Friday, September 16, 2011
Why I should Stop Being Lazy and Carry My camera
I've missed a few more good shots the last couple of days.
Today, for instance, I thought a stroll up Rocky Run would be enjoyable. I haven't walked that path recently, especially with the rain and floods we've had. I went up the path, but at the meadow the trail disappeared into a marsh of mud and water. I didn't feel like sinking over my shoe tops thus I backtracked a little ways and went up what I call High Ridge. It is up atop a mount and runs parallel to the main trail. I walked back and followed up where it rises even higher up the Piedmont and through the woods and emerges on a campsite high on the hill. Then I turned around and came back.
As I was walking I heard a twig snap to my left. I glance over and thought I saw a white shirt and movement behind a bush. That made me edgy. Why would anyone be back there? It is the deep scruff and there is no trail, only rough ground and thicket.
I walked on and another twig snapped. I stopped and stood looking over in the direction of the sound. A few moments passed before I realized I was being watched. There between two trees stood a large deer staring at me. I don't know if it was a buck, it didn't have antlers, but it was very large and quite handsome. I reached to my pouch, but as soon as I did it bolted back into the brush. I saw another set of legs follow, so I have no idea how many deer may have been there.
But once again I missed the shot because my camera was zipped away at my side.
I continued down off the mount to Rocky Run heading out this time. As I reached that trail two dogs came bounding up it toward me. The lead dog was a Yellow Lab, looking much like my dog, Tucker (who died earlier). The other was also a large dog, but all black.
As they ran toward me, I froze. They had been at a distance when first I spotted them and there was no sign of a person about. The dogs stopped directly in front of me and I began to stick one hand out for them to sniff. Suddenly the yellow lab begins barking at me. The black dog quickly follows suit. Both are blocking the path and barking and making little lunges in my direction. I am saying something, probably, "It's okay, fellows."
I am glancing about for something to protect me, like a large sharp stick, when I hear a woman's voice far down the trail call a name and yell, "Come here!" The dogs pay it no mind. Finally two women appear and after several calls and admonishments to the pooches, the hounds turn tail and run to them. I see them snap leashes on the beasts.
The women are very apologetic and assure me this was very unusual behavior. We have a little chat of pleasantries and they go up the trail and I go down. After while I wonder if I should have told them of the deer. I wouldn't want the dogs to go chasing, but it is too late now. I go on.
I am coming up the main trail and happen to glance left at the creek. The Brandywine is several yards beyond this trail. There is a narrow barrier of trees along the left side, then the ground dips down to a large apron of grass. Across the way I see the Great Blue Heron sitting up on a downed tree branch.
I ignore the brush and press through the tree line, cross a patch of mud (this whole area had been under water a week ago) and pull my camera free as I step over the grass to the shoreline of the creek. Amazingly the great bird doesn't fly away as it has every time in the past I have tried to film it.
I stand on the bank as still as I can for nearly a half hour filming the Heron. I am staying so long now hoping it will raise its wings and fly so I can capture that graceful departure. But it doesn't leave. It stands on the branch and looks about. It preens itself, looks across at me, but it doesn't fly. I finally move on. I have the bird recorded, but it is still at a distance. You can see it in the photo at the top of this post if you look closely. You can almost see it better in its reflection in the water than its actual body against the background.
But this is what I mean, for the day before I had been walking on the Northern Greenway from Rockwood to Bellevue and back. Coming back I turned a corner and there was a Great Blue Heron standing directly in the middle of the path not more than 15 feet away. Magnificent, what an opportunity, but as usual, when I began to unzip my camera pouch it took flight. For such a large bird it disappeared very quickly.
Later, as I was driving through the woods after my walk, heading home, a pelican flew directly in front of me. This was rather unusual for around here. Perhaps the pelican had been driven northward by the hurricane, but it was definitely a pelican. I was driving then, so there was no chance of retrieving my camera from its garage on my belt.
As disappointing as it was to miss these pictures of wild beastee and bird these were't the most disappointing of all. That missed shot had come earlier on my Rockwood-Bellevue walk.
When I parked at Rockwood and exited my car, I also pulled out my camera. There were three large trees that had been uprooted near the gazebo. I filmed these and walked up the hill and around past the mansion. Here I took some more film of those trees from above. Now I walked on, taking some shots of downed trees and branches in the mansion yard. I decided I would film the creek that ran alongside the woods I was entering. I had been here the day before and that creek was roaring, splashing high over rocks and creating the white foam of rapids.
I came down today and no roaring, no big splashes, no foam. The creek was wider than normal, but pretty calm. I decided not to film and to put my camera safely away in its little black pouch. I stood on a curve of the path struggling to get my camera back in its bed. The pouch isn't large and I carry my id in it (I don't take my wallet or money on my hikes) and also my car keys. It took some effort, but I got the camera in and zipped the pouch closed.
Now as you pass through these woods to the rear of Rockwood you see a community of homes across this creek. Up ahead of me was a footbridge over the water that joined a path which meandered through that community and if you followed it, you could walk all the way into Alapocas Run State Park.
I noticed a woman standing just on the other side of the bridge. As I came nearer on my path, she stepped out to the middle of the bridge and leaned against the railing to the far side from me. She was looking down toward the creek. I then noticed a man on my side, presumedly her husband. He was on the grass and walking down the embankment toward the stream bed.
They were saying something to each other, but I couldn't hear.
He disappeared behind the bridge and down the slight hill and suddenly she pulled her shorts down.
I do not know why, but yes, she pulled her shorts down and she was wearing nothing beneath.
I do not think she was mooning me because I am fairly certain neither of them were aware I was there. They had both been intently looking down at the stream. Perhaps it was an accident, a wardrobe malfunction. I have sometimes had my pants slip down, in fact, a regular happening this year after I lost several pounds when I started walking regularly again, although I always caught my trouser or shorts before they fell that far.
Maybe she was flashing her husband.
I do not know the reason and she pulled them up a moment later. I only know if I had kept my camera in my hand I would have recorded that posterior for posterity.
I must get over my laziness.