Saturday, October 22, 2016

Florida's Dark Side...

Leave it to my brother to take us to some under the viaduct sort of place...

OK, how about under the drawbridge, with a cool night time view of Port Everglades... A good inspiration to try a little night photography, one of those things on my 'list' of things I'd like to do more of someday...

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Some Natutral Nature

Natural in Florida, not quite so natural in mom's backyard, but once in a while a gator makes his way up the intercoastal waterway to mom's house. This one was just a baby, about 4 feet long. Glad he came to visit when I was visiting!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Unnatural Nature.

Apparently, in the five years since I have visited south Florida there has been an iguana invasion. They are beautiful, and fun to watch, but don't really belong there. They are escaped pets, who are thriving, and breeding and munching away at the landscape. I've been visiting Florida for over 40 years, and had never seen iguanas there until this recent visit, but now they seem to be everywhere, daily visitors in mom's yard, chomping away at the fruits of mom's gardening labors. I saw more at the park, watched a dog hunt a big one down (I'll spare you those sad pictures), saw one that had to be 3 feet long meandering alongside a very busy road.

They are not the only invaders, mom's yard, previously populated by adorable little brown anole lizards is now home to curly tail lizards, which were brought over from the bahamas to eat pest in the sugarcane fields a county north. Pythons, also released pets, are now a problem in the Everglades. It really does make my scientist think hard about how our actions impact the environment. Are there invaders merely nuisances, or are they detrimentally affecting the native species. It would be a fun place for some ecology projects, that's for sure.

But since they are there... I enjoyed them, a nature lover loves out of place nature too. As you can see they pose nicely for pictures, until you get too close, then they move with rapid speed, and when they jump in the canal and shoot like torpedos through the water. I did not know they swam, so watching them dive and swim was quite entertaining. Mostly though I'm enamored by textures and colors of their scales and spines... I can see a lot of artful inspiration potential!

Friday, October 07, 2016

Loxahatche National Wildlife Refuge

On my recent visit to Florida I was lucky enough to have a short visit to Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge. Anyone who knows me knows my love of nature and how much I appreciate that our nation has created these wonderful places, especially in places like Florida where suburbia and agriculture has totally overrun nature. Weather did not cooperate to let us see much of the wet Everglades part of the refuge, but we did get to enjoy a virtual airboat ride in the visitors center. We also had a nice walk on the boardwalk through the cypress forest, which seemed more like a jungle, and the botanist in me enjoyed the tropical diversity that is so much different than the arid west. Bromeliads, air plants, vines, ferns, including tree ferns many taller than I am were all treat to see. As my pictures attest, I especially enjoyed the unfurling leaves. It as though the plants are whispering I'm alive, I'm alive, I'M ALIVE!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Morning Color

This morning thing... so weird... As stated before, I'm NOT a morning person... yet when I visit my friend at Bear Lake I magically wake at dawn. It's downright perplexing how at this one location the sun beckons me to watch it rise. This weekend I got up at sunrise and took a walk in jammies, trompt through the brush and snapped some pictures of the beautiful fall colors in the morning light. So beautiful!

Could there be morning gal hiding inside crazy night owl?

Sadly this was my last weekend at Bear Lake... We helped Clare close down her cabin for winter this weekend. I feel pretty blessed to have been able to spend so much time there this summer. Morning gal? Night Owl? Maybe just Lucky Gal!

Solitary thoughts
Shall I keep hanging around?
Or let go and fall?

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Ahhh morning

Three things you may or may not know about me...

I am NOT a morning person.

I am a nature lover.

I love to take pictures

This of course means that I love to take pictures of nature. Problem being, one of the best times for viewing wildlife, as well capturing nature in glorious light, is very early in the morning, not exactly my favorite time of day. Luckily for me I have early birds in my life who will roust me out bed for an adventure now and then. As much as my natural night owl hates to admit it, after a wee bit of coffee clears cobwebs from my head, I end up enjoying the early morning hours, as that time of day often offers up amazing experiences.

A week ago for instance, we decided to return from Bear Lake in the morning before work, which being about a 2.5 hour drive meant leaving at the crack of dawn. We left Clare's cabin just as the suns rays began to paint the wildfire smoke filled skies in shades of pink. A good sized animal scurried across the dirt road before us. It dropped over the road edge out of site as we discussed what it might be. A racoon? A large marmot? Neither seemed right, but as though he wanted to answer our question his(her's?) head popped back over the road into the spotlight of our headlights. He took a step, then stood up and looked at us as though he was just as curious about us as we were about him. We had a staring contest for a minute then he turned tail and ambled back down the hill. A badger!!! I've always wanted to see one, and he was my first. Squeeee! If only my camera was not in the back of the car. *sigh*, it was probably too dark anyway. As we pulled away, in the shadows some deer moved alongside the road, and we headed off along the pink framed lake then up out of the valley and onto the open range where we were greeted by a beautiful Wyoming sunrise, and along the way saw some Sandhill Cranes, more deer, and even a few antelope in the distance.

Maybe this early morning thing is not so bad....

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

More Hot Springs...

Me and my hot springs love...

Spending time at Bear Lake puts us in shooting distance of another favorite hot spring... Maple Grove, a lovely little spring situated adjacent to the Bear River in Southern Idaho. It's little over an hour from my friends cabin, but a beautiful drive alongside Bear Lake, through Idaho farmland then up through the mountains over Strawberry Pass. Then a windy dirt road to a sweet spot on the Oneida Narrows. The resort is off grid and casual, a small bathhouse, campsites and some yurts to rent, there is a good size, perfect temperature, shaded soaking pool, as well as several smaller round pools of varying temperatures in the sunshine along the river. The setting can't be beat, and since we were there on Monday we pretty much had the place to ourselves.

It was delightfully peaceful and relaxing! The charmed life for sure!