Sunday, January 26, 2014

Do Deer Have Personalities?

With the extreme cold, heavy snow, and high winds we've had the last few days, I decided that taking pictures of deer through the window would be safer and more comfortable.

 My favorite deer is the first one to appear at the feed blocks this day.  I can always tell her apart from the other five to seven deer that frequent my "restaurant" because she has scarring on her right flank.  I've also noticed that she often comes alone.  Has she been set apart from the herd in some way or for some reason?  Or is she just an introvert or loner?  While her fawn is often with her, that is not always the case.

She's always aware of her surroundings and occasionally bobs her head up when she becomes aware of sounds and smells that might signal danger.

She sees me in the window as I move around, trying to get a better angle with my camera and long lens on a tripod.

But she's learned that I'm no threat, and she continues to nibble from the food block.

I return to my computer work while she eats, but suddenly the deer bobs her head up.  Her ears come forward and her tail is tucked as she assesses whether the danger is real or not.

She turns her head in my direction and raises her head slightly.  In a split second, she takes off, running through the foliage.  I wait at my camera to see what might materialize.  More deer?  Perhaps a fox?  Or might there be a hawk in the area?  I've seen all three from my window watch.  After giving it a good ten minutes, I give up and never learn what might have caused her flight.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Winter's Beauty

After another week of heavy snow, I set out to see what new beauty winter had brought those of us living in the North Country.

An ice shelf and mini-caves have begun to form along the shoreline of the Bight.

Chunks of ice float along the shoreline in what open water is left.

Oops!  Not chunks of ice, but swans diving for their sustenance.

In the Village, Northport Creek flows toward the bay.

And ducks of all kinds congregate in a basin near the marina.

But outside of town, snowy hills remain pure from human tresspass.

Orchards, in still repose, await their winter pruning, a first step towards spring.

All is quiet and peaceful.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Outdoors Again!

There was sunshine today!  How long has it been?  With the approaching golden hour, I headed out hoping to catch the soft light of the late afternoon.

The Grand Traverse Lighthouse is one of my favorite subjects, yet I don't have a lot of images of it in the winter. 

But it wasn't the lighthouse itself I was hoping to shoot; it was the beach at the end of the trail next to the Fog Signal Building.  I love this beach because of boulders and rocks that litter the shoreline.

I was amazed at the ice buildup.  These same rock formations had marked the shoreline edge last fall.  To the north of where I stood, I could see a couple people climbing around the ice formations, along with their dog.

To the south and just a bit offshore, a small island floats in Cathead Bay.  At least I think it's an island; I've never walked all the way around to its backside to be sure.  The sun had begun to  break through the clouds on its way to setting.

The sky did brighten up a bit with the approaching sunset, but much of it was occluded by the cloud cover.  It was good to be back outdoors again, and the light was what I'd hoped for.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Adventures with Gracie

This past week, the winter weather hasn't been very conducive to outdoor photography.  The cold temperatures and wind chills hovering in the single digits are harmful to both the camera and the photographer.  But today the thermometer showed it was 22 degrees.  What a heat wave!  So with photographs from indoors and out, it seemed like a good time to introduce you to my new puppy, Gracie.

Gracie is my seven and a half week old mini-Goldendoodle.  She's very tiny right now, weighing only five pounds.  At maturity, she'll weigh between 30-35 pounds.  She joined my family on December 30.

Already, Gracie has bonded with Oakley, her nine year-old "big sister."  Oakley, weighing 65 pounds, has been very gentle with Gracie, but at times she has to perform some fancy footwork to avoid stepping on the puppy.

And Oakley loves the new puppy.  The admiration looks to be mutual.

Together they explore the backyard.  Oakley asks, "Where did the chipmunks go?"

Gracie replies, "I think I smell them.  Oh, wait.  What's a chipmunk?"

Then Gracie shows her sidekick the oak leaf she's found.

Being an energetic puppy, Gracie often runs full tilt to get where she wants to go.

climbing the three big steps to the deck.

Back inside, and tired from her romp outside, Gracie chews on her big sister's dental bone.  But her heavy eyelids show what's next for Gracie...a big puppy nap.