Tuesday, March 31, 2009

National Aquarium Rainforest

As mentioned in a previous post the Rainforest was my favorite area of the National Aquarium. I seemed to have as much trouble focusing the camera here as I did anywhere else. It was difficult for me to think about manual focusing with everything else that was going on so I stuck with autofocus. Hopefully, one day, I will have a second chance.

Beautiful flowers
Beautiful birds & waterfalls
Beautiful plants
Nice to see our houseplants in a native setting, not Walmart!
Delightful bird calls
Would I like to visit a rainforest along the equator? Snakes (big ones), bugs (more big ones), heat & humidity. I got enough of a peep to know a rainforest has to be beautiful, but that's a great big NO! I' ll stick with the controlled (safe) environment offered at the National Aquarium.

Monday, March 30, 2009


When we chose our seats for the dolphin show we sat in the splash area. I really should have suspected something was up when staff reminded several times that those seats "just may get splashed". We didn't move. Dolphins performed, we didn't get wet, show continued, we were still dry. A trainer came our way, the dolphin followed & proceeded to splash his tail, not once but several times. We got WET.

I think dolphins are special creatures. One of the interesting facts given was that dolphins recognize themselves in a mirror, something not done by most other animals, not even the domestic ones we have in our homes. To think they can be trained to present a program such as this is amazing.

Levi wasn't happy about the salt water bath.
Still wet. The monkey doesn't look happy either.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A New Experience

I visited the National Aquarium in Baltimore yesterday with Kimberly, Duane, and Levi. A first for me. As it seems all my outings have been, it was rainy & cloudy. Making images in this type environment - glass cased, under water, & low light - all were problems to overcome (or not!). I was able to manage the flash reflection in glass most of the time, but then there was the issue of reflections from lights on the other side in the glass in front of us. Didn't make out so well on that issue. I was drawn to the more colorful fish & seascapes. Some pretty amazing sights going on below the surface of our ocean. The adaptations of each species to meet it's needs is nothing short of miraculous. The Rain Forest was my favorite area with it's colorful birds & plants. The dolphin show was wonderful. What a fun way to present a message on conservation.
Levi did quite well for a 2 year old. No strollers allowed so he walked, ran, climbed, & everything else little boys do. He liked the sharks & watched many of the fish closely. The dolphins were a bit of a problem, but that is a post for another day.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Some Ducks Just Gotta Have Fun!

I had a quite enjoyable lunch hour yesterday watching the ducks on the pond at Roaring Spring. As you see this little lady is shaking her tail. Isn't the blue stripe on her wing lovely?

I'm not sure what he is doing but it included rocking back & forth in the water several times!

I did not know ducks perched in trees. Pretty shocking when he took off & this is where she landed. Since then I have learned that nearby there are ducks that hatch their young in trees. The ducklings are able to fly to the ground when the time comes. I didn't feel quite so badly when Andy told me he did not know this duck fact - don't they come under the protection of a Deputy Wildlife Conservation Officer?

A shot that turned out badly showed a male & female on the water facing each other. His beak was open as she quietly listened. They stayed in that position for several minutes. Ladies, any thoughts?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Skywatch Friday

My travel for work took me to Roaring Springs PA this morning. The well known Roaring Spring bottled water is captured here. The spring enters into a pond that is home to a number of ducks, fish, & a beautiful fountain. Benches have been provided to allow one to enjoy a bit of peace in the midst of the busy town. I've been told the fountain is lit by colored spot lights after dark, something I hope to see one day. Appleton Paper Company also makes its home here. The images show above are a by-product of the paper making process & is a very familiar sight to residents & travelers. Not a nice or beautiful Skywatch, but very much part of the sky in this area. Why not join in the Skywatch fun by clicking HERE!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Hard Day's Work

One of the many duck shots I took Saturday makes me smile........this is exactly how I feel as I leave my office at the end of a busy day. Doesn't he look like he has had it!!

