Now this is something you don’t see every day. A pelican sitting on a tree stump. I was driving past the “Duck Pond” on my home last evening when I saw this guy sitting on top of a dead tree stump. It was getting late, misting, and gray but I had to stop for the photo. I shot this at ISO 3200, which is higher than I normally like to go but to get the shutter speed (thus sharpness) I wanted I was forced to go that high.
I appreciate the geese swimming by in the foreground. 🙂
Enjoy your day.
I have a potpourri of images for you today from my Friday shoot at Lock and Dam #14. If you read yesterday’s post you will remember it was a cloudy, windy, and cold day with only three eagles in the area. So when things are slow you look for anything that you can photograph. There were several flocks of geese flying over and landing throughout my stay there. Lots of coots and ducks as well.
This young couple and their dog walked across the observation platform and across to where the eagle tree is. The photographers get nervous when people (especially with dogs) do that as it tends to scare the eagles off and they don’t come back for sometime. Since there was only one eagle in the tree at the time they walked over there and it really didn’t matter. They stopped well short of the tree and so the eagle tolerated them. 🙂
As most of you who follow this blog are aware I am a self proclaimed gear head. I love photography gear almost as much as photography itself. One of the things you see at Lock & Dam #14 is a lot of very cool and expensive lenses. This guy was standing about 10 feet from me and even though it is a Cannon lens it is a thing of beauty. 🙂
I thought I was going to be able to photograph this guy fishing but what ever it was that brought him this close to the water must have dived because he never came close to catching anything and returned to his tree.
You will remember me lamenting yesterday that since the sun was shinning on Saturday the photographers would be shoulder to shoulder. Well interestingly here they are. My friend Steve and Becki went to the Lock and Dam on Saturday and Becki took this image of the crowd. She then sent to me. So the image above was taken by my friend Becki Kenton and it shows just how crowded it gets at Lock and Dam #14 when the weather cooperates.
That’s it for today. Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy your day and be careful.
Great news, the “duck pond” is thawing out and there is wildlife there. The bad news is that there is precious little water in the pond. We will need some bountiful rains early this Spring to help restore the water level.
No lunch meetings yesterday so I grabbed a salad and went looking for some images. I always go by the pond first and to my delight there were a lot of geese and 4 swans at the pond.
The geese were closer to me so I captures some images of them first. The goose on the right kept ducking his head in and out of the water in rapid succession. He didn’t look like he was trying to eat, more like just enjoyed getting he head wet. 🙂
The swans proved to be more of a challenge. After I finished with the geese I noticed the swans were on the far side of the pond. The only way to get a lens on them was to drive around the pond and then come in on the North bound lane of the highway. By the time I had negotiated that and pulled up to where I would have a good vantage point the swans had moved to the other side. 🙂
So back around the route I had originally taken and this time they cooperated by parading back and forth in front of my lens. It’s like they said, “okay we’ve dinked with him enough.” 🙂
Beautiful day yesterday with plenty of sunshine and a mild 65 degrees. It sure feels like we’re headed for Spring but I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
Remember you can click on the image to reveal a larger version.
Thanks for checking in. I hope you enjoy your Saturday. There are only 52 of them a year so make the best of it. Be careful.
Happy Saturday! ~ 300
I do not usually post on Saturday but since I missed yesterday I decided I would put up a couple of images and relate a couple of stories.
The first two images on the blog today were taken at the Duck Pond on Thursday. This family has taken over the little island from the two geese that had their nest destroyed by the swans. I am hopeful that this family is not the same one I photographed a couple of weeks ago because if it is they are missing some of their young.
About the only thing going on at the Duck Pond right now is there are still a fair amount of geese there and some coots but the swans will come and go and are rarely there during the times that I stop by. Once in a while there will be a pelican or two but not a lot of other wildlife that I have been able to capture.
I took yesterday off so I could enjoy a 4 day holiday. I’m really glad that I did too for a variety of reasons one of which was that it gave me a lot of time to work on the Phantom problem. So I went through all my packaging and screw parts and found enough replacement screws that I could put the phantom back together. I went through the process of rewiring the new gimbal, re-installing it and then hooking the phantom up to the computer.
It took me a few minutes to find the gimbal calibration (it is neatly hid in some of the menus) but I did find it. The first settings didn’t do anything. It made the gimbal shake (that was the software recognizing the gimbal) and then I found the control that let me set the parameters of the up and down pitch. That made all the difference in the world.
