Deserts and Beyond

Deserts and beyond...places in and around the southern California deserts and beyond. Photo taken at Canyon Lake, in the Superstition Mountains of Arizona, December 2011. A few minutes later, after the sun disappeared, these cliffs were their normal color. They were only golden for a short time and I'm glad we were able to view them in their glory.






Sunday, April 29, 2012

Beauty and the beast~~Sunday Stills Challenge~042912



This is literally about beauty and the beast.  I was out for' my morning walk Friday morning.  I didn't have either my Canon or Nikon with me, but I always do carry my little Nikon Coolpix in my purse (just in case...).  I remember getting to the front door and thinking, "Do I REALLY need a big camera today?" and decided that since there weren't any clouds that morning, I would leave without either one.   A crew of tree trimmers was out gunning their truck engines at the golf club, so I decided to walk around the perimeter the opposite direction of my usual morning walk.  I was busy looking at all the footprints in the sand when I stopped and looked beside me and there he was...a COYOTE!  He stood and looked at me.  I stood and looked at him and slowly got out the little Coolpix and got a few photos of him.  He looked well-fed and wasn't afraid of me (or agressive), so we just stood and watched each other.  He finally moved off further into the bushes.  He was probably 10 feet away from me when I first spotted him.  From now on, I'll remember to scour the bushes along the dirt road!  Sunday Stills Challenge for April 29, 2012.  Is he a beauty or a beast?  I think he was a beauty!  To visit Sunday Stills Challenge, please go to:   http://sundaystills.wordpress.com/

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Fence to nowhere~Friday's Fences~042712


I swear that this fence doesn't go anywhere!  It just pops out of the ground and then disappears back into it.  I have no idea why it's even there.  It doesn't fence in ANYTHING.  But, I have to admit, it is nice to lookat, don't you think?  I wish we had more wildflowers this year...sigh...maybe next year?  Friday's Fences for April 27, 2012.  To visit Friday's Fences, please go to:    http://lifeaccordingtojanandjer.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Sprinklers in the park




I went to the park early Sunday morning before I drove up the mountain highway to check on my horses.  A storm is moving into the desert and our mountains this week and I needed to buy pellets for them because I was nearly out of pellets and I always like them to have some extra calories during a storm.  They all get fed alfalfa twice a day, but I like to make sure they have an extra meal when it's cold.  And, believe me, it was COLD up in the mountains on Monday afternoon when I drove up to the feed store!  But, Sunday morning was crisp, clear, sunny, and delightful!  The park sprinklers came on while I was there (about 7 a.m.) and the ducks enjoyed the water as much as I did (just watching it!)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Flowers in my garden




I planted some sunflower and African daisy seeds out back along the chain link fence between the dog run and the rest of the house and I'm glad I did.  The sunflowers are growing daily and are over 4' tall!!!  The African daisies have done well in the full sun and are cheerfully blooming.  So, I went out yesterday morning with my Nikon and took these photos of the flowers.  I spent most of the morning clearing out an area in the front, along the fence, for more sunflowers and some cosmos seeds.  I also raked another area and threw out Tithonia, black eyed Susans, and more cosmos seeds.  I hope these two areas will be as colorful and as full as the one out back!  And, yes, there are a few weeds in among them!  I see two large areas that will need to be weeded before I can plant more seeds around these plants.  I still have a huge bag of cosmos seeds, which I bought at Home Depot and I need to get them in the ground before summer, although yesterday it was 105 degrees here (probably a new record...)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Afternoon walk and reflection~Weekend Reflections~042112

One day, I didn't make it out for my morning walk, but I was able to do it in the afternoon.  I like the golden afternoon light, don't you?  I'm thiasnking about waiting until afternoon today to go see my horses as I'm just not getting going this morning and it's already 11:30 a.m.!!! Weekend Reflections for April 21, 2012.  To see other reflections, please go to:   http://weekendreflection.blogspot.com/

Hello there!!!


