Saturday, October 10, 2009

Wings and Other Things


I've always loved animals of (almost) all kinds and thought birds to be beautiful creatures, but until I got my camera a couple of years ago, I can't say that I've always noticed them the way I do now.

Sure, if one landed nearby, I'd acknowledge their unexpected company with a smile and a note to myself about how lovely it was, but I wouldn't have realized how really wonderful they are. How so many make eye contact. How they cluster in a particular berry-yielding tree. How some of them make that sound with their wings and not their voice.

They've taught me to walk slowly and softly in their presence, to wait and watch and follow their movements and to be grateful for their visit to my day, whether I manage to get a semi-decent photograph of one or not.

When Frank was busy looking down at some of the many salmon in the creek, I happened to notice this fine creature standing just across the water from us. He became skittish when he heard click of my camera... (please click to enlarge)

.. and flew off to a better spot where all of its inhabitants had fins and tails instead of arms and legs. (please click to enlarge)

A wander around my lake revealed three Cormorants perched on a log in the middle of the pond. Their eyes were fixed at some point straight ahead and above them, as if they expected fish to fly. (please click to enlarge)

Far less nervous than the heron, as soon as they heard the click of my camera, they all turned to glare at me. Sooorry! (please click to enlarge)

This timid little robin peeked out at me from the safety of a tree branch. (please click to enlarge)

Spotted from the car, I snapped this photo of this beauty just before it disappeared beyond the edge of view. The darker blue spot on the upper left is the windshield's shaded glass. (please click to enlarge)

... and other things.

On our recent trip up to the cottage, there were so many sights for which I would have loved to stop and take a few shots. But every time the car slows down, Benny starts his whimpering, whiny "Woe is me - we're in the car and I don't know where we're going. We're all gonna die!" routine, so we have to plan our stops to be as few as possible - like the grocery store, the liquor store and the place where Frank gets worms. Anything more than that and we'd have to kill Benny.

So I tried to take a few photos on the move.

This old barn looks like it's in need of a face lift - all tilted over to one side like that. I don't even think I'd realized that when I took the shot through my window. All I thought at the moment was "charming old barn.. click!" (please click to enlarge)

Likewise for this rusty old graffiti-covered train car. Hmmm, it too, looks like it's on a tilt. Could it be me? Maybe taking photos through the car window is not such a good idea. (please click to enlarge)

Back in July, Frank and I had lunch out at the marina near his place. On our way out, I noticed this sign on their outdoor bar. It made me laugh - not that I could ever relate to it. I mean really, who in the world could be cuter than Frank? (hic!) (please click to enlarge)

When visiting my sister a while back, she showed me her new electric bike. Rarely have I seen a bicycle so new and shiny, and it just demanded a photo. (please click to enlarge)

Frank's been doing some renovations at his house - some of which included a new back deck (shown in part in the last photo of the previous post). Since this deck is larger than the old one, some decorative stones had to be moved out of its way. I just liked the way they looked with a pitchfork laying on top of them. (please click to enlarge)

Benny usually gets walked twice a day - early morning and late afternoon or early evening - depending on the season. On the latter walk, there's a spot along the creek where we'll stop to look, listen and think for a moment or two. Benny is usually off sniffing around for the last bit of trouble he can find before heading home. At this time, the sun is setting behind us, creating long shadows everywhere. I took this photo of our own two shadows which stretched across the opposite shore while we said "Goodnight" the creek. (please click to enlarge)

Now it's time to head on back home. Thanks for joining me.


Indrani said...

A blogger and with a camera in hand, I too have become more observant of things and happenings around me. I enjoy reading your thoughts with each of your shots.

Kerri Farley said...

Ah, these are great! And I LOVE that you took shots out of the car...there is so much to see out there and we would be unable to capture it if we didn't take shots like these!
My favs are the sign and the shadow shot!

Zuzana said...

I really loved this post as the sentiment behind it speaks to me. I love the fact that you describe how birds behave and how watching them through the camera lens has made you take notice of the details that would have escaped you otherwise. I feel this constantly when taking pictures of nature.
Lovely images as always. Unusually, my favorite is of the graffiti train car. There is something in the contrast of the metal and the living trees that invokes a sort of gentle melancholy. Likewise the colours are striking.
Hope you are having a wonderful Sunday.;)

Jinksy said...

Is this what is meant by shadows of your former selves?! :)

Rosaria Williams said...

Hi. I came in from Carol's blog, meaning to stop by for a while. This was a good respite, birds and cabins and a reluctant dog in the background. Love it.

Anonymous said...

What terrific do you get such clear closeups, you must have a great camera. I loved the barn-over here barns are snapped up for 'doing over' but they are so picturesque all old and falling down.

ethelmaepotter! said...

An electric bicycle? You're kidding!

Frank Baron said...

