Wednesday, April 29, 2015


These photos probably won't be as popular as birds and flowers, but I love all the colorful varied lichens you find on the rocks on the prairies. Lichens are symbiotic organisms consisting of algae or cyanobacteria (or both) living among filaments of a fungus. Most of these ones on the rocks are "cructose" or crusty lichens. On a positive note, healthy lichens are a sign of good air quality!





The photos were taken at Castle Butte and Jones Peak in southwest Saskatchewan.

See all 11 photos as a slideshow or overview

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


The question is not what you look at, but what you see.
- Henry David Thoreau

Early spring on the prairies can seem rather drab - all bare trees and dead brown grass. But if you look closely there are little splashes of color to reward you. These were taken in south-west Saskatchewan around Eastend and Cypress Hills.

There were lots of prairie crocus around. Although I'd already taken lots of photos of these I couldn't resist a few more.

prairie crocus

I'm terrible at identifying flowers. The only other one I think I know are the mountain shooting stars.

mountain shooting star

Id's are welcome if you know what any of these others are.





See all 16 photos as a slideshow or overview

Monday, April 27, 2015


In order to see the birds, it is necessary to become a part of the silence.
- Robert Lynd

Spring on the prairies is full of birds. There's lots of water around so there are lots of ducks and geese and swans. Robins are everywhere. The hawks are returning. Sky colored mountain bluebirds are busy building their nests. Meadowlarks tilt their heads back, show off their sunny yellow breasts, and sing their hearts out.

I stopped for coffee at the Cypress Hills Resort and sat by the window. The suet filled bird feeder hanging outside the window was soon visited by a female downy woodpecker. After a bit she left and a red capped male arrived, presumably her mate? The waitress told me the woodpeckers had made a nuisance of themselves hammering on the building so they put up the feeder to distract them. It seems to have worked.

The other day walking into Innovation Place I had heard the sound of hammering on metal. I wasn't sure if it was workmen or a woodpecker. There was a metal light post nearby but I couldn't see any birds. I continued walking and the hammering sounded again, close by. I looked back and a woodpecker (flicker?) was perched on top of the metal reflector on top of the light post. I watched as it vigorously hammered at the metal. Woodpeckers sometimes hammer to defend territory, but I think this one was attracting a mate since another woodpecker soon arrived and they left together :-)

red-tailed hawk

mountain bluebird (female)

mountain bluebird (male)

western meadowlark

See all 7 photos as a slideshow or overview

Sunday, April 26, 2015


Pronghorn are one of my favorite animals. They have such pretty markings and are so graceful when they run. You see them a lot driving on the prairies, but they don't often cooperate for photographs. I passed this group quite close to the road and decided to try. I turned around, drove back slowly and stopped on the shoulder. I already had the camera with the long lens ready to go on the seat beside me. They got a little nervous at my presence and started to move away. But they ended up coming back and crossing the road.


I think these next three were juveniles and maybe siblings since they seemed to stick together. The one on the left has little stubby horns. Both males and females have horns, but the female's are smaller.



See all six photos as a slideshow or overview

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Print of the Week


In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous. 
- Aristotle

This was taken from the pier in Ventura, California (the home of Patagonia). It was quite windy and the gulls were soaring around. When they were flying into the wind towards the pier they were moving quite slowly relative to the ground and it was a little easier to catch them. For me it's always hit or miss whether I catch birds in flight and get them in focus etc. This one turned out quite well and the sun on the gull make it stand out against the sky. You can almost see the wings catching the air.

There are a few more gull photos in the album but this was my favorite.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

By the River

Last year's thistles, pairs of Canada geese, the sun bouncing off the river, bare trees, buds appearing, first butterfly, first frog, last ice.


canada geese

the weir

bare tree


first butterfly

wood frog


water under the bridge

See all 26 photos as a slideshow or overview

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Prairie Crocus

One of the sure signs of spring on the prairies is the appearance of the crocuses or pasque flowers. (actually an anemone not a crocus) They often appear even before the last of the snow is gone and their leaves don't appear to well after the flowers. They are generally limited to unbroken prairie where they grow in partnership with fungi in the soil. (which is destroyed by ploughing) I love their furry buds, purple flowers, and bright yellow stamens - a welcome splash of color among the drab brown of last years dead grasses.






See all 14 photos as a slideshow or overview

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Print of the Week


One's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.
- Henry Miller

This is another from our Kanchenjunga trek in the fall. It was taken on our rest day in Ghunsa, when we went for an early morning walk and I took lots of photos. The morning light was nice - golden sun on the hillsides, blue sky above, shade in the valley. It was a cool morning as you can see from the ice. This is another image that's almost abstract, but still recognizable.

See also another print from this same day.

See also other Print of the Week posts.

Friday, April 03, 2015

Walk About

After breakfast, for some reason I couldn't face sitting down at the computer. It surprised me a little because normally I don't even think about it, it's just what I do - either programming or editing photos or email or whatever. At the same time, I know I spend too much time staring at a screen.

So I went for a walk instead. It was a cold, gray, cloudy morning with a sprinkling of fresh snow. After our recent warm spell it was frustrating to return to what feels more like November than April. But there are always things to see and photos to take.

I decided I'd head over to Sutherland Beach for a change. Between the weather and the early morning and the choice of trails I managed to avoid most of the dogs and their walkers.

The photos are a random collection of whatever caught my eye, the river rippling and reflecting, the pigeons, dead leaves and grass, bales of hay, ice and rocks.

farm machinery

hay bales



flowing water


rocks by the river

See all 20 photos as a slideshow or overview