Reach Out and Grab It

The “Month of Variety” is coming to a close.  This is a good thing for me because the bird pictures are really starting to stack up as of late.  I’ve had a number of local encounters this month that I’m really happy about and Linda and I have been out on additional bird shoots that have have netted some nice opportunities as well.  Speaking of which, today’s shoot was unbelievably FRUSTRATING – well at least one large chunk of it.  We had been up and down the Mississippi River for most of the morning checking out whatever water birds we could locate.  While visiting a nature center at of the sites we came across a birding pamphlet that indicated the Pileated Woodpecker was COMMON in the particular area we were, Spring, Summer, Winter and Fall.  Let me restate that – they are COMMON to the area.  Needless to say, we tracked down a wooded nature preserve and headed right for it.  By headed right to it, I mean, drove all over the place trying to find it including backtracking like crazy trying to locate it.  Unbeknownst to us at the time this was going to be the theme for our prized Woodpecker hunt.  Eventually we located it and headed out on one of the trails.  Mental note, next time take a better look at the map.  In our haste to get the shot, we failed to set a proper course.  About 20 minutes into the trek we heard it!  You can’t mistake the sound of a Pileated Woodpecker.  Sure enough, about 5 minutes later it flew high over our heads and lighted quite some distance deeper into the woods.  In hindsight we should have just tracked it down, but instead we decided to continue on the trail back to the car.  An hour plus later we were lost thanks to absolutely pathetic trail markers.  It was awful, but eventually we found the proper trail and started our trek out.  At one point I joked to Linda that there will probably be 5 Pileateds sitting in the tree next to our car when we returned.  That didn’t come to fruition when we staggered out of the woods.  We got in the car and left dejected.  About .3 miles out of the park that damn Pileated (assuming at this point it was the same) flew past our windshield and into the trees by the side of the road.  By the time Linda got the car stopped and I got out it had disappeared again AAAARRRRGGHHHH!!!  All that work, 2 sightings and NOTHING to show for it.

But that really wasn’t the topic for today’s post.  Instead I am going with some shots that we took during our Mackinaw Island trip back in 2012.

It was actually a gorgeous night on July 3rd.  We were in the area to catch the Fourth of July celebrations.  As with our previous visit, we opted to stay on the mainland rather than fight the hassle with the shuttles.  The hotel we were staying at was on the lake complete with beach.   As the day was coming to an end, the full moon decide to grace us shrouded in a breathtaking orange.  The Harvest Moon shots in the previous post was what reminded me about these shots.

There is something about a serene water setting that completely relaxes you.  No more worrying about work or fretting about tasks to get done at home, just living in the now with the best nature has to offer.  I was standing out in the water enjoying the scene when Linda took this shot.  Was I thinking deep philosophical thoughts, the foundation of our existence or maybe the downfall of the greatest country in the world thanks to socialist agendas?

Hit the jump to see the answer.

Nope, just thinking of what clever way I could always remember that peaceful moment.  When I heard Linda take the previous shot it came to me.  A clever play on perspective would do the trick.  Next up was to find a way to pull it off.  Put myself in just the right angle, gather a few rocks from underneath the water and presto – that moon was mine!  – not that this really needs to be stated, but obviously Linda get the photography credit …

… well, sort of.  I take a lot of pictures of things that may not seem important at the time, but I know I have it and can use it when that special need arises.  While processing these pictures in the digital darkroom I knew I had some options.  The real shot is actually below.

As you can tell, to get me visible in the shot Linda had to slightly over expose the moon.  This resulted in some loss of detail as it washed out from the brightness.  Credit to her she nailed the exposure for me on this one (the first shot looking at the moon came out a little soft).  No worries, a little bit of shopping will straighten that right out.  Taking a good shot and making it great hehehe.  I’ll be getting this fixed one printed for my office.  That way, whenever the day looks the bleakest and the weight gets too much to bear I can look over an remember how I felt on that calm moment in my life.  Again, thanks to Linda for getting it in the tin.

Find Your Calm Everyone!

12 thoughts on “Reach Out and Grab It”

  1. Beautiful pictures–very serene as you say.

    “gather a few rocks from underneath the water” for what purpose?? To stand on? Why would you need to do that, since Linda could move the camera.

    So, do your cameras have GPS in them to annotate the pictures? Do you have any pictures in the camera taken near the car? Can you just look at the menu or take pictures and look at the image info to make your way back?

    I’m surprised you actually managed to find a Pileated Woodpecker based on a birding pamphlet in a nature center. But I have to say I was a little disappointed to find out that Linda wasn’t on her game and didn’t hit it with the car. She was probably at her wit’s end after being lost with someone telling jokes.



  2. Well the real story is the stupid woodpecker flew right in front of my windshield. I slammed on the brakes as Brian screamed, grabbed his camera and started running down the road like a crazy person. I hope no one saw us! And for the record, I never killed the owl unlike someone I know who not only killed it but stopped to make sure it was really dead!


  3. I thought there was only one owl story–the only one Brian tells me about is the Snowy Owl incident. Are you saying he killed an owl?

    You really have to take pictures of Brian as he’s running like a crazy person. And share them.



  4. Wow, lookee at all the comments!

    First off, you are forgetting I was dealing with an ARTEEEST which translates to … “move everything in the frame so it looks perfect and then simply have the ARTEEEST behind the camera press the shutter” So, YES, I did have to dig in eel infested waters to uncover big enough rocks to get the angle right for the fixed camera. I imagined being thrashed against one of the rocks like in the movie The Deep!

    Funny enough, we were BOTH carrying GPS phones and of course with mine having a hiking app on it that would have tracked us perfectly – we were just too lazy to turn them on – Linda ended up pulling up the map from the Internet and STILL led us astray. This all came down to Linda saying “We need to take the Green trail” ugh

    All birders in St. Louis breathed a sigh of relief when Linda MISSED the bird – that was really close! By the way, it’s Jokes that made that trip only feel like an hour instead of the more likely 3 hour tour.. I mean hike.


  5. Umm, per the Linda exaggeration there was NO SCREAMING just a long sigh of relief. I did jump out of the vehicle so she got that right but there was no crazy person run — more like a controlled stroll to find some angle to get the picture which never came to fruition. … and yes, she killed that snowy owl!


  6. I swear to god, if it isn’t Hank Williams Jr. fantasy stories it’s fables about me and owls. Getting as believable as our local weather predictions.


  7. Actually, I was thinking that standing taller in a photo might have been instinctive.

    A “long sigh of relief” is not consistent with “jumping out of the vehicle”, but a scream could be. I’ll go halfway on that.


    The owl death is related to the Hank Williams, Jr. concert?!? This is truly epic.



  8. Standing taller? that’s your answer? apparently we have TWO ARTEEEESTS in the house.

    want to know what is worse than two fables… combining two fables into one event – not epic!


  9. Two weeks ago, Brian photographed this owl that hangs out on our road. Really nice shot. Last week, he smacked it with his truck and killed it. I know it was dead as the carcass was still on the road with feathers everywhere when I came home that day. Unlike the alleged snowy owl where no remains were found. I NEVER killed that owl (and it was a common brown owl!), it only went for a ride across my windshield and soft topped jeep.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s