Reimer’s Ranch 10-1-2017


Jeff Price-18

9 picture pano showing the Turkey Trail

Yesterdays walk was so easy comparatively speaking because of the fairly even surface, I felt good enough to go out again two days in a row. Again, contrary to my usual practise of not walking on weekends due to the crowds, I opted to take a walk at Reimers Ranch County Park to see if I could get some good bird pictures. It helps now that it is cooling down and is in the mid 80’s.

I drove to the very last Parking Area, the one that is also the lot for the Rock Climbers as I wanted to walk the Turkey Trail because it has been the most productive regarding bird and animal pictures so far. Going through my usual ritual, I donned all of my equipment and as suitably attired, headed for the trails.

Just as I was starting out, my path crossed with another hiker coming towards me and we exchanged greetings as we passed. I had already decided that I would sit at the bench at the intersection of the Turkey Trail and the Multi Use Trail not because I was tired but in the hope that sitting peacefully might encourage the birds to fly back into my neighborhood. I used my binos as I scanned the surrounding trees but to no avail. I saw one bird fly and perch and then could not find it in the foliage.

Francis-7

A 5 picture Panorama of Milton Reimer’s Ranch

I gave up on the sitting idea and headed down the Multi Use Trail towards the westerly end of the park taking pictures along the way of the trail. I experimented carrying my poles in one hand and the camera in the other as this was also the location where I saw the deer last time out. This method worked out OK but there were no deer this time around. The trail got rougher and much steeper so the camera had to go back in its carrying harness.

I got to the bottom of the hill and watched a couple of horses come towards me. We exchanged greetings as they passed and they were quickly out of site. Four legs can cover a lot more ground and much faster than my two old ones. I turned off to take the bottom trail to head back to the parking lot. This is a fun trail to walk now that the Parks people have cleaned it up as it follows the river not more than 50 yards away. I passed a couple that asked about the trail and I was able to direct them to the nearest bench for them to eat lunch. They didn’t invite me, darn it…I passed several groups of flowers along the way and took pictures of the trails and rock formation.

I could hear the rock climbers off to my left as they were enjoying themselves with their very hazardous idea of fun. There are several different rock faces along the way and they all seemed to be occupied. Eventually, the lower trail that I was on merged with the upper trail used by the rock climbers as we neared the exit to the last parking lot. I stopped to let several of them pass me as again, they all walk faster than I do. Everybody does…They opted for the fourth exit but I  continued along the trail and headed for the third exit. I wanted to walk the short distance on the top trail just in case I could see anything worth photographing.

Little did I know that that was the best decision I had made for a long time as I continued along, I spotted a large bird flying over the river. At first, I thought it was just another buzzard except it was not using the air currents and floating as the buzzards do. This one seemed to have much more purpose as it flew. I got the binos out to take a closer look and the first thing that I saw was the white head and thought that it might be a Bald Eagle. It did not have the white tail feathers that the Eagles have but there was no mistaking the white head. Then I recognized it as an Osprey which are well known for their feats of diving into the water to catch fish.

Jeff Price-26

Totally submerged

I quickly got the camera with the long lens ready and went to work snapping pictures as quickly as I could. I watched it as it dove into the water and managed to get a picture of that but when it went in the second time, it was out of my view but I certainly heard the very loud splash. When it came back into view, it was carrying a large fish as it headed back up the river. I thought at first it might have had a nest close by but the nesting season is over.

I walked up the trail keeping an eye on where I thought it had landed and managed to locate it perched in a dead tree. I took a lot of pictures of it very glad that for the very first time, the expensive piece of glass that I had in my camera was going to pay off. I waited around taking the occasional picture but the bird did not seem to be in any hurry to eat the fish. I figured that it was not going fishing anymore today so I walked the trail to the third trailhead and made the difficult climb to the top.

