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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Sunshine & Gorgeous Scenery

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As I watch the news of CA on fire, my heart goes out to those in harm’s way.  Having been through our own fire, stamping it out in our neighbors yard, watching the flames from our back deck, and still in the midst of the aftermath and burn area around us – I feel their pain more than ever.

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We wandered around Oak Creek and West Fork Trail enjoying the gorgeous environment of Sedona, and I couldn’t help but think of all the gorgeous countryside around the wineries of Sonoma that we have been to many times.

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I hope and pray that the fire fighters are safe, homes are saved, and these terrible fires can be controlled, put out, and CA can move on to the repair, restore, and heal from this awful time.

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Check out more of my Oak Creek / West Fork pix on kritterspix.com…. https://kritterspix.com/2019/10/31/oak-creek-fall/

 

 

Potato Lake

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My friend, Maureen, asked me the other day if I had ever been to Potato Lake.  I promised her I would take some pix to share so she could see it.

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It’s been quite some time since I was last there.  Last time the small circular lake was surrounded by yellow quacking aspens making the lake aglow.  It reminded me of Lockett Meadow with the burst of color on a smaller scale.

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Unfortunately, on this visit, I think I could count the aspens, as there were very few left.  Most had burned up or fallen down.  Such a pity.

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In the absence of aspens, a ton of new crawdads have taken up residence.  Always fascinating how where one thing falls another rises up.

 

East Clear Creek

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If you’ve been to Mogollon Rim by way of Forest Road 95, you’ve passed over the bridge at East Clear Creek.

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The road itself is dusty, windy, and beautiful.  It’s kind of like a suspense thriller – and I don’t mean spooky guy at the end.  In fact, for me it’s a plot that thickens.  It starts with boring tall forest to pull you in.  It’s nice enough, but sorta drab.

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Then it sprinkles in some cool craggy oaks, and the occasional fir.  Then.. just as you turn the corner, it grabs you with more breathtaking views.

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It’s a suspense thriller with a happy ending.

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… and sometimes unexpected twists and turns.

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Wildlife Sightings

People ask me, ‘where do you go to get your animal pictures?’

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It’s actually not an easy question to answer, as there is no straight forward answer.

I can tell you that ZERO of my wildlife photos are taken in a wildlife park or zoo.  They are 100% taken in the wild.  As all things wild, they are unpredictable.

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Many wildlife photographers get a lot of their photos through their livelihood, as biologists or working in nature conservatory for AZ Game & Fish or Forest Service preserving an animal’s habitat.  These sorts of jobs help the photographer, often early in their career, to learn the habitat and tendencies of their subject.

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I have not had that advantage.  I have had to learn the hard way on my own.  While, I have stumbled across various animal habitats, like the pair of great horned owls at Whitewater Draw, that’s the exception more than the rule.

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Sometimes it’s easy to go to where you know there will be animals, like Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, where the sandhill cranes flock to every November / December.

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But for me, that’s more the exception than the rule.  Sometimes, I get animal shots in my own yard.

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Often, though, it’s a matter of getting out there.  You have to look, to see.  We make frequent trips to the rim, leaving early morning when it’s still dark out, to get to the rim at first light when the animals are still moving around.

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Besides the rim, we go out on photography trips just in search of that great landscape or animal shot.  Knowing that antelope can be found in the plains, or that there is a herd of big horn sheep that frequents the Greer area, can be helpful.

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Other than that, one just has to get out there.  You don’t find animals sitting on the couch eating bon bon’s, unless you’re watching the National Geographic channel. Ha! : )

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In any case, luck favors the prepared.

Just this week, we were wandering around the woods (as we often find ourselves), actually looking for water where there was none.  We found lots of dry holes instead of Lakes, but we did encounter well over 1000 sheep crossing the road.  That’s not something you see every day – or ever before!

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Sometimes, you just have to be in the right place at the right time.

 

 

 

Circles of Light

We do the oddest projects.

planning_IR_IR.jpg  Initial Layout  

People who know us, know we are always working on something. It’s true.  Some have questioned what we are up to these days.

bending rings_IR.jpg  Cutting strapping material for circles (rings)

(Besides a gazillion other things), we tell them we are working on a chandelier.   “What kind of chandelier?”, they’ll ask.

compass_IR.jpg  Preparing jig to weld rings

cut template_IR.jpg  Cutting jig template on bandsaw

“It’s kinda hard to describe”, we reply

setup_IR.jpg  Ring set up in jig, ready to weld

“What does it look like?”

“A bunch of circles around a tube”, we’ll tell them.

weldring_IR.jpg  Welding one of many rings

After a pause and a quizzical look, they come up with their next question.

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“What’s it made of?”

“Metal … mostly.” We say.

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“How did you come up with it?”

We saw something like it 10 – 15 years ago in a fancy light shop… and were inspired by it’s uniqueness… and thought someday we’ll make something like it. So we wired the house when we built it (a decade ago now) with this chandelier in mind.

mockup_IR.jpg  Mock up of ring assembly

weldrings_IR.jpg  Welding rings together into subassembly

The design has been a complex math problem.  Our ceiling is 14’ high, and we want the chandelier  8 – 9’ off the ground. It should have a decent Length-over-Diameter to have a pleasing aesthetic. So we had to calculate not only the circle diameter, but their circumference as they are splayed out and reduce as it goes away from the center.

weldg_IR.jpg  Welding ring assembly

Should we do a splayed series of 3 circles or 4?  13″, 15″, 17″ diameter or 19″ diameter, (which equates to 30-some inches splayed out), or all of the above… Hmmm?  The bigger the ring diameter, the longer the overall length.  Decisions. Decisions… and lots of layouts and mockups.

grind rings_IR.jpg  Grinding ring assembly

Should we paper mache the exterior of the center tube or sand blast to assure the light bulb doesn’t become overly prevalent.  We’re looking for more of a ‘glow’ afterall.

sprayg_IR.jpg  Spraying spray tack on inner tube

As we work through building this unique project that has been on our project docket for well over a decade, it occurs to me that it isn’t just Circles of Light… but Circles of Life.

Our life, all the many projects, trials and tribulations, friends & family come and gone – on and off.

spraypaper_IR.jpg  Spraying textured art paper to coat tube

papertube_IR.jpg  Applying paper to tube and trimming

Somehow, as it comes to fruition after all this time, so many things have changed in our own life, and it makes us reflect on those things we have accomplished, and those things we have lost.

paintg_IR.jpgPainting interior of chandelier ‘shade’

As it shines down from it’s new home, it casts shadows, points of light, and a soft subtle glow.  It has it’s new beginning, and will shine long after we are gone.

finsished close_IR.jpgThe big reveal

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