Tuesday, June 30, 2015

First Fawn Visit!

Last winter I learned that I had several young bucks among the deer who'd visited my feed blocks over the past two years.  I'd seen a fair amount of jousting between them as they vied for their turn at eating.  Clearly, more testosterone was evident than in past winters.  It made me wonder if I'd be seeing as many fawns this spring.  Last year there had been four, with only three of them surviving.

While I've been on the lookout for fawns, I hadn't had any visits until a couple days ago.  It started the same way as last year.  A doe came to the grassy knoll just outside my fence and took an afternoon rest.  It made me hopeful that she'd return with a fawn sometime soon.

A couple hours later, she returned with her young fawn.  At first the fawn just looked around at her new surroundings.

 It didn't take long, though, for the fawn to begin sharing the deer block with its mother.

The fawn also was checking out the feeding area.  I was surprised it didn't try nursing from its mother,  as I'd seen with past fawns.

As she turned around to verify her mother's presence, I could see she was a beautiful little fawn.

Continuing to explore the area, the fawn munched on some bark from a nearby dead tree.

After a while, something startled both mother and fawn.  They looked off in another direction and, shortly after, they left the feeding area.

 It was exciting to photograph the first fawn of the season.  And it was a real beauty!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Vistas of Hills and Water

I love the hills of the Leelanau Peninsula, especially at the north end where I live.  I can be driving around on back roads and feel like I'm going up and down on a roller coaster.

But the hills I enjoy most are the ones where water is part of the vista, such as this one of Northport Bay from Braman Hill.

Along M-22, there are spots where I can catch a sliver of the Lake as I reach the top of a hill.

Or I can be on Kolarik Road in the evening after getting fresh strawberries, and spot Lake Leelanau in the distance, all aglow in pinks from the approaching sunset.

This week the skies were continually in flux, but a grayish blue predominated much of the time.

In this panorama from the top of the Onomonee Road hill, it was difficult to differentiate the sky from the Lake, as they almost blended together.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Spring Beauties Abound

While the cherry blossoms and trillium are gone, many gorgeous spring beauties remain.  A drive around the village and township will show off the blooms that flourish in the gardens and along the roadsides during these waning days of spring.  My favorite is the bridal wreath spirea, shown in the first two images, but I find all the spring flowers lovely.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

A Salmon-colored Sunset

Sunsets are like full moons to me.  I never tire of photographing sunsets, but I am always on the lookout for new places to watch them.  With the sun tracking farther to the north this spring, I headed to the Grand Traverse Lighthouse to assess the best places to view the sunset.

I drove through the campground and then walked down the path by the Fog Horn House trying to find where to set up my gear.  I was surprised at how the landscape had changed over the past year.  Areas that had been dry and covered with huge boulders were now filled with water and abundant vegetation.  What a difference higher water levels make!

It was clear there was going to be a beautiful sunset.  There were no clouds and a yellowish pink to a reddish orange had begun to overspread the sky and water.

The salmon-colored sky caught my attention and made me watch as the sun sank lower...

...and lower into Lake Michigan.

And the painted sky afterwards left me breathless.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Strawberry Moon

I've been chasing full moons since last summer, without a lot of photographic success.  When I saw the moon was going to be full on Monday and Tuesday nights, I vowed to try again.  I first chose Monday night because the moonrise was going to be earlier, at 8:20 pm, when there would be more light.  I use a wonderful app called the The Photographer's Ephemeris, or TPE for short.  Not only does TPE give the timing of every moonrise, moonset, sunrise, and sunset, it also gives the angle of the rising and setting from specific locations.  It looked to me that somewhere around the marina was the place to be, so I went there and set up.  Unfortunately, as I waited and waited and waited, the moon rose directly behind me.  How embarrassing to have been reading the app backwards!  So much to learn.

Armed with my tripod, and a better understanding of TPE, I set out for the marina on Tuesday evening for the much anticipated moonrise at 9:20 pm.  I noticed that the sun was going to be setting on the other side of the peninsula at 9:23 pm.  I was hoping to catch some of the afterglow from the sunset at the marina.  While I didn't know exactly where the moon would come up, I set my gear up near the little red-capped gazebo that I so enjoy photographing.  And I was not disappointed with the beautiful rosy sunset afterglow that glazed the whole marina area.

Still not certain exactly where near the marina the moon would rise, I continually scanned the horizon for a first glimpse of the Strawberry Moon.  And there it was, I gasped.  I couldn't have placed it better if I'd been in charge.

The June full moon was named the Strawberry Moon by Native Americans who took its rising as a signal to begin gathering ripening fruit.

In Europe, the June moon is called the Full Rose Moon because strawberries aren't native plants there, but roses are in their full glory then.

A third name for the June full moon is the Honey Moon because it stays closer to the horizon, which gives it a more amber color as it rises.

I wasn't the only moon gazer that night at the marina.  Several people came by to watch the moon rise and snap photos with their phones.  One couple commented that I probably could see the lakes and craters on the moon with my big camera lens.  I think they were right.