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!

3 Hour Photo Trip – Backyard Bumblebees





Here we are, and there’s no place like home!  I got home from work today, and it was sunny, bright, and not too hot for a change.  So I decided to go out and try to get some shots.  There wasn’t really any birds out and about, but I did find a couple of subjects to immortalize in my camera.

Subject number one was a few Bumblebees.  Right next to our pond are some Goldenrod plants, and buzzing all around was some gravity defying Bumblebees.  From the angle I had, the sun was over my right shoulder, which set up the shot perfectly.  It brightened up the goldenrod and made the bumblebees just “pop” in the picture.  Almost like it was planned, the black and yellow bumblebee is perfectly paired against the goldenrod and the blacked out background, like a match made in heaven.

My favorite is obviously the featured photograph.  Its almost looks like the bumblebee was superimposed onto the flower, but this is simply one of natures beautiful gifts.  I can only imagine that this is getting close to being one of the bumblebees last big meals.

Even though I’m in the south and it’s still pretty warm and nice outside, (yes, I’m rubbing that in a little), there’s always something good to see.  Make sure you press the “Like” button below, share with your friends and leave me a comment or two.  In the meantime, Enjoy Our Wonderful World!

3 Hour Photo Trip – Backyard Moon



Back home and in the backyard once again, and what a night.  Monica had went outside to the trash can and came back in telling me that I need to go outside and take a look at the sky.  I was actually almost done with one of my blogs, and told her that I’d be out in a few minutes.  And as you can see, what a sky indeed!

To get these kind of shots there is a lot of trial and error, at least for us anyways.  Actually, of all the books, tutorials, and videos we’ve read and watched, only one finally came out and said:  Here’s a good starting point for night shots, but ultimately its just going to take a few shots to get the exposure right for what you’re looking to capture.

Sometimes its difficult to capture with the camera what your eye is already seeing.  The blending of colors, shades, and even shapes.  But with the view we had, and a little practice in setting up these types of shots, I’m very pleased with the photos we were able to freeze in time.  The orange, red, brown, blue, and even gray and white – all blending together to create a very majestic night sky.

Some, like the featured photograph I chose, reminds me of an “end of time” type of scene.  You have the moon, light, clouds, and color, and behind and beyond that is total darkness.

So, it just goes to show us once again, that you don’t have to be in some far off foreign land or in some remote desolate location to get a great shot.  Sometimes, we just need to take the trash out and stop for a moment…look around…listen…and as always…Enjoy Our Wonderful World!

3 Hour Photo Trip – Jean Lafitte Park


Jean Lafitte park, LA.  This will probably be my last blog of Jean Lafitte park from our vacation.  I wish I could show you all of the pictures we took, because they are all simply beautiful, but that would just be overwhelming.

My featured photograph is one of my favorites.  It reminds me of a group photo of a bunch of kids.  Someone is telling all the kids how to pose and where to look, and they’re all doing it properly…except my kid.  Who is defiantly looking the wrong direction.  But what a great shot of a group Black Bellied Whistling Ducks!  What a wonderful looking bird, but the sound they make is completely different from any duck I’ve ever heard.  You have to Google their calls, they sound more like a song sparrow than a duck.

Then there’s the Yellow Crowned Night Heron in the top of the tree.  What a shot!  He is so proudly on display over the small swamp area…king of the hill.  And somewhat rightfully so, because you can see his raw beauty and look of determination.

Monica got a great shot of one of the White Ibis.  Often you want to get a close up of the subject bird and have the background blurred – this effect is called Bokeh.  But she chose to use a wider angle shot and was able to get the surrounding scenery and background more clear and in focus, and it really set the photo off.  One of my favorite White Ibis shots we got that morning.

Lastly, my Great Blue Heron in flight.  It was early morning and not quite bright enough for a fast enough shutter speed for a crisp and clear “freezing” of him in flight, but this was still a pretty awesome shot.  Just looking at this photo for a moment and I can again hear his wings beating against the wind and watching him go faster and faster right on by me.

We missed one bird that we wanted to get on the trip:  the Roseate Spoonbill.  We will be making another trip sometime to the southern coast to get some shots of this guy, but for now, he has eluded us once again.  At least that gives us the excuse to go south maybe for a getaway weekend this winter, enjoy some sun and finally get the spoonbill in my camera sights.

Make sure to hit the “Like” button, share my blog page with all your friends, and leave me a comment on what you like and maybe some of your experiences shooting these birds.  Until next time, Enjoy Our Wonderful World!

3 Hour Photo Trips – Cruise Relaxing


Sunrise and sunset, two of the most peaceful times of the day.  At least when you’re on vacation, on a cruise ship, and don’t have to get up early for work or clean the house before you go to bed.

For most of our trip it was actually somewhat overcast.  But we did manage to get one night and morning of some beautiful sunrise and sunset pictures in open water.  My problem now, two weeks after the trip:  I can’t tell for sure which photos are sunrise and which one are sunset.  I feel old even as I typed that.  In actuality, the pictures with the little oil rigs at the horizon, are sunset pictures for sure.  Other than that, take a guess, and leave a comment and let me know what you think.  Maybe my wife will comment and set the record straight.

In any case, all of the photos are simply breathtaking.  Hopefully the pictures do the reality justice, and if you focus on the pictures and just imagine a warm Caribbean breeze blowing on your face, the smell of fresh ocean air in your nose, and the gentle swaying of the ship…then you’re there.  Now just simply enjoy.

I’m not going to go into the technical aspects of sunrise and sunset photography, settings, or anything of that nature.  If you’re interested in what settings I used, comment below and I’ll get with you.

For now, just relax, imagine being there, and enjoy.  Let me know what you think by sending me a comment.  Don’t forget to share the webpage with all your friends, and be sure to click on the “Like” button below.

Until next time, Enjoy Our Wonderful World!