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Stephen Ingraham

Stephen Ingraham Verified in Google 

Christian, birder, photographer, blogger...

Occupation: Retired. Senior Brand Advocate for Birding and Wildlife Observation: Carl Zeiss Sports Optics

Followers: 57,696

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Stephen Ingraham has been at 2 events

HostFollowersTitleDateGuestsLinks
Landscape Photography Show13,684*Landscape Photography Show #46: Power Points* In the last two events, we explored the horizontal and vertical rule of thirds lines and how they divide your frame into 9 equal parts.  It's always great to set a horizon on the lower or upper horizontal line.  It's also good to place a strong element along one of the vertical rule of thirds lines. This event will focus on where the two vertical and horizontal rule of thirds lines intersect.  We call those Power Points.  There are 4 of them: upper left, upper right, lower left, and lower right. Placing a strong element at one of the Power Points can really improve the composition, drama, and power of your photograph.  Examples:  the single red leaf on a green tree; the eye of anything wildlife, and the setting sun on the horizon.    Some landscape photographs really appeal to us and others seem boring. Do you know why?  Your brain is being stimulated by composition, color, and contrast and it's all subconscious.  Your photos can be more interesting and appealing by knowing rules of composition and when to break those rules. Power Points are what we want practice with this event.  Show us something special place at one of the intersection points of those vertical and horizontal lines.   1.  Share your landscape photograph that displays something special at one of the Power Points.       2.  In a comment on the photograph tell us which Power Point you used: upper left, upper right, lower left, or lower right.  Explain how you used this technique in your composition.  If you break the Power Point rules, tell us why.  Also give us some information about the location and any challenges that you faced.  We want to know the details about your photograph. 3.  Other participants will be discussing how you used this technique and asking you questions.  Please join the discussion on other photographs as well. 4.  This event is all about PARTICIPATION and DISCUSSION.  Please don't post a photo and leave.  The LPS reserves the right to remove photos without your comment.    General Rules: 1) Your photo MUST be ORIGINAL.  If you post the work of someone else, you will be removed from the event. 2) You MUST have complete EXIF data for your photo.  Within the event, select your photo and view it large.  Look for the "photo details" on the right.  It should be complete with the date the photo was taken, camera and lens information, ISO, f stop, speed etc.  Photos that don't have complete EXIF data will be removed.  Others will learn from seeing what you have done. 3) Only ONE photograph per person is allowed.  If you submit more than one photo, all of your photos will be removed. 4) Circle the @114888971165518552849 page. 5) Photos must be posted no later than Monday, July 13, 2015, 10 am CDT.  Those posted after that time will be removed. 6) Curator favorites will be shared to the @105588730866970114510 theme page.  Circle the curators and engage them in conversation.  You will learn lots from them!! 7) CuratLPS Event #46: Power Points2015-07-06 17:00:00344  
Landscape Photography Community10,702*Landscape Photography Community:  One of a Kind* *General Rules* 1) You must be a member of the Landscape Photography Community (LPC)!!  Please circle the @106632923256517196664 page. 2) Only ONE photograph per member is allowed.  If you submit more than one photo, all of your photos will be removed. 3) Your photo MUST be ORIGINAL.  Do NOT share someone else's photo.  If you post the work of someone else, you will be banned from the community. *4) You MUST have complete EXIF data for your photo.  Within the event, select your photo and view it large.  Look for the "photo details" on the right.  It should be complete with the date the photo was taken, camera and lens information, ISO, speed, f stop etc.  Photos that don't have complete EXIF data will be removed.* 5) This must be a photograph suitable for the Landscape Photography Community.  6) There is NO VOTING for this contest!  Several of our senior moderators have volunteered to judge this contest.  They are experienced judges of photography events and their decision is final. 7) Photos must be posted no later than Monday, July 6, 2015, 3 pm CDT.  Those posted after that time will be removed. 8) Winners will be announced on Wednesday, July 8, 2015. 9) Moderators of the LPC may participate but they cannot win the contest. 10) Technical Requirements: Enable "sharing" on your photo.  If it receives honors, we want to be able to share it!!  Enable "comments" on your photo.  We want to say how great it is!!  Enable "plus ones" so everyone can give it a big plus!!LPC Contest #43: One of a Kind2015-06-29 22:00:00463  

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Most comments: 60

posted image

2017-04-18 11:05:42 (60 comments; 20 reshares; 903 +1s; )Open 

Rainforest giant. (with humans for scale :) Sony Rx10iii in-camera HDR. Processed in Polarr on my iPad Pro. 

Most reshares: 20

posted image

2017-04-18 11:05:42 (60 comments; 20 reshares; 903 +1s; )Open 

Rainforest giant. (with humans for scale :) Sony Rx10iii in-camera HDR. Processed in Polarr on my iPad Pro. 

Most plusones: 903

posted image

2017-04-18 11:05:42 (60 comments; 20 reshares; 903 +1s; )Open 

Rainforest giant. (with humans for scale :) Sony Rx10iii in-camera HDR. Processed in Polarr on my iPad Pro. 

Latest 50 posts

posted image

2017-04-24 21:36:21 (7 comments; 2 reshares; 118 +1s; )Open 

And a spring for the Love of landscape... Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters, Wells Maine. Sony Rx10iii in-camera HDR. Processed in Polarr on my iPad Pro.

And a spring for the Love of landscape... Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters, Wells Maine. Sony Rx10iii in-camera HDR. Processed in Polarr on my iPad Pro.___

posted image

2017-04-24 21:30:37 (2 comments; 1 reshares; 38 +1s; )Open 

Just to prove I really have been in Maine the past two weeks (before leaving for the Florida Birding and Photo Fest tomorrow early), and that I did not spend ALL my time on Hulu and Netflix (and, okay Amazon Prime), here is Chickadee from Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge headquarters today. Just doing what Chickadees do. See tomorrow's Day Poem. :) 

Just to prove I really have been in Maine the past two weeks (before leaving for the Florida Birding and Photo Fest tomorrow early), and that I did not spend ALL my time on Hulu and Netflix (and, okay Amazon Prime), here is Chickadee from Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge headquarters today. Just doing what Chickadees do. See tomorrow's Day Poem. :) ___

2017-04-24 15:27:40 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 3 +1s; )Open 

April 24
We have had a couple of unseasonably warm
weeks here in Southern Maine already this
spring...but you would never know it from
the woods. The Hobble-bush, always first
to bloom, is barely in bud, and the only sign
of returning life is a single Spring Azure,
flitting bright and blue against the browns
of fallen oak leaves. It just goes to show,
it is still all about the length of days and
the angle of the sun. Kind of the half
opposite of Plancks Constant...some things
change to little and too slow for us to know. 

April 24
We have had a couple of unseasonably warm
weeks here in Southern Maine already this
spring...but you would never know it from
the woods. The Hobble-bush, always first
to bloom, is barely in bud, and the only sign
of returning life is a single Spring Azure,
flitting bright and blue against the browns
of fallen oak leaves. It just goes to show,
it is still all about the length of days and
the angle of the sun. Kind of the half
opposite of Plancks Constant...some things
change to little and too slow for us to know. ___

posted image

2017-04-24 10:27:47 (13 comments; 5 reshares; 200 +1s; )Open 

Classic Galápagos Islands scene. Espanola Island, Ecuador. In-camera HDR. Sony Rx10iii. Processed in Polarr on my iPad Pro.

Classic Galápagos Islands scene. Espanola Island, Ecuador. In-camera HDR. Sony Rx10iii. Processed in Polarr on my iPad Pro.___

posted image

2017-04-24 10:22:18 (0 comments; 1 reshares; 55 +1s; )Open 

Swallow-tailed Gull
The Swallow-tailed Gull is the most common gull on the Galápagos Islands, or at least was the one we saw most often on our Wildside Nature Tours Galapagos Adventure, and it is also, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful of gulls. So, okay, if you are familiar with gulls at all, you may not think that is a high recommendation...as most people think of gulls as being more annoying than beautiful, but none the less, I think the Swallow-tailed Gull is a beautiful bird. It has the accents, red and white, in all the right places and a pleasing range of gray tones. And it is, as gulls go, an elegantly shaped bird, not hulking like Great Black-backed or Herring, or squat like a Ring-billed...but, well, well proportioned and elegant. On the Galapagos it is also completely unafraid of mankind. You have to walk around them on the lava trails of the islands, and on any dock. more »

Swallow-tailed Gull
The Swallow-tailed Gull is the most common gull on the Galápagos Islands, or at least was the one we saw most often on our Wildside Nature Tours Galapagos Adventure, and it is also, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful of gulls. So, okay, if you are familiar with gulls at all, you may not think that is a high recommendation...as most people think of gulls as being more annoying than beautiful, but none the less, I think the Swallow-tailed Gull is a beautiful bird. It has the accents, red and white, in all the right places and a pleasing range of gray tones. And it is, as gulls go, an elegantly shaped bird, not hulking like Great Black-backed or Herring, or squat like a Ring-billed...but, well, well proportioned and elegant. On the Galapagos it is also completely unafraid of mankind. You have to walk around them on the lava trails of the islands, and on any dock.

