Weekly Photo Challenge: It IS Easy Being Green (and Brown)!

I chose to give homage to that affable amphibian, Kermit the Frog, who sang the song “It’s Not Easy Being Green” by highlighting a reptile, distantly related in the Tetrapoda classification. While visiting my daughter last week, a green anole came out to sun himself. I had seen the same lizard the previous day but it was in a “brown” state since it was on wicker furniture and has a chameleon-like ability to blend into its surroundings. We also were able to see it’s red throat fan as it encountered another lizard and again as it sensed I was a little to close.

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“I’m green. It will do fine. It’s beautiful, and I think it’s what I want to be.”

This post is in response to the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: It IS Easy Being Green.

*If you occasionally visit my blog, you may notice that the header changes with the changing of the seasons. My rural road is back to  Spring!

Weekly Photo Challenge: A Good Match

“This week, share a photo of things that complement each other.” As spring approaches, the natural coupling of birds and animals begins to take place.

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Mr. and Mrs. Mallard under the watchful eye of a Canada goose.

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Mr. and Mrs. Deer

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It they are a couple, it looks like this isn’t a match made in heaven!

21 God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” Genesis 1:21-22 (NASB)

This post is in response to the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: A Good Match.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Against the Odds

I had driven two hours to a spot that is known for being a winter habitat for bald eagles. I’ve been before but on Tuesday afternoon, the eagles were just not being cooperative and close up. I was about to go home when I stopped back by the location at which I had first stopped and within five minutes I was rewarded with the shot below.

Here are a few pics of another eagle, Ring-billed gull and American white pelican, that came as a reward for my patience.

This post is in response to WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge: Against the Odds.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Shadow

This may be a different take on this week’s subject, but I couldn’t resist sharing one of the biggest shadows in the sky tonight (2/10/17). The Snow Moon was in a penumbral eclipse and while not as spectacular as a full eclipse, you can definitely see that it was in the outer shadows of the earth.A penumbral lunar eclipse takes place when the Moon moves through the faint, outer part of Earth’s shadow. The left photo was the 96% full moon on 2/9/17, while the one on the left is tonight’s full moon. The same settings were used on both to get the same exposure.

This post is in response to the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Shadow.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Solitude

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These windmills dotted the rural landscape as wind-driven, well water pumping machines.  With rural water associations and electricity, windmills are not as needed now and many have fallen into disrepair. When I posted this picture on social media last week, one friend commented, “They are sadly slowly disappearing.”  However, every sight of one still gives me pleasure as I venture out in my own solitude to capture rural beauty.

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Silently standing

Oasis in solitude

“My days are numbered.”

This post was in response to the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Solitude

Weekly Photo Challenge: Graceful

Almost three years to the date, I mentioned that I was on a photographic hunt for the bald eagle. By the next year, I had more opportunities to spot and capture them at a distance. Finally, last year I saw hundreds at Red Rock Lake and the Des Moines River near Pella, as well as a growing population in my part of Southwest Iowa. This year is beginning well with sightings locally and around Central Iowa. The view of these majestic birds is captivating as they gracefully fly and skillfully hunt. Here are a few shots of these graceful, gliding national birds.

These two are from 2016:

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Two eagles soaring over the Des Moines River near Pella, IA

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The eagles complete for fish among pelicans, geese, ducks and the ring-billed gulls pictured here on the Des Moines River at the Red Rock Lake Dam spillway.

The remaining have been taken this first month of 2017:

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Three shot photo stitch of juvenile bald eagle over Red Rock Lake Dam, Pella IA

As gracefully as they are in flight, those flights often end in a kill. Below is one of those feasts and two captures in the last week.

See more “graceful” posts at WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Graceful.

Martin Luther King Day – 2017

I’m linking my daughter’s thoughts about Martin Luther King Day-2017. It’s worth the read (see link below).

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My middle daughter and a school friend at our home in Memphis, TN -1987

God made this abundance of colors and sounds and differences and guess what, scripture says we were made in his image. ALL OF US. Made in his image. Made to reflect his glory.

May we continue to strive for racial harmony and equality in our time, so that the next generation doesn’t experience the divisions of fear, hatred and oppression that the ignorance of prejudice perpetuates. And may those of us who are servants of the Great Reconciler (Colossians 1:19-23) and Prince of Peace especially champion the the cause of racial reconciliation.

