Saturday, April 11, 2009

Tranquility amidst chaos, II.

Having decided to walk off my meal by exploring, I took the Nikon, both lenses, and the Gorilla Pod. By the way, to answer Conchscooter's question about what a Road Warrior eats at Cafe Veloce, I offer this. A Road Warrior eats chicken. You know the kind I'm talking about. The ones that didn't make it across the road. Preferably in front of a motorcycle. Despite that proclivity, I'm not sure I'm ready to stoop to taking pictures of the poor deceased creatures smothered in marinara sauce and resting on a bed of fettuccini.

Speaking of photography, being the rank amateur that I am, enthusiasm overshadowed professionalism. In other words, the smart thing to do would have been to take the whole darn camera case. Using some sort of perverse logic, the result of hours in a motorcycle seat, I thought I would try traveling light. Or maybe it was that potent red wine that went down so well. The camera with the 18-55mm lense attached hung from my neck. The 55-200mm lense was in a small fabric sleeve with a pull cord attached. I could hang that from my wrist. I have hoods for each lense. The hood for the small lense was attached backwards so I could either use it or not. The hood for the big lense was in the bag. I thought I would be smart and attach the Gorilla Pod to the camera body. Seemed like a plan to me. It worked well for just walking, although the legs of the Gorilla Pod were now hanging down below the camera. The camera was hanging from my neck. You can imagine where the legs of the tripod were hitting me as I walked. The one bit of good news is that jamming the tripod against your chest helps a lot in keeping the camera steady! As long as you don't breathe, of course.

As you can see on the website for the hotel, they claim to be located next to a bird sanctuary. I could see the small body of water.

It became a destination for my journey. Sure enough, down a short pathway I came to a sign.

The website for the hotel also shows people sitting on a concrete platform. Hmmm, that's where everybody hangs out. This adventure was about getting off the beaten path. The sign indicated that there should be a pathway. It wasn't obvious from this point. More exploration was in order. I finally found it among some cat-tails and brush.

It looked promising. Best of all, it also looked like I wasn't really supposed to go there. So, being the prudent law abiding person I am, you can guess what I did. Down the pathway we go. For a bit all I saw were trees and brush. Not one to give up easily, I finally emerged at the lake itself. All by myself which is exactly the way I like it.

I had found my tranquility amidst chaos. All around me on the horizon were signs of big city life. In my little spot it was quiet and still. One of the things I've learned from riding is being open to letting life come to me without preconceived notions. Too many people make too much noise and flap their mouths way too often. They're full of themselves and their own ideas. Often times wrong ideas. They miss so much because they just won't shut up and be quiet. Taking the exact opposite tactic, I just stood there, listening and observing. Soon the world around me began to reveal itself.

A pair of Mallards, blending nicely into the reeds, were enjoying the day's last rays of sunshine. Scanning the reeds further, I saw this denizen of the lake also enjoying the sun.

The ducks were in range of the small lense. This turtle was far enough away that I needed to use the big lense. The photo is the result of the camera on the tripod and the lense at the full 200mm focal length. Sounds professional, doesn't it? Well, let me tell you the rest of the story.

Remember, I'm on a sort of rotting dock. There's some railings around me. The space between the railings is covered by some sort of old wire mesh. There are holes in the decking under my feet. Switching lenses requires some finesse. I have to put down the bag with the big lense. I need to push a button and twist the small lense off the camera. Now I need a place to put it while I take the cap off the end of the big lense that goes into the camera. Then it's hurry and put the big lense on the camera before anything gets into the camera body. Of course, this cap now needs to go onto the back of the small lense. That's just one end of the lense. The other ends have caps of their own. My plan is to put the small lense back into the cloth sleeve. But I'll want it again real soon. I find it goes well into a front pocket of my jeans. That sounds funny but it gets worse.

The Nikon is on the tripod which is somehow balanced on the 2 x 6 piece of wood that makes up the top rail. I think the whole idea of a tripod is to balance the thing on a large surface for stability. Due to the wire mesh, I can't wrap a leg of the Gorilla Pod around the board. If I had brought along some Gorilla Glue, as well, things might have been different. Anyway, I did manage to get it all worked out while I took some shots of the turtle. After about the third shutter press, I heard a small splashing sound. Looking quickly, I saw the turtle was still there. Must have been a small fish or something. The fabric bag was on the railing a little ways away from the camera. Now I see it is no longer there. Looking down, I see the bag floating nicely on the water. That would probably explain the splash. Inside the bag is the big hood for the zoom lense. Rats! ( or something like that )

It's not the end of the problem. There's wire mesh keeping me from just reaching down and retrieving the bag. Worse, yet, the water's clear farther out but not so much up close.

I finally found a small opening in the mesh. With the help of a piece of cat-tail stalk from the trail, the soggy and now green bag was finally back in my possession. I didn't care so much about the bag, but I wanted the hood. About now the turtle's slid off his perch. I could see the air bubbles of his laughter as he made his way to the bottom.

Now I have a useless lense bag but still have two lenses. I take one more photo with the zoom lense and the tripod.

Figuring that the rest of my photos will be taken from closer distances, I ponder my choices. Finally, I opt for putting the smaller lense back on the Nikon. Once more I do the intricate dance involved. Now the question is what to do with the long zoom lense. I try stuffing it into a back pocket of my jeans. The lense sticks up far enough that I'm worried it will fall out. In a move that would make a contortionist proud, I find I can get the long lense into a front pocket. Walking is now more of a gunfighter stance. Bowlegged and ankles wide apart. I was totally humilated when I emerged near the hotel once more. Several old ladies looked my way hungrily and threw their room keys at me.

