Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Tech Talk Tuesday - WORK THE SCENE

Late yesterday afternoon I took a drive about an hour away from my home on the beautiful Mr. Nebo scenic loop,  (in northern Utah), that within a few short miles took me in elevation from around 4,500 ft. to near 10,000 ft.  I was hoping to find some late blooming spring wildflowers. 

I've mentioned this before, but since I just took my own advice with the following photos, I'll say it again.  When you find a location that begs you to pull out your camera..... make your time worthwhile.


Think out of the box and be as creative as you can.  Change up your view point, your perspective, the height you hold your camera, how close you are to your main subject.  Think of all the ways you can change the dials on your camera.  Use your aperture setting to create a sharp image from foreground to background, or the opposite with a narrow depth of field and only your main subject in focus.  Maybe you might try a slow shutter speed to purposely add motion.  Have you tried dialing up the exposure to try a 'high key' look.  So many possibilities.

After that it is time to switch lenses, if you have that opportunity.  A telephoto lens will bring the background closer, a wide angle lets you see the big picture, a macro will let you get close to a small subject.  Once again, so many possibilities.

And the fun doesn't end after you download to your computer.  If you are like me, you will delete most of your shots.  (Mediocre shots are not your friends.  If you can't decide if they are good, neither can anyone else, and to save them just takes up valuable computer real estate!)

You'll have a few that are 'keepers' for sure, and then a group that are 'maybes'.  First choose the ones you love immediately and are almost perfect, or need a minimal amount of editing, such as an exposure adjustment or a color correction and voila, you are happy with the result.  Then there are the 'maybes'.  These are the ones you just know have potential, but to bring that out you will need to use your imagination and your creative abilities.  Try a major crop, a change to B&W, or maybe experiment with a new filter or preset from one of the many photo editing programs available.  Yet again, so many possibilities.

I went through this procedure yesterday,   and here are a few of my 'keepers':

 wide angle 16-35 lens, taken at 27 mm

 My first priority was to find a composition with a leading line.  I need an example of this concept for a class I am teaching.  I thought the fence would work nicely, but fences are pretty common leading lines, so I positioned myself where I could get a bit of sun flare from the late afternoon sun.  (As a side note, my in camera flare was pretty weak so I embellished it in post processing.)  I also positioned myself very close to the flowers in the lower right hand corner so they would hold a fair amount of 'real estate' in the frame and give the leading lines something to.... well, lead to!  (One mistake new photographers often make is having leading lines that either take you out of the picture or that lead to nothing of interest.)  I also liked that the leading lines go from the background to the foreground which is less common that from foreground to background.

 wide angle 16-35 lens, taken at 19mm

After I got the above shot for my class, the pressure was off and I could just enjoy myself in these beautiful surroundings.  Here I was going for the big picture with interest in the foreground, (the flowers), the mid ground, (the fence), and the background, (another layer of flowers and the blue sky).
I positioned my lens within about 10 inches of these flowers so they would be the focal point of the image.  One thing to be aware of when taking grand landscapes is to figure out a focal point and make it stands out in some way.  If all objects are the same size, and all are similar in color and shape, there is nothing for the eye to rest on, and this makes the picture either boring or confusing to look at.

   100mm macro lens

After taking a bunch of wide angle shots, I then started focusing on single flowers.  As I've said before, my favorite macros are ones that include an interesting background which adds more color, or more texture, and more interest to the image.  Sometimes I like the background extremely blurred, and sometimes I like some definition.  In this photo, for example, you know you are looking at flowers in the background even if you can't see them clearly.

15 mm fisheye lens

When I'm through being 'serious', and it's time to be wild and crazy, I bring out my fisheye lens and see what happens!  One effect I really love is to use an extreme wide angle lens, (like a fisheye), and position my camera as close to my subject as the lens will allow me to focus.  The result is a subject that is greatly exaggerated in size.  This is an unusual perspective that most people don't see and unless they are photographers, don't quite understand why the photo looks 'different'.

15 mm fisheye lens

And finally, here is my best, really wild and crazy, out of the box shot that I kinda like.  Once again, taken with my fisheye lens, but this time, tilting the lens so that the curvature of the background forms a circle around the exaggerated flowers. 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Lady Bug on Daisy

Balancing Act

For those of you who have enjoyed my garden photos, here are a few thoughts:

Sit in a garden and be still.

