Showing posts from February, 2016

Skywatch Friday:  Test Shots

Canon EF-S 15-85mm Lens @15mm (24mm image) Last fall, I bought a new camera, a Canon 7D Mark II .  As it turned out, the photo editing software I had been using with the old 7D1 couldn't process the raw files produced by the new camera.  For the moment, then, the new camera ended up stashed away in a cabinet. Canon EF-S 10-18mm Lens @10 mm (16mm image) Now I have new software that will process the 7D2 raw files.  Here are the first couple of test shots I took this week using two different lenses.  Although they were just test shots, they turned out fairly well.  They were also photos of my usual Skywatch scene, so I decided to post them there.  Although it is the same scene, these photos are very different from the one I posted last week . Compared to the old 7D, much less post-processing seems to be needed with the 7D2.  Colors are brighter and lighting is more balanced right out of the camera.  I take a lot of photos in the deep shade of Pacific Northwest forests.  

Skywatch Friday:  Islands in the Clouds

At Skywatch Friday , I know the photos with a lot of red, orange and yellow in them get the most attention.  But the sky that I watch sometimes looks like this. Location:  Skagit Bay at the northern end of Puget Sound, Washington, USA Time:  9:00 a.m. Weather:  Light rain, temperature 48° F, dew point 46° F, humidity 92%, barometer 30.05", wind calm,

Kiket Island Closeups

Yesterday, it stopped raining long enough for a quick hike across Kiket Island in the Kukutali Preserve .  I haven't seen our neighborhood eagles for a while and wondered if they might be hanging out over there.  By the time I got there, about fifteen minutes later, fog had rolled in.  For the moment, eagle viewing was out of the question.  I decided to go exploring anyway and see what else might be going on.  Left over from last season, I found Common Snowberries (Symphoricarpos albus) right next to the little parking lot. In the woods along the North Trail, I spotted the first Banana Slug (Ariolimax columbianus) of the season.  Apparently it is getting warm enough for them to come out of their winter hiding places At the west end of the island, Oregon Grape (Mahonia aquifolium, Berberis aquifolium) is starting to bloom.  Around here, that means spring is arriving.  The leaves turn bronzy red in the winter.  With warmer temperatures, they will again become dark

Skywatch Friday:  February Sunrise

February in the Pacific Northwest is typically rainy and overcast.  Once in a while, however, the skies clear giving us a beautiful winter day.  Such was the case on Tuesday this week.  This is Skagit Bay at the northern end of Puget Sound in Washington State.  I took a nice, long hike in the Skagit delta wetlands.

Fern Gully:  Exploring a Forest Ecosystem

What is it about a trail that is so enticing?  I find myself compelled to follow its course to see where it goes.  What's at the end?  What will I discover along the way?  I was delighted when Deception Pass State Park announced that this year's First Day Hike would be at Hoypus Point at the north end of Whidbey Island.  I had hiked all of the Deception Pass trails now except the ones in this section of the park.  For me, Hoypus was terra incognita .   It was about time for me to get to know this part. There are sixteen named trails in the Hoypus Point network.  So far, I have explored the East and West Hoypus trails, the CCC Crossing and part of the Fireside Trail .  One of the trail names on the map  (.pdf) that caught my eye was Fern Gully .  That's the one I wanted to explore next.  From Cornet Bay Road, this would be my route: West Hoypus Point Trail Fireside Trail west Little Alder Trail Fern Gully Forest Grove Fireside Trail east East Hoypus Point T