Friday, May 25, 2012

Everyone's Pal

She should have been a politician.
Bella 2012!

Photo by Maddie's mom - I was busy holding the treats!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Good, The Bad And The Irritating

Over the weekend I rented a Nikon 300mm f/2.8 VR II. Fun to play with and incredibly irritating. The fun comes from, well, I don’t know about you but I don’t own any $6000 lenses… The irritation came from shoving the new equipment learning curve into 2 days. Now that’s it has been returned and I have spent some time digging around on the interwebs I think I have figured out some of my issues. Next time, I guess, more play and less….what the hell?

I am sort of at that photography point where you decide to stay put or start saving. It has been the usual progression: P&S, high-end P&S, entry level DSLR, mid-range DSLR with kit lens, get tired of kit lens, buy mid-range lens, etc. The problem is, with Nikon anyway, that there is this huge jump… you can get nice glass for 1K, really nice glass starts at 4-5K. No in between. Since I have been having that itch, I decided to rent the sort of first step in bigger birding glass.

This lens is tack-sharp without the teleconverter. Pretty darn sharp with the teleconverter, too. I had some issues with sharpness, but I think that was more due to the fact that a) my monopod is completely inadequate for a lens of this size and b) it was windy this weekend and that lens is so big it’s like a sail!

The following 3 with 2x teleconverter

On monopod
Rufous Hummingbird
Bewick's Wren
Black-crowned Night Heron

Oh and FYI….nesting herons will totally try to poop on your head.

A little to the right, lady
Black-crowned Night Heron

No teleconverter
Yes, anger

A little self contemplation

Ring-necked Pheasant

Just manhandling this this thing was a challenge. It’s like panning while holding a newborn at arm’s length. There were a lot of these…
More Whoops!


And from accidentally hitting the focus ring and starting the hunting again….these…

That kills me. Would have been such a great shot! Egret With Crawfish just becomes POS. Boo.

And even having 600mm isn’t enough for good shots of the owls. DSC_3487

This is an equally crappy photo, but it kills me. Not sure if this is mom or dad, but the leaning up against the tree is so funny. California owl. Even our birds of prey are all casual. DSC_3486

I suppose the best thing that came out of the weekend was my realization that I have absolutely no desire to own one of these. I could certainly find uses for it, but unless one of those lottery tickets that I don’t buy hits some numbers, no need what so ever. I won’t even lust over it anymore. Honeymoon is over. When I see those people hiking with the 400mm+ lenses I won’t think I wish I had one, I will think I'm happy that I can carry my camera AND my coffee.


Monday, May 14, 2012

The Doorman

I’m here! Let’s get this party started!

American White Pelican

You’re not on the list

American White Pelican

Wait. What? Yes I am. Check again….P…e…l...

American White Pelican


American White Pelican

American White Pelican

The list!

American White Pelican

Whatever, man. This is not the only patch of grass is in the marsh.

American White Pelican


American White Pelican

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Is It Just Me?

When you see this do picture a teeny, tiny little harmonica in there?

I Have So Many Of These

Probably hundreds of this very shot. I just keep taking them. Keep looking at them. I don’t know, it’s just so…. Bella.


I could look at these all day. She is on a dog bed right behind me as I type this. Still looking at the pictures.


Patient. Thinking. Ready.


Someone else maybe not so patient?


She’s like that fake can of peanuts with the spring in it. DSC_3411

When the light first peeks through the trees at the dog park in the morning it happens to land right on one of the benches. They did not understand the need to pose mid-ball playing session.

More running, less smiling.


And just to warn you, I rented a big lens this weekend. You will be inundated with bird pics this week when I get through sorting.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Complaining About The Complainers

Whining about the whiners?

Bitching about the bitchers?

I know it’s contradictory. Makes no sense.

Doing it anyway.

What is with people thinking competing with your dog is some sort of right? I know I can’t be the only one who is driven nuts by this crap.