The panel above illustrates several features. You have the mated pair, the sleeping bird showing its "false eye" which gives preditors the impression that the bird never sleeps, its minimal nest, and its habit of posing on top of rocks.

Sony Rx10iii at mostly 600mm equivalent (the mated pair is a wilde angle shot, as I did have to walk around them in the trail). Program Mode. Processed in Polarr and assembled in FrameMagic on my iPad Pro. ___

2017-04-24 09:45:50 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 4 +1s; )Open 

April 23
I stood in the quiet wood and watched
as a murder of crows gathered above me,
2 dozen or more in the end, coming in mostly
silent to sit high in the trees without apparent
motive. I looked for any potential predator...
hawk or owl, or even fox, but came slowly
to the reluctant realization that it must be me,
standing silent in the silent wood looking at
nothing in particular, that had attracted their
attention. I moved on, and left the crows
to draw their own muderous conclusions. 

April 23
I stood in the quiet wood and watched
as a murder of crows gathered above me,
2 dozen or more in the end, coming in mostly
silent to sit high in the trees without apparent
motive. I looked for any potential predator...
hawk or owl, or even fox, but came slowly
to the reluctant realization that it must be me,
standing silent in the silent wood looking at
nothing in particular, that had attracted their
attention. I moved on, and left the crows
to draw their own muderous conclusions. ___

posted image

2017-04-23 12:16:22 (13 comments; 4 reshares; 367 +1s; )Open 

"If your eye is generous, your whole being is full of light!" Jesus

Wherever we went ashore along the Amazon there were children. At one village, the Wildside Nature Tours Amazon River Boat Adventure had pre-arranged a meal for us: native foods cooked and served native style in a native home...and a visit to the school. School was not in session when we visited (it was school vacation), but the teacher gathered the children of the village to sing for us. They were proud to be able to sing in their native language (or at least the teachers and our native guides were proud for them). A great effort is underway to teach the children of the Amazon their ancestral languages before they are completely replaced by Spanish. They don't have, or they did not know, any native songs. They sang Ferajaka in translation and a happy Spanish greeting song that involved a lot of clapping and jumping... more »

"If your eye is generous, your whole being is full of light!" Jesus

Wherever we went ashore along the Amazon there were children. At one village, the Wildside Nature Tours Amazon River Boat Adventure had pre-arranged a meal for us: native foods cooked and served native style in a native home...and a visit to the school. School was not in session when we visited (it was school vacation), but the teacher gathered the children of the village to sing for us. They were proud to be able to sing in their native language (or at least the teachers and our native guides were proud for them). A great effort is underway to teach the children of the Amazon their ancestral languages before they are completely replaced by Spanish. They don't have, or they did not know, any native songs. They sang Ferajaka in translation and a happy Spanish greeting song that involved a lot of clapping and jumping (and our help on the refrain). We had come prepared with soccer balls and frisbees, crayons and colored pencils, pens and notebooks as gifts to the school and the children, and we passed them out as the visit went on. I am not sure if any of the other eco-tours in the Amazon do this kind of thing, but it is something Wildside always does. It is in the itinerary, along with advice on what to bring, and we made a special stop at a variety store once we landed in Iquitos for those who did not, or were not able to, pack supplies in their luggage.

It was a touching experience...for me, a bit bittersweet. The children were the same as children anywhere, though they were remarkably well behaved for their visitors, compared to my experience (I was a teacher for 20 years) of children in a similar situations in the US. Bittersweet, because, of course, we were just there one day. The school supplies might last them well into the new school year (I suspect the teachers gathered them from the individual children we gave them too as soon as we left...I certainly would have), but other than giving them a chance to perform their songs, and spending some money with the Amazon craft vendors that were gathered (they were everywhere we went ashore), and paying for the meal and its preparation...all of which undoubtedly benefited the village...we had no real impact on their lives.

Bittersweet because many of the children we saw along the river will flee to the city as soon as they can...going from healthy poverty along the river, to a scratch and sniff, catch as catch can, and decidedly unhealthy poverty in the floating city in Iquitos. A few will make it from the floating city to the city proper, and a few of those, like our guides, will get an education that allows them a more affluent life. But even our guides had a deep nostalgia for the old life along the Amazon. And, of course, they had returned to river as much as is possible for an educated Peruvian.

Still, I truly appreciate the opportunity to meet the children of the Amazon. It would not have been the same trip without our time in the village. And I admire Wildside for including it in the itinerary and preparing us for it.

It is totally possible to over-think and over-moralize an experience like that...and I am in danger of doing so. Such experiences challenge the self that still is wrapped around the generous eye of Christ, and makes me aware of how far I have to go toward true generosity...toward being totally full of light. That is not a bad thing, but is certainly bittersweet.

My your eye be generous in all you see today...and may life always be more sweet than bitter. Happy Sunday!



___

posted image

2017-04-23 10:51:22 (14 comments; 7 reshares; 242 +1s; )Open 

Galapagos sunrise. Our second day in the Galapagos. Anchored off Floreana Island. Sony in-camera HDR. Processed in Polarr on my iPad Pro. 

Galapagos sunrise. Our second day in the Galapagos. Anchored off Floreana Island. Sony in-camera HDR. Processed in Polarr on my iPad Pro. ___

posted image

2017-04-23 10:45:27 (4 comments; 0 reshares; 47 +1s; )Open 

Marine Iguanas, Espanola Island, Galapagos
All the wildlife I saw on the Galapagos in my Wildside Nature Tours Wildlife and Photo Adventure was completely unafraid of humans. On our first full day, we visited Espanola, a low, slanting, lava table with a large nesting colony of Nacza Boobies and other sea birds. And Marine Iguanas. Lots of Marine Iguanas. Often Marine Iguanas in the trail, where we had to climb around them. Always Marine Iguanas beside the trail. In breeding season, the males develop some interesting colors, though they mostly back or dark grey, which helps these cold-blooded animals to warm themselves in the sun when they are out of the water. They spend most of the day warming themselves. The waters around the Galapagos are cold, and Iguanas feed on algae beds deep under water. A single dive can require several hours of recovery in the sun. Of course...they may just enjoy... more »

Marine Iguanas, Espanola Island, Galapagos
All the wildlife I saw on the Galapagos in my Wildside Nature Tours Wildlife and Photo Adventure was completely unafraid of humans. On our first full day, we visited Espanola, a low, slanting, lava table with a large nesting colony of Nacza Boobies and other sea birds. And Marine Iguanas. Lots of Marine Iguanas. Often Marine Iguanas in the trail, where we had to climb around them. Always Marine Iguanas beside the trail. In breeding season, the males develop some interesting colors, though they mostly back or dark grey, which helps these cold-blooded animals to warm themselves in the sun when they are out of the water. They spend most of the day warming themselves. The waters around the Galapagos are cold, and Iguanas feed on algae beds deep under water. A single dive can require several hours of recovery in the sun. Of course...they may just enjoy baking in the hot equatorial sun.

They sneeze a lot...and their heads are often encrusted with salt from the glands there that excrete the salt from the sea water they drink while feeding. They are big, they grow as big as the food supply allows...and Espanola has some really big Marine Iguanas.

Sony Rx10iii, mostly at various focal lengths. Program Mode. Processed in Polarr and assembled in FrameMagic on my iPad Pro.

___

2017-04-22 18:28:35 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 5 +1s; )Open 

April 22
Earth Day. Sometimes I think of this
earth we live on as a tiny egg suspended
in the womb of the universe...fertilized
and growing, developing life, somewhere
in gestation, moving toward birth. I
am not certain what will born, but I
suspect, as many of our wisest and
most surrendered have always said,
that it is devine...a child of the very
creative life that forms, informs, lives
and breathes the universe as a whole...
of the spirit that is the motive, the
living love, that moves all that is into being.
And I, just a cell, but a cell, containing,
as all cells do, the complete pattern, the
blueprint, the code of it all...living out
my little span of the total term until
the day of birth, the birthday. And so
we celebrate this Earth Day, more
or less aware of the wonder we are... more »

April 22
Earth Day. Sometimes I think of this
earth we live on as a tiny egg suspended
in the womb of the universe...fertilized
and growing, developing life, somewhere
in gestation, moving toward birth. I
am not certain what will born, but I
suspect, as many of our wisest and
most surrendered have always said,
that it is devine...a child of the very
creative life that forms, informs, lives
and breathes the universe as a whole...
of the spirit that is the motive, the
living love, that moves all that is into being.
And I, just a cell, but a cell, containing,
as all cells do, the complete pattern, the
blueprint, the code of it all...living out
my little span of the total term until
the day of birth, the birthday. And so
we celebrate this Earth Day, more
or less aware of the wonder we are
living...in anticipation, in hope. ___

posted image

2017-04-22 12:25:13 (8 comments; 0 reshares; 39 +1s; )Open 

Galapagos Mockingbirds. I missed two. 1 and 2 are San Cristobal or Chatham Mockingbirds from San Cristobal Island. 3, 4, and 5 are Hood or Espanola Mockingbirds from Espanola. 6, 7, and 8 are Galapagos Mockingbirds from South Plaza...Galapagos Mockingbird is found on most of the central islands. I would have trouble distinguishing San Cristobal and Galapagos if they occurred on the same island. The Hood is stand-out bird: look at that bill! I was indisposed when the pandas went out to cruise around Champion Island to find the Charles Mockingbird. It would have been a from the boat shot anyway...as only researchers are allowed on Champion. 

