Archive for the ‘Photography’ Tag

Don’t Get A Stupid Driver Fine   4 comments

A Flash Flood From The Past (09/08/14) — Image by kenne

Where we live, flash floods 
are common during late summer,
but not this summer of little rain.

We live off of River Road,
a two-lane desert road
with low-water crossings.

Driving in a monsoon storm
requires extra vigilance in a
state with a stupid driver law.

— kenne

Revisiting Mt. Lemmon Wildflowers #6   Leave a comment

This summer, the Big Horn Fire caused so much damage to the National Forest
in the Santa Catalina Mountains remains closed to the public. Therefore,
hiking and photographing wildflowers in the Catalinas will not be in 2020,
which provides a good excuse to revisit some wildflower photos over the past ten summers.

Birdbill  Dayflower (08/29/14) — Image by kenne

 

Greater Roadrunner #2   1 comment

Greater Roadrunner — Image by kenne

It’s true, I often see you running about,
With a limp lizard’s tail hanging from your mouth,
Some have witnessed your familiar antics,
taunting rattlesnakes, eagles, and hairy arachnids.

But my favorite three things have to be,
Your curiosity each time you encounter me,
And how you turn your back to the sun for its heat
(like a tiny matador, feathers erect and sleek).

Finally, I think I must surely admit
That trickster track—your zygodactyl footprint!
How do I know which way you are going?
With two toes facing forward and the back two, back-going.

It doesn’t matter much to me you will see
I just look for the “X” in the sand to guide me.
On the trail of a friend, a cuckoo I know
the Greater Roadrunner, always running, on the go.

— from Roadrunner by Michelle Hedgecock

 

Greater Roadrunner   2 comments

Greater Roadrunner —  Image by kenne

A cuckoo bird that lives for speed,
With your shaggy crest, what a site indeed.
Streaked feathers break up your silhouette.
And your unusual track, not your typical set.

A blue and orange patch behind your eyes,
You prefer to chase prey, instead of fly.
Your expressive long tail flips here and there…
Quail chicks and k-rats best beware.

— from Roadrunner by Michelle Hedgecock

Golden Banded Skipper   Leave a comment

Golden Banded Skipper — Image by kenne

The golden banded-skipper has many similar species in its range such as
the Sonoran banded-skipper (Autochton pseudocellus), the Sierra Madre
banded-skipper (Autochton siermadror), the Chisos banded-skipper
(Autochton cincta), the dark-fringed banded-skipper (Autochton vectolucis),
the spiky banded-skipper (Autochton neis), the two-spotted banded-skipper
(Autochton bipunctatus), the sharp banded-skipper (Autochton zarex), and
the narrow banded-skipper (Autochton longipennis). — Wikipedia

Ten Years Ago When We Had A Monsoon Season   1 comment

In 2010 we experience our first Sonoran Desert monsoon season. There was lots of rain, wind and lightning.
This year’s monsoon season has been a nonsoon! So far we have had only 2 inches of rain.
This weekend’s forecast was for heavy rains and flash flooding — somebody stole our rain!

So, for this monsoon season the best I can do is revisit an August 31, 2010 posting. — kenne

Catalina Foothills, Tucson, Arizona — image by kenne

During this summer’s rainy season, many storms have provided much-needed rain to southern Arizona. However, when it comes to rainfall, not all areas are treated equally. We had received little rain till the other evening, so when the rain began, it was a time to rejoice. So much is special about the desert. I wrote a poem and produced a video. You can read the poem below and/or in the video.

Desert’s Rainy Season

Desert’s rainy season is
A product of summer highs
Mixed with atmosphere lows
Bringing a refreshing brief break
To her blue-skied summer heat

Desert’s wide-open spaces
Provide panoramic views
Showcasing threatening clouds
Only too often breakup
Before reaching your sky

Welcoming rains come
Only at Desert’s well
Playing havoc with forecasters
Never seeming to learn
She does not keep time

Wind shaking the trees,
Olive, palo verde and mesquite
Shadowed by rains wetness
Shining with each lightning flash
While drinking of life’s fountain

Olives falling from twisted branches
Rolled by wind over wet flagstones
Pounding rain leaving behind puddles
As rainwater exits through openings
In old pueblo walls

Wind chimes dance wildly
Ringing out in nervous joy
Desert’s unlocked sounds
Composing a melodic refrain
Proclaiming Desert’s delight

— kenne

Cabin On Mt. Lemmon   1 comment

Cabin In The Woods — Photo-Artistry by kenne

In capturing the moment,

reality

is rephrased

making use of light and

angles between objects,

creating an illusion

of space and distance —

a new view of reality.

