RGallucci Photography: Blog https://www.rgallucci.com/blog en-us (C) RGallucci Photography (RGallucci Photography) Sun, 22 Nov 2020 14:20:00 GMT Sun, 22 Nov 2020 14:20:00 GMT https://www.rgallucci.com/img/s/v-12/u1061514689-o555584435-50.jpg RGallucci Photography: Blog https://www.rgallucci.com/blog 120 90 The Cottonwoods https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2020/11/the-cottonwoods The CottonwoodsThe CottonwoodsThe Cottonwoods
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Shoot Date: November 21, 2020
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV | EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM | f/16 | ¹⁄₁₆₀₀ sec | ISO 100

As a general rule, I am not a fan of lens flare. But, when it inserts a rainbow into a beautiful fall scene, I am all for it! 

I loved how the early morning sun highlighted the golden autumnal leaves on the ancient cottonwood trees that line the San Pedro River this morning. It seemed a perfect illustration of how striking and distinct the landscapes here are. It was not until I got home and looked at the photo that I realized it had been blessed with a rainbow as well. Can you find it? 

I remain his scribe. 

2021 Calendars now available - ask about them

The Cottonwoods (Member #58822971)
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Shoot Date: November 21, 2020
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV | EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM | f/16 | ¹⁄25 sec | ISO 100

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(RGallucci Photography) Arizona Autumn Fall High Desert landscapes Nature Southern Arizona Sunrise https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2020/11/the-cottonwoods Sun, 22 Nov 2020 14:19:27 GMT
Where there is Hope https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2020/10/where-there-is-hope Where the is HopeWhere the is HopeWhere the is Hope
©RGallucci Photography
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Shoot Date: October 30, 2020
Canon EOS 5D Mark III | EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM | f/16 | 1.6 sec | ISO 160
As the sun set behind the Huachuca Mountains trailing edge, providing an ebbing light on the mountains flanks, October's last full moon, a lone traveler in a cloud infused landscape, rose in the opposite sky. Alone on the summit, I watched that grand satellite lift through the clouds to illuminate the valley below. In the vast expanse of the valley plain before me, somewhere, stood my southern Arizona high desert home. An indistinguishable dot on the horizon, it is where my soul finds shelter in the company of my true love and partner. 

 

But here, on the precipice of the mountain ledge, gazing out on the expansive wonder of our creator's artistry, I realize that it is in the freedom to witness where my soul finds the solace it needs to heal.  It is here that I am reminded that all trial is transitional, that all heartache, fleeting. I have only to hang on and know that I am loved, and this too shall pass. On the other side of it will be happiness, joy, love, caring, and friendships that will enrich us all.  
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Note about today's writing. I have lost two family members this year—one to age and the other to suicide. I see an increasing number of pleas from friends on social media sharing that they are forlorn and desperate. I wish I could have been there to prevent my brother's death. I wish I could be there for each person who cries for help and those who remain silently trapped in their depression. I cannot. All I have to give are my images and my words. I pray they help. 

 

Know this. I have been there. I have teetered on the knife-edge decision of leaving this life or staying. I have endured the unfathomable pain of helplessness and loss of hope that depression brings. I have sat in the ever-present shadow of darkness where the light of tomorrow could not shine through. This all happened before I had faith to carry me. My soul was alone! How I survived, how I did not go through with my plans, is a story that is beyond my knowing. But I did. And life got better. 

 

For those out there suffering, please know, in your heart, that you are loved. You matter. The spark of your life feeds the flame of joy in all those around you.  Whether you see it or not, you make a difference to us all. I implore you, hang on. Talk to people. Let them inside your walls. Share your pain. This time of darkness will pass, and you will be ok. 

 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
800-273-8255

 

Where there is Hope
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We have two 2021 calendars available this year. Ask about them for more information.
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Shoot Date: October 30, 2020
Canon EOS 5D Mark III | EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM | f/16 | 1.6 sec | ISO 160

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(RGallucci Photography) Arizona Blue Moon High Desert Hope landscapes Nature Southern Arizona Suicide Prevention https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2020/10/where-there-is-hope Sat, 31 Oct 2020 18:46:11 GMT
Surrender https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2020/10/surrender _Surrender©RGallucci Photography <br/> www.rgallucci.com <br/> ----- <br/>Shoot Date: August 25, 2020<br/>Canon EOS 5D Mark IV | EF800mm f/5.6L IS USM | f/8.0 | ¹⁄₁₀₀₀ sec | ISO 640 The life of a hummingbird is not easy. At only about an inch long, they are one of the most aggressive of all bird species. One has only to put out a few feeders in their yard to watch the bird's constant battles for the life-sustaining nectar they hold.

 

While going through some images captured this past August, I came across this classic example of their constant struggle. When I saw it, my first thought was that the Rufous Hummingbird flying backward was saying, "I surrender!" However, knowing these birds, I am sure it was just adjusting its position to re-attempt its pursuit of the feeder. 

 

Life can present us with times when we feel we need to surrender. Tormentors may try to intimidate us to prevent us from what we need. At times like that, holding tightly to faith and taking a step back to regroup before moving forward to persevere can be the best strategy. 

 

I remain his scribe. 

 

Surrender
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Shoot Date: August 25, 2020
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV | EF800mm f/5.6L IS USM | f/8.0 | ¹⁄₁₀₀₀ sec | ISO 640

 

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(RGallucci Photography) Arizona Birds High Desert Nature Southern Arizona Wildlife https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2020/10/surrender Thu, 29 Oct 2020 16:14:09 GMT
Orion Nebula 2020 https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2020/10/orion-nebula-2020 Orion Nebula 2020Orion Nebula 2020Orion Nebula 2020
©RGallucci Photography
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Shoot Date: October 13, 2020
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV | EF300mm f/4L IS USM | f/8.0 | 60.0 sec | ISO 2000

Past the tremendous eternal abyss of space, somewhere, is an island that lives without time or boundary. Ruled by a benevolent creator, it is the paradise we are called home to when our time on this planet has finished. It is where my Dad has finally reunited with my Mom, brothers, and sister. 

As I search the endless night sky in wonder at the beauty surrounding our small blue-green marble, I often ponder where that island is. And then it occurs to me that if I let go of the limitations of my mind and imagine the power of an omnipresent lord, I will have the answer. It exists everywhere, in everything, in a dimension that is both separate and always here.  While I cannot touch this wondrous world where those that have passed now reside, my soul can. In my soul, so long as I remember, I am with them all. 

Today I fly to New York to lay his remains to rest. But that is just the part of him that existed here. Through my sadness and grief, I must try to remember that the better part of him is free of the pain, free of the confusion, and free of the longing for those who traveled ahead of him. 

I remain his scribe.

Orion Nebula
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Shoot Date: October 13, 2020
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV | EF300mm f/4L IS USM | f/8.0 | 60.0 sec | ISO 2000
60 Light Frames tracked on iOptron Sky Guider Pro
20 Dark Frames

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(RGallucci Photography) arizona high desert landscapes nature night sky workshops nightscapes orion nebula southern arizona workshops https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2020/10/orion-nebula-2020 Thu, 15 Oct 2020 11:26:53 GMT
A Passage in the Wilderness https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2020/10/a-passage-in-the-wilderness A Passage in the WildernessA Passage in the WildernessA Passage in the Wilderness
©RGallucci Photography
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Shoot Date: October 9, 2020
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV | 15mm | f/8.0 | 239.0 sec | ISO 400

Stalwart sentinels from a long-ago era, the hoodoos at Chiricahua National Monument stand in eternal attention. Like stone soldiers, they remain in constant salute, a proud testimonial to their stewardship of the land they embrace. I was to this sacred ground I traveled last evening, to pay homage to the memory of the marine who is my father.

 

I knew in advance the shot that called to me. Amid those towering statues was a valiant hoodoo with a tabletop cap that stood apart from the others in its countenance. It was a place where the pathway of angles could rest, a respite for the souls on their long journey to heavens grace. With her Siren cry, she beckoned me from our home two hours away, and I was helpless to ignore her treaty. Arriving at the parking area, I was enchanted by the lure of her promise to ease the pain of his passing and bushwacked to a spot where the picture as possible. There, alone, under the stars, in the thrall of her beauty, I allowed myself to feel. While the tears of grief I prayed for did not come, I was granted peace for a few moments. 

 

All have an appointment with the hereafter. It is the only one that must be kept. For those that remain behind, grieving the loss is a process. It is a process I am ill-equipped for, yet one I have had to endure twice this year. Through my words and pictures, I can share what I cannot show in my daily life. That is a blessing I am grateful for. To all those who also grieve today, I wish you peace in your journey to acceptance. Perhaps we will arrive together. 

 

I remain his scribe. 

 

Our 2021 Milky Way and Strom Chasing Workshops are now accepting reservations. Find out more here: 

Milky Way Workshops: 2021 Milky Way and Night Sky Workshops

Storm Chasing Workshops: 2021 Storm Chasing workshops

 

A Passage in the Wilderness
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Shoot Date: October 9, 2020
Foreground
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV | 15mm | f/8.0 | 239.0 sec | ISO 400
Sky - Tracked with iOptron Skyguider Pro
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV | 15mm | f/4.0 | 60.0 sec | ISO 1600

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(RGallucci Photography) Arizona Chasing Chiricahua National Monument High Desert Hoodoo landscapes Milky Milky Way Workshop Nature Photography Workshop Southern Arizona Storm Way Workshop" https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2020/10/a-passage-in-the-wilderness Sat, 10 Oct 2020 21:26:41 GMT
Lesser Long-nosed Bat III https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2020/9/lesser-long-nosed-bat-iii Lesser Long-nosed Bat IIILesser Long-nosed Bat IIILesser Long-nosed Bat III
©RGallucci Photography
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Shoot Date: September 20, 2020
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV | EF300mm f/4L IS USM | f/22 | ¹⁄₂₅₀ sec | ISO 400

I was only able to capture one image of a Lesser Long-nosed Bat last evening. I suspect it has something to do with my lighting setup. My two theories are that either the light stands confuse the bat's sonar, making them believe it is too difficult to navigate or that the flashes emit sound at a frequency we cannot hear, but the bats can. Tonight I will move the lights further away from the feeder, hoping that more will fly through. 

The lesser long-nosed bat has an elongated muzzle, which helps it push its head deep into Saguaro cactus blossoms. When it is done feeding, it emerges from the flower with its head is covered in pollen. That pollen will ultimately fertilize another plant. 

I am fascinated by the synergistic balance our creator bestowed upon this world. Learning its nuances and secrets and sharing them with others is a tremendous blessing. 

I remain his scribe.

Lesser Long-nosed Bat III
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Shoot Date: September 20, 2020
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV | EF300mm f/4L IS USM | f/22 | ¹⁄250 sec | ISO 400

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(RGallucci Photography) Arizona Bats Birds High Desert Lesser Long-nosed Bat Nature Pollinator Saguaro Southern Arizona Wildlife https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2020/9/lesser-long-nosed-bat-iii Mon, 21 Sep 2020 16:06:12 GMT
The Eruption of Sierra San José https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2020/8/the-eruption-of-sierra-san-jos The Eruption of San JoseThe Eruption of San JoseThe Eruption of San Jose
©RGallucci Photography
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Shoot Date: August 2, 2020
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV | EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM | f/4.0 | 30.0 sec | ISO 200

Laying docile across the border of Arizona and Mexico is Sierra San José, an extinct volcano whose many sharp ridges define its name. Sierra, loosely translated from Spanish, means saw. One has only to look at the profile of this stunning range to see its saw-like characteristics. 

Another incredible feature of this isolated sky-island range is the durability of its beauty. It maintains an iconic stature regardless of the time of day, or season of the year, it is viewed. I often find myself spending hours looking at the delicate ballet of light that dances across its flanks throughout a day. Yet yesterday it was the night the illuminated its majesty. 

As I watched, a small southern Arizona high desert monsoon squall crawled slowly from Douglas, across the Mule mountains until it crossed the border near the bifurcated town of Naco. By the time it reached the San José mountain, there was little energy left in it. But, since it was the only cell with any potential for lightning, I stuck with it. This mammoth strike was my reward. With its the many tendrils of light erupting from the low hanging clouds to the unfathomable breadth of their reach over half the mountain to the brilliant lumination they cast over the entire range, this bolt delivered all. 

When I see the wonders of the natural world, I realize that only a power much higher than we could be its source. For the gift of His visions, and the honor to share them, I am blessed. 

I remain His scribe. 

The Eruption of Sierra San José
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Shoot Date: August 2, 2020
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV | EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM | f/4.0 | 30.0 sec | ISO 200

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(RGallucci Photography) Arizona High Desert Lightning Monsoon Nature Night Southern Arizona Storm https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2020/8/the-eruption-of-sierra-san-jos Tue, 04 Aug 2020 21:04:28 GMT
Night Light on the Mules https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2020/7/night-light-on-the-mules Night Light on the MulesNight Light on the MulesNight Light on the Mules
©RGallucci Photography
www.rgallucci.com
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Shoot Date: July 13, 2020
Canon EOS 5D Mark III | EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM | f/5.6 | 45.0 sec | ISO 125

Last night's southern Arizona high desert monsoon storm seemed to want to hug the Arizona New / Mexico border.  Knowing that the most I was likely to capture was some vast landscapes punctuated by intermittent strikes, I managed my expectations down. It was still great to be outside, smelling the unique mesquite and dust infused storm scent while enjoying the outflow breeze that drifted across the San Pedro valley.

 

But when the storm suddenly shifted direction to track along the Mule Mountains, I began to get excited. As the bolts drew closer and more abundant, I began to hope that I might get a close strike. Checking the radar, I learned that while the large cell with the great lightning was traveling across the mountains, another that had not begun to fire, was almost overhead. The odds of getting hit went up considerably. This is not a situation you want to be in. The once gentle outflow breeze notched up to strong winds, and then I was surrounded by ominous clouds overhead.

 

Meanwhile, the storm over the mountains shifted slightly towards me. I was clearly in the danger zone! The feeling evoked, that I love and dread, of being in the danger zone intensified, and I realized I had to make a decision.  As usual, I foolishly held my ground. Some day I may pay for these choices, but not on this night.

 

What happened over the next 40 minutes was pure storm chaser nirvana. As the heavens unleashed their mighty fury across the valley, my camera recorded strike after strike. When the storm finally blew itself out, the tension in my muscles relaxed. The sense of stress relief and joy was palpable, and I was once again reminded why this addiction is one of my greatest joys. 

 

The bolt in this image is my favorite of the evening. It is also my favorite of the season, and it may be one of my top five favorites of all time. From the cloud formation above, to the strike framed by the downpour, to the way the beautiful mountain range behind was lit up, to the natural vignette it created, this shot has it all. 

 

He gives me great gifts of creation daily to witness and share. For that, I am humbled and grateful. 

 

I remain his scribe. 

 

Night Light on the Mules
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Shoot Date: July 13, 2020
Canon EOS 5D Mark III | EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM | f/5.6 | 45.0 sec | ISO 125

 

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(RGallucci Photography) Arizona High Desert landscapes lightning monsoon Nature Southern Arizona storms https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2020/7/night-light-on-the-mules Tue, 14 Jul 2020 14:34:52 GMT
Lightning Loop https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2020/7/lightning-loop Lightning LoopLightning LoopLightning Loop
©RGallucci Photography
www.rgallucci.com
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Shoot Date: July 11, 2020
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV | EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM | f/11 | ⅙ sec | ISO 50

Yesterday's southern Arizona high desert monsoon storm was unrelenting in producing some of the best lightning I have seen in two years. I was able to capture over one hundred explosions of thunderlight over the day and night. It was the type of excess a storm chaser dreams of. 

 

Looking through the images, there was one shot that amazed me. I remember when it struck wondering if my eyes were deceiving me as it coiled down from the sky and looped over itself before hitting the ground.  Lightning twists and turns following its pursuit for ionic balance, but this was different. This bolt seemingly completed a full loop on itself against the tumultuous agitated sky. I was in awe as I witnessed it. 

 

Doing some research when I returned home, I learned that the effect was created due to the strike coming towards me.  That knowledge invoked even greater respect for my cherished monsoon light shows. The storm we were photographing was about 14 miles away, well within the yellow zone of danger of becoming a crispy critter. That this discharge came even closer gave me even greater respect for my quarry. 

 

To witness the overwhelming power of nature's glory is to feed my soul with the awe of wonder and the peace of humility.  The task of capturing the creator's artistry and sharing it with others is a gift I give thanks for daily. 

 

I remain his scribe.

 

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(RGallucci Photography) Arizona High Desert landscapes Lightning Monsoon Nature Southern Arizona Storms https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2020/7/lightning-loop Sat, 11 Jul 2020 15:42:53 GMT
Somewhere Under the Rainbow https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2020/6/somewhere-under-the-rainbow Somewhere Under the RainbowSomewhere Under the RainbowSomewhere Under the Rainbow
©RGallucci Photography
www.rgallucci.com
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Shoot Date: June 27, 2020
Canon EOS 5D Mark III | EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM | f/8.0 | 0.3 sec | ISO 100

Today the southern Arizona high desert monsoon came to me. There were no epic adventures across the state chasing storms. Today fate and fortune had the paths of all the storms travel through my front and backyard. That, in itself, is a fantastic blessing. 

 

The highlight of the day came at sunset when I was fortunate to capture a series of strikes underneath a massive rainbow. One of the most sought after images in storm chasing is to capture lightning and a rainbow. The magic trinity is to catch it at sunset. His gifts never cease. 

 

I remain his scribe.

 

Somewhere Under the Rainbow
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Shoot Date: June 27, 2020
Canon EOS 5D Mark III | EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM | f/8.0 | 0.3 sec | ISO 100

 

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(RGallucci Photography) https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2020/6/somewhere-under-the-rainbow Sun, 28 Jun 2020 03:47:32 GMT
Bighorn Sunset https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2020/6/bighorn-sunset Bighorn SunsetBighorn SunsetBighorn Sunset
©RGallucci Photography
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Shoot Date: June 19, 2020
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV | EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM | f/16 | 0.3 sec | ISO 100

The southern Arizona high desert yields no quarter to those who choose to make this home. The payment for life in this arid paradise is the steadfast knowledge that you are surrounded by visually stunning flora and fauna whose intent is to impale and inject you in their defense.  In summer, this furious anvil of scorched earth brings forth still yet another terrifying danger - fire!  

 

This danger is heightened as the monsoon season introduces lightning, the most potent catalyst for the devastation that exists.  That is what sparked the Bighorn Fire on June 5th in the Catalina mountains on the outskirts of Tucson. In took less than a second for a swollen cumulus cloud to release its electric discharge towards Pusch Ridge - and the landscapes' fate was sealed. Today roughly 51,628 acres have been consumed. At this point, containment swings on a pendulum, with almost 1,000 valiant heroes battling the blaze 24 hours a day, gaining strongholds one day only to lose them the next. As of today, the fire is only 19 percent contained. Miraculously, there has been no loss of life. 

 

It is hard to comprehend the magnitude of this destruction while standing in a peaceful valley at days end, watching another of the magnificent Arizona sunsets. But the acrid smoke and smoldering flames infringing on the tranquil scene is an ever-present reminder that this desert can sting with more than thorns and stingers. I pray for its quick end. 

 

Bighorn Sunset
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Shoot Date: June 19, 2020
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV | EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM | f/16 | 0.3 sec | ISO 100
 

 

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(RGallucci Photography) Arizona Bighorn Fire Fire High Desert landscapes Nature Southern Arizona Sunset Tucson Wildfire https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2020/6/bighorn-sunset Sun, 21 Jun 2020 22:19:53 GMT
Behold https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2020/6/behold BeholdBeholdBehold
©RGallucci Photography
www.rgallucci.com
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Shoot Date: June 15, 2020
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV | EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM | f/8.0 | 0.4 sec | ISO 100

 

There are seasons when the message is so muddled and confused that I cannot explain its meaning. And then there are times like I witnessed in this image that speak to the today and forecast the hope that everlasting love can produce. 

 

The world is more confused and alien to me today than ever before in my near 60 years. This season of change sometimes overwhelms my ability to understand what the future will be. But in the sanctuary of nature, immersed in the wonder of his artistry and filled in the joy of hope, I am reminded that it is not my place to understand what the future will bring. I have but to have faith that it will be what it will be, and that will be alright. 

 

I am reminded of Psalms 19:1,2
The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night, they reveal knowledge.

 

Sharing permitted with credit / Prints available

 

Behold
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Shoot Date: June 15, 2020
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV | EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM | f/8.0 | 0.4 sec | ISO 100

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(RGallucci Photography) Arizona Faith High Desert Hope landscapes Monsoon Nature Rainbow Southern Arizona https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2020/6/behold Sat, 20 Jun 2020 18:50:58 GMT
A Season of Hope https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2020/3/a-season-of-hope A Season of HopeA Season of HopeA Season of Hope
© 2019 RGallucci Photography

One of the first harbingers that springs renewal has begun in the southern Arizona high desert is the annual bloom of wildflowers. Seemingly overnight, vast carpets of yellow blossoms stretch across the dull desert floor in a display of life's' ability to persist even in the roughest conditions. Perhaps because their flowering is so short-lived, they are treasured by those who call this miraculous desert home.

I've wanted to capture the trail of angels rising above a field of wildflowers since I moved here. Witnessing the grace of creation in the rejuvenation of the land as the foundation to the glory of infinite spaces symbol of hope holds more meaning to me that either image alone. Last night was my chance, and I cannot help thinking that the timing was not coincidental.

As we traverse together through these challenging times, it is good to be reminded of the remarkable beauty and resilience of life. In a time when we are forced apart, it is good to remember that we are all still together, foundations of life to one another in infinite hope.

I remain his scribe

A Season of Hope
©RGallucci Photography
www.rgallucci.com
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Tracked and Blended
Shoot Date: March 11, 2020
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Sky
iOptron Sky Guider Pro
Irix 15mm| f/4| 239 sec | ISO 1000
Foreground
Irix 15mm| f/2.8| 239 sec w/ LENR | ISO 1000


Shoot Date: March 20, 2020
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
239.0 sec at f/4.0 Bias:0 EV
ISO: ISO 1000
Lens:15mm @ 15 mm

One of the first harbingers that springs renewal has begun in the southern Arizona high desert is the annual bloom of wildflowers. Seemingly overnight, vast carpets of yellow blossoms stretch across the dull desert floor in a display of life's' ability to persist even in the roughest conditions. Perhaps because their flowering is so short-lived, they are treasured by those who call this miraculous desert home. 

I've wanted to capture the trail of angels rising above a field of wildflowers since I moved here. Witnessing the grace of creation in the rejuvenation of the land as the foundation to the glory of infinite spaces symbol of hope holds more meaning to me that either image alone. Last night was my chance, and I cannot help thinking that the timing was not coincidental. 

As we traverse together through these challenging times, it is good to be reminded of the remarkable beauty and resilience of life. In a time when we are forced apart, it is good to remember that we are all still together, foundations of life to one another in infinite hope.  

I remain his scribe

A Season of Hope
©RGallucci Photography
www.rgallucci.com
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Tracked and Blended
Shoot Date: March 11, 2020
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Sky
iOptron Sky Guider Pro
Irix 15mm| f/4| 239 sec | ISO 1000
Foreground
Irix 15mm| f/2.8| 239 sec w/ LENR | ISO 1000

 

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(RGallucci Photography) Arizona High Desert landscapes Milky Way Nature Night Sky Southern Arizona Wilcox https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2020/3/a-season-of-hope Sat, 21 Mar 2020 00:48:41 GMT
Rosetta Nebula https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2020/1/rosetta-nebula Rosetta NebulaRosetta NebulaRosetta Nebula
©RGallucci Photography
www.rgallucci.com
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Shoot Date: January 28, 2020
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV | EF300mm f/4L IS USM | f/8.0 | 60.0 sec | ISO 2000

The Rosetta Nebula. This was my Valentine's Day challenge. While anyone can buy a Rose, I wanted to capture God's celestial heavens rose. And, while I am not happy with the final image - any deep space photographer will understand why - I am ecstatic to have captured it at all. 

 

This is only my third deep sky image, and it was the most challenging. Not having a guiding device, I had to find this manually and, since it is not visible to the naked eye, I used the infamous line from "The Martian" and scienced the shit out of it. I knew roughly where it was supposed to be, but space is really big! Ultimately by determining its Azimuth and Altitude, I rested my iPhone on my lens with a bubble level app open, I was able to position my camera and get the Nebula in my crosshairs. That was not as easy as it sounds because the camera on the tracker only rotates on two points. OK, maybe it was more Mcgiver than science, but it worked! 

 

I am enamored by the heavens that surround us. Until I moved to the Dark Sky region of the southern Arizona high desert, I had no idea of the majesty and awe-inspiring beauty of the divine infinite. Living in a place where I can explore the beauty of the landscape during the day and the glory of the heavens at night is a blessing beyond comprehension. To have the honor of sharing it with others so that they, too, can wonder at the magnitude of creation is an undeserved gift.  I remain his scribe. 

 

This rose is dedicated to my wife, Cindy. Putting up with me earns her the right to the largest rose in the universe. I am forever grateful to her for loving me. 

 

Rosetta Nebula
©RGallucci Photography
www.rgallucci.com
-----
Shoot Date: January 28, 2020
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV | EF300mm f/4L IS USM | f/8.0 | 60.0 sec | ISO 2000

 

Made from 60 light frames with 30 dark frames by Starry Sky Stacker 1.3.1.  Algorithm: Mean

]]>
(RGallucci Photography) Arizona Astrophotography Deep Space High Desert Nature Nebula Night Sky Rosetta https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2020/1/rosetta-nebula Wed, 29 Jan 2020 15:50:31 GMT
A Monday Morning Sunrise in January https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2020/1/a-monday-morning-sunrise-in-january A Monday Morning Sunrise in JanuaryA Monday Morning Sunrise in JanuaryA Monday Morning Sunrise in January
©RGallucci Photography
www.rgallucci.com
-----
Shoot Date: January 27, 2020
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV | EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM | f/16 | ¹⁄₂₀ sec | ISO 100

In the vast smelter of creations endless cycle, the fire-forged furnace of days first light renders nighttime of its dreary grip on the world. The vision that remains reveals the hope and dreams of new beginnings once again bestowed on the waiting world.  It is in the Eden of the heart and soul that I embrace the present. Bolstered in faith and ready now to venture bravely forth into a future sculpted by a positive attitude and love.  I remain His scribe. 

A Monday Morning Sunrise in January
©RGallucci Photography
www.rgallucci.com
---
Shoot Date: January 27, 2020
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV | EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM | f/16 | ¹⁄20 sec | ISO 100

]]>
(RGallucci Photography) Arizona Clouds High Desert landscapes Nature Southern Arizona Sun Sunburst Sunrise https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2020/1/a-monday-morning-sunrise-in-january Tue, 28 Jan 2020 18:32:01 GMT
Morning in Point Bonita https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2020/1/morning-in-point-bonita Morning in Point BonitaMorning in Point BonitaMorning in Point Bonita
©RGallucci Photography
www.rgallucci.com
-----
Shoot Date: April 22, 2015
Canon EOS 5D Mark III | EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM | f/11 | 16.0 sec | ISO 100

While going through some older photos to find a new birthday card image, I came across this photo of the early morning at Point Bonita in the Marin Headlands. The moment I saw it, I was transported back to that morning. I relived the feeling of the early morning sun as it rose on the horizon ahead of me. I cherished the bracing scent of a briny ocean mist mixed with the pungent perfume of the wild sage plants that grew around me. I recalled the ubiquitous morning-song of the birds in the fields, led by a chorus of White-throated sparrows who commanded the spotlight. And, I remembered that outside of those songs, there was a serene silence buffered only by the crashing tide against the distant cliffs below me. 

 

Such is the power of a photograph. It is a touchstone for the mind, bringing with its viewing all the memories and feelings that existed when it was created. I have thousands of such cornerstones. It is a blessing that God has bestowed upon me to love the art of photography and the desire to share that love with others.  The gift humbles me while reminding me of His great love and glory. 

 

I remain His scribe.

 

Morning in Point Bonita
©RGallucci Photography
www.rgallucci.com
---
Shoot Date: April 22, 2015
Canon EOS 5D Mark III | EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM | f/11 | 16.0 sec | ISO 100

 

]]>
(RGallucci Photography) Bonita California Clouds County Hills Lighthouse Marin Ocean Point Shoreline Sunrise https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2020/1/morning-in-point-bonita Thu, 23 Jan 2020 15:07:39 GMT
Sunrise 20201116 - Montezuma Pass https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2020/1/sunrise-20201116---montezuma-pass Sunrise 20201116 Montezuma PassSunrise 20201116 Montezuma PassSunrise 20201116 Montezuma Pass

Montezuma Pass may be one of my favorite southern Arizona high desert photography spots. From this vantage point, like a meandering river that guides your eye as it gently cascades down a mountain pass, your view is transported from the summit to the fertile San Pedro valley.

As I stood atop this southern terminus of the Huachuca mountains this morning, I realized that we would not have the dramatic burst of color we expect with the days start. But, the cloud-shrouded skies, punctuated with river-like currents of rain, enhanced the view the overcast sunrise with a power of its own. There was a serenity in the tumult that set a positive mood for the coming day.

This image is a 14 shot panorama shot with a rig I put together for the coming Milky Way season. It is five feet wides by two and a half feet tall. The beauty of shooting a wide image like this is the depth of clarity provided by so many captured pixels. I am not sure how it will look with the limits of social media. The grand beauty it embodies is a testament to the glory of creation.

I remain his scribe.

Sunrise 20201116 - Montezuma Pass
©RGallucci Photography
www.rgallucci.com


Shoot Date: January 16, 2020
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
1.3 sec at f/16 Bias:0 EV
ISO: ISO 100
Lens:EF50mm f/1.4 USM @ 50 mm

Montezuma Pass may be one of my favorite southern Arizona high desert photography spots. From this vantage point, like a meandering river that guides your eye as it gently cascades down a mountain pass, your view is transported from the summit to the fertile San Pedro valley.  

 

As I stood atop this southern terminus of the Huachuca mountains this morning, I realized that we would not have the dramatic burst of color we expect with the days start.  But, the cloud-shrouded skies, punctuated with river-like currents of rain, enhanced the view the overcast sunrise with a power of its own.  There was a serenity in the tumult that set a positive mood for the coming day.  

 

This image is a 14 shot panorama shot with a rig I put together for the coming Milky Way season.  It is five feet wides by two and a half feet tall.  The beauty of shooting a wide image like this is the depth of clarity provided by so many captured pixels. I am not sure how it will look with the limits of social media.   The grand beauty it embodies is a testament to the glory of creation. 

 

 

I remain his scribe. 

