Sunday, April 18, 2010

Nature Walk

We have been moving, as a family, in about a zillion directions. Wouldn't be so bad if we were doing it all together, but we're fragmenting.

So yesterday, after another day of rushing around, and realizing that the kids hadn't eaten anything, (or they COULD have eaten, but they decided playing X-box was more important, that sort of thing), I sat us all down for supper and said "Eat fast, because we're leaving in 15 minutes for a FAMILY HIKE!"

Yes, that was met with groans.

And protestations.

And whines and sighs.

(and that was just ME, with my little internal monologue)

But we did it.

We were out the door before 6pm. Heading up to a nearby county park. Ken had rented me a very nice macro lens (Nikon 85mm f/3.5G AF-S DX Micro ED VR) for this next week, and I wanted to try it out on all the wildflowers I hoped to see at the park in the waning sunlight.

When we got to the park, Ken noticed that I had nearly no batteries left in the D90. Whoopsie. 18% might not go that far, so I turned off the flash, and thought I'd take a look at what the lens could do in all natural light.

We weren't even half a mile into the hike when a strong smell struck our delicate sinuses. Someone coming the other way was all excited, and said "There's a huge bird on the path!" When we came around the corner, the kids surprised the big bird... a turkey vulture... who immediately flew up into the trees. Quite the spectacle. We watched him for a bit, and then the smell got to the kids, so Ken took them off, and they continued on the hike. I told Ken that I'd take a few photos, and then catch up.

I leaned up against a tree, and tried to make myself look invisible.

He knew I was there.

He eyeballed me, and looked at the carcass on the path, and it was like you could almost hear the gears working in his brain.

"Yummy supper, or Stranger Danger? Hmmm....)

This next shot is one I'm pretty proud of. You can see right through his "pervious nostril" (thank you, Wikipedia, for that little trivia gem)

I stood stock still. I got a cramp. It started getting cold in the shadows. And he must have forgotten that I was there....

Because suddenly, he flew down to the path. And then he started walking towards the dead squirrel.

And then he was upon the carcass.

I got a leg cramp just as he started eating, so I had to move a bit, but he didn't seem to be bothered, so I started slowly walking towards him.

But I must have gotten past some invisible barrier...

He startled...

And then he was gone.

Good golly, those birds are HUGE!

I then realized that I would have to run pretty fast (and maybe pretty far) to catch up with the kids, but Ken knows me too well, and he'd not let the kids run on too far, before suggesting that they turn back and see if they could find me, so I really only needed to walk around two or three bends in the trail before I was caught up with them.

And yes, the trails were lovely in the setting sun.

And there were lots of flowers.

(loving the new macro lens!)

And there were lots of grasses.

Even a bunny.

The kids seemed energized by the sunshine.

And then we got to The Bendy Tree, and it was time for the traditional shot. One of these days, I will have to go through all my film photos (in boxes, and boxes, and boxes) and find the Bendy Tree Portraits from years gone by.

And then I blew the last little bits of my battery with a final flash photograph of Rock-em, Sock-em BRO-bots.

We will have to do this again real soon!

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