Pink Sands National Monument

•March 21, 2015 • 8 Comments

It might be called White Sands National Monument (Alamogordo, New Mexico), but one magical morning, I saw pink. As the sun rose over the mountains, the sand dunes and clouds were bathed in a soft, pinkish light that made the dunes glow. That is how I remember it and fortunately, my camera did too.

To me, it should be called Pink Sands National Monument!

Pink Sands Pano

Pink Sands Pano

In one fleeting moment we could see the earth’s shadow (dark band between mountains and pink clouds).

Pink Waves

Pink Waves

 

As the sun rose above the horizon, the pink color faded and the magical light lit up the dunes in a golden glow.

Dune Glow

Dune Glow

 

At sunset, a dramatically different scene was created, with shadows on the sand wrinkles and ripples.

Wrinkles and Shadows

Wrinkles and Shadows

It is a wonder that any plant can survive the extreme temperatures, gypsum based soil, dry conditions and the constantly shifting sand at White Sands National Monument, but the Yucca plant seems to do just that. Photographers from around the world are thankful for this hardy plant species, as it makes for some vivid compositions.

 

Yucca Wind Wrinkles

Yucca Wind Wrinkles

Two Yucs

Two Yucs

 

And with a full moon, a little serendipity!

Yucca Balancing Full Moon

Yucca Balancing Full Moon

 

My heartfelt thanks goes to Russ Burden and his White Sands Workshop for his ability to scramble to all of those “secret” locations among miles of dunes to get that killer shot!

http://www.russburdenphotography.com/

 

Best

Rich

 

 

Bald Eagle in Osprey Nest

•March 10, 2015 • 1 Comment

This is the second time that I have seen and photographed a bald eagle sitting in an osprey nest. The osprey have migrated south for the winter away from Summit County, Colorado. They will be back in late March, early April. Wonder if they will be surprised to find bald eagles in their nest.

Why are the bald eagles using the osprey nest?

 

 

Bald Eagle with an eye on this photographer

Bald Eagle with an eye on this photographer

Most likely the bald eagles are using the nest as a high viewing perch. They do not seem to be making a permanent nest there. Bald eagle nests tend to be much larger (my unscientific observation based on nests in Summit County), so the osprey nest sitting on a platform is probably too small for them and a growing family. The particular nest in question overlooks the Silverthorne-Dillon Water Treatment pond. The pond does not freeze. It is home to a number of ducks. Could they be potential prey for a hungry bald eagle?

 

Eagle departing nest

Eagle departing nest

 

 

Eagle departing nest

Eagle departing nest

 

 

I have seen and photographed an eagle diving and grabbing a seagull from the ocean. It would not surprise me if the bald eagles grabbed a duck. It would be an amazing sight to see and photograph. Come to think of it, the number of ducks in the pond has been decreasing over the winter.

It makes me wonder?

Eagle departing nest

Eagle departing nest

 

Below is a photograph taken in 2007 in Seattle with an older camera and lens. The image is not as sharp as I would like (shutter speed is too slow), but it does illustrate that eagles will dive and grab seagulls and ducks, if hungry enough.

This eagle could be either a juvenile bald eagle or a golden eagle.  They are sometimes difficult to tell apart.

What do you think?

Eagle Grabs Gull, Carkeek Park Seattle

Eagle Grabs Gull, Carkeek Park Seattle

 

Rich

Golden Eagle and Road-kill

•March 4, 2015 • 9 Comments

I am of two minds about this image. I love the opportunity to photograph a Golden Eagle on road kill right from my car window, but hate the thought of the numerous mule deer that have been killed by vehicles and the risk to the drivers that have hit them. Wildlife overpasses and underpasses across highway 9, in Summit and Grand Counties, Colorado have been funded and construction should start this year. Happy about that.

https://www.codot.gov/projects/sh9wildlife

http://www.summitdaily.com/news/13690580-113/project-highway-wildlife-animal

http://www.grandfoundation.com/page/50/citizens-for-a-safe-highway-9/

 

 

 Golden Eagle on Road Kill

Golden Eagle on Road Kill

Owls, Owls and More Owls Photographic Exhibit

•February 27, 2015 • 3 Comments

Owls have superpowers. They can hunt and see prey in the dark (the only bird of prey that can do so), triangulate the sound of potential prey with a unique offset positioning of its ears (including under the snow, out of sight), concentrate sound to its ears with its radar dish-like face and fly with complete silence with special feather fringes that mute turbulence noise.

Northern Hawk Owl Perched

Northern Hawk Owl Perched

Owls are known to be mysterious because we seem to be able to catch only brief glimpses of them in the wild. I have been fortunate to photographically capture a number of owl species in the US (including Alaska), Canada and Africa.

