Intimate Nature

Nature always shows up, looking at you with their inquisitive eye, you smile, pausing as you inhale their beauty and snap away hoping to capture the moment. This is what wildlife photographers do. Was trained by the best and fell in love with my mentors. Their vision, this is what I was attracted to. Eric would share about the importance of “natural light” not to conform to the worlds regurgitation’s manufactured by photo shop.  George would say; “Its quite difficult to produce a tack sharp image with a 400mm lens which does not have an image stabilizer at 1/200s, but you did your best by choosing ISO3200 at fully open aperture”  Didn’t quite understand what he was sharing back then.  However kept at it……..could sense the pull tho didn’t understand the technological aspect. Knew eventually it would balance out and thank God for patient mentors.

I’ve played with different exposures and do like the artistic quality one can create however there is nothing like hitting the concrete with eyeball to eyeball shots.

Pure essence is something which resonates from the palate of the photo to the eyes of the viewer. “Don’t ever lower your standards Brenda, they are real, authentic in every way”.

I pause and a tear streams down one side of my face. It’s been tough living and serving in a world full of striving and competition…..abuse.  It was even sited in my graduate studies; “Coercion” as a management technique. Literally saw this practiced and when all is said and done, like my beautiful brother stated; “KEEP IT REAL ”   Authenticity is a gift.

Some will attempt to steal stating;  “Nothing is authentic” as they  incorporate your ideas for their benefit, barren and now desecrate your memory as if you never existed. They lie to themselves and seek worldly gain. Ah yes, their theft was real, and now they live a life of contractions.  Your presence magnified their weakness. It’s best they imagine you never existed so to wipe their guilty conscious clean. Don’t let their compromise label you. Dust their karma from your feet,  stay balanced and follow your heart

I hear this message and know its for someone to read and know just how special they are.

As this day unfolds the light reflected reveals richness even in the wood. the wind parts feathers on the chest of a Loggerhead Shrike, one can even see his sharp nails and beak. I spy a fluffy flower near a floating lily pad and a snake cooling off in a stream. The moss hanging from the Oaks looks as if it’s waving hello.  All anxiety, concerns and heartache sifts through and is expelled as tears. Who could believe such beauty is all around us?! A pink bird with a spoon for a beak, comical looking and to think never knew these existed. The Osprey diving for his meal, the alligator sunning himself, flowers never seen before. 

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Can’t wait to publish these images, it’s so exciting to see, yet, if I couldn’t share then all would be lost somehow.  Now I understand God’s heart and love for man, created in HIS IMAGE wow . . .love on my friends, love on.

Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. ~Khalil Gibran

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On the Trail

My mom came to join me on a Trek. She is my biggest fan, reads all my blogs, asks to see my photos and that’s a mom for you!

When she reads this blog she will have the genuine knowledge of; “on the trail”, the sounds, experiencing the bug bites and atmospheric changes.  A component which is difficult to encapsulate with words.

It’s the reason I love photography. Catching the portals of heaven as they open, hearing the sacred messages and to think its all around us!

Yes it’s a gift to hear and to see. And it’s an honor to share, especially with the one who birthed me. After leaving the cosmos I became flesh in HER WOMB!  The thought boggles my mind. And then she breaks my contemplation with; “LOOK THERE’S ONE I SEE IT I SEE IT”  Almost missed it as it was set back deep in the brush. Funny looking creature this Sand Fidler crab!  We quietly got out of the car and I snapped away before it disappeared deep in his hole.

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Not until I caught this alien looking creature tho~! Fascinating indeed, the large second claw of the male fiddler crab is known as a secondary sexual characteristic and is used to attract a mate during the breeding season as well as to protect territories. The male crab will stand by the entrance to the burrow waving the larger claw in an effort to attract a female. DANG!

Found out that birds also like crabs. On the beach was a lone Yellow Night Heron who I was able to witness swallow this creature WHOLE! Who would think they were able to do such a feat!

These birds will hunt and right before striking wag their tail butts back and forth, almost like a cat! Then compress their beaks like a vice, chomping down then clip up and swallow!! Sometimes the crab won’t be fully dead and attempt to crawl back up and out their throats! NATURE IS FASCINATING! I understand the joy of photo journalists and it’s a privilege to observe and document such adventures! With my friends approval I share this experience with you all, she was able to film the moment in totality! It was worth almost getting heat stroke! :)

Night Heron With Crabby Patty Breakfast – 08/10/2014 from Betsy Stibal on Vimeo.

Yes it was a glorious day, we witnessed a great big Osprey fly by with a glistening fish in their talons.  Mom had said “lets sit here awhile” we were vising Pelican Island when this bird appeared and flew right past us.