I always run into a few cottontails or jackrabbits on my morning walk.  If you look in the center of the top photo, you'll see a jackrabbit on alert.  One time, I saw six of them!  (...must be spring...).  Most mornings, I see maybe 4 or 5 total, but certainly not a group of six!!!  The jackrabbits are much larger than the cottontails and have the LONG ears.  Their ears actually help their bodies get rid of heat.  I love the little cottontails!  They are much quicker than the jackrabbits.  I haven't seen or heard any coyotes lately, but I did hear a group of quail one morning.  I even found their tracks yesterday.  I'm hearing Canadian geese almost every morning now as they leave from the Marriott Desert Springs Resort, which is right across the street.  They are heading back north.  We are supposed to get temps in the 100's this weekend and it was 104 degrees on our front porch here yesterday afternoon.  Enjoy your weekend!  I'm heading up the hill to see my horses.  HORSE TIME!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Desert morning~SkyWatch Friday~042012

I took this photo before the time change this spring.  I'd have to be out on my walk before 6 a.m. nowadays to get the same shot and that is NOT happening!!!  By the time I eat breakfast, feed the dogs, feed the birds, feed the cats, shower, and get ready, it's already 6:30 a.m. and the sun has already risen in the east...sigh..The last few mornings, it has been warm at that hour as temps rise up to the 100's here in the desert this weekend.  Ugh.  NONE of us are ready for that in April!  We had to turn on the air conditioner last night and believe me, we get socked hard by Southern California Edison for that!  But, what can you do?  Suffer in the heat?  The dogs were panting.  Even the birds who visit my feeders out in the front yard were panting, so I turned on the hose for them and they drank up the water!  Some even took a bath in it!  It's supposed to be 99 degrees here today.  Summer's comin'!!!  SkyWatch Friday for April 20, 2012.  To visit SkyWatch Friday, please go to:   http://skyley.blogspot.com/

Sedona's Red Rock state park railing~Friday's Fences~042012

I know it isn't a fence, but don't you just love this railing, which is at the visitor center at Sedona's Red Rock state park?  I always stop in this same spot to take a photo of it!  Friday's Fences for April 20, 2012.  To visit Friday's Fences, please go to:   http://lifeaccordingtojanandjer.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Palo Verde~Nature Notes~041912



The palo verdes are in full bloom right now.  The desert landscape is dotted with their yellow flowers.  We have four in our yard that are blooming.  The one out front, by the street, is so heavy with blossoms that it is nearly tipping over.  The one out back is an older one and has two little bird nests in it.  I have another one right where I feed the birds.  It's only about 3 years old and this is its first year to really bloom.  I'll try to get some photos of them this weekend. They are called palo verde (green stick) because, for most of the year, they look like plain green sticks.  Ahhhh....but in Spring, their blossoms come and open up and they adorn the landscape with their blossoms.  I always enjoy the palo verde blooming season.  We had a huge one at school, out by the playground, that one year was so full of blooms!  However, the gardeners came by and severely pruned it and honestly, I haven't even noticed it this year.  I guess I'll have to take a look tomorrow! Nature Notes for April 19, 2012.  To visit Nature Notes, please go to this link:   http://ramblingwoods.com/

Just some random photos




Today I'm just posting some random shots from my morning walk.  I forgot I had these on my camera (the Nikon), since I haven't been using it much lately.  I've been using and learning HOW to use the Canon.  What a mind-shift!  The Canon is much easier to use and adjust the settings, but it just doesn't have the clarity of color that the Nikon has.  If you want to see the difference in the two cameras, just go on over to my other blog, Deep Canyon, at:  http://rav4adventures.blogspot.com  and take a look at the last two posts.  The newest one shows yucca blossoms which I took with the Nikon.  The previous one shows the same blossoms, but I took those with the Canon.  Please let me know which you prefer.  Anyway, back to this post...I had these photos on my Nikon since March and I realized that I needed to upload them.  We're having 90 plus degree weather here this week and temps should hit the 100's by the weekend, so the mornings are pretty warm now.  I walked yesterday morning and saw lots of cottontails and jackrabbits out running around on their morning errands and during their feeding.  No clouds.  NONE.  Period.  I do see a few today, so I need to get ready and head for the door!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Yellow roses~Mellow Yellow Monday~041612



I wandered over to my neighbor's front yard yesterday because she has some gorgeous flowers blooming right now and I wanted to get some photos of them.  This rose bush was FULL of yellow roses!  I'll go down to the park to check out the roses one afternoon this week.  They were all pruned in January and honestly, I haven't checked on them since then!  Aren't these beautiful?  She's a landscaper, so her roses are always gorgeous.  I've killed every single rose bush I've planted over the past 30 years...sigh...Mellow Yellow Monday for April 16, 2012.  To see more of MYM, please go to:   http://mellowyellowmonday.blogspot.com/

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Visitor center reflection~Sunday Stills Challenge~041512

