Happy Monday ~ 354
Enjoyable weekend. Gathered lots of material for the blog. So much to show and so little time to show it. Saturday the weather was pretty nice and not much wind so I did something I’ve wanted to do for awhile. I flew both Phantoms at the same time. I ran the Vision 2 up to 385 feet and let it hover there and the took the Phantom with the gimbal up to take some video of it. I was getting a lot of interference from the goggles so I couldn’t tell where the vision 2 was. So after bringing them both down to around 175 feet it was much easier to take some video of the Phantom flying. Kind of cool actually. I’ll show that later in the week.
Ms. Gabby celebrated her birthday Saturday. It was actually on the 26th but her party was on Saturday. With 4 loving Grandparents and 3 doting Uncles she does not want for attention or gifts for that matter. It was hard on Josh watching Gabby get stuff. He has always been the one to open all the presents and have all the attention focused on him and it’s hard to understand for a 3-year-old that wasn’t all for him.
He did end up playing with almost all the presents she got but he was a good sport and handled it pretty well. I told Angie she was the same way when it was Mark’s birthday she would play with his toys before he ever got a chance to play with them.
It was a very nice party and a great dinner.
Thanks for stopping by the blog today. I hope you enjoy your Monday. Be careful.
Happy Friday ~ 357
First, let me apologize for the lack of quality of this image. Both of the subjects are soft focus and there is a lot of motion blur. I debated the entire week about showing this image because it is not up to my standards. Yes, even I do have some standards. 🙂
Anyway aside from the poor quality it is a an amazing image. Their wings actually did touch. The eagle caught a fish the Heron was stalking and the Heron was pi**ed. This is the only time this has happened to me and I couldn’t let it go without showing you.
So, that’s all I got. My cupboard is bare now so I need to replenish my image library this weekend. We also get to celebrate Gabby’s first birthday tomorrow. 🙂
I pitched my project to one of the people I really need to contribute to the success of the project and her answer was YES! So I’ll be talking about the project more in the coming days but I am really excited about it.
That’s it for today. Enjoy your Friday. Thanks for stopping by and be careful.
Happy Thursday! – 358
I missed the opportunity to wish Ms. Gabriella Grace Roling a special one year old Birthday yesterday. Jeanne and I did get to see her (via Skype) last evening and wished her a Happy Birthday.
Today’s images are all about the ubiquitous Ring-Billed Gull. They are fun to watch and a little tricky to capture images of because of their constant motion and size. They are plentiful at the 16th Street Basin and along the Mississippi.
Yesterday I and several members of our Culture team went to Cedar Rapids and provided lunch for the staff of our new branch. Actually it is a complete make over of our existing bank, but it was a total transformation.
So yesterday was moving day for the staff from the temporary trailer bank to the beautiful new facility that will officially open today. We helped move a few boxes and the provided lots of pizza for the staff and the construction crew who are frantically trying to get things those last things minute things ready for today’s business. We have the opening celebration later in April but they’ll be doing business out of the new building today.
As usual on the way back from Cedar Rapids I was looking for things to capture with my camera. It is such a bleak time of the year for scenery shots. Everything is brown, the trees are bare and what little snow is left is dirty and disgusting.
So it was one of the few times I’ve driven from CR to Maquoketa without a shot. Then I had to go to Cascade yesterday evening for training and normally I’ll see a few deer on the trip. Not a one yesterday. So I was pretty much (well completely) empty-handed yesterday as far photography was concerned. I did take some images of the new facility and I’ll show those one of these days because today is all about the little Ring-Billed Gull. 🙂
Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy your day and be careful.
I’m sorry. I still have a lot of images from two weekends ago at the 16th Basin and since (other than yesterday) I haven’t done much still photography I’m going to show you some more eagles and herons.
Interesting day yesterday filled with frank and stimulating conversation with a variety of individuals. Gave me much to think about and reflect on. At some point I will share the content of those conversations but for now just know that they were thought-provoking and very enjoyable.
