This guy walked out of the tree line no more than 30 yards from the bedroom window this afternoon. I shot these through the window glass because I didn’t want to risk stepping out the door and spooking him.
This guy walked out of the tree line no more than 30 yards from the bedroom window this afternoon. I shot these through the window glass because I didn’t want to risk stepping out the door and spooking him.
This is a mature 6 point whitetail buck and he’s absolutely HUGE! I have a 42” chest and this guy is every bit as broad across the chest as I am.
Oh, wait……..ever since we moved here people have been telling me there ain’t no deer on Pine Ridge. Ladies and gentlemen I give you the world’s largest squirrel!
I’m tellin’ ya, sometimes ya just get lucky!
Late blossoms on my wife’s Knockout Rose.
We’ve already had our first hard frosts so there may not be many more of these this year.
The leaves are also falling fast but there is still plenty of color to be found if you look for it.
Lastly, a Belted Kingfisher I accidentally captured while shooting the fall foliage along a local creek. I didn’t notice him until I got home and downloaded the images from the SDHC cards. Sometimes you just get lucky.
Just a couple frames I shot while out with the dogs this morning.
I’m still adjusting to the change in medications so I stayed on the porch while Buddy and Molly were “on patrol”.
People often ask what equipment I use. Both of these shots are hand held at about 25 yards using a Sigma 150-500MM OS (optically stabilized) telephoto lens mounted on a Canon EOS Rebel T3 DSLR. I also use a Canon EOS Rebel XS, which was my first DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex).
In addition to the Sigma I have 2 Canon 18-55MM IS (image stabilized) lenses (this lens came with each camera), a Canon EF-S 55-250MM IS Telephoto Zoom Lens and a Canon EF-S 60MM f/2.8 Macro USM for close ups. Both cameras will accept all of these lenses, a very good thing now that my wife, Frankie (aka THE BOSS), has been bitten by the shutter bug as well.
NOTE TO THE READER:
I’m publishing this same post on my Virginia Through My Lens Blogger page. When I left Windows Live Spaces a few months back I couldn’t decide whether I preferred Blogger or Word Press so I tried both. After nearly a year I still can’t decide so I’ve decided to continue posting on both pages with this one focusing on photography and my Blogger page leaning more towards writing.
I hope you have a chance to visit each page and, as always, I welcome comments, tips, suggestions and criticism. That’s how I learn. I still can’t believe how much I’ve learned since I first started blogging and shooting photos in the spring of 2009. Y’all have taught me so much and I can’t begin to tell you how much I appreciate it. Thank you for your input, encouragement and most of all for your friendship.
I’ve got my fingers crossed that I’ll get out to shoot our Autumn color before it’s gone.
This guy on the maple outside our bedroom window gave me the title for today’s post.
Hang in there!
Sorry I haven’t been out to play this week. I spent the entire day in the Emergency Room at the Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center in Salem on Tuesday after my primary care physician determined that what I thought was a torn muscle wasn’t.
I’ve been poked, prodded, scanned, drained, flushed, made to swallow God awful concoctions and pumped full of all kinds medications this week not to mention bounced all over this end of the state. Salem is 75 miles northeast of us.
I‘m still waiting for test results to come back and for a call notifying me of the dates and times for a couple more tests. At the moment I’m doing okay and getting plenty of sleep. That’s a good thing because I spent most of Tuesday night as well as all day and night Wednesday hobbling back and forth to the bathroom thanks to the bottle of magnesium citrate I was ordered to drink as soon as I got home. That stuff is evil! I may not know exactly what is wrong with me but I do know that our plumbing is in fine working order.
I’ll try to get around to visit but it will have to wait until my head clears a little more. As it is, I’ve been writing this for the past 2 days.
I’m grounded, again, but that doesn’t keep me from pointing my lens out the window. THE BOSS really keeps them clean because she knows that as long as I’m busy with the cameras I won’t be fooling around with anything else.
Buddy is always ready to pose for a photo. Molly, on he other hand, was investigating something under the picnic table and was out of camera range.
It’s going to be interesting to see how long this volunteer sunflower holds out. We think one of the burds planted it in an old flower box because we sure didn’t. Overnight lows approaching freezing are in the forecast for next weekend so it’s days may be numbered.
The maple in the yard is just beginning to change colors in earnest. It should be solid yellow by the end of the month and bare week or so after. As always, I intend to let the leaves blow across the street into the jerk’s yard. I’d rather watch him rake hem up that do it myself. Besides, I don’t know how to operate a rake……..and I can’t be taught, either!
