Winter Thaw

Seattle saw a brief blizzard on Monday night that was on the edge of freezing over and piling up. But by morning, it stopped snowing and the thaw began. This is an excellent time to take pictures of interesting ice shapes and frost outlining many plants’ interesting contours. 

Ocotillo Tangle

The American Southwest has its share of hardy plants that evolved to survive punishingly dry and hot conditions. The ocotillo is as spiny as any cactus, although it isn't one itself. They sort of look like tall dead sticks splaying out from the ground, but they produce beautiful red blossoms after a rain. Look closely... Continue Reading →

Hidden Beauty

This is the time of year in the Pacific Northwest when irises bloom. There is a nice assortment of bearded irises in my daughter's neighborhood in Seattle. While they're gorgeous to look at, I never bothered to look inside the flower. This takes a little effort because the upright petals (called standards) need to be... Continue Reading →

Eagle Eyes

There are terms we use about which we don't give much thought. On the face of it, their origin seems obvious enough, it's just that we have no personal experience to give the expressions much tangible significance; they're part of the common vernacular. 'Eagle eyes' is one of them. I was on a boat tour... Continue Reading →

Departure Delay in Alaska

It seems the common murre, also known as a guillemot, needs a good head start to fly. With a relatively hefty body compared to its wings, departure takes a bit of effort and once aloft, it can't maneuver very well. If you were to suddenly stand up in its flight path, there's a good chance you... Continue Reading →

Twisted Fir

The Cascade Lake Loop on Orcas Island in Washington is a pleasant way to explore part of Moran State Park. Its most interesting feature is a twisted Douglas fir that seems out of place. The other evergreens all around it are straight and tall, making you wonder what traumas it withstood during its lifetime. Its... Continue Reading →

Hope Springs Eternal

Spring is my favorite season. Winter chill gives way to a time of regrowth, awakening, rejuvenation and hope. Naturally, this is the time I like to visit local gardens. Seattle has a little treasure, not nearly as well known (if at all) as University of Washington's Arboretum, Kubota Garden or the Bellevue Botanical Garden. At... Continue Reading →

Great Blue Heron

This is as close as I've ever gotten to a great blue heron. I also had a little help from a telephoto lens.  The snapshot was taken at the estuarine reserve called the Skagit Wildlife Area north of Seattle where on luckier days I might've seen thousands of snow geese resting or flying overhead.

Beast or Alien?

My 9-year-old grandson loves reptiles. He's fascinated so much he takes pictures of all of them at the Los Angeles Zoo, every single time he visits, to the exasperation of his younger sister. It's no surprise then that he wanted to go through the reptile (and amphibian) exhibit when my wife and I took both... Continue Reading →

Parting Shots at Portland’s Japanese Garden

My wife and I have never driven I-5 through the Northwest in October. This year we did, en route to Southern California. The autumn leaves were gorgeous all along the interstate, mostly yellow with occasional spots of orange and red. They helped break up the monotony of having gone this route many times before. When... Continue Reading →

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