Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

March 12, 2009

Can’t get there from here

Filed under: behavior, Birds, composition, entropy, favorite places, light, Non Birds, style, technique — richditch @ 11:37 pm
Great Blue Heron in rookery tree

Great Blue Heron in rookery tree

Photography is my primary method of reducing stress in my life as it gets me away from the problems and out in the natural world.

When I got up this morning I decided I’d try my luck on the other side of Phoenix instead of making another visit to my usual spots in the East Valley. I set off a bid before dawn so rush hour traffic wasn’t too bad yet, and I got off Interstate 10 as soon as I got around South Mountain onto a less busy surface street. My destination was Tres Rios near 91st Avenue and Baseline Road about 20 miles total distance from the house. Tres Rios is a City of Phoenix restoration area along the Salt River – not big but a place where Least Bittern breeds, Black-bellied Whistling Ducks sometimes can be found, and even the occasional Bald Eagle shows up. Since I hadn’t been there in over a year I looked forward to poking around for a couple of hours.

But I hadn’t counted on two things: the massive changes to the area from the subdivision surge that is now in collapse along with the economy, and water in the usually dry Salt River. The housing boom and bust has taken its toll – the farm fields are mostly gone (along with the peace and quiet), and the roads are ripped up in many places. But I could still navigate through the construction sections even if it was taking longer than I planned.

Then I met the second issue – water in the river. As an easterner it took me a while to adjust to desert conditions and accept that rivers usually don’t have water flowing in them, that riverbeds fill up  with shrubs and small trees growing in them where rock and gravel operations haven’t been set up. But since we’ve had some decent rains this winter there’s been enough water running in the Salt that many major riverbed crossings are closed (its a lot cheaper to just run the blacktop right down into the dry bed than to build a real bridge across). So, I couldn’t reach Tres Rios from Baseline as I usually do because the river was running between Baseline and the entrance.

So, I went back and north across the river on a real bridge and tried from the north side only to find 91st Avenue barricaded a mile or two north of Tres Rios. I gave up and started for home.

This Great Blue Heron was photographed in a previous year at Tres Rios where there is a small rookery. I like the shot for the strong graphics and bold colors and unusual body position of the heron. This shot is a lot different from my other typical photos of this popular photographic subject. And to my eye, at least, the image could be interpreted as showing that the heron is having trouble reaching its intended destination as well.

I did take a couple of shots on my way home, and this Dead End sign expresses my feelings at the time. I’ve used a layer mask in Photoshop to keep the color of the sign while suppressing the color everywhere else. This is simply my way of expressing the gloomy way I felt this morning.

Dead End Sign

Dead End Sign

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