A Conversation Between Friends

Tonight’s Feature Image is titled ” Friendship & Sunshine”. If you would like to purchase a copy please use the contact info at the bottom of page.

There’s something special about having a day with nothing to do but sit by the river with a friend. I look at the ducks in tonight’s feature image and I have to imagine that they’ve been best friends since the day they met. As they stood there on their rock looking out over the Kanawha River they seemed to quack to each other in a hushed tone and this could only mean that were gossiping. Which makes me wonder what ducks would gossip about?Perhaps they are having a conversation about Gertrude. “Gertrude thinks she’s in charge of everything but she’s just a silly old goose.” Or maybe they are talking about what an old crow Joe is. Of course it might not be gossip at all. They could be quizzing each other on the lecture given by the wise old owl last night. So that when he asks who they’ll be the first with the right answer. Perhaps they are discussing the sermon that the cardinal gave last week or the upcoming drake concert. I can almost hear one say to the other that “The hummingbirds are going to open for him!”. They could be commenting on how tall young Mr Crane is or Mrs Dove is so pleasant. It’s also entirely possible that one of them is saying that “There’s some guy sneaking up behind us with a camera.” Of course it doesn’t matter what the conversation is about. All that’s really important to them is spending time with a best friend.

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A Busy Day With The Honeybees

Hello Friends! Tonight’s image is titled “Work Ethics” and is available for purchase by using the Contact Link below.

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The Jewelweed behind my house moves like the wind is blowing but there’s no wind in any other part of my yard. I decided to step outside to see what was going on and the hum could be heard at a distance. I knew at once that it was the swarm. The flowers teeming with thousands of little wings darting to and fro with ” saddlebags” full of pollen. At one point in my life this would have been a terrifying experience but since facing up to my fears and learning more about these little ladies it’s a joy to see them. It was almost miraculous to see such a large number of honeybees because this photo was taken when colony collapse disorder was in all the headlines. You see, almost all life on earth depends on the honeybees to pollinate flowers and grow food. Even the predators depend on the herbivores who depend on the propagation of the plants. Since gaining my confidence around the honeybees I’ve found that they react to my presence differently as well. They no longer dive bomb me in an effort to bluff me into leaving. Instead they either ignore me completely or on some occasions they seem to be trying to figure out who I am. One time last year a honeybee followed me into the house, buzzed around the living room and then waited by the door like a puppy waiting to go outside.

I’ve discovered that standing back a bit with a long lens that photographing bees in flight was a good way to practice action shots. They only slow down when they land and they never really stop. Instead of causing anxiety it now brings a strange sense of peace to watch them working.

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Primrose And Bees

It never really ceases to amaze me when I find out how detailed God’s creation is. All along the edges of my property I find Evening Primrose. The bright yellow bloom always makes me smile. But today I learned something new about the happy yellow flowers that just turned up one day and stayed. They can hear. Israeli scientists have discovered that the petals function like ears. When Primrose flowers “hear” the buzz of bees they actually release sweeter nectar to draw them in. They only react this way to the sounds of pollinators. Making the sweet nectar is biologically expensive and comes with other complications so the Primrose plant doesn’t produce it until it’s likely to be visited by a pollinator. I didn’t really see it mentioned in the article but I’m willing to bet that the bees will buzz the flowers in an effort to “wake them up “. If this is happening then I would expect to see the bee hover close to the flowers and then come back once it’s had time to produce the sweet treat.

Albert Einstein is credited with having said that God doesn’t play dice with the universe. When I think about the relationship between the Primrose plant and the bees I see this as evidence that not only does He not play dice with the universe but He’s designed a perfect system and that everything has it place and a roll to play in it. For those of us who desire a harmonious relationship with God let me ask if that should also mean a harmonious relationship with his natural world? I believe so. If we could just figured out the little details and pursue a simple lifestyle I believe that creation would respond to us the way the Primrose responds to the bee. In the garden of Eden God told Adam and Eve to subdue the Earth, not destroy it. (The word subdue implying gentle persuasion. )

I’m providing a Link to the full article in case you’re interested in reading it for yourself. As always links to my blog and Facebook page are provided below.