I have decided on a project that I am going to work on in the coming year. It has taken me almost three months to finally figure this one out. I can tell you that it is going to be an ambitious project to say the least but one that if I can do it correctly may yield some of my most satisfying work yet. I have some people to talk with and some permissions to get but I think those will be readily available.
Then there is the small matter of learning and mastering a new skill that I do not yet have but that is a small matter. 🙂
Anyway this new project should take about six months to a year to complete and involves video, flying, still photography, extensive video editing, interviewing, research, and a bunch of other skills. But it promises to be fun and enjoyable so I’m ready to get started. Once I have all the details and permissions finalized I’ll share with you what the project is. In my mind right now it will not be as difficult as the 365 project was.
So that’s it for today. A lot of ambiguity I know but I’ve got to have a hook to keep you coming back. I hope you enjoyed the wildlife images today. I do love to photograph eagles. I understand from my friend Andreas that many species of wildlife have migrated into the area of late so it’s time to get out and see what I can find.
Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy your midweek hump day and be careful.
A couple of my friends asked me what happened over the weekend because not only was there no blog on Saturday or Sunday but none yesterday either. Well as much as I hate to admit it I never touched a camera the entire weekend. That is with the exception of the Phantom’s camera.
As you may recall one of my laments about the FPV (first person view) set up on the Phantom requires me looking at my iPhone (very small and hard to see in the sunlight) or a 7 inch monitor, which is also somewhat hard to see in bright sunlight. Enter a product called Fat Shark Goggles, which in essence puts two small TV screens in a pair of goggles and then you can see exactly what your camera is seeing.
So Saturday I spent most of the day reading material about how to install the transmitter on the Phantom and use the Phantom’s own power supply as opposed to having a secondary battery power supply. Between reading, watching videos, making diagrams and doing the actual wiring it took me most of Saturday to accomplish. Mix in there 4 flights to test the equipment and a visit from Angie, Josh and Gabby and that pretty much took up the whole day.
Then Sunday was reserved for a couple of well-earned naps, some more flight tests and finally a night flight around the neighborhood. So I’ve got probably 15 Gb of video of the Phantom taking off from our back concrete slab, rising to a height of 300 – 500 feet, a couple of 360 degree turns and then a landing. I don’t think you want to see that over and over again. So come Monday morning I didn’t have anything worth showing.
Yesterday on my lunch break I grabbed a bite and then off to the duck pond. There were not as many birds there yesterday as there has been last week. Only 3 swans and maybe 30 – 50 geese. The two geese in the first image were sort of stranded in a small open pool of water surrounded by ice from the morning’s cold temperature. The second image is of a lone swan (perhaps nesting) I hope. I am excited to see if we get some more cygnets again this year as I will enjoy photographing their development.
Finally just a pair of swans intermingled with some geese. Life at the pond was peaceful and relaxed yesterday. I think most of the territorial disputes have been settled for the time being.
As soon as warm weather arrives I’m going to attempt a fly over of the duck pond. I think it will make an interesting video.
So that’s it for today. I hope you enjoy your Tuesday. Thanks for stopping by and be careful.
Happy Friday ~ 364
Today is the first day of Spring – 2014. Yesterday morning I awoke to a fresh layer of snow, about an inch, which made the morning commute enjoyable. By the time I got South of the airport it was like it never happened.
Fun day yesterday. Jeanne got back from her Mother’s somewhere around 10:00 a.m. and then she, Angie and the kids came to Maquoketa to have lunch with me. We all decided to have breakfast and it was fun to watch Josh eat his pancake and eggs. He devoured them in a very short time. Angie said he loves anything that he can put syrup on. 🙂
I’ll finish up the week with some more swan images. You remember earlier in the week I showed you the territorial dispute between two male swans. After the skirmish the victorious male swan flew over his domain as if to survey all that he was master of. The next image is of him setting up for a landing. Full flaps as he creates a massive amount of lift with those huge wings and lets him settle onto the water softly.
