West Park, Carmel, Indiana – 8/13/2011

Firstly, as a bit of housekeeping, I thank you all for your participation over the past couple of days. Since my last post over 100 new followers have wandered in here and spawned dozens of comments. I appreciate and read every one but unfortunately it seems clear that if I answer them all I’m unlikely to ever do much else BUT answer comments. So I do read them and I do answer those that ask some specific question but my previous policy of “answer every comment in some way”… well, sadly, I’m not sure I can keep up with that any longer. Know though that you are heard even if you aren’t specifically answered. Anyway, on with the post.

In a happy twist of August Indiana weather it was a blissful 73 degrees outside when I took these pics so my first inclination turned towards taking the kids to the State Fair. The youngest was easily tempted over to my side with the phrase, “they have food…” but the eldest was unconvinced as revealed by her response of “I hate the state fair. I always have hated the state fair and I always will.” *sigh* Fine. Given that attitude and with the debacle of the previous year in mind (in which we spent $37 for a 20-minute visit) a compromise was in order.

The eldest’s counter-suggestion was that we go to the Children’s Museum on the principle that it was “too hot to be outside.” Commentary on the decadent American lifestyle that leads to such beliefs aside, we instead headed out to West Park.

Izzy, who upon arriving at the park observed that there was clearly no food, was indignant and charged off as quickly and as obviously annoyed as it is possible to do at her age. I suppose she should have growled at us but she made her disgruntlement clear enough without such guttural utterances.

From West Park – 8-13-2011

We quickly managed to bring the indignant Izzy around by pointing out the abundance of testudine (turtle) wildlife. Only moments before in the car she’d been discussing strategies by which she might wrangle herself into having a turtle as a pet.

From West Park – 8-13-2011
From West Park – 8-13-2011

Amanda, however, was still unconvinced. The temperature had skyrocketed to the heady figure of 74 degrees.

From West Park – 8-13-2011

A walnut or two found under a pine tree never hurts one’s attitude either, it seems.

From West Park – 8-13-2011

I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that I stood in this area for a couple of minutes before noticing this heron fishing for its breakfast. Generally when you see them they seem to be just placidly walking along as if they have nothing much better to do but this one was actively taking advantage of the large number of small fish in the pond.

From West Park – 8-13-2011
From West Park – 8-13-2011
From West Park – 8-13-2011

I also have to give the park a lot of credit. They appear to be cultivating several native species that you don’t find in most public areas. I believe this is Prairie Dock if I recall correctly.

From West Park – 8-13-2011

And no summer trip would be complete without a dragonfly.

From West Park – 8-13-2011


  1. Ron, So glad you commented my MY very new blog page at sadiesideas.wordpress.com so I could in turn find YOUR well-established and successful blog page! You are very smart, talented, patient, and loving. Yeah, I got all that from just this one post. I really enjoy your photos and your commentary. I realize you can’t answer all comments, but that you will read this and be happy. That’s enough!! Carry on and good health to you and your lovely family. Peace, xoxo, Sadie

  2. Rob, the heron photos are wonderful! I especially like the 3rd one – it’s unusual to catch them with their mouth open like this, and the reflection and water droplets make it even more special. Well done! I have a post about the Great Blue Heron you might be interested in – it’s linked from my home page, or in the October blog archives.

  3. One day a couple years ago, I was fly fishing for brown trout on one of my favourite stretches of the Grand River here in Ontario when a great blue heron landed in the water about 30 feet from me. He outfished me 3 to 1 and his trout were decidedly bigger than mine. It was a beautiful thing to behold. That bird would simply stand still and watch and when an unsuspecting trout came by, he would lunge down and grab it at lightning speed. On the other hand, I was using a Usual pattern with a tan body in size 14 to imitate the emerging Ephemerella subvaria – the Hendrickson.

  4. It’s always been frustrating to me that if I go to a public park or wildlife preserve, the damn birds and little furry buggers will gaze placidly at you and allow their picture to be taken.
    I get in my kayak, paddle into the true wilds and when I meet heron, egrets and the like, they erupt in a furious effort to escape before I can get within 100 yards of them. And with the 3x optical waterproof that is too bloody far.
    What do I look like to them? A yellow alligator, a giant waterbug?

    I enjoyed your pictures, congrats. What lens did you use, or did I miss that in the post?

    • Yeah, wildlife can sometimes be so uncooperative… I’m usually sporting a Tamron 18-270mm out in the wilds. Can usually catch most things I like if I’m willing to stalk them carefully enough. You said “waterproof”… I’ve been pondering (remotely) of doing the kayak thing for photographic purposes. What’s the 30-second rundown in that? Can you get your regular camera fitted to be watertight or do you have to buy a whole new kit?

      • Rob, not sure if this will help but here’s my experience. I’ve been forced to take a lot of my photos from a kayak for quite a few years, since it’s one of our primary means of recreation. It’s tricky – not just the waterproofing, but getting sharp photos, as the kayak is always moving (add waves and tidal currents to the mix and you have movement in multiple directions). I originally took my Canon (film) Rebel XT, then later my digital Rebel XT, often with an extra lens in a second dry bag in my cockpit. I put the camera in a soft dry bag that has a strap long enough to go around my neck; bag done up tightly when I got in or out of the kayak from our boat or a dock. Once safely in the kayak I opened the bag & hung its strap, and my camera strap too, around my neck so that I could quickly access the camera & tuck it back into the open bag between uses. If I saw a big wave coming I’d try to get the bag done up quickly.

        The summer before last, I accidentally dropped the dry bag overboard – just for a few seconds, and it was done up tightly, so no harm done…but it scared the heck out of me. So last summer I bought a waterproof compact camera for use in the kayak (and for rainy days too, of which we had many). It made life easier, but the optical zoom falls way short of my 200-mm lens, so while I did fine on the landscapes, the wildlife opportunities just weren’t happening the way they used to. A few weeks ago I upgraded my DSLR…so now I am thinking of putting the XT back to work as my kayak camera, at least on non-rainy days. I figure if it went overboard, I’d lose my secondary camera and a lens, but I’d still have my main camera and other two lenses, so not the end of the world. If I do go this route next summer, I will be searching for a more skookum soft dry bag as the old one is getting a bit worn for my liking.

      • Ugh. See, that’s my recurring nightmare. Being out and happy on the water and then dropping something. I quake to think about it. Thanks for he input here. I’ll … well, I’ll probably stay dry but will refer to this if I ever decide to take the leap. πŸ™‚

  5. I was wondering if there is any photographic direction other than hyperrealism, ultimate clarity, razor-sharp definition? And is making adjustments after you have taken the photograph on a different artistic level from the adjustments made before you click the shutter? I know Cartier-Bresson said he never even cropped his images but even if that was true…..
    I like your photographs and I like your style

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