Mom’s house is well known amongst the wildlife living in the vicinity of her home. Her neighborhood is located next to one of the city parks and the critters know Mom is always good for a handout so squirrels, rabbits and ducks are frequent visitors.
This pair shows up every afternoon and they’re not the least bit skittish around humans.
The male usually stands watch while the female grazes.
Once she’s had her fill she takes her turn at watch while her mate eats.
One afternoon the visitors got a rude surprise when I turned Buddy loose in the backyard to take care of business. I had forgotten about the ducks but Buddy hadn’t. He had a ball chasing them out of the yard. I think he may have been trying to play with them and was puzzled when they took flight. I also think he was trying to figure out how they did that because it looked like a lot of fun.
The next afternoon I was taking a short siesta when I was awakened by quacking that seemed to be coming from just outside the open window. Looking outside I didn’t see any ducks so I went outside to see where the noise was coming from.
Yep, they were on the roof! First time I ever saw ducks perched on a roof but they were definitely “Buddy proof” up there.
“Hey, Fat Boy, toss the feed up here. we know that big red dog can’t jump this high!”
A few more from the beach I grew up on, shot on our trip home earlier in the month.
That haze in the air was actually smoke from two wild fires burning in the marshes of Eastern North Carolina.
I had mixed feelings about that. Besides the environmental damage the smoke also aggravated my asthma, keeping me indoors where I could breathe.
On the other hand it also produced some spectacular sunsets.
Pure stubbornness and my rescue inhaler allowed me to shoot this series using my long lens.
One of the things we had to adjust to when we moved from Virginia Beach to the Blue Ridge Mountains was not hearing aircraft overhead all day. Virginia Beach is one of seven cities in the region surrounding Hampton Roads, home to the largest concentration of military installations in the Continental United States. With the US Air Force’s Air Combat Command headquartered at Langley Air Force Base in Hampton and the US Navy’s Master Jet Base located at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach the sound of jet engines overhead was just part of the background noise, as natural as birds singing and sirens wailing as emergency vehicle rush to the scene of yet another fender bender, especially during tourist season.
Learning that an aircraft carrier air wing was due to arrive Frankie and I loaded up the truck and headed for a good vantage point outside the security fence at Oceana. Apparently we missed the mass flyover (troop and unit movement details are closely guarded while we are at war so there was no way to get an accurate arrival time) but I did manage to give my long lens a workout while standing on Godzilla’s running board shooting over the roof of the truck…..and the fence.
The shot above and next 4 are F/A18 Super Hornet fighter bombers.
These next two are E2C Hawkeye, or Hummer, airborne warning and control aircraft. When I was single one of my roommates, Mad Max McAllister flew as a radar operator in these operating off nuclear powered aircraft carriers USS Nimitz and USS Carl Vinson.
While we were out roaming around we decided to see what there was to shoot at the piers of Naval Station Norfolk. This was a spur of the moment decision and Frankie and I were armed so we knew there was no chance of getting on the base. Instead we parked at the Willoughby Spit Municipal Boat Ramp a few hundred yards across Willoughby Bay from the base.
MH-53E Sea Dragon mine countermeasure helicopters. While Mad Max was flying Hawkeyes my unit operated with the US Air Force version known as Pave Low and nicknamed Super Jolly Green Giant. Our birds were configured for Combat Search and Rescue and other Special Operations missions.
USS Iwo Jima amphibious assault ship. While similar to aircraft carriers these ships are smaller and are used to transport and insert United States Marines. In addition to helicopters and AV8-B Harrier jump jets, they carry the new V-22 Osprey tilt rotor aircraft and LCAC air cushion vehicles.
Unidentified Nimitz class aircraft carrier. What a contrast in technology between the two vessels in this shot!
Security at Naval Station Norfolk isn’t as lax as it is at NAS Oceana. I had only been shooting for a few minutes when this SH-60 Seahawk lifted off, crossed the bay and I found a crewman aiming a lens even bigger than the one I was using in my direction. We took this as our cue to go find something else to take photos of…..like GU-11 UAV (unmanned aerial vehicles):
NOTE TO THE READER:
As some of you may know I have 2 blog pages (the other is my Virginia Through My Lens page on Blogger) and usually try to post something different on each one, each day. Sometimes I only have enough for one post so I alternate between pages. I feel that today’s blog is of such world shaking significance that I’m posting it on both sites in order to give all of my readers a chance to submit their input.
