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About Deviant Artist Member Terry J. MartinMale/United States Group :iconwyomingphoto: WyomingPhoto
Capturing the beauty of Wyoming
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Flight of the Valkyries II by TerribleTer
Flight of the Valkyries II
Shore birds often have the most amazing flight patterns, and when they hunt in a pack their turns are exquisitely synchronized.  From a distance, one sees a number of brownish-backed birds suddenly flash white as their banking turn reveals their white underwings and bellies.  I'm still not sure exactly what these are--probably sandpipers, but I'm happy to be corrected.  These birds were photographed in Ding Darling, and I had many failed attempts before I was able to capture them at the point in their gyre most perpendicular to me.  At least on this occasion, the center of the gyre held.  :-)
Grubbing for a Living by TerribleTer
Grubbing for a Living
I think that this is either a female Harry or Downy Woodpecker, but please feel free to correct me.  The picture was taken in the backyard of my dear friend Lou Stefanini, who is the Pied Piper of Wildlife.
Moose on the Loose by TerribleTer
Moose on the Loose
To get this shot, I had to sprint a quarter of a mile along Heartbreak Ridge in Jackson, WY when I suddenly realized that a group of photographers standing on the ridge were actually getting shots of something that I could not at that point see.  Fortunately, I'm a runner, and I can run with a big telephoto lens in hand if need be.  Getting this shot helped to make up for later on when the three moose crossed the brook farther up in one of the best photo ops I have ever seen: there they were reflected in the brook in the golden rays of the setting, and as I raised my camera in ecstasy and depressed the shutter, the message flashed across my viewfinder: "Card full: delete images or replace card."  :-)
Icarus! by TerribleTer
I was out walking on Bowman's Beach in Sanibel one morning when about half a dozen pelicans began dive-bombing the ocean nearby.  I love to watch them as they spot their prey, raise themselves higher, and then turn and plunge head down faster than a roller coaster. Fortunately, there was good feeding for them, and so they stuck around and gave encore performances.   
Stepping in Style by TerribleTer
Stepping in Style
This Northern Shoveler paraded through the shallow marsh at Celery Fields in Sarasota, FL.


Terry J. Martin
United States
Yes, my friends, I ended up backpacking for the entire summer, and I summited Mt. Katahdin on August 16 and finished the Appalachian Trail--camera in hand!  Unfortunately, I couldn't take my Nikon D7000, which simply weighs too much to carry in conjunction with a backpack.  Instead, I bought a Nikon Coolpix 600 for the occasion, which weighs just 1.3 lbs., and I carried it around my neck for over 1200 miles.  It's not a bad little camera, and it has 60X optical zoom, which is great for getting wildlife, but the quality of the pictures just isn't as good.  Or maybe I'm too much of a perfectionist.  I'll probably post a few of the better pictures here anyway.  

As I emerged above tree line and was climbing alone along a boulder-strewn, windy, cloudy ridge of Mt. Katahdin, which was, quite frankly, a bit daunting, a dark form suddenly materialized to my right, and I saw the broad black wingspread of a raven.  I was moved by a sense of the raven as a kindred spirit in this lonely and (what even Thoreau acknowledged as an) inhospitable place.  I watched as the raven rode the wind and landed a hundred feet beyond me on—of all places—a trail sign.  I pulled out my camera but was only able to get off one shot before the raven dropped to the ground.  I waited with the camera, eager to see what it would do next.  And then—oh, heavens!—the raven spread its wings and flew straight towards me.  My heart raced to see it land twenty feet away.  Click, click, click went my camera.  The raven flew again—this time just ten feet away from me.  It looked at me and then looked away.  And then—astonishingly—it flew again to within four feet of me!  I could have reached out my hand and stroked it, it was that close.  It perched on a rock and began to croak.  It crowed, and it squawked in a low-throated, gravelly way.  It looked at me and then it looked away and then croaked anew, then peered at me again, bending its head sideways.  All I could say, while adjusting the camera, was, “Oh my God!”  And then, “Oh my brother!”  The raven stayed for an entire minute and then finally flew away, moments before a fellow hiker appeared down the trail. 

Now, one might argue that the raven was merely a slick panhandler begging for handouts from a naïve tourist, and doubtless one can never discount such a merely naturalistic explanation.  But in my heart, I feel that it was something more, perhaps in part because throughout this trip—indeed, for years now—I have wondered what my totemic animal is, and how I would recognize it when it comes.  I honor Native American spirituality, and I believe that animals can indeed guide us.  It is only in the past three years that my affinity to birds has even been revealed to me as such—why else would I have been driven to photograph them so obsessively?  (FYI, my Appalachian Trail name is “Birdman.”)  However, a bit more history is required here for you, dear reader, to appreciate the full significance of this event for me.  Go back in time with me about seven years when I had just finished hiking the Range Trail in the Adirondacks, which is generally an all-day hike that consists of about seven or eight peaks in a row, and I decided late in the afternoon to summit Mt. Haystack and then, finally, Mt. Marcy as well, which was, shall we say, a challenge—and a risky one at that.  The Ridge Runner was already descending from Mt. Marcy, and she was reluctant to let me go up, until I assured her that I was a runner and could get down quickly in a pinch. 

