The view from my perch on the mountain

Archive for September, 2011

Shore Burds

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..





Some of my family and friends enjoying life at chic’s Beach over the years.

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.

Know what I mean?

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.