Monday, May 26, 2014
Today, in honor of Memorial Day, I remember all the brave men and women who have fought and died in service to this great country including PFC Juan Garza, USMC, who was Killed in Action April 8, 2003 during offensive action in Iraq. Juan was an outstanding young man, married to my niece who continues to serve her country in the U.S. Army. May God continue to comfort those who mourn their lost loved ones. Thank You is not enough for those who have died to keep me free.
We woke up to a beautiful morning. It promised to be a hot day, and it delivered.
We had an incident this morning that was almost funny. As Mark was cooking breakfast on the Coleman stove, he put Daisy inside because she kept chasing chipmunks into the woods. A few minutes after he put her in, he looked up the driveway and said, “how did she get out?” because there was a beagle in our driveway. I laughed and told him it wasn’t Daisy, it was Buddy – the dog belonging to the SPOTC. Of course, our dogs were all barking and carrying on like crazy. I walked toward Buddy who ran to the end of the driveway. He stood there near the road, howling at me while our three dogs barked. I look toward the corner and there are people running all over down there but not a single one of them came to get their dog or paid the least bit of attention to what he was doing!! We are on a dirt road with not a lot of traffic, but what vehicles do come down this way are usually flying because they don’t think there is any traffic or reason to slow down. Very dangerous for dogs on the loose! (The people across the way had their collie hit and killed right in front of our driveway the first year we owned this place.)
Since I was dressed in my pajamas and robe, I wasn’t really ready to confront the neighbors. Buddy ran off but was soon back, so I got dressed and went to go down there but by then he ran home and there were no longer people loitering about their yard. I can’t believe all those people can be so completely oblivious. Mark thinks they are obnoxious on purpose.
On my way back up the driveway, a stick went right into my flip-flop, across the top under the thong and gouged a nice furrow across the top of my left foot. I had to clean it, try to bandage it up and wrap medical tape around it to hold the bandage in place, so then both my feet were messed up!
We were finally able to sit down and eat our breakfast. Chasing Buddy had cost time and by time we were done eating it was 10:15 and we had to rush to get ready to go into town for the Memorial Day parade that started at 11. We parked at Northwoods Gallery and Coffee House and Mark got a cup of coffee to drink while we waited for the parade to start. We’ve known the owner, Mr. Zollars, for years now – he sells my books in his shop – and we always like to have a visit with him on our trips into town. If you are ever in Atlanta, MI, stop in his place and have a great cup of coffee. He also has a large collection of Jim Foote artwork that is amazing!
I had a moment of sheer and utter panic just before the parade began. I turned on my camera and inadvertently hit some button – or maybe two – and it messed up my viewfinder. I suddenly had grid lines and some sort of graph thing up in the corner. The more I tried to “fix” it, the worse things got until I had all kinds of icons on the screen and in my attempt to make them go away I changed some of my settings. I was almost having a meltdown when the parade began. Mark told me to go ahead and take pictures, that the grid and things might bother me but wouldn’t affect my photos. Unfortunately, whatever settings I changed did affect my photos and they came out with a slight blur and just plain not very good. So, these are for informational purposes only.
Here is the Memorial Day Parade.
And here is the wreath laying ceremony at Briley Township Park on the shore of the Thunder Bay River.
Somehow I missed it when he actually put the wreath in the water, it happened so fast! They also had the gun salute and the playing of Taps, which always makes me cry, even when it’s played badly.
As soon as we got back to our place, I got on my computer and pulled up the PDF manual for my camera and tried to undo whatever it was I had done. For me, trying to read that manual is like trying to decipher the Rosetta Stone – so many symbols and icons! Eventually I did figure it out. Well, let’s just say I think I got it back to how it was before. I’m not sure I really “figured anything out” because I wasn’t totally sure of what I was doing!
Dark clouds soon moved in and a wind kicked up. We were taking a short break on the porch, enjoying the birds and soon there was a brief rain shower. Unfortunately, it wasn’t even enough to knock the dust down.
The pileated came for another visit. I couldn’t believe it – having it come so close while we were out on the porch!!
That last one is un-cropped. I was trying to see how close I could zoom in. LOL I’m glad I don’t have to feed them every day. I have a feeling they go through a cake of suet a day the way they chow down with their huge beaks!
When the rain passed, we got the dogs ready to go for a short hike. Mark wasn’t feeling well. It had gotten very hot and humid and he doesn’t do the heat very well anymore. So, we didn’t go far. He drove up Sportsmen Dam Rd. past the clear-cut area to a trail on the right. One where we could be in the shade and not have to look at the devastation. There were a few wildflowers about. I saw trillium, tiny light-purple violets, yellow violets, and fringed polygalas. I experimented with a bit of macro photography, but not much. Mark isn’t one to stand around while I lay on the ground photographing flowers, and the beagles aren’t much good at waiting, either.
