Thursday, February 28, 2013

Did I get it?

Eagle checking it's latest catch in mid flight!


Guardian of the Mother Road
Still standing beside Route 66 on the west edge of El Reno,Oklahoma the old Squaw Drive In Movie has found a new life. A Muralist by the name of Rick Sinnett found a large canvas to express a tribute to the Mother Road and Oklahoma!
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
State Bird
I took the liberty to showcase some of the recognizable features. Thought his portrayal of the flycatcher flying over the sun rays was particurlarly nice in the way it anchored the mural.
Wheat Ears
Matured and ready to harvest, wheat is a major crop for central Oklahoma.
A Touch of Color
This feature I was not sure of. It could be wildflowers or the leaves of the Catawba Tree. A very few members of the Catawba Indian Nation live in Oklahoma for whose Tribe the tree is named.
Closed many years ago and destined to be tore down, I was pleased to see the mural on the backside of this concrete block structure. Saved from the wrecking ball; now if an Oklahoma tornado doesn't get it, it should be around for awhile longer! Then I would have to title this post 'Gone with the Wind!'
I was born in El Reno and the drive in was a popular place on the weekends during the summer.  

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

My Head Is Not Red!

Red-bellied Woodpecker
Had just settled into my favorite campground chair when I heard the boisterous sound of this Woodpecker flying to one of his favorite perches. Not only a perch but a favorite food plot!

Super Crop!
I believe he might have come to say Hello and welcome me back to Doris Campground but I knew his only interest was in the old dead tree across the way in the other campsite! His favorite meal lives beneath the bark of this old Widow Maker!

What's In A Name?
Have always had a hard time not calling this guy red-headed but to amend my ways I now know this is a Red-Bellied Woodpecker. The Sibley Guide to Birds tells me!

Sand Fleas (Ew gross!)

Another close in photo with the Nikon 18-300 at 300mm. This time Sand Fleas feeding on the dead kelp that had been pushed up the beach by the last high tide. Anywhere there was rotting kelp there was also Sand Fleas feeding on it, the entire length of beach. Ew gross! (as my daughter says...)

Actually Sand Flea aren't fleas at all, they are crustaceans (think really small Lobsters) and they depend on kelp for food and as a place to lay their eggs. If you get close enough to them they catapult themselves like fleas in every direction!

Monday, February 25, 2013


My wife and I went for a drive in the rain yesterday, it was overcast and gloomy. Near the end of the drive we came to the old pulp mill at Port Alice... It seemed so bleak in this place in the rain and gloom, so I tried to capture the feeling in a photograph.

To their credit the town of Port Alice is actually a vibrant little community at the head of an inlet on the West Coast of  Vancouver Island and the pulp mill is the major employer for that community.


Wood Oats

Growing in the moist soil between the edge of the lake and the woods was a small patch of oats. They had found a sunny spot in which to produce their seeds. From the color of the headed out grass;  harvest time was near. The deer and birds will soon enjoy this found bounty. As they eat, what seeds fall to the ground will take root providing next years crop as well. Nature does provide efficiently!

Edible for humans and animals the oats are called by many names. Inland sea oats, river oats, wild oats, and Indian Oats they are called by some. I choose to call my find Wood Oats! The tiny morsel of seeds after the chaff has been removed is said to be tasty in soups and stews. As small as the seeds are I believe the birds and grazers will be better suited for the fare. Besides my oatmeal comes in little packets. Just add water, microwave on high for one minute forty-five seconds and it's ready to eat. No threshing required!

A Fall find along the shore of Quanah Parker Lake, Oklahoma! 

No snow yet

No big storm yet. Maybe they'll be wrong this time. It wouldn't hurt my feelings at all if they were wrong.

Here I am wind surfing on Maui during warmer times. Yea, right! LOL

I don't think I would have the energy to hold up the sail much less ride a wave with it. We watched these guys for more than an hour riding in some very strong winds, 25-30 mph winds to be exact. I don't know how they held onto the windsurfer. It must be an age thing.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Day at the races...

Definitely not the Indianapolis 500 and I didn't bother sticking around to see who won but it was a good chance to try a couple macro shots with the Nikon 18-300. Both pictures are about 25% of the original shot.

I just have to say that I continue to be impressed with this lens! I'm thinking it's going to be a long time before anyone comes up with a better "walk around" lens for Nikon's DX series cameras.

There's a storm a comin!

