New Camera and Lovely Birds

Last week I upgraded my camera bag to include a new Canon 7D camera body. As with any new piece of equipment, I had to take it out immediately and start working with it to learn its ins and outs, so we went to the Gilbert Water Ranch for a BEAUTIFUL walk among the trees and birds. Hummingbirds were everywhere, and there were blue herons, egrets, ducks, and zillions of other kinds of birds that I haven’t the first clue what they are. I can’t wait to go back, now that I’ve figured out how to set the focus points and the autofocus modes on this camera.

Birds at Gilbert Water Ranch
Birds at Gilbert Water Ranch
Birds at Gilbert Water Ranch
Birds at Gilbert Water Ranch
Birds at Gilbert Water Ranch
Birds at Gilbert Water Ranch
Birds at Gilbert Water Ranch
Birds at Gilbert Water Ranch
Birds at Gilbert Water Ranch
Birds at Gilbert Water Ranch
Birds at Gilbert Water Ranch

Summer Storms

I just LOVE summer storms. I’ve been known to hang around lightning storms for hours to get the perfect photo — something about the power of a big storm is edifying and cathartic. And getting cool lightning photos is very satisfying. Of course, getting cool photos is satisfying anyway, but I just like lightning.

We had a couple of series of storms come through in the last couple of weeks, and I chased them and got some really fun stuff. Taking good lightning photos isn’t that difficult; you just need a camera that you can set to manual mode and shoot with a long shutter speed. For these I used ISO 200, 30 seconds of shutter and an aperture that varied between f/6.3 and 7.1 or so. The camera was on a tripod and I used my 70-200L lens. Enjoy!

Summer Lightning
Summer Lightning
Summer Lightning
Summer Lightning
Summer Lightning
Summer Lightning
Summer Lightning

Snow in Phoenix!

The weirdest thing happened last Saturday night. We woke up to cold weather, and when we saw that there was snow on the McDowell Mountains, we decided to go for a drive up Cave Creek Road towards Carefree. The further we got through Carefree, the more snow was on the ground. Crazy! I’ve not seen this in years. But boy was it pretty. And I think my little red car looks really nice against the white and the blue.

Snow in Phoenix!
Snow in Phoenix!
Snow in Phoenix!
Snow in Phoenix!
Snow in Phoenix!
Snow in Phoenix!
Snow in Phoenix!
Snow in Phoenix!

Summer Lightning Storms

I LOVE summer storms in the desert. There’s nothing like them — the hot wind starts to pick up and the thunderheads start building off in the distance. Local pilots call them “Thunderbumpers” because they make the air extremely bumpy, which is an adventure in a small airplane. By the evening, the temperature, wind, and humidity are just right and the clouds unleash an electric light show that has to be seen to be believed.

We didn’t get as many of these this year as we have in years past, but the times I was able to get out and photograph the lightning I got some great stuff. Check these out!

Ka-POW

Ka-POW

Ka-POW

Ka-POW

Ka-POW

Ka-POW

Ka-POW

Ka-POW