Sunday, October 22, 2006

Dear deer,

First let me cover a little bit about me, your amateur photographer and even more amateur writer. I have attempted to learn photography in the past, with my father's old film camera during my college years. It was too expensive to learn on a film camera for a starving college student so I soon gave it up. In the past year though my dad purchased a new digital camera and I saw what he was doing with it. He used to be both a hobby photographer as well as a wedding photographer and he never really lost the taste for it. Digital just makes it cheaper to shoot more pictures, try different things till you get what you want. So this past September I decided to make another attempt at it.

I got a Panasonic DMC-FZ50. This is a little more than the a point and shoot, but not quite the DSLR you see the pros using. It is a good mid range camera for learning on in my opinion and one I can grow with until I am ready to spend the big bucks on a Canon or Nikon system with multiple lenses.

I'll have to thank Cagey of Rancid Raves for getting me thinking of this blogging thing. But between her humorous blogs and pictures of her son I just thought this would be a fun way to display some of my early photography.

Ok enough with the history lesson lets get on to the pictures and the real reason for this blog.

For those that don't know, I am not typically a morning person and I seldom talk about it being a good day before noon, but that is what today was. I woke up at a shocking 6:30 and was out the door by 7:30. It was bitterly cold with frost on roof tops and shaded grass and leaves. My destination was Burr Oaks Woods, a wild life refuge in Blue Springs Missouri. After a quick breakfast I headed on to the park and got there just as the gates opened. As I reorganized my pack and got the camera set, I was thinking I had to be crazy to be out this early and in this cold but I said what the hell.

As I started off on the trail I didn't hold much hope of finding color nor wildlife. Unfortunately this park sees alot of walkers and joggers, ussually in conversation scaring the critters. Missouri foliage doesn't hold color for long and the rain from yesterday and the cold today made me think I wouldn't get much.

About 1/4 of a mile into the short 3/4 mile trail I was passed by a group of 5 walker and talkers. I cursed to myself in annoyance (I am so my father's son). With them ahead of me I heard one of the women shout, then I heard a crash and rush in the bushes across the small watering hole where I was photographing a maple along the water line. Then I saw them, a group of 3-4 deer springing through the brush, white tails flying. Again I cursed thinking these loud excersise nuts had ruined my chance.

I pressed on around the bend to about where I heard the woman shout. I moved slowly and quietly watching to the right for the skittish creatures, and there she was, peering back at me, curious yet nervous at the same time.

I started to move on up the trail a bit to see if I could capture the others. Further up the hill I saw they had moved across the small valley back in the direction I had just come from. I slowly moved back to that corner of the trail where a service path intersected it and moved a few feet down that grassy path. I heard something directly to my left and begin scanning the brush listening intently. Then I heard a tiny sound, barely noticable above the bird song to my right, as I turned I was startled by the quick movement of 3 deer. One bounding back the way it had come disappearing in the brush. The other two leaping into the tall grass field to my right until they were about 100-150 yards away where they sat and stared at me again both curious and nervous at the same time, snorting as they watched.

While in this area hoping for another shot, and tracking them a bit longer I counted up to roughly 10 deer. In one flash of movement, I thought I saw the buck, but with their speed it was hard to tell if it was a rack or just a trick of the light as it blurred by.In utter shock at what I had been lucky enough to capture I turned to go back to the real trail and came across a small oak. In 33 years I have never seen oak leaves any other color in the fall but dirt brown. But there in front of me was a small oak that appeared to be on fire with its red and orange hues.

Suprised for the 2nd time in my short excursion I moved once again back to the original trail. Just as I reached it I found something my parents would be both proud I had noticed and suprised I had found. You see both my parents are bird watchers - their backyard is like a wild kingdom of backyard birds and some of it was bound to rub off even if I never had an actual interest in it. Perched just a few feet from me, atop a small tree was a bluebird, probably one of the last in the area before winter moves in.Eventually this little songbird moved on and I proceeded back on the trail.

The rest of the trail was uneventful, but that first 1/4 mile made the trip, and the frost touched fingertips worthwhile. I did manage to get a few more shots of some color - red maples, and a type of fern I do not yet know the name of and an old farm/silo on a hillside I'd been planning to photograph for a few weeks but the above were my favorites of the day. I returned home rather pleased with myself - even to the point I felt the need to write my first blog about it. Hopefully there are more to come.

Until next time, keeping shooting (put the gun away that isn't what I mean).


Cagey said...

Wow! I had no idea you were into photography! Very cool! I've added you to my Bloglines. If you want, I can add you to my Blogroll - let me know.

Been meaning to call you to see if you would like to hook up for dinner. Will call you tomorrow, then.

Thanks for stopping by and commenting on Arun's birthday post. Where the hell did the past year go?

Photobug said...

Well I've never really spent enough time working with it, but in the last 4 weeks I've shot 600+ pictures. Of course they aren't all keepers, but I'm very happy with some of them. Do give me a call, I'm good sometime after Nov. 1 for dinner.