Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Another Spectacular Capture Via Cameraphone

I'm expecting my camera back any day now, after recieving a phonecall from the repair company telling me my camera does not have anything wrong with it. "WHAT?" Long story short, I think my batterygrip must be the culprit; we will find out not too soon enough, and at least its on its way home. Whatever...

My hummingbirds are crazy. There are at least 8 that I can count at any given time. I sit out on my deck with my sidekick "Maggie" (Boxer-extraordinaire) as they battle all around me. The hummer kids are growing up, and the parents are trying to keep them from eating in their established territory. My favorite lil juvy is a male who sits on my morning glories next to one of my 2 feeders. He hasn't fully matured, so his "Ruby-Throat" is not quite "Ruby" yet, except for just a few jewels here and there. He is the bold one, and his curiosity puts me in his full view as my first attempt to handfeed these guys was a surprising success. He came in for his drink, sees me holding his sweet dispenser, inspects me up and down, hovers off a few feet, then comes in safely for his nectar. It takes a while just to get acclimated to these guys, because the flyby's are close, within a few feet, and the wing noise, which is quite the vibration to your ears, is at first unsettling, as you want to duck and swat upon instinct. What was really tough, was to hold the feeder AND the cameraphone, watch the hummer, and hold the angle for the shot, while keeping your eyes on the lil guy and his complete cuteness.

Hopefully, I will post some "real" shots of this behavior in the next few days, pending UPS delivery.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

What a camera phone can't capture

I'm still holding my breathe, waiting for the repair on my camera to start. That's right, I am still without my security blanket, or "woobie". The repair website has just updated my account, so now the camera is on the "sales counter", whatever that means. Anyway...
My hummingbirds are going crazy. There are a bunch of them chasing eachother all over the yard, trying to lay claim to my only feeder. ( I think I will run out to the store to purchase another.) So, to capture this spectacular sight, I armed myself with my 1.3 megapixel camera phone, and stood as close as I could to the feeder, and snapped off this beauty of a shot. There is no cropping, it IS this bad. What I would give to have my woobie right now...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Since I have nothing to post, I am biding my time, and finding things to submit. This photo is a screenshot of the webpage for the Gooselake photo contest. Click on the photo to see it full size.

My identity is now revealed for any of you wanting to stalk me. I'm kinda bored, so really, I'm looking forward to the excitement...

...and Pam is a great friend of mine. I'm hoping she don't mind that I took this liberty...

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Frustrations in Life

So, I have been doing hourly checks at the internet site of the camera warranty repair company that has my broken camera. I sent it in the monday after the infamous black sunday. (July 22) There were rules in "how to pack your camera for shipping", and not wanting to hinder any delays, I followed instructions of the bubble wrap distribution specifications to perfection, along with removing all straps, batteries, cards, and of course, the lens. I enclosed a check for $10 for its shipping return costs, and I was off to Ship n Mail. I am at the counter telling the clerk that the value was $700 and that I needed insurance and delivery confirmation w/signature (per instructions), blah, blah, blah, right? So, she has to check the package to make sure I have packed it correctly, given that the value is over $100. She thinks that it needs a few squares of shipping pillows and proceeds with the proper packing. It has now been weighed, and she is adding up the total, which I am thinking around $10 bucks, because that's what it would seem to be for the camera company to send it back, as my check covered. Ummm...not even close. The total was....wait for it................$33.84. Lets break this down, shall we... Package $30.78 Labor $2.00 Earth friendly material $1.00 Delivery conf. w/signature $4.25 tax .06 Here is my issue: How can the camera co. send it back to me for $10 (and I'm sure they are rounding up) and I have to pay $35 (rounding up)?...plus covering the return shipping, so the complete shipping on my part is $45.00. First of all, my packing was perfect, she was padding, so to speak, the bill. These little 1" x 1" pillows were crammed in there so that the box bulged. Whatever...but to see the whole "earth friendly material"...its freakin plastic, filled with air, how is that earth friendly? And to charge me labor? For what?...it took her 7 seconds to overpack my package. O.K., so I'm bitching about $3.00, but on a grander scale, I am comparing shipping rates of sending out verses returning. It makes no sense to me, but alas, my rant on this subject is over, and I'm on to the next...
I have digressed from my opening sentence...
My hourly checks to the website have been going on since July 26th. I have been trying to monitor the progress of the repair, so as my life will soon be back on track. I can't nearly describe the suffering I've endured, which sounds completely selfish, given the War, famine, other numerous outragious conditions in this world I don't even want to think about, but still... sometimes I guess a spade is a spade, so you can call me Hannibal Spade. It hurts in a routine sort of way. I have planned my days around the weather for years... I would go to certain wildlife areas, depending on conditions, but I have never not gone 3 weeks without a photographic experience, and the days are still passing...Perfect frickin days, I might add. Oh the pain...I digressed again...so I check this site every day, and finally I see "on line" in the status window and the date it appeared was July 31. Well, since July 31st, I have anxiously awaited an update. That update has yet to appear. Its August frickin 8th! That makes for a whole lot of log-ons, probably 50 give or take...The site is now a bookmark, and my frustration has grown to anger. I decided to call customer service this morning. I told the lady that I have checked the repair status on her website for over 2 weeks, and it seems no progress has been made, or the techs are not updating the site. She was very nice. She told me on-line meant it is in the building and logged in. She also told me that it takes 10-20 days for the techs to even "see" the camera. I asked her if the Techs update the site on a regular basis, and of course, she said yes. I thanked her for her "help"...I'm still a spade, I admit it. Life sucks!
I google imaged "life sucks" and found the image above! Ain't it great? It made my life better, for today, well....right now anyway! (and I needed something interesting to grab your attention to read this post. Why? You have to ask? Because I haven't taken any pictures, stupid!) (Thanks for hanging in there!)

