March 2018 – As we started the first few weeks of the Chinese Year of the Dog, we realized that it really is a dog’s life out here in our cozy little RV.
The best part about it is there’s always an endless range of possibilities waiting for us just outside our RV window.
And for folks like us whose home address is a campsite, there’s nothing like camping out on a lake!
There’s always something going on out there on the lake, whether it’s people fishing from their boats, or folks out sailing, or pretty ducks floating by.
Mark took some old bread down to the shore to feed the ducks. Buddy was fascinated and watched intently.
Since we took Buddy under our wings, we have discovered that he is quite the socialite. Where we kinda stick to ourselves and lead quiet lives, Buddy likes to be the life of the party. He happily trots from RV door to RV door to find out just where the party is.
As one glorious lakeside day rolled into the next one, we were blessed with many magical moments. One of the first was when we woke up to see fog and snow on the distant mountains. This isn’t very common in the Arizona desert, but it is truly magical when it happens.
Another morning we suddenly noticed a hot air balloon drifting over the lake. What a fun surprise!
In no time the balloon was flying right overhead, the flame easily visible above the basket. On the side of the balloon were the words, “God bless.”
And then, in the blink of an eye, the magical moment had passed and the balloon disappeared in the distance.
One afternoon I returned from a little hike with Buddy to find a crowd of people staring at the dock. A bald eagle had just landed on the dock and was making short work of a fish he held down with his feet.
I was floored at how big the eagle was. He dwarfed the nearby mallard ducks and seagulls. He was also very calm as he quietly tore the fish apart.
I figured there was no way I could get back to our buggy and get my camera out in time, but I ran with Buddy and grabbed the camera with the big lens on it that was sitting on the table. I noticed it was Mark’s camera, but heck, he wasn’t here. No problem!
Just then, Mark opened the door. I shoved the camera into his hands and said, “Bald eagle! Quick! Run!” and pointed at the dock.
He took off like greased lightning while I hunted around for my camera and got my big 150-600 mm lens loaded onto it. Then Buddy and I took off for the dock too.
Even though quite a few minutes had passed, the eagle was still happily munching away on his fish. Some opportunistic seagulls were milling around nearby hoping for tidbits.
Both Mark and I were able to fire off some wonderful shots of this gorgeous bird as he finished his meal.
Then he wiped his beak on the wooden dock and pumped his wings hard to fly up in the air. Looking at the photos later, I just loved the puffy pantaloons on his legs.
And then off he went. It had been another truly magical moment that soared into our lives and then flew away and into our memory.
One morning I woke up early and lazily raised the blinds to see what was going on in the world. To my astonishment, a fabulous orange full moon was in the midst of setting. It was another incredible OMG moment that I wanted desperately to catch on camera.
I tore through my clothes trying to find pants and a jacket and shoes as well as a camera with a long lens and a tripod to mount it on.
Our sweet puppy Buddy is not a morning person at all, but he watched me in amazement from his cozy spot under the blankets as I threw things all over the place in a total panic.
To get the biggest possible orb in the sky, I grabbed my beautiful brand new Nikon D500 that Mark had given me a few weeks prior for my birthday, and I attached my mammoth 150-600 mm lens to it. Being a crop-sensor camera, this effectively gave me a 900 mm lens.
But unfortunately I hadn’t memorized all the buttons on my new camera yet, and as I stood outside shivering in icy blasts of wind, I couldn’t remember how to get the settings I wanted.
As the moon dropped steadily out of the sky and slipped behind a saguaro cactus, framing a fabulous image I desperately wanted to capture, I chastised myself for not having taken the time yet to study this miraculous piece of gear.
Mark heard all the commotion and suddenly appeared at my side in his skivvies and bare feet as the bitter wind whipped across the lake. He gave me one of those “are you kidding?” and “tsk tsk” kind of looks and calmly showed me the buttons I’d been looking for.
We both got a good laugh, but we couldn’t wait to get another chance for better pics when the moon set at the end of the day. We would be prepared this time!
So, late in the afternoon we watched for the moon to rise which happened right as the sun was setting. (For those who haven’t studied the night sky, that’s how full moons work: they shine all night long, rising at sunset and setting at sunrise).
It rose across the lake, casting a beautiful shaft of orange light across the water and the docks where a man was peacefully fishing. It was another magical moment.
The next morning we set the alarm so we wouldn’t miss the setting of the moon. This time we were completely prepared with all our gear laid out, including our Hoodman loupes, so we could see exactly what our pics looked like, and our remote shutter releases to help the cameras stay perfectly still as we took each photo.
The moon set about an hour later than it had the morning before, so the sky was lighter, and the moon’s path was quite a ways left of where it had been. We moved our positions so we could line the moon up with a different saguaro cactus. Then, slowly but surely, the moon sank behind the cactus and we each got some very satisfying shots.
It’s hard to describe the beauty of our RV lifestyle, because the most wondrous part is when beautiful surprises come to us unexpectedly. We couldn’t script happier days than these very special ones that were filled with such magical moments.
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- Dancing in the Moonlight – Full Moon & Saguaro Cactus
- Rainbows Over Cactus at Sunset
- Snow in the Arizona Desert
- Eagles and Hummingbirds in Montana
- A Golden Eagle Release in Utah
- A Balloon Festival in South Dakota
- Lake Pleasant and Canyon Lake – Desert Lakeside RV Camping
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