A couple of older ladies wanted to know if they could get to the river from this parking lot and I directed them to where I had just come up warning them that they had to be very careful as it was a bit of a climb even going down. I started walking the gravel path on the very top of the bluff that connects all four of the parking lots heading back to the last one where I had parked my car. On the way, I heard a bird call and stopped and as I did so, a large bird flew off another dead tree very close to the trail. This one too had the white head and I don’t know if it was the same bird or if there are more than one now living in this area.

I arrived back to my parking area and made my way to the car giving yet more advice along the way to another older couple who wanted to get down to the river. I warned them it was not easy but they tried anyway. As I was sitting in my car, they drove off obviously not willing to make the climb down which is pretty difficult.

This has to be my most successful trip yet as far as taking pictures of wildlife, in this case, the Osprey. Obviously, this will not be my last in the never ending search for that perfect picture now that I know where to look. Funny that all of the times I have hiked at Reimer’s Ranch, and even though I have looked, I have not seen an Osprey before. Maybe it is a product of this Springs hatch.

Jeff Price-73

I took this picture of these flowers using the telephoto lens from way across the river.

Jeff Price

I drove back home very content with the hike. Altogether, I covered 5.8 miles not all on the trail as I also walked around the Supermarket on the way back.

Written 10/3/2017

Hiking on a Weekend…


DSC_0314I never really had any intent
to hike today thinking instead
I would stay inside and write in my blog
out of the sun and my thoughts to log
onto the page of the next blog I write
hoping to make it a wonderful sight
so that others can read the words on the page
and hope gain something as they engage
in reading this blog fresh from my mind
stories to share of the Nature kind.

I try not on a weekend to hike
not that it doesn’t give me delight
but I like to stay away from the crowd
as noisy and raucous as I have found
that out on the trails solitude makes
happiness when there are pictures to take
especially of animals and birds that need quiet
so as to not get their picture spoilt
a difficult time that often fails
approaching anything live on the trails
as my walking poles make so much noise
and there is no way to disguise
that something is coming and it’s time to flee
and they are gone before they see me.

As much as I like on the trails to meet
other people who are using their feet
getting around out on the path
walking and talking and so I ask
“Can I take your picture” as they walk by
and most of them give me a short reply
“Certainly” as I explain
that I write a blog but I refrain
from using their names just a picture or two
showing them smiling in my view.
I give them my card and wish them well
as I go forward on up the hill
one foot in front of the other I place
sticking to my usual slow pace
and like the tortoise who beat the hare
I reach the end of the trail that I share
with others like me who really feel
Nature’s serenity and beauty is something real.

A Walk At McKinney Roughs on 6-11-2017


DSC_6176

A peaceful place….


I found time to take another short walk and decided to head for my most favorite of places to hike and that is McKinney Roughs. Another reason that I wanted to get out was to try out a new camera carrying harness that allows me to carry two cameras at a time and to be able to choose which one based on the shot.

I have just bought a Nikon D7500 which along with my D7200, complement each other. I had a Tamron wide angled lens on one and my 18-300 Tamron telescopic lens on the other. I was able to change cameras depending on the view and the shot I was wanting to take. Another reason that I purchased the second camera was so that I could also use one of them, probably the D7200, to take the place of the video camera that I had that only got used 2 hours per month at the Austin Pond Society Meeting. So, I traded the video camera in taking a huge loss of course, partially to pay for the D7500 as I plan on using the D7200 to take the video of the meeting and the other camera for the still shots.

With all of that said, the D7500 has a few more bells and whistles which I haven’t a clue how to use although I was nicely surprised to find some of the day’s shots already on my cell phone with the Wi-Fi already set up. That’s both good and bad as I will quickly fill up my space allowance on the phone if I don’t control that. “Nuff said about the photography equipment.

I have walked McKinney so many times I rarely need the map but I carry it with me just in case. This time, I decided to walk down Bobcat Ridge to Pine Ridge and then onto Cypress which brought me down close to the river. Cypress and Riverside are beautifully shaded with intermittent views of the river. They are great trails when the weather is dry but get very muddy after any amount of rain. This is also a horse trail and the horses tend to cut up the softer trails after any rain to talk of.

