Those early morning drives…

Yes, there are perks in having to wake up really early on a Saturday morning!

While the rest of the world slumbers for a few more hours, I find myself driving along quiet country back roads to go to my summer part-time work up at White Lake.

I always love this stretch of road…so dense with towering trees…and I am the momentary intruder.  In a few spots the tree tops seem to actually reach across and create an arch effect.  So pretty!

 

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The potential bonus is that at that early hour – with almost no other vehicles around – there is a good probability of glimpsing wildlife.  Whether it’s a red fox that quickly dives into the underbrush.  Or a scurrying chipmunk.  Sometimes a swooping crow.  Each drive is never the same, as it’s a whole new ensemble of wildlife appearances – and THAT’s the fun part!  I often wonder…so who will surprise me this time?

Last Saturday I did actually get to see a red fox, but oh boy, it slipped away SO fast.  However, luck was still on my side, when I came onto a stretch of road and saw three young deer crossing from my right side over to the left side.

Two of them stayed on the road – one already disappearing among the trees ahead of this one…

 

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And there was a third deer – much closer to the main part of the road – that was quite  intent on chowing down on some greenery and had no intention of taking off, even when I stopped and sat there watching for a few minutes.

It climbed up the wee hill and stretched its neck to get some choice leafy morsels.

I just waited until it looked in my direction.

 

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Whispering good-bye and thank-you to the curious deer, I took some photos from the other angle as well…this last one (below) feels to me almost like a painting.

 

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I bet you can imagine how incredibly joyful I felt for the rest of that day!  🙂

 

 

 

 

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A fascinating lizard

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Still as a statue,

Calm, quiet, immoveable;

How a gecko rests.

 

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At a friend’s house I always like to go have a peek at his pet gecko in its little “desert” home.

Most of the time, it hides behind the plastic leaves and other objects, and I may catch a glimpse of its tail or elbow.

Last week it showed much more of itself!

Its head and front legs….and it seemed to react to my camera nearby, as it moved out just a little bit further and tilted its head to look more in my direction, and I could watch its throat swallowing, much like a frog’s throat does.  And the eyes are such tiny slits and don’t seem to blink.  SO cool!

Another photo that I took….(tilted for a different angle)

 

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Surprise Visitors!

 

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Moving quietly,

Two deer foraging keenly;

Such gentle creatures.

 

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When I was at a friend’s house last Monday, at one point in the early afternoon, I happened to glance out the window and was treated to the sight of these two lovely, young deer, as they looked about and helped themselves to fresh greens to nibble on.

The presence of my friend’s cat on the outside porch – glancing with curiosity in their direction – didn’t seem to faze them much, other than they took note that the cat was there.

Harmony prevailed.

The deer grazed.

The cat lazed.

 

 

 

 

The First Spring Flower!

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Carpet of old leaves,

Remainder of melted snow –

The snowdrop bursts forth!

 

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The first shoot of green I noticed in the garden two days ago after my walk.

A tender green in a sea of brown.

One single, solitary snowdrop.

Others will pop up soon, but this is the one that stretched its way through the ground to catch those warm sun rays….and show itself….first.

Surrounded by brown and dried up leaves, that little bit of green – and white! – pops out…..and well….gives me something more to smile about!

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Winged Visitor

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A buzz and a flit,

Then quietly, lightly perched –

Fly, four-winged dragon!

 

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I spotted this reddish dragonfly whilst roaming in the front garden last summer.  First she flitted here and there, and I thought….”Too fast for a picture!  I wish she’d land somewhere and give me a chance.”

And, d’you know?  She listened!

Next thing I knew she had landed on this well-situated plant and stood there patiently, as if to say, “Well, what are you waiting for?  I’m ready!”

She was in no hurry.  I snapped several photos of her, admiring the detail in her fine, lacy wings, her colours, and what a unique looking insect overall.

