Wednesday, July 24, 2013

This means (a very tiny) war...

Three hummingbirds have been battling for feeder rights in our back yard.
I wish I spoke hummingbird; there is high pitch cheeeeep that is sounded in each engagement.
Wonder what the birds are saying as they fight? 

This morning I looked out our kitchen window.
The Alpha hummer was on the look out.

I thought I would try to take his photo through the window.
Not good enough.

Although it is interesting how the orange chin feathers are black when sunlight is not on them.

Dang it...they are just so fast!

I gave up trying to get a good shot through the window.
It wasn't too hot outside yet.
I settled in outside on to the deck couch and tried to focus in.
See that little white spot in the middle of the power line?
That's my alpha bird.
He is a Rufous Hummingbird.
Tate came sauntering up; he has been getting a real kick out of watching the hummers doing battle from the deck railing.
I scooped him up and dumped him inside.
He and the rest of the cats are not pleased with my choice of activities.
They are out of cat food...I need to run and buy more but I just want to get a good hummer photo first.

Not bad...

Darn it...the bird blinked.

The "thing" one must get in bird photography is a perfect white reflection dot in the center of the bird's eye.
Not quite there yet.

The bird chases off, then returns to the power line.

I am trying to get the bird's beard in full color as well.
No luck this shot.


Pretty good...

Oh cool!
Great pose!

I like it!

Another fly off and then a new pose.

Just not quite there yet...

At this point a nosy squirrel popped up on the fence.
He begins to sound off...and doesn't stop for the rest of my time on the deck.
(I kind of like his big old gnarly paws though.)

The other Rufous hummer in the yard is making a raid on the feeder.
He gets a couple of sips before alpha hummer buzzes him off.

Now THAT'S what I want to see in a Rufous hummer photo.

Pretty good too...

Oh yeah!
Jack pot!

Each tiny throat feather is fully lit.

The eye dot is clearly defined, and the tiny throat feathers lay shingled on the smooth breast feathers.
Love it!

Clicking away madly...

Happy am I!

Aw...he blinked.
But I caught the slight greenish rainbow affect on the side of his neck.

I have NO idea how I make this kind of flip book style photo happen.
All I did was load all the photos into Google+, then went to Blogger, hit new post, hit the add photo, selected Picasa Web Albums, selected the photos I wanted from the load and Google+ just created this little flip book action from the photos.
I think it is neat!

I always think of hummers with fuchsia colored necks since I grew up with Anna hummers in So. Calif.
Occasionally we would get the Black-chinned hummers, the kind with a violet neck.
This yellow-orange humming bird deal is a totally new look in my world.

I was shooting with my telephoto lens and I kept changing my location on our deck.
I think I want an even higher quality telephoto lens now.
I've gotten used to the crispness of my 60 mm lens; there must be a lens that will deliver both the telephoto and the crisp at the same time.
(For a lot of $$$$ of course...)

At this point nosy squirrel was about three feet over my head.

He apparently feels that I have NO business being in his back yard.
Not only is he nosy, he is bossy too.

And then the light changed a bit...and suddenly I was seeing a completely orange humming bird on the line!
Hence the bird's name: means red.

Hummingbirds are kind of magical, don't you think?

(About 60% of the photos I took came out looking like this one.  Getting a focus on the bird instead of the tree in the back ground takes really steady hands.)




Now where was I again?

(This alpha humming bird gig must be exhausting!)

Must stay awake...

Good luck with that little bird!
I'll leave it to you.
Off to get cat food...aren't you glad?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Camping at is a tradition!

"Well here comes some more campers.  Sure hope they brought along some peanuts to share."

Bernie arrived back home last Thursday evening after being away for two weeks on business.
Friday morning we went camping!
This is an easier transition that one might imagine. 
The car top camp box remains loaded all summer; we just buy some ice for the cooler, some firewood, grab what ever looks good from the store and off we go! be perfectly honest: 
What we actually did was drive up to the campsite around ten am to get a spot. 
We got the VERY LAST SPOT! 
It was a double campsite, but the camp host gave it to us for a single site fee. 
Bernie hurriedly pitched one tent, set up one chair and then we droved back home to nap, water deck pots, get groceries, and I forget what else.
At any rate, we were back up at the campsite by 2.
The point is we got up there and beat the afternoon heat.
We called Jeff and issued a "Come on up for dinner!" invitation.
Earlier he had invited us for dinner at his place; brats were going to be thrown on the grill.
Shoot, brats could just as easily be grilled up in the mountains as in his back yard.
The half hour drive from his house to the campground was no big thing.
As soon as Jeff arrived he dangled Luke in the stream.