Try for early morning when the world feels fresh and hopeful. Push all thoughts of schedules, worries, and unfinished tasks, to the very back of your mind for a while.

Be aware of your sense of smell, of sight, of sound, of touch. Be in the moment with the small creatures that frequent your summer garden....a bird searching for a breakfast worm to take back to her nest, a buzzing bee busily collecting his daily quota, a ladybug balancing easily on a gently swaying daisy petal, the graceful flutter of butterfly wings floating from flower to flower. Notice the vibrant colors of the flowers, and breathe in deeply of their fragrance. Take off your shoes and let the grass tickle your toes. And be sure to look up to see if there are a few well placed puffy white clouds skimming across a blue sky.

Let yourself be fully in the moment in order to balance your busy schedule with some quiet time. Let yourself feel refreshed, invigorated, and eager to make this a great day.

Finally, this would be a perfect time to say a little prayer of gratitude for the beauty of a simple garden, and the peace with which to enjoy this gift.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Bee on Daisy

'Stinging in the Rain'........(I know, bad pun!)

Amazing how a little sprinkler shower can add soft circles of bokeh light and a watercolor effect to a nature image.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A Garden Visitor

I spent a few minutes this morning in my garden with a visitor, enjoying the sunshine and the daisies!

Monday, June 22, 2015

My Men & Their Cars

I don't usually post family photos on my photography blog, (I have a family blog for that), but I thought since I have been posting so many flowers lately, that I should post something 'manly'!  Here are three of my four men and their classic muscle cars.  My husband has helped our three boys each restore a car and he has restored several himself.  (For you car buffs, you may be interested in Jeff's story of finding and restoring the car in this photo.  The story is HERE.)  The colors on these cars are original and I love their names:  Vitamin C, Top Banana & Plum Crazy.  There is almost nothing our boys, (now men),  would rather do than spend time with each other and their Dad, with their heads under the hood of an old car!!!  Our third son lives in another state now and is so jealous he can't share in the fun more often.  
I think this is a pretty handsome group, (especially my grandson).....and the cars aren't bad either!!!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Good Morning!

It was a GOOD MORNING in my garden!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Tech Talk Tuesday - Imperfect Usually Means Interesting!

The Last Petal to Open

To make macro flower compositions more interesting, look for a bloom with an abnormality, or an unusual feature to act as a focal point.  Draw more attention to your focal point by using a large aperture to create a very narrow depth of field so only the unusual part of the bloom is in focus.

A perfectly symmetrical flower is usually not nearly as interesting as one with a unique character or 'personality'.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Monument Valley - The Mittens

When we first arrived at this viewpoint in Monument Valley, the sky overhead was blue and soft sun light was filtering through a few white, puffy clouds.

A short while later, the storm caught up with us.

It passed through quickly leaving the mittens and monuments in a hazy, watery mist.  
So interesting how the same scene can look so different in such a short period of time when the weather is in control!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Mirror Lake, Utah

Mirror Lake, Utah
(Taken in August, 2014)

If you love love love taking pictures and if you are anything like me, your computer, like mine, is always overloaded with photo shoots that I haven't yet gone through to decide their fate.  I always have a bunch of photos that I can't decide whether to keep or not, so they sit waiting for a decision.  Then there are the keepers that I will eventually get around to editing and posting on this blog or Facebook or 500 px, or save in my Smugmug account.  The result is, I have hundreds, (maybe thousands), of photos sitting in a temporary folder waiting for me to dispatch them to their final home.  I actually have more important things to do in my life other than photography, (did I just say that??),  and there are never enough hours in the day,  so I'm not real efficient about handling my 'post photo shoot' work in a timely manner.  

Which leads me to this photo.  This morning I was spending a few minutes shuffling through photos from last year that are still patiently waiting for me to notice them.  Well I noticed this one and was surprised it didn't catch my eye before now.  The sky in the background was covered with clouds, but the late afternoon sun was shinning in blue sky, lighting up the trees and water reflections.    I think it is worthy of a second look and a post.

(P.S.  I boosted the lighting and colors in the foreground as the boat was in deep afternoon shadow.)

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Friday, June 5, 2015

Red is the Rose

Red is the Rose
This was taken in my garden the same day as my last post.  I call this a common landscape rose bush, but have no idea what the actual name is.  It stands about 4-5 feet tall, and has a riot of these small blooms covering the branches.  When I look at it from a  distance, it is just a bright, red blur, with no distinct features.  

