Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Back from Namibia

It's early Tuesday morning  July 17 and I've been back three days from a month long trip to Southern Africa.  We traveled by road some 3,500 miles from Uppington, South Africa, through Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in Botswana and then spending close to three weeks exploring the absolute beauty of Namibia.  I have thousands and thousands and thousands of photographs to go through, but it will be pure joy.  Our leader, Todd Gustafson was beyond the beyond.  So smart, so funny, so human, so gifted.  And his beautiful wife Julie - there are no better people than these two on this planet.  The stories they could tell.  They are both gifted musicians (trumpets) and know every song in the book.  And know all the players.  One of the hundreds of great memories was driving predawn with the moon lighting our way in our Land Rover at high speed on a dusty road to capture the sunrise at a place called Dead Vlei in the farthest reaches of the park.  Gorgeous sand dunes and mountains bordering us on both sides of the road and "What a Marvelous Night for a Moon Dance" blaring on the tape recorder.  A lot of seat dancing going on in my seat with tears of joy coming down my face.  Oh what a trip.  Here are a few first photos:  (Click on photo for better viewing.)
Momma Cheetah - We held our breath as she posed for us on top of the termite mound

Sunset from my window along the Atlantic Coast of Namibia

The Pregnant Meerkat

Baby Cheetah with Mom and Sister 

Gorgeous Sand Dunes of the Namibia Desert

Sunset on the Quiver Tree Forest

Brothers Singing a Duet

Mom and the Kids

Monday, June 18, 2018

Botswana and Namibia - Here I come!!

In a few hours I am headed for the wilds of Botswana and Namibia in Southern Africa.  If all goes as planned I should be back home July 14.  Looking so forward to seeing lots of critters like the two below.  And if the internet gods allow, I will try to post intermittent wonders along the way.  Take good care until then.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Kingbird Takes a Ride

The redtailed hawk was screeching for what seemed like hours yesterday in Valley Forge.  He was not happy with me or anybody.  And the rest of the animal kingdom had had enough.  Finally the kingbird took matters into her own hands, dive-bombed the loudmouth and then took him for a ride. (Click to see that ride!)

Friday, June 15, 2018

My New Friend - The Indigo Bunting

I heard this little guy's "chip" or "spit" sound high in a tree in Valley Forge.  The sound got louder as I got closer.  I started chipping back and he stopped chipping and was very quiet.  I waited but I could no longer spot him, so I started to walk away when he flew to a branch much lower and closer to me and started the chipping sound again.  I spotted him and chipped back and he chipped back and we had just a wonderful photo session.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Cheiracanthium Spider on the Peony

I had just cut the peony that had fallen over in the rain and was about to put it in a vase, when the beautiful Cheiracanthium spider came out of the petals to say hello. Click on him to get a better view of that wonderful face.

Monday, June 4, 2018

The Inchworm

I saw this little inchworm drop from a leaf onto a branch and thought  it might be a tent caterpillar, but when I got closer I could see he had that famous inchworm crawl - bend and stretch.  I looked up what exactly is an inchworm and leaned it is a caterpillar in the Geometridae family of moths.  Who knew????

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Photo Shoot with The Wonderful Black Male Jumping Spider

Take a close look and you will see the reflection of my macro lens in his four front eyes.  Then he does a little dance and gives me his side view.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

The Groundhog in the Stairwell

I saw this little groundhog walk past the patio door this afternoon.  I grabbed my camera and ran outside.  He was caught in the breezeway as the little red gate was closed.  Got his head stuck between the little slats in the gate.  I went over to the gate and scared him so much he pulled his head out and ran down the steps to the basement.  I decided to just back up and give him some space.  Talked to him for a few minutes even though I couldn't see him.  Finally he came to the top of the steps, peeked out and then ran away as fast as he could.  Loved having a new little visitor today.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The Mute Swan

Yesterday I woke up early and got to John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge by 6:30.  The mute swan was waiting for me and posed for many a photo.  It was a good thing as I was using my new Nikon D850 and the only way I could process the photos was in Lightroom and/or Photoshop.  I had a wonderful three hour lesson on Lightroom today from a marvelous young and very talented photographer  - Ray Hennessy.  He had the patience of a saint while I slowly began to absorb how this new software works.  Here are two photos of that beautiful swan enhanced a bit by Lightroom ala Ray.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

The Little Toad in the Grass

My friend Christian Hunhold came over today and graciously helped me process my first photograph in Photoshop.  I am on a steep learning curve here folks, but I am determined to learn this new software.  This little toad making his way from the pond to the woods is my inspiration.  Keep your fingers crossed.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

It's Just Been One of Those Days

I recently purchased a new camera - the Nikon D850 which is a total gem, except for the fact that I cannot import the images from the camera into my software for processing them.  The image software I use is Apple's old outdated Aperture.  I have resisted going to photoshop all these years, but now am being forced to with this new camera.  I worked almost all day today trying to figure out just a little of photoshop.  I feel just about as frustrated as this little gosling...... Tomorrow is a new day.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The March of the Toads

About a week ago I was looking in the two ponds in the lower field at Pauling's Farm in Valley Forge and noticed large black moving blobs.  When I looked closer I realized the blogs were hundreds of baby tadpoles.  Today, I went back and looked in the pond and saw nothing.  Just a few water bugs.  As I turned to go, I noticed a little moth land in the brush near the pond.  I kneeled down to take a picture and saw all this movement in the grass.  Again, I looked closer and there were hundreds of little tiny frogs or toads that had emerged from the pond and were making their way back into the woods where they would reside until next spring.  It was amazing to see all these little tiny creatures hopping towards the woods.  I would pick up leaves and find maybe ten little toads under each leaf.  I picked up a few and tried to place them on wildflowers with limited success.  These little guys were less than 1/2 the size of my pinky fingernail.  They were fast and quite elusive.  Here are a few of the toads I found.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Yumiko Officially Graduates from NYU this Very Morning!!!

Yumiko shakes hands with Gene Andrew Jarrett, Dean of NYU's College of Arts and Sciences.  She graduated officially today cum laude.
The Golden Tassel

With Aunt Barbara Reid

A Kiss for Mom

So Proud!!