Galapagos Mockingbirds. I missed two. 1 and 2 are San Cristobal or Chatham Mockingbirds from San Cristobal Island. 3, 4, and 5 are Hood or Espanola Mockingbirds from Espanola. 6, 7, and 8 are Galapagos Mockingbirds from South Plaza...Galapagos Mockingbird is found on most of the central islands. I would have trouble distinguishing San Cristobal and Galapagos if they occurred on the same island. The Hood is stand-out bird: look at that bill! I was indisposed when the pandas went out to cruise around Champion Island to find the Charles Mockingbird. It would have been a from the boat shot anyway...as only researchers are allowed on Champion. ___

posted image

2017-04-22 11:24:30 (10 comments; 3 reshares; 198 +1s; )Open 

The harbor at San Cristobal Island, the Galapagos, Ecuador at after sunset. In-camera HDR. Sony Rx10iii. Processed in Polarr on my iPad Pro. 

The harbor at San Cristobal Island, the Galapagos, Ecuador at after sunset. In-camera HDR. Sony Rx10iii. Processed in Polarr on my iPad Pro. ___

posted image

2017-04-22 11:13:52 (3 comments; 3 reshares; 65 +1s; )Open 

San Cristobal Mockingbird
We transition today from the Wildside Nature Tours Amazon River Boat Adventure to the Wildside Nature Tours Wildlife and Photo Adventure in the Galapagos. The Galapagos is on almost every wildlife or nature photographer's bucket-list, and is a dream destination for anyone interested in natural-history...or even just in travel. There is no where in the world like it. An archipelago of volcanic islands, ranging from quite large with cloud forest above the 2000 foot level, to small lava caps, well off the coast of Ecuador, it is the place, and is home to the wildlife, that inspired Darwin's most important work. And it is unique in being entirely protected, and operated, as a National Park. You can only visit most of the islands accompanied by a National Park Guide, and in a group of less than 20 people. Visits are limited to 4 hours per licensed tour boat...which... more »

San Cristobal Mockingbird
We transition today from the Wildside Nature Tours Amazon River Boat Adventure to the Wildside Nature Tours Wildlife and Photo Adventure in the Galapagos. The Galapagos is on almost every wildlife or nature photographer's bucket-list, and is a dream destination for anyone interested in natural-history...or even just in travel. There is no where in the world like it. An archipelago of volcanic islands, ranging from quite large with cloud forest above the 2000 foot level, to small lava caps, well off the coast of Ecuador, it is the place, and is home to the wildlife, that inspired Darwin's most important work. And it is unique in being entirely protected, and operated, as a National Park. You can only visit most of the islands accompanied by a National Park Guide, and in a group of less than 20 people. Visits are limited to 4 hours per licensed tour boat...which means that if your tour is larger than 20 people, you only get a portion of that 4 hours. In addition, any given tour boat can only visit an island once in 4 days. Human traffic on the islands is closely controlled and fully monitored. We did not see more than 2 additional groups on any of the islands we visited, and we were often alone on an island. Because Wildside Nature Tours keeps its groups to less than 20, we always had the full 4 hours to photograph and enjoy the unique landscapes and wildlife of the islands. Kevin Loughlin, who owns Wildside, has visited the Galapagos over 45 times in his tour-leading carrier, so there are few people more experienced, or more qualified, to guide you to the best the Galapagos has to offer. I was wonderfully blessed to be asked along on this trip...a destination that otherwise would have remained on my bucket-list past its expiration date. :)

This is the San Cristobal Mockingbird. The Galapagos are home to 5 species of Mockingbirds, apparently all descended from a few Mockingbirds that reached the islands sometime in the dim past. The islands are far enough apart, and the seas around them are rough enough, so that travel between islands is limited. That, in theory, has allowed (or forced) single species like the Mockingbird to develop into a complex of closely related species, each restricted to a single island or a small group of islands. The San Cristobal Mockingbird is found only on the island of San Cristobal. San Cristobal was our port of call in the Galapagos...we flew into the airport there...and drove up over the 2000 foot peak of the island and down the other side to a Land Tortoise Breeding Center where the San Cristobal Mockingbird greeted us in the parking lot. One of the unique aspects of the Galapagos is that the wildlife has not developed a fear of man...so the Mockingbirds, as we walked the paths looking for giant land Tortoises, were latterly at our feet, looking for food among the lava chunks.

Sony Rx10iii at 600mm equivalent. Program Mode. Processed in Polarr on my iPad Pro. ___

2017-04-22 01:06:59 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 5 +1s; )Open 

April 21
Rain all day today, dreary, damp, and chill.
It makes me miss the tropics, and crave hot
food. Green Chilies, peppers, and potatoes...
popcorn hot from the microwave. There was
a Bluebird on the back deck this afternoon,
but even he could not manage to pierce the
dishumor of a rainy Southern Maine day in
spring...though his bright plumage, Shinny
Honeycreeper blue, made a bold attempt
to bring a bit of Honduras north. In two
weeks, in Ohio, on the Erie shore, I will
see the same warblers I saw a week ago
at Pico Bonito and in the highlands around
Panacam in Honduras coming through
on their way north to breed...but even
if the temperatures are unseasonably warm,
as they sometimes are the first weeks of May...
it will not be the same...anymore than I
could ever mistake the chill rain of... more »

April 21
Rain all day today, dreary, damp, and chill.
It makes me miss the tropics, and crave hot
food. Green Chilies, peppers, and potatoes...
popcorn hot from the microwave. There was
a Bluebird on the back deck this afternoon,
but even he could not manage to pierce the
dishumor of a rainy Southern Maine day in
spring...though his bright plumage, Shinny
Honeycreeper blue, made a bold attempt
to bring a bit of Honduras north. In two
weeks, in Ohio, on the Erie shore, I will
see the same warblers I saw a week ago
at Pico Bonito and in the highlands around
Panacam in Honduras coming through
on their way north to breed...but even
if the temperatures are unseasonably warm,
as they sometimes are the first weeks of May...
it will not be the same...anymore than I
could ever mistake the chill rain of our
temperate spring for a tropical downpour. ___

posted image

2017-04-21 11:23:33 (15 comments; 7 reshares; 319 +1s; )Open 

The Amazon. Brim full and broad, and flowing hard. In-camera HDR. Sony Rx10iii. Processed in Polarr on my iPad Pro. 

The Amazon. Brim full and broad, and flowing hard. In-camera HDR. Sony Rx10iii. Processed in Polarr on my iPad Pro. ___

posted image

2017-04-21 11:08:21 (4 comments; 3 reshares; 80 +1s; )Open 

Night Monkeys
Our local guides on our last Terra Firma Forest walk in Pacaya-samiria National Reserve on the Amazon River in Peru found us many interesting things...including these Night Monekys high in a huge Rainforest tree. Night Monkeys, or Owl Monkeys as they are alternatively called, are nocturnal monkeys which range from Panama south through the Amazon basin...the only completely nocturnal monkeys in the world. They are also arboreal, living their whole lives above ground in the trees. Our group on the Wildside Nature Tours Amazon River Boat Adventure had seen Night Monkeys on the morning when I was too indisposed to go out in the skiffs, and I figured I had just missed out, so I was more than happy when the local guide raised his eyes and pointed up into the canopy and someone said, "Oh, Night Monkeys!" Though they are nocturnal, they were obviously aware of out presence below... more »

Night Monkeys
Our local guides on our last Terra Firma Forest walk in Pacaya-samiria National Reserve on the Amazon River in Peru found us many interesting things...including these Night Monekys high in a huge Rainforest tree. Night Monkeys, or Owl Monkeys as they are alternatively called, are nocturnal monkeys which range from Panama south through the Amazon basin...the only completely nocturnal monkeys in the world. They are also arboreal, living their whole lives above ground in the trees. Our group on the Wildside Nature Tours Amazon River Boat Adventure had seen Night Monkeys on the morning when I was too indisposed to go out in the skiffs, and I figured I had just missed out, so I was more than happy when the local guide raised his eyes and pointed up into the canopy and someone said, "Oh, Night Monkeys!" Though they are nocturnal, they were obviously aware of out presence below them, and interested enough to poke their heads out of their hollow tree nest to see what we were up to.