From there, I took Bluff Trail Loop onto Ridge which brought me back to the parking lot. I never saw another hiker out on the trails and the only other people I saw were in the parking lot either getting ready to walk or had just completed their walks. Altogether, I covered 6 miles which is about my normal hiking length nowadays. I took a lot of pictures which I have turned into a slideshow. Most of the pics are of the trails as nearly all of the flowers are over for this season except in the parking lot where the gardens are in full bloom. Still not too many butterflies around yet. Maybe later in the year. I have yet to take any pictures of birds except for the White Egret down by the river. I hear the birds but can never see them. Same is true of any wildlife. I probably make so much noise with my walking poles that any animal type is long gone by the time I get there.

If you are looking for a place to take a hike, McKinney Roughs is the place to go. Most of the trails are shaded and only a couple have steep climbs and the scenery is very beautiful. I highly recommend it.

Below is the slideshow. Enjoy.

A Walk at McKinney Roughs 6-11-2017 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

Plans for today…


DSC_1963
I had plans today to spend my time
working on some things left outside around the ponds
and updating the Pond Society’s website
and then I was going for a hike at McKinney Roughs
my favorite hiking place.

Even the best laid plans can falter
as Mother Nature sometimes has other ideas
like she did today as it came onto rain
putting an end to both the garden work
and the hike.

But wait, the sun is coming out
and is shining brightly
and a quick glance at the weather site
on my computer shows just a shower
which passes quickly.

I can finish up my outside chores around the ponds
and quickly do the work I need to do on the website
and in a couple of hours be on my way
to McKinney to do the thing I like the best
hiking and taking pictures.

“We were born with two legs. We should use them…”

 

Hiking is good for the soul…


DSC_1062I love to hike this much is true
one of my most favorite things to do
to get outside and walk a trail
communing with Nature and all the while
exercising in the best possible way
breathing fresh air and striding along
wearing my boots and using my poles
taking pictures is one of my goals
to record the sights and portray in words
sights that I view completely free
to share the walks along with me
next to walking the thing I like most
is to write in my blog my words to post
along with the pictures that others may see
and enjoy the views along with me
as out on the trails as things unfold
the pictures show as the words told
of wondrous views, nature at her best
showing off her beauty while in my small way
I write the words and pictures display
for others to see on any day.

A Hot Day in Texas


DSC_5640It has been while it seems
from writing about my dreams
and other stuff that interest me
especially my photography.

Some days when I have a plan
to work on a project that I have devised
it may be out in the yard
or on one of the ponds of which I have five

Other days when it is hot
I stay inside and write a lot
about the things that I have done
or of places that I have seen.

Hiking the places I have not been
will give me more things that I can write
and all of the pictures that I take
I will post for others to enjoy the sights.

When it cools down…

Austin Pond Society September 2014 Meeting.


APS Logo

APS Logo

Austin Pond Society September 2014 Meeting

The third Monday of the month rolls around and with it the APS Monthly Meeting held at the usual time, 6:30 pm at the Zilker Gardens Meeting Room. This past Monday was no exception so promptly at 6:00 pm, I walked into the Meeting Room to set up my cameras. I was especially looking forward to this particular speaker, whose name is Rose Krohn-Epps and her topic for the evening is Photography. I am always looking to pick up tips and information on how the really good photographers perform their work. Me, I’m just an amateur with an expensive camera that has more bells and whistles than I will ever use. But, I am always willing to learn…

We started off as usual with a meal provided by the APS.  Our new Chef, Laura Wisdom, is away on her honeymoon so we had to make do with Pizza. As I hadn’t had Pizza in a while, it was OK by me and I thoroughly enjoyed the two small pieces that I quickly gobbled down. For desert, there were an assortment of cookies some provided by the members. I cheated on my own good eating habits and  ate a couple of chocolate coconut cookies and boy, were they good.

