Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Passing of the Secret Treasure

I am announcing the passing of the "not-so-famous" Albino Whitetail Deer that I have photographed so many times over the years. She was not famous, because she was a securely kept secret, treasured by her keepers. She lived to be at least 11 years old, as far as anyone could date her, so 11 might even be young. Anyway, she lived a very good life. A very long life. It is known, that most deer in the wild survive on average, about 7 years, but can live up to 15 years, depending on their environment. (A diet of woody vegetation grinds their teeth down faster, resulting in a shorter lifespan) She outlived the average. She also birthed plenty of babies in her years, so the recessant gene is out there, waiting...

I knew her to be curious. I knew her to be brave. Every time I caught a sight of her, and she of me, we would stare at eachother curiously. She took her time studying me, before she would even think of leaving. It was as if she knew I wasn't a threat to her. I am not the only one. Of the people who knew her, and saw her on a regular basis, she would almost never dash into the woods for cover. She would enter "people territory" and lay down not 50 feet from her secret friends. (Usually there was lake between) I took photos inside the house of the property owners while she rested in the weeds (picture above) I have a picture of the view from the dining room, and what a beautiful scene she created, but I will not publish that photo with respect to the owners.

She was a creature of habit. I could count on her to show up on a certain hillside during the winter months. It mainly had to be a sunny day, as I can only imagine that the hill provided wind cover for her as well as heat from the suns rays on those cold days. She liked that hillside very much. She stuck out like a sore thumb when there was no snow, but when the snow covered that hill, forget about it, she was invisible.

The property she lived on was well over 40 acres, and she roamed pretty much all of it. The landowners are heartbroken, as anyone can imagine. They hold out hope for the next albino, and the odds are in their favor, but coming to know this particular one, who shared their land with mutual respect was special, beyond description. How can anyone possibly describe the emotional attachment of a creature who would roam their/her land, and share eachothers lives from an undeniable distance of attraction? I cannot find the appropriate words for this loss. The weight of it is immeasurable to me. I will think of her often, as will all who knew her. There is a place I will no longer drive by, because it is now empty. It is empty of the mystery that once held a secret.

Note: She was found by the landowner while hiking through the woods. Her routine route would not have taken her to the white one, but something drew her to her final place. She was found near the waters edge. I nice place to rest.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Not for Lack of Trying...

This weekend was great, weather-wise, but the wildlife were not cooperating. I can always count on the pelicans though, so my post for this week is again, the American White Pelicans. To see them in flight is amazing! They take off from the water and circle the area until they get enough lift to clear the trees. Watching them in perfect synchronicity as they turn and bank creates a pattern in the sky like a kaleidoscope. As always, they are amazing to watch! Check them out in Channahon at McKinley Woods/Moose Island, they won't be here much longer.

Friday, October 19, 2007

I Wish my 50th Post was Filled with Mindblowing Photography...

Playing around with lens flares
A hole in the sky

I had an opportunity to capture some weather shots last evening in my back yard. The wind and clouds were fascinating, and everchanging with each minute. I wish I was at a scenic location for this spectacle, but I didn't put in the effort. The dishes getting washed were more important I guess. Anyway, I did see a few rainbows, but seeing them on "film" didn't really capture the moment. Taking the few pictures I did, didn't quite quench the thirst for my photography obsession. This time of the season is pretty much a lull in activity concerning wildlife. The birds have mostly migrated, and the deer have yet to come into "season", if you know what I mean. Everything else to find, is pretty much random, so I am waiting on good weather for weekend morning finds. Stay Tuned...

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

I Suck

I've got nothing to post. I've been screwing around with new headers, using pictures that were really not up to snuff for posting, to keep myself occupied at work. I've also been busy cleaning my house for a birthday and organizing my parents 50th wedding anniversary which was all held this weekend. In between all that, I have been playing Guitar Hero. Oh, and since the new T.V. season has started, I have been trying out new shows (most suck), and watching the great ones I am already addicted to. I've been distracted...but I hope to find some new stuff soon. Thanks for checkin in, and sorry for your disappointment. IT HURTS ME MORE THAN IT HURTS YOU...

