April 20, 2018

Sunny, 35 Degrees, No Wind.

Oh what a lovely day to be outdoors! The sun is out, the sky is a deep blue, and not a hint of wind to ruin the mood. As Jamie and I head towards the woods, it is a day to relish, especially after such a long, cold spring. We slow down and walk at a more relaxed pace, though Jimmy never walks too slowly when he’s heading for the woods.

How can I explain to more southerly people how precious these days are to us Northerners? I don’t know that it’s possible. After hunkering down and girding ourselves against the cold and wind and snow and rain, the first soft days of spring seem like miracles. These days are unbelievably sweet to us.

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This maple tree is blooming!

I suppose you Southerners enjoy your spring in a not too dissimilar manner, but you can’t possibly appreciate the contrast we experience. Mind you, it is only 35 degrees when I leave, but by the time I return, it’s already 40 degrees and heading for the upper fifties if not beyond. I leave with hat and gloves, but I know I won’t really need them, and I strip them off when we reach the woods and I start to use the camera.

Arriving at the woods, I have no idea what I will photograph. I enjoyed shooting the clouds yesterday, but today is so perfectly clear and dry that there is not a cloud in the sky. But fear not, because as soon as I step off the road, I notice the sunlight glistening off of the pine needles on the trees there and immediately I am off.

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This wasn’t shot for the composition. I wanted to capture all those pine cones. 

I love this phenomenon. I keep finding that I notice new things unfailingly as I walk each day. And I find that noticing is much better than looking for new ideas. If something catches my eye, then it’s almost certainly worth photographing. Looking for something to photograph usually yields weak images that are forced.

And the good news is that I keep noticing new things, despite shooting in the same place for over 80 days in a row now. Love it!

_S8A1443.jpgI shoot a number of compositions of pine boughs against the sky. The light shining off of the needles is really nice, and the branches make really nice shapes against the sky. I’ve shot these branches before, but I’ve never noticed this light before and I’m framing the shots tighter than before.

I leave the long lens on for the entire walk, looking for these little compositions in the tree tops. I happily shoot in a relaxed manner as I stroll around our loop in the woods. A turkey surprised us in the woods, in the same area where we saw them before. It flies up from no more than 25 feet away. Neither Jimmy nor I had seen it at all. I try to catch a shot of it flying away, but it’s moving fast, and trees obscure the shot.

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I got very lucky here to capture this Turkey in flight, and in focus between these trees.

The spring peepers are peeping again, though relatively tentatively. It’s still not exactly balmy out, but the sun will warm the marsh considerably this afternoon and they should be in good spirits.

On the way out of the woods I notice that there are few birds singing. Usually, they are in full song at this time in the morning. But just as I think this, a Cardinal flies into view and sits on a branch to sing.

A little further along, I notice a tiny little bird, perhaps only two to three inches long, flitting from branch to branch frenetically. I try to capture it, but it’s moving so fast, it’s tough. I get some shots of it later in another tree, but they’re from below, so I may not be able to identify it.

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This Golden Winged Warbler flitted from branch to branch so fast, he was hard to capture.

Back on the road, I stop a few times to shoot interesting looking branches. Jamie is so accustomed to this now that I just drape his leash over his back and drop my end. He often just stands where he is. At most, he wanders off a few feet. I love his mellowness on the return walk.

_S8A1423When we leave the house, he’s a laser beam of energy, focused on getting out and traveling as fast as he can, but on the way back, he walks along next to me in a relaxed manner that is such a pleasure.

Just a block from home, I notice a large bird sitting in a tree. My first thought is that it’s a Turkey, it’s that big, but I quickly realize it’s a Turkey Vulture. Maybe that’s where the name comes from. It’s coloration, and the naked head are reminiscent of Turkeys.

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Ugly, but spectacular Turkey Vulture. They’re beautiful in the air, but not pretty up close.

He watches me closely, craning his long neck from side to side to see what I’m up to. These birds are not hunted, but they are still wary of people. You rarely see them this close. Fortunately, he stays put as I maneuver to get a clear shot of him.

Back at the house, I sigh with the pleasure of this walk. Jamie heads straight for the back yard where he will spend the day basking in the sun. Even though Lisa is home, he would rather sunbathe than enjoy our company. Who can blame him on a day like this.

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Jamie wandering  with the leash dragging on the ground. He won’t go far–unless there’s a dog nearby!

2 Replies to “April 20, 2018”

  1. As a Southerner, I relish these cool days of Spring before the brutal heat of Summer bakes my world for 4 – 5 months. The cloudy gray dull winter is over and the wildflowers are everywhere. But the sun has already crossed the equator and is heading my way. So, we each have some different reasons for holding these spring days precious.

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