Saturday, June 30, 2012

Capturing a moment in time. Lessons learned and ignored.

The making of a photograph.

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This photograph of an abandoned Navajo hogan was taken near the
Continental Divide exit on I-40 in northern New Mexico while driving cross
country alone. There was a small trading post at the offramp and I spied this
scene as I got out of my car. The temperature was on the cool side and it
was morning. I quickly took a series of 4 photos, hoping that one was a keeper.
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This photo shows more of the red cliffs behind the scene in the distance. One
day I would love to return and drive out that way.
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To the right is the beginning of the yard for the folks who own this property.
There is a mobile home over to the right past that tree.
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I was very interested in this scene at that moment. I knew when I looked
at the photos later on my laptop that I made a serious mistake, and since I
was hundreds of miles down the road, there was no way to fix the flaw in
these photographs. In hindsight, I realize that I needed to shoot in aperture priority mode, to achieve sharpness from the flowers at the bottom of the photo
all the way to infinity. I was shooting with an Olympus E-10 and it was capable
enough, the problem was operator error.

I was a lazy photographer shooting in Program mode and let the camera make
the creative decisions.

On my way back to this area a few days later, I tried to set up the return attempt perfectly. The plan was to arrive around sunrise and set up with a tripod and re-shoot.

So I pulled off the interstate in a state of excitement, because the sun was starting to come up over those red cliffs in the distance, illuminating the ghastly
scene that awaited me- trails of toilet paper all over the tree and bushes and the hogan.

Needless to say, I didn’t take a single photograph that morning.

This was easily the second biggest bummer in my photographic “career,” the
number one bummer being the loss of my photographs of the Cadillac Ranch
near Amarillo, Texas.

I did learn a valuable lesson with the hogan, but must confess that I still haven’t
devised a fool proof method to preserve and catalog my photo archives, nor did
I ever find the disk that I burned the Cadillac Ranch photos to.

Now you know the rest of the story.

Morongobill

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Problem with ankle cancelling bighorn excursions for indefinite period.

And I am definitely getting “bummed out” over this.

About a week ago and after just a few days on my new job, as I was getting
in or out of the Morongomobile, I felt a tug or pain in my left ankle, which has
not gone away and which has worsened, sometimes to the point that I can barely get out of my car or the bus that I am driving. I tried a heating pad and have taken Aleve for the pain and to assist the healing process. I do not have
healthcare anymore and did not sign up for COBRA through my former employer due to the $400 plus fee monthly. I do have access to VA healthcare
but it requires that I go sit for hours at the Long Beach main VA hospital and
this will have to cripple me before I will do that. However, that attitude will most
likely be adjusted if the problem continues much longer.

So in the meantime, any desert runs will be driving and any photographs will be
taken from the roadside, as Ansel Adams and Westin used to do. One of them said that if it couldn’t be photographed from the roadside, it wasn’t worth photographing; I used to disagree with that, but not right now, it sounds like
good advice.
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One day I will tell the story behind the above photograph which was taken near the Continental Divide in New Mexico
off I-40 around 2005 while I was driving cross country in the previous Morongomobile.

The big problem with this situation is that my new employer requires their shuttle bus drivers to get off the bus every stop and this constant pushing off
with this bad ankle is aggravating the condition- if the trend continues and if
the condition doesn’t improve soon, it may put me out of work again.

Sometimes I feel like all I have is bad luck.

Morongobill

 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Nikon Coolpix P510 takes on the U.S.S. Iowa, BB-61

Ever since I heard that the Iowa was coming to San Pedro Harbor to become
a floating naval museum, I have been anxiously awaiting its’ arrival. I finally got a chance to visit today, along with fellow blogger and friend, Lee Murray. He took his Nikon D300 with 50mm lens, I took the P510 digicam.