Competing is different than practice. That is just life. That is half the challenge. Half the fun. Competing is also FOR THE HUMAN, not for the dog. Your dog doesn’t care about titles, times, points, legs….any of that shit. Your dog may absolutely love agility or nose work or flyball or obedience or whatever, that does not mean that they are ready to trial. Matter of fact, depending on the dog, they may never do well in that environment.

If you have a dog that can’t handle the environment of a competition then don’t compete! All of this “I like playing with my dog so everyone else around me should alter their lives so we can trial” makes me want to scream!

I mean, if it really is that you “love to play” with your dog you may do lots of that outside of a trial environment. Go to class, play in the back yard, go to fun matches, rent a field. The problem, however, is that it’s not about playing with your dog. It’s about competing.

Now, I am not saying that only totally “bomb proof” dogs should ever compete. Not saying that you shouldn’t compete with a dog that’s stressed, silly, little nervous, has personal space issues or whatevs. What I am saying is that if your dog has a problem it is YOUR PROBLEM. There is nothing wrong with asking for normal consideration. If you need help, ask for it. You cannot, however, assume that people will or should stop doing totally normal things to accommodate an issue that you don’t want to work on.

News Flash: There are other dogs at dog-related competitions!

Dogs tug at trials. Dogs walk around at trials. Dogs bark at trials. There may be kids at trials. There will be trial workers, judges, and other competitors there, too. There may also be food vendors with flapping umbrellas. I guarantee there will be old ladies in really weird hats.

If your baby dog is a little uncomfortable with strange humans, and you ask the leash runner to wait until after you have started your run to grab you leash… Fine.

If your dog will leave the ring with the sole purpose of attacking another dog and you ask the ring crew to assume a linebacker position to guard the entry and exit gates to keep your dog from escaping.. NOT FINE.

If your dog has an issue with a certain breed or type of dog and you ask an owner of that kind of dog if you can spend some free time together to work on it… Fine.

If your dog has a complete mental breakdown and is not able to function because it saw a Border Collie tugging and you get mad at the collie and/or its owner… NOT FINE.

Go back to where ever you setup, sit down, have a drink of water and seriously ask yourself why you are putting your dog through this.
If you are honest with yourself the answer is not going to be “playing.”

And look, a hummer!
Allen's Hummingbird

Monday, May 7, 2012

It's All About Balance

90% of the time Bella is the “normal” dog. I may have mentioned that Kate is, well, a bit of a weirdo. She may not be a great sport dog or trick dog. May not exactly shine where thinking is involved. Where she does shine, though, is anywhere a completely non-reactive dog would.

You would be hard pressed to find a better hiking partner. Since she lives in a little bubble around her head, she completely ignores other people and dogs. She loves to follow a path and therefore stays on the trail. No wandering around in tick infested grass like some brown dogs are prone to doing. She waits when you ask her to and otherwise just trucks along at a reasonable pace. Her weirdness also makes her a great travelling partner. No barking in hotel rooms. Could care less if kids are running down the hall or housekeeper are pushing there little carts around.

Basically, where Bella fails, Kate is the Honor Student.

This also goes for the living room.

Bella does not like delivery people. She loves people in general. Certainly not aggressive. She just gets stressed when people she doesn’t know come to the house. She is fine with diesel trucks away from the house. But at home it means…OMG SOMEONE IS COMING TO THE DOOR! Because she doesn’t get to greet them she never gets to close that loop, as it were. With other people the loop is: get excited, oh, it’s just a person, chill out. Delivery people never make it past the get excited part.

This is Bella’s UPS face:

This is Kate’s UPS face:

It’s kind of hard to see, but her left eye is at about half mast.

Kate wins.

It is pretty easy to snap Bella out of The Sky Is Falling mode. You only need to say “sq.”  Don’t even need to get the whole “squirrel” word out. Just the front bit.

Hey, Bella…..Sq!

It works for Kate, too, even though she doesn’t need it. DSC_3235

I don't usually complain about stuff that's free and I am not normally a bandwagon person, but I am jumping on this Blogger one...


Change it back!