My intention for 2019 is to create a blog post at least twice each week. As you can see from my record so far this year, I haven’t been very successful despite my good intentions. As I post this, on March 14th, we are much closer to April Fool’s Day than to New Year’s Eve. My (poor) record speaks for itself, and if I continue at this (slow) pace, I’m in danger of feeling a little foolish, or negligent at best.
However, to borrow another idiom that seems to fit my situation: Better late than never…because my intention is related to two specific goals: to get more exercise and the improve my photography. Both are still possible in 2019. After all, we’ve not yet a third of the way through the year. So with my goals in mind, I took my camera and hit the trail in Chagrin River Park several times this week, which is where I spotted the deer at the top of this post and captured her picture, as well as those below.
That’s my bounty for this trail walk. I only walked about a mile, but that’s a start. Wish me luck, or, better yet, put on your walking shoes and join me.
Nothing quite like what, you ask? Well, to be honest, you may or may not agree with me, but I maintain that there’s nothing quite like a trail walk in the first real snow of the season. It isn’t even winter yet, just the downhill end of Autumn, but on this December morning we woke up to snow-covered trails, slippery slopes, and frigid fingers. And oh, how glorious to walk down the trail through a pristine white world…such a contrast to our earlier Autumn walks.
I’m reluctant to admit it, but Autumn with its blue skies, crisp air, and vibrant palette has truly come to an end, and we are faced with Winter: the season of boots with cleats to prevent slipping and sliding, gloves that challenge me as I try to press the shutter button, and lenses (the camera and mine) that constantly fog over as I exhale in the frosty air. Winter brings with it a myriad of new challenges for the trail walking photographer, but new joys come with the challenges. Here are just a few that I spotted along the trail this snowy morning:
That’s it for today, trailwalkers. I hope you liked this preview of sights we’ll see on future wintry walks. Be sure to wear lots of layers and get some cleats to put on your boots for our next winter walk.
Thanks for trudging down the trail with me!
Sharing the trail makes each walk extra special.
I caught sight of the green heron at the top of today’s post hidden among the reeds in the bog, and one glimpse was enough to stop me in my tracks. A green heron is not a rare sighting in this area, but it’s rare enough that the sight made my heart beat a little faster. To be sure I would get a few sharp images, I took a deep breath and shot off multiple frames before continuing down the trail toward the owl nest. I was hoping the owlets would be visible today.
Momma Owl wasn’t in sight, but her two rapidly growing owlets were perched in plain sight in their treetop nest. Although I only have a 70-300mm lens, not nearly long enough for a clear shot at that distance, I was pretty happy with the picture I captured. I would love to own a 600mm lens, but I know realistically I wouldn’t be able to lug a heavy camera and huge lens (plus a tripod) down the trail. Some photographers do it, but I’m not that strong, so I have to be satisfied with the equipment I own. I only captured one good shot of the owlets today…
…but here are two more shots of the herons and a few more photo opps I captured on the walk back to my car.
Looking for some food in the bog
Someone left a treat for the deer.
That’s it for today, Trail Walkers, but the sun is shining, and it’s time to get my camera and walking shoes to see if I can capture a few more images before the sun goes down.
Thanks for stopping by for a visit today. See you soon!
Leave a comment if you have anything to share. I love to chat!
Walking into my kitchen, I glanced out the window and there, staring straight at me, were two deer…in broad daylight…the penalty we pay for living next door to Chagrin River Park. Why, you might ask, would I call these beautiful animals rapscallions (an old-fashioned word for rascal; rogue; or scamp)? It’s because they consider my Back Yard Bird Buffet their personal dining room, and anything I put out for the birds is free range for these much larger mammals.
When they saw me through the window, they ran away, but I knew they would be back because they knew where the good food was…free for their taking. Unfortunately, they are destructive. They push at the suet and other feeders with their heads to shake the food loose and when they’ve eaten their fill, they leave broken pieces on the ground…Not broken pieces of food, but broken pieces of the feeders. I’ve ended up with more than one broken bird feeder as a result of their night time visits, which is why I call them rapscallions. However, they are beautiful animals, and it’s quite amazing to see them outside my window. I guess we will just have to be more diligent about bringing our bird feeders inside before it gets dark. (But if you have a better solution, I would love to hear it).
Rant over! My feeders are inside and it’s time for me to go to bed.
See you tomorrow!
Since we turned our clocks back to standard time, I have to watch myself or dark will descend before I am ready for it. Some days I have barely started my trail walk when some photo opps present themselves, and I don’t have enough light to get a good shot. Here is one example:
Two things went wrong with that shot. First off, I was not prepared. I was focused on a cardinal on the fence post right in front of me when this big buck dashed into the scene. I quickly changed my mind and snapped off several shots of the buck. However, while I was prepared to capture a stationary bird, I wasn’t expecting a fast moving buck, so this shot didn’t work because the light was low and my settings were all wrong. The most I can say is that I captured the moment, so I’m keeping the picture. You win some and lose some. The best thing to do is to learn from the “losers” so the next shot will be better.
