Monday, September 24, 2018

Recreation on Tomales Bay

We had a perfect view of Tomales Bay on our recent trip to Point Reyes National Seashore.  We watched the many was people made use of this gem.

In the morning, the bay was calm, perfect for these paddle boarders.

 In the afternoon the wind came up and the kite surfers came out.

 At Hearts Desire Beach some people enjoyed playing in the water.

 Others found it a good place for kayaking.

  As for us, we just enjoyed people watching and stayed out of the water.

Looks like fun but I think I'll pass.

For more views of our wonderful wold check out Our World, Tuesday

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Belt of Venus

I'm sure I've seen this phenomenon many times but until I saw it in one of my photography books I didn't pay any attention.  It's called the "Belt of Venus" and it is the pink band above the horizon Just after sunset or just before sunrise.
With your back to the sunset (or sunrise) you see the light reflected off the atmosphere in the opposite direction of the setting or rising sun.  The blue band below the pink is the earths shadow.  
Tony Flanders at Sky and Telescope explains it much better than I can.  Look for it the next time you have a clear sky at sunset or sunrise.
Check our SkyWatch Friday for more views of the sky.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

A Few Birds

Most of the birds we saw on our recent visit to Point Reyes were too far away to photograph but I did manage a couple of good shots.

I don't know how I spotted this guy, it is well camouflaged in the shadows.  I had to do a bit of tweaking to reduce the shadows and bring out some detail.  I think it is an immature barred owl but I am no expert and could be wrong.

I saw this flock of American White Pelicans from the deck where we were staying.  They were moving their beaks through the water and looked like they were rowing a boat.

If you don't mind getting seasick, here is a video I took of them.  Still cameras are not really made for taking movies no matter what they claim but they can come in handy.

See more birds at Wild Bird Wednesday.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Night Skies

I know, I've been among the missing for a while.  Truth is, I haven't had anything new to report and I don't like to keep repeating myself.  Lately I have been trying my hand at night photography.  This required getting to places with darker skies than what I find near home.  So here are some images of the night sky at our cabin in the Eastern Sierra and at Tomales Bay.

From the deck at the cabin I tried some sky trails.  I was fortunate that polaris was directly behind one of the trees.  This was a one hour exposure which puts a lot of "noise" in the image.  I compensated for this by using the camera's long exposure noise reduction feature.  This takes the same amount of time as the original exposure to complete so unless I want to be up all night, I had to get it right the first time.

I also wanted to get some images of the milky way.  This required a high iso (6400) which also creates a lot of noise.  Since I shot the image in raw I was able to greatly reduce the noise in Adobe Elements raw image processor.

At Tomales Bay I tried again to capture the Milky Way.  I'm not sure if the difference was due to my processing, the atmospheric conditions or the use of the high iso noise reduction in the camera.  I need more practice but it will have to wait until spring as the Milky Way will soon be too far to the west during the night time hours.

Find more sky views at SkyWatch Friday.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Wyoming Skies

We saw a variety of skies on our trip to Wyoming.
Unfortunately, often they were hazy skies, due to the many fires in the west.

Even this iconic view of Mt. Moran from oxbow bend In Grand Teton N P had haze, probably a combination of water vapor and smoke.
 On the day we all went to Yellowstone we had clear blue skies followed by a night time down pour as we drove back to our lodging in Grand Teton.  Kudos to d-i-l Mimi for driving us back safely.
 Misty Morning sky
Morning light on the Tetons
Night light

I'm linking to Skywatch Friday where you can see many more beautiful skies.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Where are the Wild Things?

Before I show you the wild things I want to get on my soapbox.We are fortunate in this country, we have parks and wilderness areas where we can go and experience nature.  Places where we can pretend that the modern world doesn't exist. While most of public lands are open to modern vehicles and equipment, these things have been excluded from wilderness lands.
Unfortunately, my own Congressman, Tom McClintock wants to change this.  His bill, HR 1349 would permit mountain bikes in wilderness lands.  Not only would bikes damage trails, they would disturb the very nature of wilderness.  If this passes I can't help but wonder what would be next, motorcycles?
Enough politics, let's find some wild things!
Our National Parks and our designated wilderness areas offer homes and refuge to a wide variety of wildlife.  Yellowstone offers habitat to a wide variety and one can see more large animals in a day in Yellowstone than most people will see in a lifetime.
I was surprised, then, to see nothing more than some squirrels while visiting the geothermal areas with my family, but I had already made plans to go back with Jules after the rest returned to their homes and I knew where to look.

We saw Trumpeter Swans in several places but it seems fitting that this one was in Swan Lake.

My destination, though, was Lamar Valley on the road to the road to the Northeast Entrance.  Our first sighting was of mountain sheep, right along the road.

Then we saw a herd of pronghorn.

I like these delicate looking animals and I was glad for my 400mm lens and new EOS 80 D which allowed me to get not great but decent images without invading their space.

Next, we encountered a herd of bison.  This guy was scratching himself on a rock, not far from the road.
I was a bit disappointed not to see wolves or elk as we had on a previous visit.  Many people know about Lamar Valley and the turn outs were full of people watching the animals.  Most were wise enough to respect the wildness and keep their distance.

  As we were leaving the park the next day I couldn't resist taking a picture of this blue heron.  We have plenty of them around here but I always enjoy seeing them.

Not the best image but one of my favorites, a shot of these bison along the Yellowstone river.  It is rutting season for this species and it was interesting to watch them square off against one another.

Check out Our World Tuesday to see more views of our wonderful world!

Monday, September 4, 2017

Traveling with a Disabled Individual

It is challenging to travel with a severely disabled person.  When planning our trip to Wyoming I had to keep in mind Michael's special needs.

 The ADA requirements here in the United States are a great help, most sidewalks have ramps at corners and most hotels offer one or more accessible rooms. The degree to which these rooms are accessible varies, though.  We were very pleased that the room at Springhill Suites had wide spaces between furniture making making it easy to negotiate with a wheelchair.  The tub had a fold-down bench and hand held shower making transfer and bathing easy.
Many hotels offer microwaves and small refrigerators, important items in accommodating those with special diets but the manager offered the use of a food processor when he learned that Michael required his food to be pureed.  We didn't take him up on it, though, as we had brought our own.


Accommodations in National Parks are a bigger problem.While accessible rooms are offered and some now have small refrigerators I have yet to see any with a microwave.
I was pleased to find Signal Mountain Lodge, a privately owned property on Jackson Lake in Grand Teton.  We didn't choose one of their accessible rooms, that room did not have a refrigerator or microwave.  After discussing our needs with a staff member we chose a room with easy access, a kitchenette and a lake view.  Michael enjoyed sitting on the deck and watching the boats bob on the water. 

Actually, we all enjoyed sitting on the deck enjoying the view!

When traveling with someone with special needs, know what is needed and ask questions.  I find most people want to help but they need to know what is required.