3 Hour Photo Trips – Beautiful Bluebirds


Haven:  a place of safety and refuge; a place offering favorable opportunities or conditions.  This is Merriam Webster’s definition, and from what we came home to the other day after work, I would say that I agree and our backyard became a temporary Bluebird Haven.

Actually, when I got home there wasn’t much going on in the yard; except me throwing the frisbee with Ripley.  About half an hour later when Monica came home she told me there were a bunch of bluebirds all over the place.  So, of course I grabbed the camera and went out on the hunt, and it was very rewarding indeed.

The hard part was catching them in some good lighting, as it was already getting dark with the fall sun setting early.  You also have to realize the average size of an Eastern Bluebird is about 16–21 cm (6.3–8.3 in) long from beak to the end of their tail.  Their body and head is only about 7 cm (3 inches), so not a very large bird to try and capture in the cameras sights.

I hope you enjoy these Beautiful Bluebirds as much as we did.  They are one of my wife’s favorite birds and they made for a wonderful photo shoot.  If you liked the photos be sure to click the “Like” button below and by all means leave me a comment or two.  Share the page with all of your friends, and if you feel so inclined to purchase a print or two, let me know and I’ll get them right out to you.

Until next time from my camera to yours, “Enjoy Our Wonderful World!”

3 Hour Photo Trips -New Bird

Black MushroomMockingbirdWater in Mushroom

This morning, once again the temperature was starting to drop and the rain from last night had turned into an off and on drizzle.  So I snuck out for a trip around the back yard tree lines.  It was pretty quiet except for some Cardinals “peeping”, but I did happen to see a new bird:  a Nashville Warbler.

I’m guessing he was headed south, and maybe saw our bird feeders and thought this would be a great place for a rest stop.  We had some peach slices laying out as well, so maybe those tickled his fancy too.

After that, I came upon an all black toadstool or mushroom.  Not sure what the difference is between a mushroom and a toadstool, but it looked fairly interesting.  After that, it started to drizzle a little again, so I took some refuge underneath the pine trees.

After a short rain spell, I heard a bunch of different sounds coming from the same corner of the tree lines.  I knew exactly what it had to be:  a Mockingbird.  Sure enough, there he was perched on top of the neighbors playhouse roof just singing away.  It’s a shame that such a beautiful sounding bird, has such a drab appearance.  I guess you really can’t have it all.

Lastly for the morning, I came across another reddish pink mushroom, but this time it had a tiny pool of water laying on top.  Without a bright sun out, I knew it would be hard to catch the water, but I managed to get some of it to show up.  That tiny little blade of grass is actually floating in the water, and if you zoom in, you can see the reflection of some tree limbs in the tiny puddle.

Not a “knock it out the park” walk about, but I did get to see and record a new bird, hear the melodious mixture of the Mockingbird, and hang around a couple of “fungis.”  Sorry, I had to.

So, it may be getting cooler, it may not be bright and sunny, but you never know what you might see and what might just be passing through your backyard, like a Nashville Warbler.  Until next time, “Enjoy Our Wonderful World!”

3 Hour Photo Trips – Around the House


So, the other morning I decided to take the camera out and just walk around and see what I could find.  It was sprinkling a little off and on and definitely very overcast, but I was able to get a few shots.  If nothing else, it’s always good practice to take pictures in all sorts of conditions:  light, bright, dark, dreary…because you never know when a great shot will appear and you’ll need to know what to do to make it happen.

That being said, on the way out of the house Monica told me to come to the bathroom and look at this crazy bug.  Well, crazy it was.  I’ve never seen anything like this little guy and I’ve been Googling it and still haven’t found out what it is called.  I’ve seen two other pictures that look just like it, but no name.  So, if anyone has a clue as to what this thing is called, please leave a comment and let us all know.  But what a cool picture of this bug crawling on the mirror.  I must say, it was a little challenging getting good focus and lighting of a small bug crawling on a mirror.

After that, I went outside and just walked one trip around the yard.  I saw the toadstool/fungus first.  Not sure what this is either, but it looked pretty neat in the middle of the pine straw and a few blades of really green grass that are still hanging on as fall is starting to get into full swing.

Then I heard that old familiar sound:  the fast drumming high up in the tree.  I looked up and sure enough, there’s a Red Bellied Woodpecker.  Even though his head is actually red on the back and top and his belly is not red…some genius scientist decided to name him a red bellied woodpecker.  I can only imagine that this bird was spotted about 1 minute after the first red “headed” woodpecker (pictured in the blog before this one).  In  frustration, the naturalist that saw it, missed the opportunity to call it a red “headed” woodpecker by one minute and angrily just said fine, it’s a red “bellied” woodpecker.  Probably not a true story, so don’t quote me on that one.