It was an impossible shot. Too high, straight up, and against bright holes in the canopy that put the small monkeys in semi-silhouette, and left half the frame burned out white. I had to focus manually and hold the camera awakwardly above my head. Still...Night Monkeys! I am surprised I got anything at all...and I have filled in the over-bright background a bit in TouchRetouch so you can focus on the monkeys.

Night Monkeys are small...about 13 inches long and weighing in the 2.5 pound range. They are declining due to human disruption in their ranges (everything from agricultural deforestation to civil and drug wars) and have some level of protection in most of the countries where they live...though enforcement is difficult and inconsistent. They are also among a very small number of primates that can catch malaria, so they are used in research on the disease. They are the only primate without color vision...but they have exceptionally high resolution grey-scale vision...which may help them hunt insects in the canopy at night. As you can see, the alternative name of "Owl Monkey" is based on those huge eyes.

Sony Rx10iii at 600mm equivalent. Program Mode. Plus 1/3 EV. ISO 1600 @ 1/80th @ f4. Manual focus. Processed in Polarr and TouchRetouch on my iPad Pro. ___

2017-04-21 01:16:27 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 4 +1s; )Open 

April 20
I have become somehow enwrapt in
Ballarat, in Australia, in the 50s,
in the life and times of a certain
Dr. Blake, courtesy of the Australian
Broadcasting Company, and BBC,
and Netflix. Really quite as good
as a Dickens novel, the Australian
take on the British Mystery, more
about the people than the crime,
highly civilized and so well
imagined and enacted that I know
I will suffer withdrawal when
I run out of episodes...when series
3 (the latest availabe on Netflix)
comes to an end with the story
unfinished (there is a season 4
and rumors of a season 5, but
it will be a while before they are
available for viewing here in the
the USA). I am tempted to limit
myself to a single episode a day
to draw the experience out...but
I know I won't. That is the trouble
with... more »

April 20
I have become somehow enwrapt in
Ballarat, in Australia, in the 50s,
in the life and times of a certain
Dr. Blake, courtesy of the Australian
Broadcasting Company, and BBC,
and Netflix. Really quite as good
as a Dickens novel, the Australian
take on the British Mystery, more
about the people than the crime,
highly civilized and so well
imagined and enacted that I know
I will suffer withdrawal when
I run out of episodes...when series
3 (the latest availabe on Netflix)
comes to an end with the story
unfinished (there is a season 4
and rumors of a season 5, but
it will be a while before they are
available for viewing here in the
the USA). I am tempted to limit
myself to a single episode a day
to draw the experience out...but
I know I won't. That is the trouble
with internet TV...it is easy to
binge. Still, I am enjoying Dr. Blake.
Good as a Dickens novel any day.
(For me, high praise indeed!)___

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2017-04-20 11:35:00 (17 comments; 6 reshares; 338 +1s; )Open 

Dawn departure on our last full day on the Amazon River. In-camera HDR. Sony Rx10iii. Processed in PhotoShop Express on my iPad Pro. 

Dawn departure on our last full day on the Amazon River. In-camera HDR. Sony Rx10iii. Processed in PhotoShop Express on my iPad Pro. ___

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2017-04-20 11:14:40 (3 comments; 0 reshares; 48 +1s; )Open 

Black-collared Hawk
The Black-collared Hawk is an Accipitor, related to our Cooper's and Sharp-shinned hawks from North America. It is seen, almost exclusively, sitting in snags beside rivers in the Amazon, watching for fish in the water. According to Birds of Peru, it is "uncommon but widespread" across Amazonia. We saw at least a dozen different individuals on our Wildside Nature Tours Amazon River Boat Adventure...all from the skiffs as we explored creeks off the main river.

Our local guides like Black-collared Hawks because they are easy to play with: 1) catch or buy a small fish, 2) find a Black-collard Hawk in fishing stance along a creek, 3) throw the fish out from the skiff as far as you can. 4) watch the hawk dive and take the fish from the surface of the water. We had a fisherman with us...not a native...but one of our number who trailed a line in the water... more »

Black-collared Hawk
The Black-collared Hawk is an Accipitor, related to our Cooper's and Sharp-shinned hawks from North America. It is seen, almost exclusively, sitting in snags beside rivers in the Amazon, watching for fish in the water. According to Birds of Peru, it is "uncommon but widespread" across Amazonia. We saw at least a dozen different individuals on our Wildside Nature Tours Amazon River Boat Adventure...all from the skiffs as we explored creeks off the main river.

Our local guides like Black-collared Hawks because they are easy to play with: 1) catch or buy a small fish, 2) find a Black-collard Hawk in fishing stance along a creek, 3) throw the fish out from the skiff as far as you can. 4) watch the hawk dive and take the fish from the surface of the water. We had a fisherman with us...not a native...but one of our number who trailed a line in the water every day, and eventually, on our last day, caught a small catfish. We joked that if we had been dependent on him, we would not have had any fish for the Black-collared Hawks...but native fishermen were happy to sell us a few small fish most days. Most of the time, of course, the fish just sinks and the hawk just sits and, presumably, yawns...not interested. Or the fish drifts too far downriver for good photos before the hawk decides to take it. We tired with 4 hawks and only once got to see the full dive and catch.

Some of you might be a bit uncomfortable at this point already, and I will admit I have strong feelings about baiting any animal for the convenience of any photographer, including me. I don't like it. I will also admit to being thrilled to see the dive of this beautiful hawk...something I would very likely never have seen without the efforts of our guides. There are ways of justifying this behaviour in this particular case...the hawks were put in no danger; we provided them with what amounted to an easy meal; while uncommon, the population of Black-collared Hawks in Amazonia as a whole is large and healthy; given the amount of tourism in the region, there is no chance the Black-collared Hawk will become dependent on human feeding, etc etc. And it is no different (and undoubtedly has less impact on the birds) than putting out bird feeders in the back yard and filling them with thistle and sunflower seed so that we can enjoy their company...but still, I do feel compelled to point out that we were feeding the hawk so that we could see...and photograph...it in its dive.

That said, it was certainly a thing of beauty to watch, and thrill to capture. Sony Rx10iii in my special action and flight mode (wide area continuous focus, minimum shutter speed ISO set to 1/1000th, -.3 EV.) Processed in Polarr and assembled in FrameMagic on my iPad Pro.

___

2017-04-19 19:51:46 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 1 +1s; )Open 

April 19
There are lots of things I could be
doing...images to label...perhaps
a trip report on the Amazon, or
the Galapagos, or Honduras to write,
but I find it hard to get motivated.
I could, of course, just go out-
side to find and enjoy a bit of
Southern Maine Spring: maple
blossoms, spring peepers, Wood
Frogs, that kind of thing. Perhaps
I am still resting from 8 weeks
of pretty much constant travel...
recharging whatever battery pack
it is that keeps me going. Next week
this time I will be in Florida, giving
workshops on Point and Shoot
Nature Photography at the Florida
Birding and Photo Fest, and I should
at least look over what I intend to
present. Tomorrow. Tomorrow
is time enough, don't you think?


April 19
There are lots of things I could be
doing...images to label...perhaps
a trip report on the Amazon, or
the Galapagos, or Honduras to write,
but I find it hard to get motivated.
I could, of course, just go out-
side to find and enjoy a bit of
Southern Maine Spring: maple
blossoms, spring peepers, Wood
Frogs, that kind of thing. Perhaps
I am still resting from 8 weeks
of pretty much constant travel...
recharging whatever battery pack
it is that keeps me going. Next week
this time I will be in Florida, giving
workshops on Point and Shoot
Nature Photography at the Florida
Birding and Photo Fest, and I should
at least look over what I intend to
present. Tomorrow. Tomorrow
is time enough, don't you think?
___

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2017-04-19 11:05:34 (19 comments; 10 reshares; 272 +1s; )Open 

Deep in the Water Lettuce of an Oxbow Lake off the Amazon River in Peru. In-camera HDR. Sony Rx10iii. Processed in Polarr on my iPad Pro.

Deep in the Water Lettuce of an Oxbow Lake off the Amazon River in Peru. In-camera HDR. Sony Rx10iii. Processed in Polarr on my iPad Pro.___

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2017-04-19 10:53:30 (4 comments; 5 reshares; 89 +1s; )Open 

Hoatzin Bird
As part of the Wildside Nature Tours Amazon River Boat Adventure, we made two separate trips back into Oxbow Lakes off the Amazon to find the Hoatzin Bird. The Hoatzin is one of the oddest birds on earth, and no trip to the Amazon would be complete without a Hoatzin sighting. They are not hard to find, generally, as they are numerous, large (almost turkey size), noisy, and relatively unafraid of humans, but they tend to favor the oxbows, which are not always easily accessible from the main rivers. In some seasons you have to bushwhack to find them. In high water season, when we visited, we could take our skiffs through narrow, twisting channels in the flooded forest and get right out into the oxbows among the water lettuce and giant water lilies.

