Brick Pond Park photography contest involves community participation | Community


Max Cullipher jumped almost three feet in the air at the sound of his name being called for a first-place prize in a visual arts contest.

The North Augusta Arts and Heritage Center held an open contest for photos of nature at its Brick Pond Park. Featuring a youth division for 8-15 year olds and an additional adult category, the Aiken Elementary third-grader took home the prize with a photo of a blue heron.

Lee Josey, Cullipher’s grandfather, helped introduce his grandson to photography and bird watching.


“I kind of gave him all the basics and taught him how to handle the camera and some of the settings he could use and he really went with it and I thought that he was certainly excelling for someone at his age,” Josey said. “I am very close to him and we had a lot of fun and we have been all over the place taking pictures of birds.”

Over the past year, the two have taken day trips to several Georgia and South Carolina nature reserves to identify birds and bond over photography. They were clued into the contest through a fellow church member who helped organize Cullipher’s entry.

Mary Anne Bigger, executive director for the Arts and Heritage Center, was thrilled to see youth involvement in the arts.

“We love to have the youth involved in any of our activities but this was especially important because the Brick Ponds are so popular and so important to North Augusta,” Bigger said.

“Oh gosh when they called his name, he jumped three feet high with his arms up and he was so excited,” Josey recalled. “They called the first place last and when they called his name, he got so excited and it was a wonderful moment for me as well as for him.”

Garland Gooden, a volunteer curator for the Arts and Heritage Center, welcomes the influx of talent. He said they plan to expand the competition exhibition next year.

“I am so pleased that the kids have responded to the show and I am hoping next year we are going to have an even greater response,” Gooden said.

“Those things are things that I love and I wanted to get him interested in something that I knew a good bit about and since we are so close, it really thrilled me that he was taking interest in something that I enjoyed,” Josey said. “It’s something that will build a closer bond between the two of us and I just love taking him out and taking pictures and enjoying the time with him and having that kind of influence on me.”

The Brick Pond Park photography contest artwork is open to the public through Feb. 2 on the second floor balcony in the Arts and Heritage Center. In addition, the Eyes Wide Open art gallery will be on display through Feb. 2.

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Handpicked by our editor, as well as breaking news, business profiles, and government recaps from North Augusta.

Samantha Winn covers the cities of North Augusta and Augusta, with a focus on community oriented business and events. Follow her on Twitter: @samanthamwinn and on Facebook and Instagram: @swinnnews. 



Entries arriving for February nature art showcase | News


Entries for the Council on Greenways and Trails’ February Nature Art Showcase and Sale have started to arrive.

Among the original artwork depicting outdoor recreation, natural resources, and landscapes already registered, included are acrylic paintings, oil paintings, traditional and digital photography, alcohol ink on tiles, fabrics dyed with botanical items, wooden plaques, and other media.

This free public display is held in the lobby of the Barrow-Civic Theatre in downtown Franklin that Feb. 3 from 5 to 7 p.m. and Feb. 4 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For example, Anna Applegate is an amateur artist who resides in Pinegrove Township in Venango County. She dabbles in nature photography and painting; one of her entries is shown with this article. Entitled “A Brief Pause,” the full-color digital photograph captures a female ruby-throated hummingbird hovering by an orange blossom.

Franklin’s Neal Parker had a long career in conservation and art; in the 1980s his paintings tended to focus on wildlife, but then he waited another 29 years before to returning to painting. He will share with showcase attendees the second painting he completed after that long pause; it’s acrylic on Masonite, entitled “Wood Fern.” Each participating artist may enter one or two items of any size in the seventh annual Nature Art Showcase and Sale, conducted indoors during the “Franklin On Ice” Festival.

Artist registrations are free, but they need to be received by Jan. 18 in order for the information to be included in a complimentary printed program provided to all guests. Registration packets may be picked up in person at the Clarion Area Chamber of Commerce & Industry, the Titusville Council on the Arts, the Victorian City Art & Frame in Franklin; French Creek Framing and Fine Art in Meadville, The Gallery at New Bethlehem Town Center, and Penn Soil Resource Conservation & Development Council on Conewango Avenue in Warren. Registration instructions and forms may also be downloaded from the Council on Greenways and Trails’ website www.nwpagreenways.org.

