Tag Archives: birds

St Louis – Day 1: Forest Park, St. Louis Zoo

So yesterday my daughter’s mother was off getting Honeymooned by her new husband so we all took off for St. Louis. In general, when I vacation it tends to be simply going from place to place, wherever the wind will blow. In this case, with three kids along, I let them go wherever they would blow. Whenever asked, “Where are we going?” my steadfast answer was, “you tell me.” Simply put, it was my job to keep them fed and away from the police station. Aside from that, whatever the popular vote called for was in order.

The first destination requested was the zoo. I handled parking and after that the kids were in charge of selecting destinations, planning their time and, most amusingly to me, navigation.

From 6-10-2013 St Louis

At some point Amanda will stop giving me these silly looks because inevitably they’re captured forever.

From 6-10-2013 St Louis

Eric is looking stoic as always.

From 6-10-2013 St Louis

First order of business was the primates, I’m always struck by the soulful humanity in their eyes. It astounds me that any hunter could ever look into these eyes and think it was right to kill such a creature in cold blood.

From 6-10-2013 St Louis

Their hands are practically human.

From 6-10-2013 St Louis

And in some cases, their faces almost prayerful.

From 6-10-2013 St Louis

And touchingly somber. Pity they’re locked up.

From 6-10-2013 St Louis

Izzy, of course, finds a way to get attacked by a tree.

From 6-10-2013 St Louis

Little bowling pin prairie dogs. Amanda asked, “Are prairie dogs supposed to be that fat?!” Sadly my knowledge of prairie dog dietary needs is woefully insufficient to speculate.

From 6-10-2013 St Louis

One mustn’t forget the flamingos.

From 6-10-2013 St Louis

or the pelicans…(?) either.

From 6-10-2013 St Louis

The penguin house was cool (no pun intended) but rather dark for much good photography. However there was no shortage of silhouettes.

From 6-10-2013 St Louis

But the puffins were slightly better lit.

From 6-10-2013 St Louis

I realized while editing a series of rather dull zebra photos, that I’ve neglected textures as of late. It seems well nigh time to put that to rights.

From 6-10-2013 St Louis

Mr. Camel has rather a grievous overbite.

From 6-10-2013 St Louis

And caught in the right instant, ostriches look to be laughing…

From 6-10-2013 St Louis

… but they quickly become shy after their outbursts.

From 6-10-2013 St Louis

Since the children somehow showed up with no proper footwear and only flip-flops available for several miles of walking, this fountain was a godsend for tired, hot and grumpy feet.

From 6-10-2013 St Louis

Various St. Louis landmarks are in evidence.

From 6-10-2013 St Louis

This scene struck me as rather apt, though depressing. All the children have run away to play, leaving only their shoes and water bottles behind…. well, that and all manner of electronic gadgetry.

From 6-10-2013 St Louis

Arches in relief.

From 6-10-2013 St Louis

I put on my most friendly voice with the front desk clerk to move us up to the top floor. She stated categorically that “none of the rooms have a good view” but this view from the hallway is nothing to sneeze at. I’ll just set my alarm for 5:00am and we’ll see where the sun comes up amongst this tangle of humanity.

From 6-10-2013 St Louis

And that’s the day that was.

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Carmel Parks Nature – May, 2013

As the afternoon rolled around it seemed a good day to go and see what the natural world was up to. Carmel Indiana offers many parks but I tend to end up at West Park and Coxhall Gardens most frequently and today was no exception. Also, last post I speculated about the joys of the “Golden Hour” and I’m increasingly convinced that the concept is limited to portraiture and landscapes so today when I wandered out while the near-noonday sun was pounding down, I did so with the 500mm zoom and 60mm macro in tow.

I know exactly one bird song and it’s for these colorful critters.

From 5-27-2013 Carmel

I’ve spoken before about my fascination for aquatic plants. These delicate plants live on the boundaries of land and water and were probably the first to poke their heads from the primordial ooze a few hundred million years ago.

From 5-27-2013 Carmel

The reptiles were out in force today as the tiny new-hatched turtles sunned themselves on the vegetation. This one sports a skirt of moss.

From 5-27-2013 Carmel

Usually when I’m out I don’t talk to a soul. Today I was approached twice by people who evidently thought I knew what I was doing as I glared like a big-game hunter into the muck. Happily I was able to direct someone to a cluster of white lotus in the area but another’s search for muskrats was beyond my powers to aid. They were sadly stuck with turtles, which is about as far from muskrats as one can get.