The wind was really whipping the branches today so I had to use a fast shutter speed on these two frames.
The next door neighbor’s porch is also within camera range. After Halloween I’ll ask Cody, who lives there, if he wants to get in on the “Blow Your Pumpkin to Smithereens” festivities. Blowing up pumpkins with a shotgun at the county range is a lot of fun. My nephew turned me on to this sport when we were visiting a few years ago and it’s become an annual tradition in our family, especially since you can buy leftover pumpkins at Lowe’s and Walmart for $1 a piece the day after the holiday.
Each year I usually set aside $20 just for pumpkins and another $20 or 30 to replace the shotgun shells. I’ve heard that modern shotgun shells remain stable far longer than they used to but I was taught to replace stored ammo with fresh at least once a year and still do. One of these days we’re going to find the dirt berm on the 25 yard line at the range covered in pumpkin vines! Then we won’t have to buy pumpkins to blow up or haul ‘em up to the range. That’s redneck recycling at it’s best!
Our plans to take a ride out to Crockett’s Cove this afternoon got side tracked by a chest cold trying to put Frankie out of action. She stopped on the way home from work and picked a box of Alka-Seltzer Plus®. That, along with my mom’s sure fire cure for what ails you, Lipton® Chicken Noodle Soup , will have her right as rain and back behind the viewfinder in no time.
One of the big attractions in the cove, especially this time of year, is the beautiful scenery. The other big attraction is the herd of whitetail deer that flocks to the open fields at sunset. My brother in law, the world famous Fish Hook, and I have watched scores and scores of deer wander out of the tree lines. One of the drawbacks to shooting in the gloaming is not enough light for decent shots unless you’re using a tripod. Setting one up and waiting for the deer to appear is usually out of the question because of the single narrow road and signs prohibiting stopping in the road. I guess the folks who live out there have had enough trouble getting home in the evenings.
The day was not a total loss. Just as she was getting settled down in bed with her book, TV remote, Mini-10 netbook and dual 4 legged self propelled foot warmers she happened to spot one of the “big dawgs” through the bedroom window.
I apologize for the grainy images. The light was fading fast so I didn’t bother with the tripod. I’ve missed catching images of this guy several times because by the time I did get the tripod set up he was either gone or I couldn’t pick him out of the background as the light failed.
The first frame was shot through the window using the window frame to brace my left arm and my left arm to brace the 150-500MM telephoto lens. The last two were shot using the clothesline pole for a brace after I managed to sneak out the back door without A) spooking the buck, B) falling on my face and C) having the dogs bolt past me and scare him off before I could frame a shot. All three were shot from about 75 yards.
Now, to get back to catching up on the backlog of blogs I have waiting for me. Man, I’m tellin’ ya; veg out for a couple of days and it takes forever to get back on track. At least the dreams from the pain meds were entertaining! Somewhere I read an article about dreams usually being in black and white. I don’t know where I read it but I do know for a fact that I dream in color, VIVID color, when deep in the grasp of a prescription narcotics buzz!
Reposted from my Blogger page. Still not 100% after my run in with the flu & pneumonia vaccines. Anyway, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!
First, I’d like to thank Buddy for filling in for me yesterday, even if he did change the focus settings on my viewfinder. All in all I have to say he’s a very good boy.
I’m back on my feet, no loner feeling like I’d have to die to feel better and out with the cameras again. That said, I didn’t get far from the house before discovering I’m not quite back to what passes for normal in my world. While Godzilla is a marvel of automotive engineering it lacks one important feature….indoor plumbing. Consequently, these were all shot within 5 miles of home.
Autumn is coming on fast and it won’t be long before we reach peak colors in the foliage. I often wonder if the number of traffic accidents increases this time of year as people pay more attention to the view than to the road.
If you look very closely at the image above you can just make out the roof of a very nice home on the side of that mountain.
Just in case you can’t find it, here’s a tighter shot with my long lens.
Okay, okay, I’ll zoom in as tight as I can. See it now? I guess it is a little tough to pick put in that first shot seeing as how it is about 3 or 4 miles away from where I was shooting.
Maybe that wasn’t fair of me. Tell you what I’ll do…How about a shot of the view from that house? This is shot from directly in front of the house, looking past the right side…….
….and this is from the left. I couldn’t get a decent shot of the house itself because there just wasn’t enough room between the house and the steep slope of the mountain for me to get it all in one frame, even with my shortest lens.
I shot this one along Ridge Rd. on my way home.