Beauteous pics. Love the near iridescence of the gold/green water surrounding the cormorants.

Any tool/excuse/rationale one uses to get outdoors and really experience Nature, works for me. (And you KNOW I'm not talking about the bikers and joggers zooming around with their MP3 players cranked up.)

People need to get outdoors and "observe a lot by watching" as my guru might say. :)

I'm glad photography had that effect on you. I was kinda betting on it....

Jo said...

Omigoodness, just look at that wonderful robin.

Our friend Russell had five blue jays in his yard today. I hope he got pictures of them.

steviewren said...

The picture of the pitchfork and the stones is one of my favorites. I try to take pictures of birds all the time, but I have no luck at all. Love the drive-by shootings. I do that all the time.

Pseudo said...

I love your photos. The bird shots are amazing.

~JarieLyn~ said...

Hilary, these are all great. I take a lot of photos from the car as well and amazingly, I have some pretty good pictures. A couple of weeks ago I also took a picture of a train car with graffiti on it from inside the vehicle too. Oh, and the sign that you took a picture of.....I have a shot glass that has the same exact words on it. I think I got it in Missouri when we were down there a few years ago.

I really like your barn picture and your shadow picture. The barn is very eyepleasing even with it's tilt and your shadows are just plain cool.


Diane said...

We had a blue crane in our backyard... it was so big and beautiful. The sign at the bar was funny, but sad too. :O)

Crabby McSlacker said...

We have lots of gorgeous birds around here but they won't sit still long enough for me to drag out a camera and photograph them. Perhaps I will have to kidnap you one day to get proper shots of them, because you definitely have it down!

Brian Miller said...

beautiful pics. my two fav are the one of the bird in flight through the trees and the graffiti train car. learning to walk slow and appreciate, being grateful fo rthe visit to your day...sounds like a great way of life.

photowannabe said...

I luv the long shadows saying goodnight to the creek. You have such a way with words.
Cute robin peaking out of the berries.
Thanks for your kind comments on my blog while I was sick. You really helped brighten my days.

Grayquill said...

From the Crane to the Shadow - I loved them all. Question is it a lake or a pond?

Bill S. said...

Great post. I love the bird pictures - but most of them are of fish-eating birds. They do not recycle their fun like I do. By the way - I have never seen a "cute" boy over six!!!! Great post.

Mental P Mama said...

LOL Drink til he's it. But not as much as all our feathered friends.

Karen said...

Great photos again! I was fishing my hubbie and he was reeling in a fish and a cormorant swooped down and grabbed the fish and took it under water. He finally let go, the cormorant, that is. (My husband would not let go of a good fish without a fight.) :)

Elizabeth Bradley said...

I love birds too. That barn is amazingly lopsided, the leaning tower of barn.

Hilary said...

• Thanks, Indrani. I think a camera makes such a difference for so many. Thanks for your kind words. :)

• Thank you, Kerri. For the many photos I take while the car is moving, there are few that I'll keep but it is fun to see what turns out. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thank you, Protege my friend. It is pretty amazing how the camera facilitates our enjoyment of nature. I feel very grateful not only for my own but for yours and others who have great shots to share. Thanks always for the visit, Z. :)

• Jinsky, you made me smile with that one. What you're seeing here is the shadow of my smile. ;)

• Thank you, Lakeviewer. I'm glad you stopped by and that you enjoyed the photos. Please do return again soon and often. :)

• Thanks kindly, Moannie. I do have a great camera.. a gift from a great man. :) I do like the way old barns look too. It's kind of a shame that they're probably few and far between out your way. Thank you though, for visiting out my way. :)

• EthelMae, I'm not kidding. She has a battery pack which charges overnight (I'm guesstimating) and allows her to power this bike for a few hours. I didn't try it. I wasn't even tempted. Much. ;)

• Thank you, Frank. At one time I wouldn't have guessed you were a betting man, but then .. what were the odds of... a lot of things? ;) Thank you. :)

• Those would be wonderful photos to see, Jo. I hope he did too. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks for the kind words, Steviewren. I'm glad you like that shot. I was beginning to wonder if it was just me who liked it. I'm reassured because I know you have an artist's eye. :) Thanks very much for the visit. :)

Hilary said...

• Thanks very much, PHST. Much appreciated. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thank you, JarieLyn. I'm finding the similarities between what you have shot or possess and what you're seeing here. Like I said on your blog earlier, there were many things you mentioned and showed that I could connect to as well. Fun and interesting ties. Thanks always for visiting. :)

• Diane, what a lovely surprise it must have been to see that lovely bird in your own yard. Do you have a pond? Thanks so much for stopping by to comment. :)

• Crabby, far be it for me to resist being kidnapped and brought to either of the coasts you call home but the trick is in not having to drag the camera out. I almost always have mine ready and pretty much nearby. But I'd be happy to oblige anyway. Thanks always for your kind words. :)

• Thanks so much, Brian. I'm glad you appreciate the photos and the sentiment of the post. That means a lot to me. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks for the kind comment, Sue. I'm so glad to hear that you're feeling better. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Grayquill, that's a good question! First of all, there are two different places in this series of photos. The Heron and shadow shots were taken at a creek near Frank's place.. the same creek where the salmon run takes place in the previous post.