I love how a photograph can isolate, enlarge and draw attention to the details and beauty of one single bloom.  

(You might think this was taken with a macro lens, but I used a telephoto lens and I was standing several feet away from the flower.) 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Pastel Pink

The peonies in my garden are in full bloom.  I enjoyed photographing them this morning.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Tech Talk Tuesday - Storm in Monument Valley, Arizona/Utah

I know I've said this before, but I'll say it again:  when the weather is dramatic, when the clouds are ominous and low, when it's lightning (at a safe distance), or rainy or windy,  you will be well rewarded if you grab your camera and head outside to brave the elements.  (Of course you need to take safety precautions and be prepared to protect yourself and your equipment from moisture and lightning.)

I wanted to capture the 'feel' of power and intensity as the storm descended on the cliffs in the background.  I did this by using a wide angle lens to capture a large amount of sky, making the storm the focal point of the image.

 Here I used a telephoto lens to bring the background closer and to make the beautiful light in the foreground, the subject of the image.
 (These shots were taken on the same day and in the same storm as my previous post of Horseshoe Bend, Arizona.

When I find myself with this kind of 'weather' opportunity, the first thing I think about is how I 'feel' about the scene.  What is it that 'moves' me when I look through my viewfinder that I want to remember and also convey to others.  In this scene, I wanted to show how the weather dramatically affected the lighting, colors and mood of the landscape.  I wanted those who viewed these photographs to have a sense of opposing forces.  I wanted to show how 'mother nature' can cause a powerful and ominous spring storm to blacken the skies and at the same time allow soft, magical light to scrape across the beautiful desert landscape.  (I hope I succeeded with these two shots.) 

One thing to consider when deciding how you will photograph such a scene, is the focal length you use and how much of the scene you will include in the frame.  Both will affect the 'feel' and mood of your photos.  If you notice, I am standing within the same vicinity when I took both of the above photos, yet each one gives a vastly different interpretation of what I was seeing from my vantage point.  Of course which one you favor, or which one you are drawn to, is a personal preference.  There is no right or wrong image.

For me, both of these images capture what I was seeing and feeling at this moment in time as I watched the storm unfold, gather intensity, and transform the landscape with ever changing patterns of light and color.

P.S.  I thought this was the highlight of my day.  Of course I was unaware of the adventure I would have at Horseshoe Bend a few hours later!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Tech Talk Tuesday - Horseshoe Bend, Arizona

Horseshoe Bend, AZ
(This is probably one of the top 10 photographed landscapes in the United States)

First you have to read the story behind this photo to understand my 'Tech Talk' comments at the end:

 Recently Jeff and I spent 3 glorious days riding our RZRs in Moab with a group of friends.  Before returning home, I persuaded Jeff to take one more day to go to Arches National Park and Monument Valley.  This is a landscape photographer's dream drive.  We stopped many times along the way so I could take photos, but as the day wore on I felt rushed because there were so many pictures to take and so little time.  The day was quickly slipping away.  

The last stop I wanted to make was at Horseshoe Bend, just across the border from Utah in Arizona.  I've traveled past the turnoff to this landmark several times, but have never stopped to photograph this iconic scene where the Colorado River has carved a spectacular 'U' into the deep canyon walls.  Well, today was going to be the day!

At this point, however, it was late afternoon, and I knew we'd be racing the clock to get there before the sun went down.  It had been storming off and on all day, and thus far, I was thrilled with the weather because brooding, stormy skies always make landscape photos more dramatic.  (I'll post some of those shots in the future).   But now the storm was threatening to get serious.  It was thundering and I could see lightning in the distance, exactly in the direction we were headed.  

We pulled into the parking lot/trail head about 20 minutes before the sun would disappear, along with my photo opportunities.   I was hoping I could walk a couple of yards to the viewpoint, but that was not the case.  It was a 3/4 mile hike.  I was really nervous about leaving the protection of the car because I could see lightning and rain all around us.  We decided to go for it anyway and made the hike in record time, trying to ignore the howling wind that was announcing the impending storm  heading our way.  All the while I'm thinking what a waste of time this was, because the sun just above the horizon, was hiding behind thick clouds, making the landscape dull and gloomy.  The red cliffs were drab and I knew the water deep in the canyon would look black.