They have issued a winter storm warning for our area starting at 6:00 a.m. on Monday. They are telling us to expect up to another 14 inches of snow, freezing rain and ice before it ends around noon on Tuesday.

If I don't post any photos for the next couple of days you will know I am busy shoveling snow (or more likely, drinking a beer by the fire!)

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Morning reflections

Couldn't help but notice the reflections from the tow boats as I drove along the waterfront in Coal Harbour this morning so I took a picture. This must be the calm between the storms... Had over 2" rain yesterday and the forecast is calling for at least 2" more by the end of the weekend... Glad its rain and not snow anyway!

Come on in, the water's fine!

There's nothing like a foot of snow to make you want to go swimming. Someplace else of course!

This shot was taken about half way through the snow storm on Thursday. We already had about 8 inchs of snow on the ground and four more were on the way.

These last two shots were taken yesterday while the cities and counties were digging themselves out. They were also taken from inside my car while driving with the windows up so they aren't the greatest of shots. What can I say? It was cold outside!
It's nice and sunny today but we woke up to an outside temperature of just THREE degrees, They are calling for more snow starting tommorow and going through Tuesday. I'm thinking I should have taken a longer vacation!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Prairie Dogs and Sneezeweed

Spring Feast!
In May of last year the spring rain brought the wildflowers out. Sneezeweed  was in abundance around Prairie Dog Town and the burrowing rodents seemed to be enjoying the bounty! 

Good Eats!
These little critters would pull up the plants and grasses by the root, then sit on their haunches chomping away at the greens.

A little Taste of Spring with Wildflowers would be nice about now!

The Orangespine Unicornfish


Known for it's orange lips and orange spines at the tail the orangespine unicornfish is actually hornless. The bluespine unicornfish has the horn (that's why it's called a unicorn fish, duh!) but apparently since this one got all of the color they don't get to have a horn.
The body color on this fish changes the more the fish gets annoyed. When they get aggressive with a predator the body gets a darker blue in color and you can tell by the color of this one he was only slightly annoyed with me.
If you look really closely at the photos you can see the orange spines at the tail actually protrude out in a curved fashion toward the front of the fish. I am told the spines are extremely sharp (and painful should you get too close).
What's that you say? You want to know the Hawaiian name for this fish? Well, if you insist; its the "umauma lei", prounounced "ew-mow-ma lay".
The Master Q was kind enough to work on one of my photos and give me a quick lesson on how to do what he did. Here is his version of the orangespine unicorn fish.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

It's starting...

First signs of Spring over here on Northern Vancouver Island! 
 Even though we've had a mild Winter so far, Spring can't come quick enough.

Wish I was here

We are in blizzard conditions right now with a foot of snow expected. It's been snowing for about 4 hours and there is already almost 5 inches on the ground and it supposed to snow until tomorrow morning. The airport is already closed or I would be thinking about making a trip, some where warm!

Nikon D7100 DX format DSLR

Just $1196.95 Paul. You should get two and you would never have to change lenses. LOL

You can pre-order at Adorama if you want to be the first in line to get one.

From their web site:

Meet the new flagship of Nikon's outstanding DX-format HD-SLR line-up: the D7100. Incorporating recent advancements in HD-SLR technology, the D7100 brings a thrilling new level of image quality, speed, connectivity and creative capabilities a specially designed 24.1-megapixel DX-format image sensor, superior low-light performance, ultra-precise autofocus and metering, advanced video recording features, built-in HDR, mobile connectivity and much, much more. Pair it with any of Nikon's superb NIKKOR DX- and FX-format lenses, versatile Speedlights and accessories, and the D7100 will be the centerpiece of your creativity for years to come.

The D7100 marks an exciting advancement in image quality for high-resolution DX-format cameras. Nikon specially designed its 24.1-megapixel DX-format CMOS sensor without using an optical low pass filter (OLPF), resulting in the purest, sharpest images using D7100 DX-format CMOS sensor. Your photos and videos will come alive with brilliant detail and vibrance. Combine that with fantastic ISO performance at both ends of the spectrum down to ISO 100 and up to ISO 6400 the processing speed and intelligence of EXPEED 3 and the extra lens reach of a 1.5x crop factor, and the D7100 is the ultimate tool for those seeking a lightweight DX-format HD-SLR.