Monday, August 6, 2007

Call Me "Award Winning Photographer" Please!

O.K., so I entered my first photo contest, although quite reluctantly...I have never felt, in the past, that the time and money spent on putting entries together was worth the effort, and the payout for winning is usually zip, unless you value ribbons n such. I'm not in high school anymore, so adorning my walls with ribbons doesn't appeal to me. But, this time around, I had a different motive for entering. I wanted the title of Award Winning Photographer as my brass ring. Why? I'm not sure...maybe it will help me in my future. I can't use it on a resume, because photography is a hobby, not my profession. So, I can only use it here, and I'm only making fun of myself, so it really is practically useless, but none the less, I wear it proudly. I entered 13 photos in various catagories and came home with 8 awards. The top award was Best of Show in B&W, which also took 1st in b/w landscape. (Top Photo) The next one was Best Goose Lake catagory (2nd Photo). A 1st in B/W Plant (3rd Photo), 1st in Color Plant (4th Photo). 2nd in Color Landscape (5th Photo). 3rd in Color Animal, and an Honorable Mention in B/W Animal. (I couldn't post the last 2, but you have seen the Owl Family, and the Screech Owl). So, now that I have my ribbons, I will find a drawer, or a box, or maybe my safe, and gently tuck them inside, with an ever so slight grin.

Printer Paper+Foam Boards - $30
Gas+Time+Ink+Tape - $25(?)
Title "Award Winning Photographer" - Priceless (but to totally make fun of myself... Useless!)

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

The Sighting of a Rare Creature

Q-Ponz and I went kayaking over the weekend. He just purchased his kayak and being somewhat new to the area, I invited him to go to Mazonia for his virgin dip in the drink. Since I am now "seasoned" to the maze-o-lakes a.k.a. Mazonia, I was more than happy to be his adventure guide. I wanted him to experience what I did just a few weeks prior, exploring the unknown, charting new territory like Louis and Joliet. We went through the finger lakes, not stopping until we went from end to end, mapping a complete lake to check off our list of lakes. We paddled at a leisurely pace for hours, contemplating each turn into the depths, checking landmarks so we didn't get lost. As we entered a particular lake, overtaking an unusually long reed tunnel, something caught my eye in the sky. I got a pretty good look at something "heron-like" but tiny, and buff colored, flying into the reeds ahead. As I pointed this out to Q, another one flew into the same spot. We both were puzzled as to what it could have been. We floated into some nearby reeds, hoping to catch another glimpse, and waited for a few minutes in silence. A very loud call came out, sounding to me a bit like a duck, but not. Now, I have some pretty good knowledge of shore/wading birds, but this one was new to me. I could only draw a conclusion that maybe it was a baby green heron, but that didn't sit well at all. Green Herons are much smaller than the common Great Blue Heron, as they stand about 14" compared to the GBH at 42". This new heron was much smaller than even a Green Heron, and the coloring was all wrong. I had to reference what we saw when I got home.
At home, I grabbed my bird book, found the heron section, and turned the pages. I didn't have much hope, because this particular book didn't show babies, just adults and juvy's. After a few pages, I think I found what I saw. The description of this heron was spot on. It described it as buff in color, and the smallest of the North American Herons. It stands at 11" and has a distress call similar to the alarm quack of a duck. This treasure among herons is called a Least Bittern. They are reed seeking marsh birds who are the most elusive of all herons, rarely seen in flight, which is only a few seconds before it drops out of sight into march patches and reeds. They are not typical of heron behavior, being a fisherman of the shore in shallow waters. They prefer dense marshy lakes, and fish within the marsh beds for crayfish, etc., using their strong toes to cling to reeds in deep water.
If only my camera were repaired, would I ever have a chance to capture this once in a lifetime opportunity and bring it home to Hannibal's Animals. For now, I can only copy a reference photo for you to see this smallest of herons, and compare to the more common birds in the heron family. There are 2 types of Bitterns, and being a heron enthusiast, I have always wanted to see any type I have yet to see. There is the American Bittern, which is a large heron, and the Least, of which I have already spoke. The types I have captured are the Great Blue Heron, Great White Egret, Snowy Egret, Black Crowned Night Heron, Green Heron, and the Yellow Crowned Night Heron (seen while on vacation in St. Thomas, although they are supposedly in this area). There are plenty more that are not native to this state, and keep to the warmer year-round climates. I eventually would like to see them on a vacation to their neighborhood.