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Signs Of Spring: Three Lambs

A few weeks ago three lambs were born to the big old sheep out back. The first born was clearly the strongest and was favored by the mother. The second lamb did pretty good, though lagging behind the first. The third lamb was very weak and mostly lay alone while the other two followed their mother about.

The owners penned the four of them up together for a while, so that the mother would have to nurse them all, not favor one or two of them. It worked. Now all three follow Mom all around, and even go off on their own to play together and explore their little world, which must seem quite big to them at such a young age.

This video is from when they were only about a week old. It’s a lot of fun to watch them wobble and walk about, figuring out how to use their little bodies and experience their surroundings.

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Signs Of Spring: Elm Seeds

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In the mile high Central Arizona Highlands near Prescott, I’ve been watching the Siberian elm (Ulmus pumila) trees outside my windows first flower, then quickly grow their seeds.

Their flowers are so small and non-showy that they break bud, blossom, and go to seed without most people ever noticing. But while the surrounding countryside is still brown from winter, the elms, along with the willows, are usually the first deciduous trees to break bud and welcome springtime.

And, of course, the trademark Arizona clear blue skies make for a great backdrop.

Photo location: Chino Valley, Yavapai County, Arizona.

February (Almost) Full Moonrise

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Ah, it was that special time of month again: the Full Moon.

I revolve around it. The event, I mean. I watch it build daily from New Moon, rising later and later each day, until finally it rises at sunset time. That’s why it’s full then: it’s exactly opposite the sun, reflecting its light off its otherwise dark, barren surface.

I especially like scenery photos with the moon in them. However, you have to include the moon in them while there is still enough daylight on the scene. Otherwise you have yet another boring pic of the black sky with the bright moon as a little circle in it. We sure don’t need any more of those.

So usually the best time to make moonrise photos is the day before Full Moon. Why? Because the moon rises somewhat before sunset, but is so close to Full that it still looks fantastic. You have both the moon low on the horizon, and the scene still in daylight, either with the low angle of the setting sun or the soft pastels of dusk. Such as this windmill and water tank on a ranch on the outskirts of Chino Valley, Arizona. The following evening would have the moon rising about 50 minutes later (it varies a little, but that’s a good general rule of thumb), and the scene would probably be too dark to have these nice tonal values and colors. (Also, the following night was cloudy, so this night was the night for that reason, too.)

Next time: how to use a fantastic app called The Photographer’s Ephemeris to help you plan your moonrise and moonset shots.

Photo location: Chino Valley, Yavapai County, Central Arizona Highlands.