Saturday, August 31, 2013

More Sunday Zoo Fun

The Salisbury Zoo is a very small park compared to many others. There is the MUCH larger Virginia Zoo in Norfolk, across the bay, which we have never visited. That’s a costly trip with a $17 toll on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, $10 per (senior) adult. We prefer this little zoo with a donation fee and money left for a dinner out.

Last weekend at the zoo we also saw — iguana, cavi and buffalo. . .zoo collageAlso ducks and turtles (color effects selected in camera)

duck collageturtle collage1Canada geese, sandhill cranes and a black crowned night heron

birds eyeAnd a very sweet (and lone) deer, others may have been hiding.

deer collageThese energetic little monkeys (tamarinds?) were watching all the humans . . .

tamarine collageDespite being caged, this was a very majestic American Bald Eagle (more color effects applied in camera).

eagle collagePlaying around with the color mode effects on my new camera camera yielded dramatic results without the need for post-editing.eagle collage2Here’s another zoo resident — a turkey — there were several these. I’ve heard about how Benjamin Franklin proposed naming this bird as the U.S. national bird. Since I was curious WHY, I  sleuthed online and learned that this notion was proposed in a letter Franklin wrote to his daughter, Sarah Bache, in January 1784. Sharing it here in case anyone else was also curious. The focus of the letter was a criticism of the Society of the Cincinnati (which used an eagle on its crest). It makes some interesting observations:

Others object to the Bald Eagle, as looking too much like a Dindon, or Turkey. For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly. You may have seen him perched on some dead Tree near the River, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the Labour of the Fishing Hawk [Osprey]; and when that diligent Bird has at length taken a Fish, and is bearing it to his Nest for the Support of his Mate and young Ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it from him.

With all this Injustice, he is never in good Case but like those among Men who live by Sharping & Robbing he is generally poor and often very lousy. Besides he is a rank Coward: The little King Bird not bigger than a Sparrow attacks him boldly and drives him out of the District. He is therefore by no means a proper Emblem for the brave and honest Cincinnati of America who have driven all the King birds from our Country...

I am on this account not displeased that the Figure is not known as a Bald Eagle, but looks more like a Turkey. For in Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America... He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on.

Wishing ALL a restful & safe Labor Day weekend

FYI: This U.S. federal holiday observed on the first Monday in September was nationally recognized in 1894 to appease unionists after settlement of the Pullman Strike. Today, the holiday is viewed as a time for BBQs and end of summer vacations before back-to-school for many families. It’s also a BIG sales weekend; U.S. retailers claim it’s second to the holiday’s Black Friday sales.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Friday Funnies

EXCEPTIONAL Medical Transport made us wonder IF . . .

OTHER transports were — average, mediocre, and less than exceptional ?

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Clearly a Moth That Hums

0827 clear wing moth (8)
Maybe you’ve seen these sphinx-shaped winged moths in your flower beds. Despite mimicking a hummingbird in their actions,  they are moths and belong to the insect family of Lepidoptera, which includes both butterflies and moths. Scientifically known as Hemaris thysbe, hummingbird moths have a wingspan of 1-1/2 to 2 inches. 0823 clearwing moth (3)These moths have antennae, spindle-shaped bodies, and the tip of their tail opens like a fan. They are usually a reddish brown color. Like all Lepidoptera their wings are covered by scales; some species lose many of the scales from patches on their wings. These are called clearwing hummingbird moths. 0827 clear wing moth (26)

Like hummingbirds, they hover over flowers unfurling a long, butterfly-like proboscis (think drinking straw) that extends out to feed, then rolls back up and out of the way. Their wings beat quickly and they often emit an audible buzzing sound like a hummingbird.clear wing moth collage10827 clear wing moth (32)
These moths don’t act like “typical” moths; instead of flying towards a porch light at night, they fly around in mid-day in meadows, forest edges and our front flower garden. Also, like hummingbirds, they hover a very really short time over flowers and unfurl a long, butterfly-like proboscis (think drinking straw) to extract nectar. While doing this, their wings beat so quickly that they emit an audible buzzing sound like a hummingbird.clear wing moth collage2
There are four species of hummingbird moths in North America. The most familiar ones are the Hummingbird Clearwing (Hemaris thysbe) and the Snowberry Clearwing (Hemaris diffinis).

Fascinating to watch, they are challenge to photograph clearly. Like hummingbirds, they are never still for long. These photos were the result of several afternoon photo sessions from the F&P front porch.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Sunday Drive to the Zoo

Do you remember when years ago, folks took a Sunday drive? In many cases, it wasn’t even anywhere far; sometimes just to a nearby park area, without amusements or rides, just trees and maybe a lake.

Grenville and I used to do that too, and we’ve decided to start again. He posted here about Nick & Nora Nikon, our matching new cameras and how the Salisbury Zoo was last Sunday’s destination.

