I went out on a cold January morning to see what I could see before the promised snow the following day. It was a perfect day for ice sculptures to form in the spray and splash of rapidly moving water. I found this in the outflow of one of the little ponds along Rt. 9. I am always amazed at the shapes water can get into. Sony RX10iv at 140mm equivalent. In-camera HDR. Processed in Polarr.
It is a long way from the parking at San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge to where the birds are, or that is certainly how it seemed yesterday. I think it was a matter more of tides than anything. When I got there the mud was covered with water. By the time I had walked 3 miles in, the tide had receded enough to show some mud banks and the birds were feeding in the shallow water along the edges. I saw this group of American Avocets when I was already ready to turn around, from a quarter of a mile up the berm between the road and Tolay Creek and walked down to them. Glad I did. 🙂
There is nothing so graceful as a group of Avocets feeding. It is as close to ballet as birds get. The trick is to shoot a lot of random shots of the group and sort for the most graceful when you get home. Or at least that is what works for me.
Sony HX400V at 2400mm equivalent field of view (1200 optical plus 2x Perfect Image zoom). ISO 80 @ 1/500th @ f6.3. Processed in Lightroom on my Surface Pro tablet.
And for the Sunday Thought: I went to three recommended birding spots along the north end of San Francisco Bay and up the Sonoma Valley yesterday, and most of what I did was a long walk with not much happening. Yet, when I got back to the hotel I found that I had taken over 400 exposures. I processed 98 of them, and got a surprising number, and a surprising variety, of satisfying images out of the morning: Birds big and small, wildflowers, dragonflies (and Flame Skimmers at that!), some interesting architecture and artifacts, landscapes, ripe grapes in a vineyard just touched by fall, and the amazing red curly bark of the Madrone trees. Undoubtedly you will see some of them over the next few days 🙂 Such wealth from a morning when it seemed, most to time, like nothing was happening.
Sometimes the wonder is in the words of the song, and sometimes it is in the punctuation. Sometimes it flows over you like a stream, moment to moment, hour after hour…and sometimes it punctuates the flow of time like rocks in a stream give shape and curl and churn to the water to delight the ear and eye. Wonder is wonder either way. Looking back on it, I had a wonderful morning, quite literally filled with wonderful moments, but while it was happening I was, perhaps too caught up in the many steps between those moments, in moving myself from one to the next. It happens.
Only when I got back to the hotel and actually, as they say (not perhaps really meaning it as literally as I do here) counted my blessings as I imported and processed images did I realize how full the morning was. Wonderful.
Something to give thanks for on a Sunday morning!
I went to Emmons Preserve, and down the trail to the falls on the Batson River in particular, to look for Ebony Jewelwings…the darting, dancing, electric sometimes blue, sometimes metalic green, set-winged Damselflies that prefer rapid water…but of course the rapid waters have their own attraction. The place is beautiful…almost other-worldly…elven…with the still shadowed pools connected by falling runs of peat-brown water, the moss and rocks, the dappled light through the covering trees…a feast for the senses. I try, again and again, to capture it…but the true essence of the place is very difficult to catch.
This is a three exposure in-camera HDR with the exposures separated by 6 EV, with the Sony NEX 5T and the ZEISS Touit 12mm f2.8. I put the camera right down at water level and only inches from the falling water. Nominal exposure, as determined by the Program, was ISO 100 @ f4 @ 1/60th. The file was further processed for HDR effect in Snapseed on my tablet. And it is getting there. It is satisfyingly close to the visual impression…or at least to the emotional impression…of the place.
And for the Sunday Thought: there are lots of places, like the falls on the Batson River, that have such a rich emotional impact…such a rich spiritual impact…that any attempt at photography is bound to fall short. That does not, and should not, keep us from trying. We reach, and in reaching, pay homage to the creative spirit of love that shapes both the beauty of the world, and our sense of beauty. Like the Ebony Jewelwings, we dance…our intention dances above the falling water of creation…and we take pleasure in the dance…as we were made to do. Such beauty can not be caught and held…but it can be pointed to…celebrated in the beautiful gesture of the attempt.
Isn’t that the name of a move? No? It should be (or maybe a band).
Anyway, every yearly late February/early March trip to San Diego, I go a little crazy with the flowers. Bogenvelia, Bird of Paridise, Hibiscus, Pepper Tree, and all the annuals planted around buildings! I mean! Perhaps I can be forgiven since at home I am enduring the next to last month of winter (which, to be honest, has its own charms): it has been along time since I saw flowers in any quantity, and it is still weeks away from the first crocus in the yard (sometime after the feet of snow and ice melts). Flowers in February are, so to speak, a sight for sore eyes. At least for me.
