Acadia NAtional Park

I mentioned in my previous post that I went on vacation. And what would a vacation be without some photos to share.
My wife and I went camping at Blackwoods Forrest campground in Acadia National Park In Maine. It was an amazing trip. I had never been exposed to scenery like that before in my life. I would greatly recommend anyone to go there.

One of the things that made the trip so enjoyable is our campsite was within a short walk of the coast so we could walk down anytime. We simply followed a short trail and then crossed the park loop road and we were right on the coast. Now for anyone not familiar with the coast at Acadia it is quite different than one might imagine when they think about a typical coast line. When walking out to the coast we found ourselves a good distance above the ocean on rocky cliffs.

This made for a spectacular view. We were able to see up and down that stretch of coast and across to the far shore. It was amazing to watch the waves crash on the rocky cliffs. If you are there at the right time in the right place you can see giant sprays of water shoot up between the cliffs. I was lucky enough to experience this awesome sight. I was also lucky to have my camera there.

This image is from the coast near our campsite on one such occasion when we could see the waves crashing and shooting up into the air. The exposure isn’t the greatest to me but I love how the plume of water shooting up came out. It was not the easiest shot to get. I couldn’t actually see where the waves were hitting that were creating that water spout. So I had to just try to time it or wait until I actually saw the water shoot up. And the waves weren’t always strong enough to send the water skyward. It was cyclic. So once the pattern of water spouts started there was only a limited am mount of time to get the shot or you had to wait for the next cycle of waves with enough force to push the water into the sky.

It was nice to have such a great landscape feature so close to where we were staying. My only regret is that I didn’t get to see more of the park and surrounding communities. I would love to go back some day.

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I’m Back

Wow it has been a long time since I’ve been at this. Sorry about the long hiatus. Some life events conspired to keep me from the computer desk for a while. Luckily for me none of them were negative life events. I went on vacation to an area where there was no Internet connection and no computer. Then upon returning from vacation I was set to begin a new job. Then after a short time at the new job I began a new college course for my PhD program in Psychology.

So nothing bad happened just a lot of things that required a lot more time from me than previously and greatly restricted my access to computers and the Internet from what it was previously. So now it has been made obvious that I need to work on my organizational skills so that I can work the new job and complete my college coursework and still have time to do the other things that I am used to doing.
Blogging has been a new venture to me this year so it was not built as well into my schedule as all of my other regular activities. So when I found myself in a time crunch it inadvertently fell by the wayside. Now I know that that is no way to run a blog. It just happened. Almost subconsciously without me knowing it. I would think about doing a blog post. Then something would come up and I would just never get to it. As you can see this trend lasted for over two months. It is amazing how quickly time goes by and how fast time escapes me. So now my goal is to be as my favorite radio hosts Mike and Mike say “back and better than ever!”

To Acadia

I am headed to Acadia National Park in Maine. I will be leaving Friday 9/11/09 and returning Tuesday 9/22/09. So in that time there will not likely be any new posts to the blog. However, while I am there I plan to get a lot of other things done. I will be taking quite a few photographs while I am there and hopefully creating some breathtaking images to share. I also think that I will do some writting while I am there. I am not sure if what I will write will be future blog posts or be articles for publication with my photographs. I am leaning more towards articles to accompany photographs. I like to write my blog posts in the current and not planning them out into the futre. I like to write about what is going on in the preasant or things that I have just done or experienced. I will probably write a few posts upon my return about my experiences at Acadia. I am expecting to have a great time and hopefully have some inspirational moments while I am there. My only hope is to not get rained on much. My wife and I will be camping at Blackwoods campground. I have not been camping much in recent years so hopefully I have not forgotten how to go about the whole thing. Hopefully I will enjoy it as much as I have in the past. I have not gotten to the point where I am a wilderness or outback camper so I still like to have a few creature comforts so I will not be totaly unplugged even though there is no electric at the camp ground. Well, wish me luck on this adventure.

Natures Struggles

In the three years that I have been living in a more rural location I have been fortunate to be able to experience nature more up close and personal than ever before. It has enhanced my life in many ways. I have become a better photographer and more importantly a better person.

Unfortunately or fortunately, being more present in nature I have also witnessed the struggle to survive that goes on daily for the wildlife that surrounds us. I have seen a hawk in hour yard fly off with a freshly killed rabbit. I have watched as smaller fish are eaten by larger fish. I have walked in the grass only to find a hatchling who has fallen from its nest and died. And this is only what I have seen happen and what I have seen happen in my own back yard.

I have walked out on my deck to find a small dead bird. I don’t know if it died of natural causes and its last breath happen to occur on my deck. I don’t know if one of my dogs was able to catch and kill it. Although that seems unlikely to me as it was a warbler which usually lives in the wooded area which is inaccessible to my dogs. Perhaps it was attacked in the woods and flew from the woods to escape and succeeded but was dealt a mortal blow in the process expiring on my deck. I will never know.

Today I was picking up he dog food dishes after the dogs were done eating in the house and one of them was near the door which has a full glass panel and I saw something flitting along the ground on the deck just outside the door. I went outside to check it out and found another small warbler, alive but injured. It allowed me to pick it up and I tried to look it over for injuries as best I could. It was bleeding from its head and had blood running around its left eye. It seemed to be stunned and other than the bleeding OK. It did not make any attempt to leave my hand though. This concerned me.

