Sedona, Antelope Canyon, and Horseshoe Bend

The last 4 years Sharon and I have been going out to Phoenix to visit her sister and our dear friends the Vandermoon’s around her birthday.  This year I decided I wasn’t going to take my golf clubs and made this trip all about Sharon.  We spent day one hanging out with the Vandermoon’s and took a trip out to Tortilla Flats.  It was a very scenic drive and a nice lunch in a little saloon.  

Spent Saturday day 2 driving up to Sedona.  Beautiful drive and mountains around Sedona.  I could have spent several days hiking and exploring there, but we were on a quest to find unique Christmas gifts.  Spent five hours exploring almost every shop and had a nice wood fired pizza for a late lunch.  Headed up to Page Arizona for the night.

Sunday was my big day.  A photography tour to Antelope Canyon, which has been on my bucket list.  The tour guides take 4X4 trucks with the people in the back on benches.  Once we pulled in and started off road I understood why the truck.  They sand was deep in places and he would lock it into 4 wheel drive and just root through it. About a 20 minute ride from the tour operator to the canyon.  At first I thought Sharon was just being a good sport.  But about 10 minutes into the tour she was getting incredible shots with her iPhone.  The first 30 minutes in the canyon was super nice as we had the canyon to just us 5 photographers and Sharon.  Then the madness came and 250 to 300 people flooded in.  I messed up a couple camera settings about half way through and got frustrated.  

When we got to the other end of the canyon we went outside to regroup and let the crowds clear out.  One of the other Canon shooters had taken a night tour the night before and showed me the beauty of “Live View”.  I reset all of my settings and we headed back in with Live View and we shot the canyon rooms from the other angle. All in all, I am super happy with my results, but a little bummed.  The light beams only happen during the summer.   All the more reason to be going back in June to capture the light beams and also do the night tour while the Milkyway is over the canyon.  

We returned back to town a quick lunch and shedding a couple layers and we were off to find and document Horseshoe Bend.

Horseshoe Bend is a hike up about a 100 foot climb, then across a plateau.  Then a gentle slope down to the canyon’s rim.  After the first climb and Sharon’s looking the decent over, she almost decided to stay on a bench while I went on, due to her hip and knee.  After seeing an older couple I am guessing mid eighties to ninety, she declared what the heck.  Didn’t come this far to regret not going.

Once down at the rib I quickly realized I was scared of heights.  There were kids just jumping across cracks and standing on one foot on the edge.  Made me sick to my stomach.  If figured if Sharon could mustard up the strength to hike back up I must over come this feeling to get the shot at all cost.  I started about 8 to 10 feet back and did the military style belly crawl out to the rim.  Once I got there my hands were shaking so bad I had to brace the camera on the rock to keep it from shaking and messing up the shot.  After taking a test photo I realized I wasn’t dead center and had a rock outcropping in the way.  Crawled back and moved over 30 feet and repeated the belly crawl once again.  Sharon was laughing so far I could hear her.  I am glad she was there with my phone to call 911, but instead she documented the crawl.So I over came my fear to get the money shot.  I hope after that build up my humble offering isn’t a let down.I felt amazing to be back in the field with a camera in my hand,  We both truly enjoyed this trip!

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Life is good and I am blessed.

Kent

 

 

UTSWMC Rookery

Went down to the University Of Texas South West Medical Center Rookery (UTSWMC).  It was the first time I was able to capture all 8 species that nest there all in the same day.

Tricolored Heron Snowy Egret Black-Crowned Night-Heron Great White EgretWhite Ibis Cattle EgretLittle Blue Heron Anhinga

Some bonus birds: Female Cow Bird

Spring 2016 photos

Some information about each breed

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Life is good and I am blessed.

Kent

Butterflies at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden

I had been hearing about how cool the butterflies were at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden.  I had also heard that the crowds made it tough to get decent photos.

So I decided that most good God fearing people should be at church or with Family on Easter and headed down to see what it was all about.

Very cool place.  They brought in over three thousand butterflies and cocoons.  Once they hatch out they live on average two to three weeks.  There is only one week left in the exhibit.  This year the dates were March first – April 3rd 2016. They only do this like every third year.

I ended up taking my 5D3 with my 100mm Macro and my 1DX paired with the 100-400mm MK2.

I tried to look up as many names and locations as I could find in the guide.

Atlas Moth – AsiaKJ5D5418-FrameShop Zebra Mosaic – Central AmericaKJ5D5421-FrameShop Tiger Longwing – Central AmericaKJ5D5429-FrameShop Blue Morpho – Central AmericaKJ5D5434-FrameShop No clue, not in the guide handout, but would say some type of Swallowtail.KJ5D5442-FrameShop Sara Longwing – Central America KJ5D5445-FrameShop Doris Longwing – Costa RicaKJ5D5459-FrameShop Tiger Longwing – Central America KJ5D5466-FrameShop  Blue Morpho – Central AmericaPBKJ6781-FrameShop No clue, not in the guide handoutPBKJ6799-FrameShop No clue, not in the guide handoutPBKJ6800-FrameShop Paper Kite – Malaysia PBKJ6801-FrameShop No clue, not in the guide handoutPBKJ6822-FrameShop No clue, not in the guide handoutPBKJ6826-FrameShop Blue Morpho – Central America finally got one to open it’s wings.PBKJ6834-FrameShopWell worth the $10 admission.  I stayed for about 90 minutes.  I definitely will be going back next time it comes back.  Lots of people with camera phones, but I saw one lady shooting slow-motion video so I tried on on a Swallowtails since they hardly ever land.

To learn more about this event you can visit www.bitg16.org

I need to check both local Rookeries for babies this coming week.

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Life is good and I am blessed.

Kent

Wood Ducks

Finally made it over to Fort Worth to photograph some wood ducks.  By the time I got there the light was terrible and the wind was picking up so there was a pretty good chop on the pond!  Wood Ducks are the North American cousin to the Mandarin duck I have been photographing.

Hey, I think I heard a female wood duck!PBKJ6045-FrameShop

8 males all hanging out together.  Too much lens to get more than 4 in the frame at one time.PBKJ6068-FrameShop

OK fatboy, turn the call off, you my friend are not a female wood duck!PBKJ6086-FrameShop PBKJ6100-FrameShop

Looking like a decoy!PBKJ6122-FrameShop

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Life is good and I am blessed!

Kent

The rookery

Found a Rookery full of nesting Great Blue Heron’s.  More to come as I watch the eggs hatch.  They don’t like me being there and are very skittish!

PBKJ2797Edited-FrameShop

Still looking for the local Great Horned Owl nest, but I have found a pair of nesting Red Tail Hawks.

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Life I good and I am blessed!

Kent