52 Week Challenge – Weeks 8 & 9 – Depth of Field and From Below

So I’m posting two weeks together tonight. The last couple of weeks have gotten the better of me.  I even had Week 8 “Depth of Field” done several days before my “deadline” but wasn’t able to post.

Anyhoo, my daughter wasn’t feeling well and quite frankly rarely does, unfortunately. She suffers from several chronic illnesses, which is a blog post for another time.  In the mean time, I brought her home some beautiful roses to cheer her up. I thought it was the perfect opportunity to get some great depth of field photos with my 85mm glass. My favorite lens!

Don’t you agree?

 

Spring Roses 2017

Spring Roses Vertical

In Week 9, I had an idea of getting under a tree or some type of landscape situation for “From Below”. I fell behind in getting photos and last night gave me the opportunity I was looking for. We had some terrible thunderstorms last night and in fact, about 7 miles away a tornado touched down and did some damage. This panoramic photo was taken by my daughter with my iPhone 6+ from our deck. It was a weird weather night, and the earliest a tornado has been recorded in Minnesota history.

Storm Panoramic

Still think global warning is a farce?

Next up this week:  Books.  Should be easy, as my house is full of them. However, I may venture out to see what I can find.

Have a great week everyone!

Sheila

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52 Week Challenge – Week 2 – WINTER

I have to say this was a good week to have WINTER as the category in the 52 week challenge. In Minnesota, we had plenty of different weather (as usual) this week! I took a few photos of what winter means around here!

Or as I fondly say, Winter From My Neck of the Woods!  I am a day late and a dollar short as usual on getting this one out!

I have to say this was a good week to have WINTER as the category in the 52 week challenge. In Minnesota, we had plenty of different weather (as usual) this week! I took a few photos of what winter means around here!

Earlier in the week, we were blessed with three days in a row of the white stuff. It made for difficult driving commutes. I am really lucky in that I leave later than most, and come home earlier. I am not stuck in traffic most days, lucky me!

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My drive in to work on Tuesday.
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Shoveling the sidewalk on Monday at work.
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HA my car buried at the end of my shift. Looks the same on the other side.
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After the snow cleared so did the sky, there was a sunset, off my deck.
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If I were to pick my favorite of the week, it would be this one. A male Northern Cardinal Wednesday morning before work. Again, off my deck.
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Yes, I know it’s corn.
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Again on Wednesday, it cleared up when I left work.

Then it got COLD. C – O – L – D. COLD. Thursday morning it was -9 below, with a -26 below windchill. Loved this one I grabbed on the Mississippi.

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This is what happens when the air temp is colder than the water temp.
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Friday night at the local ice skating rink, it was still pretty chilly. I am going to do another blog post about “the Pit”.

In Minnesota, winter to many of us means winter dance team competitions. My daughter doesn’t dance anymore, but we took in some dance team action on Saturday.

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If I had to pick my favorite of the week, it would definitely be the Northern Cardinal. HA, not a surprise.

Next week’s category is “Drink”. Should be interesting and fun!  Here is another glimpse of the categories!

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Finding the Beauty

So after three days of snow fall, people are definitely complaining around here.  While we are still below average for snow fall on the year, it has been coming at the most inopportune times. Like rush hour. I hear stories of 1-3 hour commutes. I guess I am one of the lucky ones. I don’t travel far for work, and never during rush hour.

Rather than whining, I have learned in the past few years there are worse things to complain about.  Life is too short to cry about first world problems like traffic and long commutes. There are more important worries in the world.  Instead, I choose to find the beauty in it all.  It is here to stay for a while, so we may as well embrace it.

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Boat house on Lake Orono in Elk River, Minnesota

52 Week Photo Challenge Week 1

Week 1 was a bit of a challenge, if I am hearing correctly from you. That is what this is all about! To get everyone out of their comfort zone!

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Here is my week 1 photo “New Beginnings”.  I just finished school in December, and am looking for another job. I also am adding some new services to my photography business. Web and graphic design. I am working on a website overhaul and making changes to the way I do some things. So yes, those are some of the “New Beginnings” for me in 2017. However, I really can’t take a photo of stuff like that, LOL.