North Augusta resident self publishes photography book | Community


Turning a hobby into a self-published book, North Augustan Bob Pyle took his camera to showcase the landscape of the Augusta area.

Pyle found his way to landscape photography in the 1970s. He decided to focus on his hobby and spent 13 years collecting images to share in his new book Georgialina Images, which features nature landmarks in North Augusta, Augusta and Aiken. 

“I kind of like having the idea of something to publish with your name on it, it’s kind of neat,” Pyle said.

Pyle photographed a variety of locations including Aiken’s Hopelands Gardens, Brick Pond Park in North Augusta and the Augusta River Canal in Georgia. Small paragraphs detail the history and impacts of the properties.

Pyle worked on the project for 18 months and published over 100 images from the region. He wanted to share some of the beauty with his loved ones.

“I think this will have mainly regional and local appeal,” he said. “What I am really trying to do is get the book out there and let people see it and enjoy it.”

The book can be purchased for $32 at four locations throughout the region: North Augusta Arts and Heritage Center, The Morris Museum of Art, Sacred Heart Cultural Center and Augusta Canal.

Sign up to receive weekly roundups of the latest Post and Courier North Augusta stories.

Handpicked by our editor, as well as breaking news, business profiles, and government recaps from North Augusta.

Samantha Winn covers the cities of North Augusta and Augusta, with a focus on community oriented business and events. Follow her on Twitter: @samanthamwinn and on Facebook and Instagram: @swinnnews. 



The Recorder – Speaking of Nature: 2023 resolutions: Pointing the lens at plants


Welcome to 2023! Another calendar has been used, another red journal finished and safely tucked away on a shelf and newness has taken over. I place a brand new desk blotter calendar on my office desk, I unwrap a brand new red journal and begin to enter all of my almanac data and I crack open a new black journal so I can punch “2023 vol 1” on to its cover. These sorts of rituals are particularly satisfying for my and I take immense pleasure sitting in the silence of an early morning house and poring over the information recorded in years gone by.

Before I opened up this new document I decided to look back at my first column of 2022 to get the exact wording on last year’s resolutions and this is what I found: “So here is my resolution for 2022: I won’t let the paperwork pile up. I will make sure that I process my photos in a timely fashion, which will allow me to keep my website up to date and that nagging little voice in my head quieter than it has been. Like many resolutions this sounds really simple, but if I actually do it I will benefit greatly. Now let’s see if I can follow through.” A year later I can definitively say that I failed miserably.

As of the writing of this column I still had a backlog of photos going all the way back to August.

However, I did manage to take more photos in 2022 than I had ever taken in any previous year. The funny thing about these columns is that there is a curious element of time travel involved in them. I’m writing about the end of 2022 before the I actually experience the end of 2022. By the time this column reaches you I will have hit 23,000 photos for the year, but as I write I am still about 400 photos short of the mark, so I don’t know what the subject of that milestone photo actually is yet.

Anyway, I think that a resolution about getting paperwork done is a little boring anyway. Surely there must be something a little more interesting to focus on than that. As an example, perhaps it is time to see about working on the botany catalog of my property that I have been thinking of. I have six acres of land that is covered in a mixture of lawn, old field and forest. Perhaps it is time that I take an inventory of the different plant species that live within the geopolitical boundaries of what I temporarily call “mine.”

This is a daunting prospect because of the sheer magnitude of the project. Cataloging the trees would be the easiest because there are so few species that I would have to deal with. Beech, birch, maple and oak are all simple enough to identify. Then there are the slightly more challenging hawthorns, buckthorns and alders. And don’t even get me started on the difference between hornbeam and hop hornbeam!

