Mega-Update

I considered splitting this up into smaller posts, but wanted to see if I could break my own record for the longest, most diverse, and difficult-to-read post.  This will surely tax the determination and fortitude of most readers.

Here goes nothing . . . oh, fair warning . . . updates will just stumble over each other.  (Hint: some neat crap further down)

Public service announcement – time estimate:
Quick Look – act like you are interested, but skim with nary a pause – 0 min. 20 sec.
Interested But No Time – look at pictures, don’t hit links, don’t linger – 3 min. 37 sec.
Got a few minutes to spare – skim words, glance at pictures – 8 min. 13 sec.
What’s the fool saying? – read words, look at pictures and captions – 11 min. 30 sec.
Really interested – read text, click links, go to SmugMug – 20+ minutes

First, an update on my surgery and ongoing recovery.  Unlike the first surgery, I hardly have any pain, and have full range of motion.  Not because it’s been three weeks . . . I had near full range of motion less than a week after the surgery, with no associated pain.

Five years ago the physical therapy sessions for the same surgery were a mix of swearing at the guy torturing me, and me silently plotting vengeance.  Range of motion was restricted, and it took nearly five weeks to get where I am now.  This time nothing hurts, and the arm can swing way up, and way out, without “binding”.  Makes me wonder if they did anything.  I asked Mike, a very good physical therapist, if this was normal.

“Nothing about you is normal!” He quickly answered.

“I mean,” Mike continued, “this is unusual; freaky weird, even.”

I asked him if it meant I could do without the brace any earlier than the prescribed six weeks.  “No!”  He seemed to enjoy saying it.

So, good news is no pain or impeded motion.  Bad news is I still have to constrain my arm.

Day After Tax Day Snow Update

Day After Tax Day Snow Update

The day after the Tax Day Snow, April 16th, the warm weather gave the melting snow a peculiar “look”.  It was all granular-like.  The depression above is a sprinkler head, and next to it what are likely the tracks of a fox (based on the prints in the depressions).

It's not overly visible in these photos, but the many angles in the texture resulted in reflections of the sunlight as if jewels had been strewn on a white carpet.

It’s not overly visible in these photos, but the many angles in the texture resulted in reflections of the sunlight as if jewels had been strewn on a white carpet.

There is a small B&W Smugmug gallery associated with the above snow update.  Click on the link or on either of the pictures.

No SmugMug for this photo - click on it for larger view.

No SmugMug for this photo – click on it for larger view.

I like Aspens.  They have lots of texture.  I plan to do a small series of shots exploring how the scars, from a distance, often look like eyes.  The above was a single photo snapped one evening after work.

There is a 10  photographs SmugMug gallery for these Mule Deer Click on the photos to go there.

There is a 10 photographs SmugMug gallery for these Mule Deer.  Click on the photos to go there.

The very next evening, as I was leaving, I spotted a small herd of Mule Deer in the field opposite where I work.  All these were shot from my car.

The lighting was poor - these are all shot at high ISO values, and hence are fairly grainy.

The lighting was poor – these are all shot at high ISO values, and hence are fairly grainy.

While nice to look at, it’s not worth “zooming in” to see details.

The sun did come out from behind the clouds for a 30 seconds or so . . . then set behind the hills.

The sun did come out from behind the clouds for a 30 seconds or so . . . then set behind the hills.

It was a nice moment of unwinding after a very long day at work (more the norm than I care for these days).  Again, there is a small SmugMug Gallery with ten (10) photos of these deer.  If interested in checking it out, click on any of the three photos above, or HERE.

No SmugMug gallery for this shot - click for larger version.

No SmugMug gallery for this shot – click for larger version.

April 22, and what I considered the first sign of spring.  We heard a hummingbird.  The feeders came out, and our spirits soar just a little.

April 23th saw me dealing with something new and different . . .

I found this critter wandering around at work when I got in.

I found this critter wandering around at work when I got in.

I got my trusty Bug Transport Vessel, and coaxed it into taking a ride.

I got my trusty Bug Transport Vessel, and coaxed it into taking a ride.

I took the opportunity to snap a few pictures.

I took the opportunity to snap a few pictures.

Based on a few sources, I concluded this was  a Hobo Spider.  If anyone knows different, please leave a comment and link to references.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hobo_spider
http://www.puyallup.wsu.edu/plantclinic/resources/pdf/pls116hobospider.pdf
http://www.termite.com/spider-identification.html#hobo

There are sure-fire ways to identify it, but not without killing it (or risking getting bit).

There are sure-fire ways to identify it, but not without killing it (or risking getting bit).

