It appears that you are currently using Ad Blocking software. What are the consequences? Click here to learn more.
Fitness and Photography for Fun - A blog on staying fit by hiking and doing photography by David Mendosa

Entries Tagged as 'Photography'

Advertisment


Wood Ducks

February 10th, 2014 · 2 Comments

Wood ducks are the most colorful waterbirds native to North America. And one of the great things about cold weather here in Boulder is that they come here in winter.

But when the weather turns as cold as it’s been here lately, their options are limited. They need open water, because they are ducks, and need trees nearby because woods are their habitat. In Boulder I know of only two suitable places for them, Boulder Creek, which runs through downtown Boulder, and Tantra Lake, which is right in front of my apartment. A few miles away in Wheat Ridge is another preferred habit along Clear Creek, another waterway that is big enough and fast flowing enough that stays free of ice in places.
This winter one male wood duck has been hanging out with a large group of mallards in Boulder Creek. This lone male has been waiting months for a female to find him here.

He May be Saying, “This Water is COLD!”

He May be Saying, “This Water is COLD!”

Click on the picture above to enlarge

One of the special things about wood ducks is how they can stretch their necks. A few days ago I went back to Boulder Creek to look for this guy, and he was looking into the water for something to eat or drink.

[Read more →]

Share

Posted in: Photography

Josh’s Pond

January 25th, 2014 · 1 Comment

Lots of waterbirds migrate here in northeastern Colorado. When they can.

But this winter most of the water here is frozen. Josh’s Pond, a Broomfield Open Space just over the Boulder County line, is the rare exception, so the birds flock there.

I did too this week. On three sunny afternoons I watched and waited for more than six glorious hours taking more than 1,000 shots of these beautiful birds. Here are my favorites.

Three Male Ring-Neck Ducks Swim on a Sunny Afternoon

Three Male Ring-Neck Ducks Swim on a Sunny Afternoon

Click on the picture above to enlarge
A Female Merganser Seems to Have a Bad Hair Day

A Female Merganser Seems to Have a Bad Hair Day

Click on the picture above to enlarge
A Muskrat Swims to Shore in the Last Light of Day

A Muskrat Swims to Shore in the Last Light of Day

Click on the picture above to enlarge

Photography requires patience and persistence. If just three photos in more than six hours seems like a small return for the effort, please consider this quotation from one of the greatest photographers who ever lived. “Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop,” Ansel Adams said. Of course, he had somewhat higher standards.

Share

Posted in: Photography

Carolyn Holmberg Preserve

January 24th, 2014 · No Comments

The Carolyn Holmberg Preserve is a Boulder County Open Space where even in winter I usually find raptors, often hawks and sometimes eagles. I found a bald eagle on my visit there this week.

A Bald Eagle Scans the Preserve for Prey

A Bald Eagle Scans the Preserve for Prey

Click on the picture above to enlarge

[Read more →]

Share

Posted in: Photography

A Retreat to Nada

November 11th, 2013 · 2 Comments

Right after returning home from my epic trip to Alaska, I set forth once more. This time, however, I drove only 200 miles south to Colorado’s lovely San Luis Valley for a week-long Buddhist meditation retreat in the Roman Catholic hermitage at Crestone, Colorado. I drove four hours from my apartment in Boulder to the hermitage, where I joined 10 other experienced meditators. But people can also go there singly either to meditate or simply to retreat from the wider world for a time. This was the most fulfilling and peaceful week of my life.

At 8,000 feet, the hermitage is located where Colorado’s San Luis Valley rises into the Sangre de Cristo mountains to the east. This valley is high desert with less than 14 inches of rain per year. It is the largest Alpine valley in the world, and it remains relatively unspoiled by people, so it is one of my favorite places on earth.

Crestone is the largest intentional interfaith community in North America, although only 132 people live there. It is is a spiritual and new age center with several world religions represented.

The center of the hermitage a lovely chapel called Sangre de Cristo. I attended the Sunday mass there with about 30 other people from Crestone, who almost filled the 36 pews. Not only does the church no longer use Latin in its services, but at least here the church has much less ritual than I remember from when I was a Catholic in my young adult years. The mass had almost no music and no “smells and bells.” This was the first time that I had attended mass since November or December 1963. That was a service in the memory of President John F. Kennedy at the national cathedral in Mogadishu, Somalia.

