Creative Outlet

Ever feel like taking a break from life?  Things are pressing you down a bit, so you need a new perspective?  It’s those times, that it’s good to get out and fill the mind with something constructive, new, maybe even inventive.

layout_IR.jpg  Layout

We decided to take a ‘break’, and do something creative and fun…. so why not build birdhouses.

plasmacut_IR.jpg  Plasma cutting metal

Birdhouses are an easy creative outlet.  They can be made of anything – wood or metal… and be of any size or shape.

benchgrinder_IR.jpg  Bench grinding sides

With a little ingenuity, a few tools, some time and patience, one can build anything one sets their mind to.   We find ourselves proving that time and again.

anglegrind_IR.jpg  Angle grinding fronts

With a dash of creativity one can use just about anything to make something extraordinary.

braiseshutters_IR.jpg Braising on ‘shutters’ from antique chain link

In the end, something special can be created from nothing, if we just feed our imagination and give ourselves time to flourish.

weldg_IR.jpg  Arc-welding panels

Never underestimate our own power to surprise even ourselves and others with perseverance, determination, and shear will power.  Stay the course, be strong, and good things will come.

bluhous_IR.jpgFinish birdhouse – full of character and rustic charm

 

The Ones that Didn’t Make the Cut

You may have seen my Best of Landscapes 2019, here…. https://kritterspix.com/2020/01/09/my-best-landscape-photos-of-2019/  or my Best of Wildlife 2019 here… https://kritterspaw.com/2020/01/09/my-best-wildlife-photos-of-2019/ .  Below are some of the ones that DIDN’T make the cut.

1. Pismo Beach, CA... wish I could get sunset shots like this in AZ! PismoSundown_IR.jpg

2. Lil Buck… If only AZH had published THIS pic  _40A9745_IR.jpg

3. Hawley Lake ….  Through the Fog is Clarity  _40A4245_IR-2.jpg

4. Javelina … not a common sight in this neck of the woods  Javifurup_IR.jpg

5. Snow Elk…. Animal behavior can be so much fun to capture, sometimes these little guys do the darnedest thingsrest_IR.jpg

6. Moqui Snow … I need to work on getting more landscape snow pix  snoburst1_IR.jpg

7. Oak Creek Fall … Gotta love waterfalls & fall, such an amazing combination BoulderBed_IR.jpg

8. Morman Lake Elk Pool …   While this is a busy pic, lots of fun interactions to look at morman lake elk pool_IR_IR.jpg

9. Kaibab Daisies … I had never been to Kaibab Lake before, I need to get out more _40A2967-HDR_IR.jpg

10. Babies Rule … love me some baby wildlife!  Cuddle_IR.jpg

I could go on, but I think the exercise of limiting oneself to only the best forces one to be critical of oneself, encouraging growth and improvement.  Something we should all heed in our lives.  Happy New Year!

My Best Wildlife Photos of 2019

It’s been a great year for wildlife for us.  We have seen a wide and varied collection of birds, waterfowl and big beasts – including our first ever mountain lion.

Below are those I consider my best of the year….

1.  Sandhill cranes, Whitewater Drawsandhill hills_IR.jpg

2.  Deer in falling snow_40A7919_IR.jpg

3.  Bobcat, Lake MaryBob Lake_IR.jpg

4. Hawk stare _40A3440_IR.jpg

5.  Pygmy Owl PygmyEyes_IR.jpg

6. Sea OttersSea Paws_IR.jpg

7. Blue Heron Wide Eyed Blue_IR.jpg

8.  Monarch Butterflies B Comming In_IR.jpg

9.  Big Horn Sheep Ram Portrait_IR.jpg

10. Baby antelope runIMG_0440_IR.jpg

AND the number 1 top photo of the year, despite the fact that is isn’t the most technically perfect shot (would have better if he was coming toward me) is, solely for the thrill of it:

11.  Our first mountain lion

MountainLion Leap_pano_IR.jpg

We saw fox and javelina, elk and deer, eagles and turkey, but these were the ones that excited me for one reason or another – and sometimes not just for their expression or technical merits.  Sometimes a shot can just emote an emotion or a feeling that brings us back to it.  Maybe it was the place or the experience, but anything that keeps us coming back is worthy of a nod.

