Return to the Sea 1: Rising

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California / Inspiration / Photo Log / Photography / Seascapes


January 28, 2017; Sonoma County, California. Heading home after a weekend on the coast. As I drove, I watched this squall develop over a period of thirty minutes but there was no place safe to pull off the road for an unobstructed view. Thought I was going to lose it for sure. Finally a safe turnout. And there she was, climbing out of the water, into the cloud.

(Nikon D750, Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR zoom. RAW processing in DxO Pro, Editing in Adobe Photoshop.

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Moses Supposes…

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Floral Photography / Florascape / Flower / Impressionism / Photography / Rose


…his toeses are roses…

(Regardless of the accuracy — or not — of Moses’s supposition, he was careful to watch the RGB histogram and underexpose 1.7 stops to keep from blowing out the red channel.)

(Nikon D850, AF-S VR Micro Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED. RAW processing in DxO PhotoLab 2.3; Editing in Adobe Photoshop.)

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Around the Neighborhood 3: Roberta

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California / Photo Log / Photography / Wildlife


July 13, 2019, Back Deck. Roberta was born about two years ago and we’ve been watching her grow since she was a kitten. She comes around every six weeks or so, patrols the yard, and moves on. Sometimes she looks inside and watches us. More often she gives the house a wide berth.

Last week she walked by about thirty feet away, heading for the steps on the deck. I grabbed the beast, confirmed that I was in spot-metering mode, opened the French door, and framed the shot. Once framed, I said, “kitty kitty kitty” and shot as she turned and gave me a look. The look said, “I am not a domestic cat. Don’t ‘kitty kitty kitty’ me.”

And with a twitch of the tail, she sauntered away.

How do I know she’s a she? I don’t, but everything I’ve read says that a two-year-old male bobcat would be larger than this one’s approximate fourteen-inch shoulder height. So, rightly or wrongly, it’s Roberta.

(Nikon D500, Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6 ED VR zoom. RAW processing in DxO PhotoLab 2.3; Editing in Adobe Photoshop.)

Around the Neighborhood 2: Red-Tailed Hawk

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California / Hawk / Photo Log / Photography / Wildlife


July 11, 2019, Just down the street. Red-tailed hawks have lived in my neighborhood for years but they have been stubbornly elusive when I’m out with a camera. One day last week I went out to get the mail and I heard hawk cries nearby. Several different voices. I looked up, into a tree and there they were. Three of them.

I dashed inside and got the beast — eight pounds of camera body and lens. While I was inside, the birds arranged themselves so that I couldn’t get all three in one shot. But this one sat alone on a branch, very interested in what I was doing.

(Nikon D500, Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6 ED VR zoom. RAW processing in DxO PhotoLab 2.3; Editing in Adobe Photoshop.)

Around the Neighborhood 1: A Tree

comments 26
California / Inspiration / Photography / Positivity


July 14, 2019, Los Gatos Creek Trail. For the past several weeks I’ve been in a mode of weekly themes. It does give me a focus, so I’ll continue — but this one is different: it’s a smattering of what I’ve shot in and near my neighborhood in the past week or so. Not deathless photography, but it does make a nice potpourri. In many cases it proves the adage, the best camera is the one you have with you.

Most recent one first, shot with my phone yesterday on a Sunday morning walk. I’m generally adamant in my view that tree carving is unacceptable, but for this one I’ll make an exception. I hope the tree is proud to carry this message.

(iPhone 8. Editing in Adobe Photoshop.)

Drawn Away 2: Sprite Rising

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Abstract / Photography / Seascapes / Sunset


Today, in the United States, we celebrate Independence Day. It’s the anniversary of the day in 1776 when our forefathers said, “enough.” We declared ourselves independent of tyranny.

We, as a culture, have been — and remain —  fiercely independent. We carry that spirit of independence as a badge of honor. And we should. We fought hard for these values:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

These words are as true now as they have ever been. But many things have changed in the years that have transpired since 1776. Our technical advances have made the world more complex and more interdependent. And our population has grown. Today, the action of one individual can have world-wide ramifications. With the exception of kings, that wasn’t true in 1776. It is true now.

