Sunday, November 29, 2009

Another late afternoon swan visitation

Ah, visitation with the annual Trumpeter Swans - but in these cases, I'm the visitor to their wintering grounds. I was taking a brief moment before darkness would cover the Valley to see if increased numbers of these great white flyers were dotting the otherwise pale farm scape of the season. I pulled off a small area north of Carnation on one of my many little roads when I thought I saw two Ring-necked Pheasants across the way in the corn stubble of a summer corn/silage field. Sure enough, to lovely pheasants walking along. Too far off to photograph, but I still gave them a thumbs-up in their efforts to keep from sight of a very close by WDFW land area open for hunting season. Then I heard the sounds of what I would envision as poorly playing middle school trumpet players in the sky above me!

Sure enough, a group of five Trumpeter Swans were coming in to the same field I happened to be scanning for other birds. They circled the field three times, as if to first be waiting for the all clear from the control tower of an airport. By pass #3 I was set up with my gear and photographed them coming in to land. Then more came, two passing by a stunning color of light in the bright western sky as clouds broke before sunset! They all gathered in the field, and the last landing group seemed to be wanting to pick a fight upon landing. But chaos settled down to civil honking and jabbering, and all were happily eating soon together.

I sense this field might be an evening "roost" for the group as it was late in the day. But I intend on continuing to look and learn more about their behaviors at this field! THIS is why I love nature and wildlife photography so much - the ongoing challenges for learning, for understanding the biology behind my subjects is far more exciting that understanding the technology behind taking the photographs. Bring on more challenges from nature, I'm ready!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Great music with wind and pipes

No, I'm not talking about bag pipes or flutes or any other wind-blown instrument. I'm back to talking about lovely pipe organs again! I quickly wanted to let everyone know, and I know there are some among you out there who know nature isn't the only thing worth photographing and appreciating(!!), that the CD release of the week-long 2008 OHS Convention in Seattle is out. This wonderful 4-CD set has every performance from every venue that was part of this week-long event, which took place in July 2008 around the Puget Sound region. The 36-page booklet that comes with it has an enormous amount of information for the musically inclined appreciation of historical pipe organs around the region. And I've got to put in a plug that it has a lot of very grand photography, since each image inside of each venue is from my image library shot for this convention! I hope you'll visit the Organ Historical Society and check it out and consider supporting this spectacular organization and what they do around the world. See the CD on their website, then please take time to browse around to learn about OHS while out there too!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Bring on the tugboats

As a child I sure had a fascination with tugboats. Sure, I had a fascination about trains and stuff too! But I remember how thrilled I was to count the tugboats I'd see on the Columbia River when we would do a family trip up the Columbia River Gorge to The Dallas to see relatives over the holidays sometimes. I thought they were so cool and still do! I've had a few chances to photograph them over the past few years in Puget Sound when out on a ferry or other boat. Now my childhood fascination can be enjoyed yet again after seeing one of my images of a lovely tug passing by the front of the Space Needle in Seattle being used in the just released 2010 Tugboats calendar. It was a pleasure to work with Capt. Tom McCall in New York who put this together and I'm excited to get my copies soon! You can see it as well as purchase it here at - enjoy!
(photo: tugboat on Puget Sound passing in front of the Space Needle and the Seattle waterfront)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What to do when the to-do list is too overdone? Go for a hike on the Snoqulamie Valley Trail!

So, I'm swamped with things that I need to get done. Between having been preparing for a trip, been on the trip, returned to 2+ weeks of sickness in the family, and being stressed and tired from everything listed, I have seen every part of my photography as well as personal life fall behind schedule! People still waiting to see images from me, broken things needing attention, people needing to be taken here and there. I simply don't know where to start, so today I dove right in and did something that would help me the most: I called my border collie to go for a ride, and we went for a short hike!

