31 December 2011


As another year draws to a close I can look back and say, with conviction, it was a wonderful year. I attribute that primarily to my being able to live here in the Kootenai Forest in Montana. I am rich beyond measure because I am surrounded by such incredible and exquisite natural beauty. Every day is a new adventure. None of it costs me a thing.

My wish for my friends and fans is that you find peace, health and happiness in the coming year. No matter where you live there is natural beauty to be found if you but look for it. Seek out beauty and let it fill your senses. That is Mother Nature's perpetual gift to you. Accept the gift!

I hope to be able to provide new and beautiful nature photographs for your enjoyment. Maybe a good story or two. And, of course, a few opinions on things.

I have made some wonderful friends through this blog. I value friendship greatly. Of all the photos I have taken the one below is the one that most touches my heart when I think of friends and friendship. Lets all look back over our shoulders for those who may need a helping hand. Let's touch noses and show our support for one another in the coming year!


©Kinsey Barnard Photography

27 December 2011


The end of the year always seems to make one reflective. I think as one gets older you just get more reflective regardless of the time of year. I recently took a photograph of an old abandoned GMC truck. That photograph and the end of the year thing got me to thinking about my first car which was also a General Motors product, the Chevy El Camino.

My father made a deal with me that he would match whatever I could come up with to buy my first car. From the time I earned my first nickel I was a saver. My allowance, back in those days, was two bits (twenty five cents) a week.

I grew up on a ranch near a small no more town called Ventura. Ventura is about thirty miles south of Santa Barbara and sixty miles north of Los Angles on the California coast. In those days the area was mostly agricultural. Today all that beautiful, rich soil has been paved over to sprout houses. The climate was and still is as close to perfect as you could get and it seems people prefer melanomas to melons.

I earned some of my money picking one crop or another. The crop picking memory that sticks in my head involved walnuts. When I was about ten a school chum offered me a “get rich quick” scheme, or so I thought. Her family owned walnut orchards and it was harvest time. She told me we could earn five dollars for every bag of walnuts we picked. In the early sixties five bucks was big money. I figured I ought to be able to get at least a couple of bags in a day. Ten or fifteen dollars for a day’s wages, that was just too good to be true. Of course I knew nothing about picking walnuts, my family was in citrus and avocados.

I certainly learned about picking walnuts that day. The walnuts were shaken out of the tree onto the ground so they had to be picked up. A good number of the nuts hadn’t shed their outer shell so those had to be shucked. There is something in those outer skins that stains your hands a ghastly yellow. And, those bags were really big. By the end of our backbreaking day my friend and I had managed to fill one bag between us. Our fingers looked like we had been smokers for at least a hundred years! Not surprisingly, that was my first and last stint as a walnut picker.

In 1960 my grandmother passed away. She left me 100 shares of AT&T. Unlike today, in those days companies paid dividends and management answered to them. Nowadays shareholders take all the risk and the executives pay themselves lavish salaries instead of dividends. One hundred shares of stock don’t seem like much today but back then those shares paid me $240 per year in dividends. That was huge for a kid my age. Unlike today, back then, savers were rewarded. I had never heard the word compounding” but compound I did. It just seemed like the smart thing to do.

By the time I was seventeen I had saved up $1,300 dollars and I knew exactly what I wanted. From the time I was a very little girl I loved horses and was riding one as soon as I was allowed. Originally, I thought I needed a pickup to haul my tack in. But then I discovered the Chevrolet El Camino. It was love at first sight. The best of both worlds, it was a car with a bed. Perfect! Now that was a bed for hauling equipment lest you get the wrong idea.

I think my father was somewhat dismayed when I announced I had saved up $1,300 and was ready to buy my new car. Now, he had to cough up his share. You probably think $1,300 is no big deal but you would be wrong. In today’s dollars it’s probably more like $10,000.

I’ll never forget the evening my father said, “Let’s go see about that car”. I was so excited. We headed off down Telegraph Road to Fillmore and William L. “Chappy” Morris Chevrolet. The dealership still exists today but Chappy is no longer with us.

