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Holiday Shooting

October 10, 2012
Rose-bellied Lizard

© jmillerphoto.com – Rose-bellied Lizard

So it seems like tradition has held out that when I get an extra day away from my nominally 40 hour/5 day a week job to observe a holiday that I end up a Medina River Natural Area (MRNA) in San Antonio.  I haven’t figured out why–it just seems to happen that way.

This was the case on Monday.  When the cold front blew through, Monday was supposed to be a mid-70’s kind of day.  Reality struck and really it was a high 50’s/low 60’s day in the morning, scrapping my plans to head west to Uvalde.  But afternoon warmed up, the wind was more or less quiet, and MRNA is close enough that I could justify taking a walk out there and if all I got was a walk out of things then I could live with that.

It was not my best trip out to MRNA, but it was far from my worst.  Early in the trek I found a perched Black Saddlebags.  This one was pretty badly worn and wouldn’t give me a good angle, but I still snapped a few shots and moved on.  This was followed by the first of a long stream of Familiar Bluets, co-mingled with a large variety of American Snout, Bordered Patch, Hackberry Emperor, and Empress Leila butterflies.  While the butterflies were pretty much constant throughout the walk, the odonata slowed down until I made it to the bottom portion of the Rio Medina trail.  There the Powdered Dancers started coming out, along with both the Blue-ringed Dancers and the Familiar Bluets again.

Smoky Rubyspot

© jmillerphoto.com – Smoky Rubyspot

On the river bank itself I spotted an American Rubyspot.  While I was trying to get into position it, of course, took off.  But as I turned my head to the left to see if I could track it I instead spotted a winner–a Smoky Rubyspot (Hetaerina titia) damselfly.  This one was a winner because it was a life list add.  With a little luck I got a long shot of it.  But as I tried to get closer, it was having none of that and it flew off.  Regardless it was odonata life list add #25 for the year, bringing me up to 59 in total.  Not too bad of a year.

It was starting to get dark and I had other things to do so I started working hard to get back to the car.  After getting the tripod into the car and getting ready to call it a day I noticed a Rose-bellied Lizard (Sceloporus variabilis) sunning itself on the rock right in front of my parking spot.  So out came the tripod and camera and I made a few shots.  The lizard moved a little, facing the sun in a better direction.  Bonus!

After a few shots I decided I had enough.  When I looked at the camera when I got home I noticed I had only shot 230 images.  But then I also went back and noticed that I had only been shooting for about an hour and a half.  Not a bad couple of hours all things considered.  I wish I didn’t have to leave as early as I did, but I was glad to have gotten the chance to get out.  With fall quickly settling in I know I won’t have many days like these left.  Besides, the next holiday is Veteran’s Day and I’ll have a cast on by that point…

About the Images:
The Rose-bellied lizard that I led off the post with was really one of the final shots I made.  Shot #207 out of 230 to be exact.  ISO 400, f/18 @ 1/250th.  There’s a shot that I prefer more that I’ll probably post on Flickr that is both faster and a smaller aperture which really obliterated the background but only kept the face (and barely the face) in focus.  The Smoky Rubyspot was around shot #100 for the hike, with tech details being f/14 @ 1/125th.  Both were on the Standard Gear, on the tripod, and neither shot used flash (though it was mounted on the camera).

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