Every sundown, at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, beginning in November, the Sandhill Cranes gather in shallow pools of water to roost for the night…at least a little safer from predators who don’t like wet feet. As they gather, and before they settle for the night, there is always a lot of territorial conflict and mating display going on…often it can be framed agains the sunset reflections on the water. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Anti-motion Blur Mode. Processed in Polarr. (Anti-motion Blur mode takes 3-4 exposures at a faster shutter speed and lower ISO than a normal single frame exposure and “adds” them together, while processing out motion artifacts. It is brilliant in low light.)
“If your eye is generous, your whole being is full of light.” Jesus
I am more or less back from nearly a month of intensive travel, with spotty to non-existent wifi, and very little unscheduled time. I am actually in Columbus Ohio for the Great American Birding Expo, but that is relatively close to home, with excellent hotel wifi, and some time this morning to properly reflect on the Sunday. I am thankful for the time this morning, but I am also thankful for the travel. I spent a week in Panama, and 11 days in South Africa, and my head and my heart is full of new and memorable sights and experiences. This shot is from a sunset drive at a private, fenced, Game Reserve in South Africa. Tshakudu Game Reserve specializes in Rhinoceros, but they have all of the “big five” game animals on their extensive property. The small herd of Hippos was basking in one of few ponds that still have water at the height of the severe drought that has the Greater Kruger region in its grip. The water is actually shallow enough so the Hippos are kneeling on the bottom of the pond. This is a classic Africa shot, with the Hippo roaring in the sunset.
I feel incredibly blessed to have stood on the dam in Tshakudu to witness this. And incredibly is just the right word. I am very close to not being able to believe it. Africa has been a dream of mine since childhood, and, now, just after my 69th birthday, it has come true…and it was everything I had dreamed it would be. I went into the trip determined to be as generous as I possibly could be…open-hearted and open eyed as the blessing deserves. I failed, of course, but each day I woke with thanksgiving and did my best to enjoy what might well be a once in a lifetime experience. Just to be there…just to see…just to record…just to share. Overwhelming! God, please grant me generosity of spirit to match the gift. Happy Sunday!
An early post for 8/11’s Pic for Today. First night in Tucson. Sunset form Grant’s Pass in Tucson Mountain Park.
Sony RX10iii at 24mm equivalent field of view. Program Mode with six stop in-camera HDR. – 1 EV exposure compensation. Processed in Lightroom on an Android tablet.
There is a small flock of Black Skimmers that hang out at the fishing area just over the bridge on your way to Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. They are generally there, huddled in a group, all facing the same way. Occasionally they must get up and go find food. Stands to reason. This year, however, I never saw them fishing. They did rise, just at sunset, to find a better roost for the night. I was there to see it. 🙂 And to catch some of the action.
Nikon P900 in my custom Birds in Flight mode. 200mm equivalent field of view. 1/1250th @ ISO 280 @ f4.5. Processed in Lightroom.
“If your eye is generous, your whole being is full of light!” Jesus
The Beach Rose, in December, going on for Christmas, looks brittle and broken…a tangled mass of hairy, thorny stems without much redeeming beauty…but put it in front of the setting sun, and suddenly it is alive again, and full of light. It is all a matter of perspective…of attitude. I find it interesting that these two words, which name the physical relationships between objects, have come to also mean our mental, or even spiritual relationship to the world around us. Perspective names the effect of distance on the apparent relative size of objects between us and the visual horizon…and attitude, in its physical sense, names the angle of incline of objects relative to a plane (a ship on the sea has an attitude measured in degrees, relative to the sea). In the mental/spiritual sense, when we say we have perspective on something…we mean we are viewing it in right relationship to the really important things in our life. If someone says you need an attitude adjustment, they mean that that you need to change your “slant” toward the world. Instead of measuring it in degrees, we say there are bad attitudes and good attitudes…cheerful attitudes and sour attitudes. It is a matter of how you are holding yourself in relation to the world.
The generous eye, the eye that both open to let in the beauty and wonder of the world around us, and open wide enough to let the light within illuminate the beauty and wonder without…which is really saying the same thing twice…determines both our perspective and our attitude.
You can choose how you see the tangled mass of Beach Rose stems. At least at sunset, when the light is shinning in your eyes.