Promptly at 7:00 pm, the President, Jeannie Ferrier brought us to order and then the Programs organizer, Barb Lenhardt

Rose Krohn-Epps Photographer

Rose Krohn-Epps Photographer

introduced the speaker, Rose Krohn-Epps. Rose opened up her presentation by showing us a slide show of some of her photographs and they were absolutely beautiful. She then went on to explain with the help of a Power Point show what the different terms used in photographic work meant and how they are derived and what purpose they have in taking pictures. Explanations of F-stops, light, speed and the different variables that all go in to making a good picture. She had brought with her many of the “tools of the trade” and showed us her lenses, cameras, tripods and other items much too numerous to mention by name.

I found her presentation very interesting and realized just how many were my own short comings in this field. Well, she is a professional after all and has been taking pictures for more than twenty years. It turns out that I was not as prepared as I should have been and in setting up, discovered that both of the batteries to the video camera were flat so I had to resort to using my Nikon 5100 as a video camera. These cameras take just as good videos as the regular video camera with  the only difference being they can only run for twenty minutes and then they shut off. By keeping an eye on the camera clock, it is possible to stop and then re-start them with no break in the action. I heard that the twenty-minute thing is to bypass some regulation that says a camera can only be sold either as a video or as a camera even though both of them can do both.

But wait, that is not the end of my tail of woe. Towards the end of her presentation, I noticed a message on the camera screen stating that the

Serving the food

Serving the food

memory card was bad so I rapidly changed it out for a new one to capture the end of the presentation. The test will be when I try to download the memory card to the computer…

My attempts to film Rose’s presentation did not come out at all well as the camera filming a film always comes out cloudy and way too light to read. You can view the presentation at www.rosekrohneppsphotography.com/Nature_Photography.html . You will need to have Power Point on your computer to view it as it is a Power Point presentation. If you are a budding photographer or even one with some experience, I highly recommend taking a look at this slide show. None of us should ever stop learning as all of us can learn something new no matter how experienced we think we are. Below is the Q and A session of the speakers presentation.

Rose Epps from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

Following the Photography presentation, we turned to the business part of the evening of which one of the highlights was the presentation of a check for $2000 to the Dell Children’s Hospital, The money was raised from proceeds from the Pond Tour and the Dell Children’s Hospital were nominated as this years beneficiaries. Linda Tinsley was the main mover and shaker behind this effort and she presented the check to Audrey Pendergrass, the Dell Representative. Carl Tinsley also presented her with a ceramic tile that had been handed to all of the Pond Tour entries. for their participation.

Photos

Photos

The other highlight would be choosing the winners of the Photography Competition. The photographs from the Check presentation to Dellmembership had been laid out on the last row of tables and we had each been given four sticky notes on which we had to write the number (displayed on each photo) of what we considered to be the best picture in each category. The four categories are Fish, Ponds, Pond Related Plants and Pond Critters (not fish). These would then be tallied up and the one with the highest number of votes would be the winner with second and thirds to complete the twelve pictures necessary for the Calendar. The one with the most number of overall votes also got to be the cover picture. Given how high tech’ the process was, it all worked out well in the end. Thanks everyone for making this part of the evening a fun time.

The final piece of business was the Nomination Committee looking for nominations from the floor for ALL of the Board positions some of which will be open with the current members stepping down at the end of the year. Many of the current members are still willing to continue. Positions are open and I urge anyone who has the time and the interest to be thinking about volunteering for one of the committees. We will be holding elections at the November meeting.

Jeannie brought the meeting to a close at almost 9:00 pm. The next meeting is scheduled for October 19th and the speaker for the evening will be Dr. Alfredo Geigel-Ortiz, V.M.D from Vida Veterinary Mobile Services. he will be discussing all of the things that can (and do) happen to our fish. Bring along your problems to share with the group. The meeting will start at 6:30 pm for the dinner (Bolognese over Spaghetti with a tossed green salad) and the speaker is scheduled for 7:00 pm. The meeting will be held in the usual place at Zilker Botanical Gardens in Austin.

APS Meeting September 2014 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.