Please bear with me on this one. Anyone who has read a few of my blogs will tell you I’m not quite right. I mean no disrespect to our savior and creator. I’m only trying to shed a little light on what goes on inside my head.
I accept absolutely no responsibility for any bumps and/or bruises suffered from those prone to FOMCLMAOing or any other physical or emotional trauma resulting from reading this post. No animals were harmed in any way during the production of this nonsense.
Their are times when what’s left of my mind is a complete blank and I turn to my chief sources of inspiration, Chicken Invaders 3 or Three Stooges.com. Today I find that unnecessary. Brace yourself…….the inspiration for this post came to me in the shower.
As I was nearly finished mowing the front portion of our lawn God decided I needed a shower so he parked a HUGE black cloud over my yard and it commenced to rinsing me off. Then a tremendous bolt of lightning and incredible peal of thunder led me to realize that what He actually wanted was for me to stop mowing.
So I did……..before he sent another lightning bolt my way……I am capable of taking a hint………at least sometimes…….especially when lightning is involved.
Leaving my dedicated lawn mowing,
land mine fertilizer surprise from Buddy finding, grass coated, paint splattered shoes out on the porch for a good rinse I decided it would be a good idea to get in the shower and wash off the sweat and dirt God missed.
This is when the inspiration hit me.
As I reached for the shampoo I realized that their were 8 bottles of shampoo on the rack! This is especially strange as there are only three people living in our house…….well, Buddy isn’t technically a people but he doesn’t know that and I see no need to tell him otherwise.
One of these bottles of shampoo is mine; the same brand I’ve been using my entire life.
Another bottle is Buddy’s the same brand he’s used since we brought him home. His shampoo occupies the lowest of the four shelves on the rack. This is very important because it is out of my reach. While accidentally using it may leave me with a shiny coat I have no desire to have the following conversation:
ER doctor: So tell me, Mr. Allen, how exactly did you get flea shampoo in your eye?
Me: RATZENFRATZENFILTHANDFLARN!!! JUST STOP LAUGHING AND MAKE THE &#@*&% BURNING STOP!!!
The other six bottles, each half empty, a different brand and different scent must, therefor, belong to my bride, aka THE BOSS, aka SHE WHO SHALL BE OBEYED, aka BRINGER OF THE HEADBONE LUMPS, HEADACHES, TWEETY BIRDS AND FIREWORKS!
Does anyone know why a woman would need 6 different shampoos? Has anyone else noticed this phenomenon? If so I would appreciate your input on this perplexing subject.
I haven’t the slightest intention of asking Frankie.
Apparently I must have tracked grass clippings across the carpet or something.
At the moment she’s down on her hands and knees…….screaming at me to “COME OUT FROM UNDER THAT BED AND FIGHT LIKE A MAN, YOU BIG SISSY!”
Fat chance of that happening!
I’ll just stay down here until she cools down a bit. Buddy says he’ll bring me a cookie or a little kibble when she’s not looki………
Oh, look at all the little birdies!
I don’t know what I did to irritate Poseidon, King Neptune and/or Mother Nature. All three seemed determined to keep us from enjoying a trip to the beach.
Our first attempt to enjoy some surf and sand was a flop. I knew about the restrictions concerning dogs on the Chesapeake Bay beaches but obeying that particular city ordinance never crossed what’s left of my mind. When we still lived here most of this end of the beach was privately owned and the rules were ignored by the locals. As you can see, someone has already expressed their opinion of this ordinance with a strategically placed sticker. I had every intention of ignoring it as usual until I ran into into a cop on an ATV patrolling the beach. Luckily he believed my story about being a tourist and not seeing the sign.
The next evening we arrived, after 6:00, to find a new sign:
Since dogs are almost never allowed on the beach on the Atlantic Ocean side of the city it looked like Buddy was going to have to wait for his first dip in anything larger than a stock pond back home.
After 2 days the swimming ban was lifted and Buddy finally got to take a dip in the Chesapeake Bay. He was a little leery of the waves and had to be led into the water at first but soon overcame his misgivings and did his level best to drown both me and my nephew.