The first surprise was that the Iowa is moored down by where the cruise ship terminal is located, actually the same place where 3 naval vessels were docked during the recent Navy Week 2011. For some reason, I was thinking it would be located at the end of the harbor where the carrier was during Navy Week.
The merchant ship, the S.S. Lane Victory, is now located way down at Berth 46, a long way from the Iowa, and will possibly wither on the vine, being so far
removed from its’ old berth, across from the cruise ship terminal.
Late addition, the S.S. Lane Victory is docked exactly where the carrier docked, recent satellite photo below shows the
ship at its’ new berth!
ScreenHunter_04 Jun. 21 18.00

I intend to visit both once the Iowa opens up in July. Until then here are a few
photographs taken at a good distance from the ship and near the street. But first a satellite view of the location, pre- berthing.
ScreenHunter_03 Jun. 21 17.08

The Iowa is now berthed along the left side wharf and almost runs the full length. It is just down from the cruise ship terminal
that is used mostly by the Norwegian Cruise Line ships, not the Princess ships.

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Above is the view from the Merchant Marine Museum. That is the Vincent Thomas suspension bridge in the background.
Below is a closeup.
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Below another tight shot, the yellow in the photo is a chain link in the fence.
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Below is another view from down the street.
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There are some more up close and personal photos below.
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Below is one of the 16 inch 50 caliber gun barrels, each one weighing around 108 tons, firing a projectile that
weighs around 2,300 pounds over 20 miles and capable of piercing armor, as in other battleships.
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Below are some workers about to go inside.
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A close up of the exterior bulkhead.
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View of what appears to be 5 inch gun mounts or anti- aircraft guns.
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I took a few more photos, here is an example of the nearby fence fooling the autofocus system of the P510.
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Below are two attempted flower close ups which did not work out too well. Actually though, I like the first one the best.
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Same flower below.
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As you can see, neither one worked out. Below is what appeared to be a dying or very ill seabird just sitting in a
fountain.
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No problem for the metering or focus with the camera here.

That’s it folks. In July I intend to go back to the U.S.S. Iowa, and get
permission to board and take more photos which I will post here as well.

For advance ticket sales and to read about the battleship of presidents, please
visit http://pacificbattleship.com/. I assure you that the site is an interesting read. For example, did you know that this was the only U.S. naval ship with
a bathtub? It had one for the use of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, make
sure you visit the history section under battleship of presidents for all the details
and a photo.

See you soon.

Folks, I have finally toured the battlewagon and you can read all about it and
see lots of photographs by clicking here.

Morongobill

Monday, June 18, 2012

Tired of doom and gloom? Me too! This is what I am doing about it tonight.

Sorry Firefox users but these videos will not show up on your browser. Since I
use that browser primarily, it’s a problem. These videos I have tested with IE,
Safari, Chrome, and Opera and they play just fine. The links to the videos are
below each video. For whatever reason, the links will not work in Firefox either
but will in the other browsers.

That is a bummer. End of update.

I am watching a fantastic concert on Youtube.

You can too.

This will get your motor running!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tV6PKfzkbeo

Here is the 2nd part.

Part 2

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEweoQMM_WM

I know a few of the purists out there may think that it really isn’t the same
without “Pink.” That being Roger Waters, of course. “And by the way, which
one is Pink?” Rather than rehash ancient history, here is a bonus video of Roger Water’s The Wall and “Comfortably Numb” with guest artist David Gilmour.

Old times not forgotten- Roger and David together again on stage.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUYzQaCCt2o

Go grab a strong drink or whatever, and settle in for some great entertainment.

Morongobill

“Whistle blower” pages removed from the backporch. Part 2.

A comment from Paul on Part 1 of this post caused me to think a little more
about this issue, here is his comment and my response.

  1. PaulJune 18, 2012 8:48 AM

    It's interesting how the words 'whistle blower' have garnered a negative connotation. Instead of celebrating those that do the 'right', or difficult thing and reporting law breakers, they get labeled as 'snitches' or whistle blowers. I guess it's just better to turn a blind eye and hope that someone else takes care of the problem!

