It was back to the pond to look for the dragonflies again yesterday, but this time with my 150-600mm lens. I haven’t used it in so long that it resisted me as I tried to extend it to the full 600mms. And it was just so heavy that I struggled to keep it still even with the tripod. Then there was the zoom that was almost too much, so that finding the dragonflies that were right in front of me wasn’t easy. I guess I’ve been spoiled by the smaller lens I use all the time. But the dragonflies cooperated this time also, and I have no idea how that shell wound up in the grass but it caught my eye.
The sun came out from behind a cloud after just a few minutes and that was enough to send me back to the house. No wonder the sunrises and sunsets are fun to do here in Florida. We do them in self defense.
Rushing Mother Nature rarely pays. At least when you are talking about nesting birds and stubbornly non-hatching eggs. You may arrive at a rookery, doesn’t matter which one, and find lots and lots of birds, looking like piles of feathers, just suspended in the shrubbery doing nothing. There may or may not be a mate standing beside them, but they are also doing nothing. Such was the situation the other day, and all this nothing-ness caused me to walk a little way down the block to a pond I knew of which sometimes has some birds visiting. That’s where I found this wood stork taking a bath. He splashed and he splashed, and then he dried himself off, only to start the process over again. Round two is what you are seeing in the profile picture. And I really don’t know if it was round two, how many more times did he do this before I took a peek?
There are many places you can go to take pictures, and usually it’s all up to Mother Nature whether the sunrise or sunset, or just the weather in general, will cooperate with you. But this time of year the rookeries are a sure bet. The birds will be there, possibly just sitting there, but they are there. Mother Nature sees to that. But one of these days we will hear the chicks calling out to be fed, and the real fun will begin. So we will keep going back.
Four years ago to the day, last Saturday to be precise, I went to my second photo walk with my ‘new’ (at the time) photo group. I saw the announcement of a photo walk to see the Dunedin Christmas Boat Parade and had to summon up all my courage to go join in with a bunch of people I didn’t know. Especially true since I was such a novice with my camera, which to me was a big deal investment, but I was barely functional with it. Lucky for me one of the group administrators set my camera up for me that day, thanks Kate. Our leader Jeff had snagged prime territory for great views of the boats as they made their way into the marina, and even provided chairs for us to sit on. A luxury I’m afraid I didn’t appreciate until 4 years later when we were faced with finding a place to shoot the scene on our own. Weighed down by equipment, and with two (really three) hours to kill before the boats would arrive, we decided to take advantage of the empty bleachers which would give us a great view of the boats arriving at the marina. Great view yes, but a challenge for photography with boats arriving and leaving and their lights overlapping, etc. The feature photo is from my iPhone as the sun was setting, and it was about 6 PM, time for the parade to begin. It took almost an hour before the boats began to arrive at the marina. A dramatic sunset filled the gap.
Even though I had advice about what settings to use for this shoot I will need more practice before I’ll be really happy with shots like these. But I was happy with the day itself. Winter in Florida can’t be beat.
I peeked out my front door to see what the sky looked like the other day, and I saw a bright crescent moon hanging low in the dark western sky. I should have taken that picture because the shot I thought I’d get in Aripeka didn’t materialize. The cloud cover there hid the moon, and most of the color from the sunrise also. But I saw Fred, my favorite one-footed great blue heron, who hadn’t put in an appearance in a while. You can’t tell it’s him from my pictures, but occasionally he would lift his right leg out of the water and suspected it was him, and it was confirmed as he suddenly flew out of the water and towards the house down the street where breakfast was apparently being served.
I think I have finally outsmarted myself. I have new hardware, my iPad, and upgraded software with an upgrade to IOS and an upgrade to Adobe Lightroom, which means that I already had lots to learn. Doing things as I was used to doing them wasn’t going to work until I figured out a few things. Then my external hard drive, the one that holds all the pictures I’ve taken while traveling over the last few years, seems to be done. Kaput. I’ve learned so much since I joined my photo group, I’ve hung on our photo guru’s every word, except for the part where he said to always back up to more than one device. Sigh. Nothing’s ever easy.