Then you shift into the realm of the forbs and the grasses; non-woody plants that grow and die back every year without leaving “permanent” stems like trees and lilac bushes. Six acres of land could host hundreds of different species and finding them all would require an enormous amount of time, effort and discomfort. The ferns and the mosses would represent the final straw. I’ve got books, but the mosses in particular could actually represent the tipping point for pure madness to take hold of me.

Yet, there is an entire branch of botany called “bryology” that is focused purely on the mosses, liverworts and hornworts of the world. My poor computer is underlining all of these words in red because it doesn’t recognize them.

Well, I think I might be able to find a happy medium here. Perhaps what I will do is dedicate myself to identifying all of the plant species that can be found along the edges of my trails. These trails pass through meadow and forest and emerge into areas that I maintain as lawn. I realize that this might be a little more than I can chew, but I am going to go for it. 2023 will be my year of botany! I will continue with the photography of wildlife, but I will make a conscious effort to aim my lens at plants more often. Time to break out the close-up lens!

A secondary resolution will be to make an improvement on my general paperwork and correspondence. I like going outside and looking for interesting things, but I am not quite so good at sitting down at my desk and working on emails and whatnot. That being said, I am also getting tired of my afternoon routine and I think that I might enjoy dedicating an hour a day to “clearing off my desk” after getting home from work. If I can just do it long enough to make it a habit, then I will never stop doing it.

So, dear reader, I wish you the happiest and most prosperous 2023. I am personally filled with optimism about the coming year and I think that the project that I have initiated will bear fruit. I might even give myself the added challenge of alternating between plants and animals every other week, but that is going to take a little more thinking. Since I can’t get down to the Thinking Chair at the moment, I’ll get some fresh coffee in my mug, throw a fresh log on the fire and settle in for some imaginings of what might come next.

Bill Danielson has been a professional writer and nature photographer for 25 years. He has worked for the National Park Service, the US Forest Service, the Nature Conservancy and the Massachusetts State Parks and he currently teaches high school biology and physics. For more in formation visit his website at www.speakingofnature.com, or head over to Speaking of Nature on Facebook.



Experiential travel on the rise in Visakhapatnam


People enjoying fog engulfed araku valley from a newly discovered view piont at Madagada in Araku 130 km from Visakhapatnam
| Photo Credit: KR Deepak

From learning astro-photography at a hilly countryside, witnessing a stunning sunrise above a mist of clouds from the highest peak of the Eastern Ghats to discovering a trek route that opens up a world rich with biodiversity, a growing number of people are seeking localised and personalised travel experiences in and around Visakhapatnam.

Many are trying to learn a new skill in the process, experience a new culture, tradition and history and gain knowledge about the rich ecosystems in the vicinity.

Over 120 participants have gathered at the ongoing 10th national workshop on pictorial and travel photography organised by Khamam Photo Arts Organisation (KPAO) in Araku to travel to the interior tribal villages of the region and learn key elements of photography from experts.

“The response has been overwhelming. There are art lovers, photographers, Fine Arts students, journalists from across the country who want to experience the beauty of the place and learn the different elements of photography,” says V Naga Raju Devara Rao of KPAO. During the three-day workshop, participants in small batches visited the hills of Odisha’s Malkangiri district, which is home of the Bonda tribes, a particularly vulnerable tribal group known for their secluded lives. “Every Thursday, the Bonda tribes come to the shandy (local market). This is a great way to understand the tribal culture of the region,” says Naga Raju. According to noted photographer Sudhakar Reddy, secretary of Andhra Pradesh Photography Academy, the experience of traveling with a group that shares a common interest opens up a deeper understanding of the world around. “Participants learn the ways of identifying the subject, understanding the right composition and capturing the essence of a place,” he adds.

People enjoying fog engulfed araku valley from a newly discovered view piont at Madagada in Araku 130 km from Visakhapatnam
| Photo Credit:
KR Deepak

Ban Nanda, a photography enthusiast and one of the participants of the workshop, discovered a new viewpoint for shooting the sunrise from a veil of clouds from a cliff near Madagada village. “We reached before sunrise and were stunned by the beauty of place. Acessibility to the hill, proximity to Araku makes it a great place for viewing the sunrise,” he says. Madagada is a potter’s village. “Ideal days to visit are from Monday to Thursday where one can observe the potters at work. On the weekends, they head to the shandy to sell the pots,” Nanda adds.