 

The new reality

brings with it

a rhythm,

and sound

resonating

with the soul –

hopefully,

with the viewer.

 

The image

becomes a model

of what is real —

what is real is

imagined –

the affirmation

of nature.

 

The artist adds,

or takes away —

still real,

but totally invented

and fully imagined –

the objectification

of feeling.

 

The new reality

is shaped

and nurtured

from the past,

erased and reinvented —

if the artist is lucky

the new image

will seem more real

and more true.

— kenne

Image by kenne

Revisiting Mt. Lemmon Wildflowers #1   Leave a comment

The Big Horn fire this summer caused so much damage to the National Forest
in the Santa Catalina Mountains remains closed to the public. Therefore,
hiking and photographing wildflowers in the Catalinas will not be in 2020,
which provides a good excuse to revisit some wildflower photos over the past ten summers.

Richardson’s Geranium (07/30/14) — Image by kenne

A Moment Of Peace   Leave a comment

Puerto Peñasco, Sonora Mexico — Image by kenne

Nais Metalmark   2 comments

Nais Metalmark Butterfly — Image by kenne

There are several species of small butterflies with an orange-brown base color, marked with black,
white and brighter orange. The metalmarks such as this one also have some metallic-looking specks
that are visible with changing light angle.

Is It A Queen Or Monarch Butterfly?   Leave a comment

Is It A Queen Or Monarch Butterfly? May Guess, Queen. — Image by kenne

Similar, to monarchs, queens (Danaus gilippus thersippus) migrate in and out of the desert southwest.
Unlike monarchs, queens can be abundantly common in the desert southwest of central to SE Arizona west to California.

The West Continues To Burn   1 comment

Forest Fires In Western States Transforms The Skies Over Tucson — Sunrise Image by kenne

The 300-Million-Year Old Dance Of The Dragonfly   2 comments


August 18, 2019 Post from Kiko’s House blog (Blogger Shaun D. Mullen Passed Away in December 2019)

Dragonflies are among the world’s most ancient creatures and have been performing the mid-summer mating dance that I have observed almost every year of my life for 300 million years.  That’s more than 100 million years before dinosaurs appeared.

I can remember being fascinated by this dance as a youngster, although I didn’t understand that it was all about making baby dragonflies.

My brother and I would trap lightning bugs in Mason jars to sell to the man at the agricultural research station.  He paid us a dime a jar for his research into what made the bugs’ tails glow, but I would never consider trapping dragonflies for any amount of money.  Even then they occupied a special place in my world.

Perhaps it was because their dance reminded me of dog-fighting World War I flying machines, which captured my imagination at an early age, but I would like to think that the connection was more subtle.

I lived in Japan and traveled the Far East for a few years.  The dragonfly is revered in that part of the world and is depicted on everything from pottery to textiles. I recall one particularly glorious afternoon when I observed their mating dance in the backwater of a stream in the foothills below Mount Fuji.

After I returned to the States, I would take long walks up a dirt road next to a slow-flowing creek on hot mid-summer days, turn down a narrow footpath through high weeds and slip into the water.  It was refreshingly cool four or five feet beneath the surface and I loved to feel the chill percolate up into my chest and then my head.

Dragonflies colonize around creeks and ponds, so it usually wasn’t long before they were performing their dance around me.  Sometimes they would alight on my forehead – even in mating tandems — if I sat perfectly still and thought yoga thoughts and breathed yoga breaths. 

It was during this period that I first began reading about odonata, as this insect family is called.

I learned that the three species indigenous to my neck of the woods are members of the libellula genus.  These include my companions over many a summer — the bar-winged skimmer (Libellula axilena) and the less common great blue skimmer (Libellula vibrans). There also is the apparently elusive Jane’s meadowhawk (Sympetrum janeae), which is recognizable by its reddish body but has escaped my gaze.

I also learned that these species of dragonflies are short lived (seven to 10 weeks, although some species can live up to four years).  They also are territorial.

