The Joy of It

I often see one of these beautiful raptors working the sage and wetland area of Riverview Park in Carson City.

Over the last couple of years, I have watched these beautiful Northern Harriers work the sageland and wetland areas of Riverview Park in Carson City. It took me a couple of attempts to identify the raptor, but I finally got a view of the bird’s head and with the aid of the Merlin application from the Cornell School of Ornithology I made the identification.

They are now easy for me to identify — that big white patch on the rump is one giveaway. The second is their mode of hunting is to soar about ten feet over the surface listening for mice.

With the acquisition of the red-badge Fujifilm 100-400mm super zoom lens, I now have the capability to capture an image of these birds. They generally do not allow me to get too close, although they will sometimes glide just overhead, teasing me.

On this particular morning, I saw the harrier glide over the field. I made a couple of attempts to capture an image but was not satisfied with my attempts.

However, the bird soon began a climb, having caught a thermal. I watch it rise up and up until it was a couple hundred feet overhead. It soared in large circles, overwatching its hunting grounds.

I stood there a few minutes, knowing that the bird was not hunting but simply flying.

Many of the animals encountered during my life have shown an intelligence that is impressive. They do not simply eat, sleep, and procreate. They interact socially among their species and sometimes others. They play. They do things that please them. Otherwise, why would they waste the energy to move from place to place?

The best teacher of all is The Girl. She showed me there is intelligence without language. She often talks to me, speaking volumes without making a sound. I get it.

As I stood there on the trail, watching the harrier soaring far above me, I got it. This was not about a hunt, or about turf protection; the soaring was simply for the joy of it.

Carson City Open Space (Silver Saddle Ranch)

This guy works for Carson City Parks in the Open Space Unit. He was maintaining the trail by the Carson River on Silver Saddle Ranch when I met him. We spent a few minutes visiting and I left with a good impression.

The Girl and I spend many hours walking along the Carson River on the Silver Saddle Ranch. One morning we met Jarrod (I hope I got his name right) working on the trail. He was clearing the weeds that are no longer kept down by ranch traffic. He had paused for a few minutes to clear the radiator of his rig from the accumulation of dust resulting from the brush hog mounted on the front of the vehicle.

I learned that Carson City received proprietorship of the ranch from BLM some time ago. It should remain as open space in perpetuity. Carson City spends part of its resources maintaining these areas and I really appreciate it. As I said, The Girl and I spend a lot of our time out along the river and it is one of our favorite places.

I appreciate public servants like Jarrod, who take both their work and their relationship with the public seriously. He was willing to spend a few minutes talking about the work and the place. It was a good visit and I am thankful that he agreed to pose for an informal portrait next to his rig.

Silver Saddle Ranch

I love walking the Silver Saddle Ranch open space area. It’s jointly managed by Carson City and BLM.

Since nearly being carried away by mosquitoes at the Riverview Park, The Girl and I have spent our morning walks to south on the Silver Saddle Ranch open space area. The ranch is still a working ranch with cattle and hayfields. I often meet the ranch manager while walking as he tends the irrigation system.

The capture is my morning view of the ranch compound. At one time this was a bustling ranch with a number of ranch hands all working from this area. It is nothing of what it once was, but remains a reminder of Nevada heritage. I am thankful that it is maintained as a place where I can spend time outdoors with The Girl.

It is also a place where I see many wild animals. There are mostly birds (and I do enjoy the raptors), but we see other species as well.

I shot this image with the Fujifilm X-H1 and the marvelous Vivitar Series 1 90mm f/2.5 macro lens that was built by Tokina, otherwise knows as the “Bokina.”

Hanging On

We had a hard frost a few day ago. However, it did not kill all the roses… yet.

A couple of days ago we got out early enough in the evening that there was still a little light. On our way around the old state orphanage, I came across a few “hangers-on” — a few roses that the frost has not killed. They’re distressed, but hanging on. I thought the combination of light and color was interesting, so I made the shot with the Switar 25mm f/1.4 I picked up a couple of weeks ago.

I’ll have to post a photograph of this lens. It’s really rough on the exterior and has a funky slip at a certain portion of the focus helicoid, but the glass is good and the aperture works fine. It’s a classic 16mm movie camera lens that produces interesting images. If I’m ever at a loss for things to do, I’ll disassemble it and clean the helicoid. I think that will fix the focusing weirdness.

Nonetheless, the image is worth sharing. The roses have not yet given up.

On The Trail

Western Nevada gives me so many wonderful views. I love this time of year.

We are having some absolutely gorgeous weather this fall. Yes, we had a few cloudy, windy, cold days. But the sun came out late in the week, so the Girl and I went on a long easy hike from the staging area on Silver Saddle Ranch down to the Carson River and Mexican Dam. As I worked my way to the breakover where the trail heads down toward the river, I paused for a few minutes to take in the sun and the view. It was well worth the few minutes spent in field.

I will never tire of this view, no matter how many times I see it. Now I’m feeling the need to hike the Dead Truck Canyon trail again so I can get an overlook of Carson City. It would make a great image at the right time of day. It will be fun to push myself up the hill, too, with a full load out of my gear. I’ll bet my legs will complain. That is a good thing.

Soon They’ll Be Gone

These will all be gone too soon.

A few days ago, the Girl and I walked (again) the Carson River out at Riverview Park. Although they are currently rebuilding the trails, we cheat and bushwhack when we get close to working heavy equipment and then move back to the trail when we’re clear of the construction activity. I doubt they would bother me anyway and we stay out of the way of work crews.