I was not sure what to do. I had to leave for work and was now running late. I thought about going inside and waking my wife and seeing if she wanted to look after it until it was OK to fly away, but I did not want to risk going inside with it and chancing one of the cats or dogs trying to get it and hurting it more. I walked over to the side of our yard where the dogs cannot go. I sat crouched down with it in my hand for a few minutes stroking its back. Trying to calm it down as it was trembling and panting. After a few minutes it finally seemed to start to relax and even flicked its wings but did not fly away. I thought about setting it down in a hidden spot where I could come back and check on it after work but I was fearful that I would only be leaving it as bait for a predator. Then I decided that since it flicked its wings I would see if it could fly. I tossed it up into the air a little bit and it took flight. It was not a graceful slight as it started off by making a small circle and bumping a few branches but then seemed to get under control and circle around again and fly into the woods and out of site. Hopefully my feathered friend is OK and will still be in my woods somewhere watching me when I get home.

These experiences make me ever more grateful for the things that I have and the lifestyle I have that our ancestors and others today still do not have. I do not have to worry daily about where I will find food or if I will go hungry. I do not have a daily struggle just to survive as much of our wildlife does. I try not to take for granted all of the human conveniences that we have available to us. If I am hungry I can go to the store and by some food or even make a phone call and have it delivered to me. I don’t have to go out and stalk prey for hours on end in the hopes of getting a bite to eat and hope no one bigger or stronger than me comes and takes it away. I do not have to go out grazing and foraging for food constantly exposing myself to predators that would like to make me their lunch. And that is just the advantages I have when it comes to food. I also do not have to struggle to find shelter or other resources that I need. It puts a new perspective on things even if tough times. I can look at nature and see how good I still have it.


Today when I was getting ready to go out and take some photos I thought to myself I think I am going to see something unusual today.

I walked down to the stream I almost always go to and as I started walking I began seeing common mergansers. There was a large group of common mergansers swimming in the stream. This might by name sound, um common, but for me it was unusual. I have seen common mergansers frequently but not in this location and not exhibiting the behaviors that they were.

They were hunting……. Mergansers dive under water to catch their prey. When I think of this the image that comes to mind is a bird is swimming along looking down through the water from above and then dives under when it sees something it wants to catch. This however is not what was going on. The mergansers were swimming along on top of the water like ducks but with their heads stuck in under the water so that their eyes were submerged for several seconds at a time. Then when they saw a prey item they would dive under and catch it.

The fact that they were swimming in a closely bunched group may have given the impression that they were hunting as a group. But that did not appear to be the case. I did not see any mergansers dive cooperatively to catch anything. They dove generally one at a time and succeeded or failed at catching their food individually. There was no combined effort or sharing of food. In fact when one merganser literally bit of more than he could chew, or gulp down fast. It became a free for all. There was no all for one and one for all. It was every merganser for them self. When the merganser who saw the fish first dove after it so did others as they saw it. Each trying to catch it first. Once on caught it and emerged from the water with it in its beak the others rushed in to try and steal it and it became a giant game of tackle the bird with the fish. In the end it appeared that the fish got away in the frenzy.

Now for me that is what I call an unusual sighting.

To love a pet

To love our pets is a mixed blessing. We are able to experience life altering moments through our relationship with them. We experience the unadulterated joy they exhibit. We feel the love and camaraderie they share. We become their family and they become our as they allow us into their lives and make us theirs. We are their humans as much as they are our pets.

Unfortunately to love an animal is to guarantee oneself an eventual heartache. We will always live to see the passing of our beloved fury family members. This is a gut renching trial to go through. There is no filling the void that is left when one of ours leaves us.

Even though this member of our family is no longer with us in physical form they can remain with us in spirit. We can commemorate their lives and celebrate the important impact that they have had in our lives. We will always have the memories that we shared with them and others in our lives.

I am writing this today to commemorate the life of Stripe a great cat who lived a long life of 14 years. She was my and my wife’s cat. She was a loyal animal and seemed to care in a way most people don’t associate with cats. She also loved our dogs. She spent every waking moment trying to insert herself into our lives and our dogs lives. She made sure that we will never forget her. From her scampering play sessions where she will be chasing various household objects across the floor to her playful nibbles and rubbing up against you. She lived a long life and in recent times she had begun to get a little frail. But she still had that spark of life to her. That never say die attitude that let you know she was never going to give up and she was always going to be around. And in the end it was that never say die attitude and desire to stay with us that shown through. We came home to find her very sick and seemingly on deaths door at midnight. She We did not know what was wrong with her or what had happened but it was clear that it was serious. It was made difficult by the time of day it happened and the fact that it was a Friday night so there was no easily accessible vets. We did everything we could think to do for her to try and get her better. But nothing seemed to help. She would seem to be fading and be about to go to sleep and pass on and then she would fight it and stay with us. After a long while my wife made the gut wrenching decision that we needed to call the vet and have her put to sleep to end her suffering. I do not envy my wife being the one to make this decision. The vet was compassionate and handled the situation quickly and professionally. We gave Stripe her on plot in the back of our yard and we will get he a marker for her spot. From there she can keep an eye on us and keep us safe. Now she is outside, which is where she always wanted to be anyway.

I think this is always a trying time for a pet owner as doubt always creeps in. Did we do the right thing. Was there nothing else to be done. Was she suffering. I know I feel all these things. But in the end I think we did what was best for this important member of our family.

Stripe we will always love you and miss you. Nothing will ever fill the void you have left in our family.

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

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