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Butterflies and dragonflies in flight can be mesmerizing.  However, their erratic flight styles can drive you crazy when trying to capture them in pixels, whether panning with a real viewfinder or even worse, trying to pan using a digital viewfinder and its fraction-of-a-second lag (and no drive or burst function).

Well, a little spray and pray with the shutter yielded my favorite shot of the morning as this red-spotted purple moved through the canopy of the valley forest.

butterfly flying.
TAKING FLIGHT – Red-spotted purple flits among trees in the valley forest.

The stark beauty of a foggy winter’s day

For most of the last week, winter has cast a foggy, rainy spell over our part of the Arkansas Ouachitas. This is how nature makes her own monochromes.

 fog-shrouded silhouettes of pines, oaks and hickories
The fog-shrouded silhouettes of pines, oaks and hickories describe the angle of descent to the south valley.

 

Blackjack oak
Bared of its leaves, except for a few tatters, this blackjack oak looks almost prickly.

Fall into winter

What a difference a few weeks can make. The top photo was taken the week before Thanksgiving. The bottom photo was taken around lunchtime today — the snow and sleet courtesy winter storm Cleon.

Fall landscape.
The Arkansas Ouachitas glow in the pink morning light of Nov. 11, 2013.
12-06-WinterLandscape2WEB
Except for a few ragged flags left in the black jack oaks, the same Ouachita ridge is stripped bare, nearly a monotone, thanks to a Dec. 6, 2013, winter storm.

Autumn colors 2013

Here it is late October and the Ouachitas are just beginning to turn.  Even though the woods are mostly green, there’s still plenty of autumn color around. Photos taken today and yesterday.

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In the details

Sometimes, there is beauty in the big picture. Sometimes, it is in the details.