Exploring Lake Tahoe

In January, we flew out to Reno, Nevada and drove up to Lake Tahoe to spend some time with my daughter and her husband.  It had been years since I visited the area, so of course I was quite excited.  Oh, it had been months since we were able to spend time with them, so it was a double joy to be there.  Before I go any further, the images in this blog post were all taken on my iPhone X, which was much more portable for all of the places that we ventured out to see.

We arrived to South Lake Tahoe area and drove up the mountain to our lodging.  It was just off of the Heavenly Resort trails and chair-lift.  The views weren’t too bad either.IMG_6014

Oh yeah … I could get used to this  🙂  Was it cold?  Was it warm?  Guess you can’t tell from this image, but what is strikingly unexpected, was the lack of snow on the landscape.  So, just to clear the record, it was unseasonably void of substantial snowfall, however the temperatures were quite cool and the wind strong.

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Almost immediately, we went out for a hike at a nearby site that had a waterfall and rocky landscape, with views of the lake in the distance.  By now it was a bit late, the sun was setting, and the temperature once again was dropping.

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I was fascinated by the colors and textures on the bridge that spanned a river along the way.

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After all of the hiking, we worked up quite an appetite.  Let’s see … where should we eat? Well, between the four of us, it was a no-brainer … SUSHI!

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The next morning, we all drove over to Kirkwood, and Tom, Kelli, and Mitchell all went snowboarding.  Though the snow was absent on the streets of Tahoe, Kirkwood had a decent base on most of the runs.  They had a great time, while I worked on processing images.  🙂

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While out that way, we stopped to explore a frozen lake.  While it was tempting to out on the frozen surface, we resisted the urge, not knowing how solid the ice was.  It sure was beautiful out there.

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Along the lake’s shoreline, it was frozen with these strange looking ice crystals, that more closely resembled “ice toothpicks” all stuck together.

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Equally fascinating were the bubbles frozen in the ice sheets.

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We then returned to Lake Tahoe, the North America’s largest alpine lake, but this time we ventured over to the east side and found these pools formed by the rocks within the lake itself at Sand Harbor.

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As you can see, it was a glorious day … crisp air, some wind, but lots of sunshine.  🙂

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Though I wasn’t doing official photography at the moment, I just couldn’t resist this image of my daughter and her husband walking ahead of us on the boardwalk.

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When we arrived back in the south Lake Tahoe area, we decided to take a hike along the Castle Rock loop hike along the top ridge, offering amazing views of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding landscapes.  It was a wonderful hike … just like the day.

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I found the “little things” sights and sounds equally amazing.

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One thing that I love when out exploring nature, is how little we become in the scope of the great big world outside.

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It’s always fun being around these two … never a dull moment.  😉

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Whether it be daytime or after the sun sets, the lake provides beauty, albeit a different kind.

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In the home that we stayed in, the adventure continued.  I had to smile when we found these polar bears in our room.  How appropriate I thought.  🙂

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This home was quite unique in that the home was built around the various boulders that were naturally present in the area.  As you can see the deck, complete with hot tub, was built around some really big boulders.  Pretty cool, huh?

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Well, it gets better inside … as this gigantic boulder was seen as soon as you entered the front door!  I’m talking “Honey I Shrunk The Kids” – sized.  LOL.  It was quite amusing to see, and for Tom to climb on … but it obviously got in the way of a good game of pool.

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On our last evening, I couldn’t help but notice the sun setting over the snow-capped Sierra Mountains off in the distance.  It was the perfect ending of a perfect side trip.

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Hope to get back out there again … and while out there, we did more than just the lake touring, so stay tuned.

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Next Up:  I think “Owl” take you to meet some of my friends  🙂

© 2018  Debbie Tubridy / TNWA Photography

http://www.tnwaphotography.com

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A Florida Farewell

Before I take a look back at 2017 as a whole, I wanted to take the time to share some images and thoughts from my last photography outing with some of my Florida friends prior to us heading out to Colorado.

In July, Tom & I took a break from packing, boxing, and cleaning our south Florida home and made plans with a group of my friends for what would be my “farewell shoot” in 2017 from Florida.  My good friend Annette asked me where I wanted to meet up or what I wanted to photograph.  Hmmm … I wanted owls … barn owls I told her.  That being said, we made plans to meet up in Belle Glade, which is located in western Palm Beach County.    I was quite excited!