Some may call it cheating or not “natural”, but I loved the color contrasted with the Carolina Chickadee, the wet cedar wood, and the bright yellow peach slices.  It seemed like the peaches were attracting a lot of birds, but I really didn’t see anything eating on them much.

Lastly, a good ole gray squirrel.  Just sitting up in the tree munching on some bird seed that he stole from our bird feeder tray.  A lot of people get upset when the squirrels eat their bird seed, we don’t.  We actually enjoy them just as much as they climb, stretch, and perform all kinds of gymnastic moves just to get some bird seed.

So, don’t forget to press the “Like” button below, click the “Follow” button as well, and please share my page with all your friends:  especially the rich and influential ones…lol.  Above all, if you know what the little green bug is with red eyes, please leave me a comment and let me know.  Until next time, from our lens to yours, Enjoy Our Wonderful World!

3 Hour Photo Trip – Sardis Lake Birds


On our last day, of two days total, we got out early to see some of the birds.  We were fortunate enough to have some great weather, bright sunlight, and caught a few birds in the lens as well.

Before leaving the campsite, Monica looked up and saw this Red Headed Woodpecker in the tree right behind our camper.  I grabbed the camera and fired off a few shots.  It was still pretty dark under the tree top, but I was able to get a couple of good ones.  I especially like the one where it looks like he is still a little sleepy in the early morning, and just laying his head on the branch napping.  Even his eyes are closed.  I’m pretty sure that woodpeckers don’t sleep like this, but it’s a pretty neat thought.

Most professional photographers say that in wildlife shots, it makes for a better shot if the subject, in this case the woodpecker, can be caught with his head slightly turned away.  In these two pictures he cooperated and gave me both profiles, what a nice guy!  And they did turn out well.

The featured photograph and the last photo in the collage is of the White Pelican, and a Black Cormorant who decided to photo bomb the shot.  In both shots the sun was making the water a beautiful blue and just make the pelicans jump out in a bold vibrant effect.

In the next couple of weeks we are being forced to move…so I won’t have our little pond and all the trees in our backyard, that I’ve shared so many pictures of on my blog.  However, we were blessed to find another house out in the country that literally has what you would call a small lake and 56 acres of field and woods to patrol with my camera.  The owner said that this past spring there were baby ducks and geese that hatched right there all around the “lake.  So, be prepared for some “new” backyard pictures coming soon.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the photos as much as we did taking them and being out there in nature.  If so, please click on the “Like” button below and then click on the “Follow” button as well.  And by all means, leave me a comment or two and be sure to share with your friends.  As always, get out there with me and “Enjoy Our Wonderful World!”


3 Hour Photo Trips – Fall Backyard


Anyone that knows me, knows that if there’s one thing I despise in nature it’s a spider.  I know, I know, they are usually relatively harmless, do a lot of good, and kill and eat more harmful insects blah, blah, blah.  But they are creepy, have way too many legs, poop web out of their butt, and have those little tiny hairs everywhere.  Eww!

That being said, the picture came out pretty good.  When I walked up to him, by accident, I guess I startled him and he ran back under the leaves and kind of curled up in little ball.  I was losing light already, and now he was under a leaf, and it was a spider, but I took the challenge and managed to capture a good shot.  You can see all those nasty little hairs, the color bands on his legs, and the web trails everywhere.

On the lighter side, was the cool little frog I found.  As far as I can tell it is a Northern Cricket Frog.  I guess it is on the endangered species list, so it is even more of a thrill to happen to see him out in the backyard.  His colors are a pretty unique combination:  gray, black, and the green patches.  I guess it is a member of the tree frog family,  but actually prefers to live near the edge of shallow water areas and not in trees.  And they too eat mosquitos and other irritating insects…without being all spider creepy I might add.

Lastly, the mushroom or toadstool.  I’m really not sure.  I know it’s not a good ole morel from up north, and I haven’t had the desire to eat them (for a myriad of reasons), but there have been a lot of them popping up in the last 2 or 3 weeks.

All of this just on a quick walk in the backyard, after a long day at work.  So very relaxing and therapeutic.  I hope reading my blog and viewing my photos does somewhat the same for you:  helping you to relax, or maybe you’ll remember a creepy spider that startled you or that you had as a pet (shutter!) or a cool little frog that you got to hold in your hand just before he jumped away.

