"I'm going to speak my mind because I have nothing to lose."--S.I. Hayakawa
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Sunday, March 7, 2021

Checking In

 I remained buried in my photo project.   I calculate that so far this winter I have scrutinized close to a hundred thousand photos, edited some, deleted many, and have the majority organized into something resembling collections.

The project continues.

AS the sun rises on the Maasai Mara, so do the hot air balloons.




This saddle-billed stork shows off it catch.   There was so little water in the marsh channels that the fish were easy pickings.



The vehicle was there first.   As the lionesses and cubs returned from the night hunts, they plopped themselves down in the midst of the safari vehicles.




Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Elephant Apres Ablutions

 (NOTE:  These photos can be seen at their best resolution by clicking on them.)

 

We're on safari in the Phinda Private Game Reserve in South Africa and along the way, we see this elephant making tracks.   "He's heading to the lake for a bath," says our tracker.


We drove a while and could see the lake in this distance.



We went on our way, spending time with leopards and cheetahs.   Finally, it was time to head back to camp--the fabulous Zuka Lodge where we were staying.

We came across the elephant, fresh from his bath in the lake.   He was applying the finishing touches.



 

Snorting up a snootful of dirt, he then blew it all over his back.





In the photo below, he is kicking up more dust and then blowing it onto his underbelly.



Another snootful....



....goes flying.   Time and again he covered himself with fine dirt.




Make sure to get some behind those ears.   There's a reason for plastering himself after a bath.   The dirt will help protect his hide from sun and insects.





Scraping up some more dirt....






And a little flip to blow some more.


 
 
What a happy elephant. 





And, the job completed, he heads off into the African sunset




Thursday, February 4, 2021

The Rewards of Ineptness

 (Remember, the photos will be at their best if you click to open them.)

 

Because I am probably the dumbest user of the software for photographers called Adobe Lightroom, I am having to rebuild a catalogue of photos from a trip to Africa in 2018.   It is both a bother and a blessing.

Lightroom, in addition to being a powerful editing tool,  enables a user to organize photos in  catalogues that makes them easier to find, theoretically.

In my case, the catalogue I am rebuilding is called Africa 2018.  Into that, I downloaded some 20,000 photos I took on that trip.  I usually do this immediately after I return from a trip.

 



Sounds simple, right?  It is.   Except I don't want 20,000 photos clogging up the memory on my computer, so I put the catalogue and the photos on an external hard drive.  Therein lies the problem.   

There are several steps one must take to do that and I sometimes forget one important step--it's rather complicated and you won't understand unless you use the program--and when I forget, the catalogue can't find the photos at a later date.  Hence, rebuilding the catalogue.

Downloading 20,000 photos shot at high resolution in RAW format (equals LARGE files) takes time.  In this case, it took a couple days.   That's the bothersome part.

 



The blessing is that now I have time to look at all those photos after they're downloaded, and I am finding photos I never looked at before because back then I was concentrating on finding pix to illustrate a chapter of Gullible's Travels and I overlook many, especially birds.

So, now, with the pressure off, I am finding treasures like this:



Male bushbuck


Cheetah yawning


Leopard and daughter



Gray crowned crane



Striped kingfisher



Topi at sunset

 

 

And best of all, three birds I had never seen before this safari and had forgotten:


Speckled mousebird



Temminck's courser


Rear view of the courser's fabulous hairdo.


And, finally, the tiny rufous-naped lark.


 
 
There are dozens more, but it would take all day to upload them.   So, I'll save them for the days ahead.
 
And that is what I've been doing.   It's labor intensive, but a lot like going on a virtual safari.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Nuttin' at All

 Nothing going on here.   Weather's okay.   Health is okay.   A little anxious about making plans to go to Africa this October/November one last time to celebrate my 80th birthday doing what I love in the best place to do it.


No, not drinking Amarula on the rocks.   Photographing birds and animals with my photo pals.   I haven't found anywhere else in the world where those subjects appear as frequently and reliably as in Africa.

 

Meanwhile, the redpolls are back at the feeders, bringing splashes of red to the winter landscape.

 

 



And the moon comes up every night.




Saturday, January 23, 2021

All is Well

 


Three days post Moderna COVID-19 vaccination and all is well.

As I was led through a  wide hall to an exam room at the Seward Community Health Center,  I passed several men sitting in socially-distanced chairs.   Once in the room, I asked, "Is that the recovery room?'   Meaning, of course, that is where one waits for fifteen minutes to make sure you don't suffer an anaphylactic reaction.

"Yes,it is," she said, "but it's more like the gossip area.   Those guys have been cooped up and haven't seen each other for a long time.   They're busy swapping stories."

So when it was my turn in the gossip area, no one said a word!   Darn it.


On to other stuff, because I know I've been quiet here for a long time:

Been a few years since we've had a big snow year.   This is one of the outhouses in Turnagain Pass. 



The cute little redpolls showed up at last.   They seem to be hanging out with other birds with red feathers--the pine grosbeaks.


This is a male pine grosbeak.   It's much larger than the redpolls.



A Murder of Socially-Distanced Crows in Seward



This is a fun jigsaw puzzle I finished recently.



These are some of the oddly-shaped pieces that helped make the puzzle fun.


Adding to the joviality, the picture on the box wasn't necessarily the same as the finished puzzle.   Things appeared or disappeared.  Colors changed.


Below is a close-up of one section of the puzzle.



And this is a close-up of the actual puzzle.   Notice anything different?




Other than that, rain and snow and rain and snow all January.