I took this photo: Fluidity, a mass in motion

sky full of gulls
Franklin’s gulls over the apparently misnamed Crow Lake.

You never really know what you’re going to get. Central South Dakota is not exactly a hotspot. I blew through it a few times on the interstate. If you can call five and a half hours blowing through. It was just a necessity of moving from point A to point B. They raised the speed limit to 80 recently. That helps.

For a month one autumn I drove around in circles in central South Dakota. I wasn’t lost or stuck. I was looking for migrating birds. I didn’t find what I was looking for. And that was a good thing.  It seems I was the one who should have been migrating.

One evening there was a horde of Franklin’s gulls, on Crow Lake. Naturally. It was dusk, the light was beautiful. In my endless circling, I saw the flocks, pushed by the wind, accumulating in the southern bay. In the air and on the water, they were everywhere.

I took this photo for the light, the motion, and the fluidity of the scene. I returned at dawn, better prepared to photograph the migrating mass, but, in the air or on the water, there were no birds anywhere.

 

Hart Mountain – spring delights

For too many years Hart Mountain was out of my line of travel and added just enough extra time and miles to the trip at hand that I by-passed it. This spring I made the effort to go there, just there, and was well rewarded. It is a long slog from anywhere, the roads can be quagmires, the dust invasive, the heat crushing, and the mosquitoes draining. May it always remain this way.

 

butterfly flower
Swallowtail and balsamroot
sagebrush, thunderheads
Sky drama
raptor harrier
Looked down upon by a northern harrier
Subtle layers of color and texture
hills valleys
Sagebrush landscape
glowing yellow flowers bumblebee
Bumblebee with balsamroot

The commercial strip v. the National Monuments – a request for stay of execution

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah
On the executioner’s block: Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

 

It is already true that one can be dropped on any commercial strip in the USA and have no idea where they are. Each is so much the same, so not unique, that Chattanooga and Bakersfield look much the same. We have eradicated the prairies, slaughtered the forests, and filled the wetlands, must we also quash the individuality of the national monuments and make them conform to the ideals of capitalism, consumerism, and corporate expansion? What of calm, contentment, and courage to step outside of the box, to appreciate the subtle realm of time, space, and light that is not under our control? Where will we go for peace when we have used up all that is wild?

You have seen my photos over the last year. Many of those photos were taken in national monuments (including the two on this page). If you enjoyed my meager attempts at conveying the intensity of these landscapes, you will enjoy this (free ebook) photographic journey through the national monuments by exquisite landscape photographers

http://landalmostlost.com/

And, I hope you will send comments in support of retaining the national monuments.

 https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=DOI-2017-0002-0001

Stay the executions.

Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument
Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument

 

Spring reflections on Emigrant Lake

Spring arrived on Emigrant Lake recently. The lake is calm and beautiful and rowers are again plying its waters. Larkspurs and biscuitroot are blooming. The oaks are pushing leaves. The Siskiyous create a misty, almost-mythical backdrop.

Ashland, Oregon, spring
Morning row on Emigrant Lake.
Siskiyou Mountains, spring, clouds
Reflections on Emigrant Lake.
Siskiyou Mountains, Ashland, Oregon
Inundated island of oaks in Emigrant Lake.
Emigrant Lake, Siskiyou Mountains, Ashland, Oregon
Yellow-rumped warbler in spring oaks.
yellow-rumped warbler, Siskiyou Mountains, Ashland, Oregon
Topsy-turvy. Can’t.quite.reach.

Winter Solstice

Happy Winter Solstice!

All the best and brightest for 2017!

beartown-trees
Spring trees after morning rain. Beartown State Forest, Massachusetts
yampa
Yampa River valley, cottonwoods, snow, and afternoon light. Colorado
mt-baker-3
Fern aliens. How can so many shades of green live in one place? Mount Baker, Washington
Sea alien – A.K.A. anemone. Deception Pass State Park, Washington
paintbrush
Paintbrush in lichen-laden sagebrush. Steens Mountain, Oregon
Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah
The road through Candy Land
capitol-reef-3409
Fall color against red rock. Capitol Reef National Park, Utah
needles-8817
Super moon set. Canyonlands National Park, Utah
grand-canyon-7832
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
africa-4433
Kalahari Milky Way. Botswana
africa-5407
Zebra-belly nap face. Moremi National Park, Botswana
Moremi National Park, Botswana
Personal grooming is important in maintaining superiority.
Elephant knees and toenails and a little one tucked under the trunk. Chobe, Botswana
Lilac-breasted roller. Moremi National Park, Botswana
Paradise Found, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Quieter moments

 

Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, Botswana
Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, Botswana
Maun, Botswana
Okavango Delta, Botswana
Waterbuck, Zimbabwe
Emerald-spotted wood dove, Moremi National Park, Botswana
Whoa, amazing butt balance.
sunset elephant
midnight stars, Maun, Botswana
midnight stars, Maun, Botswana

Next in a series…

A red-billed oxpecker having breakfast on a giraffe. Moremi National Park, Botswana
I don’t want to follow the crowd. Moremi National Park, Botswana
Communal bath; the bumps in the background… crocs. Moremi National Park, Botswana
Big bull rolling in the mud. Moremi National Park, Botswana

A handful of African birds

Southern red-billed hornbill preening, Moremi National Park, Botswana
White-backed vultures, Moremi National Park, Botswana
Southern yellow-billed hornbill, Moremi National Park, Botswana
Arrow-marked babbler, Moremi National Park, Botswana
Lilac-breasted roller, the national bird of Botswana, Moremi National Park, Botswana

 

First images of Africa

Africa-4415
Koi San Bushman couple, Kalahari Desert
African darter sunning
Crocodile in grass
Africa-4499
Okavango Delta ripples and reflections
Poling in a mokoro, Okavango Delta
Africa-4537
Collecting turpentine grass for thatch, Okavango Delta
water lilies, Okavango Delta
roosting bats, Okavango Delta

Sing like a winter wren

Winter wrens are the tiniest little forest birds yet they have a huge, crazy-long song. They throw their heads back and put their whole body, heart, and soul into each note. They barely weigh a third of an ounce (~9g) but their song resonates throughout the deep forest.

I doubt any human has as much heart or soul as a winter wren, but being about 7,000 times heavier, I hope to make that up through sheer mass.

I want to sing like a winter wren.