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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.  

A YOUNG EAGLE


If you are arriving here from Face Book, this blog entry is exactly the same as the Face Book entry.  Might be a bit more dialog but nothing of earth shattering consequence.  Thanks for looking in.
I watched something this afternoon I have never seen before or even heard of. I noticed a bald eagle youth far out in the distance in a tree. My point of travel would take me directly toward the shoreline he was on. I watched him lift off the tree branch he was perched upon and circle behind the island out of sight. All of a sudden he appeared in the tree tops that held great blue heron nests (rookery). The young eagle flew through the nesting area striking the sides of at least two nests with his talons or wings causing tiny puffs of grass and dust to appear as he passed by. The herons instantly flew from their nests at the immature eagle's appearance on the scene.  You can see the last heron flying away in the upper left corner of the above picture.   I don't know if this was a territorial dispute or just a show of power. Wildlife do not usually boast about their power so I suspect this eagle was irritated at the heron's presence. The rookery has been there for three years at least so it was there before the eagle. But, the eagle is lord of the lakes and he is boss. I'll watch how this unfolds through Spring. I counted 9 separate individual immature bald eagles this afternoon in a three hour period on Douglas Lake.
 These shots were taken at extremely long distances and back lighted badly.  I apologize for the poor quality of the photography.  Sometimes ya just have to accept the situation and all its deficiencies and deal with it.

 I shot these pictures in RAW format and I think it helped on the back lighting.  The shadows and dark areas caused by the inaccurate meter readings due to over-brightness were more easily manipulated when I prepared the pictures for posting. RAW sure takes up a lot of room on the photo card though.







 Look at the power this bird exudes!  He is amazing to look at in action, and pretty impressive when just standing on a tree branch.



Sunday, March 1, 2015

LAKE ICE

I was on Douglas Lake this afternoon cruising along when I received a sudden, unexpected surprise.

video

Thursday, February 26, 2015

WINTER TREES

We are really getting bombarded with snow here in East Tennessee the likes of which have never been seen before, so I'm told.  Below are two shots of the now drained Douglas Lake at Leadvale, TN where the Leadvale boat ramp gives access to the river and reservoir.  The brown, gooey mud has been white for over a week.
Even a coat of pure white snow can't improve the face of this ugly duckling, empty lake much.  But its a blessing not to have to look at a sea of brown mud every day.
Complaining about Douglas Lake isn't why this blog entry is submitted, however, but its a shame that plastic surgery of some sort can't be applied to beautify the massive desolation. 

Yesterday morning was unique in that all the tree limbs had a layer of snow on them and the sky had an orange cast to it as the sun started to glow.  All that was surrounded by a layer of fog that appeared gentle to light in some places and heavy to dense in others.
The combination of all those parts, when applied to trees, presented an extravagant picture to the eye.  I don't presume to be competent enough to capture the essence of that beautiful morning accurately with a camera but, maybe I can get just a little bit close.  Anyway, the results of my attempt to photograph those gorgeous trees follows:




 These shots were taken in RAW format, which I rarely use due to complexity and and extremely large files.  I mostly take photos for my own enjoyment or documentation of an outing and RAW isn't really that big a deal.  That all being said - RAW format is a bit sharper and the shadows and highlights are more intense or accurate.  I don't know whether to use RAW routinely or not.  Its another step in developing the pictures as RAW is the negative for digital photography.  I'll sleep on it.









 I found myself standing in front of many of these scenes with my mouth open.  Its amazing how the outdoors changes with the addition of snow.  I wish I could get over to Cades Cove for a ten mile hike through that place and just take pictures of snowy landscape.  My old truck wouldn't make the trip in snow.  
I tried to soften the "white" of the snow and the browns of the trees.  Bright white against dark brown or black results in a harsh effect and I think it overpowers the beauty and uniqueness of the winter scene.  Just me sayen.....




 Note the soft brown texture and color of the trees with the gentle white snow reaching up the trunks from the ground.
 I looked at 4AM this morning and the porch and yard have about four to five inches of wet snow covering everything.  I drove the truck out the lane and left it almost at the end because it wouldn't pull the tiny hill just out from the house.  It probably was a futile effort to do that as I doubt that old two wheel drive truck will even move downhill from the spot it sits on.  I don't know why two wheel drive trucks are still produced.  Want to reduce traffic accidents and save lives?  Require all trucks to be 4 wheel drive and be done with the ridiculous, dangerous 2 wheel drive junk. Don't even make 2 wheel drive versions available.  It will save more lives and reduce more injuries  than seat belts.  Had to get at least one rant in for the day.  :)