Okay, I have to get my tripod ready and set up both cameras for this evening. You see, the weather guesser done missed it again. The forecast called for solid overcast and rain from Tuesday evening through Friday morning. Well, here it is Wednesday afternoon, the sun is shining and the sky is only partly overcast. With any luck I just may capture decent images of the harvest moon!
We shall see…..
Well, this may be about the last shot I’m liable to get of the moon this cycle and I may moss shooting the Harvest Moon all together. Rain moved in this afternoon and I’m under the weather due to a bad reaction to the influenza and/or pneumonia vaccinations I got yesterday.
I did manage to capture this whitetail buck, shot through the bedroom window this afternoon. He was grazing in the back yard and about 25 yards away when I took the shot.
Well, I’m going back to bed in the hope that I’ll feel better when I wake up. I spent most of the day napping off and on. All that did was make me think evil thoughts about the medical community for not coming up with something for the common cold or flu that I can take without risking a bad interaction with my daily meds.
According to the calendar we’re due for a Harvest Moon this coming week. Naturally, according to the forecast from the National Weather Service in Blacksburg, Virginia, we’re supposed to have mostly cloudy skies and a 50% chance of rain Tuesday night through Thursday night.
On the off chance that the forecast is wrong, as is often he case, I was out experimenting with my longest lens and newest camera in the back yard last night.
While I’m pleased with the way these frames turned out, the camera and lens combination weighs in at a little over 5 lbs. While that may not seem like a lot, holding that rascal still while pointing it up at the sky is a TOUGH, especially after shooting a couple of dozen frames! Thanks you Sigma for the optical stabilization feature.
THE BOSS (New River Valley Girl) got this shot of Miss Molly “guarding” Daddy’s chair.
While I got this one this morning.
With Molly guarding one end of the house from marauding cats and Buddy guarding the other, the burds can visit the feeders in Burd Town with no fear of getting eaten themselves!
The weather was absolutely magnificent today; crystal clear skies, 75°F, humidity hovering around 40% and only the barest hint of a breeze! This afternoon THE BOSS and I grabbed our cameras and the livestock, piled into Godzilla and headed out to see what we could see. We ended up in and around Rural Retreat, a little town about 10 miles due west.
Of course gas is down to $3.00 a gallon today…..I filled up yesterday at $3.15! Big deal? Well, Godzilla gets around 12 miles per gallon in town, 16 MPG highway and has a 30 gallon tank. Do the math.
The fate of the old railroad depot in Rural Retreat was in doubt because of a dispute over who actually owned it. Thankfully, a non-profit foundation has been established, secured the deed and a drive for funds to restore it is under way. One more piece of history saved from the wrecking ball!
THE BOSS was putting “her new camera” through the paces, the DSLR she commandeered from me, capturing this handsome young man exercising his small horses. The shot above and the next three are Frankie’s hence the NRVGirl (New River Valley Girl) watermark.
You’ll note that the livestock tend to go in opposite directions until they A) decide where the best smelling stuff is or B) dislocate my arms.
Molly on the scent of the small horses’ newly discovered delicacy, grasshoppers. Someone has apparently told Buddy and Molly that grasshoppers taste just like chicken because they sure love hunting and eating them!
In case you’re wondering, the T-shirt bears the US Air Force Pararescue logo. I served as a proud Pararescueman, or PJ, for most of my 9 years of active duty in the USAF Reserves following my tour in ICBMs.
“Come on, Molly; one good tug and we’ll see if the old guy can still swim like he used to!”
I’m really stoked about the frames above and below. Both were featured on the local CBS affiliate this evening! I’m grinning about it and Frankie’s doing the YEE-HAW! dance!
The moon, BOSS, the moon!
We still have a couple of weeks before the fall foliage reaches it’s peak but the varied altitudes here in the Blue Ridge Mountains actually causes prime leaf peeping season to last longer than it does back home on the coast.
At higher elevations the color change occurs earlier than in the lower, protected valleys.
The change is governed not just by temperature but by wind, as well. All around we see trees with red and yellow leaves near the top or on one side and bright green leaves closer to the ground and on the leeward side of the tree.
Hope, y’all don’t get tired of Autumn leaves before I get tired of shooting them. It won’t be long before I’m posting burds and snow!
