23 November 2009

Of Eagles, Deer, Rivers & Nikon ISOs

As things have turned out we have had November in October and October in November. This month has been absolutely beautiful. There's been a little snow but not much. Since hunting season is still on we have been going down to the valley and walking along the Tobacco River. There is no hunting on the trail but clearly people haven't been paying any attention as practically ever tree has orange painted on it (this is a no hunting signal) and every rock has orange "no hunting" painted on it. It's awful. Looks like graffiti so clearly there has been a big problem.

I always go in the middle of the day. Less likely to get our heads shot off. In any event, at this time of year, the lighting is like late afternoon all day long so it works out just fine.

Tobacco River In November

On one walk we came across a bald eagle perched in a tree across the river. Unfortunately I did not have a long lens with me so I wasn't able to get a very clear photo of him. As I always say "There is nothing so regal as the eagle". You'll just have to take my word for it how beautiful he was.

Bald Eagle

We are so very lucky to have this river trail so close and convenient.

When we weren't walking we were continuing our clean up in the forest. I'll never get this done in my lifetime. November is the last month that I can burn slash until March. I am also hampered by the fact every day is not a burn day. One must call the ventilation hot line and check. But, the way I figure it every little bit adds up to alot over time.

We have had some snow showers this week but nothing to write home about or plow. One afternoon is Mule Deer doe came up to the window whilst it was snowing and gave me the once over.

Mule Deer Doe

One of the odd weather features of this place, strange to me at least, is that the days of winter are mostly gray and dreary but the nights are very often crystal clear.

Night Frame

I like to experiment at night with no flash seeing what I can get with just increasing the ISO. The D300 goes all the way to 3,200 whereas the D200 is exactly half that. It's a HUGE difference and allows one a great deal of flexibility in low light situations.

Sliver Moon

As always, it was a great week in the woods.

©Kinsey Barnard

15 November 2009

Busy Beaver

We are settling in to winter a little early this year. Th mule deer are returning in numbers. I was wondering if they would still come and spend the winter with me since I have been gone the past two winters. I am so glad to welcome them home.

Mule Deer

We drove up to Fernie to see what the snow situation looked like. They've got quite a bit already. I didn't take any photos as I didn't see anything that inspired me.

Later in the week we took a hike along the Tobacco River. I noticed a very large cottonwood down in the trail and assumed it had fallen in a wind. But, much to my surprise it had been chewed down.

Beaver Victim

Honestly, I didn't think we had beavers around this area but clearly we do or did. I'm sure someone has killed it/them, don't want those pesky creatures making a mess. You really have to admire beavers. They are like the little train that could. They will tackle trees bigger than I will with a chainsaw!

Amazing Tenacity

The view of the Galton Range from along the river was beautiful. Still a little fall color and quite a bit of snow for this early.

Galton Range

It was a lovely fall afternoon for a walk and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. I took this photo of some natural foliage just because I thought it was quite artful. If I could paint I would paint something just like this. I think it's just a bunch of dead thistle.

Natural Flora

Mostly we just hung out at the ranch. I "patrol" the property regularly during hunting season as, despite the fact I am surrounded by a million acres of national forest, people still feel they must mess with my forty. It's also pretty dangerous to hike at this time of year as people will shoot at anything that moves so we stay on the ranch pretty much. Not a bad place to hang out I have to say. We can easily spend a couple of hours just wandering and visiting special spots like Walden Pond

Walden Reflection

But, truthfully I don't have to even leave the house to be swept away by beauty. The view from my front window is a source of never ending joy. I photograph it often and it always shows something new and alluring. It never ceases to amaze me how every moment in time has its very own signature. It's what makes photography so intriguing for me.

The View

©Kinsey Barnard

08 November 2009

Graves Creek - Snow Canyon, UT

Not a lot going on this week. Just finishing picking up wood and getting it under shelter. Had one bit of excitement. The drain pipe out at the big pond got stuffed up with aspen leaves.

Koty and I were out patrolling, as we usually do in the fall. As I neared Walden Pond I noticed I was walking in water. That wasn't supposed to be. When I got to the pond I could see the drain pipe was clogged. I thought it had somehow gotten clogged at the intake but further investigation revealed it was at the outtake. When I pulled the plug, about two feet of compact leaves, it opened up the flood gates. I had water coming out a six inch pipe for over an hour full bore. There was water everywhere!

We did take a hike up Graves Creek aka Ten Lakes Scenic Area. The only fall color we are getting this year is from the larch. But, there color isn't normal either. They are much more orange than usual.

Ten Lakes Scenic Area

It turned out to be a very pleasant fall day and although there wasn't much too photograph it was a great walk in the fall sun.

At this time last year we were traveling down I-15 on our way to the desert. There was much fall color on the road.

Cottonwood Along I-15

Our first stop was at St. George where we spent time at Snow Canyon and Zion National Park.

Snow Canyon

I couldn't get over how St. George has grown. It's spread out all over the place. Last time I was through, probably 35 years earlier it was barely a wide spot in the highway. Now it looks like retirement central.

Snow Canyon

©Kinsey Barnard

02 November 2009

Kootenai Rockies

Today we decided to get off the ranch. We have had the most gawd awful Fall so far but today was glorious. Both Koty and I were having a little cabin fever. I'm ok with going out when it's snowing but I don't like rain. It's too wet.

The Kootenia Rockies were looking particularly beautiful off in the distance so we decided to head to British Columbia and our favorite little provincial park Kikomun. I didn't know if it would be open so Fernie was our fall back plan.

Kootenai Rockies as seen from Grasmere Road

Honestly, I've never seen this much snow on the Canadian Rockies so early in the season. This looks about normal for January.

As luck would have it Kikomun was open. Looks like it stays open all year if you care to camp there, some of the roads were closed but not those to the camp sites. We headed over to the Kootenai river side and hike up the shoreline.

Kootenai Rockies from Kikomun

Of course Koty was happy to be out. I can't believe he's ten years old and has not slowed down one little bit. The other day we were in Murdock's in Kalispell and a couple of clerks asked me how old he is. I said five. They said "Oh, we thought he was a puppy." Amazing! What a dog!

Koty at Kikomun

It really was a beautiful day and once again we had the whole beautiful place all to ourselves.

Kootenai River Looking West

Last time I wrote about this place I wasn't sure if this was the headwaters of the Koocanusa or the Kootenai River. I've since educated myself and it is the Kootenai River.

Kootenai River Looking South East

Kikomun Klouds

We hiked along the river for a couple of hours. I made a big mistake not bringing my telephoto lens along. I could have had some really awesome shots of the mountains. It never fails! LOL! Not only that but we saw a pretty big herd of elk take off in the trees. Beautiful to watch.

We drove on down to the river campground just to see if there were any intrepid campers. Not. I did see a couple of those elk from the road.

Cow Elk

Driving on out toward the entrance I spied a dirt road and took it. Just out of sight from the road there was a gate across it. I always like to travel roads I've never traveled before so we took off on foot. It was such a beautiful afternoon.

Just down the road we came to another barrier and a private ranch. The road was the ranch access road. I wondered where they hooked up to it but before we could get to the beginning we hit a particularly nasty cattle guard that neither Koty or I wanted to traverse. On the way back we had this view of this seclude ranch.

Kikomun Ranch

By now it was getting late, later than yesterday actually as we just went on daylight savings time last night. Days will be getting mighty short pretty darned quick.

©Kinsey Barnard

November 1, 2009