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Welcome to the Pine River Review. Our sight is dedicated to our little homestead located along the Pine River tucked inside the Chippewa Nature Center's 1400 Acres of wild in Michigan's lower penninsula. We love to share our pictures, video, comment, and our own homespun music. Step inside our world as we celebrate this beautiful nook!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


What's Shakin'...

   Hummingbirds are darting around my backyard like stray electrons and I fell victim to the urge to dust off the 400mm and try for some clicks.
   I had been holding faithfully to the tenants of my own self-imposed bird photography austerity program. My resolve is apparently slipping. Can this hobby become an untenable addiction? I'm here to tell you.
   I knew I was getting into trouble when I could not see a bird without jumping reflexively into action, taking any chance to achieve a picture. It's taken some time but I can now actually take a paddle in my kayak (without the camera) and enjoy scanning the landscape for things other than avian life. And get this, I can even see that "well lit" bird and not lament the fact I don't have a camera in hand. This is progress for me, not being so driven. I can be a simple son of nature again and not a thorn in the side of every bird I get within a hundred feet of.
    Hummingbirds, however, have made me less cautious and I have risked this hard fought, if tenuous "cure," (my new relaxed attitude that is,) and taken up the camera again. It sure felt good, fraught as it is with danger, like a call from an old girlfriend. I should know better than to tug on the devils tail. My best interests lay in a more balanced approached to life, it's easy to get carried away.
    Still, I want to share!   

   I have dusted off another of my old toys, the '76 fireglo Rickenbacker bass guitar that has languished under my bed for to long. Laying down bass lines for a talent group of blues musician here in town is reviving an old passion. My mind has been awash with all things bass; scales, grooves, and electronics. I have been running over old Motown tunes trying to reclaim my funky heritage in the rhythmic rattling of rib cages.
   Shake it up baby!

"You'll never really know your friends from your enemies...until the ice breaks."
                                                                                 Eskimo Proverb

    I saw an article recently reporting a new record ice loss for the Arctic ocean this summer. This years melt has exceeded 2007's record with three weeks to spare. According to satellite images we are losing a mind boggling 29,000 square miles of ice per day!  The polar ice mass and Arctic region in general is acting like a heat sink with median temperatures raising much faster there than the planet at large. Old, stable ice that is formed by years of normally frigid temperatures has thinned to half its historic thickness and is diminishing into slush. 
   For hundreds of years humankind has dreamt of a North-West passage; a quick shipping route from Europe and the North Atlantic to Pacific Ocean markets. For the second time in history, 2007 and this day in 2012 the North-West passage is wide open!
    Oil speculators are jockeying for the rights to newly opened Arctic oil deposits and the potential profits implied from exploiting these vast under-sea reserves. This carbon candy, along with the realisation of a mythical short cut uniting three continents, has corporate planners eagerly preparing to take advantage of a possible complete summer Arctic ice melt in the near future. This should be inconceivable. Climate models put the arrival of an ice-less Arctic summer as soon as five years away and almost certainly within a few decades.
   Think of it, with a ice free polar ocean, no longer would commerce be at the mercy of political unrest along the Suez and Panama canals with the bonus of travel distances being cut for massive ocean going vessels by 40%.
    It would be no small coincidence, a choice irony, if the very corporate and political concerns that stand to profit from such a calamity are the same ones propelling the problem. While we, the "Great Unwashed," ponder the peril, others are busy maximising their financial positions, making friends with the inevitable. That's called hedging your bet.
   One of our Presidential candidates bites his lip in mock despair when referencing the rising tide. I can follow the money trail that leads to those who anticipate this disaster greedily.
    Their message: Global warming? Don't worry people, it's probably nothing...go back to sleep.
    I believe the polar opposite.


  1. Great pictures of hummers, they are frenetic little creatures indeed. Nice to hear from you, hope to see you from time to time. Oh and getting out the guitar and dusting it off sounds awesome.

  2. As I sit here reading your post hubby and I are watching a little hummer dance back and forth in front of our sunroom window. :) A delightful coincedence. It's that time of year here they start filling up to leave.
    I know I'll miss their visits.
    Glad to hear you are finding much in life to enjoy.

