» Winnie Dispatches from the Potomac

Words and Images from Ed Felker

Posts tagged “Winnie

Seven.

winnieriver

I asked her what she wanted to do this evening for her birthday.
She thought for a second and asked, “Anything? Whatever I want?”
“Of course,” I said. “You only turn seven once.”
Then she told me quietly, what she wanted to do more than anything else, was to wade up to her chest in the river, and stand there until the sun went down.
Who am I to judge? On my seventh birthday I asked for meatloaf.
“Let’s go,” I said. And we did.
I brought a toy to throw in case she got bored, but she didn’t.
After a while she turned to me and said, “In rivers, the water that you touch is the last of what has passed and the first of that which comes; so with present time.”
“Wow,” I said. “Did you just come up with that?”
“I’m a dog, you idiot,” She said. “da Vinci. Read a book.”
We laughed and laughed.
Then we both turned back to the river, and watched until the sky and the water were the same color. And then we went home.


2014, My Year in Photos

DSC_1518

2014 was a good year, photographically. I took a landscape photography workshop and learned a lot, I had a few things published here and there, I experimented more than usual and I made an effort to really get to know my camera and its capabilities. I take a lot of photos, and my first cut tends to be about forty images, but nobody wants to view forty images. By the time I cut that down by about half, sometimes interesting patterns start to appear. This year, out of the final 24 shots, half of them feature water, including the one above, taken at Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay. A tripod was used in six of the photos, by far the most yet. And this year features my first GoPro shot in my Best Of list. So, I hope you enjoy this glimpse at my year. I had a lot of fun living and photographing it.

The shot below was taken very near the last one, later that same morning.

bayboat

I continue to try to experiment and improve with low light photography. I captured a lot of deer at dawn, this photo was taken through the windshield in my driveway.

2

I’ve been going to the Preakness for about twenty years, so it was a fun experience to have press credentials for this year’s event. It was hard to choose a favorite shot of Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner California Chrome, but I keep going back to this one. Taken after the race, surrounded by throngs of fans and photographers, this horse just seemed to bask in the attention. My story and photographs about the Preakness just came out in the December/January issue of Virginia Sportsman magazine.

chrome

Monkey doesn’t like stones in the water. They all need to be removed, one at a time.

DSC_0088

Regular readers of this blog know that Monarch butterflies were a very special part of my summer. I watched and photographed as this Monarch emerged from its chrysalis, only noticing later when I was editing the images that I had also captured a tiny spider whose web all of a sudden contained an unexpected guest.

DSC_0743

I took hundreds of shots of seeds floating in the air for a blog post about noticing nature’s little things. Almost all of them were no good, but I only needed one!

DSC_1032

We get a lot of different turtles around our property. I spent some time with this cool fellow.

DSC_1391

Hiking near Calvert Cliffs, MD, my wife walked into an inchworm hanging from a branch above the path. Her delicate returning of the worm to safety on a nearby leaf became one of my favorites of the year.

DSC_1842

Turkeys gather on the path ahead, C&O Canal Towpath, Maryland.

DSC_3384

Photographing sporting events is pretty far outside my comfort zone, but I had a blast shooting this championship game for my friends, whose boys play on the victorious team.

DSC_3725

I include this image because I was astonished by my camera’s low light capability. This is a hand held shot with a lot less light than it looks like here. Potomac River, looking from Virginia across to Maryland.

DSC_4113

My favorite image from the landscape photography workshop in the Canaan Valley, WV area. I had a great time, made some new talented friends like Risha, and learned a lot from Martin, Randall and Todd.

DSC_5615

The next two shots feature a great new Werner paddle I bought this year, and I’m very proud that Werner is using these images on their web site here and here.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Shortly after the landscape workshop I tried my new knowledge at Shenandoah National Park. This is the Upper Rose River in Madison County, VA.

DSC_6201

I brought my good camera along on quite a few kayak floats this summer. On this day I hoped to get a good sunrise shot. That sunrise didn’t produce anything interesting, but after the sun came up, this scene unfolded in front of me.

DSC_7530

This is the same Monarch pictured earlier eclosing from her chrysalis, drying her wings in the sun.

gatemonarch

Sunset, Potomac River, Harpers Ferry, WV.

hferry

I visited Solomon’s Island, MD twice this year and thoroughly enjoyed this quaint, beautiful and fun town.

