michael-massa-micon
michael-massa-micon
Mike's Pictures and Thoughts
My wife Kathy and I are retired and full-time RVing throughout the United States. I have been an amateur photographer for many years, primarily taking pictures as I hike through parks and wilderness areas. This blog is some of my favorite pictures - and my thoughts - as we travel. Some of the pictures are new, some are old, but unless I specifically say otherwise, they re all mine and are copyright by me. Permission is granted for the use of any of these pictures for non-commercial purposes providing that I, and my copyright, am acknowledged and that I am notified. Permission of any persons in the images is your responsibility Click here ARCHIVE to go to an archive page which displays the primary image of all posts on this blog.
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michael-massa-micon · 8 hours ago
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Harvester Ant Paths - June 2021 Harvester ants tend to live in dryer more arid places so I was surprised to see them near the beach at Isla Blanca Park on South Padre Island. Their nests and foraging habits creating interesting patterns in the grasses as they clear about a three-foot area around the entrance and then clear paths over which they tread back and forth carrying seeds, clippings, and other things for their nest. They almost look like commuter traffic heading to or from work... which is exactly what they are. The first two images were taken near the base of the Christ of the Fishermen statue. The second two are from an area a few hundred feet away. It is possible that the two nests are actually separate entrances to the same nest. As a general comment, these ants do bite. There is some argument about whether the bite of a fire ant or a harvester ant hurts worse. I’ve been bitten by both and the harvester ant hurts worse on the first day, the fire ant hurts worse longer. I take great care not to be again bitten by either. MWM
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michael-massa-micon · a day ago
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Statue of Padre J. Nicholas Bali - June 2021 Padre Island wasn’t the official name for the island. But since Padre Bali was responsible for settling it everyone called it “Padre Island,” and that eventually became its name. The second image is the plaque which is on the statue. As interesting as the story of Padre Bali is, the setting of this statue is the reason I am posting it. MWM
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michael-massa-micon · 2 days ago
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El Christos de los Pecadores - June 2021 This Christ of the Fishermen statue is a scaled-down version of the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro. It was donated by a family whose young sons were lost on their shrimp boat in 1988. It is best seen coming in and out of the Port Isabelle channel which is how I took the first image. We were on a porpoise cruise at the time. The remaining images were taken from shore inside the Isla Blanca Park. The stones around the bottom of the statue hold plaques dedicated to ships and crews which went out and didn’t come back. The eighth image is the large plaque from the original dedication of the statue. Image nine is that image after I doctored the colors to make it more legible. If I have difficulty reading an image or if the inscription is worn or obscured I often switch the colors to negative and then work with the contrast and intensity to bring out the wording. MWM
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michael-massa-micon · 3 days ago
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South Texas Pocket Gopher This South Texas Pocket Gopher ran across the beach access trail and hid itself in the dry reeds alongside the path. I held very still and tried to get some images of it as it froze in place, but it just didn’t show up in the images. Then it stuck its head out of the jumble of straw and I was able to capture this image. MWM
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michael-massa-micon · 4 days ago
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Welcome to South Padre Island - June 2021 The sign welcoming you to South Padre Island is one of the more beautiful I have seen. Of course, tropical trees, blue skies, and well-designed buildings in the background help that a lot. North Padre Island and South Padre Island used to be one island until a channel was cut through the island in 1964 to allow access to Port Mansfield. You can drive to the southern tip of North Padre if you have a four-wheel drive Jeep or something like that which can handle soft sand, but the northern end of South Padre is privately owned and you can’t go past the end of the highway. MWM
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michael-massa-micon · 5 days ago
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Ice Cream Bus - May 2021 I really wish that I had gotten an image of this bus as he drove by us on the beach at North Padre. The background would have been much better. But I missed him then. I didn’t miss him when he drove past our RV in the campground area the next evening. MWM
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michael-massa-micon · 6 days ago
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Vintage VW Vanagon - May 2021 This Volksvagon Vanagon has to be around 30 years old because they stopped making this style of Vanagon in the early 1990s. It was one of the many small campers on the beach over the weekend at North Padre Island. I guess it was nostalgia which caused me to snap this picture, but I am posting the image because I like the overall composition that the colors and that weird pop-up slanting roof creates. MWM #texas #north padre island #padre island national seashore #vanagon
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michael-massa-micon · 7 days ago
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Picnic on the Beach - May 2021 This was supposed to just be a tourist image for private use, but I really like the way the multitude of various blues interact with the colors of the sand and sky. The second image was also only for private amusement. As the Pelican Patrols regularly passed overhead they cast their shadows on the sand in front of our tent. I tried again and again to catch the shadows but was unsuccessful. Then, when a lone pelican was flying over, I caught his shadow. MWM
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michael-massa-micon · 8 days ago
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Pelican Squadron on Patrol - May 2021 One of the interesting features of North Padre Island are the high dunes just behind the beach. When the onshore breezes sweep across the island, they create a miles-long curtain of updrafts. The pelicans, whose wings are perfect for gliding on the slightest breeze, use those updrafts to glide back and forth along the length of the island. As a result, they pass by regularly as if they were a squadron of airplanes on patrol. Squadron, by the way, is one of the names for a group of pelicans. MWM