  3. Your photos are great and I enjoyed reading what you had to say about Global Warming. Much to ponder here.

  4. nice to see you again, dave, even if you are playing with fire. :)

  5. Great pictures showing the hummingbird
    Hanne Bente

  6. You caught the character of the hummer well - such a fierce warrior! I am glad you decided to pick up the camera again. It's important to have a good balance of activities, and you seem to be getting there.

  7. Glad you are caving in to the urge to get out and photograph the birds. Very nice images! (BTW I have a 1934 Gibson tenor guitar -- I'm just a strummer).

    1. That's a four stringed guitar isn't it Ken? I've got a '64 Gibson L-1, kind of small bodied too. I'll bet they would sound good together!

  8. And the 'polar opposite' is true. Sadly.

    I am happy to see that you have fallen back into your old habit because we missed you. And because the hummers are absolutely beautiful.

    But I'm happy to know that you're enjoying life and retirement and other talents. (Just don't forget how to write! Or to take pictures.)

  9. Great series of the wonderful hummingbird! :)

  10. Wonderful!!!! Absolutely wonderful. I always enjoyed visiting with you before you left...and it's good to see you post some awesome birds.

    Wild Bird Wednesday - Backyard Birds

  11. Great shots!! Nice to see you back. The ice is coming of the lakes, and rivers up here 3 weeks earlier than normal. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

  12. Glad to see your work again! This is a wonderful series of hummingbird captures - they're really too hard to resist.

  13. Great photos of beautiful birds. Find a way to put some of those grooves of yours on-line for the rest of us to enjoy, please!

  14. good to see you here Springman and to know that all is good on your home turf. A little bit of guitar-picking, a little drifting on the waters and still you manage to get some magic photographs. And you tell us you've stepped back some with your camera to enjoy some of these other interests. All is good, you haven't stopped evolving, and your articles are always such a buzz to read, please hold onto that gift and continue to share it. Take care.

  15. Superb shots. What an amazing picture with the long tongue out?

  16. Beautiful captures of your hummingbird. Great post, Springman!

  17. I'm so glad you took the time to pick up your camera and capture these marvelous shots! No hummingbirds in my yard so this makes me doubly happy.

  18. Hi there - and welcome (back!) to the world of WBW!

    Great pictures of a bird I can hardly believe you get in your garden!

    Climate change is such a huge issue - the (probable) next government here is going to be run by a person who seems not to take it seriously. I think he must have missed the 12 year drought we just went through, the floods that followed and the fact the before it rained many places had less than 10% in their water storages. But we will all be OK, because we can leave it to the markets to fix!!

    I think I need to look at your pictures again to cheer me up!

    Stewart M - New Captain of the good ship WBW!

  19. Dave, great to hear from you! Who can resist the charms of the Hummer! They certainly have me in their grasp!
    Sounds like you are enjoying the fruits of retirement! It's a great life. I've recently picked up a couple of old hobbies that I seemed to of had no time for! I love doing the things that I want to do, on my own time!
    Cheers friend!

  20. ITS hard to put that hobby to rest, I've been there myself. I put my camera away for 12 yrs...then zap along came the digital.
    Well I Love the hummers they are a prize to get and I like the shots you got of them resting between snack attacks.
    I think you and I are aligned politically...and I am fearful of the fox getting into the hen house...IF not for that type thinking we wouldn't be feeling this HUGE gas crush we are under, for we would all be driving Electric CARS, that we could afford! They want to continue to ride the cash cow till she croaks and each of us hanging on a teat will starve I reckon! Meanwhile my guitar has to languish under the dust bunny riddled bed at least 2 more yrs~ :o) ENJOY the time you have to do anything, and everything!!

  21. They are so lovely, these wee birds:)

  22. Glad you picked up the camera again beautiful photos.

  23. Good Sir Springman, a pleasure to see you back in action here, whether wielding a camera, a bass, an ax, or a pen, you never fail to put vibrations in your pix and words that keep us shivering with anticipation for the next installment, shivering perhaps as a chill wind blows off the disappearing arctic ice fields. You are dead right I fear, those selling us tv shows and sleeping pills will be the ones to profit most, as we dig our collective grave... Good to read you...

  24. Your hummingbirds are beautiful. We used to have aloe vera plants outside our window that the hummers just loved, but I don't think I ever managed a decent shot of them! The melting of the polar ice concerns me greatly too. Climate destabilization is something I worry about. I'm glad you took these photos and posted your thoughts, I enjoyed them greatly.

