Sunday Stills: #Eerie Sights and Sounds

Spooky Sunrise

Now that my children are grown and gone, I really don’t celebrate the day much except for a few mild decorations, which I shared last week.

Since Sunday Stills landed on Halloween today, I was inspired for this week’s theme, “Eerie,” by the Google Chrome theme “Eerie Autumn” which cycles wallpaper images to my desktop. Creepy spiderwebs, misty moons, and decrepit graveyards adorn my desktop as a reminder that Halloween is in the eye of the beholder.

Eerie Full Moon
Eerie full moon viewed through pine trees

The definition of Eerie is: “Uncanny, so as to inspire superstitious fear; weird: an eerie midnight howl. (esp of places, an atmosphere, etc) mysteriously or uncannily frightening or disturbing; weird; ghostly”

Merriam Webster Dictionary

As I was capturing decor images last week, I got this eerie one on my porch.

Halloween decor and dog
Doesn’t Brodie’s photobomb make this image look creepy?

Do you get many trick-or-treaters where you live? In my former Sacramento neighborhood, despite being around the corner from the elementary school, we rarely got visitors on Halloween. This coincided with 9-11 in 2001, and it’s been crickets ever since. As I write this I’m wondering if we will get any on our new street, which still does not show up on some folks’ google maps! There are only two occupied homes, and unless parents drive their kids (golf carts and ATVs are a popular way to zip around here), I doubt we will see many kids out on our street. Oh well, more candy for me!

Eerie Editing

Back to our theme, what makes an image “eerie?” With our sunny days and cold nights, we’ve had lots of ground fog which makes for an eerie photo.

Spooky Sunrise
Eerie Sunrise in black and white

“At night the fog was thick and full of light, and sometimes voices.”

Erin Bow, Plain Kate

Another way to invoke “eerie” is to shoot or edit in black and white. I took the original image, then edited it to black and white, and added some other effects.

Suburban pocket forestEerie Edited Forest
A beautiful forest transforms into an eerie sight on Halloween

A visit to Apple Hill near Sacramento in 2019 on the actual Halloween day gave us inspiration for some wine-tasting using this creepy gargoyle aerator!

Gargoyle Wine Stopper

If you use your imagination, perhaps with a twist of the screen, you’ll find mythical beasts in the reflections.

Autumn Lake ReflectionsDragon Faces at an angle

Eerie Sounds

Speaking of eerie. Recently, in our backyard with my dog Aero about 1:30am, I heard what I thought was a coyote howling. I’m terrified my little 13-pound dog will be attacked by coyotes (it has happened to neighbors’ dogs!). So I am vigilant when we go out to do his business. I waited for the yip-yip to accompany the spine-chilling “howl” but heard nothing except another howl, this time with undertones of a whistle and roar. Sufficiently nervous, we went in quickly and I thought no more about it until I read another blogger’s post (Donna from Wind Kisses) which described the mating call of the bull elk during the Autumn mating season as a “bugle.” It was then I realized I had heard an elk’s mating call. That close to my backyard?? As the video suggests, I imagined Tolkein’s ringwraiths calling to me! Eerriieee!

Eerie Aurora

I’ve been dying to share this image on my blog. Many of you might have already seen it on Instagram and Facebook. I follow a Facebook group called Nine Mile Aurora Chasers and I read a post that mentioned weather conditions were perfect for the aurora borealis, also known as the northern lights, to be seen in Spokane, Washington area. Yes, please.

To my naked eye, the aurora looked merely like a grey, misty cloud on the horizon. Had I not been tipped off by Google and the Facebook group, I would have missed it. When I imagine the northern lights, I expect to see eerie green and blue ripples of light dancing above my head. I’ve since learned you must be much further north to see them in that fashion.

The northern lights usually occur between 60 and 75 degrees of latitude, which covers northern parts of Canada, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Alaska and Russia as well as all of Iceland.

Discover the World

I used my Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ to photograph the horizon to the northeast from my house using night mode. When I saw what my lens saw, I jumped for joy. Using a little ambient light from the neighbors’ lights helped more than hindered.

Aurora Borealis from my porch
Aurora Borealis from my porch

The Aurora is created when the energy from a solar flare emitted by our sun hits earth. One such flare hit earth Monday night, creating a rare spectacle that could be seen across much of the norther tier of the United States. The aurora was visible across the Inland Northwest thanks to clear skies overhead and relatively early nightfall this time of year.

KREM 2 News

A rare and joyful, if slightly eerie experience, indeed.

“Sharp winds ruffled his coat and caused bare tree limbs to bend and rustle, throwing eerie shadows on the ground.”

Mateo’s Law

Do you know what else is eerie? According to WordPress:

Happy Anniversary with WordPress.com!
You registered on WordPress.com 10 years ago.
Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging.

Photo Challenges this Week

Sunday Stills Photo Challenge Reminders

  • Please create a new post for the theme or link a recent one.
  • Title your blog post a little differently than mine.
  • Don’t forget to create a pingback to this post so that other participants can read your post. I also recommend adding your post’s URL into the comments.
  • Entries for this theme can be posted all week.
  • Use hashtag #SundayStills for sharing on social media.

Sunday Stills is a wonderful community of bloggers and photographers who desire to connect with one another. Below are the last week’s links from bloggers who shared their favorite seasonal decoration photos. If at any point I have accidentally left anyone off the list, please let me know!

