Frozen Boughs

We found ourselves in our oldest car, since our newer [read, not near two decades old] one has wheels that are too big for snow chains.  Pondering whether we could safely make it to Crater Lake, we settled on the idea that if we couldn’t, we’d just go as far as possible, maybe settling for Redding or Mt. Shasta.  Of course, I was really looking forward to seeing Crater Lake in the snow with a calm, reflective surface.

Snow was definitely around, but luckily by the time we hit Interstate 5, chain restrictions were dropped along our route. We went along Highway 97 up to Klamath Falls, dropped stuff off at the hotel, rented snowshoes [nowhere in town had any to sell!], and headed up to the lake.

By that description, it sounds like we rushed to get up there. According to Google Maps, we didn’t.  It was an all day excursion in which the scenery threatened to enchant and ensnare me before reaching our destination.

We arrived just in time for the tail end of sunset. It would be the only day we could clearly see the lake, so we braved the cold and hung around at the rim by the Lodge.

 

Surprisingly, there were a fair amount of people up there for the middle of winter.  Even a happy puppy ran around in the snow. Deciding to brave not only the cold, but the wind that was howling down into the caldera, we tried for some nightshots. Unfortunately, shielding the camera and tripod from the wind yielded no good results [nevermind the fact that I am not able to focus in the dark at times]. I still have a bit of a learning curve with the new camera as well.

You can see a plane in the photo above! There were so many flying over that night–the jetstream must have been just right.

I really like what the high thin clouds did to the stars in this shot. I’m not sure if that’s a plane, iridium flare, ISS, or meteor on the left.

The next day, when it was just a little lighter, we snowshoed a few miles out and back. It snowed as we traversed the rim, filling the previous passerthroughs’ tracks. It was as if we were the only ones there. On the return, ski-strapped folks and a few snowshoers headed out.

We ended up ON another lake the next day, since the weather repeated its gloomy self. We had a lucky break and found some sun, fog, and a nicely frozen lake. With such a short window to visit, being flexible with locations and weather worked out in our favor! Many more photos to share from this trip!

A Simple Sunset

Two shots from last night’s sunset with the new camera. I caught another photographer catching a “LOLO” [Load-on, Load-off] container ship leaving the lovely port of Charleston. The second has a palmetto log buried in the sand, the same tree was used on nearly the same spot for the earliest version of Fort Moultrie. The palmetto logs absorbed cannon fire very well.

Beverly and I Go to the Santee

Beverly (@BeverlyEverson) and I went to the Santee Coastal Reserve [mentioned in: Shuddersome Santee and A Gator-filled Santee Coastal ] to see what we could see–and we saw a lot!

It seems a little surreal to meet people through social media–like listening to Lady Gaga–but I am so glad that Twitter was there to be the medium through which Beverly and I met! She is such a wonderful, nice person with great stories, knows a lot about photography, wildlife, and Black Friday deals!

We started out on the boardwalk, spotting a wren that kept dashing between the boards and popping back up to see if we had left yet. We heard a ruckus in the cypress swamp and eventually decided that it was a very large flock of robins. Seemed odd for them to be there, but judging by the noise, they either agreed or were having the time of their lives.  No alligators this time. The temperature was at or near 70, so it would have been a little cool in the shade for the reptiles anyway, I suppose.

After checking out the boardwalk, we headed towards ‘Alligator Alley’, spotting some grebes, egrets, ibises, terns, and a pair of ladies catching blue crabs [they were good at it!].

Beverly under a towering live oak after sneaking up on some egrets and ibises.

Grebes are amazing to watch–one minute they are there, the next they are submerged with barely a ripple–rivaling the best submarines we’ve got!

Terns are funny to watch, too. They circle around looking for fish, but do so while making a whimpering call. They sound so timid and lost!

We walked on towards ‘Alligator Alley’ and found some other lovely birds. One was an egret hiding in the shadows. I look forward to seeing Beverly’s photos of this bird [I unfortunately set my exposure comp up and shot like that the whole day, I think starting here!]!

As we walked on, we came upon the first large marsh area with a hunting blind set up and plenty of ducks [and coots] to hunt. Luckily and hopefully, no one was there. I have truly never seen so many birds aside from Sandhill Cranes in one spot!  They dotted the sky, filled the marsh, and were all so jumpy!

Farther down the path we found a lovely large fellow soaking up the late Fall rays. I assume he wasn’t heated up enough since he sat there the whole time, or perhaps he just knew how large he was!

Then we hit ‘Alligator Alley’ and they were there in force! These were a bit smaller and much more jumpy. I think there were six or seven on the far bank and close to us at least one splashed–less than ten feet away! It’s a gauntlet of gators and it’s where we turned around.

On the walk back, we spotted perhaps the same egret and the same grebes, but the ladies catching crabs had left.

It was such a fun day with such wonderful company–I couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend the day!

[I learned about spot metering from Beverly…but it’s that ornery exposure comp that got me!]