Nature’s Details

“The beauty of the natural world lies in the details.”
~Natalie Angier (1958- ) author and Pulitzer-prize winning science columnist for the New York Times

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These are grapes ripening on a vine in Napa Valley.  Observe the variety and the shades of color for grapes in just one cluster.  Amazing.

 

 

Black-capped Chickadee

“We learned to be patient observers like the owl.  We learned cleverness from the crow; and courage from the jay, who will attack an owl ten times its size to drive it off its territory. But, above all of them ranked the chickadee because of its indomitable spirit.”

~Tom Brown, Jr. (1950- ) American naturalist, tracker, survivalist, and author

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Anyone who gardens around chickadees can tell you about the curiosity and the pluck of this little bird.  Whether I am digging in the dirt on my hands and knees, walking through the yard with a garden hose to water, or scrubbing out the bird bath with a wire brush I  will regularly witness a chickadee on a nearby branch peering at me in a quizzical manner.  They tilt their head and look at you with just one of their eyes as if to say, “Who are you and what are you doing here?”  I think of them as my little guardians of the garden and enjoy their antics immensely.

Imogen Cunningham

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Imogen Cunningham (1883-1976) was named by her father after the heroine of Shakespeare’s play, Cymbeline. She was an American photographer known for her photography of botanicals, nudes and industry.

Cunningham began her lengthy career in 1901 after sending away for a $15 camera. Her photographic work was varied and included numerous exhibitions, a career with Vanity Fair, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Even at the age of 92, Cunningham continued to create with a work that would be her last, a book entitled  After Ninety. The book featured portraits of the elderly, many of whom were her friends.

Stop and See the Flowers

“There is more to life than increasing its speed.”

~Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) Anti-war activist and Indian nationalist

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Visiting a local conservatory can be a welcome and uplifting break from the days of winter that are cold and drab.  This was taken at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory located in Como Park of Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Magic Moments

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”

~William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), Irish Poet

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After a long day of traveling in the country looking for an intriguing subject to photograph I was headed home.  I had taken some interesting shots, but they all paled in comparison to the amazing pink clouds that appeared on the horizon for the evening sunset.  I was not in the best place for a typical sunset shot, but I am still grateful to this family of cows.

Stress Relief


“If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there’d be a shortage of fishing poles.”

~Doug Larson, (1926- ) American Journalist

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I took this shot on a gorgeous fall day while traveling out west.  I was walking and felt rather envious when I noticed the men out fishing on the river.  We must never get so busy  that we fail to take note of the beautiful world which surrounds us!

 

Powerful Beyond Measure

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Marianne WilliamsonA Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”

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A Gray Jay stretching his wings to fly!

Bountiful Crops

“Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.

~Ovid (43BC – 17 AD), Roman Poet

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This is a field of corn yet to be harvested.  When do farm fields rest?  Seems like a simple question, right?  I tried googling this topic and was overwhelmed with the theories and practices on this subject!  While experts agree that it is important for soil to rest, how and when to proceed is a complex process involving weed control, soil testing, fertilizer assessment, potential for grazing, crop analysis…well, perhaps this gives you an idea of the complexity.  I suspect Ovid would be surprised at how much we have learned since back in the day.

I am grateful again for farmers and the work that they do for all of us!

Interconnection

“In nature we never see anything isolated, but everything in connection with something else which is before it, beside it, under it and over it.”

~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832), German writer and statesman

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This Hairy Woodpecker on a deer carcass confused me.  What would a woodpecker be doing on a carcass?  The cold winter weather would no doubt prevent insect activity, right?

Internet research revealed to me that the fat found on a carcass such as this one helps to satisfy the woodpecker’s nutritional needs for survival in frigid weather.  The interconnectedness of nature continues to amaze me!

Quotes for Photographers

I sure enjoy viewing the work of other photographers on wordpress!  Some of them have been kind enough to follow my blog as well.  So, to celebrate this common interest I have added a new category — photographer quotes.  Wise words from famed photographers that may be of interest.

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Dorothea Lange was an influential American documentary photographer and photojournalist, best known for her Depression-era work for the Farm Security Administration (Wikipedia).

I hope this category will appeal to others too.

Thanks for stopping by!

That Cycle of Life

“I prefer winter and Fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape — the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show.”

~Andrew Wyeth, (1917-2009) American artist

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This place currently covered by a blanket of snow looks so still and quiet.  Once spring arrives, however, the ice will melt to free the water in the pond.  The trees will blossom, the birds will arrive to nest, and color will return.  Life will begin anew.

Bird Dog

Pets can certainly influence our engagement with nature.  This is my dog, Emmet. He is a rescue dog that mostly resembles an English Pointer.  He has an amazing sense of smell and is fascinated by birds of all sorts.

Since I do not hunt with a gun, but use a camera instead, he has taken it upon himself to point out birds in our vicinity.  I had to laugh when he ran to the bird feeder to “point” at the birds that were visiting.  He looked rather surprised when they all flew away upon his arrival.  Oh, Emmet…still so much to learn.  Thanks for making me smile.

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My Austrian Pine

“People in suburbia see trees differently than foresters do.  They church every one.  It is useless to speak of the probability that a certain tree will die when the tree is in someone’s backyard.  You are talking about a personal asset, a friend, a monument — not about board feet of lumber.”

~Roger Swain, former television host of The Victory Garden on PBS

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I completely agree with Roger Swain’s statement. This hawk took shelter from a recent snowstorm by landing in an Austrian Pine that grows in my backyard.  Over the years this particular tree has played host to countless birds and squirrels in all sorts of weather.  It has provided me with shade in the summer and been a joy to observe after a fresh snowfall.

I’m guessing it is close to 50 years old now and its age is beginning to show.  The last couple years there has been less new growth and fewer pine cones, but I continue to do what I can to keep it alive.  I know that I will not see another tree of this size in my backyard during my lifetime again.

Godlight

“Any patch of sunlight in a wood will show you something about the sun which you could never get from reading books on astronomy. These pure and spontaneous pleasures are ‘patches of Godlight’ in the woods of our experience.”
~C.S. Lewis

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A walk on a white and silent winter day revealed to me another fine creature of this earth.    Gobble, gobble!