Tuesday, October 29, 2013


I took the dogs to the old state park where I used to live this morning.  The weather is unreliable this time of year and I thought it a good idea to get them out for some exercise, as well as myself.  I noticed the colors of Fall still lacking and got the idea to take some minnie Fall pictures of leaves and other items of interest in the forest.  The camera was fitted with the 75 - 300 mm Canon telephoto and that is the only lens I used during the visit.  I guess, in reality, I just wanted to practice and play with that lens and learn just what it's limitations really are.  The following pictures are OK, I guess and I hope you see one or two that interest you.  There's a lot of them and most were shot at 1/40th of a second with some shot slower. That slow shutter speed has added the effect of the image almost looking painted instead of digital.  That's caused by camera shake.  1/40th is just too slow.  In conclusion, I don't like telephoto lenses for scenic photography.  They are specialized lenses to bring the subject in close and landscape is better captured with a 28 - 50 mm or on the outside a 135 mm telephoto.   Oh well - it is what it is.
Keep in mind that these photos are not a representation of Fall colors but, just things that caught my eye in passing.  I did get a few bright red and yellow shots of leaves that I tried to frame between tree trunks, branches or any other natural structure available just to make the shots interesting.  
The old tree below is the tree that Douglas would run to and stick his head in the huge hole in the trunk.  That old relic is taking a beating.  How much longer can it stand?

The old Carson house foundation is growing up with weeds and the bricks are starting to dislodge and fall asunder.  I notice the grass is not kept neat and mown any longer either.  I hate to see this place fall into further ruin.  It is a beautiful forest and historical marker.  A shame.  No, it's not a shame - its a disgrace to allow this place to disintegrate into nothingness.  

The dogs were having the best time!  Little Happy acted like a hound and actually sniffed out a rabbit that promptly evaporated before her eyes.  Sweet girl!
"Shade, Shade - Are you rolling in something dead and rotten?"
I ran over and smelled her and couldn't smell a thing.  She is just enjoying the tall, dry, cool grass.
Now, Chestnut hound is the rabbit girl.  Happy is very fast but, Chestnut can pass her like she's standing still.  Rabbits have to get to the tall grass very quickly when this little hound is on their tails.  Of course, I don't think Chestnut would know what to do with a rabbit if she did catch up to one, she's so introverted and shy.

This place has a sweet, fresh, crisp smell to it.  Always has.

I noticed a man with a big dog coming our way and I thought, "just what we need."  I wasn't sure how Shade would act around a strange dog, especially such a large dog.  As they got closer I could see that the dog was in very bad condition, walking slouched and low to the ground on four legs that were sagging.   I took the chance and continued to walk toward them, sharing this little path along the fence line that bordered a corn field.  The old man was truly old and I got the impression that he wasn't in much better shape than his companion.  To my surprise and joy, Shade walked over to the old German Shepherd and put her nose up to the old dog's nose.  Then she ignored him as did he to her.  We greeted each other and I mentioned that today was a great day to walk the dogs.  A little, baby German Shephard came bounding out of the weeds and joined the old dog.  My girls still ignored their presence, except for Chestnut hound who disappeared somewhere.  The old man said that Gribbon was his best friend and that they had been together for going on 17 years now, inseparable even through some serious bouts of heart problems the old man had experienced over the years.  He stooped down and drew his palm over the dog's head.  I told him I understand where he's coming from and started to relay to him the story about my Douglas and what he meant to me but, he cut me off just as I was starting to speak.

"Old Gribbon has bad legs and can hardly walk anymore.  The vet told me five years ago that the best thing to do is to put him down.  I couldn't do it then and I can't now.  I don't think he is in pain as he follows along with me just fine.  I can't go fast anyhow." 

He stood up and I could see his eyes were red and I knew tears were about to flow.

He bowed his head to look at his friend and said, "I know I won't have him for long and I was kind of thinking I might luck out and go before him but,  then I'd be running out on him.  

All I could say was, "I know - I know.  Well, neither one of you guys look like your going anywhere soon so just don't worry about it."

He smiled, wiped his cheek and said,  "ha, thanks, thanks", looked down at Gribbon and mumbled how hard it was gonna be."

I told him I enjoyed talking to him and said I had better get these dogs to the lake for a drink.  We waved and I walked past him, not looking back.  I wiped a tear from my eyes.

They reached the water, swam, drank and were coming back up the road before I got down there with them.  We walked to the very end of the road where I wanted to check on a fallen tree from long ago.
It was still there.  Douglas walked down that fallen tree from the bank one day and fell off.  I thought he was broken as he laid there on the ground not moving.  It all worked out and, I even have a picture of him falling to the ground.  I'll have to find it.  He really frightened me that day.

We walked back toward the ruins and the fields that lay beyond.
I wanted to shoot past some close foliage through a hole in the green and see if I could photograph the berries that hung beyond.  Just playing.  The 500 mm would easily do the job.  It's a photographic scalpel.  I wasn't too sure about the 300 mm lens.
 Not bad - not bad at all.

I'm really glad I brought them today.  It's a long drive and costs a half tank of gasoline but, it's worth it to see them really enjoying life an having a quality run in the woods.

She's getting tired.  That's what I wanted to see.  She's getting some good exercise.

We walked across a field and entered the forest across the old deserted road.  We were gradually working our way back toward the truck.
"Come on, come on, come on sweetheart!"

 I took a photo of an otter a few months back who had two of these fruits in his mouth.  You may remember that shot.

The lens is doing all right by the looks of it.  It's light weight and by the appearance of the photos - delivers good crisp pictures.  I wouldn't buy it again however.  The barrel rotates when the lens focuses making the use of a polarizer lens impossible.  I have to have a polarizer when doing serious photography.  It's a necessity.

There is that hole in the old tree that Douglas loved to poke his head into.  Oh, those days!  Those good days!

We were getting very close to the truck now and would soon be on our way back toward home.  The dogs are hanging close to me now indicating they are getting tired.  They'll sleep good tonight.

This woodpecker hole is not made by a palliated woodpecker because they drill a vertical slot type hole.  Maybe a red headed woodpecker is doing it.  The hole isn't completed yet.  

Old grave yards can be found all over Tennessee.  I knew this one was here but, I stumble upon them from time to time out along the lakes and in the forests, especially in the mountain forests.

Happy found an area of soft soil that contained ground moles.  "Lets go Hap!"

TWRA plants and harvests corn for the animals here in East Tennessee.  A very large portion of the crop is left standing for the resident critters.  It's a big help to them during the winter months.  The ear of corn has been nibbled upon by some hungry critter - deer I expect but, turkeys and many other birds and mammals will benefit from this good habitat practice.

 There is one very tired black lab.
 A wren house.  It's, well, charming.

I wasn't looking forward to hammering the interstate back home.  When we got home, I noticed swarms of some bug surrounding all the tall oak trees in the yard.  When I walked up on the porch I noticed what they were.  Lady Bugs!  Great Scott!  They were covering the entire front of the house and more were landing.  Some already were on my shirt and landing on my hat.  First stink bugs and now lady bugs.  This could get serious.

There was not one indication there were any lady bugs anywhere in this area last year.  I can't believe the swarms around the trees and, now on my house.  I only see a few inside the house right now but, I have experience with these critters an I think it's going to be an interesting winter.