The Dancer

The Dancer
Graceful dead tree up above Deep Canyon.

Monday, January 31, 2011

"Green" ~Weekly Color 013011

I visited the Living Desert Reserve Friday afternoon last week, after school. I REALLY needed to get out and forgetabout my class of third graders! So, off I went for some "outdoor" time! It was such a pretty afternoon there...clear, blue sky and afternoon light! I just took this one to show all the various kinds of cacti there. Weekly Color for January 30, 2011, "green". To see other participants, please visit: http://livingtakestalent.blogspot.com/


Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bighorn sighted, but not by me! SOOC Sunday 013011




...sigh...no, these photos were taken at the Living Desert Reserve in Palm Desert, at the end of Deep Canyon. They have a captive herd of bighorn there and this young female was out eating her alfalfa one morning when we were there. The keeper had just put alfalfa out at various spots up on their hill. I didn't see the rest of the herd, so I'm not sure where they were! I drove up Highway 74 yesterday and stopped at the Paradise Corner Cafe for some breakfast. I was eating at the counter when a gal stopped in and sat down next to me. Turns out, she was from Missouri and had just driven up about 10 minutes behind me, on 74. SHE saw a bighorn sheep. It crossed the road right in front of her and then started grazing right off the road! ACK! I'm so envious! I did spot two of them grazing off the road last fall and I stopped to take photos of them while cars zipped around me and never even slowed down! They are very difficult to see among the rocks unless you look for the white on their rumps! So, she was indeed lucky! Maybe I'll see one this morning? SOOC Sunday for January 29, 2011. To visit SOOC, please stop by: http://www.murrieta365.com/


Friday, January 28, 2011

Orchid Tree~Macro Flowers Friday 012811


I've been trying out my newly-acquired knowledge of macro settings this week. I walk by this orchid tree at my school every day and I finally stopped to admire one of the blossoms. I walked all the way around it and settled on the best angle after school, when all the kiddos went home (...or most of them!) Isn't it gorgeous? I'm going to keep my eye on this tree and snap some pics every now and then. Macro Flowers for Friday, January 28, 2011. Oh, I found out its name. It is the Hong Kong Orchid tree, bauhinia blakeana. Our local desert water district has a calendar and it is featured on the May calendar page. It describes them as being very tough and says it can withstand both heat and cold. I'm thinking, "Yeah, and 8 year olds as well!" That's because this one is right in the middle of our quad at school and kids walk by it every day. Hmmmm....I'm going to have to look for one to buy for my front yard!

Lone photographer~SkyWatch Friday 012711

A lone photographer climbed up this cliff at Anza-Borrego state park when we were there for a photography class. I wonder what he saw? SkyWatch Friday for January 27, 2011.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Vulture~Nature's Notes 012711











I haven't seen any vultures up in or near Deep Canyon now for several months. I did see a flock? murder? of crows a couple of weeks ago. There were over 50 of them and they swirled in the thermals above me! I'd NEVER seen that before! But, not one vulture sighting...Part of that is due to the fact that I only travel up the road on weekends, as I work all week. I'm anxious to return this weekend and check out the wildflowers along the road. But, I'll also keep my eyes open for vultures. I found this one in the bird aviary at the Living Desert Reserve. He/she was preening and I was surprised by this, but, after all, vultures are birds and birds do preen, right? I like the bottom one...he/she seems quite proud of himself/herself! "Look! I'm all clean now!" Nature Notes for January 27, 2011. To see other participants in Nature Notes, please visit: http://ramblingwoods.com/




Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Bighorn! ABC Wednesday 012611

"B" is for bighorn, my entry for ABC Wednesday this week. This one was at the Living Desert Reserve, at the bottom of Deep Canyon. She was out eating her morning alfalfa. If you enlarge it, you can see alfalfa dangling from her mouth! She looked right at me, then turned her BUTT to me and went up into the rocks for more alfalfa. I didn't see any other ones there, and they usually have a herd of them, so I don't know where they were. I'm glad I had the opportunity to see this one up close. I saw a couple of them grazing by the road a few weeks ago, but they weren't very close and I didn't get good photos of them. I've only seen them on Highway 74 twice and both times were within a year. They do, however, come down from the mountains to munch on plants and shrubs on nearly developments and golf courses! ABC Wednesday for January 26, 2011.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Desert pond~Watery Wednesday 012611

This is the pond at the Living Desert Reserve in Palm Desert, at the end of Deep Canyon. I frequently go to the LDR to clear my head and to walk. They have so many interesting animals and exhibits there! I especially enjoy this pond. I love to smell the plants there and see the ducks, although there weren't any on this visit. Watery Wednesday for January 26, 2011.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Cropping and emotional attachment~Ruby Tuesday and Creative Exchange for January 25, 2011