 Just at the time we finally arrived at this viewpoint, however, an amazing thing happened.  The sun broke out of the clouds just barely above the horizon, bathing the landscape in brilliant, golden sunset light, and creating this gorgeous scene!  I knew I only had a few short minutes before it would disappear below the horizon.  Even though I was out of breath from rushing to get there before the advancing storm hit and the sun disappeared, I frantically searched for a vantage point to take my photos, navigating between the 50 or so other people who were doing the same thing.  I had no time to set up my tripod.  I didn't even have time to think about which lens would be best, or even what settings to use, but LUCKILY, I had done all this beforehand.  When I found my spot I hurriedly inched as close to the edge as I dared, but when I looked through the viewfinder of my camera, it made me dizzy, so I yelled at Jeff to hold onto the back of my jacket so I wouldn't lose my balance.  I tried to steady my camera as best as I could in the wind that became worse as I got closer to the edge, and then I rapidly fired off a very few shots.  That was it!   Just that fast the sun was gone and so was this beautiful scene.

With the sunlight gone, it quickly became dark and threatening, as the rain and lightning were very close.  We left as fast as we could to get back to our car.  Now the 3/4 mile hike was uphill so we weren't moving nearly as fast.  (I was rudely reminded that I am now an old, out of shape person, as we watched so many younger people run past us without even breathing hard!)  About 30 minutes later, when we were just a few yards from the car, it started to rain.  I tucked my camera under my jacket and we made the final dash before the torrent hit.  With only having a couple of minutes of shooting time, I felt very LUCKY to come away with the few shots I took even though I had no confidence that they would be any good!

Was I really LUCKY to get those shots?  What part does LUCK play in getting great shots!  
Here are my 'Tech Talk' thoughts for today:   

We can learn all the 'rules' of photography.  We can take classes to learn how to be better photographers.  We can find the most interesting locations or subjects to shoot.  We can work to develop our artistic talents.  And so on.  But sometimes it just comes down to GOOD LUCK as to whether we get a great shot or not!  I didn't have much hope that my photos would be any good because of the poor weather conditions at first, and then my frantic attempt at a few shots, so I was surprised when I saw this result.  I realized that for the very few minutes when it all came together at this place, I had the GOOD LUCK to be there!  And here's another thought.  I bet almost every other person standing at that view point along with me at that moment, was LUCKY too, and got a beautiful photo as well, whether they used a $10,000 dollar camera or a smart phone.......BECAUSE IT WAS MORE ABOUT THE PLACE, THE TIME, THE WEATHER, AND THE BEAUTIFUL LIGHTING, THAN IT WAS ABOUT THE EQUIPMENT OR EXPERTISE.   
(Note:  I'm sure some photos were better than others, but I bet everyone ended up with a decent photo assuming their camera or smart phone was working correctly and pointed in the right direction!)   

  Some would think that 'BEING LUCKY'  implies we have no control over whether we have good photo karma or not.  But I maintain there are ways we can tip the odds of being LUCKY in our favor.  I think that often GOOD LUCK goes hand in hand with PREPARATION AND QUANTITY.  The more often we are prepared for the unexpected by keeping our cameras with us, the more we look for great photo ops on our daily travels and the more photos we take each week, might determine how often we are LUCKY enough to be in the right place at just the right time to take an awesome photo!

Not only will I enjoy this beautiful scene for years to come, I'll remember how LUCKY I was to get it. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Bleeding Heart Fantasy

Speaking of Boosting Your Photographic Creativity........ (previous post)

This spring in northern Utah we have had a lot of rainy, windy, blustery weather, and so I've spent as much time as I can manage, enjoying shooting the beautiful cactus blooms in the sunny, warm weather of southern Utah.  When we returned to our northern Utah home, however, I realized that I had neglected and missed many of my favorite spring blooms.  It has been so windy and rainy that I hadn't even been out to see what was blooming in my own yard.  When I finally ventured out, I realized with great disappointment, that one of my favorite spring flowers, my bleeding hearts, were pretty much done.  The lovely arching branches with dainty little rows of hearts were mostly dried up or gone. 

This is the time when I used to walk away and photograph another day, but now I force myself to think of other possibilities before I pack up the camera.  So I searched until I found one or two hearts that must have either been late bloomers or were sheltered from the strong winds, because they still looked fresh and intact.  The problem was that they were so hidden by foliage, there was no way I could photography them where they were as a natural, nature shot. 

So I immediately switched to 'Plan B'.  I knew this had to be a 'studio portrait' so the first thing I did was cut the little branch that had the best looking little heart and bring it inside.  I put it in a glass of water on my kitchen counter and put a piece of white foam board behind it as a backdrop.  I shot from various angles, some close ups and some including the glass. 

