Oakey Dokey

A walk in the natural world
Does wonders for the soul
It is not magic
Nor does it make all problems go away
It just sets persepctive in its proper place
Maybe it is magic, a little

Life comes at us so fast and sometimes we just get caught up in the swirl of it all.
Our “new” digs came with a couple of years of required maintenence fixes and upgrades in our future.
Floors, paint, appliance/fixture fixes/upgrades, leak reapirs. You know, the stuff that even black holes avoid.

In the meantime I allowed my WP payment to lapse and I was punished with having to “recover” my account.
“If you’ve lost access to your WordPress.com account, our Accounts Recovery team will get back to you as soon as possible to help you gain access to your account again. Please use this form…”

After 10 or 11 password attempts/changes I think I’m back.

Cover image is a 10-stack/stitch effort of an oak made on the Ramona Grasslands Preserve. (Trail is too close to it and I was using the 200-600)
I cannot image oaks without thinking of Alexander Kunz, who is a master at imaging these stately trees.Thanks for the inspiration Alex. you can find him here: https://www.alex-kunz.com/
I also have to say that I am thinking of you Alessandra and I my hope for you is to eventually see beyond the abyss.
My heart goes out to you.

The same tree, different perspective. Photographers seek different perspectives

Oak on Ramona Grasslands Preserve

Life is a Blur

Plans are for making
Constantly pushing
Constantly breaking

It was a Sunday. We spent the day prepping and painting. As the day was closing we sat at the top tier of the new property, exhausted. Peering through the trees, I spied the orange of the blood moon rising. A slight tinge rang up my spine. “I should be set up somewhere with a tripod and a decent lens making some images of this event.” It echoed in my brain like the nagging sore muscles that covered my body. It was a split second visceral reaction engrained into my psyche from the last eighteen years of concerted efforts in photography.
We drove home back to the old homestead of thirty-two years. The forty-minute drive was quiet. We were both thinking the same thing “what have we gotten ourselves into?” Neither one of us would say it. Now was a time for resolute dedication. There was no room for second guessing.
As I exited the car I gazed up at the beauty of that blood moon. It was so compelling and awe inspiring. It’s red-orange smokiness harbored eons of superstition and lore. Imagine entire kingdoms, generals and seers warning of impending doom based on the omen in the sky. Who could resist?! I made a quick monopod set-up and made some images with my 200-600. There was no getting focus, no matter what I tried. After several minutes, I gave in. I simply didn’t have the strength to continue.

That was twelve days ago. Since then, most of the paint is done. Much of the new floor needs installation. All of the baseboards need replacing. Today, one week after move-in we got hot water (another story). Yesterday, we figured out why our internet connection wasn’t working. We fixed it ourselves.

Tomorrow we finish cleaning the old home and turn over the keys. That little place is full of memories, laughter, tears, struggles and victories. Our grown daughters lived out their childhoods there. Now they have their own beginnings and it’s time for ours.

Tonight, I stood at the top tier of the property again. The mountain behind us is calling. It’s chaparral has its own secrets and tales ready to be seen and told. Soon enough, when the dust is settled and my knees are a little less sore we will meet and speak to one another. Who knows what will happen next?!

A very banal view from the rear of our property. Soon enough I can make time for good light.

Homes and Houses

A house is not necessarily a home.
Until voices and smells
Crying and laughing
Struggles and discovery
Make it so

(Draft started 3/30/22)
It’s been awhile since I’ve caught up on my WordPress reading/writing.
My wife Robin and I are moving to a new location.
After thirty-two years in the same location.
And, our daughter and her husband will be moving with us. (I know, don’t start a sentence with “and”).

What an utter disruption. All of the legality(s), buying, selling, upgrading, fixing, budgeting, signing, soon-to-be-light-construction is trying its best to kill my creative side. Through it all, I find the decompression of nature to be the finest balm. If I have a camera with me, even better.

When it came time to “stage” the house, I packed my main computer and have been using my laptop. I am grateful to have the laptop. It is very powerful. Old guy that I am, I prefer my PC. A nice big screen, a sure footed mouse, and no battery shenanigans. I wanted to go get it out of storage, but I haven’t been walking in several days and that comes first. After a brief search in the storage facility, I realized it’s behind a mass of boxes and stuff. Motivation won out and the PC is back in business.

