Monthly Archives: October 2010


Not just rising from the grave but glowing with backwards hands!


A ghost emerges from a pumpkin . . . what a novel, inflatable idea!

Halloween, y’all!

Funny Beesness

Pretty purple flowers attract more than just me.

The way last Friday’s high school district cross-country meet was set up, it was easiest to take photos at the start and the finish. But that meant there was a boatload of time in between waiting for runners.

At first I was bored at this local park. But then I spied these pretty purple flowers nearby, and I went over to investigate.

Making a beeline towards a flower

I was glad I did! When I zoomed in with my Nikon 70-200mm lens, I could see a bee frolicking among the flowers.

The bee almost cuddles with the flower.

Thankfully, because of the zoom, I could get up close and personal with the insect without fearing a meeting with his stinger. Which I did fear a lot.

Just hanging around

The bee really put on a show for me and made the time fly by.

An unflattering angle

No butts about it!

Celebrate Good Times!

Jordan goes for a ride.

Newsflash: Our high school football team won a game last Saturday night.  And not just any game . . . it was our first victory after 19 straight losses that spread over parts of three long years of futility.

Good thing we have a great band and dance team to entertain us at halftime!

Matt starts to wrap up the ballcarrier.

Winning is so much fun, especially after such a long drought. It’s even that much sweeter when you conquer a big rival, as we did.

Quarterback Taylor runs for the winning touchdown.

What I most enjoyed about the game was the passion our players displayed. They were NOT about to go through yet another winless season. They played hard, coming back despite a couple turnovers that threatened to crush their spirits.

Logan and Taylor celebrate Taylor’s touchdown.

And when things went our team’s way?

Besong and Brelynn bump and jump after Brelynn scores.

Our guys celebrated as if they were on Dancing With the Stars. And they were the stars!

Jeremy and Blake do a happy dance after Blake forces a safety.

Putting 36 points on the scoreboard mixed in with some great defensive plays that included two safeties meant there was a lot of bumping and jumping going on.

Logan and Zak air dance.

Apparently that’s how football players show they’re happy.

Anthony and Tyler whoop it up after Tyler’s game-saving interception.

As you can see, there were lots of great moments for me to capture photographically in our penultimate football game. But the best shot of all?

The scoreboard tells the story.

Was the one of the scoreboard that finally had us with more points than them.

No Itsy-Bitsy Spider

A huge spider hangs on its web on a tree branch.

The circle of life smacked me in the face last Saturday morning.

I was soaking my aching legs in our cold spa after a short run and looked at a tree branch hanging over the corner of our backyard. A single leaf fluttered in the air without falling to the ground, and there was a big, dark blob near it. After getting out and drying off my legs, I got closer to the blob and could see it was a huge spider.

Can you say “photo op?” I certainly did! I ran inside the house and grabbed my camera equipment.

The web traps a victim.

I quickly snapped the top photo. As I was trying to figure out how to get a better shot lightingwise, I saw a dragonfly hovering nearby. When it stopped moving, I realized that the poor thing was caught in what was a huge, nearly invisible web. Suddenly I found myself in the middle of a National Geographic documentary.

The spider paralyzes the poor dragonfly.

Before I could react, the battle between life and death was over. The spider quickly moved to the dragonfly to inject it and paralyze it. Gruesome yet fascinating.

Admiring its helpless prey

At first I thought I should try to save the dragonfly by knocking down the web. But I must admit that the possibility I might inadvertently cause the spider to fall on me totally cut that idea short. Gross!

Guarding its snack

Later that day when I checked on the spider and the dragonfly, I saw that the arachnid had used the web to tightly wrap up its meal. Spidey was hanging on a thread and occasionally seemed to snack on the remains.

And that fluttering leaf that had caught my eye, alerting me to the presence of a spider web? Ironically, it also was wrapped up with the d-fly.

“RED”: It’s More Than a Color

RED but not dead yet

The Mister, our younger son, and I have wanted to see the movie “RED” since we watched its trailer months ago. Yesterday we finally got our chance at the $5 show, and we were thoroughly entertained. It’s one of those flicks that definitely looks better on the big screen due to all the action.

John Malkovich, Morgan Freeman, and Bruce Willis are part of a great cast.

“RED” stands for “retired, extremely dangerous” and aptly describes a motley crew of former CIA agents splendidly played by acting all-stars Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren, and Bruce Willis. If you need a reason to see this movie, it should be to observe the four of them interacting. Definitely a hoot and a holler.

Helen Mirren has a thing for big guns.

Willis’ character (Frank Moses) enlists the help of the other three plus Brian Cox, who plays a former Russian enemy, to find out who has targeted him for elimination. Figuring that out involves the use of massive amounts of ammunition and explosives. Oh, and killing, of course. Lots and lots of killing.

Bruce Willis’ character shows Mary-Louise Parker’s a fun time.

This could be a total testosterone flick. However, within all the murder and mayhem revolves a love story that’s very touching. Moses hasn’t taken well to retirement and needs help finding the warmth inside him. Cue Mary-Louise Parker, another fine actress, whose involvement helps humanize the entire plot.

The movie is witty, warm, and well-written. My #2 son rated it a 9.456235 on our 10-point scale; I awarded it a more-sedate yet solid 7.5. It’s rated PG-13 for violence (oh, is it violent!) and language. There is a smattering of cursing but nothing over the top. Definitely not for young teens who are bothered by fictionalized death and destruction.

