Saturday, June 26, 2010

Camera Critters: Bullfrog


Photographing the local Wood Ducks hasn't been going well lately.  With the lower water levels brought on by the hot weather of summer and the increased vegetation I have been unable to locate the ducks on most visits.  On the occasions that I have located them it has been when they are already fleeing from my intrusion.

During my latest visit to the wetlands this big male Bullfrog relied upon his natural camouflage to conceal him as he sat motionless allowing me to slowly approach to the 400mm's closest focus distance.

For more Critters of all Kinds
Visit our friend Misty's

Friday, June 25, 2010


I bumped into some politicians the other day

Doing what all good politicians do; they were busily engaged in getting their “campaign contribution” and spreading crap around.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Time For a Face Lift

Nearly twenty years ago I acquired this little modified V boat.  Back then she was nearly new but time has a way of taking its toll on both man and machine.  Over the years seats, electronics and the bow mounted trolling motor were replaced.  The boat was still functionally sound but the carpet had long since seen its best days

Frontal shot showing the wear and deterioration.

Carpet completely gone in high traffic areas.

Having never done this kind of work before the entire job was a learning process.  The first lesson I learned was that a great deal of disassembly was required to do the job right.  Some items such as the trolling motor mount and rear hatch cover were held in place by rivets.  These all required removal by drilling and replaced with stainless steel bolts.

With the interior stripped down to the frame the laborious job of cleaning the parts began.  A paint stripping disk mounted in an electric drill did a great job removing the old glue.

Cleaned parts: rear deck and floor pan

Remembering the old adage; measure twice cut once, I was able to cut the carpet with no major mistakes.

Marine Adhesive is used to glue the new carpet in place

With major panels covered and in place the boat begins to take on its new look.

Reinstalling the rod holders and other accessories along with covering the hatch lids with aluminum diamond tread panels completed the job.  Total cost $255 in materials, 29 hours of my labor.

The 'ol girl now is now ready to carry me into another twenty years of fishing & waterfowl photography. if only I can last that long :)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Unusual Perch: Red-winged Blackbird

While passing through the historic town of Gettysburg yesterday my wife and I took a moment to drive through the grounds where the first day's fighting took place.

This Red-winged Blackbird perched upon the likeness of Brevet Major General James Samuel Wadsworth caught my eye.  His perch is not a natural one but from the condition of the statute it does appear that it is used often.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Recently I have been in a photographic dry spell.  My schedule and the weather simply has not been cooperating.  With a number of fix-up projects underway, an excellent fishing season, and a full time job my photography and blogging has been taking a back seat.

This evening, after finishing a phase of a fix-up project on my bass boat, I ask my wife if she would like to take a walk.  Grabbing the camera I was determined to photograph something to post!  Our first stop as at a yucca whose blooms are just past their prime.  The late evening sunlight cast a warm glow across the creamy white flowers.

A bush growing along the road offered up its translucent red berries which glowed beautifully in the warm back light.

Hopefully the weather and the ducks will cooperate that I will be able to get an update on the ducklings soon.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Camera Critters: Muskrats & Wood Ducks

My wildlife photography has been centered around the Wood Duck families in a local wetland lately.  Although the ducklings are the focus of my efforts other critters make themselves available for photographs.

This Muskrat swam right up to my feet as I crouched in hiding at the water's edge.  Realizing something was amiss; it looked up into my eyes and twitched its nose for a few seconds before diving to safety.

The Wood Duck babies are growing rapidly.

This particular duckling did not become alarmed upon hearing the camera's shutter, only mildly curious.

For more Critters of all Kinds
Visit Misty's

Monday, June 07, 2010

Disappearing Act: Hooded Merganser

A young Hooded Merganser swims past my hide noticing that something is not quite right.

As most of you know the only control of natural lighting the wildlife photographer has is in choosing the location to shoot from. In the case of the wood ducks and mergansers I have been posting lately because of their wariness that control lies solely in the choice of hiding spots. This photograph was taken in the morning from a location I normally consider an evening spot but in this case the backlighting worked to my advantage


As I began burst firing the Merganser quickly dived beneath the surface apparently leaving the area as I did not see it again during this wetlands visit.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Wood Duck Family Portraits

A recent morning at the local wetlands proved to be very productive.

After changing my shooting location and improving my concealment the Wood Ducks have been much more cooperative. Although the hens are still a wary as ever, having youngsters to look out for has worked to my advantage. I photographed this hen and ducklings as they were passing by no more than twenty feet away.

Another hen with slightly larger ducklings approached from directly in line with the sun; catching me as I slowly turned the camera towards them. Unsure of the movement they had just seen they returned to cover but not before I was able to capture this backlit image.

This hen swam into view some twenty yards away giving me a good first shot complete with a decent reflection. 

The clicking of the camera's shutter drew her attention to me causing her to peer intently in my direction while moving her head from side to side trying to detect what was causing the strange sound.

This is the same family pictured in the first image of this series.  I captured this image as the hen led her little family away after becoming aware of the shutter sounds. 

I never really notice the click of the shutter when shooting scenic, family etc but when photographing wildlife close up the click becomes a loud resounding crash, a sound that wary wildlife such as these Wood Ducks are sure to notice and react to.