Always Write

Bushboys World

Cats and Trails and Garden Tales

Cath’s Camera

Deb’s World

Easin’ Along (Image shared in comments)

Equipoise Life (Image shared in comments)

Geriatrix Fotogallerie

Graham’s Island

Hugh’s Views and News (Image shared in Comments)

Loving Life

Musin With Susan

Priorhouse Blog

Retirementally Challenged

Retirement Reflections (Image posted on Instagram)

Shutters on the World

Soul N Spirit

Stevie Turner

Wind Kisses

Woolly Muses

Women Living Well After 50

Working on Exploring

To see more of my images and other news, consider following Terri on Social Media by clicking the icons:

November’s themes are ready for your viewing pleasure on my Sunday Stills Photography Page. Next Sunday the theme is “Fur and Feathers.”

I look forward to your eerie posts all week!

Halloween Signature

© 2021 Copyright — secondwindleisure.com — All Rights Reserved

Sunday Stills: #Sports and #Hobbies

August Kayaking with Friends

Hello October! As spring ramps up in the Southern Hemisphere, I’m sure many folks can’t wait to get back to their favorite outdoor activities and hobbies. Here in the cold north, most of our outdoor sports and pastimes are ending or adjusting as the changing weather and cooler temps of Autumn close in.

A hobby a day keeps the doldrums away.

Phyllis McGinley
Fallen reflected leaves
In the gutter but still beautiful

Hiking, biking and walking are still doable in Northeastern Washington with cool sunny days, but colder nights dictate warmer clothes. My last day on the bike was in Sacramento in November 2020 when I visited the American River Bike Trail for the last time.

Autumn Bike Ride American River Bike Trail

Hiking

Last week, my good friend and her fiancé visited here from Sacramento. We hiked around the area that included The Bowl and Pitcher and our local trails.

Make a commitment to having fun. See your best friends and make time for your hobbies and passions.

Robert Holden

Shopping/ Exploring

We visited GreenBluff, a farm area featuring over 60 local growers, wineries, breweries and other venues. Autumn is a great time to visit and purchase famous Washington apples while getting in the groove for harvest-themed activities and food, like pumpkin donuts and sparkling mead. Did I mention shopping is a legit hobby?

Kayaking

Last weekend while outdoor temperatures were still in the upper 70’s and low 80s (25-27 C), lines of vehicles drove down the main highway to get their last warm days of kayaking in. Although I did not get out on the water this time, I managed a few trips over the summer.

Kayaking on Little Spokane RiverAugust Kayaking Little Spokane River
The second image is the Painnt App Filter
August Kayaking with Friends
Kayaking with Friends
Kayaking Watson Lake, Prescott, AZ
Kayak Trio on Watson Lake, Prescott, AZ

More watercraft were out enjoying the late summer weather.

Other Hobbies

While many of us think about what defines a hobby, our blog and the photography that goes alongside the blog are year-round hobbies that engage us in many ways. From these, we get creative with poetry, writing, visual art and other fine arts that keep the creative juices flowing.

Photography

Of course, you know I’m all about photography. With mobile devices, snapping a pic is easy and provides hours of fun. Creating the blog signatures is also part of the fun!

I spent last week leaf-chasing. With my dogs leashed to my left arm and phone in my right hand, I found beautiful Autumn scenes within my own neighborhood and beyond.

Red Maple Close-Up
Bright Red Maple Close-Up

Many photographers experiment with filters, apps, and other creative measures to enhance their photos. I put some of my existing images through a mobile app called Painnt. Hope you enjoyed them throughout this post.

Learning a New Language

As of today, I have logged 673 days in a row learning German on Duolingo. I actually began in August 2019 but managed to accidentally skip a day. The streak before that was 50. You’d think with all these days logged I would know more. But given a decent context, I can understand some spoken words and read a variety of words. I can also correct some of my hubby’s German to a small extent, with his excuse being that I’m learning high German, LOL. Not bad for him speaking the language since birth. He also speaks Spanish fluently. I’m just relieved that I can speak English fluently 😉

Wildlife Watching

My love of the outdoors involves seeing as much wildlife as possible. So far in the Spokane/Nine Mile Falls area, I’ve seen a few bald eagles, two moose (while kayaking), heard the bugle cry of an elk late one night, and adorable flocks of quail. We see white-tailed and mule deer almost daily.

Flock of Quail
Quail family from 75 yards away

Volunteering

Volunteering is a wonderful hobby that benefits both the giver and the receiver. In our new community I have had several opportunities to volunteer. Over the summer, our church operated a free weekly day camp at a nearby school. My job was to help prepare 180 sack lunches every Wednesday. Two of the days were hot dog BBQs on site. This month, at our local nursery/farm (down the street!), we are volunteering each weekend as they host their annual Harvest Festival. Saturday was our first day and it was a blast, meeting neighbors, and just being out in the Autumn air. We are going to get some free trees for our efforts!

Yay for Photo Challenges!

Today I’m sharing this post for several other photo challenges including Becky B’s October Squares, where past meets present. In many of these images, I present “bright, trees, blue, lines, perspective, and time.”

Squares

Also, JohnBo’s CellPic Sunday, Cee’s Flower of the Day, Jude’s Life in Color, Jo’s Monday Walk, and Dawn’s Festival of Leaves

To see more of my images and other news, consider following Terri on Social Media by clicking the icons:

Last Week’s Linkers

Sunday Stills is a wonderful community of bloggers and photographers who desire to connect with one another. Below are the last week’s links from 29 bloggers who shared their favorite Autumn and Spring photos.

