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A friend and I spent yesterday at Assateague Island photographing the ponies and other wildlife. I was a little amused to find that I was as excited about the birds as I was about the wild ponies. I'll probably be a while going through all of the photos, but I know I've at least a few that I'm especially happy with.

I was definitely planning on travelling a lot this summer for my photography, but sales have been down and cost of living has been up. I'm going to be very brave and try to learn to drive a manual- I tried this years ago and failed miserably. BUT, being able to drive a manual would mean access to a car with better fuel economy and so more travel time for me. Keeping fingers crossed!

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My favorite local coffee shop, which had the best coffee and wraps, and where I had a lot of my work, has closed. I'm so sad! This economy is killing all the places with character off one by one.
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Spring Is Here!

I went to one of my favorite spots and was watching a pair of nesting Ospreys whose nest was on a platform over the water. One, we'll assume it was the male (just because), caught a nicely sized fish and I was able to get some gorgeous photos of him. He actually flew by me twice with the fish. He may have been showing off.

As he was returning to his nest, a bald eagle flew at him from out of the forest. The Osprey dropped his fish and went on the offensive. I had no idea an Osprey could terrorize a bald eagle like that. It was fantastic. The only down side was me realizing that I need to take steps to get better photos in situations like that. I'm definitely getting a monopod ASAP. Handholding a camera, even with IS, can only go so far.

After that, I spent some time watching and photographing a baby turtle.

I saw some HUGE. I mean GINORMOUS DINOSAURISH snapping turtles. I'm not scared of much, but you won't catch me going into any water with snapping turtles that size in there. You forget how big they can get until you see them up close and personal. And they are GRUMPY.

Alright...off I go...more stuff to do...
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As soon as things calm down around here I'll be planning some new trips. Beyond the regular day trips, I might be heading down to the Outer Banks (anyone familiar with Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge?) and I'm definitely going to Upstate New York (Albany area) in June.
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Sometimes the days sort of blur together and I have trouble keeping track of all that has happened from one week to the next. I really should update my journal more often so I can refer to it when I wonder what I did five days ago.

I've had several photo outings that resulted in some good work. I'm still trying to catch up on filtering through files from last October through now--- sometimes I just need to step back from the work for a month or three so I can get a new perspective on it all.

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I went out for a while today during the ice storm...without my gloves. I discovered that I am capable of operating my camera when I can't feel my hands. Just not very quickly.
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I'm leaving for Upstate New York in a few hours. Its supposed to snow on and off the entire time I'm up there (til Sunday), so I'm hoping to finally shoot some decent winter scenery.
Think calm happy thoughts for me. My first flight and I'm nervous. Just another reason to love road trips... :)
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Yesterday I went out to a new area I hadnt visited before. The government labels it as a wildlife management area, but it was really just a dirty hunting area. Muddy parking areas full of dessicated deer, shell casings and empty beer bottles that had been used for target practice. The roads throughout were littered with debris. One particular road had a bridge whose right lane was completely blocked by a pile of rubbish. Just a disgusting area overall.

There was one decent part of the visit- I was just pulling onto a side road when a red-tailed hawk swooped down into the leaves not ten feet from me. He was hopping up and down trying to get whatever was in the pile of leaves clutched in his talons. I did not have my camera out, and just as I connected the lens and turned to take a shot, the bird swooped back up to his branch, where he sat looking as if nothing had happened. I did, at least, get several nice shots of him sitting on his perch.
Later I saw a barn owl that had been spooked out by something, but I didnt get a shot.

Today I went out again to a more familiar area and had an immensely successful day. I got my first decent bald eagle photograph and my first EVER Delmarva Fox Squirrel Photo (they are endangered and I've been trying to get a shot of one for years- they always run off just as I take the shot). I photographed plenty of snow geese, pin tail ducks, herons and a few other birds as well. I'll keep my fingers crossed on my fox shots, but I think I was too far away.

I saw some fancy chickens and got a lovely shot of the punk-haired rooster. Then I came home to find chickens in my neighbor's yard. She doesnt own chickens. Heh.

I leave for Upstate New York on Thursday. Hopefully I'll have as much luck up there.
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My Canon 100-400 L IS came in yesterday. I did a few test shots, but the cold chased me back inside. I'll be taking it out for a few hours later today. I will say this for the lens- it is heavy!

I'm going to have to get a new camera bag. My current bag is the backpack style and I generally just put my equipment away in it. I'm thinking some sort of bag on on my side, which I could easily slip the lens in and out of would work well. I'm got one sort of like that, but the lens, when attached to the camera, doesn't fit.

Now that I've got the big lens out of the way, I've still got to research the other gear I need. I'm in need of a good macro lens, which should be a heck of a lot less expensive than this last one.

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I was out with my camera before sunrise until after sunset on Monday. It was a gorgeous day. I saw bald eagles on 17 different occassions, though I can only be certain that 8 of them were individuals and not re-sightings. I also saw a golden eagle- something not commonly seen on my area. Thousands of snow geese and an assortment of other birds. By the end of the day I was desperate for some major lens growth.

So, I've decided to put myself in debt by getting the new lens. Its an investment...it shouldnt kill me.

I've narrowed it down to:

Canon 100-400 L IS
Sigma 80-400 OS
Sigma 50-500 (Bigma)

I've changed my mind half a dozen times since yesterday. I did get a chance to check out the Bigma at my local camera shop and I liked it, but I really don't like the idea of not being able to take handheld shots. Which led me back to the other two. Both have really good reviews, but the Canon is considerably more expensive.

I really need to sell some more prints soon. And maybe a kidney.
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