Thursday, December 29, 2022



The end of the year is a time for looking back, as well as looking ahead.  Every year I look over my collection of the year's images and choose my favorites.  Here are my favorites of 2022 and why I chose them.

 #10:  While the image itself isn’t all that spectacular, the completion of the Boardman Lake Loop Trail is.  The bridge over the lake’s south end makes for a wonderful spot to get out into the lake and see what critters currently inhabit the waters and mudflats there.


 #9:  Somehow, hay bale scenes always make it onto my favorites list.  I liked these bales because they were more rounded and less perfect than many I’ve seen.  They made for a pretty scene.


 #8:  With so many sunflower farms in the area, I’m fortunate to be able to catch fields of these beauties, as well as, single, sun-seeking flowers.


 #7:  This iconic barn is along M-22 just outside Glen Arbor and within the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore.  Despite the gloomy skies, the barn was backed by spectacular fall color.


 #6:  During my September trip to Grand Marais in the Upper Peninsula, I caught several Lake Superior sunsets.  But it was this afterglow scene that I liked best.


 #5:  I saw many herons this summer, including Great Blues and Greenies.  I especially liked this Great Blue image because of its reflection in the pond water.



#4:  On a drive through the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive within the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore, I captured this scene of Alligator Hill alongside the two Glen Lakes.


 #3:  Lilies are one of my favorite flowers, and this vibrant variety really stood out among my photographs.


 #2:  Getting the chance to see a Bald Eagle is really special, but catching this one fishing through the ice on a farmland pond was an amazing experience.


 #1:  My favorite image of 2022 also came from my Grand Marais trip.  It’s another sunset afterglow picture of sailboats moored on the West Bay Harbor.

Monday, December 26, 2022



A couple of days before the blizzard, I decided to do a drive-thru of the industrial park where I often see Snowy Owls. I’d been doing this three times a week for the last month to no avail. My trips had been so fruitless that I didn’t even get my camera out of its bag. On this day, however, my luck changed as a large, heavily-barred female Snowy Owl sat atop a light pole. She kept her bright yellow eyes trained on me at times, but mostly she watched the empty fields below for prey. Always exciting to see this beautiful bird.









Thursday, December 22, 2022



Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, my friends.  Below are some final pictures of holiday yard displays, this time of families who went all out in their decorating.  As always, thank you for following my photography.  Do be safe with this ominous weather approaching.  Karen



Thursday, December 15, 2022



I’d seen a hawk on a wire on my way to Elk Rapids Friday afternoon.  I had my camera, but I didn’t have time to stop.  So Sunday afternoon, I set out to see if it was still there.


The weather was dark and gloomy, and snow was beginning to spit so the picture-taking conditions were less than ideal.  What was I thinking?  But, it was there in nearly the same spot.  Two of them, this time. 


 Red-tailed hawks.  The Crossley ID Guide on Raptors calls them “the quintessential roadside raptor.”  Crossley describes them further as “frequently seen sitting motionless in roadside trees and on power poles, white breast gleaming in the sun.”  Well, no sun today.


 The mate was tucked into a group of branches, making it harder to see and photograph.  I could tell, though, it had a heavy build too.  

 The hawk hopped to another branch giving me a better vantage point, but still not as clear as I’d like because of the darkening skies and increasing snow.  I was underneath it shooting from my car.  It looked down right at me. 


 I knew what that look meant.  It would be taking off soon.  It ruffled its feathers preparing to fly, but that gave me a better view of its beautiful red tail.


 And off it went in a blur.  I’ll be back, though, knowing now where it likes to hunt.  Maybe I’ll even catch it on a bright day…whenever that might be.




Thursday, December 8, 2022



While anticipation is a major theme of the Christmas story, this advent season strikes me another way too.  The Sandhill Cranes have left and I’m awaiting the arrival of the Snowy Owls.

The earliest I’ve ever seen a Snowy was on November 29.  Last December 7th, I saw this female atop one of the buildings at the marina.  She wasn’t asleep.  Her third eyelid was up to protect her from the sunshine that day.


 I’ve been to the marina several times already this year and have only seen empty rooftops and shrink-wrapped sailboats with their bare masts.  No fluffy white visitors.  Yet.


 In past years, I’ve also seen Snowy Owls atop the roofs of homes in a local golf course development.  In 2019, this female delightfully posed for the camera.  She changed positions often and spent a good hour performing for me.


 But no Snowy Owls there this year.  So far.  The neighborhood is growing and changing.  Row after row of new houses are going up.  Additional streets are going in.  I wonder what habitats will be left for the owls and other critters.


 One place Snowy Owls like to perch is on light posts and telephone poles.  From this vantage point, with their superior vision, they can easily spot the rodents and small mammals that make up their diet.  In 2019, I captured this nearly pure white male doing just that in an industrial park near Chums Corner.


 But that park is changing too.  Just two years ago, there was a huge open field with three tall radio towers.  Snowy Owls often perched there watching out for their next meals. 


 When I returned to the park after Thanksgiving, the towers and open field were gone, replaced with this huge office building.  And that wasn’t the only new building in the park over this past year.  I’m concerned human growth will encroach on the Snowy Owl habitats and they’ll need to go elsewhere to live and hunt in the winter months. 


 As for the arrival of the Snowy Owls to these areas where I've seen them in past years?  Maybe I just need to be more patient.  It’s still early in the season with January and February being when I've seen them most often.  And you never know with Snow Owls when they’ll come and when they’ll leave.  On Memorial Weekend in 2018, when it was 88 degrees, I photographed this Snowy, who’d just snatched a young bird from its nest and was hiding it under her wing.  Patience, Karen, patience.



Thursday, December 1, 2022



Happy December!  We're still 25 days from Christmas, but signs of the season are already appearing in TC yards.  Woohoo!  Another chance to drive around and see the wonderful holiday decorations in our area. 



Important Update:  Remember Cedar from my November 13 blog with Guest Photographer Peg Cancro?  Cedar has won a contest to be in the 2023 Great Lakes Golden Retriever Rescue Calendar!  Congratulations Mr. February!