bodacious adj. (Southern) Outright; unmistakable
banter v.t. To address with light, playful, good-natured remarks
Welcome to my blog! I pray the images and ideas will be pleasing to God, and a blessing to you.
I was at Wally’s gas station one evening when Craig Stubbs called my name. He pointed to the inside of his car, where i saw a waving hand pop up. He said, “This is my wife, Crista. She also enjoys photography.”
Following those ten seconds many moons ago, i’ve enjoyed seeing scads of posts of Crista's images on facebook. Her photographs are excellent, and are often accompanied by informative comments.
This spring the idea of getting together to shoot came up, and i was invited to visit the old home place, known as Copper Penny Ranch.
Our visit finally happened a few days ago, and i enjoyed spending a morning meeting many of Crista’s friends. Here are some of them...
More Copper Pennies on deposit here. (Buzz on over : )
While strolling by the woods, we saw a brand new baby accompanied by its mamma.
The resident air patrol saluted the new arrival with a fly-over.
And speaking of flying, the time did. It was noon before we knew it, and so before parting company we watched some baby barn swallows having lunch.
Though inside my attitude wasn't too different from the whiny birds, i politely pretended i was ready to leave, (but genuinely grateful for the good experience and gracious host : )
I think i can truthfully say (hatchlings notwithstanding), a good time was had by all. Thanks much, Crista (and Craig! : )
The confluence was two-fold: our solar system, and my schedule. It was a weekend off from work, and there was no place or thing i had to be or do. As for our celestial neighborhood, the two brightest planets were (from our vantage point) getting close together, and on that very night, a cool, crescent moon would join with them in tight formation.
Checking the forecast every so often, i had an almost child-like giddiness thinking ‘the stars’ were lining up so well. There should be a few clouds around to make for a nice sunset, but the sky in general should be clear. My neighbor, James, (eager to try out his new camera) and i grabbed some fast food and headed west…looking right into the face of a massive line of dark gray coming from the northwest. “It’s early…that’ll pass right on through and we’ll be done with it before the show starts.”
As younger folk are want to say, “Yeah, right.”
It didn’t pass. We got to the overlook near Sprewell Bluff as the demarcation of cloud had just passed the sun. I started a gopro time lapse, but after a while, the rain made its way to our vantage point, and i saw no point in tempting fate.
Of course, once i dismantled the time lapse setup, the 127 drops of rain i encountered were done, and so James and i stood around on the platform, thinking our evening was a waste, and wondering which of us would be first to order a retreat.
With naïve hopes there might be sufficient parting of the clouds later that evening before our targets dropped below the horizon, we waited around, greeting occasional tourists stopping by long enough to snap their ‘we-were-at-the-Sprewell-Bluff-overlook-and-here’s-our-selfie-to-prove-it picture.’
After the ambient light had begun falling off in earnest, we noticed a piece of the western sky was beginning to pink up. With this, my impression was, “i’m not impressed…this isn’t worth setting the gopro back up for a few moments of token color.” As i kept watching, and James kept shooting, the color eventually burst forth over a huge chunk of sky, and so as i’ve done many times before, i rolled my eyes and questioned why i was so foolish as to [yet, again!] not have made the right decision. At this point, all i could do was grab a few shots with the 5D…time was lapsing such that there was no time to resume the time lapse.
The glorious display quickly ebbed into some little lines of color, and we began seeing a bit of heat lightning over the other side of the western ridge. So since the 5D was warmed up and on deck, i decided to finish the evening with a few long exposures to see if any bolts were catchable.
The resulting score for the night was clouds won, king zero. James and i hung around for a while more, but it became clear that the part of the sky we wanted to see…wasn’t going to be.
And so, here is my lame shot from the following night. Venus in the very bottom right corner, dimmer Jupiter is a little ways diagonally toward the moon from Venus, and the (one day older) moon in the upper left. Twenty-four hours can change a spectacular rendezvous into a ‘not-all-that-close encounter of the less exciting kind.’
Still, let there be no question i’m thankful for my Weatherman, and His dominion over all there is. To cite a quote i heard my dad make when i was a kid, “Mankind, despite thousands of years of advancement, still owes his existence to six inches of topsoil and the fact that it rains.”
Grateful for His reign,
Please note: this post not intended for the tender-hearted.