Nature Continues to Call

Perfectly reflected!

At the risk of turning this blog into Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, I’m going to share more photos of my egret pal. Mostly because I love the above photo that I snapped when the great white bird started to fly away from me yet again.

Yes, I am a slow learner.

Come back! I’m not trying to sell you insurance!!

Once I snapped the pix I shared yesterday of the egret soaring across the lake, I again drove to the other side to take more photos of him. But he wasn’t putting up with any of my nonsense, and he quickly skedaddled away.

Is that fall I spy reflected in the lake?

I really didn’t mind, though, because of what I saw reflected in the lake as he glided over it.

The egret looks for a nice spot to land in.

It was unmistakably autumn, the search for which had set about the events that caused me to blog all week about reflections and birds in the first place. How ironic!

The landing gear is down!

My feathered friend had given me so much in an hour of shooting: His beauty amid the changing fall colors.

The egret has landed.

Guess I’ll leave him alone and concentrate on other compelling subjects . . . for now.

No (R)egrets: Takeoff and Landing

The egret is perched in a tree . . . but not for long.

Remember that egret that enjoyed surveying the lake in that colorful tree? After taking those reflection photos, I drove around the water to get closer to the great white bird. Who, of course, promptly flew across again to a tree near where I had been standing. Figures. Just my luck.

So I drove back to that spot and was able to snap some good closeups of the egret thanks to my Nikon 1.7x teleconverter and Nikon 70-200mm lens. Which was nice and all, but what I really wanted was for the egret to fly across the lake so I could try to capture it and its reflection in the water. I kept edging closer and closer to the tree.

There it goes!

Finally, the egret had had enough and off it flew. And I pushed down the shutter button.

It was hard keeping the bird in focus and making sure to get its reflection, too.

And held it.

Land ho!

Enjoying the reflected fall colors in the lake while I let the Nikon D300’s burst mode do its job.

The landing gear is out and ready!

Until finally the egret was ready to stop on solid ground once again.

The egret is relieved to be far away from the birdarazzo.

Watching the majestic egret glide along the lake was magical and wonderful. It even had the natives talking.

The Third Time Is the Charm!

Reflections of fall . . . with a twist

And on the third day, I finally got my reflections of fall photo!

The timing, around 8 a.m. yesterday, was spot on, so much better than my attempts on Sunday and Monday.

Several colorful trees reflect on autumn.

Standing across the lake with the sun at my back, I reveled in the colorful, reflective fall scenery. How fortunate I felt being able to capture such beauty!

Then I took a good look at what was sitting on top of one of the trees. I added my Nikon 1.7x teleconverter to my Nikon 70-200mm lens so I could zoom in better.

An egret enjoys its colorful perch.

Bonus, baby!

Still Not Quite There


Brain to Susan. Brain to Susan: “Get it through your thick skull! The time of day does matter when it comes to capturing quality reflection photos. So try, try a third time!”

Perhaps I fear success. Maybe I’m just not very bright.

Yesterday I drove to the lake in our neighboring master-planned community to try to score a great fall reflection photo for the second straight day, and once again I failed because I was too late (around 10:30 a.m.). Woe is me!

A white egret contemplates the meaning of life . . . or bugs.

Then again, if I had been at the lake earlier, maybe I wouldn’t have snagged these wonderful photos.

The long beak is great for hunting insects.

Perhaps these birds would’ve still been asleep.

Pretty purple flowers stick out among the reeds.

Maybe the purple flowers would’ve looked muted instead of vibrant. And most important . . . .

Red dragonfly #1 eyes me warily.

Perhaps some of the red dragonflies I saw playing among the reeds might not have posed for me.

A much-friendlier red dragonfly #2 seems to smile at me.

Imagine how excited I was that I not only saw red dragonflies, but that a couple of them stopped to rest within the range of my Nikon D300 and Nikon 70-200mm lens. I got as close as I could and happily snapped away.

Until Thug D-fly decided to get up into my grille and buzz around me aggressively, clearly sending me a message (while scaring the bejeezus out of me!).

Now that I think about it, maybe it would’ve been better if I had been on time, and the dragonflies had stayed away!

Best-Laid Plans Go Belly-Up

The tree says “autumn,” but, alas, there’s no reflection.

While I was jogging during a nine-miler yesterday through the master-planned community next to mine, I could see autumn. Their cypress trees turn colors, and I spied one sensational scene I especially wanted to capture photographically: Those trees reflected in the nearby lake.

So did I grab my digital SLR when I finished my run and return to that spot? Surely you jest! No, the Mister and I went to see “Life As We Know It” (rentable; not as good as it could’ve been), and then there was the usual chaos of laundry, homework nagging, texting with my #1 son, and pro football games (including a thrilling Houston Texans win!). By the time I set out with my Nikon 70-200mm lens (the trees were across the lake), it was 5:30 p.m.

Low sun = no reflections = one sad me. Oh, the best-laid plans of mice and photographers!

Green reedies shoot up close to the lake.

But I still had my camera in hand, so I figured what the heck? Let’s shoot some nature!

Those reedies close up and personal.

And so I did. There wasn’t anything particularly compelling to capture, especially when there wasn’t great light.

A plump cattail stands among the reeds.

So I thought I’d look at the same scene two different ways (basically vertically and horizontally).

A fuzzier cattail close by

None of the pics were nearly as good as that reflection photo I imagined on my run. Guess I need to go back when the light is right and carry out my plan properly. Stay tuned!!