Click here for Anna’s blog: On Martin Luther King Day

Weekly Photo Challenge: Ambience

The lights of a Christmas tree always bring a beautiful ambience to the special time of celebrating the Gift of God, the Light of the world. Having seen a post on setting up a unique portrait, I implemented a few of the suggestions to add a little more magic to this shot of my granddaughters. By placing my cell phone (with video) playing, two things were accomplished: 1) glowing light emanating from the book and 2) the video maintained the focus of the kids on the book.

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My wife prefers non-blinking, white lights and that has been standard on our trees since marriage. However, my daughter’s tree had LED lights that changed from white to colors and blinked  every 3-5 seconds in the various transitions. The sight brought back a forgotten childhood memory of laying on my back and watching the changing colored shadows that the blinking lights on the tree created on the ceiling of our living room. To me, it was the ambience that bred a sense of anticipation, excitement and joy.

This post is in response to the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Ambience

Welcome Winter

Hello Winter. Today is the winter solstice. While December 21 marks the shortest amount of daylight of the year in North America, the coldest temps are yet to come.

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Crest Baptist Church after a weekend sleet/snow event and sub-zero temps

MSN.com had this explanation for the lag in the shortness of daylight and colder temperatures.

The solstice marks the astronomical beginning of winter, while meteorologists view winter (the three coldest months) as starting Dec. 1. The day of the solstice, however, isn’t typically the coldest day of the year. There is a weeks-long lag between the solstice and the coldest average temperature for most spots in the USA.

This lag in temperature occurs because even though the amount of daylight continues to increase, the Earth’s surface continues to lose more heat than it receives from the sun. In most locations across the country, the coldest weather occurs around two or three weeks later, in early to mid-January.

Photography in the winter elements can be challenging, but also tremendously rewarding. From the crisp blue skies to the beautiful sunrises and sunsets, it is definitely worth getting outside for some shots.

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Sunrise pano with iPhone on 12.20.16

However, for the faint of heart great captures can be taken from the warmth of car.

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Sunset over Summit (frozen) Lake with iPhone on 12.20.16

I hope to add some fun winter shots in the next three months and look forward to seeing yours, too.

*Today also marks the changing of my header, a rural road in Union County, Iowa, that I change with each season. It seemed appropriate to turn on the WordPress snow machine, too, but it will stop on January 4.

A Christmas Eve Memory

It was shaping up to be a stress-free Christmas. For the first time ever, my wife, Myra, had prepared most of the Christmas dinner and fix-in’s ahead, so it would just be a matter of warming things up on Christmas day. All the shopping was finished and presents were laura-age-8wrapped. My parents were spending the holidays with us (a rare treat). It looked like we were going to have a wonderful Christmas celebration on Wednesday, December 25, 1991.
However, our youngest daughter got sick on the way to her piano recital on the previous Saturday and by that evening, she was showing classic symptoms of appendicitis. I took her to the hospital emergency room and after several tests, she was diagnosed with a urinary tract infection. I stopped at the all-night Walgreens on Park and S Highland on the way home and immediately got her started on the antibiotics.
The next morning while I was at church with the other girls, Myra said that Laura had some excruciating pain and then it subsided. She continued to be lethargic, however, and worsened the next day. A call to the nurse at our pediatrician resulted in an encouragement to be patient and let the antibiotics work.
On Tuesday, Christmas Eve, Laura did not move off the couch. She had no appetite and no energy. My brother-in-law, an ER doctor in Little Rock, called that evening to check on her. He insisted that we return immediately to the hospital. Fortunately, my parents were there to care for the older girls while Myra and I bundled up Laura and headed to Baptist East Hospital in Memphis.
A pediatric surgeon was at the hospital that night and informed us that we had a “very sick little girl” whose appendix had likely ruptured (on Sunday morning), and she needed immediate surgery. Of course, we consented and at 11 p.m. on Christmas Eve, she went into surgery. The appendix had ruptured, necessitating a longer than normal surgery. However, by 4 a.m. on Christmas morning she was in a room, and I went home to play “Santa” to the older girls. We opened presents. Then, with homemade sweet rolls already made, we had our traditional Christmas breakfast. My mother was given  instructions on all the dishes to warm up for dinner, and the girls and I took Laura’s presents to the hospital for her to open.
It didn’t take us long to realize that in God’s providence, He had helped even this stressful time to be a little less chaotic as the Christmas meals were prepared, presents wrapped, my parents presence to take care of our other daughters and the pediatric surgeon ready to go. Most importantly, my brother-in-law’s phone call on Christmas Eve may have saved our precious little eight year old’s life.