We donned our snow shoes and headed for the woods, Ryan and I. He had visited a few days before to check out the trail and break it. It was fairly cold, mid-20’s. The overcast skies would sometimes part enough for a brief wash of sunlight, and were otherwise true to their grays of winter. We stopped at the lean-to for coffee, and stopped from time to time to shoot a photo. Mostly, we were overwhelmed by the beauty of the woods, the snow, the sky and the breeze.
Though it occupied barely an hour of our Saturday, it was the highlight of the weekend. New snow, the wind in the woods, and my favorite hiking partner, son Ryan. One hour of perfect peace. It doesn’t get any better than this.
The 127th Annual Fonda Fair, the Montgomery County Fair, held a special interest for us, as my grandson, Max, took up bull riding this year. The Rodeo included barrel racing, calf roping (single and team) and bull riding. To begin, a stunning team of Clydesdale horses parade into the arena flying Old Glory, and carrying the Fair Queens. After the National Anthem, events got underway.
Max is in a red plaid shirt, and the highlight shots of his ride are included herein, along with shots of all the other exciting contests. While the bull riding is some of the most intense rodeo you’ll see, the barrel racing ranks right up there. One can see the thrill of racing not only on the rider’s face, but that of their mount as well! These horses love to run and compete.
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Until next time,
I photograph a lot of outdoors stuff, and birds are probably my most frequent subject. That’s what happens when you combine an avid photographer with an avid bird-watcher! I’ve been assembling a compilation of shots for various purposes, and thought I’d post a sampling, and some of my personal faves. Click any photo to start full-size carousel.
Too many to fit in one gallery. So here’s a couple dozen more!
Of course there are a great many more. Next time I sort through, we’ll do another gallery!
I am very fond of winter. I like the challenges it brings, and there are few things prettier than a world covered in a fresh coat of gleaming white new snow. When the time finally comes for the snow to leave, I always feel a bit melancholy about it. Well, I know it will be back soon, and that makes the long summer more bearable. This spring I spied a fisher running across a cornfield, and I was quick on the draw with the old Nikon. I snapped a few pictures of the little critter, a youngster, before he dashed off to the banks of the Schoharie Creek. Three of my favorite things came together for some other shots, namely a field of corn stubble with snow and Canada Geese. Somehow, they always look best when surrounded by snow. Ironically, the only shot of Snow Geese has no snow in it! Hope you enjoy this last sampling of the season, now that we’re impatiently awaiting tulips.
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Here’s hoping summer is kind to us. I remind myself I only need to get through five months before the world will start to cool again, and once again we will be greeted by the wonderful world of winter.
Until next time,
As the Winds of Engleville rattled our windows and the thermometer refused to climb above zero, we planned a trip to sunny Ocala Florida to visit family. We decided to avoid the stress and hassle of airports and security and jets, and we booked passage on the Silver Meteor train bound for Miami! We would travel almost twenty-four hours by rail, and ride in a roomette, with window seats for both, bunks for sleeping, and even our own toilet and sink! Who knew travel could be this relaxing, luxurious and easy? We saw a lot of America from the track side. Early March is not the most flattering for any place up north, as the snows have melted and now reveal the messes hidden by winter. We ate on the train and slept on the train, and arrived in Ocala rested and ready. Click any image for a full-size carousel.
Our hosts, my wife’s sister and her husband, had planned several low-stress outings for the out-of-towners. We toured the Leu Botanical Gardens, where a vendor show was on at the time. We toured historic old town Ocala to view some classic old Florida homes.
We trekked to Cross Creek, home of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, author of The Yearling, and Cross Creek. The home is a State Park and Historical Landmark.
Who could go to Ocala without a visit to Gator World, and a chance to hold and feed live alligators?
The highlight of our day trips was Silver Springs State Park, which operated privately up to a few years ago, when the modern tourist trappings of Disneyworlds and Six Flagses lured away those folks that would spend a day at a park where the fastest moving thing is probably a bird, a fish, or maybe you. I was delighted to see the state take this over and keep it open. It is truly an all-American institution, with a fleet of silent, electric-powered glass-bottom boats that ply the crystal clear waters of the spring, which is a hidden Niagara Falls, spewing out enough water to “fill four Olympic-size swimming pools every minute.” Many, many movies were filmed here, partly owing to the glass-clear water perfect for underwater filming. The Jurrasic look of the isolated river lent itself to Creature From The Black Lagoon, and a number of television shows shot footage here as well. On the path one can still view “Tarzan’s Tree”. The very place where Johnny Weismiller lived with scantily-clad Jane and his boy, “Boy”. (If Boy was Boy, why was the chimp “Cheetah”? Talk about identity crisis.) We were fortunate enough to see on our boat ride Rhesus monkeys that are now wild in the park, having been introduced by a well-meaning showman who thought they would be contained to the island where they were released. Little did he know, monkeys are excellent and fearless swimmers.