Check out my best landscapes here… https://kritterspix.com/2020/01/09/my-best-landscape-photos-of-2019/

Sea Critters

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Having just gotten back from the CA coast, we saw lots of cool ‘critters’, including the sea otter.

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I’m not sure I have ever seen a sea otter before.  I could watch them for hours.  They were just too adorable.  I didn’t realize that they are actually an endangered species.  There used to be some 150,000 – 200,000.

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In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s they were hunted for their fur.  They are now a protected species.  Their population has dipped to 1% of what they once were, at a low of only 1,000 – 2,000.  Now they are hovering at around 3,000 as they have plateau’d in their decline.

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Their facial expressions and mannerisms were priceless.

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We saw buzzards and blue herons, seals and sea lions.

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Even caught a sunset or two….

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Sometimes its good to get out of the woods and see the sea.

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We don’t get too much of this in our neck of the woods.

You can see more of my pix from my trip here… https://kritterspix.com/category/photo-musings/

 

 

 

Monarchs

MorroRockFog_IR.jpgLife is short – see and do those things that are important to you.

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I have always wanted to see the Monarch butterfly migration, ever since my friend Gary told us about it when he was down in Mexico years ago.  I don’t want to go to Mexico to see it, so we did the next best thing and headed to the coast of California.

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Of course, we headed to Paso Robles first to pick up some wine for the trip.  Just 2-1/2 hours south of San Jose, and a half hour from Morro Bay, we spent a couple days tasting great wines and buying some to enjoy on our trip down the coast.

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While we were amazed to see the eucalyptus trees dripping with butterflies, we were disgusted to realize that they are indeed a dying breed.  What used to be millions of butterflies, has dwindled to only 4,000 to visit Pismo Beach alone, and it lessens each year.

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The milkweed the butterflies like to eat and lay eggs in are dying off, as are the eucalyptus trees they shelter in.  Trees have blown down, washed away, or burned up and the monarchs don’t come anymore.  Areas from Morro Bay to Santa Barbara are now devoid of the annual migrations.

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Such a pity, as the monarch is such an amazing story of triumph and resilience.  The monarch butterfly only lives 2 months… a month of which it becomes a caterpillar, then morphs to a butterfly when it is focused on eating and laying eggs for a new generation.

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It takes 5 generations for the butterflies to fly from southern CA to British Columbia… and then 1 generation to coast back, and start all over again.

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I’m glad we were able to see the monarch migration.  It enriched our life for witnessing natures beauty.  Take time out to do those things that are important to you.

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Got Snow?!

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Yep!  First snow of the season, measurable snow anyway.  It was only 2 -3″, but it coated the trees and left it’s impression.

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There is something about new snow as it clings to the trees with all it’s white beauty.

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It’s a beautiful sight to behold  One which has been an acquired taste for me, as I always hated snow – too cold!

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But I have come to appreciate it for it’s beauty.  Living in the mountains we aren’t faced with the same dirty snow as big cities have as it piles up along the roads, mixed with cinder and asphalt.  Our’s is pristine and wild.

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Our snow is here… and gone.  It doesn’t last long.  So we enjoy it for whatever time we have it.

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And if we’re lucky, we brave the winter elements and get out and take pix… as we did for this brief snow storm.

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We were the only one’s on the road, and we felt like we were in our own world as we drove through the abandon forest roads in this magical winter wonderland, with all it’s peacefulness and untarnished spirit.  It was a thing of beauty.

 

Weather – Finally!

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We have had quite the drought this summer, with no rain.  That finally changed with a quick storm that rolled in and gave us some rain, hail, and a little snow!

_40A9766_IR.jpg  We took the opportunity to run out to the rim to see if we could get some storm pix.

We loved the sky opening up and raining on the valley below.  It made for some spectacular views.

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When it rains on your parade, look up not down.  Without the rain, there is no rainbow.

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_40A9822_IR.jpg Bad weather always looks worse through a window…. gotta get out there and feel the storm and it’s intensity to live life to the fullest.

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It turned out to be a great day for storm watching.

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