Thursday, December 31, 2009

Rainbows and Happy New Years - reflecting on the past, excited about the future!

I bring an end to 2009 here with a simple rainbow from this past week. Sure, I was happy to see this set up for me and get the small rainbow "piece" that made a brief appearance also reflecting in Case Inlet in my special part of Puget Sound.

But the rainbow always makes me stand there and think a bit, and what better time to do that than today - Happy New Year everyone! Maybe a rainbow can allow you a moment of peace to reflect on things of the past, even make what could be viewed a sour note in your past year into something positive. Maybe it will bring a refreshing positive and eager outlook on the upcoming year - it sure does to me! In either case, I hope everyone realizes you can appreciate the past year, you can make the next year positive. You are in control of your state of mind so smile and take the initiative to make happen what you want to fit in to your time in 2010! Happy New Year!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Year ending with a bright light

It's been a bit quiet from my end as I figure out where to start out catching up from a busy wonderful fun time over Christmas. But a part of that catching up was enjoying some down time at the special place we call our get-away at our cabin. I've always enjoyed being there in winter more than summer for some is so peaceful, quiet, lacking urgency to play as hard outdoors with kayaks (although we DID kayak in Case Inlet this time anyhow!), and just enjoy being inside reading and playing games. Yes, I did get creamed at playing Nerf hoops, not to mention every other game I was challenged to over the days there. But...the weather in December has been so dry and so many clear days and that brings me to my "bright light". We get sunrise light there...and this time of year the sun rises far to the south and even south of Mount Rainier in our view. I was ready - and how fun it is not having to get up so early for the sunrise light this time of year - I slept in until 7:00am! For a COMPLETE HOUR the light in the SE was changing and climaxed with the sun cresting the horizon south of Mount Rainier. Oh, and Rainier was sporting a pile-up of lenticular clouds this morning of shooting as well. It was below freezing, it was cold, and my border collie was out there with me. My son even came out in his PJ's outside the door and took his own photos while I was out on the beach shooting. I saw him sneak out up behind me, he can't hide from me!

It was a great way to have nature tell me "here's to the end of a great year, Merry Christmas Mr. Bauer, and onward to 2010!". Indeed!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

On this special day of the year, I wish all of my friends, family, and those hidden strangers who might care to appreciate what little things I can do, a very Merry Christmas!

"In the First Light"

In the first light of a new day,
No one knew he had arrived.
Things continued as they had been,
While a new-born softly cried.
But the heavens, wrapped in wonder,
Knew the meaning of His birth.
In the weakness of a baby,
They knew God had come to earth.

Hear the angels as they're singing -- Hallelujah!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Calendar time again...with a different twist in my world

It would be expected that I create an annual 13-month calendar each year since I take a few images every year. But while most would in my shoes make this a calendar of nature images...maybe birds or mammals in my case...or landscape photos is very common among most people I know who spend time in the outdoors with camera gear. Me? I use it as an opportunity to create a special memory every year, one I will cherish forever, and share it as gifts to my family and many friends. Well, it isn't a gift from "me" but instead has the tag "From: Mittens" as it is the annual gift from my wonder pooch and border collie best friend Mittens!

Yes, it has become well known now after the past four years that this is going to be a project that I put a lot of work and thought into. Many special moments spent with my best friend and even my family doesn't mind that it isn't a calendar of THEM. My border collie never complains about my driving, many 10,000's of miles later, and is always there with unconditional joy even if I'm just having a bad day. It is a way to showcase many of my special days with her in the past year, many of the special images I've captured that will forever be in our memories of this special wonder dog in our lives!
So Mittens, this entry is for you! Thanks for making the 2010 calendar just as exciting to create as the first one years ago! And thank you for making time together that much more special. Now, can you stop asking me for a Nilla Wafer while I'm typing this in!!? :)
(photos: various images from the past couple of annual calendars...)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Happy Winter Solstice - bring on the light!

Moments ago it happened - did you feel it? Does it feel different right now to you? It's winter and with the winter solstice now behind us by not even one hour yet, just feel the excitement in the air as the heavens are about to start releasing more light into our world here at 47*N of the equator! What? Oh....sure, it's about as dark as night and pouring outside at the moment. Heck, even my Christmas lights sensor just kicked on the driveway lights! But before you have too much time to grump over the rains, one day soon it'll seem like "wow, it's light and after 5:00pm?". Toss in some good El Nino weak warm dry weather and boom: we'll have desert wildflowers like this one shown to get after and belly around like a desert rat to photograph. Enjoy the anticipation, I know I will!!
(photo: belly shot from under the flowers on Whiskey Dick Mountain - Quilomene Wildlife Area near Vantage, WA)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

You can buy your winter/spring Desert Hikes preparations again

Hey, it might be dark 16 hours a day now but winter cold hiking and spring wildflower hiking in the deserts of Central/Eastern Washington are just around the corner! Don't believe me? Today is only 12-seconds shorter than yesterday, and tomorrow? Tomorrow will give us only 8-seconds fewer of daylight!
I'm pleased to see that the outlets for Best Desert Hikes-Washington are back in stock again after the past month or two of unavailability due to the running out of the first printing of this title. The second printing is hot off the presses and I got my first box of them yesterday from Mountaineers Books to fulfill an order I put in back in October!
Hope to see you stomping the sage lands with me the next 5-6 months!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Nice PR for Day Hiking-South Cascades this week

Well, it is nice to be a part of someones "Christmas list" and even more of an honor to be part of a list of great ideas for "gifts for the outdoors type" that shows up in a media outlet such as the Portland Oregonian. Therefore I'm quite happy to see my book "Day Hiking-South Cascades" included in a list of recommended hiking guidebooks by Oregonian travel writer Terry Richard this past weekend. Care to read over the full column, head HERE and enjoy the long list!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Trumpeter Swans - what are they trumpeting about?