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michael-massa-micon · 9 days ago
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Green Buoy on the Beach - May 2021 Normally you keep a green buoy on your right (starboard) side when heading out to sea and the left (port) side when coming into port. But passing on either side of this buoy would get you grounded in the sand. Evidently it broke loose from or dragged its anchor in a recent storm and ended up on the beach at North Padre Island. Eventually a buoy tender will come close to shore to retrieve it, but for now it makes an interesting image. MWM
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michael-massa-micon · 10 days ago
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Sunrise at North Padre Island - May 2021 OK, this isn’t quite sunrise. The picture was actually taken at seven am, but it is still a great image of the sun and clouds and sea at North Padre Island, Texas. Padre Island National Seashore is located on North Padre Island just off Corpus Christi. The beach is undeveloped, but there are some boondocking campsites available in a paved parking area near the beach, and if the winds and weather permit, you can camp right out on the beach. We took our small fiberglass Burro out on the beach many years ago, but I did not want to risk taking a 32' motor home out there. Towing charges to get you off the beach range from very expensive to unbelievable. There is a county campground and park just before you reach the National Seashore. It is also a parking lot, but it has utilities and paved access to the beach. MWM
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michael-massa-micon · 11 days ago
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Pelican Above the Waves - May 2021 This is my last image from Grande Isle State Park. I wasn’t going to post anymore images of waves or pelicans, but the complexity of this image makes it one of my favorites and I just had to post it. Actually, I wasn’t sure whether I preferred the 4X3 format or the 16X9 format so I am posting both. To me, the 16X9 causes the pelican to pop out a little more, but I prefer the overall power of the 4X3 image. I love them both, so I posted them both. MWM
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michael-massa-micon · 12 days ago
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Boardwalk to the Fishing Pier - May 2021 Kathy doesn’t really appreciate it when I post an image of her, but her rolling along this boardwalk gives a sense of scale and enhances the perspective. In the second image, her bent low-visibility flag gives a sense of how hard the wind was blowing for almost every day we were there. MWM
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michael-massa-micon · 13 days ago
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Shrimp boat... and Friends - May 2021 Regardless of the weather, the shrimp boats went out to lower their nets. And the local pelicans knew when the boats would have their nets in the water. When the shrimp nets are pulled back on board a shrimp boat, there is often more than shrimp in the nets. The catch is sorted out and everything that is not a shrimp is poured back into the sea. That puts a lot of small fish on the surface of the water just behind the boats. So the pelicans come for the feast. These two images show the pelicans swarming a shrimp boat. There were many shrimpers out there that day, but these two were close enough to get a clear image of the birds hovering above their nets. MWM
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michael-massa-micon · 14 days ago
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A Gathering of Pelicans Pelicans don’t have flocks. A group of pelicans is called a "brief" or a "pod"or a "pouch"or a "scoop" or a"squadron." I personally like squadron because of the way Pelicans tend to fly in formation. But this bunch or pod or whatever of pelicans was not flying when I first saw it. It was all bunched together on a sandbar at low tide looking out to sea. It was as if they were waiting for something. The first three images show the pelicans as they watch and wait. The second set of three images shows the squadrons taking off and heading out to sea. Tomorrow I will post what they were watching for. MWM
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michael-massa-micon · 15 days ago
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A Pair of Willets - May 2021 It isn’t very often that I see a bird that I have never seen before. There are a lot of species of birds I have not seen in person, but I watch a lot of nature shows and stuff like that, so I’ve at least indirectly seen many kinds of birds. I had never before seen a Willet. I assumed it was some other bird in winter feathers or mating feathers or something, but I finally found it in my Sibley Birds bird book. They are in the Sandpiper family, but can be identified by their gray legs. It was the fact that they are totally gray, including their legs, that caused me to realize that I had never seen this bird before. MWM
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michael-massa-micon · 16 days ago
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Lift Boats - May 2021 These floating cranes, also called Lift Boats, were docked near Port Fourchon, just west of Grande Isle. They are strange-looking powered barges that can set their legs down in the shallow waters of the Gulf and service oil rigs or buoys. One of these boats, the Seacor Power, capsized about a month before I took this picture. They were caught by a sudden storm and were unable to lower their legs fast enough. Only six of the nineteen crew members survived. MWM
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michael-massa-micon · 17 days ago
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Waves in Sky and Sea - May 2021 I stood in the middle of the fishing pier looking out to sea when I suddenly realized that the sky seemed to also have waves in it. I took several images, but this one best captures the feeling of waves in sky and sea. It also has a strong sense of pulling you into the image a long way out to sea. MWM
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michael-massa-micon · 18 days ago
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Pelicans at Dusk A number of pelicans were heading out from the bird sanctuary at the end of the Grande Isle State Park beach as I watched from the fishing pier. Again, the image almost seems black and white. MWM
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michael-massa-micon · 19 days ago
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Morning Waves - May 2021 I took this image of the multiple waves flowing up onto the beach in the early morning. The image almost looks like it is in black and white, but it is a color image. It is just that the light was a bit low and the sky was gray with clouds and the sea was gray with foam. The overall effect seems to almost pull you into the image. MWM
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