Why Do I See What Cannot Be?

Our cat Boo sits on the mantle above the fireplace

My eyes play tricks again. There on the mantle, beside my work awards and the ashes of Templeton and Scout and Emma and pictures and keepsakes, I thought I saw Boo. But Boo isn’t allowed on the mantle. Some things from the mantle have fallen off lately and broken, likely from micro-climates creating sudden whirlwinds that come down the chimney. That I can explain, that I can see. But Boo I cannot, yet I do.

Homes for Urchins

Purple sea urchins sit in the depressions they've carved over time into the tide pool at Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area in Newport, Oregon

Purple sea urchins sit in the depressions they’ve carved over time into the tide pool, minimizing the force of the waves as the tide comes in and out. I came across these urchins in 2004 on a sunny day at Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area in Newport, Oregon. The picture below is a different set of urchins but taken on the same day, I’ve posted this one before but it was years ago.

Purple sea urchins sit in the depressions they've carved over time into the tide pool at Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area in Newport, Oregon

(Almost) Still Waters

An alligator swims with only its head above water in the low light after sunset

The sun had set and it was getting dark, so I started to put my camera away but paused when I noticed the waters of the freshwater lagoon weren’t as quiet as they first appeared. This environmental portrait of an alligator swimming with only its head above water is one of my favorites of these magnificent creatures.

A Choice of Waters

A great blue heron waits in a saltwater marsh at Huntington Beach State Park in South Carolina

A great blue heron waits in a saltwater marsh at Huntington Beach State Park in South Carolina. It’s a wonderful park that not only has ocean access and some short hiking trails but also a causeway that runs between saltwater and freshwater lagoons. There are walking paths on each side of the road so as a photographer you can choose your type of water, as can the herons and egrets that hunt here. Although my biggest surprise seeing predators move between the marshes came one day as I was photographing alligators in the freshwater marsh when a large alligator came walking across the road from the saltwater side, the first time I learned they could spend a bit of time in the saltwater before returning to their freshwater home. After that I watched my back a bit more closely, although I never even remotely had any problems with the large reptiles.