Wednesday, August 1, 2012

GEESE IN A GOLDEN RIFFLE



I heard them before I saw them, these geese in a golden riffle. I'd taken Moon-the-Dog out for her dawn peregrinations. The sun was just making its way above the maples and hackberries up on the hill. From somewhere upstream a kingfisher screeched. 

Then, from downstream, the honk of a goose, a few muttered gabbles, and another honk or two. Geese rather than goose. 

At first I couldn't see anything. You'd think even a single jumbo Canada goose would be easily spotted. Let alone a bunch. But it was barely daylight, there's lots of brush along the river…and, I was still sipping my first cup of coffee. I had to amble down to the lower corner of the yard before I finally saw the flock—a dozen birds, standing in the shallows of a riffle thirty yards away. Most were watching me, making sure I wasn't up to something villainous. 

Geese in a riffle are always worth a look. But geese in a riffle gilded with the golden light of dawn are something special due to the magical light. I made a photo. Tell me what you think. Geese in a golden riffle by this morning's magical light.

24 comments:

AfromTO said...

thank you for not calling them "canadian" -always a plleasure to see the eye candy of golden light on the riffle.

Scott said...

I think the image is wonderful; thanks for sharing. It's a shame that the leaf at the top of the frame was there, but it's incidental. (Pick...pick...pick...)

I imagine that the riffle is off to the side (i.e, not the main channel of the river) because the flow is very low. I'll bet you're going to tell me, however, that even though this riffle is off to the side, the river IS very low. Fortunately, our period of low rainfall coupled with high temperatures seems to have ended, though we're still far below normal for precipitation for the year.

Grizz………… said...

AfromTO…

Hadn't thought about it—but I guess that might be something of a nationalist irritation. Especially given how some view these majestic birds.

The image is, of course, all about the light. And being so early in the morning, only that one section of stream was so illuminated.

Gail said...

HI GRIZZ - the golden promise of the day on the river with the geese about is breathtaking. The view from here is spectacular. I only wish to be with you seeing it as you do in real time, at first light. I can only sigh....
Love to you my friend
Gail
peace.....

Johanna said...

Beautiful picture. Makes me want to wade through a shallow stream myself.

Hildred and Charles said...

Lovely to see this incredible light through your eyes...there is always a reason to rise early, - besides that necessitated by beloved pets.

Penny said...

Beautiful.

Grizz………… said...

Scott…

I could have Photoshop-edited or even just cropped that leaf out…and I considered it. But it was there, and I wanted that part of the downstream area to show. Besides, I have a doubtless quirky—though firm in my own mind—sense of playing fair and square re. images. A dust spot—gone! A soda can in that riffle—zap, gone! Adjust the lighting a little here or there—not add different colors, mind you, for example make a white horse a palomino, or turn pink roses crimson—but add a stop up or tone it down…that sort of stuff, which is no different than what I used to do in the darkroom for my own b&w pix and those of countless other journalists, but is only making up for the limitations of the technology…no problem. Yet even if I knew my way around Photoshop Elements well enough to cut and paste a wood duck on this pond to that riverbank undercut there, I wouldn't. It's a matter of personal philosophy and, the way I see it, integrity. Hence…ta ad!…the vile, disrupting, confounded leaf.

I am indeed going to tell you this is the main channel. The deepest water is that broken portion just to the right of center; there MIGHT be a foot in the middle—I doubt much more. At normal late-summer pool it would two feet deep. It's difficult to see in the photo, but there's actually a drop of nearly two feet between the foreground pool (which most of the geese are facing) and the small golden pool directly behind the head of that second bird from the left. Most of the year, all these rocks are underwater. We've received some welcome rain, and it sure made an immediate difference in the plants, but the river only came up an inch or so. It is really, really low. (There is, by the way, just to give you the whole layout, about another 25-30 feet of river to the left and not visible in the shot…but all, alas, equally shallow. Plus a smaller, even shallower, channel way off to the right on the other side of the island—and though I haven't actually looked, I would imagine now dry. Which I've never seen, and frankly don't much want to see now.)

Grizz………… said...

Gail…

The river in various light can be absolutely stunning at times…as I hope this photo showed to some degree. At least I think it's beautiful light, all shot with gold and bronze. I wish you could see it in person—but at least I can share images.

Take care, be good, enjoy every day…

Grizz………… said...