In 11 years, it has only once before been totally rainy during a San Diego Birding Festival, but this is a strong second. California certainly needs the rain, and I will not begrudge them a drop. I just took my umbrella out yesterday morning for some wet flower shots. This Hibiscus is growing on the grounds of the Comfort Inn where I am staying. I mean, is that red or what? (And you can count on Bird of Paradise to follow!)
Sony NEX 3NL with 16-50mm zoom. Macro Mode. ISO 320 @ 1/160th @ f5. 45mm equivalent. Processed in Snapseed on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014.
Yesterday, I took my, by now, traditional Sunday Photo and Snowy Owl prowl up along the coast as far as Biddeford Pool. I only found one owl, and never got close enough for a photo, but when I got to Fortunes Rocks, the sea was so amazingly wild that I had to park and take a series of photos. A stormy sea is not an easy thing to catch in an image. You can not capture the wind-in-your-teeth feeling, or the sound…and certainly not the emotional thrill, the primal surge of adrenaline, that always straightens our spines even as it sends shivers up and down, when we stand on the edge (the safe edge most often) of disaster. Still, the waves from Saturday’s storm passing offshore were as big as I have seen along this coast, a strong off-shore wind was blowing the tops back into plumes, and the sun was just at the angle to bring out the green highlights in the water as it rose. Altogether impressive.
Samsung Smart Camera WB800F. Processed in Snapseed on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014. Collages assembled in PixlrExpress.
The leaves that are falling now, in mid-September, are that dull brown of leaves that have died of simple old-age. The brilliance of frost killed leaves is still several weeks away. Still a little scene like this is a clear reminder that the summer is about to go out in its usual New England blaze of glory. That is a little of what I have captured here, but of course the image is really about the play of light over the various textures and the reflected patterns in the moving water. 🙂
Samsung Smart Camera WB250F in Rich Tone mode (in-camera HDR). Processed in Snapseed on the Nexus 7.
This is an 180 degree plus sweep panorama from the shores of Back Creek where it meets the Mousam River, a few hundred yards from where the Mousam meets the sea. As you can see, I was there digiscoping, but I got distracted by the sky. 🙂 I never really get tired of watching the camera paint the image one line at a time as I sweep the camera around. There is a technological magic to it, and I can not argue with the results!
Samsung Smart Camera WB250F in Panorama mode. Processed in Snapseed, on the Google Nexus 7 2013. (You really should see it full sized…click on the image to enlarge it to the width of your screen.)
Not exactly England in its native state as this is the very managed landscape of a golf resort, but the sky at least is all England. 🙂 And who can resist an upturned boat in such a display?
This is a vertical sweep panorama from the Samsung Smart Camera WB250F. A normal 24mm shot would end about halfway up the tree at the right on the skyline. I certainly do enjoy the options sweep panorama brings!
Processed in PicSay Pro and Photo Editor on the 2013 Nexus 7.
I return frequently to the little stretch of the Batson River protected by the Kennebunkport Land Trust as Emmons Preserve. It is a peaceful spot where the sound of the water descending over rock ledges soothes the soul and let’s the spirit surface. Or so it does for me.
This is an in-camera HDR from the Samsung Smart Camera WB750F. Since the camera has no flip out LCD I had to hold the camera low and shoot blind. It required some trial and error, but the stream, though running musically, was not going anywhere, and I had time. 🙂
Processed on the 2013 Nexus 7 in PicSay Pro.
The Batson River makes a long loop through Emmons Preserve, with many pools, overhanging rock ledges, tumbling falls, and gentle stretches of water reflecting trees. It is really an amazingly varied stretch of river considering it can’t be more than a quarter mile of it included in the Preserve. This is one of the far pools, beyond the main, and most visited, section of the trail. The river splits here, with the main channel rushing through a narrow gap between standing stones, and a smaller side channel feeding this still pool. I love the play of light here, and the ripples leading out to the still water with its reflections and lily pads. Perhaps because of the depth and the odd angle, it has a kind of abstract feeling to it.
Samsung Smart Camera WB250F in Rich Tone (HDR) mode. Processed in PicSay Pro on the Samsung Galaxy S4. Auto Enhance by Google+ Photos.