you can mix fall colors with water it always makes for magical scenery.  The reflections, glow, and leaves littering the ground are all tell tale signs of winter coming.

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Of course, all I have to do is look at my thermometer to know that winter is coming, as it was 3F this am.waterwash_IR.jpg

Check out more pix here … https://kritterspaw.com/2019/10/31/sunshine-gorgeous-scenery/