Saturday, September 27, 2014

Just riding!

I was out with hubby and we went for an evening ride.
This  camera was set up to catch the deer and turkeys that like to come to this area and entertain us with their antics.

However it caught me riding.  I had a bit of editing to do to make it presentable...sort of a painting effect.

Other shots from the ride that made 'my day'.

The fall colors are changing hard and fast.
I don't really want to see them go.

But today is going to be sunny and warm.  And it looks like at least for my 36 hours off it will be nice!

I hope to go out and enjoy some more color!

PS~ Siera behaved as if she has been doing this all of her life now.  Of course the trail is one we take often so she doesn't get nervous about that at all any more.

I think this summer she has finally matured into a sensible mule!

Hubby was on Sunshine a mule out of my mare Cheyanne.  Cheyanne was my first horse that I owned and this is one of her mule 'babies' who is now 16 yrs old and a very nice ride.

Sunshine has a sister we call Sundance.  Hubby has claimed her and now he needs to get the job of getting her under saddle taken care of.  Sundance is incredibly smart and willing.

Thank you Cheyanne for passing on your beauty to two mules.  Your time here on earth was a blessing for me.
I'll always miss you too!
Hope you and Badger are playing in a huge meadow together.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Ride in the Rain

I'd been itching for a ride.  It was late and it looked like rain but I hadn't been to the valley in a long time.

I walked over to the pen and Fred bullied his way in past Siera who stood and nickered at me.

Fred seemed ready to go also.

I cleaned him up and tied my raincoat to the back of the saddle just in case it began to drizzle.

The skies were grey and very overcast.

But that only added to the brilliance of the trees once we entered the forest trail.

It did start drizzling so I stopped and put on my raincoat and we rode on.  It was a light enough rain that we could here it on the leaves above us, but it didn't feel like it was going to get us wet or turn into a hard rain.

Fred's steps were muffled by the damp leaves.

The further we rode, the darker it got.  So midway up the trail to the 'velodrome' I turned around and headed back.

When I glanced up I could see that rain would be coming and the light in the forest just kept getting darker.

Actually it was quite beautiful in the way that the colors were drawn out in the subdued light.

Although the point and shoot camera I had in my pocket had a very hard time with the light.

So this is why the photos appear painted in a way.  I rescued them as best I could with a little photoshop magic and some Topaz plugins.

However the short ride did wet my appetite to go back today and enjoy the colors.  The back valley ridge road is generally brilliant with yellows.

The skies are supposed to be cloudy which might make for great lighting again today.

I think I will take Siera and perhaps Morris too as he is my assistant and rides well on Siera.

I'll have to make it a point to dismount and take photos instead of trying to take them from Fred's bouncy back.

So here is to Fred for taking me for a nice evening ride in the light rain.

Fred, you are the last of the aged...grand aged mules we have and I hope to have your around for a lot longer!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

September Sunrises

Fall is my favorite time to go out and 'try' to catch spectacular sunrises.
In our area of hills and valleys we have fogs, mists, and very interesting skies this time of year.
So I always find myself plotting where I will go and see the sunrise to the best advantage.
Sometimes I get snookered like I did at Jersey Valley when dense fog moved in and obscured the lake.

So I thought I'd try and work around the dense fog by travelling to a high point above the Kickapoo River Valley to look down on the fog.

I waited in the cold for the sun to come up in the pre dawn light.
I found it curious that it appeared to be frost on the soybeans when it was 41 degrees, according to my car's thermometer.

I could see the fog intensifying as the sun rose.

Sometimes...getting 'the shot' requires a bit of creativity.

I probably would have gotten great cell coverage had I needed it.

And the road?  It wasn't exactly the nicest one, but it got me up and down the ridge.

And back into the fog.

But all the effort in the end was worth it...

That is, until I stayed home this morning and was enchanted with this....

So I am guessing sometimes it is just as good to stay home!
No fog this AM, but the clouds presented the sky with brilliants hues and reflections.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Dense Fog Advisories in the River Valleys!

Jersey Valley County Park, Westby WI.

As the sun began to rise the fog deepened until the whole valley disappeared.

