Sunday, April 24, 2016

Saturday on the river and Sunday inside

 As I write this it is raining like crazy outside.  We haven't had a lot of rain lately and with all the dry grass and the windy days, the fire danger has been way up.  So it is really a good thing - and it gives one an excuse to rest inside.

It is a different Sunday from last week when the MA was frantically filing returns and mostly extensions, and was gone for 10 hours I think.  He is now doing Fred things that involve trucks and crowbars and wagons and possibly a chain saw.....  In other words, he is in his own personal heaven.  I have a little project to do myself that I have been putting off (um, blogging to procrastinate??) and probably should be reading my book for bookclub, but that will be later.

Yesterday I had lots of little plans, some of them were changed but the essence stays the same.  I went to a baby shower in the morning, after fiddling around outside for a while and then made an early exit to get in a kayak before the clouds (and rain) came in.
I miss my kayak buddy!  This is our dock and text and selfie spot (I do selfies- not him)  

I put on my wet suit thing and my splash jacket with a t-shirt underneath, because it was in the 60's.  Nice and warm for this time of the year.... the water is still REALLY cold though- hence said wet suit.  Anyway, now that I have this amazing lens and camera body (seriously - forgive me you guys for repeating myself.  I can't believe how much better this camera is than my other one.  My photos are still composed the same, but the increased ability for this equipment to pick up details and the exposure is just so different.....  I am constantly blown away by the whole thing.)  I take it everywhere.  And it is a "thing" to keep it covered and protected and tucked away under my knees, and it is another "thing" to change the lenses and keep them safe while trying to hurry to not miss a shot- ahem- you will understand this in a moment.  I am so torn between doing the kayaking thing to get activity (which I LOVE) and the whole wildlife photography thing. So I am trying to dovetail them with pretty good results.  I am going to do some pure photo shoot kayaks soon, though.  Where I sit and wait- which may outright kill me dead- but I can do it.

THIS is my place- the water in Wisconsin

So I had the MA and the Barber (the Barber was important, as he is the one with the cell phone)  take me down to the boat landing as they had something to do with the truck, and I took off.  I had to show them kayaking tricks first (lol- they are so goofy) which involved turning and paddling backwards and me generally showing off- the MA asked me to, so...   I think that someone is trying to brace himself for a paddle in his future.  Fred is not a big fan of water- when you come right down to it- but he is willing to go kayaking.  It will not be windy that day... long story.

Buffleheads- I didn't consider this the best picture, but it ended up being kind of interesting

I had started out my trip thinking that this was going to be mostly an exercise/fun trip down the river but within about 100 yards there was the first group of ducks - which I just looked up and it is something called a Bufflehead- huh.  Who knew. Followed quickly by Mallards and others that I couldn't see well enough to identify.  Then I saw a swan floating up river a bit.  So- ok- not just an exercise trip.  I kept feeling rushed as I wanted to get to the Lower Dam before it totally clouded up and try to get a good picture of the barn that belongs to Fred's aunt- used to be his Grandparents farm. The pic I got was fine, but I know that mornings are better, so I will be doing that trip again.  

The Farm

It was a fun paddle up that river- I stopped and changed lenses a badillion times.  Each time I switched to my landscape lens, I would see another animal....  I am SO grateful I thought to bring a little chocolate with me for a snack- I didn't have any other portable foods that wouldn't make a mess in my dry bag- and of course water.  It was tough paddling in some places, the river was going faster than it usually is and then on the way back there was the wind. All this is stuff I love, so don't feel bad for me.  :)  Anyway, I shed my splash jacket in favor of a t-shirt eventually and it was a comfy 2.5 hours.
One of my favorite shots so far this year.  Tundra Swan.

I caught up with the swan a couple times that trip, trying to get a little bit close to it, but not pushing it's personal space too much.  Obviously since I have lots of flight photos, I spooked it a bit.  Sorry swan.  But wow some great shots.  I have learned from a photog friend how to set my camera up for bird action shots, which I am really starting to understand.  Some of my  pix were a little out of focus yet, but that I imagine is the relative newness of my Canon 100-400 lens.  He's heavy and also the kayak seemed to always turn in the direction counter to the flight of the birds.  But cool to know I am getting the hang of panning the camera and all.  I do need to set up my camera body for multiple shots instead of single....  I am a slow learner I guess.  

Lift off!
So the annoying part of this trip was I had once again- in anticipation of said barn- switched to my landscape lens, which was a trick to stay heading in the right direction and not end up on a rock or whatever.  So I am almost there and I spot on a rock the biggest Snapping Turtle I have EVER seen or imagined.  Holy crap.  It's shell looked too small for its body- I can't even describe how massive this thing is.  Bigger than the one I saw last year way up by the other dam.  I guess it is possible that it is the same one, but jeez.  It seemed bigger.  So yeah- frantic switching of lenses almost commenced and then I decided to shoot the pic with the lens that was attached and as I floated even with him he bailed.  ARGH.  Oh well.  I will say that later, while practically zooming downstream (there was a current- lol) I saw this kind big thing poke its head out of the water- of course the turtle in question- he was checking me out.  LOL- keep your dogs and small children away from the water people.  A dinosaur lives in the Flambeau.

However these adorable little painted turtles gladly posed.  

Anyway, 6 miles is a long way for your second kayak of the season.  LOOOONG.  The last mile was tough going, but I just set my mind to it and dug down and went.  Didn't see quite as many things coming back, which was fine.  I was no longer in the photo taking mood.  I just wanted to get back so I could 1.) get to my bathroom 2.) take that wet suit off and 3.) quit paddling.  My shoulders were tired and my hands were getting sore.  Thank you to weight lifting for my endurance- and I know where I have to add to my routine- traps and the top of my shoulder.  Dumbbell shrugs are in my future.  I texted the Barber, who was with the MA, that they needed to drop what they were doing and get me.  They were waiting and I was grateful to let them load the 'yak and I babbled on about turtles and swans.

I was later treated to a trip to the Mad-Middle Son's house and I got to see Greg and Sarah and the babies and the doggies....  SO nice.  Then Mikey came over and ended up having steak for supper with his dad.  I of course did not have steak...  But the grill has gotten a good work out the last 24 hours.

Peaceful - it makes me sad, though.  I thought swans mated for life.  Poor thing.  Hope it finds one when it gets to the tundra

It was a long tiring day, but in a totally good way.  And last night I fell asleep to the spring peepers calling and the rain falling and I passed out until almost 7 this morning.  THAT is sleeping in for the Mad-Artteacher.  Haha, I am pathetic.  But always joyful!  Hope you are having a lovely relaxing Sunday all of you lovely peeps! 


  1. Some really nice photos here! Love the ones of the turtles and the flying swans!