At the Saturday class, our instructor was discussing how one gets emotionally detached to our photos. I got very attached to this photo of some bougenvilla blossoms which were blooming on the fence out in our front yard and I took this photo. I sent my work, proudly, to my instructor and received a very curt reply. I see now what she was talking about...that emotional attachment. I thought my photo was pretty and was creative. She thought it was unfocused and asked if it was windy that day! HUH? Yes, there was a slight breeze, but I didn't think it was out of focus...I was really confused and frankly, a bit crushed. So, I cropped it and cropped it and came up with this final one. What do you think? Which photo do you like best? Top? Middle? I forgot to mention that I sent her the middle one. Bottom? Do ANY of them give you that "wow" feeling? I would really appreciate your feedback! Or, am I now so emotionally invested in this photo that I can't think straight??? I liked the sort of transluscent feeling to the original one...how the sunlight came through one of the leaves and you can see the stamen through it, but maybe that's just my own feelings? I liked the blue sky background in the top one, but she said it was too fuzzy...??? Which one do you like best? Ruby Tuesday for January 25, 2011 and Creative Exchange for January 25, 2011. To visit Creative Exchange, please go to: http://www.lgordonphotography.com

Living Desert Reserve~grass~Mellow Yellow Monday 012411

Hubby and I took a photography class down in Anza-Borrego park on Saturday. The morning was about macro photography and the afternoon was panorama. And, the first thing the instructor said was, "Turn your camera to manual setting! NOW!" Huh? Manual? What's that? I just point and shoot. My hands started sweating, my face turned white, and I gulped. I'd never used the manual setting on my Nikon before (frankly, I hadn't used it since our kids were about three years old and they are now 30 something!)... So, yesterday hubby and I were anxious to try out our (my) newly acquired skills....er...uh...forget it! I, of course, immediately gave up after several overexposed shots and total frustration. Back to "mountain" setting or "flower" for me. I'm reading up on the manual setting for my Nikon and I'm anxious to try it, but I have a real big learning curve here. I'm going to set up my tripod this afternoon in my front yard and hopefully focus on some of my bougenvillas there which are blooming and try the manual setting again. I notice if I put it on aperature priority, it is taking 5 second shots! ACK! Isn't that a long time? I have a 55-200 lens and hubby told me to quit using the telephoto, so I may just switch to his 18-55mm one. Anyway, I saw these grasses at the Living Desert yesterday as we were leaving and stopped to take a quick shot of them. Mellow Yellow Monday for January 24, 2011.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Desert sunrise~SkyWatch Friday 012111

A desert morning at the end of Deep Canyon. Deep Canyon runs from the desert floor up through the Santa Rosa Mountains, in Palm Desert, CA. Highway 74 runs alongside it and offers many views of the valley below. SkyWatch Friday for January 21, 2011.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Animal tracks~Nature Notes January 20, 2011
















As I was driving up to see my horses this weekend, I decided to take my side road and check out the footprints. Let's see...it rained last about 8 days ago up there. And, yup...I found them again...mountain lion prints (see top photo). Apparently he/she has now claimed this road as its territory. I believe he or she passes through here (see rocks in bottom photo) to another territory, maybe down in the canyon. I don't see deer up in this area of the canyon, but there are plenty of rabbits and even bighorn sheep. Honestly, I'm puzzled because this road is frequently traveled by folks going in and out of a private development, and I spotted several human tracks going up and down it. (I'm learning to "read sign"!) But, there they were! I also noticed other animal tracks directly across the dirt road from them. It must have been a busy few nights up there! Finally, there was a dead coyote about 50 years from the road. I'm not sure if it was hit by a car and managed to crawl off the road to die or if the mountain lion killed it. IF that's what happened, would the mountain lion kill a coyote? It's head was pretty well mangled, but the rest of the body was intact...any ideas? Nature Notes for January 20, 2011.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Early wildflowers~Outdoor Wednesday 011911






While driving up Highway 74 yesterday, I noticed that there were several wildflowers (early bloomers!). After our current bout of warm weather and all of our rain in December, this should be a spectacular year for wildflowers! :-) Outdoor Wednesday for January 19, 2011.