I found a nesting hummingbird about a week ago at Mission Trails. I think I’ll go visit her today and forget about the floors, paint, counter tops, tree trimming,1% good faith down payment, caulking, electrical trim, new refrigerator, docu-sign, fix the gutters at the new place stuff (short list).

Update: I’ve returned several times to see the hummingbird and she’s a no-show.

Things will be different in the new location. Less light at night, less noise, fewer crowds. I’ve never lived that way. I’ve always lived near a freeway or main thoroughfare. The hum of the city and all its trappings will be something I go to and not live in. Hope we like it.

I am pretty sure I will not be visiting Mission Trails Regional Park as often as I do.
That story will need to wait. Too much emotion attached.

Photograph – multiple exposures- black phoebe – color manipulations and Polar Coordinates in PSE

No Reserves

Spent a morning near “dog beach” – Ocean Beach, CA.

I had visited earlier in the year to familiarize myself with a new lens.
This location empties into the ocean. Channels of rock and concrete have been constructed to direct water flow.
The channels are essentially at the end of the San Diego River.
The real estate there is under constant human pressure, but the sand bars are rich with bird life.

Bridge work under current construction, just west of my location

I noticed a sign on the south bank that indicated that parts of the channel are considered a reserve and no boat traffic is allowed. It’s interesting that a Google search does not include this area as “wildlife reserve.”
The morning was terrible for light as-per-usual. Morning cloud cover made for haze and high ISO for my little apsc camera. When this happens, you just make the adjustments and move forward. Here is what I found:

Yellow crowned night heron with crab. (soft focus/low light)
Breaching Mullet
Little Blue Heron
Apparently, this hawk had been banded. (soft focus)
Tern catches small mullet
The other terns wanted some of that catch
Godwit, curlew

What’s more interesting is that the “reserve” has no sandbars breaching the surface. When I inspected the area, there was little wildlife activity.
I’m hoping my next trek will have some better lighting.

See you!


This post is strictly photographic blather, so, I apologize if you clicked for something else.
Before you leave, here are a few not-so-sharp renderings. (Early work) Early as in a month ago.

Recently, I picked up the effort for representational bird photography.
I’ve always made bird photographs, but typically within an impressionistic rendering in mind. Or, in other words I didn’t care much for detail.
This new pursuit has challenged my sensibilities in ways I could not have foreseen in the fledgling years of serious photo making. My subject has become the family of swallows that visit our little Lake Kumeyaay. They are fast, small, and rarely if ever, fly in a straight line for very long. Here is what I love and hate about the journey:
1. Getting out into the wild to make these photographs
2. The challenge of finding the fastest way to get focus with as many decent results as possible
3. The Sony 200-600mm. It just fits into my side-carry sling bag.
4. Benro A48FD monopod
5. When focus is hit and I see a series develop in the viewfinder as I shoot (10FPS).
When focus hits right, it feels great!
6. Reviewing (quickly) the results, especially the ones I knew were good.

1. Shooting out of focus (10FPS)…the majority of the time.
This has become better as I progress.
2. Culling. I throw away images that are not worth my time.
This is good to do if you can’t fall asleep.
3. Editing. If images could just come SOOC, I would be a happy man.
If you’re like me, the experience of capturing the photo far outweighs computer time.
4. Using a lackluster camera.
For this endeavor, I decided to support my Sony (mirrorless) gear for focus speed.
For longer reach, I have been using the APSC sensor A6500.
Even with that, I end up cropping down and my files are at 2006 resolutions.
When pixel-peeping, the A6500 reveals terrible noise and little true detail.
It requires clean up and, you know, Editing. (see #3)

Don’t get me wrong, I am very grateful for the gear I have. At some point, I will use the A7iii to see if the quality improves. I just need to make sure I can get ’em when they’re in close! I am holding out hope that Nikon will up their game with auto focus response times. Their colors and detail rendering is simply superb! Come on Nikon!

What about you? Is there anything about photography you “hate?”

Thanks, and, happy shooting!