Woodpeckers aplenty

While sitting in the den looking out the big window into the back yard, and meandering around the back yard examining what nature has to offer, I’ve noticed a lot of things that differentiate this spring from last. There are far more flowers, buds, and growth on the plants and trees. Everything is growing like crazy. I guess this beautiful spring with all the rain has made a big difference.

I’m also seeing a lot more ants, worms, squirrels, and birds. In particular, I’ve noticed more red-bellied woodpeckers than in the past. I guess it has been a good year so far for them. And they love the pecans trees around our yard. It’s fun to watch them move around the trees really quickly, hanging upside down at times, snatching up all the tasty bugs that are living in the trees. These boogers are fast too. I’ve been trying to get a decent photo of one of them for a few weeks now. It’s proving to be a difficult task. Red-bellied woodpeckers seem to be uncomfortable with human presence. More so than a lot of other birds that will tolerate me sitting on the back porch or poking my head out the window wielding a big ole hunk of black metal that looks like a canon.

I’m still working on getting closer and closer to these birds. Once they get to know me they get a little more comfortable. I haven’t gotten any near as close as I’d like, and a bird blind may be required to get any closer. Here’s about the closest I’ve been able to get so far, and this is cropped to get in a little closer. It’s not the greatest photo, but I just love the colors and designs on these birds. Hopefully with all the red-bellied woodpeckers spending their time foraging in my back yard, I’ll be able to get a little closer to one of these beauties.

Red-bellied woodpecker in a pecan tree

Festival season is rapidly approaching

I get excited every year around this time. The daylight stays around longer, the temperature rises, and plants and animals come to life. It also means I get to wander around the festivals eating too much and snapping my favorite kinds of photos. The candid, photojournalism style. There’s something special about capturing people being real, and festivals offer uncountable opportunities for that.

The last few days I’ve been going through old photo archives from past festivals. It brings back good memories. Not just of the actual festival itself, but the people who were patient enough to go with me and endure my annoying habit of scurrying off to capture a moment before it disappears forever.

I came across a photo of Mac Arnold from the Freedom Weekend Aloft a couple years ago. It took me for a little trip down memory lane. That event was the first all-day outing for me and my wife (girlfriend at the time). It was stupid hot. The relationship was somewhat new and we were all sweaty and funky around one another. And it didn’t matter. She’s cool like that. It was also the first time either one of us had heard of Mac Arnold and Plate Full O’ Blues. It turns out he’s got a long history and a good story to tell, and some mighty fine music and musicians to boot. My wife and I spent many nights sitting around the house, grilling out, drinking good beer, and listening to Mac Arnold’s album Nothing to Prove. Top notch stuff. I highly recommend it if you like yourself some blues.

Here’s the photo that triggered the trip down memory lane. You can see more event photos here, with more coming soon.

Cheers to festival season!

Mac Arnold at Freedom Weekend Aloft

More spring goodness

Although I haven’t had a chance to get out and photo as much as I’d like this spring, I have been able to break away from working 6 days a week to enjoy Mother Nature’s offerings. I’ve been amazed at the amount of growth we’ve had around here this year. This spring has been the best that I can remember. We’ve had a lot of rain and plenty of sunshine with spring temperatures.

There’s so much to be seen and so many different ways to look at it. Here’s a few photos of the new life springing up all around us.

Yellow flowers on a Spring day

Hostas on a Spring day from an ant's perspective

Dandelion

Funnel cakes and clowns

The arrival of Spring means many things. Flowers, singing birds, allergies, and those dreaded sinus headaches. But it also marks the beginning of the festival season. I love festivals. The unhealthy food, great art, cool people, vendors peddling their wares, and the smell of sunscreen on my bald head. It also means I get to photograph people during their most candid moments and all the oddities you see at these festivals.

I’d like a chicken on a stick and a lemonade, please.

From the Spartanburg International Festival:
Bed of nails