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Getting My Exercise in Friday Harbor

The other day I went out for my walk — taking my camera, which one of you told me explicitly not to do because you feared if I took my camera exercising, I would get less exercise. Well, the truth is, with the camera I get more exercise. Without it, I merely walk down the road and back. With it, I climb hills, slide into ravines and leave the beaten path. So starts my story …

I left the apartment and walked briskly to the bottom of the hill and the ocean’s edge. From there I took a reasonably well-beaten path to just below our apartment building — and from there I climbed through rocks and struggled through brambles to get to this:

Shelf Fungus

It is a tree stump covered in shelf fungi.

Tree stump covered in shelf fungus.

This stump is actually directly below my bedroom window and only accessible (I thought) by fighting one’s way through wild blackberry vines. I arrived with only one puncture wound. As you can see, it was worth the struggle and peril.

shelf fungi: top view

When I was finished hanging by my toes on the rock ledge (great for my stomach muscles), I noticed a path which couldn’t be seen from my balcony above — it hugged the base of the building and led into the yard of the apartment directly below mine. I  finished climbing the rock embankment and followed the steep but brief path to my own door.

I was hot and sweaty, my thigh and tummy muscles were trembling from exertion, and I had a black berry thorn embedded in my palm. I decided I’d had enough exercise for one day.

In the house, I went straight to the kitchen sink and squeezed the thorn out of my hand. As I was washing I looked out the kitchen window and saw a deer butt disappear over the rise. I grabbed my camera and followed it.

White tail deer.

My huffing and puffing must have caught her attention, because when I reached the top of the hill, she was looking at me. I froze so she wouldn’t run. This is a 200mm exposure. She was quite a ways away.

Doe, grazing.

She put her head down and started grazing. (This is a 100mm exposure.) I waited patiently hoping for a clear head-shot so we could see her pretty face. As she ate, she always kept one eye on me, and worked her way closer and closer.

Doe -- oh!

And closer! This is a 55mm exposure. As you can see, I couldn’t get her ears in the frame. Since I was balanced on a 4 inch ledge looking over an embankment, stepping back wasn’t an option (it would have put me two feet lower and she would have bolted from such a sudden move).  If she had taken one more step forward, she would have been too close for me to focus the camera at all, and another step beyond that and I’d have had to wipe her snot off my lens!

We stood looking each other over.  She sniffed the air between us very thoroughly.  Finally she put her head down and went back to grazing.  When she was a few feet away I stepped down from the ledge and returned home.  Listen, if you want a muscle toning exercise, try standing immobile on your toes on a 4 inch ledge for half an hour.  My stomach, hips, thighs and calves knew they’d been used! And I’ve not even mentioned how my arms felt about holding that camera up for so long!

A bit later I went grocery shopping, taking my camera with me.  I encountered no deer, no fox, no raccoons, no quail, nothing that interested the camera.  I returned to the apartment with a ton of groceries, so I drove to the door and unloaded, then I turned the car around and returned it to the parking lot, about 60 yards from our door.  I deliberately left my camera in the house thinking we had enjoyed all the fun we were going to for the day. After I parked the car, I started back for the apartment — and the eagle flew over.  I stopped dead and stared with my mouth hanging open as it swooped down and disappeared from view right about where the deer had been earlier.

Knowing it was completely futile, I waddled my fat little body to the apartment as fast as I could, grabbed the camera and waddled back out. There is no way the eagle was still going to be there.

American Bald Eagle

See. Told you so.


  1. God positively BLESSES you with these creatures! I have a family of 6 white tails that LIVE, for Pete’s sake, in my BACK YARD and I can not get close enough to them to get these kind of shots. (of course… I do NOT have your camera — but I don’t think I could even WITH your camera) Deer around here are not terribly afraid of people — but they’re not entirely stupid either. Especially if you’re AIMING something at them. Even a camera. Of course, you have said that these deer you are photographing are fairly tame… none the less – they are BEAUUUUUUUUUTIFUL shots! And even that bloomin’ eagle cooperated! God LOVES you!
    .-= Melli´s last blog ..Valentine Candy & A Little Devil =-.

    1. Well, Melli, there are a lot less people here, most of the grounds are closed to motorized vehicles, and the people and the deer walk the same trails.

  2. What a wonderfully intrepid photographer you are! Full marks for patience and stamina, especially of the tummy muscles.

  3. These are just wonderful photos. That dear and eagle are just breathtaking if you ask me. I love them. I have never seen fungus like that before and it is a site to behold. I love them. I hope all your body parts are back in check now 🙂
    .-= Thom´s last blog ..Scenic Sunday 83 =-.

  4. Those fungi remind me of oyster shells! So beautiful. I also love the photo of the deer grazing. I have never seen one in real life — not in Hawaii. My now-deceased brother used to hunt venison on Molokai, but that’s not the same thing as pointing a camera at a gentle deer.
    .-= gigi-hawaii´s last blog ..Healing a marriage =-.

    1. Gigi — the fungi begin life very rubbery and many kinds slowly harden until they are a tough as the tree they’re attached to. Some people chop them off the trees and make them into pendants. You can see why.

  5. you’re doing this to make me jealous, aren’t you? the wildlife presented by your photos is simply amazing! i so wish i could see it with my own eyes – and whenever i look at your weather pixie it shows sunshine!
    .-= polona´s last blog ..for want of something warm =-.

    1. Polona — well, actually, no. In fact, I even paused to wonder if posting these while everyone else is freezing didn’t seem creul, then I decided that, life being what it is, I’ll be suffering something when everybody else is celebrating.

  6. Exercise like that is so much more fun than the gym! 🙂
    I miss seeing bald eagles, but of course we have our own white tail deer here. SnakeMaster is esp. good at quietly walking up to them, but I don’t have the kind of camera that can get beautiful shots like those. And those fungi are incredible. 🙂
    .-= kcinnova´s last blog ..Friday 5: Fat Tuesday edition =-.

  7. Never seen that fungus before, it looks beautiful!!! and I never get such lovely, “deer” visitors around here…!
    .-= Mar´s last blog ..cuddly =-.

  8. That walk was great ! and you collected such nice pictures ! I too am a rather lazy walker but with my camera I suddenly become a sort of marathon walker lol !
    .-= Gattina´s last blog .. =-.

  9. I surrender! It was me who said leave the camera home — I should have known that the camera would cause you to go farther afield to get good photos! So, I was wrong and based on these photos, I’m so glad you ignored me!

    The fungi are especially beautiful with their patterns. They make me think about how God puts His signature in all of His creations, even the things that feed on other things!

    Thanks for sharing those lovely photos and for sacrificing your body for ART!
    .-= southlakesmom´s last blog ..Sowing Peace =-.

    1. Kelley — I knew it was you but I wasn’t naming names or pointing fingers (blatantly). 😉 And the Pacific Northwest always leaves me mindful that God is God and I am actually only one of his less spectacular creations. Which, of course, puts me in awe that God would love me when he has all this!

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