Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I'm Back!

Back from a conspicuous absence! Lots of things going on, lots of updates so let's get going.

WINTER HAS RETURNED: Saturday a front moved in, the ran came with it and now it is a chilly 44 degrees with a nice fresh wind out of the north. I swear I thought I saw a polar bear roaming the fields.

VISITORS HAVE A GREAT TIME: Jill's parents and her brother arrived from Nebraska, USA and we literally drug them around the southern part of England non-stop for a week. Norwich cathedral, Castle Rising, Sandringham Estate, Iceni village, Westminster, St. Paul's Cathedral, Tower of London as well as a little time with the grandchildren. That are back home safe and sound.

MORE "KIDS" IN ABUNDANCE: Many sightings of baby blue/great tits, blackbirds as well as green finches. Little balls of fluff, full of energy.

IRIS WATERCOLOR SERIES AVAILABLE: A series of watercolor-style images from the ever-blooming iris beds in the yard is now available, just click here to go to the gallery.

NEW BOOK SERIES: Very close to launching an entire series of books and that's all I'm going to say. OK, not all I'm going to say. A combination of visual and written impressions from around the world.

NEW LOCATION: The sheep we've been tending over the winter are now in a BEAUTIFUL pasture next to a very picturesque river and they're LOVING it. Taken with a very small Nikon COOLPIX L11 digital camera purchased for Jill's upcoming travels around the world.


Friday, May 18, 2007

Getting (re)Organized

I enjoy solving problems. Lighting situations, efficiency issues, all are a challenge I enjoy. My stock image cataloging system has been finalized now for a little over 2 years but was at least twice as long in development. Every once and awhile I get that itching thought that "there has to be a better way" to do something and next thing I know a week has passed and although no "real" work has been done the garage and tool shed have been re-organized as well as my documents on the computer and my workflow for posting to all my electronic venues.

So, if you wonder if I've dropped off the edge of the English coastline, fear not. Just getting organized (again) and preparing for a week of my wife's parents and one of her brothers coming over the pond to visit us.



Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Shave and a Haircut

Life on the farm is quite a blessing for a photographer. I would equate it with being a sports photographer and living next to the spring training camp for your favorite team or being a military aviation photographer and living on a military base (with permission to shoot no less)!

Not long ago I was able to photograph the time-honored task of sheep shearing. A couple of observations I made during the event:

  • You should be of short stature in order to minimize your need to bend over,
  • You should be strong as an ox in order to wrestle a full-grown ewe or ram into an unnatural position,
  • You should love what you do.
I've seen shearers on TV do sheep in less than a minute, but not sure how long they could actually keep up the pace. The guys I watched would do one every 2-3 minutes and kept that pace up for nearly 12 hours. And as silly as I thought sheep looked with a full fleece, they look ridiculous with a "high and tight".

By month's end the livestock will be moved to summer pastures, my twice-daily walks through the farm will be but to collect eggs. I'm glad to think of them in a large grassy field, but then again the kids and I enjoy greatly the chance to go to the barn and walk among the, to talk and pet Ben and Dave and Daisy in the cow pens. To look for Puppy, Spot, Patch, Dominic and Mr. Texal in the sheep pens and chase the wayward lambs back home to their mums. But they'll be back in the fall and we'll welcome them.



Friday, May 04, 2007

Sidebars and Moles

You might be looking at the new element to the right, how cool is that? My friends and e-commerce partners at ImageKind have developed a way for YOU to quickly browse a featured gallery from this page. Plans are to rotate the galleries on a weekly basis. I am SO glad to be partners with the best and most innovative fine-art printers in the country!

As promised, here's a small peek at what I was able to capture in pixels after my boys caught a European mole (Talpa europaea) in our bathroom (entry point unknown). When seen close-up, he can actually look quite frightening (although he seemed to be yawning)! I was amazed at the purpose-built nature of this creature; an organic tunnelling machine capable of making up to 20 meters of yard-devastating passages a day!

On the home front: still no rain. After the driest and warmest April in recent memory we still haven't gotten any measurable precipitation. A fencing project around the yard (for rabbit control, pesky little, well... pests) is on hold as you can't get into the ground at all. Good news is the clouds have moved back in, let's pray for rain!



Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Weekend Update (but I'm not Chevy Chase)

What an event-packed few days it has been here in England! I'm not really sure where to start.

The "kids" a.k.a. the 3 song thrush chicks talked about in this post and this post have been sighted multiple times in the yard acting just like three brothers: dive-bombing each other, fighting for food, that kind of stuff. Great to see that they've stuck around as the thrush population has dwindled in this area from what I've been told. Hopefully they will discover their singing voices soon, right now they're just yappy noisy kids!

The mole is no more! My youngest son Jordan discovered it in a trap Saturday morning whist mowing the monster, er... the yard. From his size I'm guessing it was the Poppa mole. I was amazed at how soft his coat was and how HUGE his paws were. Now I know why they're so destructive.

In related mole news, the boys caught a LIVE mole. In our BATHROOM! More as that situation develops.

The Boy Scout trip was great, a 1-mile hike with full gear from camp to the beach end and back, then a 10-mile hike from Stiffkey to Wells-next-to-Sea along the salt marshes of the north English coast. No injuries during a session of sand dune free-fall time and everyone made the hike with only minimal injuries to feet due to new boots (despite warnings, don't get me started).

And finally I've discovered the incredible diversity in the (seemingly) mundane world of eggs. I grew up with eggs coming into our home 12 perfectly formed copies at a time, all white and clean and perfect. Well, they don't all come out that way, especially if you have "farm" chickens around. Here's a sample of my egg portrait series.