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!

The Enchanted Trail

Walking near dead grass, dust from the trail speaks a language of ages.
Sage and buckwheat shout the joy of summer’s calling.
This year, it will be short, but splendor will splash the air.

Bees frantically work, supporting the hive.
Descending into enchanted realms. Local universes.
Do they worry or fret? Counting flowers and days without rain.

Those things, considered “dead.”
Speak loudest of all.
About days gone by. Three weeks of glory for some.
Others, like the oak, masters of maternal care.
Spent years of reliable service. Never wavering. Strong, sure and fast.
Shading rabbit and coyote alike.
Their roots, were once alive with the harmonics of the beating heart called earth.
Now waiting patiently.
For rebirth.

Had to do a little impression work yesterday. Photos are edited for contrast. Russian 44-2 Modified Lens.

Kites, No Strings

What came first
The kites we control
Or the ones without strings?

After fifteen years of chasing the art of photography impressionistically, I am finding myself just making photographs of “things”.
In 2016 I started investigating serious video production and realized quickly the adventure that it is. Moving images with appropriate sound is a huge task if it is to be done well. Funny, making video was what got me into serious photography back in 2004.
I make these declarations because the artistic journey is a muse who must be treated like a spouse. Pay attention, or you will find yourself lost, and alone.
So now I am looking to just make some nice photos of birds. It was part of the journey some fifteen years ago, but now there is a lot of “stuff” to unpack to get there. I grew to not care for the details. Now, the details are everything.
Yesterday I walked about with an old Nikon 400mm 4.5 with the AU1 focus and my D750. The cover photo was NOT made with it. I wanted to try it out after letting it sit for about a decade (or longer). I made the rookie mistake of forgetting by monopod so everything I made was handheld. The total package is about ten pounds. I had to throw it over my shoulder like a sack of potatoes just to carry it. Making a frame required even more preplanning than usual and a shutter staying at 1/1000 or faster
My thinking was that even if the work was a little shaky, I could at least get an idea of the lens’ capability. When I opened the files, I realized why I stopped using this lens. It has a terrible rendering of strong light. The purple fringing is atrocious. My plan to sell the lens has changed. I cannot in good faith sell this old beast. It is a good lens to manually learn, but the results are so spotty it doesn’t make sense to sell it.
I’ll give it to Goodwill and maybe a newbie will pick it up for $50.
Don’t get me wrong, impressions are not off the menu.

Have a good weekend!

The Ever Rest Syndrome

We live at the bottom of the mountain
Demons in our living rooms
Dining with us
They push our carts at the grocery store

They enter the soul
And blindfold our eyes
So we may watch television
The ultimate brain wash
Cleaning out all those nasty thoughts
With the broom of dissatisfaction

Never enough, 
Of anything
Including self worth
A perverted truth be told
That bleeds
From seductive tongues

So we must prove ourselves
And look to the mountain
For worth and achievement
It mustn’t be the mountain in our village.
We must climb the highest peak
To be worthy

Embarking on our quest
We make the journey alone
Oxygen bottles and Sherpas
Lie frozen dead on the trail
And they build our camp
So we can sleep on the ground
And impress ourselves 
With our own bravery

We reach the pinnacle
After many days of hardship
Alone, we have mastered our own destiny
We view all we have conquered
And feel the rush
Of accomplishment

Surveying our world
The wind singing its notes of approval
We meet eyes with the Sherpas
Their ruddy skin eating the wind for breakfast
They smile and raise their hands in celebration
And fill us in this singular moment

With so much more speed
We find ourselves back home
At the bottom of the mountain
In our living rooms
Changed little
Save for the mountain top selfie
Hanging on the wall

Alone at the top.

Accomplishment is rarely achieved without a support system.
(2) multiple exposure photographs stitched for a wider view