Seeing Things, Saying Things

Musings About Writing, Photography and Teaching

Archive for the ‘animals’ Category

Eyes on a Landing Spot

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I was sitting on the bank of the Vermilion River where an endless parade of boats along with birds coming and going gave me something to watch. A gull swoops down over the water, its eyes on a landing spot just ahead.


Written by csanders429

October 17, 2017 at 7:23 am


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I was waiting for a steam train on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad when I noticed this bee gathering pollen from a wildflower.

From experience I knew that photographing them can be tricky because bees don’t just sit there waiting for you to take their picture.

They dart around a lot and you have to be quick to focus and pressing the shutter release button.

I used a telephoto lens to capture this image, which was the best of the lot that I made.

Written by csanders429

October 5, 2017 at 6:59 am

What Kind of Duck Is This?

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I had a heck of a time determining what species of duck that this is.

I consulted a number of online sites that showed photographs of ducks and waterfowl and narrowed it to three types.

Finally, I decided that it is probably a female mallard duck.

National Geographic says the mallard is thought to be the most abundant and wide-ranging duck on earth.

This duck was spotted in the Vermilion River in Vermilion, Ohio.


Written by csanders429

September 26, 2017 at 6:04 am

Prepare for Landing

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This Great Blue Heron was flying around on the north side of the Vermilion River.

We wondered if it might have a nest over there, for it appeared to land in the trees and disappear. Later it showed up and sat on a tree branch for a while.

I liked how in this image it is stretched out and showing off its full profile.

Not What I Thought

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When I saw this bird soaring overhead I thought it was a hawk. It had a wingspan like a hawk and was riding the thermals as hawks are known to do.

But then I went online to try to identify what type of hawk that it is. To my dismay, I determined that this bird is a turkey vulture.

Turkey vultures have an image problem with many people. That is rooted in a number of things including the belief that the bird carries disease.

Another thing working against the turkey vulture is that it is a scavenger, not a hunter. It forages for dead animals and doesn’t kill any on its own. Hence, turkey vultures are not seen as warriors as are hawks, which attack their prey.

A January 2016 National Geographic article concedes that vultures may be viewed as the most maligned bird in the world even though they play a necessary role in the environment.

Then there is the term “vulture,” which National Geographic said many consider a  living metaphor for greed and rapaciousness. It cited Charles Darwin who in his 1835 diary wrote that vultures are “disgusting,” with their bald heads that are “formed to wallow in putridity.”

Such is the power of an image that a bird that I viewed as majestic when I made this image I now see as something else.

Somewhere in this anecdote is a lesson about the power of reputation and beliefs and why something can be seen as desirable in one context but repulsive in another.

Written by csanders429

September 18, 2017 at 8:02 am

Convoy of Ducks

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A mother mallard duck and her ducklings forms a convoy as they paddle along in the Vermilion River in its namesake town.

The image was made at a boat launch that has a park area along the river.

The ducks disembarked from the water by a trash can and hung out there for awhile.

I could think of better places to hang out, but maybe they thought someone would come along and give them some food.

Written by csanders429

September 9, 2017 at 7:54 am

Hummingbird Please Fly Away, Fly Away

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The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum near Tucson has a walk-in aviary that allows visitors to get close to the birds.

I knew from a previous visit that there were hummingbirds inside the aviary.

Perhaps you’ve seen photographs of a hummingbird hovering in flight.

My objective was to create such an image. I quickly learned that doing that would be more difficult than I thought.

Hummingbirds don’t hover in one place for long. I would spot one hovering but it would dart off before I could even compose and focus the image.

The best I was able to do was capture a few birds sitting on a branch. Even those images were not the greatest.

Like any form of photography, there must be a trick or two to photographing a hummingbird in flight. It probably takes patience, experience and time.

I didn’t have all day to capture a hummingbird in flight. so I had to move on after about couple dozen attempts. This was my favorite hummingbird that I did manage to photograph.