Taking pictures of hummingbirds

Have you ever wanted to take photos of hummingbirds but didn’t know how? Taking pictures of hummingbirds can be extremely difficult and frustrating!  This article I read today gives tips and tricks for doing just that.

http://www.squidoo.com/hummingbird-story.

Steve Kaye is an exceptional photographer and writer who truly seems to care about sharing his knowledge with others.  In his article, he tells you what makes a good photo, why taking pics of hummers can be so hard, some basic steps to take a good photo and so much more!

Taking pictures of hummingbirdsThis is the best hummingbird photo I have ever been able to get.

I hope one day to be able to implement Steve Kaye’s techniques and get a shot as good as all of his!

Take the time to read his article and I hope you are able to find it as intriguing as I did!


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Writers Block

I have been soooo bad about keeping up with blogging on here.  I had wanted to do a blog article at least once a week.  Ummm, hasn’t happened.

I get ideas at the most inopportune times and am unable to write them down.  Then, when I get in front of the computer, I am completely blank.

Well, here’s to trying to blog!  LOL

In the mean time, check out my old Squidoo lens – SKH Designs on Squidoo

I will continue to try to get some blog ideas in order and on paper so I don’t forget them.  Keep on the look out for another Squidoo lens by me also.  It is about emergency preparedness!


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Snowmobiling

Snowmobiling …… have you ever been?  Also called snow machining or snow sledding, it is like an ATV for winter time!

SnowmobilingSnowmobilingSnowmobilingSnowmobiling

And it is FUN!!!!

The first time I went snowmobiling was back when I was around 10 or 11 years old.  A bunch of people had gone out to play in the snow and we had a snowmobile along.  I don’t remember a lot from that trip but the next trip……WOW!

It was a few years ago.  My first time to go snowmobiling as an adult.  We went about 60 miles that day and I could hardly walk for the next two weeks!

Snowmobiling

Me decked out in all the gear needed for snowmobiling.

Snowmobiling (especially 60 miles worth when you aren’t used to it) can be an exhausting time.  In one way it is like riding a horse and instead of just sitting the entire time, you put most of your weight on your feet while you are in a squatting position.  In that manner your body can move with the machine while going over rough areas and not be jostled around too much.  You use your legs like shock absorbers.

Snowmobiling

A friend coming down the mountain

The great thing about snowmobiling is that you see so much more country in the winter than you would ever see just snowshoeing or skiing – unless you camped out over several days (personally, I don’t think I would want to camp in the snow!).  It was great to see what all that country looked like covered in snow and ice.

Snowmobiling

Now in order to go snowmobiling, you do need to be prepared.  You need to dress appropriately, you need to know how to handle your machine, you need to know where you are going and you should probably go with someone more experienced if you are not.  For myself, we had to go shopping!  Some of the gear I used that day was borrowed but certain things like base layers and boots I bought.  My friend had already done a lot of research on base layers, so I went with Smart Wool.  IT DOES WORK!!!  Smart Wool will keep you warm and dry.  They have different thicknesses and they have everything from socks to gloves.  Women’s, men’s, kid’s and baby’s products also.

Amazon’s Smart Wool Store

Like I said earlier, you do need to be prepared before going snowmobiling.  Here are a couple of links to Snowmobile Safety websites:

International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association

Snowmobile Safety Courses

Snowmobiling

One of the areas we passed through.

 

If you ever get a chance, you should try snowmobiling.  It is a great winter adventure!

And don’t forget your camera!


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Lady Bug Trail in Sequoia National Park

The Lady Bug Trail is located in the South Fork area of Sequoia National Park.  It is the southernmost area of the park that can be reached by vehicle.  Most people don’t even realize this is part of the park.  The road actually dead ends right inside of the park. Needless to say, it doesn’t get many visitors so if you are looking for solitude, this is a great spot!

Lady Bug Trail

South Fork of the Kaweah River that you cross at the beginning of the trail

I have only been hiking on this trail once with my mom, sister and nephew.  We didn’t go the entire way but we enjoyed ourselves!

