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I have been working on my night photography skills for a couple of years now and finally, have made my first successful panorama of the full Milky Way arch! I’ve watched videos, gone to classes, read articles and ebooks, trying to learn as much as possible. Many things I learned meant I needed another piece of equipment but I think now, I have it all put together. This is not perfect, that’s for sure but it makes me happy.

And I did it from my own home. I did not have to drive somewhere a long ways away to find the needed dark skies that makes seeing the stars possible. Of course, the foreground is not all that attractive. There are all the lights on the hills from the ever increasing populations of our valley, the local airport, some cars on the dirt roads after midnight, lights from the nearby church and a power pole. It is where I live and I am happy to be here.

This image is made from eight images stitched together and represents about 180° to capture the entire arc of the Milky Way.

I have more to learn but I feel like this is a big step forward!

Ken was worried about the possibility of the honeybees swarming and sure enough, on Saturday, the strongest hive split apart. They made a new queen and thousands of bees followed her out of the hive. I noticed excessive activity down there and told Ken about it. He walked over to see what was up and had the chance to watched the swarm take off and land on a nearby bitterbrush. There were so many bees that they weighed the branches down to the ground. Ken suited up and got a spare hive box with a few frames and cut the branches and dropped the girls into the box. They stayed so they must be happy with the new, less crowded box. Now there are six hives.

Red Molly came for a visit. Flickers and Lewis’s Woodpeckers started picking out holes for nesting. A rubber boa stopped in the middle of the road. I moved it so it would not be flattened. White-crowned Sparrows and Yellow-rumped Warblers arrived in big numbers. Wildflowers are in full bloom.

What do you do when you go camping? Sometimes I get asked that. On this last trip, there was a lot of sitting and watching the world go by. I saw a beaver and an otter, a couple marmots, lots of birds and turtles too and a few fish. The fish were trying to climb a long steep spillway into one of the lakes, just as if they were salmon returning from the sea, conquering waterfalls to return to the place of their birth. This little fish had no chance of conquering the spillway.

Dippers had a nest under a bridge. They went to and fro with nesting material and dipped for bugs.

And turtles. So many turtles. What do turtles do besides lay on logs in the afternoon sun?

The girls and I got away for three days last week and enjoyed a relaxing time bird watching, walking in the hills and playing in the water (for them, not me). It was pleasantly warm during the day and chilly at night with terrific dark skies and the milky way in all its glory (there will be a later post about that). We camped above a little lake, the one with the pine tree reflections and spent our afternoons watching Wood Ducks and Ring-necked Ducks and turtles lolling about in the sunshine.

WordPress continues to frustrate me. Now it is not showing captions on my images. The image above is the lake where we were camped. Our site is on the left on top of the hill, in the pines.

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