It was exactly one year earlier that Luke got to go camping for the first  time up at Redman, at age three months.
He has gone camping a lot since then.

Nothing like a puddle and rocks to keep a 15 month old boy amused.
He kept busy tossing rocks into the water like an old pro.

Watermelon is always a welcomed summertime treat.
Bernie shared his lap and his watermelon with Luke.

Now sharing S' that's different.

Only a grandfather could calmly eat a gooey hot s'more in front of a staring child without offering a single bite.

Grandpa vs Luke's laser stare.

Luke: You WILL hand over the s'more.

Luke was winning the staring contest.

Oh yeah.

Don't mess with Luke and his stare.
Sparks flew as night fell.

Luke's other grandpa Bruce and his Uncle Scott (Luke's mom's brother) came along to the campsite too.
Scott lives in RI, Bruce in CA.
A mini family reunion was going on in stages here in Utah.
Rachel's mom and her Maryland based grandmother had visited earlier in the week.
Scott and Bruce's visit overlapped by one day.
Scheduling only allowed some visiting time over laps.

Scott apparently also likes s'mores.

Starting to get a hint about some common genetics here:
 Luke and his uncle both have the biggest blue eyes.

The big exciting news:
There is now cellular coverage up in Redman!
Much discussion ensued about the possibility of setting up camp and using it as a home office for the rest of the summer.
All Bernie needs is his phone and his laptop with Internet connection to get his work done.
Rachel frequently works from home too.

Why not do work while camping?
Stay tuned on that thought!

Jeff's group didn't spend the night this time.
The next morning it was just us two again.
Until 10:30 am, when I had to drive back home to attend a church ladies luncheon.
A shower, gussy up with a skirt and hat, go to the lunch, go back home, put on camping duds, and back up the mountain by 2.
Bernie read by the campfire, took a short hike and tried a bit of fishing while I was gone.
(We really are either horrible at getting away, or really blessed that "away" is only 20 minutes from our house.  Maybe I should start calling our house our summer mountain home that we live in year around?)

Once I got back I hunkered down with a book for a bit.
Bernie suggested we take a hike over to Silver Lake, which is just up the road from Redman.
We could drive there in less than five minutes by taking the road.
He suggested we hike a trail through the woods to the lake instead.
I was game...the flowers would be beautiful along the way.

So we hiked through field of flowers, through bogs and across several streamlets until we finally got lost.
The trail just petered out!
Oh well.
We just walked back to our campground, jumped into our car and drove down the road to the lake.

Silver Lake.
The lake it quite popular because it has a planked walkway that is wheel chair (and stroller) accessible.
In the winter the lake is frozen over and snow covered, and is groomed for cross country skiing and snowshoeing.
We go there quite often in all seasons.

The docks are used for fishing, and float tube fishing is also welcomed.

We caught up with the guy in the red float tube. 
He was blind, mostly deaf and had mobility issues.
He and his family were able to come and enjoy outdoor time together here.

Human families enjoying fishing...

While duck families enjoy...being ducks. 
Everyone was watching the Mama duck and her babies.

We walked around the lake and chatted with folks as we walked.
Folks are just friendlier when out in the wild.
Once we got back to camp it was supper time.
Another hike was in order to get some grub.

This time we took a more defined path.

Which in about ten minutes led to Solitude Village.

The daisy fields along the way were amazing.

The path did go over some treacherous 12 inch wide streams.
Took some careful balancing to get over those trickling tricky bits.

Totally worth slogging though a boggy bit or two to see the wild flowers along the way.

We resisted the urge to try to blend in with the wedding guests to raid their dinner buffet.
That would also have been tricky.
Being the only folks in hiking boots and shorts, I doubt they would have believed we were friends with either the bride or groom.

Smart couple to pick outdoors at Solitude for their wedding reception.
We walked into the Village square, ordered up a pizza, salad and a huckleberry ice cream cone for dinner.
The ice cream was enjoyed while waiting for the pizza to be cooked.

The next morning we packed up around eleven.
I took one last walk down the short path to the stream at the edge of our site.

Tried to get some decent photos of the site's flowers...

Marveled at the tiny new pine that was beginning life on top of the base of a fallen elder pine.

The flowers were lovely as always.

My favorite flower: Monk's Hood.
The little hood over robed hands lifted in prayer always makes me smile.

I imaging God smiled too when He made them.