An Aborted Trip Through A Swampy Forest, or Face-To-Face With A Porcupine

✍️ 🕑 backpackingwildlife photographypinchot state forestpinchot traillackawanna county patrails • Places: Pinchot State Forest PA

One of many NO TRESPASSING signs marking the boundaries of the Pinchot State Forest.
One of many NO TRESPASSING signs marking the boundaries of the Pinchot State Forest.

I've done most of my outdoor learning through reading things on the internet. I can find a lot of knowledge that way, but it's no substitute for actual lived experience.

So, I try to know what I don't know, and remain cautious. I want to avoid putting myself in bad situations, and ensure that I'm as prepared for conditions as I can be, whilst also not overburdening myself with unnecessary weight. It's a delicate balance.

This post is about a trip that I bailed on, as well as some porcupine photography.

52 Frames (April 2021)

✍️ 🕑 April 2021 • Series: 52 Frames • Tags: photographyvalley forgedeer

Another month means another four weeks, which means another four photography challenges. Hurrah!

So, what did we do?

14. Fast Shutter

Ironically, a lot of the images I took when I prepared for this challenge were ones where I should have used a faster shutter speed than I did. The need to quickly grab a shot in the heat of the moment, though, meant that I had no time to stop and think about camera settings.

The photo I went with was this one:

A deer careens through a half-constructed housing development.

I had been out and about taking pictures of birds near the unfinished housing developments, when out of nowhere a deer careened through the landscape. I followed with my camera, and was pleasantly surprised to find I had managed to take some usable, in focus images. This is one of them (though I would have benefitted from a higher burst rate and faster shutter speed.)

Towards Lighter Weight Youtube Embeds

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A friend let me know that the post I wrote on my first impressions of Eurovision was loading nearly a hundred scripts into the browser.

The reason for this is simple. Besides the relatively minimalist amount of client-side Javascript I use on this site, I happened to embed 39 YouTube videos, each of which loaded an additional two scripts into the browser.

The result is a rather bloated user experience; one that performs poorly on my six-year-old phone.

There's a simple solution to this problem: don't embed more than a couple of videos in a post, and there will be no such glut. Unfortunately, this solution is not to my liking. I like having a bajillion vids there.

Another, heftier approach would be to embed the YouTube videos only if the end user wants them there. This is what I've decided to do.

Frog Song

✍️ 🕑 french creek state parkwildlife photographyfrogsfield recordings


Spring time.

Flowers are starting to blossom (even though they're predicting snow next Thursday.)

Birds are starting to sing (even if I fail at getting good photographs of them.)

And, also, the frogs are getting busy with their mating season...

All around me, at pretty much all times, I can hear the spring peepers singing.

Listen to the spring peepers yourself!

Approach them, though, and they will scatter pretty much instantaneously.

Frogs are skittish, quick, and camouflaged well with their surroundings -- all qualities which make them difficult to photograph. Last year, I habitually circled a retention pond in an unfinished housing development, traipsing through weeds, and hearing the splashes of frogs around me as they jumped into the water. Never did I spot one pre-jump.

Never did I get a photograph.

Fortunately, the gods of wildlife photography smiled upon me, such that as I went for a hike in the Easternmost areas of French Creek State Park, I happened upon a puddle that was positively teeming with frog life. I stood there for quite a while, observing and photographing.

The Orphanage by Serhiy Zhadan (Book Review)

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The Orphanage is a 2017 novel by Serhiy Zhadan, recently published in English translation. It explores the experiences of civilians in wartime, specifically in the Donbass region of Ukraine. Pasha, a rather impotent teacher, journeys across enemy lines to retrieve his nephew from an orphanage/boarding school in an unnamed city that has already fallen. The city teems with military checkpoints, artillery fire, grifters, and civilians doing their best to survive and hold on to something in this environment.

Throughout his journey, Pasha meets other civilians, soldiers, and even a journalist. These encounters enable rich exploration of a variety of themes: language, identity, authority, education, nostalgia, and the indifference of war towards the neutrality of civilians. During these encounters, Pasha generally does his best to help others around him, even though this distracts him from his goals.

Who needs cold medicine in a city getting pounded by heavy artillery, a city that’s going to fall any day now? (18)