Month: February 2009

While on the subject of Robins….

I always seem to have a good number of Robins around the old homestead. And when I start raking leaves or cutting grass one or two brave ones are always following my steps looking for an easy morsel of food turned up by my yard activities.

Two springs ago a Robin couple set up their nursery right next to my carport and side entrance. Gave me an opportunity to try and get a few photos surrounding the blessed event.

As is typical with Robins, Mama Robin built the nest and of course incubated the eggs. Plus she had to keep her strength up by going out and fending for herself for brief periods of time. Papa showed up as soon as the eggs hatched to help feed the little ones and protect the nest. Mama Robin didn’t seem to mind me carrying out any activities which would take me near the nest from time to time but Papa Robin had no tolerance for me whatsoever. He never dove at me but would get reasonably close and give me a good verbal going-over. My verbal reassurances were never acknowledged!

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I am happy to say the brood made it to adolescence and safely graduated from the nest. One day they were there…..next day gone!

This past year another Robin family moved in and built a new nest not 12 inches from the one abandoned the year before. Unfortunately only a couple of days after the babies hatched the adults disappeared, as did the brood. I fear the worst. I’m guessing perhaps a stray cat found the nest or even a Cooper’s hawk. We have several in the area that are always on the prowl.

By the way, this is a “rerun” post that I had published on a previous blog but with spring just around the corner, I was reminded of it and it makes me hopeful that I will be able to enjoy another feathered family or two setting up a homestead soon.

Speaking of my niece….

As I mentioned in my comment to Bryant of “My Free Time” in my last post titled “Take Me Out To The Ballgame“, there was another fruit that fell from the tree of my photo session with my niece, Lori, and her mom.

Back in the mid-eighties I had become acquainted with a local artist and teacher, Mrs. Gerri Kisner, who owned an art store that I use to frequent from time to time when I needed framing mats or mat board. And….from time to time I would share some of the photographs I had taken with her and it was during one of these ‘show and tell’ moments that she saw the photo below of Lori sitting on the old barrel shown below and immediately asked if I would consider releasing it, giving her the rights for painting it. Well of course I was flattered and immediately agreed.

Lori - Black and White Original(Lori – Original Photograph)

The finished painting itself was exhibited for a time in an art museum located in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Mrs. Kisner also had a quantity of large 24″x30″ ‘numbered’ prints made of the piece which sold locally at various retail outlets. I have posted a photograph of that print below. As you can easily note, she used the photograph subject as a baseline and added her own touches to compliment her painting, given the setting.

Lori - Gerri Kisner Painting(Lori – Painting by Gerri Kisner)

This has been my only experience with having one of my photographs used in the development and/or reference of an artist’s painting but as previously mentioned, certainly to this day remain flattered by the experience.

Take Me Out To the Ballgame….

Some years back, 1985 to be exact, when I was just getting into photography and was looking for subjects and experience anywhere I could find it, one of my sisters brought her youngest daughter, my little niece Lori, over to the house one day for a “photo session”. After taking several of your typical portraits I decided to try and get the “cutesy” type photos. Sis put one of my old Atlanta Brave T-shirts on the poor kid, some of my old tennis shoes and out of the dust of that session was born a family ‘legend’ of grand proportion. Two of the photos just cried for justice, so they got it!

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Lori’s Big GameWritten by Uncle Alan

Lori 1

It’s the day of the big game and we’re ready to play.
The gangs all here – s’pecting me to save the day.
So let’s show ‘um all whose number one.
It’ll be one hell of a game and a whole lot of fun!

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Lori 2

Softball sucks and the other team can kiss my ass!
They threw to hard and ran too fast!
My team mates, by the way can’t play worth a crap.
They can all go to Hell – I’m gonna go take a nap!

My Blogosphere”….

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I have my favorite blogs as do we all. I have been keeping a few blog links on my blog and others ‘bookmarked’ in my browser but have decided to just incorporate them all within a new menu item here on the blog. I have renamed a section of my blog appearing in the Side-Bar Menu from “Favorite Blogs & Journals” to “My Blogosphere” which is a bit more encompassing. Sure, I may like some blogs more than others just like you but I figured as long as I visit them ‘all’ almost on a daily basis I might as well include them all together.

