Call ’em what you will – sun star, sunburst, starburst, sunray, or just plain fun.
I love doing sunstars. A sunburst adds a dimension to any photograph and point of interest.
I am often complemented at my use of adding sunrays with a a star filter, program, or app. The truth is, sun bursts are very easy to do in camera. No apps required.
All one needs is a wide angle focal point and small aperture. I love my Canon 16mm, set at f/11 for these great results. Sometimes you have to take a number of photos to get the sun poking through the trees just right.
You may have to split a tree to showcase the sunburst, rather than just looking directly at it with full intensity.
But, it’s an easy thing to do, at sunrise, sunset, or even mid day.
As with any photograph – look ahead, look behind, look all around, and look up. Sometimes the best things are just ahead of us.
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.
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’.
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.
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.
Arizona is a treasure trove of history and interesting stories. If only the landscape could speak. In this case… it does. Sheep’s Crossing is one of those special historic places that few know about.
It’s just north of Phoenix outside of Bloody Basin, down a long 3-hour rough dirt road. There are multiple ways to get there, and all long and arduous. At the end of the road though, one is rewarded with this historic moment of time.
The Flagstaff Sheep Company used to graze sheep in this area around Verde River under a permit from the Forest Service as far back as 1926. As sheep herders would move sheep during summer and winter months, they would invariably lose sheep down the swift river.
During WWII, in 1943, they built a bridge across the Verde. The bridge is 3′ wide and spans nearly 500′. Using salvaged materials and erected with hand tools and a few mule, it is one of the last remaining suspension bridges in AZ.
It was entered into the National Register of Historic Places in 1978 and was used from 1944 through 1979. Some 11,000 sheep would be moved across this bridge twice a year.
In 1988 the bridge was disassembled due to years of use, floods, and weathered over time. It was re-built in 1989 as a testament to the pioneering sheepmen and ranching that existed in old Arizona.
I have never been much of a bird watcher, but being retired, and living in the ‘wilderness’ has made me so much more aware of the animals and birds around me that I ever was living in the big city going to work every day.
There are so many interesting animals and birds out there, that I feel I have barely scratched the surface of being able to appreciate and identify the wide variety of species we have in AZ.
The sandhill cranes are among the more interesting migrating birds that call AZ their temporary home.
Then their are the snow geese that come for the summer – and I’m not talking about the east coasters that come in travel trailers and crowd Phoenix during Noreasters back home!
Northern shovelers with their platypus-type bills are among some of the interesting ducks we have.
Along with the pintail ducks that flock to our AZ lakes.
At Whitewater Draw in southern AZ, you might find yourself saying ‘who?’ to any number of bird species in this small, confined riparian area that serves as home to a snow bird of another feather.
I remember when I used to visit my husband’s folks in Morman Lake, AZ. They would be all excited to share ‘their’ elk with us. With a binoculars in hand, if you squinted real hard, you could see the little dots of elk crossing in front of the fire house, about 1/4 mile away.
John’s mom still remembers fondly how close they got to see the elk. I laugh.
If she had any idea of how close we see the elk today!
It’s fall in Northern AZ. With all the snow (all 10″ between 2 storms) and wind we have had, most of the leaves have fallen to the ground on the Rim… so time to explore fall colors in other parts.
Sedona along Oak Creek makes for a fine diversion. The aspens were in full yellows and the ferns varying shades of reddish brown. It was the kind of scenery that gives you pause as it takes your breath away.
The cascading waters just added to it’s peaceful serenity. It’s hard to beat scenery like this. Arizona is truly a magical place.
I thought I had seen it all… at least most of the animals there were to see. (Though I still have never seen that elusive mountain lion.) The other day we even got the opportunity to see a Ringtail Cat. Which was super cool. I didn’t get a photo, alas… they are nocturnal. I felt fortunate enough just to see this odd little weasel-like creature with a raccoon-ish big stripped tail bigger than his body. (You can see a photo of him here… https://kritterspaw.com/2018/10/30/ring-tale/). But I digress.
The other day, we were outside and this ‘swarm’ of white birds was circling overhead. They settled in the tree in our front yard! Moreover, they stayed!
I’m guessing they were migrating from here to there… where ever the here and there are. But in transit, they needed a rest, and found a good spot right here! Wow!
I can tell you, I got little else done that day!!!
So, they appear to be Great White Egrets… while they are ‘common’ birds…. they certainly aren’t common in our front yard here in the mountains. So I was delighted to have them find rest at our home.
They were here… then they were gone.
I was happy to entertain them… or moreover, have them provide my entertainment, albeit for a short respite.
Fall colors had me ga-ga like a little kid with a new toy, wandering around snapping shots of all the beauty everywhere I looked. But when I got home and looked at my photos, I got a lot of ‘scraggle’, like that below.
While I tried to be aware of all my photography rules: Simplify, Simplify, Simplify, I pulled out contrasting yellow leaf color against dark trunks and green backgrounds. But what I got was ‘scraggle’… busy, busy, busy. Somehow when running around snapping the photos I didn’t see the little twigs that added clutter and distraction.
Instead, I should have been keeping it CLEAN, by pulling out singular subjects and isolating them for a more interesting and uncluttered shot.
The shots I took that CUT THE CLUTTER, took the prize and won my favor and the viewer’s eye.