When I got home last evening the winds were calm. There was plenty of sunlight left and the temperature was a balmy 46 degrees. So after greeting my bride I grabbed Phantom – 2 and took it out to the back patio for a quick flight. I wanted to show you the 4 minute video but didn’t start editing it until this morning and of course that means not enough time to get it finished. Maybe tomorrow.
Back with his mate the male swan did a number of puffing his chest and beating his wings just to show her how much of a man he was. I’m sure she was duly impressed. 🙂
That’s it for today. I still have several hundred images of eagles, herons, swans, and ducks but I’m going to take a break from them and look for other subject matter. Too much of even a good thing is not necessarily good and doesn’t help you to grow. So maybe I can find something interesting this weekend. If the weather is nice I’d like to practice some more flying techniques other than just going up to a high point, turning around a couple of times and then back down. Next week (weather permitting) I would like to do a slow fly over the duck pond. I think that would make a great video.
Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy your TGI Friday and be careful.
Happy Thursday ~ 365
I only have one image for you today but it is one of my best from the last couple of outings at the Basin. If you have followed this blog for very long you know of my love and interest in eagles. I could watch and photograph them every day and not get tired of it.
Yesterday I had a great experience. Over the years I have worked with many company representatives, some of whom did a good job and others, well not so good. One of my favorite representative, Bryan got promoted up the corporate ladder and I haven’t seen him in over a year. He is one of those guys that you can tell has a vision of life and a passion for doing things the right way and I always felt he helped inspire me to do better work.
Last week he called and wanted to know if I could have lunch with him. So yesterday we had lunch and spent about 70 minutes just catching up on what each of us has been doing. I am so happy for him and his new role in his company. You can just tell by listening to him and watching the way he works that this is not a job for him it is his way of living. He is a marathoner, well-rounded athlete, and a great family man. It was pure pleasure to visit with him again.
Later in the afternoon I went to DeWitt to visit another friend of mine, Mick. Mick was in a terrible accident a few months ago, which left him paralyzed from his waist down. He is back in the hospital since January and has to have more surgery and other procedures done and will spend another month or two in the hospital. Through it all he has had an optimistic outlook and has retained his sense of humor. As I talked with him and listened to what he has already endured and what he as yet to endure it reminded me of a saying that goes… Write down your biggest problem or obstacle and pin it to a wall. Ask 20 people to do the same and the odds are you’ll take your problems back over the others on the wall.
So a really great day. I got to share a small part of the lives of two great people and I am much better off today as a result of it.
Thank you for checking out the blog today. I hope you have a great day. Be careful
Happy Hump Day!
None of the images I’m showing you today are technically good images but I like each of them more for what they say then for their technical quality or lack of it.
The image above shows a Ring Billed Gull struggling with a fish that is just a little too large for him to handle comfortably. He did manage to get it to the ice but then dropped it. I tried to get an image of the eagle that swooped down and stole it from him but all I ended up with was a brown and white blob. It illustrates the struggle of nature and how the strongest and fastest win out.
I like this image only because of the action it shows. I was too far away from the action and didn’t have enough shutter speed to really freeze the eagle. But I love the instant the eagle’s talons splash into the water and he uses his huge wings to pull himself back into the air. I have watched a lot of nature videos in slow motion and I never tire of watching this scene. My friend Andreas was at the Basin over the weekend as well (although we were not there at the same time) and he got a much better shot of a eagle’s catch then this one. I’m jealous. 🙂
Finally I’ll leave you with this image of 4 ducks leaving the Basin headed for (who knows where) perhaps the river. This formation reminds me of 4 military jets flying in formation. I watch the military channel from time to time because I enjoy watching war birds from all generations. I don’t know, that’s the first thing that came to mind when I saw them take off in the same formation they are here.
