They don’t start out life all colored in.
A short while ago, I published an image of a spectacular male Wood Duck keeping a watchful eye on his brood. There was good reason to be watchful: There were so many of them!
The female Wood Duck and her brood had taken a break from swimming the river, jumping up in a lineup along a fallen tree. There was a bit of a tussle as they scrambled up among the turtles that had been sunning there, but eventually everybody seemed to fit in and settle down.
If you look carefully toward the right side, you can see a bit of yet another young duckling. There may have been a couple of others there… I lost count after a while.
As has been said, “It’s turtles all the way down.”
I still submit that turtles are great subjects for photography — they don’t move around very much; they have features that are unique one from another; and the various postures they assume while sunning themselves leads to interesting compositions.
Such was the case with this pair on the Silver River in Florida. I had to spin the kayak around and work back upstream to catch this team. I caught several frames before they decided they had had enough. Actually, the big guy on the bottom had enough, and took the little one into the water with him.
From his log perch on the Silver River in Florida, a male Wood Duck keeps a close eye on his mate and their brood of baby ducklings.
For my preferences, Silver River is an amazing place to photograph wildlife from our kayaks. Motorboats are allowed to travel only at idle speed. No fishing is allowed. The five mile stretch of the Silver is essentially a wildlife sanctuary, attracting all manner of creatures. In fact, if you leave the Silver River and travel the nearby Oklawaha River, with fewer restrictions, it’s like night-and-day.
April is a great time to visit. The sun is getting warmer, flowers are starting to bloom, and the local critters are busy making ever more critters.
In this scene, I took some time to float near the male Wood Duck, who seemed quite unaffected by our presence. At the time, I thought he was solitary, but as it turns out, his mate was nearby and had a brood of eight or nine ducklings. (I’ll have an image of the brood coming up soon.)
If you haven’t yet seen it, one of my images of the Rhesus macaque monkeys at Silver River was picked up by Seeker Daily, part of the Discovery Network, and featured in a short video piece. You can find that video on YouTube, titled “Is There A Monkey Island In Florida?”
A bale of turtles contemplates their next prank at Silver River, Florida.
My thanks go to Jennifer McGowan. We were having dinner with her family the other night before we attended a taping of NPR’s “Wait, Wait… Don’t Tell Me.” Her words of encouragement inspired me to sit down and get back to publishing some images, this being the first in quite a while.
Part of my absence was due to travel. We hit the road for the month of April, traveling to Florida with a pickup truck loaded with kayaks, bicycles, and SCUBA gear. While on these trips, I don’t take any devices that would allow me to process or publish images; I simply prefer to stay fully engaged with my surroundings rather than being distracted by FREDs (Frickin’ Ridiculous Electronic Devices.)
The other reason for not publishing many images is just due to the time it takes from every day. I do love creating these things, but every time I do, I look up at the clock and wonder where my morning went.
Every now and then, though, someone comes along almost out-of-the-blue and says such very kind words about the effort, reflecting their enjoyment of what they’ve seen posted here. That particular reflection let me know that I’m not doing this in a void — as it sometimes seems to me — and that there is something to it all that is very worthwhile.
St. Philip’s Church, Charleston, S.C.
On a beautiful night in May, we had dinner at one of Charleston’s fine restaurants, Tristan, now closed, sadly. (Charleston is noted for being “food obsessed”, an obsession that works out particularly well for us.) Afterward, we wandered around the downtown area looking for interesting photo opportunities.
Although the wind was high that night, the church stood still long enough to capture some interesting frames, with a beautiful ice-ringed moon as a backdrop.
Built in 1836, St. Philip’s Church features an imposing tower designed in the Wren-Gibbs tradition. St. Philip’s is the oldest religious congregation in South Carolina, having been established in 1681.
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At Acadia National Park, Otter Cliffs area, 2010.
Going through my photostream, I found a number of images that didn’t seem “right” to me. At the very least, I wasn’t interested in having them on display any longer. My processing techniques have changed over the years. Whereas I used to tonemap with one of a number of programs, I no longer tonemap at all. I generally find the results to be “soft”, unrealistic, or downright hideous if the settings are not handled properly. Such was the case with the version of this image back in 2010, I felt.
The image has been reworked with new techniques and an entirely new approach. As I compare the two versions side-by-side, I’m rather amazed that I let the previous version go out into the wild. I’d show it here, but… nahhhhh.
Lately, I’ve been reading interesting information about personality types.
I’ve always been one who enjoys solitude, preferring a quiet, solo hike in the woods in favor of large gatherings of people. In the past, I believed that this was “anti-social behavior,” a notion perhaps perpetuated by my bros at the time. Don’t get me wrong… I love good people and enjoy their company immensely. But, all in all, I prefer quietude and places that are not seething with too many humans packed closely together.
In my reading, I’ve found that I exhibit a particular personality type that tends to embrace solitude (T1/w9, for those who know.) While there’s always room in one’s life for a raucously good time in large groups, there is comfort in knowing that wanting to be alone in nature is not a “flaw” of any sort.
This is why this image appeals to me, and why I’ve chosen to revisit it. I’m drawn not only to scenes like this, but can relate to that one person standing there, cup of coffee in hand, taking in the natural beauty in much the same way that I appreciate it.
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I woke up this morning to single digit temperatures. The wind chill was below 0F.
Now, I know that doesn’t mean much to those from farther up north, but around here in North Carolina, this is rather unusual for this time of year. And it has been relentless.
Although I’m quite done with winter for now, I realize it’s only a matter of a few months before I’m slogging through the heat and humidity of a Carolina summer. Perhaps I’ll try to remember this popsicle in late August, finding some refreshment in the memory.