 

Sunrise 20201116 - Montezuma Pass
©RGallucci Photography
www.rgallucci.com
---
Shoot Date: January 16, 2020
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Lens:EF50mm f/1.4 USM @ 50 mm
1.3 sec at f/16 Bias:0 EV
ISO: 100
14 images on Pano Rig with Nodal Slider

 

 

]]>
(RGallucci Photography) Arizona High Desert landscapes Pano Southern Arizona Sunrise https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2020/1/sunrise-20201116---montezuma-pass Thu, 16 Jan 2020 20:51:17 GMT
Sunrise on the Obelisk https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2020/1/sunrise-on-the-obelisk Sunrise on the ObeliskSunrise on the ObeliskSunrise on the Obelisk

Part of the magic of first light is the dramatic way that sunrise spreads its powerful luminance over the dark's grim clutch on the world. It is one of the most vivid demonstrations of hope that I know of and a daily metaphor of the cycle of our lives.

The dichotomy was intensely illustrated when a lone obelisk, standing proud and strong in the foreground of the Dragoon mountain landscape, allowed the sun to emerge from its spire. Here, in the parched high desert of southern Arizona, like a lighthouse from the distant ocean shores, it shone a guiding beacon that carried a message straight to my heart - the light of the world is coming, and all will be alright.

I remain his scribe.

Sunrise on the Obelisk
©RGallucci Photography
www.rgallucci.com


Shoot Date: January 4, 2020
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
¹⁄₁₃ sec at f/16 Bias:2 EV
ISO: ISO 100
Lens:15mm @ 15 mm

Part of the magic of first light is the dramatic way that sunrise spreads its powerful luminance over the dark's grim clutch on the world. It is one of the most vivid demonstrations of hope that I know of and a daily metaphor of the cycle of our lives. 

 

The dichotomy was intensely illustrated when a lone obelisk, standing proud and strong in the foreground of the Dragoon mountain landscape, allowed the sun to emerge from its spire. Here, in the parched high desert of southern Arizona, like a lighthouse from the distant ocean shores, it shone a guiding beacon that carried a message straight to my heart - the light of the world is coming, and all will be alright. 

 

I remain his scribe. 

 

Sunrise on the Obelisk
©RGallucci Photography
www.rgallucci.com
---
Shoot Date: January 4, 2020
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Lens: Irix 15mm @ 15 mm
¹⁄13 sec at f/16 Bias:2 EV
ISO:100

 

]]>
(RGallucci Photography) Arizona Dragoon Mountains landscapes Nature Southern Arizona Sunrise https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2020/1/sunrise-on-the-obelisk Sat, 11 Jan 2020 15:32:53 GMT
Morning Light on a Dragoon Mountain Stream https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2020/1/morning-light-on-a-dragoon-mountain-stream Morning Light in the DragoonsMorning Light in the DragoonsMorning Light in the Dragoons
© 2019 RGallucci Photography

We spent the night in the biting cold of the southern Arizona high desert watching meteors pierce the sky like brilliant daggers attacking the darks foreboding. Only the soothing sound of a running stream broke our vigil of silent seclusion. Even the Coyotes were quiet throughout the darkness.

By morning we were eager and ready to welcome the quick warmth of the wilderness sun to take away the chill. As light revealed the beauty of the surrounding landscape, we decided to chase the sound that had kept us company all evening. To find water in the desert is always a cherished gift. But, I do not believe that any of us was ready for the stunning spectacle of a running stream cascading over a root-filled precipe before it proceeded onwards toward the valley floor.

The Dragoon Mountains are known for their unique rock formations and sparse surroundings. Yet along this small sliver of sustaining hope, life flourished. On this day, bathed in the golden hue of mornings glory, it fed not only the dependant flora and fauna that lined its banks. On this day, it also is fed our souls.

I remain his scribe.

Morning Light on a Dragoon Mountain Stream
©RGallucci Photography
www.rgallucci.com


Shoot Date: January 4, 2020
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
20.0 sec at f/16 Bias:1 EV
ISO: ISO 100
Lens:EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM @ 27 mm

We spent the night in the biting cold of the southern Arizona high desert watching meteors pierce the sky like brilliant daggers attacking the darks foreboding.  Only the soothing sound of a running stream broke our vigil of silent seclusion. Even the Coyotes were quiet throughout the darkness. 

 

By morning we were eager and ready to welcome the quick warmth of the wilderness sun to take away the chill. As light revealed the beauty of the surrounding landscape, we decided to chase the sound that had kept us company all evening.  To find water in the desert is always a cherished gift. But, I do not believe that any of us was ready for the stunning spectacle of a running stream cascading over a root-filled precipe before it proceeded onwards toward the valley floor. 

 

The Dragoon Mountains are known for their unique rock formations and sparse surroundings. Yet along this small sliver of sustaining hope, life flourished. On this day, bathed in the golden hue of mornings glory, it fed not only the dependant flora and fauna that lined its banks. On this day, it also is fed our souls. 

 

I remain his scribe.

Morning Light on a Dragoon Mountain Stream
©RGallucci Photography
www.rgallucci.com
----
Shoot Date: January 4, 2020
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Lens:EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM @ 27 mm
Breakthrough Photography ND6
20.0 sec at f/16 Bias:1 EV
ISO: 100

 

]]>
(RGallucci Photography) Arizona Exposure High Desert landscapes Long Nature River Southern Arizona Sunrise https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2020/1/morning-light-on-a-dragoon-mountain-stream Tue, 07 Jan 2020 23:28:25 GMT
The Path to Quadrantids https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2020/1/the-path-to-quadrantids The Path to QuadrantidsThe Path to QuadrantidsThe Path to Quadrantids
© 2019 RGallucci Photography

There was no wrong path to follow Saturday night as we stood in Slavin's Gulch and watched the night sky shed tears fo fire. There was only the whisper of the wind as it sang the tales of the ancient souls that roamed these lands over the eons. In verses soft and cold with time, they invited us to hear the memories kept secure in the caves and cliff faces of the Dragoon Mountain range. There is so much sacred in the southern Arizona high desert. On this night, under the majestic power of the creators might, I was honored to bear witness to a small sliver of the history of this precious land. For that, I am truly blessed.

Happy New Year to all. This is my first photo post of the New Year. It's not that I have not shot. I have a photo of every sunrise so far this year. But, computer issues have been hampering my ability to edit. Hopefully, those are in the past.

The Path to Quadrantids
©RGallucci Photography
www.rgallucci.com


Shoot Date: January 4, 2020
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
10.0 sec at f/2.5 Bias:0 EV
ISO: ISO 3200
Lens:15mm @ 15 mm

There was no wrong path to follow Saturday night as we stood in Slavin's Gulch and watched the night sky shed tears fo fire. There was only the whisper of the wind as it sang the tales of the ancient souls that roamed these lands over the eons. In verses soft and cold with time, they invited us to hear the memories kept secure in the caves and cliff faces of the Dragoon Mountain range.  There is so much sacred in the southern Arizona high desert. On this night, under the majestic power of the creators might, I was honored to bear witness to a small sliver of the history of this precious land. For that, I am truly blessed. 

 

Happy New Year to all. This is my first photo post of the New Year. It's not that I have not shot. I have a photo of every sunrise so far this year. But, computer issues have been hampering my ability to edit. Hopefully, those are in the past. 

 

The Path to Quadrantids
©RGallucci Photography
www.rgallucci.com
---
Shoot Date: January 4, 2020
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Lens:Irix 15mm @ 15 mm
Sky: 100 images stacked in Starry Landscape Stacker
10.0 sec at f/2.5 Bias:0 EV
ISO:  3200
Meteors: Selected captures from 1754 images
10.0 sec at f/2.5 Bias:0 EV
ISO:  3200
Foreground shot at dawn
5.0 sec at f/16 Bias:0 EV
ISO: 100

 

]]>
(RGallucci Photography) https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2020/1/the-path-to-quadrantids Tue, 07 Jan 2020 02:27:25 GMT
Risen https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/12/risen RisenRisenRisen
© 2019 RGallucci Photography

Life, when you think about it, is about choices. In this vast, interconnected, little privacy world we find ourselves in, there is one thing that is still solely, and deeply personal, ours: Choice.

We can choose to react with anger and malice, or we can choose to respond with love and kindness. We can choose to try to persuade others to our beliefs, or we can choose to live and let live. We can choose to let that choice motivate our friendships, or we can choose not to.

Choice, sometimes called will, is ours and ours alone. No matter what informs that choice, in the end, it is always ours to direct. There is a profound serenity and happiness that can result from our choices. And, there can be seemingly impossible pain and sadness as a result. But again, we have the choice to share the happiness or stew in the melancholy.

We have a choice to believe in a power greater than ourselves, and what that power is, or not. A choice to subscribe to the belief in Christ as the savior, or not. A choice to lovingly accept others beliefs, or to judge them for them.

As a Christian, today is a day I choose to believe that Christ, our savior, was born. I choose to believe that He came for the benefit of ALL mankind. To redeem our sins and give us eternal Grace. I choose to believe that a life spent trying to emulate the unconditional love and forgiveness He taught is a good life. And I choose to believe that even when I am short in those goals, I have not failed but rather learned so that next time I may do better.

Today's photo is one I waited the entire year to take. I had to wait for the week that the sun rose behind this steeple so that I had a vantage point to capture it. I planned the shot as a testament and honor to my faith. I share it as a gift to others so that they may witness along with me the magnificence of what God has created in this world, if only we open our eyes to see it.

On this, the day I choose to believe that our savior and redeemer was born, I share this humble photo from my heart. I wish all you a peaceful and merry Christmas and gratefully thank you for allowing my pictures and messages into your lives.

I remain His scribe.

Risen
©RGallucci Photography
www.rgallucci.com


Shoot Date: December 21, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
¹⁄₂₀₀₀ sec at f/16 Bias:0 EV
ISO: ISO 100
Lens:EF800mm f/5.6L IS USM @ 800 mm

Life, when you think about it, is about choices. In this vast, interconnected, little privacy world we find ourselves in, there is one thing that is still solely, and deeply personal, ours: Choice. 

 

We can choose to react with anger and malice, or we can choose to respond with love and kindness. We can choose to try to persuade others to our beliefs, or we can choose to live and let live. We can choose to let that choice motivate our friendships, or we can choose not to. 

 

Choice, sometimes called will, is ours and ours alone. No matter what informs that choice, in the end, it is always ours to direct. There is a profound serenity and happiness that can result from our choices. And, there can be seemingly impossible pain and sadness as a result. But again, we have the choice to share the happiness or stew in the melancholy. 

 

We have a choice to believe in a power greater than ourselves, and what that power is, or not. A choice to subscribe to the belief in Christ as the savior, or not. A choice to lovingly accept others beliefs, or to judge them for them. 

 

As a Christian, today is a day I choose to believe that Christ, our savior, was born. I choose to believe that He came for the benefit of ALL mankind. To redeem our sins and give us eternal Grace. I choose to believe that a life spent trying to emulate the unconditional love and forgiveness He taught is a good life. And I choose to believe that even when I am short in those goals, I have not failed but rather learned so that next time I may do better. 

 

Today's photo is one I waited the entire year to take. I had to wait for the week that the sun rose behind this steeple so that I had a vantage point to capture it. I planned the shot as a testament and honor to my faith. I share it as a gift to others so that they may witness along with me the magnificence of what God has created in this world, if only we open our eyes to see it. 

 

On this, the day I choose to believe that our savior and redeemer was born, I share this humble photo from my heart. I wish all you a peaceful and merry Christmas and gratefully thank you for allowing my pictures and messages into your lives. 

 

I remain His scribe.

 

Risen
©RGallucci Photography
www.rgallucci.com
---
Shoot Date: December 21, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Lens:EF800mm f/5.6L IS USM @ 800 mm
¹⁄2000 sec at f/16 Bias:0 EV
ISO:100

]]>
(RGallucci Photography) Arizona Christmas High Desert landscapes Nature Southern Arizona Sunrise https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/12/risen Wed, 25 Dec 2019 14:02:22 GMT
Sunrise 122319 https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/12/sunrise-122319 Sunrise 122319Sunrise 122319Sunrise 122319
© 2019 RGallucci Photography



Shoot Date: December 23, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
⅕ sec at f/16 Bias:‒ 1 EV
ISO: ISO 100
Lens:EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM @ 27 mm

Sometimes you need to step back and let the world reveal its glory. This morning's sunrise was just such a time. 

 

At 6:32, I walked out of the house,  to see that the hidden dragon below the horizon had already awoken, its breath spreading across the early morning sky. The dark blue night sky was no match for the fury and quickly retreated to the safety of the hidden night's blossom. As I watched in complete wonder, the fire consumed all corners of the pre-sunrise air, turning the range beneath it into a glowing ember of kindled light. By 7:09, when this photo was taken, the world seemed ablaze. By 7:13, the fire had subsided, and the sky had transformed into a pale blue sea of tranquility. But I will never forget that 45 minutes when the unseen dragon of pre-dawn raged its warning of a coming storm. 

 

I cannot imagine a more fitting foreshadow of the unprecedented miracle those of us that believe are about to commemorate. It was as if God had decided to clear the world with cleansing fire so that all would be right for the coming. It was one of the most potent sunrises I have ever witnessed. For that, I am truly blessed. 

 

I remain His scribe

 


Sunrise 122319
©RGallucci Photography
www.rgallucci.com
---
Shoot Date: December 23, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Lens:EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM @ 27 mm
⅕ sec at f/16
ISO: 100
Editing note: very little was done to this photo. It is a three-stop composite taken over less than a second. The one-stop below was used for detail. The one-stop above was used for the foreground. Saturation sliders are not needed when the world presents you with this. 
 

 

]]>
(RGallucci Photography) arizona high desert landscapes nature southern arizona sunrise https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/12/sunrise-122319 Mon, 23 Dec 2019 18:16:51 GMT
The Rising https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/12/the-rising The RisingThe RisingThe Rising
© 2019 RGallucci Photography

I have been waiting all year for the sun to rise where I could capture this shot. This is the week for it; today was the first day. I had envisioned having the sun as the same width as the chapel, but my calculations were way off. I will try again tomorrow. Still, I like the way this came out.

This shot, at this time of year, is a symbol and an anchor for my journey in faith. In one week, those of us who believe will celebrate the rising of our savior. That rising paved the path for my unlikely redemption. Each day's sunrise is a reminder of that gift.

The southern Arizona high desert is a place where the overwhelming beauty and grace of His world is displayed each day anew. How my path brought me here is nothing short of a miracle. The opportunity to witness and share the majesty that unfolds before me is a blessing beyond what I deserve.

I remain His scribe

The Rising
©RGallucci Photography
www.rgallucci.com
---


Shoot Date: December 20, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
¹⁄₂₀₀ sec at f/16 Bias:0 EV
ISO: ISO 100
Lens:EF300mm f/4L IS USM @ 300 mm

I have been waiting all year for the sun to rise where I could capture this shot. This is the week for it; today was the first day.  I had envisioned having the sun as the same width as the chapel, but my calculations were way off. I will try again tomorrow. Still, I like the way this came out. 

 

This shot, at this time of year, is a symbol and an anchor for my journey in faith. In one week, those of us who believe will celebrate the rising of our savior. That rising paved the path for my unlikely redemption. Each day's sunrise is a reminder of that gift. 

 

The southern Arizona high desert is a place where the overwhelming beauty and grace of His world is displayed each day anew. How my path brought me here is nothing short of a miracle. The opportunity to witness and share the majesty that unfolds before me is a blessing beyond what I deserve. 

 

I remain His scribe

 

The Rising
©RGallucci Photography
www.rgallucci.com
---
Shoot Date: December 20, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Lens:EF300mm f/4L IS USM @ 300 mm
¹⁄200 sec at f/16 Bias:0 EV
ISO:100
 

 

]]>
(RGallucci Photography) Arizona Cathedral High Desert Landscape Nature Sunrise https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/12/the-rising Fri, 20 Dec 2019 17:34:59 GMT
Sunrise 121819 https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/12/sunrise-121819 Sunrise 121819Sunrise 121819Sunrise 121819
© 2019 RGallucci Photography

In the cold early morning calm of yesterday's sunrise, I found the time to calm my scattered thoughts and sink into the tranquil harmony the moment. As the curtain of yellow-orange and pinkish-red clouds floated gently eastward on their journey to nowhere, I was filled with a sense of awe at my small place in the universe. Here, before my wonder-filled eyes, was beauty on a scale so epic, yet so intimately personal, that I could only bow my head in reverent humility to its creator. I can never sufficiently declare my appreciation to Him for the privilege to behold and bestow the southern Arizona high desert vision he paints each day. That is a blessing beyond measure.

I remain His scribe

Sunrise 121819
©RGallucci Photography
www.rgallucci.com
----


Shoot Date: December 18, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
1.3 sec at f/16 Bias:0 EV
ISO: ISO 100
Lens:EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM @ 27 mm

In the cold early morning silence of yesterday's sunrise, I found the time to calm my scattered thoughts and sink into the tranquil harmony the moment. As the curtain of yellow-orange and pinkish-red clouds floated gently eastward on their journey to nowhere, I was filled with a sense of awe at my small place in the universe. Here, before my wonder-filled eyes, was beauty on a scale so epic, yet so intimately personal, that I could only bow my head in reverent humility to its creator.  I can never sufficiently declare my appreciation to Him for the privilege to behold and bestow the southern Arizona high desert vision he paints each day.  That is a blessing beyond measure. 

 

I remain His scribe

 

Sunrise 121819
©RGallucci Photography
www.rgallucci.com
----
Shoot Date: December 18, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Lens:EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM @ 27 mm
1.3 sec at f/16 Bias:0 EV
Breakthrough Technology ND6 Filter
ISO: 100

 

]]>
(RGallucci Photography) Arizona High Desert landscapes Nature Southern Arizona Sunrise https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/12/sunrise-121819 Thu, 19 Dec 2019 14:47:08 GMT
Sunrise 121619 https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/12/sunrise-121619 Sunrise 121619Sunrise 121619Sunrise 121619
© 2019 RGallucci Photography

Some may already realize from the images I have been posting that my 2020 big project will be a sunrise every day. That is an ambitious goal and doesn't take into consideration mornings that are shrouded in rain and fog. To compensate for the possibility of missed mornings, I've thought that the outcome would be to capture at least one representative sunrise for each of the years weeks. At years end, I could turn the 52 mornings into the book so many have been asking for. I could also take the best 12 (or 13) for a calendar.

It is an aggressive goal. I see so many things that might get in the way. But, if I can succeed, it will be an incredible testimony to the beauty God paints each morning in the southern Arizona high desert.

This morning was my first test. I am not feeling well. Fever, chills, cough - the works. Getting into the field was a struggle. Cindy questioned my sanity for even attempting it. But, if I am going to succeed next year, then these next few weeks will be essential in my planning. The truth is that once I saw how spectacular this morning's sunrise was all the malaise went away, at least until I got back into the house.

I would love to hear your feedback on my goal and hope that I can get your support, encouragement, Pep talks, and motivation through the next year.

I remain His scribe.

Sunrise 20191216
©RGallucci Photography
www.rgallucci.com
-----


Shoot Date: December 16, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
0.5 sec at f/16 Bias:2 EV
ISO: ISO 100
Lens:EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM @ 28 mm

Some may already realize from the images I have been posting that my 2020 big project will be a sunrise every day. That is an ambitious goal and doesn't take into consideration mornings that are shrouded in rain and fog. To compensate for the possibility of missed mornings, I've thought that the outcome would be to capture at least one representative sunrise for each of the years weeks. At years end, I could turn the 52 mornings into the book so many have been asking for.  I could also take the best 12 (or 13) for a calendar. 

 

It is an aggressive goal. I see so many things that might get in the way. But, if I can succeed, it will be an incredible testimony to the beauty God paints each morning in the southern Arizona high desert. 

 

This morning was my first test. I am not feeling well. Fever, chills, cough - the works. Getting into the field was a struggle. Cindy questioned my sanity for even attempting it. But, if I am going to succeed next year, then these next few weeks will be essential in my planning. The truth is that once I saw how spectacular this morning's sunrise was all the malaise went away, at least until I got back into the house. 

 

I would love to hear your feedback on my goal and hope that I can get your support, encouragement, Pep talks, and motivation through the next year. 

 

I remain His scribe. 

 

Sunrise 121619
©RGallucci Photography
www.rgallucci.com
-----
Shoot Date: December 16, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Lens:EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM @ 28 mm
0.5 sec at f/16 Bias:2 EV
ISO:100


 

 

]]>
(RGallucci Photography) Arizona High Desert landscapes Nature Southern Arizona Sunrise https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/12/sunrise-121619 Mon, 16 Dec 2019 18:26:04 GMT
Sunrise 121219 https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/12/sunrise-121219 Sunrise 121219Sunrise 121219Sunrise 121219
© 2019 RGallucci Photography

Not every sunrise is dramatic, and yet if you look, you can find drama in them all. This morning's daybreak is a perfect example. There was no cloud cover to provide the climactic explosion of light and shadow we have had the past few days. Instead, there was the classic southern Arizona high desert gradient of color as the nights deep blue faded into the new dawns subtle pink hues. Immersed in the subtle serenity of color, I was blessed with just the right tone to start my day. Once again, He delivered just what was needed.

I remain His scribe.

Sunrise 121219
©RGallucci Photography
www.rgallucci.com


Shoot Date: December 12, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
0.6 sec at f/16 Bias:0 EV
ISO: ISO 100
Lens:EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM @ 35 mm

Not every sunrise is dramatic, and yet if you look, you can find drama in them all. This morning's daybreak is a perfect example. There was no cloud cover to provide the climactic explosion of light and shadow we have had the past few days.  Instead, there was the classic southern Arizona high desert gradient of color as the nights deep blue faded into the new dawns subtle pink hues. Immersed in the subtle serenity of color, I was blessed with just the right tone to start my day.  Once again, He delivered just what was needed. 

I remain His scribe.

Sunrise 121219
©RGallucci Photography
www.rgallucci.com
----
Shoot Date: December 12, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Lens:EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM @ 35 mm
0.6 sec at f/16 Bias:0 EV
ISO:100

]]>
(RGallucci Photography) Arizona High Desert landscapes Nature Southern Arizona Sunrise https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/12/sunrise-121219 Thu, 12 Dec 2019 18:08:31 GMT
Sunrise 121119 https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/12/sunrise-121119 Sunrise 121119Sunrise 121119Sunrise 121119
© 2019 RGallucci Photography

This morning reminded me of something I so often forget. When I rely only on the word of others, I am apt to miss experiences I could witness for myself.

I didn't believe we would have a great sunrise this morning. The forecast indicated that low cloud cover would obscure the rising sun's emergence. So I stayed inside later than usual. When at 6:30, I finally wandered over to the window, I was amazed at the spectacular shades of orange, purple, and blue painting the sky. Grabbing my gear, I headed out to my spot to capture what was left of the show. As I stood in the field being serenaded by the wandering herd of cattle, I felt a sense of profound gratitude for my time here.

The dry southern Arizona high desert air, filled as it is with dust particulate, is atmospheric tidewater for the birth of incredible sunrises. Each day I am offered the blessing to witness and share this miracle with others.

I remain His scribe

Sunrise 121119
©RGallucci Photography
www.rgallucci.com


Shoot Date: December 11, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
20.0 sec at f/16 Bias:2 EV
ISO: ISO 100
Lens:EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM @ 35 mm

This morning reminded me of something I so often forget. When I rely only on the word of others, I am apt to miss experiences I could witness for myself. 

I didn't believe we would have a great sunrise this morning. The forecast indicated that low cloud cover would obscure the rising sun's emergence. So I stayed inside later than usual. When at 6:30, I finally wandered over to the window, I was amazed at the spectacular shades of orange, purple, and blue painting the sky. Grabbing my gear, I headed out to my spot to capture what was left of the show.  As I stood in the field being serenaded by the wandering herd of cattle, I felt a sense of profound gratitude for my time here. 

The dry southern Arizona high desert air, filled as it is with dust particulate, is atmospheric tidewater for the birth of incredible sunrises. Each day I am offered the blessing to witness and share this miracle with others. 

I remain His scribe

Sunrise 121119
©RGallucci Photography
www.rgallucci.com

]]>
(RGallucci Photography) arizona high desert landscapes nature southern arizona sunrise https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/12/sunrise-121119 Wed, 11 Dec 2019 21:25:04 GMT
Sunrise 120719 https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/12/sunrise-120719 Sunrise 120719Sunrise 120719Sunrise 120719
© 2019 RGallucci Photography

There have been so many dark and intimidating nights of the soul in my life. So many days clouded by the intense fog of doubt and poor self-esteem. There were decades, early on, that the belief that I would survive until the next day was questioned by myself and others. There were hours that I clutched to the weakest fingerholds on the fragile cracks of the sheer cliff of life, wondering if this would be the time that I plunged to my end. But I survived.

Before salvation, I believe I survived by the sheer caprice of luck. Or, perhaps it was by a dogged narcissism that wouldn't allow me to check out. The fact is that every day I lived in a Dante's inferno of hell-spawned anguish of thought that I medicated with anything I could find. I committed acts of such vile contemptibility that I was sure there was no return. But I survived.

By the grace of a forgiving Father whom I believe has some purpose for my life I was granted not only survival, but redemption. I received a gift I didn't deserve and freedom I didn't earn.

I share this today because we are entering a season that is overwhelming for some. Many are absorbed in the prevailing mood of joy and hope. But there are some, more than you may think, that are weary and consumed in sadness and a loss of faith that seems too much to bear.

This post is for them. I dream that they might see that a grand and glorious sunrise follows every dark and imposing night. I pray that they might understand that in the sightless pitch black of their souls gloomy night, people are surrounding them with love and caring. I beg that they hold on, however hard and precarious it seems at the moment. I can assure them with certainty, through the testament of my life, that the moment will pass. The sun will rise again to warm their souls. The dream of a better life will become the reality they live.

I find the message of hope in the world that surrounds me. I see the pathway to glory in each sunrise. I hear the word of faith in every one of nature's sounds. I share my images and stories in the hope that others will also find solace, peace, and serenity so freely given to me. I promise that if you hang on, you will be rewarded. I truly believe that If it can happen to one as wretched as me, it can happen for you.

I remain His scribe.

Sunrise 120719
©RGallucci Photography
www.rgallucci.com


Shoot Date: December 7, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
2.0 sec at f/16 Bias:0 EV
ISO: ISO 100
Lens:EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM @ 28 mm

There have been so many dark and intimidating nights of the soul in my life. So many days clouded by the intense fog of doubt and poor self-esteem. There were decades, early on, that the belief that I would survive until the next day was questioned by myself and others. There were hours that I clutched to the weakest fingerholds on the fragile cracks of the sheer cliff of life, wondering if this would be the time that I plunged to my end. But I survived.

 

Before salvation, I believe I survived by the sheer caprice of luck. Or, perhaps it was by a dogged narcissism that wouldn't allow me to check out. The fact is that every day I lived in a Dante's inferno of hell-spawned anguish of thought that I medicated with anything I could find. I committed acts of such vile contemptibility that I was sure there was no return. But I survived.

 

By the grace of a forgiving Father whom I believe has some purpose for my life, I was granted not only survival but redemption. I received a gift I didn't deserve and freedom I didn't earn.

 

I share this today because we are entering a season that is overwhelming for some. Many are absorbed in the prevailing mood of joy and hope. But there are some, more than you may think, that are weary and consumed in sadness and a loss of faith that seems too much to bear.

 

This post is for them. I dream that they might see that a grand and glorious sunrise follows every dark and imposing night. I pray that they might understand that in the sightless pitch black of their souls gloomy night, people are surrounding them with love and caring. I beg that they hold on, however hard and precarious it seems at the moment. I can assure them with certainty, through the testament of my life, that the moment will pass. The sun will rise again to warm their souls. The dream of a better life will become the reality they live.

 

I find the message of hope in the world that surrounds me. I see the pathway to glory in each sunrise. I hear the word of faith in every one of nature's sounds. I share my images and stories in the hope that others will also find solace, peace, and serenity so freely given to me. I promise that if you hang on, you will be rewarded. I truly believe that If it can happen to one as wretched as me, it can happen for you.

 

I remain His scribe.

 

Sunrise 120719

©RGallucci Photography

www.rgallucci.com

---

Shoot Date: December 7, 2019

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

30.0 sec at f/11 Bias:2 EV

ISO: 100

Lens:EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM @ 16 mm

]]>
(RGallucci Photography) Arizona High Desert Hope Inspiration landscapes Nature Southern Arizona Sunrise https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/12/sunrise-120719 Tue, 10 Dec 2019 13:37:50 GMT
Sunrise 120819 https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/12/sunrise-120819 Sunrise 120819Sunrise 120819Sunrise 120819
© 2019 RGallucci Photography

Let there be light, and it rained fire from the clouds so that all could see the power of his whisper.

In the late morning of the early day, after the sun had properly risen in a blanket of purple luster, we were treated to a second show. Dark, bloated storm clouds pushed across the morning sky, foreshadowing the rain that was to come. But it seemed as if instead of being filled with water, these clouds were filled with volatile fuel. When the sun's rays shot upward from the horizon, tickling the belly of this beast, it incited a firestorm of glorious, radiant light that spread across the southern Arizona high desert skyline. The sky bourne inferno, as if seeking to escape its heavenly confines, soon fell in a hazy cascade to the still dormant ground, where it aroused the lethargic valley fields into golden splednor. It was one of the most spectacular phenomena I have ever encountered.

Each morning gives me the blessing of hope. Hope to be true to His word. Hope to share the passion of this life. Hope to pass on the love I have so freely been given. And hope to bear witness to the glory of this world. For that, I am blessed.

I remain His scribe

Sunrise 120819
©RGallucci Photography
www.rgallucci.com


Shoot Date: December 8, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
30.0 sec at f/11 Bias:2 EV
ISO: ISO 100
Lens:EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM @ 16 mm

Let there be light, and it rained fire from the clouds so that all could see the power of his whisper. 

 

In the late morning of the early day, after the sun had properly risen in a blanket of purple luster, we were treated to a second show. Dark, bloated storm clouds pushed across the morning sky, foreshadowing the rain that was to come.  But it seemed as if instead of being filled with water, these clouds were filled with volatile fuel.  When the sun's rays shot upward from the horizon,  tickling the belly of this beast, it incited a firestorm of glorious, radiant light that spread across the southern Arizona high desert skyline. The sky bourne inferno, as if seeking to escape its heavenly confines, soon fell in a hazy cascade to the still dormant ground, where it aroused the lethargic valley fields into golden splendor.  It was one of the most spectacular phenomena I have ever encountered. 

 

Each morning gives me the blessing of hope. Hope to be true to His word. Hope to share the passion of this life. Hope to pass on the love I have so freely been given. And hope to bear witness to the glory of this world. For that, I am blessed. 

 

I remain His scribe

 

Sunrise 120819
©RGallucci Photography
www.rgallucci.com
---
Shoot Date: December 8, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
30.0 sec at f/11 
Breakthrough Technology ND6
ISO:100
Lens:EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM @ 16 mm

]]>
(RGallucci Photography) Arizona High Desert landscapes Nature Southern Arizona sunrise https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/12/sunrise-120819 Sun, 08 Dec 2019 17:59:13 GMT
Sunrise 120619 https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/12/sunrise-120619 Sunrise 120619Sunrise 120619Sunrise 120619
© 2019 RGallucci Photography

Good morning. And it was! As the day's first sunshine crept over the southern Arizona high desert horizon, pushing the purple-tinged pre-dawn glow ever higher in the endless sky, I realized how good it was to have the chance to savor one more day in this world.

To have another day is to have the gift to be grateful. Grateful to my wife and my family. Grateful to my friends. Grateful to those online, most whom I have never met, that support my words and pictures with such kind words. But, most of all, grateful for the gift of salvation. Because in the end, that will be just the beginning.

I remain his scribe.

Sunrise 120619
©RGallucci Photography
www.rgallucci.com


Shoot Date: December 6, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
0.5 sec at f/16 Bias:‒ 2 EV
ISO: ISO 100
Lens:EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM @ 16 mm

Good morning. And it was! As the day's first sunshine crept over the southern Arizona high desert horizon, pushing the purple-tinged pre-dawn glow ever higher in the endless sky, I realized how good it was to have the chance to savor one more day in this world. 

To have another day is to have the gift to be grateful. Grateful to my wife and my family. Grateful to my friends. Grateful to those online, most whom I have never met, that support my words and pictures with such kind words. But, most of all, grateful for the gift of salvation. Because in the end, that will be just the beginning. 

I remain his scribe. 

Sunrise 120619
©RGallucci Photography
www.rgallucci.com
---
Shoot Date: December 6, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
0.5 sec at f/16 Bias:‒ 2 EV
ISO: ISO 100
Lens:EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM @ 16 mm

 

]]>
(RGallucci Photography) Arizona High Desert landscapes Nature Southern Arizona Sunrise https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/12/sunrise-120619 Fri, 06 Dec 2019 22:21:52 GMT
December Conjunction https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/12/december-conjunction December ConjunctionDecember ConjunctionDecember Conjunction
© 2019 RGallucci Photography

Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn shone brightly in the early night sky. Like three wise men returning an ancient favor, they guided my eyes over the lone chapel in the deepest part of the southern Arizona high desert. Beacons of hope and prophecy in a confusing time, they set my mind to more peaceful and serene thoughts.

For those of this faith, during this holiest of remembrances, perhaps we, each one, can be a trinity of goodwill, hope, and charity. And my we, as bearers of His noble sacrifice, ever remember His message to love Him and to love one another, unconditinaly. If only we could do that, we would find the peace and serenity we all ultimately crave.

I hear his voice sing in the songbirds and see the light of his essence in the stars. For that, I am truly blessed.

I remain His scribe.

December Conjunction
@RGallucci Photography
www.rgallucci.com
---


Shoot Date: December 5, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
1.4 sec at f/8.0 Bias:0 EV
ISO: ISO 100
Lens:EF50mm f/1.4 USM @ 50 mm

Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn shone brightly in the early night sky. Like three wise men returning an ancient favor, they guided my eyes over the lone chapel in the deepest part of the southern Arizona high desert.  Beacons of hope and prophecy in a confusing time, they set my mind to more peaceful and serene thoughts. 

For those of this faith, during this holiest of remembrances, perhaps we, each one, can be a trinity of goodwill, hope, and charity. And my we, as bearers of His noble sacrifice, ever remember His message to love Him and to love one another, unconditionally. If only we could do that, we would find the peace and serenity we all ultimately crave. 

I hear his voice sing in the songbirds and see the light of his essence in the stars. For that, I am truly blessed. 

I remain His scribe. 

December Conjunction
@RGallucci Photography
www.rgallucci.com
 

 

]]>
(RGallucci Photography) Arizona Conjunction High Desert landscapes Nature Nightscape Southern Arizona https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/12/december-conjunction Fri, 06 Dec 2019 05:31:05 GMT
Morning Light - Dec. 4, 2019 https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/12/morning-light---dec-4-2019 Morning Light Dec 4 2019Morning Light Dec 4 2019Morning Light Dec 4 2019
© 2019 RGallucci Photography

Before the sun erupts over the horizon, in the quiet solace of nights last stand, there is often a vibrant display of brilliant color painted across the sky. It is this festival of light during the blue hour that I look forward to most.

Later in the morning the clouds prevented any fiery starburst of light on the horizon. That did not matter, for I had the privilege of capturing the pre-show, and that was all I needed to start the day in miraculous blessing.

I remain his scribe.

Morning Light - Dec. 4, 2019
©RGallucci Photography
www.rgallucci.com


Shoot Date: December 4, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
62.0 sec at f/16 Bias:0 EV
ISO: ISO 100
Lens:EF50mm f/1.4 USM @ 50 mm

Before the sun erupts over the horizon, in the quiet solace of nights last stand, there is often a vibrant display of brilliant color painted across the sky.  It is this festival of light during the blue hour that I look forward to most. 

Later in the morning the clouds prevented any fiery starburst of light on the horizon. That did not matter, for I had the privilege of capturing the pre-show, and that was all I needed to start the day in miraculous blessing. 

I remain his scribe. 

Morning Light - Dec. 4, 2019
©RGallucci Photography
www.rgallucci.com
---
Long exposure with Breakthrough Technology 6 stop filter
Shoot Date: December 4, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
62.0 sec at f/16 Bias:0 EV
ISO: 00
Lens:EF50mm f/1.4 USM @ 50 mm

 

]]>
(RGallucci Photography) Arizona High Desert Nature Southern Arizona Sunrise https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/12/morning-light---dec-4-2019 Wed, 04 Dec 2019 16:06:10 GMT
Morning on the Mighty San Pedro https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/12/morning-on-the-mighty-san-pedro Morning on the Mighty San PedroMorning on the Mighty San PedroMorning on the Mighty San Pedro
© 2019 RGallucci Photography

The modest San Pedro River, its flow often nothing more than a series of small pools amidst the scorched dry river bed, roared to life after the three-day storm passed through our area. For a quarter-mile on each side of its breached banks, the shallow bed of swollen rainwater coursed northward, nourishing flora and fauna with its precious nutrient bounty.

But in the parched southern Arizona high desert rainwater is more precious and fragile than gold. This morning a battle was fought on the San Pedro between two foes with vastly opposing plans for the spoils. From below, the ground greedily tried to consume as much of the nutritious overflow as it could, while from above, the blistering sun worked to harness back its lost treasure to start the rain cycle anew. It was during this campaign that I chanced upon the river, cloaked as it was in a sheer blanket of fine mist. I had been on a hunt for waterfalls, another of the high deserts elusive wonders, but stopped immediately to witness this magnificent vision of translucent beauty. It was a spectacle I have not seen here before, one I am not sure I will ever be graced to see again.

I am blessed to be His scribe.

Morning on the Mighty San Pedro
©RGallucci Photography
www.rgallucci.com


Shoot Date: November 30, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
⅛ sec at f/16 Bias:1 EV
ISO: ISO 100
Lens:EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM @ 24 mm

The modest San Pedro River, its flow often nothing more than a series of small pools amidst the scorched dry river bed, roared to life after the three-day storm passed through our area. For a quarter-mile on each side of its breached banks, the shallow bed of swollen rainwater coursed northward, nourishing flora and fauna with its precious nutrient bounty.  

But in the parched southern Arizona high desert rainwater is more precious and fragile than gold. This morning a battle was fought on the San Pedro between two foes with vastly opposing plans for the spoils. From below, the ground greedily tried to consume as much of the nutritious overflow as it could, while from above, the blistering sun worked to harness back its lost treasure to start the rain cycle anew.  It was during this campaign that I chanced upon the river, cloaked as it was in a sheer blanket of fine mist. I had been on a hunt for waterfalls, another of the high deserts elusive wonders, but stopped immediately to witness this magnificent vision of translucent beauty. It was a spectacle I have not seen here before, one I am not sure I will ever be graced to see again.  

I am blessed to be His scribe. 

Morning on the Mighty San Pedro
©RGallucci Photography
www.rgallucci.com
---
Shoot Date: November 30, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
⅛ sec at f/16 Bias:1 EV
ISO:100
Lens:EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM @ 24 mm

]]>
(RGallucci Photography) Arizona High Desert landscapes Nature Southern Arizona https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/12/morning-on-the-mighty-san-pedro Tue, 03 Dec 2019 16:23:48 GMT
Parker Canyon Lake Milky Way 623 https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/6/parker-canyon-lake-milky-way-623 Parker Canyon Lake Milky Way 623Parker Canyon Lake Milky Way 623Title}

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Purchase at: http://www.rgallucci.com/p614343904/ecf752100

Overwhelming in its intensity, magnificent in its grandeur and awe-inspiring in its existence. Poor descriptions of what it is like to stand under the southern Arizona high desert dark sky and witness the path of angels ascend from the horizon on its journey to infinity.

On the lakes gentle beach, as faint ripples of blue-black water, speckled with the poke-a-dots of the starry night's reflections, mildly wash against the rock-strewn shoreline, I can stand in silent meditation over my small place in His vast creation. There is a rewarding humility and comfort in understanding one's status in the community of the eternal. It is borne of the knowledge that each of our contributions contributes to the great whole. No one stands greater, nor less. We are all equal, all deserving, all sacred. I am blessed to be a part of His design.

I remain His scribe.

You can see my work displayed at Brews Brothers Coffee in Sierra Vista, AZ, and on my website listed below. Fine art prints of all my images are available. Purchases underwrite continued creation.

Sharing permited, please credit photographer
Please support RGallucci Photography
We like to be liked ;)

Shoot date: June 23, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
30.0 sec at f/2.5 Bias:0 EV
Lens: 15mm
ISO: 6400

Overwhelming in its intensity, magnificent in its grandeur and awe-inspiring in its existence. Poor descriptions of what it is like to stand under the southern Arizona high desert dark sky and witness the path of angels ascend from the horizon on its journey to infinity. 

 

On the lakes gentle beach, as faint ripples of blue-black water, speckled with the poke-a-dots of the starry night's reflections, mildly wash against the rock-strewn shoreline, I can stand in silent meditation over my small place in His vast creation. There is a rewarding humility and comfort in understanding one's status in the community of the eternal. It is borne of the knowledge that each of our contributions contributes to the great whole. No one stands greater, nor less. We are all equal, all deserving, all sacred. I am blessed to be a part of His design. 

 

I remain His scribe.

 

You can see my work displayed at Brews Brothers Coffee in Sierra Vista, AZ, and on my website listed below. Fine art prints of all my images are available. Purchases underwrite continued creation. 

 

Parker Canyon Lake Milky Way 623
©RGallucci Photography
www.rgallucci.com
---
Tracked / Stacked / Blended
Shoot date: June 23, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Sky
239.0 Sec at f/4.0 Bias: 0EV
Lens: Irix 15mm
ISO: 1250
iOptron Sky Guider Pro
Foreground
5x - 30.0 sec at f/2.5 Bias:0 EV
Lens: Irix 15mm
ISO: 6400
Mean Stacked in Photoshop


 

 

]]>
(RGallucci Photography) Arizona High Desert landscapes Milky Way Nature Nightscape Southern Arizona https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/6/parker-canyon-lake-milky-way-623 Mon, 24 Jun 2019 17:43:59 GMT
Hunter https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/6/hunter HunterHunterTitle}

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I often share that the southern Arizona high desert is paradise. I believe that. But, that does not mean it is without its perils and dangers. Every ecosystem needs its checks and balances. And that means predators.

Outside of us humans, who are the ultimate predator, the ruler of the sky island predatory food chain is the Mountain Lion. Like its namesake in Africa, this feline is the king of the American forest. It is also one of the most beautiful animals in the woods, unless of course if it is chasing you.

This photo was taken with an 800mm lens at a very safe distance and a wall between us.

Sharing permited, please credit photographer
Please support RGallucci Photography
We like to be liked ;)

Shoot date: June 22, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
¹⁄₁₀₀₀ sec at f/8.0 Bias:0 EV
Lens: EF800mm f/5.6L IS USM
ISO: 3200

I often share that the southern Arizona high desert is paradise. I believe that. But, that does not mean it is without its perils and dangers. Every ecosystem needs its checks and balances. And that means predators. 

 

Outside of us humans, who are the ultimate predator, the ruler of the sky island predatory food chain is the Mountain Lion. Like its namesake in Africa, this feline is the king of the American forest.  It is also one of the most beautiful animals in the woods, unless of course if it is chasing you. 

 

This photo was taken with an 800mm lens at a very safe distance and a wall between us. 

 

Hunter
©RGallucci Photography
www.rgallucci.com
---
Shoot date: June 22, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
¹⁄1000 sec at f/8.0 Bias:0 EV
Lens: EF800mm f/5.6L IS USM
ISO: 3200

 

]]>
(RGallucci Photography) Arizona High Desert Mountain Lion Nature Southern Arizona Wildlife https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/6/hunter Sun, 23 Jun 2019 14:35:59 GMT
Milky Way over Montezuma Pass https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/6/milky-way-over-montezuma-pass Milky Way over Montezuma PassMilky Way over Montezuma PassTitle}

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Last night, the Milky Way would only be visible for a short hour before being obliterated from sight as the rising Waning Gibbous moon cast a sunlight brightness into the night sky. For most Milky Way photographers, this would be a sign to stay home and edit images from past dark sky nights. But, I had an idea.

At 6,575 feet, Montezuma Pass in the Coronado National Monument park provides an unparalleled view of the San Pedro Valley and Mexicos San Jose Mountain. It's hight also allows for more stars to be seen in the night sky, making the Milky Way even more dramatic. The challenge for me has always been how to capture the Milky Way and light the many shadowed canyon pass below. My solution, wait for an almost full moon to provide the light for the valley while still allowing me to capture the Milky Way. This image is the result of that plan. Even the light polluted border station in Naco seems to fit in the final image.

I've come to the belief that there is nowhere in the country that affords a Milky Way photographer the depth and breadth of foreground subjects as found here is the southern Arizona high desert. From stunning vistas from mountain summits and valley plains to stagecoach strewed old west ghost towns and old abandoned cars there is an endless palette of subjects to shoot here.

I can never fully express my gratitude the God for the gift of allowing me to share His awesome world with others. I humbly remain His scribe.

You can see my work displayed at Brews Brothers Coffee in Sierra Vista, AZ, and on my website listed below. Fine art prints of all my images are available. Purchases underwrite continued creation.

Sharing permited, please credit photographer
Please support RGallucci Photography
We like to be liked ;)

Shoot date: June 20, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
30.0 sec at f/2.5 Bias:0 EV
Lens: 15mm
ISO: 1600

Last night, the Milky Way would only be visible for a short hour before being obliterated from sight as the rising Waning Gibbous moon cast a sunlight brightness into the night sky. For most Milky Way photographers, this would be a sign to stay home and edit images from past dark sky nights. But, I had an idea. 

 

At 6,575 feet, Montezuma Pass in the Coronado National Monument park provides an unparalleled view of the San Pedro Valley and Mexicos San Jose Mountain.  It's hight also allows for more stars to be seen in the night sky, making the Milky Way even more dramatic. The challenge for me has always been how to capture the Milky Way and light the many shadowed canyon pass below. My solution, wait for an almost full moon to provide the light for the valley while still allowing me to capture the Milky Way. This image is the result of that plan.  Even the light polluted border station in Naco seems to fit in the final image. 

 

I've come to the belief that there is nowhere in the country that affords a Milky Way photographer the depth and breadth of foreground subjects as found here is the southern Arizona high desert.  From stunning vistas from mountain summits and valley plains to stagecoach strewed old west ghost towns and old abandoned cars there is an endless palette of subjects to shoot here.  

 

I can never fully express my gratitude the God for the gift of allowing me to share His awesome world with others. I humbly remain His scribe. 

 

You can see my work displayed at Brews Brothers Coffee in Sierra Vista, AZ, and on my website listed below. Fine art prints of all my images are available. Purchases underwrite continued creation. 

 

Milky Way over Montezuma Pass
@RGallucci Photography
www.rgallucci.com
---
Shoot date: June 20, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Sky
Tracked w/ iOptron Skyguider Pro
181.0 sec at f/4 
Lens: Irix 15mm
ISO: 1600
Foreground
Five images Mean Stacked in Photoshop
30.0 sec at f/2.5 Bias:0 EV
Lens: Irix 15mm
ISO: 1600

 

]]>
(RGallucci Photography) Arizona Astrophotography High Desert landscapes Milky Way Nature Nightscape Southern Arizona https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/6/milky-way-over-montezuma-pass Fri, 21 Jun 2019 15:33:54 GMT
A View of the Dragoons at Sunset https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/6/a-view-of-the-dragoons-at-sunset A View of the Dragoons at SunsetA View of the Dragoons at SunsetTitle}

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Purchase at: http://www.rgallucci.com/p887340105/ecf0282af

I awoke this morning in time to see the early morning light infuse the horizon with a pale yellow glow that stole the shadows from the still sleeping world. Dawns enlightening of the landscape in shimmering hope and the dream yet to be evoked in me a fiery zeal to seize this day as if tomorrow would never come*. It was in this mindset that I found this image from a few sunsets ago.

A prelude to monsoons yet to come, this shot was taken just after a tiny squall passed overhead. It was missed due to a focus on the miraculous rainbows shot before it. Now found, I am once again left in awe at the sweeping grandeur of the southern Arizona high desert. There is no place I have ever been that matches this neglected paradise in the diversity of weather and its presentation. In the high desert, pastels overpower the bold, saturated skies of other provinces, revealing that in subtlety there is power. Here, the desolate becomes noble and the dull alive.

As I gaze across the valley plains towards the final resting place of Cochise, with its granite walls reflecting the golden red tint of a warriors memory, I understand how incredibly blessed I am to witness and share these visions of beauty. I thank my Father daily for this gift and the calling to share it with the world. I remain His scribe.

*Horace - carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero

You can see my work displayed at Brews Brothers Coffee in Sierra Vista, AZ, and on my website listed below. Fine art prints of all my images are available. Purchases underwrite continued creation.

Sharing permited, please credit photographer
Please support RGallucci Photography
We like to be liked ;)

Shoot date: June 9, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
0.6 sec at f/16 Bias:‒ 2 EV
Lens: EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM
ISO: 100

I awoke this morning in time to see the early morning light infuse the horizon with a pale yellow glow that stole the shadows from the still sleeping world.  Dawns enlightening of the landscape in shimmering hope and the dream yet to be evoked in me a fiery zeal to seize this day as if tomorrow would never come*.  It was in this mindset that I found this image from a few sunsets ago. 

 

A prelude to monsoons yet to come, this shot was taken just after a tiny squall passed overhead. It was missed due to a focus on the miraculous rainbows shot before it. Now found, I am once again left in awe at the sweeping grandeur of the southern Arizona high desert. There is no place I have ever been that matches this neglected paradise in the diversity of weather and its presentation. In the high desert, pastels overpower the bold, saturated skies of other provinces, revealing that in subtlety there is power.  Here, the desolate becomes noble and the dull alive. 

 

As I gaze across the valley plains towards the final resting place of Cochise, with its granite walls reflecting the golden red tint of a warriors memory, I understand how incredibly blessed I am to witness and share these visions of beauty. I thank my Father daily for this gift and the calling to share it with the world.  I remain His scribe.

 

*Horace - carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero

 

You can see my work displayed at Brews Brothers Coffee in Sierra Vista, AZ, and on my website. Fine art prints of all my images are available. Purchases underwrite continued creation. 

 

A View of the Dragoons at Sunset
©RGallucci Photography
www.rgallucci.com
----
Shoot date: June 9, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
0.6 sec at f/16 Bias:‒ 2 EV
Lens: EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM
B+W Filter: ND .9
ISO: 100

 

]]>
(RGallucci Photography) Arizona High Desert landscapes Nature Southern Arizona Sunset https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/6/a-view-of-the-dragoons-at-sunset Wed, 19 Jun 2019 15:07:40 GMT
Night at Parker Lake https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/6/night-at-parker-lake Night at Parker LakeNight at Parker LakeTitle}

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Twenty-Eight miles southwest of Sierra Vista and five miles north of the Mexican border, tucked away in an isolated canyon, exists Parker Lake, an oasis of wonder in the Southern Arizona high desert. Man-made, this citadel of cooling aquamarine liquid surrounded by a verdurous woodland provides a scenic year-round playground for locals and snow-birders alike.

For me, it provided a rare opportunity to capture the Milky Way set against a completely dark sky, along with its reflection, mirrored back on the calm crystal waters. There are not many places in the desert with enough water to capture such an image. I am blessed to have access to this one. I am reasonably sure I will be back here often during the milky way season to study it further.

The world provides a magical vista of natural wonder waiting for us to witness its glory. I am humbled to be chosen as one to capture and share this beauty with others. I remain, devotedly and loyally, His scribe.

Night at Parker Lake
©RGallucci Photography
www.rgallucci.com

Sharing permited, please credit photographer
Please support RGallucci Photography
We like to be liked ;)

Shot date: June 5, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
30.0 sec at f/4.0 Bias:0 EV
Lens: EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM
ISO: 6400
Twenty-Eight miles southwest of Sierra Vista and five miles north of the Mexican border, tucked away in an isolated canyon, exists Parker Lake, an oasis of wonder in the Southern Arizona high desert. Man-made, this citadel of cooling aquamarine liquid surrounded by a verdurous woodland provides a scenic year-round playground for locals and snow-birders alike. 

For me, it provided a rare opportunity to capture the Milky Way set against a completely dark sky, along with its reflection, mirrored back on the calm crystal waters. There are not many places in the desert with enough water to capture such an image. I am blessed to have access to this one. I am reasonably sure I will be back here often during the milky way season to study it further. 

The world provides a magical vista of natural wonder waiting for us to witness its glory. I am humbled to be chosen as one to capture and share this beauty with others. I remain, devotedly and loyally, His scribe.  

Night at Parker Lake
©RGallucci Photography
www.rgallucci.com
---
Shoot date: June 5, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
--
Sky
60.0 sec at f/4.0 Bias:0 EV
Lens: Irix 15mm
ISO: 2500
Five light frames with five dark frames by Starry Landscape Stacker 
--
Foreground
30.0 sec at f/4.0 Bias:0 EV
Lens: EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM
ISO: 6400
Five images - Mean stacked in Photoshop
--
Blended in Photoshop

 

]]>
(RGallucci Photography) Arizona High Desert Landscape Milky Way Nature Parker Canyon Lake Reflection Southern Arizona https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/6/night-at-parker-lake Thu, 06 Jun 2019 16:54:04 GMT
A Tree in the Night https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/6/a-tree-in-the-night A Tree in the NightA Tree in the NightTitle}

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To walk on a path in the wilderness during the day is to experience the serene joy of knowing our small place in the greater whole of this world. With the gaudy artifice of man-made structures eliminated, one can surround themselves in nature and begin to feel a part of the planet. To tower over the delicate flora and rocks of the understory while being dwarfed and shaded by the grandiose canopy of deciduous and evergreen forest, large boulders and towering mountains set the stage of our part in landscape. Dominating through size, if not ferocity, the small creatures, and insects that abound while understanding one's subservience to the larger predators that roam, thankfully, unseen, allows the gestalt of our place in existence. Taken together, a soul is filled with wonder at the magnificence of creation.

At night though, that experience changes. There is something hypnagogic about walking on a remote mountain trail at night. In the absence of light, even if in a group, one trek's alone. The experience of your surroundings at night is limited to that provided by the small circle of light from your headlamp and the theatrical lighting of the star canopy overhead. On the path at night, the focus is intensified and distractions limited. And, it is during the night on the trail when the most mundane of objects reveal their true beauty.

So it was the other night while we walked back to our cars along the stepped Echo Trail at Chiricahua National Monument. We spent the evening shooting "Groot" rock, one of the unique hoodoo formations at the park which looks uncannily like the Guardians of the Galaxy creature. As we passed by this seemingly innocuous tree, one of our party turned and, seeing it against the backdrop of the Milky Way, stopped our progress and commanded that we all look. I am reasonably sure that during the day we would have walked right past this old gnarly survivor of the decades but not on this night. On this night, this stalwart hero demanded our attention.

Dumping the 40-pound pack of camera gear from my back, I set up my tripod and camera to capture the image. It is one of my favorites of the night. I hope I did it justice.

In the high desert of Southern Arizona, I am continually awed by the magnitude of the diverse beauty. Through my lens, I have been blessed to share the experiences God has me witness. Through my words, I have the humble honor of describing each adventures glory. I remain His scribe.

A Tree in the Night
©RGallucci Photography
www.rgallucci.com

Sharing permited, please credit photographer
Please support RGallucci Photography
We like to be liked ;)

Shot date: June 2, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
8.0 sec at f/2.5 Bias:0 EV
Lens: 15mm
ISO: 6400

To walk on a path in the wilderness during the day is to experience the serene joy of knowing our small place in the greater whole of this world. With the gaudy artifice of man-made structures eliminated, one can surround themselves in nature and begin to feel a part of the planet. To tower over the delicate flora and rocks of the understory while being dwarfed and shaded by the grandiose canopy of deciduous and evergreen forest, large boulders and towering mountains set the stage of our part in landscape.  Dominating through size, if not ferocity, the small creatures, and insects that abound while understanding one's subservience to the larger predators that roam, thankfully, unseen, allows the gestalt of our place in existence. Taken together, a soul is filled with wonder at the magnificence of creation. 

At night though, that experience changes. There is something hypnagogic about walking on a remote mountain trail at night.  In the absence of light, even if in a group, one trek's alone. The experience of your surroundings at night is limited to that provided by the small circle of light from your headlamp and the theatrical lighting of the star canopy overhead. On the path at night, the focus is intensified and distractions limited. And, it is during the night on the trail when the most mundane of objects reveal their true beauty. 

So it was the other night while we walked back to our cars along the stepped Echo Trail at Chiricahua National Monument. We spent the evening shooting "Groot" rock, one of the unique hoodoo formations at the park which looks uncannily like the Guardians of the Galaxy creature. As we passed by this seemingly innocuous tree, one of our party turned and, seeing it against the backdrop of the Milky Way, stopped our progress and commanded that we all look. I am reasonably sure that during the day we would have walked right past this old gnarly survivor of the decades but not on this night. On this night, this stalwart hero demanded our attention. 

Dumping the 40-pound pack of camera gear from my back, I set up my tripod and camera to capture the image. It is one of my favorites of the night. I hope I did it justice. 

In the high desert of Southern Arizona, I am continually awed by the magnitude of the diverse beauty. Through my lens, I have been blessed to share the experiences God has me witness. Through my words, I have the humble honor of describing each adventures glory. I remain His scribe. 

A Tree in the Night
©RGallucci Photography
www.rgallucci.com


 

]]>
(RGallucci Photography) Arizona Chiricahua High Desert landscapes Milky Monument National Nightscape Way Wilderness https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/6/a-tree-in-the-night Mon, 03 Jun 2019 16:04:23 GMT
Vermilion Sunset https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/4/vermilion-sunset Vermilion SunsetVermilion SunsetTitle}

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The distant sun disappeared gently behind the mighty Huachuca Mountains as we walked from the San Pedro River towards our car, painting the world in a delicate golden hue. We had just completed an incredible hike that began with three glistening blue Lazuli Bunting perched before us, continued with a magnificent Zone-tailed Hawk perched above us and ending, I thought, with the most wonderful moment of perfect light on a cooperative Great-horned Owl. But then, as the last glimmer of the days available light tenaciously hung in the sky, a Vermilion Flycatcher landed at waist level on a single stalk of tall grass. As that last light surrounded the birds' dark red silhouette with a brilliant rim glow, I felt a deep connection with the grand creation of this world.

There are two hours in the day, at daylights start and daylights end, where Gods love anoints the world with a touch of gold. It is as if He wants us to understand that all that transpires between those hours will be cloaked in the healing richness of creations glory. For me, it is the reinforcing of the understanding that all will be OK. I am humbled to share these moments and grateful to be His scribe.

Sharing permited, please credit photographer
Please support RGallucci Photography
We like to be liked ;)

Shot date: April 15, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
¹⁄₁₀₀₀ sec at f/5.6 Bias:‒ ²⁄₃ EV
Lens: EF800mm f/5.6L IS USM
ISO: 640

The distant sun disappeared gently behind the mighty Huachuca Mountains as we walked from the San Pedro River towards our car, painting the world in a delicate golden hue.  We had just completed an incredible hike that began with three glistening blue Lazuli Bunting perched before us, continued with a magnificent Zone-tailed Hawk perched above us and ending, I thought,  with the most wonderful moment of perfect light on a cooperative Great-horned Owl. But then, as the last glimmer of the days available light tenaciously hung in the sky, a Vermilion Flycatcher landed at waist level on a single stalk of tall grass. As that last light surrounded the birds' dark red silhouette with a brilliant rim glow, I felt a deep connection with the grand creation of this world. 

There are two hours in the day, at daylights start and daylights end,  where Gods love anoints the world with a touch of gold. It is as if He wants us to understand that all that transpires between those hours will be cloaked in the healing richness of creations glory. For me, it is the reinforcing of the understanding that all will be OK. I am humbled to share these moments and grateful to be His scribe. 

Vermilion Sunset
©RGallucci Photography
www.rgallucci.com
---
Shoot date: April 15, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
¹⁄₁₀₀₀ sec at f/5.6 Bias:‒ ²⁄₃ EV
Lens: EF800mm f/5.6L IS USM
ISO: 640

]]>
(RGallucci Photography) Arizona Birds High Desert Nature Southern Arizona Wildlife https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/4/vermilion-sunset Tue, 16 Apr 2019 13:18:18 GMT
Black Phoebe https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/4/black-phoebe Black PhoebeBlack PhoebeTitle}

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The Black Pheobe! Some might say they are ubiquitous to the point of boredom. Or that if you have seen one you have seen them all. I would respond that it does not make each one any less beautiful and amazing to watch.

Guardians of the waterways, they stake out their territories one after another along the edge of the river. It is not unusual to see a dozen or more on a hike upstream. With a propensity to boldly perch out in the open, they can be witnessed quickly launching into the air to grab a tasty insect meal and then returning to their perch. They are a perfect subject for the beginning wildlife or bird photographers, and honestly, as an experienced photographer I never tire of taking shots of them.