I love seeing dragonflies.  I’ve had one land on my leg while canoeing on a river; I’ve had another one land on my shoulder as I was in the garden.  I enjoy watching their flight….how light and graceful they move.

Before posting this photo though, just to make sure my information was correct, I double-checked online to see what the differences are between dragonflies and damselflies.  I came across a helpful blog post here, which confirmed it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Calla Lily Opens

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One long white petal

Unfurling into curling

The spadix revealed.

 

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In a beautifully laid out backyard garden on the South Island of New Zealand last November, I went exploring with my camera and found ever so many wondrous colours and forms in plants, leaves, and flowers.

This particular calla lily plant had budding flowers in varying stages of development, as well as some dried up ones among its blooms.  They were all so fascinating!

 

 

 

 

“The Letter P”

This week’s photography assignment – one which I picked! – focuses on objects, animals, and places that begin with the letter P.

The following are my four submissions:

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Letter P #1 – (Archived, Nov. 2017) Starting off with these massive rock formations known as the Pancake Rocks in Punakaiki, West Coast, South Island, New Zealand.

Interesting effect created by the thin seams of mudstone between the layers of limestone…..along with erosion.

 

Pancake Rocks in Punakaiki, West Coast, South Island (other camera) Nov. 2017

 

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Letter P #2 – Petals and Pistil – (Archived; August 2016). A huge, deep red mallow flower in my parents’ garden. My Dad’s joy is gardening, so when I go visiting, especially when the garden is aburst with colours, I go photo crazy! ^_^

 

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Letter P #3 – (Archived; Nov. 2017) Painted Bench in the town of Paihia, North Island, New Zealand. On a walkabout the town….taking in craft shows and the harbour…..and the stores. Cool things to see!

 

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Letter P #4 – (Archived; Nov 2017) – A flower on a Pohutukawa tree – also known as New Zealand’s Christmas tree.

When this tree is covered – and I mean, COVERED – in these lush red flowers, and with the green leaves, it looks SO Christmassy!

So pretty! Such a burst of red colour!!

 

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Preserved in Snow

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Warm spells in winter

Cause icy snow to retreat;

Surprises revealed!

 

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Last week, for about a day and a half, the temperatures in our area moved up high enough that a good deal of the layers of snow and ice melted down.  As I was walking along the pathway toward the front door of our house on that warm afternoon, I noticed this still greenish oak leaf lightly embraced by retreating snow – but not withered and dry.  Still somewhat soft and pliable due to the preserving affect of the ice and snowy layers during the cold period.

 

 

 

 

Seven in Black and White

A different kind of photography assignment this time.

No people.  Just objects or views or animals.

I randomly picked seven that seemed intriguing.

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1) There was some car trouble en route with one of the cars, so we had to stop along the roadside to check things out.  While the mechanically inclined looked under the hood, I did some looking around and was immediately drawn to this line of a tall “wall” of trees in the Wairau Valley, South Island, New Zealand.

 

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2) I was enthralled with watching all the water fowl, hanging out at a huge pond, nearby an historic N.Z. building….geese and ducklings….and even a rooster, too!  It had rained for a while, and this goose was taking sips of water as she walked alongside this curb.

 

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3) There was a flock of seagulls around the picnic area at the Pancake Rocks in the South Island, New Zealand.  I followed a couple of them around with my camera in hand, always hoping for good close-ups and also in-mid-flight moments.

 

Seagull in N.Z. from DCIM, Nov. 2017

 

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4) One from the archives of my current drumkit.

 

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5) We’ve had some snow already in November, but it has melted away again each time.  On Dec. 1st, I happened to see this lake with a thin layer of ice as far as I could see – large chunks of this thin ice lying on the water’s surface – with ice shards accumulated at the shore.

 

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6) Also from the archives….from last winter.  I had gone out one night to capture images of icicles in the front yard, illuminated by the house light.

 

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7) My latest hand drum, an African djembe, newly strung with goatskin on top, and I especially like the carvings in the drum’s body.

 

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