IMG_0038

Team Orange at Rose River Farm on a beautiful summer day.

petvalufelker

I was out early one morning hoping to photograph a big buck I had seen the previous morning while jogging on the C&O Towpath. I got stuck waiting for a train and spotted this scene, I had to get out and photograph it.

platformfallfinn

Early in the year this Sharp Shinned Hawk paused on our bird feeder while hunting our regular feeder visitors. Hawks gotta eat, too.

sharp

And finally, one of my very favorites of the year, a GoPro shot of Winnie in the front of the kayak as we float down the Potomac River near our house. This photo was published in an article I wrote about kayak fishing for Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine.

DCIM100GOPRO

You can view my favorite photos of 2013 here, 2012 here, and of 2011 here. Thanks as always for stopping by from time to time.


Happy Birthday, Winnie!

We drove hundreds of miles through the torrential rains of Hurricane Ike to an otherwise quiet corner of Western Illinois. Our destination: Seraphim Kennels, and an eight week old female Hungarian Wirehaired Vizsla with a yellow ribbon around her neck. On our return trip we joined the storm for a few more stops on its Ransack the Midwest Tour, dodging flooded highways and searching for hotels in towns with no electricity before we were finally able to put Ike in our rear view mirror somewhere in southern Ohio. Seraphim My Ride’s Here, or “Winnie,” was calm and quiet throughout the fairly tense ordeal of getting home. She didn’t want to pee in the rain — a preference she retains to this day. So I carried her to a grassy spot and held the umbrella over her until she did. Sandy snapped this photo of us returning from a flooded patch of lawn behind a gas station, and it remains one of my favorite photos of her.

DSCN0409

Like a lot of photos, it has special meaning not just because of the image, but because it makes me remember how I felt at the time. I was nervous and excited, trying to process the huge responsibility I was undertaking while not entirely convinced I could even safely get back to Virginia through the storm. But as I held her close under an umbrella battered with rain that seemed to come down in streams rather than drops, I could feel her warmth and it calmed my nerves. She had just been taken away from the only people and dogs she ever knew, and was already far away with strange people in a strange car traveling through violent conditions, yet I sensed her trust in me. I don’t know if you have ever had anything trust you more than you trust yourself, but let me tell you, it’s a motivator.

4

Sixteen hundred nerve wracking miles later, we were home with our new addition. And every day since I have tried to earn the trust she gave me when she had no reason to. She was a good puppy and took to obedience training extremely well. Why, in a matter of just a couple weeks we took her to her first of our town’s Octoberfest celebrations. She might not remember them all, but she hasn’t missed one yet!

1

She spent some time in the field and has pointed, fetched and returned birds for me. But she does this because I ask her to, not because she likes it. She hates the gun, actually, so she is not a bird dog.

5

She earned her UKC championship at six months of age, but she only did it because I asked her to. She didn’t like being around a lot of other dogs, so she doesn’t have to do that anymore either.

3

No, from a very early age, and without a conscious decision, it just came to be that there was a separate set of rules for Winnie. Somehow, seemingly at birth, she had already earned the special treatment that is usually reserved for either that older dog who has proven himself in the field, or a dog who once saved your life. If all the dogs are sent outside on a hot summer day, Winnie stays in the air conditioning.

6

She hates the cold but loves the snow. She loves beer, lying on her side in cool grass, and toys with ropes attached.

7

She loves being around water but isn’t crazy about swimming. This makes her a wonderful kayaking companion, as she is quite content getting paddled around while she watches fish and birds and leaves floating in the river.

DCIM100GOPRO

She’s content being alone. She’s always been an observer of things, and I’ve caught her doing it for long spans of time. I used to think she was just staring at nothing. But then I realized she’s doing what I do, she’s not looking at nothing. She’s looking at everything.

8

Which is one of many reasons she is my once in a lifetime dog. Neither of us minds being alone, but we genuinely enjoy each other’s company. And she’s easy to be around. She seems to sense when I need to sit in still silence, or to lean on her a bit, and she’s always there for playful, happy times too. If these things sound familiar, well, you’ve probably described your best friend too.

9

Happy 6th Birthday to Winnie. Whatever it is that made me deserve this dog, I haven’t done yet. But I’ll keep trying.


%d bloggers like this: