Thursday, December 14, 2017

THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS


The idea hatched over the summer.  A group of neighbors decided to design, build, and install displays representing the Twelve Days of Christmas.  Each yard would host a display representing one of the days.  The results are spectacular.  Sing along with me as I take you on a tour of the displays.  On the first day of Christmas, my true love sent to me...



a partridge in a pear tree.



On the second day, my true love sent two turtle doves.



On the third day, three French hens.



On the fourth day, four calling birds.



On the fifth day, five gold rings.



On the sixth day, six geese a-laying.



On the seventh day, seven swans a-swimming.



On the eighth day, eight maids a milking.



On the ninth day, nine ladies dancing.



On the tenth day, ten lords a-leaping.



On the eleventh day, eleven pipers piping.



The detail of each display is amazing.  True artistry.  My first visit to the display was at night.  The street and all the twelve days were bright with lighting.  But the lights washed out the detail more than I wanted so I returned the next day so I could better capture the specific features of each scene.



And finally, on the twelfth day, my true love sent to me, twelve drummers drumming.  The whole project is a testament to what people can do when they work together. 

Thursday, December 7, 2017

DECKING THE HALLS FOR CHRISTMAS


The recent snowfall ramped up the Christmas spirit as folks were out looking at all the lovely yard displays.  Neighborhoods were filled with cars and walkers, all enjoying the beautiful lights. Traverse City loves to decorate for the holidays!























Thursday, November 30, 2017

A GULL IS A GULL. RIGHT?


Or so I thought.  I went to Clinch Park Sunday afternoon to see if anything was happening.  The place was fairly empty except for a few kids enjoying the playground and some folks walking dogs on the trail. 


I spied this seagull and decided to take its picture.  It was a regular run-of-the-mill seagull.  The kind that begs from you at the beach and every park bench in the city.



It turned towards me and I noticed its beautiful, pale eye.  I'd not paid much attention to this bird before.  Its bill had a black ring near the tip too.



Besides the begging qualities of gulls, I'd seen them soaring on the thermals above the water at the beach.  They've provided a great way for me to learn how to take pictures of birds in flight, or BIF as it's know in photography parlance.



As I moved on, I saw another bird posing on a post.  I thought it was a gull, but it was sure different-looking than the first.  I couldn't help myself from going straight to my bird app.  And I was shocked!  There are 27 kinds of seagulls in North America.



And of the 27, only two are year-round natives to our area.  The first gull was clearly a Ring-billed Gull.  The other native gull is a Herring Gull, which has a similar appearance to the Ring-billed Gull, except for a red spot on its bill.  The gull above didn't have the markings of either of those gulls.  But as I dug deeper into the app, I learned that this gull was a juvenile of one of the two local species.



I guess I learned a couple things from my photo-op with the gulls.  A gull isn't just a gull.  There are a lot more kinds than I originally had thought.



I also learned, but mostly saw, that the Clinch Park Marina gulls are pretty well-fed.  Must be stocking up for the winter.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

RIGHT HERE IN MY OWN NEIGHBORHOOD!!!


I was headed out for one of my weekly photoshoots with Gracie along for the ride.  I had no idea what my subject was going to be, but was confident something would present itself.  As always, I swung through my neighborhood to see if anything was going on.



As I entered the last of three streets, serendipity struck!  There at the end of this circular-shaped street stood an elegant red fox.  I knew I probably didn't have much time to capture this beauty, so I went into photographer mode:  music off, window down, lens cap off, camera ready.



As I drew closer, this gorgeous critter looked me right in the eye.  My heart jumped with excitement at the opportunity to see and photograph this fox.  Sometimes you don't have to go very far to find what you're looking for.



And in the next moment, the fox put its nose to the ground and was on its way, being a wild animal again versus being a photography subject.



As it moved behind a large stand of several evergreen trees, with just that beautiful tail showing, I gave a silent thank you for the opportunity to have seen and photographed this gorgeous critter.



But as I edged forward to the other side of the tree stand, I saw the fox and I weren't quite done with each other.  It turned and gave me another good look.  My heart leapt again.



But I wasn't the object of interest for long as the fox turned and focused on the brush at the back of the neighborhood.   I wondered if it had a rodent or some other small game in its sights.  I know that foxes are very adaptable to eating whatever is in their habitat, including garbage and pet food.



And then it was off again its journey.  Maybe it was searching for food.  Or perhaps, it was on the scent of a potential mate, with that season only being a month or two away.  Regardless, I am happy for the serendipitous opportunity to see and photograph this beautiful fox.  So much to be grateful for in this season of thanksgiving.  I especially appreciate all of you who support and follow my photography through this blog.  Thank you!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

UNUSUAL FALL COLOR CHANGES


Because fall is typically a season of transition, fluctuations in weather patterns are common.  Summer temperatures one day; below freezing conditions on others.  This particular fall also seems to have had some unusual patterns with respect to the changing of fall colors.



Granted, some landscapes show a lot of bare or rust-tinged trees with occasional ones still showing colorful leaves.



But it's mid-November now, and I'm surprised at how many woodland scenes still have significant fall color.



Driving around the countryside, I've even found occasional trees, like this one, still in full yellow foliage.



And despite the date, there are still some lovely bright orange vistas out there.



I was surprised to find his tree still in full orange foliage, especially when we've had some days of pretty significant windy weather.



For someone who loves the fall colors like I do, there have been plenty to enjoy this year.