I have hundreds of images of Trumpeter Swans from this week when I spent over three hours photographing a field covered with well over 500 of them just south of Monroe. It might take me awhile to edit over more of them! But this one struck me with a great sense of humor - just what are these rascals honking over here? What does it seem to look like they are saying if they were yakking out loud in our human voices? Have an idea - pass it along to me and help caption this photo!

Friday, December 11, 2009

A steamy morning at Snoqualmie Falls

Literally, I mean "steamy" outdoors, not indoors! Snoqualmie Falls is a delight when we get cold weather and what better way to enjoy it than wait out four straight days of temperatures not even coming close to getting above 32* out here and watch the ice build up around the falls. Yesterday morning I finally had to give in to the urge to revisit this frequent stop - the continuing clear sky would offer nice "warm" light back lighting the falls area after sunrise, and it was cranking on day three of morning temperatures in the single digits! This is where the steam comes from - even the cold water of the Snoqualmie River was steaming each morning this week, a sight we don't get around here. It has looked more like winter pre-freezing of rivers in Eastern Washington or North Dakota!

I pulled in to enjoy over 45 minutes of standing in what were 6* temperatures watching the show, of which I was completely alone 44 minutes of it I think. The light from the sunrise was better at adding truly dramatic feelings in my viewfinder that I had thought it could - instead of dealing with spray from the falls like so often happens when the river is quite high, I was dealing with steam! The water was steaming up a storm and that was simply one of the most cool things I've ever seen! I'd like to find the calculations that are involved comparing air temperature vs. water temperature vs. relative humidity to find out what effects what the most. By the time I left the falls at 9:30am the steam effect was far reduced from what I was seeing much of the time. Air temperature then was 13* (and not skyrocketing very quickly!). What a fascinating start to my day. Up next? Massive herds of Trumpeter Swans in the north end of the Valley where I spent 2.5 hours freezing my feet numb standing at an edge of a field with 500-700 swans right in front of me! Stay tuned - this will be a good show-and-tell coming up from me! :)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

It looks like summer outside!

Ahhh, the sun, all week! This is as good as summer! Well, it's as nice as summer...just a bit more cold! Fresh on the heals of setting my all-time cold temperature just last December 2008 (4.1* on December 21, 2008) we've rolled into December 2009 trying hard to reach that level. Yesterday early on it was 7.0* so I had hopes going into last night. With absolutely no breeze and heading into a night already cold from a high temperature of only 28.1* here yesterday, radiational cooling conditions were perfect! Upon checking data this morning until temperatures started heading back up toward double digits again, we came close! It looks like we have to settle on 5.8* as our overnight low. Not too shabby and even the old plastic thermometer in the orchard was sitting right on the low side of 6* after I returned from taking kidlets to school. Maybe we'll hit 32* by Friday at this rate for a high!
Anyhow, all this excitement is best enjoyed with the thought that hey, I never have to remove my shoes when I come in the house and I don't need to wipe mud and debris off of my border collie when we come in either!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Thanks for making the Holiday Market a success!

What a great day it was Saturday and I appreciate each and every one of you who came by the annual Holiday Market and took the time to come stop by my table and display! The enthusiasm from everyone who came was addicting and I was honored to have many surprise visitors come by as well - it was wonderful! Many note cards, many books and prints later, I packed up and left feeling so lucky to have this opportunity to share and be a part of the community around me. Thank you everyone, both those local as well as those who came from outside of the Valley to enjoy the day.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Feeling blessed and appreciative of what is around me

Life can be busy. No, life normally IS busy! But even the busy parts of every day are lined with special things that make me feel incredibly blessed. Like this is easy to get caught up in the rush to deal with getting kids to school every day. However I feel very blessed, greatly appreciating that I get such happy rural travels to enjoy when simply driving to school each morning. I'm living in a great world in a wonderful small part of it. What a blessing!
(photo: steam on Borst Lake on a very cold morning under a clear crisp sky just before sunrise)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Come browse, shop, or just visit at the annual Holiday Market!

Are you confused what to get a loved one this Holiday season? Strapped tight for money and don't want to get sucked in to the ease of over-spending on the Internet? Have a love and appreciation of hand made goods and wonderful creations by local area artists? Then please accept my reminder to come to the beautiful Snoqualmie Valley this coming Saturday, December 5th between 10:00am-3:00pm to the 10th annual Holiday Market held at in The Commons at Chief Kanim Middle School just outside of Fall City! What? Too far from where you live? Make it into a lovely half-day trip of relaxation and stop by a wonderful annual holiday fair, then add on great other destinations for a fantastic family or romantic early Christmas cheer! I'll have many new products available at my table and as always, a happy smile to greet you and just chat about almost anything! Hope to see you there.