Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Leonid Meteor Showers at Peak

We are lucky to live where we do, for a number of reasons, but one big one is for the awe inspiring views of the night sky and the meteor showers we are blessed with from time to time. Being on the top of a mountain, mostly away from city lights, gives us the perfect perch from which to study the stars.

There isn't a night that goes by that we don't see a shooting star or two (and several satellites) if we happen to be outside but a few times a year we are treated to some spectacular displays. One of those displays is happening right now. The Leonids. The Leonid meteor showers get their name because they appear to come from the constellation Leo and they streak across the sky every year around this time. "The shower is caused by material left behind the comet Tempel-Tuttle when it passes near Earth's orbit during its regular trip through the solar system."

In years past we have seen some amazing fireballs race across the sky, leaving long,  shimmering tails in their wake. They are a sight to see.

"The annual Leonids should be at their best through Nov. 18, according to skywatching experts. Avid meteor gazers graced with clear skies may see between 15 and 20 meteors per hour.

"Skywatchers should look toward the constellation Leo in the eastern sky to see "shooting stars" from the Leonids, which appear to radiate out of the constellation. The best time to try to see the Leonids are in the last two or three hours before sunrise, when the moon has set."

One of these days I'll get the gear I need to do my own astrophotography but for now I'll have to settle for the above photos from Astronomy Picture of the Day.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Nuts? I Don't Think So.

Who Needs Nuts When You Can Eat Mushrooms?

As I was fetching more wood from our wood pile I came across several rather large stashes of dried mushrooms, carefully gathered from the forest and hidden there by one of our resident squirrels. I hated to disturb his winter food stores so I tried to carefully put them back where I found them, all the while being loudly scolded by said squirrel as he watched me from a nearby tree. I know we will continue to disturb his precious mushrooms as we deplete the wood pile over the winter but I hope he will be able to find them again when the snow gets deep and food is scarce.


I told this story a couple of weeks ago on "Do You See What I See,"  my friend Dianne's photo blog, when she posted this photo. Her photo reminded me of the above photo I took several years ago in a Denver park.


To see more nature photos click on the link below.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

"Winter Chickadee" Chosen for Calendar

My photo, "Winter Chickadee", was chosen as the January selection for the 2011 Seasons of Our Mountains calendar!

Thanks to all those who voted for it!

I'll post ordering information for the calendar as soon as it becomes available.

Click on image for purchasing options for this photo.

Friday, September 17, 2010

"Winter Chickadee" Selected as Calendar Finalist

 A Walk on the Wild Side #4

One of the photos I submitted for the 2011 Seasons of Our Mountains calendar contest was chosen as a finalist!

"Winter Chickadee"

The full color calendar offers a different image each month unique to Evergreen, Conifer, and surrounding communities and is published as a benefit for the Mount Evans Hospice in Evergreen.

If you live in the area please be
sure to vote for your favorite photos! 

Finalist selections and voting forms can be found in the September 15th editions of the Canyon Courier and High Timber Times. All 24 photos will be on display through September 29th at Evergreen National Bank, where you can also cast your vote. Votes must be received by September 29th.

Wish me luck! The competition is tough--there are some really outstanding photos in the final running. I wish they had them displayed online for my out-of-area friends but you can see last year's photos by clicking on the link below.

Click on image for purchasing options for this photo.

Monday, September 13, 2010

And Now the Reservoir Road Fire

Mountain Living #7

Another Type 1 wildfire is burning in the mountains west of Loveland. The fire started Sunday morning and quickly grew to 600 acres by the end of the day. It is now estimated at around 900 acres and is 20-25% contained. Luckily calm winds are helping to keep the fire from spreading too quickly at the moment.

A 9 News helicopter captured this image of a burning A-Frame Sunday.

Two homes have been lost in this fire and 159 homes have been lost in the Fourmile Canyon Fire, which was at 87% containment last night.

Who would have thought we would be dealing with wildfire in September? It's been unusually dry the past month or so, however, with extremely low humidity (4% the other day) and no rain in sight. I'm even hoping for a repeat of last September about now.

Update as of Friday September 17, 2010

The Fourmile Canyon fire area (fully contained on Monday) will opened to the public at 6 p.m. today almost two weeks after the fire broke out. 

The Reservoir Road fire is now 100% contained with local authorities taking control of the fire today.

The fire danger continues to be extreme.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Mountains Still on Fire

Mountain Living #6

The Fourmile Canyon Fire has been downsized today but containment still remains at 0%. Of the 93 structures that burned, 50+ were homes. (Update: 159 homes have been lost in this fire.)

It looks like rain here today. I hope it falls soon, and in great amounts. . .

