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Sunday, November 23, 2014

FOLLOW THE LEADER

I noticed some deer in a thicket below a populated area just outside of town.  These animals were trying to work their way up a hill where they wanted to gain access to a field and a large stand of trees on some acreage on the other side of a road.  They made their way up the hill silently and slowly.              

 The journey started with one lone animal who forged the way.
 He stops and demonstrates extreme caution.
A friend steps out of the thick foliage and follows along behind her.


 And a third animal follows behind.
 Soon a trail of deer threads its way up the hill.

 Once at the top of the trail a burst of speed carries the lead deer across the road to safety in the big trees beyond.



 They continue on until they all cross the road to safety on the other side.

I NEED A BOAT

Its been awhile since I've posted anything on the blog and that is because of a couple reasons.  One reason is that I've been talked into giving Face Book another try and the results of that are that I am enjoying it.  The second reason for letting the blog sit for awhile is that I'm running out of new, interesting photographic material to work with.  There is only so much one can do with pasture fields and farms when a 500 mm lens is the foundation of the photographic ensemble.  A macro lens would open up new vistas but I don't have a real macro lens.  
We all know I sold the Gheenoe and am now without a boat and that limits my ability to seek adventure and wildlife photographic opportunities.  Well, fear not.  I will have another boat shortly.  Actually, I'll have two boats shortly.
I bought a new Lowe jon boat  when I lived in Pennsylvania and used it to bass fish for one year and then sold it to a good friend who, for all intents and purposes, put it in storage.  I think it was used a couple times since he had it.  Garage kept and really taken care of.
I called my friend and asked him if he'd be willing to sell the boat back to me and he said he would.  Hooray!  That's the first boat I ever owned and I'm getting it back.  Can't wait.

I don't have a good picture of the boat but trust me when I say it is as new.  My friend keeps his thing pristine.  So, the adventures will continue this spring.  Actually they will start in a month or two as I am journeying to Pennsylvania to get the boat the first week of December.  This means I will have access to all my favorite wild critters once more and will be posting some, hopefully great wildlife shots very soon.  Lake camping will be emphasized next summer also.  I'm excited.



I love taking these abstract shots but my heart lies with the wildlife photos and I know I have folks that look in on the blog expecting to find wildlife scenarios and I aim to please. 
 And, don't forget this little sweetheart.   Its a 1956 Crestliner  I intend to use on sunny days travelling up Ft. Loudon Reservoir to Knoxville for lunch down town at a favorite restaurant.  Yes, the river passes through town and there is a dock and boardwalk that makes restaurants accessible.  Its really neat to grab a sandwich and be able to watch the boat tied to the dock outside.
The Crestliner is getting a trailer rebuild right now but should come on line shortly.  I need to polish the aluminum to chrome brilliance and repaint the blue trim areas on the sides.  The rest is perfect.
I have to think on all this for awhile.  Its going to be a great summer - a really great one!





Tuesday, November 18, 2014

WHITETAIL DEER

Winter set in here overnight and its keeping the thermometer "frozen" on 30 degrees.  This is the second of two days off for me and I decided to go for a drive in the country this morning to see if any critters or photo ops would turn up.  There wasn't much happening until I was ready to go home.  Well, see for yourself:  Hope you enjoy the shots.















I wanted to mention that I have given Face Book a try and have learned enough to get in trouble there.  I invite you to visit my page there.  

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A SPLENDID DAY INDEED

First an update on the antique 1956 Crestliner boat.
I took the boat to Knoxville where an excellent fabricator/welder friend has a business called Extreme Welding.  I've taken state equipment to David many, many times for repair and modifications and the craftsmanship is superior to anything I've ever seen.  I showed the boat to David and told him to repair and upgrade the antique trailer the boat sits on or build another more modern carriage - whichever is less expensive.  He replied, "in other words treat the job as if the rig were my own". 
I said, "exactly".   I'm excited to see what he comes up with.  This existing trailer is delicate, has coil springs and axle/wheel assemblies that require the wheels and bearings be removed periodically for repacking with grease.  Its a pain to have to do that.  The trailer appears to be frail in construction and I'm not sure it would hold up to the rigors of long hauls.  Whatever David recommends is fine in my book.  We'll see.  This boat will do a lot of river running and is not a a real exploratory boat like the Gheenoe was but this one will be a unique and beautiful piece.  It will get the job done.  You'll see.  I intend to eventually add a 17 foot canoe to the fleet and that will be my real "sneak up on um" boat.
This entry will be all over the place with pictures because I've been cramming a lot of outside ventures in a short period of time without posting anything about the experiences on the blog.  Things sort of build up when that happens.  
 I grabbed these early morning foggy pictures not far from my house.  They are a view across the valley toward Douglas Lake.  Most of the shots in my blog are documentary images that I try to make as acceptable as possible in the shortest amount of time.  Usually there are so many pictures that I don't have time to review all of them and work with them as much as I should.  I rely on the photographs to be acceptable for posting as they come out of the camera.  After all, I don't make a living with a camera and perfection isn't really necessary but, I owe the reader a level of quality that hopefully is a cut above average.  There are some domestic animal shots on this entry that are documentary shots and quality is conducive to the circumstance the photograph was taken.  They are acceptable pictures.  The last part of this entry incorporates pictures taken in the forest.
It is those forest shots that I spent time putting together the shots to lend a flavor of what I was actually seeing.  I tried to compose rather than snap shoot for documentation purposes.  Artsy is the term I'm reaching for. 