When we arrived, I ran out of the car without my gear of course, to give out some hugs to everyone only to have a BOBCAT run across the ditch right next to where we were assembling!  Dang … not one of us had our cameras out.  Reminded me of how many years ago, we all watched a bald eagle come out of nowhere and pick up a fish from the lake, right next to us.  Haha.  You think I would have learned.  However, after the excitement of the bobcat we all settled in and found a yellow-crowned night heron sitting quietly in the bushes.

DSC_8719After not immediately finding a barn owl, we decided to explore the nearby waters.  Amost immediately a tern made a splashdown on the surface.DSC_8749It then proceeded to fly away to the other side … guess it was something that we said, perhaps.DSC_9006

There were many black-necked stilts present … of varying ages … and the parents made sure that we knew they were there by calling our presence out.DSC_8794It was a community of stilts and they were in the water, on the shore, and in the air.  Many of them were going about gathering up their young. DSC_8852I have always loved the black-necked stilts.  I find them quite elegant in their stature and in their movements and as parents, they are top notch.  Love the red eye on this female.DSC_8867-Edit-EditAs I mentioned, they were quite active.DSC_8874Their young were foraging about in the shallows of the water, quite independently I might add.  Such little fluff balls for sure.  🙂  And check out those long feet!DSC_8924Sometimes they were congregated together … all set up in a row.DSC_9114We even found a few out in the grasses.DSC_9180Along the gravel road, as we traveled about, we came across what turned out to be common nighthawks.  From far away, we couldn’t tell what they were, but upon closer inspection, it was easily identifiable.  Such a beautiful bird and one that I had never photographed before, I was quite thrilled with this encounter.DSC_9102A few of them stayed on the roadside, but others flew erratically about, darting around us and eventually returning to the original spot.  I’m not sure, but I think that they had a few young ones with them, which possibly weren’t as skilled in their flight.DSC_8977-EditTom has always seen many of these on some of the “hills” of south Florida when he would fly his RC gliders, but not me.  I read a bit about them and one of the things that I found most fascinating is that they have been known to consume as many as 500 mosquitoes in a single day!  I say, let’s have  lots of these birds around … not being a fan of mosquitoes myself.DSC_9158So by now, many of you might be wondering … did you ever find the barn owls?  Of course we did!  And of course, this was mainly the view that I was afforded … LOL.  I was amazed at their size when spotted so close up.DSC_9205At one point, we spotted a hawk up in a tree (red-shouldered, I believe) as it scouted around for its next meal.  I love the look of intensity in its eye … combined with that sharp beak … you know that it means business.DSC_9259It eventually found its way to the top of the tree, and flew away after some prey.DSC_9272Upon closer inspection … Look who else was in the tree …. another beautiful barn owl!  I wonder if the hawk knew that the owl was there.  I think that the owl knew because the owl kept its eye on the hawk until its departure.  DSC_9327So in the end, yes, I did in fact get my barn owls, amongst other birds and even that bobcat sighting.  As fascinating as all of that, it was really the presence of my dear friends that made the day most special.  Thanks so much to Annette, Connie, Donnie, Ivan, and Rob for being part of Tom and I having such a wonderful day out in Belle Glade.  Thanks to Rob for taking our commemorative shot … especially with the bonus barn owl in the shed window  ;-).  Great day, fun times, amazing friends.  Until we all meet again.
IMG_0355 webFunny story too … and true one … is that when we gathered for the group shot, we wanted it to be in the shade since it was so hot and humid.  There was this giant tree to our left side and we thought that it would be a perfect spot for an owl to hang out and so we inspected it for a few moments.  No owl … or so we thought.  In fact, a barn owl flew out of the tree as we were setting up for this shot!  I think he wanted to say goodbye to me too.  ❤

Next up:  A look back at 2017 … it was a roller coaster one to say the least.

© 2017  Debbie Tubridy / TNWA Photography

http://www.tnwaphotography.com

 

 

A Final Act Of Kindness

As we approach the Thanksgiving Day holidays, I have been spending some time thinking about all of the things that I’ve been thankful this year … of which there is many.  Sometimes things that you’re thankful for are happy things, many of which have given you great joy or satisfaction.  Sometimes they are bittersweet memories that, though sad, have enriched your life nonetheless.  I’m sure that I’ve lost most of you by now with my rambling.  Let me explain.

See, all of my growing up years, I had been surrounded by dogs. My parents bred show dogs (miniature schnauzers and Norwich terrier).  For that matter, I even took their Championship status even further by showing them for obedience as well.  When my daughter was young, she begged me to get a kitten that Brownies leader had found.  That cat, Kahlua, was brought home and lived 18 years in our home.  We loved her, though she was far from a “needy” cat.