The Cormorants are perched in a pond/lake. Here's where it gets tough to answer. I call it a lake. It has a name and the word "lake" appears in the name but it's small. I can walk around it in just about ten minutes. Frank scoffs at my calling it a lake and insists it's a pond. Then again I have to laugh when he refers to going "downtown" in his little town with a population of 32,000.

So it's all relative, I guess. Aren't you glad you asked? ;) Thanks for stopping by and for the kind comment. :)

• Thank you, Bill - you must have daughters! ;) Thanks for the kind words. Yes, most of the birds are fish-eaters. I sure can't begrudge them their need to survive. I'm glad you liked the photos and hope you'll drop by again soon. :)

• Thanks, MPM. I'm glad you got a laugh out of that. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thank you, Karen. Those cormorants are very aggressive birds and according to Frank (my fishing guru) the bane of many fishermen since they can make a dent in the fish population of a lake pretty quickly. Glad to hear that your husband's tenacity won out. :)

• Thanks, Elizabeth. Who needs Italy when we have our own little Pisa right here? Thanks for stopping by. :)

ds said...

Lovely. I especially like the eagle against the blue sky. Funnily enough, I took a walk today and the camera was out at every opportunity. I believe I have you to "blame" for this! ;-)

Maria said...

That was a lovely, refreshing trip! Thanks Hilary!

Suburban Girl said...

Thanks for visiting my blog.

This post is great, such a variety of interesting things. I am enjoying your photos. Those heron shots...ugh - I have never gotten a clear one. So hard to capture.

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

The grumpy cormorants made me laugh! Or maybe just your interpretation (photographic and prosaic) made me laugh...
I love the clear shots you took of the heron/crane. Beautiful!

The old barns around here fascinate me, too.

Cheffie-Mom said...

Wonderful! Wonderful! Wonderful! I love the shadow photo!!

Sujatha Bagal said...

The two pictures of the three birds together are stunning!

Deb Shucka said...

Some of these pictures are astounding! Very evocative. I'm always moved by birds, and appreciate how hard it is to shoot them as well as you have.

ellen abbott said...

Now that I'm back in town with high speed, I'm catching up. Blue herons are particular favorites of mine. Chased many a one downstream on river trips.

Tom Bailey said...

Wings and other things - I was thinking it was going to be a bar b q photo session.

Lisa (Mountain Photog) said...

Great post! I love the bird shots and the composition on the bicycle is interesting. You have a great eye. :)

Gary's third pottery blog said...

OMIGOSH! My friend the heron!

SandyCarlson said...

"Drink till he's cute" is funny! These are delightful. Birds are great teachers. The quiet kind.

SandyCarlson said...

I forgot to say I love the graffiti, too. What an interesting canvas in that setting.

Anonymous said...


I love all the birds where you are!

LadyFi said...

What wonderful shots - love the cormorant! And the shy robin! And.. well - I love everything!

Margo said...

I finally got a good digital camera a few months ago before we went on vacation to France. I feel as if I see so much more now! Your photos are really stunning - and I especially appreciate the photos "on the move" - I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who does this - my husband thinks I'm nuts!

Leah J. Utas said...

Birds teach us so much. Thanks for listening to them. Great pics.

Anonymous said...

some fantastic shots...just lovely!

Anonymous said...

You got the in-flight heron shot! Wonderful! And you are so right Hilary, if you stop and watch quietly, those birds do make eye contact, I noticed the squirrels and chipmunks did too when I had my feeder in Orford. I love the "drink til he's cute", lol...reminds me of the Simpsons where you could buy "Beer Goggles", lol...makes everyone look sexier, ha ha! Thanks for your comment the other day btw, Happy Thanksgiving!!
I get a double dose of the woe is me whine, yeah...I know how that feels!!! :)

JC said...

Great post and pictures as always. The sign cracked me up once I figured out what it meant. HA!!!

Reb said...

Lovely! It is a wonderful reminder when carrying a camera to actually see what you are looking at. Love the cormorants looking at you.

imbeingheldhostage said...

I love these little trips you take me on-- SO thrilled to see the Cormorants!! I read about them in 5th grade (not so long ago) in the Island of the Blue Dolphins but had never seen one, had NO idea what they looked like. Thank you, that was the highlight of my day :-)

Clowncar said...

Oh, I love those bird pix. My wife just bought a gorgeous illustrated book on Birds of America, for the girls. And her. And me. So maybe I can say more than "hey, what a pretty bird."

