Hawks perched above
On high bare winter trees,
Waiting for dinner below.
Winter continues to persist. Birds of prey frequently perch on surrounding trees looking over the snow covered pastures waiting for slight creature movement below. It is a good time for bird watching.
How beautiful the snow is, but it is really cold. Today was -6 degrees when I got up. It is “dry” cold, so not too uncomfortable. Since Punxsutawney Phil made his prediction of an early spring, winter has hit Eastern Washington hard. We have had our first real snow of the year and the temperatures have dropped below zero. We are in for more!
The only good advice I have heard is to not trust the groundhog. Out of Phil’s 103 predictions, he has been right only 39% of the time! I see that he has about the same prediction accuracy as our regular weather forecasters.
It is about time that we had our first real snow of the year. Our luck of having mild winter weather has just run out. Last week I was out golfing. I don’t think I will make it out this week!
This morning was 20 degrees when I went out to photograph. I came in after about an hour walk around the house. After warming up, I decided that I would rather review and work on my images instead of going out and shovel snow. I guess I can’t put it off any longer … it’s time to go out and get to work.
I looked out the window and watch the fog roll in. Ghost images appeared where just a few minutes earlier trees stood. I couldn’t resist going outside to try to capture the feeling. I was thinking, “Look at all these cool silhouettes!” It only took a few moments for my fingers to freeze, making it difficult to operate my camera. I took a few images and scurried back into the warm house.
Yakima Valley Wine Country near Zillah, WA
On a clear day, Mt Adams prominently displays its beauty on the horizon. Well this was not a clear day, but the rows of the various vineyards were on display against a light dusting of snow. In a couple of weeks, the Yakima Valley wine country will be bustling during the February Red Wine and Chocolate festival. It will be a good weekend to take a break from eating wisely and indulge in the wine and chocolate.
Roadside Near Prosser, WA
Bare branches against a winter sky always catch my eye. Last week I was driving along the Interstate when I saw an interesting pattern on the Horse Heaven Hills. I took an exit to explore with my camera. After a little walk, I looked up and saw these tree branches against the sky. It gave me a cold, gloomy feeling. I couldn’t resist the opportunity.
“Waiting for Breakfast”
Frequently I look out my window and see this American Kestral perched on a pear tree watching over the pasture below. This seems to be one of its favorite spots. This morning, I waited for the sun to rise a little and shine through the morning fog to silhouette the Kestral. It was a beautiful way to start the morning.
Mighty Oak, Yakima Arboretum, WA
Over the years, I have taken multiple courses and attended many workshops to help me improve my photography skills. I have practiced, practiced, and practiced. I have experimented with many different techniques and processing methods. Many times my images are only examples of different techniques and processes. Many lack feeling or meaning.
This year, my focus will be to purposefully attempt to create the feeling/story that I am experiencing when I click the shutter. I will attempt to use the different techniques and processes that I have learned in the past to achieve the desired end result. I will think hard each time I click the shutter on what I am trying to accomplish. I will continue to play and experiment in order to see what works and what doesn’t for a specific image. I will continue to create sketch images to explore and find interesting ways to portray what is in front of my eyes. The difference will be that I will attempt to do the above in a much more purposeful way than I have previously.
The above image is from a walk I took on a brisk winter day in the Yakima Arboretum. My friend and I had the arboretum almost to ourselves. Walking along the oak alley, I wanted to record an image depicting the strength, shape, character and size of the oak trees. I took images of the grove from a distance. I took images of individual oak trees showing their overall size and shape. I took close ups of the sun shining on the bark and leaves. Then I looked directly above me and saw everything come together into a single image: a strong trunk, the remnant leaves on the lower branches, the delicate branches extending upward to the sky. I snuggled up to the trunk and shot upward with a wide angle lens setting. I was thinking black and white to match the brisk cool temperature of a winter afternoon.
Sunrise – Selah/Yakima Gap
I love the early morning. I am usually up an hour or two before sunrise at this time of year. I anxiously await for what each new morning will bring. Today, my gift was this beautiful pastel painting over the “Gap”. Looking ninety degrees to the east, the sky was on fire. It was quite a contrast with the soft pastel color looking south over the Gap.
Since moving back to Selah almost 2 years ago, I have photographed this view hundreds of time. Each new sunrise or sunset presents a new gift. It is a wonderful way to start the day.
“Time for a Walk”
It is a beautiful day. The sun is out. The sky is gorgeous. It is 29 degrees. It is time for a walk!