Osprey’s only hunt and eat fish, unlike Hawks who will eat anything that moves! Understand the lovers of Ornithology; study of birds. Yes nature is amazing. Capturing glimpses like this A GIFT!

It’s difficult to close this blog, so many images to choose from however friends and family are waiting. It’s Labor Day and I don’t have to work!~ It’s time for celebrating with friends. However difficult to pull myself away from these images, and yes a JOY to be able to share with you all. Have a blessed day my friends and enjoy your families….and flight.

 

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Free Yourself

The beauty of nature stills me, lets me get out of my head and plunge deep into my heart

The place where I came from, where knowing was being so immensely aware of the delicate balance of love and harm to any living thing was unheard of;  thought was spun pure.  All one has to do is dip their antennae into the cloud of knowing and receive truth

So many incredible sights to behold this day. The aroma’s so scrumptious, was that lavender or the scent from a melaleuca tree? We even have guides who come to instruct!

However thoughts of “proper technique” and the heat of the moment, may dampen one into self gratification and once on those water’s distraction propels. Yes, the original reason for seeking such an adventure is squelched into oblivion.

Yet there is hope. Always hope, and as we have read many times before, the greatest of these is LOVE. All one has to do is choose, to respond within the realm of Grace, to free themselves from their “man made” bars.

“You’ll have bad times, but it’ll always wake you up to the good stuff you weren’t paying attention to”   Robin Williams

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Bird Impact

Above all else, guard your heart,
    for everything you do flows from it.

Ever spend time in the outdoors and feel rejuvenated?  Listening to the beating waves of the ocean, seeing the spray of water glistening in the light, giggles from innocent laughter of children enjoying daylights presentations, yes, sparkling stars on a moonlit night!

Can you remember the last time you laughed? Felt joy? Do you remember why?

Was thinking about this the other day when my bird, a Congo African Grey, was just chatting away. Certain birds are amazing imitators of speech. Yoshi is just this, love how he laughs, he seems so happy. And then, not sure what he’s thinking about he’ll come out with this guttural voice and he almost sounds possessed. Of course he will probably continue voicing these “sayings” because he gets robust laughter from  visiting adults when they hear his repertoire.

“He said a swear word Mommy”  “BAD BIRD YOSHI POTTY MOUTH GO  IN TIME OUT RIGHT NOW” 

Yoshi would get skinny, ruffle his feathers and stare at this talking child.  Thinking ever so quietly; “Wonder when he will repeat any of THIS scenario?”  I can’t help but giggle  and immediately hear a miniature echo of my voice.

These Red Tailed Hawk pictures were taken yesterday right outside my window, the place where our bird Yoshi was preening himself. Looked into the tree and there he was as big as could be, almost like he was part of the family!

Nature photographer’s live for these “suddenly” moments.   I leapt for my camera and scared my parrot right off his perch.  Feathers floating in the air he landed on a nearby pillow, looked at me and said;  “You alright?”  

Yoshi and this Red Shouldered Hawk are both highly intelligent. One is wild and the other “domesticated“.   One attempts to communicate with this said human, the other stares at her, however his presence impacts me.   I am silenced.  Joy wells up yet again.

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Our Precious Grandaughter MILA!

A Fuzzy Expectation UPDATE 2014

Ever wonder how expectations evolve or are even conceived?! It’s like an urge, familiar and cherished. Everyone has them but just like a laugh, the sound is being launched from different platforms. A progression where a thought is created, built up and finally achieved.

One may desire a lover, friend, home, baby, new career, a job…, travel, lose weight, gain weight, debt free, understanding…or maybe a new pet. Today my concentration is on the latter…A Fuzzy Expectation. And just like any of the above listed, a desire and knowing is involved in the whole process. Hence expectations are conceived and the seed takes root.

Meet TOBY (God is good)

Toby’s first collar

Learning to play safely

Bigger collar

Ever notice how expectations evolve in three’s? Just like expectations, scientists are still not sure what an atom is made up of, however we do know about three parts; protons, neutrons an electrons. We perceive our universe to have three spatial dimensions with earth being the third planet in the solar system. We hear through three semi circular canals in our ears. Also when experiencing an orgasm, another result of great expectations fulfilled, one may see a burst of white light. But there are three primary hues making up this light; red, green and blue. So even vision is “omne trium perfectum”.

During Toby’s maturation another heartbeat emerged within this family!

Meet MILA (Highly favored, Miracle)

We find expectations evolve without much help from us. The only needed additive is a loving atmosphere. Everything else kinda attracts itself for the lessons to be learned so to live within the boundaries of truth.

