29 January 2012

British Columbia Day Trip 01-27-12

One of the benefits of living where I do is my proximity to British Columbia. It takes me about five minutes to get there.

Friday I was suffering a little cabin fever so I decided to drive up to BC to see what I might see. One thing for certain, the Kootenay Rockies were looking awesomely beautiful. I stopped by the Kootenay River near Kikomun Provincial Park. If you are in to camping this is a great little park. I've not ever seen it crowded in ten years and unless it's a national holiday I practically have the place to myself. The park is closed for the winter so I just drove on down to the river. At this point the river is frozen and covered with snow so not much to see except for breathtaking vistas of the Kootenay Rockies.

From there I headed up to the Bull River, the Rocky Mountain Big Horn Sheep Project and the Kootenay Trout Hatchery. I stopped first at the Project which is right on the Bull River. The Bull was frozen over as well and there wasn't a sheep in sight.

Just across the road is the Kootenay Trout Hatchery. I love this place. It's open year round although it's a bit quiet at this time of year.

What keeps me coming back are the grounds which are really beautiful. Just to the west of the hatchery building is a small creek which is home to a number of birds, primarily mallard ducks. I'd not been to the hatchery at this time of year and was surprised and amazed at the number of mallards present. I'll bet there was half a thousand. I thought ducks flew south for the winter. Obviously, some of these had but this was as far south as they cared to go.

These are very wild and wary birds. The instant they got wind of me some started to take to the air. As soon as I started shooting the rest rose up in squadrons. I was using my Nikon D300 and whilst many positive things can be said about it shutter noise isn't one of them. The thing sounds like a gatling gun as it fires off 6 frames per second.

As I was leaving the hatchery what did I spy in the road ahead? The whole bloody flock of big horn sheep including the rams which, despite having hiked the project 50 times I had never laid eyes on. The rams were looking in very good condition. But, the one thing I noticed was that there were not very many lambs given the number of ewes. I have no idea what is normal but it did strike me as odd.

Below are some photos of the things that I saw on my trip to BC.

Snow covered Kootenay Rockies with the snow covered Kootenay River in the Foreground

Mallards taking flight at the trout hatchery
Below is one of my favorite photographs taken of a trout at the Kootenay Trout Hatchery

Big Horn ram

Big Horn rams

©Kinsey Barnard

21 January 2012


Over on Twitter my handle is "soulofthoreau". This morning I received this Tweet of statistics I thought was some pretty amazing data.

Can you imagine the environmental impact if all this stuff were printed out? And this is just me and my followers!

I hardly ever fire up my printer any more. Practically everything is electronic. Heaven help us if the power goes out for more than a couple of minutes or hours. But, thank goodness for an entertainment venue that doesn't befoul the planet. There may be some social negative impacts but I can think of a lot of worse things.

For codgers, such as myself, the world is looking more and more like what we thought was science fiction.

Developed by Cartridge Save, specialists in toner cartridges

©Kinsey Barnard

19 January 2012


Winter finally arrived in my part of the world. Along with the snow came single digit temperatures.

I always find it best to keep up with the snow and plow whenever we get even a few inches. I never know what's coming next. I don't want to wake up and be snowed in because it snowed a foot overnight and the plow can't handle the accumulated snow. Hasn't happened yet but I'm sure it will one day if I am fortunate enough to live here long enough.

I plowed yesterday and it was five degrees. All was well. We cleaned it up like Mr. Clean. We had about four inches of snow overnight. This morning I went out to tackle it and "Mr. Toad" would not start. Mr. Toad is a Polaris 6x6 Series 11. Mr. Toad has been with me since he was new in 2002. He has been the best most useful piece of ranch equipment I have ever owned.

Not sure what the problem is, maybe the Toad is too cold. Put a trickle charge on him and am hoping it will warm his important parts. If not Koty and I could be in for some real fun as there is rain in the forecast and if I can't get the snow off the road before it gets here it will turn in to one of those ice falls I like to photograph. Then we will be stuck.

It's a bit of a witch to work in four degree weather but I wouldn't give up this life for anything. I love Nature and I love a challenge. Here at the ranch I have all that I love. But, a man would be nice to have around sometimes.

Wish us luck!

PS: For you young whipper snappers  who don't remember or even know of that great song Trouble in River City from the The Music Man check it out!

Polaris 6x6 UTV Series 11

©Kinsey Barnard

17 January 2012


Over the years I have added more and more organic foods to my diet. Like many people my initial reluctance was the price. Today I don't care as much about the price as I do about the ingredients. I believe our food supply is tainted and I have absolutely no confidence in corporate ethics. In fact I do believe many corporations would and are selling poison for profit.

