Saturday, October 31, 2015

An Autumn Saturday Morning

Before the last leaf floats to the ground, I wanted to get these pictures posted. I went out on an early morning photo jaunt a couple weeks ago to the place where it all started..."it" being the re-awakening of my love of photography.

About 8 years ago I woke up early on a Saturday morning and decided take a walk with our little "point & shoot" on the bike trail close to our church. One of those photos turned out so pretty, I got interested again in taking artsy pictures. Which led to a better camera, which led to a class, then another class, then a certification, then another camera, then a better lens...

So here are some things you might see early in the morning...

Warning: watch where you walk/run...the spider webs hang between branches, just about face-height!

The geese honking overhead.

The bikers biking.

The joggers jogging.

So pretty how the sun illuminates the turn of the trail.

Same spot, different shutter speed. (I didn't just stand here taking pictures of other people exercising! I walked the trail a bit and came back to this spot. I liked the composition from this angle best.)

Looking between the weeds to the pond. The reflection of trees on the pond makes this look like a stormy picture.

On the road a few miles away...

A quiet neighborhood in a nearby small town yielded up a purple door.

And then it was back home to tackle the Saturday to-do list!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Searching for Pelicans

Let me start this post by saying I have the bestest, most patient husband in the world. He indulges my wild _____(bison, moonrise, sunset, bloodmoon, wildlife, nature) chases, driving the car until I spy what I'm looking for and yell, "stop here!" Today it was pelicans.

Pelicans in Oklahoma? you ask.
That's exactly what I said!

Last year, I read somewhere about a Pelican Festival at Grand Lake. For some amazing reason, because I can't remember what I walked into the next room for, I remembered this and looked it up last Thursday. It was happening Friday & Saturday. Apparently, the American White Pelican stops at Grand Lake every year on their migration to the coast. Thirty-four years we've lived here and never heard of this. Not being interested in another small town festival, I suggested a Sunday drive to see if we could spot the pelicans on our own.

Thus began The Great Pelican Quest of 2015.

I found a map online with clip art of pelicans indicating common sighting places around Grand Lake. I knew we were in business.

Top down and coffees in hand, we enjoyed a Sunday morning drive 68 miles to the northeast. (Yes, we missed church. We discussed spiritual matters on the way. That counts.)

First stop on the map.
No access, no birds.

After a detour to Monkey Island, where the beautiful Shangri-La Resort is located ("island" should = easy access to water - and pelicans - right? Wrong. Only if you're rich.) it was off to the next clipart location. It was sort of a campground/picnic area. We pulled in & drove as close to the lake as possible. Here's the scene:

Park the convertible near some trees.
What is that noise?!?! We look up & it's full of blackbirds or crows.
Hubby says, "look, pelicans!"
Me: Whaaa? Those aren't pelicans!
Hubby: "not them - look there!"
A beautiful, perfect V of  white birds glide slowly & smoothly right over our heads.
Me, tripping out of the car, grabbing camera:  you think those are pelicans? they don't look like pelicans!
Hubby: Yes, I'm sure! Those are pelicans!
Me: aaagh!!! I'm not ready!!!!! Dang it!!  
Camera's not on, not set for shutter speed, ISO is wrong. I was thinking we would see them flocked on the embankment and I could set up for a beautiful shot, like in the pictures I Googled!

Now, lest you think these could be those gulls that always hang around the lake, keep scrolling....

This is not a Klingon "Bird of Prey" by the way.

 We ventured to other spots that were clip-artted with a pelican on the map and this is what we saw:

An abandoned picnic table.

Some renegade gulls (I'm not exactly sure what they're really called in these parts).
"Renegade" because here's the rest of the community..

Sailboat Bridge - so named because it's arched to allow the boats to pass under.

The Cherokee Queen (right), an old-fashioned paddle boat that tours the lake. CQ must be the Empress of the two. Supposedly, it will take you on a lake tour of pelican viewing during the festival. Maybe that would be worth the price next year.

The paddle wheel up close (with Lightroom effect).

So then I said to hubby "let's drive to the dam. There's a pelican clipart on the map at the dam"
He stopped here.
Me: That's not the Grand River Dam!
Him: "Yes, it is."
Me: you're kidding, right? 
Him: "That's the dam. You wanted to see it. There it is."
(I think he was done with the pelican hunt by this time).

And yes, he was kidding. He knows this area. He rides his Harley all over northeastern OK.
Here's the real dam. The other was just one of the gates.
No pelicans though. According to the map, they should be around here. But. No.

Here's a shot I thought was interesting.
Hubby: "You left the door open - those motorcycles can't get by!"
Me:  I thought they'd be in the bathroom longer!

And finally, on the trip home....

Hubby: "You better hope the wind doesn't catch that lens & you drop your camera!"

I didn't drop the camera. And we did have a nice time - driving on this beautiful day, talking, being goofy, enjoying the sights.

The pelicans?

Further research has yielded up another location to try next year :):)

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Sept 27 Super-Harvest-Blood-Moon

I love looking at the moon and this was a Once In A Lifetime Event - a lunar eclipse the same night as the Harvest Moon; a super-moon because of its closeness to the earth. AKA Blood Moon because of the eclipse. A perfect Moonage Daydeam (if you're a 70s alumni, you'll get that).

I consulted my mobile app "The Photographer's Ephemeris" for the moonrise time & location. This is a really handy tool, by the way.

The night before we scouted out possible location shoots. I spent a couple hours researching advice for the best camera settings and prepping the camera. These aren't pro-quality, but not bad for the size lens I had (and my amateur skills).

 I wanted a building or something in the foreground for perspective and picture interest.

For my purposes, a good spot was the church a mile from here.

I got one good shot with the steeple in the picture, but the best moon-shots were without the building.

The moon actually looks more red in photographs. To the naked eye, it was lighter than this. These pix are not edited except for cropping.

A friend brought her lawn chair & joined us. It was fun sitting outside, watching this together, almost like sitting under the summer sky watching the holiday fireworks.

After we went home, I went out on the patio & shot the rest of the eclipse action.

 Almost over...

 And here we are, back to normal.

The next morning, that same bright, full moon was setting in the western sky. I didn't get the tripod out, but took a picture anyway.

So that's it - Blood Moon #4, September 27, 2015. So glad the weather was nice, the sky was clear and I got to see the whole thing this time. And so thankful for a patient hubby, who indulges my escapades of chasing the sunset or moon.