Monday, March 23, 2009

A Touch of Sunshine

Beautiful yellow daffodils. A sure sign of spring. The 1st shot is a little different for me. Played around in PSE with it & came up with this abstract presentation.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Hidden Beauty

Nearly every time I take a camera out what I see surprises me. There is beauty all around. Just the simplest things can be an amazing capture. The following are images taken yesterday not too far from home. Places I have been many times, but was just able to see.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Skywatch - Moon in a Blue Sky

Took this moon shot on March 7 later in the evening. I had hopes of capturing the full moon, unfortunately sleep & clouds got in the way! Going here http://skyley.blogspot.com you can enjoy many lovely sky images from all over.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Backyard Acrobat

Mom told me recently she had ask my sister how she would like to be a squirrel. I'm not sure why this came about, but anyhow, watching this guy this evening reminded me of that. It's pretty amazing the positions a squirrel can assume to get a treat from a bird feeder. An interesting fact about squirrels is they are very forgetful. The nuts & other goodies they work so hard to store may never be found in the cold of winter. Maybe that's why they are frequent guests at the birdfeeder! After awhile I did spread corn & sunflower seeds where he could reach & fill his tummy comfortably.

Oh yeah. The answer to the squirrel question was no - I did not ask!!!

Monday, March 16, 2009

More from Middlecreek

Taking a rest

Hiding ?

Hanging out on the lake.

Showing his beautiful colors along the cornfield.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


We took a trip to Middle Creek Wildlife Restoration Area today despite the cloudy, gray day. Just in case you are not familiar this area is managed by the PA Game Commission & is host to numerous species of waterfowl. In fact, if you get there at the right time, when the birds are returning north, there are thousands that rest in the lake overnight only to resume their journey early the next morning. Middle Creek is located deep in PA Dutch country, not too awfully far from Lancaster. While doing my usual people watching I noticed the big draw at the point was the resident eagle(s). I was able to spot one, in a tree watching over the lake. No good captures to share today though. I noticed a number of lovely red winged blackbirds & a blue bird too.

Mr. Canada Goose looks on as mama prepares the nest. Any thought on this ladies?

I repeat, gotta love that motor drive.


I think the Great Blue Heron is an ugly bird, but at the same time I am fascinated by their grace in the air & on the water. I took quite a few shots of this guy. Sure would have liked to see him take off!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Identy Crisis

There is a chipmunk that has been hanging around thebackyard birdfeeder for a week or two. I was watching him today & found him to be a bit confused. First I looked out & he was scooting around on top of the bird feeder, he moved on to the tray & the goodies, & then finally he perched at the top of the metal post for the other birdfeeder. This kinda makes me wonder how these little guys climb, I always thought kinda like a cat with claws, but apparently not. He didn't sink claws into that metal post or the roof of the feeder where he slid around like he was on ice.

I got a good chuckle & a couple of shots, but was not quick enough to capture him on the metal post.

Friday, March 13, 2009

New Camera - Digital SLR

After stating many times that I did not want a digital SLR because I was quite happy with the results of my Fuji's & SLRs are too much work, I am eating my words! A couple weeks ago I ran into a Canon XT at a very good price & made the jump. Since that time I have been learning & practicing - nothing is safe from being captured by me & my Canon! I can manage the kit lens fairly well, but missed the far reach of the 18x zoom on the Fuji. So, I found a 75-300 refurbished Canon lens I could afford. It does not have image stabilization & makes the camera a bit heavy for me to keep still, so my next move will be to use a tripod. Taking some bird feeder shots I supported it with a table top tripod & those shots are very nice. What did I do with the Fuji's? Bought a bigger camera bag so I can have everything!! Here are a few of my practice shots.

Mady bowling. I think this one will be good for blackmail in a few years!!

Gold finch guarding the feeder

Love that motor drive.

Mountains on a cloudy day. Taken from the overlook on Tuscuora mountain.