I found this Pheobe today during a walk along the San Pedro River. With its clear demarcation of black head and gray back it was more distinctly colored than I am used to seeing. I am unsure if it is in breeding plumage of just young. Either way, I feel blessed to have the chance to take its photo.

I remain His scribe.

Sharing permited, please credit photographer
Please support RGallucci Photography
We like to be liked ;)

Shot date: April 15, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
¹⁄₁₀₀₀ sec at f/8.0 Bias:⅓ EV
Lens: EF800mm f/5.6L IS USM
ISO: 3200

The Black Pheobe! Some might say they are ubiquitous to the point of boredom. Or that if you have seen one you have seen them all. I would respond that it does not make each one any less beautiful and amazing to watch.  

 

Guardians of the waterways, they stake out their territories one after another along the edge of the river. It is not unusual to see a dozen or more on a hike upstream.  With a propensity to boldly perch out in the open, they can be witnessed quickly launching into the air to grab a tasty insect meal and then returning to their perch. They are a perfect subject for the beginning wildlife or bird photographers, and honestly, as an experienced photographer, I never tire of taking shots of them. 

 

I found this Pheobe today during a walk along the San Pedro River. With its clear demarcation of black head and gray back it was more distinctly colored than I am used to seeing. I am unsure if it is in breeding plumage of just young. Either way, I feel blessed to have the chance to take its photo. 

 

I remain His scribe. 

 

Black Pheobe
©RGallucci Photography
www.rgallucc.com
---
Shot date: April 15, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
¹⁄₁₀₀₀ sec at f/8.0 Bias:⅓ EV
Lens: EF800mm f/5.6L IS USM
ISO: 3200

]]>
(RGallucci Photography) Arizona Birds High Desert Nature Southern Arizona Wildlife https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/4/black-phoebe Mon, 15 Apr 2019 21:58:44 GMT
Feeding Calliope https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/4/feeding-calliope Feeding CalliopeFeeding CalliopeTitle}

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In the tiny enclave of the human population that calls themselves birders it is well known that the Southern Arizona high desert provides some of the most numerous and diverse species in the United States. Sierra Vista, the largest of the impossibly small towns in this region that make up Cochise County, is often credited as the Hummingbird Capital of the USA. However, birders are sticklers for facts, and it is time that this classification is clarified. The truth is that the real Hummingbird Capital of the United States is the unincorporated community of Hereford, AZ. Like the birds that frequent this enclave near the Mexican border, it is preposterously small and wonderfully beautiful.

Within its borders reside the hummingbird meccas that avian aficionados make a pilgrimage to each year. Here is where you will find the Ramsey Canyon Preserve, a mountainside conservatory with a persistent running stream that is a sanctuary for migrating Hummingbirds, such as the Violet-crowned, and other rare species. The conservatory is often the temporary home to summering Flame-coloured Tanger, Elegant Trogon, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher and other rarities.

It is in this small geographic arena where you can visit the Ash Canyon Bird Sanctuary (formerly Ash Canyon B&B). Nestled in the Madrean Oak Woodland of the Huachuca mountains proprietor Mary Jo Ballator has created an oasis for rare birds, including the elusive Lucifer Hummingingbird which can be found feeding and foraging in the picturesque native plant garden. Montezuma Quail have also taken to stopping by the Sanctuary daily.

Hereford is home to Beatty's Guest Ranch and Orchard, one of the most reliable places in the country to find the Blue-throated and White-eared Hummingbirds. The Guest Ranch is a great base camp to begin an adventurous hike up Miller Mountain to see Spotted Owls and Red-faced Warblers. It is also home to a Northern Goshawk. Visitors can come for the day or, with its numerous cabins to rent, stay for a few.

And, it is in Hereford where one can find my favorite Hummingbird refuge; Battiste Bed, Breakfast and Birds. Located on a small private road, proprietors Tony and Julie Battiste have created here a hillside sanctum for both humans and birds. With its comfortable rooms, knowledgeable hosts and serene bubbling pond the B&B is a destination where a nature lover can unwind and relax while viewing a constant stream of winged wonders. At any time during migration any of the above-referenced species may stop by here, as well as Calliope, Rivoli and other montane favoring hummers. It is at the B&B where one can also see the worlds smallest owl, the Elf Owl.

I shot this image of a female Calliope Hummingbird feeding on a local plant at Battiste Bed, Breakfast and Birds. I was amazed at how tolerant the hummingbirds here are of viewers. Although I was using an 800mm lens, I was afforded a close range to view and shoot from.

My goal is not to start a controversy with this post. Instead, it is to promote the truth about the town of Hereford, a great places to bird in Southern Arizona AZ.

Sharing permited, please credit photographer
Please support RGallucci Photography
We like to be liked ;)

Shot date: April 11, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
¹⁄₂₀₀₀ sec at f/8.0 Bias:0 EV
Lens: EF800mm f/5.6L IS USM
ISO: 320

In the tiny enclave of the human population that calls themselves birders it is well known that the Southern Arizona high desert provides some of the most numerous and diverse species in the United States. Sierra Vista, the largest of the impossibly small towns in this region that make up Cochise County, is often credited as the Hummingbird Capital of the USA.  However, birders are sticklers for facts, and it is time that this classification is clarified.  The truth is that the real Hummingbird Capital of the United States is the unincorporated community of Hereford, AZ.  Like the birds that frequent this enclave near the Mexican border, it is preposterously small and wonderfully beautiful. 

Within its borders reside the hummingbird meccas that avian aficionados make a pilgrimage to each year. Here is where you will find the Ramsey Canyon Preserve, a mountainside conservatory with a persistent running stream that is a sanctuary for migrating Hummingbirds, such as the Violet-crowned, and other rare species.  The conservatory is often the temporary home to summering Flame-coloured Tanger, Elegant Trogon, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher and other rarities.

It is in this small geographic arena where you can visit the Ash Canyon Bird Sanctuary (formerly Ash Canyon B&B). Nestled in the Madrean Oak Woodland of the Huachuca mountains proprietor Mary Jo Ballator has created an oasis for rare birds, including the elusive Lucifer Hummingingbird which can be found feeding and foraging in the picturesque native plant garden.  Montezuma Quail have also taken to stopping by the Sanctuary daily.  

Hereford is home to Beatty's Guest Ranch and Orchard, one of the most reliable places in the country to find the Blue-throated and White-eared Hummingbirds.  The Guest Ranch is a great base camp to begin an adventurous hike up Miller Mountain to see Spotted Owls and Red-faced Warblers.  It is also home to a Northern Goshawk. Visitors can come for the day or, with its numerous cabins to rent, stay for a few. 

And, it is in Hereford where one can find my favorite Hummingbird refuge; Battiste Bed, Breakfast and Birds. Located on a small private road, proprietors Tony and Julie Battiste have created here a hillside sanctum for both humans and birds. With its comfortable rooms, knowledgeable hosts and serene bubbling pond the B&B is a destination where a nature lover can unwind and relax while viewing a constant stream of winged wonders. At any time during migration any of the above-referenced species may stop by here, as well as Calliope, Rivoli and other montane favoring hummers. It is at the B&B where one can also see the worlds smallest owl, the Elf Owl. 

I shot this image of a female Calliope Hummingbird feeding on a local plant at Battiste Bed, Breakfast and Birds. I was amazed at how tolerant the hummingbirds here are of viewers. Although I was using an 800mm lens, I was afforded a close range to view and shoot from. 

My goal is not to start a controversy with this post. Instead, it is to promote the truth about the town of Hereford, a great places to bird in Southern Arizona AZ. 

Feeding Calliope
©RGallucci Photography
www.rgallucci.com
---
Shot date: April 11, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
¹⁄2000 sec at f/8.0 Bias:0 EV
Lens: EF800mm f/5.6L IS USM
ISO: 320

]]>
(RGallucci Photography) Arizona Birds High Desert Hummingbird Nature Wildlife https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/4/feeding-calliope Fri, 12 Apr 2019 18:35:45 GMT
Cactus Sunset https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/3/cactus-sunset Cactus SunsetCactus SunsetLife in the Southern Arizona High Deseret is hard. In this harsh and arid landscape, the struggle to survive is an ongoing fight of adaptation, tenacious will to outsmart its dangers and a persistent attitude of perseverance during its trials. It is a call to be ever vigilant with the rewards of life amongst incredible beauty. At sunset, during the brief and fleeting respite of the gloaming, one can receive those rewards.

Sunset brings a surreal radiance and peace to the landscape. It transforms the exotically beautiful and pointedly threatening cactus gardens that carpet the mountainsides into shimmering prisms of light and shadow. It manifests an illusion that the harsh barbs of their prickly maze are soft and safe. Sunset in the desert illustrates life. It allows one to see that even amidst the most hazardous and dangerous times there can be beauty and serenity if we stop the struggle and allow the glory to be seen.

This truth was demonstrated to me while creating this shot. As I walked from the trail into a dense field of cactus I was introduced, a couple of times, to one of the deserts most aggressive predators - the Jumping Cholla. While it does not actually jump, the slightest touch of this brittle fiends thorns will cause a barbed bulb to release from the plant, its spiked needles immediately puncturing your skin. My calves became a Cholla pincushion. While I did not enjoy that part of the experience, it was worth it to witness and share the miracle of this sunsets majesty. I humbly and blessedly remain His scribe.
Shoot Date: March 4, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Aperture priority f/11
Lens: EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM @ 16 mm
ISO: 100

 

Life in the Southern Arizona High Deseret is hard. In this harsh and arid landscape, the struggle to survive is an ongoing fight of adaptation, tenacious will to outsmart its dangers and a persistent attitude of perseverance during its trials.  It is a call to be ever vigilant with the rewards of life amongst incredible beauty. At sunset, during the brief and fleeting respite of the gloaming, one can receive those rewards. 

 

Sunset brings a surreal radiance and peace to the landscape.  It transforms the exotically beautiful and pointedly threatening cactus gardens that carpet the mountainsides into shimmering prisms of light and shadow.  It manifests an illusion that the harsh barbs of their prickly maze are soft and safe. Sunset in the desert illustrates life. It allows one to see that even amidst the most hazardous and dangerous times there can be beauty and serenity if we stop the struggle and allow the glory to be seen. 

 

This truth was demonstrated to me while creating this shot. As I walked from the trail into a dense field of cactus I was introduced, a couple of times, to one of the deserts most aggressive predators - the Jumping Cholla. While it does not actually jump, the slightest touch of this brittle fiends thorns will cause a barbed bulb to release from the plant, its spiked needles immediately puncturing your skin. My calves became a Cholla pincushion. While I did not enjoy that part of the experience, it was worth it to witness and share the miracle of this sunsets majesty. I humbly and blessedly remain His scribe.  

 

Cactus Sunset
©RGallucci Photography
---
Shoot Date: March 4, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Aperture priority f/11
Lens: EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM @ 16 mm
ISO: 100

 

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(RGallucci Photography) Arizona High Desert landscapes Nature Southern Arizona Sunset https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/3/cactus-sunset Tue, 05 Mar 2019 17:45:02 GMT
Falls from the Ledge https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/2/falls-from-the-ledge Falls from the LedgeFalls from the LedgeThere is something about a violent cascading flow of water snaking down a steep mountain pass that inspires a hunger to explore while evoking a sense of wonder I have always loved climbing waterfalls. The adrenalin heightening challenge of finding purchase along the slippery rocks, tempered by the soothing sound of the falling water, combine and balance each other, making the experience sublimely rewarding. There are other advantages to climbing against waters downward flow. It is one of the best ways to find a unique angle to capture the cascading waters magic.

At 9,200 feet Carr Canyon is the second highest peak in the Huachuca Mountains and the third highest in Cochise County. It is first in having its own waterfall. Temperamental in nature, it will only flow during snowmelt and monsoon runoff. As temps reached the 70's yesterday the snowmelt began and the waterfalls channel filled. This was my opportunity to explore. About a quarter of a mile up I found a dry rock under an overhanging boulder where the water fell and filled a small pool. Carefully navigating across the water and under the boulder, I squeezed into the small space and set up my gear. This shot is the result.

There is a special magic in the Southern Arizona high desert. It is the mystical blessing of a supreme being that has touched this land with a bit of everything, and an abundance of nothing. It is a land that calls out to be explored to see its beauty. It is not a place where you get to drive up to a national monument and score a beautiful scene. You have to work for it here. That is what makes it so much more worthwhile.

I am blessed to witness and share the glory of His creation and humbly remain His scribe.
Shoot Date: February 26, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Aperture priority 2.0 sec at f/16 2 EV
Lens: EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM @ 35 mm
ISO: 100

There is something about a violent cascading flow of water snaking down a steep mountain pass that inspires a hunger to explore while evoking a sense of wonder  I have always loved climbing waterfalls.  The adrenalin heightening challenge of finding purchase along the slippery rocks, tempered by the soothing sound of the falling water, combine and balance each other, making the experience sublimely rewarding.  There are other advantages to climbing against waters downward flow. It is one of the best ways to find a unique angle to capture the cascading waters magic.  

 

At 9,200 feet Carr Canyon is the second highest peak in the Huachuca Mountains and the third highest in Cochise County. It is first in having its own waterfall.  Temperamental in nature, it will only flow during snowmelt and monsoon runoff.  As temps reached the 70's yesterday the snowmelt began and the waterfalls channel filled. This was my opportunity to explore. About a quarter of a mile up I found a dry rock under an overhanging boulder where the water fell and filled a small pool. Carefully navigating across the water and under the boulder, I squeezed into the small space and set up my gear. This shot is the result. 

 

There is a special magic in the Southern Arizona high desert. It is the mystical blessing of a supreme being that has touched this land with a bit of everything, and an abundance of nothing. It is a land that calls out to be explored to see its beauty. It is not a place where you get to drive up to a national monument and score a beautiful scene. You have to work for it here. That is what makes it so much more worthwhile. 

 

I am blessed to witness and share the glory of His creation and humbly remain His scribe. 

 

Falls from the Ledge
©RGallucci Photography
---
Shoot Date: February 26, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Aperture priority 2.0 sec at f/16
Lens: EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM @ 35 mm
ISO: 100

 

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(RGallucci Photography) Arizona High Desert landscapes Nature Southern Arizona Waterfalls https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/2/falls-from-the-ledge Wed, 27 Feb 2019 20:14:54 GMT
Pyrrhuloxia https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/2/pyrrhuloxia PyrrhuloxiaPyrrhuloxiaThe mountains are still covered in snow and the temperatures freezing, but that doesn't change the inevitable signs of spring from showing up in the yard. For example, this male Pyrrhuloxia showed up this morning in full breeding plumage.

My body is still be recovering from the flu. I am allowed but a few short hours of activity before fatigue overcomes me. I am so blessed that in those hours I can watch the miracle of God's creation around me. I remain his scribe.
Shoot Date: February 25, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Manual ¹⁄₁₂₅₀ sec at f/8.0 0 EV
Lens: TAMRON SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD A011 @ 600 mm
ISO: 400

The mountains are still covered in snow and the temperatures freezing, but that doesn't change the inevitable signs of spring from showing up in the yard. For example, this male Pyrrhuloxia showed up this morning in full breeding plumage.  

 

My body is still be recovering from the flu. I am allowed but a few short hours of activity before fatigue overcomes me. I am so blessed that in those hours I can watch the miracle of God's creation around me. I remain his scribe. 

 

Pyrrhuloxia
©RGallucci Photography
---
Shoot Date: February 25, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Manual ¹⁄1250 sec at f/8.0 0 EV
Lens: TAMRON SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD A011 @ 600 mm
ISO: 400
 

 

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(RGallucci Photography) Arizona Birds High Desert Nature Southern Arizona Wildlife https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/2/pyrrhuloxia Mon, 25 Feb 2019 17:57:48 GMT
Supermoon 2019 https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/2/supermoon-2019 Supermoon 2019Supermoon 2019Advance notice - long story today.

Perseverance in the face of adversity is lauded widely as a virtue. It is the character strength found in heroism as well as a pillar of American exceptionalism. More than any other attribute, it is what our stories and movies promote. Perseverance in the face of adversity truly is an admirable and lofty goal.

It is, or can be, a fool's errand as well. When not tempered with an accurate and realistic understanding of the results to be gained versus the price to be paid it can be a trap that leads to pain and ruin. It can be the alluring nectar of Dionaea muscipula; a promise of fulfillment that ends in despair.

Sometimes instead of persevering on a fools journey, it makes more sense to accept the reality and make the best of it. That is how this image came to be. I have been planning a supermoon shot for over six months. I had the location mapped, the angle calculated, the timing locked in and the settings completely covered. It was to be my shot of the year. It was to be epic! An extraordinary testament to my talent that paid homage to God.

It was not this shot.

Four days before the supermoon I got the flu. The fever broke the day before, leaving me weak and unable to sustain long periods of activity. But, I would persevere, I told my wife. I was going to go for the shot. I couldn't pass up this once in a lifetime image.

Reality soon set in. I might have made the two and a half hour drive without incident. I might have got set up and captured the image as well. But it would have taken everything out of me and, most probably, incited a relapse whose outcome could be crippling. I love my life, my family, the stunning beauty of the southern Arizona High Desert and the wildlife that lives here too much to take that risk.

So this is my Supermoon 2019 shot. It was taken from right outside my front door. Is it the shot I dreamed of? No. Is it the shot that allowed me to capture and share the miracle of Gods world with others? Yes. And, it is a shot I will look at in the future to remind me to be humble and understand my limitations. It took fifty-eight years to learn that lesson. I guess that result is sort of epic when you think about it.

Today's story was written to myself as much as to those whom I am sharing it with. It is long (my apologies) and, for me, somewhat cathartic. I pray it is a reminder in future times that God's grace does not always mean we will get what we want, but instead we should be grateful for the Glory of getting what we need.

I remain His scribe

Supermoon 2019
©RGallucci Photography
Shoot Date: February 19, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Aperture priority 13.0 sec at f/8.0 ‒ 2 EV
Lens: TAMRON SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD A011 @ 500 mm
ISO: 400

 

Advance notice - long story today. 

Perseverance in the face of adversity is lauded widely as a virtue. It is the character strength found in heroism as well as a pillar of American exceptionalism. More than any other attribute, it is what our stories and movies promote. Perseverance in the face of adversity truly is an admirable and lofty goal. 

It is, or can be, a fool's errand as well. When not tempered with an accurate and realistic understanding of the results to be gained versus the price to be paid it can be a trap that leads to pain and ruin. It can be the alluring nectar of Dionaea muscipula; a promise of fulfillment that ends in despair. 

Sometimes instead of persevering on a fools journey, it makes more sense to accept the reality and make the best of it. That is how this image came to be. I have been planning a supermoon shot for over six months. I had the location mapped, the angle calculated, the timing locked in and the settings completely covered. It was to be my shot of the year.  It was to be epic! An extraordinary testament to my talent that paid homage to God. 

It was not this shot. 

Four days before the supermoon I got the flu. The fever broke the day before, leaving me weak and unable to sustain long periods of activity.  But, I would persevere, I told my wife. I was going to go for the shot. I couldn't pass up this once in a lifetime image. 

Reality soon set in. I might have made the two and a half hour drive without incident. I might have got set up and captured the image as well. But it would have taken everything out of me and, most probably, incited a relapse whose outcome could be crippling. I love my life, my family, the stunning beauty of the southern Arizona High Desert and the wildlife that lives here too much to take that risk. 

So this is my Supermoon 2019 shot. It was taken from right outside my front door. Is it the shot I dreamed of? No. Is it the shot that allowed me to capture and share the miracle of Gods world with others? Yes. And, it is a shot I will look at in the future to remind me to be humble and understand my limitations. It took fifty-eight years to learn that lesson. I guess that result is sort of epic when you think about it.  

Today's story was written to myself as much as to those whom I am sharing it with. It is long (my apologies) and, for me, somewhat cathartic. I pray it is a reminder in future times that God's grace does not always mean we will get what we want, but instead we should be grateful for the Glory of getting what we need. 

I remain His scribe

Supermoon 2019
©RGallucci Photography

 

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(RGallucci Photography) arizona high desert landscapes nature nightscape southern arizona supermoon https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/2/supermoon-2019 Wed, 20 Feb 2019 22:51:25 GMT
Harris's Hawk https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/2/harriss-hawk Harris's HawkHarris's HawkHere is a truth that might be understood only by another birder. I set a goal of 100 species for January which I missed by five birds because I got lazy. So today I figured I would visit our local Harris's Hawk to start to get caught up. I imagined it would be like other times I went to see this majestic raptor - a quick look in a distant tree before it flew off. Oh boy, was I wrong in the best possible way!

From down the block, I spotted the hawk perched upright on the top of a 50 foot pine tree. It seemed that it was far enough and high enough from the road that driving by to get the sun at my back would not spook it. Parking well away I cautiously walked towards the bird using a stand of trees as cover. When I found the right angle, I started to shoot and capture some video. Ten seconds into the session the bird turned to show its profile. I was gobsmacked at how stunning it looked. I took a few more shots, thanked the bird for its cooperation and left. It was a good day!

Harris's Hawks are unique amongst North American raptors in that they create strong social bonds with one another. Groups of seven hawks living and hunting together are not unusual. A hawk of the southwest, they can be found in Texas, New Mexico and, of course, my beloved Southern Arizona high desert.

I am blessed to witness and share the beauty of His world and gratefully remain His scribe.
Shoot Date: February 12, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Manual ¹⁄1000 sec at f/8.0 0 EV
Lens: TAMRON SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD A011 @ 600 mm
ISO: 640

Here is a truth that might be understood only by another birder. I set a goal of 100 species for January which I missed by five birds because I got lazy. So today I figured I would visit our local Harris's Hawk to start to get caught up.  I imagined it would be like other times I went to see this majestic raptor - a quick look in a distant tree before it flew off. Oh boy, was I wrong in the best possible way!

 

From down the block, I spotted the hawk perched upright on the top of a 50-foot pine tree.  It seemed that it was far enough and high enough from the road that driving by to get the sun at my back would not spook it. Parking well away I cautiously walked towards the bird using a stand of trees as cover. When I found the right angle, I started to shoot and capture some video. Ten seconds into the session the bird turned to show its profile. I was gobsmacked at how stunning it looked. I took a few more shots, thanked the bird for its cooperation and left. It was a good day! 

 

Harris's Hawks are unique amongst North American raptors in that they create strong social bonds with one another. Groups of seven hawks living and hunting together are not unusual. A hawk of the southwest, they can be found in Texas, New Mexico and, of course, my beloved Southern Arizona high desert. 

 

I am blessed to witness and share the beauty of His world and gratefully remain His scribe. 

 

Harris's Hawk
©RGallucci Photography
---
Shoot Date: February 12, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Manual ¹⁄1000 sec at f/8.0 0 EV
Lens: TAMRON SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD A011 @ 600 mm
ISO: 640

 

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(RGallucci Photography) arizona birds hawks high desert nature raptors southern arizona wildlife https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/2/harriss-hawk Tue, 12 Feb 2019 23:47:58 GMT
Photobombed https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/2/photobombed PhotobombedPhotobombedI mean seriously, I spent all that time setting up the set, hiring the model, getting the lighting just right and this Chipping Sparrow photo bombs my shot! What is this world coming too?

There are serious things in our lives. If we lose our sense of humor they may overwhelm us. With all I have been given I must always remember how blessed I am to witness and share the beauty of His world. I remain His scribe.
Shoot Date: February 11, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Shutter priority ¹⁄₁₀₀₀ sec at f/6.3 ⅓ EV
Lens: TAMRON SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD A011 @ 600 mm
ISO: 500

I mean seriously, I spent all that time setting up the set, hiring the model, getting the lighting just right and this Chipping Sparrow photo bombs my shot! What is this world coming too? 

 

There are serious things in our lives. If we lose our sense of humor they may overwhelm us. With all I have been given I must always remember how blessed I am to witness and share the beauty of His world. I remain His scribe. 

 

Photobombed
©RGallucci Photography
---
Shoot Date: February 11, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Shutter priority ¹⁄₁₀₀₀ sec at f/6.3 ⅓ EV
Lens: TAMRON SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD A011 @ 600 mm
ISO: 500
 

 

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(RGallucci Photography) Arizona Birds High Desert Nature Southern Arizona Wildlife https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/2/photobombed Tue, 12 Feb 2019 02:58:48 GMT
Monsoon Season https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/2/monsoon-season Monsoon SeasonMonsoon SeasonAt three o'clock in the afternoon on what was a bright summer day, ominous clouds roll in from the west foreshadowing the rage to come. The battle between pristine sunshine and furious rain is soon to begin. Once ignited it will unleash a destructive hellion power that is just barely contained by the peaceful summer sky. It is a campaign for control of the day that lasts only a short time. As the storm charges it triggers a mighty thrust of electric power! The sky responds with an arc of color, a peace offering, that signals the end of the turmolt is near. The wind blows. The grasslands shimmer. The mountains stand stoic, and the world tells a story of life.

I long for monsoon season. There is only one place I have ever been where lightning, rainbows and azure skies filled with cotton clouds exist all at once. That place is Arizona.

And, there is no place in Arizona where this is better represented than in the High Deserts of the Sky Island region. To witness such a sight is to transcend that which you have come to believe is possible. It is to enter a world that is at once mystically powerful and soothingly serene. To me, it isa demonstration of all the might, glory, tenderness and strength of our creator on display.

While there is not lightning and a rainbow with every storm, there is with most. The secret is knowing how and where to find it.

I live grateful to God for the fortune to witness and share His artwork and humbly remain His scribe.
Shoot Date: July 30, 2018
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Aperture priority ¹⁄₃₀ sec at f/22 ²⁄₃ EV
Lens: 15mm @ 15 mm
ISO: 100

At three o'clock in the afternoon on what was a bright summer day, ominous clouds roll in from the west foreshadowing the rage to come. The battle between pristine sunshine and furious rain is soon to begin. Once ignited it will unleash a destructive hellion power that is just barely contained by the peaceful summer sky. It is a campaign for control of the day that lasts only a short time.  As the storm charges it triggers a mighty thrust of electric power! The sky responds with an arc of color, a peace offering, that signals the end of the tumult is near. The wind blows. The grasslands shimmer. The mountains stand stoic, and the world tells a story of life. 

 

I long for monsoon season. There is only one place I have ever been where lightning, rainbows and azure skies filled with cotton clouds exist all at once. That place is Arizona.  

 

And, there is no place in Arizona where this is better represented than in the High Deserts of the Sky Island region.    To witness such a sight is to transcend that which you have come to believe is possible. It is to enter a world that is at once mystically powerful and soothingly serene.  To me, it is a demonstration of all the might, glory, tenderness and strength of our creator on display. 

 

While there is not lightning and a rainbow with every storm, there is with most.  The secret is knowing how and where to find it. 

 

I live grateful to God for the fortune to witness and share His artwork and humbly remain His scribe. 

 

Monsoon Season
©RGallucci Photography
---
Shoot Date: July 30, 2018
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Aperture priority ¹⁄30 sec at f/22 ²⁄3 EV
Lens: 15mm @ 15 mm
ISO: 100

 

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(RGallucci Photography) Arizona High Desert landscapes Lightning Nature Southern Arizona https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/2/monsoon-season Sat, 09 Feb 2019 15:11:32 GMT
Say's Pheobe https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/2/says-pheobe  

The Says Pheobe is elegant looking and charming to watch as they perch on various limbs around our yard. That affect disguises their pernicious and adept ability to hunt. In a split second, they morph from calmly perched to fiendish flurry as they relentlessly clear our yard of any bugs that happen into their zone.  

The bird in this photo had just launched off the limb of an agave plant to swoop down upon its unsuspecting prey. Just before it landed, it spread out its wings as an air brake, hovered for a moment, and finished the kill. Whether perching adorably or hunting voraciously, I could watch this bird all day and consider it a day well spent. 

I live grateful to God for the chance to witness and share His artwork and humbly remain His scribe. 

Say's Pheobe
©RGallucci Photography
---
Shoot Date: February 8, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Shutter priority ¹⁄₁₀₀₀ sec at f/7.1 ‒ ⅓ EV
Lens: TAMRON SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD A011 @ 600 mm
ISO: 320


 


Say's PheobeSay's PheobeThe Says Pheobe is elegant looking and charming to watch as they perch on various limbs around our yard. That affect disguises their pernicious and adept ability to hunt. In a split second, they morph from calmly perched to fiendish flurry as they relentlessly clear our yard of any bugs that happen into their zone.

The bird in this photo had just launched off the limb of an agave plant to swoop down upon its unsuspecting prey. Just before it landed, it spread out its wings as an air brake, hovered for a moment, and finished the kill. Whether perching adorably or hunting voraciously, I could watch this bird all day and consider it a day well spent.

I live grateful to God for the chance to witness and share His artwork and humbly remain His scribe.
Shoot Date: February 8, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Shutter priority ¹⁄₁₀₀₀ sec at f/7.1 ‒ ⅓ EV
Lens: TAMRON SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD A011 @ 600 mm
ISO: 320

The Says Pheobe is elegant looking and charming to watch as they perch on various limbs around our yard. That affect disguises their pernicious and adept ability to hunt. In a split second, they morph from calmly perched to fiendish flurry as they relentlessly clear our yard of any bugs that happen into their zone.  

 

The bird in this photo had just launched off the limb of an agave plant to swoop down upon its unsuspecting prey. Just before it landed, it spread out its wings as an air brake, hovered for a moment, and finished the kill. Whether perching adorably or hunting voraciously, I could watch this bird all day and consider it a day well spent. 

 

I live grateful to God for the chance to witness and share His artwork and humbly remain His scribe. 

 

Say's Pheobe
©RGallucci Photography
---
Shoot Date: February 8, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Shutter priority ¹⁄₁₀₀₀ sec at f/7.1 ‒ ⅓ EV
Lens: TAMRON SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD A011 @ 600 mm
ISO: 320

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(RGallucci Photography) Arizona Birds High Desert Southern Arizona Wildlife https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/2/says-pheobe Fri, 08 Feb 2019 21:33:06 GMT
Black-throated Gray Warbler https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/2/black-throated-gray-warbler Black-throated Gray WarblerBlack-throated Gray WarblerThe Southern Arizona High Desert might not have the variety of Warbler species that migrate through my old home grounds on the east coast, but what we do have is every bit as beautiful. The Black-throated Gray Warbler is an example of this. A study in contrast, this tiny gray, black and white bird has just one bit of explosive color in its yellow eyebrows. The impact from seeing one straight on is both startling and delightful.

A common summer bird in the western US, they can typically be seen and heard flitting about Pinyon Pines, Juniper and Oak trees of the low elevation riparian forests. We found this one in a mixed flock of Plumbeous Vireo and Yellow-Rumped Warblers at the Patagonia lake campgrounds.