After a cold, blustery, drizzly start yesterday the sun finally came out in the afternoon and Frankie (aka THE BOSS, Baby Duck, Duck Butt, my darling bride, my better half, Shotgun, she who SHALL be obeyed, Meanness, that wild little woman with the cast iron skillet, bringer of headaches) agreed that a ride in the country with the cameras was a great idea….much better, in fact, than emptying the kitchen cabinets and re-organizing the canned goods as she had planned! Yes, it was my idea and yes, I am a bad influence MWAHAHA! but I digress. We had fun, the livestock enjoyed the ride and the cabinets can always wait for a rainy day.
Old Glory was really whipping in the stiff breeze at Sheetz while I was doing my part to keep OPEC happy, putting $65.00 worth of regular into Godzilla’s
bottomless pit gas tank.
The leaves are changing colors as Autumn sets in. If you’re a follower of this blog be prepared for a lot of leaf peeping shots in the next couple of weeks. Frankie has laid claim to one of my DSLRs and is learning how to use it. Her little point and shoot is great for snapshots and small enough to carry in her purse but “her new” Canon EOS Rebel XS can do so much more, including accepting all of my lenses! Now all I have to do is get her hooked on blogging………..
Naturally, we took the livestock with us. Molly is more laid back when it comes to going for a ride. She usually curls up on the seat or in the cargo area of the truck and catches a few Z’s……when she’s not chewing the corner off the door trim or eating the protective plug for the auxiliary power port in the back seat.
Adult Labs are used by waterfowl hunters because they have a “soft mouth” and don’t damage the birds. Lab puppies can and will chew up everything in sight! At about a year old Molly is still a pup and we’ve got a good 6 months to a year before she stops chewing. That’s why there are rolled up newspapers stashed all over the house; a swat on the nose with one doesn’t really hurt but the noise gets the message across.
Buddy, on the other hand, loves riding with his head out the window, ears, lips and tongue flapping in the breeze. He’s about 3 years old and pretty much matured. After eating 2 power cords within a week of our adopting him, both of which were plugged into the wall outlets at the time, he got over his chewing spell. He still does his best to become invisible when Molly screws up and one of us reaches for a nose whacker.
We spotted a small herd of these funny looking deer (gazelles?) just down the road from Frankie’s alma mater, Fort Chiswell High School.
Actually, there’s an exotic animal zoo on the other side of the hill from where I shot these. Oh, and the camera is level in both of these shots. I told you there was a hill!
As I was trying to frame a shot of wildflowers along Frankie’s side of the road I realized there was something moving behind the flowers. (She was driving and I was on the passenger side using a 500MM zoom lens aiming through her open window.)
I handed her the camera and she found this spike whitetail deer (a yearling buck with very short antlers) hiding in the weeds. At first we thought he had been injured but when we turned around and came back to this spot a few minutes later he was gone.
The gravel road leading through the woods made for a smooth ride while the surrounding ridges blocked a good deal of that stiff breeze I mentioned. It was still chilly enough that we needed the heater, especially with my window down so that I could shoot pictures and the back windows partially down so the dawgs could give their sniffers a workout.
One of the last things one would expect to find way back in the woods along a gravel road is a stately old mansion. This is the Major Graham Mansion which is reputed to be haunted and is currently open to pre-Halloween tours.
Just down the road from the mansion is this abandoned house which causes a chill to run down our spines each time we pass it. No, we didn’t get out for a closer look. To coin a phrase, I ain’t afraid of no ghosts. However, they’re probably bullet proof so I’m not pushing my luck!
A Hedge Apple (Maclura pomifera) on the side of the road. I had no idea what they were but Frankie did. A small deciduous shrub also known as Osage-orange, Horse-apple, Bois D’Arc, or Bodark and native to parts of Texas the plant is commonly used as a windbreak in prairie states. The fruit is also used as an insect repellant and, now that we know, will be getting a test run in our house next year because they are said to be very effective at repelling fleas.
These were also tons of baseball size walnuts scattered everywhere long the side of the road. The abundance of walnuts, acorns and other natural signs we’ve observed recently have us convinced that we’re in for another hard winter. I guess it’s a good thing we stocked up on ice melter when it went on sale this past spring.
Cattails (Typha) in a creek bed just down the road from where that spike had been hiding. We used to whack each other with these things when I was a kid and catch hell when we came home and had puffs of white fuzz (the seeds inside the brown cover) all over our clothes and hair.
Yep, that’s why these are called the Blue Ridge Mountains but it will only be a week or two until they’re a riot of color. I can hardly wait! Of course, not too long after the color fades and those ridges will be white and I hardly wait for that, either! The kid next door knows my back and legs are all screwed up and he has already volunteered to shovel our walk and parking area when he does his!