Stuart O'Steen captured some frightening video of the blaze at night.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Mountains on Fire

Mountain Living #5

The idyllic and peaceful mountain landscape many Coloradoans have chosen to call home has a dark side called Wildfire--and that dark side has ravaged the foothills northwest of Boulder in the last two days, consuming more than 7,100 acres and an estimated 92 structures, including nine homes belonging to firefighters who were fighting the blaze.

A 9 News aerial view of a burning home.

"It is a testament to their commitment and bravery. While they were out saving someone else's home, theirs is burning down," Incident Commander Chief Don Whittemore said.

The Fourmile Canyon Fire, as it's called, began yesterday morning and has been fueled by tinder-dry vegetation and strong winds and as of 6 p.m. this evening, was 0% contained.

The news video of homes going up in flames has been very difficult to watch. I haven't posted here for quite a while but I wanted to take the time this evening to extend my deepest condolences to the firefighters--and all mountain residents--who lost their homes, and all who are still waiting on pins and needles, hoping for the best come morning light. My heart goes out to them as I am reminded of many occasions where a major wildfire was headed our way in years past and how lucky we were that the weather changed or the wind shifted and we were spared the anguish that those folks in the foothills near Boulder are going through now.

The Hayman Fire of 2002

A donation line has been set up for those impacted by the Fourmile Canyon Fire, though it probably only works for Colorado residents.

The United Way says anyone wishing to make any kind of donation, from money to clothes to food, can call 211. Callers will then be transferred to the appropriate agency for their donation. The service is free and is open 24 hours a day.The United Way is asking people not to drop off donations at the center itself. Anyone who would like to help volunteer is encouraged to call 303-444-4904.

Also, the  Longmont Humane Society and the Humane Society of Boulder Valley could use financial aid since they are stretched thin caring for evacuated pets.

Friday, April 30, 2010

New Images and Products Added to EcoPrints!

I haven't been around the Blogosphere much lately because I've been working hard on expanding my product line for EcoPrints!

I've added 15 Images for Framed Prints (including the image below) and 6 new Greeting Card images.

(Click to enlarge)
View from my deck: A morning cloud
hangs over the moon and Black Mountain.

I'll hopefully now have a little time to catch up with everyone. :)


  Purchase Prints and Greeting Cards of This Photo!


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day and The Butterfly Effect

Environment #2

"Humankind has not woven the web of life.
We are but one thread within it.
Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.
All things are bound together.
All things connect."

Chief Seattle, 1854

The Butterfly Effect

"The Butterfly Effect is a metaphor that encapsulates the concept of sensitive dependence on initial conditions in chaos theory; namely that small differences in the initial condition of a dynamical system may produce large variations in the long term behavior of the system."

In other words, small changes within a complex system lead to unpredictable results.

(click on photo to view larger image)
This Weidemeyer's Admiral butterfly perches on
some foliage at Pine Valley Ranch in Pine, Colorado

I use this metaphor for the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day because of the very unpredictable nature of the not-so-small changes we are creating on the planet and its inhabitants and how far reaching and serious the consequences of our actions are.

In 40 years of Earth Day celebrations and countless other reminders of our effect on the planet, we still haven't turned back the tide in many of the areas where it counts the most.


There is already more than enough evidence to support human action as being the cause of  extinction of many of the earth's species so far. Just a few examples: the Passenger Pigeon, hunted to extinction over the course of a few decades; The Bali Tiger, declared extinct in 1937 due to hunting and habitat loss; and the Golden Toad of Costa Rica, which hasn't been seen since 1989.

Butterflies Are Free. . . to Disappear

Back to butterflies. . . One example that we are in real trouble is happening on local and global scales: the decline of butterfly populations.

Habitat loss and climate change are having a serious impact on Europe’s butterflies, beetles and dragonflies. (See also Global Warming Puts Butterflies at Threat.)

And in Australia climate change is directly responsible for behavioral changes in butterflies.

"Many flowering plants are so closely linked to butterflies (and vice versa) that one cannot survive without the other. When you think about the natural interdependence network that could collapse due to the extinction of one important species, it starts to get a little scary.
For the first time, a causal link has been established between climate change and the timing of a natural event – the emergence of the common brown butterfly."

According to David Attenborough, Britain's leading conservationist, "Butterflies are sensitive indicators," Sir David said. "They decline when habitats are destroyed and when man harms the environment. We have known about butterfly losses in Britain for over 50 years. Now there is mounting evidence that it is a global problem."   Attenborough aghast at global decline of butterfly population

The butterflies, like the canary in the coal mine, are a but a warning.

"There is little doubt left in the minds of professional biologists that Earth is currently faced with a mounting loss of species that threatens to rival the five great mass extinctions of the geological past. As long ago as 1993, Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson estimated that Earth is currently losing something on the order of 30,000 species per year — which breaks down to the even more daunting statistic of some three species per hour. Some biologists have begun to feel that this biodiversity crisis — this 'Sixth Extinction' — is even more severe, and more imminent, than Wilson had supposed."


