Friday, August 31, 2018

September 2018: A Splash of Color


Well, after a long period of hot dry weather without any rain whatsoever, we are finally feeling a bit of relief here in west Michigan.  Along with the rain came a very nicely cool morning and a reminder that autumn is just around the corner.  It won't be too much longer and the trees will trade their uniform green coveralls for the gaudy Hawaiian shirts that draw visitors in from all over the country just to witness.
Like a peacock fanning its tail.
Peacock feathers are incredibly interesting, and a lot harder to photograph well than you'd think. The iridescence which gives them their shiny appearance acts as millions of tiny little mirrors, which can play all sorts of havoc with the light and color, as well as the auto-focusing sensors on modern lenses.  Accurately capturing both the colors and the iridescence requires very strict control of the light.

Friday, August 3, 2018

August 2018: The Gardener


Man, we have had a hot summer so far here. And very little rain. It makes for a lot of real challenges if your job is growing things. This gardener is not only very hard working, but smart enough to follow the shade as she works.  She is quite attractive as well, which is nice. :)


Saturday, June 30, 2018

July 2018: Cocoa Pods

The cocoa tree is indigenous to Central America, though most are now located in Western Africa, and is unique in that its seed pods sprout directly from the trunk of the tree itself, rather than from its branches.  The seeds encased in these pods are the source of one of humanity's most globally enjoyed foods, chocolate.  It is so highly sought after that every year 7-9 times more cocoa is bought and sold on the cocoa futures market than actually exists.  Given this irrational over-exuberance, one might be inclined to say that we are "cuckoo for cocoa pods".   :)


Hope your summer is going better than my bad puns!

Jonderson

Friday, June 1, 2018

June 2018: Big Bird

This is a Pileated Woodpecker. They are about 14-16 inches tall, and live in forested areas with wet ground and plenty of dying trees, as that is the preferred habitat of their favorite food...ants.
They are a notoriously skittish bird around people, despite not seeming to mind being near buildings at all.  So as long as they don't see you, they are pretty easy to photograph once you have found an area where they live.


Tuesday, May 1, 2018

May 2018: Sticky Situation

Around here winter didn't get the point when April showed up, and the snow stuck around until just a couple weeks ago.  Spring didn't get a good start until just this week, and now it is already May!
Fortunately, the signs of spring are plentiful now, including a spike in both temperature and in animal activity. Porcupines are very sensitive where habitat is concerned, and while I used to see tons of them when I was a kid they have been quite scarce since then, until recent years when I started seeing them fairly regularly again. I take it as a good sign, even if it means having to be a little more cautious in areas they happen to frequent.

Q: What does a porcupine take for a cold?
A: Ny-Quill!


Monday, April 2, 2018

April 2018: Time Bandit

No, it isn't the Lone Ranger.
:)
It is the ubiquitous raccoon, or as my daughter calls it, a Trash Panda. An appropriate photo this spring as it seems that time is zipping on by faster than ever, and before you know it summer will be here once again.
In the meantime, spring is in the air here in the woods. It is still just a little too cold for the frogs to come out, although I did hear a couple of them last week. Lots of the birds are back now though, and it won't be long before the morels pop up. The turkey seem very scarce here this year though, which is a little worrisome. Perhaps it is the changing of the habitat, but it could also be a reflection of colder temperatures during winter or a rise in the coyote population. Either way, if there is one thing you can always count on in nature it is that things change.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

March 2018: Deer in Barbed Wire

Well, I haven't done a skull photo in awhile, so here you are.  March is coming in like a lion here in the Michigan woods, but it looks to be reasonably short-lived.  The maple sap is collected and will be boiled down for syrup this weekend, as sure a sign of spring as the returning blackbirds and cranes which were both heard on Tuesday.

Spring is a wonderful time of year, because while the death of winter is still fresh in your mind, all of the new life springing up around you (something new every day!) really imparts a sense of life and hope, and provides a sense of renewal and rebirth.  In just a couple months new fawns will be running around this old stump, turning it back into a place of life and joy.