    ReplyDelete

  2. MorongobillJune 18, 2012 6:27 PM

    I really had high hopes for those pages, Paul. Then the waiting began for the responses to flood in, not!
    Then when I got some red hot information, I really could not publish it without endangering the person who told me about the information- a person who needed their job- and I just could not live with myself if through my actions, I put someone out on the streets, jobless, in this "second Great Depression" that I feel we are now comfortably settled into.
    It really was an easy decision to pull the pages.
    My fervent wish is that our "regulators" start doing the jobs that we are paying them the big bucks to do, and that the news media would take an interest in reporting something besides celebrities and police chases.
    Thank you for your comment.

    R

I didn’t really respond to his comment but ran with it and used it to tell more about what led me to pull the pages. I would like to offer up an apology to Paul and you, my readers, for that.

Paul is absolutely 100% correct in what he says in his comment. I really didn’t
think about those negative ramifications when I entitled my post, and the more I
think about it, the more right it seems. But that is the name that has come into
established usage, even with “Whistleblower protection” laws. Of course, being
a person who wants to do right and shine a light on some of the schemes taking place in the realms of government, politics, and big business, better stand by for some serious repercussions as the current federal government
assault on “whistleblowers” is ongoing and in high gear as I write this.

I am excruciatingly aware of the risks right minded people are taking nowadays
when they spot an egregious wrong and would like to see it righted, and act
upon their knowledge. At the risk of seeming overwrought let me just say with
all the chiseling being done to our rights under the guise of fighting terrorism,
I can’t blame anyone for being a little paranoid. Folks who have been out of work for a while, like construction workers for example, latching onto a job with
Bechtel out at stateline- I can’t blame them for just trying to get along in this cruel world.

By temperament, I would never make it as an “earth firster” and I was raised
to respect authority, like any other child born in the deep south in the 1960’s.
I am not a radical nor am I one who possesses the skills to rise within
a political organization or corporation, to try to effect change.

I am a “lone wolf” with social skills is about the best way I can describe myself.
During this blog journey, I have had ideas- some good, some bad, some a couple bricks shy of a load, also. Most of this blog has been about the “rape”
of the southwestern deserts for renewable energy production, all supposedly
to stop climate change.

My opinion all along has and will continue to be that the only thing green about
it is all the taxpayer money going to build these boondoggles. But that is a story
for another time.

I tried to help the cause with the pages that I have removed from this blog, and
it didn’t work out. So I will go back to square one and figure out another way, to
expose the corruption at the core of this effort. Stuff I have suspected all along
and know for a fact is ongoing as we speak, but am honor bound not to mention as discussed earlier.

And I will endeavor to think a little more before I respond to your comments in
the future.

Morongobill

Sunday, June 17, 2012

“Whistle blower” pages removed from the backporch.

I have had the two pages up for several months and have received some
information which has pointed out what could be irregularities with some of
these renewable energy projects being built in the southwestern deserts.

The problem is that the folks providing the information which has been deleted
are still employed in these projects. Having just gone through a month of
unemployment, and experiencing the ordeal first hand, which luckily for me has
resulted in obtaining a job in my field, I just can’t ask people to risk their own
livelihood in this modern day depression, by leaking stories or documents to
me.

I wish to say though that if one is willing to risk all, and provide this valued
service to their fellow man, that I will be happy to provide you with the name and contact info for someone that I trust in the news media who will listen to
what you have to say, and act upon it if the information checks out.

I thank those who did contact me- look at yourself in the mirror and know that
you did what you could, and it was appreciated.

Morongobill

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Ever consider buying a house in the desert communities? It might finally be the time.

Consider the village of Joshua Tree in southern California, adjacent to the world famous Joshua Tree National Park, and close to the Mojave National
Preserve and other wilderness areas including Big Morongo Canyon Preserve.
This little village where I once lived saw a tremendous run up in real estate prices and now a couple of years post crash has seen prices drop to a level
that I haven’t seen since about the year 2000, when I began seriously looking
at property in the area.

