Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Sun Kissed Bee

This Just Makes Me Happy!

These wild flowers were very small as you can see in comparison to the size of the bee.  I had my macro lens on and couldn't get close enough bending over, so I sat down in a tiny clearing in the middle of a small field of these flowers.  It was then that I noticed there were bees all around me.  My first thought was to get up and move, but I soon realized they were much too busy with their work  and didn't pay any attention to me.  For a while a just sat and watched them work, soaked in the warm sun and enjoyed a peaceful moment.  This was my best shot.   

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Cactus Bloom at Sunset

I love cactus blooms.  I love the combination of a delicate soft flower growing amid the inhospitable prickly thorns.  We have a cactus in our yard similar to this and the blooms only lasted one day.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Thoughts

Death and Life

I was thinking about what to post for Easter and I initially thought about a photo of an Easter Lily.  But today, Saturday, while on a ride in our RZRs, I saw this scene and immediately knew this would be my Easter post.

 The day started out with perfect weather, deep blue skies, puffy white clouds and pretty scenery.  But by late afternoon, we were riding through acres and acres of dead and blackened trees, remnants from a previous forest fire.  To add to the scene, the sky had clouded over with dark and ominous looking clouds.  We drove on for several miles, then rounded a bend and came across this scene, where these beautiful spring flowers had popped up among the dead trees.  Death and Life. 

God reveals His divine plan for us in many ways if we just look, listen and feel.  We can read about it in His scriptures, we can ask about it through personal prayer and receive personal confirmation.  And, we can observe the workings of the world He created for us, which in many ways symbolizes death and rebirth.  We celebrate Easter in the spring, when the earth awakens and comes alive again after a long winter's sleep that represents death.  And even when forces of nature, such as fire, kills all living things, we know that eventually life will win over death, the grass will return, the flowers will return, and the trees will return.

God has given us the greatest gift of being born again, or being resurrected, and He sent His beloved son Jesus Christ to show us the way.  It doesn't matter if we die in the Spring of life, or in the winter of life, or some where in between.  It doesn't matter what our life's circumstances have been, whether we have led a charmed life, or a troubled life.  Eventually the ominous clouds will gather and we will die.   But because of the resurrection and atonement of our Savior, Jesus Christ, we will all live again to meet our Redeemer and be reunited with our loved ones!!

'Oh what comfort this sweet sentence gives, 
"I know that my Redeemer lives!"'  
(I know That My Redeemer Lives

I hope you have a peaceful Easter Sunday.

P.S.  This photo was taken with my iphone.  I was sitting on the ground and had the phone resting on my foot for a low angle and to keep it steady.  I did a fair amount of post processing as well.



Friday, April 18, 2014

More Desert Beauty

Are you tired of cactus photos yet????  

The desert does not display it's spring treasures in a grand way.  In fact, sometimes one has to go on a 'treasure' hunt and look closely to find such beautiful and colorful blooms such as these.  I went on a little desert hike with a local photo club the other day, and the leader had already scouted out the route for the hike and lead us to some beautiful blooming cacti, some of which are rare in our immediate area.  I wish I could remember the names of all of them.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

White Prickly Poppy

Two compositions of this desert flower.  Can't decide which I like the best.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Valley of Fire Bloom

Valley of Fire Challenge

On a recent trip home from a car show in Las Vegas, I took a detour through Valley of Fire State Park.  As is often the case when I can snatch some time for photography, it was in the middle of a bright, sunny, windy, hot, cloudless day.  So I didn't bother taking shots of all the red cliffs because the colors would be washed out, there would be deep shadows and the sky would be plain and boring.  So I found this scene with one lone bloom and used it as the focal point for my composition.  Because the flower was relatively small and not very colorful against the red sand, I used a wide angle lens and shot very close in order to exaggerate its size.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Lunar Eclipse

Lunar Light Show

I must be nuts to be posting this at 3:00 am, but I decided that I would try to photograph the eclipse and the full eclipse did not take place until around 1:30 am.  Then sleep eluded me, so here I am!  
This photo is a composite of two shots with two different lenses.  The moon was taken with a telephoto in manual: 300mm, 1 sec, f/11, ISO 2500.  The mountain was taken with a wide angle in manual:  16mm, 30 sec, f/11, ISO 1600.  I combined them in Photoshop.  In full resolution, there is quite a bit of noise.  I did not increase the saturation at all, but found it interesting that what I saw with my eyes was not nearly as orange as the color the camera captured. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Desert In Bloom at Dusk

The spring desert at dusk turns a sharp, harsh landscape of midday into soft blue greens, dotted with brightly colored blooms.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Desert Scene at Sunset

Desert Beauty - Up Close & Personal

To truly appreciate the desert, I think one needs to take a close and intimate view.  While there are some quite large and 'showy' desert plants like the saguaro, joshua and ocatilla, many are seemingly not very impressive or even noticeable if you are looking out the window of a moving car.  At the end of our day of ATV riding, (when I took the last two posts), the light was almost gone after sunset and while Jeff was loading our RZRs on the trailer, I took a short walk out into the desert.  I was surprised at all I saw that I hadn't noticed from a few yards away.  I love this combination of the interesting, sharp spined barrel cactus, along with the delicate look of the tiny spring flowers.  I couldn't see any of this from the road.

So here are my thoughts for today.  Don't stand on the side of the road, or look outside your window and think that you are seeing all the beauty there is to see.  Take a stroll off 'the beaten path', or down the "road less traveled".  Take time to stop, listen, observe and look at the hidden beauty all around that most people don't see.  In other words, don't view nature as an outsider looking in.  Instead, be an actively, observant insider and you will not only increase you skills as a photographer, but even more importantly, you will gain greater reverence for our Creator who made this magnificent world we are privileged to live in and enjoy!