What is Wildlife Photography?

This is a bit of a rant I guess. I follow photographers on Instagram and on Twitter. I enjoy seeing the work’s of other photographers; the places they go and what they get to experience. I am jealous sometimes, I admit it. 

Eurasian Tree Sparrow, free as a bird šŸ˜‰

When I observe the post I also look at locations and tags. I have a pet peeve. That is how people tag their images. A bird in an aviary or cage is NOT wildlife. An animal in a zoo is NOT wildlife. It is in captivity. It is imprisoned by walls, screens, netting, and glass. Most are bred into this and have never known the freedom’s of wide open spaces. 
So what is wildlife photography to me? To me wildlife photography is the ability to capture a photo of an animal in its natural habitat. No barriers or restrictions. Where they can run, fly, or swim as far as they want. Doing what they do best without the influence or restrictions of man. 

I don’t have a problem with those who bait birds with seeds and such as long as they aren’t trapping them. You are actually helping the birds sometimes with feeders and baths. 

What set this off was a tweet. A man posted a photo of a couple beautiful parrots a while ago perched on a “T” post with meshing in the background; obviously an aviary. One of the tags he used was #wildlifephotography. I was very annoyed by that. At one time maybe. But in this case no longer. Just because the animal can be found in the wild does not mean that a photo in a zoo or aviary is wildlife. In most cases it is domesticated and lost its fear of humans and natural instincts. 

Rant over. What do you define as wildlife photography? Are you using hash tags? 

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As always, thanks for following, reading, and viewing. Yesterday was my one year anniversary here on WordPress. Thanks to all those who read and those who give me feedback. God Bless all.

David Lee Martin

Functional US Army Veteran.


April Flower’sĀ 

I thought I would share some shots of flowers I took this month here in the Philippines. Most of the shots are Macro.

Photo taken with Pentax Model X-5

Photo take with Samsung Galaxy Note 4 mobile phone

Photo taken with a Canon EOS 1200D with a Sigma 70-300mm 4-5.6 APO DG Macro lens
Photo taken with a Canon EOS 1200D with a Sigma 70-300mm 4-5.6 APO DG Macro lens
Photo taken with a Pentax Model X-5

When I get bored I sometimes grab the Camera or what’s always handy, the mobile, and just go for a walk. If I see something of interest that I like I take a photo of it. Living in the Philippines has been at an advantage for seeing a lot of beautiful scenery, flowers, nature, and wildlife. It’s a great place for photographers of many genres. I am still an Amateur photographer and I feel I am improving. I watch “how to” videos and observe the work of other photographers so I can have an Idea of what I want to get out of my shots. I been doing wildlife, macro, and landscapes. Soon I hope to get some portrait practice in that goes beyond selfies.  I dont use photo shop. I use a phone app to pute my name on the pictures. Let me know what you think. I am always open to constructive criticism.

As always, thanks for viewing and reading.

Follow me on Instagram: david_lee_martin
David Lee Martin

Functional US Army Veteran

The Penetential Walk

Today is Good Friday and here in my area of Caramoan the locals have traditional penetential walk. It’s done barefoot from the driveway entrance of my village, Barangay Agaas, to the church in Barangay Tabgon. Just a little over 2 kilometers I think. We started with an opening prayer, a reading, and a blessing at 8:30 am and soon started walking. 

Penetential walk starting point

There were many loyal catholics of all ages who attended. There were easily over a hundred attendees. 

Waiting to start
Jesus will lead the way

The concrete’s texture along the road varied. At times it was smooth, rough, jagged, and almost like loose gravel. It was nearly unforgiving. I kept in my mind that through Christ I can accomplish anything if I put my mind to it. My feet started hurting, small stones stuck into my feet. I developed blisters on the ball on my feet, the heels, and the toes. The last couple hundred yards was quite dreadful to me. Sucks having soft feet now.

Front view
Back view

Because I am tall and long legged the pace for me was super slow but I understand why. We had a lot of elderly and very young with us. It was cool in the shade and the further we went the hotter it had become. I really appreciated the shaded areas. 

Passion of Christ being played out in the streets

At the end the Church had a play of the “Passion of the Christ” going on. Mostly younger church members performing. 

First look at the blisters

It was a good lesson in suffering. It gives us a little glimpse of what Christ went through enroute to be crucified on the Mountain. Of course we will never know the extent of his suffering unless we are too crucified. His sacrifice is understood and I am Thankful. 

Photos were taken with a Samsung Note 4. 

As always, Thank You for viewing and reading. Have a Good Friday!

Instagram: david_lee_martin
David Lee Martin

Functional US Army Veteran

Hopping the Caramoan Islands

Yesterday I went Island hopping with the wife and her relatives. I had a good time and took some photos. I also got toasted by the sun. I get an allergic reaction to most creams and lotions. So trusting a sunblock is hard. Sucks when you feel the aftermath. 

Here are some images from our day on the Caramoan Islands. We started in Barangay Tabgon, Part of the Caramoan municipality in Caramoan, Camarines Sur,  Bicol, Philippines. 

Barangay Tabgon Port

Our mode of transportation were the Bangka style boats. They are narrow boats with outriggers for ballance support. 

The Leading Bangka Boat

Our first destination was Manlawi Sand bar and beach. There they had floating platforms for resting in the shade and eating. There were also local vendors there to sell snacks, drinks, and souvenirs. The wife and I bought two large conch shells. 