That is the good news for me. The bad news is that after losing my 6 year job
and being out of work for almost a month, and starting a new job where I will
earn less, probably will not make me a good candidate for a mortgage. But hope springs eternalDisappointed smile.

To make my point, let me post a few details for a home that I was following on
Redfin Realty, by the way, that link is using my search operands, just put in a
new area for wherever you would like to look. Below is the link to the specific house that I was following and the subject of this blog post.
1 BR, 1 BA house in downtown Joshua Tree, newly renovated, sold yesterday for $34,000.

Let me tell you what appeals to me with this little house. Obviously everything
that I mentioned in the first sentence of this post. Plus this- if I had got this little
home financed at 100% through the USDA or CalVet or the VA, I would have been looking at a payment including principal, interest and impounds of around
$325 per month for 30 years, which could be prepaid with no penalty. Long
time readers of this blog know that I am interested in taking early retirement at
62, this would be a cheap housing cost, well within my means.

But alas, it was not meant to be. Instead my guess is an investor may have bought this property and will immediately rent it out for around $750 a month.

Let me show you a few photographs of features of the property that I liked.
All photos are from the Redfin listing.


In the photo above the crooked tree is on the left side of the doorway. At my first desert house in Morongo
Valley, the crooked evergreen was on the right side of the door.

All photos above are courtesy Redfin Realty and the CRMLS.

Here is some pertinent information on this home courtesy of Zillow.com.
The high point in this home’s valuation was in 6/2007 when the Zillow
estimated value for this property was $125,000, substantially higher than
the $34,000 that it just sold for yesterday.
ScreenHunter_01 Jun. 14 10.50

Now do you see why I am a little depressed about not being able to look
for property in the immediate future. Of course, I do feel that prices have a little
more room on the downside, but my worry is that the underwriter’s may tighten up lending requirements even more, effectively barring even more potential
buyers from the market.

My advice to anyone at retirement age or close to it, is to start thinking desert
area real estate, and if you find something that meets your needs, to move on it if the numbers are right.

Only you, not the real estate agent, will know what numbers will work for you.

Morongobill

P.S. Here is another one at $75k on 5 acres to consider, link and a photo below.
http://www.redfin.com/CA/Joshua-Tree/62547-Appian-Way-92252/home/3069031

Above image courtesy of Redfin Realty and the CRMLS.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Bad day for the bighorn whisperer- only spotted 5 bighorn sheep at Big Morongo Canyon Preserve yesterday.

I saw 2 loners on the ridge tops, opposite sides of the canyon, and a group of 3 on a hillside, all before the .5 mile marker. On the way down to the canyon trail, I filmed this short video of a mesquite hedge row to illustrate a comment made by Kevin the other day. You can see his very interesting blogs here, here, and here.
 

Mesquite offers more to the animals and birds than tamarisk trees plus uses less water.

The temperature was about 95 degrees F down on the trail and the sun was
relentless the whole time I was out, about 4 1/2 hours. The allergic rash came
back with a vengeance on my legs as well. By the time I got home 2 hours later, there were welts on my upper thighs so I ended up taking Benadryl as a
precaution, just in case the reaction went nuclear, as in your throat closing up while you are asleep, causing a premature checkout of this game of life. When
I got back I felt cold and very tired as well, so I am thinking the allergy was worse this time.

