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Point Reyes - A Week Later

Visiting Point Reyes National Seashore on Thanksgiving reminded me of what a gem this location is and motivated me to return.  On the following week a friend and I headed there.  In particular I wanted an image of Drakes Beach with its sandstone cliffs holding back the surf.  I think it would make a nice painting subject. On the way to Drakes Beach we spotted this female Northern Harrier.  Harriers fly very close to the ground in search of prey, which makes it possible to get some pretty close images if you are lucky enough to be in their path. The one bird which is a favorite of mine is the kestrel.  I couldn't remember ever seeing one a Point Reyes and mentioned this to my friend remarking that we needed one.  About a half hour later, there it was on a bush next to the dirt road we were on.  Kestrels are usually fairly shy birds so it was quite a treat to have it stay on its perch while we took its picture. And then off it went, which is what we were hoping for as their beauty in
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Point Reyes National Seashore

Point Reyes National Seashore is a gem.  About an hour drive from Santa Rosa at the end of a drive through some very beautiful landscapes lies a treasure chest of wild life photography opportunities.  On Thanksgiving, Jan and I packed cranberry and turkey sandwiches and headed there for a walk and a picnic.  I, of course, took my camera gear. A good friend and I once hired a photography guide to help us find bobcats at Point Reyes.  While we did find some badgers, we did not see one bobcat.  On subsequent excursions I had seen them but always at a distance and they being very wary of humans would disappear quickly.  On this lovely Thanksgiving Day, here was a young bobcat hunting along the road.  He showed no concern about our presence and kept right on hunting. On our walk I couldn't pass up this white crowned sparrow feasting. And a bit later this northern harrier leaving its perch.  As a side note, there is a phenomenon that happens frequently at Point Reyes, about mid morning,

Smoky Mountain National Park In The Fall

There are many places to find fall color and one very special such place is the Smoky Mountains National Park.  It is the most visited national park and I would guess the bulk of the visitors come during fall color.  When you are driving the Blue Ridge Parkway and the traffic comes to a stop you can be sure there is an excellent viewing location just ahead of you.  The waterfall in this picture is Looking Glass Falls and it is viewable from the road, but absolutely worth getting out of the car to really experience it. It is not often that you find a good waterfall with fall colors surrounding it like this. In another part of the park is an area called Tremont.  It is a gold mine of scenes like the one above with cascading creeks deep in the forest.  A wonderful place to spend contemplative time, alone with nature. Sunrises are special in the Blue Ridge Mountains with the lingering ground mist, gorgeous skies and the awakening of the forest beauty.  One of the things I love about sunris

Olmsted Point, Highway 120

If you take highway 120 over to 395 you will come to a turnout a bit west of Tuolumne Meadows, called Olmstead Point.  If you are there near sunset it is definitely a place to take a break and bathe in the views.  To the west you will see Half Dome in golden hour light. Across the highway you can climb the hill and get a nice view to the east of Tanaya Lake and the mountains surrounding it. The views from here are very nice.  I believe the peak shown above is Mt. Ritter, a 13K peak.

Eastern Sierras in Black and White

In November 2021 my grandson, Levi, and I headed to the Eastern Sierras to do some photography and enjoy the east side.  Levi is a budding photographer (just sold his first print last week) and immerses himself fully into the pursuit of great images.   Lundy Lake on a cold morning but enjoyable nonetheless.   Just south of Mammoth Lakes, Mount Morrison rises to the heavens.   This image was taken at sunset.  Had the wind been just a bit calmer some very nice reflections would have graced our view.  Maybe next time.  

Sweet Spots Around Bishop, CA

  Just north of Bishop there is a lovely location called Pleasant Valley.  The Owens River winds its way through the grasses and reeds, providing a popular location for fishing.  I was taken by the beauty and peacefulness.   One of the really great things about this part of the Eastern Sierras is the smell of sage.  After walking through some I carried the smell on my clothes the rest of the day.  And it is actually quite beautiful if take a close look at it.  I comes in a variety of colors from red to yellow and shades of blue.   To the east and north of Bishop you can often find ponds.  I say "often" because all of them are not always there.  During the drought this particular pond was dry.  I was so happy to see it full this year as it is one of my favorite to visit.  There are other ponds east of town that were full even during the drought years so it you want to see some ponds, they are there to be found. On the last morning of my stay, on the way out of town, I stopped

Little Lakes Valley, High Sierras, CA

  Little Lakes Valley is a wonderful place located at the end of Rock Creek Road in the Eastern Sierras. It is a popular hiking area with a relatively small parking area so getting there early is a premium.  We arrived at the 10,000 ft elevation of the parking lot well before sunrise.  The stars were absolutely sparkling in their brilliance.  Or goal was to be at one of the lakes before sunrise so we would be assured of still, mirror-like surfaces to capture a reflected sunrise on the peaks.  We didn't take into consideration that the uphill trail would be covered in ice, so our assent to the lakes was slowed.  We were at this little viewpoint as the first light began illuminating the peaks in the distance.  As you can see we were standing on frozen ground to get this image.  We grabbed this shot and then we were off to the lake. My intention was to first photograph Marsh Lake and the go on to Heart Lake, but in the dark I missed the turnoff to Marsh Lake (things looks so much diff