Lady Bug Trail in Sequoia National Park

Sis and nephew climbing on rocks

Lady Bug Trail is in the foothill section of Sequoia National Park and is accessible year round.

Lady Bug Trail in Sequoia National Park

Mountain on other side of canyon from trail.

The reason for the name – Lady Bug Trail –  is because millions of ladybugs winter in this area.  In the spring they head back to the Central San Joaquin Valley.

Lady Bug Trail in Sequoia National ParkLady Bug Trail in Sequoia National Park

When we went the ladybugs had mostly all already migrated down to the valley.

Lady Bug Trail in Sequoia National Park

Homer’s Nose

We turned around not long after seeing this view.  The trail began to go downhill and would have ended up at Ladybug Camp, a primitive campsite along the river.  Near there is Ladybug Falls.  If you continue along the trail (not sure if there is a name change here) you will end up in Whiskey Log Camp.  The total round trip mileage is 3.8 miles to Ladybug Camp and 8 miles to Whiskey Log Camp.  The trail connects to many other trails but if you decide you want to hike them you better have maps and/or GPS!  The Sierra Nevada mountains can be dangerous if you do not know what you are doing.

Lady Bug Trail in Sequoia National Park

Looking down into the canyon that the trail parallels

Lady Bug Trail is a great place to hike and get away from the hustle and bustle of life.  It is rated moderate because of the steepness of the trail in spots.  Here is a link to a more detailed description of the trail itself all the way to Whiskey Log Camp: NPS website

I am hoping that I will be able to go back there soon and at least make it as far as Ladybug Camp!  It is just one of the many amazing trails I have been on in Sequoia National Park!

 


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Exploring Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks in California

Exploring Sequoia & Kings National Parks in California is an awesome experience!

Mitchell Peak, exploring kings canyon & sequoia national park

360 degree panoramic view of the parks from Mitchell Peak (elev 10,365 ft)

The two parks are next to each other in the southern Sierra Nevada, on the eastern side of the central San Joaquin Valley in California.  Some of the features in these parks include

*mountains – including Mt. Whitney – highest summit in the lower 48 states

*caverns – Crystal Cave and Boyden Caverns are two that offer tours

*deep canyons – Kings Canyon has a road leading down into it to Roads End

*rugged foothills – some of these are accessible in the southern part of Sequoia National Park

*and last but not least, some of the largest living organisms on the planet – The Giant Sequoia Trees.

meadow located at roads end in Kings Canyon

Zumwalt Meadow located at “roads end” in Kings Canyon National Park

Sequoia & Kings National Parks together have an immense road-less area.  This area is the second largest area left in the contiguous states.  There is not a road through this section of mountains at all!  In order to get from the west side to the east side, a person must either go north a couple hundred miles to Tioga Pass Road in Yosemite National Park or go south a couple hundred miles to Walker Pass or Tehachapi Pass.

In the foothills area of Sequoia National Park

There are only a couple of entrances into the parks.  Ash Mountain in the south, in Sequoia National Park and Big Stump in the north in Kings Canyon National Park.  The road connecting the two is the General’s Highway.  Two other roads into Sequoia National Park are in the southern part – one heading to Mineral King and one heading to South Fork.  Neither of these roads connect to any other part of the park.

There is no road at all into either National Park on the east side of the mountain range.  The only way to enter is on foot.

tokopah falls in sequoia national park lodgepole area

Tokopah Falls in the Lodgepole section of Sequoia National Park

The two parks are managed as one and cover 865,964 acres.  Almost 97% is Wilderness area.  There are over 800 miles of hiking trails.  View this map to get an idea of the scope of Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks – MAP

Mineral King area of Sequoia National Park

Mineral King area of Sequoia National Park

There is so, so much more that could be said about exploring Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks in California.  However, it would take several blogs to sort it all out and keep it in order.

So, I will leave you with this link to a webcam at the edge of Giant Forest looking to the southwest – WEBCAM


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The Awesome Yosemite Falls

Yosemite Falls is the tallest waterfall in North America.

Yosemite Falls is located in the Yosemite National Park in the Sierra Nevada Mountain range of California.