Enough though about me, let me show you the bighorns. I am really getting
good at spotting them way up the hillsides with my naked eye. Here is the first
one I saw alone up near the top of the ridge.
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Taken with max digital zoom enabled. Below is the normal view taken of the hillside sheep.
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Those skeleton trees above were the cottonwoods killed by the disastrous fire that swept through the Preserve in
2005, I believe. A close look will reveal one of the bighorn sheep. Below is a better look.
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Another view below.
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I told you there were sheep, plural.
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With the digital zoom enabled, I got a little bit closer.
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In the next photo it looks like the sheep was using a hoof to move a rock that was blocking access to a tasty treat!
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In the photo below, can you spot the ram on the round hill in the middle? I did, right away. I will make the picture big to make it easier.
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Did you find it? Okay, here it is below.
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And again, zoomed in a little closer.
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I must have looked harmless, this is how he was when I left, heading down the trail and out of his sight.
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Little did I know that there would be no further bighorn sheep sightings on this
smoking hot afternoon. Off I went down the trail, goal to reach the gnarly old
tree at the 2 mile marker that I have named Senor Cottonwood. Here is a photo
taken the day of this hike of the Senor.
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And a photo taken in the bottom left of the picture against the rocky cliff side. 
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While I was sitting on that huge fallen branch under Senor Cottonwood, I
made many attempts to photograph a hummingbird in a branch above me. The
zoom system on the Nikon Coolpix P510 kept missing and hunting, I think I ended using the “find target” focus method. I don’t have my camera with me so
I am writing this from memory. Here are a couple pics of the tiny fellow below.
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The little ham is posing for me in the next one. Look at the focus plane, interesting, eh?
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So up the trail I trudged, slowly and hoping again to spot the elusive bighorn
sheep. No such luck on the way back. While on the mesquite trail and on my
way back to the parking lot, I decided to try my luck again at close up photography. This one is a keeper.
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The above photo taken handheld with the vibration reduction mode enabled. Click on it and it will open larger in a new window.

After sleeping overnight on it, I am still wore out from this hike and it may be due to the allergic reaction I seem to be getting from the plant growth that is
choking the trail in a few places around the 1/2 mile marker. I think it is one plant doing it. I meant to take a close up of the plants blooms and leaves to
look up on the net, but my blood was up, and I was on a mission to look for bighorn sheep. So I think the best thing now is to wait a couple of weeks and make sure that this allergy has completely left me before returning. You see, I
still could see faint signs of the previous rash on my legs yesterday morning,
so obviously I wasn’t over the preceding condition. The risk that I am taking is
that with summer coming on, the bighorn may leave soon. I hope not.

There is some good news. I start a new bus driving job day after tomorrow. So
this may change my accustomed days off, we will see. One of my friends is just amazed that I was fired 3 weeks ago and picked up another gig this fast in this recession depression that our economy is in right now. So am I, so am I. Some of you have written me encouraging words which were much appreciated
and helped give me a needed “pick me up”- for that I am very grateful.

That’s it here at Lake Woebegone the O.C. hope to see you back on the backporch soon!

Morongobill

 

Friday, June 8, 2012

There may be some good news coming and a mea culpa.

Of course, I am referring to the employment front.

Not counting chickens before they are hatched, but it appears that I may be getting back into the bus business next week. To say that I am delighted is an understatement. To say that I am grateful for a second chance is an under-
statement.

We will just wait and see- in the meantime, until I am firmly ensconced behind
the wheel, I will keep searching on the job search front, looking at any and all situations available, and there aren’t that many out there, unlike in previous
years- what I have said all along may be the stone cold truth, that we are closer to being in a depression rather than a recession, and that any job offer is worth consideration.

New or first time visitors here, this is probably boring- actually I am sure it is.
This post is directed more to my long time readers, you know who you are, who
stop in often, and have even privately emailed pick me up missives during this
recent trying time, caused by my losing my job. Words cannot express how
pleased I was to hear from those who did write, your words and feelings expressed, helped lift me from a despair that in hindsight I now see that I was falling into- I know I did not reply to all, and I apologize to you for that, and hope that you will let that slide and continue visiting here out on the backporch.

I would like to extend a warm greeting to the newbies visiting here for the first or
second time. Keep coming back and don’t forget to peruse the archives. There is also a search function on the left side of the page that you can utilize as well.

For instance, you could enter bighorn or Ivanpah and get a listing of posts for
those topics. Feel free to comment as well on any of the posts, old or new, also. The only bad comment is one that you keep to yourself and don’t share, if
something is bugging you, tell us about it.

