Category Archives: Photography

Early morning at the marsh

I was up and out dark and early this morning. Early rising has never been one of my strong points. My purpose was to be in place to take a salt marsh photo just after sunrise. Our graphics director had asked me for my help on a brochure she is producing. We had some heavy rain last night so I was a little concerned about the weather. But when the alarm went off at 5:00, I looked outside and saw stars in the sky, so I hoped for the best.

I was in place on the Diamond Causeway at 6:10 a.m. and waited for the sun to rise and the light to spill over into the salt marsh.  Here is the resulting picture. It isn’t art, but I’m pretty happy with it.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A busy day…

Today has been interesting, in two parts. This morning, we hosted a “state visit” by a group of roughly 65 VIPs, including the state Board of Regents, a bunch of university presidents and senior university system staffers. Most of these people have never been here so it was a pretty big deal.  I have been working to plan this event since mid-January and have fretted over the details and coordinating with the two other institutions in town. As it turns out, everything went very well. Everyone did what they were supposed to do and they did it well. No hitches and I heard nothing but compliments. Big load off.

Suits and dresses on the work deck. What's wrong with this picture?

Suits and dresses on the work deck. What’s wrong with this picture?

One of the cool things about my job is the opportunity to get out and take an occasional boat ride. This afternoon, I went along on one of our small skiffs to shoot some video for a promotional piece we are producing to market our research vessel.

Tough duty out on the water today.

Tough duty out on the water today.

The weather was gorgeous, roughly 80 degrees and sunny. We were out for about an hour which was just enough to sunburn my face. Duh. I did get one cool shot with my Canon point ‘n shoot camera. We frequently see dolphins around here, but it’s tough to get pictures because they don’t surface where and when you are expecting them. I did get this shot this afternoon, which was pretty pleased with.

A dolphin riding the bow wave of the R/V Savannah

A dolphin riding the bow wave of the R/V Savannah

A new camera, shoes and a lousy movie

Too much of a good thing? For the second Saturday in a row, Mrs. Poolman and I changed our plans for a dinner out because we ate too much at lunch. It’s a shame to spend money on a nice restaurant dinner when you aren’t really hungry. We need to change that pattern in the next few weeks, as we have a gift certificate at a local Greek restaurant that will expire in mid-August. Don’t want it to go to waste.

Lunch was just part of a busy Saturday. After lunch at our favorite Mexican place, we went shopping. I have been putting off buying a new digital camera for some time. I have a digital SLR that belongs to my job, but is assigned to me full-time. However, my 8-year old “point and shoot” camera finally gave up the ghost a couple of months ago. I have been doing on-line research and reading a lot of reviews. I ended up going to Best Buy and purchasing a Canon Powershot A4000. I think I will like it.

From there Mrs. P and I went shoe shopping. You have no idea how much I absolutely HATE shopping for shoes. I have gouty arthritis in one of my big toes so finding shoes that don’t torture me can be an extremely frustrating and painful experience. I will “milk” a pair of broken-in shoes long past their natural death, just to avoid having to go shop for a new pair. When I find a brand and style that work, I usually stick with it.  That is why I came home with a pair of Rockport Eureka (11-wide) casual shoes. They look amazingly like the brown pair I’ve worn to work almost every day for the past two years. Exciting, huh?

I was scheduled to read at 5:30 Mass so that didn’t leave much time left in the afternoon. I have been trying to recruit some new lectors for the Saturday evening masses. We are down to six lectors, which means our names come up every three weeks. That isn’t a problem right now, but when the fall hits, the weekend schedules become much busier.  I know Mrs. P and I will be totally occupied for at least seven Saturday evenings between Labor Day and mid-November.  I’ve asked a number of people if they would join this ministry, but so far, no takers. Ugh.

