Thursday, April 22, 2010

what?! no comments?

nobody seems very interested in my last two posts.

not that i blame them. i'm not very interested either. i find them quite…lacking. missing something. something that would liven them up… ah, yes… photos!

so much going on this time of year, and i've been capturing a lot of it. i'm dying to post the action, but i like to include those colorful things called photos in my posts. not only does it provide a visual reference to what i'm talking about, but it helps break up the long, boring lines of text.

along the greenway at gibson park, there is an observation deck (which is right smack dab in the middle of that map i just provided a link to). there are some tall trees off to the right (which would be down and to the left on the map), and a great blue heron has decided to make a home and raise a family in the top of one of them.

took lots of pictures of that, and will continue to visit so i can document the progress on the construction of said home.

i've seen some canada geese sitting on eggs, and documented one of them after incubation, hatching, and apparently fledging, although i thought they fledged for about a month. maybe i'm wrong. there are three or four cracked open egg shells around the nest area. i hope that a fox or something didn't get them. i was kind of wondering why the eggs were so far from the nest…

i went out on randleman lake last sunday morning at 9am, and saw an osprey. it flew right over my head. did i get a picture?
of course not. i was too busy sitting in the canoe with my mouth open, not really believing that an osprey was flying directly over my head giving me a perfect photo opportunity. and he was flying slowly, too. as if giving me a chance to put the paddle down, dry my hands, reach for my bag, unzip it, remove my camera, turn it on, get the settings in order, dial the lens to 500mm, and press the shutter release. it sounds like a lot to do while a bird (a life bird, at that) is flying over your head, but as i mentioned earlier, but probably not with enough emphasis, that he was flying s-l-o-w-l-y. and i blew it.

i drove the paddle back into the water with a small measure of annoyance, spun the canoe around, and paddled my butt after that bird. he made another pass — not as close this time, but another pass, nonetheless — and…
i missed that shot, too.
boy, i'm glad i don't shoot nature photos for a living. i'd be homeless, naked, and starving.

i did get a few keepers of some double-crested cormorants perched on the branch of a submerged tree that morning. (that is to say, the cormorants were on the part of the branch that was above the surface, not perched underwater. just thought i should clear that up.)

and later, on the greenway again, i shot some striking mallard specimens. contrary to how it usually works with birds, the female mallard is as beautiful as the male, if not more so. sure, she lacks the iridescent green head and the cool, curled feathers above the tail. but what she lacks in color and style, she makes up for in pattern and contrast. who knew that brown could look so good? the tight consistency of the brown-white feather arrangement had me staring at her intently, hypnotized, as though looking for a hidden 3-d picture in one of those magic eye books.

moths, too. the moths are out and about, and while i don't know moths like i do birds, it doesn't stop me from marveling at their unique and intricate beauty, as well.

well, this concludes today's long, boring, no-photos post. i know how much you were looking forward to it.
at least there was a link to a satellite image to break up the monotony…

Thursday, April 15, 2010

more of the same

that is to say, nothing. day after day of nothing. no working on photos. no updating my blog (with the exception of these nothing posts). no photoshop. no firefox. no facebook, twitter, or email. no hulu…no internet. computer's still dead, with no real concrete solution in the works. two month's worth of great photos, possibly lost forever. i'm trying not to think about it, though.

it's weird not having a computer. or rather, it's weird the way i realized i feel about not having a computer. i don't like to admit it, but there is a sense of freedom, of bliss, a certain elation in being liberated from the shackles of technology, emancipated from the enslaving bonds of aluminum and silicon and blinking lights and whirring fans and the glow of lcd screens.

there is more time to read. to think. to cook. to get outdoors and enjoy the life that awaits outside the four walls. i still take pictures; that won't stop. can't stop. well, at least until i run out of space on my memory card. then i'll need to download them onto a comp…

but i said i was going to try not to think about that.

i guess that's the point of this post (aside from whining about my predicament): that i realized how much time i actually spend in front of my computer. my blog heralds me as an observer of nature. how's that possible if my butt is parked in my chair and my eyes are glued to a couple of monitors? sure, i get out, but in hindsight, my excursions have been nothing more than a quick hit — hit the trails; get to the destination; snap some pictures; okay, cool; now back home to download them and look at them on my… com… pu…

i'm not saying i can do without a computer. no…can't go there. but i think i'll approach my time in front of it from a little different perspective — a perspective that will leave me outdoors a little longer. where an observer of nature belongs.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

i hate technology

in some ways, it has improved our lives significantly; in others, it has made life even more frustrating and difficult.

for instance, try updating your photo blog without a computer.

i was in the middle of composing a long overdue post, when my computer just blinked out and rebooted itself. ok. i had saved my work a few sentences ago, but i knew i lost a couple of good lines. i had my canon photo viewer app open, but wasn't in the middle of anything. i wasn't editing anything in photoshop. nothing else was going on. so i should be ok.

it never booted back into windows.

i get the ol' PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA 0x50 bsod, which means that it is more than likely hardware-related. i couldn't boot in safe mode, safe mode with networking, safe mode with command prompt; couldn't boot with my last known good configuration; couldn't run a repair booting off the xp install cd… nothing. just an endless cycle of rebooting.

i hate microsoft (a topic on which i could start another blog and have over a hundred original posts on the subject right from inception), but mac charges too much for their "eliteness" — i like fine art; i just can't afford it. no pc i've built was ever outgunned by a mac. however, this pc is 6 years old, and i'm pushing the limits of MTBF on all the hardware. come to think of it, i'm surprised it's lasted this long.

anyway, now i get to remove and/or swap different pieces of my hardware puzzle until the thing boots back up, if it even will. ram first, cd/dvd drive next, and God forbid, my boot drive last. i need my hard drive to work, need it accessible, because if it's not, i've just lost the last two month's worth of the best photos i've ever taken. this includes my high-res versions of shakespeare.

and the kicker of all of this is, i've been feeling a gnawing sensation in my gut that has nothing to do with food, or the lack thereof. a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that subtly whispered, "you should really consider backup up your stuff."

as usual, my obstinate little brain — my one-track mind, the command center that controls what my body does and when — impatiently responded with, "but i'm busy. i'll do it later. i've got time."

…and here we are.