The Time the Lights Were On But Nobody Was Home in Las Vegas

No one was unaffected by the early days of the pandemic when the Shelter in Place orders were much more strict. When many of us left our shelters for essentials we were reminded of any post apocalyptic movie we had ever seen. I know I was. The only reminders of normalcy were the essential and front line workers keeping the world turning whom I hold great gratitude for.

When the quarantine orders started to ease I felt it was finally safe for me to check on my family who live near Las Vegas. In mid March the Vegas Strip was shut down for the first time since JFK’s assassination and I was there in the beginning of June, the last week of the shutdown before the reopening.

While the Strip casinos and other businesses were closed, it was permitted to ride a bike down the strip and I took advantage of that as it was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

I have been on the Vegas Strip countless times during my life. I’m very familiar with it. But I’ve never seen it like this. It was beautifully eerie. It was a balmy night, in the high 90’s. The crescent moon was setting behind the strip which was a photographers dream. The air had cleared, the usual “Vegas smell” was gone and the air smelled fresher than usual. It was rid of the usual stench of partying and exhaust fumes like it was going through its own disinfection. The most of the fountains were drained and dry. The Volcano at the Mirage was dark and still. It was quiet. We only saw about a dozen other people also on bikes soaking up the silent Strip as we were. I planned to be able to go back a time or two but I went on the last night it was safe to do so. In the nights after, civil unrest hit the Vegas strip and it was completely blocked off the next night.

These are the images I got. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to see it this way but I pray that nothing happens to make it look like this again.

If you are interested in purchasing prints of these photos they are available on my website here.

Gear used Nikon D7200 with Nikkor 50mm 1.8 D

Please click on images for larger view.

Sea Otter Savvy

Living in the Monterey Bay Area I’ve become familiar with and very fond of sea otters. They are not an uncommon site for me when I’m out taking photos.

Sea Otters were practicing “social distancing” before it was cool. There are laws protecting them and the recommended distance from them is 50 yards. My photos of them are taken from a distance so they are not disturbed, which can be harmful to them. I’ve come across some sea otters that were too friendly for their own good, however. When that happens I usually try to back away slowly.

I captured this little guy while I was out taking photos of a smoky sunset from the recent fire storms  here in California. Being as fond of them as I am I was honored when Sea Otter Savvy used this photo for their article. (Read below) 

For more information about sea otters and why they are an important vulnerable species please visit www.seaottersavvy.org

We hope all those impacted by the ongoing California fires are safe, and remember to limit your exposure to the smoke as it can negatively affect health – it also can impact the health of wildlife.Researchers found that after the 2008 Basin Complex Fire, sea otters were exposed to higher levels of carcinogenic chemicals called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). By using gene transcription technology they were able to show that exposed sea otters had molecular reactions to the exposure, malignant transformation, and a decreased immune response – consistent with short-term exposure (Bowen et al. 2014). Luckily the sea otters sampled in 2009 appeared to be mostly back to normal. However, as fire seasons continue to lengthen, we all need to continue to be vigilant and practice #firesafety. #ScienceFriday #SeaOtterSavvySource: Bowen, L. et al. 2014. Effects of wildfire on sea otter (Enhydra lutris) gene transcript profiles. Marine Mammal Science doi: 10.1111/mms.12151.https://www.conservationmagazine.org/…/otters-feel-the-bur…/Photo by Amy Medina Photography on 8/21/2020 at Moss Landing State Beach taken from shore. Using 250mm on a cropped sensor camera.

Source: Sea Otter Savvy – Home

Welcome to my blog!

So, today I made the decision to start a blog to have a place to talk about my passion for photography. I’m active on Instagram and Facebook and you can find me there most of the time. But here I’m hoping to be able to really talk turkey. (That expression may have just dated me HA!) Bear with me because photos are my interpretative dance and preferred language. I’m much more eloquent speaking in pictures.

First, let me explain why I named my blog “Waves and Wonders”, I’m a grateful believer in the Divine. I am a Christian. Ansel Adams said it better than I can when he said, “God Creates the beauty. My camera and I are a witness”.

I’m writing this in the year 2020 and wherever or whoever you are I can bet that you could agree this year has been a challenge. Finding the beauty in chaos creating art from is what keeps me sane and gives me peace. If you are like me and find comfort in nature I hope to invite you along with me on my sunset chasing , wave watching and general wonder hunting excursions through my photos.

Despite the challenges of this year I have seen many wonders and can count many blessings. One personal challenge I’ve faced this year is my forced retirement from a 20 year career due to the pandemic. I was a professional face painting artist who worked private and corporate events. While someday I hope to return to it, I’m immersing myself into photography and I’m grateful for this season to do so.

I chose this particular photo as my cover because I felt it really told an encouraging story. That bird is cruising through those waves with his head held high.

I want to remember to notice the wonders of each day, in each moment, no matter where I am under any circumstance.”
― Charlotte Eriksson