Walking into the lit up showroom was exciting in itself. But, to be there to pick out my new car, well that was beyond the beyond. When I say, “pick out” I don’t mean wander around a huge lot looking for a needle in a haystack. I mean looking at a catalog and choosing the paint, the seat covers, the carpet, the engine, the transmission and other options. General Motors took that order and made that car just for me, just the way I wanted it and it cost just $2,600.

When you hear people talking about how our standard of living has gone down so much in the last forty years I think this story really illustrates what they are talking about. For $2,600 GM promised me the moon and they delivered. I don’t think there is an equivalent on the market today. But if there were a similar car/truck you’d most likely pay ten times as much and have to take what was on the lot.

My father could have easily just given me the car but he always insisted that his children work for what they got. This was not a bad thing. I learned self-reliance. Self-reliance is equivalent to freedom. I never thought I had to depend on a man for my survival as most women of my era did. It simply never occurred to me I couldn’t provide for myself. Most women were trained to believe they had to have a provider. Now that I think about it I need to be thanking my father for being such a “jerk”.

Back in the sixties people saved to buy what they wanted. We didn’t take things for granted and we really appreciated what we got. It seems, thanks to Madison Avenue, in the last twenty years people have gone berserk with credit. They have bought everything they wanted when they wanted it without having earned it. Now General Motors is in and out of bankruptcy and people have become enslaved to their creditors. It truly is difficult to believe this has happened. A genuinely wonderful time in America has slipped away only to be remembered by old fogies like me.

Below is the photograph that got me to reminiscing.

©Kinsey Barnard

19 December 2011


I'm just playing around here and thought I would try posting a seascape slideshow from my Website. Too bad I can't put it to music. That's probably possible but beyond my pay grade.

Enjoy the show!

SEASCAPES - Images by Kinsey Barnard

©Kinsey Barnard

15 December 2011


I am by nature a ponderer. Winters in my little patch, here in Montana, are the perfect time to catch up on my ruminations. Often the days are so cold it behooves me not to go wandering alone in the forest lest I run a cropper and end up a crispy critter. Lakota, of course, is ever by my side but I’m afraid he might not be able drag me all the way home. I do carry a cell phone but it often has no service. I also carry a GPS gizmo called Spot. Seriously, who wants to hang around in 10 to 20 degree weather waiting to get rescued? Not me. Pondering before the fire has much more allure.

This week I was thinking how much photography is like life itself. We all know that photographs are unique moments in time. As a photographer I know that you don’t ever say, “Oh, that’s cool. I’ll get it next time.” Without living to regret it. The trouble is there is no exact next time. Often there is no next time at all because the scene no longer exists. Even though I know better I have done it a hundred times much to my chagrin. My mother used to say, “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” As usual my mother was right.

What got me to thinking about these things were a couple of photos I came across whilst I was working in my galleries this week. The first image “Kootenai Cabin” is of an old settlers cabin that I found on the trail that takes you down to Kootenai Falls. Fabulous falls if you’ve not seen them. I’ve got photos .... somewhere.

As I was admiring the image I suddenly realized how lucky I was to have it because that particular scene no longer exists. The power company has since come through and made what was once a lovely hiking trail into a road. None of the foreground exists today. That foreground adds immeasurably to the mood and quality of the image.

This next image “River Wreck” is of an old jalopy that somehow fell into the Tobacco River and got lodged in the grass along the banks.

This old guy was wedged into that grassy bank for a number of years. But, last winter was so big, the runoff so huge and the rivers so high this wreck just got swept away never to be seen again. It most likely now rests at the bottom of Lake Koocanusa.  I am partial to old things and I am glad I have this photo because no one will ever get another chance to capture it.

This last image “Winter Camouflage” is of a little gal I came to know as Floppy. She was a blacktail deer who came to visit for several winters. Because many of the same deer return each year to winter some I have given names. Floppy got her name because one of her ear tips was broken and flopped over. Floppy is not here this year and I suspect I shall not have the privilege of her company again but I will always have this extraordinary moment of her existence to remember her by.