We finished off our Saturday by ordering a pizza and renting a movie. (We are SO exciting!) We thought “Wanderlust” with Paul Rudd and Jennifer Anniston looked cute. I am very glad we didn’t spend $20 to see it at a theater. If you like to watch Jennifer Anniston being herself, go ahead and waste a couple of dollars and hours of your life. Otherwise, don’t bother. The story is about a yuppie-couple (Can you still use that term?) who are forced into unemployment. On their way to live with his brother in Atlanta, they stumble onto what must be the world’s last hippie commune in North Georgia. It has an R-rating mostly for vulgarity and one nudist guy in the commune who treats the audience to repetitive full frontal shots. There is plenty of guy-nudity, but almost none of the female sort. In any case, it’s a pretty stupid film that is not well written or acted.  My recommendation – take a pass on it. Definitely keep it away from the kids!

Tomorrow, we’re off to the beach for the first time this summer.

Pictures of us

Yesterday was Mrs. Poolman’s and my 36th anniversary. I wrote a post remembering the truly bizarre circumstances surrounding our wedding in 1976. However, in the spirit of maintaining peace in the family, I had second thoughts about actually posting it. Normally, I don’t worry about offending the guilty parties,but it has been 36 years. Sorry ’bout that.

Meanwhile, I ran across this really cool collection of satellite images that are worth a glance.

Enjoy and Happy Summer!

 

Infant to 12 in under three minutes

I have some posts stacked up in the back of my brain for when I have the time to sit down and actually write something. In the meanwhile, I ran across this video featured on Huffington Post. A Dutch filmmaker, Frans Hofmeester,  has been shooting clips of his daughter since she was an infant and produced this time lapse. Very cool!

A busy week off work

We have had an interesting week thus far. Both Mrs. Poolman and I have the entire week off work.

On Monday, Mrs. P and I drove down I-95 to meet her sister and brother-in-law and our 11-year old great-niece, Christine, for lunch. Christine returned to Savannah with us. There some problems with child care over her Christmas break from school, so we invited her to visit us for one of the weeks. We ate leftovers for dinner and watched an age-appropriate movie we had rented, “Monte Carlo.” I am happy to report that, although the movie is clearly aimed towards a younger audience, it was cute and entertaining, even for us old folks.

On Tuesday, we got a late start and ate lunch before heading out. We cruised downtown Savannah for a while. Christine enjoyed some of the antique (She called them “junk.) stores – at least for awhile. Eventually, everyone’s patience wore out and we returned home for a dinner of take-out pizza, and a viewing of “The Help.” Poolboy and Girlfriend came over to watch with us, and Christine was very excited to see someone other than Mrs. P and myself. (We don’t take it personally; we understand.)

Today’s big event was ice skating. Each year at Christmas, the Savannah Civic Center creates an indoor ice skating rink for several weeks. Christine had been very excited about the prospect — until it came time to step onto the ice. Both Mrs. P and I had brief discussions with her and advised her that a “whiny brat” act does not work well with us. Christine ventured out on to the ice, and seeing that this is Savannah, she was not the only novice out there. She stuck close to the side and only fell once, with no damage.

On a personal note, I stayed up, but it was touch-and-go all the way. When I was a young teen, I was fairly good on skates. There was a skating rink within walking distance of our house. It was the “go-to” gathering place for all our classmates on Friday nights. My brother and I had season passes and probably went ice skating two to three times a week for several years. We taught our younger sisters how to skate.

Of course, that was 45 years ago, and  I haven’t been on skates in more than 20 years.  But I thought, “Hey, it’s like riding a bike, right?” Wrong! I looked and felt like a complete novice. Eventually, I got somewhat into the rhythm, but was still “jerking” all over the place. Fortunately, for me, Christine did not want my assistance. She much preferred the side-boards. The two of us flailing around together would have been a truly ugly experience.

After the ice skating, we drove over the Savannah River Bridge to visit the Savannah Wildlife Refuge.

The Savnnah National Wildlife Refuge was formerly old rice fields.

In warmer weather, this is a great place to see alligators. No such luck today. But it was a beautiful day and the drive through the refuge was very picturesque.