According to Naveen Rongali, founder of Ecohikes, a trekking group that conducts sustainable treks and travels, the concept of experiential travel has picked up in a big way during this year. “We saw many people who expressed interest in understanding the local culture, food and tradition while camping at non-touristy spots in the tribal belts near Visakhapatnam. In fact, many families with children are keen on trying out these weekend camps and want children to experience Nature and rural life,” he says.

The group’s focus has been the Jhindagada peak, considered the highest peak of the Eastern Ghats in Andhra Pradesh. “We have been training the tribals to interact with the travelers and give them a peek into their culture,” says Naveen. Ecohikes has been conducting camps at lesser-known peaks and waterfalls in the Eastern Ghats almost every weekend. “Our main objective is to help people understand how our tribes have been living in these regions with reverence for Nature,” explains Naveen. Shortly, a new place near Devarapalli will be added to their list of camping sites.

Participants of the photography workshop conducted by Khamam Photo Arts Organisation capturing tribal life at a village near Araku, 130 kilometres from Visakhapatnam
| Photo Credit:
K R Deepak

Within the city limits in Visakhapatnam, there are people who offer experiential treks that help one understand the biodiversity of the region. Sumanth Behara, who started Triptan Adventures earlier this year, says the Yarada hike is the most sought-after trail. “This is a secluded beach and the trek offers a breathtaking view of coastline,” he says. One of the essential parts of the treks involve sensitising the participants about the importance of the place, being extra careful in geo-heritage sites and to leave no plastic behind.

City-based organisation Wilded has been conducting noctural walks at the Simhachalam hill range and inter-tidal walks at Rushikonda coast to uncover a colourful world bustling with life hidden amid the rocks. “The idea is to build a community of responsible travelers and discoverers who can appreciate Nature in their surroundings and understand the significance of the varied ecosystems. Over the past year, we have seen a good number of participants turn up for these experiential treks and walks and actively involve in being citizen scientists to document inter-tidal biodiversity of Andhra Pradesh,” says Sri Chakra Pranav Tamarapalli, who along with K Vimal Raj started Wilded with the primary aim of wilderness education.

“We are now exploring Araku and Paderu to conduct camps centering around birdwatching and butterfly watching. We are planning to roll this out soon,” says Pranav.

Photographer’s lens reveals beauty of nature


The photo taken in April of 2008 shows the Yumtso Lake, also known as Lake Manasarovar in Tibet autonomous region. [Photo by Wang Chen/cpanet.org.cn]

A group of photos taken by photographer Wang Chen portray tranquil sceneries, and bring people to feel the beauty of nature from the bottom of the hearts.

Wang Chen, vice-chairman of China Photographers Association, has won the Golden Statue Award for China Photography for three times. He has published nearly 30 photography books, and among them, one of his environmental friendly-themed series about the earth has won the United States” Benny Award.

Biodiversity talks open as UN chief calls for ‘peace pact’ with nature


“SIGNIFICANT RESISTANCE”

Draft targets for the 10-year framework include a cornerstone pledge to protect 30 per cent of the world’s land and seas by 2030, eliminating harmful fishing and agriculture subsidies and tackling invasive species and reducing pesticides.

Finance is among the most divisive issues, as developing nations are demanding increased funding for conservation.

Earlier this year, a coalition of nations called for wealthy countries to provide at least US$100 billion annually – rising to US$700 billion a year by 2030 – for biodiversity.

Guterres told AFP: “It must be recognized that without a significant mobilization of funding, of various origins but with a substantial volume, developing countries will not be able to meet the requirements of biodiversity conservation.

“It should not be forgotten that most of the world’s biodiversity wealth exists in developing countries.”

The sticky issue of biopiracy is also causing roadblocks, as many mainly African countries demand that wealthy nations share the benefits of ingredients and formulas used in cosmetics and medicines derived from the Global South.