I got it all put back together and took it up for a flight. All seemed to work well and I had complete control of the gimbal action. On the way down I got a little concerned that I lost some control of the copter and had to make some radical corrections to keep it from slamming into some trees and buildings. I almost lost it on top of the school. That would have been embarrassing having to go to the Principal’s office and asking if I could get my quad-copter off their roof. 🙂
I think I just need to recalibrate the transmitter controls and all will be well. Probably wouldn’t hurt to recalibrate the compass too.
That’s it for today. Now you know the rest of the story. Thanks for checking out the blog.
A special thank you to all veterans. I cannot believe the sacrifice you have all made for this country. “All gave some and some gave all.” It is an absolute disgrace the way our government treats our military Heroes once they have given so much for our country. We should all be ashamed and we should all let the self-serving sanctimonious politicians know about it. I’m going to.
Enjoy your day and be careful.
Happy Friday ~ 322
You may remember that yesterday I was telling you about the territorial dispute at the duck pond, which occurred on Tuesday of this week. I was very disappointed that I missed some great shots of the dispute and the aftermath of the skirmish. So I was still feeling bad that I missed that opportunity. Then when I drove past the duck pond yesterday morning I saw there were four swans in the water and as I got even with them the resident pair took off in a confrontation with the new comers and I just about had a wreck watching the aerial skirmish in my rear view mirror. Damn another photo opportunity missed.
I had a lunch meeting yesterday so I couldn’t go by the pond until on my way home last evening. I didn’t give much hope for any images because it was drizzling rain and there were dark gray clouds hanging over the land. As I approached the pond it looked like there were the ubiquitous geese and coots everywhere but no swans. I thought I might as well head North and try again tomorrow.
But instead of heading North I decided to take a few minutes extra, so I crossed the highway and saw the swans were in the middle of the marsh land on the West side of the highway. I did a bat turn and pulled off onto the shoulder trying to sneak up on the swans. What I didn’t realize was that during the time I was making the u-turn and watching out for traffic they took off and flew back over the highway to the duck pond. So when I couldn’t find them I made another u-turn and headed North to home. Then I saw them in the water at the duck pond, so yet another u-turn (it’s not easy being me) and back to the original island where the first skirmish took place on Tuesday.
You can see from these images that the swans once again asserted themselves over the geese and tore up the nest of the geese again in favor of their own design.
It is easy to assign human traits to the geese and swans but I was reading a piece on eagles this morning and it talked about how we humans like to interpret wildlife behavior through our frame of reference and project human inclinations and behavior on their actions. But as in the case of the eagle it is simply all about hormonal secretions at various stages of life’s cycle that cause body changes and behavioral changes such as the nesting instinct and mating instinct. Later when the young have grown and can fend for themselves the warm family bond that we admire is no longer present because of changes in the hormonal secretions.
I got to thinking that this may be why the mother goose makes no effort to retrieve her eggs that are in plain sight and why instead she just returned to an empty nest as if nothing had happened. If you look at like that, then it kind of makes sense. Anyway it is hard for me to look favorably on the swans now and to accept (as my Friend Ann says, let nature take its course) that those eggs will never hatch. In reality the swans are just being swans.
That’s it for today. Hope you enjoy your Friday. Thanks as always for stopping by and thanks Denise for your kind words. Be careful.
Happy Thursday! ~ 323
I have a story for you today that has nothing to do with the above image. Well it sort of does but it will be hard to connect the dots without an explanation.
Tuesday I had lunch with my good friend Steve at one of the local restaurants in Maquoketa. We still had 15 minutes left on our lunch break so I took the long way back and went past the duck pond. If you’ve followed this blog for any period of time you know there are several mounds surrounded by water at the duck pond to protect the eggs and young wildlife from predictors.
On one of the mounds a pair of Canadian Geese have built a nest and the female goose has sat on the nest for a several days. When we went by the pond the two (much larger) swans were busily building a nest very close to the goose nest and in fact they had stolen material from that nest to build their own. Two eggs were strewn about the area and the two geese were standing off to the side looking at the swans in bewilderment.
This was an image I had to capture so I headed back to the office to grab my camera. I got detained with a couple of issues that I had to take care of first and by the time I got back to the pond it was about 30 minutes later. The swans were gone, the geese had put some of their nest back together and the female was back on the nest. The problem was the eggs were still laying on the ground and not in the nest.
Yesterday on my lunch break I went by the pond hoping to find some images, I saw the lone female goose was again on the nest and I couldn’t see any eggs. It was cold (38 degrees), cloudy, and there wasn’t anything going on at the duck pond so I grabbed a sandwich and went to a place that I have seen a lot of smaller bird activity, called Horseshoe Pond.
