This is an image of a garter snake I encountered in my yard for the second time in 2 days. I wanted to move him somewhere my dogs could not get him. They are not fond of snakes. As I was holding him I realized I had my 60mm lense on my camera and could actually take some photos while I was holding him. So I did.

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Bear Visit

Since moving to a more rural area four years ago we have had periodic visits from black bears.  They typically make there presence known in early spring after emerging from hibernation.  They like to forage on bird feeders.  On several occasions they have plundered my feeders occasionally destroying them.  On a few occasions my wife and I have been able to see the bears.  Usually just a glimpse as they move off into the woods and usually at night in low light.  This time I was able to see one during a time of day in which it would be light out.  The only down side was that it was a very overcast and foggy day.  My camera at times could not even focus on the bear through the dense fog requiring manual focus.  It was very interesting to observe the bears behavior.  I was happy to be able to get my first quality photographs of a black bear.

That time of year

It looks like it is finally that time of year.  The time of year of which I speak is the time of year when raptors that migrate south for the winter begin to return to the north east United States.  This is one of my favorite times of year.  One of my favorite and most sought after subjects for my photography are birds of prey.

Over the past few weeks the broad winged hawks that are normally active in our woods have returned.  I can year their calls on a fairly regular basis.  Their familiar screech is quite noticeable out in the country when there are few other sounds.  I have seen them circling the woods, streaking over my house, and soaring high overhead.  I have been fortunate enough to see multiple broad wings flying through the same patch of sky.  Hopefully one pair will choose our woods to nest in.

There are generally bald eagles to be seen in this area as well.  Last week I saw my first bald eagle of the spring season as I was driving down the highway on my way home.  They are often seen over the highway because it intersects so many waterways in the area.

Today I saw my first osprey of the year.  I was so excited to see one that I took a detour from my original drive home route so that I could watch it longer and maybe observe some hunting behavior.  I drove over the bridge to cross the river watching the osprey all the while.  I saw it raise up and hover in one spot while it rapidly flapped its wings.  This is sometimes a sign it has spotted some prey and is about to dive down into the water to catch it.  I was not able to keep the osprey in sight long enough to see if it dove for prey.

In Pursuit of Dreams

About 6 months ago I began a new job. I was really looking forward to it. It was a big improvement from my previous jobs. The pay was excellent compared to my previous jobs.  So that was a big upside especially in this economic climate.

Over the years I have been pursuing furthering my education in the field of psychology. My bachelor’s degree allowed me to get this new job. I recently earned my masters is sport psychology. It has been a goal of mine to become a psychology professor at a university. To have a legitimate opportunity to obtain such a position I need to earn my PhD. So I began this process shortly before starting this new job.

Also over the past ten years I have been becoming increasingly involved in photography.  I finally reached the level of competence where I thought I could begin to pursue photography professionally, at least part time.  As I build myself up as a professional photographer it requires an increasing amount of time to present the type of work a professional would present.  I need to work on expanding my subject list, continually perfecting my technique, writing articles to accompany my photographs, and submitting them to editors.

So as I began this new job a lot of thoughts began to flow through my mind.  This job pays well with increases yearly.  There are great health insurance benefits.  There are good retirement benefits.  There is stability.  All of these things maybe close to or better than I would have with careers as a professor or photographer.

I began to wonder, why am I killing myself to work full time, and pursue my PhD, and become a professional photographer?  Should I be content with what I already have?  Is it worth my time and effort to pursue these other career options if they are not going to get me to any better a position than I am already in?

I have found out recently that it is worth my effort to pursue these goals.  After working for nearly six months I know that this is not the job I want for the rest of my life.  I still dread going to bed each night because I will have to wake up and go to work.  My job may be comfortable but it does not captivate me.  I desire a job that I look forward to every day of my life.  I think that is what I will have with a career as a professor or photographer.  I am willing to get up early in the morning and stand in the freezing cold to get that shot.  I am willing to write a twenty page paper to earn that next degree.  The job I have now is something I fell into.  I did not strive for it.  I will embrace the job as a stepping stone on the way to achieving my dreams.

Dogs and dog shows

I love to photograph my dogs but I cannot possibly live with one of every breed of dog that I like.  So to fulfill my desire to photograph more breeds of dogs than just the ones that I am lucky enough to live my life with I keep my eyes open for opportunities to photograph other dogs.  I may not be out looking specifically to photograph dogs but if I see one while I am out I may stop and photograph it quickly if the opportunity presents itself.  I have photographed dogs at local parks that I have happened to come across.  I have photographed dogs while on vacation in Bar Harbor, Maine.  Some of which were on vacation themselves.  I have even stopped my car while driving down the road and rolled down my window to photograph a dog that was walking down a local street alone as it passed by me.

Other times go out looking specifically for opportunities to photograph lots of dogs.  I have attended a few dog shows and photographed the dogs there.  I intend to attend more of them in the future.  It is an amazing experience for me.  I love to see all the dogs and I can combine my love of photography with my love of dogs.  It’s great fun!  It’s amazing to see so many dogs in one place at one time.  It is also great to see so many different breeds of dogs in person.  I enjoy watching the show dogs competing for best in show, but I think my favorite part is watching the dogs compete in agility competition.  For me that truly exhibits what dogs are really about.  The dogs look so remarkable.  The show dogs all done up to the max with perfect grooming and the agility dogs are perfect examples of maneuverability and grace.  I can’t imagine the work it must take to compete in either the agility or show portions.  There are other types of dog competitions I would like to watch as well. 
I tend to gravitate to the medium and larger breed dogs as that is what I prefer for myself as companions.  I have seen amazing representatives of Bernese Mountain Dogs, which my wife introduced me to, and we are fortunate to share our home with two Berners.
It is great to see entire show rings full of enormous dogs.  It is also interesting to see the variation within the breeds themselves in what the dogs look like.  You can see representation of all the variety of coat colors as well as differentiation in how the coat patterns are displayed in each dog. 

   When I used to think about agility compatitions I generally thought of border collies and austrailian shepherds and similar dogs participating in these competitions.  To my surprise I saw all types of dogs competing and enjoying it.  There were Dalmatians, Collies, Doberman Pinschers, Rottweiler, as well as Australian Sheppard’s among others competing.  It was quite a variety.  I could go on and on about dogs and dog shows but I won’t for now.  Perhaps in another post.

Exploring life through photography: Nature, Wellness, Health, Community.

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