Sunday, September 22, 2013


Creeping through the fog

This morning was one of the most foggy times I've spent on this river.  Dense fog cloaked everything to the point of zero visibility until after 9:30 AM.  Of course I was on the water before sunup.

I thought I'd use the time sitting in the fog to mess around with the camera.  I have been shooting pictures with the camera in the "Landscape" style and had a desire to try some different things.  This style sets the camera up to produce more vivid blues and greens, obviously important aspects of scenic photography.  Today I thought I would change the settings to "Standard" and adjust the color saturation up a click or two as well as lower the contrast setting a little.  I can always go back to "Landscape" if I want to.  I even took a couple shots later in the morning on monochrome just for kicks.
Things started to brighten up around 9 AM but, the fog still lingered on the water, especially on the upper end of the river.
The shot above shows how heavy the fog was mid morning.
 I really enjoy the foggy mornings but, lately every morning has been socked in.  I am tiring of it. 
I could hear an osprey screeching nearby but, couldn't see him.  The boat was drifting listlessly with the current near the shoreline.  I searched the trees and finally saw him.  I was right on top of him.  That's not good for photography as he would spook quickly.
The osprey actually lifted off and did a short circle and returned.  Amazing.
He screeched the whole time he was landing.  Who can figure an osprey?
 The fog makes these shots look a bit strange - different.
The sun was gradually burning off the dense fog and the only places still blurred by the white stuff were in the foliage
 of the trees.
The shot above is a black and white.  Not sure I like that venue for out here.
Yep - things are starting to look like Fall around here.  It feels like Fall too.
I must be slipping.  One of the adult bald eagles passed directly over the boat and I missed it.  Of course, the boat has a top on it and that's why I couldn't see it coming.  I know exactly where to find him anyway.

The sun was punching through hard now.  It does look like Fall.
An osprey was flying up the shoreline and it was obvious that he was hunting as his head was facing down toward the water constantly.
He would fly up the shoreline and turn out over the river and head back downstream until he'd turn again toward the shoreline.  He assumed a posture in mid air that was the equivalent of applying the brakes on your car.

He stopped in mid air and sort of hovered never taking his eyes off the water.  He had seen a fish and was preparing to dive.
He's lining up with the target and ready to speed at the surface full speed to grab his fish.
Wait a second - he's coming straight toward -----------me.  What the?!  
Here he comes.  I can't believe this.  This is the second time this year that an osprey attacked the boat.  He's got his weapons extended and heading straight for the windshield of the boat.  I absolutely can not believe these birds.

He pulled his landing gear back up and shot over the canopy of the boat and swerved out over the river once again.  For some reason this boat really angers them.  Maybe because it's such a mass of white.  They can't hate me.  I'm a likable guy and their friend.  Surely they can't be angry with me personally.
I watched this bird until I could hardly see him with the naked eye.  He resumed hunting over the river.  The next few images are at 500 millimeter and I had trouble seeing where to point the camera.  I saw him dive toward the water at full speed and lost him.  Then I saw the splash through the lens.
 He is a tremendous distance away and I could hear that splash.  I wondered how he could survive a crash like that.  I expected to extend his talons and gracefully skim over the surface and gain altitude with a fish in his grasp.  Not this guy!  I could see him fly out of the water but the pictures were terrible and I didn't post them.
He evidently missed his fish as he circled around for another try.  He stood out against the sky well enough to get a picture of him, although it's a poor excuse for a wildlife shot.
I could see that he put the brakes on and extended those sharp talons.  He was going to dive again.
And down he went again at full speed.  I lost him when he passed in front of the trees but, I couldn't miss his entrance into the water.  It was an identical performance that he previously gave.
Again, I heard the crash clear across the lake.  He arose and flew off toward the trees and I couldn't see if he got his fish or not.

I was still the only boat on the lake.  That is amazing.  I guess everyone was waiting out the fog.  They'd be here soon enough.  I crossed the lake and eyeballed the mountain side for an eagle.  This was where to find them.  And, I did.

He was back lighted badly and there was, to my surprise, still fog between him and me.  I took the shots and let the boat float down stream.  Soon he would have foliage behind him and maybe I could do better with the camera with the sky replaced with trees as a back-drop.

It was still foggy up there where he was and I didn't know how to set up the camera for that condition.  It's pot luck in cases like this.  It's only a picture after all.
There was one more osprey to deal with.

He didn't give me a chance to even get the lens cover off before he launched.  These birds are flighty (no pun intended) up here on this river.
 Ospreys sure make a major production out of getting airborne.

Just a couple black birds.  Well - they deserve recognition too.

Great Egret
A young beaver made his way across the channel and into the cover along the shoreline where he dove and entered an underwater den opening.  He may stand a chance against the trappers as the entrance is hidden under water.  Lets hope so.

 He's got a sweet place to live back in there.
The morning was winding down and I only found two fishing boats to talk with.  This isn't a real busy piece of water.  I like it that way.  I'd be passing Big Creek on the way back and that's a pretty little channel of water.
See ya next time and thanks for looking in.