Terrifying and Wonderful

On evening photo walks, I tend to follow the same path on which I walk the dogs, counterclockwise as seen from above, mostly out of habit. The first thing I found were these overgrown Virginia creeper vines on the backyard fence.
On evening photo walks, I tend to follow the same path on which I walk the dogs, counterclockwise as seen from above, mostly out of habit. The first thing I found were these overgrown Virginia creeper vines on the backyard fence.

“For you life is a long trip
Terrifying and wonderful
Birds sing to you at night
The rain and the sun
The changing seasons are true friends
Solitude is a hard won ally
Faithful and patient…”
~Henry Rollins

This week our patch of the world is looking especially green and healthy. In it, I walk my dogs, trim branches, mow, and, if there is time and the light looks inviting, grab a camera.

One of my favorite focal lengths is 85mm. In fact, not counting zoom lenses that pass through the 85mm focal length, I own three 85mm lenses. The one I grabbed for this walk in the pasture was the 85mm f/2.0 Nikkor of 1980’s vintage, a wonderful lens with virtually no vices. It’s sharp, bright, light, and is so well made that just holding it in my hands reminds me why I love cameras and lenses.

This was the lens combo I grabbed for my evening pasture walk: the Nikon D7100 with the 85mm f/2.0 Nikkor on it.
This was the lens combo I grabbed for my evening pasture walk: the Nikon D7100 with the 85mm f/2.0 Nikkor on it.

Last week I found a largish water snake in the back yard. To me, snakes are beautiful and very helpful in keeping nature in balance, and the only time I ever destroy a snake is if I think it is venomous or threatening my neighbor’s chickens.

A lot of people are afraid of snakes, but this one, probably a common watersnake, is doing its job controlling the rodent population. I would rather have him in the shed than mice.
A lot of people are afraid of snakes, but this one, probably a common watersnake, is doing its job controlling the rodent population. I would rather have him in the shed than mice.
It's nice to see Indian paintbrush in the pasture. It was my wife Abby's favorite flower.
It’s nice to see Indian paintbrush in the pasture. It was my wife Abby’s favorite flower.
The wild blackberry bramble at the back of the property grows bigger each year. These blackberries are starting to ripen.
The wild blackberry bramble at the back of the property grows bigger each year. These blackberries are starting to ripen.
I have cherry, plum and peach trees just south of the house by the garden, and this year it looks like I'll have quite a few peaches. Mine aren't ripe yet, but my neighbor's are just now ripening.
I have cherry, plum and peach trees just south of the house by the garden, and this year it looks like I’ll have quite a few peaches. Mine aren’t ripe yet, but my neighbor’s are just now ripening.
My neighbors have this gorgeous great pyrenees / mastiff named Oscar who loves my dogs and follows us around when I walk them. Oscar looks especially majestic in this patch of black-eyed Susans.
My neighbors have this gorgeous great pyrenees / mastiff named Oscar who loves my dogs and follows us around when I walk them. Oscar looks especially majestic in this patch of black-eyed Susans.

At the end of the evening, I came across a large tarantula. Despite a lizard-brain, visceral fear of spiders, I know these, like snakes, are part of a healthy ecosystem, so I shooed him out of the yard into the pasture.

This is an example of athe Texas brown tarantula, also known as Oklahoma brown tarantula or Missouri tarantula (Aphonopelma hentzi). We didn't shoot it; the gun barrel is held up for scale.
This is an example of the Texas brown tarantula, also known as Oklahoma brown tarantula or Missouri tarantula (Aphonopelma hentzi). We didn’t shoot it; the gun barrel is held up for scale.
Rose-of-Sharon is a beautiful, easy-to-grow shrub that I never get tired of photographing.
Rose-of-Sharon is a beautiful, easy-to-grow shrub that I never get tired of photographing.

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