Bushboy’s World

Cath’s Camera

Cats and Trails and Garden Tales

Cee’s Photo Challenges

Deb’s World

Denyse Whelan Blogs

Easin’ Along Image shared in comments

Equipoise Life

Frost on the Moose Dung

Graham’s Island

Heaven’s Sunshine

Hugh’s Views and News Image in Comments

Jacquie Biggar Author

Kamerapromenader

Leya

Loving Life

Light Words

Light Write Life

Now At Home

Photos By Jez

Stevie Turner

NEW The Sandy Chronicles

NEW TBL

This is Another Story

Travels and Trifles

Travel With Me

Woolly Muses

Working on Exploring

A Young Retirement

It is in his pleasure that a man really lives; it is from his leisure that he constructs the true fabric of self.

Agnes Repplier
Burnt or Blood Orange Pallet

I hope to see you next week for the Monthly Color Challenge! October is all about Burnt or Blood Orange with shades in between! Have a great week.

Please bear with me Sunday as I am away from the internet for a few hours while we volunteer for a local Harvest Festival, as I mentioned earlier. I will share about that next week!

© 2021 Copyright — secondwindleisure.com — All Rights Reserved

Sunday Stills Moves on Sunday, Dec 13

Photo by Craig Adderley on Pexels.com

Most of you know I am moving out of Northern California to Eastern Washington state. Our move-out date fluctuates with what still needs to be packed and the weather forecast.

We now expect to leave on Saturday, December 12.

As the host of Sunday Stills, I like to be available to approve, share, and comment on your wonderful posts. This will be difficult while traveling December 12-14.

Susanne of Cats and Trails and Garden Tales has graciously agreed to host this weekend instead of next weekend. Her theme is Winter Wonderland.

If you have not met Susanne yet, she also lives in Washington. Here is an example of her latest Sunday Stills post and her awesome photography.

Thank you for your continued interest in the Sunday Stills Photography Challenge!

Please refer to my Sunday Stills page for the updated schedule. I will be back on December 20th for updates on our move north and the theme of “lights!”

Sunday Stills: Wishing for Water, But #Droplets Will Do

Sunday Stills Water Droplets Banner

My return to blogging was fun and satisfying after a tumultuous break! Thank you for welcoming me back last week. It was great to catch up with you!

If you are confused by this week’s Sunday Stills post, we are examining the world of water droplets. In my dry, still excessively warm part of the world, if I want water, I must turn on the garden hose. Artificially produced water droplets will work!

End of summer daisy

After the few weeks of turmoil I recently experienced, I find calm and peace in my backyard garden any time of year.

During our recent visit to Spokane, a few raindrops made their presence known by the end of the week.

Evergreen with water drops

After a long, dry spell, my current library of water droplets is depleted, so please enjoy a few of my favorites from the past:

House in a droplet

My plumeria blossomed last year but no blooms this year. I’m pretty sure I blew up social media and my blog with images of plumeria last summer. Here are a couple donning their droplets from daily backyard watering.

More flowers from my backyard include the Teddy Bear sunflower and the geranium in my deck garden.

Hint: I’m sure it’s no secret, but if you need an image with water droplets pronto, use a mister or spray bottle and create your own droplets.

If close-ups of water droplets aren’t your style, I included a couple of shots of suspended water drops:

Catching a wall of water drops in Baja Mexico.

Weightless water


I have to share this one again of Brodie romping through the river, stirring up loads of droplets.

Brodie's First Water Experience

No doubt, Spring has sprung in the Southern Hemisphere along with lots of opportunities to see water droplets in action. The calendar says that Autumn is here in the Northern Hemisphere, but we won’t see scenes like this in California until November!

Layers of drops on layers of leaves

As you know I also love taking part in other photo challenges and I love it when the planets align. I have been wanting to join Lisa’s Bird Weekly Challenge since I recently discovered it. Back in August, my lens captured this cute duck family (common merganser) out for a swim on Grant Lake in the June Lake loop in the Eastern Sierra Nevadas.

Yes, it’s a bit of a stretch but my Canon Sureshot managed to capture water droplets on the feathers of the adult duck, seen best in the pic below. (Best I could do, Lisa, I think their legs are short enough)!

Today’s images are partly inspired by two other fab photographers: Cee’s Flower of the Day and Jez’ Water, Water Everywhere.

I’m hoping to live vicariously through your wonderful images of water droplets on flowers, plants, animals, whatever! Walls of water droplets cascading down from waves and fountains and other watery images also fit this week’s theme.

October themes are ready to view on my Sunday Stills page.

Original image Color Planet

I look forward to you sharing your images of refreshing water droplets in whatever form they might take. Have a great week!

SUPSIG

© 2020 Copyright-All rights reserved-secondwindleisure.com

Sunday Stills: #Wild and #Weird Perspectives

Wing Surfers

This week’s theme of “wild and weird” offers photobloggers a chance to share your random photos for Sunday Stills. You know, the ones you take that you can’t classify or end up in the miscellaneous file?

I have quite the collection, but will share just a few with you today.

Take Your Medicine…

…If you can catch it. I take a daily medication each morning and sometimes if I have a headache I add some behind-the-counter Sudafed (red pills) and aspirin. One morning, as I placed the handful on the counter, they fell into this pattern.

Pills

Amazing the tiny little Sudafed even stayed on its side! Of course, I ran to get my phone and capture the weird moment. Yes, I felt better after I swallowed them.

WING Surfing? Say what now?

Wing, not wind! Most of you know we spend summer weekends in the Sacramento River Delta. Because of COVID, we got a delayed start but drove down to the County park for a day trip in early May. Hubby windsurfed while I sat in the truck bundled up against the too cool wind. Out in the water, I kept seeing what I thought was a kiteboarder struggling with his sail in the water. A moment later, I looked again and saw this:

Wing Surfers

I had my good camera with me and zoomed in and stood in awe as I watched the birth of a new water sport: wing surfing, also called wing foiling. Foiling is a newer sport that adds a special hydrofoil to a modified windsurf board or kiteboard. The foil has a propeller that pushes the board above the waves and surf for a smoother ride.

