A few random shots from our trip home to Virginia Beach last week.
“The Rocks” at the western end of Chesapeake Beach (Chic’s Beach to locals), in the northwestern corner of Virginia Beach. I grew up on this stretch of sand and spent a good part of my teen age years sitting on those rocks staring out across the Chesapeake Bay trying to figure out life’s mysteries. No trip home is complete without a return to this site no matter what the weather or time of year. In the distance is the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, spanning the 20 mile mouth of the bay.
Now, a few burds I managed to shoot while once again sitting on those rocks:
US Navy SH-60 Seahawk anti-submarine warfare helicopter. The special paint job is in honor of 100 years of Navy aviation. The first flight from a US Navy ship, the USS Birmingham riding at anchor in Hampton Roads, was made by Eugene Ely just a few miles east of Chesapeake Beach on 14 November 1910. Hampton Roads was also the site of the first battle between ironclad warships, the USS Monitor and CSS Virginia, during the American Civil War.
The first landing on a Navy ship, USS Pennsylvania, was also made by Ely in San Francisco harbor on 18 January 1911 and the navy purchased it’s first airplane the following month, establishing the first Navy flight training facility at Coronado, California..
I hope you’ll take a few minutes to view the slide show. When I was Googling Chic’s Beach for links as I wrote this I was pretty stoked when it appeared 6th in the results. I made it a couple of years ago so some of you have already seen it. The little kids in the black and white shot are me and my oldest sister with our dad and one of his friends at Chic’s Beach in 1958. I literally grew up on that beach!
In another frame you’ll see a couple standing under a canopy on the beach. That’s my mom and dad, shot in the late 70s. The solitary girl looking out to sea in another frame is our youngest daughter, Laura. I took that shot 50 years after the shot of me, Dad and Crazy Horse (my sister) was made. There is another frame of two women, my mom and my wife, Frankie (aka THE BOSS) walking towards the setting sun taken this past June.
Hope you enjoyed the nickel tour.
Did you ever have one of those days that just seems to blur on into the next day and the next and ……well you know. I’ve been dealing with a case of writer’s block recently and it just keeps going on and on.
The trip home was okay but sort of a bust. I cooked for Mom a couple of times and she enjoyed that. We gave her a couple of nice American History books and she enjoyed those as well, after giving us a minor chewing out for spending the money on her.
Then the old best laid plans deal kicked in.
I have given this sea gull instructions to keep a close eye on you.
It was overcast or raining for just about the entire week we were there. I didn’t mind the bad weather for the first day or so because my back gave me fits after the 6 hour drive and I was stoned out of my gourd on pain killers..
One afternoon the sun came out just long enough for me to load the dogs in the truck and drive to the beach. We made it about 100 yards from the parking lot when a near miss by a huge bolt of lightning sent us scrambling for cover. That was the extent of our time on the beach.
The air show we were looking forward to was rained out. This is about the best shot I managed to get when the Blue Angels were practicing the day before the start of the weekend long performance. That patch of blue sky, top right, was about the only clear spot we saw the entire week we were in Virginia Beach and it only lasted for a few minutes.
Just in case you think you can get away from that first sea gull’s steely gaze I know where I can find more……lots more……and they’ll work for stale french fries.
We decided to try a different route for the return trip. While it was nice to see different scenery this route was 40 miles longer. That said, we’ll most likely use this route from now on because it only involved about 20 miles of Interstate and I hate the Interstates with a passion.
The new route should also provide some great photo opportunities……as long as we don’t find ourselves stuck in a 30 minute traffic backup due to road construction.
Did I mention that we spent that 30 minutes INSIDE a rain cloud? The cloud deck was around 1,500 feet and, according to the roadside sign where we sat waiting just before Lovers Leap, our elevation was 3,000 feet. (The sign was the only thing I could see besides the brake lights on the tractor trailer in front of us.)
As a former manager in a major heavy truck repair facility I am all too aware of just how many trucks on our nation’s highways are literally falling apart. I spent the entire 30 minutes praying that truck didn’t suffer a brake failure because we were sitting on a pretty serious grade and I have no desire to have “Squished by a damned semi!” engraved on my headstone.