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


I have been talking about the pelicans in Channahon alot lately, so now it is time to post what I've seen. The American White Pelicans are migrating back south from Canada and other cooler places, and they do this twice a year. Their route always follows rivers, so luck would have it that we have some long ones in a semi-direct route to each destination. In the Spring, when they stop over, they are sporting large fibrous plates on their bills for mating season. Being a very large bird (8-9.5 ft wingspan), you would expect them to sit quite low in the water, but the interesting fact is that they have air in their bones which causes them to be more bouyant.
Now there is a fun fact!-Share your new knowledge with a friend, or a stranger! They will undoubtedly find you more interesting and way more smarter than before!!!!!-WAY!

Monday, October 1, 2007


I've been going to my favorite spot for weeks now, trying to capture the pelicans that have clustered at the wide waters of the Des Plaines River in Channahon. The new park is called McKinley Woods (a branch off the the current McKinley Woods located a few miles away). I'm just gonna say it: I don't like the name. This park is located on Moose Island which is quite a stretch from the original locale. This new name is going to get confused with the other location, for example: "Hey, where did you go? McKinley Woods! -Which McKinley Woods? The one on Moose Island? Yeah, that one! ...or... No, the other one!"--Just plain stupid to me. But I digress...

Back to the story

I find my favorite spot which is some slabs of rock at the shoreline that I can sit on and watch both directions. To my right is the widewaters where the pelicans gather. To my left is where the herons, egrets, kingfishers, and various ducks find solitude from the open water. I took some shots of some pelicans flying off, but that was pretty much the excitement of this morning at this location. I stayed about a half hour, got bored, and thought I should just go home. On my route back, I went by another favorite spot, and looked out to my left where I didn't expect to find my nemesis...the male woodduck. I didn't want to slam on my brakes so I kept going, got my camera ready, slowed down to a stop, took some shots of the water for proper settings, and put the car in reverse. This guy was close to the road, and as his reputation is widely known, he will flush in an instant. I have got to be smarter than your average woodduck. I am coasting in, armed and ready. I get off 2 shots before he flushes. I take those shots too. He landed just an apples throw away next to his lady, so I crept up and shot off some more. These shots are the closest I've ever been to them (20 feet), so of course... my quest continues, but...A crappy boring day turned into BLAM! A great day! Who'd a thunk it?

Corn Fest Photo Contest Winning Entries!

These photos bare ribbons from the Corn Fest Photo Contest. I entered 11 photos in all, some having entered in the previous contest at Goose Lake, but still, no ribbons for them. I guess I like them more than the judges do, anyway...I was thrilled to get a few ribbons, because I really didn't know what to expect. The show was HUGE and I have not competed but in the one previous, so I didn't know what kind of competition was out there. -Pretty good competition- There were a handful of names who won multiple categories, with good reason. I didn't always agree with the votes though. There were some pretty bad views in my opinion, but thats the way it goes. My VERY BIG complaint was that they put zoo animals and wild animals together for a category. Those 2 things are very very different. Anyone can go to the zoo and photograph a tiger. Not anyone can go into the wild and photograph a tiger. Even if tigers were native to this country and roamed Illinois, just go out there and find one. Good luck with that. There ARE cougars and bobcats in Illinois, hmmm, seen any lately? The things I find in the wild are chance encounters, but I get better odds by knowing where to go and when. I don't get to see bucks every time I go out. They are not in cages, they roam free, and if I go out enough times, I can get so lucky that I see one, let alone be close enough for the shot, or that it doesn't bolt from my disturbance. And then there is the composition. In the wild, you do with what you get, in zoo's they make it look wild, and photographically pleasing...WHATEVER... There is easy, and there is difficult. I got beat out in the animals category by a lion and 2 tigers. The best of show was an Eagle portrait that the woman got while visiting a rapter exhibit at Goose Lake Prairie. My Terns would have taken 1st for wild. My Buck Sillouette would have taken 2nd. Am I wrong?---I'm done ranting...