In addition to its rather bizarre looks, the Hoatzin is unique among birds in having a digestive system that uses bacterial... more »

Hoatzin Bird
As part of the Wildside Nature Tours Amazon River Boat Adventure, we made two separate trips back into Oxbow Lakes off the Amazon to find the Hoatzin Bird. The Hoatzin is one of the oddest birds on earth, and no trip to the Amazon would be complete without a Hoatzin sighting. They are not hard to find, generally, as they are numerous, large (almost turkey size), noisy, and relatively unafraid of humans, but they tend to favor the oxbows, which are not always easily accessible from the main rivers. In some seasons you have to bushwhack to find them. In high water season, when we visited, we could take our skiffs through narrow, twisting channels in the flooded forest and get right out into the oxbows among the water lettuce and giant water lilies.

In addition to its rather bizarre looks, the Hoatzin is unique among birds in having a digestive system that uses bacterial fermentation…in a special enlarged crop, ahead of the actual stomach…somewhat similar to the way a cow digests its food, and for the same reason. Hoatzins eat mainly leaves (from as many as 50 species of plants), and normal digestive processes would not extract enough nutrients from the tough cellulose matter to sustain life. The fermentation process is also responsible for the unpleasant manure like odor associated with the birds, which gives them their other name: stinkbird. The stink may also be responsible for their continued health as a species in a region where such a large and easyily hunted bird might otherwise be a target. As a final oddity, Hoatzin chicks have two functioning claws on the wings which help them to clamber around in the foliage at a young age to avoid predators.

As you might expect with a bird this odd, there has been, and continues to be, much debate about where the Hoatzin fits in the scheme of bird life in general…who its closest relations are…where it came from in evolutionary terms, etc. It is so much a mystery that it has inspired only the 4th attempt to completely sequence the genome of a bird, at process that is ongoing at the moment. It is generally agreed, though, that it is an anchient off-shoot of the bird clan, and that it stands pretty much on its own.

If you see a resemblance to a certain Disney bird character…it is no accident. The bird in question was consciously modeled on the Hoatzin, though the Disney folks worked with a broader palette.

That is probably more than you wanted to know about the Hoatzin Bird, but it is a fascinating creature. Sony Rx10iii at 600mm equivalent. Program Mode. Processed in Polarr and assembled in FrameMagic on my iPad Pro. ___

2017-04-19 01:35:03 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 3 +1s; )Open 

April 18
Doing a bit of confronting my own
short-comings as a man, as a human
being, these past few days. I can not
say I like it much...like a nagging
discomfort...like low grade tooth ache
in my soul. The worst is I know I have
no right to feel better about myself.
And yet, if I just remember that faith
is not about me, or what I feel or
even believe, but all about the love
that inspires my trust...then, fair or
not, I am freed of the need to feel
better about anything as unimportant
as myself. I will never be better than
I am. What I have done I have done.
And yet, love lives, and I find myself
amazed and full of gratitude. Faith
does not have to make sense. It is.

April 18
Doing a bit of confronting my own
short-comings as a man, as a human
being, these past few days. I can not
say I like it much...like a nagging
discomfort...like low grade tooth ache
in my soul. The worst is I know I have
no right to feel better about myself.
And yet, if I just remember that faith
is not about me, or what I feel or
even believe, but all about the love
that inspires my trust...then, fair or
not, I am freed of the need to feel
better about anything as unimportant
as myself. I will never be better than
I am. What I have done I have done.
And yet, love lives, and I find myself
amazed and full of gratitude. Faith
does not have to make sense. It is.___

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2017-04-18 11:05:42 (60 comments; 20 reshares; 903 +1s; )Open 

Rainforest giant. (with humans for scale :) Sony Rx10iii in-camera HDR. Processed in Polarr on my iPad Pro. 

Rainforest giant. (with humans for scale :) Sony Rx10iii in-camera HDR. Processed in Polarr on my iPad Pro. ___

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2017-04-18 11:00:31 (18 comments; 3 reshares; 334 +1s; )Open 

The Woolly Monkey Show
We were exploring a creek off the Amazon River in skiffs, on our Wildside Nature Tours Amazon River Boat Adventure, when we found 2 Woolly Monkeys foraging in a tree right at the edge of the creek just above eye-level. One adult and one youngster, probably mother and child. Woolly Monkeys are not easy to see. They are the most aggressively hunted of the Amazon primates, and are getting scarce (they are considered "highly endangered" by the conservation community)...so this was a rare opportunity. It is also rare to see them foraging this low...they tend to stay high in the canopy...but they enter flooded forest next to the rivers in season looking for fruits and berries.

Woollys have a long, relatively heavy, and fully prehensile, tail. They use it as a fifth hand while climbing around in the trees looking for food. There is some debate, and they... more »

The Woolly Monkey Show
We were exploring a creek off the Amazon River in skiffs, on our Wildside Nature Tours Amazon River Boat Adventure, when we found 2 Woolly Monkeys foraging in a tree right at the edge of the creek just above eye-level. One adult and one youngster, probably mother and child. Woolly Monkeys are not easy to see. They are the most aggressively hunted of the Amazon primates, and are getting scarce (they are considered "highly endangered" by the conservation community)...so this was a rare opportunity. It is also rare to see them foraging this low...they tend to stay high in the canopy...but they enter flooded forest next to the rivers in season looking for fruits and berries.

Woollys have a long, relatively heavy, and fully prehensile, tail. They use it as a fifth hand while climbing around in the trees looking for food. There is some debate, and they vary in weight over the course of a year depending on food supply, but they are at least tied for the honor of being the largest New World monkey.

Both Woollys were fully aware of us in our skiffs as we watched and photographed them. The youngster was the shyer of the two, but even he/she was not all that concerned about us being there. At times our boats were within 10 feet of the branches and vines they were climbing. I don't know how they knew we were not hunters...since the main predator of woolly monkeys (perhaps the only predator of adult Woollys) is man, but they seemed confident that we meant them no harm, and went about their business for as long as we watched...a half hour or more...and were still there foraging when we moved on.

Most of us have seen monkeys (and great apes) in zoos, but it is a totally different experience to see them in the wild...in their own world, where we are only visitors. This encounter is certainly right up there with my most awesome wildlife experiences. It left me with a feeling of quiet wonder, and a rare awareness of undeserved privilege. ___

2017-04-18 00:52:42 (1 comments; 0 reshares; 7 +1s; )Open 

April 17
I went out this morning and found
the Crocus blooming under the
Cherry tree in the yard, and around
back, the Maple in full flower.
Spring. So after errands I drove
out to the Kennebunk Plains, to Day
Brook Pond, to see what signs
I might find there. Aside from the
unseasonably warm weather, in the
high 70s, and a bunch of Painted
Turtles basking in the sun, the high
blue and cloud painted sky, and a
lone Song Sparrow singing...again
the Maples in bloom, and the birches
budding...and above the pond, the
spring peeper's peeping in chorus,
there was nothing obvious that
proclaimed the change in season.
Nothing obvious. Spring still.
Sure as Crocus under the cherry. 

April 17
I went out this morning and found
the Crocus blooming under the
Cherry tree in the yard, and around
back, the Maple in full flower.
Spring. So after errands I drove
out to the Kennebunk Plains, to Day
Brook Pond, to see what signs
I might find there. Aside from the
unseasonably warm weather, in the
high 70s, and a bunch of Painted
Turtles basking in the sun, the high
blue and cloud painted sky, and a
lone Song Sparrow singing...again
the Maples in bloom, and the birches
budding...and above the pond, the
spring peeper's peeping in chorus,
there was nothing obvious that
proclaimed the change in season.
Nothing obvious. Spring still.
Sure as Crocus under the cherry. ___

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2017-04-17 18:41:08 (10 comments; 10 reshares; 269 +1s; )Open 

Back in the temperate zone after 8 weeks more or less in the tropics. Branch Brook pond in early spring, Southern Maine. Sony Rx10iii in-camera HDR. Processed in Polarr on my iPad Pro. 

Back in the temperate zone after 8 weeks more or less in the tropics. Branch Brook pond in early spring, Southern Maine. Sony Rx10iii in-camera HDR. Processed in Polarr on my iPad Pro. ___

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2017-04-17 18:37:14 (1 comments; 0 reshares; 78 +1s; )Open 

Having spent the better part of the last 8 weeks in Central and South America, it was nice to get out today to check on how Spring in Southern Maine is getting on. Getting on. Maple blossoms from the back yard. This is a tele-macro. Bigger than life size if you are viewing it on anything larger than a phone. :) Sony Rx10iii at 1200mm equivalent. (2x Clear Image Zoom). Processed in Polarr on my iPad Pro. 

Having spent the better part of the last 8 weeks in Central and South America, it was nice to get out today to check on how Spring in Southern Maine is getting on. Getting on. Maple blossoms from the back yard. This is a tele-macro. Bigger than life size if you are viewing it on anything larger than a phone. :) Sony Rx10iii at 1200mm equivalent. (2x Clear Image Zoom). Processed in Polarr on my iPad Pro. ___

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2017-04-17 11:49:09 (10 comments; 9 reshares; 251 +1s; )Open 

From a Terra Firma village overlooking the Amazon River. Sony Rx10iii in-camera HDR. Processed in Polarr on my iPad Pro. 

