Photobombing and the Far Side

Well, I looked up this word “photobomb” and I was right. This wasn’t a word before, say, 2001. Developing film was just too expensive to tolerate some idiot jumping into your picture, bombing one of your precious 24 photos per roll.

Nowadays, everyone snaps a photo of their lunch, so who cares if picture seventeen of fifty eight of the same thing is bombed. Hysterical! Amusing at least!

For some reason, the idea of photobombing in my mind is connected to the cartoons of Gary Larson, who created some of the greatest single panel visual jokes in modern history, entitled as a group “The Far Side”.  Many of the cartoons feature animals in a human situation with an ironic twist related to their species characteristics. I am sure you remember him.  His career encompassed most of our late teens and young adulthood, generally a less serious time of life, so perhaps I was inclined to laugh more.

Well, actually I looked up a bunch of them on line and they are still very very funny.

I can’t reproduce them here, so I’ll have to tell and not show. Apparently Mr. Larson is distressed by seeing them used all over the internet without his permission. Fair enough.

In any case,  I  find myself especially amused by the bird  themed cartoons.  A duck bringing chicken soup to his indisposed duck friend tucked into bed, and saying “It’s no one we know”.  Two birds driving a Cadillac, one complaining of the sun and her “migration headache”.   Birds human-watching, with binoculars and maps.


It was hard not to think of the Larson cartoons when I took this photograph:DSCN1522.JPG

This bird, in true Larson-esque fashion, believes in his heart of hearts that if he stands very very very still and sticks his beak up in the air, he will be mistaken for grass.

“Point your beak up straighter Jeffrey! Your sister really looks like grass, try to be more like her!”

One of the  problems with this bird is that he SOUNDS (and I do say “he”) like a belching walrus when springtime arrives, which sort of gives away the “look like some grass” strategy, in my mind.  Of course I am not a predator of this bird,  but consider that another animal might be. Will the predators overlook some grass that sounds like a belching walrus?  I have some doubt about that. Maybe the risk is worth it for the right gal.

“Oh Jeffrey, every time you go by that girl’s family nest you give away your position! Do you expect to LIVE to reproduce?”

In case you were wondering, this bird is called the American Bittern. I have no idea why and haven’t googled it.

Then there are the Far Side reminders that are a side effect of my limited photo taking experience.

A personal challenge for me as I venture into bird photography has been getting more than one species in a photo. Somehow this goal reflects a personal photo-bio-diversity that I want, or maybe I am biting off more than I can chew, not an unfamiliar tendency in my life. This early effort below resulted in what can only be described as a Far Side cartoon brought to life.

DSCN0696 2.jpg

“Barbara! Barbara! Did you get my picture with EVIE EGRET? IN the SAME PHOTO?!! OH MY GOD!”

Damn photobomber! The nerve!


Birds and not much about flight mechanics

Well it’s been awhile, and most of that time has been ridiculously spent preparing my home for the next owner. Why work so hard for someone you’ll never know?I have a ridiculous amount of resentment regarding the fact that THINGS WEAR OUT whether or not you use them. But the carpet was certainly used, and the oven.

Home repair is another full time job even if YOU DON”T DO THE WORK YOURSELF.

Anyway, boring. Everyone does it.

In the in between spaces I’m trying to get over my disappointment with humanity and their dwellings by socializing more with my oldest living relative, my horse, and with BIRDS, the descendants of the most awesome creatures, ever..Dinosaurs.

Birds are a-okay. They are the living dinosaurs.RSCN1087.JPG

I mean what is this? They say it’s a heron, but isn’t it a pterodactyl?

I starting looking at birds when my daughter and I met up in Florida for a trip. There was some dry land back then in Florida, in the Spring of one-seven, and we took a look around the Everglades. We saw some interesting birdsDSCN9670.JPG

Can you believe it? I took this photo with my silly little camera. It’s an osprey.DSCN9680.JPG

This is my best picture of a roseate spoonbill, AKA pink dinosaur. I mean come on. That is a pink dinosaur.

Then I thought, well, maybe I don’t need to mourn the dinosaurs. Maybe they are right here.

I’m sure there’s some connection here to the physics of flight for our blog continuity, but my astronautical engineering is more than a little shaky.  What I know so far is that some birds are super fliers, some are just okay, and some are not able to fly at all. I like perched birds. I don’t have a good camera for flying birds. You might have noted that with the pterodactyl photo.

I have also learned that humans wreck things for birds (what a shocking surprise) and some of them are very clever and learn how to hide from us or get away from us. Good for them. I’m all for birds evading homo sapiens and his arsenals. Ironically, if you are a  member of the hostile homo S. only hoping to catch a glimpse, you must adopt the tricks of the hunter by hiding yourself and “shooting” pictures. For example, in this photo the sandhill cranes are pretty much hidden.DSCN0739.JPG

On the other hand, some birds take a counter phobic approach, i.e. accept reality and the total dominance of humans.  These not so rare members of the bird family know which side the Wonderbread is buttered on. You better get a good photo, they practically pose for you.


In case you think I never got a better photo of the cranes, I’ll give you this one:RSCN0781.JPG

Which suggests I can both hide and use the Zoom function on the camera, I didn’t want you to think I can’t run and hide. Or just hide.

My last observation for today relates more to human behavior than bird behavior. Watching birds is an obsessive habit. You can tell that by noting that people interested in birds do a lot of counting of bird species so they can say with authority how many different types of birds they have laid eyes on. These people (and I am becoming one of them, I fear) are only encouraged by professional ornithologists to keep up this habit because it provides precious data about how many birds we haven’t yet managed to kill or run out of town or woodland areas. I have officially counted 41 species as of today myself. I’ve seen more, but it’s unofficial, so it doesn’t count.

I am a woman of honor.

Next up: Lying, the Far Side, odd photo captions I think about but have nowhere to put but here, and more