Category Archives: Photography

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Creature Feature 2017 #5

Been a while since I had time for the camera, so here’s some catch-up.
The seasons have been changing while I was busy, but there’s still a lot going on out there, or even right here. This Red Fox visited my back yard the other day:

This morning started out foggy. And then it got a bit thicker (I was navigating by ear at one point):

I think these conditions meet most of the criteria to be called absolutely atrocious for photography, but I did manage to get a picture of our Bald Eagle flying in the fog (apparently flying VFR, but this is class G airspace):

The Spiders have been eating up other insects all summer, and fall is their time (looks like this area is decorated for Halloween, but I’m sure the Spiders don’t care about that):

This Killdeer was just across the water from the Spider enclave, and was being very vocal:

A few Turtles were out taking in some late-season sun:

Speaking about late-season, some fall flowers are out now:

Heading back down the lake, I spotted someone in the water:

Oh! Otters (don’t miss the two under the bank to the left)!

Obligatory Great Blue Heron picture:

Creature Feature 2017 #4

It seemed like things were pretty quiet around the lake this morning. We’re coming up on deep summer, the breeding season is winding down, and there’s plenty of food around. A good time to just sit back and relax a bit.

Humans, however, never seem to let up. I suppose if you mow hay on a hillside enough, a roll is bound to get away.

As I was working my way up the lake, I spotted a bird rather high up. From the size, I just assumed he was a Great Blue Heron, and tried to get a picture. A bird high up in the sky is a difficult photo target, because they’re small, and the bright sky can obscure any detail of the bird. Anyway, once I got a look at the picture, I wasn’t so sure about my identification.

A while later, as I was thinking I wasn’t going to see anything special today, I saw a large bird on the side of the lake, apparently well into brunch.

Ah, that’s what I saw up high, and yes, that was no Heron.

Yeah, a Bald Eagle, right here in Laurens County.

Creature Feature 2017 #3

Finally got back out on the lake today.
I’m not sure where the creature was that created this, but I’m sure she’s around somewhere:

The lake itself might not be considered a “creature”, but it does change over time. This area used to have navigable water all the way up into the trees in the background, but over the last few months has accumulated a good bit of silt:

which has formed an almost square sharp shelf where the water runs out of the delta:

Fortunately, these mud flat areas are very productive, and many take advantage of that:

A group of Red-Winged Blackbirds was working the trees along the lake:

Probably taking advantage of all the Mayflies hanging around:

Common Grackles were also getting a piece of the action:

Creature Feature 2017 #2

One of my familiars stops by the back yard (where the food is, of course):

The Ospreys were very active, cavorting in the air and working on their nest on top of the intake structure:

This is kind of interesting because it shows how their tip flight feathers splay and curve up to act as [what human aircraft designers call] winglets:

Of course, Osprey were using winglets long before humans produced the first inkling of aerodynamic lift.

Got a good look at this Heron from across a little inlet, who also got a good look at me, naturally:

A bit later, paddling out of the inlet, I reached for my camera to get a few more pictures of the Ospreys overhead, when I heard a floof floof floof right behind my starboard side. The heron passed within a paddle’s-length of me.

Ducks were hangin’ out:

and it was a good day for the Turtles to be out getting some sun:

Whenever I’ve become very familiar seeing something from one angle, like the spillway from the lake side:

I always find it interesting when I suddenly get a look at it from the other side. I was wandering around the Lake Rabon park below the dam when I suddenly realized “OH… This is where the spillway spills out!”:

It didn’t look like it had been used in a long time. If there were leaves on the trees, you could easily miss it entirely.

Creature Feature 2016 #3

It’s interesting how all the divisiveness among humans contrasts with what goes on in the rest of the world. Sure, there’s competition and predation, but it’s all based on the needs of survival, and nothing more. Nobody is going at each other’s throats or calling each other names just because of an abstract concept, like the color of their plumage.

This Great Blue Heron was just strolling through a whole flock of vultures like it was no big deal, because it wasn’t:

Granted, these two species are very different and their needs don’t really overlap. On the other hand, this Egret and Heron do very much compete, and here they are within a couple wing-beats of each other:

Obligatory Heron action shot; that’s a lot of bird to land up in a tree, but the extreme control they have makes it look easy:

And, from the clouds-as-creatures department, here’s some of those:

Creature Feature 2016 #2

I know, where have I been? I’ve had a lot going on, a lot of which could be the subject of a Caregiving Thoughts post. But, finally, I have some creature material (as usual, click on a picture to get to a higher-resolution version).