From a Terra Firma village overlooking the Amazon River. Sony Rx10iii in-camera HDR. Processed in Polarr on my iPad Pro. ___

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2017-04-17 11:40:24 (4 comments; 2 reshares; 70 +1s; )Open 

Pygmy Marmosets
On our Wildside Nature Tours Amazon River Boat Adventure, we visited a small village in the Pacaya Samiria Reserve on the River above Iquito, Peru to check the trees for Pygmy Marmosets. Pygmy Marmosets chew small holes in trees and eat the gummy sap that collects in the holes. It is the only time you are likely to see the marmosets anywhere below the canopy, and you will not see them in the canopy, so knowing where the trees they feed on is essential if you want to see them at all. The villagers at this location clearly expect a regular traffic of visitors who come to see their monkeys, as they have one of the larger displays of craft tables we saw along the river, and semi-permanent shelters for them.

And Pygmy Marmosets are certainly worth seeing. They are the world's smallest primate, at about 4 inches long (not counting the 8 inch tail). I found various... more »

Pygmy Marmosets
On our Wildside Nature Tours Amazon River Boat Adventure, we visited a small village in the Pacaya Samiria Reserve on the River above Iquito, Peru to check the trees for Pygmy Marmosets. Pygmy Marmosets chew small holes in trees and eat the gummy sap that collects in the holes. It is the only time you are likely to see the marmosets anywhere below the canopy, and you will not see them in the canopy, so knowing where the trees they feed on is essential if you want to see them at all. The villagers at this location clearly expect a regular traffic of visitors who come to see their monkeys, as they have one of the larger displays of craft tables we saw along the river, and semi-permanent shelters for them.

And Pygmy Marmosets are certainly worth seeing. They are the world's smallest primate, at about 4 inches long (not counting the 8 inch tail). I found various figures for their weight, but most sources put them somewhere in the 3.5 ounce range. They are, needless to say, too cute. They have a typical monkey attitude, and the direct, totally aware, gaze of any of our cousins. They very definitely look back you. The one that appears to be sticking out his tongue at me is really only chewing gum.

We had an even closer encounter with the Pygmy Marmosets when we visited a Shaman at her healing center, where two went about their gummy business near the base of a tree only a few feet from us...but the light was certainly better higher in the trees of our first sighting.

Sony Rx10iii at 600mm equivalent. Program Mode. I have the ISO set to a maximum of 1600 so these shots are all at 1600 ISO, and at relatively show shutter speeds, shot off my bean-bag monopod (my beanpod). Processed in Polarr and assembled in Frame Magic on my iPad Pro. ___

2017-04-17 00:02:31 (1 comments; 0 reshares; 6 +1s; )Open 

April 16, Easter Sunday
Easter Sunday, all day long.
An appreciation of the gift
of life, and not life only, but
creative life, life so full of
creation that it pushes death
aside, shoulders the future,
not only of our days on earth,
but of eternity...of time outside
of time...that blasts open the
door of death and settles ever
life within us, beginning anew
each moment, and knowing
no end, no matter the number
of our days. It's other name
is love...Easter Sunday,
all day long.


April 16, Easter Sunday
Easter Sunday, all day long.
An appreciation of the gift
of life, and not life only, but
creative life, life so full of
creation that it pushes death
aside, shoulders the future,
not only of our days on earth,
but of eternity...of time outside
of time...that blasts open the
door of death and settles ever
life within us, beginning anew
each moment, and knowing
no end, no matter the number
of our days. It's other name
is love...Easter Sunday,
all day long.
___

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2017-04-16 11:05:38 (8 comments; 0 reshares; 33 +1s; )Open 

Happy Easter!
"If your eye is generous, your whole being is full of light!" Jesus

This is not an easter lily, or a sunrise...both more typical Easter Morning shots...but a Hibiscus flower found early one morning growing on the grounds of an abandoned Eco-lodge on the banks of the Amazon River in Peru. I love the way the sun comes through to light the flower from the inside, and the drops of rain still clinging from the night.

"your whole being is full of light" Jesus said, "if your eye is generous." Of course he might well have said, "if your whole being is full of light, then your eye will be generous" for that is certainly the only way we will develop (or be gifted with) the generous eye. The light is, of course, the spirit of Christ...the spirit of the child of God, the creator, that fills us when we believe in Jesus, and when we... more »

Happy Easter!
"If your eye is generous, your whole being is full of light!" Jesus

This is not an easter lily, or a sunrise...both more typical Easter Morning shots...but a Hibiscus flower found early one morning growing on the grounds of an abandoned Eco-lodge on the banks of the Amazon River in Peru. I love the way the sun comes through to light the flower from the inside, and the drops of rain still clinging from the night.

"your whole being is full of light" Jesus said, "if your eye is generous." Of course he might well have said, "if your whole being is full of light, then your eye will be generous" for that is certainly the only way we will develop (or be gifted with) the generous eye. The light is, of course, the spirit of Christ...the spirit of the child of God, the creator, that fills us when we believe in Jesus, and when we surrender and open ourselves to his transforming, his creative life. Like the hibiscus flower we are lighted from the inside out. And like the hibiscus flower in the rainforest, we are washed clean and new each dawn. And it is all, of course, a gift outright...nothing we can earn, nothing we can deserve. It is a finished work in the life and death and resurrection of Jesus the Christ, son of God.

Today, Easter, marks the resurrection...not the coming of the light into the world, but its final victory over darkness. The guarantee. The evidence, should we need it, that justifies our faith. The light wins! The light will always win. This is a great day to open your eyes wide...generously wide...and let the light of creation in...this is a great day to open your eyes wide...generously wide...and let the light of creation out over the world we live in, where there is still too much darkness.

Like the hibiscus glowing with inner light in an abandoned rainforest garden, let each of us shine with inner light today, so the world can be a brighter place.

Happy Easter!
___

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2017-04-16 10:41:56 (27 comments; 10 reshares; 285 +1s; )Open 

Even in high water season the banks of the Amazon and the surrounding creeks are weed choked. While birding the trees on the banks we would often drift over into the weeds. Storm coming. We got wet before we got back to the River Boat. In-camera HDR. Sony Rx10iii at 24mm equivalent. Processed in Polarr on my iPad Pro. 

Even in high water season the banks of the Amazon and the surrounding creeks are weed choked. While birding the trees on the banks we would often drift over into the weeds. Storm coming. We got wet before we got back to the River Boat. In-camera HDR. Sony Rx10iii at 24mm equivalent. Processed in Polarr on my iPad Pro. ___

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2017-04-16 10:38:10 (4 comments; 3 reshares; 99 +1s; )Open 

White-winged Parakeets
On the Wildside Nature Tours Amazon River Boat Adventure, we went out on a misty morning to visit a permanent island in the Amazon upriver from Iquitos to see the many thousands of White-winged Parakeets (Canary Winged in non-USA field guides) that roost there for the night. We were a bit late getting off, and as we approached the island, the sky was full of flock after flock of Parakeets, each several hundred birds, lifting off to go foraging in the local rainforest. I was afraid they might be all gone by the time we got around to the other side of the island where they prefer to roost...but there were still thousands there when we arrived...bending down the reeds with their weight. As you see from the image, what you see when you look at the Parakeets is a yellow-winged bird. The yellow is edged with white...visible in the open wing...hence its US name...but there is no... more »

White-winged Parakeets
On the Wildside Nature Tours Amazon River Boat Adventure, we went out on a misty morning to visit a permanent island in the Amazon upriver from Iquitos to see the many thousands of White-winged Parakeets (Canary Winged in non-USA field guides) that roost there for the night. We were a bit late getting off, and as we approached the island, the sky was full of flock after flock of Parakeets, each several hundred birds, lifting off to go foraging in the local rainforest. I was afraid they might be all gone by the time we got around to the other side of the island where they prefer to roost...but there were still thousands there when we arrived...bending down the reeds with their weight. As you see from the image, what you see when you look at the Parakeets is a yellow-winged bird. The yellow is edged with white...visible in the open wing...hence its US name...but there is no doubt that Canary Winged is more accurate and more descriptive.

One of the reasons we were late to the Parakeets was that we stopped on the other, near, side of the island where equal numbers of Yellow-rumped Caciques roost. Two for one. :) We also hundreds of Fork-tailed Flycatchers and one lone Ringed Kingfisher on the island.

Sony Rx10iii at 600mm equivalent. Program mode. Processed and cropped in Polarr on my iPad Pro.

