I got a pleasant surprise yesterday as I headed to the woods on the first nice Saturday of 2014, a small flock of strange looking ducks called Hooded Mergansers were in the Licking River at Blackhand Gorge near Newark, Ohio.
Usually, ducks pretty much ignore you, but these are a little more stealthy. By the time I got a bead on them, they started taking flight. My camera has a sports mode that rapid fires and it’s a big help with wildlife. The quality of the photo isn’t as good, but it’s better to get a photo than none at all. This photo was the only one that even had a duck in it.
This is the first Hooded Merganser I’ve ever seen. It’s quite a thrill to get wildlife that’s out of the ordinary and it always happens when you least expect it.
One of Ohio’s largest assets is water. It’s a draw for agriculture, industry, and people. No matter how much tech we get, water is the secret source of wealth in any society. Don’t believe me? Look at a map of where the wealth is and you’ll see where the water is.
Ohio’s wealth is fresh water, much more valuable than salt water. You don’t necessarily see fresh water in the same way that you do the oceans. Ohio’s ocean is for the most part, underground. We do get to see it in small rivers all over the state though.
I don’t get on my environmental band wagons. It’s so easy to see through the hypocrisy and ignorance of the leaders like Al Gore and friends. Ohio’s water though, it’s different. It’s not difficult to treat it with care. It’s so plentiful that simply being a mindful steward of it will keep it in check.
Here’s a photo of my hometown’s water supply flowing down from the north. It wasn’t that long ago that enforcement was finally placed on the towns north of us to stop dumping sewage into it.
The true measure of health in the river is really easy to know. All you need to ask is, “Are there fish in it?”.
I’m trying to get better at photography and in doing that, I’ve found myself on lunch breaks out taking photos while I get a walk in. I don’t want to start finding excuses for not doing it or like other things we find excuses for, you slowly lose interest.
Newark, Ohio is more interesting when you really start taking a close look at it everyday. I didn’t say it looks better, just different.
Today I tried, but at -2 a person’s mind starts concentrating on one thing and that’s the temperature. By the time I finally found something to take a photo of, I was froze to the bone.
There is another cold day coming tomorrow. I look forward to the challenge.
I’ve been pursuing a different take on wildlife photos. Most people will go out in the woods with these really expensive long lenses and get photos of the animals from far away. This never brings out the true nature of the beast. I find a nice pose creates a better portrayal of the animal. My little Canon PowerShot SX50 HS does the job with a problem.
I’ve done deer portraits before, but it’s hard to get them to smile as you can see in this photo. Click on the image for a larger version.
I wanted to take it a step further, so I finally got this young 8 point to ham it up a little.
First, he spots me.
Then, I coaxed a smile out of him.
Then he walks away minding his own business.
That’s all their is to it. Get out there and enjoy Ohio’s great outdoors. There’s lots to see and do, even in the winter.
I’ve made it to quite a few WACO club fly-ins in Mount Vernon, Ohio, so I’m letting the weather deter me this year. I did stop out last night to get a few shots. I nearly sank my van in the mud, so that’s about all the excitement I needed to find something else to do. If I’d never been to one of these fly-in’s I would have stayed regardless.
Here’s a shot that I did get in between rain storms.