Don’t forget to press the thumbs up button below, leave me a comment, and share with all your friends, as that helps me a bunch.  I’d like to send out a “Welcome!” as well to the 3 new countries that have made my viewing list:  Bhutan, Germany, and Armenia.  As always, “Enjoy Our Wonderful World!”

3 Hour Photo Trips – Sardis Lake, MS



O Canada!  You do have some beautiful looking geese.  Yesterday I posted photos of our beloved dog Ripley, and mentioned that she helped us get some good shots of some Canadian Geese that we saw at a few different places at Sardis Lake.

Some of the action shots were when Ripley jumped in the water after the geese.  I guess she was thinking about retrieving one of the live geese to me.  From my past experiences of dealing with even domestic geese, I don’t think that would be a very good idea.  Thankfully, they simply were not having it anyways, but I did get the three geese taking off there at the beach, courtesy of Ripley’s plowing into the water.  Some of the other shots we got, thanks to Ripley, were mostly of their backsides as they were flying away.  However, the group shot that looks like they are swimming in formation with jet trails, again was Ripley scaring them a little, but they were far enough away that they didn’t fly off.

Most of the other action shots were from a speed boat that probably thought he was being funny by turning hard into the cove we were photographing, and sped close by the geese scaring them all away.  Normally I would have called him a few derogatory names, but he did give me a bunch of great shots.  The geese were honking like crazy, so I can only imagine that they were saying “What’s up, eh!”

My two favorites are of course the featured photo at the top and then the first photo in the collage.  I love how I captured them running on the water just before they took to the air, and then how the water footprints seem to be frozen in time.  In the first photo in the collage, my favorite bird in this picture is the goose with the phoenix look going on with his wings as he’s powering up to take off.

So, once again, hit the “Like” button below and if you like my photos and blogs, then click the “Follow” button.  And as always share away!  If you really like any of my photos, comment to me which ones and they can be yours for a small processing fee, in digital form so you can do with them as you wish, or I can have a print made.

I hope you enjoy the photos and the blog, and I hope that you get inspired to go out yourself and “Enjoy Our Wonderful World!”

3 Hour Photo Trips – Ripley Retriever


Our dog Ripley!  John Grogan, the real journalist the movie “Marley and Me” is about said this:  “Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day. It is amazing how much love and laughter they bring into our lives and even how much closer we become with each other because of them.”  What an amazing incite and what a truthful statement.

This weekend, Monica and I took our maiden voyage in our “brand new to us” camper.  One of the main reasons we decided to get the camper, was so that we could bring our Ripley along with us on our 3 Hour Photo Trips.  Monday through Friday, she lives the statement that Grogan made:  “waiting for us to come home each day.”  So, tired of leaving her behind, we bought the camper, and what a great time we had all together.  We still got some great bird pictures, some with the Canadian Geese that Ripley actually helped us to get.  But no matter, the first camping trip was great, and having Ripley with us was a joy.

As a person dealing with PTSD, I really can’t tell you how much Ripley is a part of my life.  She knows when to get in my face and lick away, she knows when to just come up beside me and lean hard on me, and she knows how to make me laugh and for a moment just forget all the “crap” and laugh with her.

Monica was throwing the sticks here at Sardis Lake, farther and farther out, and Ripley just kept going after them, the Retriever in her was really coming out.  All three of us were having a blast!  And even though she was still a little wet, when we got back in my truck, watching her curl up and fall asleep on Monica’s lap filled my heart with love.  How blessed I am to have Monica in my life for the last 29 years, and Ripley for just 2 this Thanksgiving.

I’ll only take a moment to comment on just two of the above pictures.  I picked the feature photograph because, to me, it shows just how happy she was while retrieving the stick.  It’s as if she is almost smiling in this picture.  The second is what I call “Total Commitment.”  And I’m sure you can guess that’s the one where you can’t see anything of Ripley except the very tip of her tail in the wake of her dive to get the stick.

Often times I’m trying to post pictures worthy of National Geographic or the BBC, and my dream would be to have a photo I took make it to that level.  Ripley may not, or may be, the photo that get’s me on the cover of a magazine, (if that ever happens), but she will surely be a part of the team that got whatever photos make it out there…there.

Until next time, love and adore your spouse, love your dog as they love you…and Enjoy Our Wonderful World!