And someone to lean on in times of trouble

and then came third fuzzy in the most literal form; please meet Ms. Hermione

HERMIONE (travels)

and the story of A Fuzzy Expectation evolves on in all of our lives. May we never forget the end of the story. There is no end…

 
The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives.   Albert Einstein
UPDATE ONE YEAR TO THE DAY LATER!!! :0)
UPDATE 2O13
MILA IS 3

UPDATE 2014 MILA IS 4

Toby is still TOBY and Hermoine has had two litters of lovable kittens!! Let me share their growth :) awesome family growing strong!!  And MILA got her birthday ride AGAIN!

I look at the growth over the years and tear up. SO precious!!! Knowing Toby is getting very old in doggy years, so is
Hermoine in kitty years. One day Mila will have to say goodbye and her lil heart will know loss. Not now though, no not
now and as I tear up here thinking of all the ones who have gone before me, think of how my precious family my heart overflowing in gratitude. So thankful one day we will ALL be together again, all my pets, the family I had to lose YES one day we WILL all be together REJOICING and to my dying day we will continue to REJOICE in ALL that Our Precious Lord has given us.



Every day is a gift if only we will open our eyes and see. Father help my friends and all who read this know Your intimacy, Your love Your abundant care for us. Amen

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This Day

Traveled to Viera Wetlands the other day and lo and behold it was closed. These trails are different from what one is use to down south.  This wetland is surrounded by a dirt road so it’s great for the wheel chair bound as they drive around and observe nature from their air conditioned car.  However if it rains heavily the day before they close the route as a car may get stuck.

So what did I do? Hiked around the area on foot and almost passed out from the heat! It was worth it as breathtaking beauty was everywhere.

Saw one brave soul on a bike and this guy decided to fly in and take a look at us. Yes he was watching him and me perty down closely.

Birds are fascinating. They look right through you. Thankful I wasn’t a threat and my approach didn’t disturb them.

Loved this cute basking Anhinga and lil Tri Color Heron as he fluffed himself up in the Sun. They too were enjoying the gift of daylight on their body.

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Wild butterflies, dragonfly’s and birds in flight. What more could one ask for? Yes, I was in Heaven

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Eyes

Yup you have to have it to see them,  vision is a gift,  understanding a virtue  and every time we walk in nature a moment is birthed and sometimes a message pierces our heart.

 “If I paint a wild horse, you might not see the horse… but surely you will see the wildness!”  ― Pablo Picasso

Been taken out of some environments which weren’t healthy for me. A friend recently stated; “You were sent for a reason” and it was about a totally different subject matter, however her words struck me and the proverbial chord was now echoing in my heart.  Was in the now,  not looking back or even concerned about tomorrow,  yes,  a miracle indeed!

When my father died,  my mom was exposed to some elements of the harshest kind and one totally understood her loss.  Death has a way of doing this and though we know it truly will touch every human being,  sometimes we live like it shan’t.

When the husband of my youth left me,  the shock was appalling.  Never visualized my life with out his physical presence next to me.  His sensuous nature was all consuming and he plunged deep,  who else could master such love? It’s then one learns the here and now is an illusion of sorts.  Every time I looked into my children’s eyes I saw the promise,  the hope, the transfiguration of a love so real,  a memory never to be stripped away. It didn’t matter about our own personal weaknesses for radical forgiveness was in motion

This last year has been interesting.  People have been inviting me to film with them, souls with similar passions, “angels on earth“.  These sisters and brothers with the same Love I have being in nature.  Some are full fledged Ornithologists,  humble and educating.  Others lonely and frail and one a mighty saint.  Each has their story,  each so translucent and wonderfully made. The human capacity to love is outrageous!

When on a trek in nature all your senses are ready to capture the moment. You are keenly observing every leaf, branch,  every ripple of water or shaking grass.  Patiently scanning you see,  even when it’s quite dark!

And you find, after the rain is when many seek the sun . . . so to be able to soar again

Three days after my dad died I had a dream. In that dream he appeared to me, he came out of a blizzard, white blinding crystalized snow, so vividly he came,  onto a back porch where I greeted him and he shared how he was being taught by Archbishop Sheen “how to draw a straight line” thinking it was an infantile statement  he grabbed my hand and there was a pencil in it and he put his hand on top of mine to guide me, to also draw a straight line.  Immediately I knew what the plumb line of righteousness was.

The here and there were a reflection of the whole, in an instant I knew what was meant by; “The eye through which I see God is the same eye through which God sees me; my eye and God’s eye are one eye, one seeing, one knowing, one love.”  ― Meister EckhartSermons of Meister Eckhart

Now to trust the Hand that is Guiding me.

 

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