Gulls weren’t the only burds I found at home. This egret was hanging out in the top of a tree when I took a ride to First Landing State Park one afternoon.
I shot these from the driver’s seat of the truck using a 500MM zoom lens because I didn’t feel like dealing with wiping the drizzle that was falling off the lens every other frame.
It wasn’t until I got back home and started going through the photos that I spotted this guy sitting on a branch at the top of that dead tree.
I think it’s an osprey but I could be wrong. He must have landed there while I was concentrating on the egret because he wasn’t there when I shot the first frame.
Oh, yes…….the sun finally did come out on our way home…….when we were about 15 miles from home. At least we got to see some of the fall colors which are just beginning to burst across the mountainsides.
Frankie has this weekend off and we’ve already planned a day trip to capture as much of it as we can. I think she’s been nipped by the shutter bug because she’s already claimed one of my DSLRs as hers and decided that I’m going to teach her how to shoot it. This should be a lot of fun!
Oh, wait……..that means I’ll have even more photos to sort and edit…..along with the 1,500 or so I managed to shoot back home in spite of the weather. I may never finish!
At least the writer’s block seems to be easing up a little.
Preparations are under way for our trip home to celebrate Mom’s 88th birthday.This means the sorting, packing, re-sorting, re-packing, re-re-sorting…..well you get the idea….. is underway and I’ll be out in the backyard cursing at the trees any minute now.
This is good practice for the trip home because it’s a proven fact that the idiot per mile population on Virginia’s highways increases exponentially as you travel east until you get to the gridlock that is Hampton Roads, road rage capitol of the known world. Add to that the stress from having to keep a sharp eye out for speed traps and it’s little wonder my blood pressure spikes every time I have to make the trip.
If there is one thing the USAF taught me that stuck it’s how to pack. I can usually get my bags packed (duffle, camera bags and computer bag) in 10 minutes but Frankie, Queen of the Pack Rats, always has a terrible time cramming everything into and on top of the truck. If we had a tractor trailer she would find a way to overload it! I’m always amazed that a fidget (Female mIDGET) always needs a suitcase that’s at least twice the size of everything I carry, combined.
Once Frankie finishes overloading Godzilla I have to wait until she falls asleep before going out and unloading enough
junk crap trash “good stuff” to allow room for me to drive the truck and use the rear view mirrors. When she wakes up she always tries to stuff the excess back into the truck until I get that look in my eye and start searching for matches. Then she squirrels it away until her next attempt at setting a Guinness Book world record for most junk hauled across Virginia in a passenger vehicle.
Internet access at Mom’s involves a trip to McDonald’s to use their free Wi-Fi access because Mom views computers as one of the greatest evils ever visited upon mankind. My Internet Service Provider does not offer dial up access and the cost of a wireless plan would put a dent in my camera gear budget and that ain’t happening! I do have a 3G cell phone but I’m an old geezer and only use my cell for phone. I dropped the data plan after realizing that I only used it for about an hour total during the 3 month mandatory prescription period when I first got the phone. I figured the extra $49 a month would be better spent on that huge lens I wanted……and I did!
Anyhoo, I’ll be off line for most of the next week. When I get back I should have loads of pictures to share. On the other hand I may make the papers if I succumb to temptation and open fire on the idiots in a Virginia Beach traffic jam. At least tourist season is over so I’ll only have to deal with local idiots wandering around lost and not the summer time imported variety (mostly from Ohio, New Jersey and Quebec), as well.
See you when we get back….. unless I’m incarcerated or involuntarily committed!
P.S. If you happen to find yourself on a Virginia highway anywhere between Mount Rogers and the Atlantic Ocean during the next week you may want to re-consider your trip. That large green object with a dog head hanging out each side rapidly growing larger in your rear view mirrors will be Godzilla moving at a high rate of speed in and easterly direction tomorrow and westerly a week from tomorrow. I’m not braking for anything! You have been warned.
(Re-posted from today’s Blogger page. I know, I know…..I’m just lazy!)
I haven’t spent nearly enough time with the cameras or writing lately so when THE BOSS pointed out the harvest moon just rising at the end of the ridge I grabbed the camera with the big lens mounted and stepped out the front door. All of these were shot hand held with my Sigma 150 – 500MM optically stabilized lens.
