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Went to my camera group tonight in Debary at the Gateway and we keep gaining members and knowledge, benefiting from those who are more experienced and will share their smarts. Also they give links for different support of the photography craft and for storage.
We talked about monthly photography competitions and using simple guidelines for knowing what to do about things like taking photos of “correct” horizons, sunsets and basic rules of dividing photos into thirds for good composition.  I can listen, but then “Abbe-brain” kicks in and it is all about making pictures that satisfy my own taste. Larry, a member, said he is finding it hard to stop when working on a photo, there are so many options it’s over stimulating. All I can say, Larry is right, how do you know when to stop? And I only know limited photo manipulation – I don’t even work with layers.  So let me take one wilting red passion flower photo that I took this afternoon and show you what I have done:

there are many more.

And then ‘one’ moves on to next subject:    

and soon life has drifted to the exosphere and time melts into the essence of  ossuary color and sits mesmerized and blank as the fingers jab the tool buttons, then quick fix, then un-do and re-do, black and white, polar, this filter, then another and another – then you wonder, what the hell is all this waste for? Would someone buy any of these?  Is  any one of the pictures a winner? And what is the definition of a winner? And how do you pick it?  Then the next dilemma, the thoughts about setting up a website and testing oneself to see if any of my “manipulations” could make me some extra cash, say enough to pay for some paper to print them on and some Symphony candy bars or even cat food — or is it all worth the time to even play with photos? That’s the stage you look at the clock and realize you were in the “Dada” zone and apterous for 3 hours and the house could have burned down around you and you would have never noticed until the cat with mule looking ears cleaning herself in the desk drawer next to you went up in flames but never burned as Emily Dickinson’s ghost keeps repeating, “much madness is divinest sense”  while John Lennon sings about “the holes being rather small, they had to count them all and now they know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall”,
and the computer was melting as you try to save the hard drive and keep all your photos in the ‘save-as’ file and then the computer freezes and you have not saved a thing and it is all in vain so you get up and look in the bathroom mirror and realize you are five years older than when you began, and and and, oh never mind, I think you get it, I actually think I get it,  I am over thinking again,  time to log off and try reading for a while. Guess I will join Ringo who is sound asleep on top of the electric blanket, he has not moved in 4 hours, I think the electricity has numbed him as he dreams of ungulates and daggers for nails and the taste of freshly caught bream, the young, tender ones.  That blanket is the catalyst for my best dreams,  it is a poetry book waiting to happen, “Tales From Beneath the Electric Blanket”.  Ringo has his own version,    
I am taking photos of him to use in the book, whenever I care to publish it, but that is another project,  one more thing to fixate on, to pause and think about doing… Jeeze, it’s Hell being an artist, or it’s just Hell being crazy…(but it’s fun)

This morning we had quite a fog. The night before we had a clear look at the meteor shower and I saw a good amount of gorgeous mini looking comets, it was beautiful to watch. Stayed up till 3am, then woke up and the fog swallowed the lake.  The herons, both male and female were clanking their beaks together.
They seemed real lovey-dovey.   I found it to be a good time to try my hand at some macro photography. I tried with 4 different lenses and had a hard time, but looking through my lens at spider webs was just over-whelming, the webs looked like crystal beads.  Here’s some pics.
There were webs everywhere, and I had 4 different magnifications, so I was all over using different settings. I need a mentor standing beside me. 

The plants and a few bugs were on the plants. I tried to get them, but have no tripod to keep me steady, it is tedious trying to stay still and focus on the details.

The cranes were in full mating mode – they have totally ditched the baby and now only have each other and are enjoying each other. 
They were goofy and looking for trouble. They tried Ringo,   and even Frankie.   I tried to get close to the males silly face.   
It was a good morning and took all day till the sun came shining through.   I did a few abb-strax.  And came out to see the heron take off.

And that was it for the morning, then I left to run errands, get some shopping done and come back in time to fish with the heron and Ringo. It turned out to be in the 80’s and we had sunshine.  Fishing was not great, but that’s okay with me.
Hope your day went well, you can see, there’s hardly a dull animal moment around here…

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Today it is gray and this morning the heron appeared down by the lake, so I thought I would toss out the old line early to see if I could catch it some breakfast. Well, as soon as I walked down near the lake that heron flew off and my regular heron flew up. The other heron was the biggest one, he remained on the shore in the yard to my right, and suddenly another heron came and landed in the neighbors on the left. The heron in my yard promptly chased that one off. I didn’t catch anything, but I laughed at the game of musical herons, one would land, one would chase it off. I see there is a three heron hierarchy within this group. I thought my heron was the smallest, but the one it chased off was smaller. At least i got some nice pics, they will be on http://printzandart.blogspot.com later today, after I go get some lunch, all that chasing made me hungry…

