By this late in the summer, most of the Calico Pennants you see are well worn, with tattered wings, and somewhat brittle looking abdomens. This specimen, from the shores of Day Brook Pond on the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area, seems relatively fresh. Either it managed to survive without visible signs of the day to day battle, or it emerged late.
Sony HX90V at around 1200mm equivalent field of view (with some digital Clear Image zoom). 1/250th @ ISO 250 @ f6.4. Processed and cropped for composition in Lightroom.
Storms over sunflowers! Driving down across the volcanic plateau south of the Malpais lava flows in New Mexico, we were amazed by the masses of sunflowers in this often dry land. Storms like the one in the image this summer have turned New Mexico green...or yellow in this case. An image like this is all the more beautiful in being rare...unique...out of character (at least in recent history) for the landscape. 100 years ago, I am told NM looked like this frequently in summer, and 200 years ago it was the norm. Weather, even climate, changes...the landscape endures. Sony HX90V in-camera HDR. Processed in Lightroom.
The Salt River Canyon of central Arizona would be a major tourist attraction in any state that did not already contain the Grand Canyon. It is not as large as the Grand, neither as deep or as long, but it is certainly spectacular. And it has the advantage over the Grand in that you can drive all the way to the river and back up the other side. We reached, more or less by design, the Salt River just as the sun was beginning to set, and the light in the canyon was at its best. This is an in-camera HDR at 24mm equivalent with the Sony HX90V.
There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of Ground Squirrels on the grounds of the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum near Tucson. There might be that many in any equal sized area of Sonoran desert, but I suspect the population is inflated by easy access to the food put out for the other critters actually on display at the museum. If you have not been there, the AZ Sonoran Desert Museum is a cross between a botanical garden and a modern, natural habitat, zoo…with at least one important geological display. It is one of the best displays of the natural history of an area that I have ever seen. And, as I said, the Ground Squirrels seem to enjoy it too. :)
I really like the bokeh in this shot, and the pose. All in all it lends the Ground Squirrel a very “spiritual” aspect. Maybe the Ground Squirrels at the ASDM think of it as a monastery…but one that invites whole families. :) Nikon P900 at 2000mm equivalent field of view. 1/200th @ ISO 400 @ f6.5. Processed in Lightroom.
One of the most amazing things about our journey to New Mexico and Arizona this year was just how green and lush everything is this August. I lived in New Mexico for 12 years, and visited Tucson in all seasons, and I can say that I have never seen either so green. The volcanic plateau between the Malpais and mountains to the south looked like the Yorkshire Downs in England. Storms like this one, of course, are the reason. The August monsoons came early and came hard all across the southwest.
In-camera HDR. Sony HX90V at 24mm equivalent field of view. Processed in Lightroom.
Full disclosure here! There is a relatively new display at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum near Tucson called “On the Rocks”. It features an odd assortment of animals, most of which live below-ground: bugs, reptiles, ground squirrels…and for some odd reason, the Roadrunner and the Elf Owl. The Ground Squirrels learned early on that the glass is there to protect them from the humans and that it works. They seem to enjoy running right along it and pressing their noses up to it for a better view of the audience. With a wide angle lens and macro focus, you can get some great shots…of the humorous variety. Like this one :)
Sony HX90V at 24mm equivalent field of view. 1/640th @ ISO 80 @ f3.5. Processed and cropped for composition in Lightroom.
A sweep panorama of the sky overhead. A little like what you would see lying flat on your back. The zenith is in the center of the image. The thing with sweep pano is that the perspective of each part of the image is correct for a line of sight view. Nothing looks like you are looking out of the corner of your eye. Only with a pano viewer do you get the sense of sweep. Still it is striking image, even if it does strain the brain a bit. :) Panorama mode. Sony HX90V.
Back to Salt River Canyon in central Arizona for a sweep panorama. The light was perfect for this shot, and the camera held the detail in the shadowed recesses of the canyon well enough for Lightroom processing. That is my daughter Sarah sitting on the wall. :) Clearly it needs to be viewed as large as your screen will allow. :) Sony HX90V sweep panorama.
View this as large as you can. Over the Arizona Border on Route 60, you begin to climb up into mountains. Looking back you can see the volcanic plateau of western New Mexico stretched out to the horizon. To get enough height to see over the little berm with the sunflowers, I had to flip out the screen on the Sony HX90V and hold it above my head, stretching up for the angle. That makes in-camera HDR a bit more of a challenge, because, of course, you have to hold the camera steady for 3 shots. It worked here :) 24mm equivalent field of view, and I did have to straighten the image a bit. It was the lovely light of a late afternoon after thundershowers. Really...view it large!
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