Weather, Wildfire and Herons

I’m not sure what is going on with our weather but I won’t complain about it. Today has been 75º F with a 16-20 mph wind; slight overcast. It is an unusually cool summer so far. July has sped past it seems like the 4th was just last week. It’s too windy and cool for many boaters, I’ve seen no fishermen all weekend. They are most likely out but have found fishing spots shielded from the breeze.

A Great Blue Heron was the only game in town today of which I took advantage to take some pictures of. I went out just before noon after he landed. I had some weird Sun Shine all day however, quite out of the ordinary. Ms. Lebec and I had a conversation about it this afternoon, she thinks there may be a connection between the weather and Earthquakes. I am skeptical but who knows there may just be one. I’ve read news articles connecting those dots but I’d like a bit more information. Until then I will be on the lookout.

The weather affects everything on the planet so it may stand to reason natural disasters may be as well. Hot temperatures, high winds, Wild fire and Tornados are all created by the weather. I’ve kind of noticed when the wind speed exceeds 15 mph the Critters will not be out. However it begins before Sunrise, the Birds will be active before dawn then disappear when the Sun rises and the wind begins. On those days when the wind has blown all night no one shows up on the slough. The Turkey Vultures are the most evident they may stay out until the wind speed increases.

They are hesitant to take to the air in the wind, not so much the smaller birds but the big birds with dining table size wings; I’ve seen them tumble in the air. They will perch for longer periods of time giving a substantial amount of time to set the camera and focus. It presents an opportunity to conduct experiments as well adjusting shutter, ISO and aperture opening. I often (as I did today) take photos with the plan to look at them, and on occasion if they are good I will edit them for practice. Most of them will be deleted mostly due to the settings I’m using not working. Most of the experimental pictures are out of focus or blurred due to a slow shutter speed in relation to the F stop.

Then there are the belly shots, side glances where the head is too far forward and those with awkward wing positions. Other wise known as poor composition, which is tough to put together while the bird is in flight. There is a lot to balance in the image in order to avoid severe cropping during editing. Cropping can easily become the kiss of death for a picture. It could be the best photo we have but if it’s taken at too far of a distance requiring it to be trimmed, that picture is in trouble.

There is while editing Color, Focus and detail. It seems a bit strange I suppose to state the end goal of editing is to make just enough adjustments to present the photo in its’ natural state. It’s a bit harder than it sounds those natural colors are elusive, it takes many edits to bring all of the tweaks together to make it look natural.

Part of the composition is the background the nemesis of photographers. It is challenging when living on a River Bottom with no natural banks on each side. The issue is as long as the animal is close to the water normally the Tules, Weeds and Trees will be a suitable backdrop; however it requires cropping. When above the Levee top my sky is full of blue, yeh, I call it the old cliche’ we are under the big blue bowl. That is the reason Photoshop has the ability to change the sky for a new one. I don’t use them, my reasoning is if I exchange it that makes it no longer art, it is an altered snapshot.

The photo above is an example of being very close to being over altered. But in my book it is OK and I can display it as an original photo. While editing the backdrop was too bright and clashed with the Heron. I darkened the fog in the background to add a dynamic contrast between the lightly edited bird and the slightly more edited backdrop. There are as many opinions of this as there are photographers and viewers. Mrs. Lebec tells me I cheat when I do it, my opinion is if I lay it on the table and cop to the editing it’s OK because my intent is not to deceive but to be asked “how did you do that? I only post altered photos in the blog, on Facebook or in one of the photographic sites I belong to; it’s not fooling anyone because most photographers are able to tell when a picture has been over edited.

The Wildfires; The Oak fire (Yosemite) is 59% contained, the prediction is that by the end of the week it should be contained. If I was a Fire Chief I’m not sure if I would predict that, but he’s a pro and is more capable of knowing the personality of one of these monster fires then I am.

Many smaller fires start up continually with most being contained within a day or two. However we have a major fire that started on the Oregon Border, far North of us. The McKinney fire is raging out of control since starting Saturday night it is on track to take the place of the Yosemite fire (Oak fire) as the largest fire so far this year. Time will tell what happens with the McKinney fire.

Jacques Lebec Natural Self Reliance

3 responses to “Weather, Wildfire and Herons”

  1. Whether it is unprecedented wildfires due to unprecedented heat waves, ‘stalling’ hurricanes, Europe’s wettest/hottest year on record, off-the-chart poor-air advisories, an exodus of sea life due to warming waters, the mass deforestation and incineration of the Amazonian rainforest, record-breaking floods, single-use plastics clogging life-bearing waters, a stalling ‘heat dome’ in B.C. and midsummer’s snowfall two years prior, the gradually dying endangered whale species or geologically invasive/destructive fracking or a myriad of other categories of large-scale toxic pollutant emissions and dumps — to date there clearly has been inexcusably insufficient political courage and will to properly act upon the cause-and-effect of manmade global warming thus climate change.

    Without doubt, mass addiction to fossil fuel products helps keep the average consumer quiet about the planet’s greatest polluter, lest they feel like and/or be publicly deemed hypocritical. It must be convenient for the industry.

    Plus, the industry and corporate-orientated governments can tell when a very large portion of the populace is too tired and worried about feeding/housing themselves or their family, and the virus-variant devastation still being left in COVID-19’s wake — all while on insufficient income — to criticize them for whatever environmental damage their policies cause/allow, particularly when not immediately observable.


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