The wing is connected to a leash attached to both the wrist and ankle, so it doesn’t get lost with the inevitable crash, or fly away out of control.

“Although it was conceived to be used with a foil board, it can also be adopted for riding stand-up paddleboards (SUP), windsurf and kiteboards, and even skateboards and snowboards. It is also a lot of fun on a big touring SUP board. It’s difficult to paddle when it’s windy, especially with five or ten knots. With an inflatable wing, it’s easy and entertaining,” notes Robby Naish, the developer of the Wing-Surfer.”



https://www.surfertoday.com/surfing/what-is-wing-surfing

I would try it with my paddleboard, sans foil…

How Does a Bumble Bee Fly?

bumblebee on sweetpea

Did you know that bumblebees should not be able to fly, based on their large bodies and disproportionate small wings? According to a 2005 study, high-speed photography showed that they flap their wings back and forth rather than up and down, reminiscent of hummingbirds.

“The wing sweeping is a bit like a partial spin of a helicopter propeller, researcher Michael Dickinson, a professor of biology and insect flight expert at the University of Washington. The angle to the wing also creates vortices in the air — like small hurricanes. The eyes of those mini-hurricanes have lower pressure than the surrounding air, so, keeping those eddies of air above its wings helps the bee stay aloft.”

https://www.livescience.com/57509-bumblebee-facts.html

Speaking of Insects

Have you ever seen a dragon fly? Maybe not a “real” dragon–wouldn’t that be weird!

orange dragonfly

Of course, we have, but this rust-colored one that has been hanging around my backyard lately is spectacular.

Backyard Alien Bird

My backyard attracts quite a few birds when the feeders are full, including hummingbirds, crows, kites, turkeys, robins, blue jays, mockingbirds, and finches.

But this guy is one I’ve never seen before and he put on quite the show with his acrobatics on the feeder. I took a LOT of photos. Anyone know what kind of bird this is? I’m thinking some kind of finch as I look at his beak. Hopefully, they will stay away from the dragonflies!

A Neighbor’s Alien Flower

Out during my usual dog-walking, and mesmerized by a neighbor’s sunflower in April, I spotted this unusual flower.

passionflower

I’ve never seen anything like it and it looks like several different parts of other flowers cobbled together. It took my brother-in-law who lived in Chile until age 9 to recognize it as a passionflower! Who knew? And how is it growing in hot, dry Sacramento? Pretty, but weird. Sharing for Cee’s Flower of the Day.

Over the Moon

And speaking of alien and spacey subjects, June 20th is the 51st anniversary of the US moon landing. Because you have seen all my moon shots, how about a weird shot of a SpaceX launch caught flying over the top of our family home in San Diego in December 2017?

SpaceX Launch
SpaceX Launched 10 satellites into space from Southern California

Or this image of apple pie flavored moonshine to celebrate? I may feel a little weird and spacey after a couple of shots of this stuff!

Got moonshine?
Got moonshine?

Wild and weird images create fun and unique perspectives and are also submitted for Becky B’s Square Perspectives Challenge.

I look forward to your wild and weird photos this week for Sunday Stills. C’mon, you know you have them! Dust them off and share away!

Until next week!

© 2020 Copyright-All rights reserved-secondwindleisure.com

My Guest Post About Photo Challenges

banner Guest post

I was proud to be featured on Marsha’s blog yesterday! If you enjoy photo and writing challenges, visit Always Write for more.

Here is an excerpt from her interview:

Allow me to introduce you to my friend, Terri. When I started this series on hosting challenges, the intent was to focus just on writing challenges. However, many bloggers do some of their best writing in response to photo challenges.

Marsha Ingrao
(Image from Marsha Ingrao)

What prompted you to begin to host a photo challenge?

Challenges bring new readers, interest, and engagement to any blog. Challenges fit well within the framework of hobby blogging.

I always enjoyed the WordPress Weekly photo challenge early on in my blogging journey and I discovered other challenges and participated in link parties. This was during the time I was building my readership and meeting new bloggers. I enjoyed the Sunday Stills Photography Challenge, but the original host announced he was through with blogging and called it quits.

My own blog morphed into photography with an emphasis on fitness, leisure, and recreation. After a long blogging break in early 2018, I woke up one night with the idea that I could reinstate and host Sunday Stills myself. The timing was rather interesting. I jumped back in with Sunday Stills in May 2018 just as WordPress announced the end of its ridiculously popular weekly photo challenge.

Coincidentally, I will be visiting Marsha next week at her home in Central California for a mini-blogger meet-up (with proper social distancing). We have been blogging pals since 2016. We plan to take pictures and enjoy the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas.

Please visit the rest of the interview…

See you on Sunday for Sunday Stills!

Sunday Stills: #Perspectives on …

Pinnacle Peak

Don’t you love photo challenges? Even if you are not a photographer yourself, I’m sure you appreciate the lovely images your fellow bloggers share. Over the years, I’ve been inspired by the perspectives and stories of their images.

This week’s Sunday Stills theme is “perspective.” Yes, I borrowed the theme from Becky B’s Squares July photo challenge and enjoy promoting her challenge to others (not that she needs it)! Plus, I love to be challenged too! Remember your main photo needs to be square!

squares photo challenge

This post is chock full of images for some of my favorite photo challenges! See the end of each section for which photo challenges I’ve linked to and where you can find more inspiration.

