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.
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,