Anger Management – Now Featuring Owls

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One reason I espouse the No Bad Light philosophy: I like to sleep in. But this morning I awoke at 5:00 AM feeling ticklish, only to discover my bed constituted an essential section of a massive ant trail between the bedroom baseboards and the kitchen. I dealt with the ants and tried to go back to sleep, but it was no use. I was furious and adrenalized.

So I grabbed the Nikon D7100 and 200-500 f/5.6 and visited the Ojai Meadows Preserve, not far from my house, under a bright grey June-Gloom sky. I was almost alone on the trail, but for an older woman with two rambunctious, unleashed dogs. Unleashed dogs are not only illegal in the preserve, but quite destructive. I don’t go to the Meadows Preserve or Bolsa Chica Ecological Preserve as much as I used to, because I have some anger issues, and I’m seriously afraid I will do harm to the owners of unleashed dogs, which are numerous in both ecologically sensitive areas. Even typing this has me thinking of Al Capone’s feelings toward Elliot Ness in The Untouchables: “I want him dead. I want his family dead. I want his house burned to the ground.”

One of the dogs leapt into the brush and went tearing around, and suddenly a Great Blue Heron – the biggest I’ve ever seen – erupted out of the underbrush and alit near the pond. All thoughts of torture and murder drained away as I knelt by the pond to pray in my own way – beholding and photographing wild beauty.

This heron began my day's turnaround.

This heron began my day’s turnaround.

Not an image for my gallery, but a joy to behold.

Not an image for my gallery, but a joy to behold in person.

My heart lightened, and I decided to visit an owl’s nest where I caught this image a few weeks ago:

I didn't realize how lucky this shot was until I returned day after day but saw no owls.

I didn’t realize how lucky this shot was until I returned day after day but saw no owls.

Alone on the trail, looking for the nest, I saw four unusual lumps in the trees. Yup. The family was out on the branches, presumably waiting for the right photographer to come along. But he or she didn’t come along, so I decided to give it a try.

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Like all new parents, this one just wants to catch a few Zs.

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So, I was rudely awakened by ants, which had the positive effect of sending me to the Meadows Preserve. Then I encountered unleashed dogs on the trail, only to have one of them flush a great blue heron into lens range. So now my anger has been replaced with cognitive dissonance, which is probably a good swap overall. And I got some new owl photos.