Did you know that “Perspectives On Leisure” was the name of my blog when I first started in Fall 2014? I later changed it to Second Wind Leisure Perspectives for a variety of reasons. It doesn’t really matter. I guess that’s MY perspective (wink wink).

Floral and Summer Perspectives

“There is that in the glance of a flower which may at times control the greatest of creation’s braggart Lords.”

John Muir

A summer mustard flower’s perspective of the Antioch Bridge in the Sacramento River Delta.

spring flower perspective

Spring is the time to plant sunflowers from seeds. But summer isn’t official until the sunnies burst into bloom. They bloom quickly in the warm sunshine, often in less than 48 hours.

Another floral perspective of Pinnacle Peak in Northern Arizona.

Pinnacle Peak
Pinnacle Peak

These perspectives are inspired by Amy’s summer theme for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge and Cee’s Flower of the Day.

Perspectives of Point of View and Geometry

A warm summer day at Lake Natoma where I often enjoy stand-up paddling. At 9:30 am there were already many families enjoying the water.

Late spring on Lake Natoma

Armed with the knowledge of the upcoming square perspectives challenge, I made sure to get several POV shots. This next one shows the same boys at play.

Boys at water play

At least their life vests are close-by.

While out for a walk, I caught lovely shadows and geometric perspectives on the sidewalk alongside the City park.

Street posts in shadow

Becky B’s July Squares Challenge has begun. Read how to join here.

Summer is here and many bloggers take a short break. Perhaps you are in a slump and need more inspiration for your blog? If you are looking for more photo challenges, take a look at Marsha’s page of challenges.

What’s Your Perspective?

I am looking forward to seeing your images depicting perspectives. Show us in your images, stories, poetry, and other creative ideas!

Camera graphic

© 2020 Copyright-All rights reserved-secondwindleisure.com

If you enjoyed this post, perhaps you might be interested in this:

Sunday Stills: Reflections of a Mother’s #Giving

Sunday Stills duck banner

Today is Mother’s Day in the US. In our current state of the world, many mothers will not see their families in person today.

This is the first Mother’s Day I am without my own mother. Many of you know she passed away on March 3rd, thankfully before the coronavirus prevented folks from spending time with their loved ones in the hospitals and care homes.

I dedicate today’s post and theme to all the mothers who give love, time, and their hearts to their families and communities.

My mom was a giver. She loved to shower family and friends with thoughtfully chosen and unusual gifts, especially to her grandchildren. She enjoyed perusing gift shops for just that right gift. This photo shows this tiny frog that hangs on the side of a potted plant. She gave me these years ago, both the frog and a tortoise. The plants are in my kitchen windowsill where I can see these all day and remember her thoughtfulness.

Frog plant hanger

Many commented on our Facebook post announcing her passing how much they enjoyed the gifts she had given them over the years.

Mom gave back to her community in many ways, most notably, her volunteer work with San Diego’s Project Wildlife. She spent 10 years from 1998, rescuing orphaned and injured ducks, nursing them back to health, and releasing them back into local lakes and reservoirs. She had a backyard full of ducks in various stages of need and health, some domestic and many wild.

Ducks enjoy the river
Wild ducks enjoy the river

I like to think that this photo of her as a teen (seen here playing with her pet skunk, while her brother plays with their pet, Lucky Duck), foreshadowed her interest in this happy endeavor.

Family enjoying pet duck and skunk

Mom’s giving was represented in her love for recreation and leisure. She loved gardening and cultivated beautiful roses. She taught me how to create potted flower vignettes in my garden and showed me how to cut back my roses for better growth. She would have loved my current backyard garden filled with sunflowers and plumeria.

Saucer-sized American Beauties
Saucer-sized American Beauties from my garden!

I believe her enduring legacy was that she instilled the love for our national parks and outdoor leisure spaces into not just her children, but her grandchildren and beyond.

Next generation in Yosemite

She was continually inspired by the words of John Muir and made sure we all received a healthy dose of nature and its awe-inspiring grandeur.

In every walk with nature...Muir
Yosemite Valley
Everyone needs beauty...and places to play in...
Sunset on Lembert Dome, high country of Yosemite

Like many moms, I will not be with my daughters this year. This lovely bouquet from my daughters arrived Wednesday night!

Floral Bouquet

Speaking of giving, last week was the traditional week of giving with Thursday designated as the Big Day of giving. Non-profit organizations really rely on monetary and in-kind donations to operate. I have my car full of bags ready to donate to local non-profits as soon as they re-open.

Giving

Sunday Stills is taking a break on May 17th but join us again on May 24th for our water-themed challenge.

Are you a mother, a daughter, a niece, an auntie, a grandmother or granddaughter? Please enjoy your Mother’s Day and reflect on those memories while making new ones!

© 2020 Copyright-All rights reserved-secondwindleisure.com

Sunday Stills: Photographing #Near and #Far

Lighthouses from Afar

This week, our Sunday Stills photo challenge is to photograph something from afar, then get close to the object or scene and take a close-up or image from a reasonable distance to show more details. Reach into your archives or take some new photos for the challenge.

This week’s challenge was inspired by the following photographs of a small grove of ornamental cherry trees on a residential street in my neighborhood. They bloomed early in February and put on a “stop the car” show.

Small Tree Grove just in Bloom
Spring brings clouds of blossoms
From 2017

Once I got out and took the shot, I walked closer and noticed the blossoms were alive with bees!

Blossoms and Bee up close


I am glad I took these when I did, as the north winds have since blown away the delicate blooms.