In the year of our Lord 2015, as spring progressed, i increasingly believed this might be the first in many years there would be no new batches of bluebirds in my tenant housing. For weeks i had seen prospective couples checking out the listings in my yard, but only about three weeks ago did i realize i had some takers.
The happy couple was in a home that had never been occupied. I had assumed it never would be, as the local tree rats took the liberty of remodeling the front door soon after it was built, quite a few seasons back.
But here they were, shuttling food in…and waste out. I eventually was able to see five little beaks, courtesy the squirrelly architecture. This added to my amazement, as three is the most i’ve ever observed in a brood.
Photography began as a serious pursuit in my mid-teens, coinciding with my stint as a disc jockey. In both applications, one learns that timing matters. To photograph the birds as they mature and leave their box would require patience of course, but at an even more obvious level, i would need to be around at the right time…something over which i don’t always have control.
But as the days marched on, it seemed as if the timing might work favorably for getting good imagery. By Memorial Day, when i would be afforded a block of time to watch and wait, the babies were big, and flapping their wings inside the box. The camera was on the porch, the gopro a couple of feet from the box, and i thought the exodus might happen at any moment. Instead, rain happened, and following that, the night. So on Tuesday i was up early in hopes of not missing the event. The morning was spent getting stills and gopro footage and then as noon approached, so did the rain, again.
I saw the shower as opportunity to eat lunch, as there wouldn’t likely be any effort to get the kids out during the downpour. When i came back out, the yard was in an uproar. Mr. & Mrs. Bluebird were raising a racket (which i took to mean they were coaxing their kids to come out). But in addition to the parents, there was a bevy of birds, boisterous as could be: nuthatches, robins, warblers and cardinals. So my second thought was that the bluebird parents were uptight because they wanted their cousins out of the picture (and of my pictures : )
But it took a few moments for me to realize there was something different about the bluebird box…as the garbage truck was coming by, i saw the reason for the ruckus from the residents:
A loop of snake torso bulged out of the formerly safe sanctuary, and after overcoming my shock and dismay, (the anger was not overcome), i got on the stick:
My neighbor, Bob Chatfield, came over and assisted me as we hauled the gopro around to try and get a shot or two of the chicks that made it out alive. In addition to a furious pair of adult bluebirds, most every other bird within a one block radius of my house was close at hand, gawking at the crime scene, and sharing in a sort of wake for the deceased chicks.
For those whose voyeuristic needs must be satisfied, here lies the villain with the two known victims (one internal, one external)
Please don’t take my disdain for what happened as an invitation to lecture me about the roll of reptiles in the ecosystem, or ‘the circle of life.’ I work for a hospice, after all. Some people like coffee, others hate certain sports teams. I believe it within my prerogative to detest snakes and wish they didn’t exist.
The evening in my neighborhood—after yet another rain, provided cool, moist air, a brilliant orange-pink glow in the gray clouds at sunset, and very pronounced, reverberant sounds of adult blue birds, calling to their young. My reading from this morning included the first two chapters from 1st Samuel, which contains poignant reminders of God’s sovereignty. For those who choose to ponder, there are apparent metaphors here for the taking. Effects of sin touch all creation. There will still be bluebirds…and some will still be eaten by snakes, until He determines otherwise.
thankful He is in charge,
Aside from autumn, spring is my favorite season for weather...and the blooms are a bonus. Since i'm in need of a new blog post, the fine flowers favor me with convenient subject matter.
Not that any of these blooms bring the word "weed" to mind, but the tiny blossoms some of these sport remind me of an Allen Levi song. Whatever season in which you find yourself, i wish you joyful growth and a bloomin' good time : )
"It was a dark and stormy night..." No, in truth it was a nice night. One of those near the equinox that serve as a buffer between nights requiring heat and those that beg for air conditioning. There was low-lying fog with scattered clouds when i awoke and ventured forth.
My aim was to grab an image of the space station as it traversed the sky over Thomaston. My first attempt a few nights before was...not good.
This attempt went better, and God gave me some wonderful atmospheric entertainment all the way past sunrise.
The sun made an appearance, but much of the morning was spent peeking out from behind cover.
Here is the place where--had i anything profound or otherwise useful to say about becoming a 60 year old, i would say it. But instead, we'll try this:
There are little things, like fog
There are big things, such as family and friends
And then there is The Big Thing: Life in and through The Lord Jesus.
It is often said--including by me, but i know no more honest thing to say, "I am blessed...it is all His grace!"
Psalm 139 (in thankful joy : )