Thursday, December 31, 2020



Every year I look back over my images and choose my favorites for the year.  While there were many difficulties of 2020, including the pandemic, the election, and racial tensions, being out in nature taking pictures helped keep me sane.  Here are my top ten favorites for this year.


 #10  This year two friends introduced me to the the Seven Bridges area near Kalkaska.  This wooded natural area was filled with streams, small waterfalls, and, of course, several bridges.  It was lovely to visit and photograph.  


 #9  Gracie is my most photographed subject.  I’m always snapping photos with my iPhone of her antics.  This year I added a small fenced area to my deck giving her a larger play area.  She loved playing catch and frisbee in her new yard.


 #8  Sunsets are always fun to watch and photograph.  I shot many this year from Old Mission Peninsula, which is closer to my home.  But this particular sunset was taken from my favorite Lake Michigan Beach at Empire.


 #7  I’d heard of their migration here in prior years, but last May I got to see these American White Pelicans for myself at Logan’s Landing.  Here they are all bunched together tightly.


 #6 I love all kinds of flowers, but lilies are one of my favorites.  This particular variegated type was especially striking.


 #5  Seeing and photographing eagles is always a special treat.  The farm country where I see Sandhill Cranes is also home to many Bald Eagles, especially in the winter months.


 #4 I saw many Snowy Owls last winter, but I especially liked this photograph.  While this female Snowy was perched atop an ugly light pole, she looked straight at me with those piercing yellow eyes.


 #3  While living in Northport, I heard the eerie howls of many coyotes in the woods, but I never photographed one.  I was lucky to see and get an image of this one in a field west of Chum’s Corner.


 #2  I’m sure you could guess there would be an image of Sandhill Cranes somewhere in my top ten.  I took this one during the fall migration, when a large group flew overhead.


 And here is is:  My favorite image of 2020.  I’d been shooting farm country sunsets south of Kingsley.  The sun had set behind a tract of trees and I’d turned around to leave the area.  I was startled to see that the full moon had risen behind me.  I liked how the golden hour colors from the sunset enhanced the field below the rising full moon.  Doesn’t get much better than this for me.


Thursday, December 24, 2020



…and to all a good night.  These famous words from Clement Clark Moore’s classic poem “The Night Before Christmas” sum up my holiday wishes to you.  As usual, Traverse City has outdone itself in decorating for the holiday season.  From downtown with it fruit trees bright with fairy lights to the huge lighted evergreen tree at the Cass and Front Streets intersection to all the city neighborhoods, TC is alive with the holiday spirit.  It’s not too late to take an evening drive to see these striking displays.  While 2020 has had its many challenges, viewing these lights are sure to lift your spirits.



Thursday, December 17, 2020



I always take pictures of neighborhood holiday lights and this year I started with my own neighborhood, Woodcreek, which is really decked out in the holiday spirit.

Thursday, December 10, 2020



It’s the time of year when Snowy Owls begin to arrive in our area.  It’s been a warm start to winter, however, and I wondered whether that would keeping them from arriving. 


 Still, I’d been going to Chums Corner a few times a week since Thanksgiving and had seen nothing except one false alarm…a plastic grocery bag in a field that mysteriously looked like a Snowy.


 Then Sunday morning, during Zoom church, I got an Audubon alert that there was a Snowy on the far right dock system at the Elmwood Marina.  By the time I arrived, I didn’t see a Snowy.


 As I was preparing to leave, I got another alert that the owl had moved to the rocky breakwater next to the docks.  Again, I wasn’t able to spot it.  


 I was getting frustrated.  I’d mostly seen Snowies high on light posts and building roofs.  I searched the many mast tops, hoping to spot one there.  No luck.  What was a Snowy doing in a marina anyway, I thought.  After all, they aren’t like Eagles who swoop into the water to catch fish.  I was disappointed and went home.


 The next afternoon I got another alert that the owl was still at the marina, but on one of the roof tops.  I headed out and quickly spotted this large female Snowy as soon as I pulled in. 


 The owl had its third eyelid, the nictitating membrane, closed, which denied me from seeing those piercing yellow eyes that I love to photograph.  The membrane protects the owl’s eye from dust and bright light.


 A bit after closing its third eyelid, the Snowy closed its other two eyelids.  Looks like it was time for a little snooze.


 The nap lasted only a few minutes and when she awoke, I finally got a peek at that yellow eye.  “I see you,” she must’ve been thinking as she took a sideways glance at me.


 The Snowy shifted her body completely away from me so I got the chance to see its heavily-barred body, indicating she was probably an immature female owl.  

 The owl turned again and began a series of big yawns, which made me laugh.  Was she still tired or bored with watching?


 The Snowy gave me one more direct look.  Her eyes were squinting and I didn’t capture much of the yellow eyes.  I did learn from the harbormaster, however, that they have a Snowy Owl visit the harbor every year so now I know of another place to visit in my search for Snowies.