From 5-27-2013 Carmel
From 5-27-2013 Carmel

One thing that’s under-appreciated about carrying a veritable 500mm cannon around, beyond the sheer weight of the thing, is that it’s just idiotically hard to keep anything in frame at that zoom let alone keep it focused. Many of my shots were sadly poor in focus but a few came out as crisply as I could ever have hoped for. Will make a mental note to be more patient next time, at least as far as it’s possible to be patient with birds flitting about from branch to branch like nuts.

From 5-27-2013 Carmel

Heading to Coxhall gardens for the second part of the day, I switched to macro.

From 5-27-2013 Carmel

Bees are a perennial favorite, especially against contrasting color backgrounds.

From 5-27-2013 Carmel

And I love buds of all sorts, even of the rather lackluster day lily. There’s so much pent-up potential here. Soon this will grow, burst, bloom and die. Sad, sure, but it’ll enjoy the trip. An allegory for life if ever I saw one.

From 5-27-2013 Carmel

The benefactors who created (or at least funded) the gardens stand as silent guardians. The kids always call them rather creepy but this is a caring face if ever I saw one, metal though it may be.

From 5-27-2013 Carmel

I often underestimate the power of the macro lens and also forget to appreciate the intricacies of the common dandelion. Such worlds contained herein.

From 5-27-2013 Carmel

OK, that’s the day that was. As always, click the link to download copies. You have my permission to print, share, do whatever with my photos, as long as you don’t profit financially. The world is open and free to be shared; I’m just borrowing it with my camera.

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Cheeney Creek Nature Area

Today found me wandering about the Cheeney Creek Nature Area. This was at the recommendation of he-who-shall-be-pictured-later. He-who downplayed it enough that it was a surprisingly amusing visit. Hoo-Rah for expert expectation setting.

#1 This shot is only amusing if you think that 1950s movies with silly puns like “don’t! stop!” are amusing. Or, I suppose, if you have some bizarre form of synesthesia that causes you to smell mom’s apple pie whenever you see red and orange together.

From 11-27-2012 Cheeney Creek Nature Area

#2 Note the ragged “For Rent” sign in the culvert. Real estate tycoons have to start somewhere I suppose. Anyone in the market for a 2-foot culvert, slightly damp? Easy access to the adjoining nature area.

From 11-27-2012 Cheeney Creek Nature Area

#3 The view of the eventual water feature

From 11-27-2012 Cheeney Creek Nature Area

#4 Hereby hangs a tale. I had asked my cohort on this day to throw a rock into the water right at the leaf in the center of the shot. Shutter speed at 1/2000th of a second? Check. Focus set at the target location? Check. Camera set to take shots at high speed to catch the splash? Check. Having a cohort on hand who can hit a target in the water less than five feet away? Not so much. Still, it made for an interesting result that I could not have achieved singlehandedly even if it wasn’t QUITE what I was looking to get.

From 11-27-2012 Cheeney Creek Nature Area

#5/#6 The highlight was this tiny railroad bridge. Seems a mighty amount of trouble to span three feet of ditch but nature and her drainage patterns will prevail, I suppose.

From 11-27-2012 Cheeney Creek Nature Area
From 11-27-2012 Cheeney Creek Nature Area

#7 He-who-was-to-be-pictured.

From 11-27-2012 Cheeney Creek Nature Area

#8 Admittedly it was a wonderful day given that it was, after all, almost December in Indiana.

From 11-27-2012 Cheeney Creek Nature Area

#9 We played “chase the ducks” briefly to little actual avail. It’s amusing to me that they even swim in a V pattern.

From 11-27-2012 Cheeney Creek Nature Area

#10 We close with a crayfish, or as grandpa always used to call them, “crawdads”. It’s atrociously difficult to take a decent picture of a creature at the bottom of a murky pond but these arthropods deserve, I think, special attention. I recall as a young boy spending time at “The Lake” (as a child any lake, no matter where it is, is simply “the lake”) teasing these clever little gentry of the undermuck onto my line. While the adults were all consumed with catching some animal called a “fish” I was outwitting these devilish blighters. Almost makes me want to take up fishing just for the photo ops.