Let me tell you guys something. I recently received an email taking me to task for something, and I was so impressed that I wrote back and said would you consider writing a guest post- on any topic? I offer you the same. If any of you reading this have something that you would like to contribute, perhaps this might be the venue for it. I can’t offer any pay, nor can I say that millions of people will read you, but I can say with some authority that somebody important may very well read it.

I have mentioned before that I have website software which tells a little bit about
my visitors- not much- but enough to tell that some are at a higher station in
life than this little old blogger. For some reason, they do visit here from time to time. I am not writing this to brag, just stating a fact.

So just keep it in mind, will you? If this unemployed bus driver can write something, so can you. If I can photograph a bighorn sheep herd, so can you, if
you live nearby. If I can blog for the fun of it, so can you.

Well it is that time. The coffee pot is empty and it’s late and I don’t feel like making another pot. You guys are yawning and ready to hit the road, so I am turning down the kerosene lamp and calling it a night. Again, I thank you for
coming by and hope to see you again, perhaps one day under the shade of the old Senor Cottonwood- you just never know the twists and turns ahead in this game of life, in this journey, except that it is truly enjoyed best with friends and family at your side.

Morongobill

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A moving moment that I saw by accident…

Because you know that I rarely watch television.

But last night while sitting at the kitchen table surfing the net, I just happened
to look over at what my roommate was watching and got blown away, just like that time that I saw the Scottish lady, Susan Boyle, bring an audience,including
yours truly to tears with her singing of “I dreamed a dream” from Les Miserables. I wrote about that and linked to the video of her performance here.
Or if you prefer just watch the video below, it is excellent.

A voice like an angel.

Actually you really need to watch the above video first before you read any farther- make sure you have tissues handy as you may need them.

You know I told friends and family at the time that I thought that was some of the best television programming ever filmed, and for sure that I had watched in my life. I thought that I would never see anything like it again in my life, boy was I wrong. Last night, I was proved wrong. You will need to keep the tissues
handy again for this video as well.

This is from America’s got Talent, this show aired last night.

This was the first time that he ever performed in public, even his parents were unaware of his talent.

Click here to go the webpage hosting the video

When this cynical, anti tv blogger admits to getting tears in his eyes from
a television performance, it is great. I think that we are watching another star
emerge, like a butterfly emerging from the chrysalis.

You are really missing out on an exquisite and moving performance, if you
don’t watch this.

Morongobill

Monday, June 4, 2012

Will not one of my readers stand up against torture with me?

Update on 06172012. There is new accusations of torture being ramped up
under the Obama administration. It is bad enough that they are not going to let
Gitmo inmates considered no longer a threat, out and to go home, the brutish
torture inflicted upon the inmates has even gotten worse. Read this story entitled "Guantanamo’s Goon Squads Still Torturing Under Obama" by Sherwood Ross for the details. Then read my post here.

They really need your reading at the site linked below. End of update.

Recently I wrote a post entitled Torture, let's do something about it. To date, there was one comment and no email correspondence regarding this issue
which I feel goes to the very heart of who we are as a nation and as a people, and not just in the people plural, but as in individuals.

A nation is made up of individuals that together form a people. We will rise and
we will fall together. We are judged collectively by the rest of the world for the
actions taken in our name and without our consent, fair or not, by those that
we have entrusted with the defense of our country. Of course we cannot change what is being done in our name, at least not yet, but we can start by
registering our disgust in part by getting involved in peaceful protest against the status quo. Perhaps if enough of us get involved now, the process might start to snowball and we might begin to effect a change that will make us proud again, of our leaders and of ourselves.

I have a sinking feeling that this seed is falling upon fallow soil and will not bring much in the way of results, but I must try anyway to beseech you once
again to help out the cause by either making a reading for the website,
Reckoning With Torture or by forwarding the site link or even this blogpost to
someone that you know who might oppose torture as well. This is not a liberal
or conservative issue, folks on both sides of the political spectrum oppose the
practice; all I am asking is that you let your conscience be your guide.