The Nada Hermitage Chapel in Crestone at Sunset

The Nada Hermitage Chapel in Crestone at Sunset

Click on the picture above to enlarge

[Read more →]

Share

Posted in: Photography

Bear River

November 8th, 2013 · 2 Comments

While I would have loved to stay with Martha and Tom in Redmond, Washington, as long as I had stayed with Marveen and Wayne in Nikiski, Alaska, I had to return quickly to Boulder. Before I planned my Alaska trip, I had signed up for a meditation retreat in Colorado that started just after I returned home, and I had made my reservation too late for me to return on the Alaska ferry on any earlier sailing.

Because Redmond and Boulder are about 1,400 miles apart, I couldn’t comfortably make the drive in fewer than three days on the road. So I stopped about one-third of the way in Ontario, Oregon, and planned to stop two-thirds of the way in Evanston, Wyoming, although both were long drives.

But when I entered Utah from Idaho, I stopped at the state visitor center, because I wanted to make a cup of tea and pick up a new Utah state map. Looking through the many brochures that these visitor centers have, I found one on birding in Utah. I happened to notice that this brochure said that the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge “is considered a top-ten in the world by many birding enthusiasts.” I don’t remember ever hearing of it before, but that statement certainly grabbed my attention. Even better, it was only two exits down the Interstate.

Pasteur famously said that chance favors the prepared mind. I say that spontaneously taking a chance can be better than sticking with a plan. I knew that this opportunity was too good to pass up no matter how late I would have to drive that night. The ranger at the refuge’s visitor center told me that my 5 p.m. arrival was perfect timing at the right season, and that I should plan on making the auto tour loop in two hours. In the event, I saw so much that I was there for almost four hours, leaving after dark with a two-hour drive to Evanston ahead of me.

It was absolutely worth it. This nearly flat land has marshes and canals that attract many species of birds as well as birders like me who are able to drive close to the birds, using our vehicles as blinds. The area reminds me of one of my favorite places, Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge in northern Nevada, but the Bear Lake refuge is even more beautiful, particularly at sunset with the golden light on the marshes and the mountains to the east and west.

While I had seen most of the bird species in refuge before, I got better photos of some of them.

A Black-necked Stilt and its Reflection

A Black-necked Stilt and its Reflection

Click on the picture above to enlarge

[Read more →]

Share

Posted in: Photography

Back in the Lower 48

November 6th, 2013 · No Comments

When the Alaska Ferry brought me to the Port of Bellingham, Washington, I was just 18 miles south of the Canadian border — pretty darn close to the northwest corner of the lower 48. While I was reluctant to leave my new friends on the ship, I had old friends to see in the Seattle area, about 90 miles south.

First, was Melissa, the daughter of my late wife Catherine. Melissa is a project chemist at EcoChem Inc., a Seattle company that provides environmental chemistry consulting services. I hadn’t seen her since Catherine’s funeral in March 2007, and it was good to see Melissa again. We met for lunch in Redmond, an upscale suburb of Seattle, where my other friends, Tom and Martha, live.

While Redmond is most famous as the headquarters of Microsoft, Tom is an independent inventor and entrepreneur who I got to know well many years ago when he was a vice-president of an important diabetes company. Martha is a charming homemaker, wonderful cook, and fantastic gardener, all attributes that I took full advantage of. They are such a relaxed couple as well as being so intelligent and wide ranging in their interest that I wished I could have spent several days with them. But even before planning my Alaska trip, I had signed up for a meditation retreat that started just as soon as I was able to get back home to Boulder.

Nevertheless, I was able to have a whole afternoon and evening with the great pleasure of their company, except for an hour or so that I used to capture some of the beauty of Martha’s garden. These are my favorite shots of her flowers, which Martha later identified for me.

This Cape Fuchsia is a Favorite Flower of Hummingbirds — and of Me Too, Because I Love its Sensuous Form

This Cape Fuchsia is a Favorite Flower of Hummingbirds — and of Me Too, Because I Love its Sensuous Form

Click on the picture above to enlarge

[Read more →]

Share

Posted in: Photography

On to Alaska

October 3rd, 2013 · 3 Comments

After 12 days on the road, I made it through Wyoming, Montana, Alberta, British Columbia, and the Yukon to Alaska. The weather in the Yukon was the hottest in 45 years, more evidence of global warming. The official temperature reached 97°, which would truly be a heatwave anyplace. It also brought “a bumper crop of mosquitoes,” in the well-chosen words of Amanda, the friendly woman who owns Discovery Yukon Lodgings on the White River.