I had positioned my car so I had a good shooting angle at the pond and could capture some of the area where there was a lot of bird activity. After a few minutes a beautiful male cardinal and then shortly there after a female cardinal showed up and were pecking at the ground. They were getting close to my camera when another vehicle pulled up and a guy with two overweight terriers got out.
Of course the two dogs tore out after the cardinals and when they flew away they came over to my car and started yapping at me. And that is the reason why I’m showing you the windmill. 🙂
Thanks for stopping by the blog. Enjoy your day and be careful.
Happy Tuesday! ~ 325
On my way home last evening I drove by the Duck Pond as I almost always do and saw these two geese sitting on top of what looks to me like a muskrat’s mound. I noticed this small mound a couple of weeks ago but paid it no attention, just thinking the water was low there. But when I drove by and saw this pair on top of it I pulled over and walked back as close as I could to grab a few images. It was then I noticed all the little twigs and sticks put together to form this mound.
I am woefully ignorant of many wildlife tendencies and not good at all with identification most of the time, so I could very well be wrong on this speculation that this is a muskrat’s mound. Fortunately my Friend Ann who works at the Interpretive Center reads this blog and can clarify for me.
The Phantom fleet continues to be grounded because of the weather and looks like it might be another week before I can fly and test out my modified range extender on the Phantom Vision 2.
I’ve been corresponding with a gentleman from Great Britain, who also enjoys flying the Phantom. I started reading his blog, watching his videos, and asking him questions and now we’ve developed a regular correspondence. It’s amazing when you stop and think about it. When I was growing up it was mind-boggling that you get music (AM only where I lived) out of a little box that would fit in the palm of your hand called a transistor radio. A “Solid State” transistor radio no less. 🙂
I’m headed down memory lane and neither of us has time for that today. So I’ll leave it there.
Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy your soggy, cloudy, cool day and be careful.
Happy Hump Day ~ 345
I’ll finish up my images from the Basin that were shot on Sunday. I could sit for hours and watch wildlife interact with each other and their environment. I shoot thousands of images of this interaction that never see the light of day. Some because they are out of focus or bad composition or any number of reasons but I enjoy each one of them because they remind me of the instance I was capturing.
Yesterday I had lunch with two great friends. We generally eat together at least once a week and for the last 12 years we flip a coin to see who buys. I’m pretty sure I’ve bought more lunches than I’ve had bought for me but such is life. Anyway once the flip is made it is time to reveal who gets the check. One of the greatest feelings is being the last one to show your quarter when one of them has a head and the other one has a tail. That means you cannot lose. 🙂
Of course the opposite happened Monday when both had a head and I had a tail. I have not kept track of winning or losing although one year (I think 2006) I had to declare Dave on my income tax as a dependent. 🙂
Isn’t life is like that sometimes? Things come up heads and you can’t lose and other times no matter how hard you try you are on the losing end. Here’s hoping your days come up heads!
That’s it for today. I hope you enjoy the mid-week hump day. Thanks for stopping by 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.
Some more images from Saturday’s photo shoot. Oh, by the way, Happy Hump Day!
Jeanne and I really enjoy going to the Basin especially during migrating season as there are usually a lot of wildlife there. Saturday was no exception. Our friends the ducks were there and just like the last time we were there they put on their Keystone Cops routine with the fish. One duck finds or catches a fish and then desperately tries to eat it before another duck or goose takes it away from him.
We watched this for 20 minutes and enjoyed every moment of it.
I continue to be frustrated with my lack of knowledge about electronics. I have spent the last few evening searching the web for “how to” information about how to install a pan/tilt/rotate device on the Phantom. I have “all the parts” (I think) but apparently the hobby shops assume you’re knowledgeable about how to hook everything up and the difference between a capacitor and resister. I don’t know ohms from amps, from voltage. I just want to plug wire A into socket B and have the damn thing work. Is that too much to ask? 😦
Anyway I continue to struggle with putting the thing together and I sit here with all these neat looking parts and nowhere to put them. Stay tuned.
This guy looks like he is getting ready to conduct an orchestra. This one is for you Betty.
I didn’t have time to work on the video last night. Well I did but I was busy trying to find a “how to” instruction on the web. They speak a language that I am unfamiliar with.
That’s it for today. Enjoy your midweek hump day. Thanks for stopping by the blog and be careful.