We are at a crossroads in our nation’s history. We can back away from the precipice that will lead inexorably to our demise as a free people and nation, or
we can embrace the evil incarnate that torture is, and prepare for its’ practice
upon we the people here. The torturers will not stop with the victims overseas, it will find its’ way here just as surely as day follows night- I believe that to the
depths of my soul.

As I promised, I made the reading. First, I travelled to the Big Morongo Canyon
Preserve, heavy tripod and camera in hand, filming several attempts in scenic
locations only to be stopped cold by the unrelenting desert breeze which made
the video unintelligible without extensive work with the audio, which I am unable to do. I ended up making the video in my home.

That video was accepted by the site and is now available for viewing there or on Youtube. Below is the Youtube video, just click the play button. Or just go the website page for my video at the Reckoning With Torture site. Either way works.

Won’t you make a video supporting the cause?

Look it wasn’t easy. It took a few minutes to hand copy the script off the
site, as I don’t have a printer at home now. I had to setup the tripod and the
digital camera and then do several takes trying to get the lighting and sound
right. I would much prefer to have sent in video footage from under Senor Cottonwood, but it just wasn’t meant to be.

Okay, I tell you what- if you need help just email me and I will help. But we need to get in touch with our feelings on this subject and get involved in the struggle.

I am not asking you, I am begging you for this help. Right now as we speak, I
am quite certain that there are innocents, swept up with the guilty, being tortured and wishing for help from their God, from anybody, even for a visit
from Death himself to come and take them away to blessed relief from the barbarism.

They cannot wait, and neither should we.

Morongobill

 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

When in Big Morongo Canyon Preserve, walk softly and carry a big zoom lens!

Such as the 24-1000 mm plus digital, interpolated zoom, and vibration resistant one, found solely on the Nikon Coolpix P510. Recently I carried the P510 and my venerable Nikon D70 up to Morongo and tried both and wrote about it here. Today thanks to a good friend, I was able to go back up and hunt for the elusive desert bighorn sheep again. I would like to thank my friend who will remain anonymous for the generous gift of gas money for the 200 mile round trip. I won’t forget it, offering this over breakfast, firing me up with enthusiasm to sally forth once more to the place I am falling in love with every time that I return to it, Big Morongo Canyon Preserve, home of Senor Cottonwood, whose gnarly eminence you see at the top of this page.

I heard on the radio that it was expected to be about 100 degrees F in the low desert, when I turned off I-10 onto Hwy#62, it was about 99. Conditions when I arrived at the BMCP parking lot were about 94 degrees and breezy. So down the Mesquite Trail I went, as it is the quickest way to reach the Canyon Trail.
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Looking toward a raised viewing area in the main marshy area.

Once I got past the wooden fence that marks the official boundary of the preserve, down the trail a ways I met up with a fellow hiker who I had seen the last 3 times up. We stopped and shook hands, making some small talk, and I
asked him if he had seen any bighorn, and he said that there were a couple
not far off the trail. So pulse quickening, I thanked him and took off at a faster
clip, meaning about 1/20th a mile per hour faster. Here is the four eye view of
the hillside where I spotted the bighorn, about 3.
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This photo will probably look familiar to some of you, the sheep came back to the exact same place. Must be some good
eating there!