For those so inclined, there is a small (nine photos) SmugMug gallery of the spider HERE, or click on any of the spider pictures.

By April 27th there is more evidence for Spring gaining a good foothold in our area.  Again, the following picture is not in any album, but you can click it to get a larger version of it.

The leaves are coming in, it's warm enough to make iced tea, and to keep the sliding door open.

The leaves are coming in, it’s warm enough to make iced tea, and keep the sliding door open.

However, there is a SmugMug Gallery with the following, and more, flower photos.  These were shot on April 29th.

Some of the Phlox were the first flowers to be out.

Some of the Phlox were the first flowers to be out.

I’m often asked what kind of camera/lens I use for my shots. Not that my pictures are spectacular, but they have their moments.  Well, the above photo and this next photo were shot, hand-held, with my Panasonic Lumix point-and-shoot camera.

You don't need $2,000 worth of photographic equipment to snap decent pictures  (but . . . don't tell my wife).

You don’t need $2,000 worth of photographic equipment to snap decent pictures (but . . . don’t tell my wife).

I particularly like the first shot.  The rest of the shots were captured with the Nikon D7000 and my 60mm f/2.8 macro, a lens I bought in the last century.

You can hardly tell these apart from the first two.

You can hardly tell these apart from the first two.

I don't remember this flowering shrub's name, but it's also one of the first to awaken and flower up.

I don’t remember this flowering shrub’s name, but it’s also one of the first to awaken and flower up.

Some of last year's pansies.  They survived in pots through the winter.  It looked to me as if some of the actual flowers survived, and just perked up when it got warm.

Some of last year’s pansies. They survived in pots through the winter. It looked to me as if some of the actual flowers survived, and just perked up when it got warm.

So, let’s begin the game. This game is best played in SmugMug, where you can really see details.

How many bugs do you see?

How many bugs do you see?

Here there are four (that I can see).

Here there are four (that I can see).

I only see two in this shot

I only see two in this shot

Three in this shot . . .

Three in this shot . . .

This one is easy . . . only one, and fairly visible at that.

This one is easy . . . only one, and fairly visible at that.

There are no bugs in these next two shots . . . they are the same flowers first documented in my PATH 001 post.  They are finally dying out . . . they had an amazing run.

These were the first to bloom, and are the first to go . . .

These were the first to bloom, and are the first to go . . .

Some of these are beginning to go, but some are hanging in there.

Some of these are beginning to go, but some are hanging in there.

Again, click on any of the flower pictures to go to the gallery for this part of the Mega-Update.

This next update begins out of sequence . . . On April 20th we had a number of Tree Swallows come by and check out the boxes we have up in our yard.

I have no way of knowing if these are the same pair from last year.

I have no way of knowing if these are the same pair from last year.

There were multiple pairs flying about, checking stuff out.

There were multiple pairs flying about, checking stuff out.

They were there for a few days, and then were gone . . . meanwhile, I mailed my good lens to be repaired, and I had my surgery.  But come May 17th . . .

They were back, and nesting.  This is one of the pair perched on the wire hanger for the hummingbird feeder.

They were back, and nesting. This is one of the pair perched on the wire hanger for the hummingbird feeder.

I was shooting with my big lens, the sun was setting, and the light was reflecting harshly from the bird.

Still, I managed to get four decent shots

Still, I managed to get four decent shots

Interestingly, the pair have taken to perching on the hangers at each end of the deck.

The four shots are in THIS SmugMug Gallery . . . along with fifty (50) other shots I took over the course of the next few days.  You see, they pay no mind to me and my camera, even when I’m just a few feet away.  Read on, because I gots me some decent shots.

The next morning, May 18th, this guy was waiting for me out on the deck . . .

This time the light was good, and I had my 105mm f/2.8 lens on the camera as I walked out there to within 4-5 feet of the little guy.

This time the light was good, and I had my 105mm f/2.8 lens on the camera as I walked out there to within 4-5 feet of the little guy.

He did not mind, even as I shuffled closer, all the while snapping away.

He did not mind, even as I shuffled closer, all the while snapping away.

And then he did something weird . . .

And then he did something weird . . .

He started in on his morning stretching routine.  The slideshow is below, but let me explain something first . . . at one point I had stopped shooting because it looked as if he was done, and was looking around for something.  He wasn’t.  He was doing neck stretches, and I missed half of them.

Don’t worry about pausing the slideshow to get a better look . . . I’ll have the best shots below it.

Here are the best shots from the series.

I like this one . . .

I like this one . . .

I love this one . . .

I love this one . . .

This is similar, but for some reason this one blew me away.