NOTE: Frankie shot the frame above and 2 below with her little Canon point and shoot, proving that it doesn’t take a lot of expensive equipment to turn out some great shots! Her nrvgirl tag refers to the New River Valley where she was born and raised and where we now live.
This is my nephew Christopher. Though we share the same birthday he is MUCH younger and doesn’t mind keeping Buddy busy while I shoot a few frames. I also had my hands full fighting off Greenpeace activists who kept trying to push me into the water while chanting “Save the whale!”
Yes, the jolly fat man in these two shots is yours truly. They also reveal one of my secrets; I not only shoot a lot of frames, I also use two cameras. The one with all the glass mounted is digital and the one up front is a 35MM film model. The 35MM doesn’t get nearly as much use as the digital model due to the cost of film and processing but I do use it from time to time, especially for family shots when a lot of people want prints. I come from a big family! Both cameras are Canon EOS Rebels.
I used all that glass at maximum zoom to get these shots (above and below). That’s the fishing pier on the first island of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, three miles from where I was standing when I shot it. The shot below looks a little closer but that’s because I cropped out the blurry nose of the jet ski that zoomed into frame from the left just as I tripped the shutter release.
As I mentioned, the sun didn’t hang around long. I had forgotten how quickly the fog could roll in.
This is one of about a dozen commercial ships anchored in Lynnhaven Roads awaiting a berth at Norfolk International Terminals to take of cargo. Within minutes of taking this shot the ship was completely obscured by the fast moving fog.
My better half, Frankie, aka THE BOSS!, aka SHE WHO SHALL BE OBEYED! with Buddy. Usually it’s next to impossible to get her to sit still for a photo but I cheated and got this one with a long lens while she wasn’t looking. She actually said she likes this shot and will not tenderize my head with her cast iron skillet if I post it.
I’M B-A-A-A-CK! ……… and I brought pictures…..hundreds and hundreds of pictures.
Anyone interested in sorting and editing a few hundred for me….before I go blind as well as nuts?
No? Oh, well……maybe I can get Buddy to help if I tell him I have cookies.
Every time I return home no matter what the weather I have to make at least one trip to the beach I grew up on. The big red balloon with the A on it (below) wasn’t there back then but the building boom that began in the early 70s is still going like gang busters and you never can tell what you’re gonna find when you’ve been away for a while.
Located in the northwest corner of the resort city of Virginia Beach, Virginia the laid back beach community fronting on the Chesapeake Bay is officially known as Chesapeake Beach. Natives refer to it as Chic’s Beach and it’s easy to spot a native. They’re the people telling you that the T-shirt you just purchased from one of the tourist traps on Shore Drive isn’t sanctioned by the Civic League because there is no K in Chic’s. Those same folks will probably be happy to tell you what you can do with that shirt but this is a family oriented blog so………….
When I noticed that the shirt Mom bought for me a couple of summers back had the wrong spelling it immediately became my puttering around the yard shirt. Now it’s so faded, paint, blood and oil stained that the offending misspelling is almost entirely obliterated. Suffice it to say that all of the Chic’s Beach shirts I now own have the official CXB logo prominently displayed.
The name Chic’s goes back to the 1940s and Chic’s Cafe, a cinderblock stand that sold hot dogs, lemonade and boasted a pinball machine. The cafe was named for its owner, Chic Ledington, and the name has been lovingly preserved by residents ever since. By the mid 60s, when I first adopted my beach rat ways, the café had become a snack bar, bath house and float rental stand whose chief attraction among my set were the outdoor loud speakers attached to the juke box.
A special place on that beach is known as The Rocks.
The boulders placed around the boundary fence between the civilian beach and the beach owned by the US Navy were intended to protect the fence from the wave action.
As you can see from the sections of chain link fencing peeled back along the pilings nothing can withstand the force of nature, not even a double row of pilings and fencing. There was only a single fence in the days of my misspent youth. If I had a nickel for every time I paddled a surfboard around the fence because the waves were always better on the restricted Navy side I’d have a whole bunch of nickels. I can’t begin to count how many times I got chased back to the other side of the fence by Base Security personnel.
Just about everyone who ever set foot on this beach spent at least a little time sitting on these rocks, lost in thought while staring out at the Chesapeake Bay. Those of us who lived on this beach spent a lot of time here. My uncle had a house and a cottage just three doors up the street from the fence and I lived on this beach….literally lived on it in the summer.
