White Deer Twins on the Riverwalk

White Deer Twins on the Riverwalk
These rare white deer twins were born this summer and have found a safe home at Dan Daniel Park and on the Riverwalk
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My name is David Hoffman. I teach English and journalism at Averett University, but I have two side interests - writing and photography. I also enjoy walking daily with my English setter, Sadie, and my wife, Elizabeth, on the Danville, Virginia, Riverwalk. As a novice to studying nature, I am fascinated by the slightest facets of the great outdoors, but most of my pictures are of birds - I don't know a lot about them, but I am learning more and enjoying taking pictures of them daily. I also take pictures of plants, other animals, and insects. All pictures posted for each day were taken on the day of my blog entry.

Leave a comment if you have the time or e-mail me at dhoffman@averett.edu


Monday, July 19, 2010


(JULY 19, 2010) It was dark this morning as I began my walk on the Riverwalk. The sun was peaking over the trees, but the "dark woods" were truly . . . dark.

Because of an early appointment, I didn't take my camera, which was just as well, because during the early part of the walk a unicorn or other extinct animal may have wandered by, and I couldn't have gotten a decent shot of it in the darkness.

However, I did take with me my thoughts from the previous day's Riverwalk adventure. Yesterday's topic was PRECIPICE. Today's post, I decided, would be PERFECTION because the images of three of yesterday's photos seemed near perfect to me as I thought about them.

First, there was the beautiful brown butterfly - perfect color and perfect shape. It was hanging against some leaves, making its lush chocolate brown more beautiful.

Second was the damselfly. I have taken 100s of shots of damselflies, but this one was truly focused and close enough to see the water drops on its body and the tiny hairs on its legs and the water drops on the leaf where it was setting. The beauty of the damselfly was, in my mind, as the British say, "spot on!"

Third was the beautiful pink flower against the green foliage. The flower was in focus and the distant background gave the photo the mood of an impressionistic painting of the Renoir class.

When I got back from my appointment, I took a look at the pictures. Truly perfect - except, well, the green leaf covers some of the brown butterfly. That is too bad - no longer perfect, though it does add some "difference" to the print rather than a stark brown butterfly. Maybe, close to perfect, or at least, OK.

Then I took a closer look at the damselfly. Great close-up, but were the antennae missing? Had I cut off the antennae when I cropped the picture? As I looked closer, I realized that the antennae on this dragonfly were short. Surely something was wrong with it to make it less than perfect. I looked closely - but found it to be OK - maybe not perfect, but OK.

Finally I looked at my photographic depiction of a Renoir landscape. Surely little flaws in focus and color could be attributed to the impressionistic mood created by this "masterpiece." Upon looking at the picture, I noticed a brown dead plant in the upper left hand corner, something I hadn't noticed before. I immediately cropped it out and now the photograph was better - almost perfect for an impressionist painting. However, as I took away the brown plant, the flower was lower on the page, something I didn't like as well as before taking away the dead plant. But, still, it was OK - not perfect.

The more I thought about perfection, the more I realized that those who are creative can only reach a certain level of perfection. Many artists have been driven crazy by attempting to capture perfection in all they do.

There is a degree of perfection in nature, and humans often want to idealize such perfection. We think of picnics by a creek with a special person, yet when we try to create it, there may be insects that bite or sting, ground that is too damp or dusty, or a creek that is too loud or smelly.

So, with the three prints above, I can resolve my inner creative self by saying they may not be perfect, but they are OK.

It was another beautiful (but dark) morning on the Riverwalk.

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