I've heard it said that art is a form of communication and the goal of the artist is to show the world as seen through their eyes and felt in their soul. For me, that would mean expressing the wonderful creation of God as I experience it in my wanderings. I remain His scribe.
Shoot Date: January 25, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Aperture priority ¹⁄₈₀₀ sec at f/8.0 0 EV
Lens: EF800mm f/5.6L IS USM @ 800 mm
ISO: 400

The Southern Arizona High Desert might not have the variety of Warbler species that migrate through my old home grounds on the east coast, but what we do have is every bit as beautiful. The Black-throated Gray Warbler is an example of this. A study in contrast, this tiny gray, black and white bird has just one bit of explosive color in its yellow eyebrows.  The impact from seeing one straight on is both startling and delightful. 

 

A common summer bird in the western US, they can typically be seen and heard flitting about Pinyon Pines, Juniper and Oak trees of the low elevation riparian forests.  We found this one in a mixed flock of Plumbeous Vireo and Yellow-Rumped Warblers at the Patagonia lake campgrounds. 

 

I've heard it said that art is a form of communication and the goal of the artist is to show the world as seen through their eyes and felt in their soul.  For me, that would mean expressing the wonderful creation of God as I experience it in my wanderings. I remain His scribe. 

 

Black-throated Gray Warbler
©RGallucci Photography
---
Shoot Date: January 25, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Aperture priority ¹⁄800 sec at f/8.0 0 EV
Lens: EF800mm f/5.6L IS USM @ 800 mm
ISO: 400
 

 

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(RGallucci Photography) Arizona Birds High Desert Nature Patagonia Lake State Park Southern Arizona Wildlife https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/2/black-throated-gray-warbler Wed, 06 Feb 2019 17:44:43 GMT
Western Screech Owl https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/2/western-screech-owl Whiskered Screech Owl IIWhiskered Screech Owl IIShoot Date: February 1, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Aperture priority ¹⁄₁₀₀ sec at f/6.3 ‒ ²⁄₃ EV
Lens: TAMRON SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD A011 @ 483 mm
ISO: 400

I don't know many things better than getting a text message from a friend sharing that they are on an owl. Except maybe if it is a life Owl!  

 

How she found this Whiskered Screech Owl is beyond me. Perched nonchalantly deep in the brush, about a foot of the ground, this five-inch bird was camouflaged perfectly.  Even after knowing where it was when I moved to find a clear shot I lost it and had to go back to my original spot to mark it again. 

 

If you look closely (I suggest full screen) at this image, you can see the telltale filamented feathers that give the Owl its name.  In the United States, it is found in the high altitude canyons in the southernmost part of the southern Arizona high desert and New Mexico.  It is hard in this photo to fully appreciate how small this Owl is.  At about six and a half inches tall it is smaller than the Western Screech Owl that it shares territory with. 

 

There is nothing greater than having the blessing to photograph and share the miracles of Gods creation. It is grace far vaster than anything I had ever hoped for in this life. I remain His scribe. 

Shoot Date: February 1, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Aperture priority ¹⁄₁₀₀ sec at f/6.3 ‒ ²⁄₃ EV
Lens: TAMRON SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD A011 @ 483 mm
ISO: 400
 

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(RGallucci Photography) Arizona Birds High Desert Nature Owl Southern Arizona Western Screech Owl Wildlife https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/2/western-screech-owl Sat, 02 Feb 2019 03:59:23 GMT
Lewis's in the Yard https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/1/lewiss-in-the-yard Lewis's in The YardLewis's in The YardBirders, as a general rule, are list keepers. Most keep a master "Life List" list of all the bird species they have seen. Then they keep records of all the birds they have seen in a year. There is a list for all the birds they have seen in a particular country, a specific state, the county they live in, and even a list for specific days. No matter how unorganized the rest of their life may be, in their birding lists there is order.

One of the favorite lists that many birders keep is their "Yard List." These are the birds that have graced the little patch of geography they call home. Many are the birders that have outfitted their home turf with flora and feeders to attract birds into their area. The general rule is that any bird seen from their home can go on a Yard List, so the Eagle that was clearly visible flying over the highway a mile away counts. But, it is the birds that actually land in the yard, rewarding the careful cultivation of an enticing habitat, that bring a special sense of joy.

Living in southern Arizona high desert, in arguably the birding capital the United States, we have had many surprising birds visit the yard. For example, there was the Zone-tailed and Swainson's Hawks that dropped in for a drink from the pond, and the Lucifers Hummingbird that came off the mountain, where it typically spends the summer, to visit our valley feeder. Other mountain dwellers, like Acorn Woodpeckers and Mexican Jays, have stopped in. And there are the precious Scaled Quail, the keystone cops of the yard, whose regular visits we cherish dearly. But, my favorite so far may be this Lewis's Woodpecker that decided to partake in some suet and water these past few days.

Woodpeckers, in general, tend to be magnificent birds - how many other species got their own cartoon? Within that clan, the Lewis's has every right to lay claim to most unique. The only green woodpecker in the United States, with a deep red mask and reddish belly that fades into pink in transition to a white breast, it winters in small numbers in the southern desert like a lingering Christmas ornament. It may be January now, but I consider its visit to our yard a very special, albeit belated, Christmas present from God.

Words and photos may be my gift, but the words that express the grace in my life to witness His glorious creations often elude me. I am honored and humbled to share these visions. I remain His scribe.

Lewis's Woodpecker
Shoot Date: January 30, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Aperture priority ¹⁄₆₄₀ sec at f/6.3 ‒ 1 EV
Lens: TAMRON SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD A011 @ 600 mm
ISO: 500

Birders, as a general rule, are list keepers.  Most keep a master "Life List"  list of all the bird species they have seen. Then they keep records of all the birds they have seen in a year. There is a list for all the birds they have seen in a particular country, a specific state, the county they live in, and even a list for specific days. No matter how unorganized the rest of their life may be, in their birding lists there is order. 

 

One of the favorite lists that many birders keep is their "Yard List." These are the birds that have graced the little patch of geography they call home. Many are the birders that have outfitted their home turf with flora and feeders to attract birds into their area. The general rule is that any bird seen from their home can go on a Yard List, so the Eagle that was clearly visible flying over the highway a mile away counts. But, it is the birds that actually land in the yard, rewarding the careful cultivation of an enticing habitat, that bring a special sense of joy. 

 

Living in southern Arizona high desert, in arguably the birding capital the United States, we have had many surprising birds visit the yard. For example, there was the Zone-tailed and Swainson's Hawks that dropped in for a drink from the pond, and the Lucifers Hummingbird that came off the mountain, where it typically spends the summer, to visit our valley feeder.  Other mountain dwellers, like Acorn Woodpeckers and Mexican Jays, have stopped in. And there are the precious Scaled Quail, the keystone cops of the yard, whose regular visits we cherish dearly. But, my favorite may quite possibly be this Lewis's Woodpecker that decided to partake in some suet and water these past few days. 

 

Woodpeckers, in general, tend to be magnificent birds - how many other species got their own cartoon?  Within that clan, the Lewis's has every right to lay claim to most unique. The only green woodpecker in the United States, with a deep red mask and reddish belly that fades into pink in transition to a white breast, it winters in small numbers in the southern desert like a lingering Christmas ornament. It may be January now, but I consider its visit to our yard a very special, albeit belated, Christmas present from God. 

 

Words and photos may be my gift, but the words that express the grace in my life to witness His glorious creations often elude me. I am honored and humbled to share these visions. I remain His scribe. 

(Interested in learning more about photography? Check out my workshops and clinics here)

Lewis's Woodpecker
©RGallucci Photography
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Shoot Date: January 30, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Aperture priority ¹⁄₆₄₀ sec at f/6.3 ‒ 1 EV
Lens: TAMRON SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD A011 @ 600 mm
ISO: 500
 

 

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(RGallucci Photography) Arizona Birds High Desert Nature Southern Arizona Wildlife https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/1/lewiss-in-the-yard Thu, 31 Jan 2019 15:36:52 GMT
Green Kingfisher in Flight https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/1/green-kingfisher-in-flight Green Kingfisher in FlightGreen Kingfisher in FlightWhy is a Green Kingfisher green? I cannot pretend to know the real answer to that question, but I can make a good guess. These misproportioned birds spend their lives perched on scrags along small streams and ponds waiting for their prey to swim by. Their color would allow them to blend in perfectly with the backdrop of the forests where they live. To a fish swimming through the Kingfisher would be invisible. The same holds for protection against prey. Blending in with their background might provide the camouflage they need to avoid being attacked. Is this the answer? I have no idea. But it's the one I am going to stick with.

Capturing a Green Kingfisher in flight was mostly luck. I set my shutter speed to 2000 to freeze fast motion and set my aperture to 11 to grab as much of the scene as possible and then hoped I would be quick enough on the shutter to get a good shot. On the hundreds of photos I took of the bird there were only two of it in flight. This is the better of them. Perhaps if I had more time with the bird, days or weeks, I could learn its behavior. But this is a sensitive species, and I will need to be content with my one visit (well, maybe one more). Indeed not enough visits to learn its behavior.

The Green Kingfisher flies from perch to perch rapidly and low to the water. My dream shot would be to have one flying towards me, hugging the path of the water. Maybe someday.

I am thankful beyond words for the blessing of spending time with this bird. God is a masterful creator, and He did well with this stunning bird. I am as grateful to have been loaned the gift to share these wonders with any who are interested. I remain His scribe.
Shoot Date: January 25, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Manual ¹⁄₂₀₀₀ sec at f/11 0 EV
Lens: EF800mm f/5.6L IS USM @ 800 mm
ISO: 1000

Why is a Green Kingfisher green? I cannot pretend to know the real answer to that question, but I can make a good guess. These misproportioned birds spend their lives perched on scrags along small streams and ponds waiting for their prey to swim by. Their color would allow them to blend in perfectly with the backdrop of the forests where they live. To a fish swimming through the Kingfisher would be invisible.  The same holds for protection against prey. Blending in with their background might provide the camouflage they need to avoid being attacked. Is this the answer? I have no idea. But it's the one I am going to stick with. 

 

Capturing a Green Kingfisher in flight was mostly luck.  I set my shutter speed to 2000 to freeze fast motion and set my aperture to 11 to grab as much of the scene as possible and then hoped I would be quick enough on the shutter to get a good shot. On the hundreds of photos I took of the bird there were only two of it in flight. This is the better of them. Perhaps if I had more time with the bird, days or weeks, I could learn its behavior. But this is a sensitive species, and I will need to be content with my one visit (well, maybe one more). Indeed not enough visits to learn its behavior. 

 

The Green Kingfisher flies from perch to perch rapidly and low to the water. My dream shot would be to have one flying towards me, hugging the path of the water. Maybe someday. 

 

I am thankful beyond words for the blessing of spending time with this bird. God is a masterful creator, and He did well with this stunning bird. I am as grateful to have been loaned the gift to share these wonders with any who are interested. I remain His scribe. 

 

Green Kingfisher in Flight
©RGallucci Photography
---
Shoot Date: January 25, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Manual ¹⁄2000 sec at f/11 0 EV
Lens: EF800mm f/5.6L IS USM @ 800 mm
ISO: 1000

 

]]>
(RGallucci Photography) Arizona Birds High Desert Nature Southern Arizona Wildlife https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/1/green-kingfisher-in-flight Sun, 27 Jan 2019 16:49:08 GMT
Green Kingfisher II https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/1/green-kingfisher-ii Green Kingfisher IIGreen Kingfisher III am afraid that I will be boring all with images of the Green Kingfisher, but it was such an incredible bird offering such great views that I cannot help myself. To mitigate the onslaught, I will attempt to provide some details on the bird.

Their scientific name is Chloroceryle Americana, and they are the second smallest of the Kingfisher species, that honor held by the American Pygmy Kingfisher. The species is about 2/3 the size of the more frequently encountered Belted Kingfisher. The Green Kingfisher in this image is a female. A rufous breast notably distinguishes males of the species.

A Neotropic bird, they are widely distributed from northern Chile through Mexico. In the United States, they are resident in only the southernmost parts of Arizona and Texas. I found this stunning lady at Patagonia Lake State Park in southern Arizona.

For most of my life birds were no more than the little black, and occasionally red, things flitting around my house. About five years ago a stranger looking at a bug through backward facing binoculors piqued my interest. When I asked him what he was doing, he said "birding." Shocked, I wondered what that was. He then took me on a short tour of the woods pointing out the variety of birds in the area. I was hooked.

That initial introduction has led me on a beautiful journey throughout the United States. It was the impetus for our move from overcrowded New Jersey to the extraordinary wonders of the high desert of Southern Arizona. It opened my eyes to the fantastic diversity of Gods creation. For all that, I am truly blessed.
Shoot Date: January 25, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Manual ¹⁄₂₀₀₀ sec at f/5.6 0 EV
Lens: EF800mm f/5.6L IS USM @ 800 mm
ISO: 1250

I am afraid that I will be boring all with images of the Green Kingfisher, but it was such an incredible bird offering such great views that I cannot help myself.  To mitigate the onslaught, I will attempt to provide some details on the bird. 

 

Their scientific name is Chloroceryle Americana, and they are the second smallest of the Kingfisher species, that honor held by the American Pygmy Kingfisher.  The species is about 2/3 the size of the more frequently encountered Belted Kingfisher.  The Green Kingfisher in this image is a female.  A rufous breast notably distinguishes males of the species. 

 

A Neotropic bird, they are widely distributed from northern Chile through Mexico. In the United States, they are resident in only the southernmost parts of Arizona and Texas.  I found this stunning lady at Patagonia Lake State Park in southern Arizona. 

 

For most of my life birds were no more than the little black, and occasionally red, things flitting around my house. About five years ago a stranger looking at a bug through backward facing binoculars piqued my interest. When I asked him what he was doing, he said "birding." Shocked, I wondered what that was. He then took me on a short tour of the woods pointing out the variety of birds in the area. I was hooked. 

 

That initial introduction has led me on a beautiful journey throughout the United States. It was the impetus for our move from overcrowded New Jersey to the extraordinary wonders of the high desert of Southern Arizona. It opened my eyes to the fantastic diversity of Gods creation.  For all that, I am truly blessed.  

 

Green Kingfisher II
©RGallucci Photography
---
Shoot Date: January 25, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Manual ¹⁄2000 sec at f/5.6 0 EV
Lens: EF800mm f/5.6L IS USM @ 800 mm
ISO: 1250

 

]]>
(RGallucci Photography) Arizona Birds High Desert Nature Southern Arizona Wildlife https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/1/green-kingfisher-ii Sat, 26 Jan 2019 15:03:34 GMT
Green Kingfisher https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/1/green-kingfisher Green KingfisherGreen KingfisherThe excitement of the chance to find a Green Kingfisher made the mile or so walk along the water's edge at Patagonia Lake Park seem like a leisurely stroll. We arrived at the area where we had been told it was spotted in the late afternoon and immediately began to scan the shorelines for the bird. Not one to disappoint, the Kingfisher appeared shortly after, perched upon a dead scrag hanging over a feeder creek to the lake. If the story had ended there, I would have been as happy as a kid in a playground. But it didn't.

Moments later the bird dove down, disappearing into the shallow waters, only to emerge shortly after with something in its bill. For the next 3 minutes I do not think my finger let go of the shutter. Through the viewfinder I watched the bird manipulate its prey, twisting and turning it until it lined up with its throat. And then, with a quick tilt of its head, the meal was done, leaving us both satiated.

We lingered with the bird for about another hour, watching it fly up and down the river bank, before making our trek back to the car. Having the lingering memory of the experience made the mile or so walk back seem like a leisurely stroll.

The Green Kingfisher is uncommon in the high desert of Southern Arizona. It is a bird of central america, and our area represents the northernmost tip of its range. Just glancing one in the wild is a thrill. Getting good photos of the bird is a fantastic experience. I am humbled that I was allowed the gift to see and share this beautiful creature of Gods creation. I remain His scribe.
Shoot Date: January 25, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Shutter priority ¹⁄₂₀₀₀ sec at f/5.6 0 EV
Lens: EF800mm f/5.6L IS USM @ 800 mm
ISO: 500

The excitement of the chance to find a Green Kingfisher made the mile or so walk along the water's edge at Patagonia Lake Park seem like a leisurely stroll. We arrived at the area where we had been told it was spotted in the late afternoon and immediately began to scan the shorelines for the bird. Not one to disappoint, the Kingfisher appeared shortly after, perched upon a dead scrag hanging over a feeder creek to the lake. If the story had ended there, I would have been as happy as a kid in a playground.  But it didn't. 

 

Moments later the bird dove down, disappearing into the shallow waters, only to emerge shortly after with something in its bill. For the next 3 minutes I do not think my finger let go of the shutter. Through the viewfinder I watched the bird manipulate its prey, twisting and turning it until it lined up with its throat. And then, with a quick tilt of its head, the meal was done, leaving us both satiated. 

 

We lingered with the bird for about another hour, watching it fly up and down the river bank, before making our trek back to the car. Having the lingering memory of the experience made the mile or so walk back seem like a leisurely stroll. 

 

The Green Kingfisher is uncommon in the high desert of Southern Arizona. It is a bird of Central America, and our area represents the northernmost tip of its range. Just glancing one in the wild is a thrill. Getting good photos of the bird is a fantastic experience. I am humbled that I was allowed the gift to see and share this beautiful creature of Gods creation. I remain His scribe. 

 

Green Kingfisher
©RGallucci Photography
---
Shoot Date: January 25, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Shutter priority ¹⁄2000 sec at f/5.6 0 EV
Lens: EF800mm f/5.6L IS USM @ 800 mm
ISO: 500

 

]]>
(RGallucci Photography) Arizona Birds Green High Desert Kingfisher Nature Southern Arizona https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/1/green-kingfisher Sat, 26 Jan 2019 03:29:32 GMT
Shooting the Blood Moon https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/1/shooting-the-blood-moon Shooting the Blood MoonShooting the Blood MoonWith my camera pointed towards the heavens it occurred to me that if I never again see the wonder of the sky as it revealed itself last night, I will consider self to have been blessed by God for the gift of glimpsing it this once. Few are the times that the moon reveals herself with the vast star-filled blanket visible behind her. It only happens during the rare moments of a full eclipse. Even more unusual is an eclipse during a super moon, a time when our neighboring satellite is closest to earth. Last night was such a time.

Many gazed in wonder as the sun-bright moon fell into a red shadow, but that is not what filled me with awe. What I will never forget is the time when the moon went into totality and hung, blood red, in the star-filled sky. I have never seen anything so majestic. To me, once again, it proved that God, the master of the universe, is the greatest of all artists.

Words fail to express the level of humility I feel for the privilege of witnessing this spectacle. I gratefully share its beauty so that others might experience the awe of the moment and ponder, as I did, our place in the His universe. I remain dedicated to being His scribe.

Blood Moon over the Dragoon Mountains
©RGallucci Photography
Shoot Date: January 20, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
15.0 sec at f/2.5 0 EV
Lens: 15mm @ 15 mm
ISO: 2500

With my camera pointed towards the heavens it occurred to me that if I never again see the wonder of the sky as it revealed itself last night, I will consider self to have been blessed by God for the gift of glimpsing it this once. Few are the times that the moon reveals herself with the vast star-filled blanket visible behind her. It only happens during the rare moments of a full eclipse. Even more unusual is an eclipse during a super moon, a time when our neighboring satellite is closest to earth.  Last night was such a time. 

 

Many gazed in wonder as the sun-bright moon fell into a red shadow, but that is not what filled me with awe. What I will never forget is the time when the moon went into totality and hung, blood red, in the star-filled sky. I have never seen anything so majestic. To me, once again, it proved that God, the master of the universe, is the greatest of all artists. 

 

Words fail to express the level of humility I feel for the privilege of witnessing this spectacle. I gratefully share its beauty so that others might experience the awe of the moment and ponder, as I did, our place in the His universe. I remain dedicated to being His scribe. 

 

Blood Moon over the Dragoon Mountains
©RGallucci Photography
---
Shoot Date: January 20, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
15.0 sec at f/2.5 0 EV
Lens: Irix 15mm @ 15 mm
ISO: 2500

 

 

]]>
(RGallucci Photography) Arizona Blood Moon Eclipse High Desert landscapes Nature Night Sky Southern Arizona Supermoon https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/1/shooting-the-blood-moon Mon, 21 Jan 2019 20:56:29 GMT
Red Barn at Night https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/1/red-barn-at-night Red BarnRed BarnShoot Date: May 5, 2018
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
15.0 sec at f/2.5 0 EV
Lens: 15mm @ 15 mm
ISO: 1600

At a lonely barn in the desolate grasslands of the Las Ciegnas Valley, one can allow their imagination to travel back to an earlier century. Here, a small fire chases the chill from a sleeping cowboy's bones, the burning red embers gripping a cast iron kettle of joe so that its steaming hot liquid is ready for the morning roundup. Then, as now, the quiet is only broken by the occasional wail of coyotes, their eerie call a beacon to the pack announcing their place in the wilderness.  The barn and the fences may pen my body to the area, but the stars guide my soul and imagination to the heavens.  I am free! 

 

These are the types of thoughts I ponder while capturing the pristine majesty of the night sky against the dilapidated pioneer structures of a long-gone era.  There is a power in such scenes, a unity created by history in the structures of the past, the lonely singleness of the moment of the present and the endless eternity of the Milky Ways path to infinity.  These are times that I humbly remember our small place and time in the immortal tapestry of God's glorious masterpiece.  These are times that I  bow my head in grateful praise that He has allowed me to be its witness. 

 

It is why I am obliged to be a scribe to His glory. 

 

Red Barn at Night
©RGallucci Photography

---

Shoot Date: May 5, 2018
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
15.0 sec at f/2.5 0 EV
Lens: 15mm @ 15 mm
ISO: 1600

 

 

]]>
(RGallucci Photography) Arizona Empire Ranch High Desert landscapes Milky Way Nature Night Sky Old Barn Southern Arizona https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/1/red-barn-at-night Thu, 17 Jan 2019 17:04:31 GMT
'Mundi https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/1/mundi 'Mundi'MundiI think this Coatimundi is Italian-American. As one I can share that only an Italian-American can talk with its hands the way this one appears to be doing. I imagine if it could speak it would be saying, "Hey! Look! I'm eatin' here."

This is the world famous Santa Rita Lodge Coati, a wild animal that has figured out that hummingbird feeders make for good drinking. As we watched it tipped the feeder into its waiting mouth, tongue slurping frantically and nectar spilling wantonly down its chest. When it had its fill, it meticulously licked every last drop off its chest legs and paws before casually walking back into the forest. I have heard that it visits the feeders daily, which is incredible because at Santa Rita Lodge the seating is less than five feet from the feeders. Clearly, this 'mundi has no fear of the humans raptly enjoying its antics.

A member of the Racoon family the Coatimundi is at the northmost part of its range in Arizona. While prevalent south of the US border down through South America it ranges in the US are confined to southern parts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. Gregarious and familial, troops as large as 40 individuals can be found at altitudes between 4,000 and 7,000 feet.

The coatimundi is just one of the species that thrive in the Sky Island region of the Southern Arizona High Desert. As the most biologically diverse ecosystem in the United States this region provides a continual adventure for any willing to explore its wonders. On the day we spied this Coati we also enjoyed observing the rare Blue-throated Hummingbird (on the same feeder as the Coati) and the very rare White-throated Thrush.

I am grateful for the privilege of seeing and sharing this beautiful creature and humbled by the grace of God for the honor. I remain dedicated to being His scribe.
Shoot Date: January 12, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Aperture priority ¹⁄₂₅₀ sec at f/5.6 0 EV
Lens: TAMRON SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD A011 @ 150 mm
ISO: 100

I think this Coatimundi is Italian-American. As one I can share that only an Italian-American can talk with its hands the way this one appears to be doing.  I imagine if it could speak it would be saying, "Hey! Look! I'm eatin' here." 

 

This is the world famous Santa Rita Lodge Coati, a wild animal that has figured out that hummingbird feeders make for good drinking. As we watched it tipped the feeder into its waiting mouth, tongue slurping frantically and nectar spilling wantonly down its chest.  When it had its fill, it meticulously licked every last drop off its chest legs and paws before casually walking back into the forest. I have heard that it visits the feeders daily, which is incredible because at Santa Rita Lodge the seating is less than five feet from the feeders. Clearly, this 'Mundi has no fear of the humans raptly enjoying its antics. 

 

A member of the Racoon family the Coatimundi is at the northmost part of its range in Arizona. While prevalent south of the US border down through South America it ranges in the US are confined to southern parts of  Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. Gregarious and familial, troops as large as 40 individuals can be found at altitudes between 4,000 and 7,000 feet.  

 

The coatimundi is just one of the species that thrive in the Sky Island region of the Southern Arizona High Desert. As the most biologically diverse ecosystem in the United States this region provides a continual adventure for any willing to explore its wonders. On the day we spied this Coati we also enjoyed observing the rare Blue-throated Hummingbird (on the same feeder as the Coati) and the very rare White-throated Thrush. 

 

I am grateful for the privilege of seeing and sharing this beautiful creature and humbled by the grace of God for the honor. I remain dedicated to being His scribe. 

 

'Mundi
©RGallucci Photography
---
Shoot Date: January 12, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Aperture priority ¹⁄250 sec at f/5.6 0 EV
Lens: TAMRON SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD A011 @ 150 mm
ISO: 100

]]>
(RGallucci Photography) Arizona Coatimundi High Desert Nature Southern Arizona https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/1/mundi Tue, 15 Jan 2019 17:13:49 GMT
Council Rock https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/1/council-rock Council RockCouncil RockTonight I stood with the ghost of Cochise and watched as the sun gave a eulogy to his legacy with a closing burst of golden beams to guide his spirit's journey home.

I've often shared that my favorite of the Sky Island mountain ranges is the Dragoons in Cochise County. This incredible collection of misshaped jagged cliffs jut from the ground at improbable angles as if some subterranean warrior thrust them through the surface to create a defense of their sacred realm. There is no symmetry in the Dragoons. Gigantic boulders weathered by the eons into oblong spheres border the base of these mountains while large hoodoos stand sentry along its ridges. There is chaos here that inspires a serenity in the beauty of understanding that it is an abstract sculpture created by God long before mankind had the notion of abstract design.

It is in the Dragoon Mountains that Cochise, the great warrior chief of the Chiricahua Apache, and his fighters, found the sustenance, shelter and the strategic advantage to hold off the US Military pursuers of his tribe. And, it was in the Dragoon Mountains, at Council Rock, that he ended the years-long battle with the US in a meeting with General Howard. It was a treaty the US would betray.

Council Rock has been a place of continuous gathering since 200 AD when the Mogollon people settled in the southern Arizona High Desert. They left pictographs on the walls to attest to their residence. The Chiricahua Apache used the area next, augmenting the primitive artwork with that of their own. Today adventurous tourists gather here, in gratefully small numbers, to view the artwork (and never to touch it!), examine the metates where corn was ground, and hopefully to gain a sense of appreciation for this uncommonly beautiful land.

As the sun finally escaped the horizon and we walked back to our cars I could not help but be thankful that God allowed me the grace to know and share this sacred site. I am humbled by His gifts and remain dedicated to being His scribe.
Shoot Date: January 13, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Aperture priority 2.0 sec at f/16 0 EV
Lens: EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM @ 16 mm
ISO: 100

Tonight I stood with the ghost of Cochise and watched as the sun gave a eulogy to his legacy with a closing burst of golden beams to guide his spirit's journey home.  

 

I've often shared that my favorite of the Sky Island mountain ranges is the Dragoons in Cochise County.  This incredible collection of misshaped jagged cliffs jut from the ground at improbable angles as if some subterranean warrior thrust them through the surface to create a defense of their sacred realm.  There is no symmetry in the Dragoons. Gigantic boulders weathered by the eons into oblong spheres border the base of these mountains while large hoodoos stand sentry along its ridges. There is chaos here that inspires a serenity in the beauty of understanding that it is an abstract sculpture created by God long before mankind had the notion of abstract design. 

 

It is in the Dragoon Mountains that Cochise, the great warrior chief of the Chiricahua Apache, and his fighters, found the sustenance, shelter and the strategic advantage to hold off the US Military pursuers of his tribe. And, it was in the Dragoon Mountains, at Council Rock, that he ended the years-long battle with the US  in a meeting with General Howard. It was a treaty the US would betray. 

 

Council Rock has been a place of continuous gathering since 200 AD when the Mogollon people settled in the southern Arizona High Desert. They left pictographs on the walls to attest to their residence. The Chiricahua Apache used the area next, augmenting the primitive artwork with that of their own. Today adventurous tourists gather here, in gratefully small numbers, to view the artwork (and never to touch it!), examine the metates where corn was ground, and hopefully to gain a sense of appreciation for this uncommonly beautiful land. 

 

As the sun finally escaped the horizon and we walked back to our cars I could not help but be thankful that God allowed me the grace to know and share this sacred site. I am humbled by His gifts and remain dedicated to being His scribe. 

 

Council Rock
©RGallucci Photography
---
Shoot Date: January 13, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Aperture priority 2.0 sec at f/16 0 EV
Lens: EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM @ 16 mm w/ND.9
ISO: 100

 

]]>
(RGallucci Photography) Arizona Council Rock Dragoon High Desert landscapes Mountains Nature Southern Arizona https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/1/council-rock Mon, 14 Jan 2019 19:54:37 GMT
Grasslands https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/1/grasslands GrasslandsGrasslandsWhat is the Southern Arizona High Desert? Many believe this is the land of the Saguaro, where giant cactus climb from the ground like stick figures in a cartoon. Others imagine it to be a dehydrated landscape of arid ground, dotted with prickly pear cactus haphazardly strewn over the dried and cracked soil. You can find pockets of both of those landscapes here, but they are not what defines this most varied ecosystem in the United States.

Most who do not share the joy of living here have no idea what High Desert of Arizona looks like. They do not know of a land that flourishes in its desolation. It is land where oases of ancient trees punctuate valleys of rolling hills of grass; all fed by the runoff from the natural Sky Island mountain ranges. A land where magical sunrises and mystic sunsets are the norms. Where one day the sky may pulse in hues of pink and purple pastels, while the next it will erupt in flaming tendrils of red and orange. It is a land where at days end the mountains sing in songs of gold as if kissed by Midas.

