It was another nice day, sunny and mild, so I was out enjoying the fresh air and looking for something to shoot. There were plenty of birds chirping behind me but that was to the west, looking directly into the sun. Suddenly a flicker of motion in the trees caught my attention and I snapped this shot of a male cardinal using a 55-150MM zoom lens at about 55MM.
Switching to the other camera, which was already mounted with my long lens, I got much closer without moving and spooking him. This shot is at about 350MM.
This one is at 500MM, maximum zoom for this lens.
About 400MM just before he darted off into the trees.
I’ve spent a little time scouting the woods behind the house and have picked out a couple of likely places for shooting from a ground blind. Both are relatively open, easy to get in and out of quietly and not too far from 2 intersecting game trails a den tree with a large, active squirrel nest and several nearby trees with bird nests in the upper branches.
As spring approaches I’ll be getting my hunting gear ready, including a large spray bottle of odorless insect repellant. I hunt with a camera instead of a gun these days but the principles are the same; equipment, scouting, set up and most of all, patience. It’s too bad they don’t make Frontline Plus for humans……it works great at repelling fleas, ticks and other nasty critters on the dogs!
I spent this evening reorganizing my medium size camera backpack and making sure everything, especially my tripod, is ready to grab and go. Now all that’s left is to pick up a box of snake shot shells for my hand cannon and e-mail my wish list to THE BOSS and Mini-Boss. My birthday and Father’s Day are right around the corner and I have my eye on a pop up bow hunter’s blind and a new scent lock camouflage shirt and pair of pants!
I was out in the backyard, standing on the picnic table when this little critter, a female Downy Woodpecker flew over and landed on a branch about 10 feet away!
I know what you’re thinking…….why was I standing on top of the picnic table in the first place, right? You’ll have to go here to find out.
You’ve probably heard me refer to THE BOSS, SHE WHO SHALL BE OBEYED, my better half, the woman who has put up with me for the past 25 years. You may have even seen a photo or two of her winding up to whack me on the headbone with her trusty cast iron skillet. Sometimes I even deserve it but if she happens to read that last sentence I’ll deny any knowledge on the grounds that all that BANGY!, BANGY! on my delicate head has caused severe brain damage.
Today’s post is my attempt to prod her into processing her own shots and getting into blogging.
Last Christmas I gave her a point and shoot to carry around in her purse and she actually takes it out and uses it from time to time.
She’s also been known to take one of my DSLRs away from me on occasion and has captured some fine shots with it. I’m afraid that one of these days she’ll refuse to give it back, just as she did when she got over the fear of driving Godzilla, my beloved Ford Expedition. Now I’m lucky if she let’s me drive it a couple of times a month!
I have to be careful because that cast iron frying pan isn’t the only hardware she’s been known to have access to. I’m convinced that any day now the authorities are going to kick down the door and tear the house apart looking for that 16 inch shell she found when we toured the USS Wisconsin last summer. That’s no pea shooter shell…..THE BOSS is 5 feet tall and that’s just the projectile she’s posing with.
But I digress.
These are a few of the shots I found on the memory card in her point and shoot and I thought you might enjoy them. Oh yes, the watermark. Frankie was born and raised about 15 miles from here in a little mountain town in the New River Valley, or NRV to locals, in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwest Virginia, hence the NRVGirl tag.
From the minute Molly laid eyes on Frankie she decided she belonged to Mama. She’s also my baby girl. Buddy, who adopted me from day one, has been replaced as my chair warmer.
At nearly 100 lbs. she’s a little large for a lap dog but you can’t convince her of that.
She sill allows Buddy to lay on the floor beside my chair and get his ears scratched.
When she’s not keeping my chair or my lap warm she likes to guard my side of the bed.
THE BOSS has also been known to take some outdoor shots. She especially likes sunsets.
THE BOSS says I’ve spent enough time fooling around online so it’s back to kitchen duty for me. Anyone know a good remedy for dishpan hands?
Oh man, my tree marking gear just thawed out after the last batch of white stuff! Sometimes having short legs is a definite bummer.
Mother Nature has lost her mind! The first significant snow of the year, nearly 10 inches, fell earlier in the week. Yesterday the high temperature was in the mid 60s and what snow didn’t melt during the day was washed away by the torrential thunderstorms overnight. Today started out warm and we had a few torrential downpours and a tornado watch until late this afternoon. Then the temperature started plummeting and we have a chance of snow showers overnight!
With the whacky weather in mind I decided to exercise a little common sense for a change and stay close to home. I still managed to get a few frames today. This Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) taking shelter in the brush along the edge of the tree line behind our place was shot through the bedroom window at a range of about 50 yards using a Sigma 150-500MM optically stabilized telephoto zoom lens.
……at least for a few days.
The weather guessers are calling for upper 50s and rain tomorrow followed by sunny and near 70 Thursday! After that, who knows! That’s a direct quote from the
meter….. metrol……weather guessing idjit on the 6:00 news!
I’ll leave the snow shovel standing in the corner of the front porch for a while longer……or forever. Not that I know how to use it, or am capable of learning…..ever, it just seems to me that as long as it’s easy to get to we don’t need it.
