Monday Smiles – 7/28/2014

park1We are in the midst of California summer, this year’s version bringing with it more humidity than usual.   Yes, by back east standards … and particularly by Florida standards … it isn’t humid at all but after 45 years here, it feels sticky to us.   That … along with the numerous large groups descending on our park for company picnics and family reunions … makes our park a less frequent destination for weekend outings.  And, in addition to the heat and crowds, summer brings out the biting insects.  We are blessed here that mosquitoes are not a big problem here, but there are a variety of bugs that you have to beware of in the park.   Perhaps the nastiest of the bunch is also one of the smallest … chiggers.  Last week, sitting at my favorite table by the lake, I was assaulted by the little buggers.  Their bites create nasty red welts with an intense itch that comes up just short of a sting and at least for me, nothing but ice seemed to help.  After two days of getting up several times a night to ice my legs so I could go back to sleep, my daughter suggested using heat.  I found a post online (here) about using a hair dryer on the bites to remove the itch.  It worked like a miracle.  How exciting to have a use for a hairdryer again after years of baldness.

The point is that I’m not going to be sitting at any park tables in shorts for a while, Deet or no Deet, and it’s too warm for long pants.  I do, however, require a certain amount of park time per week for the sake of sanity.   Saturday morning, I picked up breakfast and parked in my favorite (shady) parking place, hoping to do a little writing.  In spite of the shade and a light breeze, it was simply too hot to sit in the car either, so I put on my earbuds with my mp3 player set to shuffle all, threw my camera over my shoulder and set off for a walk.  I also set the Runkeeper app on my phone to keep track of my distance and pace, although with a camera in hand, pace is not really an issue.  While I normally walk a mile in under 20 minutes, it may take thirty or forty minute to traverse a mile when I’m on the hunt for photo subjects.  As I’ve said before here, I’m easily distracted.

Apparently, the park birds are undaunted by the Socal heat because they were out in force.  Since I began photographing birds with my new camera, I admire professional nature photographers like Thomas Mangelson more than ever.   Birds are not cooperative critters and shooting them at distance without a tripod requires patience.  Patience while they hop out of view just as I press the shutter … or just turn their little backs on me.  Or as an unsteady Older Hand shifts the camera slightly, yielding a gorgeous shot of leaves with a bird tail in the upper right hand corner.  Then there’s the three or four out of focus or over-exposed shots for every good one.  I am not an expert on my new camera yet.  But I am a patient novice and Saturday, my patience paid off.

I  love when that happens.  In fact, I love it so much, I’m still smiling … and it’s Monday.

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One Comment on “Monday Smiles – 7/28/2014”

  1. Wendy Says:

    I understand you well. I too require one day of being in a park, and one day of breathing in ocean air to maintain my sanity. Thankfully, I live near both. Which makes me smile,every day.

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