But, I digress. This article is about a new honey I recently discovered at the health food store. I love honey, especially with peanut butter. I'm still a fan of Skippy's extra chunky. Can't help it. Love it.

The honey that I discovered is called White Gold Honey imported from Canada. It is a raw, untreated honey.

As they say here in Montana, it is a little spendy but oh la la is it good. It's honey nirvana as far as I'm concerned. I've been eating the stuff right out of the jar. It seems almost sacrilegious to taint it with anything else.

I read just this morning of a man in Arizona who is over 100 and still going strong. One of his secrets is organic honey. Personally, I would rather dose myself with dreamy, creamy honey than pharmaceutical poison. But, each to his own.

I'm usually behind the curve wandering around out here in the wilderness. So, maybe everyone already knows about White Gold. But, if you don't and are a lover of honey you need to give White Gold a try. I strongly recommend that you do. If you Google "White Gold Honey" you can shop the best prices online.

I took this image on my dining room table without the benefit of lighting. Didn't turn out too bad. I bet it's a lot of fun being a product photographer. The thing about nature photography, not much is in your control.

©Kinsey Barnard

15 January 2012


Last weekend whilst rummaging around on Facebook I came upon the B & H Photo page. Coincidentally, I was in the process of being very peeved with B & H. I left a cryptic comment that simply said, “I think your service is slipping”.

I got hooked on photography whilst getting a degree in Journalism at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (1972). In those days photography was more a science than an art and part of the Journalism Department. Today it’s in the art department. It’s rightful place IMO.

One was required to be a bit of a mad scientist to work in a wet darkroom. I loved the darkroom but it was the creativeness of it I enjoyed not the science. The same with picture taking. I loved the art more than the science, still do. I suffer from a little dyslexia and after forty years I still have to say to myself “The smaller the number the bigger the hole” when working in manual mode on my Nikon. In my mixed up mind it’s totally counter intuitive.

From my college days all I wanted to be was a photographer. But, was more interested in making money so I chose a career in finance instead. That didn’t stop me from dreaming or taking pictures. Over the years the B & H catalog was my dream book. Until I moved to Montana I didn’t buy much from B & H just filters, Velvia film and incidentals. I am the touchy feely type so I went to camera stores to buy the bigger more expensive items. The B & H sales people were always helpful and fun to talk to even though I wasn’t spending much money.

I made the switch to digital after I moved to the Montana wilderness. There isn’t a real camera store within two hundred and fifty miles of me. When I decided to take the leap and replace my Nikon SLR’s with Nikon digital I called on B & H. The sales people were, as always, engaging and instructional. They asked questions and made sure that when my new cameras arrived I had everything at hand to jump right in. I really enjoyed dealing with them. They almost made you feel like you were standing at the counter.

Last November I decided that I wanted to up grade my tripod and head. I jumped on the internet, did some Google research and went to the B & H website I was leaning toward a Gitzo carbon tripod and Acratech ball head. As I always do I called B & H to get more information and make sure the head I was interested in was compatible with tripod. Usually, what happens is the sales person asks some questions makes some suggestions and places the order. The person I got on this occasion was totally apathetic and expressed no interest in placing my order. I didn’t ask him to. I expected him to offer. After I hung up I said, “Oh, to hell with it!” and didn’t bother placing the order.

My birthday was last week so I got back on the tripod kick. I thought I should give myself a special present. I went through the same motions and when I called B & H I swear I got the same guy and the same treatment. I was annoyed but determined so I just went ahead and ordered the tripod and head online. A girl needs her presents. OK, girl is a bit of a stretch. I began my sixty-fourth year on the twelfth.

I waited with great anticipation for the equipment to arrive. I had already planned where I would go to give it a test run. The equipment arrived on schedule a week ago Friday but there was a problem. The Acratech head had no plate so there could be no test run. I was so angry I could have spit nickels. In the past the sales person would have asked me if I had a plate for the head because it didn’t come with one.

The foregoing is what prompted me to post on B & H’s Facebook page “I think your service is slipping”. Let me tell you, people are paying attention because it was not long before I had a message from Henry at B & H inviting me to e-mail him the gory story.

