Theatrical Parents

I stumbled across a family of Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) birds while walking at Lindo Lake in Lakeside, California.  As I approached, the first thing that I noticed were a handful of adult birds making a noisy fuss.  The Killdeer would loudly screech at me from a distance of 30–50 feet and fly away quite agitated at me and then, after a short time, fly back.  This continued for some time as I worked my along the shore.  And then their behavior changed abruptly as I neared a thicket of reeds.

One of the adults suddenly flew past me and landed about 20 feet or so from and then began to flutter on the ground for a few seconds.  The poor bird would part its wings and list back and forth while huddled close to the ground.  It would then get up, fly past me again, land, and then repeat the fluttering and twitching on the ground.  I definitely got the impression that this poor bird could be injured or at least a bit touched in the head.

Just then I noticed two small inconspicuous balls of fluffy down feathers walking across the mud flats no more than 15 feet from where I stood.  There were two juvenile Killdeer chicks standing in front of me.  Can we say cute!

I realized that the adult Killdeer was just putting on an elaborate act in order to divert my attention from the two baby birds. The display for a few minutes continued until I finally put some distance between myself and the babies. The frustrated parents could rest at last.

You can see more images at the Lindo Lake 2010 Gallery.

Test Post

For some odd reason, Facebook is not recognizing the rss feed for Perhaps this is because all of my posts are old and a fresh post will do the trick? Lets find out.


Update: I was finally able to get Facebook to recognize the RSS feed for the posts on this blog.  Hip, Hip, Hooray!

It turns out, I needed to actually give FB the actual underlying PHP page that generates the RSS feed entries.  It took some digging but Facebook can now see my feed.  Yeah!


Cali invited Marilyn and myself to capture some fun light trail photos at a club in downtown San Diego called Voyer. She was able to get the three of us on a free guest list to attend the CIRCUS show and thought it might be a fun opportunity to play with our DSLR cameras. Unfortunately, the staff informed us that the camera policy had changed recently to tune of no big cameras allowed inside without prior notice. Aw shucks :(.

We debated for a few minutes as to whether or not we should still attend the show. Ultimately, we came to the conclusion that we were already here and we should just make the most of it. Of course that also meant that we needed to trek back to the car and put our cameras away before the show began.

As it happens, a number of the performers were parading along the street in front of the club just before the show trying to enlist some additional customers and work the crowd a bit. Since we still had our camera gear, I figured I may as well get a few shots. As luck would have it, Cali recognized an old acquaintance amongst the performers on the street. Continue reading “Voyer CIRCUS”

Mushrooms, Toadstools, and Faerie Rings

The cool, moist weather has been perfect for a bumper crop of mushrooms.  They seem to like growing in patch of hay that has accumulated in front of our horse stalls.  I find it amazing just how quickly the mushroom patch appeared.  Quite literally, they popped up over night.  By the following night they begin to shrivel up, only to be replaced by a new batch of fresh shrooms.

A fresh bunch of mushrooms is just emerging from the damp ground.

Canon EOS 40D + EF24-70mm f/2.8L USM @ 68 mm — f/7.1, 1/250 sec, ISO 100 Continue reading “Mushrooms, Toadstools, and Faerie Rings”

Garden Discovery

A Pleasant Surprise

This weekend I finally got around to picking up the debris that had been strewn about my yard from the last big storm that blew through.  I was working on a pile of palm fronds that were stacked on the lawn when I spied something curious.  A tiny face was staring up at me.

The little creature couldn’t have been more than 2 inches long and maybe a quarter of an inch across.

Was it a earthworm?  No, it had eyes.  Perhaps it was lizard.  I don’t think so.  It seems a bit moist to be a lizard.  It sure looks like a salamander, but I know we don’t have salamanders in inland San Diego County.

While I was puzzling over this fellow’s identity, he just contentedly stared up at me, blinking occasionally.  What could it be?   I gently picked him up and placed him in a pot of chamomile so he wouldn’t wander too far off, and went inside to see if I could ID him.

After a few minutes on Google Images, low and behold, I had a Garden slender salamander (Batrachoseps major major) on my hands.  Apparently these salamanders are fairly common in these parts but I had never seen one around here.  I thought I might grab a few photos of him while I as at it.  He was a very cooperative model and immensely patient while I toiled away taking pictures of him.

A salamander, indeed!  What a pleasant discovery while working in the garden.

Continue reading “Garden Discovery”

Waterfront Of Lights

I stopped at Harbor Island on Friday after work to see if I could get a decent shot of the skyline. I have been wanting to try this shot for a long time now, but it always seems that when I leave work I make like a homing pigeon and drive straight home rather than taking the time explore.  I no regrets that I did!

This image is a panographic image composed of five vertical shots.

Downtown San Diego
Waterfront of Lights

Canon 40D + EF24-70mm f/2.8L USM @ f/11, 3.2 seconds, ISO 320

Mast Park

I had long heard stories about a little known fishing hole smack dab in the middle of Santee.  A place that is quiet, secluded, and peaceful.  A place where the fish just can’t wait to bite and the birds erupt in a chorus of perpetual song.  All of this right in the middle of busting Santee.

Follow the PathI couldn’t let a mythical place like this go unexplored.  So as the sun was getting a bit low in the sky I set off for Mast Park.  I parked in the Walmart parking lot and walked toward what appeared to be a wall of thick brush.  However, as I approached I spied a well cut path leading through the bushes and began to follow it.  Although easily traversed, the path wound this way and that and wandered to and fro.  Occasionally, I would entire stands of bushes and trees covered in the spun silk of web worms, giving the branches and leaves an eerie glow in the filtered sunlight. Continue reading “Mast Park”

Play Time Fashion Show

The Play Time Fashion Show took place at the club Numbers in Hillcrest, California, on September 10, 2009.  Jeremy Butts organized and MCed the show as a student project for the fashion program at the California Art Institute.  He did a fantastic job of getting a good selection of sponsors to donate outfits and resources to the show.  There we about 30 or so models each wearing at least two outfits apiece and a crowd of some 300 people in attendance at the show.  He arranged for food, drinks, and a DJ to keep the masses happy.  His only unsolved problem (just days before the show) was that he didn’t have anyone to do videography or a dedicated photographer.  That’s where I come in!

It just so happened that I was at the right place at the right time to hear about Jeremy’s problem.  Jeremy asked C on short notice if she could shoot some video of the event and also if she knew of anyone who would be willing to take pictures.  She then asked me if I was interested in photographing the event.  I might have taken a bit more than a New York second to say yes.

I arrived about an hour early on the evening of the show so I could find a good place to set up shop.  The club looked great with a very long semi-circular runway that passed through two distinct rooms.  I found an unobtrusive spot where the models were guaranteed to pause for a moment on the runway.  The DJ booth was also directly in front of me;  which meant that I could also use the color changing light panels on the DJ booth for an interesting background.  The location was great except for one small detail:  the light where the models would pass through was poor at best.  In fact, the entire club was much darker than I was expecting.  I was hoping to use only ambient light for the shoot, but that was definitely not going to happen.

Luckily, I had my off-camera flash setup with me.  I mounted a 580 EX II flash on a stand with a shoot through umbrella and a couple of Pocket Wizards and I was ready to go.  After a couple of practice runs with the models, I was all set and confident that I had everything I needed.  All of the attendees were seated, the lights dimmed further, and the music started to crank.  The show was ready to begin.

Jeremy took the microphone and gave a brief intro, and then the models started down the runway.

Canon EOS 40D + EF24-70mm f/2.8L USM @ 57 mm — f/4, 1/50 sec, ISO 1600 Continue reading “Play Time Fashion Show”