After downloading my images to the computer and selecting the one I liked the best, I then had to visualize how I wanted the final image to look.  I decided I wanted a colorful 'fantasy' look, so I knew I would do some major, (but simple and quick), editing.  The first thing I did was to combine the bleeding heart image with another image I took of a flowerbed that I purposefully shot out of focus to use as a soft, dreamy and colorful background.  Then I added a soft focus filter to increase the 'dreamy' look even more.  That's it!  The final result may not be what I originally intended, but I had fun using my imagination to create something unique, and definitely a fantasy!      

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Tech Talk Tuesday

One way to develop more creativity and diversity in your photography is to brain storm beyond the composition you initially had in mind and force yourself to think of different possibilities.  

I was driving on the outskirts of a small town near our winter home in southern Utah, when I spied a 'field' of cactus (cacti??) in bloom.  I then noticed the beautiful sky with big puffy clouds parting after the recent storm.   I immediately thought of a composition with a large depth of field showing the entire vista, which would highlight a cactus bloom in the foreground, and the lovely red hills and sky in the background.  I was there during midday, so I chose a view that also included sun flare, which you know is one of my favorite things!

(On a side note, while it is true that many landscape photographers think the times of day near the golden hours of sunrise and sunset are best for dramatic landscape photography, I believe that beautiful photography happens at all times of day and in all types of lighting.)

After I was satisfied that I captured what I was after, I could have packed it up and moved on.  But I always try to say to myself, "What's next?  Is there a different composition here?  Is there a more interesting perspective?"  Sometimes, I just walk around and change my location while looking through my viewfinder.  Sometimes I change my elevation, (shoot from a higher or lower perspective).  Sometimes I change my lens from a wide angle to a macro and look for an intimate view.  The possibilities are as big as your imagination.

I have found that when I expand my vision and think of additional possible compositions, often one of those OTHER compositions turns out to be my favorite shot of the day!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Seeing Red

What Karen Saw

 What Karen's Camera Saw

Some of us are able to travel to exotic places where one could point and shoot an image anywhere and it would be memorable!  But for those of us who are not always able to do this, we must find beauty in our everyday world.  Then we must figure out how to isolate it from the mundane, and highlight that beauty to our own photographic and artistic interpretation.  
Learning to SEE the beauty that is where you are will greatly improve your photographic skills and increase the number of memorable images you will make!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mother's Day

Mother - the Sweetest word!   Happy Mother's Day to all!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Desert Beauty

Sometimes it is hard to believe that such beautiful blooms appear on harsh, unfriendly plants, like this cactus.  Cactus blooms are often on display for such a very short period of time, that many people rarely get to see the lovely side of a desert landscape.  I hope those of you who live far away from the south western deserts of the US are enjoying what I see at this time of year. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Tech Talk Tuesday - Salt Lake Temple & Daffodils

Salt Lake Temple & Daffodils

I haven't done a Tech Talk Tuesday for a long time, so today is just a mini chat..... really, just a couple of ideas for you to consider that might help improve your photography:

For those of us who are not fortunate enough to travel to far away places and photograph majestic wonders around the world, we need to concentrate on making great photos of what we see in our own backyard, neighborhood, city, etc.  But because we see these familiar landscapes, objects, flora & fauna, buildings, all the time, we need to be creative and look for ways to make these familiar objects more interesting.  There are numerous ways to do this, but the above photos demonstrate two of my favorite ways:

Lighting - Lighting can have a dramatic effect in creating interesting photos of familiar scenes.  Soft light, harsh shadows, directional light, bad weather, sun flare, back lighting, are a few ways to make your photos stand out.  I have taken many photos of the Salt Lake Temple in spring time, but I try to make each one unique.  This day, I purposefully found an angle where I could use the setting sun to back light the daffodils and create an interesting sun flare.

Background Interest -  This time of year, many of us love to photograph the never ending array of colorful spring flowers.  Sometimes I like to get up close to capture the beauty of a single bloom or petal,  but that often includes a dark, boring background.  I always look at my composition to see if the background is adding to the image, detracting from the image or doing nothing for the image.  Once in a while a solid black or white background is dramatic and adds to the image, and often a softly blurred background of supporting flowers makes the image more interesting.  But my favorite background is one that is unique, not easily recognizable and causes the viewer to take a second look.