Before I e-mailed Henry I wanted to be sure I was right about the plate. I was so I ordered a couple. On the same day I had ordered the tripod and head ordered a wireless shutter release. I ordered it without calling because I figure there was no point. The release I chose was a piece of junk in my opinion so I needed to return it. The sales person I got his time, Cesar, was everything I had come to expect from B & H. He was engaging, he asked questions and he turned me on to a much better product for the shutter release. Course, now I am annoyed with Acratech. Four hundred dollars for a head and you have to pay another forty bucks for the plate! :)

I did e-mail Henry, Director of Corporate Communications, the story. He was most conciliatory. I truly appreciate the fact that B & H is monitoring their Facebook page and is paying attention to what people are saying. That’s smart business and I like doing business with smart businesses. I was most grateful for Henry’s intervention but in the end it was Cesar who smoothed my feathers and brought me back to the fold. B & H is still my go to photo equipment supplier.

PS: I could not be happier with my new tripod and ball head. They are a dream team. For anyone interested here are the links to what I bought; the Gitzo 1541 and the Acratech GP-S

©Kinsey Barnard

12 January 2012


Sorry, no pretty pictures today.

I have been an investor since I was ten years old. As of today that would make it fifty three years. My grandmother passed away when I was ten and left me 100 shares of AT&T. That began a life long interest in stocks and investing. I even went so far as to go into finance eventually becoming a VP with Lloyds International Corporation the investment banking arm of Lloyds Plc.

I have been a member of a site called Silicon Investor for the past fourteen years. It's a public forum where people of all investing skills get together and talk, stocks, finance, the economy etc. Over the years I have cut the wheat from the chaff, and believe me there is a lot of chaff, and come to respect certain opinions above others.

This morning I read a post from TH. It resonated with me because I have been having similar feelings myself. I believe the markets have been so corrupted and manipulated that there is no such thing as investing any longer. Other than some natural resource plays I am quit the markets to a great extent. But, I still pay attention because what's going on will impact each and every one of us whether we are in the markets or not.

With TH's permission I am just pasting his post verbatim.

"The Ten at 1.9 and the Thirty below 3.

Just one of many things that are not, "right". I see those yields not as a measure of fear, but out of requirement to keep the game running. And I can't see how these yields offer anything but a negative return. In light of the reality of our fiscal concerns and compounding debt/interest payments, it is nothing short of a measure of insanity.

Or, manipulation.

To my thinking it must be one of the other. Is it played out? One respected pundit says that 1.5 might be the ultimate top for the Ten. Based on all the broken markets, I would not bet against that prediction.

And each morning, around the usual magic hour of 3 AM EST, we get a futures ramp and a gold wacking.

And you, me, the entire world apparently, accepts these things as perfectly normal.

This is not normal.

Miners are sold down to levels reflecting much lower gold and silver valuations. And there appears to be very little real interest in what are now value plays. All while shorts continue to pound way at miners near 52 week lows. If these were financial or housing stocks in 07/08, I could see it.

The reason I think its so quiet on SI and all the threads I haunt around the net is there is a growing confusion and uneasiness. I see it on social websites and financial websites. Something is in the air, and while it can't be defined, the collective has grabbed hold. And yet no one can define it. I can't.

I look at the primary coverage for Paul. And while I'm a strong Paul supporter, I also believe I can step back and objectively look at how he is being treated by the media. The fact that the effort to smear and marginalize him is so pervasive has shocked even a cynic like me. For me it's like the machine has shown itself in full. No mystery here. Its overt and in your face. And it operates on the assumption that the majority are either stupid or don't care. And maybe those assumptions are accurate.

Now there is talk about this internet piracy bill. This is nothing but a tool to stop free and open communication. That is ALL THIS IS. And we stand by and do nothing, while our rights are being stripped away by this liar and fraud Obama (and yes, it is Obama, for it is the President who must step up and do the right things...and yet, we have just the opposite).

It's a rant, but not really. It's more a reference point. Something has changed in just the past few weeks or months and it feels like it's about to snowball.

And while it is just a feeling, it's worth noting that many must be tuned into it.

Something bad is coming, but the smoke from all the recent bad is so thick, I have no a clue what it is.

Maybe going physical and really getting off the grid is the path. I usually just joke about such things, but more and more I'm starting to wonder if that is absolutely the right play.


©Kinsey Barnard

09 January 2012


Saturday I made a junket off the mountain and in to town. It was clean out the mailbox day. Where I live the Post Office fears to go so I must make a weekly pilgrimage to town to pickup the mail.

When I have to come down off the mountain I always try to work in some photo scouting. My thought was ice falls along the Koocanusa. Usually at this time of year there are some extraordinary icefalls to be found. Last year the icefalls were everywhere and some were too beautiful for words. The image below is one such Koocanusa icefall.