Implementation has emerged as another sticking point in recent days, with disagreements over how to ensure any final deal is put into practice – unlike its predecessor agreed in 2010.

“FLEXIBILITY, COMPROMISE, CONSENSUS”

The meeting, delayed two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic, follows crucial climate change talks in Egypt last month that ended with little headway on reducing emissions and scaling down the use of planet-warming fossil fuels.

China is chair, though it is being hosted in Canada because of Beijing’s long-standing zero-COVID policy.

NGOs say the lack of world leaders at COP15 risks dampening momentum at the talks and could scupper an ambitious settlement.

Twin crises: Experts say nature and climate cannot be siloed


PARIS: Experts and activists were hoping UN climate talks would end last week with a prominent mention of biodiversity in the final text. They walked away disappointed.

Some say delegates at the COP27 summit missed a key opportunity to acknowledge the connection between the twin climate and nature crises, which many believe have been treated separately for too long.

Failing to address both could mean not only further decimating Earth’s life support systems, but also missing the key climate target of limiting warming to under 1.5 degrees Celsius, they warn.

“We’re doomed if we don’t solve climate, and we’re doomed if we don’t solve biodiversity,” Basile van Havre, co-chair of the UN biodiversity negotiations, told AFP.

At the COP15 UN biodiversity talks next month, dozens of countries will meet to hammer out a new framework to protect animals and plants from destruction by humans.

The meeting comes as scientists warn that climate change and biodiversity damage could cause the world’s sixth mass extinction event.

Such destruction of nature also risks worsening climate change.

The oceans have absorbed most of the excess heat created by humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions and, along with forests, are important carbon sinks.

“(Nature) is up to a third of the climate solution. And it is a proven technology,” Brian O’Donnell, director of Campaign for Nature, told AFP.

He said oceans in particular are unsung “superheroes”, which have absorbed carbon and heat, at the cost of acidification and coral-killing heatwaves.

As the world warms, species and ecosystems can also play a crucial role in building resilience. Mangroves, for example, can protect against coastal erosion caused by rising seas linked to a warming planet.

“MISSED OPPORTUNITY”

Perhaps the most attention on the natural world at COP27 came during a visit by Brazil’s president-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who will take office in January.

He has vowed to halt the rampant deforestation of the Amazon seen under incumbent Jair Bolsonaro and announced during the climate talks plans to create a ministry for indigenous people, custodians of the rainforest.

The crucial “30 by 30” biodiversity target also got a boost when a bloc of West African nations vowed to adhere to the goal of protecting 30 per cent of the natural world by 2030.

Renowned economist strives to calculate the value of nature


“Economic forecasts consist of investment in factories, employment rates, [gross domestic product] growth. They never mention what’s happening to the ecosystems,” said Dasgupta, who is this year’s United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Champion of the Earth for Science and Innovation. “It really is urgent that we think about it now,” he said.

The report was the culmination of four decades of work in which Dasgupta has sought to push the boundaries of traditional economics and lay bare the connection between the health of the planet and the stability of economies.

The Economics of Biodiversity is the foundation of a growing field of what is known as natural capital accounting, in which researchers attempt to assess the value of nature. Those numbers can help governments better understand the long-term economic costs of logging, mining and other potentially destructive industries, ultimately bolstering the case for protecting the natural world.

“Sir Partha Dasgupta’s ground-breaking contributions to economics over the decades have awakened the world to the value of nature and the need to protect ecosystems which enrich our economies, our well-being and our lives,” said Inger Andersen, UNEP Executive Director.

Economics as part of a ‘tapestry’

Dasgupta was born in 1942 in what is now the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka. (At the time, the city was part of India.) His father, the noted economist Amiya Kumar Dasgupta, had a huge influence on him and his path towards academia. After completing a bachelor’s degree in physics in Delhi, Dasgupta moved to the United Kingdom where he studied mathematics and later gained a doctorate in economics.

