- Yellowstone In Winter
- Animals/Birds of the Badlands, Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Parks 2016
- National Parks Landscapes 2016
- Animals of Yellowstone/Tetons/Badlands 2014
- Yellowstone/Tetons/Badlands Landscapes 2014
- Animals of Yellowstone/Tetons/Badlands 2012
- Yellowstone/Tetons/Badlands Landscapes 2012
- Animals of Yellowstone 2011
- Birds of Yellowstone 2011
- Yellowstone/Tetons Landscapes 2011
- Yellowstone Textures
- Custer State Park, SD
- Great Smoky Mountains NP
- Rocky Mountain National Park
- Utah National Parks
- About Me
After photographing the NEOWISE Comet (see previous post), it was a beautiful nearly clear night, so I went over to a nearby neighbor and took a few photos of their old barn with the Milky Way. Of course, there is always light pollution and haze on the horizon. The two bright planets just above the barn are Saturn on the left and Jupiter on the right.
My first glimpse of the NEOWISE comet last night about a half an hour after sunset while there was still sunlight on the horizon. It becomes more visible as the sky gets darker. The tail of the comet always streams away from the sun, it doesn't indicate the direction of travel. The comet in a huge elliptical orbit around the sun will be visible as the sky gets dark for at least the next couple of weeks (or more?) with a clear sky to the north. It can be seen now to the lower right of the Big Dipper, gradually, each night, moving closer to and into the Big Dipper in the NNW sky. If you miss it this time around it will be back again in 6,766 years.
[Click images to see larger]
Some summers the corn behind our property is too high for me to see the horizon. This year there are soy beans planted so I have no problem taking photos and videos of clouds and storms approaching or passing. The forecast today was for scattered storms, some severe, throughout the day so I set up the time-lapse cameras to capture the action. There are several clips in here taken throughout the day. My camera battery lasts two hours while letting the camera run with one exposure every five seconds which yields about 1 minute of video or one exposure every ten seconds for about 30 seconds of video. Then I have to change the camera battery.
Click below to view the video.
I like waterfalls, but they are pretty scarce in the flat lands of North Iowa. After a heavy rain the a few days ago I found this trickle of a waterfall at the Lime Creek Conservation Area. It probably won't last long.
Click the image to see larger and watch the short video below.
A lightning storm moving across the farm fields toward our house and lighting up the sky last night. I took these from the back of our property looking out over the fields. Taken with a telephoto lens and cropped. The picture to the left was the last image - 2 or 3 miles away, before I headed inside. The storm was getting a bit too close. I have read that lightning can travel two miles (or more) across the ground during a ground-strike. Sound travels a mile in 4.7 seconds, so if you see the lightning and hear the boom in 10-15 seconds or less it is time to move to safety. The image on the left below is a single 8-second exposure taken a few seconds before the last image. The other two, apparently over a neighbors homestead, were several miles away. The farm is a little over a mile away.
[Click images to see larger]
A House Wren in our yard with a bit of fuzz to put in the nest box. We've had wrens in this nest box every year for many years. I don't know if they are the same bird or offspring, but the birdhouse never goes unoccupied. This year we had Chickadees nesting early. I peeked in occasionally and watched the chicks grow up. When they fledged the nest the House Wrens moved in. But first they removed, one mouth full at a time, every single bit of the large Chickadee nest. There was fur, hair and moss in clumps blowing all over the yard. The the Wrens started filling up the box with small sticks and then lining the nest with softer things like this fuzz that this adult is about to take in to the nest box.
We have at least four Wren nests in different parts of our yard this year (as well as many nest of many other bird species). I have seen chicks in two of the Wren nests.
A great day for Dragonfly photos. All in one location at Pilot Knob State Park. This was during our 10 state parks in three days road trips. More about that later.
[Click images to see larger.]
The storm passed to the north of us last night with many storm cells active with lightning. I didn't know which way to point the camera. Out on a lonely rural road, this storm cell was at least 30 miles away. It is a composite of five images taken with the telephoto lens and cropped. I took multiple 15 second exposures hoping to get a lightning strike in each exposure. I threw away many more images than I kept. The second image was one single image taken in the same sequence. The auto white balance sometimes does strange things with the color,
[Click images to see larger.]
"Yeah, we know we're cute". Red Fox kits on private property in Kossuth County, IA. I watched and photographed these kits for about 5 hours today. I saw one for a brief time and then he popped back in to the den. Later two came out and then back in again. They were gone for quite awhile, probably sleeping. Eventually three came out and then a fourth. It didn't take much to spook them, a bird chirping, a sound or movement in the distance or even the wind blowing and they would all dive back in to the den. I got a few good photos. It was fun watching them. Photos taken from the car with telephoto lenses.
(Click images to see larger)
I'm often asked why I take so many pictures of the same subject. The simple answer is the next frame or the next photo outing may be better than the last. The photo on the left is a gray-morph Eastern Screech-Owl in a Wood Duck nest box. I thought it might be the only guest at the Cupola Inn Bed and Breakfast this spring. However, I went back the next day and got photos of a second gray-morph Eastern Screech-Owl in a different nest box from the first one that I photographed the previous day. Better lighting the second time and I was able to get a better view before it ducked back inside. The slight difference in color of these two images may be due to the lighting, time of day and auto-white balance on the camera. (Click images to see larger.)
Update 5/17/2020: I just saw that one of my Screech Owl photos is being used as the banner image on the Owl About Iowa Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/groups/owlaboutiowa/ .
It turned in to an all-day jaunt of bushwhacking and paddling, but I finally got some photos of one of the two Great Horned owlets that fledged the nest two days ago. Fortunately this one sat in the same tree all day (still a bit unsure of his wings), apparently waiting for me to get a somewhat clear view. Thanks to Dale for a great day of paddling.
(Click the images to see larger)
Day-one of backyard spring migratory birds. Everywhere I looked there was another bird. We've had Grackles, Red-winged Blackbirds, Starlings and Mourning Doves for several weeks, but this is the start of another wave of migrants. One of the highlights were several Eurasian Collared-Doves high in the trees (common in the south and southwest, but not common in my backyard). The first Brown Thrasher of the year (I love that yellow eye), Song Sparrows, White-throated Sparrows, Yellow-rumped Warblers, and half a dozen or more other warbler species that I couldn't identify or photograph because they move constantly from one branch to another. I also added a photo of a Robin enjoying the sunshine and taking a bath and a Chickadee. (Click images to see larger)
Just a few notes about my photos. See more on Facebook.