This year was certainly nothing like last year. I was barely able to even find any ice. And here it is the middle of January for pity sakes! I was kind of thinking about trying to get into Little Norfork Falls if all else failed.

Whilst I was creeping along I did find some ice falls right along the road that looked like they had some potential. As is always the case when I see something I would like to photograph there was no shoulder to pull over. But, the road on the west side of the Koocanusa is a forest service road and gets next to no traffic in winter. That is unless I have parked in the road and set up my tripod at the edge of the pavement. About the time I got myself setup two axe men (read logging trucks) came barreling down on me. Let me tell you those boys stop for no one and nothing. They flew by me, using the oncoming lane, like I wasn't even there. I wish I could have gotten a shot of them coming at me. It would have been impressive.

I never saw any other vehicles in the time I was there, probably three hours. I did make my way down to the Little Northfork Falls turn off but guess what? That's exactly where those logging truck were working. No way this girl is going down an icy single track road with logging trucks on it. No freaking way!

At that very spot where I saw my life pass before my eyes I was able to get one photograph I thought was nice. I was darned grateful for even the one. It's totally different from last years catch but I think beautiful in it's earthy contrast.

Weather here in Montana can change on a dime. It's still just the middle of January so maybe there will be more opportunities ahead. Will just have to wait and see what Mother Nature has to say about that.

©Kinsey Barnard

05 January 2012


I love to photograph the sky.  What better place to do it than in big sky country aka Montana. It seriously is not hype or department of tourism hyperbole. The sky in Montana, like the state itself,  is truly big and really beautiful. The colors of the sunsets, particularly in the winter, are a color junkies delight. The clouds, well, you can just lose yourself in them. I often lay on my back in the woods and just watch the clouds float by. It's like watching a movie the way they shift and fashion themselves into the most incredible shapes. I love so much about Montana but that big sky steals my heart.

Here, for your viewing pleasure, is a slideshow with some of that stellar big, beautiful sky.

sunsets clouds celestial landscapes - Images by Kinsey Barnard

To check out the still images go my skyscapes gallery.

©Kinsey Barnard Photography

02 January 2012


I started out 2012 with the best day I could have imagined. It was sunny and about 25 degrees. That sounds cold but it really isn’t when the sun is out. I truly love it when a plan comes together. So often I get a great idea but then it doesn’t turn out as nifty in reality as it did in my imagination.

Just before Christmas I got the idea that it would be very cool to have an iPod so that I could go out in my forest and perform my Isadora Duncan routine without upsetting my winter residents too much. I love beautiful music as much as I love anything. It is nirvana to me. It just occurred to me what an incredibly blissful experience it would be to be able to fill my head with the music that I love in the place that I love. So, I gave myself and iPod for Christmas.

With one thing and another I didn’t have the chance to try out my theory until yesterday but what better day than the first day of a new year? It just so happened about the same time as I decided to make my little dream a reality the mule deer band showed up. I know from experience if you want to scare away wild things treat them to the sound of a human voice. Even if that weren’t the case I can’t carry a tune in a bucket so I knew singing was totally out of the question.

Geared up with my iPod playing my favorite Enya album, I danced my way down to the house pond. The deer stood stock still in complete bewilderment as I swayed and danced to music they could not hear. It was so difficult not to sing out loud. I dipped and glided around the pond. What a graceful apparition I must have seemed, clunking away in my snow boots. I was truly transported to another astral realm.

Miraculously, the deer didn’t run off. After recovering from the shock of this strange apparition of a two legged moving in such an unusual way through their space the deer started to mill around, bucking and shaking their heads. It was almost as though they wanted to join in the dance. Either that or they were that or they were just expressing their discombobulation.

As I said I love it when a plan comes together. Man de lay va, this reality was better than even I could have imagined. Combining the best of nature with my idea of the best of music was beyond my imagining. Which is really saying something because my imagination is seriously capacious.

I often watch wild things at play and marvel, with no small amount of envy, at their complete abandon and obvious joy. That was exactly what this experience was like for me. The feeling was beyond any words that I possess. Talk about a rocky mountain high.

I had my camera with me but as you might imagine it’s a little tough to take pictures and dance at the same time. I stopped my dancing just long enough to snap off a few images. It’s got me to thinking maybe I need a camcorder so I can film some of the deer antics around here. Lucky for me my birthday is this month! :)

Young Spikey Buck Peeking our From Behind an Aspen. I could hear him thinking "What the..?"

Doe with one ear forward and one back. Clearly not sure what to think.

©Kinsey Barnard