On the drive back to our place, I asked Mark to take the two-track off Stevens Spring back to Sportmens to see the swans. I only counted seven this time. One was bathing and preening – it was hilarious to watch! I shot a whole series of photos that I think I’m going to post another day this week. I probably took close to 50 pictures of the swans, until I finally realized my battery icon was flashing red, telling me it was about to die!
Back home again, I wanted to make a small bowl of macaroni salad to go with our steaks and then I had to tackle the mountain of dishes. You know you’ve let the dishes go too long when you are out of spoons and there are only two people! By late afternoon I hit a wall and had to lie down for a rest before dinner and fishing.
Mark grilled us some yummy steaks for dinner and we managed to eat out on the porch with the citronella candle burning and each of us sprayed with Off! We had three indigo buntings this afternoon along with all the regular visitors.
Soon it was time to head to the lake. There was only one other boat out again – from the cabin near the boat launch – so we had the place pretty much to ourselves. We saw the loon and the kingbirds but it was very cloudy so I didn’t even bother attempting photos. The fish were biting but mostly they were small-fry that need to wait a couple more months. We only got three keepers. The swarming mosquitoes and gnats were horrendous. I ended up throwing my hooded sweatshirt up over my head, atop my baseball cap, trying to keep them away from my face. They were making me crazy!
We had hoped to have a small campfire tonight, but by time Mark got done cleaning the fish it was late and we were both very tired. Plus, I had had enough of battling mosquitoes for one day. It was going on midnight when we fell into bed. The frogs were singing quite a loud lullaby tonight.
I counted fifteen bird species in our yard today: indigo bunting, oriole, hummingbird, cow bird, rose-breasted grosbeak, hairy woodpecker, downy woodpecker, pileated woodpecker, goldfinch, purple finch, white-breasted nuthatch, chickadee, chipping sparrow, mourning dove, robin.
I am totally jealous for your Pileated Woodpecker! I almost got a picture of one at the park this morning, but he flew off before I could get my camera ready.
I think they are so amazing! We have them in our woods up there – more often heard rather than seen. In the past I have gotten a few really bad photos of them, so I got the new camera at the perfect time! This was the first time we’ve had them come in this close. I had never seen them on my suet before this weekend. I can’t get over how beautiful birds are. God is amazing in His creation!!
I bet you will get a photo soon!!
Thank you for the tribute to our fallen soldiers!
I’m not a fan of the Canon manuals, they do rely too much on symbols and icons, and are not well laid out. The grid wouldn’t have affected your photos, I use the grid when doing landscapes to aid in composition, but I have it off for birds and wildlife. Usually, if you shut a Canon off then turn it back on, it will revert to your normal set up.
For macros, if you use the macro setting of the camera, you’re usually better off not zooming at all, but moving the camera closer. For larger flowers like the trillium, you may be better off using your normal setting and zooming in.
Just a few tips, although I don’t know why I’m passing them on, between the loon and the pileated, I’m now very jealous! You’re doing very well with your new camera, it’s good to see that it’s working out so well for you. You complained about the parade photos, but think what they would have looked like if you had shot them with your Kodak. 😉
Jerry, I ALWAYS appreciate all your advice! Thank you, once again! I really appreciate all you’ve done to help me out. I did wonder about zooming during macro shots, so that helps immensely. Before the parade, I did turn the camera off, hoping it would re-set, but when I turned it back on, all the stuff was still in the viewfinder. I think maybe I should have changed to the sports setting? That’s better for movement. You are right, these are about what the Kodak would have produced! 🙂
Well, being old school, I’ve never used the sports setting. But, I assume it boosts the shutter speed, and I don’t think anything was moving very fast in your photos. Since I started with full manual film cameras, I change settings as needed as far as shutter speed, aperture, and ISO so I can’t tell you what the sports setting actually changes.
I used to use the sports setting on my Kodak for birds sometimes, and also when we went to hockey games. I think Bob said it increases the shutter speed. I have to do a lot more educating myself and learning what does what.
Great woodpecker shots. We will all be coming to you for advice soon.
Oh Tom, I truly hope not, since anything I’m doing so far is complete dumb luck! I am hoping to get more educated over my summer break. I also stopped at the library and checked out two photography books, but they didn’t have anything that was very current.
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Just love it that you went to see a parade! Brings back sweet old memories. And the variety of feathered friends that you see is just amazing. Envious am I.
The parade is always touching, even though it is small. I do love all the birds we see up there. Next time, there probably won’t be any. They won’t need my feeders once summer is in full swing.