"There is little doubt that humans are the direct cause of ecosystem stress and species destruction in the modern world through such activities as:
  • transformation of the landscape
  • over-exploitation of species
  • pollution
  • the introduction of alien species"

Unpredictable Consequences?

The Butterfly Effect may indeed suggest unpredictable results as far as exactly what consequences disappearing species will have on our planet but one thing is very predictable: If we continue on our current path of environmental destruction, countless more species will disappear from the face of the earth. Perhaps even our own.

Can we afford to wait another 40 years before we, as a planet, take stronger action?


Read More About Extinctions Here:

Loss of Biodiversity and Extinctions

For more on Earth Day 2010 and what you can do to be
part of the solution instead of part of the problem, visit the

Official Earth Day 2010 web site.


Purchase a Greeting Card of This Photo Here


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Springtime in the Rockies

 Mountain Living #4

Click Play to Start Music

These were the views from our house yesterday. April is our "transition month" here on the mountain.One day it can be 20 degrees, complete with a raging blizzard, while the next can be sunny and 70. It's hard to know how to dress these days.

(Video may take a while to load.)

The poor birds (Gray-Crowned Rosy Finches) seemed glad for the grub.

Winter is on the way out, but it's not quite spring yet (as you can see by the depth of snow on the ground).

Today, though, the sun came out and began warming the earth.

 The piles of snow are slowly starting to disappear.

Perhaps spring is on the way at last!

Melt! Melt! Melt!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Earth Hour 2010

Environment #1

I didn't want Earth Hour to pass today without a mention.

Earth Hour, organized by the World Wildlife Fund, is an annual event calling for action on climate change by asking that everyone around the globe turn off their lights for one hour (8:30-9:30 p.m. local time). 

Click on image for larger view.
Original is 2400x1200 and worth seeing.
A view of the Earth at night as seen from space.


Last year, 80 million Americans and 318 U.S. cities officially voted for action with their light switch, joining iconic landmarks from around the world that went dark for Earth Hour, including:
  • Empire State Building
  • Brooklyn Bridge
  • Broadway Theater Marquees
  • Las Vegas Strip
  • United Nations Headquarters
  • Golden Gate Bridge
  • Seattle’s Space Needle
  • Church of Latter-Day Saints Temple
  • Gateway Arch in St. Louis
  • Great Pyramids of Giza
  • Acropolis and Parthenon in Athens
  • Christ the Redeemer Statue in Rio de Janeiro
  • St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City
  • Big Ben and Houses of Parliament in London
  • Elysee Palace and Eiffel Tower in Paris
  • Beijing’s Birds Nest and Water Cube
  • Symphony of Lights in Hong Kong
  • Sydney’s Opera House

In the past, we've gone the entire night, not just an hour, with no lights and other electrical appliances. It's really quite nice to have an evening without lights, TV, computer or stereos. Very peaceful. I'm hoping to be able to do that again this evening as well.

What can you do to raise awareness on climate change? It's simple, just turn off your lights tonight during Earth Hour and ask friends, family, neighbors, school or workplace to do the same!

Check out the Earth Hour website for more information. 

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Like Mother Like Daughter. . .Sometimes

Family #1

My daughter is in an Intermediate Photography class at her high school (and is also a T.A. for another photo class). She really seems to enjoy it and is very talented--she's much more creative than I am. She may even be interested in pursuing a career in the medium! We aren't much alike in many ways but in this area at least we share a common interest. :)

The weekend before last I took her to downtown Denver so she could complete a photo assignment. I was shooting her as she was shooting photos for her class. (I know, a bit much, isn't it?) I took this shot in the late afternoon light--and she made it better with some soft focus vignetting. I told you she was way more creative than I am! The shirt she's wearing is mine, by the way. :)

(click on image for larger view)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Winter Fox 3

A Walk on the Wild Side #3

"Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life."  ~ Rachel Carson

"Winter Fox 3"
(click on photo for larger view)
A noise captures the attention of this Red Fox

This fox often hangs around our front deck, as he was doing last month when I took this photo.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Please Help If You Can

My friend Dianne posted an article regarding the earthquake in Haiti. In the article she lists relief organizations that make sure funds donated to them actually get to those in need. Please stop by her blog and donate to one or more of these organizations if you can.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


I'm afraid. Very afraid. Technology seems to be working against me. Hard drive failed, now Internet is only allowing me to access certain web pages, and even then, only select features on those pages. I fear the age of enlightenment is at an end and I will soon be thrust into a pre-industrial darkness. Okay, I'm exaggerating. Still. . . I can't help but feel conspired against at this point. At least I can still access Blogger. . . some of it. . . some of the time.

Hal? Hal?? Is that you?

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