Saturday, May 11, 2024 OHIO!


A young couple enjoying the Northern Ohio Auroras

We traveled north to Magee Marsh last week for our annual looks at the spring bird migration. 
    While we did see some sweet birds on their way to northern breeding grounds, we also had the great fortune to witness effects of the strongest geomagnetic storm since 2003. The Kp Index, a measurement of the strength of the the disturbances in the Earth's magnetic field, rose to 8....a sufficient measurement to view the aurora in Ohio.
    The sun launched multiple CME's (Coronal Mass Ejections) toward Earth on Wednesday, May 8th. They arrived into the Earth's magnetic field on Friday, and are expected to continue to arrive through the weekend. The results of this Earthward energy were amazing displays of the Northern Lights...visible as far south as Key Largo. 
    We were camping in Maumee Bay State Park, situated on the shores of Lake Erie. What better setting could we ask for? At dusk, we headed to the beach from our campsite. 
    There were some low clouds present, but the skies were essentially clear. Typically, when watching for an aurora, we would look northward on the horizon. As the sun set, and the skies became darker, many folks collected n the beach....all gazing north over the lake.
    I started scanning other directions and noted some light colored streaks directly overhead. I shot a couple of 1/2 second images and could see definition in the streaks. I increased my exposure time and lo and behold, Lady Aurora was dancing overhead. After alerting the nearby crowd, I spent a couple of hours watching and photographing the mesmerizing's some looks....

My initial views directly overhead.....1/2 second exposure.

Here's my image after increasing my exposure time to 2 seconds.

Some low clouds reflected the developing Auroras

The crowd on the beach oohing and aahing as the Aurora began to dance. 

The greens began to develop and become visible to the naked eye.

Thursday, April 25, 2024

Owls, Owls, Owls

 As noted in a previous post, we've been watching a Great Horned Owl nest here in Clark County. 
This week, the owlets fledged. Here's some shots of mom feeding one of the owlets a rabbit leg. She took the other leg to the owlet still in the nest. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Solar Eclipse in the Path of Totality

 Well....the long awaited and anticipated 2024 "Great American Eclipse" is here and gone.
In it's wake there are multitudes of photographic records of this amazing event. Here's our story....

Our home here in Clark County was in the "Path of Totality," meaning that the sun would be completely obscured by the moon during the event. I could shoot the same images that you see here from our deck...however, for me, part of the experience is watching others responses and also seeing the event from the landscape aspect. 
I decided to shoot from our nearby Buck Creek State Park, and spent some time earlier this year checking various locations there using the PhotoPills App. This app allowed me to visualize what the placement of the eclipse would be in different areas f the park. I ended up choosing the Buck Creek Marina....a location that ha served us well for many other sky events. I shot the 2017 Partial Eclipse there in the exact same spot that we used yesterday. 
We arrived at the Marina early, anticipating large crowds. The crowds didn't materialize as we thought.....although there were plenty of folks enjoying the astronomical show. As totality was reached, we could hear folks all over the Marina, Beach and even across the lake at the Visitor's Center cheering. 

We were shooting the eclipse with our Olympus gear as well as with the Vaonis Vespera smart scope. You'll be able to see the difference in the totality images. The Vespera tracked the eclipse throughout...shooting an image every 2 seconds. Here's a video clip of a few of the 6,000 images from the Vespera. 

Here's one of only a couple of totality images caught with the Vespera....note: user error. I got too excited and removed the solar filter before disabling the safety and the scope shut down. Oh well, better than nothing!

And the other image. This one shows Bailey's Beads....the effects of the sun's light reflecting off on the moon's craters.

In comparison, here's a totality shot form the OM-1 and 100-400 with solar filter.

As noted, one of our reasons for shooting at the park was the ability to see others enjoying the eclipse.

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Immature Eagle at Old Reid

 An interesting Eagle experience today.... Friend & fellow photographer Bill tipped us on an Immature Bald Eagle at Old Reid just as we were heading out the door this morning. So, of course we headed that way. The Eagle was brunching when we arrived and we shot some images (I've blurred the prey details). When the eagle finished brunch, it roosted in an Old Reid tree for a bit and posed for pics. We left and did a quick look at Buck Creek State Park. On the way home, we decided to drive through Old Reid again. The Eagle was perched on the edge of the pond, less than 100 feet from some anglers who were catching Crappies. It was keeping an eye on them! When they tossed a small Crappie on the walkway, the Eagle immediately flew over to it, grabbed it, and began munching. While it was pretty cool to see, this interaction with humans isn't a good thing. Unfortunately, wildlife that becomes habituated and begs for food from humans can lead to their demise. The Eagle obviously has been used to getting handouts prior to today. It was interesting to watch, though. It's the closest we've ever been to a wild Bald Eagle.

Sunday, March 17, 2024


I've been watching a Great Horned Owl in a cavity since mid-February. 
I wasn't sure whether is was a nesting female, but after my encounter yesterday....we're going to have Owlets! 
I say that because yesterday, the female was in the cavity, and in a nearby tree was another adult Great Horned Owl. It's now apparent that the "watcher" is the male, who keeps watch over the female that is likely sitting on eggs or possibly minding Owlets. 
Here's some pics since first sighting the roost last month.

Waterfowl at CJ Brown Reservoir

 Yesterday we spent the morning at the CJ Brown Marina. We had stopped there the previous evening on our usual drive and noticed a couple of large rafts of Red Breasted Mergansers just outside of the Marina. In past years, the Mergansers have ventured into the Marina and have put on the great show as they feed off of fish in the warmer waters inside the Marina boundaries. 
So, with that n mind, we headed out before sunup. Sure enough, the Mergansers were fishing in the cove on the the north side of the marina. 
Once the sun provided good light, we capture some images of them and other migrating waterfowl. Here's some looks....

Pair of Red Breasted Mergansers

Merganser lost his fish

Bonaparte's Gull stealing fish

Male Horned Grebe

Female Horned Grebe