The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

October 2, 2013

Was Late to Camp This Year

By Doug Domedion
Medina Journal-Register

LOCKPORT —

This time of the year gets very busy for me with hunting seasons opening, getting the winter supply of firewood for home, preparing camp for hunting season and winter and trying to enjoy everything about fall.

The clover plots were mowed one last time to remove the weed seed heads after giving them a final shot of fertilizer for the fall. Tree stands were checked for safety and deer activity and of course hunting clothing was hung out in the woods to air out for bow season. The grass is still growing, although not as fast as this summer, so there is still some mowing to do.

Shortly the fall foliage will be putting on a show for us and I can not resist chasing colors across the countryside so that will take up some of my time that I could be spending on bow hunting. At least the hummingbirds have left so that temptation is gone and some time is saved by not having to wash and refill all the feeders to keep our little friends happy and healthy.

Last year a friend took me up the Oak Orchard River from Point Breeze during the peak of the fall foliage and it was breathless. The sky was deep blue and the colors were just unbelievable. The hope is that this year I can again make that trip but in my kayak instead of a big boat. Another “want to do” with not enough time to always do it.

Some fall I'm going to make it up to the Adirondacks and the St. Lawrence River area for the fall colors too. I have spent time in both these areas and know that they have their own unique fall colors there. I also enjoy riding the motorcycle in the fall during peak color but this addiction to nature photography makes it difficult!

It seems like there is more and more to do every year since I retired but I figured out what the problem is, I'm getting a little older and can't do as much in a day as I use to. I also suspect the government has some how shortened the days up on us; it seems like they have everything else messed up so why not that too!

Usually not much bird photographing is done this time of the year but last week a situation was happened upon that could not be resisted. One of the local marshes was partly drained this summer to rejuvenate it. This of course draws in many birds that are attracted by the new exposed food supply. Eagles, ospreys, heron and egrets come for the fish and the small shore birds for aquatic insects.

It started with a few immature Bald Eagles perching in some trees near the road. Some good shots were gotten but of course I had to go back to see if improvement could be made on what was gotten in the morning. Well some great blue herons and egrets modeled for me beautifully and then a few eagles showed up. The blue sky reflecting in the water really set off the egrets and herons that were foraging around me. I even had a pair of herons face off and go through their aggressive postures giving some great action shots, especially when the red reflecting on the water from the sunset began to show up

Then the color began to really develop as the sun got near the horizon and it turned out to be one of those “WOW” sunsets. They usually only last a few minutes at the most but this one held on getting better all the time. The birds looked great against the reflecting sunset colors on the water and it also made for some nice scenic sunset shots so I kept jumping back and forth between the two types of shots. One cooperative heron seemed comfortable with me being near me and stayed all through the sunset until it was too dark to shoot which gave me a great variety of light shots of him.

The plan had been to have things packed up to head to camp the next morning but that didn't happen. I got up early and got most of the things ready but had to “sneak” back to that spot when the light got good. Nothing much happened until I was about to leave and an immature eagle showed up on the shore not too far away. He hung around looking for tidbits along the water edge but he suddenly started looking up into the sky. Another immature eagle came in and right away you could tell there was going to be trouble. Everything was ready on my end when the the fight broke out about whose area this was. If I had been shooting my old 35mm the film would not have lasted long but with digital this was not a worry. One bird eventually gave up and was chased away by the winner. A quick review of the pictures showed things had gone well on my end. It was very exciting to witness this conflict at close range and also be able to record it with the camera to show others.

So it turned out to be a couple good days of photographing nature and I didn't regret not getting to camp until that evening even though it put me behind on my schedule.

One thing I have learned about Nature and photographing is when a good situation shows up you better drop everything to catch it with the camera as it may never present itself like that again. I'm really glad I did this time!