In the Southern Arizona High Desert one has only to travel to the next valley to be rewarded with an entirely new and unique ecosystem. This image is of the Cienega Valley. Ringed by the Huachuca, Whetstone and Mustang mountains on one side and the San Rita mountains on the other the Cienaga valley is a lush riparian grassland of rolling hills sustained by the ever-flowing Cienega Creek. During the gloaming light of the pre-sunset the valley takes on soft shadows while the Mustang Mountains explode in a layer of gilded highlights. It is a period of sublime peace and serenity. A time when the exhausted daylight takes a final exhale before evening descends. It is my favorite time of day, no matter where I may be. It is when I feel closest to God.

I remain thankful for the opportunity to capture and share these times and hope to continue to be His scribe faithfully.
Shoot Date: January 12, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Aperture priority ⅕ sec at f/16 0 EV
Lens: TAMRON SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD A011 @ 158 mm
ISO: 100

What is the Southern Arizona High Desert? Many believe this is the land of the Saguaro, where giant cactus climb from the ground like stick figures in a cartoon. Others imagine it to be a dehydrated landscape of arid ground, dotted with prickly pear cactus haphazardly strewn over the dried and cracked soil. You can find pockets of both of those landscapes here, but they are not what defines this most varied ecosystem in the United States. 

Most who do not share the joy of living here have no idea what High Desert of Arizona looks like. They do not know of a land that flourishes in its desolation.  It is land where oases of ancient trees punctuate valleys of rolling hills of grass; all fed by the runoff from the natural Sky Island mountain ranges.  A land where magical sunrises and mystic sunsets are the norms. Where one day the sky may pulse in hues of pink and purple pastels, while the next it will erupt in flaming tendrils of red and orange. It is a land where at days end the mountains sing in songs of gold as if kissed by Midas. 

 

In the Southern Arizona High Desert one has only to travel to the next valley to be rewarded with an entirely new and unique ecosystem.  This image is of the Cienega Valley. Ringed by the Huachuca, Whetstone and Mustang mountains on one side and the San Rita mountains on the other the Cienaga valley is a lush riparian grassland of rolling hills sustained by the ever-flowing  Cienega Creek. During the gloaming light of the pre-sunset, the valley takes on soft shadows while the Mustang Mountains explode in a layer of gilded highlights. It is a period of sublime peace and serenity.  A time when the exhausted daylight takes a final exhale before evening descends. It is my favorite time of day, no matter where I may be. It is when I feel closest to God. 

 

I remain thankful for the opportunity to capture and share these times and hope to continue to be His scribe faithfully. 

 

Grasslands
©RGallucci Photography
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Shoot Date: January 12, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Aperture priority ⅕ sec at f/16 0 EV
Lens: TAMRON SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD A011 @ 158 mm
ISO: 100

 

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(RGallucci Photography) Arizona High Desert landscapes Nature Southern Arizona https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/1/grasslands Sun, 13 Jan 2019 19:04:50 GMT
Coronado Sunrise https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/1/coronado-sunrise Coronado SunriseCoronado SunriseWhat a gift it is to be alive. What a joy to be able to share it with others. What an incredible adventure awaits each day if we are willing to experience it.

This morning, at sunrise, it was as if the sky and the ground exchanged stations. A dense winter fog blanketed the valley floor while the air above the Sky Island mountains remained crystal clear. I knew that there would be no drama from the heights but hoped to capture the fog blanketing the valley. I did not expect the bright pastel colors that are the signature of sunrises in the southern Arizona high desert to demand attention from within the ground coating cloud bank. But then as the sun crept over San Jose mountain, the world exploded into a shimmering palette of diffused pink and yellow hues. It was nothing short of spectacular. It was as magnificent a gift from God as I could ever have hoped for on the anniversary of my birth.

I often share that I am blessed beyond measure to wtiness and share the beauty of this world. After last evenings post and the responses I received, I would be remiss if I did not share how humbly grateful and further blessed I am that so many appreciate the words and photographs I share. There is nothing more grand or essential than people. They, we, are the vessels of hope that carry the message of life and love to each other. That God has granted me the grace to receive such positive support from all of you is a gift beyond any I could ever have foreseen. It is a nutrient to my soul that sustain my efforts to continue to share His great masterpiece of a world. I remain, gratefully, His scribe.
Shoot Date: January 11, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Aperture priority ¹⁄₄₀ sec at f/16 ‒ 2 EV
Lens: EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM @ 17 mm
ISO: 100

What a gift it is to be alive. What a joy to be able to share it with others. What an incredible adventure awaits each day if we are willing to experience it. 

 

This morning, at sunrise, it was as if the sky and the ground exchanged stations. A dense winter fog blanketed the valley floor while the air above the Sky Island mountains remained crystal clear. I knew that there would be no drama from the heights but hoped to capture the fog blanketing the valley.  I did not expect the bright pastel colors that are the signature of sunrises in the southern Arizona high desert to demand attention from within the ground coating cloud bank. But then as the sun crept over San Jose mountain, the world exploded into a shimmering palette of diffused pink and yellow hues. It was nothing short of spectacular. It was as magnificent a gift from God as I could ever have hoped for on the anniversary of my birth.  

 

I often share that I am blessed beyond measure to witness and share the beauty of this world. After last evenings post and the responses I received, I would be remiss if I did not share how humbly grateful and further blessed I am that so many appreciate the words and photographs I share. There is nothing more grand or essential than people. They, we, are the vessels of hope that carry the message of life and love to each other. That God has granted me the grace to receive such positive support from all of you is a gift beyond any I could ever have foreseen. It is a nutrient to my soul that sustain my efforts to continue to share His great masterpiece of a world. I remain, gratefully, His scribe. 

 

Coronado Sunrise
©RGallucci Photography

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Shoot Date: January 11, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Aperture priority ¹⁄40 sec at f/16
Lens: EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM @ 17 mm w/ND .9 filter
ISO: 100

 

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(RGallucci Photography) Arizona High Desert landscapes Nature Southern Arizona Sunrise https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/1/coronado-sunrise Fri, 11 Jan 2019 18:05:48 GMT
A Pyrenees Town https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/1/a-pyrenees-town A Pyrenees TownA Pyrenees TownThe most remarkable thing about the towns that dot the mountain landscape in Aragon Spain is how unremarkable they are. Towns that were established here centuries ago are often not more than a central church and a few homes. Surrounded by farmland and often populated by roaming cattle that outnumber the people, life here is infinitely more simple.

It was the red field of flowers that motivated me to pull off the highway to capture this photo and memorialize our first trip to the Pyrenees. I couldn't think of a better image to reflect on once we returned. I cannot wait until we return this June to host our first international workshop.
Shoot Date: June 13, 2018
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Aperture priority ¹⁄₂₅₀ sec at f/8.0 ‒ 2 EV
Lens: EF28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM @ 100 mm
ISO: 100

The most remarkable thing about the towns that dot the mountain landscape in Aragon Spain is how unremarkable they are. Towns that were established here centuries ago are often not more than a central church and a few homes. Surrounded by farmland and often populated by roaming cattle that outnumber the people, life here is infinitely more simple. 

 

It was the red field of flowers that motivated me to pull off the highway to capture this photo and memorialize our first trip to the Pyrenees. I couldn't think of a better image to reflect on once we returned. I cannot wait until we return this June to host our first international workshop. 

 

A Pyrenees Town
©RGallucci Photography

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Shoot Date: June 13, 2018
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Aperture priority ¹⁄250 sec at f/8.0 
Lens: EF28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM @ 100 mm
ISO: 100
 

 

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(RGallucci Photography) Aragon landscapes Pyrenees Spain Towns https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/1/a-pyrenees-town Fri, 11 Jan 2019 00:20:42 GMT
Dragoon Trails https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/1/dragoon-trails Dragoon TrailsDragoon TrailsMost people see the sky move throughout the night but do not realize that the sky is stationary to our view, it is the earth that is moving. The six hours we spent the other night photographing the Quadrantids Meteor shower resulted in over 1000 images. It seemed like a waste to delete all those shots, so I took the first two hundred and stitched them together into star trails. Each line in the sky is a star whose position moved relative to my camera. The area with the smallest movement in right next to Polaris, the North Star. It remains relatively stable through the night because it is at the center of the earth rotational axis. While geeky to some I think it is star trail images and the way they illustrate the earth's movement are extraordinarily cool.

The Dragoons are one of my all-time favorite mountain ranges. With their bronze fractured rock formations, they look like some alien landscape. I have also been told that they look like dinosaur dung - but that would be a gigantic dinosaur!

This is a fantastic world. It is a circular tapestry of infinite beauty that reveals itself in so many ways. It is my belief and faith that it was created by a benevolent God, the master artist. The words to express my humble gratitude at being able to witness this artistry and share it often seem trite and feeble. But as I continue as His scribe, I will continue to try to do Him honor.
Shoot Date: January 4, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Manual 15.0 sec at f/2.5 0 EV
Lens: 15mm @ 15 mm
ISO: 3200

Most people see the sky move throughout the night but do not realize that the sky is stationary to our view, it is the earth that is moving. The six hours we spent the other night photographing the Quadrantids Meteor shower resulted in over 1000 images. It seemed like a waste to delete all those shots, so I took the first two hundred and stitched them together into star trails. Each line in the sky is a star whose position moved relative to my camera. The area with the smallest movement in right next to Polaris, the North Star. It remains relatively stable through the night because it is at the center of the earth rotational axis. While geeky to some I think it is star trail images and the way they illustrate the earth's movement are extraordinarily cool. 

 

The Dragoons are one of my all-time favorite mountain ranges. With their bronze fractured rock formations, they look like some alien landscape. I have also been told that they look like dinosaur dung - but that would be a gigantic dinosaur! 

 

This is a fantastic world. It is a circular tapestry of infinite beauty that reveals itself in so many ways. It is my belief and faith that it was created by a benevolent God, the master artist. The words to express my humble gratitude at being able to witness this artistry and share it often seem trite and feeble. But as I continue as His scribe, I will continue to try to do Him honor. 

 

Dragoon Trails
©RGallucci Photography
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Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Night Sky 
Manual 15.0 sec at f/2.5 0 EV
Lens: Irix 15mm @ 15 mm
ISO: 3200
Two hundred image stacked in StarStaX
Foreground
Manual 15.0 sec at f/2.5 0 EV
Lens: 15mm @ 15 mm
ISO: 3200
Captured early morning

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(RGallucci Photography) Arizona Dragoons High Desert landscapes Nature Night Sky Southern Arizona Star Trails https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/1/dragoon-trails Sun, 06 Jan 2019 03:42:17 GMT
Quadrantids https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/1/quadrantids QuadrantidsQuadrantidsAs we stood at the foot of the Dragoon Mountains the uncharacteristically 23˚ cold due to the recent snow storms that blanketed the southern Arizona high desert this past week froze us to the bone. But that same storm left the night skies the clearest and most brilliant I have ever seen. It was well worth the discomfort.

Our goal was straightforward. The first meteor shower of the year, the Quadrantids, would peak this evening and we wanted to be there to capture as many "shooting stars" as we could. The unique, and off wordly landscape of the Dragoon Mountains made for the best setting we could imagine. We started shooting at 1:00 am, and six and a half hours later we wrapped up, hoping that we had some keepers.

All told I ended up with over fifty meteors. I chose the twenty I liked best and created this composite.

The Quadrantids meteor shower radiates from the constellation Bootes, which sits just below Ursa Major (the Big Dipper). It has the shortest peak of any meteor showers, only one day. The best time to view it is between the hours of 2:00 am and 7:00 am. The meteors pictured in this image all radiate out from the showers radiant.

Spending the night with friends watching the grand power of Gods brushstroke paint the sky with flaming lines of brilliant color once again reminded me of how great this word He created is. I cannot imagine being more blessed than I am to bear witness, and share this glory. I am humbled to be scribe.
Shoot Date: January 4, 2019
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Manual 15.0 sec at f/2.5 0 EV
Lens: 15mm @ 15 mm
ISO: 3200

 

As we stood at the foot of the Dragoon Mountains the uncharacteristically 23˚ cold due to the recent snow storms that blanketed the southern Arizona high desert this past week froze us to the bone. But that same storm left the night skies the clearest and most brilliant I have ever seen. It was well worth the discomfort.

 

Our goal was straightforward. The first meteor shower of the year, the Quadrantids, would peak this evening and we wanted to be there to capture as many "shooting stars" as we could. The unique, and off-worldly landscape of the Dragoon Mountains made for the best setting we could imagine. We started shooting at 1:00 am, and six and a half hours later we wrapped up, hoping that we had some keepers.

 

All told I ended up with over fifty meteors. I chose the twenty I liked best and created this composite.

 

The Quadrantids meteor shower radiates from the constellation Bootes, which sits just below Ursa Major (the Big Dipper). It has the shortest peak of any meteor showers, only one day. The best time to view it is between the hours of 2:00 am and 7:00 am. The meteors pictured in this image all radiate out from the showers radiant.

 

Spending the night with friends watching the grand power of Gods brushstroke paint the sky with flaming lines of brilliant color once again reminded me of how great this word He created is. I cannot imagine being more blessed than I am to bear witness, and share this glory. I am humbled to be His scribe.

 

Quadrantids

©RGallucci Photography

Shoot Date: January 4, 2019

Night Sky

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Manual 15.0 sec at f/2.5 0 EV

Lens: 15mm @ 15 mm

ISO: 3200

Twenty images stacked in Starry Landscape Tracker

Meteors

Manual 15.0 sec at f/2.5 0 EV

Lens: 15mm @ 15 mm

ISO: 3200

Individual Captures rotated around radiant

Foreground

Manual 15.0 sec at f/2.5 0 EV

Lens: 15mm @ 15 mm

ISO: 3200

Captured early morning

 

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(RGallucci Photography) Arizona High Desert landscapes Nature Night Sky Nightscape Quadrantids Southern Arizona https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2019/1/quadrantids Sat, 05 Jan 2019 05:29:48 GMT
The Wash https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2018/12/the-wash The WashThe WashHappy New Year! My last image of 2018. What a great year. One of my strangest first memories of moving here was the frequent flood warning signs that dot most of the roads. At first, I thought it was some peculiar Arizona humor. New friends assured me that it was not. People die each year in from the flash floods that rage down from the mountains during monsoon season. Still, having not yet experienced that most spectacular and renewing season of violent rainstorms framed by flaming shards of complex lightning I was skeptical. The only evidence I had to believe them was the numerous ravines of eroded land that the floodwaters left behind as they scoured through.

I've still not seen or experienced a flash flood, and I am good with that. Having witnessed the aftermath of the diestrus washed onto the roadways following one was enough to convince me of their power. Since then, the numerous washes that line the landscape have taken on new meaning to me. Dry and tranquil the majority of the year they are natural sculptures in the land. Their eroded walls tell a story of the history of the storms. To me, they are as much a part of the paradise that is the southern Arizona high desert as the mountains, cacti, forests, and wildlife, what is not natural though is seeing them covered in snow. Water in that form is as alien to their existence as it is to the rest of the desert.

I think that is why this image means so much to me. This is a year that has enlightened me to the extreme contrast between where I spent most of my life, the overpopulated NorthEast, and the Elysium of the Arizona high desert. At first out of place, I was a stranger in a strange land that I now comfortably call home. To my eye, I think the snow in the valley may feel the same. It was lucky to have fallen here.

This has been a year which has humbled me daily with the beauty of Gods creation. I am blessed to be His scribe.
Shoot Date: December 30, 2018
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Aperture priority ¹⁄₈₀ sec at f/22 ‒ 2 EV
Lens: TAMRON SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD A011 @ 150 mm
ISO: 100

Happy New Year! My last image of 2018. What a great year.  One of my strangest first memories of moving here was the frequent flood warning signs that dot most of the roads. At first, I thought it was some peculiar Arizona humor. New friends assured me that it was not. People die each year in from the flash floods that rage down from the mountains during monsoon season. Still, having not yet experienced that most spectacular and renewing season of violent rainstorms framed by flaming shards of complex lightning I was skeptical. The only evidence I had to believe them was the numerous ravines of eroded land that the floodwaters left behind as they scoured through.  

 

I've still not seen or experienced a flash flood, and I am good with that. Having witnessed the aftermath of the diestrus washed onto the roadways following one was enough to convince me of their power. Since then, the numerous washes that line the landscape have taken on new meaning to me. Dry and tranquil the majority of the year they are natural sculptures in the land. Their eroded walls tell a story of the history of the storms. To me, they are as much a part of the paradise that is the southern Arizona high desert as the mountains, cacti, forests, and wildlife, what is not natural though is seeing them covered in snow. Water in that form is as alien to their existence as it is to the rest of the desert. 

 

I think that is why this image means so much to me. This is a year that has enlightened me to the extreme contrast between where I spent most of my life, the overpopulated NorthEast, and the Elysium of the Arizona high desert. At first out of place, I was a stranger in a strange land that I now comfortably call home. To my eye, I think the snow in the valley may feel the same. It was lucky to have fallen here. 

 

This has been a year which has humbled me daily with the beauty of Gods creation. I am blessed to be His scribe. 

 

The Wash
©RGallucci Photography
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Shoot Date: December 30, 2018
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Aperture priority ¹⁄80 sec at f/22 
Lens: TAMRON SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD A011 @ 150 mm
ISO: 100
 

 

 

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(RGallucci Photography) Arizona High Desert Nature Southern Arizona https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2018/12/the-wash Mon, 31 Dec 2018 23:45:07 GMT
This Old Tree https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2018/12/this-old-tree This Old TreeThis Old TreeThis morning, yesterday's snowfall left a thin, silky white blanket on the San Pedro Valley. A brief reminder of the unusual winter storm. The snow is gone from now; its feeble hold was no match as the high desert temperature climbed back towards normal. But, as the microscopic droplets left, they paused briefly in the mountains, coalescing into wispy clouds that bid farewell to their brethrens stronghold above 5,000 feet, and then wafted away forever.

In the Valley this morning a century old cottonwood sparkled in a rarely worn white blazer. It has been decades, if ever, that it had worn this coat, but it fit like it was tailor made. Behind the old tree, snow-covered Miller and Carr mountains, ancient in their reign, shone radiantly in the midmorning suns reflection while the resilient San Pedro river trickled southward, not allowing the cold to freeze its tepid flow.

I stood humbly as I took in this landscape. By human standards I am old, but here, next to God's creation, I understood that I am but an infant. Each day He provides me with a new opportunity to reflect on His greatness. Each day I pray for the privilege to share it with the world. I am but a scribe to the glory of His Grace and redemption.
Shoot Date: December 30, 2018
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Aperture priority ¹⁄₁₆₀ sec at f/16 ‒ 2 EV
Lens: TAMRON SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD A011 @ 150 mm
ISO: 100

 

This morning, yesterday's snowfall left a thin, silky white blanket on the San Pedro Valley. A brief reminder of the unusual winter storm. The snow is gone from now; its feeble hold was no match as the high desert temperature climbed back towards normal. But, as the microscopic droplets left, they paused briefly in the mountains, coalescing into wispy clouds that bid farewell to their brethren's stronghold above 5,000 feet, and then wafted away forever. 

In the Valley this morning a century old cottonwood sparkled in a rarely worn white blazer. It has been decades, if ever, that it had worn this coat, but it fit like it was tailor made. Behind the old tree, snow-covered Miller and Carr mountains, ancient in their reign, shone radiantly in the midmorning suns reflection while the resilient San Pedro river trickled southward, not allowing the cold to freeze its tepid flow. 

I stood humbly as I took in this landscape. By human standards I am old, but here, next to God's creation, I understood that I am but an infant. Each day He provides me with a new opportunity to reflect on His greatness. Each day I pray for the privilege to share it with the world. I am but a scribe to the glory of His Grace and redemption. 

This Old Tree
©RGallucci Photography
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Shoot Date: December 30, 2018
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Aperture priority ¹⁄160 sec at f/16 
Lens: TAMRON SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD A011 @ 150 mm
ISO: 100

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(RGallucci Photography) Arizona High Desert Landscape landscapes Nature Southern Arizona https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2018/12/this-old-tree Mon, 31 Dec 2018 00:54:32 GMT
Winter in the High Desert https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2018/12/winter-in-the-high-desert Winter in the High DesertWinter in the High DesertI had a simple goal after I read the winter weather advisory last night. If it snowed in the valley, I was going to find someplace to get a picture of it. I hoped to get at least one image that captured the progression from arid desert to snow-covered wonderland. I never counted on a mothership cloud hovering over the summit of Miller Peak or the golden shafts of early morning light that highlighted the twin high peaks of the Huachucas.

While others drove towards the mountains to chronicle in great detail the wet snow-laden branches on the desert broom and cactus, I traveled to the dry land. It was the only way I might get my shot. As I drove down Hereford Road, past the river, and around the turn, I started looking for a place to set up. I've traveled that road a hundred times, but it was only on this journey that I noticed the high ridge overlooking the Echoing Hope Ranch. It was perfect. Pulling off the road, I climbed the wet, muddy incline and found myself on a tiny plateau whose vista view took in the San Pedro River, the entire valley and the full range of the mountains.

I cannot tell you why God provides me these opportunities and locations to tell the world the story of the magic that is southern Arizona. That knowledge is beyond my limited intellect. I just know that He continues to provide me with these blessings and I humbly capture and share them. I will scribe His greatness as long as He allows me the privilege and every day give thanks for the honor.
Shoot Date: December 28, 2018
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Aperture priority ¹⁄₁₂₅ sec at f/8.0 ‒ 2 EV
Lens: TAMRON SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD A011 @ 150 mm
ISO: 100

I had a simple goal after I read the winter weather advisory last night. If it snowed in the valley, I was going to find someplace to get a picture of it. I hoped to get at least one image that captured the progression from arid desert to snow-covered wonderland. I never counted on a mothership cloud hovering over the summit of Miller Peak or the golden shafts of early morning light that highlighted the twin high peaks of the Huachucas. 

 

While others drove towards the mountains to chronicle in great detail the wet snow-laden branches on the desert broom and cactus, I traveled to the dry land. It was the only way I might get my shot.  As I drove down Hereford Road, past the river, and around the turn, I started looking for a place to set up. I've traveled that road a hundred times, but it was only on this journey that I noticed the high ridge overlooking the Echoing Hope Ranch*. It was perfect. Pulling off the road, I climbed the wet, muddy incline and found myself on a tiny plateau whose vista view took in the San Pedro River, the entire valley and the full range of the mountains. 

 

I cannot tell you why God provides me these opportunities and locations to tell the world the story of the magic that is southern Arizona. That knowledge is beyond my limited intellect. I just know that He continues to provide me with these blessings and I humbly capture and share them. I will scribe His greatness as long as He allows me the privilege and every day give thanks for the honor. 

 

*I had not known of the Echoing Hope Ranch before today. I looked up their website.  They are a non-profit that provides care for Autistic and developmentally challenged people. I had no idea such an organization existed way out here in the outskirts of what others call civilization. I am proud that they do. I plan on contacting them to see if there is anything we can do to help their efforts. Life doesn't get any better than when you are given an opportunity to give back. 

 

Winter in the High Desert
©RGallucci Photography

 

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(RGallucci Photography) Arizona High Desert Landscape landscapes Mountains Nature Snow Southern Arizona https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2018/12/winter-in-the-high-desert Sat, 29 Dec 2018 00:09:53 GMT
The Hidden https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2018/12/the-hidden The HiddenThe HiddenI cannot imagine anything other than providence that allowed me to spot this regal eight-point buck hidden in the tall grass. Having left the house at 5:30am, I was returning from shooting the Christmas Day sunrise. In a passive driver's daze ceded by early hour and the empty road ahead of me, my thoughts focused on crawling back into bed for a couple of hours before starting the day's festivities when out of the corner of my eye, a random change in reflection brought me to full awareness. Slowing down, I expected to see a Harrier deftly gliding along the grasslands flowing ridges. Instead, I saw the copper-colored rack of this buck contrasting just enough with the pale flaxen hues of grass to make them visible. I believe he thought he was utterly camouflaged and, if not for the good fortune of an errant beam of light, he was.

I am continually awed by natures adaptations. The world that surrounds us can easily mingle into a smooth amalgam of sameness that hides its wonder and beauty when we do not take the time to examine its secrets. Seeing the sometimes stark but often subtle differentiation that allows creatures to merge with their surroundings offers a glimpse of the masterful artistry of Gods creation. I am blessed to be its witness and humbled to be His scribe.
Shoot Date: December 25, 2018
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Aperture priority ¹⁄₅₀₀ sec at f/6.3 0 EV
Lens: TAMRON SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD A011 @ 600 mm
ISO: 500

I cannot imagine anything other than providence that allowed me to spot this regal eight-point buck hidden in the tall grass. Having left the house at 5:30 am, I was returning from shooting the Christmas Day sunrise. In a passive driver's daze ceded by early hour and the empty road ahead of me, my thoughts focused on crawling back into bed for a couple of hours before starting the day's festivities when out of the corner of my eye, a random change in reflection brought me to full awareness. Slowing down, I expected to see a Harrier deftly gliding along the grasslands flowing ridges. Instead, I saw the copper-colored rack of this buck contrasting just enough with the pale flaxen hues of grass to make them visible. I believe he thought he was utterly camouflaged and, if not for the good fortune of an errant beam of light, he was. 

I am continually awed by natures adaptations. The world that surrounds us can easily mingle into a smooth amalgam of sameness that hides its wonder and beauty when we do not take the time to examine its secrets. Seeing the sometimes stark but often subtle differentiation that allows creatures to merge with their surroundings offers a glimpse of the masterful artistry of Gods creation. I am blessed to be its witness and humbled to be His scribe. 

The Hidden
©RGallucci Photography
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Shoot Date: December 25, 2018
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Aperture priority ¹⁄500 sec at f/6.3 0 EV
Lens: TAMRON SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD A011 @ 600 mm
ISO: 500

 

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(RGallucci Photography) Arizona Deer High Desert Landscape Nature Southern Arizona Wildlife https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2018/12/the-hidden Thu, 27 Dec 2018 18:58:56 GMT
Christmas Sunrise https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2018/12/christmas-sunrise Christmas SunriseChristmas SunriseFor to us a child is born, to us a son is given. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6 NIV

Today, as we rejoice in the gift of salvation and grace our Father bestowed upon us with the birth of His son may your spirit be filled with peace and your soul overflow with love.

This image was captured this morning in a field near my house. I do not need gifts on Christmas, I receive a bounty of them every day in the beauty and wonder of this world. I am blessed by the gifts from my Father and remain humbled to be His scribe.
Shoot Date: December 25, 2018
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Aperture priority 30.0 sec at f/16 ‒ 1 EV
Lens: EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM @ 24 mm
ISO: 100

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6 NIV

 

Today, as we rejoice in the gift of salvation and grace our Father bestowed upon us with the birth of His son may your spirit be filled with peace and your soul overflow with love.  

 

This image was captured this morning in a field near my house. I do not need gifts on Christmas, I receive a bounty of them every day in the beauty and wonder of this world. I am blessed by the gifts from my Father and remain humbled to be His scribe. 

 

Christmas Sunrise
©RGallucci Photography
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Shoot Date: December 25, 2018
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Aperture priority 30.0 sec at f/16
B&W ND10 Filter
Lens: EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM @ 24 mm
ISO: 100

 

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(RGallucci Photography) Arizona Desert" High Landscape Southern Arizona Sunrise https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2018/12/christmas-sunrise Tue, 25 Dec 2018 16:44:30 GMT
The Owl at the Beaver Pond https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2018/12/the-owl-at-the-beaver-pond The Owl at the Beaver PondThe Owl at the Beaver PondOne of the fascinating things about Owls is how well they blend into their surroundings. When you think about it, it is astounding. Here are some of the biggest birds in the forest and yet it is often impossible to see them while they roost on a branch near you. This was the case when Cindy and I found ourselves directly underneath this stately Great-horned Owl the other day.

We had heard that a pair of wood duck are wintering at an old abandoned beaver pond deep in the woods surrounding the San Pedro river. Trudging a mile and a half in the hot desert sun with my tripod, camera, and long lens over my shoulder, we finally reached a point on the trail that was parallel with the pond. From there, with no discernable path to follow, we had to bushwack through the woods to the spot where the ducks were supposed to be.

Have I mentioned lately that every plant in the Arizona high desert has some kind of thorn or pricker on it?

Navigating through the stinging underbrush and over the dried fallen leaves that covered the ground was not a silent process. By the time we reached the river there was no wood duck. I'm somewhat sure that they flushed to safer waters when they heard us approach. We waited an hour in the hopes that they would return before deciding to head back to the car.

As we turned to leave, we noticed a dry wash heading in the direction of the main trail. Not wanting to repeat the experience of the walk in, and unworried about the chance of a flash flood at this time of year, we decided to follow the cleared path out of the woods. With my tripod and camera once again over my shoulder and my head down, we began the walk out. We had only proceeded about ten feet when I noticed rocks covered in whitewash. Intrigued I looked up and there, not five feet over my head, was this Great-horned Owl. It had been watching us the entire time, completely unconcerned about our presence. Setting up my camera, I focused on the bird and realized that 600mm was way too much lens. Pulling back the lens so that the Owl was entirely in the frame I took my shots. Not wanting to overstay our welcome I only took about a dozen shots, thanked the bird for its accommodation and headed to the car.

The miracle of life that surrounds us is one of the greatest of Gods gifts. We have only to allow ourselves to become aware of our surroundings and open our eyes more fully to receive the reward of His splendor. I am blessed to have been given the privilege to experience these miracles and humbly remain a scribe to His wonders.
Shoot Date: December 21, 2018
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Shutter priority ¹⁄₅₀₀ sec at f/6.3 0 EV
Lens: TAMRON SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD A011 @ 350 mm
ISO: 1250

One of the fascinating things about Owls is how well they blend into their surroundings. When you think about it, it is astounding. Here are some of the biggest birds in the forest and yet it is often impossible to see them while they roost on a branch near you. This was the case when Cindy and I found ourselves directly underneath this stately Great-horned Owl the other day. 

 

We had heard that a pair of wood duck are wintering at an old abandoned beaver pond deep in the woods surrounding the San Pedro river.  Trudging a mile and a half in the hot desert sun with my tripod, camera, and long lens over my shoulder, we finally reached a point on the trail that was parallel with the pond. From there, with no discernable path to follow, we had to bushwack through the woods to the spot where the ducks were supposed to be. 

 

Have I mentioned lately that every plant in the Arizona high desert has some kind of thorn or pricker on it? 

 

Navigating through the stinging underbrush and over the dried fallen leaves that covered the ground was not a silent process. By the time we reached the river there was no wood duck. I'm somewhat sure that they flushed to safer waters when they heard us approach. We waited an hour in the hopes that they would return before deciding to head back to the car. 