It was a cloudy and windy day, and just a half mile from the summit, I was approached for the (then) first and only time in my life by a raven, which landed about twenty feet away from me.  I watched it with interest but eventually had to move on because it was getting late.  Yet, the raven followed, landing about twelve feet away from me.  Again I watched it, and again I had to force myself to keep hiking.  Like a dancer, the raven followed me in turn, landing just ten feet way.  To say I was blown away is an understatement, but it pales in describing my subsequent feelings as I turned to leave and the raven followed suit, flying to within just five feet of me.  It was on that day that I felt called to finally hike the AT—something that I have indeed wanted to do all of my life but had delayed for one reason or another for over forty years.  The knowledge that it was time to do the trail was somehow triggered by the raven, which I took to be a sign.  (When I got back to John’s Brook Lodge later that night and recounted the incident, my cousin Cindy’s response was, “That was your mother!”—for my mother had been a birder, a nature lover, and an avid hiker, and she had died of cancer just the year before.  Indeed, she had accompanied me up Mt. Marcy on the very first time I climbed it, when I was six years old.) 

So for a raven both to, as it were, inaugurate my journey and then to preside over its very end, on two cloudy, windy days on, respectively, the highest mountains in New York and in Maine—and for those two events to be the only time in my entire life that I have ever been approached--or more aptly, stalked--by a raven, well, it beggars explanation!  Sometimes one has to go with one’s gut instinct.  The raven’s my bird!  Don’t try to talk me out of it!  :-)

Shall this dark bird ever be lifted from my spirit?  Quoth the Birdman, “Nevermore!”  But the narrator in Poe’s famous poem, “The Raven,” got it wrong.  He sought to turn the raven into a demon that would fulfill his own perverse need for self-torture.  (You can read all about this in Poe’s famous essay, “The Philosophy of Composition.”)  As for me, I find it strangely comforting to embrace an Other that is dark and seemingly ugly, for it represents my own dark side as well, and ravens are, of course, highly intelligent and embody an ancient kind of wisdom, from which I have much to learn.  That is to say, I am honored to acknowledge the raven as my totemic guide!  And if today, ravens behave like hucksters on mountaintops, well, so, in a way, is every storyteller on the AT, and so is every English professor.  We’re all selling (or, in my case, “professing”) something, and we all croak our communication to the world in the hopes of getting something in exchange—even if only an appreciative audience.  As Walt Whitman observed, “I sound my barbaric yawp over the rooftops of the world.”

So when I reached the very summit of Katahdin a few minutes later, it was with a light heart indeed.  And I was somehow not surprised to discover trail magic at the very end of my journey, like a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow: a hiker announced that he had extra space in his car and would be happy to take two people back to Bangor with him.  (I had no way out of Baxter State Park except by hitching a ride, and in this case, I didn’t even have to stick out my thumb!)

I want to affirm that almost anyone can hike the AT if they devote sufficient time and energy to the undertaking.   All you have to do is be a deadbeat dad (or mom or son or brother, etc.) for about four to six months (unless, of course, your family accompanies you); ignore your class preparation or other respective work duties (as one hiker wryly indicated, though, “a Birdman can just wing it”); relax your hygienic standards (aka get used to trail stench); make your peace with the bugs and the rain; accustom yourself to feeling continuously ravenous (does the word “ravenous” come from “raven,” I wonder?); and have the time of your life—communing with the wilderness in its extraordinary diversity and beauty; meeting the most wonderful people; experiencing the most amazing trail magic; and feeling a great sense of joy and fulfillment.  And don't forget your camera!  :-) 

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mozella78 Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
I would like for you to know that I find your work to be unbelievably fantastic! I mean, absolutely beautiful. I love your gallery and style of photography!!! :)
TerribleTer Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2014
Thanks from the bottom of my heart!  Your words truly mean a lot to me.  And I am delighted to see that you have talent as a photographer!  
mozella78 Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
You are so welcome! Your work is an inspiration to me. It means a great deal to me that you detect some talent within my photography! I am just two years into my journey as a photographer...the best still lies ahead... Wink/Razz 
TerribleTer Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2014
Oh, your work will certainly get better, just by virtue of your love of the art! I'm a late bloomer, like you.  (Well, actually, a much later bloomer, since I'm probably old enough to be your father.)  :-)   I have been photographing for three and a half years, and it has been--and continues to be--a steep but wonderful learning curve.  I have probably taken over 200,000 pictures, most of which I quickly delete.  But something always turns up.  The one thing I would advise you to do, if you're into photography for the long haul, is to get a good telephoto lens, especially if you want to get wildlife.  I used the Sigma 150/500 mm for several years and have only just recently upgraded to the new Tamron 150/600 mm, which is an incredible lens.  It takes sharp images, and it has about a much greater range than the Sigma.  You can stand at quite a distance and still get good shots, which is especially helpful in the case of small songbirds or otherwise shy or retiring animals.  Anyway, best of luck, and I look forward to seeing your work! 
(1 Reply)
Andorada Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2014
Hearts In Colour       Hearts In Colour 

                         Thank you for joining
                            Hummingbird II by luisbc 
Hearts In Colour        Hearts In Colour
HT1372 Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2014  Student Artist
thank you so much for fav dear friend! :)
MYPeanutGallery Featured By Owner May 23, 2014
Simple Sun by uguardian
Welcome to BrightandCheerful!
agataylor Featured By Owner May 22, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
Wonderful pictures, a lot of great photos of birds with their wings open :) I hope you allow the use of the wings-only for drawing practice? 
I didn't draw anything yet, don't worry. I just thought of asking first. 
TerribleTer Featured By Owner May 23, 2014
Thanks for your kind comments as well as for your thoughtfulness in requesting permission.  I don't mind if you use my photographs for drawing practice.  Let me know if you post the results; I would love to see them!  :-)
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