Sunday, November 21, 2021

 A visit to the Columbia Riverfront Zoo is usually my antidote for depression.  As I grow older I find myself often "lost" with a too long "todo" list but a complete lack of desire to tackle anything on that list.  I guess it is a hangover from the both my Air Force days and my corporate America days when there were never enough hours in the day to complete tasks but this pressure acted as the needed push to organize, prioritize and get things done rather than throw up my hands and surrender to the urge to give up!  The lower back pain definitely doesn't help these days.  But, as with yesterday, when I spend a few hours at the Zoo I often drive home with a feeling of relief and determination. The Tigers, Lions and Flamengos tend to be my "hangout" areas where I can spend hours waiting for those moments of "Eye Contact" when I feel a special connection with these magnificent creatures.

As the tiger wrapped his front legs around a log, one of the zoo keepers said that she had never observed that behaviour by the tiger before!!

Friday, February 14, 2020

Migrating Birds and Pocosin NWR

The Pungo Lake area of Pocosin NWR is a magnet for Snow Geese and Tundra Swan who flock to the area in the thousands to spend the winter in the warmer waters of the North Carolina Inner banks, at least warmer than their breeding grounds in the Tundras of Alaska and Canada. They travel in large noisy flocks numbering in the tens of thousands and are truly one of the greatest migration spectacles easily viewed in the United States. And this year the Snow Geese and Tundra Swan were joined by 7 Sandhill Cranes in and around the Pungo Lake area of Pocosin.

Snow Geese Swarm the Grain Fields

Pungo Lake Impoundments

Tundra Swan flight to Grain Fields
Tundra Swan disappears into Fog

Sandhill Cranes join the Snow Geese and Tundra Swan

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Riverbanks Zoo

On overcast and warm days there is no more enjoyable place to be than a well-run Zoo. The Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, SC is definitely a star among Zoos and this year, their crop of babies is simply outstanding! So that is where you will find me on these nice, mild temperature, slightly overcast, thin cloud days.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Sunday on Lake Marion

Some days are definitely better than others. I recently spent the day on Lake Marion in South Carolina on a pontoon boat with Doug Gardner, the award winning outdoors photographer. At the height of the bird breeding season, I was witness to and able to photograph some beautiful and amazing birds in and around this hugh and beautiful lake.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Winter in the Outer Banks

For my followers who are still around, please accept my apologies for not keeping you posted for such a long time.  There are many reasons for my absence, not least of which is major spine surgery about 18 months ago and with which I am still suffering severe pain, but these are all excuses and I am not good at making excuses.  This year has started off with a bang, including a couple of weeks shooting in and around the Outer Banks of North Carolina and a week of shooting birds in the Florida Wetlands.  The images above are a few of my favorites from the Outer Banks, visiting Wanchee, a nice fishing town, and a great sunrise on  Mattamuskeet Lake and thousands of Tundra or Whistling Swans on Lake Pocosin.  The relative solitude one can encounter in the winter months makes this area one of my absolute favorites.

Friday, October 16, 2015

The Grand Tetons in Late September!

Spent a glorious 2 weeks in Colorado, Wyoming and Montana and now engaged in the seemingly never-ending task of editing over 2000 images made during that time.  I flew into Denver International and rented an SUV for the 2 weeks.  I have often wanted to take the scenic Wyoming Rt 287 from Rawlings to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone so timed my trip to stop and spend an overnight in Rawlings  before tackling the drive to the high country.  The weather was perfect and it was impossible to drive for more than 30 minutes without the scenery compelling you to stop and photograph.  Consequently, I left Rawlings at 7am and did not arrive in West Yellowstone until 7:30pm, aching back and all!!  In spite of all the rain, the fall colors this year were spectacular and this is the scene that awaited me when I came to the Oxbow Bend area of the Grand Tetons National Park.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Printing makes your Images Real

Pyrrhuloxia Portrait

I can view images all day on the monitor and they just don't seem real to me and like jelly have no permanent form or shape.  What happened to the days when we would drop our negatives off at the corner drugstore and wait breathlessly to receive a package of prints.  Our parents took those prints and pasted them in albums and carriend them around in their pocket books until they disintegrated.   I long for the days of real photographs...Prints.   I have been participating in digital projected juried exhibitions for a couple of years now but this year decided to see just how close I am to becoming the master printer I would like to be.  My prints cover almost all possible space on the walls of my home but I wondered how they would fair when pit against other print lovers and lovers of the craft of print making.  I 5 print categories, I submitted 4 prints each for a total of 20 prints.  12 of them were accepted into the 2014 PSA International Exhibition.  I was overjoyed, especially when I learned that my print of a Pyrrhuloxia Bird from South Texas gave me the PSA Gold (Best of Show) in the Small Color category.

Friday, June 6, 2014

I have had this love affair with Zoo's for a very long time.  I remember driving for hours off my route to visit a Zoo that someone had given a favorable review.  I asked the Zoo keepers over in Columbia to let me know when the Flamengos had babies and received a call last Monday.  Despite a painful lower back, I packed up and drove over to Riverfront and spend a great afternoon watching the Flamengo behaviour when this new baby made its debut.  Each year the Zoo shovels out into the Flamengo enclosure piles of dirt.  The Flamengos then somehow know how to build the little mounds of dirt (2 or 3 feet high) with a flat top with a small depression on the top.  The females then settle down and lay eggs. BUT, the Zoo then takes the real eggs out and replace them with dummies.  They take the real eggs inside and put them in an incubator thus depriving the raccoons and snakes and other creatures from eating them at night.  When the eggs hatch, they are presented to the Mama who miraculously assumes responsibility as though it had hatched underneath her.  It was interesting to me to see that any number of adult Flamengos manage to produce the crop and will take turns feeding the young'uns.  The chick here is less than 2 days ole and still not strong enough to stand on its own for extended periods.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Cedar WaxWings

When I see the holly hedges next to my driveway heavy with berries I know that that Cedar Waxwings will be visiting soon bringing with them their honor guards of Robins.  I think the Cedar Waxwings are the prettiest birds we have on the east coast but don't see
them often.  But every year like clockworks when the
holly berries are ripe they swoop in and when they leave not
a single holly berry remains. I have a big tree outside the
front door and it gets so weighted down with Waxwings and
Robins that it sags.  They eat the berries, fly off
over my walkway, dropping their loads of digested berries, fly down to the creek and drink gallons of water and then go back for more berries.  My wife is already complaining so tomorrow hopefully the temperature will rise above 20 and I will hose down the walkway and part of the
driveway where the holly hedges are.   Some years I
just open the garage door and photograph for the couple of hours
it takes them to clean the bushes. They are tough to photograph because of the sheen on their feathers is very easy to overexpose. They always arrive together, the Waxwings and the Robins.  I will see Robins all year but not a peep out of the Waxwings until
next year this time!!   

Saturday, November 30, 2013

The seaside views in the NorthEast Unitied States are visibly different than the views we grow accustomed to in the South.  In the South we have learned to expect and assosiate sand with the beach, nice smooth easy on the feet sand.  In the Northeast US the seasides are mostly rocks and cliffs, big rocks, little rocks, dangerous rocks, but incredibly beautiful.