Supermoon Lunatic

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I clearly remember the night last year, turning into my neighborhood to see  the biggest harvest moon ever coming over the horizon. It looked so close, it was as if I could walk up the hill and touch it. It took my breathe away.  Of course, I didn’t have a camera and my iPhone didn’t do it justice.

A super moon is defined as a new or full moon which occurs when the moon is at or near (within 90% of) its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit. Last year’s biggest “super moon” was the one I saw in June when I parked my car and stood in awe.

I’m hoping to be better prepared to capture a photo of a super moon this year. We had one on January 1st and another will be coming on January 30th. There are a total of five this year. The biggest super moon for 2014 will be on August 14th. So, I’m marking my calendar and will be searching for just the right location with a wonderful foreground that will show the incredible size as it begins its ascent into the sky.

If you are a supermoon lunatic too, check out these articles with great information on our upcoming moon viewing year.

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Epoch Times

 

Safari at the Zoo in Pictures

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Who’s going to win the football game tomorrow?

“The Broncos.”

My keen observation skills clued me in on the answer before I even asked. Ken has volunteered at the Denver Zoo for four years. What a cool place to contribute your time!

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Plenty of young girls supporting the latest in zoo apparel. Zebra and leopard prints are the latest craze.

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And cool sunglasses, too.

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Don’t forget pink. These three sisters are styling in their pink camo gear! Favorite animal? “Elephant.” I hear ya!

And to close out the safari, here are a couple areas that seemed to be popular.

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Eye to eye with a puffer fish..Fish2

and…”Nemo! Nemo! Nemo!”

Have a wonderful Saturday!!

Another Piece of the Puzzle

Have you experienced a time in your life when things started happening, leading you in a new direction? I’m in that place and not quite sure how it all fits.

Here are a few of the pieces:

  • I traveled to Churchill to see the polar bears. This is one of several trips I’ve taken related to similar things: wildlife, nature and diverse environments. I have loved every minute.
  • Annie, our guide, helped me focus beauty of the tundra by suggesting I listen, see, hear and feel the moment and to document those things. It was a profound experience for me that I don’t ever want to forget.
  • I took hundreds of photos on my trip and as I process them, my heart is telling me they have a purpose. (What? I’m not quite sure. How? No idea.) I know that sounds strange, but these photos shouldn’t just sit on my hard drive, be uploaded as stock photography to be used to sell products or just hang on my wall.
  • When I returned from Churchill, I attended a James Balog presentation on the Extreme Ice Survey. Annie had inspired me to learn more about global warming and this was my first opportunity. James Balog started with an idea based on the change he was seeing as he traveled. Today, because of his idea, there are cameras in many parts of the world attached to solar panels that take a picture every hour, documenting changing glaciers and ice.
  • After seeing some of my polar bear pictures on Facebook, one of my friends, Kerry Koepping, suggested we get together to share our experiences in the arctic. Kerry was inspired and recently traveled to Iceland to document change, not necessarily the same kind of change that James Balog is focused on, but change in general. You can see his work on the Arctic Arts Project website. We met for lunch yesterday and his passion and excitement were contagious.

inspired-arctic-arts.MOV from Arctic Arts Project on Vimeo.

Both of these men are working on amazing BIG PROJECTS. They are photographers. The photos they take are incredibly beautiful and tell a story about what is happening in the world around us.

In contrast, I’m a tourist. I travel on group trips hosted by travel companies. My travel leads me to tourist places: a tundra lodge where 29 tourists stay; a ship that has 50+ tourists traveling to Antarctica; camps in the Okavango Delta that have 8-10 permanent tent-like accommodations so tourists can stay in the bush. It’s different. I’m also in a different place in my life, working full time and with a limited budget.

So how do I take the BIG PROJECTS that inspire me and break them down into something that realistically contributes to my area of the world? How can I use my art to communicate and what is my story?

I have some of the pieces to the puzzle. I have no idea how they will come together. When and how things are meant to happen will become clear at some point. When it does, I’ll be ready…

Polar Bear Porn

Keep editing…keep editing…keep editing

It’s been almost four weeks since I returned from Churchill. I can’t believe time has flown so quickly. I’m still in polar bear mode and enjoying almost every minute. I check in to the polar bear cam a couple times a week to see what’s going on. I’m following Natural Habitat on Facebook to catch the latests posts. And, of course, I’m working on editing my photos.

In previous posts, I talked about a polar bear we called Flash. Would you like to know why?

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Hmmm…first exposing himself to the tourists and then taking a sexy pose. Looks like polar bear porn to me. 🙂

Where in the World

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Self portrait looking up at the mirrored ceiling at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.

One of the reasons I’m a photographer is that I like being behind the camera, instead of in front. I didn’t mind being in photos when I was younger and much thinner than I am today. The truth is, this is what I look like and people see me look like this every day. Who am I fooling?

Here’s one of my favorite pictures from Antarctica. It was taken by my good friend and travel buddy, Delia. I’m still overweight and…my expression is a little goofy, but what is so great about the photo is the story it tells.

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I’m working to get out from behind the camera more so that I can be part of my travel story. My friends and family like seeing me in these incredible places and surprisingly, I’m finding that I do too. There is a limit, however. I won’t be showing you the photos of the polar plunge. I do have a signed document certifying that I took part in the Antarctica Polar Plunge, but those photos are in my private collection.

