Thursday, March 20, 2008


As promised, here is the best picture that I took of the swans on Fowler Lake. I hope to continue getting photos of them over the summer and hopefully get some more "romantic" swan pictures. There is something so beautiful and majestic about swans. I drove past a gorgeous hawk today, but when I walked back to get a photo of it, it was gone already. I am so excited that spring is here and the birds who left have returned in full force.


"Ego: the fallacy whereby a goose thinks he's a swan."

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Immature Bald Eagle

Something amazing happened last Friday. I went to the Fowler Park inlet in Oconomowoc to take pictures of the swans that returned. The swans hold special significance for me because I have many fond memories of watching the lone male swan each summer for several years. Then one year he found a mate and they lived on the inlet for a couple of years. Somehow, it seemed like I always was driving over the bridge as they flew away for the winter. Sadly, two years ago the male swan was found shot and died in the local cemetery that is on the inlet. Last year, there were no swans. So, when I heard that there was a pair of swans on Fowler Lake again, I had to go over there with my camera to check it out. I managed to get some nice shots, which I will share with you at a later date.

While standing in the melting snow, listening to the ducks quack, the geese honk and the red wing blackbird call, I phoned my editor, Bill to see if he would be interested in a stand alone photo for the paper of the swans. He said that he would take a look at them when I got to work later in the day. However, he said that if I would get a picture of an eagle, he would definitely use it. I kind of laughed at the idea of an eagle photo and told him that I would try my best.

Shortly later, a gull began to attack a bird of prey over my head. I quickly lifted my camera and began to shoot. I managed to get some decent frames as the birds clashed above me. They were quickly gone and I didn't think too much of the pictures as I was still focused on getting a good photo of the swans who were more interested in eating than looking pretty.

Cold and tired, I went back home to process the pictures on my computer. As I sorted through them, I noticed that the bird of prey was not a hawk at all. the beak was too chunky. The wings had different feathers. I began to think that perhaps it was an eagle. I sent it to Bill and began to do some research. I came up with the identification of an immature golden eagle. I was so excited as I drove to work.

When I got to my desk, my co-worker complimented me on my eagle picture. I was surprised. I didn't think anyone knew about it. As it turns out, the staff had already called the DNR and asked a biologist there to identify the bird. His verdict: an immature BALD EAGLE!

I was so excited, as was Bill. We ended up running the photo on the front page of Saturday's paper along with a photo that one of the paper's photographers, Kevin Harnack, took. He had taken a picture of a mature Bald Eagle in Otttawa about a month ago.

On Monday, I saw the eagle again as it soared above George Webb's in Oconomowoc. I am looking forward to many more times of seeing this majestic bird.

"A believer is a bird in a cage, a freethinker is an eagle parting the clouds with tireless wing."
--Robert Green Ingersoll

Monday, March 10, 2008

A break from the modern world

Can you imagine a day with no internet? No TV? No Mp3 player? No cell phone? That's what
Mark Bittman is proposed in his New York Times column that I read last week. He wrote about his decision to take a break from technology for a 24-hour time period each week. Bittman made this decision after he spent money on an airplane to check his e-mail. After feeling like there was no place left where he could escape technology, Bittman decided to remove himself from it.

He wrote: "Thus began my “secular Sabbath” — a term I found floating around on blogs — a day a week where I would be free of screens, bells and beeps. An old-fashioned day not only of rest but of relief. "

The process wasn't easy for him to completely disconnect himself from his modern world. He didn't use the internet, his cell phone, his ipod or his TV. But Bittman eventually found rewards.

"I do believe that there has to be a way to regularly impose some thoughtfulness, or at least calm, into modern life — or at least my version. Once I moved beyond the fear of being unavailable and what it might cost me, I experienced what, if I wasn’t such a skeptic, I would call a lightness of being. I felt connected to myself rather than my computer. I had time to think, and distance from normal demands. I got to stop," he wrote.

I have felt too depend on modern technology as well. The first thing I do in the morning after rolling out of bed, is to turn my laptop on. I talk on my cell phone while I drive. At work, my eyes are always on the computer screen. I am not as addicted to technology as some people, but I am at a point where my time is manipulated by it. I have a much harder time picking up a book or getting out and going for a walk than I used to. I tend to putz around on facebook. Or, I talk to friends on messenger. It's great to talk to friends through messenger, but it is not as time efficient as a phone call. I have begun to feel as if my time is being eaten up by technology and I am no longer enjoying more artistic and pure forms of information, such as books.

Actually, I have become very bored with the internet recently. Facebook isn't as thrilling as it used to be. E-mail is rarely used by my friends anymore.

So, I am going to try what Bittman is proposing and disconnect from technology for a day. I'm not sure if it's going to be a Saturday or a Sunday. But, I plan to turn off my computer and stay away from my cell phone. I am not going to be as rigid as Bittman, however, as I know I would not be successful with such tough rules. I will allow myself to watch a movie at night. And I can listen to music. I just really want to focus more of my energy and time on photography and books. I think that this freeing myself from technology will help. Also, once spring gets here, I know I won't be as tempted to spend hours on my computer.

If you would like to read Bittman's whole column, here is the link:


"We live on the brink of disaster because we do not know how to let life alone. We do not respect the living and fruitful contradictions and paradoxes of which true life is full."
--Thomas Merton

"There is no such thing as chance; and that which seems to us blind accident actually stems from the deepest source of all."
--Frederich von Schiller