The big buck pictured at the top of this post was also taken in late afternoon, but that time I was ready. I had watched him follow some does across the trail in front of me, so when he came back across the trail after giving up the chase, I watched and waited and captured this brief stare-down. Success! (Note: I wasn’t close enough to be in danger. The buck was calm, totally disinterested in me, and I was using my long lens and standing a good distance away).
Here are a few more late afternoon photos from the past week in Chagrin River Park.
Walking the river trail
Maple trees line the entrance to the park.
Another view of the maples.
Evening on the river
That’s all for this post. Sadly, we have nearly reached the end of my “Color Me Autumn” series of posts. I still have a backlog of photos that I haven’t posted yet, but I don’t think there will be many (maybe not any) new beautiful autumn photos.A cold wind has blown in and several inches of snow fell in the area tonight, although thankfully not in our neighborhood.
Thanks for stopping by today.
See you soon.
Unwelcome changes are coming…and I’m not referring to politics. There are big changes coming in the House of Representatives, the Senate, and even in the White House, but I don’t plan to delve into that subject here on my blog. This space is primarily devoted to my trail walks and the amazing beauty of God’s creation, and on this morning’s trail walk, despite temps that had dropped into the 40s overnight under overcast skies, I found plenty of beauty to enjoy. That’s what I’m sharing today, and I hope it will bring you joy…today and always.
As the picture at the top of this post indicates, I was walking the trails in Chagrin River Park this morning. Wearing a winter coat and hat and definitely feeling the chill, I still enjoyed an hour on the trail. I saw a large buck stalking a couple of does. They were ignoring him, but sadly one doe had a badly injured leg. It looked broken, and that is something I always hate to see. Nevertheless, it was browsing for breakfast, and the buck left it alone. They were in deep brush, so I couldn’t get pictures, but I watched them for awhile.
The little birds were active…and hungry. These birds, the chickadees, titmice, woodpeckers, and sparrows live here all year round, but during good weather they are more heard than seen. As leaves fall and the branches become bare, they become more visible. I haven’t been taking bird pictures for much of the summer, but the time has come. The downy woodpecker and blue jay escaped without posing today, but here are a few that did pose:
My walk wouldn’t be complete if I couldn’t find a few landscapes to photograph. Although the colors were considerably less vibrant today, they were still beautiful, as you can see in these pictures I snapped.
A fork in the road
Seen along the trail!
And finally, here are a couple of deer I did capture with my camera.
I walked the trail twice before I decided I was ready to go home and make a mug of cocoa. As I said at the top of this post, I’m not ready for winter, but when there’s a chill in the air, I’m always ready for a rich, chocolatey beverage. I make my mother’s recipe for cocoa, using regular Hershey’s cocoa powder, sugar, and milk. It warms me in more ways than one.
Thanks for joining me today. I hope you enjoyed our trail walk…the first chilly one of the season.
So many deer were walking the trails in Chagrin River Park today, it reminded me of a school playground at recess time…recess for a large class of does, bucks, and fawns, although the fawns are getting pretty big by now, and the only buck in the class is a young fella just growing his antlers. Take a look at them. I don’t have captions on the pictures tonight, so I will have to do that tomorrow. Meanwhile, enjoy the class picture:
A young buck challenged me on the trail, but ran when I steps forward.
Snowy nose from looking for food in the snow
A very young one
Just two of the 15 or so deer I encountered on the trail
Piebald deer, so named for the patches of color
Three does in different sizes.
And finally: Here’s a persistent deer that was walking in my direction and didn’t know when to stop. She definitely invaded my space, but she wasn’t aggressive. Definitely assertive, but not aggressive. I am sure she thought I had food for her, but I didn’t. She was disappointed when I waved her off and walked away.
I wonder if she is part of the herd that comes out of the park at night to visit my back yard bird feeders? Now that there is snow on the ground, they come every night and polish off whatever food the birds didn’t eat during the day.
It’s really neat to live practically next door to this beautiful park, but I do wish the deer would respect the park boundaries. However, I’m not going to hold my breath while I wait for that to happen.
On my photowalk this afternoon, the first “almost sunny” afternoon we have had in a long time, I headed down the trail with some sunflower seeds in my pocket. Passing a bench, I sprinkled a handful of seeds, hoping to attract a few birds for a photo opp. Some chickadees and titmice flew in, grabbed seeds, and flew away, so I sat on the end of the bench and waited for more birds to arrive. Instead of the flutter of wings, I heard footsteps. Looking up, this is what I witnessed over the next few minutes…
Earlier today I read some tips on this photography website explaining how to create a diptych that will tell a story. Since I had recently purchased an app called My Frames, that helps me create diptychs and collages, I thought I would give it a try. I’m fairly satisfied with the results, but I’m wondering what you think. Can you “read” the story these pictures are meant to tell? I could almost “hear” the doe thinking, “Oh, wow, sunflower seeds. I want some NOW,” as she headed for the bench and reached out with her long tongue. What do you see? Hear?
It was a fun experiment. I think I will have to upload the diptych and enter the challenge. I have never done anything like that before, but there’s always a first time. Becoming a better photographer certainly requires experimenting with new techniques, learning how to tell stories through pictures, and challenging yourself. It also makes my photowalks a lot more fun!