From 11-27-2012 Cheeney Creek Nature Area

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Misc Photos for 11-18-2012

As of late I’ve found myself rather uninspired.  At least part of this is late-season ennui but I also have come to feel that my “art” is rather unfocused.  (No pun intended.)  While other photographers tend to specialize, I just photograph absolutely anything from random people to found objects.  My camera has been accumulating photos for the past couple weeks that I haven’t bothered to upload.  Today I have a bit to show for the time that’s passed.

#1: Someone can probably tell me what this odd-looking bird is.

From Misc 11-18-2012

#2: I like the colors and lines here. The bird itself is of no great note but it does leave a trail in its environment.

From Misc 11-18-2012

#3: I spent a fair amount of time the other day trying to get action shots of ducks on the water. My eventual assessment was that I needed a longer lens. At 270mm I can just barely squeeze out a reasonable level of detail.

From Misc 11-18-2012

#4: Some shots I just love the romantic aspects of a road vanishing into the distance.

From Misc 11-18-2012

#5: In the category of odd found-objects, I give you this child’s toy long trapped in a retention pond.

From Misc 11-18-2012

#6: Similar to #4, I like the irony of a No Trespassing sign overrun by nature.

From Misc 11-18-2012

#7: In the city where I live there’s a 106th street and there’s a forgotten “Old 106th” street. The homes on Old 106th street seem to have been trapped in a timewarp since the traffic on them has declined substantially. One features this ancient flag and gate.

From Misc 11-18-2012

#8: Not far from #7, it seems that a house has moved and birds now make their homes in this forgotten mailbox.

From Misc 11-18-2012

#9: Some photos you just take because they seem artsy.

From Misc 11-18-2012

#10: After the trip down Old 106th street I came home and played with some macro shots.

From Misc 11-18-2012

#11: And took apart an old computer. Here are the pins for an old Pentium processor.

From Misc 11-18-2012

#12: The heatsink on the processor on an older video card.

From Misc 11-18-2012

#13: The internals of some HP hardware. No comment on the countries of origin.

From Misc 11-18-2012

#14: I also took apart an old hard drive. A very chiaroscuro experience.

From Misc 11-18-2012

#15: Oops. Sure hope I didn’t void the warranty.

From Misc 11-18-2012

Anyway, such is the two weeks or so since the last post.

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Filed under abstract photography, Art photography, Landscape photography, nature Photography, Philosophy, Urban Photography

Misc Photos for 11-5-2012

A rather random assortment of shots from yesterday.

#1

Mostly just enjoy the contrast here. Harsh metal versus soft rustling leaves.

#2

The birds are busily cleaning up the fall… whatever those are.

#3

Wandering in the forest we came upon an orange construction barrel. Mother nature has gone a bureaucratic.

#4

One finds the oddest litter in the forest.

#5

The find of the day was this compost bin full of jack-o-lanterns.

#6

This whole situation strikes me as rather iconic of all holidays. We feast, we celebrate, then we discard.

#7

Later in the day back in the apartment I had some items to photograph so there was a brief spate of random puttering.

And that ends thus ends the day. Now if only I’d written proper descriptions for all the photos I took and tagged them with proper keywords. So many layers of work here. Any volunteers?

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Trip Day 9 – Astoria Oregon and Cannon Beach

Day 9 finds us in Astoria, Oregon, the land of superbly long bridges that seem to stretch on forever.

From 7-7-2012 Day 9 – Astoria, Oregon – Cannon Beach
From 7-7-2012 Day 9 – Astoria, Oregon – Cannon Beach
From 7-7-2012 Day 9 – Astoria, Oregon – Cannon Beach

It was on this day, for the first time in the trip really that I managed to pry myself out of bed relatively early and go walking to see what was to be seen. Sadly I didn’t catch the sunrise (it would have been magnificent) but I did find the world quietly waking up and quietly at its work.

From 7-7-2012 Day 9 – Astoria, Oregon – Cannon Beach

In these posts I tend to end up focusing on pictures of “things”: bridges, birds, people, but there are many times that I take a picture that doesn’t really have a noun tied to it. Something that just evokes a thought that’s difficult to enunciate to anyone else. During my morning walk I found this building with these little ‘no trespassing’ stencils on it in several places. It made me wonder what exactly it was that was being protected. Have they had problems with looters? What is the secret? The colors, vomit pink and diarrhea brown are fairly worthy of note too.

From 7-7-2012 Day 9 – Astoria, Oregon – Cannon Beach

The layout of the city is a bit ominous. Most of the downtown is a hundred feet lower in elevation than the further outskirts, making one realize that at some point in history the shoreline was probably UP THERE. But man as always scrambles ever closer to the water heedless of the fact that some day he may wake up with a fish as a neighbor.