Okay, okay, sure I wore out that super zoom trying to find the sheep. As Paul
commented the other day sometimes you have to take the camera down and use “dead reckoning”- here are a few of the results. Now remember, I spotted
them with own four eyes first.
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This next one was made utilizing the digital zoom, I believe.
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Now I think he is telling me what he thinks of me.
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Remember if the right side of my blog name on the photo is cut short, just double click and a larger one will come up, then just
hit the back arrow on your browser to return to the post.
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Quickly sensing that I might be wearing out my welcome, I decided to head on down the trail, eager to spot more bighorn and my grizzled old friend, Senor
Cottonwood, who has probably seen it all at his location down by the 2 mile marker where the trail doglegs right. I decided to take a couple more photos of
small areas of the tree, hoping to find out something new, and I did.
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How long has that boulder been tied up with root, a hundred years perhaps?
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I never noticed that empty birds nest in the knothole above. I am really fond of the photo below.
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Looking at my notebook that I wrote in while under the Senor, I noticed
that I heard a songbird, and that un-caged, he was singing with the joy of
life, and living it in the moment, not a care in the world. It was a song of
such longing, of unrequited love perhaps.

After about 30 minutes there, with the breeze blowing gently, it was time to head back up the canyon. I walked slowly, scanning the lofty hillsides, pausing
every so often to do a double take, could that be a bighorn way over there?

This continued until I got close to the 1.5 mile marker and way up there on the ridgeline, and on the west rim of the canyon, I spied what I was sure was a bighorn- this is the view without the digital zoom, just the maximum regular optical zoom.
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And another where I used the digital zoom also.
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At this point he started down the rugged hillside and I lost him with the electronic viewfinder. After a few minutes, I continued over to the fallen tree blocking the trail and sat there in the shade, hoping in vain that I would spot him again. Alas, it was not to be. That wily old goat waited me out, running low
on fluids, I had to go after about 20 minutes there.

Now remember, I had seen the 3 sheep on the now to my east hillside earlier in
the afternoon and I was getting close. Imagine my surprise when I looked up
from the trail and spotted the Big Boss Ram blocking my way about 50 yards or so dead ahead! I wasn’t quick enough with the camera to get his staring me down, but he turned away and started taking care of some real serious business, the Caesar salad in front of him.
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Again you can click the image to see a larger one in a new browser window, just click the back arrow to come back here.
These pics will be put up in the order taken. Sorry with the relatively slow processing time of the camera plus a tremor, the
photos might not be framed as I intended them to be when I pushed the shutter. My apologies in advance.
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He wasn’t concerned with my playing like a paparazzi.
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He appears to be saying, relax, he’s harmless in this photograph!

After about 5 minutes or so, he sauntered up the west side of the trail and joined up with what turned out to be 3 of his buddies. I didn’t notice the 4th sheep until I was walking away.
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In the photo below, the camera focused on the younger ram to the right. I have heard that sometimes the herd will split up and small groups of males will hang out together, at least until the rutting season begins.
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He noticed me for sure in the shot below! This is large size, pretty impressive, eh?
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I feel so honored that they allowed me to get so close, surely I couldn’t have been more than 40-50 yards from him, if that.
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Below is the “four eye” actual view showing the distance involved.
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He is a handsome one that is for sure.
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God what magnificent beings!
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With the digital zoom enabled below.
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I decided to leave that photo above large so that you can see what this camera system is capable of. Supposedly the digital zoom is not as sharp because it uses interpolation, but you sure could have fooled me with this shot!
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In the next photo, there might be some artifacts on the mouth area.
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The next may not be flattering but it does have good sharpness.
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In the next two photographs, you really see what the digital zoom on the Nikon Coolpix P510 is truly capable of. In more skilled and steadier hands, the camera is capable of magnificent results.
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What are you looking at? I know I am good looking, ask my ladies.
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The next shot wasn’t framed good but check out how sharp it is, again with the digital zoom, I believe.
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And below, a final photograph as I bid God’s fellow creature’s a warm goodbye. He ignored me and kept on eating, of course.
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There you have it. The rest of the slog up the trail was uneventful, 90+ heat
but surprisingly I didn’t run out of Gatorade Fruit Punch till I get back to the
parking lot.

It really was a great hike, well worth the 200 mile round trip in the un-air conditioned Morongomobile.

I hope you enjoyed the post, feel free to tell a friend about the “bighorn whisperer.”Just kidding

Morongobill