Today’s reality is that independence must make peace with interdependence. In the world of 1776 where homesteads were separated by miles, with an average population density of about six people per square mile, pretty much anything could go without severely encroaching on the rights of others. Now, a typical city (Lynchburg, VA*) has a population density of 161 people per square mile. That’s a fairly small city. A larger city, Philadelphia for example, has a population density of 11,234 people per square mile. We are almost literally stepping on each other’s toes.

It’s not too difficult to see that in order for any of us to even have a decent shot at “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” we may need to make allowances for others. Here’s where personal independence and societal interdependence intersect and often conflict. But conflict is not inevitable. Not if each one of us takes some responsibility for the other guy.

We would do well to acknowledge that we may have different viewpoints on religion, politics, and economics. We may have different colors, genders, orientations, origins, and cultures. Yet we all have been “endowed by (our) Creator with certain unalienable Rights, …among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

If we all understand and respect the fact that we all have these rights, then we could — each one of us — independently decide to assist each other in fruition of these rights by showing that same respect for each other as individuals.

Then, as my sprite, we could all rise to greater heights.

Happy Fourth.

(Camera movement, intentional with a twist. Nikon D850, Tamron SP 24–70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2. RAW processing in DxO PhotoLab 2.3; Editing in Adobe Photoshop.)

*Google “typical US city” and you’ll get Lynchburg.

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New Zealand Wildlife 4: Birds

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Nature / New Zealand / Photo Log / Photography / Wildlife


July 1 and 2, 2018, Near Waipara, New Zealand. We were staying in a remote location near the Greystone Winery. Our trip was nearing the end and I was losing hope of getting a good shot of my favorite New Zealand bird: the New Zealand fantail — the Maori names being Pīwakawaka, Tīwakawaka, or Piwaiwaka. The trouble was, being insectivores, they were in constant darting motion playing “you can’t catch me,” which made them very difficult to track in flight, especially with an eight-pound camera-body and lens combination. At last, this one lighted in a tree and scowled at me. Actually, he probably wasn’t scowling, but his coloring made it look that way. I barely had time to focus and shoot before he was gone like a cool breeze.


I was happy, but my wife wanted a picture of a silvereye. Being omnivores, they will occasionally light — except when I’m trying to get a photo and it’s cold and I want to go inside for some hot coffee. But before I realized how challenging it would be, I’d promised not to come back without a good shot. And so I waited, standing perfectly still so as not to spook them, and cold-soaked my body. Finally this guy landed on a nearby fence, adjusted his position for a good pose, and patiently waited for me to get my shots. Portrait made, I went inside. The coffee was good.


The next day we hiked along the side of a canyon, my wife to explore and me to try to get a shot of the large swamp harrier I’d spotted the day before. Unlike her smaller darting distant cousins, this harrier was very accommodating as she slowly swept over the brush, patiently looking for lunch. I got my shot. She got her lunch.

(Nikon D500, Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR. RAW processing in DxO Pro; Editing in Adobe Photoshop.)

New Zealand Wildlife 3: Juvenile Delinquent Sea Lion

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Nature / New Zealand / Photo Log / Photography / Wildlife


June 28, 2018, Otago Peninsula, New Zealand. This is a bonus post. A few minutes before yesterday’s shots were made, this bigshot chased us off the beach. Tony told us this guy had been troublesome at times and had chased several people away. He told us to run if he started chasing. Run fast. New Zealand sea lions can sprint 26 kmh. (16 mph.)

My wife got the lead shot before he decided to mess with us. (First time I’ve posted one of her shots. Won’t be the last.)


I grabbed this shot an instant before he started to move on us. As a photographer, I must say that the shoot-or-run decision creates a noticeable amount of mental conflict — shoot or be squashed — but in the end, the desire not to be steamrollered by nine hundred pounds of testosterone-infused adolescent sea lion with infectious teeth won out. One shot and I ran.

Once we reached safety, he dejectedly lumbered away. We thought we could hear him mutter under his breath, “Gee Officer Krupke.”

(Nikon D750, 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 AF-P ED VR; Nikon D500, Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR. RAW processing in DxO Pro; Editing in Adobe Photoshop.)