If your blog link appears on my blog it is there because I like your blog and for no other reason. It requires no reciprocal action on any blog owner’s part whatsoever. It is simply what it is….the blogs that I personally enjoy visiting and reading. If you don’t enjoy visiting my blog or its content, why in the world would you link to it?

Some folks often use the ‘blog roll’ and associated links as a means of drawing traffic to their blog. In fact, some blogger guru’s recommend swapping links with as many bloggers as possible in an effort to increase your blogs traffic. For me blogging is about common interests and the sharing of those common interests and not about traffic. So why would I want a bunch of links on my blog to blogs with which I never visit or have anything in common with?

Truth of the matter is, if you really, really want to have a ‘blog roll’ to attract the attention and interest of your visitors enough for them to actually visit the blogs you have listed…..simply title your blog roll “Blogs I Hate”! Nothing works better than human psychology.

If for some reason one day in the future you notice that your blog has disappeared from my blogosphere and that fact disturbs you to any degree, always remember the old adage, “Cash talks!”

Kidding of course….

It ain’t Cancun but it’ll have to do….

Yesterday as I was passing by the patio door inside the house I noticed one of the local Robins lying out in the backyard all stretched out soaking in the sunshine. This is not an unusual occurrence as I seem to get a number of Robins and Mourning Doves that treat my backyard like a sunbathing paradise.

Some Robins, not all, seem to be quite tolerant of us humans but this one surprised me quite a little bit yesterday. I decided to try and get a photo or two so I slowly slid the patio door and screen open. I was able to get a couple but then I decided to try and push it. I got my camera, put it on my tripod and stepped out onto the patio and walked toward the Robin till I got to the edge of the patio. He seemed little concerned. I then extended the three legs of my tripod and set up my shot. Now understand, I am doing all of this within about 15 feet of the Robin who is obviously quite vulnerable sprawled out on the ground. He continued to remain undisturbed. In fact, his head was turned away from me and the camera and I actually had to snap my fingers and make a little noise to try and get him to turn his head. He eventually did but only long enough for me to get a couple of photos and then back to totally ignoring me.

I have posted two photos and the first photo was taken from inside the house thru a window before I went out onto the patio with my camera and tripod….

Robin Sunbathing(Click on image to enlarge)

As reflected in the photo below, before I got outside with the camera the Robin had moved several feet to another location and was apparently trying to get a better angle on the warming sun…..

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If there was no story to go along with the photograph, one would probably think the Robin was either injured or dead! Sometimes nature can be puzzling, as well as entertaining.

I have a particular Mourning Dove that I can almost swear is becoming domesticated. The other day he was sunning just about the same distance from the patio that the Robin was. I went out there and threw some seed out where I normally feed the doves. He didn’t even get up on his feet while any other dove would have been gone in a split second the minute I slid the patio door open. About ten minutes later he was up from his sunning spot and over chowing down.

The Great Blue Heron and me….

Here’s one for the books…..

This past Friday I am engaged in getting a little exercise by walking down at the local neighborhood lake and am about a quarter mile into my typical one mile walk when I spy a Great Blue Heron standing on the bank of the lake several yards ahead of me. As I approach closer I expect him to take flight but he just remains standing there. Within a few seconds I am walking right by him and at this point he is approximately ten yards or so from me. I stop briefly still expecting him to fly at any moment but still, he continues to stare right back at me.

Then I begin to continue my walk but am now mesmerized by the fact that this bird has not flown away. Herons are typically very wary and skittish when it comes to humans so I am a bit perplexed at its exhibited behavior. I stop and start walking back toward the bird but still he remains frozen in our standoff. Of course this whole time I am wishing, “Oh if I just had my camera!”

I finally let him have the better of the standoff and proceed with my walk but in the process continue to glance his direction to see if I can still see him. Once I reach my car, I get in the car and head home but as I pass by him on the opposite side of our small lake I can still see him standing in the same location. It was at that moment that I made my momentous decision.

I got to the house, went in and got my camera along with the tripod and then drove the three miles back to the lake. As I drove toward where I had seen him I could see he was still there. I parked about twenty yards from him, got out the camera and tripod and started easing in his direction. I went probably about five yards and decided not to push it. Got the camera and tripod in position and began snapping a few pictures. After taking several, I moved from behind the camera and tripod and off he went.