Johanna…

Thank you. And hey, here, today, in this light, you could wade to your heart's desire and barely get your feet wet. Which, I might add, is something I think everyone ought to do occasionally, health permitting, regardless of age. Wading a summer river ought not to be relinquished only to kids—it's just too much fun!

Grizz………… said...

Hildred and Charles…

As a kid, I liked BEING up early, but I hated GETTING up early. If that makes sense. Now, and for some years in the past, thanks to a rather impressive collection of aches and pains, a lifelong inability (or need) to sleep more than 5-6 hours, and my fine old dog, I arise with the roosters spring through fall, and well ahead of the dawn come winter. And I'm glad it's worked out this way, actually, though I'd be even gladder to not be driven up and out by pain. Early mornings are my favorite time…the light and its interplay upon the land and water being one of the prime rewards.

Grizz………… said...

Penny…

Thank you.

Jayne said...

Just glorious how you always seem to find just the right light my friend. :c)

Jain said...

Magic, Grizz, pure magic. ('though I can't explain this never-before urge for a Mountain Dew.)

Re: Canada vs Canadian Geese... it's not a case of nationalism for me, but accuracy in nomenclature. I took a wildlife course ages ago where the instructor said he would instantly flunk us if we ever used any term but Canada goose. It stuck with me and the hairs on the back of my neck stand up whenever I hear "Canadian" geese.

Grizz………… said...

Jayne…

While I look for good light, the truth is, most of the time I just blunder upon it.

This morning I looked upriver—same plain ol' view, regular dim light…and then the goose honked from downstream: "Hey fool, look this way!"

I looked. Even with my caffeine-deprived brain I saw it was lovely golden light—but what to take a photo of? Hmmmmm? More geese honked: "Hey, dummy, photograph US!"

See, that's how I really make these shots. But you can still think it's all me if you want. :-)

Grizz………… said...

Jain…

Mountain Dew? You got a sudden Mountain Dew jones from looking at my golden light photo? Well, guess it could have been worse—I might have posted a fiery red sunset shot and you'd have dashed off to start quaffing those nasty red strawberry sodas. Aggggg!

Hey, I was just yanking AfromTO's chain a bit, having some fun with a friend. I'm with you on accuracy in nomenclature. (Yes, in spite of the fact I like common, regional, even some of those old-timey names for animals.) I guess it's possible to have a Canadian goose which might be a Canada goose, or a snow goose, or some other goose—including a Christmas goose—but Branta canadensis is strictly a Canada goose. Instant flunking sees a little harsh, though. Maybe it is a Canadian Canada goose—how would a poor student know?

AfromTO said...

hey I missed the yanking of my chain-does a spanking go along with it.
I love the leaf -they say all good art should have something odd,out of place-something to irritate in all that perfection-it makes it more interesting for the brain.

Grizz………… said...

AfromTO…

Spanking? Huh. You wish. You painter-types do have your issues…while we word pushers mostly drink—though some, like me, just hole up on a riverbank and commune with geese. (Those would, BTW, be Canada geese.)

I've heard that said re. art and the jarring bit. Don't know whether I believe it fully or not, at least for all instances and situations. But frankly, my images seldom have sufficient perfection to need worrying over inserting a discordant note. And it's maybe even worse…I looked at those leaves and thought—even though they were way out of focus—they might actually be helpful by adding depth to the view. Go figure. ;-/

AfromTO said...

hey how's the ticker?by the way.

Grizz………… said...

AfromTO…

Absolutely great. Other than once again having energy, and not being exhausted by the least exertion, I can't tell it's there. But it's ticking right along at more than twice my recent "normal" rate, and about 15 BPM more than my standard lifelong count. Don't even have a worthwhile scar to whip open my shirt and show off…though I do it anyway.

AfromTO said...

yes that's exactly how I picture you-shirtless standing in the riffle,pen and pad in one hand,camera in the other honking with the geese.

Grizz………… said...

AfromTO…

Good Lord! You must be clairvoyant…minus the pen and pad (in pocket, not hand, to better operate the camera) that's essentially me!

Robin said...

Just wondering how you are, Grizz.... ")

Grizz………… said...

Robin…

Fair-to-middlin', as my Uncle Don used to say. But more due to ennui than anything actual…or maybe I should say anything physical. I'm fine, really. Just a bit spiritually enervated. Sometimes life catches up with me and I have to recompose. I really do appreciate you noticing and asking. Thank you. And I hope you're doing well—haven't heard for awhile. :/