So I thought I about the next best thing. The sunset. A sunset makes room for another day to start all over again. A new beginning.

I can handle that.  It was pretty chilly when I took this with my  iPhone on Saturday. It was -7 below with a wind chill of -18 below. One of my favorite places to bird on the Mississippi just down the road from my home.  In fact, there were a couple of Mallards down in the freezing water bathing themselves.

I saw several awesome photos with the hashtag #FMTM52weeks. So glad people are getting out there and participating in the challenge! I will be sharing some of these here and there throughout the challenge on my blog and Instagram pages.

Next week will be an easy one. Especially around here. Winter. Don’t forget to link back here and/or use #FMTM52weeks for a feature!  If you need another glimpse at the list, click 52 Week Challenge Categories.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sheila

 

 

7…er…Hundred Swans-a-Swimming

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Since my new year’s resolution to myself is to get back out into nature again and update my nature blog more often, I thought I would start off by writing about the Swan Park in Monticello, Minnesota.  I have written about this park before on my previous blog in case it sounds familiar to you.

I haven’t been there for a couple of years, so I thought I would grab a friend and head out there on one of my days off. She had never been there, and just got a new camera for Christmas, so win-win. When we got there, it was about 17 degrees, but the wind chill made it feel more like 0. It was chilly, but not too bad by Minnesota standards.

Let me back up just a little bit. If you’re wondering, “what the heck is the Swan Park?” let me talk briefly about it. The swan park is host to as many as 2,700 Trumpeter Swans during the winter months, and is about 13 miles from my door. The banks of the Mississippi enjoy open waters during the winter, and provide the swans an ideal wintering vacation spot.

30 years ago there was a partnership for trying to restore the Trumpeter Swans in our area. There was a release of a pair from Hennepin Parks, and additional pairs followed. A local Monticello resident started feeding them in the winter. As the wintering population grew, she spend entire days hauling corn from a gravity wagon in her driveway down to the river bank for the swans. They later installed a custom-designed conveyor system. The “swan lady” passed away a few years ago, but her husband Jim has continued the winter feeding.  Once the snow melts, the swans return to the fields and find plenty to eat there. More information can be found at this link Visit Monticello Swans.

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At any rate, when we arrived I noticed the river was really high. We have had a lot of precipitation this year, including snow and rain in the last couple of weeks. I had not seen it that high since I started visiting the swans.  In the past, there was a lot more shore, so most of them were up on the rocks and shoreline.

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We were lucky enough to get there during feeding time.  Jim walked down to the shore and grabbed the buckets of corn and threw it out to the swans. He had to grab a rope and let himself down there because of the high water. There were also many Mallards and Canada Geese. The mallards were going crazy and WOW was it loud! I recorded it on my phone but would have to upgrade my account to post a video 😦

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All of the waterfowl were very aggressive! The swans were nipping at each other and I thought the ducks were going to drown, diving down to get the corn!  The swans and geese were just going right over the top of them. Jim was very friendly and came over to talk to us and give us some stats. He thought there were about 1,800 there that day, but I was thinking more like 1,000. What do I know?  I have seen more in colder, snowier winters. I have also been there when there have been none.  Obviously, it was during a year with not a lot of snow.

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We stayed a while watching them nip and peck at each other, taking photos. There were several other people there taking photos as well. It is a park, after all. The house on the other side of the park has a big dock, and they charge people to go over there and take pictures. Crazy!  They also used to hand out hot chocolate on the honor system but obviously something happened with that because they don’t do it anymore.

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Fun facts about Trumpeter Swans and the Swan Park:

  • Trumpeters weigh between 21 and 35 pounds and can live up to 25 years.
  • Trumpeters mate for life 🙂
  • Juvenile Trumpeters are called Cygnets and are gray in color for their first year.
  • Lead poisoning, illegal poaching, power lines and loss of habitat are their main threats
  • The swan park is the largest flock of Trumpeter Swans in North America.
  • The Trumpeter Swan’s wing span can be up to 10 feet, they are the largest waterfowl in North America.

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After our toes started to freeze, we decided to head home. I hope you enjoyed the swans as much as I do!

Sheila