When the action speeds up, fire a blazing fast 6 frames per second continuously for up to 100 shots. Building on the acclaimed autofocus system from the D300s, the D7100 uses 51 focus points, including 15 cross-type sensors for detecting both vertical and horizontal contrast variations, to achieve fast, precise focus. The central cross-type sensor works all the way down to f/8, a huge advantage when using compatible teleconverters. At the same time, a highly accurate 2016-pixel RGB sensor evaluates every scene, taking into account brightness, contrast, subject distance and color, for spot-on auto operations like Face-Priority and full-time autofocus during video capture.

The D7100 makes it easy to share your great photos immediately, wherever you are. Connect the optional WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adapter and instantly transfer shots to a compatible smartphone or tablet, then upload them to the web, send by email or text share them however you like. With Nikon's free Wireless Mobile Utility installed on your smartphone or tablet (available for both Android and iOS), you can also remotely control the D7100. Use your phone or tablet as a Live View monitor to take shots without having the camera in your hands, a huge advantage for everything from self portraits to digiscoping with a Nikon fieldscope.

With full-time autofocus and manual exposure control during video recording, a built-in stereo mic and an external stereo mic jack, headphone and HDMI jacks, the D7100 achieves exceptional cinematic reproduction and quality. Record in several high-definition formats: 1080p at 60i/50i/30/25/24 fps or 720p at up to 60p for ultra-smooth slow-motion sequences. Dual SD card slots give you additional recording time, and an all new 60i function enables smooth playback on HDTVs or external monitors. And, of course, every shot looks great through a NIKKOR lens. Create beautiful background blur with the AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G, or use the AF-S DX NIKKOR 10-24mm for an ultra-wide-angle view that's perfect for establishing shots and working in tight interiors.

Built-in HDR (High Dynamic Range) combines shots taken simultaneously at different exposures into one beautifully rich, high-contrast image. Picture Control gives you instant access to the color characteristics of your images, and spot White Balance control for Live View shooting makes setting the white balance as easy as pointing to the area in the frame that should be white. You can even apply artistic Image Effects to both stills and videos in real-time.

Durable magnesium alloy with moisture and dust resistance protects the camera's internal parts from the elements. A new 3.2-inch ultra-high-resolution 1,229K-dot LCD monitor provides crisp image playback, menu adjustments and Live View shooting, and a new viewfinder with a low-power consumption OLED display element for bright, high contrast data readout and provides approx. 100% frame coverage.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Flying High!

Flying High on the news that Nikon has just announced the new D7100 DSLR DX format 24.1 mega pixel camera body. Don't know the price yet but hope to retire my old D90 and upgrade to a new D7100 after the hype (and price) dies off a bit!

Dog Kids Antics!

Took the advantage of a warm spring day in May of last year to visit Prairie Dog Town. Wildflowers were blooming and the grasses had turned green on the Wichita Mtns. prairie land. True to form the newest crop of clowning prairie dog kids were at play. Life was new for these pups and they had not a care in the world. As long as mom was not giving a danger whistle to dive in the burrow, it was free-for-all play in the big outdoors!

No Peeking!
Did You Brush?
HEY! I'm Not Mom!
Got to love kids!
No matter what the species!

Details with the Nikon P7700

These three shots were taken by Cheryl using the Nikon P7700 in the full auto mode. The first shot was taken at 28mm, the second shot at 50mm and the third shot a just under the full zoom at 175mm.

These shots are exactly as they came out of the camera except for resizing. The full auto mode adjusts for shadows quite well and sees a lot of detail. Now if I can just get my camera back! LOL

This statue is along Ka'anapali Beach on Maui near the Hyatt Regency Resort.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Frozen Fungus

It's been warm enough for mushrooms and fungus to grow but still getting frost some mornings. You'll have to ask Ron the names for these two specimens, I hear he has field guides for everything!

Just below the surface

Just some random fish swimming along the surface of the ocean in Maui. The first shot was taken along Ka'anapali Beach and the second shot was taken in front of our condo in Honokowai.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Hawaii calling?

Walking along the beach a few days ago not really paying much attention when suddenly my eye is drawn to a rock about the size of my fist. At first I'm thinking petroglyph or fossil but no, it's completely natural, or is it? 

The longer I looked at it the more stylized Hawaiian art I could see in it... Probably just my imagination playing tricks on me, have to get back to Hawaii before I start hallucinating palm trees and hula girls!

Watching the sun go down

What else can I say?

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Family transportation

I'm not sure I would be brave enough to get on a paddle board with two little kids, especially my grandkids. They just don't sit still very well! LOL