Thursday, December 27, 2018


It's the time of year when we look back over the soon-to-end year and evaluate various parts of our lives.  I do that with the images from my photography blog and choose my favorite ten pictures of 2018.  Here they are, along with the reasons why I picked them.

Number Ten.  This image of Fishtown struck me because of its tonal qualities.  It wasn't a sunny day, yet I like the pervasive aqua colors of the Carp River and Lake Michigan, especially as they tie in with the iconic, green fishing tug, the Janice Sue.

Number Nine.   I like the tonal qualities of this image too with the sky showing a faint pinking as sunset approaches.  I also chose this picture because of its size contrasts, with the fly fisherman appearing very small against the giant Empire Bluffs dune in the background.

Number Eight.  I always include a Gracie picture in my top ten.  Here she and her new friend Rosie check each other out on one of their first play dates.

Number Seven.  I love photographing wildlife and birds and was very lucky to see this Great Blue Heron out my front slider from the condo I was staying in while my new home was being built.  The situation was a good example of photo opportunities that are all around us if we just pay attention to our surroundings...and have a camera ready.

Number Six.  I love these golden willows along Silver Lake Road.  It wasn't a pretty day, and the sky was definitely a blank gray, but the willows stood out and were even reflected in the wet pavement.

Number Five.  These delicate, yet ephemeral blossoms caught my eye, and I was lucky enough to photograph them before a spring wind blew them away.

Number Four.  For nearly a week I got to watch Cedar Waxwings devour the fermented berries from a Mountain Ash tree in my backyard.  I'd heard of drunken birds, but this was my first time witnessing them in action.

Number Three.  I got numerous images of this doe and her young fawn feeding in a field of wildflowers.  I liked this one best when they turned and ran off, their beautiful white tails held high.

Number Two.  I photographed the Snowy Owl many times last winter during their irruption to our area.  They certainly are beautiful critters.  But nature isn't always pretty, and I think this image shows both the beauty of the owl and the reality of these birds of prey hunting for survival.

Number One.  You might have guessed that my favorite picture of 2018 would involve Sandhill Cranes.  I didn't see as many of them this year, but I was lucky to catch this pair in a series of pair bonding dances after an April snowstorm.  Besides being able to watch their interesting mating machinations, I love the tawny tonal qualities of their plumage matching the leftover cornstalks, all against the backdrop of a spring snowfall.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018


Yeah, I know, she's a cutie. 

Gracie loves the camera and gets lots of practice being my photography model.  No matter what outlandish outfit I dress her in, she's game.  While I pose her, she never moves a muscle.  But what she loves even more than modeling doggy outfits is going with me on photoshoots.  When I pick up my camera bag, she goes wild and runs to the door to the garage.

One of the favorite places we like to drive through to take pictures is the Grand Traverse Commons.  There are many mature, tall evergreens that are decorated to the hilt.

The trees are a sight to behold with a touch of snow on the ground and the backdrop of the renovated buildings of the old State Hospital.

These decorated, statuesque evergreens rival ones we often see in state capitols during the holiday season.  But if you want to see a decorated Christmas tree rivalling no other, take a drive up M-22 to the tip of the Leelanau Peninsula.

There in the village of Northport, you'll find a strikingly adorned tree at the intersection of Waukazoo and Nagonaba Streets.  I took this photo in 2015 when I still lived in the community.

As I wish all my blog friends a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday from my house to yours, my wish takes on a speciial meaning this year because Gracie and I moved into our new home on Saturday.  Even amidst all the unpacked boxes, we are finding the time to put up our tree, light some candles, and play our favorite Christmas songs.  May you have a wonderful time celebrating the season with family and friends.

Thursday, December 13, 2018


Driving around Traverse City neighborhoods to look at holiday lights is one of my favorite Christmas traditions.  It's fun to see how so many people decorate their yards with holiday cheer.

Thursday, December 6, 2018


Lights strung on trees, Santa's house, a giant Christmas tree, and magnificent merchant windows.  It all adds up to a beautiful drive through Traverse City's downtown area.

Thursday, November 29, 2018


As the temperatures drop and snow arrives, my thoughts have turned to when I’ll see my first Snowy Owl of the winter.  I’ve gotten Audubon alerts that have already reported three sightings, one in Northport and the other two in Traverse City.  I’ve even driven through the industrial park twice where I’ve seen Snowies in past years.

Snowy Owls often don’t pick the most photogenic spots to perch.  I photographed this Snowy last December when it chose this electrical box to land on so it could watch the nearby field for its favorite prey, mice and voles.

Another favorite roost for the Snowy Owl in this park was this huge mound of dirty snow deposited by snow plowers right behind the electrical box.  It had the height to make a good vantage point for the owls.

But that whole corner has changed this year.  The electrical boxes are still there, but a new building complex now occupies the whole corner and beyond. 

In another area of the park popular with Snowy Owls, a second large building complex has been built.   As the natural owl habitats have changed, I wonder where the Snowies will go to hunt.  This year out in the countryside, I found farmers had rotated their crops away from corn and I saw fewer Sandhill Cranes in the same areas where I’d abundantly seen them in the past.  Will the same thing happen with Snowy Owls?

Still, there are many undeveloped parts of the park where dirt piles and open fields could provide fruitful habitats for hunting Snowy Owls.  I’ll just have to work a little harder to find them.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the countless number of light poles in the park, another favorite Snowy Owl roost.  I may be looking up more this season to spot my photography subjects than in past years.  One thing is sure.  My excitement to see these magnificent birds is reaching fever pitch.

Thursday, November 22, 2018


Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  Hope you have a wonderful day celebrating the blessings you are thankful for.  One thing I'm grateful for is the temporary housing I've been in since my condo sold in August, and my new house was being built.  With my new home almost ready for occupancy, and I look back on these four months, it has been fun exploring this new area of town, which is where I discovered these beautiful red barns.  Besides their gorgeous color, most have beautiful stonework at their bases.