Backyard Critters

It seems most of us have them … small wild animals and a variety of birds living close to home. Year around in many locations. Here in SW Virginia we especially have lots of squirrels and wild birds flying and running about the yard. They seem comfortable with us humans and aren’t too shy. Each in their own way can make a nice photo. However, you have to be alert, because they move quickly.

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I was fortunate to see this friendly squirrel sitting on our patio fence right by the door as I peered out. He didn’t move.

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Then today on a misty, cool morning my favorite type bird flew on top of our sundial to clean up seed I’d accidentally dropped after filling the nearby bird feeders. I grabbed my camera with telephoto lens and made this photo through the window glass over the kitchen sink. It’s not as sharp as it might have been had I been outside but these guys don’t linger so I had to get what I could. Photography is fun. Just keep your eyes open and camera handy.

A Good Dog …and a Cat

I can say with no hesitation that having a dog or a cat living as a part of one’s family can be both wonderful … and frustrating. First, we have to understand they are not human, even though many people treat them that way. Our family experience in this regard goes back a long way. Multiple dogs and cats. Sadly, the closer we become to them, the harder it is to deal with their departure … to Pet Heaven. By far our favorite breed of dogs is the Alaska Malamute. First we had a male, Nikki. He lived a good life, and lived with us while we were in the Army and afterwards, including a tour in West Germany. Second and perhaps Barb’s overall favorite dog, was our female Malamute Mystee.

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Mystee in her prime weighed between 75-100 pounds, and was a great partner with me on my daily jogs, out front on her lease leading the way, just like a good sled dog her breed can become. Nikki, being a male, was a more robust runner. I recall him leading the way on jogs up to ten miles each. He seemed never to tire, although I knew he was, tongue hangout out after we stopped. Shortly after Nikki passed away, we got Mystee as a very cute and furry puppy. As she aged, so did her legs. As did mine. So for many years we walked our neighborhood daily instead of jogging the same route. She loved to go. Walk or jog. It became a habit for her and for me. Then her rear legs eventually gave out, and she couldn’t go. That condition got worse, eventually leading to the tough decision to have her put to sleep. It was a sad day. Now, for us, it’s cats. We have two. One sleeps close beside me at night. Every night. This is Lucy.

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She’s the best cat we’ve had. Friendly to everyone, loving, and often demanding of attention. She can literally “stare me down” when she wants something. I’ve learned mostly what that can be. Food, fresh water, treats, or nice belly rubbing. She’s a great comfort to me.

So what have I learned from all this. Pets are cool. Pets are funny. Pets are fun. True, they often have accidents in the house of various sorts, but like I wrote above, they are “pets” and not human, so we can’t expect them to always act like we “think” they ought to. But, mostly I have learned that as we age, and become afflicted with various health issues, and become less active (like jogging), we can be comforted by having a pet or two around.

 

Beautiful Moth

The Pandora sphinx moth is a North American moth. It is a large, greenish gray camouflaged patterned moth. It has a wingspan of 3¼–4½ females being slightly larger than males. Pandora sphinx moths fly during dusk. Some places see only one generation a year, while others see two. I saw one yesterday on the side of our house. Very beautiful and interesting. Lucky me I guess.

Cows on the Mountainside

Recently while making fall color images in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, I spotted a herd of black cows grazing along the slopes and hilltops. I got up close to one, but the cow I liked the best was far away on a ridge-line, which called for my telephoto lens. Both had some nice fall colors present. I suppose we are often blessed by scenes placed in front of us. The key is to take advantage of what we see, so we can share such with others. Cheers!

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Black Swans Swimming

I’d not photographed Black Swans before last weekend. It was by accident that I walked upon them feeding in the shallows of a local lake. As I got closer to them, the male (I assume) raised his long neck and started “hooting” at me, with a deep throated sound. I made my photos and then walked along not wanted to disturb their peaceful activities. They seemed much larger in size than the White Swans I’d photographed before, but that may just have been my imagination. Nice birds, all of them.

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Here’s Looking at You

I don’t get that many opportunities locally to make photos of farm animals, so when I do find them, I have to stop and see what I can get with my camera. I pulled off the road and made these out of the car’s window, then cropped the result in post processing to get what you see. I used my Fujifilm X100T camera and its fixed 23mm lens is so good that when I crop in close the image (horse) is still relatively sharp, not like I want but close enough.

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