But not without giving me a glimpse of the beautiful colors of the trees first!

I think I'm going to try and go up a certain back road to the top of the ridge overlooking the Kickapoo River Valley to look down on the fog this morning.

Certainly it will be a different perspective ... not being in it!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Morris and I do 'Duck Egg'

Duck Egg County Park is not hard to find and has two entrances.  The upper entrance on the ridge and the lower entrance in the valley.

We chose to hike the lower end of the park and see if we could get some great views of the changing colors and get some shots of the Springville Branch of the Bad Axe River.

Bad Axe River...that name is just so cool.

Anyway the drive into the valley was beautiful and very very twisted.  You need good brakes and you need to be careful!

One of the more interesting things to try and do is take good photographs with a dog on a leash.

Some folks let their dogs loose but these trails are shared with equine and I really wouldn't want Morris to spook a horse.  I know I wouldn't want to be spooked.

We walked in the valley and admired the beautiful fall colors.

As an experiment I only brought my Nikon with a 50mm lens and my new pocket camera.

I however did bring my tripod in hopes of getting a nice shot of the river flowing.

We walked out to the 'big' pond where we saw a Muskrat who was rather unconcerned about us.

Morris seemed interested in the smells on the shoreline, but I wanted to keep any encounters between Muskrat and Morris to a minimum.

My biggest fear was that Morris would decide to get into the river which was running rather hard from the 1/2" of rain we had the night before.

He proved pretty smart about that.  Stuck his nose down into the river and quickly pulled back.
After that I wasn't too afraid of losing him to the swift current.

I used my very dark ND filter and was able to set up a shot by one of the foot bridges.
I let Morris loose and he stayed near.

This view is from the horse crossing.  It was a hard shot to get as the light kept changing.

Then we found a small trail that led us to the edge of the river that was off the beaten tracks.

This was a very neat spot and I would like to return without my 'helper' to worry about.
The current was running pretty hard.

Then we set up at the second bridge to take some shots.

Note that my camera assistant is making sure no one disturbs us while we are on top of the slightly bouncy bridge.  He actually stood very still so I could take some timed exposures.

What a great dog!

Facing downstream 30 second exposure.  Edited for a bit of fun.

Facing upstream.

This is the only place I regretted not having a wider angle lens.  But I still ended up happy with this shot.
Morris stood quietly while I packed my things up and we started back down the trail towards the parking lot.

Old Dog Morris was dragging his butt by the time we made it to the Subaru.

I asked him if he thought this would be a good place for him to bring his buddy Teslin.
He really didn't answer.

When he hopped into the car .... 

...he fell immediately asleep and snored most of the way home.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Gone Fishin'

"How about fishing?"

My husband's head snaps around and a huge smile plants on his face.

After we've loaded the boat in the water and have our poles in the water ... nothing happens for a while.

A bluejay screeches and two geese fly over head.  We listen to the woods surrounding us and sit quietly.

Two very content people.

I begin to mess with my camera and start taking some photos of the amazing colors that are starting to show up in the trees.

I just can't get over the pure reflections of the land, forest, and sky.  I put JV back on my list of to do's again this next week.  Dawn and perhaps sunset stops for shots of the changing leaves.
I remind myself to look into other hiking areas also.

My bobber has disappeared while I've been daydreaming and doing taking photos.

I've got a tiny tiny fish.  I toss it back.

"Little fellas bitin' now," says hubby.  I agree.

A bit later we start catching some nice fish.  First he catches a few in a row, then I find a hot spot and catch a few.

We laugh.  We are enjoying ourselves.

We now have the little man made lake to ourselves and everyone has left.

And we enjoy the lake until dark falls.

The scenery and the hills never disappoint me.

I love returning often to Jersey Valley.

I do know that my grandkids love this place also.

When we got home hubby headed upstairs first to bed and paused on the steps...

"Say," he says with a slight smile.  "Suppose we oughta go back and get some more tomorrow?"

I smile.
Of course I wouldn't mind.
I never get bored with sitting quietly in the boat and listening to the forest around us.

Or of the nice peace that sitting on the lake brings me.