This photo was taken at 20,000 feet on a flight from Sacramento to San Diego over Yosemite Valley. Not bad for a window shot and I took the liberty of marking the main peaks for you. What is astounding to me is to be able to see the high country of Tuolumne Meadows at the top portion of the image!

Yosemite Peaks from Afar

As close as I can get is this shot of Half Dome from Glacier Point in Yosemite Valley. My brother and my two daughters have taken the hike up Half Dome. It is strenuous and I admire those who can devote an entire day (12-15 hours) to the hike. This is close enough for me, thank you.

Half Dome View from Glacier Point
Half Dome View from Glacier Point

Valley floor view of Half Dome in Spring, shrouded with clouds.

Clouds Hide Half-Dome in early spring

Ten years ago, in February 2010, was my first trip to Baja Sur, Mexico to meet my not-yet husband on his windsurfing vacation in La Ventana. We toured the area south of there and came across these lighthouses. The shorter one was in the process of being replaced by the active, taller structure. With binoculars, you can see this peninsula from La Ventana and you can make out these structures (don’t have that shot to share with you).

Lighthouses from Afar

We were able to climb into the old lighthouse for the “near” shot you see of me!

Inside the Lighthouse

As host of Sunday Stills, I am always pleased whenever you share your photos each week. I am always excited to welcome new bloggers who join the challenges. Please welcome and visit our five new participants who joined in February!

I’m linking with this week’s Lens Artist Challenge Change Your Perspective!

Open Your Eyes, Too!, Unfold and Begin, Ramya Tantry, Jacqui Biggar–Author and Zebra’s Child.

Of course, I always take my own challenges literally, but you can be as creative as you wish! Have a great week!

© 2020 Copyright-All rights reserved-secondwindleisure.com

Sunday Stills: For the #Birds

hummingbird ready to feed

What’s up with the expression “for the birds?” Easy enough to google…it’s an expression that “became army slang for anything that was pointless, ridiculous, or simply without value to any but the most pathetic or least capable.”

Someone who announces, “that idea is for the birds” is saying the idea is useless or meaningless. A very negative connotation indeed.

Last time I looked, the birds I’ve seen are more than capable of surviving, feeding, and flourishing.

All negativity aside, did you know that February is National Bird Feeding Month? Yes, it’s really a thing!

The month was established in 1994 by Illinois Congressman, John Porter .

According to Feed the Birds, February is recognized as one of the most difficult months in much of the U.S. for birds to survive in the wild.

https://lansingwbu.blogspot.com/2019/02/february-is-national-bird-feeding-month.html

I thought we could all enjoy an early spring or at least dream about spring as the birds gather for feeding.

Feel free to dip into your archives or add any new images of birds, waterfowl, any feathered friends will do.

Your posts, photos, and creative ideas may be all about birds this week, but certainly won’t be “for the birds.” If you are lucky to already be enjoying birds visiting your neighborhoods and backyards this month, share the love and FEED them.

This guy was all over this feeder last year. I have to be careful in my backyard because all the trees attract large birds of prey like the kite below as well as owls and hawks. Apparently, the feeder attracts the pesky squirrels too.

Blue jay contorts to get some yummy treats!
Blue jay contorts to get some yummy treats!
Bird of Prey Kite
Neighborhood Kite Waiting

Several years ago, while in Baja, Mexico, I took this photo of a falcon that had just captured a fish from the Sea of Cortez. I watched in amazement as the bird wrangled the still flopping fish onto the cactus and prepared to feed! (Taken in 2013 with an older cell phone so photo quality is not great, but you get the idea!)

Falcon feeding on a fish
Falcon feeding on live fish

Our band of suburban turkeys always find something to feed on.

Neighborhood turkeys feeding in front yards

Even in February, Anna’s hummingbirds expect their feeder to be full of juice!

hummingbird ready to feed
Ready to eat!
Hummingbirds' quest for food
Quest for food
Is a hummingbird really ever satisfied?
Is a hummingbird really ever satisfied?

If feeding birds brings you joy this week, cheer someone up by sharing photos of our feathered friends by linking with Cee’s On the Hunt for Joy Challenge.

Woman and parrot
My daughter enjoying a bird display at Balboa Park in San Diego

Feel free to dip into your archives or add any new images of birds and waterfowl. Any photos of our feathered friends will do.

I am looking forward to your capturing their feeding antics or perhaps some close-ups of our bird visitors with your talented lenses and other creative ideas.

Have a great week!

© 2020 Copyright-All rights reserved-secondwindleisure.com

Sunday Stills: #Sweet Deals Ahead

Valentine's Day Goodies

Before we begin with this week’s photo challenge, last week our theme was “shadows” and there were many fine examples of shadows. There was also debate and suggestions that some images were really reflections or better yet, projections, rather than a true shadow as the absence of light. As an amateur photographer, I am still learning and appreciate everyone’s feedback. A fun challenge, nonetheless.

This week’s theme is sweet, just in time for Valentine’s Day on Friday.

Sweet Early Spring Blooms
Magnolia Tree Blooms

What’s sweet is that our gray winter is showing the promise of spring. Various trees are already boasting their tender blossoms. Although it has been cold here, it has been sunny which seems to encourage these blooms to emerge mid-February. Fine with me!

A Sweet Deal?

I am still working on my book, but I have been a bit distracted of late. Here’s why.

Some of you have heard that we plan to move out of state once my husband retires early next year in 2021. Spokane, Washington to be exact, on the eastern side of the state near the Idaho border.

