Super Bowl Sunday Photos

So, as I understand it from the countless millions of people talking about it, I guess there was some big game on Sunday?  Something to do with a ball and a bunch of men running around?  Maybe someone can explain the appeal to me, because I really don’t get it, and know nothing about football.  I hear the commercials were pretty terrible, too, including the Budweiser one.

For me, I spent part of Sunday watching the Walking Dead marathon on AMC and while I wasn’t home working on projects while watching TV, I was out taking photos, and I was quite happy doing so.

 

 

gull

Above, a gull.  Don’t ask me what kind.  I have no idea.  About the only thing I know about gulls is that the term “sea gull” is not really a term.  There is no such bird as a sea gull.  It’s just a catch all phrase that encompasses the hundreds of varieties of gulls you might see near a sea  (see?!)

Below, a ring neck pheasant.  Not to be confused with a ring neck gull or a ring beak gull….

pheasant

Below, and yep!  Another coyote!!  Woot to photographing things that don’t have feathers…

coyote

Although, I won’t complain when that feathered thing is a beautiful Bald Eagle!  Hoorah!

eagle

kestrel

Above, another American Kestrel.  Not the best photo, but this is a small bird (like the size of a cockatoo) and it was far away.  Pretty though.  I hope to get better photos of Kestrels later in the year when there are more of them around (more chances!)

Below, and speaking of needing to get better photos…. this was sooo cool!  I get super duper excited when I see new species that I have not photographed before.  This is a harrier hawk, and she was very very very far away.  The only reason I got this quasi decent photo of her is because this bird was huge — ie… bigger than the Bald Eagle.  This was an amazing bird, gliding and stopping mid-air over the field, diving down to get prey and coming back up.  I watched her for several long minutes.  This was about the best shot I got.

harrier

Must go back and attempt better photos.  I know the spot where this bird lives.  I’ve seen her at least 3 times, but this is the first time I managed a photo.

Have a great day and enjoy!

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Love Thy Neighbor

That was today’s sermon at church.  I have to tell you, church is new to me.  I’ve always known “God” has been there somewhere, but I did not realize, until about 14 months ago when this journey I began started– the journey to finding myself, my strength, my spirit.  It started with music, and slowly this entity who had never “really” been a part of my life began seeping in bit by bit, song by song, lyric by lyric.  I heard these words and they began to make sense and in that sense I found strength and in that strength, I found the realization that God has influenced, changed, and controlled my life in every way since the day I was born.

If I was to write my life’s story, it would be no easy read.   But I think back to the abuses I endured as a young child… to the poor decisions involving heroine addicts as a teenager…. to the continued allowance of abuse in my life when I said “I do”, and I realize that God had to pretty much use a jack hammer to drill the lessons I needed to learn into my thick head.

It took 36 years— I’ve got the next 36 years to figure out what to do with myself now.

So… I’ve made many mistakes and met many less than awesome “neighbors”.  Love them?  Well – yes.  I can.  I can forgive, but that is not to say I want to invite them back into my life, either.  I can forgive because my heart craves it.  It craves peace.  It craves to provide a love that I’ve never had for myself unto others.  Every life’s lesson I’ve had in my life — all of them — have empowered me, as poor and difficult as they were to experience when I went through them.

The next point of the sermon I heard today was, that although you should love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you (Matthew 5:43-48), you should also mark them and avoid them. (Romans 16:17-18)

I realize I’m taking a little bit of a stretch at this interpretation since the verses I refer to specifically address those who try to take you away from God, but truthfully, it applies to anyone who willfully does you harm – those who use you, persecute you, curse you… your enemies.  Love them, pray for them, but stay away from them.

Even if you’re not spiritual (notice, I said SPIRITUAL… not religious) – those are powerful words, and they are in the Bible.  Those words tell you what to do for yourself.  They tell you to be strong enough not to live in hatred… not to seek revenge against those who had wronged you, but to forgive and love them so your heart can be filled with light, not darkness.  But those words also tell you to stay away from them in the future — and that advice right there is worth cracking open the Bible alone.