 Gotta have a turkey picture
Lets start out in the yard at home.  The totem in the shot below was carved by Bill Sharp.  I am pleased to have some of his work to display.
 I finally got my wagon wheels - two of them and they are positioned temporarily for the moment.  I need four more pieces of fence installed before the wheels find their permanent homes against the fence posts on each end of the fence.  They look nice where they are now though.
I don't know what the bee is thinking in the shot below.  He has survived two frosts that I know of and he still clings to this sunflower.  Actually I don't know how the sun flower has survived all the frost.  Strange.





 All I can say is the little sign below is a lie.  I didn't put it there.
Lady bugs kept landing on my neck and biting me.  I mean they hurt.  I've not experienced this before but heard about it.  They felt worse than mosquito bites and more like a red ant bite.
 I observed a struggle taking place between a lady bug and a green fly or wasp.  It appeared that the wasp was chasing after the lady bug.
 The chase - below.
 There was a confrontation that resulted in neither besting the other.  Interesting.  I'll have to look up the little greenish blue wasp.  The lady bug in the shots is not the indigenous critter that is native here.  It is one of those billions of lady bugs from Japan that the government dropped out of airplanes back in the 80s and 90s to combat the pine bore beetle.  Now we need to combat this pest.  Good ole government.  The native lady bug is reserved and displays manners.  This immigrant pest bites!


I have a neighbor down the road who I am very happy to call a friend.  I haven't many friends over here but he is a guy I just naturally liked first time I saw him.  Eddie has a sort of, well, mini farm I guess one could call it and has taken in all sorts of odd animals and birds to care for.  He just likes animals.
A friendlier, nicer, more giving guy has never walked the earth.  If ya want that hat he has on his head he'll give it to ya.  On his little farm he has some oddities.  Below is the latest.  Seems Eddie bought a mule a few days ago for 30 bucks.  He took it home and next day he had two mules.  Look below:
 Yep, momma was pregnant.  Eddie got two mules for the price of one.
 The little fella is three days old in these shots.
 He appears to be soft and fluffy as warm velvet.
These pictures were taken at long distance because every-time I approached the two, mom would shuttle junior off toward the barn keeping distance between us.  She is being very protective of her baby.



 Below is a miniature pony.

 This is Oliver the pot bellied pig.  What a baby!
Eddie raises quail also and has an incubator where he hatches eggs.  He also does chicken and duck eggs.
 He pulled the egg trays out to show whats going on.  The incubator actually turns the eggs end for end once every 12 hours.


Below is a picture of the most tiny pig I ever saw.  I couldn't photograph him well as he was behind a screen and he wouldn't stay still for me.  Hes a cutie though.
 Hes a miniature pig and he will remain small.  Note his size in comparison to the human hand in the picture above.
 The feather from a guinea fowl is below:
Quail below:
 The bug below was hanging out with lady bugs and I hope it isn't some kind of cross breed that will attack the earth and kill us all.  Ugly darned thing with red eyes.
 The bug below was running between lady bugs also.  I've no idea what his role in life's twists and turns could possibly be.  Bet it ain't good.  Hes probably a sinister devil.
All this leads up to a long walk in the woods.  I got hold of my photography friend, Clarissa and together we set off through the forest with Shade to photograph what will soon be the last of Fall.  As I stated previously;  I spent some time composing the shots that follow.  Of course that doesn't guarantee quality, especially from me, a dolt with a camera.  You judge.  You should see Clarissa's pictures.  She's sensational!  If she allows me to post her face book link I will.  Her photo gallery is contained there.
 It won't be long before the vibrant reds of Autumn will turn to rust and fall into obscurity upon the cold ground of Winter.
There seems to be an urgency in one to hurry along and photograph it all before its gone.
 Only a portion of the shot above is in total focus drawing one's attention to a specific place on the photo - hopefully anyhow.
 Above:  The long lens allows the image to be surgically removed from the depth of the forest where it was previously hidden -  lost - and brought it to the forefront where it can take center stage.  The colorful leaves are framed by slightly out of focus trees on either side that add mystery to the subject.
 A faithful companion waits "impatiently" for me while I doddle about with photography.  She never understands the delays on the trail.


 Simplistic beauty!
 I like to play with focus and the shot below is one in which the 500 mm lens is used to capture a particular image buried deep in the forest and surrounded by trees or rocks.  The subject is bordered by big trees in the shot below and the narrow depth of field softens the hard texture of the trees and allows the softness and beauty of the colorful leaves to catch the viewer's eye.


 The picture above is natural elegance while the fungus below is meant to be a secondary attention grabber with the highlighted bark of the tree the main focal point in the picture.  You should see Clarissa's capture on this shot.  Its a wow shot.  I'll see if she'll let me post her rendition.  She did a macro shot of the fungus. 

 I call the shot below "precision".

 Above:  Out of Shadow
 Above:  "The Homestead"
Above:  "The Last Leaf"
 There she comes like an angel out of the colorful, untold, unwritten fictitious fairy tale story
The shot below is one of my favorite of all time


 Its a beautiful trail that runs along this secret mountain we've found.
A last look back as we leave the forest and end a day filled with wonder and enjoyment not to mention nature's eye candy.  I hope you enjoyed it too.