Sharing moments in time…

Archive for May, 2012

Why isn’t this bear black?

I must admit that I thought that all Black Bears were actually black – what a concept!  Obviously I was wrong as proven by this cinnamon colored “black” bear.  I was coming around a corner in a driving rain storm when I hit a “Bear jam” on the road.  I immediately parked and ran to the center of attention, just in time to see this bear running across the road and start up a hill.  I managed to click off a few shots as he ran up the hill.  The light wasn’t good, the rain was coming down, and the wind made handheld shots very difficult but I did get at least this shot of the mis-colored bear.

Colorblind Bear – my first Black Bear photo!

I did see several actual Brown (Grizzly) Bears, but all at great distances.  I wasn’t too disappointed in that as our trip to Alaska is coming up quickly…..

Pronghorns on the Prowl

Another of the frequent sightings in Yellowstone are the Pronghorns.  You often see them in small groups like this one but you can also find them in pairs or even solitary animals.  The park is a great place for them as there are no fences that they need to go around or dig under (they are poor jumpers).  They seem to like the wide open areas where they have clear sight lines and room to run away from any predators.  I liked this scene because it captures the animals in their environment and also a hint of the park’s majestic scenery.

Room to Roam

Hair and Horns

One of the highlights of Yellowstone is not only seeing the Buffalo but being able to get pretty close.  The park rules say that you should stay 25 yards away from them but even if you start at that distance, they sometimes will wander closer.  It is very easy to forget that these peaceful looking creatures are wild and can, at times, be unpredictable.  It is also hard to imagine that they can actually run at up to 35 miles an hour!  If you are not careful, you can find yourself totally engulfed within the herd.  It is really interesting to watch them interact with each other and also listen to their various verbal grunts and groans.  This fine looking specimen was one of the lead animals in a large herd which just kept coming towards me and some other photographers until we were finally forced back onto the road and into our cars…..

…Where the Buffalo roam….

…and the sky is not cloudy all day…

Well, not exactly.  In my four days at Yellowstone I saw a few sunny times as shown in today’s photo but I saw much more time in the rain, snow, and hail – all pretty much to be expected this time of year.  In any case, this is a pretty typical sight that you see around the park – Bison (aka Buffalo) grazing in the fields.  You can see large herds, just a few together (as in this shot), or lone bulls by themselves.  It certainly is a reminder of days gone by as these huge creatures used to roam the west in great numbers.

Western Icons

You also have to stay alert as you drive around the park as the Buffalo seem to understand that they have the “right of way”.  This is another frequent sight – traffic jams caused by casual Buffalo crossings.

Yellowstone Road Hazard


Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer

Just got back off my Yellowstone road trip and found this week’s challenge.  It was a little surprise as I’ve spent a good deal of time in the last several days in snow storms and pretty cold weather.  As you might guess, I was up there to try to get some photos of the wide variety of wildlife within that gorgeous park.  One of the frequent sightings are elk -either in groups or by themselves.  I chose to use this shot for the challenge as it shows a pretty good view of this elk who was resting by one of the beautiful Yellowstone rivers.  Why is this appropriate for the challenge?  If you look at its fur, you can see that it is shedding its thick winter coat to get ready for…..Summer.

Changing Outfits for the Summer!

I’ll have a lot more about the trip later (as well as many more photos) but wanted to get my entry in.

Old Faithful

Yesterday an eclipse, today an American icon.  I waited pretty much the full 88 minutes between eruptions but it was worth it.  I had been to Yellowstone once before (about 15 years ago) but had never seen it “go”.  Pretty spectacular.

As advertised

Solar Eclipse (from Utah)

I didn’t think I’d get a chance to post today but found a motel with wifi.  I had totally forgotten about the eclipse tonight but saw it on TV while I was having dinner.  I grabbed my camera when I got back to the motel, added some dark filters and managed to get this image – not great, but a cool image of something I totally blew off….. 🙂

Eclipse of the Sun (and my mind)

Message from my Dad…

Hi everyone, my name is CJ – you might have seen me here before  (maybe even in the same position).  My dad said that I should tell everyone that he will be off taking pictures with that camera thingy this week and he might not get a chance to post much (whatever that means).  He said he’ll be back soon and that I should mind the house while he is gone.  So far I’m watching things pretty well…even with that crazy sister of mine – but every once in a while I feel myself getting sleepy….sleeeepy…..slee……


Weekly Photo Challenge: Hands

Well this week was definitely a challenge – and one that I could not think of an appropriate picture for!  Not to be discouraged, I dashed out to the zoo and managed to take many “hands”.  I had great fun doing this one – hope you enjoy!