The first creature featured is a Beaver, but unfortunately, I didn’t get the camera pointed before he splashed the water and disappeared.

The Osprey were much more visible at their nest on top of the water system’s intake structure. I’m guessing these two are the parents, and they seemed quite intent on what was in the nest.

A third Osprey was hanging out on the other end of the structure, keeping an eye on me. Perhaps he’s a family member helping out?

Now, ordinarily, I wouldn’t think much of encountering a spider web, but this one was on some old tree branches sticking out of the water a good 6 or 7 meters from the nearest shore. Can spiders swim? Or maybe she just ballooned out there and set up shop. Given the insects caught in the web, I’d say, so far, so good.

Of course, the obligatory Great Blue Heron picture. I got a lot of pixels on this one….

…just before he decided to take off and go to warp.

In another encounter, while out cycling, I crossed paths with a little Mockingbird, probably not much older than a fledgling. She was small and more stubby-looking than the normally slender adults, but the wing markings left no question that this was a Mockingbird.
In an encounter of a different kind, while we don’t think of clouds as creatures, the way the move, shift, grow, and change they can seem alive. Taken from high above Laurens County:

Connections, Creation

The other day I was hanging out with a friend and there was a Christian radio station playing. The music was good, but the stations tag line, something like “Music that makes you feel connected to God”, made me think. For me, it’s not so much music, but views like this (near Sugarloaf Mountain, NC, USA):

or this (mini creature feature, over Lake Hartwell, SC, USA):

that does it. This, to me, represents the direct handiwork of God, no translations, no interpretations, just the straight story of Creation.
As usual, click on the pictures for full-resolution versions.

Creature Feature 2015 #8

I like to be out early. Is this what you’d call the crack of dawn? The clouds were certainly broken, if not cracked. (For those just joining us, you can click on the picture below to get to a higher-res version you can zoom into.)

Up at the end of the lake, I found a Heron and an Egret hanging out, and they didn’t seem to mind my hanging out there too, as long as I kept my distance (or, really, their distance).

In fact, it surprised be a bit when the Egret decided to come over to my side of the lake. Maybe she didn’t get along with the Heron…

These fawns were hanging out on the shore.

While other Herons were conducting tree-top operations.

This Eastern Phoebe was working the trees along the shore.

Ooh, make that two Eastern Phoebes.

Moving to the other end of the lake, I floated into this little backwater lagoon and, odd, I don’t remember there being a rock there…

Or two rocks … and why did that small rock seem to be pushing around the big one?


Creature Feature 2015 #7

Not too bad a day for pictures. Of course, I came back from the lake with 261 images in the camera. Here’s the ones that are worth anything… (As usual, you can click on the picture to get to a higher-resolution version.)

The Saturday morning boat race had just gone by, and when the lake is still and just a little bit scummy, boats will leave a trail.

I got to the northeast end of the lake in time to find a Kingfisher…. well, this is where he was:

Oh, there she goes!

Over there in that tree…

With the other Kingfisher. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten two in one picture:

All this was being watched by an Osprey. Here’s a rare picture of a wild bird coming towards the camera.

Gotta include a Heron picture. This one was keeping an eye on me from across the lake.

…while I was taking pictures of the Killdeer. With the water down a fair bit, there’s more mud flats for them to pick around in.

Creature Feature 2015 #5

No sooner did I remark about the dearth of Herons in my last post that I started seeing ‘em all over the place. So, to make up for that, this will be a bit of a Great Blue Heron special.

I’ve noticed that they often drag their feet in the water to scrub off speed prior to landing:

then hop up a bit:

(Um, yeah, that’s what I’m really doing when it looks like I bounced the airplane on the runway.) Despite assertions by some to the contrary, I do believe birds can, and do, stall their wings. They just do it with very tight control and exactly when they want to, like these Herons making what human fliers would call a full-stall landing:

All that flying requires regular airframe maintenance:

Oh, yeah, the Osprey are still working their nest on top of the intake. I didn’t see any little ones this time, but this parent is obviously protective of someone: