Thursday, September 25, 2008


I went down to the Bertom Lake (now is time for my usual reminder that Bertom “Lake” is really Mississippi River backwaters and not a lake at all) and did some paddling around in my canoe. I beached my boat on a little sand/mudbar just off the main channel, ate some sandwiches and carrots and then laid down for a rest and then got up and wandered around on the island I was on and took some pictures. This is some of what I got.

It's kind of fun to realize that the island I was on this weekend probably would have been split up into several islands if the water had been high – like it was this spring. It's been said before but I'll just point it out again: rivers (or at least the land around them) changes from year to year and season to season. Spring (my girlfriend, not the season) and I went for a little paddle down a small river near here (the Grant River) this weekend. Both she and I have seperately paddled that stretch of river before. This spring the river flooded and some pretty drastic changes from pre to post flood. I have paddled the river several times since the flood and the evidence of the power of moving water always leaves me a bit agape.

This is just a climbing plant twisting its way up a dead stick on the island I was on at Bertom Lake.

I was walking along on the island when I looked down and saw what looked like the cucumber plant that is growing in my garden (“was growing” would be more accurate since it died towards the end of the growing season and I hacked it up and buried it). As you may or may not know a cucumber is viney and climbs a bit. This curly-cue is what it would use to climb – if there had been anything to climb. But it's not a cucumber plant. There weren't any cucumbers and besides, what the hell would a cucumber plant be doing growing in an island on the Mississippi backwaters? But since there weren't any flowers it would be hard for me to ID. But it looked pretty similar to a cucumber.

Last Sunday afternoon I took a small hike, my destination being a small patch of woods near town here. It's not public land and I was trespassing the whole time...but really now, who's going to object very strongly to a guy out wandering around with a camera? It's not like I was carrying a chainsaw around with me or taking pictures of areas sensitive to national security. And plus the woods are fairly secluded so I don't think anyone saw me anyway. It's kind of funny, I didn't get a single picture that was very good while I was in the woods – but I got three that were decent on the way to the woods. (this brings to mind those cheesy – but true – Aerosmith song lyrics [as well as a fairly common cliche]: Life's a journey, not a destination).

On the way to these woods you walk down a street that's lined with crab apple trees. This tree had quite a few apples...more than the other trees.

Walking to the woods I noticed this tree that had leaves on just one branch that had changed color and were drastically different than the rest of the leaves. This is a picture of that branch.

You have to walk through a field of grass to get to this patch of woods I was heading for. Parts of the grass field were plowed and planted this spring. I think this is a wildlife food plot. Since the point of a food plot is to not harvest it - and let the wildlife do the harvesting this winter - the plants were still there. This is the seedhead of a sorghum plant silhouetted against the setting sun in that food plot .

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Just pictures and captions

This picture was taken in the morning before the dew had been evaporated by the sun and air. The sun was hitting the seedheads of this grass but not the ground at the base of the plant. So it looks like the seedheads are glowing white from the light hitting the water on them.

I was doing my walking down a streambed (I was wearing rubber boots. Streams are getting a bit nippy this time of year) and saw this morning glory growing on one of the banks in the morning sun. So I took a picture.

This dragonfly is either dead or so slowed down metabolically that I could get very close to it. I appreciated its cooperation because I don't own a lens that would let me take pictures that are this detailed. Sure I get pictures of details of thing but I have to get very close. I don't have lenses that let me zoom way in. Aside: This picture is a good example of why I find taking pictures fairly easy. I simply go outside and move slowly enough to observe stuff. The stuff is already there and, I would say, beautiful – even a dead dragonfly. And even though I don't really know what/who I'm grateful to, I am.
I stopped along a road on the way back from Platteville to get this picture. It's just a tall type of grass that had nice-looking seedheads on it – so it caught my eye. I was pleasantly surprised at how this picture turned out. I was thinking that maybe the sun would be burnt out (so white that it loses its sharpness) and the seedheads would look black. But I got lucky and got, what I think is a decent picture. “Lucky” is the operative word here – I took a bunch of pictures that didn't turn out to be worth a damn.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


I went to the park right near my house the other morning and got a few pictures. As you can see there was a heavy dew the night before. I must say that I'm not a big fan of it getting dark earlier in the evening, but it sure is nice to be able to get at a reasonable time in the morning and still be able to get pictures taken in the early morning sunlight.
This is the leaves of a spirea (a plant commonly used for landscaping) taken as I was walking to the park. Even though my destination was the park I try to notice stuff on the way to the park (and on the way back, too).

This is just a leaf that was laying in the dewey grass. Nothing all that special going on here, I just thought it looked cool.

To get this picture I had to crawl down a cement embankment. The way the morning sun was hitting this leaf looked kind of neat from the top of the embankment so I decided to climb down closer...and my efforts were rewarded, I think, but you can be the judge.

This a dewey clover plant. I was just walking along a stream (I tend to like water) looking for things to take pictures of in the stream when I looked down and saw this.


I'll start at the beginning: I rode my bike to work yesterday. To get there in time to be ready to work at 10 I have to leave here at 7:40 or so. (A side note, the weather is cold in the morning and warms up during the day so I had to wear all these clothes for my ride in the morning and then had to carry them back with me on the way back. I carried them back in a plastic grocery bag tied to my handlebars with an old inner tube. Not pretty but it worked.) So after work I had to ride the 17 miles back home plus I took a little longer route since the weather was so nice. So anyway, the point of explaining all that was to give me probable cause for being tired - which I was. As a result of being tired I just kind of wanted to sit around. But the weather was nice and I wanted to be outside. So I ended up taking my camera with me and sitting around outside. I got a progression of pictures of the moon rising. I was sitting there long enough that you can actually see the moon move as the pictures progress. (Another aside: it's amazing to me how fast the moon moves. Once upon a time a little over a year ago I was driving back into Lancaster [the town I live in] one winter night. The moon was about to set over the dome of the courthouse. I thought it looked neat and since I had my camera and tripod with me I decided to stop and take a picture. So I got out of the car and got my tripod all set up and was getting all pumped to take this cool picture when I looked up saw that the moon had set in the short amount of time it had taken me to set up my tripod.)

Friday, September 5, 2008


This is getting ridiculous. It's been a while since I last typed at ya'll on this blog. I haven't taken many pictures in the meantime. So I thought I'd make a blog entry out of some old pictures – and two new ones - I've got sitting on the hard drive of this computer. Here they are:
This was taken in the late winter. The open water is caused by a spring bubbling up and the sun was warm enough to melt a bit of the snow on top of the ice and it made this pattern as it drained off the ice and into the water.

I got up fairly early one foggy day last winter and managed to get this picture. I have no idea why the frost is just on the leaf edge.

This last weekend my girlfriend and I took a canoe/camping trip on the Manitowish River in northern Wisconsin. This was at one of the campsites.

It almost dark and I was driving home from the aforementioned camping trip when I saw this semi parked in the little town of Cataract, WI. This caught my eye because it seems ridiculous to have the word "horseradish" painted so big on the side of your truck. If was the driver I'd feel a bit sheepish.

This was taken in November of last year. Frost does funny things.

When I got this picture the sky was clear (hence the blue reflections) but it had been raining before this and since it was cold enough to freeze it froze on this rock to make this thing layer of ice you see in this picture. The rock isn't smooth so that explains the ups and downs you see in the ice. Alot of people have trouble grasping what this picture is of, and, frankly, I have trouble explaining it...but alot of people think it's still cool to look at.

This is a small drift of snow that was sticking up into the sunlight. The darker blue is snow too but is a bit lower and not sticking up into the light.