Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge

A "bosque" is what they call a forest along a floodplain in the Southwestern USA. (It comes from the Spanish word for "woodland") In this case along the Rio Grande. However, like the migratory wetlands we visited near Klamath Falls, the flooding here is no longer at the whim of nature. The flow of water is controlled by humans these days.

I have a habit of starring locations in Google Maps, either places I've visited and want to remember or places I've seen mentioned and might want to visit in the future. Looking at our route beyond Gallup, NM at first I was looking at the route through the mountains to Silver City. But highway conditions didn't look good. The next option was to head further east to the I25, where I noticed I had a star on the map. It turned out to be Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge. I've seen lots of bird photographs from here so I thought it would be worth a quick visit. We ended up spending a few hours driving around the main loop and walking a few of the shorter trails. I don't think it's the peak season, but there were still lots of snow geese, sandhill cranes, various ducks, and a few bald eagles and hawks.

One of the first birds we saw was this Hooded Merganser. Love that head.

Hooded Merganser

We also saw some Buffleheads, which look similar from a distance, but quite different close up.


One of the advantages of a road trip is that I can bring more photography gear so I broke out the long lens (Sigma 150-600 Contemporary). I had a tripod with me but I ended up using a monopod (and Really Right Stuff monopod head) since it was easier to carry and get in and out of the car. I could even use the monopod inside the car when I was shooting out the window.

There were lots of Snow geese in the fields, mixed in with Sandhill cranes.

Snow geese

I wonder if these two realized they were synchronized?

Sandhill cranes

I love the splash of red on their foreheads (and their odd croaking call)

Sandhill crane

We also saw a number of hawks and bald eagles, although I didn't get very good photos of them.

Bald eagles


See all 16 photos as a slideshow or overview

Friday, January 27, 2017

Zion National Park

After finally escaping the interstate we stopped overnight in Zion National Park. I like to visit during off season when the lodge and trails are empty (relatively) and the white snow contrasts the red cliffs.

trees & red rock

When we arrived at the lodge a flock of wild turkeys were out on the front lawn. They ignored us, as did the deer we encountered.


The other birds, however, were not so cooperative. This Common Merganser let me get reasonably close but then panicked and flew away.

Common Merganser

Whereas this Ruby-crowned Kinglet didn't seem afraid, it just didn't stop moving! This shot was pure luck, funny to see it perched on an icicle! I've wanted to get a good look at one of these since reading about them in Berndt Heinrich's books.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

The cold weather meant frozen waterfalls:


Some of them falling down in the sun:

water/ice fall

As usual, I like the details:

ice crystals


The shaded valley and sunlit red rock made for some good reflections.



Sunlit tree and shady cliffs:

silhouetted tree

Or shaded tree and sunlit cliffs:

silhouetted tree

See 35 photos as a slideshow or overview

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Salt Lake Aquarium

A few photos from the Loveland Aquarium in Draper at the south side of Salt Lake City.

poison dart frog

colorful feathers

turtle foot



Worth a visit if you're a fan of this sort of thing. It's close to the I-15. Probably crowded in the summer time though.

See all 11 photos as a slideshow or overview

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Idaho Falls in the Snow

ice, snow, & water

We made it to Three Forks (near Bozeman) on mostly dry roads with only some fog to contend with. But then the forecast turned into storm warnings with travel not recommended. We thought about staying in Three Forks but it looked like the weather would hold off till Idaho Falls. We were lucky and the heavy wet snow didn't start till just as we arrived.

ice, snow, & water

The storm was supposed to end in the night and we hoped to get moving again in the morning, but the warnings were continued till the afternoon so we decided to stay another night. By noon the snow had stopped and we could get outside to check out the namesake falls.

ice, snow, & water

snow & rock

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Hibiscus Closeups

There aren't many add-on lenses for the dual camera iPhone 7 Plus so when I ran across the Kamerar one I thought I'd give it a try. This year Innovation Place has moved the outdoor flowers into the hallways so the hibiscus flowers made perfect test subjects. It didn't hurt that they're also one of my favorites :-)






As always with macro, the shallow depth of focus is a challenge. I didn't think of it this time, but next time I'll have to try using a smaller aperture to get a bit more depth. Trying to hand hold the phone steady and trying not to bump the flower so it moved was a challenge. But if you take lots some turn out reasonably. I'm looking forward to some insect photos (if they'll sit still!)

These were taken with the Lightroom mobile app in Raw with minor processing in Lightroom on the Mac.