October Fall

October always means FALL for us. We look forward to the fall colors and actively debate and explore different areas to enjoy nature’s beauty in full living color.

This year we found a new place to explore, Christopher Creek, and we were thrilled to find fall in it’s full range of greens, yellows, orange, and reds. It was stunning. Thanks for the tip Rosemary.

As if the changing of the leaves wasn’t enough we were thrilled and entertained by the cascading water along the creek with fleeting views of fall’s glory.

I am in awe of nature’s beauty and humbled by her harsh light and deep shadows and the many challenges of capturing her many moods. I guess I need to get out more and practice more. Oh, darn.

Tree Saddle

The Mogollon Rim is probably one of our favorite places. It is not far from where we live, and offers exceptional views and a myriad of roads to explore.

One of our favorite vantage points we have dubbed, ‘Tree Saddle’. It was never more spectacular than after a heavy dousing of frigid rain. We stuck it out and were rewarded with amazing skies.

Funny, I feel I must caveat some of these photos… yes the sky was that red and magical, it was not ‘photoshopped’. I was giddy with joy for this tremendous sky as it rolled in and turned bright red. As a boater, I was reminded of the old adage, ‘Red skies at night, sailor’s delight. Red sky in the morning, sailor’s warning.’

While the views along the rim itself are stunning, the forest roads along the rim are equally beautiful.

When the fog rolled in the following morning, we wandered the forest roads capturing eerie fog pix.

I was completely soaked and freezing as clouds went from great photos to completely enveloping me as I got doused trying to get one more pic. While weather can be cold and uncomfortable, it does make more intriguing photos. It was absolutely worth it, and euphoric to be in the presence of such amazing views.

Rainbow Trail

Rainbow Trail is a great hiking / biking trail outside of the National Park Boundaries with great overlooks and dispersed camping.

There are 5 overlooks as part of the Rainbow Trail: Timp, North Timp, Locust, Fence, and Parissawampitts (say that 3x fast).

There are also 2 nice overlooks just inside of the National Park Boundary: Point Sublime and Swamp Point. Both have nice views and limited dispersed camping.

They are a bit of a drive to get to. But as they say, anything worth doing is worth doing well, and sometimes that means a drive.

See more pix here …https://kritterspaw.com/2021/09/26/north-rim-grand-canyon/

A world of friends

I have to say, with all that is going on in the world, and our lives right now we have felt very alone. I know we are not the only ones. Having not seen or talked to so many friends we have (or had) during all this isolation seems so sad. Will it be different when the world opens back up? Or will they be gone forever? That I can not answer, but suspect it is a combination of the two.

So, without getting too sappy or melancholy, today I feel thankful for the my many friends and supporters of my photography. It’s times like these that we should immerse ourselves in those things that make us feel joy and happiness when all the rest is falling by the wayside. I have had many folks who have asked to see pix of the snow. So it is with that encouragement, that we braved the storm and trudged out every day to get what pix we could.

Snow photos can be difficult to get. First off, the snow itself is white and blindingly bright. Having no ‘color’ it is hard to take photos of and exposures can be tricky. The snow storms bring bleh clouds and gray skies, drab and not very photogenic. Here on the mountain, most of our roads are closed. Snow plows have created berms along the main roads making pulling off the road impossible.

Animals are scarce, as foraging through the snow can be difficult for them. See my post here… https://kritterspaw.com/2021/01/27/snow-foraging/ . But with the encouragement of friends, we were persistent and somewhat successful in our quest to find some decent photos.

We went North toward Winslow looking for snow and animals. We went out into the forest behind our home to see if we could find some snow views. We headed toward Flagstaff to see if we could catch some animals. We ventured toward Pine to see what that might yield. See post here … https://kritterspix.com/2021/01/27/we-got-snow/

We ran into road closures, icy slick roads, dead animals, stupid drivers, impassable areas, ugly skies and bright harsh light. But we also found bull elk standing in a meadow blanketed with snow staring back at us wondering what we were doing there. We saw trees caked with snow on the windward side majestic and satisfied with new found water. Ponds and waterholes previously dry were filled with fresh fallen snow, thirsty grass poking through the hill surrounding her.

There is beauty when we look for it, both in the environment around us and those in it. Be thankful for what you have and who you have to share it with, as we are today and everyday.

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.

Blue Ridge

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Crazy!  Last year I wrote about Blue Ridge Reservoid  (https://kritterspaw.com/2018/08/14/blue-ridge-reservoid/), as it had no water in the Blue Ridge Reservoir.

With all the snow we had this year… it’s now overflowing.

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Fallen logs litter the waterway from all the downed trees, and the water rises above the boat ramp.

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I look forward to the spring flowers, lunch outings, and camping amongst her many tall pines, soaring eagles, and nesting blue heron.  Nature does work in mysterious ways.

Snow Elk

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We got quite the winter storm this week…. and I don’t know what it is, but storms always seem to bring the animals.

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Of course, we are always delighted to see them.  I always tell them… ‘I’ll make you famous’… if only they knew!

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These poor little guys were hunkered down looking for warmth and food.

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Even the dry twigs seemed like tasty food for these guys who were rummaging through the snow looking for something to eat.

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Of course, kids will be kids, and all they cared about was playing in the snow!  Typical! : )

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You can check out more snow pix here…  https://kritterspaw.com/2019/02/23/snow/

 

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.

 

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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