Bad Luck Is Not Better Than No Luck At All!


Three Turkey Vultures Seen at Lake Luxembourg, Langhorne, Pa.

Don’t know why, but Lake Luxembourg is seemingly a bad-luck spot. It started last summer, when the Cooper threw a CV joint on the way up there from Andalusia. The car fortunately limped back home at least, but had to be towed in for repairs.

September rolled around and during another visit, my camera’s shutter motor died while photographing an osprey. Rather than sending it to Nikon for a costly repair, I decided to buy a new one instead.

A couple of months later, my big lens bit the dust there when the auto-focus quit while photographing my beloved bald eagles, another situation where the repair would have cost more than half the price of the lens, my benchmark for buying a new one.

Things quieted down after that during my regular photo sessions at Core Creek Park, where the lake is located in Langhorne, PA; but, as the lyric goes in the Grateful Dead’s song, “Uncle John’s Band”:


… when life looks like easy street, there is danger at your door.

Toward the end of March this year, a gust of wind tipped over the tripod as I turned my back while answering someone who walked over to ask me if I had seen the bald eagles at the lake. The camera and big lens ended up straddling the road’s guardrail, which prevented the whole shebang from crashing on the pavement.

The person left in a hurry without even saying thanks or goodbye as I was cussing under my breath and up-righting the assemblage to check for damage. I lucked out this time, for the camera and lens-functions were unharmed, although the auto-focus went out of adjustment as a result, causing blurry images.

Dagnabbit, I thought. Actually that wasn’t the exact phrase, but you get the idea. Not wanting to send the lens back to the manufacturer for repair and being without it for a few weeks, I bought what’s called a “USB dock” at a local camera shop, which attaches the lens to a computer. Software comes with the device to fine-tune the lens’ functions, one of which is the auto-focus.

The process is a bit of a hassle, for which I took a laptop to one of my birding spots to take pictures at various focal lengths, looking at the resultant photos on the computer for clarity, and tweaking the lens adjustment one way or the other until the next batch of images were sharp. It took me a good hour to get it done, but was worth the effort.

On this past Thursday, I visited Lake Luxembourg and discovered the nesting pair of bald eagles are proud parents of two eaglets for the season. Below are a couple of photos with the mother and offspring, which were taken from about 1,000 feet/0.3 kilometers away:

One Eaglet on April 18, 2019
Two Eaglets on April 18, 2019

I was so happy to have discovered them. The father was out on a mission to get some grub for his youngsters and mate. I moved to my usual spot where I park the Cooper, which is right before the bridge on Woodbourne Road, going northerly. One can’t see the nest from there, but overhead is the route the birds take back home usually from hunting at Neshaminy Creek, or elsewhere around the lake.

Incidentally, if you search for 1998 Woodbourne Road, Langhorne, PA, on Google Earth, bring it up and zoom down to street level, my car is parked at the spot at which I just mentioned. Continue north and there’s yours truly wearing my favorite flowered shirt and Phillies’ cap:

Woodbourne Road, Langhorne, PA
Mike Slickster on the right
Mike Slickster on the left. Note the big lens at his side in the photos.

While I was waiting for Louie to come back, the name I’ve given the adult-male bald eagle, a guy came up the road with a fishing pole and gear, and walked over to me. He asked what in particular was I photographing, and I explained about the eagles, ospreys, herons, red-winged blackbirds, kingfishers, egrets, mourning doves, hawks, vultures, turtles, deer, etc.

For what’s been captured at Core Creek Park and Lake Luxembourg, click here. Another board at Pinterest is dedicated to the resident bald eagles.

Coming towards us was Louie, which I pointed him out to the guy and took a few photos:

Amazement shone through the fisherman’s eyes like beams of light. The fellow said, “If I give you a few dollars, would you mail me a picture of that bald eagle?”

I asked him if he had e-mail, to which I would send a few shots for free. He began to recite it. “Hold on a minute, let me put it in my phone,” I said, placing my camera and big lens on the roof of the Cooper and started to input the address as he began to tell me it again.

“Bang, boom, crash” were the sounds I heard next as the camera and lens came falling down off the car, hitting the passenger door with the lens shoe that attaches the assembly to a tripod, leaving a few horrendous scratches behind. I attempted to catch it after it slammed into my back, but it landed on pavement.

Man, did I go off with a litany of obscenities. Luckily, if one can consider that luck, the car door and my back broke the assembly’s fall and cushioned the landing. Everything worked like the last time it fell, but again, the auto-focus went out of whack.

“God, I’m so sorry,” the fisherman said. “I really feel bad.”

“Aw, don’t worry about it. Shit happens. It could have been worse,” I said, telling him I would send a photo of Louie after downloading all the pictures. He thanked me, went across the street and down the bank to the lake.

Tomorrow I plan on going out to a birding site again to adjust the lens. I took some pics with it today, but it really needs to be tweaked to get rid of the blur at infinity focal length. Having sent the guy the pictures above, I’ve yet to hear back from him, even though a request to let me know he got them was forwarded in the e-mail with the photos.

I could go off on a tirade about that, but did already on a previous weekly diatribe. Did I copy down his e-mail address incorrectly during the melee? That’s possible. Hopefully I’ll hear back and my faith in mankind will be restored.

Happy Easter and Passover to those who celebrate the religious holidays. Lent will be over at twelve midnight tonight, as far as I’m concerned; although, it was over officially on Thursday night. I’ve yet to post on Social Media again. Don’t know if I will return. Life for me has been relatively peaceful as the result of abstaining from it.

Thanks for stopping by and for your continued support.

About Mike Slickster

As an early retiree with an honorary doctorate degree from the proverbial "School of Hard Knocks," this upcoming author with a lot of free time on his hands utilizes his expansive repertoire for humorous yet tragic, wildly creative writing that contains years of imaginative fantasy, pure nonsense, classic slapstick, extreme happiness and searing heartbreak; gathered by a wealth of personal experiences throughout his thrilling—sometimes mundane or unusually horrid—free-spirited, rock-'n'-roller-coaster ride around our beloved Planet Earth. Mike Slickster's illustrious quest continues, living now in Act Three of his present incarnation, quite a bit on the cutting edge of profundity and philosophical merriment as seen through his colorful characters, most notably evident in the amusing Thirty Days Across the Big Pond series, all of which can be found at Lulu.com.
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1 Response to Bad Luck Is Not Better Than No Luck At All!

  1. As a follow-up to this post, I’d like to mention that the fisherman contacted me by e-mail to say he got the photos and thanks, adding, “They are of better quality from both operator and machine aspects, than I could have anticipated. I will be getting one of the photos with the blue sky printed out ASAP.” Now that warms my heart!

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