Okay, so it’s basically the “vacation slide show” instead of the usual wildlife photos. To folks who live in Florida, it’s probably not too exciting. But for a country mouse from the snowbound north, it was one eye-catching thing after another. We stayed five days and spent two on the train, one down and one back. It may not surprise you to know I shot darned close to 2,000 frames in the week. I’m sure you’ll see more herein. After I spend a few weeks sorting them!
Keep shooting! Happy Snapping!
A little sampling for December.
I found it quite interesting when reviewing the Trailcam photos, that the Trailcam decided, on its own apparently, to take a lovely snapshot of the quiet wood at sunrise on New Year’s Day 2018.
It also caught a great shot of a Barred Owl, the moment it landed on its prey.
I was pleased to get my own shot of the owl.
I’ve also included a shot of Rock Doves, which we all know as Pigeons, taking off from the farm fields of our rural area. This is for Ellen Jennings at Passing By Photo, who told me she’s never seen pigeons outside of an urban environment. Truth is, Ellen, that even in the country, these birds hang around people, their farms and livestock. It seems their favorite place is perched on the silo.
Grandson Max moves up to Varsity Basketball this year, and provided us with exciting game pix. Younger sister Lizzy is right behind him, Captaining the JV Girls team. Their game was a real nail-biter. Tied, overtime, and a loss in just the last eight seconds!
We did the National Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count last weekend, and my prize was a shot of a Pileated Woodpecker. I see them from time to time, but this is my first photo of one. It’s quite obscured by a branch or two, and flew off before I could shoot a second frame.
May peace find you and keep you throughout the New Year!
I tried my darnedest this year to keep the camera from blocking my view and enjoyment of the autumn. In this season, there are photos everywhere I look. I stop on the way to work, I stop on the way home, to bathe in the breathtaking sights. Alas, too many fascinating subjects called out to me, and I did, in fact, take pictures of all those autumn-y things; colorful foliage, golden sunrises, rich, red sunsets, deer on the move, migrating geese. Somewhere in there I became obsessed with capturing the texture of water droplets after the rain, on a variety of surfaces. I also captured a number of frames of the wide variety of mushrooms and other fungi that seem to leap from the ground on a daily basis in this season. I tried to capture a little sense of the state of the trails, and the in-between season, between fall and winter. It’s one of my favorites.
A break from the monthly Galleries, this is a seasonal one. Photography, like all the other facets of my life, advances and recedes in activity level, based on other distractions and goings-on. Readying for winter occupies a goodly portion of one’s time in autumn. Rest assured, the camera is never far from me, and we’ll continue to compile images for your perusal and entertainment.
Here he is, without further ado. The Holy Grail for my trail camera, the black bear.
And some other highlights.
Also shot two thousand frames of waving grass until I mowed in front of the trail camera. If you use one of these, be sure to keep the grass cut as the motion triggers the camera. Or put the cam away until “Seeing Season” returns!
The Trail Cam has been a lot of fun. We’ve caught a bear, many deer, coyotes and turkeys. Some neighbor cats, possums, skunks, dogs, an owl, raccoons and a Chupacabra! The camera ran til August, about ten months, on a set of batteries. No doubt would have lasted a year if it wasn’t taking countless snapshots of empty grass. A new set of batteries and winter’s approach, and we’ll be ready for another great season!
Daughter Kerry and her beau Kenyon decided on a spur of the moment to legalize their domestic cohabitation by getting married. Not ones for pretense, they set up an awning and pulled some machinery out of the barn, and were ready. The “official uniform” at Parson’s Farm is the custom printed T-shirt. Everyone who works on the farm or at the stand, myself included, wears a Parson’s Farm shirt. They have tag lines that change from year to year. So for the wedding, everyone was required to don a red T-shirt. Coincidentally, this year’s tag line is “Parson’s Farm: Where the vegetables are sweet and the women are bitter.”. An unfailing sense of humor will carry this couple through their lives with fewer heartaches and tears than most.
After vows, we proceeded to the barn as it rained outside. A little food, a little music, a little cake, a little champagne, and you have a recipe for a grand time. For the famous cake-feeding shot, Kerry hammed it up and made a little mess. Then it was dancing, dancing and more dancing as we dined on the generous spread before us. Across the road from the farm, sadly, is a GIANT distribution warehouse. For the dancing-in-the-barn shots, I slowed the shutter speed because I wanted to show motion. When I looked at a couple preview pics, I saw that the shots were backlighted by the outdoors, the couple almost silhouetted, and the over-exposed outdoors made the distribution center disappear!
The rain continued as darkness fell. Indoors, I relied on the tripod for those low light shots, and ran the ISO up considerably. Youngsters one by one began to tire. Elders continued the ritual of dance and drink, and the party lights made a colorful atmosphere in the old barn. On the occasion of the bouquet toss, both granddaughters (Lizzy and Maddie) seemed to grasp the flowers simultaneously. Outside, away from all this foolishness, Elly and Evan took advantage of some high grade puddles. Alas, finally we had to take our leave, as the Mother of the Bride had had all the excitement she could stand for one day.
And so, I present Mr. And Mrs. Kenyon Parsons!
Until next time,