Friday, May 1, 2015

Beautiful Light

Beautiful Light!

Sometimes it really is all about the light.  This beautiful cactus bloom was back lit by warm early morning sunshine, tickling all the right places.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Argentine Cactus

Argentine Cactus

I think this is the most beautiful and exotic cactus bloom I have photographed to date.  You probably wouldn't be surprised if I said I discovered this rare beauty on one of our long treks in the isolated deserts near our southern Utah home.  And that I had to hike for several miles in the sweltering desert sun, before I discovered this beauty tucked away on the side of a cliff.  And to top it off I had to suffer multiple punctures of sharp brambles and cacti spines as I leaned over the edge to get this shot.  Gosh, that would make a great story!    

Well, I'm just so darn honest that I have to tell you I actually found this beautiful cactus in the parking strip, alongside a busy city street about a mile from where I live.  It was early morning and I was on my way to a zumba class when I spied these blooms and pulled over.  Luckily I had my camera with me.  But it was so windy and chilly outside that I literally rolled down my car window and snapped a few shots from inside my cozy warm car.  I did have my camera set on shutter priority with a high shutter speed to freeze the movement from the wind, but still, these are not great conditions for flower photography.  I was pleasantly surprised that this turned out as well as it did! 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Glistening Petals

Glistening Petals

I love the way the light makes these petals sparkle.  This is another beautiful cactus bloom found in southern Utah.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

More Desert Springtime

Desert Paintbrush or Indian Paintbrush

A Ladybug's World

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Cactus Beauty

Cactus Beauty
This was taken about a mile or so away for our home.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Salt Lake Temple - Spring

Temple Square - Spring 2015 
(taken with a 15mm fisheye lens)

Friday, April 10, 2015

Spring 2015

Spring Has Come to Northern Utah!
Although snow still covers the mountain peaks, and the weather is often chilly, spring has definitely come to northern Utah.  Temple Square is a riot of spring color, and the tulip festival at Thanksgiving Point begins tomorrow.  
For a nature photographer, I don't think there is anything more glorious, peaceful, or uplifting, than to be outside after a long winter, with the sunshine warming my back, hearing the birds chirping in the trees, and getting up close and personal with the colors and fragrance of springtime blooms.  Feels like experiencing a piece of heaven here on earth!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

He Is Risen!

He is Risen!

For members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (Mormons), Easter is a sacred day.  It is a day to renew our faith; it is a day to remember with deep gratitude and humility, the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer;  and, it is a day to rejoice in our belief of a glorious resurrection where we will not only have the opportunity to live in the presence of Jesus Christ, but to be reunited with our loved ones who have passed on before us.  It is also a day to attend church, and then gather together with our families to eat, socialize, have fun and enjoy being together.  Yes, the Easter Bunny usually makes an appearance, but we try to put greater emphasis on the sacred events that are the reasons we celebrate Easter.
Isn't it wonderful that Easter comes in the spring.  I can't think of anything more symbolic of the death and resurrection of our Savior, than observing all the beauties of nature created by our Father in Heaven, and knowing that when the vibrant colors of spring, summer and fall slowly fade and life withers away as to appear dead, it is not really the end.  Sleep comes for awhile, but soon God's creations will burst forth again, fresh and beautiful with renewed life, in the spring. 
Likewise, so will we!  
I wish you peace, joy, and renewed faith and hope for the future on this Easter Sunday.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Desert Gold

 Fields of Desert Poppies

Desert Marigold with Friend

Monday, March 30, 2015

Pretty in Pink

Desert blooms are every bit as spectacular as tropical blooms, (IMHO)!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Wild Rhubarb and Ladybug

Wild rhubarb in Snow Canyon, taken just before the sun set.

Ladybug balancing on edge of rhubarb leaf.  I learned that ladybugs love wild rhubarb.  They were congregating on this bush, but the darn things would not hold still for a portrait.  It took me about an hour to finally get a decent photo!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Bees, Cactus & Gopher Plant

 I took these photos about two weeks ago in my southern Utah backyard.  This is a close up of what is commonly called a gopher plant.  (I was too lazy to see if it has a more 'official' name.)

 The gopher plants in my yard were in full bloom and the bees were going crazy!  Here, one cluster of blooms was nestled against a cactus, creating a very interesting backdrop.

The bees were so busy with their work that they hardly noticed me.  The lens of my camera was only an inch or so away from this guy.