We had our fair share of strays pass through our yard … dogs and cats (bunnies too) … many of whom also were brought into the household and loved dearly.  Then there was a black cat, we creatively called “Blackie”.  He would hang outside under our RV and seemed to like being there.  On Halloween, 4th of July, and New Years Eve we would bring him into our porch, since you always hear those horrible stories about black cats and how mean some people can be to them.  Once in a while, he would get in a fight and injured and I would gather him up and take him in for treatment.  He was always very calm about it.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAimg016We grew to love him too … well, the rest of my family did, but probably not as much as I did.  See “Blackie” and I had a special bond… something that I can’t explain.  We often wondered where he came from and if anyone knew where he belonged.img015dsc_0024After some time, we came across a flyer for a “missing cat” in our neighborhood.  Lost was a black cat, Malarky was his name, and he was easily identified by his extra dewclaw on both of his front paws.  By then, I had fallen in love with this little guy, but called the number to report that I might know where it was.  The owner was grateful, came over, picked him up, and got his shots renewed.  Before nightfall, there he was again.img_2566Eventually, the owner told us to keep him since he was always hanging out at our house anyways.  So that’s what we did.  He became a real member of the family and his name was  honored as Malarky.  He was such a character too.  Always finding himself a nice little cubby place to cuddle up in.  Whether that be the sink …img_0234… the “cuddle cup”…img_2405… the laundry basket…img_0452… or the arms of anyone who ventured into the house.  Little did they know that they were going to be his next “loving victim”.img_0204He also had a love affair with water.  Can you imagine that?  This cat would actually join us in the shower!  He just loved the way water would drip off of your hand and would lap it up.  LOL.  Of course, he often hung out in the garden area as well.img_0455img_0456He just LOVED to drink out of the water sprayer and would just get covered in the spray.img_0694But when he was in the house, he was my boy, always laying in my lap while I worked at the computer.img_0469As he got older, he actually learned to love other cats, even my daughters two dogs when they would come over to visit.  I’m sure that they didn’t understand why all of a sudden, after years of trying to be his friend, he succumbed to allowing them to get close … without a gentle swat of the nose.img_0853I can’t explain why but he became my “soul kitty” … with his unconditional love and incessant purring … so very loud!  When we would go away on trips, he would only last about 2 minutes and 3 pats on the head before it would start.  I loved it so much I have recordings of it.  🙂img_0825Over the years, Malarky became slower, thinner, less cognizant of his surroundings … other than his desire for my lap and love.  His eyesight began failing, his hearing was impaired, and his mobility was weak and limited.  He could no longer jump into the sink, the laundry basket, though he would still jump into my lap, but without my assistance he would fall and sometimes I never saw him trying.  I was devastated at watching one of my best friends, my feline soul mate, and my source of unconditional love, struggle so.  I had to make one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever made.  I made the dreaded phone call to Lap of Love – an in-home veteranian hospice where the process could be dealt with as much love and security as possible.img_0992img_1051-2It’s been 6 months tonight.  It was a sad, but honorable, heartfelt emotional moment.  I haven’t been able to talk about it since then, and honestly I still can’t without tears filling up my eyes.  I know that he wouldn’t want me to be so sad, but there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of him.  I still feel as though a piece of my heart is missing.  I hope that he knows that I did the right thing … I think that he does.  They say that it’s the final act of love that you can do for your “best friend”.  So glad that we can do that for our pets … I wouldn’t have wanted him to suffer.  Our pets are like an extension of our families … the “furry” ones.

Coming full circle from the beginning of my post, one of the things I’m most grateful this year, and for the last 14+ years, was having Malarky in my life. There’s a reason he chose me to live with.  He taught me many things and filled me with much graditude.  I’m so glad that we have so many wonderful and happy memories to call upon.  I hope that this blog post helps me in celebrating his life, rather than mourning it.  As he runs freely, without pain and suffering, having crossed the Rainbow Bridge, I know that we will find each other again when the time comes.  Until then MooMoo, know how much I loved you and miss you everyday.  RIP Malarky ❤fullsizerender-2If you ever find yourself in the difficult position, I fully endorse Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice, Inc.  They were highly professional, kind, compassionate, and understanding.  I couldn’t have done it any other way.

Next up:  More from the Butte

© 2016  TNWA Photography / Debbie Tubridy

http://www.tnwaphotography.com