Sitting on The Rocks you are rarely alone.
My friends in the US Navy refer to this as a GU-11 unmanned aerial vehicle.
Depending on visibility when looking north from The Rocks you can usually make out at least the first island of of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel which spans the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay . To give you an idea of scale, the first island is three miles from shore.
A closer view of the first island, one of four man made islands of the bridge tunnel complex reveals the Sea Gull Fishing Pier. The rectangular object in the right of this frame is a fan house which provides ventilation in the first tunnel. The fan house in the background is on the second island and marks the point where the road bed rises to the second set of parallel bridges.
I’m not really here right now. This post is set to publish all by itself……I hope. Frankie and I are busy trying to pack everything we’ll need for the next couple of weeks. We’re also getting an itinerary together because there are people to visit and places we want to go. This time there are several sections listed as “GO TO THE BEACH!” I intend to spend a lot of time just loafing.
By this time Tuesday I’ll be relaxing on Chic’s Beach wondering what the poor people are doing. Of course, considering the size of my monthly Social Security Disability check I am one of the poor people except when I’m on vacation. When I’m kicked back on the beach money just don’t mean a thing!
Before I go, here’s a shot of the first deer we’ve seen in the yard in some time and a buck at that! We’re used to seeing plenty of does but this yearling buck is a rare sight. The quality of the shot leaves a lot to be desired. It was hurried and shot through two panes of glass but it was the best I could do before he vanished into the brush. Hopefully, the does will be bringing the new fawns out to graze by the time we get back.
Y’all take care and I’ll be back blogging in a couple of weeks. Man, is my reader going to be packed full!
Just a few burds I managed to capture before it got too hot and humid.
Female American Goldfinch
Fox Red Looney Toon ( Redneckus Dawgus)
Continuing a look back at what I’ve managed to capture during the past 2 years, sunrises and sunsets. The beach scene is of Chic’s Beach, the neighborhood where I grew up in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The rest were shot in and around Wythe County, Virginia where we live now. As with yesterday’s post, click on the thumbs in the gallery below to views full size images.
Part 3 of my retrospective series. Some images just scream for monochrome. These were shot during my explorations of the back roads in Wythe County, Virginia. As always, click on the thumb in the gallery for the full size image.
Part 4 of my journey through the images I’ve been lucky enough to capture since taking up photography as a hobby two years ago. Nearly all were shot in and around Wythe County, Virginia, many of them in our back yard. Some evenings we have whitetail deer within 10 yards of the house and my wife’s feeder collection (I call it Burd Town.) always draws a crown to the maple tree right outside our bedroom window.
For larger views of any image just click on the thumb in the gallery below.
In February of 2009 I was looking for something to occupy my time after being forced into early retirement by a bad fall at home. Accustomed to 60+ hour work weeks the sudden inactivity was driving me out of what was left of my mind. I had dabbled with photography when I was younger and my daughter had a Kodak point & shoot she wasn’t using so I did a web search for amateur photography, found tons of information, tutorials and several people willing to take me under their wing. The rest is….well, you know.
A great many of those people were blogging on Windows Live Spaces and before I knew it I was, too. Then the shutter bug had me in its grasp and I was drooling over photo supply catalogs. Two years ago this week I had finally saved enough for a Canon DSLR and I was posting 2 or 3 blogs a day, not just photo blogs, either. I had found an online family, some of whom were just as deranged as me….some even more…and when I didn’t have my eye glued to a view finder I was running rampant on the web. I was also still drooling over those photo supply catalogs.
Now I have a never ending list of new gear I just have to have and a growing collection of camera bags that never seem to be large enough to hold the gear I already have for very long. At least I have finally learned to save up for what I want instead of just breaking out the credit cards. I wonder how much a good mule to haul my gear around is gonna cost.
As I said, it’s been 2 years since I started shooting with decent equipment. The recent heat wave we’ve been “enjoying” has kept me in the house for health reasons so today, as I was moving my May photos from the laptop to the portable hard drive, I thought it might be fun to post some of what I consider to be my better shots. I hope you enjoy seeing them as much as I enjoyed shooting them. If you would prefer to view a larger image of any frame just click on the thumb below the slide show.