Everyone arrived this morning to cool, overcast conditions. The forecast called for things to clear up and get warmer. Overcast skies are often very favorable for photography, and today was Photo Day! Conditions were excellent for a morning of picture-taking.
Campers busied themselves until all arrived. Some chose to weave bracelets using UV-sensitive beads. These beads develop color when exposed to sunlight.
Other campers were fascinated by the snake skin that Naturalist Tim Wood brought in from his yard.
Everyone was anxious to get out into the field and capture images, so Tom Sheve passed out cameras to the campers and gave a quick tutorial on how to take pictures that tell a story or catch a viewer's eye.
Ask your camper about using the "Rule of Thirds" to compose a picture.
After learning some of Tom's hints, the campers learned to use the camera's user interface.
Here, Team Leader Haley and the Beavers learn how to use the buttons and knobs to take a picture.
Armed with all this new knowledge, everyone headed out on the trails. One team stopped on a bridge to see what may be under it. They saw some very clear footprints in the mud on the bank of the creek.
Ask your camper what animal may have left those tracks.
A very rewarding benefit of Photo Day is that the activity not only slows the campers down and allows them to really focus on their surroundings, but it also provides a great opportunity for the campers and staff to share ideas with each other and to develop closer friendships.
There happened to be a very large Great Blue Heron in the canal near the service road close by the Trail to the Photo Blind.
The bird seemed totally focused on his hunting. Fortunately, the Beaver Team was approaching the canal, so I walked toward them.
How can you have a camera day if nobody posed? The Beavers must have spotted me.
We walked quietly to the canal, where were pleased to find that the heron moved even closer to the service road and was still very much intent on hunting.
Soon, the Chickadee Team approached and joined the Beavers for a photo frenzy.....
This was a very photogenic heron.
All too soon, it was time to head back to the EE Shelter to recap the day. The morning had gotten warm and sunny, ideal for a frog in the pond to bask in the sun on a log.
When everyone was together, the teams shared their observations. Hannah, reporting for the Owls, noted that they saw a towhee, a great blue heron, a turkey vulture, butterflies and over 30 bullfrogs with lots of tadpoles. They also noted rose hips, Oregon ash, and Oregon grapes. Ava reported for the Chickadees. They also saw several species of birds: a great blue heron along with a heron nest, a hummingbird, a woodpecker, and a mourning dove. They observed a white spider with a yellow stripe on a white flower, nicely camouflaged! Let's hope that someone got a picture of the spider. According to Lindsay, the Beavers saw five great blue herons, a bushtit nest, dabbling ducks, a nutria, and a snake. They also learned to identify poison oak.
Ask your camper what pictures they most hope come out clear and sharp. They'll get to review their efforts of today with a photographer tomorrow and choose their favorites for framing.
There was enough sun in the mid-to-late morning for Charlie's cookers to hard "boil" eggs.
Lots of time on the trails today! Everyone seemed to have a great time. We'll all sleep well tonight.