At least the bunny on the pathway had the decency not to stare at me.

This bunny was getting ready for Easter. That's a very busy day for bunnies everywhere. They get into shape for the event by indulging in plenty of eggxercise!

I surprised a woodpecker trying to install an alternate entrance at the back of the pawnshop. The bird flew away but left the evidence behind. There were several other holes hidden behind the foilage of this tree.

Thinking back, if I'd of had Mr. Riepe and his prehensile periscope along, we could have taken a peek at what was in those holes. Although the pathway would have been a little rough for his fancy new scooter. The bellboy and I both would have had to push him along. Not to mention having to stop and explain over and over the difference between the rabbit and the turtle on the dashboard. Sounds too complicated to me. Maybe some things are best left a mystery after all.

So there you have it. A journey within a journey. Tranquility amidst chaos. That's the beauty of being a motorcyclist. We tend to make our own world, don't we? And it's an interesting one, isn't it?

Miles and smiles,



Charlie6 said...

Wow Irondad, I had not thought about all the "fun" I've been missing, not having other lenses and such to carry with me when taking photographs these days. : )

Lucky for you, it was just a bag, not a lens! That, would have been a major bummer.

Also, I think Elvira would have fit down that trail, at least part of the way, don't you think?



cpa3485 said...

I am sorry you did not accept my recent job offer. Because you declined, my chaos will last just a bit longer. But hopefully some tranquility will return to my life just after April 15. We have a really great nature park not far from my home. Your thoughts suggest that maybe I should spend a little time there myself soon and soak up some nature. I am very much looking forward to doing something other than staring at a computer screen.

A few relatively long and leisurely rides are definately in the works also.

irondad said...

See, it pays to try alternate methods to the sensible ones.

There was a small, rotting, wooden bridge partway down. I agree that Elvira would have been able to go over it. At least once!

You have this mistaken concept that hiring me would have added tranquility to your life. Hang in there.

Seriously, despite the "troubles" I experienced, my little nature walk did wonders for my peace of mind. I hope you can find the same.

Take care,


Bucky said...

Another turtle story. That makes three.



-Mushrooms to Motorcycle's:

We are being overrun by turtle stories.

Conchscooter said...

And everyone is too polite to mention the fact that you were driven by inadequacy to stick a long lens down the front of your pants. Well if everyone else is too polite to mention it, don't let me be the first to break silence.

irondad said...

I think it's because winter has been so slow in moving on. We're all thinking turtles!

Take care,


irondad said...

Well, I considered buying a Triumph instead. The lense was much less expensive.

Take care,


bobskoot said...

At least your lens comes with a Tachometer, as standard equipment. Just wait until my Gorilla pod arrives, then I shall go looking for coconuts or turtles under the cover of night

bobskoot: wet coast scootin

Stacy said...

(The other) Stacey has a Nikon D40. I get to "borrow" it sometimes. All of the decent looking pictures on my blog were taken with the Nikon -- I haven't been able to screw up a picture with that camera yet!

In the meantime, I am using a tiny Olympus point and shoot for the rest of my pics. It's like the Honda Rebel of cameras. Perhaps one day I'll graduate to something better.

I bet that camera lens bag is glad it belongs to someone who cares about it!

Joe said...

This post was just full of wonderful things!

"Too many people make too much noise and flap their mouths way too often. They're full of themselves and their own ideas. Often times wrong ideas. They miss so much because they just won't shut up and be quiet."I e-mailed that to my work account because I need to remember that I need to shut up and listen more. I'm going to print it and nail it to my desk, I think.

"Best of all, it also looked like I wasn't really supposed to go there."I chuckled first and then my face lit up with a broad grin after I read it again, and then again. Yes! Forbidden places are often the best!

That reference to Jack R's "fancy new scooter," though, took the cake. The visual I conjured up when I read the whole scenario was priceless and more entertaining even than his own description of terrorizing his hotel.

And, the pictures are truly great. I might be more like a kid than I like to admit because when it comes to reading, I gravitate heavily toward a story with pictures, especially in a 'cycle blog.


Jack Riepe said...

Dear IronDad:

Now let me get this straight. You dropped a camera bag into the water, walked around like an extra in "Gunsmoke," and carried all this impedimenta just to take a picture of two birds, a turtle, and a duck?

Meet me in Key West this October for the "art exhibit" and we'll give the long lenses a workout.

Fondest regards,
Jack Riepe
Twisted Roads

irondad said...

Not more turtles! Bucky says there's enough turtle stories already! We could use some more coconut pictures, though.

I must be more talented. I can screw up pictures with any camera. I guess it's like motorcycles. A bad rider is a bad rider no matter which bike they're on.

I'm not sure if I cared about the bag or was worried about being arrested for littering! :)

I'm so pleased to be able to provide value and entertainment. Thank you for the very gracious comment. For the record, Jack is entertaining no matter who's writing about him.

Take care,


irondad said...

I was hoping and prepared for grander things. I was ready, just in case. Unfortunately, opportunity and greatness never transpired.

In the end it was a lot like popping Viagra in solitary confinement.

Take care,


irondad said...

P.S. to Jack,

I never was a big fan of art. Although I feel a whole new enthusiasm coming on!

bobskoot said...

"Although I feel a whole new enthusiasm coming on!Perhaps that Viagra you mentioned is finally taking affect . . .

bobskoot: wet coast scootin

Anonymous said...

Regarding your bagged comment...

suggest the following:

And ideally putthe zoom lense, the D40 with its' lens as well as your lense hood and any other junk you have
in the test bag, whatever it is . You can also get a bag to carry on your belt or an over the shoulder bag.

Placing the zoom lense down the front of your pants may make some women faint.