That’s it for today. I’ll have some better images for you tomorrow and I’ve got a fair amount of video I need to get processed. So much to do, so little time to do it. 🙂
Enjoy your mid-week hump day. Thanks for supporting the blog and be careful.
Good Day. Happy Tuesday!
No photography yesterday. Straight to work and straight home. There were lots of geese at the Duck Pond but having taken over 2,000 images of birds over the weekend (over half of which I have not yet looked at), I didn’t see any point to adding another bunch. 🙂
I will tell you that today’s post is all about the Blue Heron. If you have a squeamish stomach or do not like to see wildlife at its true reality then you probably shouldn’t go any further. Just enjoy the nice image above and then hit the back button. Okay perhaps I’m being a little melodramatic but some people don’t like to see one species eat another species.
At one point Sunday afternoon there were about a dozen Blue Heron standing around the edge of the ice sticking their head in the water and coming out with a fish. Not much work and no walking around or being stealthy. Just poked their head in the water and bamn another fish. I watched this Heron devour three fish in less than ten minutes. The last fish he caught and ate was three times the size of this one.
It was so much fun. I’d be concentrating on one event and Jeanne would be telling me about another group of birds doing something. At one point a couple of these Herons tried walking on the ice and it was hysterical. They were like drunken sailors. Their long legs were go out from under them in different directions and they would try to balance themselves with their big wings. I have some images of that I’ll share at another time.
Finally the last bite and the next frame the fish was gone. After awhile I decided to put the Phantom in the air and see if I could get some up close and personal images or video of some the birds. There are a lot (I mean a lot) of power lines around the Basin. I first had to find a place where I could take off and gain some altitude to clear the wires.
The video below is very short. It’s a terrible video. There was too much wind to fly and I could see where I was flying. At one point I got very close to the ice and thought I was filming an eagle but when I went to edit the video I discovered I had my camera pointed straight down at the ice. About the only thing this video is good for is to show those folks who have not see the Basin some of the make up of it.
No music with this video. It basically sucks but again if you don’t know what the Basin is it will at least show you what it looks like. That and it’s only a little over two minutes.
That’s it for today. Hope you enjoy the wildlife images. Lots more to share.
Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy your day and be careful.
Happy Monday and Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
What a great weekend! I shot just under 2,000 images Saturday and Sunday and most of those images were shot at the 16th Street Basin. As a reader of this blog I do hope you enjoy wildlife images especially eagles, herons, gulls, and ducks, oh my! Cause that’s what I have to show you over the next week or so.
I cannot begin to tell you how much fun Jeanne and I had both days watching the interaction of all the birds at the Basin. At one time yesterday evening there were gulls, herons, and a half-dozen or more eagles circling the basin. I’m surprised there are any fish left in the Basin. The Herons were having a field day as were the gulls. The eagles spent most of their time eating the fish the gulls dropped.
I even took the Phantom Vision 2 with me today and even though it was cold and windy I did get it in the air and out over the Basin. I couldn’t see the iPhone well enough to see exactly which was the camera was pointing (I’m working on a solution for that.) so I got pretty close to an eagle sitting on the ice. Trouble is the damn camera was pointed straight down at the ice so you don’t see the eagle. I was testing to see how close I could get to him before he got upset. He tolerated it very well. I’ll show you the video later in the week. There were some good parts to it.
Jeanne was funny as both days there were other people at the Basin and they were in “our parking spot”, as she put it and she was miffed that they were there. These two days are the first time we have seen anyone at the place where we park. Lots of people and cameras pointed at the pond.
So if you enjoy birds, fighting, sharing, hunting, and flying then you should enjoy the blog this week. If you’re not a big fan of that then I’ll try to mix in some other images as the week unfolds. But with 2,000 shots it’s going to be hard to show you anything but birds. 🙂
That’s it for today. Remember drink responsibly today! 🙂
Enjoy your day. Thanks for stopping by the blog and be careful.