Happy Sunday! And a blessed season, as we approach the celebration of the rising, the birth, of Jesus, son of God and son of man…who taught us to look with generous eyes, and whose light fills our whole beings.
I went looking for the sunset last night…both because I like sunsets, and because I have a new camera to try out. Sunset is always a reminder, in the summer, that we live in the NORTH: 8:24PM. It was worth it though. I found a fisherman on Back Creek, behind the dunes at our local beach. Back Creek is one of the few places where you can get the sun reflected in the water along our section of east facing coast. Add a little in-camera HDR, and some processing in Lightroom, and here you have it. Fisherman in the Sunset.
Sony HX90V at 81mm equivalent field of view. In-camera HDR. Nominal exposure: 1/25th @ ISO 80 @ f5.
I woke this morning thinking it is time for something besides birds and critters. It seems Pic 4 Today has had a pretty steady diet of bird shots from my recent stay at the Space Coast Birding Festival…Ritch Grissom Memorial Wetlands and Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. So just to prove I did take my eye off the birds for a least an occasional moment…here is a sunset from the drive home from Merritt Island. I pulled over among the gull feeders at Parrish Park just before the bridge to catch the last rays. Of course I could not completely avoid birds…this is Florida after all…but the small flock of Skimmers and the two gulls are just grace notes to the sunset. 🙂
Sony HX400V in camera HDR. 130mm equivalent field of view. Three ISO 80 exposures. Processed in Lightroom on my Surface Pro 3 tablet.
By the way: I am leaving on the first leg of a trip to Pico Bonito Lodge in Honduras today. The Pic 4 Today post may be irregular over the next week. Daily post to Facebook and Google+ are more likely. We shall see.
I did not get to Homestead until 4 pm, and I considered just resting after a long day of travel, but by 5:30 I had caught up with the day and decided at least to go find a sunset over the Everglades. I barely made it at that. The sun sinks fast here in the tropics (all things being relative, South Florida is our tropics 🙂 It was worth the effort, I think. This is just barely into the Everglades National Park, just past the entrance station…but it is as far as I got.
Sony HX400V. In-camera HDR. Processed in Lightroom on my Surface Pro 3 tablet.
Yesterday promised to provide one of those amazing Bosque del Apache sunsets…there were just enough clouds along the horizon to light up as the sun sank behind the mountains. We set up at the ponds along Route 1 to watch the Sandhill Cranes fly in for the night, and to wait for the sky. Bosque performed as expected. This is a classic Bosque del Apache shot, with the Cranes framed against the flaming sky. There were probably 100 other photographers lined up along the dyke by the ponds trying for this, or a very similar, shot. And that was just yesterday. Hundreds of thousands of images of Sandhill Cranes against the sunset have been taken at Bosque over the years. I have taken quite a few myself 🙂 Still, that does not keep me from trying again every chance I get. There is a beauty and a wonder that persists…that is just as intense the 100th time you experience it as was the first. A beauty and a wonder so rich and rewarding that you are compelled to try to capture and share it every time. Or at least I am. Moments like these put us in touch with both who we really are, and, as I see it, with the loving creator of all that is (including us). They are bridge moments…open window moments…moments of profound connection with all that is and to the meaning…the message being written…the life being lived. Beauty, wonder, and meaning written large and bold in Cranes against the sunset at Bosque del Apache. Happy Sunday!
Sony HX400V in Sports Mode. Processed in Lightroom.
From dawn to dusk in our backyard yesterday. From an awesome -11 degree sunrise to a 5 PM blizzard. We do it right in Maine 🙂 The way life is supposed to be. (And as I get the snowblower out of the basement to deal with 8 inches of fresh snow this morning I am thinking, “yeah, maybe not so much 🙂
Still, it is good discipline to find the beauty where you are, and to celebrate it. Keep those eyes open and those cameras clicking! It is good for the soul.
Sony NEX 3NL with 16-50mm zoom. 24mm equivalent. Sunrise: ISO 1000 @ 1/160th @ f4. Blizzard: ISO 500 @ 1/160th @ f4. Processed in Snapseed and Photo Editor by dev.macgyver, and assembled in Pixlr Express on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014.