Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A GREAT MORNING WITH ANIMAL SURPRISES

click photos to enlarge
HERE'S LOOKING AT YOU KID
Now, I forget which movie Humphrey Bogart said that in.  I think it was "Casablanca."  Its a she and she has kids too.  She hid them when I came along and I couldn't get pictures of them.  I'll check the area next time I cruise by.  I'll get em.

The people who own the boat house above are very fortunate.  They have free, natural Christmas decorations provided by nature and it didn't cost them a dime.  The live ornaments are even updating the paint job on the roof from red to white.  How nice!  Have a closer look by enlarging the pictures.

This month has been really slow as far as fishermen being on the lake and I wanted to really make an all out effort this morning shift to pry into every corner of the lake area I would be on.  I would check behind boat docks as well as the marina area and every other place a fishing boat could fit into.  I left Shade home and I almost left the big camera home also.  It seems though, that when I leave it home something always comes up to photograph.  I took it.

Don't worry.  I only posted four new shots of a green heron.  Couldn't resist it.  They are so cool!



I cruised down the right edge of the lake keeping my eyes on the tops of the trees.  The boat was only moving 3.5 miles per hour.  I had seen a juvenile bald eagle here numerous times and I thought I might find him.  It was only 7:30 AM and that's perfect eagle finding time.  At the same time it puts the sun right on the tops of the trees.  Tough photography, at least on this side of the lake.  I'd be shooting up into the tops of the trees but, the sun would be sitting right on the tops.  I no sooner started looking when I saw the familiar white dot in the top of a tall tree.  When I put the camera on him I saw it was an adult bald eagle.  I pushed the throttle forward to gain speed so the boat would continue on in a glide when I cut the engine.  I focused on the bird as the boat glided slowly down close to his tree.  Now, if this boat just keeps going straight I'll be ok.  Oh, that sun!


Good heavens!  The glare was terrible.  I added a bit of contrast in hopes it would prevent the colors from washing out.  Its all I could do.  I really need a polarizing filter for this big lens. 










Well, there was nothing more I could do as far as fast adjustments.  I could only hope for the best. He was a magnificent bird.  Impressive!  They always are.




I captured his attention for sure.  He turned around on the limb and watched me closely.  I clicked away.




If he doesn't fly soon, I'll be pointing the camera straight up.  That thing's heavy.  He is in the dark shade, back under leafy limbs and I'm using a lower than usual shutter speed.  These long lenses require a lot of light and low shutter speed is the preferred way to gather more light, at least in this situation.  The downside is that camera shake is a danger - and I'm on a boat.  Why couldn't this guy be on the other side of the lake where the sun would be behind me?




Hes getting ready to fly.  I can tell.  He's getting nervous.  When they pick up each foot one after the other repetitiously it means "I'm outa here."


I didn't even try to photograph him when he launched from the limb, other than the picture above.  There was no way I could hold the camera steady at the shutter speed I was using.  I shot his preparation for flight and left it go at that.  What a piece of luck to run on to him.



I came upon a fishing boat which was my third one of the morning so far.  Not bad, not bad.  It was early and the day was turning out beautiful.  Surely there will be anglers out on a day like this.  
Hunger struck suddenly at 9 AM.  Yep -peanut butter sandwich time.  I suddenly missed Shade.
There was a nice little cove just ahead and I could shut the engine down and just sit there and float stationary against the bank.  Can't beat peanut butter and jelly.  Well, no jelly.  I ran out.
I heard some sort of chattering over on the bank by some old washed up logs.  A raccoon and 5 babies were coming down a log.  I  went for the camera.  When I came up they were gone.  Oh no!  Where could they go?
She must have gone up the log and hid her babies, and came back down through the brush to the bare bank.  She was coming toward the boat, and she wasn't wasting any time about it.



Unless I miss my guess - this is a prime example of what happens when people feed wild animals.  I believe this raccoon is equating my presence with food.  I bet someone has been feeding this animal.  She hid her babies, remarkable, and came out in the open unafraid.  The bears over near Gattlinburg and Pigeon Forge and even in the National Park pay the ultimate price for the ignorance of people.  Don't feed wild animals!



She is showing some caution now by keeping to the foliage and limbs more but, shes not running away.




She's a cute little girl but she better not trust humans.  They're bad news for animals.



I'll throw a few more up here and move on.  I don't think I have raccoon pictures anywhere on this blog.  








One more shot for the road.
I really enjoyed her company but it was time to move on.  I still had a few hours to go and I had to make it around the perimeter of my area for the morning.  I almost didn't bring the camera out today.  What a mistake that would have been.
I noticed as I uploaded these shots to the blog that the leaves on the trees in the eagle shots are a bit bland in color.  I've got to get that polarizing filter on order.  That's about it for this entry.  I hope I didn't bore you with all the raccoon shots.  I figured I didn't wear you out with all the green heron shots over the past weeks so I'd finish the job with huge quantities of raccoon shots.  See you next time.  I'm not sure what tomorrow will bring.  Stay safe.