This is similar, but for some reason this one blew me away.

If you are going to look at one picture in SmugMug, this one should be it.  Just click on it to go explore the details.  Did you notice the ant at the end of the wire?

These next three shots were part of the neck -stretching routine it did.

These next three shots were part of the neck -stretching routine it did.

For a moment I though it was looking at me . . .

For a moment I though it was looking at me . . .

But no, it was part of the routine.

But no, it was part of the routine.

The last part of the routine was to stretch the wings back.

The last part of the routine was to stretch the wings back.

The lens has a fairly shallow depth of field even at f/6.3 . . . still nice to look at.

The lens has a fairly shallow depth of field even at f/6.3 . . . still nice to look at.

Of course, some people like that whole low-depth-of-field look.

Of course, some people like that whole low-depth-of-field look.

The slideshow has the shot of it flying away, but since it’s blurry and out of focus I did not include it in the gallery.

BUT WAIT!!   . . . .  The next day, May 19th, found the two perched on the respective positions, all puffed-up, and braving a light fog driven by a cold breeze.

This is the female, perched on the East Hook.

This is the female, perched on the East Hook.

This is the male, perched on the West Hook.

This is the male, perched on the West Hook.

They looked cold.  I wished I could have done something for them . . . then I remembered . . . I had put up two boxes.

They looked cold. I wished I could have done something for them . . . then I remembered . . . I had put up two boxes.

They could have been nice and toasty inside one of them.

They could have been nice and toasty inside one of them.

Obviously, having bird brains is a hindrance of sorts.

Obviously, having bird brains is a hindrance of sorts.

Yeah, lady . . . I'm talking to you!

Yeah, lady . . . I’m talking to you!

OK, OK . . . no need to get worked up about it!!

OK, OK . . . no need to get worked up about it!!

. . . obviously not the chivalrous type . . .

. . . obviously not the chivalrous type . . .

I did not venture out . . . I shot through the barely-open sliding door, trying to keep from freezing.  I used my big lens again, and because of the poor light, I used a high ISO again . . . hence the grainy images. 

The next day the weather was much better, and the guy was singing.

The next day the weather was much better, and the guy was singing.

The two seem to choose the same respective perch, and even though the sexes are similar, I'm calling this the female (no, I did not check).

The two seem to choose the same respective perch, and even though the sexes are similar, I’m calling this the female (no, I did not check).

She was not lit very well, as I was shooting against the light.

She was not lit very well, as I was shooting against the light.

So, I went back to the male . . .

So, I went back to the male . . .

I moved to the side so I could capture a different angle.

I moved to the side so I could capture a different angle.

I will stress, once more, that I was close.  Maybe three feet away.  Neither of the birds seemed concerned in the least.  There will be more posts about these two as we progress through the Summer.  I’ll try to capture some flying shots once I get my good lens back.

Meanwhile, there are more shots in the SmugMug Gallery than I showed here.

And that’s it for this update . . . it takes me to this past Sunday, and should provide enough material to entertain, amaze, and stupefy all but the hardiest of souls.

Thanks for letting me steal a bit of your time, and I hope you, the wise and discerning reader, found it entertaining.

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Note: to those who may click on “like”, or rate the post; if you do not personally hear from me, know that I am sincerely appreciative, and I thank you for noticing what I do.  

. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.

About disperser

Odd guy with odd views living an odd life during odd times.
This entry was posted in Animals, Birds, Black & White, Colorado, Deer, Flowers, Hobo Spider, Macro Photography, My YouTube, Pansies, Personal, Phlox, Photography, Photography Stuff, Snow, Spiders, Spiders and Insects, Tree Swallows, Weather, YouTube Stuff and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Mega-Update

  1. seekraz says:

    That was quite an update…and beautiful photos, too. I do love the ones with the birds and the exercises. I think it’s awesome that you could be so close to them…I hope that’s not a bad thing for them, though…seems strange.

    I used to live on the Academy not too far down the road from you…and we used to have the mule-deer in the back-yard off and on throughout the year…the dogs went crazy, but the kids loved seeing them so close.

    Very nice post, Emilio. Thank you.

    Like

  2. Great post! I especially like the sequence on the tree swallows….. some incredibly good close-ups there!

    Like

  3. Shannon says:

    I read the whole thing, but I skipped SmugMug. Swallow shots are astounding! How awesome that you have a home for them in your yard. We are watching hawk chicks and mockingbird chicks as yet, but no herons or wrens like before. Fun stuff.

