The Near Sighted Heron

Tri-colored Heron on Approach

Captured this sequence at the Merritt Island National Wildlife Preserve, Such a beautiful spot probably saw 30-40 different species of birds. Got some great water bird shots. I noticed this fellow has red eyes. Hadn’t encountered that before, but did twice today.

Tri-collored Heron – Slight Miscalculation

Now I’m just having fun with these 4 pics. I’m sure this all went according to the heron’s plan.

But this guy showed true determination. That post was the prime hunting spot in that particular canal.

Tri-Colored Heron – Almost There
Tri-colored Heron – Made It!

Lantana – A Beautiful Weed

Lantana and the Dew
I was going over some pictures from late spring last year and rediscovered my love of Lantana. This is a prolific plant considered an invasive species here in the southeast and I think in Australia too. i am not familiar with all the problems it causes but it can be found just about anywhere in central Florida.
The Many Shapes of Lantana
The pictures are of the variety I love the most. There are more than 70 different species but the ones pictured here are most prolific where I live. Although I have seen the plants with all yellow flowers too.
I haven’t decided whether it is the multiple colors or shapes of the flowers that fascinate me most. Or perhaps the water resistance that causes the water to bead.

The Awakened Eye by Frederick Franck

Morning in Gold
This is the follow on book to Same the Zen of Seeing and presented in the same format handwritten text and drawings. It is filled with beautiful drawings and insightful writings. Part of the book is an in depth review of one of his seeing/drawing workshops that give you an insight to what it may have been like attending one.
Surrounding this are many gems of zen wisdom and what comes through as a raw love of the the earth and all it’s inhabitants.
I substitute photography for drawing even though photography wasn’t F. F. favorite thing. He ended the book with 10 “commandments”   my favorite was number 2 “You should not wait for inspiration, for it comes not while you wait but while you work”  – Frederick Franck.

Little Things

Mushroom in the Path – Econ Wilderness Park
Lichen Patch – Econ Wilderness Park

As I began my wandering on Sunday I firmly had my goals in mind. Seeing/photographing (my morphism od seeing/drawing) from Franck and nature’s interrelationships from Patterson.

I started walking in the Econ Wilderness Area, a small Seminole county park in Oviedo that I had not been to in several months. After a bit of walking, listening to birds singing, I began to notice the smaller things. A mushroom, a patch of lichen, spider webs, and the beginnings of a flower blossom. I have chosen not to clear debris or remove items from my pictures. You see what I saw in all natures perfection and imperfection.

On the technical side I had to use a flash for the mushroom and lichen because I couldn’t maintain a handheld shutter speed with the available light within the forest. The technical aspects of shooting are becoming second nature and not interfering with capturing the moment.
I need to remember to slow down – a common theme with me. I become so excited with the wonders that I see, I do not take the time to capture them properly. I should have walked the park 2 times.

Basket Web – Econ Wilderness Park
Signs of Renewal – Econ Wilderness Park

Monday Musing and Activities

Sun Highlights a Tree Branch at UCF Arboretum
Mockingbird on a Rail at Manatee Sanctuary Park Cape Canaveral FL

I have begun a journal of sorts in Evernote to document what parks I go to and when and will be available in the field. This was so I can 1) document when I was there, what I did and 2) remind myself what I wanted to do the next time I got there. Perhaps after 6 months or so the journals can become posts of their own.

Next I am struggling with a new name for my blog, I want to rename it so I can obtain a URL of my own. PictureThis is taken, so I am reaching around and asking folks for suggestions. Would PictureThiz work? Hmm glad I wrote that – don’t like the way it sits on the page.

More on Henri Rousseau

Dawn Light at Orlando Wetlands Park in November – anxiously awaiting the February reopening.

Just finished a quick read on Rousseau called Interpreting Henri Rousseau by Nancy Ireson. Lovely little softback book laden with pics of Rousseau’s best works.

Ms. Ireson gives us the picture of a rather complex man who would feign naivete to promote his pictures or escape jail time, when in reality he was quite a worldly individual savvy in the ways of modern(1890’s) Paris. Sadly his fame came after his death.

I know that whatever the circumstances of his life and death, he has given me much joy gazing at his pictures and influenced many of my life’s choices. I still have a print of The Sleeping Gypsy hanging in my house as it has in every place I have lived for the past 40+ years.

I am actively looking about for a way to photographically capture the spirit of his jungle scenes. Obviously they will be without lions and tigers as I will have to concentrate on the foliage. Here in the sub-tropical zone the jungle like foliage is landscaped so careful framing will be necessary.

Young Ibis

Young white ibis at Blanchard Park.

This is an almost adult white ibis, they gradually lighten as they age. The adults are really beautiful when they fly – pure white with black tip wings. Some day I will capture one, so far haven’t gotten a clean shot. Either no clear, or tail shots, I am learning more about their behavior, so I can get the signals that they are about to take flight.

I was at the local park on the Little Econlockhatchee River (Econ for short). There’s a shallow part where birds usually gather to feed. So I was able to walk up and sit down without bothering them. Interesting experience, At the same time I got some good shots of this bittern feeding. Not sure if I posted it already but here it is again. Feel free to correct my identification, open water is really not their habitat and the neck seems a little long.

American bittern feeding at Blanchard Park.

Learning about Birding

Tri-colored heron stalking food at Orlando Wetlands Park
Tricolored heron stalking food at Orlando Wetlands Park

As a result of my photo taking and nature walks I have developed an interest in birding. To that end I have borrowed The Audubon Society Handbook for Birders by Stephen W. Kress from the library. Very informative book that covers many details about bird identification and behaviors. There is even a chapter on photographing birds.

Currently I am studying the basic parts of a bird and feeding behaviors. Since there are close to 30 different parts and more than 20 feeding behaviors documented in the book I will concentrate on them before moving onto other behaviors. On my next walks and picture sets I will be looking out for these things.

The above picture was taken at Orlando Wetlands Park. This is an example of stalking feeding behavior. It was taken during a photography workshop in November of last year. There were 8-10 of us with our tripods set watching and waiting for the bird to strike. It was quite fun and reminded me of a celebrity appearance where you here multiple camera shutter sounds. I would love to see some of the other pictures that were taken.

More Inspiration – Addendum

Winter flower. Black-eyed Susan taken Sunday at the arboretum.

I finished The Zen of Seeing by Frederick Franck and the last paragraphs were so beautiful I feel obligated to share. Plus if I document it here I will have it forever. I hope it’s OK to copy this. He wrote:

“This life is my windfall! That it happens to be a human life is the one chance in a trillion to be able to realize That Which Really Matters.

In seeing/drawing, that which matters can be perceived through the senses, not denied but maximally affirmed.

While seeing/drawing I glimpse into Nature, I taste Nature, The Nature of Reality. THE WAY OF SEEING IS A WAY OF KNOWING!”  -Frederick Franck

I would ask – What is your seeing/drawing?