Saturday, January 30, 2010

Muck in the desert

Whew, between massive home projects that have kicked off around here the past 1.5 weeks that need monitoring as well as having a few presentations on the schedule (which both went VERY well!) I've been quiet of late. And I also haven't had much chance to use the cameras even though the weather has been stellar, warm, and El Nino wonderfully dry! But I did take some time to at least stretch my legs a bit on my Yakima trip this week, enjoying some long needed fresh air hiking in one of my favorite areas of the Best Desert Hikes-Washington book, the L.T. Murray Wildlife Area between Ellensburg and Yakima. I've hiked up Umtanum Creek Canyon well over a dozen times, and roamed upward toward Umtanum Ridge almost as many. But it keeps sucking me back into stopping there by the suspension bridge crossing over the Yakima River...and it worked again this trip.

It was very overcast - typical for the inversion type of conditions in January in the Columbia Basin. But what really struck me were the ground conditions. Yuck!!!!!! When the desert soils are making the transition from frozen ground to thawed soil, the muck you have to walk in makes it very hard to actually enjoy hiking around. I've typically avoided hiking much in areas like this in late February for this reason, instead waiting for March and seeing nature wake up. But January is a great hiking time out there! Not this time - the warm El Nino conditions of the past week had temperatures even in the cold pockets like this nearing 40* for much of the week (it was 46* when I pulled in to Yakima that evening!). I still went for a two hour roam, but between the muck in the sky vs. the muck at my feet, let's just say this won't be the most photographic or memorable stop I've ever had here! But I did realize it's only two months until things really come to life, and I'll be all over the Columbia Basin ready to enjoy it!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

More Trumpeter Swans

Well I finally had a chance to look over a few more of my three hours photographing Trumpeter Swans in the northern Snoqualmie Valley back last month when it was only 14* and sunny outside. A great day, even with numb cold toes!

The light was wonderful to show off these, one of the most beautiful birds on earth. I said thank you to them as I left.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Can we adapt to changes as well as nature?

So, can we humans adapt to changes around us as well as nature usually shows us grand shows of how well it is done? Well, I certainly hope so but I'm constantly amazed at examples where we see a dramatic effect to the environment around some creature of our natural world and boom, they know ways to deal with it. Most of us are all aware of the tremendous cold weather that push into 2/3 of the country. I mean, it was 18* last Saturday morning in New Orleans. Yes! And many temperatures in the 20's in the northern half of Florida, where stores ran out of space heaters. But speaking of Florida, that is where my story is taking us today. Manatees are a spectacular mammal of the warm waters and show strong signs of becoming very ill if water temperatures drop below 68*. The story HERE from the Tampa Bay newspaper covers what has happened this week very well. The Manatees are suddenly gathering in a natural spring area where biologists are speechless at the sight, never having see so many of them in the area as this. Why? The warm springs that feed this special place discussed keeps the water at a constant 72*, and with the cold weather the waters have cooled too much in the normal wintering waters for them! I simply love reading and learning about the adaptation of nature. I would bet that the Manatees didn't go into a few decades of arguing over the change (in climate, or "insert your modifying factor here" type of change to an environment), spend billions of dollars arguing over it, and then another decade or two discussing what the solution would be for the problem. I'm guessing they figured it out a lot quicker than that! Every bad doom and gloom problem...there is a bright answer.
Just like every dark gloomy part of a rainbow...has a spectacular bright sunny part to it!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Coming to the next artEAST gallery exhibition soon

I'm very honored ad pleased to share that I have heard news that at least two of my images have been accepted in the upcoming Art East Gallery "Hit Us with Your Best Shot" Photography Exhibition which will run starting in early February at the gallery! Maybe I'll have a chance to submit more work to add to the line-up but for now I'm just enjoying knowing I'll have the work ahead of me preparing my prints for the early February hanging.

More details for when the opening event occurs will follow once I know more later this month!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Presentation in Everett, WA for the Everett Mountaineers tomorrow

Quickly wanted to remind everyone that I will be in Everett, WA tomorrow night to give a talk to the Everett Mountaineers. This presenting at the Everett Mountaineers monthly branch meeting (tomorrow night, 7:00PM) will have me giving a talk rich with photography and goofy stories on my experiences doing Day Hiking-Central Cascades. Check out the Everett Mountaineers website HERE for full details, and if you can't make it maybe I'll see you at the Everett Public Library on April 25th or March 7th for my other upcoming talks in your neighborhood. Hope to see you there!