From 7-7-2012 Day 9 – Astoria, Oregon – Cannon Beach

*sigh* Had I been here an hour earlier the sun would have come up right behind these behemoths.

From 7-7-2012 Day 9 – Astoria, Oregon – Cannon Beach

One of my fave splashes of color from the trip was this bit of greenery growing about 10 feet in the air along someone’s stairwell. Nature, give her ever so tiny a purchase will find a way to invade every nook and cranny.

From 7-7-2012 Day 9 – Astoria, Oregon – Cannon Beach

These patient pupils await the refuse of these fisherfolk.

From 7-7-2012 Day 9 – Astoria, Oregon – Cannon Beach

This gentleman was, I think, sketching the bridge. I like the perspective and almost mirage quality of the ship in the background.

From 7-7-2012 Day 9 – Astoria, Oregon – Cannon Beach

It’s unclear what these ships are actually doing. Hauling freight of some sort, one assumes? Regardless they’re rather amazing works of engineering.

From 7-7-2012 Day 9 – Astoria, Oregon – Cannon Beach

Finally having had enough of the lowlands we moved on to see Astoria Column. We almost ignored the thing entirely but in typical random fashion saw it on the map and decided it was worth a visit. As it turns out it’s where all the OTHER tourists were as well.

From 7-7-2012 Day 9 – Astoria, Oregon – Cannon Beach

Given the view it’s not surprising in retrospect.

From 7-7-2012 Day 9 – Astoria, Oregon – Cannon Beach

Vertigo anyone?

From 7-7-2012 Day 9 – Astoria, Oregon – Cannon Beach

Certainly saw a lot of these during the trip.

From 7-7-2012 Day 9 – Astoria, Oregon – Cannon Beach

Moving on from the column we went back to the beach for a bit of sandiness.

From 7-7-2012 Day 9 – Astoria, Oregon – Cannon Beach

It has perpetually amusing to me how everyone goes to landmarks and proceeds to take the same photo. These two strangers are taking photo type #1 at the beach.

From 7-7-2012 Day 9 – Astoria, Oregon – Cannon Beach

Haystack rock. I have to admit that after having seen so much else on this trip that this particular rock, so acclaimed, was rather an anti-climax.

From 7-7-2012 Day 9 – Astoria, Oregon – Cannon Beach

It was much more amusing to do some silhouettes against the shiny and briny sea.

The photographer:

From 7-7-2012 Day 9 – Astoria, Oregon – Cannon Beach

The seekers:

From 7-7-2012 Day 9 – Astoria, Oregon – Cannon Beach

The adventurers:

From 7-7-2012 Day 9 – Astoria, Oregon – Cannon Beach

The onlookers:

From 7-7-2012 Day 9 – Astoria, Oregon – Cannon Beach

The gymnast:

From 7-7-2012 Day 9 – Astoria, Oregon – Cannon Beach

And so ended the day in photos. Tomorrow we wrap up the trip on Mt. Hood.

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Filed under Landscape photography, Oregon

Oregon Trip – Day 3 – Crescent City, California

After Crater Lake, we then made our way south. It looked something like this

The first stop on that trip was Crescent City, California, home of rocky shores and lighthouses.

From 7-1-2012 Day 3 – Crescent City

Oh, and sea birds.

From 7-1-2012 Day 3 – Crescent City

On the day we were there the weather was chilly and the seafowl were hungry.

From 7-1-2012 Day 3 – Crescent City

Something about these rocky beaches set against the liquid movement of the sea just makes one stop and take a deep and satisfied breath.

From 7-1-2012 Day 3 – Crescent City

At the end of the breakwater, we found these strange concrete… somethings… that I’m still not sure of the purpose for.

From 7-1-2012 Day 3 – Crescent City

Hours later we moved to a softer spot on the beach.

From 7-1-2012 Day 3 – Crescent City
From 7-1-2012 Day 3 – Crescent City

Mucking about in the tide pools, life teems.

From 7-1-2012 Day 3 – Crescent City
From 7-1-2012 Day 3 – Crescent City
From 7-1-2012 Day 3 – Crescent City

In the evening, we viewed the area from the opposite vantage point.

From 7-1-2012 Day 3 – Crescent City

And we watched the sun set on a chilly ocean.

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