Last weekend I flew there to meet a real-estate agent and visit the properties we had our eyes on. Sadly, the properties that seemed so promising online were a bust. So much for good real estate photography!

But, Friday, the day I arrived, my sis-in-law and I toured some manufactured homes, of which my hubby and I are intending to eventually buy once we have some land. Now before you ask or scoff, today’s manufactured homes are “not your granny’s double-wide.” Not that there is anything wrong with that.

Could you see yourself enjoying this kitchen and dining room?

Kitchen and Dining Room Manufactured Home
We like this model. Image Courtesy of Home Boys, Inc

Or this master bath?

Master Bath in Manufactured Home
Example of a BIG Master Bath

Prices? The LOW $100,00s for 1500-1700 square feet. Yes, please.

(A sidebar here: photographing rooms in model homes or getting proper scale for land views is an art unto itself, so I don’t pretend to think these are great photos!)

Upon learning my plans, the GM told me of a deal that might interest me. As one of the premier Clayton manufactured home dealers in Spokane, he has opportunities to buy land and sell package deals. For a ridiculously low price (under $60K), he showed me a totally usable, flat ½ acre parcel with electric, city water, and high-speed fiber internet (a concern for rural folks). We will have to add a septic system, but it is ready to build! The parcel is part of a brand-new subdivision, just released in January.

Here is a look at the land.

Our new backyard
Our new front and backyard?

We negotiated the price with the intent to purchase and build one of their homes in early 2021. We just need to touch up the current home I’ve lived in for 32 years and sell it.

This is life-changing for hubby and I. Not just another chapter but a whole new book! Not only will we be close to hubby’s extended family, but our 15-unit subdivision will offer a sense of community while enjoying rural living.

A sweet deal indeed!

And you thought I would be talking about love, candy and all the sweetness associated with Valentine’s Day.

You might be asking why we would move from sunny Northern California to the cold north? The two main reasons are we want to be close to family, yet live in a city where retirement is attainable. Although we have adult children living in San Diego, I refuse to move to be close to them since they are still mobile, and well, Southern California real estate is ridiculous, along with the traffic. Even staying in Northern California is expensive and we would have had to continue to work until we can draw social security in 7 years.

I never thought I would move away from my current home, but I do love an adventure and rural living. This property is situated 25 miles north of Spokane near the Spokane River. We will be a mile from a marina area and park where we can enjoy water sports, hiking and bike trails, and the great outdoors!

Perhaps this is all somewhat bittersweet, but it gets sweeter, and I daresay, definitely sweeter than this:

Valentine's Day Goodies

Chocolates anyone? Lot’s of sweet deals at the grocery stores!

The magnolia blooms are shared for Cee’s Flower of the Day Challenge.

For this week’s SWEET challenge, share your creative ideas and photos. You don’t have to show us actual sweets unless you choose to, but do share what is sweet to you!

Enjoy your week and your Valentine’s Day!

© 2020 Copyright-All rights reserved-secondwindleisure.com

Sunday Stills: What Do the #Shadows Have to Say?

dragonfly's shadow

Shadows. This was a theme I had been considering from my long list for Sunday Stills, then realized I instinctively chose it for Groundhog Day. This seems to be an East Coast tradition, as Punxsutawney Phil, the long-lived groundhog, makes his annual weather prediction of when we can expect spring to unofficially begin.

Although we basked in the light in January with Becky B’s square photo challenge, this week Sunday Stills will explore the absence of light, the shadows.

The eye is always caught by light, but shadows have more to say.

Gregory Maguire

Let the shadows in your images be the subject. Different than a silhouette or a reflection, a shadow is a dark area or shape produced by an object coming between rays of light and a surface.

Shadows produce depth and interest to an image. Although most photographers prefer well-lit images, even a shadow created by a setting sun can steal the show.

fire in the window

Shadows play in front of and behind these fall leaves.

Red Fall Leaf in Shadow

For landscape shots, the winter’s lengthening afternoon shadows create a vivid contrast in the image.

Cave Creek, Arizona
Cave Creek area, near Phoenix, AZ

This semi-transparent windsurf window hanger casts an orange shadow on a wall … or is it a reflection? Hmmm.

My hubby mugs for a photo at Valley of Fire State Park. Note the three shadowed figures with their phones.

shadow selfie

This dying dragonfly rests in our trailer, but casts a shadow full of life!

dragonfly's shadow

Got shadows? Share your shadowy images this week! I’m looking forward to not only your fab images, but your poems, music, stories and quotes!

© 2020 Copyright-All rights reserved-secondwindleisure.com

Sunday Stills: Living in Shades of #Gray

Gray Tree in Fog

The end of January in the dead of winter is, well, just that…dead. Here in the Central Valley where Sacramento is situated between the snowy Sierra Nevada Mountain range to the East and the Coast range to the West, gray seems to be the predominant color.

Most everything is colored in shades of gray and white. I could take a photo and wouldn’t have to edit it to black and white! Even this flower is gray!

white and gray flower

Descent into Foggy Light

After enjoying almost three weeks of southwest desert colors, we were immediately greeted with the inevitable gray fingers of low fog as we entered the Central Valley from the Tehachapi Pass.

Gray Fog Descends
Fog Descends into the Central Valley
Gray Tree in Fog
Foggy Fingers, even the tree is gray

Light from the Past and Some Color Infused into Gray Days

Just because I was on a bit of a break from Sunday Stills while Hugh graciously co-hosted, doesn’t mean that I don’t have a few photos to share for “round” and “old” (although I have been feeling round and old lately 😊).

Both photographs are from our day trip into Nevada’s Valley of Fire State Park.

These petroglyphs span over 1,500 years.

