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Messages - Matt

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The grackle seem to have moved on (thank goodness).  I haven't seen hide nor feather of them in a few days now. The Jays are once again the rulers of the yard. They don't look so tough in these photos.

The bird feeder has also attracted this guy:

I used to not appreciate squirrels in the feeders until watching that video of the squirrel obstacle course (I posted it elsewhere on the board a few months ago). Now I don't mind that they have their fill -- they gotta eat too. What I liked about this shot is that I swear he's actually smiling as he waits his turn for the seed.

I love that top picture of the Grackle coming toward the camera! It looks quite fierce.

They're my backyard bullies. It used to be the Blue Jays, but even they move aside for the Grackles.

Amazing photos, buddy. Love those action shots of the bird in flight.

Thanks! I keep trying to get action shots, but having to use a long zoom, my lens is slow, so most action shots come out blurry. (You can get fast lenses in long zooms, but they're in the $2,500+ range - usually for pros and sports photographers. The difference in the more expensive lenses is the amount of light that comes into the lens. The more light that can come in, the faster the shutter speed can be, and the quicker the action without blur. If I were to try to increase the shutter speed with my setup, the photos would come out dark.) So, that's another thing I'm actually kind of enjoying -- the challenge of getting these shots with the equipment I have. It's rewarding when you get a good shot.

I want a sweater that color! :D (top picture).

What bird is that? The other guys too, for that matter.

These are Common Grackles, in the Blackbird family. I've had crows/blackbirds, but had not seen these guys until feeding to attract the cardinals. These are the undesirables, or bird society's own "basket of deplorables". These are the birds farmers lose their livelihoods over: the #1 thief of corn and crops in the U.S. If we grew anything in my area, my neighbors would seriously take me to task for attracting these. What's crazy is that when they come in, they come in by the dozen. So at any given time, mostly in the afternoon, I can look outside now and see a Hitchcockian scene in the trees, a few on every branch. 

While the birds fighting are both Common Grackles, the more blue one seems to be Purple Grackle. Sometimes I wonder about colorblind ornithologists, since I also have Purple Finchs which are a red hue:

What I like about the fight shot is the little guy sitting there like "I don't see anything" as the seed goes flying around him.


Maybe with time you'll get Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal to do this ...  :D

Wow, city birds are much more used to people than my country birds. Mine require at least a 20 to 30 foot buffer zone, and no open doors or windows.

Here's the wife -- our snow is melting, so this is probably as good a picture as I'll be getting of her:

Oh my, Matt! You need to make Christmas cards from those. I'll buy them!

 :smitten: Awwww, thanks.

Cardinals are skittish creatures, and very territorial. I had a Cardinal for several years that would peck at my back sliding glass door every day, seeing his reflection and thinking it was another Cardinal in his yard. Then, on Christmas morning 2019, he suicide bombed one of my back windows. I ran out there hoping he was okay, but his neck was broken. My heart was broken. I knew that bird. So a few months ago, I decided I wanted another cardinal, and started filling a feeder in the back yard, and then after a few weeks, finally, this one appeared. He only showed up once a week or so, and I didn't know enough about Cardinals to realize I had the wrong feeder, and the wrong seed. They like flat feeders or eating off the ground. So I bought a flat feeder, filled it up, and within a few hours, he was here. I fill it a couple of times a day now, and he is here all day now. He doesn't like me or my camera and I have to shoot through windows because he won't come near the feeder if the sliding doors are open. If he sees me (and he always does manage to see me) he flies off. He's been a challenge to both attract and to photograph, so these photos are particularly fulfilling. His wife comes by in the morning. She's as skittish as he is, so I've gotten only average photos of her, but I'm sure I won't give up until I have one I'm happy with.



Under 6" of snow and it's still coming down. This is my backyard Cardinal. He's quite a sight with a snowy backdrop.

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: Our Board has lost an angel
« on: January 19, 2021, 12:46:39 PM »
mgk and I didn't discuss Clint's later works, but I do know she was one of his first fans-- dating back to Rawhide, before even Fistful of Dollars.  She loved all of his films -- and would take plenty of joking around from me for even loving Paint Your Wagon and City Heat.  So I'm fairly certain that she would have loved everything Clint did right up to The Mule.

