Leaving no trace…

7/52 Great Blue Heron

Water birds are not dependent on a particular place. When they are on the ground, they function on the ground. On the water, they function on the water. In the sky, they function in the sky.

They function perfectly and intuitively wherever they are, moving from one place to another by spontaneous instinct, never lost and never leaving a trace of where they’ve been.

Karen Maezen Miller

 

Available for licensing on Getty Images.

The only time…

touch down contest

Remember then: there is only one time that is important— Now! It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power.

Leo Tolstoy

Almost heaven…

blackwater falls

Blackwater Falls

I am such a cliche!

It was my first time in West Virginia — other than passing through — and all I can sing is John Denver’s song…”Country Roads”.

Mostly in my head…but sometimes in the car, heh heh, in my inimitable out-of-tune style…

I just can’t help it.

But he sure got it right.

Almost heaven, West Virginia
Blue ridge mountains, Shenandoah river
Life is old there, older than the trees
Younger than the mountains, growin’ like a breeze… 

We were invited to stay at a remote cabin in the eastern part of the state that had been built by a friend’s son using plans provided by Bob’s brother. A lovely cosy place with a fireplace that got quite a work out!

It was a very short trip — and the weather was rainy and misty pretty much the whole time.

But that didn’t deter us.

The first day we drove to Seneca Rocks…

When we returned home, I posted this image on Facebook just to give my friends a little taste of where I was.

seneca rockslr

Seneca Rocks

And what did I see? “You’re here? So am I!!!!!!!”

Whaaaa?

A fabulous photographer, Denise, (see her wonderful photography and writing here) who I had met while taking an online class a while back had been in exactly the same place the same day. And we had eaten in the same deli.

And neither of us knew it.

She posted her shot of Seneca Rocks too.

Now what are the chances of that happening? (We live in Canada 560 miles away and she lives in Ohio.)

Sadly, our trip was too short to figure out a way to meet up (next time!), but we had some good Facebook chats.

I surely appreciated her tips and advice and soaked up her enthusiasm for the area. Her family roots go deep and her passion is profound for the landscape and the people.

I can well see why now. She and her husband and dog, Arthur, the cutest Corgi ever, love to cruise the backroads of the state soaking up the colour and atmosphere.

And that was what we did too.

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I dedicate this post to Denise, a real life mountain momma…

Sing with me…

Country roads, take me home
To the place I belong
West Virginia, mountain momma
Take me home, country roads

— John Denver

The language of cranes…

sandhill cranehr

Sandhill cranes nest in the wetlands of the Northwest Territories before beginning their trek south for the winter. 

tow craneshr

Mated pairs of sandhill cranes stay together year round, and migrate south as a group with their offspring. Both males and females incubate the eggs. Their calls are unique — they give loud, rattling bugle calls, each lasting a couple of seconds and often strung together — and can be heard up to 2.5 miles away. 

cranes flying-edited

These cranes have a large wingspan, typically 1.65 to 2.29 m (5 ft 5 in to 7 ft 6 in), which make them very skilled soaring birds, similar in style to hawks and eagles.

Listen to their unique calls here… 

The Sandhills 

The language of cranes

we once were told

is the wind. The wind

is their method,

their current, the translated story

of life they write across the sky…

Linda Hogan

Images are from my August trip to Canada’s North, (above the 60th parallel) — the spectacular Northwest Territories…

Pelican play…

 

pelican bluelr

I wasn’t planning to shoot pelicans today, but there they were in the marina we are living in now on our sailboat, attracted by the man cleaning fish at the table designed for that purpose. The light was great so I grabbed my camera.

Groups of pelicans are called squadrons. They hover around waiting for tasty tidbits to be thrown at them. They swoop in and splash down, see what they can grab to eat, and then they fly away, splashing on take off too. They are so intriguing.

I learned a lot about these funny looking creatures last year and shared some of it in a previous post on pelicans. I took most of my shots last time from our dinghy and used my 24 to 85 mm lens.

This time I used my 70 to 200 mm lens to capture the pelicans which enabled me to get some decent close ups. I also used back button focus, which resulted in much better focus in most of my shots. And of course continuous shooting gave me a good selection of pelican poses. Here are some of my favourite captures.

By the way, I started a new blog about living on our sailboat, Windsong II. Pop over if you are interested.

pelicanslr

Here’s looking at you, kid.

 

pelican pilingslr

winspanlr

The pelican wingspan is about 6 to 7 feet.

part of pel

Til the last frame of my life…

The butterfly is a flying flower,
The flower a tethered butterfly.

Ponce Denis Ecouchard Le Brun

 

Julia butterfly

Julia butterfly

monarch butterfly

Monarch butterfly

rice paper butterfly

Rice paper butterfly

 

I want to fly like a Butterfly around this beautiful world, till the last frame of my life and the last click of my heart.

Biju Karakkonam, Nature and Wildlife Photographer

Pelicans up close…

Brown Pelicans are the only type that feed by plunging into the water, stunning small fish with the impact of their large bodies and scooping them up in their expandable throat pouches.

pelican 6

A good news story — Brown Pelicans were once severely endangered in the United States. The major cause of their decline was pesticide poisoning. Since DDT was banned, there has been a full recovery on the east coast and other populations are showing steady improvement.

A pelican’s bill does have a larger capacity than its stomach. A pelican’s stomach can hold up to 1 gallon (3.79 liters), while its pouch can hold up to 3 gallons (11.36 liters). That adds up to the equivalent of 8 pounds (3.63 kilograms) in the stomach and about 24 pounds (10.89 kilograms) in the pouch.

The average Brown Pelican weighs 4-7 pounds. Their wingspan is usually 6-7 feet. Fossil records show that pelicans have been around for more than 40 million years, so they must be doing something right!

When it comes to wildlife, you have to photograph what you got…and we got pelicans. Squadrons of them!

Living in a marina on water in a fishing village on the east coast of Florida, you are guaranteed pelicans as your neighbours.

A few days ago we took the opportunity of a sunny, calm day to toot around the Manatee Pocket in our dinghy, just to see what we would see. And we saw pelicans.

I didn’t have my long lens so we had to get pretty close to photograph these guys in the detail I hoped for. I also used a superfast shutter speed and “continuous shoot”. They move awfully fast when they’re flying about, so I’m pleased that  I managed to capture some images that worked.

I don’t think I could have got these reflections if I hadn’t been in a dinghy. I can see why photographers get hooked on wildlife photography. I hope to head out again one of these days to spend more time with our pelican friends.