Through his many major contributions to economics for which he was knighted in 2002, Dasgupta has helped to shape the global debate on sustainable development and use of natural resources.

“Nature is a wondrous factory, producing a bewildering variety of goods and services at different speeds and of varying spatial coverage. Think of, for example, all the beautiful processes that shape wetlands – the birds and insects that pollinate, the water voles that dig round for food, the way tiny organisms decompose material and filter water,” said Dasgupta.

“It is a bewildering tapestry of things that are happening, many of which are unobservable. And yet they are creating the atmosphere in which humans and all living organisms can survive. The way we measure economic success or failure, the whole grammar of economics, needs to be built with this tapestry in mind.”

Affection for nature

Dasgupta traces his interest in the idea of living sustainably in a world of limited natural resources to his now classic 1969 paper On the Concept of Optimum Population. In the 1970s, Swedish economist Karl-Göran Mäler encouraged him to develop his ideas on the links between rural poverty and the state of the environment and natural resources in the world’s poorest countries, a subject that was notably absent from mainstream development economics at the time.

This led to further explorations of the relationships between population, natural resources, poverty and the environment, for which Dasgupta has become acclaimed.

“I’ve had a ball working in this field,” he said. “One reason it’s been fun is that I had no competition. Nobody else was working on it.”

For four decades, Dasgupta has sought to push the boundaries of traditional economics and lay bare the connection between the health of the planet and the stability of economies. Photo: UNEP/Diego Rotmistrovksy 

Grasslands, forests and freshwater lakes are some of Dasgupta’s favourite ecosystems. He believes children should be taught nature studies from an early age and that the subject should be as compulsory as reading, writing and arithmetic. “That’s one way to generate some affection for nature. If you have affection for nature, then she is less likely to be trashed,” he said.

Inclusive wealth

Dasgupta is passionate about the need to replace gross domestic product as a measure of the economic health of countries because it tells just part of the story. He argues instead for “inclusive wealth”, which not only captures financial and produced capital but also the skills in the workforce (human capital), the cohesion in society (social capital) and the value of the environment (natural capital).

This idea is embedded in the United Nations-supported System of Environmental Economic Accounting which allows countries to track environmental assets, their use in the economy, and return flows of waste and emissions.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has developed the Inclusive Wealth Index. Now calculated for about 163 countries, the index indicates that inclusive wealth expanded by an average of 1.8 per cent from 1992-2019, far below the rate of GDP, largely because of declines in natural capital.

Nature as a capital asset

Echoing the urgency of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration to prevent, halt and reverse ecosystem degradation, Dasgupta’s Economics of Biodiversity warns that critical ecosystems, from coral reefs to rainforests, are nearing dangerous tipping points, with catastrophic consequences for economies and people’s well-being.

The 600-page report calls for a fundamental rethink of humanity’s relationship with nature and how it is valued, arguing that the failure to include “ecosystem services” on national balance sheets has only served to intensify exploitation of the natural world.

“[It is] about introducing nature as a capital asset into economic thinking and showing how economic possibilities are entirely dependent on this finite entity,” said Dasgupta.

 

About the UNEP Champions of the Earth

The UN Environment Programme’s Champions of the Earth honours individuals, groups, and organizations whose actions have a transformative impact on the environment. The annual Champions of the Earth award is the UN’s highest environmental honour. It recognizes outstanding leaders from government, civil society, and the private sector

About the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration

The UN General Assembly has declared the years 2021 through 2030 the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. Led by UNEP and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN together with the support of partners, it is designed to prevent, halt, and reverse the loss and degradation of ecosystems worldwide. It aims at reviving billions of hectares, covering terrestrial as well as aquatic ecosystems. A global call to action, the UN Decade draws together political support, scientific research, and financial muscle to massively scale up restoration.