  25. Well Dave, I see that your thoughts and ability to express them are as sharp as ever, your photos just as sharp. I always love reading your posts and have missed them over the past weeks. I'm sorry to admit that yes, this hobby can definitely become an addiction.

    I truly dread the opening of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling, especially considering the oil company's track record on spills. Read more about these issues here and here.

    It amazes me that people actually say that global warming is a myth. I think you have hit the nail on the head Dave. While we ponder the peril, others are maximizing their financial positions and hedging their bets. And we all know how well hedge fund operators do.

    I don't begrudge rich people at all. In fact I admire them and strive to be one someday (you can always strive) but not at the expense of others or the environment!

  26. Amazing captures! A treat to see your photos!!

  27. Fantastic hummer shots....and I agree with you:)

  28. We have missed you, and I am glad that you decided to take some images of the little hummers, wonderful.
    I cannot imagine not having my camera with me...yet. I still don't want to miss an attempt at getting another memory placed onto my wee tiny memory card... Love it.
    Yep, no such thing as Global Warming...take a look at what is happening with the glaciers at Glacier National Park...
    I really feel sad for future generations and when these things are no longer, there is no bringing them is a treasure, and our leaders are squandering it all away, nip by nip~

  29. It's great to see your photos again! These are beautiful! I wish my hummingbird shots were half this good. Excellent work. You should get the 400mm out more often!

  30. lovely lovely images. The one downside of the birding in the UK is ..... no hummers. What a real shame.

    Great to see you back buddy
    Happy Birding

  31. There is so much to say in response when you post ... You are amazing both in photograpy and in expressing your views. I am guessing you are amazing in many other ways as well.

    The hummers are awesome, I especially like the one who is on alert, ready to fly or fight as hummingbirds do.

    I thank you for taking to task the greedy and selfish for all that they have done and intend to do. It is true that this election can spell doom in many ways and that is why it is sooooo important for people to get out and vote in November (even those who have to climb hurdles to get to the poles for many tricks have been pulled to keep you away). If the average person in our country doesn't speak up now, they will suffer the concequences down the road. And, if the middle classer who wants to vote the current president out because he hasn't done enough to create jobs ... are you kidding? The congress is sitting on multiple jobs bills that are being obstructed by the same people who are denying global warming ... you will be voting against your own self interest to vote for these unsavory people. Do the math ... what they want to do is disastrous! I get upset just thinking about it. Thank you again, Springman, for being the spokes man for our environment. Sorry for the rant ...

    Andrea @ From The Sol

  32. Fantastic photographs, congratulations. I am greeting

  33. Great shots of the hummingbirds sitting still. I've yet to actually see the ones in my yard doing anything but flying around. But, I came here to share my recent shots to find that someone else had picked up the meme. Still, what a treat your images are to behold. :)

  34. Beautiful hummingbird photos, I wish that we had the little beauties on these shores.

  35. Hey Dave, just caught up with your comment where you said something about a daughter coming to France ??? Is it so ? Am guessing you may have gathered I have a frog wife and two tadpole daughters here ? Can you send me an e-mail please, if you wish, to : owenmart333 at gmail dot com ? Is she studying over here, or working, or travelling ? Or none of the above ? Will you maybe be getting over here to see her ??? Pray tell... Would be more than a pleasure to meet up with you sometime. And if we can do anything to help a Springman off-spring in any feasible way, well just let me know...

  36. Awesome blog. Very nice photo collections. Thanks!

  37. Great to see you back, and best of luck in your efforts to become a better "rounded" man, as if you were not that already. Keep speaking out to protect the environment!

  38. I saw a pretty nice photo of a bird on another blog and thought "What is the Springman up to?" Happily a saw "a" post made after the reins of WBW were handed over. I surely thought that with your retirement we'd be treated to your wonderful photos with more frequency. Good that you are having fun with the guitar but don't foresake that camera of yours forever. Your images always inspie me. Take care.

  39. as this looks like your latest post Springman, just stopping by to say a quick hello
    Best wishes
    Dave (Bfb)

  40. Superb shots, Dave!! I'd love to see a hummingbird. Great to see you posting again. I've missed your birds.