Not a Bird in Sight ...

How about some non-bird photos and stories? I know I have been promising you an avian-free adventure, but I have been really excited about using the new camera and telephoto lens on birds.

But it is time for something different!

Bambi and mom Sony A77 II with 70-400mm G2 1/500 sec. f/5.6 ISO 800

Bambi and mom

Sony A77 II with 70-400mm G2 1/500 sec. f/5.6 ISO 800

Leaving Elm Lake at Brazos Bend State Park late one afternoon we thought there were COWS grazing along the park road, but it was a huge herd of deer. Seeing deer is not so unusual, but a dozen calmly grazing alongside the road was exciting. They were not too skittish, and the young one nuzzled his mom in the sweetest way.

All together now.... awww.

Grass is good... nom nom Sony A77 II with 70-400mm G2 1/500 sec. f/5.6 ISO 800

Grass is good... nom nom

Sony A77 II with 70-400mm G2 1/500 sec. f/5.6 ISO 800

Even the buck with fuzzy antlers was willing to pose. Look at that tongue action!

I just jumped out of the truck as soon as it stopped and shot these with the settings I had. I did think later to up the ISO since it was getting dark, but they had moved further away by then. Funny, the first few shots (for me) are usually the best.

Wild swamp flowers Sony A77 II with 70-400mm G2 1/640 sec. f/9.0 ISO 1600

Wild swamp flowers

Sony A77 II with 70-400mm G2 1/640 sec. f/9.0 ISO 1600

These are some kind of blooming plants along side the trail to the Observation Tower at Brazos Bend. They will have creamy white flowers, Texas Hibiscus comes to mind but I an sure that is wrong. Whatever it is, they have great structure on the buds. I have photographed them several times (this is filtered and processed with Fractalius and Photoshop Oil Paint), but I am still not satisfied with the look.

I will keep trying. 

I didn't talk to the fence post; only took its photo! Sony A700 with 70-400mm G 1/3200 sec. f/5.6 ISO 400

I didn't talk to the fence post; only took its photo!

Sony A700 with 70-400mm G 1/3200 sec. f/5.6 ISO 400

One morning early we were headed to Brazos Bend State Park and had to wait for an accident to be cleared. It is just a two-lane road with lots of curves and almost right-angled turns through farm land. Old roads like that followed property lines and were not much of a problem for slow moving traffic in the past. Now, it is a different story. There had been a terrible fatality a few days back but this accident was a one-car wreck off in the ditch. Still, there were ambulances, law enforcement and wreckers.

While we waited, I took photos of the fence by the roadside. This was taken with the now defunct A700.

Spicebush Swallowtail - colorsplash technique shows off his colors Sony A850 with 70-400mm G 1/400 sec. f/6.3 ISO 1600

Spicebush Swallowtail - colorsplash technique shows off his colors

Sony A850 with 70-400mm G 1/400 sec. f/6.3 ISO 1600

I think I explained how you do a colorsplash once before, but basically you change the photo to black and white and then use the Photoshop History brush to remove the processing from the area where you want color to appear. Instagram has a lot of these; some stunning street photos with just one object in color. It is fun, but a little goes a long ways, IMO.

The above butterfly was taken with a borrowed Sony A850 after the A700 died and I was waiting for my new Sony A77 II. It is a full frame camera, not a crop and was way too much fun to use. Full frame cameras are wonderful! They make giant images and you can crop huge amounts and .. and...

There is such a thing in the digital camera world as Gear Acquisition Syndrome.

This is not limited to photography, but can affect any number of hobbies. It can be fatal to your bank account.

Desolation  Sony A77 II with 70-400mm G2 1/1000 sec. f/6.3 ISO 200

Desolation 

Sony A77 II with 70-400mm G2 1/1000 sec. f/6.3 ISO 200

In the old part of Freeport on the north side of the Turning Basin are some abandoned buildings tucked along side service businesses. This was once a marine paint store and is slowly deteriorating from neglect. Stucco doesn't last long on the coast. I have photographed it several times, thinking each visit might be the last. 

It was changed to b&w on my computer (NIK Silver Effects Pro) and now makes me think of The Last Picture Show. Do you remember that one? It was one of the last movies shot in b&w I think.

Wonder if Netflix has that? Probably not for streaming. Ever notice that? I dropped my DVD service but still a lot of cool movies aren't on the streaming list. I have Amazon Prime Streaming, plus free Over the Air Rabbit-ear TV. No cable at all and I don't miss it one bit. All I did was yell at CNN and there are ton of things to watch besides cable.

I finished Orange is the New Black weeks ago, and had a season's pass to Orphan Black. Right now I just finished Season 2 of True Blood. Who knew vampires were so much fun?

Blooms in escape mode - Fractalius and Photoshop Oil Paint Sony A77 II with 16-50mm 1/160 sec. f/.6 ISO 400

Blooms in escape mode - Fractalius and Photoshop Oil Paint

Sony A77 II with 16-50mm 1/160 sec. f/.6 ISO 400

I have been promising you some shots with the new 16-50 mm wide angle lens. The above was taken in Rosenberg a few weeks ago. It is a close-up of a picket fence in the downtown area. I took lots of photos at the train museum and of the old buildings, but... I don't see in wide angle yet. I am not used to getting close to the subject (except for macro shots) and I don't know where to focus. The telephoto suits me; all my life I have been focused on details. I need more practice.

I think it is time to look at the big picture...

So, what is going on with you? How are you handling the awful summer heat? Did you miss the birds? Let me know in the comments.