Now…..I am not going to try and convince you of anything beyond the evidence presented. But it seems to me that this Great Blue Heron knew I desperately wanted to get his picture and he had the patience to wait there until I finished my walk, waited for me to drive home and get my camera and then waited just a little longer until I was satisfied I had accomplished my goal.

So on behalf of the Great Blue Heron, not me, I offer the photograph I took of the subject of this post in all his beauty and grandeur. I feel certain at this point that it was his intent that I do so. Be sure and click on the image to view the larger size….

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The Little Hummer Who Wouldn’t….

One of my favorite things to do in the summertime is to sit out on the patio and have the hummingbirds share their day with me. It is almost always entertaining and from time to time quite educational. You can be assured that on this little blog there are apt to be a number of entries related to these little creatures. Of course, with photography being one of my favorite hobbies, there are also apt to be an assortment of photos and videos involving them as the summers roll by. The two (2) little video clips I am featuring in this post are ones I took this past summer.

One morning while observing the activity at the feeder a little hummer kept returning but was not feeding from the little yellow flowers which, of course, lead to the sugar water. Instead, it was hovering along the edges of the feeder and laping up obvious leftovers and dribbles that had run down the side and collected around the edges of the feeder. Apparently when other hummingbirds visited the feeder, minute amounts of sugar water had dribbled down from the flowers after they finished eating which gathered along the edges of the feeder.

The first video shows the little hummer going around the entire edge of the feeder lapping the leftovers. At one point the hummer flies under the bottom of the feeder and appears to be trying to figure out just where in the hell this good stuff coming from.

Hummer Video 1

The second video shows a relative close-up shot of the same hummer and you can actually see the remnants of the sugar water along the plastic edging disappear as he laps it up.

Hummer Video 2

This little hummer spent an enormous amount of time at the feeder as compared to the other hummers. This routine of lapping around the edges continued for almost a week before finally figuring it out – but he did figure it out. Once he began feeding via the flowers he frequented the feeder no more or less than the other hummingbirds.

A few words on authors and writing….

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It is often difficult these days, especially now in the age of ‘the Internet’ when so many are putting forth writings, to determine from a literary standpoint what constitutes literature anymore. In the past we were guided in the simplest of ways by the existence of the written page. Today as technology evolves, much of what would have perhaps ultimately reached the written page now only exist in Cyberspace, accessed and read for the most part via the Internet. And to that which may still be redeemed as literature, it often lies buried in the stench and decay of tons and tons of self-proclaimed literary refuse. Perhaps never to be found and feasted upon.

It seems that literature is beginning to no longer be recognized by its rightly place on some stately book shelf nor is it recognized any longer by the righteous cover that has for so long protected its very soul. It has slipped from our sight and now hides in the darkness of Cyberspace. It is there, just beyond that darkened computer screen on your desk.

As with most things, dealing with what is defined as change and progress often produces almost always an up-side and a down-side. Today writers may surface who in the past may not have ever attained the recognition that would have otherwise been so deserving did they not have this new freedom of literary expression and self-publishing. Still others, who are certainly a part of the majority will defame the art of writing to such a degree that many of us will begin to entertain putting down the pen, dowsing the passion within and perhaps trying our skills at finger-painting for fear of association.

To a degree a self-proclaimed writer myself, in years past I would have been tasked with enduring exhaustive measures in securing some measure of published recognition. But today we, as individual writers, find ourselves in the most unique and self-serving positions since the ‘Big Bang’ because we can, with the application of a few strokes on a computer keyboard, publish our writings in nanoseconds for the entire world to read.

No longer are we restrained by those things others would impose on our writing. We can self-pleasure ourselves with all measures of writing skills. Perhaps you will never be acclaimed by Oprah or receive a Pulitzer for literary accomplishment. Nevertheless, you can and will reside for eternity in the column of ‘published’ writers. You can forever throw caution to the literary winds….along with any sense of grammatical oversight or punctuation skills. These are simply remnants from a literary torture chamber of a writing age that has now seemingly come and gone.

Regardless of one’s passion for writing, part of that passion is laced with the knowledge and comprehension of the skills required to convey their thoughts to their end goal so that their passion can be truly shared. Progress can never be an excuse for setting aside the tools and skills encapsulated in all measure of literature which has surely brought us to where and who we are today as a society and culture.