The d’hogs and I ventured outdoors for an hour or so today. That’s not a typo……you should see them eat!
THE BOSS had Godzilla so we were on foot and didn’t wander far. Don’t let this shot of the back yard fool you. This part of the yard only gets a few hours of sun each day, thanks to the ridge behind us, so this snow probably won’t melt until sometime in July. It’s still about 6 or 8 inches deep right along the tree line where the sun only shines for about 9 minutes every other day.
THE BOSS calls this shot “Through the Rabbit Hole”. I sure hope she hasn’t seen any rabbits big enough to do that….or if she has, I hope she shares whatever she was smoking at the time.
My burd watching chair is almost snow free. That’s a lot of melting since yesterday. I would clear the snow myself but this is part of a science experiment I’m conducting…….to see how long it will take it to disappear on it’s own. Besides, if you subscribe to the “keep the snow shovel handy and you’ll never need it” school of thought, clearing the chair myself will just make it snow again.
THE BOSS’s lilies are ready for spring.
My Irish Setter hunting boots are very warm and they’re also waterproof ……..especially if you lace ‘em up. Sharp eyed readers will note that I still haven’t bothered lacing them up.
DADDY! DADDY! DADDY!…..WHAT ARE YOU DOIN’?
CAN I PLAY WITH ONE OF THE CAMERAS?
WHY ARE WE STANDIN’ ON THE PICNIC TABLE?
MOM WILL KILL YOU IF YOU FALL OFF AND SURVIVE!
GIVE BUDDY ONE OF THOSE GRANOLA BARS IN YOUR CAMERA BAG?
MOLLY SAYS DITTO.
DADDY! DADDY! DADDY!……WHAT MEANS DITTO?
(You may have guessed by now that Buddy’s a little goofy. He sounds like Goofy, too. DUH HUH, GAWRSH!)
I was standing on the table to get this shot of a male Downy Woodpecker……and I didn’t fall off! However, it was at this point that all the voices in my head were drowned out by:
“ROKET MAN, THIS IS GOD! LOOK UP!”
“I HAVE SENT THIS BURD AS A SIGN JUST FOR YOU!”
“YES, THAT IS A VULTURE CIRCILING OVER YOUR HEAD!”
“DON’T BELIEVE WHAT YOU’VE HEARD ABOUT THEM RIDING THERMALS.”
“THEY’RE WAITING FOR YOU TO FALL OFF THAT PICNIC TABLE……AGAIN…… YOU BIG DUMMY!”
“EVEN IF THE FALL DOESN’T KILL YOU KNOW THE BOSS PROBABLY WILL WHEN SHE FINDS YOU LYING IN THE SHRUBBERY WHIMPERING LIKE A BIG BABY………AGAIN!”
So I went back inside……..but I still haven’t laced up my boots.
Maybe next winter…….
That’s the tune that plays inside my head while I’m out wandering the roads with dogs in the backseat and a camera or two in my lap……..at least until I remember to turn the radio on.
We had the first, and most likely the last, real snow storm of the winter yesterday. The official total accumulation for Wytheville is 7 to 9 inches. On the ridge where we live, just west of town, we’re at a higher elevation and usually get a little more than the community college in the east end of town where the official measurement is taken. I didn’t measure the depth but I do know for sure that being too lazy to completely lace up and tie one’s 16 inch insulated hunting boots before venturing out our front door will soon produce cold, wet feet. You may quote me on that.
Anyhoo…….this is what my world looked like around 7:30 this morning:
Those spots on the pavement that appear wet are not. That’s what’s known as black ice during the night time hours. During daylight it’s just regular old ice.
It was at this point that I realized the unusually loud voice in my head telling me I should pull over and shoot pictures because I couldn’t stop in the middle of the road was actually coming from the car behind me…….the one with the blue lights on the roof. At least the lights weren’t flashing and he didn’t follow me when I took the next left turn. Maybe he was tired after helping to deal with the 350+ accidents reported in the county overnight.
When I we got home I turned the dogs loose and thought about clearing my burd watching chair off and shooting some burd photos.
I didn’t think about it for long because my left foot was turning into an ice cube so I took another picture of my burd watching chair and went back inside where it’s warm. The livestock thought that was a good idea, too.
Man, these dry socks feel great!
I sure hope my boots dry out before I have to go pick THE BOSS up from work.
A little color around the feeders as a male Cardinal and a Red Bellied Woodpecker stock up in the face of the first real snow we’ve seen this year.
Nope, that’s not dust on the lens. After giving all of my gear a thorough cleaning I tried again and got the same results. Then I realized it was probably due to shooting through two windows and falling snow. DOH!
You are going to share that cookie, aren’t you?
What a way to beat cabin fever, especially after nearly 2 months battling a mean virus! We drove over to Foster Falls in the New River Trail State Park and spent a while sitting on a bench watching the Canada Geese.
Still no luck getting any shots of the Bald Eagles nesting across the river but we’ve spotted the nest and we will be back!
Still recovering from the nasty bug I’ve had for the past couple of months I finally managed to get out to shoot a few frames. These were made on a trip to town with THE BOSS and the livestock. I don’t know who was more excited to get out of the house, me or the dogs.