What Happened on my Sabbatical in 2009?

 


 

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I started the year 2009 just back from a trip to the Central California Coast photographing the Pacific Ocean seashore and marine life, seals and sea otters. I celebrated my 70th Birthday a few times in January, giving the go with several close friends to what would be a very special year of my life. I started preparing for my different trips, as my way of traveling is to reach destinations where I can discover and rediscover Nature at its best. It takes a lot of preparation, as my main interest for the last 30 years has been as a Nature Photographer. Armed with my camera equipment, I enjoy traveling close to home or far away for the sake of translating into pictures what Nature brings to me in the cycle of the seasons, in different settings all over the world. Over the years I have mostly traveled to Europe (Including my favorite remote Island Iceland, visited already twice); I have traveled and photographed the most Nature and Wildlife in the USA, this year adding Alaska in remote wilderness areas, “shooting” brown bears and eerie glaciers. 



The highlight of my year 2009 was a trip to France from mid July to mid August. Since I left the academic world, I am seldom free to be with my family in the summer. I visited my siblings, one brother and one sister; I spent precious time with my 3 grandchildren and their parents; all this time was in different locations in two great regions of France - the Alps and Brittany (‘en Bretagne’). How wonderful to see how we can build individual relationships with our grandchildren if we take the time!



In the meantime, my home, pets and gardens, were in good hands.  Each time I returned home, I appreciated how things had gone smoothly because of the care of friends: dog happy with her new neighbor playmates, cat more independent and cuddly than ever. No vegetable gardens, but culinary herbs, lots of flowers taken care of by Melissa, even garlic was harvested just in time by friends who made a special trip from Minneapolis…

I traveled again this Fall to Alaska, the Sand Prairie of Nebraska, and the Black Hills of South Dakota. Big mammals, a favorite of mine, Elk and Buffalo were there along with the rich western fauna natural to the area - just a long day from home.



My winter photography is on hold due to the road conditions, but will resume and take place closer to home, with the migrating birds in Iowa, Trumpeter Swans and Bald Eagles.  I am planning a trip to Florida for bird photography in February.



This year gave me a chance to add a substantial amount of experience getting in close range to all that is mentioned above, and more thanks to being free to go at the right time to these special places. I want to share my life this way, as well, and I am planning to “show” my pictures in many ways in the years to come.