So simple, so powerful, and so true.

So, love thy neighbor.  Be strong within yourself.  Stay away from those who have wronged you.  Let your light shine.

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I may have been down, but I’m not out

In so many ways.

I’ve been down mentally for quite a while, but still trying to focus on the things that make me ME – horses; photography; and science fiction costuming.  Well, the first two, I’ve been able to pursue more than the latter.   But I am thrilled to say I am back at all 3, although of course, the horses are on winter break.

In the last few months, with so many changes taking place in my life, including a month-long homelessness, plus the fact that my computer died earlier in the year, I wasn’t doing much with photography either.  Everything had to get set aside until I got my life in order.

Now I’m back.  It’s still a winter slump, and I’ve found that the most I photograph in the winter are hawks and deer.  And … to that end….

Deer

 

RTH1

… I will be posting my photography to this blog going forward.  I used to post to a different blog, but I’ve shut it down with the New Year.  Everything is changing!  I only want to manage a single blog for my thoughts, my horses & my photography.

I was THRILLED with these captures, and yes, they are both wild animals.  What a lovely Red Tailed Hawk.  While I’m not necessarily a “bird person”, I do enjoy photographing raptors and water birds like herons & cranes.

 

I’m hoping to take a little photo journey in a couple weeks to photograph some eagles, but it has to get a whole lot colder than it has been.  In the mean time, I may go out in the next two weeks or so and try to find more beautiful Red Tail Hawks!

 

Enjoy and have a wonderful and blessed day!

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When Photography Goes Right

I have to admit, fall is probably my worst time for photography.  In fact, I do very little, if any, photography in the fall.  The leaves are nice, but hard to catch in “peak color” before they all fall off.  Bugs are gone for the year, and so are all the migrating and water birds.  For me, it’s just not a great time.  I don’t like bare trees – they are much prettier either covered in ice or lush and green.  So for me, fall is really an “in between” time waiting on the snow and then again waiting on spring for beautiful signs of life everywhere.

In part due to the season, and in part due to other commitments, I have barely taken any photos in October or November, and the ones I have taken are not really stellar.

However, I spent a little bonding time with my relatively new D7100 I purchased only about 2 months ago and have barely used due to the season… and I went out looking for hawks and eagles.

Winter is a great time to spot hawks.  Just look up. If you are anywhere near trees and fields, you are bound to see one.  The most common hawk in America is a Red Tailed Hawk (often abbreviated RTH), fyi.  Odds are, you’ll spot one if you look.

So, off on my adventure I went, and yes, I did spot several RTH.  5 of them, in fact.

However, they weren’t what got me all tingly and excited this time around!  Nope!

As I was driving around, I spotted about 4 or 5 American Kestrels!  Now this is a cool little bird, and I was excited to spot them, but they aren’t the “cream of the crop” for this photo shoot.
The American Kestrel is a falcon.  It happens to be the smallest falcon in the United States.  What a pretty bird, with its blue feathers and red highlights and black spots and lines.  Such a great capture!

kestrel1

And then, my eye spied something way way more exciting!!!!!!

coyote 2coyote 3coyote

It is not often I come across animals that aren’t birds or insects.  I was THRILLED to spot this beautiful, lush, and healthy, coyote trotting his way around a field.   He caught a mole or maybe it was a mouse, hard to tell, in the top photo, and just made for all around great photography!

I have been saying I want a coyote for a while now, and I was floored when I saw such a beautiful one!  What a treat.  So, now I have the Bald Eagles, the perfect Great Blue Heron and Sand Hill crane captures, and I managed to get a fantastic coyote I will probably never top in my life!

What else is on my photography bucket list?  Well… a fox, maybe.  A moose, elk, and bear would be great.  Also a hawk or eagle attacking its soon-to-be-dinner.
We’ll see what 2016 has in store for me photography wise.  2016 does promise to be a VERY EXCITING year…. SO many changes.  So many new adventures.

 

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