Sunday, January 31, 2016

End of January Photos

Here are a few January photos that didn't make it on to the blog this month.
Halo with hints of sun reflections

Kestrel hunting

Moonlit clouds

Shorebirds in the rain-soaked pastures

A rainbow closeup

Another kestrel looking back at me

A hint of rainbow in the eastern sunset sky

Robin robins robins

Monday, January 25, 2016


I have come to the conclusion that the persistent cloudiness (nearly two straight months of unrelenting gray and rain) has clouded my judgment about what constitutes a worthwhile photograph. My desire to be outside and looking around for things that grab my attention has been thwarted by a monotonous monochrome backdrop of boring. I continue to photograph things that I think in the moment have the potential to be interesting, but when I get home and download the photos, I see that I have been seriously mistaken.

Take for instance our latest trip to the marsh. We did get to see and photograph two species of birds that I have been absolutely hoping to see, these Cinnamon Teal and the beautiful blue-billed Ruddy Duck. Their presence made the walk absolutely worthwhile.

But I also tried to photograph the reflection of gray skies in the bay side of the marsh. Mmmm.... what did I see that warranted a photo? I'm not sure. There was something about reflected gray clouds in the very still gray waters that had an interesting depth. But when I look at the photo, it doesn't convey what I saw. Maybe I've just seen enough.
So we walked on and came upon the reflection of two trees in one of the marsh ponds.
Actually there was something that I liked about this moment in the photo, it's the hint of sky color at the base of the reflected trees. That's what the sky looked like at noon. I remember seeing colors like that in cloudy Port Townsend skies at mid-day. It's like a soft sunset color at the horizon, except the sun is high in the sky. Not sure where this color comes from, but I find it interesting.

Is it interesting enough to do a blog post about? I don't know. That's why the title of this post is Discernment. I'm afraid the rain may have washed mine away. I'll keep looking for it, and if anything interesting to photograph comes up, I'll keep you posted. Hah!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Before and After Sunrise

Click on the pic to see the planets and stars
I ran out early Wednesday morning hoping to see five planets. Four were definitely visible. I think Mercury hadn't risen yet, but I couldn't tell because of the cloud cover over the mountains in the east. The sky looked just the way it did Monday morning at 6:00 am when I saw four planets. Silly me, I tried to photograph it then, but it really was not possible for me to get all four planets into one photo. I did get three (Venus, Saturn, and Mars) plus two named stars (Antares and Spica). I was absolutely thrilled with that, and waved hello to Jupiter while I was out there.
Shortly after sunrise the sky lightened. The foreboding storm clouds were still over the mountains heading east, and those beautiful layers of dark and light grays met up with a clearing blue sky.

It was interesting to see the variation of cloud types and colors. The surprising part was a hint of iridescence wrapped in the hint of crepuscular rays.

Sometimes it's a good idea to take a crazy shot and zoom in, looking for surprises. No Mercury, but interesting details in a changing sky. I was happy.

Monday, January 18, 2016

January Blue

It's been another week of rainy weather with brief respites of "run outside and look around" bursts of sunlight. I'm typing this on Sunday, and we have gotten almost three inches of rain in the past 24 hours and lots more on the way. So I took a look at the photos of the past week to remind myself of what the lighter moments looked like. It sure is nice to have a visual record, otherwise I might have convinced myself that the sky had not been blue for forever.

Sometimes called the Cheshire or Wet Moon of Winter on Monday
.01 inch of rain

Varied Thrush looking for worms in the rain-soaked yard on Tuesday
.66 inch of rain

Two ravens were having words with a hawk on Wednesday
.46 inch of rain

 Venus in the morning sky on our suburban street on Thursday
.69 inch of rain

Multi-layers of dark, light, and sunlit clouds on Friday
.29 inch of rain

The moon waxing eloquently on Saturday
.07 inch of rain

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Almost Wordless Wednesday: Many Robins

Robins with a Killdeer. Can you see it?

Robins in the setting sunlight

Robins gathered in a winter willow

Robins wondering if there is a better tree someplace else

Monday, January 11, 2016

Rain and Sun

It's been a rainy or mostly cloudy start to 2016. Not much opportunity for getting outside and looking around.

Every now and then, on a drizzly day, the sun suddenly lightens the room. So, I take the cue and run outside to look for the rainbow. There were double rainbows two days in a row.

Still it hasn't been a particularly photogenic time. But I take whatever opportunities present themselves.

This sunrise on January 8th was stunning.

And I loved the reflection in the window.

Rainy week ahead. Sigh.

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Monday, January 04, 2016

On The First Day Of 2016

We woke to a beautiful clear blue sky. It was bone-chilling cold with temps at hard freeze levels, but we knew we wanted to start the year with a nice long walk. We first headed out early into the neighborhood and saw more robins than we'd ever seen before. They were everywhere, in every field, on rooftops, and in the trees. I thought to myself, "How cool, robins! Now there is a lovely auspicious sign for the beginning of the year. It's all about ME!" Hah! I tried to photograph them, but big fields of little birds just don't present the most photographable moment. Oh well.
Google Earth View of the Jetties
So we headed home for a late breakfast. We had walked a little more than two miles, but it was still such a beautiful day, I said to Roger, "Lets go see the ocean today." He was delighted with the idea and said, "What do you think about exploring the North Jetty?" Oh yes! He checked google maps, and found which little road to turn on. He had been to the North Jetty only once before (maybe 1976), and I had never been there. So, we headed out. It's only a fifteen minute drive from here, but truly a world away.

Here is what Wikipedia says about the North and South Jetties where Humboldt Bay meets the ocean:
The unimproved state of the mouth of the bay was a crescent-shaped bar covered by a line of breaking waves.[15] The entrance of the bay is protected by two sand spits, named South Spit and North Spit. The bay mouth was stabilized by jetties with one jetty projecting from each spit.[4] The South Spit jetty was built starting in 1889, but by 1890 it was apparent that it was eroding the North Spit and widening the channel.[16] The jetties are approximately 6,000 feet (1,800 m) long and 2,200 feet (670 m) apart.[4] Storm damage led to rebuilding of the jetties in 1911, 1927, 1932, 1939, 1950, 1957, 1963, 1971, 1988 and 1995.[16] Entrance currents are strong ranging from 2.0 knots average maximum ebb and 1.6 knots average maximum flood; although peak rates can be nearly twice as high.[4]
It is quite a walk from the sandy dune parking to the end of the jetty. Each step has to be taken with forethought. It is slippery; it is variously full of eroded wood, cement, and rock; it is full of holes big enough to fall into up to your knees or deep enough to fall in over your head. There are no soft surfaces anywhere. I was paying attention, but the waves kept pulling my eyes in their direction. We were walking far out into the ocean (2000 feet out) and had a stunning view of the breaking waves.

I had never seen such interesting sprays, flowing back off the crest like that.
 Wave after wave, rolling to the shore.

It's a slow, laborious walk to the end of the jetty. I made it even slower stopping every few minutes to be wowed by another wave.
And then, I noticed the rainbows.
They were frustratingly hard to capture.
In fact, I didn't think I had gotten a single shot.
But, as it turns out, I did. There were some rainbows in the sprays that were truly magnificent. We gasped out loud at their beauty.
And then they were gone in an instant.

So, that's how we spent the first day of the new year. We hope yours was as wonderful and full of beauty.