Green Heron, My Model!

Did I tell you I am working on my photography skills while social distancing from every human being I know? Thankfully the fauna and flora I see while outdoors on walks or drives has kept me challenged!

My favorite bird of the moment is the green heron I saw at Sweetwater Wetlands in Tucson, AZ! This bird was so focused on eating while standing in a quiet stream, I could focus on him and his behaviors. He looked around, high and low; zeroed in on prey and caught small fish and other creepy looking things!

My challenge was to capture it all in photos, in focus, and with some success I did! Photos below to prove it. My future challenge will be to capture birds not so accommodating! Give me time, I will get there! In the meantime, I love my green heron!

Green heron looking around.
Green heron looking around.
Green heron looking in the other direction.
Aha, green heron got the fish! I got the photo!

Wonder What He’s Thinking?


Photography is my new goal…or maybe not so new, continued goal…I keep hoping it takes a lifetime to learn…just like tennis is a lifetime sport! Anyway, I like photos that are not the usual. I wonder what this guy is thinking?


Am I done for the day? Am I really ready to ride home on my bicycle with my surfboard? That ship really should not come any closer! Are the waves getting bigger or is that my imagination? Did I really need my full wetsuit today? Is it really necessary to be on my way or do I have another place to stop? Hmmm…

I know this guy had a great day! Did you? I did!

Photo 101: Pop & Color

I missed the “full bloom” this year at Death Valley National Park; however, I did see plenty of color compared to another time at the park. No disappointment to report.

Yellow flowers; purple flowers; plenty of white salt at Devil’s Golf Course and Badwater; Dubai sand-colored dunes; green-colored riparian areas; and the changing sky.

Color is wonderful to see after so much salt and sand dunes!
Color is wonderful to see after so much salt and sand dunes!

Photo 101: Natural World & Leading Lines

I was fascinated by this old river on the bed of Death Valley, and to its end point where salt accumulated. This area of the world is unique. I often imagine what early travelers must have thought as they came to the area now known as our Death Valley National Park! I appreciate the fact our country’s land is protected so my niece, nephews and grand niece can enjoy the national park when they grow older and visit. If you have not been there, go; take caution during summer months!

An old river at Death Valley National Park
An old river at Death Valley National Park.

When’s Your Golden Hour?

I am figuring this “golden hour” out for myself because my time seems to fill and often burst with to many things to do in short time. I think I should have a golden hour … what would it involve and/or look like? I wondered too if others have a “golden hour”, or does time just fill with no special acknowledgment, but instead the usual work, play, cocktail hour?

Within my American Red Cross course, I am reminded of the medically-referred golden hour: when prompt medical care must be provided someone within an hour or less of their medical emergency to hopefully prevent his/her death. And then too, within my photography work its reference to the golden hour: time shortly after sunrise or before sunset when a photographer hopes to capture a softer, redder daylight compared to time when the sun is higher in the sky.

That’s it! I need an hour or less when it is imperative to react to a behavior, or to act on a regular basis to a specific time of day. When working, I had limited time in a day so I felt there was little precious time for myself… just do and do … and occasionally catch my breath for the relaxing moment. Now with so much available time, other things fill my time: volunteering, tennis, road bicycling, tai chi, reading, etc and yet I believe I should have a golden hour each day. Does anyone agree?

My golden hour may be time to think with no interruption. A quiet, reflective time; maybe even meditative. I am not sure yet, but I plan to chisel a time per day, at a minimum, to listen to my brain. I have ideas that need sorting; thoughts that need encouraging; nonsense that needs deleting. I do not want to do these things while I fall asleep at night. I need a golden hour.

When’s your golden hour? Are you a reactor creating your time, or do you act each day at the same time with a special activity? Please feel free to comment. I am interested in your ideas.

New Year, New Start!

I am fully retired from working, but not retired from life!

My “work” now will be fun on a tennis court, riding a bicycle, learning how to use my camera, and volunteering for special projects around the world. And once again, understanding how to blog with informative written pieces about the environment, a photograph where I challenge myself to learn a new technique, or to just write a commentary about whatever because a thought possesses me and I want to share.

I like new years; I like new starts. It allows me to start fresh and so it will go with this blog! With my right effort, I hope to enjoy it all!

Riverbeds: Passageways for Wildlife

I was bicycling on one of many bike path miles in Tucson, AZ and this particular section paralleled the Rillito River, and then the Santa Cruz River. Fascinated by the number of birds I saw, I also realized this is where the coyotes and javelina run through at night. I have heard coyotes; they are awesome and a reminder wildlife is nearby!

Riverbed where you'll find wildlife, but unfortunately plastic bags and shopping carts!
Riverbed where you’ll find wildlife, but unfortunately plastic bags and shopping carts!

While some people may shutter from such a thought, I welcome it. I love seeing the young hawk on the bike railing as I approach it on my bike. I had one hawk swoop away from me and fly 50 feet, to discover I was traveling in the same direction, so it chose to swoop away again, another 50 feet down the path…finally flying across to the other side of the riverbed. A white heron caught my eye while I was riding when I noticed it in a stalking position. Sure enough, it captured a grasshopper! Poor thing was caught in the heron’s beak, bounced around in various positions before the final gulp! Or the roadrunner darting in and out of bushes along the bike path. I am never fast enough to hop off my bicycle, grab my camera and focus on a roadrunner …someday.

Stalking heron seen along the bike path.
Stalking heron seen along the bike path.

The riverbeds as passageways for the wildlife are important. The rains will come, there will be snow melt in the springtime, the riverbeds will take on water and attract other wildlife; I will be here to see them all, whether they are simply traveling through or choosing to stay.