I really need to practice using the big lens because it’s heavy at 4 lbs. and next Monday we’re going home for a week to help Mom celebrate her 88th birthday. I know I’ll be shooting a lot on the beach as well as around the city, both in the urban and rural areas. To top the week off we’re going to the Air Show at Naval Air Station Oceana next weekend before piling in Godzilla and returning to God’s Country. I’m gonna need to build up my forearms so I don’t pass out from exertion right in the middle of shooting a low level pass!
Suffice it to say, I may not have much to post now but by the end of the month I should have about a gazillion* frames to process. If my calculations are correct I should go blind just before Halloween.
*That’s gazillion, not to be confused with Brazilian, which frequently confused our last Dufus in Chief who should not be confused with Rick Perry, his successor as governor of Texas, who wants to be the next Dufus in Chief only without the pesky IQ thingamajig.
Say what you may about the current occupant of the Oval Office; even with a do nothing congress he has managed to accomplish one thing:
……and he has proof!
(Actual bin Laden funeral
By the way, while we’re on the topic of Al Qaeda …..and don’t ask me how we got there:
Okay, “Peggy”, the attendant says it’s time to get me in my fancy jammies with the buckles in the back and for one of those itty-bitty cups of the funny orange “Kool-Aid”.
Peggy is not to be trifled with
I’ll see y’all tomorrow unless I manage to chew through the straps again. Y’all might want to lock your doors…..and buy a helmet.
Now you now why I let THE BOSS drive Godzilla.
This is the surprise I was talking about in my last post.
We just got home from the Smyth County Animal Shelter where we pulled Buddy’s new companion, Molly. She’s estimated to be a year old, has been spayed and, as far as we can tell, is in excellent health. We don’t know if she’s up to date on all her shots but if her previous owner went to the trouble and expense of having her spayed it stands to reason she’s probably had all vaccinations. Just the same she’ll be paying a visit to our vet.
We decided to adopt for several reasons:
Buddy has severe separation anxiety, even to the point that he whines and howls if I leave him in the house while I mow the yard. We feel that a companion animal may help with this.
Molly was picked up as a stray on 16 August and her days were numbered.
We absolutely love Labs and wish we had room for dozens but we only have room for two.
She’s so beautiful we just had to bring her home!
First order of business when we got home was Frontline Flea Treatment (just in case), fitting Molly with a “halty harness” until Santa Claus arrives in his big brown truck with the new collars and double lead then a big ol’ bowl of kibble which she wolfed down.
Buddy and Molly are still getting acquainted but, after the 30 mile trip home in the back seat with Laura, the sniffing and growling has stopped and the “kissing” has commenced! At least we don’t have to worry about puppies because they’ve both been fixed.
I know what you’re thinking…..”What is this Looney Toon up to now?”
Well, I’ll tell you what I’m up to………….tomorrow!
That’s right…….I’m gonna keep y’all in suspense. MWAHAHAHA!
No, it doesn’t involve law enforcement, tranquilizer guns, restraint devices, roller skating chimpanzees or clown cars and you probably won’t need a helmet.
Kinda scary ain’t it?
Not as scary as this:
Meanwhile, in Australia……….
Sorry I haven’t been around to make y’all shake your heads and ask yourselves why I haven’t been institutionalized yet…….and NO, that’s not why I haven’t been online much recently.
THE BOSS has had some medical issues that have been occupying what little is left of my mind. I haven’t even picked up a camera in several days.
She is being treated by several very competent medical professionals is okay, at home and at the moment well sedated. Her preliminary prognoses are very favorable and she’ll get a better handle on her condition tomorrow when she sees one of the specialists she’s been referred to and gets the lab results.
Now, while she’s still unconscious I’ll go check the straps on her straight jacket and the padlocks on the chains. You’d think she’d behave herself, especially after I cut the handle off her broom, effectively grounding her but NO-O-O-O!
Did I mention that the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee are just moving in to combine with a low pressure system that arrived in our area last night? The weather guess says heavy rain, 4 to 8 inches, through Thursday followed by scattered thunderstorms through the weekend. I’ll go absolutely stir crazy! If you already think I’m as screwy as a soup sammich you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!