Wednesday, April 22, 2015

South Llano River SP - 12/6/2014

© - Inca Dove
My first three photo shoots after retiring were all made at South Llano River State Park (SLRSP) near Junction, Texas.

For those of you who have been reading this or my other blog for an extended period of time, you will know that I have nearly unending praise for SLRSP.  This is a great place to observe birds and make images.  Wonderful staff.  Outstanding volunteers.  Good blinds.  Great place to get back into the swing of things.

Some say that getting back into any of a number of activities is like getting onto a bicycle again after having not ridden one in a long time.  If that is the case, I sure skinned my knees and stubbed my toes a couple of times on this particular adventure.

My images.  Well, mediocre at best.  There was not a lot of light to play with as the promised light overcast was thicker than I would have liked.  It was also chillier than I had prepared for.  My fault, of course.  I failed to follow the 5 P's (Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance).

I shot in the Acorn Blind (AKA Blind #4 or the blind nearest Buck Lake) from 9:50AM to 12:30 PM.  The species that I was able to count/identify included:  Black-crested Titmouse, Northern Cardinal, Hermit Thrush, Chipping Sparrow, Inca Dove (pictured above), House Finch, Carolina Chickadee, and American Goldfinch.

My best images were of Northern Cardinals, Inca Doves, and Chipping Sparrows.  I have not yet "harvested" this trip for all of the keepers.  That tends to still be a problem for me.  I did turn a lady Cardinal into a Flickr image as well as a 1920x1080 wallpaper image for my own personal edification.

But again, best is pushing the limits of sanity.  First shooting in 4 months.  Cold morning.  Well heck, I think I would have been happy if I managed to get the lens cap off and not accidentally apply unneeded exposure compensation.  And I was happy.  It was sure good to get out and make images again.

About the Image:
My 3 most favorite images from this visit were all Northern Cardinals, but I think y'all have seen enough of those from me.  So I went instead with the Inca Dove (Columbina inca) perched on one of the perches.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Taking Things Off Pause

© - Northern Cardinal
So last summer I put this blog on pause.  I had retired from the Air Force.  I was starting a new job.  I knew I was going to be busy.  Well, I thought I knew how busy I was going to be.

Eight months down the road I now know that I made a really good decision to put this blog on pause.  Wow... Civilian life is different.  As busy as military life, but just in a different way.

Four months of that eight I didn't even pick up the camera to go shooting.  Probably a mistake in retrospect, but things needed to be done around the new home.  My first shoot was back in a blind at South Llano River SP in early December.  It took another 6 weeks before I shot again.  All in total I have shot 7 times since retiring, and all 7 times have been in bird blinds of one sort or another.

I think I have enough sea legs in the civilian world to start blogging here again.

My return will be going in 4 different directions.

First is catching up with what the private ranches in the Texas Hill Country and South Texas are doing.  I will be working hard to catch up again on my bird blind map and trying to get my bearings again.

Second, I will be documenting my blind trips from this year.  Good for historical data going down the road--you'd be surprised if I told you how many searches hit this site looking for particular shooting locations.  Date plus location will be a good reference point.

Third, I will likely be building a new website to catalog some of this information.  The blog is great, but having a resource that is searchable will likely be better for all who are looking.

And last, but certainly not least, I will be chronicling the planning and building of my own bird blind in my backyard.  With retirement came a change in homes and this home has the space in the "backyard" to put up a permanent blind.

I am aiming for weekly posts.  Fingers crossed...

About the Image:
This is one of the test shots I made out of a temporary pop-up blind in the backyard.  The Northern Cardinal was very cooperative.