 



THE GREAT OUTDOORS: Incoming geese inspire a photo challenge | Lifestyles


It is no secret that I’m addicted to nature photography, which I practice on an almost daily basis regardless of weather conditions. In fact bad conditions sometime produce some neat images. I love “shooting” sunrises; they usually are the thing that gets me going in the morning. With sunrises, or sunsets, the secret to getting good ones is to be out there before they occur. Sometimes the best sky color is before the sun rises or after it sets, and you need to be in a good position before that happens. After sunrise, I head to a likely wildlife scene.

Lately I have been sitting along the Feeder Road off Route 77 near a marsh where geese and ducks come to rest in the morning. No hunting is allowed on this marsh, so many of the waterfowl naturally pick it for a safe haven. This was my favorite spot last week as I aimed to get good flight shots of geese coming in. Lighting and wind need to be from the right angle, and the birds are fast, so you have to be on the ball. It is very satisfying to catch that goose image, tack sharp, as he cups and drops into the marsh.

I used to do a lot of waterfowl hunting and the incoming geese always seemed to be the most exciting to watch. That’s still true today as I hunt them with my camera. Their distance calling tunes me in to their arrival and even when they are about to take off. I take way too many pictures of them in flight, but that’s necessary to catch the birds’ most flattering positions, which involves how the light is hitting them, their wing positions and their angle to the camera.

One shot I’m always trying to capture is their flying upside-down (yes, you read that right!). Sometimes when a flock is coming in to land they come in from a high altitude and are in a hurry to get to their chosen landing spot. To do this they “slip” sideways as they drop from the sky, and even flip over on their backs, which cuts wind resistance and helps them drop more quickly. Now, this maneuver takes only a split second, and they do it individually, not as a group. Thus it can be very difficult to catch this move. The best way is to just click away as you see birds in the flock doing this and hope you catch one upside-down.

When the birds are ready to leave the marsh, their body positioning and type of call usually prompt me to get ready. I try to catch them both flying and running on the water as they get airborne. Again, it is a matter of taking a lot of shots to catch it just right.

A lot of other things went on as I waited for various groups of geese to arrive. One morning a pair of trumpeter swans flew over me from a side that I don’t eyeball that much, and by the time I saw them I could only get angling-away images, not very flattering to the swans. A few mornings later, now peeking at the southeast side of my position more often, I caught the pair coming towards me. Getting ready, I kept focusing on them as they approached, and hit the “trigger” a number of times as they passed low and right in front of me. Each time I did, the thought “got it” clicked in my mind, and the end result was about six great, tack-sharp, well-exposed and flattering shots. As they continued on their way I took a deep breath — I often hold my breath as I shoot, probably a habit from my long range woodchuck hunting days that gave me a more accurate shot. A quick review of the shots proved I hit the nail right on the head, and my day was made even if the geese and ducks didn’t cooperate.

Other creatures often show themselves while I’m waiting out a particular set up like this. A mink will scramble in front of me, never giving a good shot because it is so quick in its sudden appearance and disappearance. Then there’s the great blue heron that has not flown south yet, offering some close “fishing” poses to me. Although not as plentiful as the incoming geese in this marsh, some mallards, pintails, teal and an occasional wood duck come in, elevating the excitement for me.

When the geese do start arriving there seems to be numerous groups coming in, one after another, which keeps me on the ball and breathless as I concentrate on various groups, trying to pick ones with good background, or doing quick maneuvers and coming in at the right angles.

Nature’s creatures are not the only things that keep me entertained while I’m in this area. The seasonal road is traveled by both vehicles and hikers looking to see nature or photograph it, and sometimes it’s pretty funny watching the wildlife outmaneuver these people. I can often predict what’s going to happen. Someone stops quickly and jumps out of their vehicle, camera in hand for a picture, only to find the creature has disappeared. Or, they walk or drive by never seeing the wildlife right off the road, because they don’t know how to look for it.

Nature photography can be addictive but that is OK because it makes you more appreciative of what’s out there.

I have a list of folks to whom I send my nature images. If you’re interested in seeing what I see, send me your email address and a request and I’ll add you to the list.

Doug Domedion, outdoorsman and nature photographer, resides in Medina. Contact him at 585-798-4022 or woodduck2020@yahoo.com.