Are you part of the story, or hiding behind the camera?

 

Day Seven- Tundra Lodge

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This is the view of the Hudson bay from the shore. Ice is beginning to form along the shoreline.

This post was written on October 29th on the Tundra Lodge.

One more sleepover and we’re done. This was our last day out on the Polar Rover. Everyone went for the longer ride today except 5-6 people. They stayed behind hoping for some action at the lodge. I think they were concerned about having so many people on the rover. It was a bit more crowded, but everyone was very accommodating as far as getting photos.

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We saw a number of bears. The first one walked toward us. I managed to get out the back on the deck early and had a great photo.

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This was an early morning photo with the bear walking toward the Tundra Lodge where we stayed.

The next bear actually walked under the grate of the back deck area. He looked up and smelled our boots. He was so close, I had to use the little camera to get a photo. I couldn’t see what I was getting, but I kept taking pictures. It’s amazing how big he was. I don’t think I’ll ever be closer to a live polar bear then at that moment. I could hear him breathe. Unbelievable!!

We saw a couple bears sparring, then laying down together and eating kelp, then the cycle would begin again. I think it was a quiet day for bears so more rovers pulled up and the bears finally walked away. I’d seen a couple at a location at a time, but this was a little frustrating. There’s quite a bit of ice now, a lot more than when we came. You’d think with all the snow we’ve had over the last few days that we’d be knee deep. But, the snow keeps blowing. There was little wind today and that was really nice.

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I had an error show on my camera while I was taking photos of the sparring. I thought the battery had gotten cold, so I replaced it. Luckily the camera continued working. A bit later, it just quit. I tried everything I knew to do. It appears it has to go in for professional service per the error code 40. At least it waited until the trip was about over. The only thing left where I would have loved to have the big camera was the helicopter ride. At least I have the little one. I’m so glad I brought it.

As we sat at dinner, two bears sparred outside the window. Then, the kitchen bear that sleeps out back woke up and we had a chance to wish him goodbye. He’s scarred and, according to Annie, about 14-15 years old. He still will chase off the other bears, but he likes to conserve his energy. He’s beautiful!!

It was a good day. I had a chance to really talk to Bonnie about photography and her experience with the professionals coming through. She’s met some of the really famous photographers who have published photo books. It was an interesting conversation. She’s also a wonderful person. I think we lucked out. All the people, staff and travelers alike, have been fantastic.

We are up very early tomorrow. Luggage has to be out by 6:15am and breakfast is served at 6:30. Our helicopter flight is at 8:45 for an hour and then we have to be to lunch by 12:30. So, we have limited time to shop. Probably a good thing. So, off to bed.

 

Never too Late

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Elsa, you go girl!!

I’m definitely one who loves a new adventure. Adventure is a relative term. I don’t climb mountains or jump out of planes. I don’t even hike or bike for days at a time. I do love to travel to unusual places. I’m not a beach and umbrella drink kind of girl, at least for more than a day or two. When I go on vacation, I want to go where “no man” has gone before. Or at least where most people aren’t interested in going.

Why? For several reasons…first of all, I don’t like crowds. I like to be able to see, contemplate and really take in a new experience. I met a friend a few weeks ago that I only have known on social media. She cracked me up when she told me she didn’t really like people in general. I have those times, so I can definitely relate. I’m an introvert and I like to be alone sometimes, or almost alone, so I can recharge my batteries, so to speak.

The second reason I travel to places like Antarctica and Africa is because I’m fascinated by nature and wildlife. One of my favorite channels to watch is the National Geographic channel. A beach is a beach is a beach. I can be served drinks on a beach in Florida or Mexico or Tel Aviv. There are only a few places in the world where I can see three cheetah hunt zebra and where I can take a photograph that has cheetah in the foreground with wildebeest and zebra watching them. Oh, did I forget to mention that there is an elephant grazing (do elephants graze?) in the far background. And…there are only a few places where you can see polar bears in the wild.

Which brings me back to Elsa. Elsa, at 100, is headed to Churchill, Manitoba to see the polar bears. If my timing is right, she is flying with a group from Winnipeg today to board the Tundra Lodge in Churchill for several days worth of “once in a lifetime” polar bear viewing. A Natural Habitat Adventure staff member heard about her desire to go and the company made it happen. I love it when people help others make their dreams come true.

Elsa, you inspire me. I hope I am experiencing new things my whole life, too. Just wish I was there to see your face when you see the first of many polar bears. I’ll be there in a few weeks sharing your delight. We are both lucky girls.

The Beauty of Closeups

As many of you already know, I love closeup and macro shots. The ability to see things up close shows the magnificence of God’s creation. Today I was inspired to focus on flowers. It’s an incredible day in Denver with 60 degree weather. I started thinking about spring. It’s one of my favorite times of year, even though it is a few months off.

I visited The Little Flower Market on S. University Blvd. near E. Exposition Avenue in Denver. I’ve always wanted to go in. It’s such an inviting place and the ladies were fabulous. It’s a must visit and may become a regular haunt for me.

So here’s to the gift of beauty that is right at our fingertips if we don’t get too busy to pass it by.