A friend of mine is obsessed with demolition derbies. He competes in several every year. For months now he's been bugging me to make a documentary about derbies and the guys who take part in them. It's not a bad idea actually. But there was a small problem. I'd never been to one. How I've managed that is unfathomable, considering I grew up two miles from the county fairgrounds. So this year, I finally went and enjoyed it thoroughly. My kids loved it too.
My friend? He was in it. And my expert on the subject, the guy I'd rely on to give me all the good information? He lasted about 30 seconds in the derby.
I might need a new expert.
A few weeks ago I noticed something new, or seemingly new on one of the nearby roads. On further investigation I found out that it was a public conservation area. So this morning I set out for this spot, figuring it might make for a good subject for taking pictures. I greatly underestimated it. I spent two and a half hours hiking through the area and taking hundreds of photos.
Last week I spent twenty minutes trying to get a decent picture of a distant heron. This morning I nearly walked right into one. The trail ended at the stream, but the height of the plants to either side of the path was such that I didn't see it until I was right on top of it. The heron was pretty surprised too. I quickly retreated so that I could swap lenses and then sneaked back to get some shots from fairly close by.
I said stream but stream bed would be the more accurate description for most of the way. It was a bit startling actually. This was a stream I regularly mucked around in as a kid and I never recall it being so low. The spot I found the heron in had water but there were lots of spots where I could walk right down the middle of the stream bed and not get even vaguely damp.
The shot I chose for the photo blog gives a real good idea of this. It was taken from pretty much dead center of the stream bed and all you see is a puddle. But that's what makes the photo cool. The stones, contrasted with dried leaves really caught my eye. If you're interested, you can go here to see the rest of the shots from my hike, including the heron.
I've never been good with plants. People talk about having a green thumb. Mine is black. I've killed a cactus through negligence. But man do I love a home grown tomato. And so year after year I try to grow the damn things. Mostly my efforts have been epic failures. But not this year. Look at that bowl full of tomatoes that I actually grew myself.
It makes me hungry just looking at this picture. I sense a BLT in my near future. Or maybe a salad. Or just a handful of tomatoes for snacking.
Why am I still talking to you?
Molly had to go stay at a dog kennel during our recent vacation and came back more than a little grungy. That necessitated my giving her a bath, an activity that neither of us enjoys. Here you see her outside, air drying after it was all over. You might also note that she is pointedly not looking at me while I take the picture. That's not a coincidence. I had to get up and move several times to get this shot as she refused to sit anywhere near me at that point.
She'll get over it I'm sure. And at least she smells better now.
Today's photo is a bit of a cheat. I took this several days ago while on vacation. But my little netbook just doesn't have enough muscle to stitch together a huge photo like this. So it had to wait.
On the right of the photo you can see Lake Placid. To the left is McKenzie Pond. One of those big peaks (not sure which), is Whiteface, which is where a lot of events took place in the 1980 Olympics.
Now, this photo didn't turn out as well as hoped. For one thing, I forgot my tripod. So this is hand held, which is not the optimal method. Worse, I shot it with a very short focal length, which created a bit of a distortion. I'll know better next time.
I was out on my daily tour, looking for great spots to photograph. Actually, I was on my way home. After a good half hour spent tracking a duck, and feeling pretty satisfied with the results, it was time to get some dinner. And that's when I spotted the heron. Driving past a marsh at about 45 mph, the bird caught my attention out the corner of my eye. And there was nowhere to pull off. A quarter mile up the road I found a spot and started hiking back, sure the big bird would have moved on by now.
He (she?) had not. But it was a bit deeper in the marsh, making it harder to get the shot. And along the way, I got this great shot as well.
Once again, the weather wasn't what you would call cooperative. But it didn't rain all day, which is an improvement. And the sun did peek out now and then. For some reason, the clouds over the Adirondacks always appear to be supremely photogenic. So their presence isn't entirely unwanted. Perhaps a few less though.
Here they helped. As I was shooting this patch of lilly pads, the clouds drifted overhead, causing a nice transition line between blue sky and dark cloud. It gives this picture that extra little something that makes me happy. And that lone blossom right along that line doesn't hurt either.
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