    Like

  4. Thanks for your update…great to here that your recovery is going alright…probably you can’t wait till the brace can be thrown away!
    I don’t always go to your SmugMug gallery but this time I did and I’m glad I did. the funny thing is with the swallows…I clicked the link on the first or second photo and checked your photos there and the only time I actually pressed the thumbs-up button where the shots were the bird shows its wings…the second you described as ‘blew me away’… so in this one I absolutely agree :D
    Loved reading your stuff…see you ‘around’ Emilio and I hope you are able to do all things you want to ~without the stupid, but necessary brace~ very very soon

    Like

  5. ntexas99 says:

    Yep, that really was a MEGA update. I can’t imagine how long it had to have taken you to cobble that post together, what with all the links and embedding the video. So many great shots … especially loved the fanned-out wing shot where it seems the bird is looking you right in the eye. Also the birch eye, and the beautiful purple flowers. It’s been a while since I’ve been in your neck of the woods. I’ve missed peeking at your gorgeous photos. I did follow a few of the SmugMug links this time and got to take a closer look at some of them. How many bugs? Are you kidding me? Even with it mega-enlarged, I was still searching in vain. But it was fun trying. I saw one or two, but I’m sure there were more bugs to be found.

    It’s hard to find time for visiting these days. I follow so many blogs now that I have to sort of spin the wheel and sporadically visit with folks. But it keeps the variety always changing. Sometimes it’s a bit like rediscovering people all over again. Of course, it doesn’t help when WordPress spontaneously decides to drop some people off my follow list. Apparently the wizards behind the curtain still haven’t figured out all the nuts and bolts, because I keep having to “unsubscribe” and then “follow” people all over again. Like I’ve got that kind of time.

    Sorry to hear you had to have surgery, but glad to know it seems to be better. I’m just weeks away from having knee surgery myself. Not looking forward to those first few days after, but will be glad to get it all over with. Hope it will make a dent in the always-present knee pain. This will be my last time for giving surgery a chance, so one way or another, I’m hoping for improvement.

    Thanks for visiting my blog several times recently. It’s nice to see your name pop up. The only other time I seem to bump into you is on Sarah’s blog. The blog world is extremely vast, and even though I’m more of a voyeur when it comes to photos (looking, not shooting), I still enjoy it when people take the time to hone their craft and share the process. Love the shimmer on the birds, and the way you got up close and personal with the spider. And, of course, all the flower photos.

    When you go Mega, you really offer up a wide variety!

    Like

  6. drawandshoot says:

    Why did I feel compelled to read this (sort of) backwards?
    Anyway, a great post! Those swallows are gorgeous and I’m particularly drawn to that Aspen image.
    Sounds like your recovery is going well. Best wishes!

    Like

  7. disperser says:

    My thanks and appreciation to all for the kind words, lavish praise (or what sounded like lavish praise to me), and of course, for reading and looking at my stuff.

    Like

  8. bluelyon says:

    Finally, I got over here to read. I read it all, checked out most SmugMug galleries and even clicked on the Hobo spider links. But really, the pdf on the hobo spider was a skimmer.

    And I love the shallow DOF.

    Like

  9. I finally had a few/many minutes to read your fabulous post. I had a hard time counting all the bugs. I got some, but not all. Love the bird photos. The one with his wings spread out like a cape was extraordinary. Loved it. I can do without hobo spiders. They have a mean bite. We had them in Idaho and I tried my best to keep them away from me. Great post.

    Like

  10. AnnMarie says:

    The house is quiet (mother is taking a nap), I’ve got my tall cup of excellent tea next to the keyboard and I’m ready to tackle the Mega-Update. So I begin to read and click on each of the SmugMug prompts (except the spider one), taking my time to look at each photo, thumbing-up my favorites, clicking on the originals to get a good look, and then . . . the end! Wait a minute . . . this can’t be the end . . . you wrote MEGA update! So I quickly scroll all the way back to the top to make sure I haven’t missed any section. Nope, I’ve looked at everything.

    And I only took two sips of my tea . . . oh, well, I guess I’ll go and read your next post. But I really thought I was in for something like the Appendices on the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

    P.S. By the way, great post.

    Like

  11. Just want to say I “Like” the post, Disperser. And the birds. How do they get so sharp and clear in your photos…

    Like

  12. Pingback: What has gone before . . . | Disperser Tracks

  13. What a brilliant set of photos. Truly gorgeous.

    Looks like flowering cherry/prunus to me. You probably know that by now.

    Like

    • disperser says:

      Thank you, and thank you for checking them out.

      It’s a low shrub, and I look up the name once in a while. And then, I promptly forget it.

      I’m at the point I don’t bother anymore.

      Like

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