Sunday, November 25, 2012


As any regular reader on this blog knows by now...I love photographing birds!!  The Lord made these beautiful delicate looking creatures so hardy and so lovely it is hard not to think that all Christians must be birdwatchers!

This past spring we had some passing visitors on our pond.  I spent over half an hour crouched on our dock trying to get good shots of these small seabirds that stopped by on their way back to Alaska and Canada.  They are Buffleheads!  For some reason I never got around to posting these shots, so I decided to share them now as a nod to all our migrating feathered friends....and maybe those of us who wish we could fly south for a warmer winter too!

Buffleheads have a high metabolism so they are very active and great for birdwatching!

This guy was floating to the surface after a dive.  It is the most interesting thing to watch!  They dive down deep and then you have to wait a while for them to resurface...and when they do they raise so slow and steady it is almost like they are on an little elevator.  It is really cool and the one thing I can't convey in still photography!  But I did my best in the shots  below to catch them while diving to eat. 

Dive! Dive!

Usually one in the group stays on the surface to stand guard

Monday, November 12, 2012


Today is the anniversary of Armistice Day.  At the 11th hour on the 11th day on the 11 month in 1918 a cease fire on the western front was declared during World War I.  And all over the world people rejoiced because armistice, a truce, an agreement to peace, was reached.   

Veteran’s Day was established to  remember the cost that this peace came at….so in honor of all those who served, fought, and even died I decided to visit a few of the local memorials today.

Viewpoint of the brave
Dough Boy Memorial

“Dirge of Two Veterans”
By Walt Whitman

The last sunbeam
Lightly falls from the finish’d Sabbath,
On the pavement here—and there beyond, it is looking,
   Down a new-made double grave.

   Lo! the moon ascending!
Up from the east, the silvery round moon;
Beautiful over the house tops, ghastly phantom moon;
   Immense and silent moon.


   I see a sad procession,
And I hear the sound of coming full-key’d bugles;
All the channels of the city streets they’re flooding,
   As with voices and with tears.

   I hear the great drums pounding,
And the small drums steady whirring;
And every blow of the great convulsive drums,
   Strikes me through and through.

   For the son is brought with the father;
In the foremost ranks of the fierce assault they fell;
Two veterans, son and father, dropt together,
   And the double grave awaits them.

 Now nearer blow the bugles,
And the drums strike more convulsive;
And the day-light o’er the pavement quite has faded,
   And the strong dead-march enwraps me.

   In the eastern sky up-buoying,
The sorrowful vast phantom moves illumin’d;
(’Tis some mother’s large, transparent face,
   In heaven brighter growing.)

  O strong dead-march, you please me!
O moon immense, with your silvery face you soothe me!
O my soldiers twain! O my veterans, passing to burial!
   What I have I also give you.

   The moon gives you light,
And the bugles and the drums give you music;
And my heart, O my soldiers, my veterans,
   My heart gives you love.

A soldier's grave

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Hurricane Cardinal

Those states on the east coast get all the perks of bordering the ocean....beach days are just part of the game.  But so are hurricanes.  While the Midwest does not get the daycation fun of living close to the beach, we also escaped the large scale havoc of Hurricane Sandy.  We just got rain.  Lots of rain.  A fine steady rain for days and days.

For Ohioans this meant compounding an already common dreary weather forecast for this time of year.  So to keep from feeling as glum and gloomy as it looked outside, I gave myself a photo assignment to keep occupied.  My original goal was to shoot a whole week of rainy weather shots with only my 50mm prime lens.  But then a pair of lovely cardinals out the window made me run for my 300mm zoom! 

I had to shoot through the window screen, which at first made me mad.  It made getting a clear, crisp,  focus on the cardinals a little challenging.   But with the wet rain it kind of created a nice diffused look.

These beautiful creatures were hunkered down in our almost bare plum tree.  Seeing them out in that steady rain really makes me amazed at how hardy these delicate little critters are, and how God is looking out from them in all seasons.

I also have been playing with my white balance settings on the old D90.  Hence the nice warm saturated colors of the female cardinal here....but the shot near the top of my post sort of had a blue cast.  That white balance sure can change the look of a shot!

See all the water droplets on his feathers!  He was soaked!

In to each life some rain must fall

The next day I also got some shots of some finches taking shelter in a little tree outside our kitchen window.  I started looking closely and noticed this little female finch actually appeared to be roosting!  I thought she might be preening at first, but her head was tucked in so she must have decided to take a little nap.

Right when I was about to hang up the camera and get some lunch for myself, this downy woodpecker swooped in and landed right in from of me!  So of course this delayed my lunch a little longer....but I think it was worth it?  Don't you?

Hope you enjoyed these rainy day shots.  At least I found some way to pass the time for a whole week of rain!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Peaceful Autumn

Psalm 104:29

Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust.

This is the third post in my series of fall photos from around town.  My first one started off with some photos of squirrels that I took while shooting photos at Firestone Cemetery.  While shooting the large old growth maples, I ended up reading some of the gravestones as well.  Then I photographed a few.

Walking through a cemetery seems a tad morbid, or at least that is my general impression.  But it was actually kind of a thought provoking photo excursion.

Ecclesiastes 9:5

For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.

First of all, the cemetery is rather old, and I couldn't help but notice some old civil war soldiers graves.  It is always a solemn experience to stand at the grave of a soldier who fought for our nation.  I feel to pause and remember them at their resting place is one of the best ways to honor their sacrifice, and one of the few ways to really reflect and remember our history.

But there were also a lot a family markers.  Rows of family members buried side by side.  This one on the left was unusual, as it was a pillar with the graves going around it in a circle, instead of a row.

I was struck by a couple of the markers, especially this one for John Sturgeon.  I have a nephew about that age, and I was reflecting on the fact that the stone engraved his exact age to the day, honoring every day he was with them.   I wondered about how the boy died, and thought how sad that must have been for his family. 

The Ministry Of Tears
by DeWitt Talmage (1832—1902)
"God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes."
  Revelation 7:17

Standing there in the village cemetery, I looked around and said: "There is father, there is mother, there is grandfather, there is grandmother, there are whole circles of kindred"; and I thought to myself, "Together in the grave– together in glory."

Together are they, all their tears gone. No trouble getting good society for them. All there, are kings, queens, princes, and princesses.

The Epitaph
By James Smith, 1859

I have often derived benefit from wandering in a graveyard; therefore, I never see a church, if the gate is unlocked and I have time—but I take a turn round the graveyard. Many a one has seen me thus rambling in a country graveyard, reading the inscriptions on the headstones, and then musing on them. Only now and then do we meet with a good epitaph. But I have lately met with one, a part of which I transcribe,
"Oh, that this moldering stone, may remind a sinner, of the mercy that may be found in a Savior."

This shared grave was one in a line for this family.  Again, I felt a pang of sorrow at the loss of these two babies.  But as I read more stones I had a curious sense of peace mingled with that sorrow.

All the stories and sorrows of all these people have been forgotten.  Their trials and troubles in this earth have long since been buried with them.  The sorrow of a husband at the death of his wife or of a mother losing her baby...their sadness is over, they are laid to rest, and all those burdens are gone.  The good or evil people did in their lives is passed away, the hurts they left, or the joys they in a sense it was rather a comfort to think that all the sadness is now gone.

It made me feel more appreciation for my loved ones, less stressed about all the big problems, and more joyful knowing that whatever troubles come, someday they will be tucked away in the earth and me and everyone else.  So fret less, love more, and maybe once in a while read some gravestones.

Genesis 35:20

And Jacob set a pillar upon her grave: that is the pillar of Rachel's grave unto this day.