Gone Fishin',
it's a good place to be.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Old Dog's Busy Day ~ by Morris

She asks if I'd like to go along with her into the woods for a little walk.

Do I look dumb?  Heck yes, if I don't go with her and show her the way, she could get lost right?

So I start to do the bounce thing around her feet and whine.  
Really I do it so she does NOT forget that she has promised to take me along!

Off we go down to the creek by the big boulder.  She is looking for something I guess.  I'm not sure what.  She walks along quietly looking this way and that.

Finally I climb up a deer trail and stand to watch over her and the rest of the creek.  
You never know what lurks out in those woods.  I will be her alert system and if something frightening comes by, I will rush to stand and growl at it...
right between her legs.

I am good at that!

Anyway, she has the pistol and I am only about 15 lbs of hard core ninja dog muscle.  If she would miss, I'd take care of her.
I don't think she knows this.

After she sets up the camera, she tests it and I trot down the trail and she is able to see me in camera.

All is good.
Then we head back up the hill road towards home and again she is looking for something.
Me too. I am smelling everything I can and making my mark.  I find something disgusting to roll in while she is bent down taking photos of something she calls
puff balls.

Today she seems interested in the little things that she calls fungi... and sort of says she should have brought the camera with the micro/macro lens thingy.
Whatever that is.

I don't know, the fungi doesn't excite me at all.

However, we eventually come out into the Merry Meadow and I see Him driving the tractor around and around cutting weeds down.

NOW that gets me excited!

I love that tractor.
I love to sit on the seat and pretend to drive it.
I like to ride on it.  I got to do it once.
I love machinery.  I think it is a rule that they should make Jack Russell seats on all farm machinery.

After all, I do ride a mule too don't I?

So He stopped the tractor and shut it down, then I ...
well, I begged to get up on it.
Yes, I am ashamed to admit I begged.
But I do love that orange tractor!

And even better was when He picked me up and let me sit at the wheel.

Don't I look Grande?

I was so happy that when we got home and She gave me a bath, I didn't even mind it.

I snuggled up inside her sweatshirt afterwards and took a very satisfying nap.

And dreamt of fungi and awesome tractors.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Cameras and Such

I just finished reading a blog by The Dancing Donkey, the author had purchased a new pocket camera and it was giving her fits and starts.

I love my 'pocket' point and shoot cameras [ I think they have the most shots on them and they are on their last legs...], and my blogger friend makes some very valid points regarding photography in this day and age when everyone is taking photos.

I mean I see some fantastic stuff with phones that have cameras in them!  Who would have thought!!!  Back in the day of film...taking a photo with a phone???

But you can read about her thoughts and rules regarding cameras and photography in her post, I think I'm winning...

The reason I bring this up is because I have been 'told' that I am a creative person.  Creative thinking people [in my own opinion] don't like to be told that the sky is blue, the grass is green, and YOU must follow the rules of thirds in photography...
or many of the other rules that come along with a camera.

In today's age, I see the rules being tossed out of the window.  Hand a pocket camera or any camera to a youngster who just takes photos without regards to rules and you can get great results.

And in some ways that is great!

I usually don't 'plan' photos, I leave it up to chance unless of course I know there is some awesome weather going that will make things look more interesting.

So yes, on a morning with heavy dew I will go out and make a special effort to grab some misty morning shots.

at other times ... I just wander about and find something that may catch my eye.

and working with animals is never easy.  Especially those who have no intention of co-operating.

...and sometimes you just get lucky.
I did try and plan this shot with Morris on the hay bale.

While taking these shots yesterday, I was not looking for the rule of thirds, or placement of subject, perspective or carefully planning out shots.

But I found them to be personally satisfactory and I guess that is good enough for me.

However with today's modern cameras you can really have some fun with the features that are in camera.  

Not like the old days of film.  I can recall taking this photo with an ancient Pentax ME with manual focus and manual exposure.
Plus ... I had to take this shot in a blink of an eye...

Xena was not one to stand still for very long.

See?  Shot into the sun!
But this is still one of my favorite photos.
No rule of thirds...but just a nice shot of a dog from long ago...