Great Morning for Landscape Photography!

One way to improve your success when taking landscapes is to be sure to pay attention to the light.  Most people know that early morning and early evening light is always the best for landscape images. However, if you can get out in the early morning right after a rain storm, well, it just doesn’t get any better than that!  The colors are always spectacular.

The redbuts in bloomLooking down the fairway

After four days of rain, the grass has turned green and the redbuds are in full bloom. What really brings out the color besides the great early morning light is the fact that everything is wet and vibrant. The tree trunks will be much darker too.  Wow, I just love to make clicks on a morning like we had today!

From the green looking backLooking back from the green

You know it’s early because there’s no one on the course. That’s a good thing. Otherwise, I would have been dodging incoming golf balls. The course did become quite busy just a few minutes later. Getting up early is a must for landscape work, especially on a golf course!

Of course, you know that I just cannot show landscapes without showing some critters too.  Well, I was pleasantly surprised that the three wood ducks that I had heard about yesterday were still on one of the ponds this morning.  It seems as though they were just waiting for me to take their picture.

You two…. pay close attention. Bill’s going to be taking our picture

Doesn’t it look like the one on the left is giving instruction to the other two?  We don’t often see wood ducks in the open like this so it was quite a treat and a great way to start the day.

Many of you know that birds of prey are a passion of mine.  I just couldn’t resist taking the following shot of the Red-tailed hawk by the green. I actually took this one a few days earlier but I thought you’d enjoy it.

Red-tailed Hawk hunting

It didn’t seem to mind that I was watching or taking its picture.  Of course I didn’t know it at the time but he had his eye on a field mouse.  He stayed there on that pink post for about five minutes before he swooped over to the grass to get it. It looked like he caught it but the mouse somehow got away. It must have gone down a hole because after searching in the grass for a few minutes, the hawk flew off without the mouse.

Some days you win and some days you don’t.  I certainly won today!  I hope you had a great day too.  I hope you enjoyed the walk on the golf course. Thanks for coming by!

Bill

 

It Finally Snowed in Kansas City!

Yep! It finally snowed in Kansas City. I didn’t even mind shoveling the drive this morning.  Of course 2 inches is a lot easier to shovel than 12 or 24 inches. I couldn’t wait to go out for a walk with my camera in hand. It’s always great to be the first person to make tracks in the snow. Besides mine, the only other tracks to be seen were animals tracks.  It’s fun to follow them because they seem to tell a story.

Not another human footprint yet!

The first animal that I saw was on the lake. It’s a Common Goldeneye. They spend summers in Canada and winter in the south.  I don’t recall ever seeing one before. It was by itself and wouldn’t let me get too close. I felt so lucky to see it that I had to share its image.

Common Goldeneye

Besides a few birds that were too quick on the fly, the only other animals that I saw were deer. When I saw the one pictured below, I just had to take its picture. You’ll have to agree that it’s the longest deer you’ve ever seen!

Longest Deer ever Seen!

Of course it’s two different deer but when I saw it, well, I just couldn’t resist the shot. If you look to the right of it you’ll see another one peeking around a tree. The doe in the next shot, was very curious. She must not have recognized me as a human. I was scrunched down looking at the herd as she just kept walking closer and closer to me. She must have been trying to get a better look or was trying to scare me off.  I remained very still and we watched each other for quite some time.

What are you!

While there may have been more, I counted 8 in this small herd. Not one of them was the big buck that I was hoping to see.

The little pond below looks much different in the spring and summer than it did today. It’s in a very secluded spot. I don’t think many people know it’s there. Animal footprints along the shore are the only hints of activity. Sometimes, I just sit by the tall pine on the left to watch for critters and to listen to the wind. It’s a very peaceful place.

Quiet Little Pond

Well after walking about three miles, it was time to head back. The walk was beautiful, quiet and everything looked so clean. As everyone knows, snow can really change things. Look what it did to the sign below. I saw it out of the corner of my eye as I was leaving and………. Well, again, I just couldn’t resist!

Does it really say what I think it does?

Well, I hope that it doesn’t offend anyone. The intent is to bring a smile to your face. I know that this last image will not bring a smile to my friends who have been enjoying the very mild winter we’ve been having but……………….

White just doesn't look good on the GC!

remember, Spring is only five weeks away.

Well, thanks for taking the walk with me. I hope you’ve enjoyed it.  I know that I did.

See Ya!

Oh by the way, I now know where three Great Horned Owls are nesting. I hope to get some images in a month or so when the owlets are active.  Stay tuned!

Bald Eagles at Squaw Creek, Missouri

 

If you would like to see more recent photos of bald eagles see my post Bald Eagles of Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge at: http://wp.me/p1VR8B-rN

The last couple of years, I’ve gone to Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge in Missouri on the Monday before Thanksgiving to take images of bald eagles. It is a 7,350 acre refuge that was established in 1935.  This time of the year, hundreds of thousands of geese and ducks stop to rest on their migration south.  Monday’s count was over 203,000 geese and 90,000 ducks. A lot fewer than the 1,200,000 that I’ve seen there in the past. It just hasn’t been cold enough for most of them to migrate yet

Just a few geese

Bald Eagles follow the migration to feed on the sick and injured. According to Refuge count on Monday the 21st, there was only 1 adult and 23 immature eagles but I saw 4 adults and 18 immature ones. Mature eagles heads and tails turn white around age 4 or 5. Below is an image of one of the 4 that I saw.  There were 2 adults in the same tree but the sun was directly behind them!  Because of that, there was no way to get a decent shot so I didn’t try to take it.

Just 1 of 4 Bald Eagles

The first weekend in December the Refuge hosts Eagle Days. There may be as many as 150 to 300 eagles there at that time. I’ll be there with a group. Because of the crowd of people on Eagles Day, the eagles become nervous and fly away as you try to approach them. You can still see them but often at quite a distance. That’s the reason I like to go the Monday before Thanksgiving.

Oh, you will see many other raptors there as well.  I took a number of pictures of them too. Most are red-tailed hawks. However, I did get lucky and saw what I thought to be a prairie falcon swoop down to get it’s prey.  That was very cool!

Just before I left, I counted 30 deer all yarded up in the same field. There were so many that I couldn’t get them all in the viewfinder at one time but I did manage to get 18 of them in one image.  Can you tell which one is the only buck in the herd?

Only 18 of the 30 seen all together

He is the 4th one from the left. Be careful when you count. You may miss one. He’s the first one that is facing to the right.

I’ve added a new gallery for Squaw Creek above. The first 5 images were taken in the Spring. All the rest were taken this past Monday.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the blog and the images in the gallery.  Thanks for coming. Comments are welcomed.

Bill