The mating dance is initiated by the male showing his genitals, of which he is endowed with two sets.  This display allows male and female to make sure that they are of the same species and therefore suitable mates.  The male then bends his abdomen so that one set of genitals touches the other, which is a sure-fire turn-on for the female, who curls her abdomen forward to make contact with the secondary genitalia and receives the sperm.

As I have often observed, the ritual can vary.

Sometimes the male grabs the female by the head or thorax for a “quickie” without going through the dance.  Other times the dance is long and elaborate, involving much diving and spinning, including mad charges in reverse, but in either event copulation takes less than a second. 

Sometimes male and female remain in tandem for several minutes, as if to say, “Was it as good for you as it was for me?”  The females are acutely sensitive to pollution and will lay their eggs only if the water is clean.  Other times they lay them on waterside plants. 

Sometimes the male acts as a lookout for the female as she lays the eggs he fertilized.  In fact, scientists say that males are so committed to their mating partners that they can display signs of jealousy if other males try to nose in.

A few years later, I lived in an old house a short walk from the creek and two particularly lovely spots — Ring Rock and the Burned Out Bridge. 

Ring Rock (also known as the Rock That David Sat On) is a massive limestone remnant of the furthest extent of the last Ice Age that protrudes from the water at a 25 degree angle. It is so named because an iron ring had been pounded into the rock perhaps 200 years ago so that the locals could tether their wagons to it and lower them into the creek to be cleaned — an early version of the car wash.   I never learned who David was, but I would slide into the creek below the rock — which was six or seven feet deep even in the mid-summer heat — and watch the dragonflies dance.

Alas, the rock attracted hikers and the occasional swimmer, so I moved on to the Burned Out Bridge. 

A pair of overgrown fieldstone foundations on either side of the creek are all that remain of this 19th century covered bridge, which is said to have been torched by a man in the early 1950s so that he and his son could fish undisturbed.  This is at a point just below where the west and middle branches of the creek converge, an area that is heavily silted and quite shallow.  It took all of one summer and part of the next, but I methodically moved sand and piled rocks until I had fashioned a pool about four feet deep where I could resume my dragonfly encounters.  My kids were too young to be of much help, but our big goofus of a black Labrador retriever became pretty good at picking up rocks and dropping them onto the sides of our pool.

It was here that I began seriously expanding my horizons to other fauna as I would sit quietly at periscope depth. 

There were rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus kykiss), restocked each spring for sport fishermen by the state fish and wildlife agency, and the occasional sunny (Lepomis machrochirus), as well as some wee fishies that I was never able to identify.  There were water-walking spiders (Dolomedes triton), black snakes (Elaphe obsoleta), a water moccasin (Ancistrodon piscivorus), which was a very rare sighting that far north of its southern habitat, and all sorts of toads and frogs, including little frogs called spring peepers (Pseudacris crucifer crucifer), so named because of the time of their arrival each year and their high-pitched trill.  The black lab would slog into the marshy areas between the creek and woods and ingest mouthsful of them.

It is mid-summer again.  It’s been too hot to trek up to the creek, but I was sitting near a fountain in the quiet university town where I used to live.

I put down the book I was reading, took off my sunglasses and let the sun beat on my face. My mind drifted back to my childhood and the illustrations in a favorite picture book. The young hero is sick and has been put to bed by his mother where he imagines that the quilt spread out below him is a make-believe world with villages, roads and farm fields.  Armies clash across this terrain and dog fighting aeroplanes bob, weave and loop overhead.  I grew drowsy and my mind drifted further when something drew me from my reverie and I opened my eyes.

It was dragonflies doing their dance over the fountain.

Shaun D. Mullen

PHOTOGRAPHS BY SAYHITOANT 

Southern Arizona Flame Skimmer   1 comment

Sabino CanyonFlame Skimmer-August 27 2014-framed-72Flame Skimmer (Southern Arizona) — Image by kenne

Just hold tight, hold tight

Time to make a decision

When and where to go.

— kenne

 

Canyonlands National Park In B&W   Leave a comment

Canyonland-72Canyonlands National Park — Image by kenne

“We cannot entrust the management of our lives
to kings, priests, politicians, county commissioners.”

— from A Voice Crying In The Wilderness by Edward Abbey

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