Sunday, November 29, 2009


I'm fond of them but I don’t usually notice them.

Instinctively I’ll stop the car and run into the road to save a poor, misguided Eastern Box turtle from harm. Look at that turtle lady go! Yep, that's me.


There are times when I give them my undivided attention. Painted Turtles rest on a log, lollygagging, doing nothing much except examining moss, until they catch a whiff of my perfume – blip-blip blip blip-blip-blip in succession like dominos they drop into the murky water. I’ve learned that you need to work your camera quickly for Painted Turtles because when photos are concerned, they’re no different from most birds.


Why are they all facing in the same direction?


Their eyesight must be superb because this Snapper saw me moving closer at least fifty yards away. Slide’n dive. How rude. I was on my way to introduce myself.

Life is full of surprises. Oh, I’d rather not be surprised but I’ll admit that most of them are usually pleasant.


Have you ever reviewed your photos at the end of the day to see there were things going on in a particular photo that you didn’t notice? Dragonfly surprise! Cameras with zoom rock.


Here is a series of photos taken within minutes of each other. I had no idea there was a turtle sharing the bark.



My answer to your question is, “Yes, I’m tired of and bored with my Great Blue Heron photos.” I need to kick them up a notch, somehow. Great Blue Herons don’t do much besides stand perfectly still so to find one striking a pose isn’t remotely possible. Maybe if I inflate a raft and attach a blind to it I can paddle my way to the big bird and sit for a while… It would not be difficult to do, although I would attract local news media and possibly get arrested. Someone must dare me.


I count four. What a nice surprise to see them in an otherwise dull Mallard duck photo.

The Hooded Mergansers have arrived and I have been trying to get near them without a bit of luck. For the past few weeks it has been overcast, gray, and actually dark quite often in Charlotte but I’ll show these photos anyway because a few of them contain a pair of turtles. I laughed out loud because, again, I was unaware.


Cute Mallard, cute duck feet. (no turtle)



Male Hoodie – not a good shot, by any means, but colorful, at least. (no turtle)


And there goes his girl. I stood in the rain and waited for the couple to come together. They did, far, far, away...


After reviewing the last few photos, the miniature paddle boat/canoe/raft/blind idea is sounding real good to me. Hmmm.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

An Afternoon in Charleston

We attended a bridal shower for my daughter’s good friend.


It was a sweet trip with Gina on an Indian summer day in late October, heading near Charleston, South Carolina.

We arrived thirty minutes early to the private waterfront residence, allowing us a bit of time to sightsee.


Mt. Pleasant’s scenery dazzled me so that I almost didn’t notice the heat and humidity that slammed us when we opened the car door. I could live there; however, the humid breeze is a real problem for my hair - you know.


There were birds I can’t identify. I only had about twenty minutes to see so many. Small egrets or herons were perched all over the place and these are the best photos I could grab in a few minutes. Frantic.



It didn't take either of us long to soak up the pretty Charleston lifestyle and to fall in love with two or three-story large homes with long wooden porches offering ceiling fans, rocking chairs, and swings; shaded neighborhood streets with moss-draped, large deciduous trees; and water, water, everywhere. There were hammocks in the front yards at every other home, indicative of sweet, relaxed living.


I was willing to walk for a while but in a few minutes we needed to peel our clothes away from our skin, and my hair, well – you know.

The bridal shower was perfectly planned.


A hot lunch was served on a hot porch, facing west. Delicious.

All very proper.

The hostesses were gracious and oozed with the southern hospitality we all adore.

This marvelous home faced the harbor and I had a difficult time resisting the view that kept calling me from behind. I sort of felt like a child in school tortured by something irresistible in the back of the classroom…

The gifts were fine, the young and older women were giddy and entertaining, everything was beautiful, and the bride-to-be was glowing. Lea.

I sat on that lovely porch having a lovely time, turned around, held my camera to my face, gazed at what there was beyond the screen, and pictured myself in flip flops strolling along down that long pier… For a moment, or for an hour, I wanted to cry out loud,


May I be excused, please?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Mid Autumn Walk

Hoodie. Check.

iPod. Check.

Camera. Check.

Bubblegum. Check.

Hand weights. Check.

Get the camera snug on my chest and zip up the hoodie.

There. That should do it. But I look so odd -

like I’m about ready to birth a camera.

Oh, who would care.

A few good leg stretches. Check.

Keys. Check.