You are cordially invited to view my “Owls, Owls and More Owls” photographic exhibit at the Arts Alive Gallery in Breckenridge, Colorado.

As the Featured Artist for the month of March, my framed owl prints will be viewable at the gallery from March 1 to March 31, 2015.

A reception will be held on Saturday, March 14, 2015, 4-8pm at the gallery.

I look forward to seeing you at the reception and hearing about your owl stories.

Owls Owls Owls Announcement

Owls Owls Owls Announcement

Thank you

Rich

Bosque del Apache – More Than Just Cranes

•January 31, 2015 • 10 Comments

 

Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge near San Antonio, New Mexico is known worldwide as the wintering grounds for the Sandhill Crane and Snow Geese. Most birders and bird photographers have made at least one visit to Bosque to experience the 10,000 plus cranes and 40,000 snow geese.

But Bosque is more than just cranes and snow geese. It is also home to a vast variety of birds and wildlife. In a recent trip, I was fortunate to see and photograph other species:

American Coot

Coot A Coming

Coot A Coming

American Kestrel

American Kestrel

American Kestrel

Wigeon

American Wigeon

American Wigeon

Gambel Quail

Gambel Quail

Gambel Quail

Northern Pintail

Pintail In A Panic

Pintail In A Panic

Norther Shovelers

 

Snow Geese

Thousands of Snow Geese fly in from surrounding fields to roost for the night on the shallow ponds at Bosque. The water will keep them safe from predators.

See the video of Snow Geese roosting for the night:

 

And, finally, of course, the Sandhill Cranes

See video of cranes foraging in the golden sunrise:

 

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However, the one image that I am most proud, is one that was the most difficult to capture and I tried oh so many times:

Feathery Reflection

Feathery Reflection

 

What do you think?

 

Story on a previous visit to Bosque del Apache:

Bosque del Apache

 

And a thank you to Russ Burden for being the guide for this trip. www.russburdenphotography.com

Hope that you enjoy,

Rich

“Foss” Means “Waterfall” in Icelandic

•December 4, 2014 • 4 Comments

There must be thousands of waterfalls in Iceland. As you drive the ring-road around the island, waterfalls seem to appear on every mountain, of which there are thousands. Probably the most famous waterfall, is the horse-shoe shaped falls called Selfoss.  Selfoss is located in the Vatnajökull National Park in Northeastern Iceland and is easily accessible. You can walk right up to the edge of this magnificent wonder of Iceland. Beware, there are no guardrails, very few signs and nobody telling you where not to go.  In early October, we had this spectacular sight practically to ourselves.

 

Selfoss

Selfoss

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Selfoss

 

Selfoss

Selfoss

 

View the video:

With so little time and so many waterfalls, we could not possibly photograph them all. But Waterfall of the Gods – Godafoss –  was definitely on the list.  With easy access and a short hike one can photograph these falls from either side, and from below or from above.  No guardrails to spoil the view, but watch your step.

Godafoss

Godafoss

 

Godafoss

Godafoss

 

Godafoss

Godafoss

 

The fall colors were in bloom, especially in the sage grass. Combine a variegated landscape with another beautiful waterfall and you can get stunning vistas:

Another Beautiful Waterfall

Another Beautiful Waterfall

With so many great photo opportunities, one trip does not allow enough time to see them all. Looks like another trip to Iceland is in my future.

Check out my other blog posts on the Iceland trip:

Bardarbunga

Aurora in Iceland

 

Bardarbunga

•November 12, 2014 • 3 Comments

Bardarbunga, one of the largest volcanoes in Iceland (there are over 200 in this country the size of Ohio) started to erupt on August 16, 2014. There have been over 125 eruptions of volcanoes since recorded history going back to 874 AD. This recent eruption is no small event. The major airlines that fly across the Northern Atlantic collectively held their breath, waiting to see if the debris cloud would disrupt aviation traffic; such was the case back in April 2010 when Eyjafjallajökull erupted. Back then about 20 countries closed their airspace for 6 days, and over 10 million travelers were affected.

Fortunately, that has not been the case with Bardarbunga. This volcano has settled into steady discharge of lava and about a dozen earthquakes a day.

It has also provided the public with a wonderful opportunity to see the volcano up close.

While in Iceland in early October, my photography buddy Bob and I found a small airport that was providing flight-seeing tours over the volcano from the town of Myvatn. In a Cessna 206 (6 person airplane) we flew to the eruption site, made 3 passes, and returned safe and sound. Not only was the volcano stunning, the terrain and scenery were beyond this world (infact, parts of the movie Interstellar were filmed in Iceland). We flew about 1000 feet along the east side of the site and lava flows, close enough to feel heat on the windows.

Below are images and video (shot with a handheld GoPro camera) of the event. Hope that you enjoy.

 

 

Video Link

3A4B9405

3A4B9406

 

 

 
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