Flying Rods

Mentioning UFOs gets a strong reaction from most people.  It’s like talking politics.  Nobody really knows much about it, but they all seem to have very strong opinions about it.  I saw Dennis Kucinich the other day… on tv 😉  Flying rods, or sky swimmers, are definitely unidentified.  There has been some video and photographic evidence that there are… things… flying around out there.  On film, they look like rods with manta ray wings.  People have theorized that they can swim through water or air.  They seem to travel at amazing speeds, 100 miles per hour by some accounts.  they zip past the lens in a blur, leaving just a ghostly image to analyze.


Flying rods have been compared to dragon flies and other multi winged insects.  Who knows?  Skeptics say that flying rods are nothing more than regular insects, distorted by the cameras used to record them.   The cave of swallows in Mexico is the most famous home of the skyfish.  It’s an amazing formation.  The cave is really a hole 1300 feet deep, carved out of the jungle by erosion.  Base jumpers travel there to parachute under ground.

I’m not sure what to make of the flying rods.  The explanations seem plausible.  Slow shutter speeds could turn a regular insect into an elongated, undulating skyfish.  On the other hand, we discover new species every day.  there’s no reason why there couldn’t be some new species or genus of insect out there.  Take J. Craig Ventner’s voyage aboard the Sorcerer II.  He traveled around the world in a sailboat, taking water samples every 200 miles.  They discovered almost 7,000 new species of microscopic animals.  there’s a lot more about the world that we don’t know…  I guess that’s why it’s called cryptozoology.

J. Craig Ventner’s voyage

Natura Park

 Natura Park is a mediocre resort in Punta Cana.  Given a choice, I’d go somewhere else next time.  The resort advertises that it at the center of a nature resort.  Only 10% of the property is taken up by the resort.  The rest is a Palm forest.  I was excited to explore this area.  When I got there, there wasn’t much to explore in this trackless forest.  there was a path going North along the beach, but little access to the interior.  I just read on another site that there were photographic opportunities just to the South of the resort.  I said I was lazy yesterday… and I sure was.  I walked almost 2 kilometers North, but I never walked more than 100 yards South.  Just a little bit further, and I would have found this small area.


 The next point North of the resort is a coral head.  It creates small tidal pools that little fish hide in.  There are snails all over the coral, too.  I tried to pick my way through the snails and potholes, but I did take one or two crunchy/squishy steps.

Several Pelicans fish near the coral point.  They kite on the trade winds until they see a fish.  As they start to dive, they bring their wings into their bodies until the terminal dive is made in the shape of a dart.  They get a 10 for entry, hardly a splash.  After a moment, they bob back up to the surface, shake off a bit, and take off.

Feathers and Focus

Taken in the Dominican Republic


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Green Heron

MrBirdnerd  identified my mystery bird from Punta Cana.   It’s a Green Heron.  I had so much fun photographing it that I’d like to post a couple more pictures.  Now, Mr. Smarty Pants, is it a boy, or a girl? 😉


This heron was at home on the grounds of the resort.  With a full time bakery on the premises, the staff stocked boxes outside with day old bread.  Guests could feed fish in the ponds , parrots on the deck, even the turkey in the back.  on top of that, the staff gave the animals feed or seed as well.

The heron hunted the fish in the ponds.  The heron knew enough to follow a human carrying bread at the edge of a pond.

I threw a dinner roll into the water, and the fish immediately attacked it.

It flew to a stump in the middle of the pond.  As the fish pushed the dinner roll towards its perch, it leaned a little closer.  He deftly snatched a fish out of the pile as it went by.

So, if this heron is so accustomed to using humans to get a meal, why was it so shy?  I suppose I should be glad that it hasn’t been domesticated.  We interacted but never crossed that barrier.  It was great fun trying to get into picture taking position before it flew to the next pond over and the chase would start all over again.

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there were two parrots in front of the resort. I went out several times to hang out with them. They both seemed more interested in stealing the buttons off my shirt than hanging out. Oh, well, they were very pretty birds, anyway. Here’s a picture of one of them chewing on my shirt button.

Here’s a parrot giving me a dental exam…

Vacation Critters

Anyone know what kind of bird this is? I followed it around several times during the week. I thought it was a Cormoran, but it doesn’t look like one. The resort has little boxes with day old bread next to their ponds. This bird knows that fish swarm the bread everytime some is thrown in the pond. I took this picture right before it snatched a fish off the stale bread. I guess there really isn’t such a thing as a free lunch.

Here are some links to my vacation photo sets

Resort, Critters, Beach, Flora

Cayuga Eagle

Statue on western shore, taken at Sunset.


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Exposing Myself

I jump at the chance to take pictures with contrasting exposure values. Bald Eagles are a perfect example. I mean, to a camera, that sucker may as well have a Disco ball for a head. Meter for the feathers, and the head is over exposed. Meter for the head, and everything else goes dark. there’s no perfect solution, no fast rule about averaging exposure. The best solution I’ve found is to change my perspective and try to get a different light angle on my subject. Sometimes, I just wind up getting nothing and have to wait for another day.

The top two pictures were taken in the afternoon of a bright, cloudless day. The light was very bright. I used my spot meter, first on his shoulder, then on his head. I got the third shot with my center weight meter from another side of the enclosure. Still, a good day to take pictures of the gators. the last picture was taken on a cloudy day. The indirect light made metering the eagle much easier. I just used a center weighted meter, covering most of the bird.

Leather and Feathers

Cya Steve, Peace mate.