Whaa?

Once again, I find myself tantalized by an unidentified bird.

This one was along the Trinity River we showed you yesterday.

I managed to snag this frame a year ago as we were on our way to Klamath Falls. The day was gray, and I struggled to get enough light to keep the image sharp…and the bird was soooo far away!

I don’t think it’s the Golden Eagle I want it to be…the white band on the ends of its wings and tail don’t fit, and there doesn’t seem to be any yellow on the beak.

Love to hear your thoughts….DSC_0869

Up a creek

Hey, we found another vista…there’s more to the North Coast than just the coast!

Actually, we took a cross-country route to the Winter Wings Festival in Klamath Falls, OR last year, and enjoyed the route so much we went back to part of it this year.

A road immediately beside our RV park heads due east and immediately begins to climb into some low mountains. About 30 miles in, we turned north to follow the Trinity River, and here’s where it really got interesting.DSC_4016

The deep chasm for the river, and the heavy growth of trees and shrubs beside the winding road…which only had sporadic pull-outs for us to stop and shoot…kept me from really documenting the scenery.

Grandpa Fell traveled with us for the day, and he shot every chance he got!DSC_4053

We managed to spot only one large bird all day…an Osprey carrying a long branch to the nest.DSC_4068

BOOM BOOM

The waves really were remarkable this day in Crescent City!

Waves around here are funny…they tend to occur in two ways: in long lines that tend to be quite uniform from one to the next and are swells that might be kind of big, OR a bunch of erratic bits and pieces of waves that move at different rates and some curl big time and put out all kinds of spray and one will hit that big rock and another will come along and hit this rock.

These waves were something…long lines that started as a large swell, then grew and grew, then started to curl, then made a mad rush to the shore, only to meet suddenly with all the rocks at the edge….

BOOM!DSC_8445

Our peninsula tapered back on one side of its face, so the waves hit there a moment later….DSC_8471

BOOM

A couple weeks ago, we showed you some pictures of waves crashing on the rocks in Crescent City when Jared and I got brave and hopped from rock to rock to get near the edge.

Those were practice waves.

There was a warning in dour coastline weather forecast about “high surf”, and yet the weather was supposed to be pretty warm and clear. Robyn and I said “Crescent City!”

A little background about the place. Some people call it Tsunami City, because it has been on the receiving end of 31 tsunamis since 1933. The largest, which resulted from the 1964 Alaska earthquake…the largest earthquake ever recorded in North America…remains the largest and most destructive recorded tsunami to ever strike the United States Pacific Coast.

We knew our drive would put us into Crescent City pretty near high tide, and with the unusually high waves that were forecast, and with the rocks along the Crescent City shoreline, and with the town’s notable history for producing the big waves….

Our first clue was at the light house.DSC_8315

But we knew the trip was worth it when we got to the little peninsula where Jared and I had gone out on the rocks. Where he and I had stood was now being pounded by spray upwards of 40 feet high! The gulls seemed not to notice….DSC_8434

There’s just something about the ocean

Sunsets are pretty compelling scenes, and photographers just love all those colors.

You stand there looking up and out…to the limitless reaches of the sky, the horizon…all that power and majesty.

And when it occurs over the ocean, there’s such an amazing added dimension…or two…or three.

The water that laps at your feet is the same water that stretches toward the sun, and stretches to either side…and it goes forever.

The waves keep coming…from somewhere.

The sound of the surf adds more of that power.

The reflections on the water, on the sand, on the rocks.DSC_8778

The eagle eye doesn’t miss

On our way back from seeing the Great Grey Owl, we passed a spot with two large abandoned nests.

We’ve passed them for three years now, and have repeatedly checked each one for signs of current occupancy. Nope.

But Eagle Eye Robyn noticed something else this time.

In the tree past the second nest, if you duck your head a bit, there was a large bird perched.

Great spot to fish from, because it overlooks a large fresh water lagoon immediately beside the ocean.

We turned around to look closer.

Terrible setting to view…backlit by the late afternoon sun…but the camera saw it better than our eyes.

Hmmmm….sure looks like a juvenile Bald Eagle….DSC_8721

No wonder it’s so quiet!

I’ve mentioned before how quiet the redwood forests are.

We drove up to Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park to find a new trail to walk, but got distracted by news there was a Great Grey Owl hanging around.

Indeed!DSC_8659

Found this one on a fairly low branch of a redwood, along the edge of a large meadow. He seemed not to notice the dozen or more photographers and tripods set up between him and his prey, neither did he respond to the cacophony of tripping shutters whenever he’d turn his head!

And then he flew!DSC_8688

The flight was only about 20 feet to a slightly better vantage point for the meadow…atop the post for a missing antenna for the park campground kiosk. All the photographers were set up only 20 feet from this new roost!DSC_8675

This is door #2

Yesterday’s post showed a sunset photo I took that used a looooong exposure for that dream-like sunset quality.

Tonight, I present the photo taken at the same time that endeavors to capture the action of the scene.

There’s the obvious contrast here between the calm, soothing colors and tones of the sky after the sun has set, versus the contrasting tones and shapes of the surf…and the explosions of spray.

The ocean is constant action here at the shoreline, and this exposure portrays it more obviously than a looooong exposure. Even the wind gets in on the action as it blows spray from the curl of a wave!

I’m interested to hear which type of exposure appeals more to you.DSC_8279

Door #1 or door #2

We were in Crescent City again at sunset, and the place put on its usual show!

Shooting the shoreline and surf at a time when the light is dim always presents at least one basic challenge…try to shoot a fast exposure and catch the action, or shoot a looooong exposure and make a smoooooth shot.

Fast exposures usually take more light, but we can push the camera sensitivity and push the combination of time and f-stop and focus carefully, and stop the action enough….

The looooong exposure can create a dream-like smooth quality that’s pretty compelling when combined with the color of sunset. The small waves during the exposure create ghost-like shading along the edges of rocks….

I managed to shoot this scene both ways.

Today’s post shows the 20-second looooong exposure. Tomorrow’s post will have the short exposure.

I’ll be interested to hear which one you prefer.DSC_8225

Low down coverup

Our day on the beach at low low tide was coming to an end…the waves were beginning to catch us closer and closer to shore. We had to worry that our access to the steps up the hillside to the car would be blocked by the rising tide!

Across the remaining expanse of smooth, unwashed sand I noticed something odd.

The frazzled end of some colorful line…maybe connected to an old float that got buried under the sand.DSC_3172