I’m trying to catch up on sharing some images and events.
Here’s a few images of African Lion cubs in the Masai Mara taken during the photo tour I led to Kenya in August/September of 2017
Unfortunately the Mara is being ruined by the encroachment of livestock grazing and the poisoning of wildlife by the locals. The famous March Price was poisoned by locals a few years ago and these lions are now found further inside the Reserve. There are dozens of new camps and the Mara is overcrowded with vehicles and many are driven by inexperienced guides who care nothing about the well-being of the animals. The Mara is not like it used to be and I am glad that I was able to see it the way it once was.
It was quite an interesting day, but then again every day in Durango is new, different and interesting.
Marilyn woke up this morning before 6 AM and realized that I was not in bed. She noticed a light on in my office, but I was not in there. She then searched all over the house (even in closets) thinking that something might have happened to me. She thought that maybe I had had a heart attack or stroke and had wandered off in a daze. While downstairs she noticed that my old winter down jacket was missing from its hook. She let Duffy out the East door and called me – still no response. Then they went out the West door and finally found me photographing the Super Blue Blood Moon!
It was the first total lunar eclipse since 2015 and the first Super Blue Blood Moon visible from the U.S. since 1866! There was a thin layer of high cirrus clouds and the moon eventually dropped down into thicker clouds and disappeared, but I did manage to get a few okay photos through the thin cloud layer. Canon 500mm/f4.0+ 1.4x, Canon 7D Camera, ISO 1600, -0.33 exposure compensation. f/5.6. Exposures 1 sec. to 0.4 sec.
Snowdown is Durango’s crazy week-long winter festival. The Fashion Do’s and Don’ts’ is a rather wild noisy event attended by over 600 people. The theme for Snowdown this year is “It’s a Black Tie Affair”. Photos taken with my Samsung Galaxy S5.
Prizes were awarded for the best dressed, worst dressed, funniest costume, best theme and the costume grand prize. I’m not sure which one Marilyn and I won, but we were the last ones announced and we were awarded a $100 gift certificate to Guido’s Pizza Pasta Panini. Guido’s is a restaurant, bar, gelateria and market (gastronomia). Thank you Guido’s!!!!
Why I Wake Early
by Mary Oliver
Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who make the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of the tulips
and the nodding morning glories,
and into the windows of, even, the
miserable and crotchety–
best preacher that ever was,
dear star, that just happens
to be where you are in the universe
to keep us from ever-darkness,
to ease us with warm touching,
to hold us in the great hands of light–
good morning, good morning, good morning.
Watch, now, how I start the day
in happiness, in kindness.
Over two years ago, I contacted friends Milt and Kathleen May, living near Driggs, Idaho, and informed them that the center line of a total solar eclipse of the sun was going to pass directly over their house on August 21, 2017 and could we please come and park our camper in their yard. Milt and Kathleen were not aware of the event, but enthusiastically offered up their hospitality. Since then, of course, the whole Teton Valley which is located on the western slope of the Teton Mountain Range – and indeed the whole country – eventually became abuzz with eclipse fever.
Marilyn, Duffy and I drove our camper up through Colorado, Utah and Wyoming with a brief stop in the Tetons. Eventually we ended up in Idaho where Milt and Kathleen were the most gracious and welcoming of hosts. Friends soon arrived from Colorado, Oklahoma and California and a splendid festive time was had by all.
Two days before the eclipse Marilyn, Duffy and I hiked the Teton Canyon Overlook trail starting out from base of the Grand Targhee Ski Area and ended with a grand view of the Tetons to the East.
To photograph the different phases of the eclipse, I bought a 92mm solar filter from Thousand Oaks Optical. This filter fit on my Kowa TSN 833N angled 88mm Prominar spotting scope with a 25-60x eyepiece. I attached a Canon 70D to the scope using a special adapter. In addition, I bought a step up ring so that the filter could also be used on my Canon 100-400mm with a Canon 7D camera.
Here’s first contact taken through the Kowa spotting scope:
Here are a couple of more images as the eclipse progressed:
The following photos were taken with the Canon 100-400mm lens
And this one was taken seconds before totality:
For totality, Marilyn unscrewed the solar filter on the 100-400mm lens while I kept photographing. Here’s a few images of the Diamond Ring Effect (also called Bailey’s Beads) as totality occurred. This phenomena occurs when the moon covers the sun, but some sunlight streams through the craters and valleys of the moon’s surface. You can also notice solar flares in the top right.
Here are a few other exposures taken during totality with the 100-400mm lens
During totality I was also able to take photos with my Canon 500/f4 lens with a Canon 1.4 adapter with a Canon 70D camera.
The last photo also shows another Diamond Ring Effect as totality ended:
Here are a few photos taken after totality showing the moon moving off of the sun’s disc:
And here is a final image showing the last little bit of the moon in front of the sun:
After a delicious lunch, we packed up and headed home since I was scheduled to fly to Africa on the 25th. About 5 miles north of Idaho Falls we hit stop and go traffic. We then became enmeshed in an epic exodus of eclipse viewers headed south on Interstate 15. It took us about eight hours to go 80 miles. We finally ended up staying in our camper at a truck stop south of Pocatello, Idaho.
Here are a few photos taken at a rest area south of Idaho Falls. One photo shows the line of people for the restrooms and the other shows the line of cars on the Interstate.
The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction. – Rachel Carson
Marilyn was out of town so in the morning I spent a bit of time watching and photographing a pair of House Wrens. They are very common birds, but their behavior was really interesting. The male prepares several preliminary sites with nests that are not completed. He sings, attracts a mate and then she goes around and checks out the nesting sites, chooses one and later finishes the nest with a softer lining. Several days ago they were at one nesting box on my property, the next day a different one, and then back to the first nesting box.
What was really interesting was that one of them (I think the male) would bring sticks to the box to make the nest. When it arrived at the hole in the nest box the stick was much too long to get in the hole. To get the stick in the hole it would either turn its head sideways so that one end of the stick would pass into the hole or it would juggle the stick in its bill so that it was no longer holding the stick in the middle, but rather further down on one end which was now shorter. It could then pass the shorter end through the hole and into the box.
For some reason I found the whole (hole!!!) experience fascinating. Each stick presented a new challenge and it was interesting to see how this most common of birds handled each new problem.
Are you ready to go home, my friend?” With that he turned from the river where he had been staring off into the distance, and he entered the shadowy path through the forest. He was headed for home and the bed by the open window. That’s where he always slept and where the night noises came and went until the light of a new day crept over the eastern mountains and slowly spread across the sky leaving the shadows one finds in the beginning, and not at the end. – Tom Ryan
The local community must understand itself finally as a community of interest – a common dependence on a common life and a common ground. And because a community is, by definition, placed, its success cannot be divided from the success of its place, its natural setting and surroundings: it soils, forests, grasslands, plants and animals, water, light, and air. The two economies, the natural and the human, support each other; each is the other’s hope of a durable and livable life. – Wendell Berry
Every night, before going to bed, I always get up, turn off the heat and check the outside to see what the weather is doing and what animals might be hanging around.
Upon looking out the South windows, I noticed a series of tracks cutting across the meadow below the house. It was then that I saw the rumps of six elk gathered under a pinyon pine to the Southeast. They were there for only about 10 minutes before moving off.
We’ve seen much larger herds of elk from the house a number of times, but they are always “across the way” in the Bodo Wildlife Area, but this was the first time we’ve seen them here at the house – and the first recorded on the trail cam.
The trail cam photo shows that it is still set for Daylight Savings Time. (My negligence). The vertical streaks are caused by snow falling.
The color photo was taken at ISO 10,000 through a window and was lit by two floodlights to the South.
“Over days, years and generations, animals roam. They look for food, mates and new territories to inhabit. They roam seasonally as food sources change. They move to survive local disasters. They move to survive the winter and to find locations with enough food to fatten up for breeding and raising young. They roam over several generations, repopulating decimated habitat or settling new areas. Living things move out of necessity. In many cases they must migrate or they will perish. Migration and motion are the nature of nature; native species cannot survive over time in the islands of habitat we have allotted them. In the world of nature, it is essential that things flow.” – Susan Eirich
Happy New Year!!!