Floating Rest Platforms at Manlawi Sand Bar
Friendly Vendors at Manlawi Sand Bar
My wife Kristine on the Sand Bar after the tide went out.

There is a lot of beautiful wildlife and sealife here. I seen many fish and starfish of different colors. 

Small Starfish

Manlawi Beach and Mangroves

From Manlawi we travelled to Sabitang Laya. It’s a nice Island with two long beautiful beaches. The tide was low and in the tide pools and flat areas you could see a lot of sealife. The producers of Survivor also like to use this island in its show. Many countries have done their survivor series here. The US did twice. 

One of the many colorful fish around the Caramoan Islands
Yours truly holding a pair of large starfish

This is an excellent location for snorkeling and under water photography. I have yet to buy myself an underwater camera. Soon… I keep telling myself. 

Living coral attached to a rock
One of the Sabitang Laya beaches

One thing that amazed me is that you can see the peak to the Mayon Volcano. The volcano is on the opposite side of the bay, on the other side of the Caramoan Penninsula. It’s much taller than I thought. You can see it in the center of the Sabitang Laya beach photo. 

The last Island we stopped at was Haponan Island. Didn’t take any photos there. A local is building some nice cottages there. I imagine I will visit there again to show those. We waited there for about 2 hours until the tide returned. When the tide is out the boats cannot return to Tabgon Port because it is too shallow. 

If you like to see more photos please follow me on Instagram: david_lee_martin

As always, Thanks for viewing and reading. 

David Lee Martin

Functional US Army Veteran

Drop The Mexico Border Wall

This is an opinion piece.

What if we could drop the wall completely and absorb Mexico to Join the United States? Its a thought. Don’t think of me as a Liberal. I am an Idealist. I am also very conservative. It would be a hell of a process, but unity can be achieved. This would actually save money and reduce deficit if done right. Here are some of my thoughts on this issue.

The wall is Estimated to cost between 12 to 15 billion US Dollars. In my opinion It would be cheaper to absorb Mexico, let them adopt the dollar. The US government can open multiple social security offices there so they can get a tax payer ID or Social Security number and start paying into the US tax system. Understandably it can’t happen all at once. I would put a 18 month transition period on it.

This would also save money from being wasted on deportations, Immigration departments, border patrols, and prison spaces. With this there will also be less immigration if they have what they need at home.

This would open up many markets. Current Americans will be able to move to Mexican territories and buy property and invest there, and they could in turn do the same in US. Students can also access more schools.

The market on textiles, agricultural, and automotive goods will be eased. There would no longer be an import and export tax. Goods can flow both ways with ease.

I would keep Current border check points in place only to stop the flow of illegal drugs. Vehicles will be inspected by dogs and x-ray occasionally when needed.

For Illegal Mexicans already in the US, they will have to go back to Mexican territories to get their citizenship and tax ID sorted before returning to US. This also ensures there will be less people making US Dollars without contributing to the system. Employers who are caught employing citizens without the tax ID or Social security number sorted will be penalized.

Families that have been divided by the wall will be able to reunite. Their Military and Law enforcement will be overhauled and better supported and assimilated into our forces.

For Mexicans living below the poverty level, after processing into their new citizen status with Tax ID or Social Security number, they will be able to apply for Social Services assistance and medicare. This will improve their health and quality of life.

Here are some facts about Mexico:

Spanish is national language

Religion: 83% Roman Catholic, 10% protestant christian, 0.2 other religion, 5% atheist, 3% unspecified

Mexico has a congress and a senate.

It is the 13th largest independent nation.

There are 31 states in Mexico.

Population 2015 Census: 119,530, 753

Mexico ranks first in the Americas and seventh in the world by number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Mexico’s Geography consists of desert, mountains, rain forest, and sub-tropical regions.

Economy: 15th Largest nominal GDP and 11th largest by purchasing power.

Average income per household is equal to about 14,400 US Dollars.
As always, thanks for reading and viewing.

David Lee Martin

Functional US Army Veteran

Wildflowers in Macro

I thought I would share some macro shots of wild flowers I took from around Camarines Sur, Bicol, Philippines.

I don’t know the names of all these flowers. When I see something I like I just point and shoot. 

Photos were taken with a Canon EOS 1200D (aka T5 rebel in US) using a Sigma lens 70-300mm F4-5.6 APO DG MACRO with hood and no filters.  

I may start selling prints online soon. I think it may be  good way to support my hobby. What do my viewers think of that idea? More of my photography can be seen on istagram with user ID david_lee_martin.  

As always, thanks for viewing and reading. 
David Lee Martin

Functional US Army Veteran


The Assassin

This morning I was sitting at my laptop when I noticed something move on the wall out of the corner of my eye. It was a unique looking reddish-orange bug with a black head and a black patch near it’s end and a long snout. I watched it crawl down the wall about a foot where it stopped to observe some Ants scouting about. About 10 seconds later it pounced the ant! Predator, how cool is that! 

So after a bit of research with Google I found it. It’s actually called an Assassin bug. Latin: reduviidae vespers purpupeus. Seems legit to me. One guy commented on a site about how he leave’s them alone cause it reduces ants. Fair enough, I will let these guys live too.

I also found that in 1988 the Philippines postal service featured these guys on a one peso stamp. I guess they were well liked back then also. Go get ’em killer.

The Camera used is a Canon EOS 1200D with a Sigma lens 70-300mm F4-5.6 APO DG Macro with hood, no filters, macro on, and manual focus.

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David Lee Martin

Functional US Army Veteran.