 

As we turned to leave, we noticed a dry wash heading in the direction of the main trail. Not wanting to repeat the experience of the walk in, and unworried about the chance of a flash flood at this time of year, we decided to follow the cleared path out of the woods. With my tripod and camera once again over my shoulder and my head down, we began the walk out. We had only proceeded about ten feet when I noticed rocks covered in whitewash. Intrigued I looked up and there, not five feet over my head, was this Great-horned Owl. It had been watching us the entire time, completely unconcerned about our presence.  Setting up my camera, I focused on the bird and realized that 600mm was way too much lens. Pulling back the lens so that the Owl was entirely in the frame I took my shots. Not wanting to overstay our welcome I only took about a dozen shots, thanked the bird for its accommodation and headed to the car. 

 

The miracle of life that surrounds us is one of the greatest of Gods gifts. We have only to allow ourselves to become aware of our surroundings and open our eyes more fully to receive the reward of His splendor. I am blessed to have been given the privilege to experience these miracles and humbly remain a scribe to His wonders. 

 

The Owl at the Beaver Pond
©RGallucci Photography
---
Shoot Date: December 21, 2018
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Shutter priority ¹⁄500 sec at f/6.3 0 EV
Lens: TAMRON SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD A011 @ 350 mm
ISO: 1250

 

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(RGallucci Photography) Arizona Birding Birds High Desert Nature Owl San Pedro River Wildlife https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2018/12/the-owl-at-the-beaver-pond Mon, 24 Dec 2018 13:25:48 GMT
December Sunset over the Huachuca Mountains https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2018/12/december-sunset-over-the-huachuca-mountains December Sunset over the Huachuca MountainsDecember Sunset over the Huachuca MountainsThe Short-eared Owl is an unusual bird, especially for this area. When we found a pair living down the block from us, it was big news. So big that for the past week I have dutifully stood by the field where they were located in the hopes of capturing a good image of one. A nocturnal hunter, my best hope for a shot will be just before sunset or just after sunrise.

Last night that presented a challenge. As I stood at the fence separating the field from the road and waited for the owls to begin their hunt, I noticed that the sky over the Huachuca mountains was blossoming into a spectacular sunset. Not wanting to miss the Owls, but with only one camera, I did what any modern photographer would do - whipped out my iPhone and prayed it would capture a good image.

The Owl did eventually show up, but it was too dark to get a good photo. But I did get this shot of the sunset, and I can live with that.
Shoot Date: December 22, 2018
iPhone 8 Plus
Normal ¹⁄₂₀₀ sec at f/1.8 ‒ 2 EV
Lens: iPhone 8 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 @ 3.99 mm
ISO: 20

 

The Short-eared Owl is an unusual bird, especially for this area. When we found a pair living down the block from us, it was big news. So big that for the past week I have dutifully stood by the field where they were located in the hopes of capturing a good image of one. A nocturnal hunter, my best hope for a shot will be just before sunset or just after sunrise. 

 

Last night that presented a challenge. As I stood at the fence separating the field from the road and waited for the owls to begin their hunt, I noticed that the sky over the Huachuca mountains was blossoming into a spectacular sunset. Not wanting to miss the Owls, but with only one camera, I did what any modern photographer would do - whipped out my iPhone and prayed it would capture a good image. 

 

The Owl did eventually show up, but it was too dark to get a good photo. But I did get this shot of the sunset, and I can live with that. 

 

December Sunset over the Huachuca Mountains 
©RGallucci Photography
---
Shoot Date: December 22, 2018
iPhone 8 Plus
Normal ¹⁄₂₀₀ sec at f/1.8 ‒ 2 EV
Lens: iPhone 8 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 @ 3.99 mm
ISO: 20

 

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(RGallucci Photography) Arizona High Desert Landscape Mountains Southern Arizona Sunset https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2018/12/december-sunset-over-the-huachuca-mountains Sun, 23 Dec 2018 13:51:38 GMT
Sandhill Crane https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2018/12/sandhill-crane Sandhill CraneSandhill CraneI first visited Whitewater Draw, in McNeal AZ, in November 2018 during our Beverly Hillbillies style adventure moving from New Jersey to our new home in Hereford. My sense of awe upon hearing and seeing the thousands of Sandhill Cranes converged at this little oasis in the high desert was complete. Since then I have visited "The Draw" many times, with each visit adding to a chapter to the unfolding story in my imagination of this magical place. And with each visit, I have hoped to capture a quintessential image that captures the beauty and wonder of simultaneously serene and chaotic ebb and flow of life there.

I have concluded that this is not possible. Whitewater Draw is a testament to the symbiotic existence of the individual and the whole. It is a place to gestalt in happiness at the cohesive totality of its parts. And, it is a place to micro-focus on the individuality of the lives that embrace its presence. Each visit is a new experience, and each tour provides a new revelation. It is one of the greatest testaments that I know of to God's will for us to live in a diversified and harmonious existence.

Therefore, for now, I have given up on my quest for a single image that captures what "The Draw" is. I do not believe that would do it justice. I am now embarking on creating a series of images that tell the story of this fantastic island of abundant life in the Southern Arizona high desert. At the heart of the story is the Sandhill Crane. A singularly unique and beautiful bird that winters here in the tens of thousands. It is the Sandhill Crane that lives in the epicenter of "The Draw" and at the heart of the story.

This image of a Sandhills Crane banking in flight, with the water below, the fields and farmlands behind and the mountains in the background is the first of these images. I pray that I do service to God and the glory of His creation as I tell this story. I humbly remain His scribe.
Shoot Date: December 18, 2018
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Manual ¹⁄₁₀₀₀ sec at f/9.0 0 EV
Lens: TAMRON SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD A011 @ 600 mm
ISO: 500

I first visited Whitewater Draw, in McNeal AZ,  in November 2018 during our Beverly Hillbillies style adventure moving from New Jersey to our new home in Hereford. My sense of awe upon hearing and seeing the thousands of Sandhill Cranes converged at this little oasis in the high desert was complete. Since then I have visited "The Draw" many times, with each visit adding to a chapter to the unfolding story in my imagination of this magical place.  And with each visit, I have hoped to capture a quintessential image that captures the beauty and wonder of simultaneously serene and chaotic ebb and flow of life there. 

 

I have concluded that this is not possible. Whitewater Draw is a testament to the symbiotic existence of the individual and the whole.  It is a place to gestalt in happiness at the cohesive totality of its parts. And, it is a place to micro-focus on the individuality of the lives that embrace its presence. Each visit is a new experience, and each tour provides a new revelation. It is one of the greatest testaments that I know of to God's will for us to live in a diversified and harmonious existence. 

 

Therefore, for now, I have given up on my quest for a single image that captures what "The Draw" is. I do not believe that would do it justice. I am now embarking on creating a series of images that tell the story of this fantastic island of abundant life in the Southern Arizona high desert. At the heart of the story is the Sandhill Crane. A singularly unique and beautiful bird that winters here in the tens of thousands. It is the Sandhill Crane that lives in the epicenter of "The Draw" and at the heart of the story.

 

This image of a Sandhills Crane banking in flight, with the water below, the fields and farmlands behind and the mountains in the background is the first of these images. I pray that I do service to God and the glory of His creation as I tell this story. I humbly remain His scribe. 

 

Sandhill Crane
©RGallucci Photography
---
Shoot Date: December 18, 2018
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Manual ¹⁄1000 sec at f/9.0 0 EV
Lens: TAMRON SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD A011 @ 600 mm
ISO: 500

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(RGallucci Photography) https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2018/12/sandhill-crane Sat, 22 Dec 2018 14:03:45 GMT
Vermillion Flycatcher https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2018/12/vermillion-flycatcher Vermillion FlycatcherVermillion FlycatcherOne of the great alures of birding is to see the incredible depth of color and diversity of the thousands of species of birds that dominate our planet. For this birder, the gamut of joy encompasses the full spectrum of combinations, from the muted shades of dusky brown and gray that some species camouflage themselves in through the brilliant explosions of color that adorn other members of the avian tribe. However, within that all-encompassing love, there are a few species that stand apart in my adoration.

The Vermillion Flycatcher ranks high on that list. At just 5 inches in size, it makes up for its diminutive stature with a claret beacon of plumage on its head and belly, offset by a slate gray and black beak, eyeline and back. Apropos of the season, it is natures Christmas ornament decorating whatever limb it perches from.

It is also incredibly swift as it frequently darts off its perch to capture some poor insect that flies by its path. So fast that catching one in flight has been one of this photographers nemesis goals. Of the hundreds of images I have of this bird I have less than five good shots of it in flight. That number includes this image.

My brother is visiting from New York, and I had take him to Whitewater Draw to see for himself the spectacle of the wintering Sandhill Cranes as just another of the countless reasons we view life in the high desert of southern Arizona as paradise. As we stood on the pier looking at the ballet of cranes taking off and landing this flycatcher flew down from its perch in a nearby tree demanding our attention. When it settled on a swamp reed right in front of us, I quickly refocused my camera and shot away. Luckily this image was part of the series.

I am humbled that God allowed me the honor of capturing and sharing it and remain blessed to be His scribe.

Vermillion Flycatcher
©RGallucci Photography
---
Shoot Date: December 18, 2018
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Manual ¹⁄₁₀₀₀ sec at f/6.3 0 EV
Lens: TAMRON SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD A011 @ 600 mm
ISO: 400

One of the great alures of birding is to see the incredible depth of color and diversity of the thousands of species of birds that dominate our planet. For this birder, the gamut of joy encompasses the full spectrum of combinations, from the muted shades of dusky brown and gray that some species camouflage themselves in through the brilliant explosions of color that adorn other members of the avian tribe. However, within that all-encompassing love, there are a few species that stand apart in my adoration. 

The Vermillion Flycatcher ranks high on that list.  At just 5 inches in size, it makes up for its diminutive stature with a claret beacon of plumage on its head and belly, offset by a slate gray and black beak, eyeline and back. Apropos of the season, it is natures Christmas ornament decorating whatever limb it perches from. 

It is also incredibly swift as it frequently darts off its perch to capture some poor insect that flies by its path. So fast that catching one in flight has been one of this photographers nemesis goals. Of the hundreds of images, I have of this bird I have less than five good shots of it in flight. That number includes this image. 

My brother is visiting from New York, and I had take him to Whitewater Draw to see for himself the spectacle of the wintering Sandhill Cranes as just another of the countless reasons we view life in the high desert of southern Arizona as paradise. As we stood on the pier looking at the ballet of cranes taking off and landing this flycatcher flew down from its perch in a nearby tree demanding our attention.  When it settled on a swamp reed right in front of us, I quickly refocused my camera and shot away. Luckily this image was part of the series. 

I am humbled that God allowed me the honor of capturing and sharing it and remain blessed to be His scribe. 

Vermillion Flycatcher
©RGallucci Photography

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(RGallucci Photography) Arizona Birds Birds in Flight High Desert Nature Vermillion Flycatcher Whitewater Draw Wildlife https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2018/12/vermillion-flycatcher Wed, 19 Dec 2018 15:43:46 GMT
Ferruginous Hawk https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2018/12/ferruginous-hawk Ferruginous HawkFerruginous HawkSoaring through the cold winter skies of southern Arizona's high desert sky-island valleys in search of prey, the Ferruginous Hawk is the largest of all the North American raptors. Stunningly regal in its stiff-winged flight this Buteo rules the fallow fields it stalks in search of prey. At around two feet long, with just under a six-foot wingspan, this hawk is similar in size to the Upland Buzzard of Central Asia, its distant relative. In the late Pleistocene, they shared the skies over the Alaska Siberia land bridge. Today, the species dominates its realm alone.

The high desert of southern Arizona is home to the largest diversity of animal life in the United States. Within that ecosystem, the Ferruginous Hawk sits as the top predator in the sky. Pity the poor prairie dog or jackrabbit that gets caught in its talons. To see one perched on one of the numerous utility poles that line the primitive roads around Whitewater Draw is a revelation. To watch one in flight is doubly so.

I remain humbly thankful to God for granting me the opportunity to witness the beauty of the high desert region and share it with others. I am blessed to be His scribe.
Shoot Date: December 15, 2018
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Aperture priority ¹⁄₈₀₀ sec at f/6.3 ²⁄₃ EV
Lens: TAMRON SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD A011 @ 600 mm
ISO: 320

Soaring through the cold winter skies of southern Arizona's high desert sky-island valleys in search of prey, the Ferruginous Hawk is the largest of all the North American raptors. Stunningly regal in its stiff-winged flight this Buteo rules the fallow fields it stalks in search of prey.  At around two feet long, with just under a six-foot wingspan, this hawk is similar in size to the Upland Buzzard of Central Asia, its distant relative.  In the late Pleistocene, they shared the skies over the Alaska Siberia land bridge. Today, the species dominates its realm alone. 

 

The high desert of southern Arizona is home to the largest diversity of animal life in the United States. Within that ecosystem, the Ferruginous Hawk sits as the top predator in the sky. Pity the poor prairie dog or jackrabbit that gets caught in its talons. To see one perched on one of the numerous utility poles that line the primitive roads around Whitewater Draw is a revelation. To watch one in flight is doubly so. 

 

I remain humbly thankful to God for granting me the opportunity to witness the beauty of the high desert region and share it with others. I am blessed to be His scribe. 

 

 

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(RGallucci Photography) https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2018/12/ferruginous-hawk Sun, 16 Dec 2018 16:42:24 GMT
Summer on the River Arazas https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2018/12/summer-on-the-river-arazas Summer on the River ArazasSummer on the River ArazasDeep in the towering Spanish Pyrenees, isolated from the already sequestered villages that dot the countryside, the cerulean blue drainage from the glacial summits feeds the Rio Arazas. Long before ancient wanderers settled the area the steady flow from the snow-capped summits summer melt has fed this river that marks the bottom of the cavernous Ordesa Valley. Flanked by towering cliffs created from a millennium of erosion the river descends ceaselessly for 15km over waterfalls and cascades, sustaining a comparatively young verdant forest, until it empties into the mighty Rio Ara.

With the warmth of the late afternoon summer sun at my back, I stood on the banks of the river and meditated in wonder once again about the extraordinary power of God to create such a masterpiece. In quiet humility, I once again thanked Him for allowing me the privilege to be witness to such glory. I am blessed to be His scribe.
Shoot Date: June 15, 2018
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Aperture priority ¹⁄₁₀ sec at f/11 2 EV
Lens: EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM @ 16 mm
ISO: 100

Deep in the towering Spanish Pyrenees, isolated from the already sequestered villages that dot the countryside, the cerulean blue drainage from the glacial summits feeds the Rio Arazas. Long before ancient wanderers settled the area the steady flow from the snow-capped summits summer melt has fed this river that marks the bottom of the cavernous Ordesa Valley. Flanked by towering cliffs created from a millennium of erosion the river descends ceaselessly for 15km over waterfalls and cascades, sustaining a comparatively young verdant forest,  until it empties into the mighty Rio Ara. 

 

With the warmth of the late afternoon summer sun at my back, I stood on the banks of the river and meditated in wonder once again about the extraordinary power of God to create such a masterpiece. In quiet humility, I once again thanked Him for allowing me the privilege to be witness to such glory. I am blessed to be His scribe.

 

©RGallucci Photography

---

Shoot Date: June 15, 2018
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Aperture priority ¹⁄10 sec at f/11 1 EV
Lens: EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM @ 16 mm
ISO: 100
 

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(RGallucci Photography) landscapes Mountain Pyrenees River Spain Summer https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2018/12/summer-on-the-river-arazas Thu, 13 Dec 2018 06:17:11 GMT
Ferruginous Pygmy Owl II https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2018/12/ferruginous-pygmy-owl-ii Ferruginous Pygmy Owl IIFerruginous Pygmy Owl IISouthern Texas and Arizona represent the northernmost border of the Ferruginous Pygmy-Owls (FEPO) range. Abundant below 4,000 feet throughout both the eastern and western coastal areas of Mexico they are a ferocious predator of lizards, small songbirds and earthworms. Once across the border they are more frequently found in Texas than in Arizona. In 1997 they were listed as endangered in southern Arizona. This designation was erroneously removed in subsequent years.

As Tony, Bryan and I were enjoying our time photographing the owl in the barren ranchland of western Tuscon we discussed why more FEPO's were not seen here. Estimates project that there are between twenty to fifty breeding pair from Tucson south but those numbers could be low. The habitat is every bit as welcoming as that in Texas and Mexico, and there is ample food to sustain them. We hoped that they are probably here but in terrain too tricky for most birders to navigate.

Similar in size and jizz to the Northern Pygmy-Owl (NPOW) the best way to distinguish the two species apart is by the head and tail. The NPOW has a spotted head and whitish banding on the tail, while the FEPO's head markings are more streaky and the tail banding more rufous. I selected to post this image to highlight these markings. Of course, the best way to tell if you are seeing a FEPO is by finding the stunningly alluring eyes in the back of its head! I will post an image that highlights that feature tomorrow.

I have read that the sky island region of southern Arizona has the most significant diversity of animals in the united states. One year into our move here I am discovering this to be true. Anyone willing to do a bit of exploring can be rewarded with new species daily. I see this to be an immense testimony to the greatness and artistry of God. I am blessed to be its witness and humbled to be its scribe.
Shoot Date: December 8, 2018
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Shutter priority ¹⁄₅₀₀ sec at f/5.0 0 EV
Lens: EF400mm f/2.8L USM @ 400 mm
ISO: 100

Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl II

Southern Texas and Arizona represent the northernmost border of the Ferruginous Pygmy-Owls (FEPO) range. Abundant below 4,000 feet throughout both the eastern and western coastal areas of Mexico they are a ferocious predator of lizards, small songbirds and earthworms. Once across the border they are more frequently found in Texas than in Arizona. In 1997 they were listed as endangered in southern Arizona. This designation was erroneously removed in subsequent years. 

 

As Tony, Bryan and I were enjoying our time photographing the owl in the barren ranchland of western Tuscon we discussed why more FEPO's were not seen here. Estimates project that there are between twenty to fifty breeding pair from Tucson south but those numbers could be low. The habitat is every bit as welcoming as that in Texas and Mexico, and there is ample food to sustain them. We hoped that they are probably here but in terrain too tricky for most birders to navigate. 

 

Similar in size and jizz to the Northern Pygmy-Owl (NPOW) the best way to distinguish the two species apart is by the head and tail.  The NPOW has a spotted head and whitish banding on the tail, while the FEPO's head markings are more streaky and the tail banding more rufous. I selected to post this image to highlight these markings. Of course, the best way to tell if you are seeing a FEPO is by finding the stunningly alluring eyes in the back of its head! I will post an image that highlights that feature tomorrow. 

 

I have read that the sky island region of southern Arizona has the most significant diversity of animals in the united states. One year into our move here I am discovering this to be true.  Anyone willing to do a bit of exploring can be rewarded with new species daily. I see this to be an immense testimony to the greatness and artistry of God. I am blessed to be its witness and humbled to be its scribe. 


©RGallucci Photography

---

Shoot Date: December 8, 2018
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Shutter priority ¹⁄500 sec at f/5.0 0 EV
Lens: EF400mm f/2.8L USM @ 400 mm
ISO: 100

 

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(RGallucci Photography) Arizona Birds Desert landscapes Owl https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2018/12/ferruginous-pygmy-owl-ii Mon, 10 Dec 2018 16:47:50 GMT
Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl I https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2018/12/ferruginous-pygmy-owl-i Ferruginous Pygmy OwlFerruginous Pygmy OwlIn general, Owls are an elusive species to find and photograph in the wild. Most are either nocturnal or crepuscular, making locating them during the day a challenge. This is all the more true with the pygmy and small owls. Most of the members of this clan measure around six inches in height, making finding them in a tree even more difficult. I well remember my first experience with a Northern Saw-whet Owl. It was perched a foot directly over my head yet still invisible to me.

But that was not the case yesterday when we went on a wild adventure into the high southern desert to find the rare (in the USA) Ferruginous Pygmy Owl. Mostly seen in south Texas, the chance to see this life bird in Arizona was too tempting to resist. We traveled three hours from the southernmost part of Arizona to the Black Hills west of Tuscon only to find ourselves at a junction to a primitive road. Residents of Arizona are very familiar with primitive roads. They come in many states of primitive from well-groomed dirt highways to rocky thoroughfares that require slow and careful navigation. But for the road ahead of us on the next leg of this journey the term primitive would be an upgrade. We were concerned about continuing.

Stopping to survey the terrain and rest a moment we received a good omen. Ahead of us, perched on the dead scrag of a tall tree, was two Crested Caracara. With our spirits buoyed by this sighting we plunged ahead. After five miles of slow off-camber driving along the rocky, well-rutted route we arrived at the location where another birder had reported the owl. We had planned to spend hours in search but had only gone about 20 minutes when from the bowels of a stand of trees we heard the unmistakable faint hoots of the owl. With three sets of eyes present, we set upon the task of narrowing our search perimeter. A short while later we spotted the bird.

At a diminutive 6 inches tall the Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl is only defeated for the title of the smallest owl by the even smaller Elf Owl. But our bird had decided to perch in the open space of a bare limb making him loom large. Staying a respectful distance away from the Owl we set up our gear to take our photos.

Rutilant in the morning light, the bird treated us to a show of song and movement for over an hour. A short while after we had begun we heard the reason for the calls. There was a second owl somewhere in the area. A quick 1,000 images later we packed up and headed home.

I will post more images and video of this beautiful bird over the next few days, including some shots of one of its most distinguishing features - the eyes on the back of its head. I was as interested in getting good shots of that as I was of his face.

A day spent with good friends is a blessing. Finding rare species makes it more so. There are no words that I know that can adequately describe the gratitude I feel towards God for allowing me these privileges. I humbly remain His scribe.
Shoot Date: December 8, 2018
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Shutter priority ¹⁄₁₂₅ sec at f/5.6 1 ²⁄₃ EV
Lens: EF400mm f/2.8L USM @ 400 mm
ISO: 100

In general, Owls are an elusive species to find and photograph in the wild. Most are either nocturnal or crepuscular, making locating them during the day a challenge.  This is all the more true with the pygmy and small owls. Most of the members of this clan measure around six inches in height, making finding them in a tree even more difficult. I well remember my first experience with a Northern Saw-whet Owl. It was perched a foot directly over my head yet still invisible to me.

 

But that was not the case yesterday when we went on a wild adventure into the high southern desert to find the rare (in the USA) Ferruginous Pygmy Owl. Mostly seen in south Texas, the chance to see this life bird in Arizona was too tempting to resist. We traveled three hours from the southernmost part of Arizona to the Black Hills west of Tuscon only to find ourselves at a junction to a primitive road. Residents of Arizona are very familiar with primitive roads. They come in many states of primitive from well-groomed dirt highways to rocky thoroughfares that require slow and careful navigation. But for the road ahead of us on the next leg of this journey the term primitive would be an upgrade. We were concerned about continuing. 

 

Stopping to survey the terrain and rest a moment we received a good omen.   Ahead of us, perched on the dead scrag of a tall tree, was two Crested Caracara. With our spirits buoyed by this sighting we plunged ahead. After five miles of slow off-camber driving along the rocky, well-rutted route we arrived at the location where another birder had reported the owl. We had planned to spend hours in search but had only gone about 20 minutes when from the bowels of a stand of trees we heard the unmistakable faint hoots of the owl. With three sets of eyes present, we set upon the task of narrowing our search perimeter. A short while later we spotted the bird.  

 

At a diminutive 6 inches tall the Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl is only defeated for the title of the smallest owl by the even smaller Elf Owl. But our bird had decided to perch in the open space of a bare limb making him loom large. Staying a respectful distance away from the Owl we set up our gear to take our photos. 

 

Rutilant in the morning light, the bird treated us to a show of song and movement for over an hour. A short while after we had begun we heard the reason for the calls. There was a second owl somewhere in the area. A quick 1,000 images later we packed up and headed home. 

 

I will post more images and video of this beautiful bird over the next few days, including some shots of one of its most distinguishing features - the eyes on the back of its head. I was as interested in getting good shots of that as I was of his face. 

A day spent with good friends is a blessing. Finding rare species makes it more so. There are no words that I know that can adequately describe the gratitude I feel towards God for allowing me these privileges. I humbly remain His scribe. 

 

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Shoot Date: December 8, 2018
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Shutter priority ¹⁄125 sec at f/5.6 1 ²⁄3 EV
Lens: EF400mm f/2.8L USM @ 400 mm
ISO: 100

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(RGallucci Photography) https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2018/12/ferruginous-pygmy-owl-i Mon, 10 Dec 2018 00:14:52 GMT
Miller Mountain Milky Way - How I shot it https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2018/11/miller-mountain-milky-way---how-i-shot-it Miller Mountain Milky WayMiller Mountain Milky WayI was outside grilling steaks when my beautiful wife told me to look towards the Huachuca mountains. Apparently, someone had forgotten to tell the Milky Way that the season was over. Not one to pass up an opportunity to showcase God's beautiful universe I set up my camera and took some shots. Each day in this desert paradise I am presented with new opportunities to wonder at the glory of His creation. I am truly blessed and humbled to be His witness.
Shoot Date: November 3, 2018
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
30.0 sec at f/2.5 0 EV
Lens: 15mm @ 15 mm
ISO: 2500

How I shot this photo (Milky Way Stacking)    
Equipment / Software
Canon 5D IV
Irix 15mm 2.4 Lens
MeFoto Traveller Tripod
Vello Intervalometer
Photopills iPhone App
Starry Landscape Stacker
Lightroom
Photoshop
RayaPro
On1 PhotoRaw
DXO NIK Software
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The goal in Milky Way, or any night photography, is to capture the most amount of light with the least amount of noise.  There are many tools and techniques to accomplish this. My favorite is Star Stacking, which is taking multiple images (Light Frames) sequentially and then using software to combine them. This can be accomplished in Photoshop, but that is labor intensive. There is a specialty software for MAC owners, Starry Landscape Stacker, that makes the process much more manageable. It is the software I use in almost all of my Milky Way images.  

Here is how I capture single frame Milky Way images. Capturing Pano's of the entire Milky Way utilizes different techniques and equipment. 

Equipment
On the hardware side, using a camera that is capable of shooting at a high ISO without noise is a great start. One of the advantages of modern camera technology is that they can shoot at higher ISO's without noise. My Canon 5D IV can easily shoot at ISO 6400 at night without considerable noise. A wide, fast (f2.8 and lower) lens is also a significant advantage. My go-to lens is the IRIX 15mm f2.4. It has proven to be a workhorse for night shots and also doubles as a great lightning/storm lens during monsoon season. Getting Milky Way photos with slower lenses is possible. I shot the Milky Way with a Canon 16mm f4 lens for years, but a faster lens allows you to capture more light in a shorter time, thus minimizing noise. A tripod, or some other stable support, is essential. There is no way to capture the night sky at the shutter speeds required without the camera on a stable platform. The final piece of hardware needed for this technique is an Intervalometer. This is a cable release device that allows you to program a timer that releases the camera shutter at set intervals for set periods of time. The intervalometer is essential in star stacking, especially if you will try to further reduce noise by using Dark Frames. Dark Frames are images shot at precisely the same settings as Light Frames but with the lens cover on the camera. 

If you are only shooting a single exposure at a longer shutter speed and higher ISO the intervelometor is not required. For a single image, a simple cable release works well, as does setting your camera to use its internal 2-second timer. The purpose of the cable release or timer method is to minimize camera shake when pressing the shutter. 

Planning
The Milky Way Season, the time when the core (Galactic Center) of the Milky Way is visible above the horizon, is from late May through October. June and July are the best times to shoot. In the Northern Hemisphere it appears in the SouthEast during spring, South in Summer and SouthWest in the fall.  This is essential information for planning your shooting locations. There are still opportunities to capture great Milky Way shots in late April and early May, but the window to shoot is incredibly short, and you may not get the entire galactic center. 

Whether I am mapping out a Milky Way shot in advance, my preferred method, or shooting an impromptu shot, as in this image, I always begin with PhotoPills.  I do not believe there is a better, or more important, app for Milky Way shootings than PhotoPills. In fact, in almost every shooting situation, including wildlife shooting, PhotoPills is an essential tool for capturing a great shot. Going into all its capabilities is beyond the scope of this post, but I will be offering PhotoPills clinic and workshops in 2019. Full disclosure - I am a PhotoPills Master, and my images have won numerous awards from the company. 

PhotoPills has many critically important tools for Milky Way shooting. The ones I use most frequently are the Planner module, which lets me know when and at what time the Milky Way will be visible, as well as the Night Augmented Reality feature which enables me to envision the Milky Ways position at a future time, even if it is daylight. The other critically important panel in the application is the Spot Stars module. This allows me to enter my Camera model, lens length and aperture to provide me with the optimal exposure time for the image. For planned shoots where I am capturing the foreground during the blue hour, the HyperFocal Module with its Augmented Reality feature allows me to get the maximum exposure focus from front to back. 

Capturing the Stack
Once I have planned the shot and set up my camera I will always take a test shot using a long exposure and high ISO. My goal is to capture an image that I can easily review on my camera's screen. Typically this is a 30-second exposure at ISO 3200. A quick note about 30/3200. This is the default setting many Milky Way newcomers use. It is written about frequently and produces acceptable images. I strongly recommend not using these settings. Find out what the optimal exposure / ISO is for your camera set up and use that. You will be much happier with the results. 

After reviewing my test shot and making adjustments to the composition, I program my Intervelometer to shoot 20 light frames and let it go. As soon as the image sequence is complete, and careful not to move anything, I put the lens cap on the camera and shoot 20 more images.  Note, that 20 images in the maximum number of images Starry Landscape Tracker can handle and no the essential amount of shots needed. Getting great results with as few as five images is possible. I am just a bit OCD about it. The key is that you take as many dark frames as light frames. 

I will typically shoot the Milky Way in both Landscape and Portrait mode to give myself options on which images I like best. 

Capturing the Foreground
The foreground element in a Milky Way shot is as important as the Milky Way itself. It anchors the image and provides visual distinction to the final composition. Using the minimum amount of time and lowest ISO will not give enough exposure to illuminate the foreground properly. The best way to capture the foreground is to plan the shot in PhotoPills in advance and get to your shooting location while it is still light.  The software will tell you exactly when both Golden and blue hour happen. Once the sun sets below the horizon, the time called the blue hour; there is still sufficient light to capture the foreground in detail. This is one of my favorite times to shoot in general and is often overlooked by other photographers.  I will cover shooting the foreground in advance in my Milky Way clinics and workshops. 

If you find yourself in a situation where you cannot get to the location while there is still light to capture the foreground do not be dismayed. You can still obtain a great foreground using the proper techniques.  One thing to remember, while shooting the Milky Way during a full moon is not really possible, it is possible to shoot during different phases of the moon. Moonlight is bright as the sun and offers a great lighting source, even when it is below the horizon.  I will cover this in my clinics and workshops as well. 