Warm weather and sunshine~That's My World 011811











Yesterday was a warm, sunny day and so I headed up the highway to visit my horses. Along the way, I had to stop and take these photos. That's a curve on Highway 74, which goes from Palm Desert to Hemet. It also goes up to Idyllwild, but that's a different road. It is a curvy road and dangerous for those who exceed the posted speed limits and, unfortunately, on my way back down, a motorcyclist had crashed and was being attended to by other motorists. But, it was such a gorgeous and warm day, who couldn't resist getting out and enjoying the scenery? That's My World for Tuesday, January 18, 2011.




Saturday, January 15, 2011

Ponderosa Cabins, Mogollon Rim~Scenic Sunday and Day One: Weekend Outing 011611


Hubby and I have stayed at the Ponderosa Cabins, near Forest Lakes, high up on the Mogollon Rim, about 10 years ago. We rented a cabin there for a week and did nightly BBQs and watched the thunderheads come up every afternoon. I marveled at the blue jays by our cabin and we ate soup and sandwiches for lunch at the little cafe across the street. So, when we drove up to the Rim today, we stopped by the cabins. HA! Just LOOK at all the snow in the driveway! Nobody was home. Now we are thinking about renting another cabin there this summer and just enjoying the solitude of the Rim. Scenic Sunday for January 16, 2011. To see other participants, please visit Scenic Sunday: http://scenicsunday.blogspot.com/ To see other participants in Day One, Weekend Outing, please visit: http://fredamans.blogspot.com/2011/01/photo-time-weekend-outing.html. To see information on the Ponderosa Cabins, please visit their website: http://www.ponderosacabins.com/

I've always wanted to photograph...Round Robin Challenge 011511













I've always wanted to photograph snow blowing off the top of a mountain and on our last trip to the Sierras, in December, right before New Year's Eve, hubby and I drove up there for a 3 day trip. I had been under the weather with bronchitis and I'm STILL getting over it, but I bundled up and off we went. It was snowing in the Sierras the Wednesday afternoon we drove up there, but the next morning, oh, my! What a beautiful, white landscape. We stayed in Lone Pine and as soon as I woke up, I hopped up and ran across the highway (Highway 395) to view the Sierras near Mt. Whitney. Yes! There was snow blowing off the tops of them! I grabbed my camera and snapped away. Turns out, I didn't need to rush...the entire Sierra range, from Lone Pine to Bishop, had the same effect all day! Here are some pics of what I saw. Round Robin Challenge for January 15, 2011. To visit other participants, please visit: http://roundrobinphoto.blogspot.com/

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Ghost clouds~SkyWatch Friday 011311













Sometimes I look up in Deep Canyon and see what I call "ghost clouds". They aren't the big summer thunderheads. They aren't the cotton candy or "tractor clouds" that I often see. Instead, these are whispy clouds that I sometimes see over Deep Canyon. I found these up in Whitewater Canyon. Aren't they unusual and almost spirtual? I think they are and I LOVE to spot them! SkyWatch Friday for January 13, 2011.

Simple Pleasures 011311

I found a new weekly meme, Simple Pleasures (see link at the end of this post) and I'm excited to join in this week. For me, a simple pleasure is driving up Highway 74, which runs along Deep Canyon, and seeing what nature offers! On this day, clouds were hanging on the mountains and they were rising up from the canyon. I pulled over at a turnout and took a walk out to the edge of the cliff and looked out. These clouds were quickly moving up and through the canyon. For somebody who is inside all day during the week, I look forward to my time near the canyon and learning from it and getting some "nature time". Simple Pleasures for January 13, 2011. To visit other participants, please visit Simple Pleasures at: http://alittleofthisandthat2.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Blue sky and joshua trees







Somebody commented yesterday about our blue skies...well, our forecast is for sunny days for the next week AND temps in the high 70's! YES! Can you believe it? Yesterday was cloudy and cool, but today should warm up and then every day will become a little warmer until we'll be at 77 degrees by next Tuesday! Wanna come and join us?


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

San Andreas fault at Keys Point, Joshua Tree Natl. Park











Keys Point is a great place to visit and hubby and I stopped there on Saturday to view the Coachella Valley far below us. The point is over 5,000 feet and offers a wide view of our valley, including the San Andreas fault, which runs through the Indio Hills and Sky Valley (see first two photos). I have friends who have a ranch out in the Indio Hills and I used to board one of my horses there! But now I'm thinking, is that where the fault runs? Or, is it at the base of the mountains by Joshua Tree. I've always believed that it ran through Indio Hills because as you drive through Thousand Palms Canyon, you can see the uplifted cliffs, but I could be wrong. Please let me know if I am! Anyway, we always enjoy stopping at Keys Point because it gives us a completely different view of our world! :-)