From Glacier Point Lookout

This beautiful waterfall is 2,425 feet high and comprised of 3 sections: Upper Fall, The Cascades and Lower Fall (An example of the height of this waterfall is the Sears Tower and the Eiffel Tower stacked on top of each other.)  The best time to see this waterfall is when spring runoff of melting snow is at it’s highest; that can be anywhere from April to late June depending on the precipitation for a particular year.

From across the valley floor

Yosemite Falls is the premier attraction in Yosemite National Park. It is thrilling to take the walk to the base of the Falls! Wind picks up, the roar increases and before you know it you are wet! The walk is not long at all and the majority of the trail is paved. You end up experiencing the Falls from a variety of angles. It is absolutely amazing! There is also a trail to the top of the Falls (no I haven’t made it up there yet). That trail is approximately 7.2 miles round trip an elevation gain of over 2,700 feet!

Lower Yosemite Fall

Upper Yosemite Fall

I love going to see Yosemite Falls. I remember going a few times when I was little but didn’t appreciate the grandeur until I went again a few years ago. It is truly an awe inspiring sight to see!

Yosemite Falls from the trail

I have some of these photos and other waterfall photos available on many different products located at these links:

Waterfalls on Zazzle          Waterfalls on Cafe Press


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Holiday Designs on Zazzle by Other Artists

Zazzle has thousands of artists from all around the world ranging from painting and photography to digital art.  Here are a few of the featured holiday products on Zazzle’s Home page today.


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My first digital camera

I finally broke down and bought a digital camera this year. I had been holding out because I wanted a top of the line DSLR. For those of you who don’t know, a DSLR is almost exactly like a “regular” film camera in many aspects. It takes a picture fast, there are many different lenses to choose from, you can do a lot of manual settings, etc. However, with each passing year they make new cameras and constantly improve them. So, my “want list” camera kept changing.

The price of film has been increasing and the options for developing film have been shrinking. I was living a long distance from family and if I wanted to send them a quick pic, it wasn’t quick. Waiting to finish snapping a roll of film, then getting it developed, then either scanning it to my computer or getting it put on a disc was quite time consuming. I also had a vacation planned to Hawaii and wasn’t sure I wanted all the bulk of taking camera, camera bag, lenses, flash, multiple rolls of film, etc with me on the plane.

Thus ensued my search for a digital camera that wasn’t my ideal, “wish list” camera.

What I found – I LOVE!!!!

The Pentax Optio W-G 2 (without GPS)

pentax digital cameraThis thing is AWESOME!  Shockproof, Crushproof, Waterproof, Coldproof, Dustproof, MacroPhotography capable.

The Pentax Optio is great for most of the photography I love to do, as well as some new styles of photography I am learning to love.  It does have the drawback of delayed image capture just like any point and shoot.  But it is so much fun!

You can find out more about the Pentax Optio W-G 2 on Amazon


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Sunflower, Sunflower, Sunflower

Have you ever seen an entire field of sunflowers?

The effect is stunning!

Sunflowers have such personality!

I lived in Kansas for a short while. Not long after moving there I was out for a drive to see what I could see. (This was in the Flint Hills area so not typical flat Kansas you hear about!) I came over a hill outside a small town and “BAM!” There it was, an entire field of yellow and green.

Of course, what did I do? I found a place to stop and park. Then I proceeded to take an entire roll of film!

This photo can be found on gift items at the following link:

Sunflower on Zazzle                      Sunflower on Cafe Press


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One of my favorite photos.

Out of all the photos I have taken in the last 7 years, this is one of my favorites.

montana field photoIt just “happened”.  I was driving a motor home for a transportation company I worked for and was on my way from Iowa to Washington.  In the middle of Montana this picture perfect shot appeared.  Luckily there was a spot to pull over that was large enough for the motor home!  When I had the film developed, I was shocked and amazed that I was the one who took that photo!  I felt right then that this hobby was going to be the start of something great.  That was the catalyst for beginning my web stores.

Here are the places to go to see this photo on a variety of products:

Montana Field on Zazzle              Montana Field on Cafe Press


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