I went there because the invaluable guidebook to the Alaska Highway, The Milepost, told me that she has a botanic garden. Amanda showed me the plants and flowers there, and one of them was an orchid. For people who are surprised that we have orchids in Colorado, this Yukon orchid must be a real shock.

A Northern Lady's Slipper Orchid Grows in the Yukon

A Northern Lady's Slipper Orchid Grows in the Yukon

Click on the picture above to enlarge

The road through the Yukon was a bit worse and wavy from the permafrost than that further south, but the photography was better than ever. I captured landscapes, mammals, insects, birds, flowers, and myself.

[Read more →]

Share

Posted in: Photography

The Yukon

October 2nd, 2013 · 3 Comments

En route to Alaska I traveled for four days and nights through an even wilder place, the Yukon Territory of Canada. The Yukon has always symbolized the North for me even more than Alaska does for many people. Alaska is indeed America’s frontier, but the Yukon has even fewer people.

While about 730,000 people live in Alaska nowadays, the population of the Yukon is about 34,000 of which two-thirds live in the capital city, Whitehorse. In land area, the Yukon is about the same size as Spain, where more than 47 million people live.

Just before arriving in the Yukon, I took a short detour to Liard River Hot Springs in the far north of British Columbia. I like hot springs, and birds like them too.

Even though the bird I photographed there is clearly a woodpecker, I had a hard time identifying it. Nothing called a woodpecker that is ever seen wild in northwestern Canada has a red throat. Finally, I realized that while it is a woodpecker we name it something else. If they had asked me, I would have named it a Red-throated Woodpecker.

This Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Spends the Summer in Canada

This Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Spends the Summer in Canada

Click on the picture above to enlarge

I arrived on June 22 in Watson Lake, which with a population of 802 is the third biggest city in the Yukon. My accommodation for the night was the “Air Force Lodge.” Built in February 1942 for U.S. Army Air Corps pilots, the current owner has modernized the rooms. They are spotless and warm, but no bigger than what the pilots had. In fact, my room was about 6 feet by 10 feet, equivalent in size to the room I had when I was a student at the University of Würzburg many years ago.

[Read more →]

Share

Posted in: Photography

Stone Sheep

October 1st, 2013 · No Comments

I found a herd of about 30 Stone Sheep in Stone Mountain Provincial Park. I was en route to Alaska in northern British Columbia, which, except for a small section of the Yukon, is about the only place you can find Stone Sheep, and it’s definitely the only place you can find Stone Mountain Provincial Park (although Georgia has its own Stone Mountain Park).

At first I wondered if the sheep were named for the park or vice versa. After a little digging I found that both the sheep and the mountain are named after Andrew J. Stone, a naturalist who explored northern British Columbia in 1896-97 for the American Museum of Natural History. In fact, some people call these animals Stone’s Sheep.

They are a darker subspecies of the much more common Dall Sheep (formerly Dall’s Sheep) of northwestern North America. The only other wild sheep of North America are the Rocky Mountain Bighorn and their small cousins, the Desert Bighorn.

I also considered that Stone Sheep might have been named for their diet. When I saw them, they seemed to be eating stones. They actually prefer grasses and sedges, and were just licking the stones for their minerals.

A Stone Sheep Family Licks Together

A Stone Sheep Family Licks Together

Click on the picture above to enlarge
The Lamb Peeks from Safety

The Lamb Peeks from Safety

Click on the picture above to enlarge

[Read more →]

Share

Posted in: Photography

The Alaska Highway

September 30th, 2013 · 3 Comments

Not until I drove through the province of Alberta, Canada, on my road trip to Alaska did the weather clear. While I avoided the province’s devastating floods, the near constant rain and overcast skies limited my photography. I stayed two nights only a mile from Lake Louise in Banff National Park and hiked from one end of the lake to the other, but didn’t see the sun for more than a couple of minutes.

I especially wanted to see Lake Louise, because my mother had stayed there in 1931 when she came west and met my father. She had told me many times that this was the most beautiful place she ever saw. My mother had undoubtedly stayed at the Chateau Lake Louise, which stands smack-dab on the eastern shore of the lake. No hotel could have a more perfect setting.

The Chateau Lake Louise Dominates the Eastern Shore of the Lake

The Chateau Lake Louise Dominates the Eastern Shore of the Lake

Click on the picture above to enlarge

The hotel now has 554 guest rooms. That’s a lot, and that’s a problem. From the outside, the hotel is worth the many photographs that I took of it. From the inside, the guests were too many, and I’m glad that I stayed a mile away.

[Read more →]

Share

Posted in: Photography