When I head out for my fitness walk, I never take my camera. I listen to music and watch the birds sing, marvel at the sunrise, and admire morning dew that glistens like stardust…wishing for a photograph.

This walk wasn't all about me.


Photographing someone’s home makes me nervous. It’s entirely possible that an ill-feeling curmudgeon on pain killer meds might see me through the window blinds, become annoyed, and shoot me or something.


It’s the time of year when summer’s secrets are exposed and privacy blinds are pulled back and away within a few short weeks. Naked.

I scan trees looking for a hummingbird nest. I’ve never seen one. I’d need to climb the maples and oaks that line our neighborhood streets to confirm. Now, that mental image makes me laugh.


I love the fuzzies.


A whole field of fuzzies I found.

For me, walking is an escape. It lends an opportunity to seal myself away from intrusion. An opportunity to plan, daydream, or worry in peace. No phone - just me, my working heart, and fresh air for under an hour a day. It’s better than a long soak in a tub. Well, almost.

Try it. It’ll turn into the best habit you ever had and a hard one to break.


I turned off my iPod and listened to the morning birdsong. Yellow-rumped Warblers, American Robins, Northern Mockingbirds, Eastern Bluebirds, Starlings, Carolina Chicadees, and House Sparrows were busy with bird business but I didn’t get a shot.

When driving to the drug store later,


purple flowers caught my eye at this intersection. The only way to see them was to pull over, park the car, and walk a stone’s throw


to adore a small field of Morning Glories, not yet zapped by a freeze. Hundreds of them, all for me.


Looks electric, doesn’t it?

At the drug store I caught glimpse of a hawk land in a low tree across the street. Being a hawk stalker is very cool and fun for me, so I tip-toed double time across a side street.


Red-shouldered flew away, out of sight, but I knew this hawk wanted to rest and have time to preen. I was sure of it and knew it was real close.

If I walked a bit down this narrow gravel path…I’d find it.


Surely, I’d be alright on foot and would ignore the sign, as usual.


Ah ha! Gotcha!

Walking is good but hawk stalking is the bomb.

Friday, November 13, 2009

I interrupt this irregularly scheduled program...


to bring you a bubble on a whim this evening. I had the most fun with this photo; however, these are my very best bubbles.

There’s a post I concocted that’s been sitting on the back burner for over a week, heavy on photos as expected here. I think it’s ready to go but I’m not quite sure… It’s waiting for me to get myself together and dish it out but it ain’t happening right now.

Life is too big and I’m all disjointed.


Chloe doesn’t look at me the way she used to when I say “cheese!” or “walk?”. She isn’t pretending to be aloof.

Her hearing is going, going, gone.


I still talk to her as if she can hear me. I love her and hold her close more often and let her feel my voice on her skin.

She is often lost and looking around to find me as her sight is going, going, almost gone. She sticks to me like glue. I believe she sees a shadow directly ahead. It might be similar to looking through a scope or seeing a light at the end of a tunnel.

Honestly, I miss her.


More black and white.


On the evening before the recent tropical storm arrived, Marbled Salamander planted itself on our driveway. Michael and I moved it to a safer place a few times before the tenacious torrential rains pounded for three days.

Yes, life has been big.

Living hard,



playing a little,


a bit dangerously

and licking my fingers with delight


For now, here is a bird


Light and carefree


or dark and thoughtful.



Tuesday, November 03, 2009

I take it back.


There’s an avian congregation here. They meet every day at the pond before dinnertime and I don’t dare step outside to join them. When one Mourning Dove freaks out, the rest follow suit.

I’ve regularly made fun of Mourning Doves here for over three years.

Mourning Doves are not the sharpest tools in the shed and are terrible homebuilders and housekeepers with insatiable appetites but


what’s not to like about a Mourning Dove?


Does it really matter if they are pigeon-toed and can’t prance like a Killdeer or Robin? In the air, they’re like small, gray, high-speed jets. I like that about them and the way their tiny, dopey, skulls bob when they waddle on their way to supper.


They love, or seem to…

My best bird moments were far more exciting than watching Mourning Doves do what they do; however, the little knuckleheads have given me endless hours of entertainment.


It’s not fair that I’ve mocked them and sometimes complained about the space they fill out back. I take it back.

Because I’ll admit to smiling at a Mourning Dove more often than most other birds… (except for Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds, of course).


For me, this pose is hilarious.


They ARE pretty. I’ll never turn my back on them and will always snap away. That is, of course, unless a Pileated Woodpecker is in the area...