Grand Canyon North Rim, Bright Angel Point

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Speaking of Grand Canyon North Rim… the most popular, and accessible trail is just outside of the Grand Canyon Lodge:  Bright Angel Point.

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The trail is paved and an easy walk to the point at the end, overlooking the vastness that is the Grand Canyon.  It’s hard not to be awestruck by it’s majestic depth and beauty.

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One takes pause to take it all in.

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I loved the craggy trees along the trail that grew out of moldy rocks filled with character.  These trees have grown and leaned in the wind and heard tales of generations who have walked past.

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Best of 2016: Animals

I have read a lot of Photography books in the last few years.  When I started reading that a photographer has to choose what type of photographer he/she wants to be, I resisted.  Photography is photography…right?  It’s the technical aspect of choosing the right aperture / shutter speed combination, and lighting… and the artful aspect of style and composition.  What one shoots could be anything.

Yet, in the last few years as I have attempted to perfect my images, I have to finally agree that one does migrate toward certain styles and formats.  For some it may be wedding photos or portraits.  For me, it is clear… it’s landscapes and wildlife.

So as I build a Best of 2016 for landscapes, I have to also look to my wildlife photographs for a ‘Best of’ collection.

This past year we have traveled far and wide through the U.S., so my photography has been on the go, and not in blinds or frequenting the same wildlife habitats.  Instead it has been more happenstance of what wildlife we might have seen in our travels.   So this ‘Best of’ is more a collection of different types of animals with it’s wide variety, than a collection of best composed animal stories.

So here are my Best Animal Photos of 2016 with a focus on different animals we have gotten to see this year.

ramwall_IR.jpg 1.  Big horn sheep on wall in Zion National Park

ramprofPSPS_IR.jpg2.  Big horn sheep close-up in Zion National Park    We saw these sheep watching the world go by in November (2016).  There wasn’t a lot of traffic or cars in the park this late in the year, so these ram were just hanging out watching cars go by.

bearwalkPSi.JPG3.  Black bear in our front yard!    I can’t believe we saw a black bear out our window while having dinner!  I had to wait for it to get off the front deck eating out of our bird feeder before I could pursue it to get this photo.  It was about 5:30pm and the sun was just waining.  Easily the most thrilling animal sighting of the year for me.

lilelkcallPSi.JPG4. Elk in Happy Jack, AZ    It’s not uncommon for us to see elk where we live.  But this bugling baby was a treat as he bugled to his mom in the snow.

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5. Elk call  Speaking of bugling elk… I caught this mom hollering about something out in the woods.

lilsmomPSi.JPG6.  Elk mom & babe  It’s always a treat to see the new born elk with their spots.  It doesn’t happen often, but when we do, it is a thrill.  The new moms are always so watchful of their playful and energetic new borns.

elkinthemiddlePSi.JPG7. Elk in the Middle.    It’s fun when we get a group of elk, as you can see the different ages and sizes and interaction with the elk siblings, cousins, moms, and gatherings.

lilvert2PS_IR.jpg8.  Newborn Elk    I could do a Top 10 on Elk alone.. but I have to move on to different animals.  I had to include this one though, as this little babe still had wobbly legs and was just too precious to not include.

owlfar hortPSPS.jpg9.  Canyon Owl    I love owls, but rarely see them.  I’m lucky if I see one a year.  We saw this guy carefully watching us from his little perch along the canyon walls outside of Canyon X in Page, AZ

puffinwavPS_IR.jpg10.  Puffin Wave    While I’m on birds, I have to include this awesome puffin we saw in Englishtown, Nova Scotia.

eagleflexPS_IR.jpg11. Eagle Flight    I would have been happier if this eagle had a fish in his mouth… but nonetheless, it’s a close up eagle in flight, so it goes to the diversity of animals (in this case birds) we saw in 2016.

turkeywaddlePSPS_IR.jpg12.  Gobble gobble.    I don’t know about you, but it’s not everyday you see wild turkey.  I have never seen one in gobbler mode strutting his stuff…. but I’m happy with any opportunity to photograph a turkey in the wild.

chips songPSi.JPG.    13.  Chippies.    Moving on to little animals, I caught these two little chipmunk ‘talking’ to each other.  If this photo had sound you would hear the chirping the one on the right was making.  She saw me and stood there with her foot up and just chirped incessantly until this other little chipmunk came up to see what all the ruckus was about.

red tree turn_IR.jpg14.  Tufted Ear Squirrel.    I love these cool squirrels with their tufted pointy ears.  I really like the texture of this tree bark against the furry critter and blurred wooded background.

redleapPS_IR.jpg15.  Tufts in Flight.  Then there is this guy caught in flight mid air jaunting across the rocks looking for just the right pine cone to nibble on.

porci lookPSi.JPG16. Porcupine Scowl.    I’m not sure how many porcupine’s I have ever seen… but I caught this fella scowling at me on an overlook in Northern California.  He was not too happy that I was in his face with a camera.  I took his portrait and backed off and left him in peace as he wasn’t nearly as happy to see me as I was him.

chipmodelPS.jpg17.  Ground squirrel pose.    We stopped at an overlook in Utah outside of Lake Powell for lunch.  This little guy wanted hand outs in the worst way.  He was a riot to watch because he didn’t want to get too close, but he really wanted a nibble.  What a curious fellow he was.  We tipped him for his entertainment, took his photo for posterity and went on our way.  We left him an apple core that was about as big as he was.  He dragged it off like the coveted prize, but not before he posed for us and flitted about trying to get our attention.

smbird5PSi.JPG18. Hiding among the Daisies.  This little bird was digging up bugs amongst a field of daisies.  He squatted down as if I couldn’t see me.  Can’t hide from my camera, little guy.

elkfacePSi.JPG19. Young ‘un.     I had this young elk’s attention, until it realized I was no threat and went about it’s business.  She looked right at me, as if to say, ‘what ya doing?’.

ramalerti.JPG   20.  Ram Alert.    We saw this young ram munching on these trees on the White Rim road within Canyonlands National Park.  The road was thrilling all by itself, but made more fun seeing this guy along the way.

 

I could go on and on, as I have a ton of animal photos, many of which are contained within this blog as I take them…. but these are some of my favorites for the year.  We got to see a wide variety of interesting and fun animals throughout the year in our far and wide travels.  I count myself lucky for each and every animal portrait, capturing their moods and feelings at that point in time, and the ability to be able to share.

Thanks for stopping by…. again, as before, feel free to pick your favorites.

Best of 2016: Second Cut

My Best of 2016 post, posted ….here and Honorable mentions …here, have been such a huge hit they have even inspired a Best of 2016: Restaurants post … here.

Many have asked if these are your Best of 2016, what kind of photos didn’t make the cut?  So, by popular demand… here are a few that didn’t make the ‘Best of’… the Second Cut, as I call them.

serelepots2PSi.JPG1.  Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia

lthsclPSi.JPG2. Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia

seatreeesPS_IR.jpg3. Cape Breton Eastern Shore, Nova Scotia

crwn clsPS_IR.jpg4. Mt. Hood, Oregon

bodegarays cloPS.JPG5. Bodega Bay, Northern California

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6. Fall on Mogollon Rim, Northern AZ

 

mosslog long2PSi.JPG7. Maple Drop, Mogollon Rim

 

burnartPS.jpg8.  Burnt Art, Mogollon Rim  AZ

SnowBurst.jpg9. Snow Burst, Happy Jack  AZ

toadstoalsPS.jpg10. Toadstools, Utah

smoked treePSi.JPG11. Smoked Tree, Mogollon Rim AZ

rockshadowPSi.JPG12. Harris Beach, Northern CA

stars2PS.jpg13. Lake Powell,  AZ

 

This is been such a fun exercise for me… it’s actually made me feel better about my photos.. so thanks for all the likes and comments.   What I have found most interesting has been the differences in people’s taste.  Some liked some of my Honorable Mentions better than my Top 10 picks… including my husband, who liked some of my Second Cut (didn’t even make Honorable Mentions) photos best.  And that… is what makes it so difficult to choose ‘Best of’, because depending on your tastes or moods of the moment, one might pick different favorites.

Next up, I’ll collect a Best of Animals post to highlight all the amazing animals we saw in 2016.

If you didn’t see the original posts that this is a sequel to.. check them out here, here… AND here.

Feel free to choose your faves… I love to hear what people think. :)

 

 

 

Best of 2016

I was recently talking to my friend, Maureen, about Best Photos of 2016.  It’s an interesting topic and one worth taking pause to think about.   We are fortunate and active enough to take quite a few trips per year, and with them lots of photos.  So I have lots to choose from for a Best of collection.  The hard part, if not impossible, is trying to pick which ones make the cut.  Nonetheless, I think it is an important and relevant task that should be part of my annual objectives… pick your best of the year.  It does two things, allows one to reflect on the year past… all the special moments, great experiences, and cool things we did… and identify my best photos.

So I decided to take on the task.  Looking at my 2016 photos, I was delighted to see how many I really liked and that indeed I did come away with some great shots on the many awesome trips we took.  In fact, I got so many I liked, I am able to break this blog into two .. and share my TOP 10 here… and another TOP Honorable Mentions on my sister blog, here.

So without further ado… here are my Best of 2016 (Top 10), in no particular order.  What do you think?

Alstrom Sunrise Pano PEPSi.jpg1. Alstrom Point, Lake Powell

Mesa Arch Pano_PEi.jpg2.  Mesa Arch, Canyonlands  Utah

reflctnpondPSi.JPG3. Mogollon Rim, Northern Arizona

treesaddlePSi.JPG4. Mogollon Rim, Northern Arizona

boatrekPSi.JPG5. Peggy’s Cove,  Nova Scotia

mossfingersPSi.JPG6. Olympic Peninsula, Washington State

iredaleshinePSi.JPG7. Peter Iredale wreck, Ft Stevens  Oregon

leafsplash2PSi.JPG8. Leaf splash, Northern California

golfbayPSi.JPG9. Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

qfalls mistPSi.JPG10.  Quinault Rain Forest, Washington

So that’s it.. my selected 2016 Top 10.  To see the honorable mentions, check it out here.

The coolest part about this exercise, were the number and amount of great photos I left behind that I could have chosen.  Love it when that happens.

So what do you think.. weigh in… what are your favorites?

The Study of Elk

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As with anything we are passionate about, and aspire to do better, we must practice and study.  Learning from masters in the trade that have come before us is a good way of learning.  As such, I have been studying from my photography masters and reading their advice and wisdom.  Joe McNally, as a photo journalist, cites the key is to capture ‘gestures’.  Whether it’s in the expressions, the actions of the individuals, or the drama as it unfolds.  No doubt,  Joe didn’t have elk in mind when he offers this advice.  But the same is true.

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Just as ‘a picture tells a story’, so do the movements and expressions of my subject… and in this case, our elk.  Their territorial nudges, tender nose kisses, or ‘banter’ between themselves all convey emotion and interest.

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I’ve been fortunate enough to get a lot of elk photos… but with the astute advice of a photography master… my photos can become better, more poignant, and tell a better story.

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Dreams DO come true

When I was getting ready to graduate from high school, oh so many years ago, like so many other young adults I was faced with that all important decision, ‘what’s next?’. What do I do with my life?  At the time, as a teenager, I was really into photography.  I used to go out every night and photograph the sunset and mess around with time lapsed photography.  I actually thought I was good.  I wanted to be a Photographer when I grew up.

Well… my dad, in all his wisdom, steered me in another direction.  “Why don’t you go do something that actually makes money?  You can be a Photographer when you retire.”, he told me.  Wise words indeed.  I don’t know what the percentage of Photographers made a successful living at it, particularly back then – before the age of photo workshops and online presence, but it wasn’t very high.  And you had to be VERY good – David Muench good.

So I followed my dad’s sage advice and became an Engineer.  Now that I’m retired I have picked up my camera and tried to get serious about taking real photos.  Moreover, I set a goal for myself… I wanted to be published.  Not just published, but published in Arizona Highways.  A girl can dream, right?!

To my total aghast and surprise, I got a call from Arizona Highways yesterday.  Crazy, right?!  They had selected one of my deer photos for the 2017 AZ Highways calendar… not for a large month photo- but as a little inset photo.  Baby steps, though.  I’m going to have one of MY photos on AZ Highways 2017 classic calendars.  Be still my heart.  OMG!  My dad would be proud.

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Sun Burst

Maybe you knew this… but I recently learned it, so I thought I’d share.

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Somehow, I assumed those sunburst photos I saw in magazines were Photoshop’d.  I thought they had some filter or plug-in that they applied to a sun to give it that starburst effect.

Not so!  Set your aperture on f/11 or f/16 and point at the sun.  (I know, we were all taught not to point at the sun… someone’s been keeping this cool trick from us!).  Hide the sun behind a piece of tree to obstruct the full blast of the sun, and move around until you see the starburst.  Click!

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