___

2017-04-16 01:00:55 (1 comments; 0 reshares; 15 +1s; )Open 

April 15
Making slide shows in case the
relations want to see my recent
adventures in the Amazon, the
Galapagos, and Honduras...about
200 slides each...way too many
for relations (or anyone else for
that matter) to wade through,
but I just can't seem to weed
the garden of images any more
closely without throwing out
the petunias and violets...and
honestly, even the dandelions
of my impressions of the Amazon
and the Galapagos and Honduras
are hard to set aside...so I end
up with these unwieldy long
and unintentionally dense slide
shows that no one in their right
mind would watch all the way
through...not even me, in my
more rational moments. Ah
well, I will whittle and weed
some more tomorrow before
Easter dinner...out of simple
compassion for the relations
and a... more »

April 15
Making slide shows in case the
relations want to see my recent
adventures in the Amazon, the
Galapagos, and Honduras...about
200 slides each...way too many
for relations (or anyone else for
that matter) to wade through,
but I just can't seem to weed
the garden of images any more
closely without throwing out
the petunias and violets...and
honestly, even the dandelions
of my impressions of the Amazon
and the Galapagos and Honduras
are hard to set aside...so I end
up with these unwieldy long
and unintentionally dense slide
shows that no one in their right
mind would watch all the way
through...not even me, in my
more rational moments. Ah
well, I will whittle and weed
some more tomorrow before
Easter dinner...out of simple
compassion for the relations
and a desire not to put them
off slideshows forever...___

2017-04-15 17:56:49 (2 comments; 0 reshares; 7 +1s; )Open 

April 14
Unintentionally a day of taxes. I
thought I had filed my taxes on
March 30, before leaving for
South America (as any conscientious
citizen might), but in checking my
bank account I realized that the
money had never been extracted.
?? On investigation, it turned out
some step near the end must have
been left undone, and the forms
were never submitted. Scramble!
And then, after doing the end
steps all over again, the forms
were rejected because I got the
wrong number from the wrong
line on last year's taxes to prove
I am who I am...and late in the
evening I had to go back in and
get the right number from the
right line, and figure out how
to change the forms so I could
resubmit them. They still have
not extracted the money from
my account, but I have an email... more »

April 14
Unintentionally a day of taxes. I
thought I had filed my taxes on
March 30, before leaving for
South America (as any conscientious
citizen might), but in checking my
bank account I realized that the
money had never been extracted.
?? On investigation, it turned out
some step near the end must have
been left undone, and the forms
were never submitted. Scramble!
And then, after doing the end
steps all over again, the forms
were rejected because I got the
wrong number from the wrong
line on last year's taxes to prove
I am who I am...and late in the
evening I had to go back in and
get the right number from the
right line, and figure out how
to change the forms so I could
resubmit them. They still have
not extracted the money from
my account, but I have an email
saying the forms were accepted
by both federal and state...and
I am hoping, come Monday when
the bank opens, they will reach
in and take the money I owe
them. A strange wish, I will
grant you that...but at this point
I just want the processes over.
Kind of like a dentist visit.
___

posted image

2017-04-15 12:59:27 (4 comments; 0 reshares; 59 +1s; )Open 

One morning on the Wildside Nature Tours Amazon River Boat Adventure I had a bout of Traveler's disease that kept me on the River Boat as skiffs went off on a morning-long adventure. I got this pic out of it though. :) In-camera HDR. Sony Rx10iii. Processed in Polarr on my iPad Pro. 

One morning on the Wildside Nature Tours Amazon River Boat Adventure I had a bout of Traveler's disease that kept me on the River Boat as skiffs went off on a morning-long adventure. I got this pic out of it though. :) In-camera HDR. Sony Rx10iii. Processed in Polarr on my iPad Pro. ___

posted image

2017-04-15 10:57:24 (7 comments; 4 reshares; 356 +1s; )Open 

The skies were always dramatic over the Amazon River in Peru. In-camera HDR. Sony Rx10iii. Processed in Polarr on my iPad Pro.

The skies were always dramatic over the Amazon River in Peru. In-camera HDR. Sony Rx10iii. Processed in Polarr on my iPad Pro.___

posted image

2017-04-15 10:48:00 (7 comments; 1 reshares; 76 +1s; )Open 

Crane Hawk vs Slate-colored Hawk along the Amazon River
We saw a lot of raptors along the Amazon and its tributaries, which should not have been surprising, but, somehow, was. When selecting this morning's pic of the hawk in the top frames, I thought, "Oh I have photos of this hawk from later in the trip." but when I looked up the bird in Birds of Peru, and checked my later pics, I realized that they were two different species. The top frames are the Crane Hawk, and the bottom frames are the Slate-colored Hawk. The field guide says the Crane Hawk is "slender" and the Slate-colored is "chunky" but from the angles here that is certainly not an easy distinction. There are also subtle differences in the tail bands, and tail length...but the main difference is, of course, the cere...gray in the Crane Hawk, and orange in the Slate-colored. Both hawks are listed as... more »

Crane Hawk vs Slate-colored Hawk along the Amazon River
We saw a lot of raptors along the Amazon and its tributaries, which should not have been surprising, but, somehow, was. When selecting this morning's pic of the hawk in the top frames, I thought, "Oh I have photos of this hawk from later in the trip." but when I looked up the bird in Birds of Peru, and checked my later pics, I realized that they were two different species. The top frames are the Crane Hawk, and the bottom frames are the Slate-colored Hawk. The field guide says the Crane Hawk is "slender" and the Slate-colored is "chunky" but from the angles here that is certainly not an easy distinction. There are also subtle differences in the tail bands, and tail length...but the main difference is, of course, the cere...gray in the Crane Hawk, and orange in the Slate-colored. Both hawks are listed as wide-spread but uncommon in the Amazon basin. I see no reason really, why there should be two plain gray hawks with red-orange legs along the same stretch of Amazon River, unless to deliberately confuse birders, but then it was not my decision to make :)

Sony Rx10iii at 600mm equivalent. Program mode. Processed in Polarr and assembled in Frame Magic on my iPad Pro. ___

2017-04-14 18:17:24 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 5 +1s; )Open 

April 13
Consolidating after 6 weeks away...
Peru and the Amazon, Ecuador and
the Galapagos, Honduras and Panacam
and Pico Bonito...Cardiac appointment
first thing in the morning, then light
shopping (replacing a flat-iron that
burst into flames just before I left,
etc.) and then just futzing around
on the computer with pics from the
trips, and catching up with some
shows on CBS and Hulu, and resting.
Consolidation. There is a lot to be
said for it (and maybe I will think of it
later) but for now let it stand at that.

April 13
Consolidating after 6 weeks away...
Peru and the Amazon, Ecuador and
the Galapagos, Honduras and Panacam
and Pico Bonito...Cardiac appointment
first thing in the morning, then light
shopping (replacing a flat-iron that
burst into flames just before I left,
etc.) and then just futzing around
on the computer with pics from the
trips, and catching up with some
shows on CBS and Hulu, and resting.
Consolidation. There is a lot to be
said for it (and maybe I will think of it
later) but for now let it stand at that.___

2017-04-14 18:15:08 (1 comments; 0 reshares; 6 +1s; )Open 

April 12
Traveling home from Houston...
the car started in the C&J parking
(always a unknown when driving
the C-Max with its faulty battery
sensor), and it was so good to
finally turn into the drive at 120
Brown Street (otherwise known
as home) and unload the suitcase
and hump it up the stairs to the
living room entry, and shove
it into the spare room to be delt
with later...to kiss Carol and
to sit in my chair, and generally
to let myself settle in the old
familiar...the comfort of home.

April 12
Traveling home from Houston...
the car started in the C&J parking
(always a unknown when driving
the C-Max with its faulty battery
sensor), and it was so good to
finally turn into the drive at 120
Brown Street (otherwise known
as home) and unload the suitcase
and hump it up the stairs to the
living room entry, and shove
it into the spare room to be delt
with later...to kiss Carol and
to sit in my chair, and generally
to let myself settle in the old
familiar...the comfort of home.___

posted image

2017-04-14 14:15:52 (2 comments; 2 reshares; 65 +1s; )Open 

Not a great picture but the best I could manage of a Saddle-backed Tamarin in the White Sand Forest near Iquitos Peru. Rainy day. Poor light. Distant monkeys. Sony Rx10iii at 600mm equivalent. Processed in Polarr on my iPad Pro. Wildside Nature Tours Amazon River Boat Adventure. 

Not a great picture but the best I could manage of a Saddle-backed Tamarin in the White Sand Forest near Iquitos Peru. Rainy day. Poor light. Distant monkeys. Sony Rx10iii at 600mm equivalent. Processed in Polarr on my iPad Pro. Wildside Nature Tours Amazon River Boat Adventure. ___

posted image

2017-04-14 11:19:45 (11 comments; 5 reshares; 143 +1s; )Open 

Narrowing of the way along a creek that flows into the Amazon River a day upriver from Iquitos, Peru. In-camera HDR. Sony Rx10iii. Processed in Polarr on my iPad Pro. 