Mrs. P and Christine at the Wildlife Refuge.

Lots of birds, but no reptiles.

I believe this is an American Coot, but I wouldn't swear to it.

Another movie rental for tonight, and we are ordering wings for dinner. Should be a good evening.

A great day on Ossabaw Island

I had a great time on Wednesday of this week – a day trip to Ossabaw Island. Ossabaw is one of Georgia’s secluded, undeveloped barrier islands. The only practical way to reach it is by boat.

The beach

We took off from our campus at 8:30 in the morning with a group of eleven scientists and technicians for the one hour trip down the Intra-Coastal Waterway to the island.

Ossabaw Island is held by the State of Georgia as a Heritage Trust. Access is by permission only.

We had several reasons for this trip. One reason was to conduct some maintenance on the “Barrier Island Observatory.” We are part of a group of organizations that are developing an observatory network on the island. This is a series of sensors and cameras that can by accessed through the Internet. Right now there is a weather station, a water sensor at the dock and at two wells, and a camera at the dock. You can see what they pickup here.

We also had a couple of geologists who needed to dig some core samples, and a graduate student who collected Spanish moss and air samples.

I went along to take pictures and to enjoy the day.

It was great to get out of the office. Along the way, we passed the bald eagle nest on Pigeon Island.

Once on the island, we got around on the back of pick up trucks.

The causeway from the dock to the island.

The island is beautiful and peaceful, with scenes ranging from maritime forest, to salt marshes to open beaches.

Salt marsh

Dead palm trees

A dead tree -- the result of erosion.

An interesting matrix of dead wood on the beach.

Tabby former living quarters

When we first arrived, we were greeted by “Paul Mitchell,” one of the island’s pet hogs.However, unlike on my last visit to the island, we didn’t see very much in the way of wildlife. We saw only one alligator. I think part of the reason for this is that the fresh water ponds on the island are very low, so the gators aren’t close to the various roads and causeways.

No water = no alligators.

All in all, it was a great day and a lot of fun.

A fun ride!

One of the many things I really like about my job is that, from time to time, I get to do things fun or interesting. Research cruises or trips to isolated barrier islands are two examples. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to go along on a cool helicopter ride.

The science purpose of the helicopter was to observe a study looking at water flow through a salt marsh. A concentrated die was dumped into the water and then the flow of the dye was observed and measured.

Releasing the concentrated red dye.

The helicopter was a Robinson R-22.  It is a fairly small four-seater with the doors all off.

The ride.

As I sat in the back-right seat and looked past my shoulder, there was nothing but air. We climbed to 3,000 feet to get a wide view

Skidaway Island at the bottom and Wassaw Island on the horizon.

You can really see how the dye moves through the marsh.

and then zoomed down across the marsh at around 100 feet.

Part of the science team in a small boat.

All told, the flight was only around 25 minutes, but it sure made my day.

Today, it just another day in the office. Oh well, real life returns.

Wedding pictures, a good bit of history and an old acquaintence

It’s been a busy, if not particularly interesting or exciting week.

Aside from running a few errands, I spent most all of Saturday and Sunday working on my niece’s wedding pictures and wedding album. The wedding was last September, so I don’t think I am rushing things any. I took more than a thousand photos, which I narrowed down to around 450 I cropped and touched-up all 450 and posted them on Snapfish.com. Then I created an album through Snapfish.com with about 200 of them. It was fun, but very time consuming.

Earlier this week, I got a call from the boss (who was out of town) that I needed to make a quick overnight trip to Atlanta to sit in for him in a legislative committee hearing. The trip was uneventful and I wasn’t called on to answer any questions, which is a good thing. The best part was an audio book I picked up at the library and listened to for the drive — “A Voyage Long and Strange” by Tony Horowitz. (Fortunately, the title did not also describe my drive.) I love most history anyway, so this was a no-brainer for me. Horowitz examines the “lost century” most Americans never learn much about in school, from Columbus’s discovery in 1492 to the founding of Jamestown in 1607. He tells of the various Spanish explorers who visited America long before the English showed up.  He tells the tales of Columbus’s ill-fated later voyages, Coronado’s expedition through the American Southwest, DeSoto’s “burnt earth” march through the Southeast, and more.