Just Hands (4)

There is no reason to have just two hands – many of the zoo creatures get great use of four.

Hind Hands

Some of them make better use of their rear “hands” than we do with ours.

Feeding Hands

Hands are the ultimate eating utensil.

Scratching Hands

Hands (even rear ones) are great for scratching.

Resting Hands

Sometimes your hands are so busy, you’ve just got to rest them – and you might as well join them!

Pensive Hands

Hands help you think!  Like the chin scratch, the head scratch, or the essential wringing of the hands – we couldn’t make decisions without them.

Hanging Hands

Like wringing, hanging also helps you loosen up.

Captive Hands

Every once in a while you take a picture – like for this challenge, and it touches you in a way you did not anticipate.  This photo did that for me – I love zoos but am always conflicted with the animals in captivity.  This photo certainly caught that dichotomy for me……

Hands like ours

Hopefully not to end on a “downer” this photo of our closest relative in the animal kingdom reminded me of the things we share with them.

Helping Hands

And to ensure we end with a cliche, Mom’s helping hands are some of the most valuable hands around…

Do dogs have a “dark side”??

Brownie at the Beach

Haven’t run a dog picture in a while so I was having withdrawal symptoms…  This handsome guy was walking on the beach sometime back and I happened to catch him with some really nice side lighting – half in shadow, half in sunlight.  He’s pretty dirty and wet but isn’t that what dogs are supposed to do at the beach?

The “Greening” of our household Fleet (Chevrolet Volt)

Thought I’d take a break from my normal posts and talk a little about a new addition to our household.

I’ve been watching the various developments of electric cars over the past 2 years or so waiting for a vehicle that I thought would meet our needs.  I’ve read pretty much every article about every production or soon-to-be production electric or plug in hybrid vehicle with the intent of moving off of gasoline as much as possible.  My reasoning behind the strategy is that I believe we need to lessen our dependence on oil – especially foreign oil.  That is key to our energy independence in the future so we might as well start now.

Our needs for the car are pretty simple as we have a nice car for the long road trips that we take a couple of times a year – what we needed was an around town car for our day to day routine.  Our second car was a 2005 Chevrolet Corvette – not exactly a green machine with mileage in the low teens – but it handled the chores of satisfying my mid-life crisis and my wife’s enjoyment at being the center of attention for males of all ages as she drove “her” Vette around town.  Anyway, back to our requirements – each one of us probably puts between 20 and 50 miles on our cars in a typical day.  Many of our trips are just short commutes with a mixture of town and highway driving.  On the surface, any of the all electric vehicles might have met these needs – except for the uneasy feeling that something might come up where we need more range on occasion and also that we didn’t want to obsess over whether the car could “make it” without stopping for a charge on a longer trip.  That led us back to the plug in hybrid concept where the car drives and performs like an electric but has a “back-up” gasoline power source in case you need extended ranges or just happen to exceed your all-electric range.  That cut the field of available competitors significantly – there are really only 3 current options.  The Fisker Karma is a BEAUTIFUL automobile and would have been a sportscar class upgrade from the Corvette – unfortunately, they run around $100,000 which was out of our range.  At the other end of the scale is the new Prius plug in hybrid.  We have always liked the Prius as an affordable and efficient around town car but the plug-in version only gets about 11 miles on a charge before reverting to gasoline.  The last, and best, option for us was the Chevrolet Volt.  More expensive than the Plug-in Prius but with a 40 mile all electric range.  It is also better equipped for what we wanted.

To make a long story short, I test drove a Volt a few weeks back, took Dee in drive it a few days later, and then finally bought it home with us (having traded-in the Corvette).  The deciding factor for both of us was not only that it met our driving requirements, it was also FUN to drive (remember this is coming from Corvette drivers).  It has surprising acceleration due to the high instant torque of the electric drivetrain and it is smooth (and quiet) as silk.  Given the incentives for buying an electric car at the current time, this was a no brainer.  The photo below shows the car plugged into our brand new (today) 220V charging station which turned out to be entirely free after incentives.

“Bolt” (named after the San Diego Chargers) the Volt

To date we have driven the Volt about 400 miles.  99% of those have been electric – we have used less than a tenth of a gallon of gas but love the fact that it is there if we want to take longer trips.  We just changed our electric bill to a “time of use” billing and have the car set to charge when the electricity rates are the lowest (and when it places minimal impact “on the grid”).  So far we are really enjoying this fun little car and feel good about lessening our contribution to oil dependence.

Just as a postscript to this post – the Volt has been kind of a lightning rod for the political discourse surrounding the US auto industry.  While there has been a lot of bad information circulated about it, this interview on Fox News (not a source I use very often for authoritative data) attempts to set the record straight…..

Colorful Commuter….

So this is what a commute to work looks like in San Diego.  Not much to say except “somebody has to live here”.

How to beat San Diego traffic

Carrying a Camera

Today’s photo is an example of just having a camera at the right place and time.  We went to the University of Missouri graduation ceremonies to see Dee’s niece graduate.  I took many pictures of her and the family but I also took some random quick snapshots of other people passing by.  This shot is of a young girl sitting on her father’s shoulders (you can see the peak of his cap and gown) after the graduation.  It was in a crowded hallway with lots of dark shadows and bright light coming through the windows.   I was lucky to get a quick shot of this cutie as she was being carried across the sunlight with a very nice black background to contrast her face and hair.  One of those moments I would have never seen if I didn’t have a camera in my hand.  Hope you enjoy.

Graduation Doll

Weekly Photo Challenge: Blue

How about Blue Footed Boobies flying over the ocean Blue……

Taken last year in the Galapagos.  This was one of those opportunities that really got me hooked on Photography again – thanks for the reminder Daily Post!

An oldie but a blue footed goody

What am I…chopped liver???

Maybe its just me but I thought this was a funny scene this cloudy morning.  This lady walked over to take a picture of the (rather dull) beach  and totally ignored the gull that was about a foot away looking right at her as if to ask “aren’t I more interesting than that???”.  I pointed him out to her after she finished with her picture and she admitted she never even saw him…..

I’m over Here!!


Angry Bird?

I don’t know what kind it is, but it sort of looks like the “angry birds” of the favorite smartphone and iPad game title.  Took this today while taking a quick walk around Mission Gorge Regional Park near San Diego.

Having a bad beak day??

Family Resemblance?

It was an overcast morning out here today so I went out  and shot some more ducks (with my camera of course).  I found this very cute little duckling swimming around with the family group.  Think she looks like her mom??

Family swim

Diagonal Ducks…

Diagonal Experiment

I took this picture the same day I took the Osprey landing picture.  It started as a pretty normal  photo of the two ducks – not bad but nothing really interesting.  I began to look at it a little differently and decided to tilt it on the diagonal to see if that worked as a better composition.  To me, it started to look a little more like an abstract.  I then used one of the black and white filters from some plug-in software that I bought recently to come up with this interpretation.  Any comments?  I’d appreciate any feedback you might have!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Unfocused

I couldn’t really think of any really good photos for this challenge….so I’ll just share this one that I took recently.  I’m not sure there is anything really IN focus as I was just shooting the group of birds against the background.  The reason that I kept it was that there is a good contrast between the somewhat focused “flock” and the blurred background.  The other thing that interests me (that was purely unintentional when I took the photo) is – what is going on in over there by the cars?  Friends exchanging gifts?  Drug deal?  What’s your guess……..????

Sandpipers in the sky….what in the parking lot?

Yikes, I’m Published!


I apologize for the repeat on this photo but it was just published on the editorial page (page 8) of the Pacific San Diego Magazine (!  They also ran another of my photos in an article on wildlife in San Diego (page 53).  These are the first photos that I have had published anywhere other than right here.  A little over a year ago, when I got my first decent camera, this wasn’t even on my radar screen – and it is directly attributable to this blog.  The editor and creative director of the magazine somehow saw some of my photos on this blog and contacted me about using them.  I want to thank all the followers of this blog for the continuing motivation and encouragement that your comments have provided!  I would share my new found photography wealth with all of you but that would come out to less than a dollar per follower…..but hey, its a start!  As a totally unexpected thing, I was thrilled that someone was interested in enough in my photos to want to run them in a publication.    Thanks again to Pacific San Diego Magazine and to all of you!

Osprey Landing….

This is one of those “almost” photos – it was almost a really good photo.  I took this about a week ago at Lake Hodges which is about 25 miles from San Diego.  I went out to try and get some photos of Grebes doing their iconic mating ritual but there wasn’t anything going on.  I spotted this Osprey flying around looking for fish so I thought I’d see it I could get either a good fishing shot or see if I could catch his take-offs or landings.  Luckily, I was able to get directly under where he landed after one of his trips.  He launched again and circled around and came back to the same tree where I was waiting with my camera.  Thats where my luck kind of ended – Although I got several shots of him coming in, I did not have the exposure quite right for shooting up into the sky, I didn’t really nail the focus, and I also chopped off his tail in the best of my shots.  All that being said, I still like the photo for its dynamic action and the feeling of power in the outstretched talons.  Hope you like it too- despite the technical shortcomings….

Get a Grip!