Ancient Anasazi Petroglyphs
Ancient Petroglyphs tell amazing stories

Originally occupied by the Basket Maker people and Anasazi Pueblo farmers from around 300 BC to 1150 AD, the Valley of Fire rock formations offered protection from the weather as well as a primitive form of lodging.

https://blog.maverickhelicopter.com/the-history-of-petroglyphs-at-the-valley-of-fire/

These formations were exposed where older rocks of Cambrian age (about 500 million years old) were pushed sideways on a thrust fault over younger rocks (Jurassic, about 160 million years old) of the Aztec Sandstone. The sandstone was originally laid down in a colossal, long-lived sandy desert much like today’s Sahara.

https://www.thoughtco.com/valley-of-fire-state-park-nevada-4123246

Of course, hubby and I had to pose in the rounded rocks near the visitor’s center.

Fun at the Valley of Fire State Park
Round and Old?

I can’t live for very long in a gray world. I was blessed to be able to travel south for our winter road trip to enjoy the vibrant colors of the Arizona and Nevada deserts. What can you do with gray? Here are some examples to help you!

Maybe a gray sunset?

Gray sunset

It was so wonderful seeing so many visitors to last week’s Sunday Stills post after my absence! I can’t wait to see what you all come up with for this week’s challenge, gray. You have all week to link your post to this one. Remember, I share your posts when I can!

For February’s themes, please visit my Sunday Stills page.

This post was also inspired in part by Becky B’s January Lights Photo Challenge which ends this Friday!

Enjoy your week and I hope you have sunny skies peeking through the gray!

© 2020 Copyright-All rights reserved-secondwindleisure.com

Wordless Wednesday: Afternoon De-Light

Elephant Rock, Valley of Fire

I’m sharing three photos for Becky B’s January Squares Challenge today for Wordless Wednesday.

The theme for these images is “Afternoon Delight” taken while on our winter road trip.

Before dinner on Christmas Eve, we walked along the Sail Bay side of Pacific Beach in San Diego. The light was amazing!

Afternoon Light on Pacific Beach's Sail Bay
Afternoon Light on Pacific Beach’s Sail Bay

After our cold and snowy tour of the Grand Canyon, the afternoon light glowed on the snow-covered areas of Highway 17 on our drive back to Phoenix.

snowy forest
Afternoon Light along Hwy 17 from Grand Canyon

I finally got to see the Elephant Rock in the Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada.

Elephant Rock, Valley of Fire
Elephant Rock in Valley of Fire

When you stand among the red rocks and sand, everything glows!

Don’t forget to join me here this Sunday for the Sunday Stills photo challenge where we explore the theme yin-yang!

© 2020 Copyright-All rights reserved-secondwindleisure.com

Winter Road Trip Preview: Walking in the Desert Light

South Rim of the Grand Canyon in snow

Join me today as I share a preview of my winter road trip and where some of my walks took me. With a camera and phone in hand, I took loads of photos on my daily walks. I managed to walk over 10,000 steps a day as recorded by my Fitbit. I needed to with all the good food I ate!

We spent 18 days traveling to Southern California, Northern Arizona, and Las Vegas, Nevada during the Christmas and New Year holidays.

Christmas in San Diego

After an eleven-hour drive to San Diego where we would spend our first week of the trip, we enjoyed time with my daughter and her boyfriend. They graciously let us park our trailer in their driveway and hook up to electricity. We loved having our own sleeping space in our trailer and it made a temporary escape space once the whole family arrived at her house for Christmas day.

We spent Christmas Eve at my stepdaughter’s new apartment in Pacific Beach. Even the kite surfers were out enjoying a cold but sunny afternoon as we walked along Sail Bay.

Kite Surfer Pacific Beach
Kite Surfer in Sail Bay, Pacific Beach

Arizona Walks

We traveled on to North Phoenix, Arizona where we met up with Ingrid and her husband at the Pioneer RV Park. This time we stayed six nights and enjoyed a lot more of what Phoenix has to offer. Ah, those sunny winter days! Later in the week, Ingrid and I visited the Desert Botanical Garden and walked the gorgeous trails.

Cactus Light in Botanical Garden
Cactus Backlight in Botanical Garden

“Wild Rising” was the theme with more than 1000 sculptures adorning the park.

Desert Botanical Gardens
Walking through the Botanical Gardens

A Check Off the Ole’ Bucket List

While staying in North Phoenix, early Monday, December 28, we drove three hours one way to … drum roll please…the Grand Canyon!

Yes, I shed a tear as I walked the short distance to the magnificent sight of the canyon! The light from the snow provided amazing contrasts to the warm red and orange rocks. This was one of my first images!

South Rim of the Grand Canyon in snow
South Rim of the Grand Canyon

Unlike last year’s US government shutdown of national parks, the park was alive and well with a few brave tourists bundled up for the cold, wintery conditions. Even our dogs got their walk in on the South Rim trail.

Winter in South Rim of Grand Canyon
Cold Winter’s Day in South Rim of Grand Canyon

On our drive back to North Phoenix, there was snow on the ground, but thankfully no ice on the roads.

If you are new to my blog, you can read more about our crazy 2019 Winter Road Trip.

For the rest of January, I will share more of my photos from the road trip.

That just about does it for this post, which is inspired in part by Jo’s Monday Walk, Cee’s New On the Hunt for Joy Challenge and Becky B’s January Squares Photo Challenge.

A hearty shout-out and thanks to Hugh for hosting Sunday Stills while I took my break.

Sunday Stills resumes right here next week! I hope to see you back with your creative ideas and images.

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