Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Shakin in the Shell!

Shell Knob, Missouri that is! We stopped to visit our very good friends, Mike and Mel for a few days on our cross-country drive from our summer home in Colorado to sunny Florida. Over the weekend we went to a real down-home country festival in "downtown" Shell Knob.

Great music! Check out the special seats for the audience.

There was even a car show. This was one of my favorites - lots of potential.

Young and old alike had a great day. There were stands with crafts, lots of food and beer, an "Ugly Dog Contest" and an extremely messy pie eating contest for the kids.

Back at Mike and Mel's, I spend my days on their beautiful porch overlooking their own nature preserve bordering on Table Rock Lake. The hummingbirds were thick at the many feeders.

Most of the hummingbirds were Ruby-throated. This one looks different with tuffs of white - but maybe it is a juvenile that hasn't lost all his baby fuzz yet.

We watched a huge variety of birds, including this White-breasted Nuthatch. The weather was perfect and we had a wonderful visit. Neighbor Tom took me fishing one afternoon and I caught a Kentucky Bass. Tom is an accomplished fisherman and caught a dozen fish to my one. I'll do better next time.

Back at our winter home in Ocala, one of our first jobs was to put out the feeders. After seeing this beautiful Cardinal, we went out and bought a humongous feeder with seating for a dozen birds and a 20 pound bag of that expensive bird seed that is supposed to attract colorful songbirds. We haven't seen a bird since. This shot was taken from the Florida room - through the screens - so it's a little fuzzy.

We went for an early morning walk in the park where this Great Blue Heron posed in the pines.

I have no idea what these beautiful berries are - but the birds liked them.

I'm still learning how to use my new camera - especially the manual focus. Many times, when a bird is sitting in a tree, the auto-focus will focus on a branch or leaf closer to me than the bird I want to photograph - so I'm hoping I can learn to get clearer images. This is a Mockingbird - the State Bird of Florida.

Here's a great example of a picture I would never have gotten with auto-focus. This cute little Tufted Titmouse was hiding in the leaves.

Another picture I tried in vain to get in the past - a spider in his web. I won't tell you how many pictures I missed - or how many I took to get a couple of good ones - but I'm learning.

Last week, we bought Bill a new gas stove with five top burners and a convection oven and a new propane grill with a searing unit. The food is always good at the Cruff house (Bill is the cook NOT me!) but this should make it even more fun. Yesterday, we started an exercise class to work off those extra pounds from all his new delicious recipes. I am one lucky lady! There is so much to do here at OTOW - Bill is out at the RC Flying Field and we are looking into continuing our line dancing classes. I will probably join the birding and camera clubs, take some classes at the "Master the Possibilities Center," and Bill is joining the wood shop.

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

Gail, look on your menu and choose a different focusing option for the birds. I use a center weighted focus so that if I place my little x in the middle on whatever object I am taking, it will focus on it. Also, I don't let it continuously change focus which is another option you can change. I didn't like what the camera was doing automatically at all when I first got it -- remember all the problems I had the first couple of weeks. Your pictures look really good so you are doing something right!