Hilary said...

* Thank you, DS. Finally I get blamed for something good! Thanks for letting me know. :)

* Thanks kindly, Gaelikka. Much appreciated. :)

* Thank you, Rebecca. They are difficult to capture.
I've had far more misses than catches with the heron.. particularly in flight. Thanks so much for stopping by :)

* Thanks so much, KC. I think they always have that grumpy appearance - unless they're chowing down on a fish. Thanks for the visit. :)

* Thanks kindly, Cheffie. Much appreciated. :)

* Thanks very much, Sujatha. I'm glad you like them. :)

* Thanks so much for the kind words, Deb. I'm so glad you enjoyed the photos in this post. Much appreciated. :)

* Thanks, Ellen and welcome back. Wonderful creatures to see, aren't they? Thanks for stopping by. :)

* Tom, that's too funny. It never even occurred to me that someone might be thinking BBQ. Sorry to disappoint but thanks for stopping by. :)

* Thanks very kindly, MP. That means a lot to me. :)

* Got him, Gary. :)

* Thanks very much for the kind words, Sandy. It takes a great teacher to recognize one. I'm not at all surprised that you did. I'm glad you like the post. :)

* Thanks very much, MT. I sure do too. :)

* Thanks so much, LadyFi. I'm glad you enjoyed the photos. :)

* Thank so much for the kind words, Margo. We may be nuts, but we catch a few decent shots now and then. ;) I'm glad you're having fun with your camera. :)

* Thank you, Leah. That pleasure is all mine. Thanks for your visit. :)

* Thanks very much, Flyingstars. Much appreciated. :)

* Thanks so much for your fun comments, Rain. It's clear that you can relate to a few aspects of this post. Thanks for the visit, :)

* Thank you, JC. I'm glad it gave you a laugh. :)

* Thanks very much, Reb, My camera reminds me of that every so often. I'm glad you liked the cormorants. Thanks always for stopping by. :)

* Thanks so much for joining me, IBHH. I'm glad you were able to see what the cormorants look like. You should see them with their wings all spread out to dry. That's quite a sight. I'll try to dig one of those up for you soon. Thanks for coming along for the walk. :)

* Clowncar, maybe you can help me identify one or two on occasion, eh? Thanks for the visit. :)

Maggie May said...

All these a brilliant photos and it is difficult to choose any particular ones that stand out from the rest. I love the shadows in the last one and the cormorants and the tilted barn that looks ready for take off!

Nuts in May

Merisi said...

I spent quite some time going through all these wonderful images and then I apparently forgot to comment!

Belated thank you! :-)

Eddie Bluelights said...

Hi Hilary, Just had time to see your fantastic photographs - will be back to read the post tonight ~ Eddie

Nessa said...

Love all of the shots, especially the birds.

Anonymous said...

That old barn does look rather lobsided doesn't it. Wonderful pictures again.

CJ xx

San said...

Thank you for sharing what carrying a camera has taught you--lessons in patience and being quiet and watchful. Those are good life lessons too.

Also the message in the sign is a life lesson worth remembering: Drink until he's cute. :-D

Wendy said...

I too look at birds differently, now that I have a new camera. Haven't actually taken a pic of a bird yet - they move too quickly for me. I prefer flowers. At least they don't move. LOL!

You are brave shooting pics from your car window! But hey - they turned out well!

Teri and her Stylish Cats ~ Coco the Couture Cat, Brighton, Disco NoFurNo and Kely said...

Love the train, somehow says autumn in a different way and the shadow figures, to me says "spend time together, life takes unexpected turns"

Hilary said...

• Thanks so much for the kind words, Maggie. They're very much appreciated. :)

• Thanks, Merisi. And here I am belatedly showing my appreciation. I thought I'd replied to all of the comments on this post.. apparently not! Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks kindly, Eddie. I hope you enjoyed them. :)

• Thanks, Nessa. I'm glad you did. :)

* Thanks very much, CJ. I'm glad you liked them. :)

• Thanks very kindly, San. I'm so glad you enjoyed the post. And that you got a kick out of the sign. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thanks very much, Wendy. Eventually some of those birds will stop long enough for you to get some good shots of them. And sometimes even the flowers can be temperamental depending on how windy it is. As for being brave? Nah, I can (and do) just hit the delete button for those that don't work out. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thank you, Terrie. That's a very deep and perceptive interpretation of those shadows. I had similar thoughts in my mind at the time. Thanks for your visit. :)

Louise said...

Your stories are always as good as your pictures. And I'm wondering where Benny is in the shadows!

Hilary said...

Thanks so much for the kind words, Louise. Benny always runs off ahead of us, ready to go home and eat dinner by then. His shadow could be off sniffing other dog shadows or peeing on a plant shadow. Thanks for stopping by. :)