I occasionally turn the dial on my camera to "video" mode when the subject speaks to me. I don't do it a lot, but I enjoy producing these videos and hope you will enjoy watching them.
I had the great pleasure of traveling to Niagara Falls, New York on business. As always I brought my camera and had a chance to get out and shoot some photos. This was really challenging because of time, the vast number of people (and their cameras and selfie sticks) and the sheer expanse of the falls. The falls are one of the seven wonders of the world and when you see them you'll know why. There are many, many beautiful photos of the falls and the surroundings, but such and awesome scene, that's photographed thousands of time per day, is a little intimidating. I did capture a bit of video to share a sense of the great scene.
Every April the Skagit Valley hosts hundreds of thousands of visitors to the annual Tulip Festival. The valley is awash in color as the tulips bloom, welcoming spring to the Pacific Northwest. I'm lucky to have the opportunity each year to capture this beautiful spectacle and I've assembled some of my favorite images in this video. The story of my time in the fields is here, and my tips and tricks for shooting tulips are here.
The summer of 2014 witnessed the birth of a pair of bald eagles on the North Twin Lake. I had the good fortune to video one of the young eagles over a period of several days in August. The video features the eagle perched on a log lakeside, practicing its call and gracefully soaring from a tree across the expanse of the lake.
The full story about my observations of the eagles all summer and still images of the eagle are located on my blog pages.
Pileated WoodpeckerDuring a morning walk I came across this woodpecker, first digging at the roots of tree, then in the tree. I was prepared to take birding images, but I couldn't pass up the chance here.
Walking in the woods at Twin Lakes I often hear an unmistakable "thump, thump, thump". I know there is a woodpecker nearby, but finding them is not nearly as easy as hearing them. Occasionally though I'm lucky enough to find their perch and I can watch them pecking away at a tree looking for a meal. This is a short video of one of my recent chance encounters with this industrious creature. Watching these birds often makes my neck and head ache -- the last few seconds of this video really makes me wonder how they survive this method of hunting.
Eagle PerchedA bald eagle is perched in a tree at water's edge near its nest.
Living in the pacific northwest of the United States offers us many opportunities to see the majestic bald eagle in the wild. There are several pairs of bald eagles nesting at the Twin Lakes in northeast Washington state. I love to go out in my boat early in the morning when it is quiet and peaceful and wildlife is often active. There are a couple corners of the lake I can regularly find bald eagles in nearby trees. This year I was excited to locate an active eagle's nest. In late May I saw the adults tending the nest (probably including hatchlings that I couldn't see). Visiting on the 4th of July I could see the juveniles on the edge of the nest (likely getting ready to leave the nest soon.) The nest was a good distance from my location and I didn't have a long lens, but captured a shot and shared it on my blog. When they aren't in the nest, the adult eagles will perch in nearby trees standing guard and looking for food. I was able to film one of the adults standing watch while the juveniles worked themselves to the edge of the nest.
One of the great joys of spending time on the Twin Lakes (Ferry County, Washington) is having the opportunity to be in the home of the Great Northern Loon (known as the Common Loon). Their numbers have declined and the species disappeared from some lakes due to pollution and human encroachment. They are highly valued and protected on the Twin Lakes.
The loons are beautiful and graceful swimmers, but rather clumsy taking flight from the water. The loon is a diver and fish eater. You can see this loon diving for food. The loon's call is distinct and echoes across the morning lake. It is heard about 40 seconds in and during the closing. The female lays 1-3 eggs on a hollowed-out mound of dirt and vegetation very close to water. Both parents build the nest, sit on the egg or eggs, and feed the young. While not confirmed (I kept my distance) I believe a pair of loons have nested in the marshy area just to the edge of the lake. I was delighted to see two adults with two juveniles grow during the summer of 2013 and include a picture at the end of the video.
A pair of Flycatchers built a nest outside our home in northeastern Washington state. The nest is wedged in the crevice between a wall and a porch lamp attached to the house. The nest is barely the size of a grapefruit. The parents take turns caring for the babies in the nest. One at a time they go out into the surrounding woods, catch bugs and return to a wire near the nest. They wait for a moment inspecting the area, then quickly fly into the nest to feed the babies and depart. The parents repeat this act endlessly throughout the day.
Our get-away home in the woods of eastern Washington is our quiet solitude. We are always reminded that we share this piece of heaven with nature and the many creatures, big and small, that live here year round. The neighborhood squirrels always know there are peanuts for them to gather at our house when we're here. This box on the tree was here when we moved in, obviously used for many years before. We've continued the practice and our woodland friends seem to appreciate it. Even when we aren't watching them, the sound of the wooden door opening and closing through the day and night is a pleasant reminder they're here.
It isn't possible to describe the beauty and peacefulness of this place; our home away from home, Twin Lakes, Washington. The lakes are located in the far northeast corner of Washington state nestled in the mountains and trees of the Colville Indian Reservation. We've been coming here to rest and regenerate for many years. Native residents have called these lands home for a millennia. Years ago the lakes inspired me to to capture their beauty in photographs. You could say these Twin Lakes are my original muse. As I have so many times before, I was on the lake just after sunrise with my camera. It was a perfect morning. I immediately saw two bald eagles, a pair of common loons with their babies, and the glow of the morning light was perfect. The air was crisp and clean. I sat on the boat and listened to the ripple of water and calm call of the birds. I decided to try something new and test the video features of my camera. The volume is a bit low, so you may need to turn it up a bit. The video won't win any awards, but just maybe I can share with you a moment of that perfect morning on North Twin Lake.