What does this have to do with life? I think it demonstrates how we must not take a single moment for granted. Moments are unique and priceless opportunities. We must make the most of each one as it comes. It’s about not putting off until tomorrow what you can do today because tomorrow may never come and no moment ever repeats itself in exactly the same way.

I know I will always miss photos because I was too lazy, too impatient, too distracted. It will be the same in my life. I will miss making the most of many wonderful moments. The best I can say for myself is that I am aware and I will endeavor to make the most of as many moments I possibly can, with or without the camera.

The story of our lives is the sum of all our moments. By paying attention and being present for as many as we can we will be able to live a much more interesting tale. Missed moments are missed opportunities. Capture as many as you can.

©Kinsey Barnard

11 December 2011


Yesterday was nice and sunny after a morning of dense fog. When the fog rolls in around here it is complete whiteout and not very uplifting. The nice thing about it is that I know a phenomenon is taking place that will make for some fun with the camera, hoar frost.

Hoar frost occurs when the air has gobs of moisture in it and the temperature is below freezing. When the moisture freezes crystal blooms literally form on the frozen surfaces of lakes and ponds. If the frost is big enough the entire forest turns into a crystal palace. Kind of like a scene from Dr. Zhivago.

As soon as the fog lifted and the sun came out I grabbed up my gear and headed for the pond.  Sure enough there were some small blooms upon the surface. These crystals aren't easy to photograph. It's difficult to get good definition. After an hour and a half of trying I wasn't able to get much more than an image that will at least convey to you what I am talking about when I say ice blooms. The air temperature was 18 degrees F and that kinda cold eats up camera batteries very fast.

What I call Ice Blooms

In the image above the ice crystals formed on larch needles but these blooms can form all by themselves creating some absolutely delicate and exquisite crystal flowers. It's not even officially winter yet so hopefully I'll have more chances to get something that lights my candle.

I did get one image that I liked. Ice flowers had formed on stalks of last summer's grass. The stalks were leaning over the dark waters of a brook which gives the appearance of a starry sky.

I just love taking photographs like this. They make me feel as though I am looking at a world within a world. Nature creates so many incredibly interesting things. It's like traveling in inner space and fascinates the dickens out of me.

PS: In case you missed it and you live where winters are winters please check out this post. A fall on ice could really mess up your life. Micro Spikes

©Kinsey Barnard

07 December 2011


It's a funny thing, when I first moved out to the Montana wilderness my friends and colleagues were worried that I would be lonely or bored. Ten years later and I can honestly say, not a problem.

Is there such as word as "unbored"? I doubt it but that's what I am. In ten years I have never had a bored moment. Between managing my sanctuary and pursuing my passion for photography I can barely keep up with myself.

Always alone but never lonely. I honestly don't know what is the big bugaboo about being alone. I love it and I'm not really alone at all. There is my trusty sidekick Lakota aka Koty. He is a great companion and very easy to get along with.

Lakota Sunrise

And, then there are the wild things that visit it me from time to time. Why just yesterday when I returned from a trip into town some mule deer were in the meadow to welcome me home.

Mule Deer in the Meadow.

Each year a band of blacktail aka mule deer spend the winter with me. It's a wonderful homecoming. When the snow is gone and the grass is long they will leave to summer in the high country.

All, of this came to me as I realized that I haven't written anything on this blog in a week and it seems like just yesterday. I really do not know where the time goes. Of course, part of it may have to do with the fact that I will be starting my 64th year in just a little more than a month. For those of you who don't know that means I will turn 63. Hard for me to believe as I doubt I have ever been in such good shape or better health. It really is true you are as old as you think you are and I must admit I have no concept of my numerical age. I also have to laugh at experts who say that if you live alone you will die younger. I don't think so! Age, loneliness, boredom those are all choices that one makes. Silly me I don't even know the meaning of those words.

I am doing a lot of work on my website FINE ART NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY. Putting together some new galleries and adding new images. It's a lot of work and winter is a great time to get after it.

By far the most popular new work I put up this past week was this one I call Old Yeller. Apparently, some people like old things!

Speaking of boredom this post probably bored you to tears? Safe to wake up now. I'm done!

©Kinsey Barnard