Friday, April 22, 2011

When Words Are Not Enough............

Somewhere in the description of this blog it states that I may ramble.

You have had fair warning !

The other day I went out for a bike ride around the park and took my camera, the SLR complete with 200mm zoom lens. This was no mean feat on a bike but I'm nothing if not intrepid.

My first port of call was the pier/lake area as it's usually a very photogenic spot and, in fact, I've taken and posted so many photos of that area that it's very hard to discover a new angle. Then again, sometimes a classic shot is worth taking again, especially if you just know you've never stood in that exact place before for some reason.

And the reason I'd never stood in "this" spot before was due to the trees encroaching slightly on both sides and a few other annoyances like a street type lamp spoiling the view or some dead whale in the water. All very annoying.

But that's where Photoshop comes in.....and so here is my classic lake view as I wanted it and not as nature intended. No annoying tree branches on the right or left, no lamp poking up and certainly no huge lump of rotting blubber floating around to spoil the feelings of peace and calm that my photo is trying to convey.

I've spent many happy hours just sitting on one or other of those benches, looking out over the lake and contemplating the numerous mysteries of the Universe - like why Conan O'Brien has a tv show and why Philip hasn't been voted off Survivor.

Dead whales aside, there is always wildlife over by the lake and I took a few photos even though on this occasion, there were no otters, turtles or even gators around to smile for my lens. That just left the fairly dull birds.

I realise I clipped the wings of the bird in the 2nd of those photos but my Photoshop skills aren't up to 'growing' some and I still liked the shot.

And yes, some sharp eyed reader MAY notice one of the birds isn't exactly real but shhhhh.....don't spoil it for the others !

There were a LOT of birds down by the lake that day and that was mainly due to the plague like (sorry Bob) numbers of mayflies. Yes now is that time of year when these little critters become adults and really bring home the expression "never put off till tomorrow what you can do today."
There are about 2,500 species of these insects worldwide and they are called many names (mayflies and fishflies being the most common here) and even a few that don't include a swear word.

They covered every surface in biblical proportions and the ground was a carpet of ones that had literally 'had' their day. Actually with only a day or so to live, I did wonder why they were all just clinging to the various posts, poles and trees when surely they should've been having rampant sex or watching Swamp People. There were such a lot of them that there had to have been at least one mate for even the ugliest one.

"Oi, Stan, fancy her then ?"


"Her with the cute bod next to you, mate."

"Nahhh.....just wanna stay here for a while and watch the lake. It's so photogenic."

"Wot, even without Photoshop ?"

"Yep.....I can stay here all day and never get tir........."

"Stan ? Stan ? Wot you doing down there on the ground, mate. STAN ? Ohhh hang on, I don't feel too good......."

"Oh hi Stan !"

Up in the tree branches the birds were listening to similar conversations a few million times over but for them it was a bit like us going to a Golden Corral and most couldn't be bothered.

There was just one medium sized white ibis strutting along the pier. They are a "species of concern" as it seems numbers are dwindling but you'd never know that from the amount we have here. In fact seeing just one, as I did on that day, was very rare.

As he, or she, was keeping a beady eye on me as I inched closer, I was kinda hoping he, or she, would miss their footing, tip over the edge and give me a fun shot. Sadly that was not to be and I had to make do with the funny beady eye and the raised leg.

I know.....bit of a let down.

The most common boat on the waters here is a pontoon boat and one came in as I was about to leave. It cast both a pretty and funky reflection on the still waters of the channel and so I'm including here.............

I wanted a final shot of the pier but as again I'd taken so many before, I fancied something different. Not sure if by focusing on the first wooden stake this 'worked' but it's different.

On my peddle back home, I went past the road that leads into and out of the park. As I'd the camera over my shoulder, I quickly held it up and without even being able to see through the viewfinder, took this snap. I was pretty impressed with the result which owes as much to the smooth street surfaces here as to my dexterity with a camera.

And so to the final shot.

This dock is the first one at the entrance to the narrow channel leading to and from the lake. As such it offers splendid views over the lake and to the right, down the channel and its owner is a keen fisherman. After placing a chair on his dock to make his fishing sessions much more comfortable, he nailed it firmly to the wood. I doubt this was to ensure he didn't get carried off by some deep dwelling monster as, for one thing, the lake is only a few feet deep and a basketball player could simply walk across it and not get his jersey wet.

I've often thought it would make a good main image for this blog as it does give an impression of retirement, endless days of relaxing pleasure and basically being able to sit and watch the world go by. For that reason, I've altered it to sepia which I think enhances that impression.

Ahhhh retirement. Where's my chair !


Juanita said...

I really enjoyed this entry. The photo shoot angles were well thought out...I like the one shooting toward the entrance and also the one focusing on the close post. Hubby will like the mayflies.

Jay at The Depp Effect said...

Beautiful pictures! You're really going to miss this place when you come home, aren't you? No Ibises here, that's for sure!

Are you sure he didn't nail the chair down to avoid being eaten by swamp creatures? Aren't there any alligators in that pond? I bet they can move faster than a tipped-over-backwards man, even in two feet of water!

Daphne said...

Ahhh sunshine. Just like Leeds, then! (Oooh I couldn't resist that one: I know that the current sunny spell might be it for the summer, but we Northerners have to brag where we can).
Ahhh lovely photos. I've been there, you know.

rhymeswithplague said...

All Americans, part-time or otherwise, are familiar with Robert Frost's poem, The Road Not Taken (and if they're not, they should be). It struck me that you did not ramble, you just took one of two roads and saved the first for another day, but knowing how way leads on to way, doubted that you would ever come back.

I'd say you did a great job of staying on track, which track being showing us scenes of the life around the lake in your park.

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