In any event, most of the leaves are now gone. There are a few hangers-on, some cottonwoods and a few willows. They will shed their summer clothing soon and take on their winter grays.

In any event, I wanted to capture something of the sense of the day. I had the Lumix G3 with me, and the Wollensak 25mm f/1.9 affixed to the adapter. This lens doesn’t cover the sensor of the G3, but it’s close enough. The vignette doesn’t really bother me; it adds something of the vintage look to the capture, as do the optics of this old movie camera lens. I like the look.

Riverview Ruminations

On this beautiful fall morning, the Girl and I walked part of the Riverview Park trail. The sky was so beautiful it took my breath away.

I have second-day DOMS today. I woke late, moved slowly, drank coffee, and fed us. Then we gathered our things (or rather, I gathered our things) and we drove out to Riverview Park, a nice area near the Carson River. I wanted to walk in a rural environment, take in the cool morning air, get a little sun, and give my legs a chance to warm up and work some of the soreness from them.

I listened to a walking meditation while the Girl explored the sagebrush. Then I put on some music to walk by, but I left the isolation setting of my Bose QuietComfort 20s turned off so I could hear the environment around me. I kept the volume low as well. I wanted the music, but I didn’t want to be isolated.

As I walked the trail, I thought about Wife. There remains a little sadness many days that Wife left so early, really just as life was starting to become more interesting again — the kids grown, approaching retirement, and spending some time together traveling. But, it is what it is; she’s gone and my life is completely different now.

I thought about what happened is Las Vegas. The blood isn’t even cleaned up and the left is already screaming. No good tragedy should go unused… It disgusts me. I don’t hate the left and do not want to see them hurt. I just want their ideals and policies to be buried.

I don’t call them liberals anymore. I call them communists because they think the answer to all problems is more government control. They will not be satisfied until there is no private property and no business is run by an individual or corporation; there will only be bureaucrats. We might as well institute the commissars here.

I don’t much care for my frame of mind today. I know I need to give my body time to heal after pushing it so hard. I know I need to give law enforcement time to figure out why what happened in Las Vegas happened. Regardless of that outcome, there remains evil at large in the world. It will strike again, firearms or no firearms.

Sigh… I really enjoyed the view at Riverview Park this morning. There are enough clouds to give the incredibly blue sky texture. The iPhone8 is quite capable at making panoramic shots and this one captures the essence of what I saw. So I have a memory of the morning, beyond the drag of my internal dialogues. I think I’ll focus on the images and let the rest go, at least for now.

The Season Turns

These beauties will soon be gone. I want a few more captures before winter comes.

The Girl and I walked our in-town route this morning. I saw the light on these beauties and thought it would be worth the effort to make the capture. There was a north wind this morning, cool but not cold. But the hint is there that soon the colder days will come and the summer beauties will be gone, waiting for another year to show themselves.

I made the capture with the Fujian 50mm f/1.4 lens on my Lumix G3 body. This is a very good lens. It is not very sharp wide open, but the colors are good and there is a glow about the images that reminds me of old glass. The lens cannot be beat for these applications, especially at its price. It is a very good art lens. I like it quite a lot, particularly for close shots like this one.

Winter has its own appeal, the season when life regains strength for the coming burst of spring. I like the cold and the snow and the starkness of the grays against the cold blue of the winter sky. The warmth of the sun on my body on a cold winter morning reminds me that blood still runs hot in me. The reminder that there remains life to live and love to share with those close to me. It is a good reminder.

In a few more minutes, I’ll go do my first lower-body routine in a long time. Leg days are the hardest… the big muscles generate a lot of lactic acid and the burn is real. But, this is necessary and the results are worth the effort. Nothing good comes easy. But it is worth the effort and struggle. This body has to carry me along for as long as I live. I need to invest in it as well as the inner work.

Locust Leaf Bokeh

Shot with the Panasonic Lumix G3 and a Fujian 50mm f/1.4 at about f/2. I’m not completely happy with the result, but it is a capture for the day.

While on evening walkies, The Girl puttered around looking for the dreaded bushy tail while I played with the light on the leaves of this old locust tree. It is nearing the end of a good day.

I determined it is time to get back on my strength training. I’m unhappy with my level of strength and my annual numbers were not the best. So it’s time to get after it again.

The Soloflex is setup in my bedroom where I can use it. I did my first routine this afternoon. It was hard and I will be sore. It is a good thing. It will help me be healthier (particularly because I’ll mind my diet as well). I will be stronger. I’m glad to be back after it again after being off for too long.

Life is good.

Macro Roses

Shot with my iPhone 8+ and an Olloclip macro lens.

My old Bluetooth headset, a Plantronics Legend Pro, was giving me some trouble. Callers reported that my sound broke up or that they could not hear me. A reset of the headset by switching from the headset to the iPhone (my old 6S) and back might temporarily fix the problem, but it continued to give me an issue. The phone and headset were at least a couple of years old, the headset probably the older of the two units.

I decided to abandon both my phone and my Bluetooth headset. After talking about a larger iPhone for months (I really wish I had the 6S+), I decided to upgrade my iPhone and try a wired headset. So I bought a new iPhone 8+ and I love the bigger screen. I can now read incoming email without squinting. The new headset is working well and has very nice sound (for music as well as voice calls). But the camera of the new iPhone is much improved over my old unit.

While walking my favorite in-town route, I paused to let The Girl sniff about while I made a macro-photograph of one of the roses. I used an Olloclip macro lens on my iPhone and the result is very pleasing.

I think the upgrade was worth the cost. I know that I can hear much better and I think my callers can hear me better as well.