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Friday, March 27, 2015

A MORNING EAGLE

This young bald eagle was photographed on Douglas Lake, East Tennessee a few days ago while I roved on the lake in a boat.  He was back inside the protective branches of a tree on the shoreline yet stood out silhouetted against the pale sky. 

 It's not often I can get high quality photos of bald eagles from the boat because I'm always low under them and have to shoot up at them directly toward the sky which results in a horrible over exposure situation.  It is a challenge in photography that is very difficult to overcome.  If the bird could fly below me or across from me, the background would more than likely be rocks, trees, mountain or water and the harsh back light would not be an issue.
 He quickly left his perch on the tree limb and flew through the thick limbs without touching even one.
 I quickly made camera adjustments while pressing the shutter button.  White balance, focal and even metering adjustments were all instantly altered while the process of shooting was underway.  And, this is the best I could do.  Oh well-------
 I will not shoot on automatic under any circumstance as I like to say that "I" took the picture.  There's something about the creativity aspect of the whole operation that is lost when the camera is on automatic.  Its no big deal I guess but its just a quirk I have.  Maybe that's why I have so much trouble with back light.  Maybe auto is the way I should do it.  I think not though.
 Another aspect of photography is the issue of how many frames per second the camera will do.  I could care less.  Fast cameras (frames per second) would be interesting to capture the wing beats of an eagle as separate images on multiple photos but, I don't care about that.  I'd rather have three or four great shots that I set up and pressed the shutter button on than 20 average to good shots that were taken by pressing and holding the shutter button down and letting the camera arbitrarily grab frames.
 I am still amazed at how these huge birds can flap those enormous wings and lift through that tight canopy without touching a stick.
 The shot below is a power thrust.  His wings are brought down and pushed to the rear ultra fast with maximum power to thrust him forward.  Note that his tail feathers are angled down combined with the wings in the downward position.  He has just produced maximum power with his wings to push him forward and the wind is contacting the lowered tail feathers which pushes the front of the big bird down causing him to go straight instead of curving upward.
 And finally the open sky





 
 A red tail hawk comes into view and temps my camera lens.  What the heck!



Saturday, March 21, 2015

MELANCHOLY DAY


 Yep, this is one of those days when the sun just can't get through even though it's shining bright.  There have been a few negative occurrences around here this week involving a neighbor (I despise neighbors) and its been wearing on my mind fairly constantly every day.  My patience is running thin but I'm persevering to maintain even though I'm not known for delicate protocol.  I thought it would be a good day to head back west to Greenback and the old abandoned state park where I know there would be only Shade and me on about a thousand acres.  Every time I drive back there is like a weight is lifted off my back.  The years living over there in Cherokee National Forest were some of the best years of my life and I can't remember even one worry or problem of any magnitude that caused me any dismay the entire time I lived there.  Over here, east of Sevierville;  every day is a problem.  Insane drivers and traffic, four lane highways, backward towns, no trees or mountains, farms as far as the eye can see, city neighbors who should have remained in the city,  and more private property than should be allowed.  Nothing was set aside for the citizen of the state.  All that surrounded by two of the most ridiculous lakes imaginable.  They are both Pigeon Forge extensions. All that is needed is zip lines across both of them. 

Yes, its a treat and a pleasure to return to where my life was as perfect as I can imagine.  Its a long drive to walk the dog but so what!
 Man, it feels good to walk the old familiar road to nowhere.  I have been over this old road countless times with many dog friends.
Spring obviously has sprung.
 Above:  a turkey feeder, or deer feeder
 The dirt trail above leads beside many pretty meadows that have been planted in grain (mast) by the TWRA for purposes of feeding wild birds and deer.
 The trail behind the fence below leads up over a hill and down a steep grade to Tellico Lake.  We won't be going on that trail today but it is tempting.

 Above is sort of an entrance to a little cut between two hills that I have named Douglas's cove.  Douglas would always walk onto the purple flowers in the spring and flop down and roll on them.. I think the fragrance had something to do with it.  Then he would trot on through a little cut between two hills (below) that lead to the lake where he would take a quick swim before returning to me.  I'm happy to see that the purple flowers still grow here.
 Shade and I just had to walk past the old Carson house foundation (the ruins) but I didn't take any shots of the area.  I have many, many pictures and the area is well documented.
 It is a pretty place, however and I never tire of visiting here.
Douglas loved it down here and Shade does too.  She is my light now and I do all I can to assure the brilliance never dims.  

 I do love the old stones that stand guard at the entrances to the carriage lane and the walkway to the old house.  I can't resist photographing them each time I come here.
 Below is the road that leads directly into Tellico Lake.  I don't know where the other end is and don't care.  It one of my favorite roads cause it doesn't go anywhere.  Its useless......

 My sweet baby finally can swim in decent water.  I won't let her swim in the muddy water of Douglas Lake.  Cherokee Lake is alright, but Douglas is a mud hole.
 All she wants to do is be with me.  This is one of the most amazing dogs I've ever been associated with.  Douglas was my heart and soul but he was his own man.  He was aloof and kept to himself a lot.  He would even sleep outside when camping.  No tent for him. But, he watched and reacted to my every move.  He was an extension of myself.  He had my back.   Shade, on the other hand is very warm and loving.  She loves to be squeezed and loved on.  She puts here head on my shoulder when driving and her head shares my pillow when sleeping. She has to be where ever I am. Amazing girl!
What follows is a potpourri of photos taken at the old park.  Nothing great but they document a nice day.  I missed my photo sidekick today also.  Clarissa had to work and I sure missed the conversation.  I'll catch up to here soon.  Hope you liked a photo or two.  See ya.....



 

Monday, March 2, 2015

THE WINTER WREN

The tiny winter wren is a difficult subject to photograph due to its flighty disposition.  These little tykes don't stay in one spot for very long and disappear as quickly as they appear.  You can see in the above shot that there isn't much to work with.



They mostly go unnoticed to the average eye but can be observed by a trained eye.  At times they appear to be a tiny mouse moving through the leaves or under dry sticks until they fly proving their bird heritage.  Tiny is the descriptive word.





These little fellows can be found anywhere there is thick, tall, dead grass and downed timber, especially near creeks and swamps.  They really enjoy moist, green moss on stones and wood and can be seen inserting their little bills under the moss and lifting it in a quick motion almost faster than the eye can follow.  

These little birds are interesting to watch as they flit from stick to fern and grass stem in search of a morsel.  I hope you enjoyed the pictures and I want to thank you for looking in on this blog.