This is part of the visitor center at Red Rock state park near Sedona reflected in a pool of water.  Sunday stills Challenge for April 15, 2012. To visit SSC, please go to:   http://sundaystills.wordpress.com/

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Desert blooms~Nature Notes~041312


I forgot that I had some photos on my Nikon, so I uploaded them this morning and found this one of a brittle bush when they were in full bloom.  Unfortunately, their prime blooming time has come and gone and now the bushes are loving their brilliant colors.  But, as these shrubs lose their blooms, the palo verdes are now in full bloom, once again dotting our desert landscape with yellows.  Nature Notes for April 13, 2012. To visit Nature Notes, please go to:    http://ramblingwoods.com/

Friday, April 13, 2012

Fence and hitching post, Sedona~Friday Fences~041312


I found this fence, but more importantly, this hitching post when we stopped on our way to Sedona last week.  We stopped at every turnout and scenic view from Montezuma's Castle to Sedona!  I also liked the fence along the hiking trail, which we didn't take.  Friday Fences for April 13, 2012.  To visit Friday's Fences, please go to this link:   http://lifeaccordingtojanandjer.blogspot.com/

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Morning walk


A storm is moving into the valley tomorrow, with rain forecast.  Snow is also forecast above 4,500 feet, which means more snow on our mountains.  I went out for my morning walk today, the first time in nearly two weeks.  My leg is starting to move better now, thanks to the glucosamine that I'm taking.  It was so enjoyable to get out, smell the desert,  and see the cottontails and jackrabbits running around the desert.  I saw a pack of 6 jackrabbits about two weeks ago, but this morning I heard quail calling, for the first time.  I see lots of ravens and an occasional Cooper's hawk when I'm out walking, but I haven't seen or heard quail until now.  I see them all the time up in the mountains, but not usually when I'm out for my morning walk.

Castle A, Montezuma's Castle




In addition to the large Montezuma's Castle (which has nothing to do with Montezuma and it doesn't look like a castle), the ruins of Castle A also still exist at the monument.  Castle A is where most of the other inhabitants lived at Montezuma's Castle.  You can actually walk up past them (but not on them!)  Hubby took these photos and I'm using his laptop this morning because Windows did updates on mine and it just takes too long to boot up!  Besides, it's always interesting for me to see spots from a different perspective! And, he has a 24-105 mm lens, while mine is 28-300 (with macro).  I can zoom in a lot more than he can, but he gets the wide angle perspective that I simply cannot get!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Picmonkey photos of Montezuma's Castle

Okay...I googled PicMonkey and found a couple of sites that told me how to "save as you go".  Apparently I wasn't seeing the "save" button at the very bottom of the page.  MAKE SURE you use a full screen when using PicMonkey!!!  Phew!  Now that I found the "save" button, I tried a couple more edits (see below)...I'll try to explain each one.  Just make SURE you DO save a copy of your original photo!  I accidently, on PicMonkey, replaced my original (ACK!), but I had already saved a copy of it using befunky, so I still have it (phew!)...The second photo is one called "papyrus".  To me, it looks grainy and fuzzy and I don't like it AT ALL.  PERIOD.  Ugh!  The next one is "frost".  Now, I kind of like this one...After "frost" is "paint"...again, it looks too dark.  The final one is "smudge"...again, I kinda like this one, but, really, I'm not sure I like ANY of them!  If you wish to try out PicMonkey, here's the link:    http://www.picmonkey.com/  You begin by clicking on the square that says, "Edit your photo"...you will upload one of your photos.  Then, go to the sidebar and choose the editing option you want.  The top symbol has basic edits.  The second one down, with the lab bottle, has the effects that I showed you here, lus others.  JUST MAKE SURE you save your original photo BEFORE you get started.  I renamed mine after the edit and added a ".jpg" to each one to remember it.

Befunky photo editing

Okay, so now that Picnik is going away, I'm going to have to do a LOT more experimenting with befunky.  I really like this program so far.  The ONLY thing I don't like is that I have to remember to save an original copy of the photo on befunky...However, I'm really not sold on some of these effects.  The top one is "old photo".  The second one down is "oil painting".  The third one down is "grunge" and the last one is the original.  I may just go over to picmonkey and try a few of theirs for comparison.  I'm NOT going to pay money to join either one if I don't like their effects.  Frankly, I like the original, untouched one better than any of the effects.  What do you think?  I value your opinions!  Let me know, PLEASE!