Narrowing of the way along a creek that flows into the Amazon River a day upriver from Iquitos, Peru. In-camera HDR. Sony Rx10iii. Processed in Polarr on my iPad Pro. ___

posted image

2017-04-14 11:13:11 (7 comments; 1 reshares; 74 +1s; )Open 

Red-bellied Macaw

We saw at least 3 species of Macaw on the Amazon River Boat Adventure with Wildside Nature Tours, two of them perched where we could get a good look. The Red-bellied Macaw was the smallest and least colorful, but still…a Macaw in the wild! This bird was high up in a dead snag and a good ways away, so I pulled my Nikon P900 out of its bag for the first (and last) time on the trip. The 2000mm equivalent zoom brought the bird in close enough to enjoy.

Nikon P900 at 2000mm equivalent and Program Mode. Processed in Polarr and assembled in Frame Magic on my iPad Pro. 

Red-bellied Macaw

We saw at least 3 species of Macaw on the Amazon River Boat Adventure with Wildside Nature Tours, two of them perched where we could get a good look. The Red-bellied Macaw was the smallest and least colorful, but still…a Macaw in the wild! This bird was high up in a dead snag and a good ways away, so I pulled my Nikon P900 out of its bag for the first (and last) time on the trip. The 2000mm equivalent zoom brought the bird in close enough to enjoy.

Nikon P900 at 2000mm equivalent and Program Mode. Processed in Polarr and assembled in Frame Magic on my iPad Pro. ___

posted image

2017-04-13 10:18:34 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 11 +1s; )Open 

On the Wildside Nature Tours Amazon River Boat adventure, we divided the skiffs between "birders" and "photographers". Of course, the birding boat took photos too...and we birded from the photo boat, but since the pace of birding and photography tend to differ just a bit, it made for a little more peace in each skiff to keep the focus separate. This is the birding skiff, taken from the photo skiff early on our first morning on the river.

On the Wildside Nature Tours Amazon River Boat adventure, we divided the skiffs between "birders" and "photographers". Of course, the birding boat took photos too...and we birded from the photo boat, but since the pace of birding and photography tend to differ just a bit, it made for a little more peace in each skiff to keep the focus separate. This is the birding skiff, taken from the photo skiff early on our first morning on the river.___

posted image

2017-04-13 10:13:30 (12 comments; 2 reshares; 148 +1s; )Open 

Motoring out in the skiff at the mouth of creek off the Amazon on our first morning on the Amazon River. Adventures await. In-camera HDR. Sony Rx10iii. Processed in Polarr on my iPad Pro. 

Motoring out in the skiff at the mouth of creek off the Amazon on our first morning on the Amazon River. Adventures await. In-camera HDR. Sony Rx10iii. Processed in Polarr on my iPad Pro. ___

posted image

2017-04-13 10:10:27 (2 comments; 5 reshares; 88 +1s; )Open 

Black Capped Donacobius
I am going to drop back and work through some images from our Wildside Nature Tours River Boat tour on the Amazon River in Peru. Toward the end of our first day on the river, motoring upriver from Iquitos, we pulled out in the skiffs to explore a little creek. We were rewarded with a Road-side Hawk (should be River-side Hawk don't you think?) and a few other birds. Almost back to the river boat, well after sunset, I spotted this bird in the brush along the bank, and we stopped for a look and some pics. The Black Capped Donacobius is between the Wrens and the Mockingbirds in Birds of Peru, but it is the only member, so far, of its family, and there has been constant debate as to its relations and placement in the world of birds. It was once considered a Mockingbird, then moved in with the Wrens. Now there is doubt that it is either. The consensus is moving toward... more »

Black Capped Donacobius
I am going to drop back and work through some images from our Wildside Nature Tours River Boat tour on the Amazon River in Peru. Toward the end of our first day on the river, motoring upriver from Iquitos, we pulled out in the skiffs to explore a little creek. We were rewarded with a Road-side Hawk (should be River-side Hawk don't you think?) and a few other birds. Almost back to the river boat, well after sunset, I spotted this bird in the brush along the bank, and we stopped for a look and some pics. The Black Capped Donacobius is between the Wrens and the Mockingbirds in Birds of Peru, but it is the only member, so far, of its family, and there has been constant debate as to its relations and placement in the world of birds. It was once considered a Mockingbird, then moved in with the Wrens. Now there is doubt that it is either. The consensus is moving toward placing it as a far flung outcast of a family of smaller warbler like African birds from the Indian Ocean area on the basis of some physical and some behavior characteristics. Hard to say where it will settle, but it is pretty clear that it is alone in the Americas, without any close relations. It is common in marshes along rivers, and certainly common in the Amazon basin both in Peru and Brazil. We would encounter it several times in our exploration of creeks along the Amazon.

Sony Rx10iii at 600mm equivalent. Program Mode. ISO 1600 @ f4 @ 1/125th. (Low light indeed.) Processed in Polarr on my iPad Pro. ___

2017-04-12 20:40:44 (1 comments; 0 reshares; 1 +1s; )Open 

April 11
Back in the USA after a week
in the northern tropics of
Honduras. Birds from Pygmy
Kingfishers to Phesant Cuckoos
(by way of Elegant Euphonias
and Emerald Toucanetts, 3 Toucans
and 3 Motmots, 2 Potoos) Fruit Bats
and Howler Monkeys and Coatis,
Green Parrot Snakes, Red-eyed
Tree Frogs by flashlight, butterflies
and dragonflies and heat and
humidity, and, of course,
hummingbirds by the dozen.
And now back to Maine to
digest, reaclimate to a temperate
climate, and rest...

April 11
Back in the USA after a week
in the northern tropics of
Honduras. Birds from Pygmy
Kingfishers to Phesant Cuckoos
(by way of Elegant Euphonias
and Emerald Toucanetts, 3 Toucans
and 3 Motmots, 2 Potoos) Fruit Bats
and Howler Monkeys and Coatis,
Green Parrot Snakes, Red-eyed
Tree Frogs by flashlight, butterflies
and dragonflies and heat and
humidity, and, of course,
hummingbirds by the dozen.
And now back to Maine to
digest, reaclimate to a temperate
climate, and rest...___

2017-04-12 20:40:10 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 3 +1s; )Open 

April 10
Lancetilla, despite some good birds,
is my least favorite place in Honduras...
and we always leave it for last. It is
generally a long hot day with not much
to show for it...it might have the longest
bird list of any single location in the
country, but the birds are difficult to
see, and birding there is hard work.
And then, it is very difficult to get
good shots of the birds you do see,
which, from a photographer's point
of view, is a recipe for disappointment.
Still, it is better than tomorrow, when
we drive to San Pedro Sulu to catch
our flights home. Rather be birding
any day, than sitting in an airplane
seat, breathing airplane air. 

April 10
Lancetilla, despite some good birds,
is my least favorite place in Honduras...
and we always leave it for last. It is
generally a long hot day with not much
to show for it...it might have the longest
bird list of any single location in the
country, but the birds are difficult to
see, and birding there is hard work.
And then, it is very difficult to get
good shots of the birds you do see,
which, from a photographer's point
of view, is a recipe for disappointment.
Still, it is better than tomorrow, when
we drive to San Pedro Sulu to catch
our flights home. Rather be birding
any day, than sitting in an airplane
seat, breathing airplane air. ___

2017-04-12 20:39:39 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 3 +1s; )Open 

April 9
When we left for our afternoon hike
at Rio Santiago Resort, up on the
mid-level slopes of Pico Bonito,
no one knew where Santiaga was...
the Margay cat the folks at Santiago
hand-reared from an abandoned
kitten left on their doorstep 14 months
ago. She is getting wilder...spending
more time in the forest on her own...
coming and going as suits her mood,
keeping company with a young male.
She was there, visiting the kitchen
through the open doors, laying under
the hummingbird feeders in the yard,
when we got back to board the bus.
She is still more diurnal than a wild
cat would be...keeping human hours...
and she spends more time on the
ground while her wild cousins spend
their lives almost completely in trees,
but she is free...it might take years
before she forgets her... more »

April 9
When we left for our afternoon hike
at Rio Santiago Resort, up on the
mid-level slopes of Pico Bonito,
no one knew where Santiaga was...
the Margay cat the folks at Santiago
hand-reared from an abandoned
kitten left on their doorstep 14 months
ago. She is getting wilder...spending
more time in the forest on her own...
coming and going as suits her mood,
keeping company with a young male.
She was there, visiting the kitchen
through the open doors, laying under
the hummingbird feeders in the yard,
when we got back to board the bus.
She is still more diurnal than a wild
cat would be...keeping human hours...
and she spends more time on the
ground while her wild cousins spend
their lives almost completely in trees,
but she is free...it might take years
before she forgets her hand-rearing,
and learns to distrust all humans.
She is beautiful as only a wild cat
can be...not to be mistaken for a
house cat in any way...with a strength
and grace that is unmatched. Still
she nuzzles the hand that fed her as
a kitten, and tolerates us taking
photos from 20 feet away. What a
unique experience. What a treat! ___

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