Saturday, December 29, 2012

Southern California Christmas

A willet at sunset on Manhattan Beach
I spent my first ever Christmas in California visiting family.  The temps were in the 50s and low 60s and rainy in the evenings.  Quite a difference from South Dakota's December temps.  We were able to spend some time at Manhattan Beach's pier for sunset shots one evening.  The surf was up and there were a handful of surfers showing their stuff close to the pier.  A few days later we went on a whale watching boat tour, but were skunked.  We did see a lot of birds, some harbor seals and a single sea lion though.  It was a windy day and the sea was rough.  Even though we didn't see any whales, I still really enjoyed being out on the rolling sea.  Here are a few photos from the trip.  Click on an image for a larger file to view and thanks for checking in. 

Manhattan Beach Pier at sunset. On the extreme right of the photo just off the edge of the pier, you can see a surfer waiting for a wave.

This image was taken with a much longer exposure as above to smooth out the surf and give the water an interesting ethereal look.

I followed this shorebird (I believe it is called a willet) along until he was lined up with the setting sun's reflection on the water's edge for this silhouette shot.

This Heerman's Gull glided just above our whale watching ship for a few minutes as we exited Long Beach Harbor.

Harbor seals soaking up the sun.

A lighthouse along the outer barrier of Long Beach Harbor.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Early Winter Scenes

A lone horse against an early winter sunset sky in McCook County, SD.

Here are some photos from late November and early December in South Dakota, 2012.  No real theme going on.  Just a collection of images I was able to capture in during my free time exploring the landscape on both sides of the river.  For more images and the stories behind them, feel free to check out my online column over at here: 

A nice white-tail buck near Lake Vermillion in McCook County, SD.

An early December sunrise over downtown, Sioux Falls.

Snow falling amongst the pine trees of Custer State Park's ponderosa pine.

Deer and falling snow at dusk in Custer State Park.

Rose hips frame the falling water of Spearfish Falls near Savoy, SD.

Spearfish Canyon in winter.

Snow covered snowberries found along Spearfish Creek.

Snow on rose hips also found along Spearfish Creek.

Sunrise near Iron Mountain Road.

Snow on the Badlands with Harney Peak on the distant horizon.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

2012 December Wildlife

A white-tail buck in Custer State Park.
The weekend after my birthday in early December, I decided to treat myself to a two and a half day photo getaway in Custer State Park and Wind Cave National Park.  I love to find and shoot wildlife photos.  This post is a few shots that I happened to get my camera lens on over the weekend.  Click on an image for a larger file to view and enjoy!

Wind Cave National Park Coyote.

Snow started falling late in the day on Saturday.  There was no wind and big flakes.  Here is a white-tail I happened to catch around the Center Lake campgrounds when the first snowflakes started falling.

A nice 6X6 elk bull at Wind Cave National Park the next morning.

A grand old bull bison of Wind Cave National Park.

The fresh snowfall allowed me to see big cat sign on both Saturday and Sunday morning.  This set of tracks is either from a very large bobcat or a younger cougar on Saturday morning in Custer State Park on Lame Johnny Road. I saw bigger tracks on Sunday morning near Center Lake that were definitely mountain lion.

Custer State Park buck in the shadow of the pines.

I drove through the Badlands on my way back home.  I saw a nice group of Bighorns near the Pinnacles area.

A mule deer buck near the yellow mounds area of Badlands National Park.