dsc03807dsc03833dsc03818filler-stained-glass Yesterday went to Flea World to see the “big cats”. It turned out to be one huge bengal tiger named Woosy weighing almost 500 lbs. and when they brought him out of his cage and you looked at the size of him versus the handlers, there would have been no way they could have controlled that beast had he wanted to head for the wilds! Only a short fence separated us from him and it would been an easy leap into the stands for some native meat! But once freed from his cage, they lured him to a table and fed him meat chuncks while they talked about the animal rescue, Central Florida Animal Reserve a  non-profit org. in Cocoa Beach.  They have many big cats there and are trying to get the word out about conservation and the environmental impact on animals around the globe.  The man who spoke really knew the many aspects of big cats and the world conditions of wild animals and poaching. The big cat ate, then was lured back to his pen with more raw meat. I made sure I sat behind others so the cat would have a choice before getting to me if he decided to make that break.
Afterwards I wanderd through the mostly desolate place, so many vendors gone, booths empty. I wandered down one remote aisle and found a wealth of info in Book Conservator, Douglas Filler. He had a booth that stood out from the phony purses, gawdy jewelry, and old candy among the many arteries along the way. Dougs booth had a feel of true class and appreciation for antique books and their leather work and history.  He had a nice tiffany looking lamp and an antique desk with bookselves lined with interesting titles.  Doug restores old books,  has a fetish for old Bibles which he does amazing restoration on.  He also sells rare and old books, makes stained glass, makes beautiful glass detailed book cases, collects art noveau and Dali illustrations and loves to speak about folklore and obscure history. He was so enthusiastic about his craft and hobbies, has been restoring books for 15 years from his home in Geneva Fl.  It was so nice speaking to him because I love antiquarian poetry books. I only wish I had a bigger knowledge of folklore and history that he is so easily able to speak about.  It was a wonderful find and I hope he gets business from being so far away from the heart of the flea market throngs, though the throngs were very few on Friday. Anyway, his site is
http://www.curiouslore.com or email him directly at  douglas@curiouslore.com

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Here’s the rest of story, my chrysalis as you can see from last night was looking really cool. I could see inside of it and that was amazing.
This morning at 8:30am I came out to find it had just emerged from the shell and was trying to right itself and I could not resist having a butterfly on my wrist. The wings as you can see started a bit rumply, but they relaxed as you can see in comparison with the  poor crippled butterfly from yesterday who still has sad, wrinkled wings. I can only hope the poor thing can still remain viable. It is on my milkweed plant so I can watch it’s progress or decline for as long as it remains.
As for ‘my’ butterfly, it is still in the bushes waiting as the sun dries off it’s wings. It looks very healthy and seems to be waiting for it’s moment to glide with the wind.  It will probably be gone soon, just the way it’s supposed too, I raise them right you know…ha ha

P/S  – the healthy butterfly is flying all over the garden in complete joy – the other is gone, don’t see it anywhere, let’s hope for the best…
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My beautiful heron has been coming to fish with me for 2 years. I think it is a female after wondering if it was one of the offspring. It could be the wife of the large male. I say that because tonight while fishing, it wisked down about twenty feet from me and watched as I fished. Her head turning toward me as soon as the line held a splashing noise. The heron is highly alert to the sound of a fish in peril. But so is Ringo, he loves raw fish if he can get to them first, plus he will watch for an opportunity to stalk that heron even though the heron is so much taller. The heron either stands in the shallow water or waits in a tree branch overseeing the fishing operation, he is very aware of Ringo. If I catch a fish, I usually have Ringo who will try and get it and the heron who will swoop down to have it – it’s a competitive race and juggling act.
If Ringo sees the heron on dry land, he will not hesitate to chase it away. He won’t do that to the cranes because they stand their ground and won’t hesitate to come right after a cat! The sandhills are dominant. Even the heron knows that!
Tonight as Ringo, the heron and I fished, I caught a small bream and the bigger heron who must have been observing, flew the smaller heron off to try and take the catch. So it’s back to the heron wars and I love it.
The fishing is fun, I can’t explain what it feels like to get a tug on the line, but there is an excitement that sparks a reaction from that tug.  I either throw the fish back, or feed one or two to the herons, I figure it culls the overpopulation of bream.
It is exciting watching all these species interact. There is always something going on down by the lake, that’s why I try and fish almost every night. I find I am taking a huge camera bag down by the lake with my old Kodak and new Sony. The new camera does make a difference, but I am afraid I am going to treat it roughly like my cheaper camera as I love having it ready, lens cap off and sitting in the bag as I fish, which is not professional, but I am only an amateur so I guess that rationalizes that. Oh well, I bought the four year full replacement policy, what’s the worse that can happen, it breaks and they have to replace it?
The last photo is Ringo looking all innocent and sound asleep last night. It has gotten cold here at night,
(low 60’s and for us Floridians, it equates to freezing), Ringo comes in now either after we fish around dark,
(that’s about 6pm these days) or he’ll show up around 10pm to do some serious cutting of ZZZZ’s. Right now, he is passed out on the electric blanket, (yes Northerners, this whimpy Floridian sleeps under electric blanket even with the house temp at 72degrees. Once a Floridian, you always need to feel the heat of the sun even if it is fake and you are sleeping.)
Well, it’s 3:05am, time to go ‘electrifry’ and feel those alpha wave jolts for a few hours. In this economy, dreaming is the only luxury they can’t take away…

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