Oak Creek, Sedona AZ

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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.

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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.

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The cascading waters just added to it’s peaceful serenity.  It’s hard to beat scenery like this.  Arizona is truly a magical place.

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One that we are fortunate enough to call home.

 

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Great Whites

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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Mind the Shade

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There are so many things to remember when trying to make a good photograph.  I recently talked about Keep It Clean, and reducing clutter in a photo.  Another important consideration is Shade and Light.

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In the photo above, it’s easy to see the large disparity between exposures – intense shade and shadows in the water, and blown highlights in the sky and trees.  To make the photo successful, I could have done an HDR to take multiple photos with the proper exposure for each separate condition (Shadow & Highlights), and them merged them later.

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Or, using the light that I had, I could cut out the blown highlights in camera, and turned my attention to where the light was more even and exposed for the shadows just by looking down.  Cutting out the highlights yielded a more interesting and focused composition.

Remember… mind the Shade & Light, when composing that pic.

 

Keep it Clean

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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.

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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.

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Instead, I should have been keeping it CLEAN, by pulling out singular subjects and isolating them for a more interesting and uncluttered shot.

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The shots I took that CUT THE CLUTTER, took the prize and won my favor and the viewer’s eye.

First Snow

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We had already scheduled a trip to check out how fall colors were coming along when we got 6″ of fresh heavy snow.  The cold snap helped the colors along, bringing out brilliant reds in the maples, and golden yellows among the oaks.

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The ground was covered with a blanket of fallen color on the fresh white snow.  It was a thing of beauty to walk among nature and all her glory.

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We even found these fresh bear tracks leading through the forest, who surely must have been enjoying the cool weather and the awesome environment we were witnessing.

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For more Fall Color photos check out my blog here…  https://kritterspaw.com/2018/10/20/snowfall/

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It’s A Boy

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If you remember a post I did a little while back about Pat’s Fawn (https://kritterspix.com/2018/09/17/pats-fawn/), we’ve been fortunate enough to see it a few times and kinda watch it grow up, which has been a real joy.   It’s starting to loose it’s spots.

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But it’s still playful and skittish… and wonderfully fun to watch.  Mom still dotes on her… except, apparently it’s a him.

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I caught a glimpse of a little bump on his head where his antlers will be soon.

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We can still call him Spots though, right?!

Mountain Wildlife

One of my favorite things about living up north in the mountains is the wildlife we get to see.  I never saw wildlife in the big city.    Here on the mountain we see a wide variety of species.

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Like this elusive fox.  I have seen fox on occasion, but have struggled to get a good shot.  This one was no exception, taken in the dark with a high ISO, spotlighted with a flashlight.  I had a hard time focusing in the dark, even with the flashlight… and today’s camera’s aren’t intended for manual focus.

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We also saw this curious raccoon.  He was searching for grub.

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We watched him (her?) for quite awhile (albeit difficult in the dark)…. another animal we rarely see, particularly as they are nocturnal.

Incidentally, the fox came at the same time… but didn’t stick around.  The fox seemed quite put off by the raccoon, and quickly circled the raccoon then made haste and left.  Pity, I would have liked to have gotten a better shot.