Wednesday, January 22, 2014


I always wonder why these roads weren't made wider.  I mean, if the county was going to go to all the trouble to create the roadway and pave it, one would think they would make it wide enough for two vehicles to pass on.  I'm guessing these were simple dirt or gravel country roads that received a surface of blacktop without further concern about any speed at all.  I like it this way though but it causes a bit of concern when I approach a blind hill like the one in the above shot.
The farm land down near the river is very pretty and provides wonderful habitat for all the wildlife who reside here.  The edges of both sides of the river is private property and access is very, very limited but at least the encroachment of habitat destroying humanity is kept away, at least until the farmer retires and his children sell the property.

Both of the above shots show fly-fishermen wading and fishing in the center of the river (Cherokee tail waters).  There is no release from the reservoir at this time and a tranquil vista is presented indicating a serene morning on the river enjoyed by two anglers employed in the art of chasing trout.  However, when the water is released from the dam to generate power the world changes.  The same water you see above is captured in the picture below during a release.
I wouldn't recommend wading in center stream, or anywhere else for that matter, when this slug of raging water comes roaring down the river.  Yikes!  It is possible to float the river during releases in an aluminum boat or any other maneuverable craft, but it sure ain't my cup of tea.
The early morning sun on this very frigid morning cast an orange glow on the hillsides, especially where wheat, oats or late fields of hay were cut in the Fall.  The yellowish colors of those crops were highlighted by the heavy orange tint from the morning sun.
The only way I could possibly counteract the red tint in the following pictures is to incorporate a correction filter on my camera lens, which I don't have and do not intend to purchase.  I've no time to dwell on such things when performing my job.  The photography is just an extra added side benefit to what I do.  It's about 15 degrees out at the time I took these shots and it's sort of odd to see the deer out so early.  I would think they would be bedded down back in the heavy shrubbery and thickets where the icy wind would be broken.  They must be hungry, very hungry.  Tennessee is held in a most frigid hand of winter and will remain so for the next week.  Oh, it's nothing like the northern states are experiencing but it's a big deal here for these animals who are not used to those conditions.  The deer paw the ground and grasp at the tiniest tufts of brown grass to fill their stomachs.  It's a hard life.

I waited at the little parking area along the river to see if any anglers would arrive.  I really didn't think I would see anyone this cold morning and I didn't.   But during the wait I did see some really neat birds and a tiny squirrel who was carrying his treasure to some secret spot to eat it.

I'm not good on sparrow identification so I won't attempt to name the following little guy although I think it is a common field sparrow or maybe a house sparrow.

 The titmouse is surrounded by foliage making tight focus very difficult.  I got him though.  Could be better pictures I guess but it's the best I could do here.

The jay in the above shot has a tremendous background of blue sky behind him which makes the picture perfect.  If ever I can get a background of that rich, blue sky behind a bald eagle I'll have some tremendous pictures.  It will happen.   It's only a matter of time and luck.
Below is another bird with that great blue sky background.  The shots are clear, crisp and the color is near perfect.  White or gray backgrounds cause the camera to average colors and the result is usually a bleached out subject, but the dark blue background allows the averaging process to be more precise.  See below.

 Everything clicks perfectly when the light is right.  It doesn't get better than this.

Flocks of various birds would come and go staying with their own kind.  They were jumpy and I found that the slightest noise I made caused them to flit away in haste.  Cardinals arrived in a flock of about thirty birds and jumped from limb to limb and bush to bush, never settling in one spot for more than a second or two.  I could not zero in on any one bird until one little red dot permitted time for a very quick focus.
Flocks of sparrows and flocks of bluebirds came and went in such rapid fashion that I couldn't focus on them.  They landed and stayed behind branches and scrub with numerous thick sticks and the auto focus could not determine what I wanted for my subject and continually focused on any stick or leaf that presented itself to the lens, ignoring the bird.  Manual focus is too slow to capture these fast little guys.  That's ok though as they were interesting to watch.  Their fast movements are due to their need to find food and they have no time to waste lingering on limbs and twigs eyeballing the world.  It's eat or die for them and their search is unending during these frigid mornings.

Two different red tail hawks perched high in trees watching the meadow with their sharp eyes.  If I were a squirrel I believe I'd stay indoors or at least confine my wanderings to the thick scrub inside the boundaries of the forest when the raptors are especially hungry on this cold morning.

I saw a total of 5 red tails this morning.  These are only two of the five.

So, that was this morning for me.  I hope you saw something you liked in the photos.  I'm certainly over this cold weather and spring time will be more than welcome.
I am going to make a greater effort to get in more camping this season and the canoe will be upon the water a lot.  I'm really tired of sitting here at the house in the evenings and I'll just have to bite the bullet and buy gasoline to travel to my favorite lakes.  Home ownership is a good investment I'm told and maybe it is but it sure takes money to own one.  Everyone says it's wonderful to own a home and they talk constantly about how I should have done it earlier in life.  Now, they ask how long will I keep the property as I get older and less able to keep things up on my own.   Huh?!   I ain't that old yet but it's funny how recommendations and suggestions from friends change over time.  Why would I want to spend a fortune and pay on a house all my life only to move out of it when I get older, when it is then I would need it?   See ya.