It’s Fun Fact Friday, folks! The image above is of a plant called devil’s club. It’s quite striking among the other greenery growing in the forest interior at Mount Rainier National Park. And, as you can see, it’s got little stickers on it. But, there’s more to this plant than what you think.
In addition to using devil’s club for an arthritis remedy, fishhooks and deodorant, Alaska Natives have also used this plant for coughs, colds and fever, skin disorders, and digestive ailments.
Even the smallest and/or prettiest of creatures can be territorial and exhibit more than just a little bit of visciousness in the daily fight for survival. Heaven knows I’ve experienced it within the human workplace, hence the sarcastic title.
I’ve been rescuing photos from a dying portable hard drive. The hummingbird images I captured between 2012 – 2014 are favorites of mine and they needed to be saved to another drive.
As a photographer, you can learn quite a bit about birds or other wildlife by simply watching and photographing them on a regular basis. During that span of years my mother and I hung out those hummingbird feeders in Texas, I would be over there every morning and/or evening to photograph these soft, tiny little birdies. The more I watched, the more I learned they aren’t quite as sweet as everybody might think. Luckily, this extended observation led to some very interesting photos.
How about a nice, peaceful, beach scene colored by the blush of “rosy-fingered dawn” to start your weekend? I have a feeling dawn won’t be as pretty where I live – it’s been overcast with a low cloud ceiling for the past few days.
Padre Island National Seashore in Texas is a great place to watch the sun rise. I got there at dark-thirty a.m. and just watched the play of colors over the sky and Gulf of Mexico, as the shore birds pattered along the water’s edge looking for breakfast.
During my road trip move from TX to central WA, I made Yellowstone National Park one of my stops along the way. Of course, it was summertime, probably the worst time in the world to visit that particular park. I couldn’t find a parking space at Upper Geyser Basin (and those of you who have gone there know how big that parking lot is) so, disgruntled, I drove on toward Gardiner, my hotel stay for the night. On the way, I saw the turnoff to Biscuit Basin and decided to try my luck there. A car was backing out of a small parking space so I quickly squeezed my own little car in. The landscape in this show was one of the first sights that greeted my eyes as I headed toward the boardwalk. The geology of Yellowstone never fails to amaze me.
We were waiting for my oldest nephew to arrive from the airport, and I took my camera out into the backyard to photograph the bees on a large thistle bush. This bush is not like the weedy thistles you see sprouting from pavement cracks – it’s more like something a home-and-garden store would sell for a decorative yard plant. The bush is quite large and the spheres are golf-ball sized and covered with lavender flowerets. The honey bees absolutely love them.
The tulips are now blooming. Our house only has small patches of them in yellow, red, and the striped orange & gold you see here. I believe they are my favorite flowers, although I do like the colorful calla lilies, too, and fragrant sweet peas. I’m posting this bit of sunshine because I think it’s supposed to be a little overcast today. That’s ok. I finished sweeping up the shop roof yesterday and trimmed the overhanging branches. And don’t worry – I was very careful. I have a slight fear of heights – well, maybe more than slight, since there is no way in hell I would ever hike that last half mile on the Angels Landing Trail in Zion National Park 😉😟🗻
This photo is brought to you by my 100-400mm telephoto lens, then cropped a little more. I used to own a macro lens but realized I didn’t use it much. So, I traded it in for a different lens. And this is a lesson to you in how to get close-up “pseudo-macro” shots using just your telephoto lens on an SLR or telephoto setting on a point-and-shoot camera.
These little flowers are quie eye-catching, especially when looked at close-up, with their almost neon-bright white centers. I must admit that I was pretty pleased and proud with myself for finding out what they are called so quickly when I ran an online search. I think all I typed in were “blue and white flowers washington” or something like that.
They are stiill in bloom here at the house, but look like they might not last too much longer.
Spring has definitely sprung, if the flowers have anything to say about it. First came the iris, and now the bright yellow splotches of daffodils are blooming in spots of the yard. I’ve noticed some tulip buds coming up but it’s apparently still too early for them – at least, here in Yakima. The hellebore have been in bloom since March. I never really gave much glance to these perennials but as I look at them more closely, they are, indeed, lovely. They are also poisonous, accodring to what I have read (so no hellebore salads – ahem). I’ll content myself with photos of these beautiful blooms.
Dusky Grouse On Display, Signal Mountain Summit, Grand Teton National Park
Actually, I almost named this “Dusky Grouse On The Run,” since it was moving at a brisk clip alongside the road down from Signal Mountain in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. Sometimes, that’s how I used to feel when I was getting ready to go to work in the pre-dawn hours.
Anyway, I couldn’t believe my good luck that morning, at the summit of Signal Mountain. I’d already captured numerous images of the female dusky grouse, and was feeling pretty lucky about it as I began the slow drive down the road back to the main park highway (the speed limit is either 15 mph or 20 mph). I happened to turn my head to the side and see this fanned out set of feathers. I stopped the car (nobody was in front of or behind me) and looked closer and realized I was watching a male on display. So I grabbed my camera with the 100-400mm lens (with the 1.4x extender on) on the seat beside me and proceeded to get some wonderful images of this beautiful bird, about the size of a chicken. Serendipity plays a large role in photography.
A telephoto exploration of the canyon depths at Walhalla Point North Rim, Grand Canyon National Park
It’s the last day of the Labor Day Weekend. I hope this long weekend takes, or has taken, you somewhere awesome. This is the first time in about 3 years that I have not found myself traveling to a national park over the holiday. Usually, I’d be flying somewhere on vacation out of Texas on the Friday before Labor Day, then spending the entire week photographing in a national park somewhere West of the Rio Grande. This year, I’m instead preparing for the movers to arrive at my storage unit tomorrow to deposit the sum total of my past 20 years living in Texas. I’m just fine with that. I now live in a photographically amazing state and am within 1-1/2 hours of Mount Rainier National Park. (insert Big Happy Emoji Face here)
The shot above, is a 100-400mm telephoto of canyon detail at Walhalla Point on the North Rim. I spent the day driving the road and exploring the stops leading to the end point of Cape Royal. Luckily, I’d arrived there before the forest fires in that park had gotten so large that they had to close down this particular road for a bit.
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