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Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “ Hughes’s Bridge At Winter Pooland is available forpurchase by using the Contact Form onmy website. ( justclick on the the bell below)

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Seeking A Sign, My Natural Calendar

Today cold winter weather has me longing for green trees, brightly colored flowers and a warm breeze. If I concentrate hard enough I can almost smell the honeysuckle. As usual, the second week of January finds me done with winter. Santa Claus has come and gone, the festive lights are put away for another year and Christmas candy has all been eaten. What’s a person to do in the digital age other than pull out some photos that warm the soul even if the body still feels the chilly air. This is time I begin to watch the buds on the trees. It’s really early to see any sign of change. Normally it won’t be until March before the trees start to wake up from the long slumber that began in late October. But, like a schoolboy waiting for the last bell to ring I wil watch the clock. The deep frost is the first sign of change. That began today. The next phase is the deep snow. Usually that comes between the last two weeks of January and the first two weeks of February. Between Valentine’s Day and the end of March it’s a little random but the March winds mean that the season is changing. Next we start noticing less of a need for heavy jackets in the last week of March but don’t be fooled, that’s just a setup for the Easter snow. My guess is that there will be bunny tracks in a powdery dusting of winters last hoorah this year. Historically speaking, that’s it. Then the warmth comes back to the mountains and the honeysuckle blooms for real. I really don’t have much to base this on other than recollection and gut feeling but it helps me look for the next goal as the snow falls outside of my window.

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Time Uncluttered

The Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu is accredited with saying that “Nature does not hurry yet everything is accomplished”. In our high maintenance society of modern day planet earth we seem to be constantly on the go. Our lives are constantly governed by the ticking of a clock. Or in my case the prompting of my Google assistant reminding me to check the laundry or change the furnace filter. My smartwatch is constantly buzzing in sync with my phone to remind of one minor task or another. All of this perfectly timed organization allows for us to keep all the balls in the air. But is there an important difference between a full life and a busy life? Lao Tzu’s observation leaves it open to imply that we might be missing something if we are constantly being hurried. Yes Google will help you keep on top of all the important things but only if you remember to set the reminder in the first place. Is it all just cyberneticly enhanced rushing?

I suppose that the answer is in making time for that sense of peace. Sometimes that means that the laundry in the dryer gets a little wrinkled. Sometimes it means that one of the balls that we’re juggling has to be tucked into a pocket for a little while as we enjoy the graceful spiral of a snail’s shell found on the edge of a trail that we really hadn’t planned on walking that day.

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The Discovery

A couple of years ago when I visiting my dad, my mom came into the room and with a hushed voice announced that the twins were here. She then lead me to the window and pointed out at the two baby deer asleep in the back yard. I had just taken my T-5 out the box a few days prior and I decided that this would be my best opportunity to try it out. Being familiar with the behavior of the local deer population I opted to “trust stalk” them. I snuck out the other side of the house with my T-5 in hand and slowly walked along the side of the house. Even though they were only a few weeks old their keen instincts and finely tuned senses told them that they were no longer alone. Fortunately for me their natural reaction was to freeze in place and try to be as invisible as possible. I made a point to not look at them and sat down in the grass nearby. I would occasionally speak in a soft tone and purposefully let the know I where I was. The idea is not to act like a predator. A predator would try to sneak in on them so by not sneaking I was avoiding the flight or flight response. Eventually I just laid back in grass and pretended to be napping myself. I could see them out of the corner of my eye. They would perk up their ears and zone right in on me. The flick of a tail would let me know that they had relaxed again and would work my way a little closer. Eventually I got in range for framing I wanted and slowly rolled over on my stomach. I raised the viewfinder to my eye and engaged some of the marksmanship skills that I had developed as a hunter. I turned my camera on and the click from the power switch was all it took to bring them to full alert. They got up but didn’t run. Instead they they separated from each other a little and waited to see if I would chase them. When I didn’t they hesitated. The one in the feature image decided that if he stomped his foot that I just might be intimidated enough to leave. When I didn’t they decided to move into the shadows under a thick hemlock tree. They never did get close enough for me to say that I fully gained their trust but they did eventually come back into grass after I left them alone.

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Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “The Discovery” and is available for purchase by using the Contact Form on my website.

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King Of The Crows

The crow sits on his usual perch above the crowd in defiance of cold wind. This is his kingdom even if the humans below don’t know it. As a wise king he hasn’t chosen the highest branch for his throne. That honor goes to his bodyguards. They are situated in the very top of the canopy where they can provide protection against the hawk clan. The crow king calls out with two short caws and listens to his sentry reply with two short caws and a long one. There’s actually a syntax to the conversation. Two short caws is asking if there’s danger. A long caw means safety. And three short caws in a row means immediate danger. So the reply of the two short caws signifies who the sentry is replying to and the one long caw is the reply of safety. As I continue to observe the king crow he takes wing and glides down to the ground. He hops around a little and discovers an open bag of chips left behind by one of the humans. Cautiously he inspects the bag and with a single thrust of his powerful beak he opens it up completely revealing the bounty within. He purrs a few times and one by one the rest of his clan joins him for the feast. All except for the bodyguards who maintain their watch in treetops above. As his clan finishes the meal the king crow pulls a portion aside and with a few purrs he announces the end of the feast and returns to his perch along with the others. A few of the clan members land on branches near the bodyguards and allow them to have the portion set aside for them by the king.

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Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “The Crow King” and is available for purchase by using the Contact Form on my website. (Note, I do not share or sell contact information. EVER)

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