I think that when Joy and Bob and I head out on a photo safari, the part of our bodies that get the most exercise are our eyes. We look. Then we look harder. Then we look deeper. Then we move a little bit and do the same thing from a different perspective, again and again and again.
Oh makes no mistake. We are out there hiking around, sometimes carrying other things, like backpacks of equipment, or binoculars or water bottles, or cameras, so our entire bodies are benefiting from the exercise, but our eyes definitely get the best workout.
For example, there we were merrily strolling along when one of us (probably Joy) heard, amongst all of the different types of birdsong, the unmistakable sound of a woodpecker. Naturally we stopped and peered into the surrounding area.
It was thick with undergrowth of all different sorts but also trees. Lots of trees, very large trees with far reaching thick limbs that were covered with air plants and moss and vines and we saw ....nothing but green, growing things. Dang. A less experienced, or more impatient photo safari-er might shrug and move on but not us. We stayed put. And we looked harder. We saw a few small birds zoom by. Then we saw more birds. And more birds until, yes! There it was, the woodpecker in question! Hurrah! And then we saw a second, different sort of woodpecker. And then a Cardinal. And then a Bluejay. And then...well you see! The longer we looked, the more we saw. I suppose it's the difference between looking and seeing. I think Joy got photos of six different kinds of birds just standing in that one area.
Meanwhile, I snapped various things in the area: flowers and vines and seed pods and mushrooms and whatever else struck my fancy. And Bob broke out the binoculars to view the birds in more detail. Everybody was happy. Win/Win/Win. And the birds didn't seem to mind at all.
And that was at the very beginning of the hike! We were out there for about three hours so multiply that exact situation by umptyump times and there you have a pretty good idea of what yesterday's adventure was like.
Oh, it wasn't always trees filled with birds. No of course not. There was also the bush of spider webs. Oh me oh my! I am not really a bug person. That would be Joy. She digs bugs. Bob appreciates them from an engineering perspective of course. And mostly I admire the pretty ones like butterflies and dragon flies lady bugs and merely acknowledge the rest of them from a polite distance. But I have to say that this particular bush had the prettiest spider webs I've ever seen.
As before, first one of our troop noticed one web. Then realized that there was another behind it. And another beside it. And another and another until we realized that there were at least a half dozen webs just in that one bush! Wow! The webs that I was particularly taken with were round. They looked very much like records. You know...LP's. The 'round and 'round webbing like the grooves of a record. And the prettiest part was that as the gentle breeze wafted and the web rippled, the sun played across it scattering rainbows. No joke! I tried from every angle imaginable to get a video of that rainbow web affect to no avail. You will just have to take my word for it, I guess. Bear in mind, if you doubt me though, I do have witnesses!
An aside: about records which were also referred to as LP's, the LP stood for Long Playing. Which got me wondering, were there also Short Playing records? Were they called SP's? When I think of a short playing record, I'm thinking of the little one song on a side records that we called 45's. LP's were 33 1/3. We didn't call them 33 1/3's. We called them albums, or records or LP's. Isn't that strange? I wonder why? If anyone knows the answer, please do tell me.
Back to the hike. The looking harder and longer and deeper is also important because so much of what we capture is very tiny. For Joy it is often the dragonflies or bees that were everywhere around us. For me it's mostly flowers and seed pods and vines. But they are so very teensy, that you have to really pay attention to notice them. And in fact, it was only while sitting on the ground to get close enough to take a photo of one flower that I noticed another, more unique and adorable one because it was so tiny, so close to the ground and surrounded by other, slightly larger things. What a delightful discovery!
So in short, it was yet another fabulously successful photo safari. We were at Sleeping Turtle Preserve where Joy and I had hiked once before but it was Bob's first time. We still didn't see any turtles, snoozing or awake, but got some great photos anyway. It wasn't crowded. The trails were well marked. There were occasional benches (some covered!) to rest if needed. And we got some terrific photos. If it wasn't for the lack of bathroom facilities, I'd say it was a perfect hiking location.
Poor Tim had to work and missed all the fun. I feel very bad that he misses out on these adventures but not guilty enough to prevent me from going. Sometimes I am a terrible person.
But hey, if you know the answer to that LP question, please let me know because that one is going to keep me up nights, wondering, ok?
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.