Pelicans

Absolutely prehistoric looking.

Back early in May, I finished up a week in Ventura, CA, where was I updating my Twitter course for Lynda.com. Although Twitter’s feature set didn’t change much since I recorded the second version of course in April 2010, the interface has. The course really needed an update to bring it back into sync with the way the service looks. It should be published shortly. If you have any interest in Twitter, I hope you’ll check it out.

A Backstory

High-Flying PelicanThe folks at Lynda.com put authors up in an area hotel. The first few times I came out here, they put me in a Holiday Inn Express near Ventura Harbor. I really liked my room, which was on the first floor with big windows overlooking the marina. There was a lot of life there — people walking, birds flying, boats, dogs, joggers.

Then, a little over a year ago, they switched to a hotel in Oxnard. Admittedly, it was a nicer facility with better accommodations for us. The rooms were little L-shaped suites roughly the same size as the Holiday Inn’s, but more modern and upscale. And the Internet service was about 5000% better. (Okay, so maybe I exaggerate, but it was better.)

Trouble is, it also lacked everything I liked about the Ventura Harbor place. The place was condo-like, with square 2-story buildings, each having eight units. The windows were small. There were balconies, but no reason to sit on them — and no furniture to sit on. The place was heavily wooded and it seemed dark and dank, like an unpleasant rainforest that was constantly shedding leaves and branches all over the property.

So on this last trip, I asked to stay at the Holiday Inn again. And the nice folks at Lynda.com booked my room there.

The Pelicans

High-Flying PelicanWhich brings me to the pelicans.

It’s odd that I don’t remember them, but they must have been here all along. They fly over the marina every evening, scouting the water between the boats for fish foolish enough to swim close to the surface. When the see their prey, they tuck their wings and dive, landing in the water with a great splash. They bob to the surface, often busy swallowing a fish.

Pelicans are absolutely prehistoric looking. I mean seriously — what other bird looks more like a pterodactyl?

I spent one afternoon after work walking around the marina, settling down in a spot where I could wait to photograph them. Unfortunately, I didn’t bring the appropriate equipment. All I had with me was my 16-85mm lens, which is a great multi-purpose lens but a pretty crappy lens for photographing wildlife. My 70-300mm lens was home. So was my monopod and my tripods.

Pelican Over WaterIn other words, I wasn’t properly equipped.

Still, I made the best of it. What you see here are among my best shots, taken late in the afternoon as the sun was sinking low on the horizon. One thing I learned that afternoon is that pelicans don’t like to dive when someone is standing nearby with a camera. Ah, if only I had my long lens and monopod! Next trip. (If you’re a Lynda.com subscriber, please do give my courses lots of positive feedback so I can some back and record more; next time, I’ll bring that lens.)

The shots here are the best I took that afternoon. Please pardon the ugly watermark, but I’m really sick of seeing my work on other people’s websites without attribution.

Enjoy.

What do you think?