At other times the key is taking multiple exposures with long shutter speeds and high ISO. These images will be noisy but using simple photo stacking can eliminate much of the noise while retaining enough detail to make the picture visually compelling. In the image above I had the benefit of a lot of ambient light and some minimal moonlight in the background. I shot five photos of the foreground at a 30-second exposure at ISO 2500. I often shoot foregrounds for as long as a minute at ISO 3200 or 6400. 

Putting it all together
I use Adobe Lightroom as my starting point for all images.  Once I have them in my catalog the first thing I do is make a lens correction and eliminate chromatic aberration on one image. I then sync this adjustment to all my pictures, even the dark frames. Then I decide which series I like best and prepare those to be stacked in Starry Landscape Stacker. I make adjustments to the first image in the series and sync the changes across the rest. This is when I will crop the photo. Since I try to shoot at the fastest shutter and lowest ISO I can, my images are typically dark. My first goal is to lighten them to make the highest amount of stars visible. I am not worried about noise because stacking other post-processing techniques will eliminate it. Each image series is unique, but most often I will increase the exposure, shadows, and whites while decreasing the blacks and contrast. This does not give me an image I would want to publish, but one that the stacking software can analyze most effectively. I usually shoot my pictures at a Kelvin of 3800 which works for my area, but I will also adjust my white balance at this point in the process. I then export the series to my hard drive and import it into Starry Landscape Stacker. Use of that software is beyond the scope of this post, but primarily I select the sky area and let the software do its work. The result is an image with all the stars aligned and most of the noise removed. The software will also produce a separate with the foreground masked out. I usually export this image as well. I then import that image back into Lightroom where I make necessary adjustments. 

Once those adjustments have been completed, I send the image to Photoshop. 

I will then work on my foreground images. I use mostly the same process as I do for the sky, this time focusing on making the foreground adequately exposed. I have two methods for stacking the foreground images. I will either use Starry Landscape Stacker or Photoshops median stacking. Either way, I end up with a final image ready to be merged with the sky image. 

Merging images is an art in itself. The first step is to stack the sky and the foreground as separate layers in photoshop. Once this is done, they must be aligned. If you have done everything right and not moved the camera while shooting the alignment is easy.  

Then they must be combined into one image. One of the simplest methods, but one which I do not use, is to use the masked image produced by Starry Landscape Stacker to create a mask on the sky image revealing the foreground image below. My experience is that this method creates a distinct line between the photos. My goal is to create a feathered blend that is seamless. The most effective way to do this is to use RayaPro to produce a luminosity mask that blends the images. Luminosity Masking is an advanced photoshop technique. I may one day offer a clinic on it, but the creator of RayaPro has created some of the most excellent youtube training tutorials I have ever seen. Most of them are free. There are other methods for blending the images, and the key is to find the one that works best for you. 

Now that I have the composite complete it needs to be edited. The first thing I do is run DXO software define module. This eliminates any remaining noise in the sky. I will then typically run DXO Color Efex module details, Pro Contrast, and Tonal Adjustments. I try to go very light on these. I will then bring the image into On1 PhotoRaw where I add a very light glow to the sky, a very soft vignette and if needed, some Dynamic Contrast. I export the image back into photoshop and make any other adjustments needed to levels, curves, etc. I will often make specific adjustments using RayaPro to isolate particular areas to enhance detail, saturation, hue, levels, and curves. 

I now have my final image. By this point, it is a large file.  I will save it and then duplicate it. I rename the duplicate to my final image name and then merge all the layers to make the file smaller. If needed this is when I will resize the image for printing. I then use RayaPro to create a separate 2048 pixel wide image sharpened for social media. I save both these files into Lightroom. The last thing I do before publishing is writing the image story.  But that is a story in itself. I hope this helps to get you started on Milky Way Photography. 

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(RGallucci Photography) Arizona Desert Howto landscapes Milky Nightscape Way https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2018/11/miller-mountain-milky-way---how-i-shot-it Mon, 05 Nov 2018 19:08:36 GMT
Calm and Fury https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2018/7/calm-and-fury Calm and FuryCalm and FuryOften when I look at nature unfold before me, I am reminded that the world can be a macro example of the microcosm of life.

Often when I look at nature unfold before me, I am reminded that the world can be a macro example of the microcosm of life.  This was the case as I watched the recent storm over the Mule Mountains. It was a revelation that invited me to reflect on the duality of emotions  I feel during times of uncertainty and chaos. 

Here, playing out before my eyes, was nature at its most extreme. As the sky roiled above, explosions of tentacled lightning erupted from the bloated bellies of ion-charged clouds, hell-bent on reducing anything below to ash and ruin. As grand as it was to watch, it was humbling to concede the powerlessness I had to do anything about it. Sometimes life is like that as well.  A storm of destruction passes through our existence with little to nothing we can do to mitigate it. We are as spectators in a circus of ruin, rubes in the carnival of helplessness.  

There are times, especially in the midst of the storm, that that is all we see. And, If that were all there was it would be a bleak life indeed. But, in the same scene, above the fury that raged below, through a hole in the clouds, the eternal heavens with their beaconing lights of hope, shone brightly. A view of forever illuminated by endless guiding lights that calmly stood in a constant vigil of strength and faith.  It could be easy to miss if I had focused only on the storm. I am blessed that I was given an opening to see it. 

 And, as it is in nature, it is in life, there are times when we are in the middle of a storm that we forget that it will pass. Eventually, all storms give way to the calm that surrounds them. When we are lucky, we can glimpse that calm amidst the confusion to anchor us to the hope of the future. It is in that belief that we continue in our great exploration of a life well lived. 

Had we not moved to Arizona I might never have had the fortune to witness this scene. Had we not moved here I could not scribe the lesson God provided through this world, His grandest palette. For that, I am truly thankful and blessed. 

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(RGallucci Photography) Arizona Desert Islands landscapes Lightning Nightscape Sky https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2018/7/calm-and-fury Mon, 09 Jul 2018 20:31:47 GMT
Lightning over Mule Mountains https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2018/7/lightning-over-mule-mountains Lightning over Mule MountainsLightning over Mule MountainsThere is the world. Every day we rush through it in a circular race to nowhere, while all around us, unfolding like a million miracles, nature screams for us to stop and look at her wonder. One of the greatest joys of having moved from the northeast, with its turbocharged pace, to this arid high desert, is the ability to see stop more often to see Gods wonder around me. It is in this place, this arid desert, that I have found a beauty that is sublime in its grace.

There are the flaxen fields, whose windswept motion makes them seem like landlocked oceans, that stretch for miles before striking distant mountain shorelines. There are the mountains; not the continent traversing mammoths of the Rockies, not the coastal crags of the Appalachian range, or the rolling blues below them. No, these mountains are islands, improbably jutting from the earth with no rhythm or symmetry, like stepstools to the typically tranquil crystal blue skies. Skies that, for most of the year remain unadorned, allowing sunrises and sunsets to paint the horizon in hues of purple and pink. Every day there is a breeze. Every day there is sunshine. It is paradise.

Yet even paradise must pay the price for its existence. Even the desert needs water to survive. So for two months each year, on an almost daily basis, paradises thirst is quenched by violent squalls of torrential rains from bloated clouds filled with spectacular lightning. Until tonight I had only just heard about the wonder of these storms. Until tonight I had not experienced their greatness.

As I stood in the field in front of my house I watched, transfixed and awed, by the display of power unleashed by the sky. I had never seen a storm like this. A storm that stalled for over an hour on top of the Mule Mountains emitting a steady stream of lightning that surpassed any July 4th show. It was glorious and yes, even in its violence, it was paradise.

This is the first "real" lightning photograph I have taken. I have captured an occasional flash, but never have I been ready with a camera to bear witness to the awesome power of Gods fireworks. I hope to have many more experiences to stand as scribe to this incredible phenomena. This shot is a single, four-minute exposure that captured five flashes of light over the Mule Mountains and Naco.
Shoot Date: July 7, 2018
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
239.0 sec at f/4.0 0 EV
Lens: EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM @ 16 mm
ISO: 200

There is the world. Every day we rush through it in a circular race to nowhere, while all around us, unfolding like a million miracles, nature screams for us to stop and look at her wonder. One of the greatest joys of having moved from the northeast, with its turbocharged pace, to this arid high desert, is the ability to see stop more often to see Gods wonder around me. It is in this place, this arid desert, that I have found a beauty that is sublime in its grace. 

There are the flaxen fields, whose windswept motion makes them seem like landlocked oceans, that stretch for miles before striking distant mountain shorelines.  There are the mountains; not the continent traversing mammoths of the Rockies, not the coastal crags of the Appalachian range, or the rolling blues below them.  No, these mountains are islands, improbably jutting from the earth with no rhythm or symmetry, like stepstools to the typically tranquil crystal blue skies. Skies that, for most of the year remain unadorned, allowing sunrises and sunsets to paint the horizon in hues of purple and pink. Every day there is a breeze. Every day there is sunshine. It is paradise. 

Yet even paradise must pay the price for its existence. Even the desert needs water to survive. So for two months each year, on an almost daily basis, paradises thirst is quenched by violent squalls of torrential rains from bloated clouds filled with spectacular lightning.  Until tonight I had only just heard about the wonder of these storms. Until tonight I had not experienced their greatness.  

As I stood in the field in front of my house I watched, transfixed and awed, by the display of power unleashed by the sky. I had never seen a storm like this. A storm that stalled for over an hour on top of the Mule Mountains emitting a steady stream of lightning that surpassed any July 4th show.  It was glorious and yes, even in its violence, it was paradise. 

This is the first "real" lightning photograph I have taken. I have captured an occasional flash, but never have I been ready with a camera to bear witness to the awesome power of  Gods fireworks. I hope to have many more experiences to stand as scribe to this incredible phenomena.  This shot is a single, four-minute exposure that captured five flashes of light over the Mule Mountains and Naco. 
 

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(RGallucci Photography) Arizona Desert High landscapes Lightning Nightscape https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2018/7/lightning-over-mule-mountains Sun, 08 Jul 2018 07:28:12 GMT
Swainson's Hawk - A story of fate https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2018/6/swainsons-hawk---a-story-of-fate Of all the visitors to our backyard, I find the visits from the Raptors to be the most exciting. We have had Sharp-shinned, Coopers, a magnificent Zone-tailed and now a pair of Swainson's. For the past few weeks, a pair, I assume male and female, have stopped by almost daily to survey the yard from atop a dead Agave plant and then drop down into the pond for a drink. Usually, I am in the house and cannot get a good shot. Today I was outside in my normal morning viewing chair when all the rest of the birds scattered and this lone male (I think) flew in. My camera was ready and I shot away.

Swainson's are primarily insectivores, favoring dragonflies and grasshoppers, and reptile eaters. Only when feeding young during the breeding season to they switch to the three R's - reptiles, and rodents. So long as they don't go after my baby scaled-quail I am happy with them visiting. Swainson's Hawk IVSwainson's Hawk IVOf all the visitors to our backyard, I find the visits from the Raptors to be the most exciting. We have had Sharp-shinned, Coopers, a magnificent Zone-tailed and now a pair of Swainson's. For the past few weeks, a pair, I assume male and female, have stopped by almost daily to survey the yard from atop a dead Agave plant and then drop down into the pond for a drink. Usually, I am in the house and cannot get a good shot. Today I was outside in my normal morning viewing chair when all the rest of the birds scattered and this lone male (I think) flew in. My camera was ready and I shot away.

Swainson's are primarily insectivores, favoring dragonflies and grasshoppers, and reptile eaters. Only when feeding young during the breeding season to they switch to the three R's - reptiles, and rodents. So long as they don't go after my baby scaled-quail I am happy with them visiting.
Shoot Date: June 23, 2018
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Shutter priority ¹⁄₂₀₀₀ sec at f/6.3 0 EV
Lens: TAMRON SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD A011 @ 600 mm
ISO: 640

Here is another from today's visit by our resident, female, Swainson's Hawk. Last August, when we first visited the Sierra Vista area, I pined to see this majestic hawk. The week went by and still no sighting. On our last day, as we drove down Highway 92, the main road through the area, we spied a Swainson's high up on a light pole of a cross street. Typically I would have just turned down the street to see it, but I was already halfway through the intersection. Undaunted, I quickly slammed the wheel right sending my new bride, and our two birding friends, flying. The maneuver also sent the Hawk flying as well. With my passengers questioning if I had lost my mind, I began the chase and finally got a good look and a poor photo when it landed on another light pole. I could not have been more excited. My wife and friends could not have been more shook up - but they know me and would expect nothing less. We laugh about it today. 

We moved to the area three months later, not because of the Hawk, but it and the other birds were a major contributing factor. To have this buteo making regular visits to our home is a blessing of eternal proportion. We made the right move.  Swainson's Hawk VISwainson's Hawk VIHere is another from today's visit by our resident, female, Swainson's Hawk. Last August, when we first visited the Sierra Vista area, I pined to see this majestic hawk. The week went by and still no sighting. On our last day, as we drove down Highway 92, the main road through the area, we spied a Swainson's high up on a light pole of a cross street. Typically I would have just turned down the street to see it, but I was already halfway through the intersection. Undaunted, I quickly slammed the wheel right sending my new bride, and our two birding friends, flying. The maneuver also sent the Hawk flying as well. With my passengers questioning if I had lost my mind, I began the chase and finally got a good look and a poor photo when it landed on another light pole. I could not have been more excited. My wife and friends could not have been more shook up - but they know me and would expect nothing less. We laugh about it today.

We moved to the area three months later, not because of the Hawk, but it and the other birds were a major contributing factor. To have this buteo making regular visits to our home is a blessing of eternal proportion. We made the right move.
Shoot Date: June 23, 2018
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Shutter priority ¹⁄₂₀₀₀ sec at f/6.3 ‒ ⅓ EV
Lens: TAMRON SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD A011 @ 600 mm
ISO: 500

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(RGallucci Photography) Arizona Art Birding Birds Buteo Fine Hawks Nature Wildlife https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2018/6/swainsons-hawk---a-story-of-fate Sat, 23 Jun 2018 22:08:47 GMT
Rio Ara https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2018/6/rio-ara Rio AraRio AraI stood on a narrow metal footbridge that swayed to the rhythm of the aquamarine waters of the Rio Ara river in Ordesa, Spain as its waters raged beneath me through the ancient valley gorge. The roar of her turbulent passage was made loader as it echoed off the ancient glacier-capped canyon cliffs she had slowly carved over the eons. This was easily one of the most stunningly awesome landscapes I have ever been blessed to witness. I will be returning to this spot next year with a group of photographers interested in capturing the majesty of Spains Pyrenees Mountains landscapes and nightscapes. More info on this trip will be posted on my webpage.
Shoot Date: June 15, 2018
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Aperture priority ¹⁄₂₀₀ sec at f/11 ‒ 1 EV
Lens: EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM @ 16 mm
ISO: 100

I stood on a narrow metal footbridge that swayed to the rhythm of the aquamarine waters of the Rio Ara river in Ordesa, Spain as its waters raged beneath me through the ancient valley gorge. The roar of her turbulent passage was made loader as it echoed off the ancient glacier-capped canyon cliffs she had slowly carved over the eons. This was easily one of the most stunningly awesome landscapes I have ever been blessed to witness. I will be returning to this spot next year with a group of photographers interested in capturing the majesty of Spains Pyrenees Mountains landscapes and nightscapes. More info on this trip will be posted on my webpage.
Shoot Date: June 15, 2018
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Aperture priority ¹⁄₂₀₀ sec at f/11 ‒ 1 EV
Lens: EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM @ 16 mm
ISO: 100

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(RGallucci Photography) ara clouds filters landscapes mountaibs ordesa rio rivers spain https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2018/6/rio-ara Thu, 21 Jun 2018 08:02:33 GMT
Getting Organized in Lightroom https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2018/3/getting-organized-in-lightroom Sunset at Brown CanyonSunset at Brown CanyonAs Cindy and I made our way back from picking up a 20-pound bag of Nyger to feed the insatiable finch and siskin in the backyard, we looked at the sky and decided to stop by Brown Canyon to see the sunset. It was the right decision.

I am usually not a fan of HDR images but decided to try it on this shot. This is seven exposures, one stop apart at f8. I will probably re-edit the image using my typical workflow tomorrow. Let me know what you think?
Shoot Date: February 2, 2018
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Aperture priority f/8.0
Lens: EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM @ 17 mm
ISO: 100

One of my New Years resolutions in 2018 was to get my Lightroom catalog organized. It was also my resolution in 2017, 2016, 2015 and earlier. Whenever I would begin the task, I would quickly become overwhelmed by the over 300,000 images and give up. Not this year.

Throughout the years I have come up with some incredibly complicated organizing plans and read others incredibly complicated organizing plans. I've concluded that, at least for me, they are useless. For this photographer, it has to be simple. Very simple. And, it needs to start at the beginning of my workflow.

I have two goals for my organization framework. Make all images easy to access and keep my catalog at a reasonable size. For a decade I have been importing images without culling the garbage or keywording. The result is a slow, unwieldy and inefficient catalog. There are tens of thousands of useless, blurry photos as well as series of hundreds of servo images with only one or two representative shots that need to be kept.

It was time to make a decision. How was I going to get this under control? I had to make some choices. Did I need one master catalog, or could I go with some version of smaller catalogs? My current catalog has well over 400,000 images in it. Not only is that too many(no matter what Adobe says), but, as I shoot in RAW, it has created the need for terabytes of storage space hanging off of my computer. Add to that my paranoid need to have at least two copies, on separate disks, of all my images and I have a massive, expensive mess. I decided to attack the problem in two phases. The first was to give myself a fresh beginning and create a new catalog with only the current year's photos. This would give me a chance to back or forward organize without getting discouraged. Once 2018 was good to go, I could go back to my old catalog and start the process of culling and keywording.  

But now the question was “How do I create a system that will be easy to implement and help me achieve my goals of fast search and smaller size catalog?” Here is the method I have decided on. It is not entirely original, but it is simple and will work. I welcome you to use it as is or modify it to your needs.

It all begins with Keyword PUX. You might not have ever heard of this, that's good because I made it up. Keyword PUX is a two-part strategy that begins at import. First, you add the keywords and then, as soon as the import completes, you cull the images.

Keywording is essential if you hope to quickly locate images a few months to years after they have been added to your catalog. Selecting a set of generalized keywords, such as state, town, shoot type (Landscape, Nightscape, Wildlife, Birds) that can be added at import makes staying on top of keywording straightforward. Even better, if you frequently shoot in the same locations, or shoot same types of subjects, you can create Metadata Presets that allow you to add the relevant keywords quickly. Metadata Presets are essential for copyright and image protection reasons as well, so I will cover them in a separate post.

Once the images are imported, you can PUX them. What is PUX? It is the acronym for the keyboard shortcuts the allow you to (P) Flag as Pick, (U) Unselect, (X) Set as Rejected an image. For the system to work fast make sure you have Auto Advance turned on (Photo: Auto Advance checked). Now start to go through the imported images hitting the U key for images you want to keep but are unsure about editing, i.e., most images. Hit the P key for photos that just WOW you and you know you are going to want to edit right away; fewest images. Most importantly from a catalog size management perspective, hit the X key for blurry pictures or ones that you know you don't want.

As soon as you have gone through this first pass go to "Delete Rejected Photos..." (Photo: Delete Rejected Photos…) and select "Delete from Disk" in the window that opens. Done! You now have a reasonably sized, searchable result from your shoot. 

I take it one step further for my wildlife images. I shoot birds most frequently and will often have many different species in my import. Typically, they will be grouped. After my initial Keyword PUX, I go back through and add species names to the images. I also quickly go through my servo bursts and X redundant images, keeping only one or two from each burst. I have found that this second PUX pass can often cut my total shoot keepers in half! That is a massive disk and catalog size saving.

I’ve learned that everyone has their own style of keeping things organized. Let me know if these suggestions help or share your comments on how you organize your Lightroom catalog.

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(RGallucci Photography) lightroom organization pux https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2018/3/getting-organized-in-lightroom Sat, 24 Mar 2018 18:49:34 GMT
When the Cows Come Home https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2017/12/when-the-cows-come-home It's funny how our perception is affected by our upbringing. Having lived in the New York tri-state region most of my life, I am used to seeing bizarre jetsam turn up just about anywhere, including outside my house. Of course, there is the iconic lone sneaker on the side of the highway, which leaves one wondering where the one-legged man has gone. But I have also seen grills, chairs, sofas and other various household items show up on the side of the road. That is my frame of reference. I am shocked by nothing. 

Moving to rural America has been a welcome change. The serenity of the open plain, its tall grasses reflecting the amber glow of daylight,  contrasted by a border of rugged mountains, with their dark shaded hues of brown and black, has left me in awe each day. It is with profound anticipation and joy that I wake up each morning to gaze out my office window at the pristine dawning of a new adventure.  I have never felt such a sense of being home. It is something I treasure deeply. And, it is something I wish to keep in its pristine state. 

I believe that to do so may create a need for me to reset my preconceived notions of what is typical on the roadside. This morning reinforced that belief.  I awoke, as usual, slipped on my robe and slippers, and went to my office to watch the sunrise. As a looked out the window, I was immediately assaulted by the cruelest reminder of my old haunts. There, across the street from my house, where the lush fields run unspoiled, was a massive black sofa, carelessly deposited right in the middle of my view! As rage replaced relaxation, I turned to go get my wife and scream about the invasion of our oasis. I was about three steps in when it occurred to me that I might have been too hasty in my assessment. I turned back to the window and took a better look. Imagine my surprise and embarrassment when I realized the discarded sofa was actually a grazing cow. 

Instantly the scene outside transformed back into one of peaceful enjoyment again. In fact, it was so exceptional that I felt I needed to capture it and share it with the world. I call this image When the Cows Come Home for that is where they have chosen to graze, at my home. I am truly blessed by our Lord with the visions he allows me to witness. 

When the Cows Come HomeWhen the Cows Come Home

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(RGallucci Photography) arizona landscapes sunrise https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2017/12/when-the-cows-come-home Thu, 21 Dec 2017 19:59:33 GMT
Morning at Cochran's Cabins https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2017/8/morning-at-cochrans-cabins  

Morning at Cochran's CabinsMorning at Cochran's Cabins

I stood on the shoreline and gazed, stoic and alone with my thoughts. As darkness receded, my solitude was interrupted by the sounds of nature awakening. Across the lake a loon called out filling the morning air with a reverberating aria whose cascading notes stood time still. Insects hummed in the background, accompanied by the percussion of gentle waves cascading into the shore. First moments of a new day beginning.

The smell of the forest where it met the lake filled my being with an aromatic elixir that calmed the ever persistent nervous spasms of thought created by the rat race of my lifes typical days. But not this day. Not this morning.

Days first light struggled over the horizon, its reflection bouncing off the thick cloud cover and landing on waters brow to be diffused into muted streaks of white, gray and pink, building a hypnotic hollow of peace where my troubled thoughts could lay. Serenity begins.

Color, that ever late riser, awoke and the world once again became vibrant; its mysterious shades and shimmering highlights nourishing my being with the vision of Gods greatness of creation. I found peace.

There's something about first mornings light on a lake, even on an overcast day, that sets a soul to rest. Such was my experience on my recent brief visit to Cochran's Cabins on Lake Kiwassa in the Adirondacks. I was only going to be there for a couple of hours more, but the experience of this brief interlude would set me right for months to come.

Shoot Date: July 17, 2017
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
¹⁄10 sec at f/8.0 Bias:0 EV
ISO: 100
Lens:EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM @ 16 mm

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(RGallucci Photography) adirondacks lake summer sunrise vacation https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2017/8/morning-at-cochrans-cabins Tue, 01 Aug 2017 20:27:02 GMT
Half Moon over Lady Liberty https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2017/7/half-moon-over-lady-liberty Half Moon over Lady LibertyHalf Moon over Lady Liberty

A last minute trip to the Brooklyn Piers last night served as a sharp lesson in the adage "proper planning prevents poor photos."  Don't get me wrong; I like this shot.  But, it is not the shot I set out to get. About thirty seconds earlier the lower edge of the midsummer moon tottered precariously on Lady Liberty's flame, as if she were delicately balanced on a fragile stage.  That is the shot I had hoped to get. Unfortunately, when I got to my vantage point on the Brooklyn Piers, I realized that the wind off the Hudson was creating a lot of camera shake. A couple of test shots proved that I would not get any focused shots with the current gear. I had to run back to the car and get a heavier tripod and lens or abandon the shoot altogether. I chose the car (of course). By the time I returned and got set up I had missed the shot I hoped to get. 

As I shared above, this is still a good shot. I just can't help but think that if I had not tried to take the easier path of bringing lighter gear, I would have achieved my goal for the night. In the end, it worked out well. Life is good like that - you make a mistake, you learn a valuable lesson that makes you wiser and better, and sometimes, like last evening, you still end up with some reward.

I hope you enjoy.

Half Moon over Lady Liberty
©RGallucci Photography

Shoot Date: July 31, 2017
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
0.3 sec at f/6.3 Bias:‒ 1 EV
ISO: 800
Lens:EF400mm f/2.8L USM @ 400 mm

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(RGallucci Photography) brooklyn piers moon moonset statue of liberty https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2017/7/half-moon-over-lady-liberty Mon, 31 Jul 2017 16:33:15 GMT
Flight of the Hummingbird - 2017 https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2017/5/flight-of-the-hummingbird---2017 Ruby-throated Hiummingbird-1 2017Ruby-throated Hiummingbird-1 2017To each their own when it comes to how they define relaxing. For me, it is sitting in the backyard on a sunny day with my 400mm lens glued to the spot where I know our Hummingbirds will fly in to feed. The goal is a couple of good shots.

Hummingbirds only fly in for about 15 seconds to feed. They are about one inch long and blazingly fast, so there are a lot more missed shots than keepers. I did get a couple I like today. Here is the first.
Shoot Date: May 14, 2017
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Shutter priority ¹⁄₂₀₀₀ sec at f/2.8 1 EV
Lens: EF400mm f/2.8L USM @ 400 mm
ISO: 250
It is an annual ritual. Shortly after the return of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds to our yard, on the first clear and sunny day, I set up my camera and wait for one to fly in. Photographing a hummingbird takes a combination of patience, proper settings, and a long lens. In this case, I used my 400mm 2.8 lens in order to shoot as fast as possible (TV: 2000) and the smallest aperture (AV:2.8). This allowed me to snap many shots in the incredibly short 15 to 30 seconds that the hummingbirds fly in.  For me, there is a serene pleasure in being able to go through the images and examine more closely the incredible biomechanics of this tiny bird. I hope you enjoy. 

Ruby-throated Hummingbird-II 2017Ruby-throated Hummingbird-II 2017Another from todays hummongbird session.
Shoot Date: May 14, 2017
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Shutter priority ¹⁄₂₀₀₀ sec at f/3.2 1 ²⁄₃ EV
Lens: EF400mm f/2.8L USM @ 400 mm
ISO: 2500
Flight of the Hummingbird (RTHU)Flight of the Hummingbird (RTHU)I believe this is that last of my Ruby-throated Hummingbird shots and it is my favorite. I am fascinated with the way the bird can manipulate its wings to maneuver in the air.
Shoot Date: May 14, 2017
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Shutter priority ¹⁄₂₀₀₀ sec at f/2.8 1 EV
Lens: EF400mm f/2.8L USM @ 400 mm
ISO: 250

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(RGallucci Photography) Birds Hummingbird Jersey New Photography RGallucci RTHU Ruby-throated https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2017/5/flight-of-the-hummingbird---2017 Mon, 15 May 2017 14:51:10 GMT
Pre-dawn at Liberty State Park https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2016/9/pre-dawn-at-liberty-state-park It's not hard to take beautiful photographs, but it does take dedication to learning the craft. 

Pre-dawn at Liberty State ParkPre-dawn at Liberty State ParkIn the predawn glow of suns first light the path at Liberty State Park seems like a paved trail to a mystic city. It is one of my favorite views of the NYC Skyline.

I hope you enjoy.

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(RGallucci Photography) https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2016/9/pre-dawn-at-liberty-state-park Sat, 10 Sep 2016 01:52:02 GMT
SuperStorm Sandy https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2012/11/superstorm-sandy Copy of email I sent today to all I work with

Many have been writing and calling to check up on how we have fared through Super-Storm Sandy. First, thank you for your care and concern.  I am actually writing this at 6:00am while on a one-mile gas line in central NJ. I guess others had my idea to get an early start. This line will grow to two miles by midday.

As others, we lost power for over a week, sustained a large rip in the side of the house and lost some roofing. I consider us very lucky. Many, even neighbors, are still without power.  There are many that have lost all. I know all are very concerned about the forecast Nor’easter coming this Thursday. I don't like to project, but if it hits it will add to the devastation.

Later today I will be heading to Staten Island with a local church to assist in relief efforts for people who are now homeless; their homes having been flooded, burned or other wise left completely uninhabitable. They are the worst victims of this catastrophe. I happen to be heading to Staten Island, but up and down the coastline the devastation has been repeated and the needs great. The losses are complete, the lives forever changed.

My primary business, Surgant Ventures, will re-open this week on a partial basis. As long as our neighbors are in need, we will be volunteering time and resources to offer assistance.  I may be in touch with those we have scheduled meetings with requesting to change dates and times. I appreciate the accommodations and thank you in advance for understanding our reasoning. We hope to resume normal business in the coming weeks.

Many have written and asked how they can help.  While national charitable organizations are wonderful, many are overwhelmed and not getting the needs of the victims addressed. In Staten Island, I know that we are looking for school supplies so kids can begin to start normalizing their lives by attending classes.

Specifically needed are:

  • Book bags
  • Pencils
  • Notebooks
  • Crayons
  • All other school supplies

Additionally:

  • Cleaning supplies
  • Blankets
  • Gloves
  • Coats
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Toiletries
  • Adult diapers
  • Canned and non perishable foods

Once those needs are met we will shift efforts to another area to distribute donations.

Ship to our office:

107 Wallace Court
Green Brook, NJ 08812

We have a 501c3 for donations*. Please make checks out to:  BeTheMomentum

Many know that I am an amateur photographer.  For the next month I will be donating all profits from sales to relief efforts. The web site is rgallucci.com.

If you are in the affected region and know of hard hit areas that need immediate direct relief and assistance please email me at rgallucci@surgantventures.com  

We hope you are all well and look forward to our next conversation.

* BeTheMomentum is the organization we had previously set up to raise awareness and fundraise for Parkinson ‘s disease. We are redirecting our contributions to Super-Storm Sandy relief efforts while the need is there. 

 

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(RGallucci Photography) Hurricane Sandy Relief Sandy Superstorm Sandy https://www.rgallucci.com/blog/2012/11/superstorm-sandy Sun, 04 Nov 2012 16:38:12 GMT