For the second non-fiction read in a row, I encountered someone I know, or knew, or at least met once. Michael Gannon was the Catholic chaplain at the University of Florida when I was a student there. I was not a very good practicing Catholic at the time, but then-Father Gannon was a very prominent character on campus. I remember being very impressed by Gannon celebrating a very well attended outdoor Mass  in the spring of my senior year. To this day, I cannot hear the Youngbloods’ song,”Get Together” (“Come on people, now, smile on your brother…) without thinking of the Mass on the Grass.

From Florida Trend Magazine

Since then, Gannon retired from the priesthood and settled down as a historian and history professor at UF. His books on the World War II U-boat war, “Operation Drumbeat” and “Black May” are both outstanding. In this book he is profiled as “The Grinch Who Stole Thanksgiving.” In the 1980s, he was quoted in a newspaper article describing a Thanksgiving-style meal between the Spaniards at St Augustine and the local Native Americans that preceded the Pilgrim’s feast by something like 50 years.

In any case, if you have any interest in some well written American history that is missing from most texts, this book is worth the effort.

A well-spent Friday

We had an interesting day today. It started off with a meeting with our county legislative delegation. My boss was the main speaker, but I went along to carry his spear. We aren’t looking for anything special from the legislature in the session that will begin in January, but we need to hold on to the funding we have. Mostly we were there just to keep us on their radar screen.

After that, I spent the rest of the day out on the water and hiking around a couple of the local inner barrier islands.

It was a very nice day!

The project is a joint effort between our institute and the state DNR archaeology division.  We are trying to identify significant archaeological sites that may be threatened by erosion in the foreseeable future. A reporter from the Savannah newspaper went along to do a story. I joined the group to liaison with her and to take pictures for her. Not a bad way to spend a fall Friday.

It was a beautiful day, with temperatures ranging from the low 70s to the low 80s. Nice break from the office. As Mrs. Poolman said, “And you get paid for that?”

A salt marsh

We saw some nature and a couple of pretty cool archaeological sites, including a Civil War era earthen artillery battery and a 19th century bricked walled grave yard.

The graveyard

It’s weird seeing something like that on an otherwise deserted island.

I am not the most coordinated person in the world, which I demonstrated once again. As we were walking along, we came to a fallen tree across our path. Holding on to my camera, I straddled the log, sitting on it. The log was on a slant, with the downhill side to my back. Before I could swing my trailing leg over and hop off the other side, I felt myself falling backwards. Sure enough – down I went. It was like, well, falling off a log. I had dirt and leaves in my hair, but no damage except to my dignity. I fall a lot, and have gotten pretty good at it.

We did see a little wildlife. I was standing and talking with the reporter, when I saw feral hog. It was a mama with about ten little piglets. Mama was fairly large, about the size of my Labrador retriever. She heavily engaged snuffling around looking for food or whatever they do and didn’t notice us until she was about 40 feet away. I raised my arm to try to get a picture and that caught her attention. You could just see what went through her little porcine brain.

“Ohay, itshay!” (That’s pig latin for “Oh, sh_t!)

Off she went, running all the way home. We didn’t hear her, but she must have sent a message for the little pigs, because they also scurried after her.”

All together, it was a good day.

Mrs. Poolman and I are having an early dinner (Spare ribs. How appropriate?) and to bed early. The Gators have an “exhibition game” tomorrow against Florida International. Mrs. P is staying home, so I’m taking two of my Gator-fan friends to the game. We’ll be out the door at 5 am. That’s criminal for a Saturday morning, but you gotta do what you gotta do.”