The calm air before the incoming storm, yellow leaves from the cottonwoods and a few maples littered the ground, and we had a few good miles to ourselves both on the Snoqualmie Valley Trail and on side-trails off it that head up into the Hancock Tree Farm (aka Snoqualmie Tree Farm, aka old Weyerhaeuser Lands). I returned refreshed, relaxed, and ready to actually start making a few of the 1001 phone calls to clients, presentation arrangements, making appointments for doctors and dentist visits, and other joys of normal life. The dog? She returned smiling as she fell asleep for a nap...until I started the tractor to work, when she had to thus work then again too!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

It's the Holiday Fair time of year

It's that time of year again, time to prepare for some upcoming holiday season art/craft fairs! And time to have fully updated my inventory for the season on my note card sales racks in retail locations. It is fun to see how quickly attention is drawn to the new note cards when I show up changing 1/2 of the stock I had on hand! Makes me realize maybe some people do really pay attention to what I'm doing out there....
Back to creating more prints and goods before December kicks in - man, I'm making a mess around this place! Hope to see you in a couple of weeks in the Snoqualmie Valley - more soon, or just get the info on the "Upcoming Events" tab on the right of this blog!

(photo: messy pile of matted up prints, ready to be reviewed and updated with even more local history, local scenes, and new material from around the Pacific Northwest)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day, 2009 remembered

What more could a person say today than to just look at our American flag and take a moment to think. Think about what people before us have done to protect what America is. Think about all of those men and women who today are sacrificing their time, their energies, and even sadly, their lives, to make our country the most special on earth. We are blessed with freedom and many wonderful choices in life and we owe everyone who has served this great nation supportive thoughts every day.

I hope you take a moment to do that and let someone know you appreciate what they have done and are doing for your country.
(photos: farmer's decorated barn in the Kittitas Valley, WA ; wind-swept American flag during snowstorm along the Fall City riverfront)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Some lazy beach time on Maui

While away recently for a week stay on Maui, I didn't let myself sit around too much. I hung around a lot for a family wedding related things and then when not doing that I was certainly not about to spend my time just sitting still on the beach! I had many things I wanted to see, and in upcoming posts here will enjoy sharing the specific areas on Maui that I really enjoyed in my limited time, very limited amount of planning time to figure out when and where to go!

But, I did kick around by the resort and beach in my evening time a lot which was a lot of fun, watching the masses of people enjoy that time of day for themselves as well. Time to start finally looking at photos taken on a few of my day-trips around on the island!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Need your Desert Hiking fix? Book new printing is on the way!

I have seen the supplies of "Best Desert Hikes-Washington" slowly dwindle to virtually non-existent the past couple of months as the first printing of the title has run as dry as a summer in the Columbia Basin! Happily I'm pleased to let you know that a second printing of the book is just coming to completion and will be available before the holidays! I just sent a crisp copy of the cover photo to the publisher today to make sure they were ready to go. So if you are bummed about the rough weather of late in Washington, the snow about ready to start piling up in the Cascades this weekend, and wish you had a good solution to still enjoy getting outdoors? Want to have grand wildlife viewing opportunities all winter and next spring? Pick up a copy of the book soon before Christmas if you don't already have a copy or three! If you already have the book then contact me and arrange to spend a day out in the Washington desert hiking or photographing wildlife this winter! That's where I'll be....

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tomorrow's KCLS presentation @ Des Moines Library - cancelled

Just got word and need to pass along...tomorrow night's last of the series of talks I've been slated to do via King County Library System this fall, slated for November 4th @ 7:00pm at the Des Moines regional library, is now cancelled. Much discussion has passed this week with them since my household has become home to the H1N1 flu virus apparently, and with things happening there as well, we all figured it best to hold off on things.
Good news is we'll be rescheduling this event for after the holidays when people are bored and want to start getting into the outdoors but it's still dark and raining! So look for updated information about when it is to be sometime in January-February. Thanks.

Snow Geese in the Snoqualmie Valley

I have numerous times talked about the growing annual winter population of Trumpeter Swans in the Snoqualmie Valley. It's a great thing seeing the large 200+ size group of them up near Monroe by mid-winter. It's more exciting seeing them grow in numbers further south up the valley, areas near Carnation and just out of Fall City last winter! Yesterday while coming home I did a short side-trip to check on a few fields to see where the corn fields were (ie. which will attract the swans by next month). Lo and behold I had a first sighting for my Snoqualmie Valley records - a group of 14 Snow Geese! I've seen them flying over, and of course I've seen 10,000's of them up in the Skagit Valley. But this was a great new sighting for me - maybe the Snoqualmie Valley will become home to more of them too eventually just like the Trumpeter Swans?

It will be fun adding them to my annual monitoring species for the valley now too!