Here’s some colorful captures of mine starting with the first exhibit.colorful birds collageFollowed soon afterwards by my personal favorites — flamingoes.

flamingo collage2There’s usually some horseplay flamingo play going on . . .flamingos0825 (14)

Right before naptime for nearly all . . .flamingo collage3The macaws share the same enclosure with the flamingoes. (These are for blogger friend Tammy of Sweet Southern Happiness.)

macaw collage1And, they are dramatic with just a touch of selective (green) color.macaw collage2Shades of gray, black and browns displayed on the rheas.

rhea collage1And, the prairie dogs as well.prarie dog collage1We had a fun GREAT outing as we tried various camera settings. I have MORE zoo photos to share, but NOW it’s time to duck pair (5)

Do you take Sunday drives — OR did you ever?

Monday, August 26, 2013

Presenting,,,, for the First Time........

Nora and Nick Nikon,,,, (imagine a drumroll please) (or do one if you like)
Nora and Nick Nikon's first appearance together.
Oh My, what a cute couple they make (gag) and so sweet they're holding lens caps (double gag).

OK OK OK ,,, enough of this foolishness. Yes here are the new cameras that Beatrice and I bought. I guess you could call them our Anniversary presents to ourselves.  The question is does this make us Nikonettes, Nikoners, Nikonophobes, Nikonokons??????

I have to admit i have done more reading of the manual for this camera then i've done for any camera. But this possible testosterone reducing venture has taught me more about this camera than any i've owned. Usually it was just keep it on AUTO, then point and shoot. But this time i'm exploring settings, scenes, modes, and effects. WOW what a lot to learn. I may even start taking some good photos soon.

One thing i have learned is that auto focus doesn't work so good when zooming out to 1000mm (yes you read that right) to get a closeup of a dragon fly that is about 3 feet from you. BUT with some persistence, and a very patient Blue Darner, I did get a nice picture of this beauty.
 Next time i'll try for a closeup of that cute face with those BIG green eyes.
Our test run this weekend was a safari to the Salisbury Md Zoological Park. Here are some of the folks that were watching me fumble around.


I'd go say Hello but its so comfy here.
Manny, Moe, and Jack?????

Do I have dirt on my  nose???
Just wash your face and come for lunch...

You Lookin' At Me???????

He can't possible get a close up at that distance...

If I sit real still they won't notice me till January.

Turkey???? What Turkey???? I didn't see a Turkey!!!!!

Which side do you think is my best?????
THE END!!!!!

Peeling Lenses, Not Trees

A previous post described the bark that’s shedding on the crepe<SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA> myrtles in the F&P backyard.
That’s NOT the only peeling that’s been  going on — here’s some of a different sort — my glasses, which are just over 2 years old.
What caused this ?
It’s the coating on the high-index lenses. High-index is a term used to describe plastic lens materials that are thinner and lighter than regular plastic lenses. For a given prescription power and lens design, the factor that determines lens thickness is the index of refraction index of the lens material. Generally, the stronger a prescription (like mine), the thicker the lens material. High-index lenses are nearly 50% thinner than “regular” plastic lenses and can reduce the “eye-shrinking” effect of high prescriptions. The lenses usually have advanced anti-reflective (AR) lens treatment, which are what’s peeling. AND, the higher the index, the higher the lens cost, up to $100 more than plastic lenses.
When the peeling started (and progressively worsened), I returned to the local optometrist where they were bought. The Bad News was that it was past the 1-year warranty, who knew? There was no work-around offered, like removing the AR coating. AND during my on-line search to learn if others had this same problem, it seems that a LOT of folks with high-index lenses and the AR coating, sooner or later had a similar problem, many after expiration of a warranty . Also read where folks purchased products for a do-it-yourself removal project — NOT for me.

Since it was time for my eye exam, makes sense if you will order new glasses, I opted to return to the “regular” plastic lenses sans AR coating. Sure they are thicker (heavier too), but a new frame obscured the larger lenses a bit and these will NOT peel. Glass is also an option, but heavier than plastic and more susceptible to breakage.
SAM_2145<SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA>old-new glasses
After a couple of weeks, I’m used to the new style. It reminds me of Harry Potter; YES, I did enjoy the books and movies too.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

New Camera, Random Shots

Recent posts, praised then regretted my purchase of the Samsung WB250F digital “smart” camera with a multitude of features — touch screen and wi-fi. Too late for a return to Amazon, it was sold on eBay to a satisfied buyer making us both very happy.random collage1After selling the Samsung, I did what any photo-bug might do and bought another one. The above collage of birds at the backyard feeders was taken with it as were the blooms below.random collage2This new digital camera (which Grenville bought first) is not pocket-sized, like the Samsung; its zoom is nearly 2-1/2X greater. We’re taking the cameras, and ourselves, to the Salisbury Zoo cause it’s all happening there (per Simon & Garfunkel).

Friday, August 23, 2013

Friday Funnies

Signs are favorite things to read, especially ones like this . . .

And this one . . .
which seems like a no-brainer
But, then some folks manage to cover their car windows anyway.