Off-Topic Discussion / Our Board has lost an angel
« on: January 19, 2021, 09:52:44 AM »
It's not easy to write this.  Our board has lost an angel. I realized today I hadn't heard from Mary Gayle, "mgk", for a long time. I did a web search, and discovered that she passed away on July 30th. There is a beautiful slideshow of her and her family, and also the video of her service at this link: Mary Gayle Krock 1941-2020

When I found this web board over 20 years ago, Mary Gayle was one of the first friends that I made here. At the time, she moderated the "Trivia" portion of the web board (the "old" board).  We started talking and became good friends. Eventually I had the honor of working on the moderating team with Mary Gayle and KC, and we worked together on film discussion, putting together Movie Nights, and finding new and inventive ways to commune in the trivia forum. Mary Gayle loved Clint, and she loved this board and the members here. She was a Clint collector, and all of the prizes we've given away here on the board were from Mary Gayle's collection. She never wanted recognition for her hard work and all that she put into the board and its membership, but those who knew her knew that she was the heartbeat of the board community.

2020 has claimed another, and this loss is felt, even if she wasn't very active on the board in recent years. RIP "mgk".  We've lost an angel, but she can now be reunited with her husband and her beloved pets.

I posted some pictures from West Virginia's New River Gorge a few years back when I visited. This is one of the most gorgeous places I've ever been. I noticed that this area is our nation's newest designated National Park!

Driving just beyond this toward PA, I stopped to get this pic:

This was taken before I got my Nikon (all around better camera and lenses). So, I needed a little extra photoshopping to make these pics pop. I'm always concerned I over-photoshop, and try not to go too overboard. Lately one of my biggest pet peeves are overly photoshopped images that enlarge the moon or just really distort the subject in some way where it's more art than photo. I just try to get each image to look as beautiful in a shot as it is in person.

I think you could make a pretty good argument that OJW is the more mature and all around better film, at least from a filmmaker's perspective. But, I think 9 times out of 10, I would look more forward to sitting down to watch High Plains Drifter. It's almost like comparing the more condensed A Fistful of Dollars to The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly -- I rarely am interested in 2.5 or 3 hour movies anymore. It's gotten harder to concentrate on one thing for that length of time nowadays.

Web Site Announcements / Re: Board updates and maintenance
« on: January 13, 2021, 09:22:12 AM »
We have ten more years! Good to know!  :o

Web Site Announcements / Re: Board updates and maintenance
« on: January 05, 2021, 06:47:58 PM »
I have never used an ap to post on the board. I occasionally post by logging into the board and then using my phone. Is that what you are referring to?

Has this apostrophe thing happened to you? I'm just seeing it on 2 members' posts.

Web Site Announcements / Re: Board updates and maintenance
« on: January 05, 2021, 04:01:16 PM »
I'm noticing that apostrophes are not showing up properly on the board, and sometimes this also has happened with quotation notations, like in the name of a title. Do we know what is causing this, and can it be easily fixed? I do not recall having these issues before here on the board.

I believe it is only happening from those who post through the Tapatalk app. I see it mainly with Brian and Gant. Can anyone else verify?

Web Site Announcements / Re: Board updates and maintenance
« on: January 05, 2021, 02:20:13 PM »
It has indeed. Or else 2020 was really the Apocalypse and they just haven't told us yet. :o

 :o :o :o

General Discussion / Re: CLINT PICS!
« on: December 26, 2020, 12:44:49 PM »
Gant sent over this photo to host and post:

Did anyone have a white Christmas?

We did in Nashville. :)

Also in Nashville, we had a bomb explosion first thing Christmas morning. It knocked out the AT&T processing center, so we haven't had phone service since. This is a weird bombing -- a massive bomb that damaged over 40 buildings and the entire AT&T infrastructure, but there was a loud audio warning telling people the bomb would explode with a countdown, and to evacuate the area. Police knocked on doors and everyone (as far as we know to date) was evacuated in time. The police did an amazing job here, and not to get political, but I know a lot of people in the Nashville area who have been trying to defund the police, but I bet they are thankful to them today.

So, I guess you can say that although a historic city block has been damaged and even more businesses are now in jeopardy (as if they weren't already struggling with shutdowns), we have a lot to be thankful for this Christmas.

Collectors' Corner / Re: Pale Ale
« on: December 15, 2020, 07:14:56 PM »
Yes, I used to collect Pale Rider Ale merch. Is there anything specific that you're looking for?

We had a member that went to the Celis Brewery years ago and met with the owner, who gave her a ton of mint PRA labels and bottle caps. She sent me some which I had framed:

I picked up a bunch of stuff on eBay over the years, most of it is still around here somewhere.

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