“Do not ask that your kids live up to your expectations. Let your kids be who they are, and your expectations will be in breathless pursuit.” ~Robert Brault.
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This week’s WordPress photo challenge is: Fleeting. If you’ve ever tried to photograph pelicans in flight, you’ll know the true meaning of the word fleeting. (and eventually you’ll become familiar with the meaning of the word aggravating) They glide so smoothly on the wind, then dive-bomb vertically into the water milliseconds before the shutter snaps.
I wanted one good shot. I think I got two — only because I took LOTS of pictures and I’m very stubborn. They are, beautiful, mesmerizing birds. Hope you enjoy!
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Previous post: Venice Beach, CA — Kumbaya!!
My Dad was crazy about birds, but not the exotic kind like cockatoos or parrots.
He loved seagulls — those squawking opportunists who, by their sheer numbers, smother most beach communities and flutter around french fry stands. His favorites flocked to Wymbolwood Beach on Georgian Bay where we vacationed every summer for 16 years.
My Dad shot reams of film on his 8mm camera — lots of the family — and tons of the seagulls near the water. Flying. Fighting. Scavenging. Seagulls.
In their later years, my Mom and Dad began taking holidays farther from home to places like Hawaii, Paris, Rome, San Diego and Columbia.
On each trip, my Dad seemed strangely fixated on seagulls. I wondered, as we sat in the dark watching reel after reel of gulls flying around in foreign lands, where were the Paris cafes? The Roman architecture? What happened to the Hawaiian volcanoes and the emerald landscapes of Columbia?
All I can remember are silent movies of nothing but gulls and more gulls!!
Today, while reflecting on my own photo collection amassed from years of picture-taking, I realized, with astonishment, that I have inherited the bird gene from my father!!
I have hundreds of photos of ducks, seagulls, parrots and pelicans eating up megabytes of my digital space. Owls, bald eagles and swans, oh my!!
Like my Dad was in his time, I am obsessed with birds — seagulls included. With camera in hand, I feel an intense compulsion to shoot National Geo pictorials if a bird appears within 100 feet of me and my lens!
I’ve concluded there must be some sort of mutant DNA strand responsible for this bird fetish found in me and my father.
My eldest sister once commented that among the four siblings, I am the one who most closely resembles my Dad in personality and temperament.
We had no idea at the time that I also carried the bird gene — a most unlikely, but beloved, inheritance.
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Upcoming Posts: Sea Lions, Abstract Photos
Actor Gerard Butler had what he described as a near-death experience while learning to surf the massive waves in Half Moon Bay, California for his role in the upcoming October movie ‘Chasing Mavericks.’
Almost 700 kilometres south, I had what I describe as a life-affirming experience while photographing the surfers in the comparatively moderate waves in Huntington Beach, California for my role as vacationer this past summer.
Huntington Beach, a seaside city in Orange County, dominates the Southern California coastline with 8.5 miles of uninterrupted beaches. It is the site of the world surfing championships and is known as Surf City, USA, not for the height of the waves, but for the consistent quality of the surf.
Huntington Beach Pier has been severely damaged by storms, earthquakes and was even taken over for military use during war times during its 109-year history. It is now designed to withstand 31-foot waves or a 7.0 magnitude earthquake and uses increased space between concrete piles to accommodate surfers.
From a fabulous vantage point — the north side of Huntington Pier — I watched a group of four surfers paddle over the waves. My high powered telephoto lens brought me right into the water WITH them!!
As one caught a break, I followed him with my camera along the crest. Then another. And another. It was exhilarating and heart-stopping. I was almost out of breath on dry land trying to capture the action!!
How incredible it was to witness, up-close, the speed and spectacular twists, turns and wipeouts of these lean, wet-suit-wearing masters of the surf who I dubbed the ‘Hunks of Huntington’.
Even as an amateur, if you’re a surfer, you’re an exceptional athlete who meets the power of the ocean on every level — physically and mentally. It’s one of the most demanding sports requiring agility, explosive strength, core stability, endurance, plus sheer will and courage — even for the relatively small swells at Huntington.
These were among my first photos with my brand new 55 – 300mm telephoto lens.
I love my lens — and my subject matter.
“I took on a wave, went down the side, popped out the other end, and went, shit, I’m still alive!” — Greg Noll, the American pioneer of big wave surfing, (on surfing Waimea Bay for the first time)
It seems to me that near-death and life-affirming experiences might be flip sides of the same coin.
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Upcoming Posts: Feline Longevity Laws, Abstract Photos, San Francisco